The University Record, October 10, 1994

LETTERS

Coming Out Day is Oct. 11

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and their families and friends throughout the United Stated will be celebrating National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

National Coming Out Day was created to commemorate the 1987 March on Washington as well as to acknowledge the inaugural presentation of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt at the nation’s capitol.

The purpose of National Coming Out Day is to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay and bisexual people by living powerfully and truthfully. Establishing a positive dialogue with non-gay people about the diversity of the gay community helps turn ignorance into tolerance. Being open about one’s sexual orientation shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual people cross all lines of ethnicity, ableness, race, religion, geography and socioeconomy.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are everywhere, from the classroom to the administration and beyond. “Coming out” or “coming out of the closet” means revealing the truth about one’s sexual orientation to others. Coming out is a personal process and may take many forms. The theme for the 1994 National Coming Out Day is “Out in the Workplace.”

Coming out at work involves having the courage to reveal such information. This may mean risking being rejected by co-workers, colleagues or peers, or even losing one’s job.

The rich history of lesbian, gay and bisexual heroes attests to our existence: Chinese emperor AiTi; Alexander the Great; actor Raymond “Perry Mason” Burr; African-American physician Jay Brown; anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead; Pope Benedict IX; author James Baldwin; computer designer Alan Turing; entertainer Lily Tomlin; business people Malcolm Forbes, George Eastman and Cecil Rhodes; composers George Gershwin and Cole Porter; Dag Hammarskjold; athletes Greg Luganis, Dick Button, David Kopay and Martina Navratilova ... the list is much longer and quite impressive.

We’ve always existed; we’ve just simply been hidden from history.

By being honest and by being visible, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people can begin to erase the misunderstanding— and the bigotry. Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual, celebrate National Coming Out Day by learning about yourself and about others. For more information about Coming Out Week activities, call the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office, 763-4186.

Ronni L. Sanlo, director

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office

References:

Boswell, J. (1980) Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hadleigh, B. (1993). The Lavender Screen. NY: Citadel Press

Katz, J. (1976). Gay American History. NY: Crowell.

Martin, G. (1989). Gay Book of Days, NY: Lyle Stuart.

Lyle Stuart Signorile, M. (1993). Queer in America. NY: Random House.

Bailey: SACUA declining

When I wrote last July about the deterioration in faculty governance, I was concerned. Nothing in the viewpoints expressed in the Record for Sept.19 has changed my mind.

Prof. Brewer declares that I was in error, “that SACUA meetings have always been open to the public.” Not so. During my term on SACUA a decade ago, our meetings with the Executive Officers were closed, and we were able to present viewpoints (including unpopular ones) that were tentative and prospective. So could the Executive Officers. SACUA’s influence was based on trust.

Prof. Kaplan states that I regard the procedural motions at the May 16 Assembly meeting as part of a “sinister plot.” I’m not alone in this suspicion. Under Roberts’ Rules, the committee of the whole may be used for deliberation instead of debate on a particular motion. It often has the good effect that Prof. Kaplan describes: “the free discussion of a difficult topic.” But Prof. Montalvo moved that Assembly form a committee of the whole until the end of the meeting.

Prof. Kaplan says he heard no statement at that meeting raising a question about procedure. The voice that was inaudible to him was that of the parliamentarian advising the chair that “until the end of the meeting” was not a good idea since it would prevent Assembly from acting.

Prof. Kaplan says he heard no criticism of procedure at the June meeting either. But along with other Assembly members he surely read the May 19 message to them all from C.E. Olson (natural resources). Prof. Olson, the parliamentarian, denounced the “orchestrated attack on the provost,” criticized SACUA’s “abuse of privilege,” pointed to improper “procedural matters,” and anticipated by some months the call by Prof. Stebbins and others for the impeachment of those responsible.

SACUA member Montalvo, having been thwarted in his attempt to prevent action critical of SACUA, then “yielded the floor” to two people who were not members of Assembly.

No one objected to this irregular step. (Assembly might have been asked to vote on allowing non-members to speak as required by Roberts’ Rules, but SACUA apparently did not trust the body sufficiently to allow debate.)

These two non-members then came to the podium and delivered written statements attacking the invited guest, Provost Whitaker.

After the meeting, Prof. Olson used e-mail to offer first SACUA and then the entire Assembly his views on these procedures. In explaining them to me, he wrote: “It is my belief that SACUA, at its meeting before the Assembly meeting, had decided to have a SACUA member rise and immediately yield the floor. If so, SACUA engineered a blatantly irregular and, in my opinion, inappropriate procedure.”

In response, SACUA told the parliamentarian on the day of the June Assembly meeting that his services were no longer required.

Prof. Landefeld declares that my July essay contains “unsubstantiated allegations.” Not so.

I believe that it was poor judgment for a SACUA member to use incomplete and insufficiently analyzed data from the Committee for a Multi-Cultural University in a public attack on the Michigan Mandate. The chair of this committee thought this step was “unfortunate” and I agree with him.

I believe that it was poor judgment for the same SACUA member to spearhead a presentation on racial diversity in our faculty while his wife is contemplating a law suit involving racial issues against the University. SACUA, I wrote, ought to locate some advocate for racial diversity whose moral authority would be unambiguously based on an institutional, rather than a personal, foundation.

These are not “allegations” but opinions—ones widely shared in the faculty.

Prof. Brewer asserts that my July essay contained “several factual errors.” Prof. Landefeld’s letter is headlined “Letters shy of facts.” Prof. Kaplan says that “most of my points” are made by “innuendo.” What I wrote then is what I have summarized here, and I still await an explanation of what facts were missing from my account and what errors it contained.

I care deeply about effective faculty governance at the University of Michigan. I believe that the Executive Officers are less inclined to be influenced by SACUA than their predecessors—and I do not believe that SACUA is entirely to blame. But I believe that SACUA can, and ought, to do better. As it is presently constituted, I am not optimistic that it will.

Richard W. Bailey,

professor of English

Editor’s Note: The wife Prof. Bailey refers to as ‘contemplating a law suit’ is Peggie J. Hollingsworth, assistant research scientist, pharmacology. She has told the Record that she is not contemplating a lawsuit against the University.

Dental Society offers to help

I am writing in response to the articles on the new enhanced dental benefits that are being offered Oct. 10 to Oct. 28, 1994.

1. The vast majority of universities, community colleges, and even our local public schools have dental benefit programs that are included in their compensation package. The employee does not pay any portion of the premiums. These programs pay percentages of usual and customary fees.

2. Dental fees have gone up at a rate lower than the cost of living. The dental profession has practiced prevention and this has been very effective. There are far fewer cavities, extractions, missing teeth, and toothaches resulting in lower numbers of lost work days. Dental care costs as a proportion of health care costs have actually gone down.

3. The cost of the dental care program to the U-M is approximately $6 million, covering close to 60,000 faculty, staff and dependents. This figures out to about $100 per person, a very small percentage of health care cost or of total compensation.

4. The Benefits Office decided on continuing with the same insurance carrier and not to investigate other vendors. The reason given was time constraints and what was a new concept, a preferred provider program. Fact is that other insurance companies had this program running and a network of providers signed up. An expenditure this large and important to the dental health and welfare of the University workers and their families should be examined closely, not only for cost but also quality. A number of vendors and a variety of programs should be investigated before spending the University’s money.

5. The dean of the School of Dentistry, Bernard Machen, D.D.S., M.S., told me that the Benefits Office would be asking for representation of the dental school and the local dental society, Washtenaw District Dental Society, to help in developing a quality program. This meeting never occurred. The dental school has done an analysis of the new dental program and has determined it will be unable to sign on as a preferred provider.

6. The examples shown in The University Record show discrepancies from the figures received by local dentists. A check with a Mutual Preferred representative indicates there have not been any changes. The most crucial disparity is to prevention with the use of the deductible and lower percentages for routine cleanings. If a staff member elects the enhanced dental program and goes to a non-participating dentist, there would be little to no insurance reimbursement until the $50 deductible is used. A cleaning and exam would be reimbursed at 80 percent of $45 or $36. This would be applied to the $50 deductible and the patient would be left owing the total fee and still have a $14 deductible remaining.

7. The cost of dental coverage for employees is small when compared to medical coverage. Typically insurance companies disallow the higher fees in the normal distribution curve and utilize the usual and customary charge. They incorporate varying co-pay percentages so the patient has an investment in the dental care costs. They have review programs to assure quality of care and no duplication of care. The coverages emphasize prevention, which in the long run lowers cost.

The choice of dental care coverage is that of the University of Michigan. The selection of the programs offered is that of the employee. The decision of participating with the program is that of the individual dentist. The Washtenaw District Dental Society cannot state if this is a good or bad program or advise as to an individual accepting or rejecting a program. An individual staff member can call his/her dentist for advice. The dental society can and has offered to help, advise and inform in the development of a dental program.

Robert A. Brustad, ’70 D.D.S., ’72 M.S., president, Washtenaw District Dental Society

Editor’s Note: The Benefits Office also received a copy of this letter. According to the Benefits Office, the concerns that are raised by Dr. Brustad were addressed by the Benefits Office in the Sept. 19, 1994, issue of the Record in an article titled ‘University’s new benefits plans face challenges in acceptance.’ The article was part of the series of articles giving information about the 1994 Open Enrollment. A reprint of this letter and all the others in the series is available from the Benefits Office as well as at the information fairs. Dates are:

Tues. (Oct.) 11, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Dearborn Campus, Recreation and Organizations Center.

Thurs. (Oct. 13), 1–5 p.m., Flint Campus, Michigan Rooms A and B.

Oct. 18, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Central Campus, Rackham Building.

Oct. 20, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., North Campus, Chrysler Center Auditorium.

Oct. 24, 1–5 p.m., Medical Campus, University Hospital, Ford Auditorium.

A retiree health fair will be held 2–4 p.m. Wed. (Oct. 12) at the Holiday Inn, 2900 Jackson Road