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April 15, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-04-15

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A

OPINION

Page 4

Eteta nv t Michigant
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wednesday, April 15, 1981
Reflections on MSj

Vol. XCI, No. 159

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Revising program review

T HE LSA FACULTY dealt a set-
back to the proposed elimination
of the University's geography depar-
tment Monday by rejecting a review
committee's recommendation that the
department be discontinued. Some
faculty members raised questions
about a possible bias in the review
committee because two of its four
members had participated in a
similar committee in 1975 that was
critical of the geography department.
Though the review process - with
allegations of bias, closed meetings,
and a real student voice entirely ab-
sent - was hardly ideal, both the ad-
vocates and opponents of the proposed
cut have had the opportunity to present
their cases. The University ad-
ministration - the LSA Executive
Committee, Vice President for
Academic Affairs Bill Frye, and the
Regents - will have the arguments for
each side on which to base its decision.
Even if the review committee's report
was not entirely objective, defenders
of the geography department have had
the chance to respond to the criticism
and offer their own suggestions on the
subject. Now it is up to the ad-
ministration to carefully weigh all
sides and to base its final decision on a
full understanding of every point of
view.
To suggest that the whole review
committee report be scrapped and
that the entire process be started over
because of a possible bias in two com-
mittee members is unreasonable.
There is simply not enough time to
spend another two-and-a-half months

reliving the same hearings and com-
mittee meetings..In the face of looming
tuition hikes, decisions concerning
where cuts will be made in the
University must be made im-
mediately.
But, at the same time, there is a
large number of significant im-
provements that can be made in the
review process before the next depar-
tment or program is targeted for
scrutiny.
Most importantly, the review
process must be open to all members
of the University community. The bulk
of review discussions and decision-
making must not go on behind closed
doors in the administration or the LSA
building. Interested students and
faculty members should be allowed to
attend and observe, with careful con-
sideration of public comments
sessions. Although the closing of a very
few personnel discussions to outsiders
might be justified, all discussion of
policies should be above-board.
Second, students must be granted a
more meaningful role in the review
process. To date, students have only
been allowed to voice their opinions
during a few open hearings. But,
students can offer a unique insight into
educational planning and must play a
larger role in making the decisions
which will shape their own educations.
The first department review was
rocky, but was at least successful in in-
spiring a full public discussion of the
issues. The inevitable future reviews
will hopefully be much smoother, and
more open, if we have learned from the
struggle with geography.

This past year has been a good one for the
Michigan Student Assembly. We have made
numerous contributions to improve students'
lives in Ann Arbor. It is appropriate at this
time-the changing of administrations at
MSA-that we pause to reflect on the job we
have done. In doing so, we should attempt to
define our past strengths and weaknesses as
an organization so as to learn from our ex-
periences. More importantly, we should share
with the incoming Assembly members a sen-
se of where we have been, so that they may
develop an awareness of where they will be
heading."
Our year as an Assemly began with a bang.
Early in September, MSA threw its support
behind the efforts to restore late night
operating hours to the North Campus buses
and the UGLI. Both of these struggles were
successful ones. As a result, MSA received a
good deal of complimentary coverage in The
Michigan Daily. Thus from the very start of
the year we had hit the ground with our
wheels spinning.
Following the outbreak of multiple
homicides against women in Ann Arbor, the
Assembly formed a security task force. Over
the year, this body has addressed just about
every security issue on campus. Among its
many contributions, the MSA Security Task
Force has successfully fought for increased
lighting and telephones on and around cam-
pus, offered a free self-defense class, and has
worked to extend Night Owl bus service to 2
a.m.
In October, MSA unleashed a massive
campaign against the Tisch Tax proposal.
The campaign began with MSA's coor-
dination of an extensive voter-registration
drive. During the 10-day drive, more than
4,200 students were registered to vote. The an-
ti-Tisch campaign took many forms, in-
cluding: a diag rally, extensive leafletting by
Assembly members, a direct mailing to all
students, and the circulation of an infor-
mative slide presentation prepared by the Of-
fice of State and Community Relations. This
campaign demonstrated that MSA could ef-
fectively take an active leadership role on
issues of concern to students.
In November and December, MSA
distributed 8,000 free copies of its LSA cour-

By Marc Breakstone
se evaluation booklet. The distribution of
"Course Encounters" marked . the
culmination of over a year's efforts by the
MSA Course Evaluation Committee. The
booklet was so well received in the fall term
that by March, many students were anxiously
awaiting its second publication.
In early December, MSA successfully
fought for the provision of decent temporary
housing to incoming international students
during the summer months. This victory
exemplified the effective advocacy role that
MSA can play.
Throughout the year, members of the
Assembly have been actively working with
other interested students to design a structure
for a real student role in the governace of the
Michigan Union. The passing by the Assem-
bly in March of the Michigan Union Charter
culminated the eight-month long struggle by
many committed students to see a real
student voice in the Michigan Union gover-
nance.
In February, MSA initiated a campus-wide
campaign to prevent the Regents from en-
tering into their investment portfolio the
names of five industries involved primarily in
defense production. Although this effort ap-
pears to have been unsuccessful, we never-
theless expanded students' awarenesstof
issues of the social responsibility of the
University.
In January and February, MSA realized
with the rest of the campus that the budget
cuts issue was one that demanded its serious
attention. Immediately, we became involved
in the budget cuts process by providing direct
student participation on the various review
sub-committees for non-academic units.
More important than this direct role, which
was a very limited role because these sub-
committees are only advisory, were our effor-
ts to inform students of the proposed cuts, and
to mobilize them to speak out against them.
Thanks to the prodding of several non-
Assembly members, MSA began to take
direct actions to intervene in the budget cuts

The Michigan Doily
A labors
process.
In my opinion, as a representative body, we
have been remiss in our responsibility to
students by our relative lethargy on the:
budget cuts issue. Early in January we should:
have responded to the perceived crisis by-
mobilizing our resources to formulate{
creative alternatives to the University's pr-
oposals. We should have approached the short
term problems as the commencement of a set'
of problems with longer term implications.
Instead, we reacted with piecemeal'
panaceas and short term solutions. This
response severely weakened our ability to
critique the University's long-term plans for
redirection which were being introduced at
that time. If not for the "It's Our University"w
group, which formulated the beginning of a
student critique of "smaller but better,"
students voices would have been silenced on
the question of the future of the University.
I believe that in the coming year, students
must play a proactive, rather than a reactive
role in the unfolding of the University's plans
for the future. In my opinion, the issues of
budget cuts in the short term and redirection
in the longer term will be most central to
students' future concerns. As such, MSA must
establish itself early as a legitimate represen-
tative of students by preparing a responsible
critique and if necessary, a set of alternatives
to the central administration's proposals.
Things have been and will continuerto happen
very rapidly. Therefore, it is essential that
the new Assembly assert itself its proper role
at the earliest possible date.
I hope that the present Assembly's suc-
cesses through the direct action advocacy
model will be instructive. to the incoming
MSA. At the same time, I hope that next
year's Assembly can learn from our shor-
tcomings and do an even better job of
representing student concerns to the Univer-
sity Community.
Marc Breakstone is the former
president of the Michigan Student
Assembly. His term in office ended
yesterday.

4

Weasel

by Robert Lence

Health Service fee hike

y ELL BOYS, WE GOT
A cIAo«F- TODAY -
Gwl.l oR TUNA SAt,-RA.
WONDER IF THEtR
= A ' MA
G141 LI s AMV &OOD
.p

BETTERro "m
TH TuASALP

MEN"

H EALTH SERVICE Director Dr.
Caeser Briefer has proposed a 40
percent increase in mandatory Health
Service fees for the 1981-82 academic
year. Although the hike comes at a
time when tuition and other student
fees are expected to soar, we feel this
increase is well-merited given the
benefits of Briefer's proposal.
The current Health Service fee is
$33.50 per term, which covers basic of-
fice services. Students, however, are
assessed additonal costs for most tests
and any other health services
provided. Under Briefer's proposal,
the fee would rise to $47, but more than
70 services would be offered without
additonal charges.
Some services that would be offered
without an additional charge include
injection service, injection medication,
contraceptive fittings and insertions,
pelvic examinations, and several
emergency services. The $13.50 in-
crease that the plan would entail cer-
tainly seems reasonable for the ad-

ditional services that students would
receive.
Another benefit is the savings it
would provide for Health Service. Ac-
cording to Briefer, Health Service
could save several hundred thousand
dollars in the next few years in billing
costs. These costs could then be ap-
plied to expanding health care for the
students.
If the Regents accept this proposal,
however, University and Health Ser-
vice officials must make every attem-
pt to let the students know about the in-
crease in services. If students are not
informed of the increased benefits, the
fee increase of the bill will seem totally
unreasonable. Also,.students should be
aware of what they are paying for.
Although a significant increase from
this year, the Regents should accept
Briefer's Health Service plan in order
to improve student health care and, as
Briefer said, get Health Service "out of
the business of being a business.''

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:,
Wise faculty decision on Geography

To the Daily:
On Monday, April 13, an
assembly' of the University

faculty voted not to approve the
Geography Review Committee's
report on the recommended

Timely gun control stand

To the Daily:
Your editorial stand in support
of stricter gun regulation is sound
and timely. We compel
automobile owners to get a new
license each year, and refuse one
to reckless drivers. Handgun
owners might well be compelled
to get an annual license, issued
only to persons of responsible
character.
All the arguments against this,
except one, are wholly without
substance. For instance, that it is
a constitutional right to be ar-
med; the provision in question
relates to the militia, whom no
one is proposing to disarm! The

one specious argument is that
criminals would get guns anyhow.
This cannot be wholly prevented,
but could be discouraged by fines
and confiscation for unlicensed
gun owners and heavy additions
to the punishment for persons
convicted of crimes in which guns
are used.
The alternative is to leave our
cities, as at present, several
times as deadly as corresponding
cities in Europe, where handguns
are harder to get.
-Preston Slosson
Professor emeritus
Knox, Penn.
April 6

discontinuance of the Geography
Department.
We would like tocommend this
decision by the faculty to for-
malize a position expressing their
mutual fear and confusion con-
cerning the discontinuance
process. This position signifies a
change in the faculty's con-
sciousness - a recognition of
their power to influence Univer-
sity policy.
However, this decision demon-
strated only a single step toward
collectively reaching an alter-
native to "discontinuance." The
faculty must follow through on
this action in which they have

shown a desire to change the
direction of the budget review
procedure.
Do they want to continue in the
direction they have chosen by not
accepting the Geography report?
We support the faculty's choice to
finally enact the power that they
have always possessed.
-Marc Breakstone, president,
Michigan Student Assembly;
Jon Feiger, MSA president-
elect; Bruce Goldman,
MSA elections director;
Shawn Goodman, MSA mem-
ber; David Swaine, writer for
Ann Arbor Line.
April 14

i °a
Rru \tE h
yl

fM j

~,

1

I

I vIE ci

tL

a

Free' Health Service

f' .fg THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
pin

A

J

To the Daily:
So Health Service fees may go
up 40 percent?
Rn this wilal 11nw Health Ser-

find an economist who knows that
words have meanings. They will
find that "free" does not mean
"that which others pay for again-

MEMELT--T Ar141F

XL

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