The University Record, September 6, 1994

LETTERS

Assembly ‘hoodwinked’?

Professor Bailey’s article in the Record 7/18/94 reveals a state of affairs in our faculty governance system that, if true, can no longer be ignored. It is unconscionable that a small group of faculty on SACUA, the executive body of the duly elected Faculty Senate Assembly, may have used their positions for their own purposes and, in so doing, hoodwinked the Senate Assembly into going along with them. That this situation should have been allowed to develop is unfortunately due in part to a Senate Assembly not as vigilant as it might have been (a notable exception is Professor Shirley’s comments in the July 5th Record taken from a May 31 letter to SACUA Chair Jean Loup) and to a University faculty that has, in recent years, become somewhat apathetic with regard to its own faculty governance system.

This is unfortunate, for Michigan has a long record of strong and effective faculty governance. Many present and former faculty have served the governance system; among the latter count Michigan’s last two presidents. Given the gravity of the situation, it is hoped that the Senate Assembly and the faculty in the appropriate schools and colleges will act with dispatch to resolve this deplorable situation. If after due process, these events are confirmed, then serious consideration should be given to asking for the resignation of the offending members of SACUA or for their recall. For under those conditions their credibility as representatives of the faculty in the context of faculty governance would be nil.

William C. Stebbins, professor of otorhinolaryngology and of psychology; Dale E. Briggs, professor of chemical engineering; Robert A. Green, professor of internal medicine; Daniel E. Moerman, professor of anthropology; and Roy Penchansky, professor of health services management and policy

Support staff members do care, Ferman says

It is often heard that support staff—secretaries, receptionists and clerks—in an organization are not involved in their work and don’t care.

Let me tell you about Maralyn Jennings, our secretary at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Michigan.

On Friday, Aug. 12, smoke from a welding torch set off the fire alarm in our building. No one was sure how serious the risk of fire was. Orders were given to evacuate the building. Ms. Jennings had been working on my man-uscript. With utter disregard for her own safety, she went back to our office and took both the manuscript and the word processing disks and carried them outside to safety. This gives you some idea why we love Maralyn and treasure her.

To those who say that support staff don’t care, tell them about Maralyn Jennings.

Louis A. Ferman, professor emeritus, School of Social Work and Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations

Decision strikes ‘fear in hearts of single parents’

As members of the Leadership Council of the University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women, we feel compelled to raise our voices in concern over Judge Raymond Cashen’s recent decision to remove Jennifer Ireland’s daughter Maranda from her care. The stated rationale of the decision was that Jennifer is a student at the University of Michigan and will rely on day care while she attends classes.

For the last 30 years, the Center for the Education of Women has encouraged and assisted women returning to school. We can tell literally thousands of stories of women who have overcome gender stereotypes, educational disadvantage and financial hardship to successfully complete their education and go on to outstanding personal and professional achievement that makes us proud to have helped.

In recent years, 45 percent of those women have been parents; almost all who have young children have had to rely on child care for help. Many of the children of women the Center has served over the years have themselves attended colleges and universities, in large measure because their mothers were able to continue their education and secure good jobs. Advanced education for women pays off for many generations by ensuring economic self-sufficiency and raising the national standard of living.

A well-established body of research indicates that good-quality child care enriches children’s experience, enhances their readiness to learn, and improves their social skills. Far from hurting children, it helps them. Indeed, even in the Ireland decision, Judge Cashen stated that: “The child was in a program at the U of M which apparently was appropriate and resulted in the child having a meaningful experience.”

The decision has placed Jennifer Ireland in the worst sort of double bind. Salutatorian of her high school class despite the pressures of raising an infant, she was a good enough student to win three scholarships to the University of Michigan, one of the most selective universities in the country. She is performing successfully on her way to independence, securing a high-quality education, and ultimately a job that will enable her to support her daughter responsibly and well. Had she elected to stay home to raise Maranda, her choices would have been to seek welfare assistance or to place Maranda in full-time child care and accept a low-paying job. We support her in making the choice that pays long-term dividends for her and her daughter.

This decision struck fear in the hearts of single parents across the country who are doing their best, often under difficult circumstances, to advance their education, care for their children and find work that pays a living wage. It has offended all of us who worry about the welfare of women and children. This decision should be overturned!

Jean Campbell, Lois Cohn, Twink Frey, Beverly Geltner, Rebecca McGowan, Kathleen Power, Ranny Reiker, Carol Smokler, Erica Ward