Published December 2, 2005
'U' can't ignore Comp Studies Program
To the Daily:
As a flagship university for championing affirmative action, I am appalled by the treatment of lecturers in the Comprehensive Studies Program. This is a central program for enabling students from diverse backgrounds to "fit" at the University. Without this program the attrition rates for black students would certainly increase. It is through such programs that the University's true commitment to affirmative action is actualized. Several lecturers who also hold positions in academic advising in the CSP are treated unfairly in comparison to other counseling units on campus. They have filed a workload grievance against the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. In previous fall and winter terms, the advisors/lecturers maintained full-time administrative and counseling appointments with "overload" teaching compensation. Given the amount and intensity of the work performed by advisors, this was equitable. Then suddenly, without notice or consideration for the work they perform, overload pay was eliminated. This paralleled the long-standing (and inequitable) precedent of summer advisors/lecturers who have rarely, if ever, been paid for the teaching they do during the Bridge Program.
To further the abuse and disrespect of the advisors, the CSP administration decided to terminate all advisors' teaching appointments for the winter by eliminating the CSP 100 course. This course has been offered for more than 30 years. This act can only be interpreted as retaliation toward the advisors for exercising their right to grieve unfair employment practices. The CSP 100 seminar that the advisors teach is highly specialized and prescribed to meet the individual needs of students. In the seminar, students are exposed to problem-solving paradigms in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. This course is intense and requires an enormous amount of preparation and individualized followup. The grievance cites several violations of the Lecturers' Employee Organization contract. The irony of this latest act of retaliation is that CSP is one of the premier programs on campus that promotes and practices diversity among its staff and 1,700 students. To have this distinction and be treated in such a disparate manner undermines the University's own policy of valuing and supporting diversity and inclusion. I believe that the University can rectify this problem if it so chooses.
Cartoonist isn't the one simplifiying affirmative action
To the Daily:
I thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Bakale-Wise's letter to the editor (Cartoonist oversimplifies role of affirmative action, misses many relevant issues, 12/01/2005). I especially thought she made good points when she said, "Well, obviously true! Unless, of course, he has family members who attended the University" (No non-white people have alumni ties to the University.), "decides to go into nursing" (No non-white males go into nursing.), "has a rich father who donated a large sum of money" (No non-white people are wealthy), "comes from a rural county." (All non-white people live in urban centers.), "lives in a county from which the University receives few applicants" (All non-whites live in counties that send many applications to Michigan.), "is actually a female" (All non-whites are male.) "or comes from a low socioeconomic background" (No non-whites are poor.). I guess it makes for a better social program if you pit white students against black students by stereotyping both of them and drawing a color line to separate them.