Support of U.S. troops not compatible with debate over justness of war in Iraq

To the Daily:

As our brave young men and women prepare for battle in the Middle East, anti-war protesters should take a hard look into the mirror before running their mouths. Whether they like it or not, we as citizens of the United States are linked with those 250,000 troops right now – we are a part of them and thus we should support them and pray for them. The time for debate is over and the time for unity is now. It is true, recent diplomatic posturing will re-shape the global order for decades and everyone should feel some anxiety about the position we are about to take.

For those who do not support the president, their position should be afforded respect and equal time. Once the outcome of this conflict has become apparent, only then is it appropriate to challenge our country’s position. But in the meantime, think about the young children who have a parent residing in one of the most hostile regions of the world. In the real world (outside Ann Arbor’s coffee shops and ivory towers), our relatives, friends and next-door neighbors have been called to duty to lay their lives on the line – and we should do everything to support them.

Scott M. Behnan

School of Dentistry

By invading Iraq, threat of terrorism is increased

To the Daily:

The Department of Homeland Security raised the nation’s terrorist threat level from Elevated (Yellow) to High (Orange) risk of terrorist attack. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge explains, “the intelligence community believes that terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against United States and coalition targets worldwide in the event of a U.S.-led military campaign against Saddam Hussein.” Notice Ridge said “will” attack instead of “may” attack.

I ask, who is truly to blame for these potential terrorist attacks? Obviously the fundamental blame falls on the terrorists. Likewise, it would be unfair to blame an assault victim for his or her assault.

However, will these attacks occur if we do not invade Iraq? According to Ridge’s statement, the attacks will not occur without invasion. Therefore, we can fairly conclude that we can prevent these supposedly imminent terrorist attacks by curbing our aggression. On the flip side, we will indirectly cause these terrorist attacks by invading Iraq.

I have heard Bush and war supporters claim that we should attack Iraq to increase our security, but I see the opposite arising. If terrorists attack after we invade, I personally will blame Bush and his administration for making the United States a more dangerous place to live, especially considering Ridge’s insight.

Scott Schlimmer

LSA junior

‘U’ librarians deserve better compensation, elimination of stereotypes and discrimination

To the Daily:

I have recently been apprised of the ongoing negotiations between the residence hall librarians, represented by the Graduate Employees Organization, and the University. While I am pleased to note that the University has agreed not to contest the right of the RHLs to organize in their collective interest, I am disturbed by the University’s reluctance to treat RHLs on par with graduate student instructors with respect to salaries and terms of employment.

As a teacher and scholar on the issue of women and information technology, I often pose the question: Are librarians paid poorly because they are mostly women (in the case of the RHLs, all are women), or is it because of a broader social unease based in ugly stereotypes of librarians? Whatever the source, RHLs are being offered a compensation package significantly inferior to their equally-qualified peers who carry the stereotypically less feminized and higher-status label of GSI. What is more, ResComp employees, because they enjoy a patina of techno-savviness, also enjoy better compensation than that proposed for RHLs.

By any usual measure of qualifications and responsibilities, RHLs should be compensated in a manner equal to their peers, affirming the University’s long and laudable support for the notion of equal pay for equal work. I doubt the University would advocate that women of equal qualifications to their male peers be paid less, but that seems to be the case at this moment.

In addition, there has been considerable talk of late not only about removing the on-site residential character of RHLs – a move that would undermine a proud half-century of support for living and learning environments – but also that an implicit demotion of the RHLs’ professional status is also in the offing. “After all, they are only librarians…” So we hear all too often. For shame.

Thanks in part to the transformation of library schools into schools of information (such as ours here at the University), librarians today are every bit as much information professionals as are programmers or webmasters. To relegate librarians into a stereotyped social position that was trite when Katherine Hepburn was in her thirties does a major disservice to users of information resources.

As we at the School of Information have demonstrated by our uncontested success in refashioning the meaning and training of information professionals, boxing librarians into old roles is a dead-end strategy. The best future for information will come from treating librarians as information professionals, as well as by integrating librarianship and computer-based information access.

If we are to get beyond the boy-toy stereotype of computing and the steel-haired WASP stereotype of the librarian, we have to recognize the informative character of contemporary librarianship. We have done that in the School of Information and I would hope the University would do that with the RHLs. That would not only mean progress in terms of gender equity, it would also better serve the student-users to whose quality education we are all committed.

Robert Frost

Associate professor

School of Information

Logistical problems spell doom for Taco Bell in the Union

To the Daily:

Some of the ideas that the University Party has been supporting have been good ideas. But one of its main selling points – bringing Taco Bell to campus – is a poor reason to vote for their party. It has implicitly and explicitly during its campaign stated its intention to bring a Taco Bell to the Michigan Union. Space allocation for a vendor like Taco Bell does not come up in the Union until April 30, 2006 when Mrs. Fields’s contract runs out. But Mrs. Fields does have a renewal clause in it in which we may choose to bump up that date to April 30, 2008.

Though it is possible one of the MUG food shops would leave prior to their contract ending, this is highly unlikely. So, yes, Taco Bell in the Union is a possibility, but not anytime soon. One might wonder what the Michigan Union Board of Representatives has done in the past to get Taco Bell in the Union. Last time space was available for a vendor like Taco Bell to be a part of the Union, the M.U.B.R. contacted Taco Bell asking the chain to put in a bid for a location in the MUG, yet Taco Bell refused to put in an offer. So, think again about voting for the U Party solely over the Taco Bell issue. Rather, vote for individual candidates and not via party lines.

Rob Chesnick

LSA Senior

Michigan Union Board of Representatives

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