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leaders remind campus
about severe weather
action ban on way to ballot
BY DAWSON BELL
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
and ice begin their annual blanketing of
Ann Arbor, University administrators remind employees
of the severe weather policy.
Because so many students are residential, the University is to remain open except in the most severe emergencies, Provost Paul N. Courant says. The University has an obligation to provide services to the students, patients at the Health System and the general public. At the same time, we understand that some of our students and staff members live a distance from campus and may find it difficult to get in during severe weather.
The University is conducting business during severe weather, and the employee is expected to report or take vacation time or Paid Time Off (the Health System plan for combined sick and vacation days) for work missed. The staff member also may elect time off without pay.
We need staff members to make every reasonable effort to get to campus so that essential services can be maintained, but we do not wish to jeopardize the safety of those who live a distance away, says Timothy Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer. We trust them to make good judgments about the risks of travel to campus.
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Dr. Robert Kelch reminds staff that even during an emergency closing only the areas that are considered non-critical shut down.
The hospitals, public safety, transportation, food services, Plant Operations, housing and some research labs are considered critical services, and staff members are expected to make every effort to report to work, Kelch says.
U-M Health System (UMHS) employees are reminded to call their supervisors, not Admissions, if they are unable to get to work or are delayed, the UMHS severe weather policy says. The health system can provides some people in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area with a ride to work but only if there is no other option, the policy says. Supervisors or department heads are to determine which employees need transportation assistance by calling staff members in advance of their shift. Employees who arrange for transportation are asked to wait for the ride once they are placed on the list.
If the University declares an emergency closing, the Universitys Standard Practice Guide (SPG) on Emergency Closings, SPG 201.27, says: Time lost from the regular work schedule during an Emergency Closing of the staff members area will be without loss of regular compensation for regular and probationary staff. Pay issues are determined after the impact of the storm is assessed.
In the event that severe weather begins after staff members are at work, it is up to the department to determine whether employees may leave early. It is expected that vacation hours will be used or the employees will take paid time off.
To review SPG 201.27, visit http://spg.umich.edu/pdf/201.27.pdf. UMHS employees are encouraged to review the severe weather policy at http://www.med.umich.edu/i/safety/Plans/severeweatherplan.htm. Non-UMHS employees will not be able to access the page.
The long-running debate over the use of race and gender in Michigan government hiring and university admissions got a 22-month extension Thursday with the submission of petition signatures aimed at putting the issue before voters in November 2006.
Backers of a ban on race and gender preferences submitted what they said were 508,202 signatures to force a vote on an amendment to the state constitution. They need 317,700 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The petition drive was the second mounted by the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative -- the first was abandoned last summer -- since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the University of Michigan could consider race in admissions decisions. The second drive was successful after an infusion of cash allowed proponents to hire signature gatherers, which were lacking in the first drive.
The first effort also was stalled by legal challenges over the language of the proposed amendment. Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court dismissed the last of the challenges, at least for now.
The formal campaigns on the issue are not expected to begin until next year. In the meantime, both sides will attempt to organize their coalitions and raise money.
The ballot drives were a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions on lawsuits filed by white U-M applicants who claimed to have been discriminated against. The plaintiffs included Jennifer Gratz, now executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.
At a news conference Thursday, Gratz said the proposal would "guarantee that all people, regardless of skin color, receive equal treatment."
"We will never get to a place where we treat people equally ... if the government divides us by race," she said.
Although the court found the admissions procedures at the time Gratz applied were illegal, it approved a less specific consideration of race like that used by the U-M Law School.
The undergraduate procedures have been revised. But U-M officials said Thursday that the new procedures would have to be scrapped if the ballot proposal is approved.
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said the proposal would close the door to higher education for many people.
"All our students benefit when we are able to build a diverse learning environment," she said. "The ballot initiative seeks to eliminate a moderate but effective tool the court allowed for recruiting a diverse group of students."
In addition to admissions, university lawyers have identified at least six statewide education outreach and scholarship programs -- and 17 run by various schools at U-M -- which they said would have to be ended or significantly changed if the amendment passes.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm also assailed the proposal.
Gratz and Ward Connerly, the California businessman and national leader in the campaign to end the use of race and gender by government, said such criticism is pointless -- people already are divided over the issue.
Connerly rose to prominence as the leader of proposals in California and Washington state nearly identical to the Michigan proposal.
Carl Cohen, a professor at U-M and one of the leading critics of its policies, said treating people differently based on race or gender is "deeply, morally wrong."
Most voters appear to share that view in public opinion polls.
But opponents of the proposal, which include most of the state's mainstream
business, labor and religious groups, plan to mount a vigorous campaign
to convince voters the amendment would do more harm than good.
David Waymire, spokesman for a coalition of institutional opponents
to the ban, said Thursday that the amendment would "set the clock
back to the 1950s." If enacted, minority enrollment at U-M would
plummet, he said, as would minority and female participation in government
agencies around the state.
Africana.com making long anticipated move to merge with AOL's BlackVoices
In a move that has long been expected, America Online has announced that is it consolidating its two African-American targeted services, Africana.com and BlackVoices.com, into one entity.
"After 6 years, Africana.com is shutting its doors on January 31, 2005," says a message on the site. "It's been an exciting and interesting ride, and we hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have...While Africana.com will be no more, many of the features that comprised Africana.com will be given a new home at AOL BlackVoices. We hope that you, our members and readers, will also make the move to AOL BlackVoices with us and enrich its community with your voices."
was purchased by AOL Time Warner in 2000 from its creators,
educators Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah. AOL then
two years ago when the the Tribune Co. decided to close the money-losing
venture. BV has more than 800,000 registered members.
The air of England is too pure for a slave to breathe in.'' This phrase, with slight variations, recurs through long years in the rhetoric of movements to abolish first African slavery within England, then the Atlantic traffic in African people that England dominated for more than a century and then the institution of slavery in the British Empire, whose populations included hundreds of thousands of slaves. It is an axiom traditionally believed to have been invoked in 1772, in principle if not verbatim, by Lord Mansfield, the judge in Somerset v. Steuart, which Steven M. Wise in ''Though the Heavens May Fall'' calls the ''trial that led to the end of human slavery.'' Somerset was an African who accompanied Steuart, his owner, to England. He escaped, was recaptured and sued successfully for his freedom.
The Atlantic slave trade was an enormity stunning in its scale and its duration. In ''Bury the Chains,'' Adam Hochschild says: ''So rapidly were slaves worked to death, above all on the brutal sugar plantations of the Caribbean, that between 1660 and 1807, ships brought well over three times as many Africans across the ocean to British colonies as they did Europeans. And, of course, it was not just to British territories that slaves were sent. From Senegal to Virginia, Sierra Leone to Charleston, the Niger delta to Cuba, Angola to Brazil, and on dozens upon dozens of crisscrossing paths taken by thousands of vessels, the Atlantic was a vast conveyor belt to early death in the fields of an immense swath of plantations that stretched from Baltimore to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.'' The subject of this interesting and valuable book is the tiny cadre of reformers that undertook to arouse public feeling against this great abuse. Hochschild says: ''For 50 years, activists in England worked to end slavery in the British Empire. None of them gained a penny by doing so, and their eventual success meant a huge loss to the imperial economy.'' Vast, entrenched and profitable as the slave trade was, how did they manage to bring it to an end?
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