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September 08, 1977 - Image 33

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-08

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Thursday, September 8, 1977

ME MIG;TGAN DA1L.Y

rage Three

fHE MIC JGAN DAILY Page Three

MSA: Standing
on its own feet
By LANI JORDAN
When the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) was born
in January, 1976 from the dubious remains of the Student
Government Council (SGC), few observers held hopes for
its survival. Its first two terms of life supported these pre-
dictions of doom. MSA meetings were nothing more than
sessions of haggling over parliamentary procedure and pet-
ty internal squabbles between members of the old and new
student governments.
But last spring, without warning, the babe stood and
took its first steps during the controversy over the fate of
the Barbour-Waterman gymnasium complex.
AND WHAT FIRST steps they were. MSA did not waver
as its members took the lead in the fight to save Barbour-
Waterman from demolition. The campus architectural land-
mark, used for student recreation and dance classes, was in
need of repairs and the Board of Regents leaned toward raz-
ing the structure. MSA submitted a proposal to convert the
building to badly-needed student activities space rather than
demolish it.
The Regents listened intently to MSA proposals, and
while ultimately deciding to destroy the building in favor of
a new wing on the Chemistry building, the student govern-
ment's call for additional student space was taken to heart.
MSA had pulled itself up and was noticed for the first
time since its birth. Its actions during the Barbour-Water-
man issue gained the respect of many 'students who had
barely known what the acronym MSA stood for, let alone
that it had a purpose for its existence.
OF COURSE THERE had been earlier indications that
perhaps the child was not retarded, only slow at finding its
feet. Last fall, it received some notice when responsibility
for part of forner President Gerald Ford's campaign kick-
off at the University last September fell upon its shoulders.
Former MSA president Calvin Luker received the task of
choosing 20 students to represent all factions on campus to
speak with Ford.
Many watched as Luker chose the students, unsure that
a member of such a -low-esteem group could make such a
crucial decision. There were some grumblings-"it was fix-
ed", "it's not fair"-but most accepted the choices, the first
indication that MSA was coming into its own.
Successful in this venture, MSA gave it another try-
this time the issue was distribution of tickets for athletic
See MSA, Page 11

Who's

running

By KEN PARSIGIAN
There is a terrorist group
wreaking havoc on this cam-
pus, and the identities of its!
members are Aso arcane that:
only the most elite University
officials and astute reporters
are cognizant of their existence.
But though this phalange may
be shrouded in mystery, its
acts are widely known and oft-
en have devastating effects on,
us all.
In just the last year, they have;
hiked both tuition and dorm
rates nearly ten per cent, they

have appointed a new vice pres-
ident for academic affairs, ap-
proved the elimination of an
entire department, and ordered
the demolition of one of the
University's most historical
buildings - pretty impressive
credentials for a terrorist group.
BUT THE TRUTH of the mat-
ter is that the group responsi-
ble for all these acts isn't com-
prised of fanatical revolution-
aries, it is actually the govern-
ing body of this university-the
Board of 'Regents.

Each month the Regents jour-
ney to Ann Arbor (only three
of the eight live in the city) for
two days' worth of meetings,
lunches, dinners and chats with
the University brass. The meet-
ings are always held on Thurs-
day and Friday, usually during
the third week of the month.
These meetings are divided into
two types - including public
sessions, which anyone may at-
tend, where the Regents pre-
tend to listen to vociferous
comments and criticism from
anyone who wishes to be heard
(everyone from anachronistic,

theb
60's radicals to professors and
members of the non-University
community have taken part in
the ritual). At these public ses-
sions they also hear the "offic-
ial" readings of various pro-
posals, and cast votes.
Admittance to executive ses-
sions, the University's version
of the smoke-filled room, is lim-
ited to University officers and
the Regents themselves. Al-
though both the Regents and
officers put on a good show in
public session, it is in these pri-
vate conferences that the real
work is done.
SUPERFICIALLY, the Re-
gents wield supreme power. All
budgetary matters from tuition
to salaries come under their
auspices. They have sole con-
trol of hiring and firing from
janitor all the way up to Presi-
dent Fleming himself. Yet the
Regents have gained a reputa-
tion as figure heads, and it
seems well-deserved.
They are only on campus two
days a month, and perhaps don't
have a feel for the, needs of the
University comnmunity, and of
the University itself. The only
real contact they have with the
"little people" comes from let-
ters or from those dedicated
enough to appear at public com-
ments session. Recognizing their
aloofness from the campus, the
Regents rely heavily on the rec-
ommendations of University
President Robben Fleming. Ex-
cept in rare, controversial mat-
ters, the Regents act as little
more than a rubber stamp for
Fleming's (and the administra-
tion's) suggestions. They put up
a fuss once in awhile, and they
never "raise tuition and dorm
rates without first promising not
to raise them unless there is
no viable alternative, but in the
long run Fleming nearly always
gets his way.

niversity?

are elected officials, the post
is largely ceremonial, and all
of them concentrate mainly on
their private professions, not
their political one. Most of the
Regents are either lawyers or
successful businesspersons who
have been around their respec-
tive political parties long
enough, and scratched enough
backs to be rewarded with a
nomination of some sort. Since
the position of Regent is fairly
innocuous ... the rest is obvious.
Since most voters don't keep
abreast of regental issues, their
vote is generally split along par-
ty lines. Regents' terms are
eight years long, and whichever
party is dominant in the state
at election time usually wins
the majority of the seats, re-
gardless of the caliber of the
candidates. There are many
more Democrats in this state
than Republicans, and the pres-
ent make-up of the board-six
Dems and two Republicans -
reflects that.
And now there's just one more
thing you need to knfow about
the Regentsn-dwho they are, so
here are the names and home
cities of our illustrious leaders

- Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor),
Paul Brown (D-Petoskey), Ger-
ald Dunn (D-Livonia), David
Laro (R-Flint), Robert Neder-
lander (D-Birmingham), Sarah'
Power (D-Ann Arbor), Thomas
Roach (D-Ann Arbor) and Jam-
es Waters (D-Muskegon).

ifc
yOU
see
news
happen
call
76-DAILY

Bicycle craftsmen
of the world.
____ LMOPEDS,

When You Buy
a Bicycle
GO WITH THE
RALEIGH PROS.

" MOTOBECANE
" SOLEX
" BATAVUS

Daily Photo by CHRISTINA SCHNEIDER
The eight Regents meet two days each month to decide the fate of such crucial University
issues as tuition rates, demolition of buildings and official policy.

Activism thrives at PIRGIM

T/ 1

By GREGG KRUPA
The words student activism
are rarely heard these days. Un-
like their 1960's counterparts,
students are now attending the
University in relatively quiet
times. Demonstrations on the
Diag which attract more than
200 people are a rarity. The
mercury on the student activism
thermometer does r i s e over
some issues, but support of any
given "cause" Is likely to be
weak.
But don't let that fool you.

they're the bosses. We do hire
pros to help us out, but we're
totally independent of outside
groups and pressures," he said.
Scheich added that while stu-
dents are vocal and energetic,
they often lack the expertise,
the time, the continuity and the
financial resources to initiate
and pursue social changes they
want. PIRGIM provides students
with the tools required for
change.
"PIRGIM's goal is to form an
organization in which students
can employ a professional staff
to bring about social betterment
effectively, legally and non-vio-
lently," Scheich said.

ban on non-returnable bottles'
and the state legislature passed
the Freedom of Information Act.
Work in the other two priority
areas is expected to continue
this year.
Student volunteers working for'
PIRGIM are cast in a variety of
roles, from typists and project
researchers to lobbyists in Lans-
ing.
"IF SOMEBODY w a l k s in,
here and exhibits an ability to.
talk with people and enjoys the
art of persuasion, we'll put them
through a workshop and they
can be lobbying for us in Lans-
ing in a matter of days,"
Scheich said.
Funds for the program come
from small, voluntary fees paid
by students at five schools
across the state. At the Univer-
sity, students are given the op-
portunity to co n t r'i b u t e to
PIRGIM immediately after reg-
istering for classes. By checking
off a box on a donation card,
students can add $1.50. to their;
normal tuition assessment, to be
donated to PIRGIM.
Another campus group active-
ly seeking change on a local
level is the Ann Arbor Tenants
Union (TU). A spokesperson far
TU said its purpose is to "gin
power for tenants in the land-

lord / tenant relationship. We
want to use the old standard{
that there is strength in num-
bers and apply it to tenants'
problems in this city."
THE UNION has sponsored
several successful rent strikes
in recent months. In November
of 1975, it became the sole bar-
gaining agent for tenants living
in dwellings owned by Trony
Associates who complained of
inadequate maintenance, inade-
quate security measures and un-
reasonable rent.
The most significant conces-
sion gained by the union in the
strike was the right to negotiate
terms of the lease used by the
management company, some-
thing completely new for area'
tenants.

U ASIDE FROM their lack of
y I Ucommunication with the Univer-k
sity, another reason for the Re-
TU also provides information gents' dependence on Fleming
about tenants' rights and offersis the fact that although they
advice on how to solve landlord
problems on an individual basis. LVE-STUDY-TRAVEL
The service is available to allI
tenants, regardless of whether IROAD
they are union members or not. AR D

" We Sell Quality Bicycles and
for all your Cycling Needs-
" BASKETS " LIGHTS * HUGE LOCK
SELECTION 9tBACKPACKS
" The Friendy Store where students
get their "Wheels"
" Complete service on all makes
" GREAT CAMPUS LOCATION
Campus Bike.&2Toy
514 E.W Wil lism 662-0035

THE UNION a I s o informs
tenants about issues of concern!
to them and pushes for progres-
sive action in housing laws.
"We try to build up an aware-
ness among the tenants about
political i s s u e s that concern'
them," said the spokesperson.'
"We are convinced that unified
action can make a difference,
even when we're confronted by
management and the 'U'."
See ACTIVISM, Page 11

Do It This Year!
U.S.S.R.,, FRANCE, ENGLAND,
SPAIN, ITALY, VIENNA, SWIT-
ZERLAND. ACCREDITED UNI-
VERSITY STUDY. F A MI L Y
STAY OR DORM, TUTITION,
MEALS, L E A D E R, EXCUR-
SIONS, AIR. SUMMER, SEMES-
TER, FULL YR.
CENTER FOR
FOREIGN STUDY
Admissions-Dept. T-4
216 S. State/Box 606
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
'+ Telephone 313/662-5575

L______________"

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