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April 06, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-06

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Page 4--Friday, April 6, 1979-The Michigan Daily

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

Student apathy in city race
may have hurt Democrats

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 149

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Anew election for MSA

N THE PAST, the Michigan Student
Assembly (MSA) has had a poor
image in the eyes of various members
of the University community.
The Assembly has been portrayed by
the administration as a collection of
student activists who carry no broad-
based support from the majority of the
student body. The students, on the
other hand, perceive the group as an
ineffective and weak body without any
substantial role in the decision-making
processes in the University.
But, as a result of countless im-
proprieties and questionable practices
which occurred in this week's election
for next year's MSA representatives,
the Assembly's image has plummeted
even further. And the only way to
restore it, at least partially, is to have
these elections declared invalid and
hold new ones in the fall.
Although not a particularly new
problem in MSA elections, the sloppy
and unethical practice of party-af-
filiated students, and even candidates
themselves, infiltrating the election
process constitutes an unfair election.
Some candidates and students have
charged that party members and other
candidates operated certain polling
sites and passed out political
literature. This action violates the
election code rule requiring candidates
to be 50 feet away from a polling site
during the election.
While there is no actual evidence
that the candidates who operated the
polling sites attempted to influence
voters in any manner, just the ap-
pearance of that participation
blemishes the Assembly's image. Fur-
thermore, if the candidates did stay at
different sites throughout the election,
there is certainly no proof that they
didn't try to affect the votes of various
students. And as the election code has
stipulated, politicking so close to the
polling sites gives an unfair advantage
to certain candidates-an advantage
which may sway the results of the elec-
Some Assembly representatives and
other students complain that can-
didates and party-affiliated members
are forced to operate some polling sites
because it is impossible to get other
students to do the work. But the way to
overcome that problem is to funnel
more money from the MSA budget into
the election process, and give some of
that increased allocation to students
who would operate the polls. A more
reasonable wage, such as $4.00 per
hour, would likely persuade more
students to accept the offer. This year,
poll workers earned $2.50 per hour.
By having students completely in-
dependent of the Assembly and the
elections committee controlling the
process, there would be less of a
possibility of unethical politicking
during the election.
Another serious difficulty which
provoked many accusations from
various students connected with the
election process is the failure of all the
scheduled polling sites to stay open for
the duration of the election. On Wed-
nesday night, the last scheduled time
for students to vote, the polling places
at East Quad and Bur-
sley-traditionally among the heaviest
dormitory polling sites-were unex-

pectedly shut down taking away many
student votes. Some argue that these
same students had plenty of time
during the other two days to cast their
ballots and thus have no basis to claim
that their vote was taken away. But the
fact remains that those students ex-
pected they would be able to vote at
their dorms on Wednesday night. They
might have planned to wait until then
to vote for any number of reasons. If
their votes had been recorded, they
most likely would have had a
significant impact on the election

But when would the election be held?
The current MSA representatives are
supposed to complete their terms when
the new group of officers take over
next week. So if an election is not held
soon, the students will be without a
vpice to represent them.
One alternative suggested is to holdi
new elections next week. But that op-
tion is unfeasible because there is not
nearly enough time for election workers
to organize another vote. After all, it
took them several months to organize
this election and look what happened.
Besides, many of the approximately
5,000' students who voted this week;
would probably not be willing to par-
ticipate next week.
But arealistic alternative would be
to hold new elections sometime early
next fall. While this still means that'
students would be without a represen-
tative body for a few months, it is much
preferable to the unfair and suspect
representation which would emerge
from the sloppy practices of this elec-
In the meantime, any MSA members
who plan to stay on campus this sum-
mer should assume the responsibility
of coordinating the election procedures
for the fall. While it was the elections
committee that bungled the election,
the Assembly must also take respon-
sibility for not insuring all the plans
were being implemented. To compen-
sate for that failure, those that remain
should work on an effective plan for the
And to make sure that future elec-
tions run smoothly and responsibly,
the Assembly should establish specific
guidelines to be followed in each elec-
tion. First, an elections committee
which would be established by MSA
must have complete independence
from the Assembly; no MSA members
can be on the committee. The only role
of the Assembly would be to pick the
Also, if more workers from outside
MSA were persuaded by the higher
wage payments for work, a system
could be set up in which two students
would operate each polling site. One
student would sit at the poll while the
other would safeguard against any
politicking. Any candidate found
politicking or running any polls should
be disqualified from the election. This
kind of strict penalty should serve as
an appropriate deterrent from this ac-
tion being repeated.
Also, those operating the polls must
more adequately explain the complex
instructions on the ballot to insure
students know exactly how to vote.
Many ballots have been invalidated
because students have completed the
ballots inaccurately. This objective
would be helped by a more extensive
publicity campaign preceding the elec-
tion which would make sure that
students understood the ballot
More money will be needed to im-
plement these changes but it is far
more important that the represen-
tatives are selected fairly and respon-
If not, the Assembly's image will
continue to drop until it loses all of its
effectiveness. One way to rebuild that
image is by instituting a more respon-

sible elections procediure.
.ie Mdip-lga n givg
Sue Warner.............................. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Richard Berke, Julie Rovner..........MANAGING EDITORS
Michael Arkush...................... EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Brian Blanchard ...................... UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Keith Richburg............................. CITY EDITOR
Shelley Wolson .................. PERSONNEL DIRECTOR.
Elizabeth Slowik ........................ FEATURES EDITOR
Dennis Sabo .......................SPECIAL PROJECTS
R.J. Smith. IEric Zorn........................ARTS EDITORS:

City Democrats spent a major
portion of their election night
"celebration" at Bacchus Gar-
dens denouncing their traditional
supporters at the polls - the
University students. The studen-
ts, who had championed the rad-
lib cause in 1972, when they elec-
ted two Human Rights Party
(HRP) members to City Council
and approved the $5 pot law, were
sadly absent from the voting
booths Monday.
Did student apathy kill the
Democrats in this year's elec-
tion? Apparently the Democrats
think so. As one disgruntled cam-
paign worker for mayoral can-
didate Jamie Kenworthy said, as
she left Bacchus Gardens at 2
a.m., "Let's take the vote away
from them!"
IS APATHY the only thing that
kept the students from voting for
Kenworthy, or are the students as
a whole becoming more conser-
vative in their political ideologies
and leaning - though not voting
- more toward the Republican
Belcher has said he feels the
students are "more practical"
these days than they were seven
years ago, implying that today's
students would be more likely to
vote Republican than
Democratic. The mayor declared
he was not afraid of the student
vote, but his party certainly did
nothing to inform the students
about the election. No GOP can-
didate for City Council ran in the
student-dominated Second Ward,
so many people probably felt no
need to cast a vote.
If it really believed the students
were more in tune with the
Republican ideology; why didn't
the GOP concentrate a massive
campaign effort in the campus
area to capitalize on its newly-
developed support?
Republican challenger to Second
Ward Councilwoman Leslie
Morris and the absence of GOP
canvassers around the campus
could have been a calculated ef-
fort to discourage a large student
turnout. Whether it was intended
to do so, those tactics were effec-
tive. Mention the student vote
down at the city clerk's office and
you will be greeted with laughter.

So the students did not merely
decide to vote Republican - the
votes for GOP candidates in the
student precincts were few com-
pared to the Democratic votes.
And some students even said they
recognized the Democratic plat-
form as being more in tune with
their needs.
Attraction to the Republican
platform was apparently not
what kept the students from
voting for Kenworthy. The GOP
maintained such a low profile on
the campus during the campaign
that only the staunchest
Republican supporters would
have realized the GOP exists in
Ann Arbor. Very. few students
received brochures plastered
with the smiling faces of
Republican candidates.
PERHAPS IT WAS the prac-
ticality Belcher mentioned that
kept students from turning out.
"I just didn't have time," was the
vague excuse offered by a good
many students who neglected to
vote, "The students are more
concerned about getting jobs
now," Belcher had said. And sure
enough, those people who earlier
in the decade had earned the title
of "activists" were sitting on
Monday in their rooms doing
homework while the ballots were
being counted at the city Armory.
If you do your homework, you are
that much closer to a degree, and
if you get a degree, you are that
much closer to a job.
The goal of the -majority of
students at this University is to
secure a job and move out onto
the mainstream of society. But
how can one truly function as
part of the mainstream without
participating in the decisions that
shape the society?
Said Kenworthy the night of the
election, "I understand the
people who voted against me
more than those who didn't vote.
I wonder how they connect them-
selves with the rest of the world.
They don't have to be Democrats,
but they should have some link to
the world."
One of Kenworthy's student

By Elisa Isaacson

campaign workers said, "There
was nothing basic for the studen-
ts to look at." -
politics admittedly do not have
any earthshaking effect on the
world, students do not seem to
realize that certain decisions
made at City Hall do affect them.
"I just don't care," insisted one
student. "I stay in my dorm or on
campus the whole time, and what
happens in the rest of the city has
no effect on m k."
Yes, the $5 drinking fine, which
might have brought out as many
students as the drinking age hike
question did in the state election
last November, was kept from
being put on the ballot when
Belcher last December led Coun-
cil to pass an ordinance making
the penalty for possession in Ann
Arbor only $5.
But how about the Louis J.
Fairperson housing reform
policy - intended to secure
tenants' rights - which was en-
dorsed for the most part by Ken-
worthy? And how about the
present negotiations concerning
the use of University land? Or the
issue of divestiture, which prom-
pted students to disrupt last mon-
th's University Regents'
DEMOCRATIC Councilman re-
elect Ken Latta introduced last
year an amendment to the city's
investment policy asking Ann
Arbor to withdraw support from
corporations doing business in
South Africa. That proposal was
trampled by the Republican-
dominated Council, and Latta
said he would wait to reintroduce
the issue until he thought it had a
chance of passing. Since last
Monday's election reinstalled the
7-4 Republican majority on Coun-
cil, it looks as though the Coun-
cilman will have to wait a long
The students do not, feel they
have a stake in the city, which is
a sad phenomenon. They are con-
tent to contain themselves within
the boundaries of Washtenaw,
South University, Main and
Huron Streets for their four years

in Ann Arbor. No wonder my
friends' parents tell them "Wait
till you get out of Ann Arbor -
then you'll be out in the real
It appears that students ate
viewing Ann Arbor as a stepping
stone to a career, and not a living
and working city. But learning
does not have to be confined to a
classroom. To really get the most
out of their college careers,
students could involve them-
selves in, or at least make them-
selves aware of, the city around
them, which could very well be
similar to that in which they will
one day settle. Over one-third of
the people in this town have ab-
solutely nothing to do with the
University, and to them, this is
the "real world." Ann Arbor is
not the utopia. If there does exist
a utopia in this town, it is the
University when it shuts itself off
from political affairs.
Even the old complaint that
"My vote can't make a differen-
ce" has been overruled in Ann
Arbor by the now-cliche retort
"Remember the one-vote elec-
tion." In the 1977 mayoral race,
incumbent Al Wheeler beat
Belcher by a single vote.
The students have only to look
at the results of the earlier elec-
tions of the 70s to realize the
power of their vote. Two mem-
bers of the radical HRP were
elected to Council, stunnin'g and
infuriating old traditional party
Perhaps a major factor in the
large student turnodt at. that
time, however, was the novelty of
being able to vote. When 18-year-
olds were granted the right* to
cast Itheir ballots, they promptly
and proudly took advantage of it.
Perhaps the novelty has worn off.
But one thing is certain - if there
was ever a motion on the ballot to
raise the voting age to 21, cries of
"agism!" would ring throughout
the dormitories and classrooms.
Perhaps the students would even
find time to go to the polls to vote
against it.
Night Editor Elisa Isaacson
covers City Council for the

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Prejudice exists everywhere

My former roommate is from a
primarily Catholic New England
suburb and had never met a Jew
before coming to this university.
She arrived in Ann Arbor with
firmly fixed inherited notions
about sex, religion, and the dif-
ferent social classes. Throughout
the term, she maintained a
distance, rarely inquiring about
my culture or telling me of hers.
After we had lived together
nearly three months, she told
me, "My parents aren't happy
that I'm living with you because
you're Jewish."
Although this case is extreme,
it characterizes the close-
mindedness of many students
here. Too many of us are only
going through the motions of
college to receive the degree
which promises a job. We fail to
realize that the greatness of this

By Katie Herzfeld

as well as our individual poten-
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson
wrote in a letter to Peter Carr, a
young man beginning college,
"Question with boldness . . . lay
aside all prejudices on both sides,
and neither believe nor reject
anything because anyother per-
son, or description of persons
have rejected or believed it. Your
own reason is the only oracle
given you by heaven, and you ate
answerable not for therightness
but the uprightness of the
decision." The precept is still
Too often, however, students do
not seek in their education to gain
awareness of new ideas and
rnlh rir r eneet for others: I

had studied in Russia and West
Germany before coming to this
university to c'omplete an
engineering degree. During one
of our frequent conversations he
told me that in all his travels, he
had never encountered prejudice
and narrow-mindedness as he did
at the University of Michigan.
ONE DAY HE asked about my
parents' economic status: "They
must be rich," he said."All Jews
are rich - they control the
banks." Despite his experience
with others, unwilling to share
cultures and friendship with him,
he had maintained stereotypes
about Jews. Just as the other
students, he had placed a cultural

we are not familiar. And this ex-
tends beyond the classroom.
Another girl (white) once told
me - in a discussion about
black/white conflicts, "We're all
the same. It's just a' matter of
skin color." Her attitude reflects
naivete. Blacks and whites,
Christians and Jews, foreigners
and Americans, they area dif-
ferent. I am not willing to change
my white, Jewish American iden-
tities, nor can I expect a black
Christian from Cameroon to
change his values so that he will
fit into my culture. I hope that I
may share value systems with
him so that we may understand
and respect one another better,
and hopefully grow and change
by discovering new ideas.
If more people took advantage
of Thomas Jefferson's advice, the
full. potential for university
education might, be realized.'
There would be diffusion of

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