The University Record, February 7, 1994


Reader finds photos of people of color offensive

I am sending this message to express dissatisfaction with the photos depicting people of color in this recent issue of The University Record. In the past, I have always viewed the articles, photos, etc. to be of the highest quality. However, with the Jan. 24 issue, I do not think this was the case. Overall, it appeared that the time and effort was not taken to use the best photos. If you peruse the paper, starting with the front page, your eyes will be assaulted by the photo of Prof. Laurence Mordekhai Thomas, which looked like a caricature. In terms of the subsequent photos of people of color, they were either dark or unflattering. I sincerely hope in the future that more care and effort is given to not portraying people of color in such an offensive and negative fashion.

Esther Armstead, School of Nursing

Editor’s Note: We agree that the reproduction of photos of Martin Luther King Jr. Day events was horrid. The fault does not lie with the original photos, but rather with the process of reproducing them. We are taking steps to modify our processes and are meeting with our printer to discuss how this situation can be avoided in the future. We ask those who may have been offended to accept our apology and our pledge that we will do our best to see that this does not happen again.

Single person ‘outraged’ about flex proposal

I have read the Committee’s [Flexible Benefits Advisory Group] in The Univer-sity Record and I am upset and angry.

I am a single person with no children. I am enrolled in Blue Cross-Blue Shield/Major Medical and the dental plan. Currently the University’s contribution covers all of that.

Under the proposed new plan, I would receive only $208.50 in flex dollars and my health insurance alone would cost $209! If I want to maintain my present coverage (which I do), I would have to pay $11 for the dental plan. But if my personal situation allowed me to select two-person coverage (i.e. if I had a child or a spouse), I would receive $391.50 in flex dollars, which would cover not only Blue Cross-Blue Shield/Major Medical for two people but the basic dental plan for two people as well!

I am outraged. I don’t think anyone can make me see how it is fair or just that I am not entitled to at least as much coverage as a co-worker’s husband, wife or child. I have no objection if the University feels it is socially responsible to take into account that employees may have children or spouses who also need coverage, but I feel very strongly that the University’s first obligation is to the employees themselves. I certainly do not see how it is to the University’s advantage if their employees have spouses or children, nor do I perceive any way the University benefits by discriminating against their single employees.

Furthermore, the only way I can keep my existing coverage without having to pay out-of-pocket is if I do not use more than five sick days a year. I agree that the current sick leave program is often abused and I applaud the use of incentives to encourage people to use their sick time more responsibly. Nonetheless, I do not think it is fair or just that a colleague with a spouse or child should have their entire medical and dental insurance paid for AND be able to get money returned from unused sick days while I am having to pay for some of my insurance.

I have worked for the University for 22 years. For all that time, the University has offered employees with spouses or dependent children more benefit dollars than I have received. Since my own benefits were being taken care of, I did not feel disgruntled enough to protest, even though it could be argued that I should have had an equal dollar amount spent on a higher level of benefits than my colleagues with children or spouses.

I did not really expect the switch to flexible benefits to mean that every employee would receive an equal amount of benefit dollars, since such a drastic change would no doubt cause a huge protest. But I certainly did not expect that single people would be even further disadvantaged by a flexible benefits scheme. I am very disappointed and frankly distrustful of what this means for the future.

I regret the tone of this letter. I have tried to temper it because I know a more temperate letter is bound to be more effective. But the more I think about this, the angrier I become.

Marylee Dalton, senior associate
librarian, Law Library