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March 21, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-21

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4

OPINION

The Michigan Daily

Paae 4

Thursday, March 21, 1985

. _,

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

,1

MSA:

Skewed priorities

Vol. XCV No. 134

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Down but not out'

T HE SENATE vote to approve the
funding for the next 21 MX
missiles is a major setback for op-
ponents of the missile, but it in no way.
guarantees that the weapon will be
built.
The Senate voted 55-45 to approve the
$1.5 billion that was frozen last year
when supporters of the missile were
able to work out a compromise at the
last minute to save the missile from
being cancelled.
The MX is a large missile capable of
holding up to 12 different warheads.
Consequently, it makes an attractive
target for enemy missiles because a
single warhead can remove many. In
order for the missile to be effective, it
will have to be launched early in a con-
flict situation and is there for a first
strike weapon in direct violation of the
U.S. notion of nuclear weapons as a
defensive tool.
President Reagan argues that the
MX build up will have to continue in or-
der to insure effective arms.
negotiations in Geneva. He overlooks
the recently updated Minutemen
missiles, however, which would serve
as an effective "bargaining chip"
without wasting additional billions of
dollars.
The Senate vote is an ominous sign
that the missiles will be funded, but
there is still hope of stopping them. An
even more controversial confrontation
comes next week when the House of

Representatives will vote on the issue.
In spite of the significant margin of
passage in the Senate, observers were
unable to forecast whether the funding
would be approved. Many Senators
who had previously opposed the
missile, such as Barry Goldwater (R-
Ariz.), switched their votes to support
Reagan.
The outcome in the House is even
less certain. The Democratic majority
in the House will be more inclined to
vote against the weapon than the
Republican Senate, although Reagan
has directed heavy - and reportedly
effective - lobbying on behalf of the
MX.
Nonetheless the outcome is still in
question, and area residents have a
rare opportunity to influence the out-
come of the vote. Rep. Carl Pursell, a
Republican, has supported the MX in
the past, but has also said he would be
inclined to oppose it. He is one of a
handful of swing votes on the issue.
Last year, during the Congressional
vote in which the compromise funding
freeze was reached, Pursell claimed
that he was persuaded by the large
amounts of mail he received in op-
position to the missile.
Writing to representatives is always
an important tool for influencing
decisions, but public input on the MX
missile is as important as ever. In or-
der to maximize whatever chance
there remains to halt the MX, write to
Rep. Purcell.

By Kevin P. Michaels
A great deal has been written and said
about the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA)
over the last number of years. One point is
painfully clear: MSA has a poor image on
campus which promotes student apathy
towards the Assembly and lack of respect
from the University administration.
Why does MSA have a public relations
problem? There are many reasons, but the
main reason is that a great deal of students
view MSA as being too radical and
unrepresentative of student views. They see
a student government that sometimes is more
interested in Central America than Central
Campus. They see a student government
whose publication, the MSA News, has the
gall to endorse national and state political
candidates in its "Voter Education Issue,"
has tainted the picture of Alexander Haig to
portray him as a villian, and has portrayed
Uncle Sam as the bad guy in its comics. They
see a student government that feels one of its
"duties is to "educate" the students. They see
a student government out of control.
Why is MSA out of control? Simply because
it concerns itself with off-campus topics that
is has no business dealing with. The original
intent of a campus student government was
to deal with campus issues and problems.
That's it. Slowly but surely, MSA took on
more and more responsibilities. And since
the Vietnam Conflict, MSA has concerned it-
self with national and state affairs, and
student "activism." Well, the Vietnam Con-
flict is over, and MSA still has not recovered
from it. And while the major student gover-
nments around the state concern themselves
solely with campus issues, MSA feels it
should do much more.
A year and a half ago, I served on student
government at Oakland University. We never
talked about world and state affairs, we never
sought to "educate" the students, and we
poured all of our energy (and money) into
Michaels is an MSA representative
from the School of Engineering.

campus problems and issues. The result: a
campus student government respected by the
students and faculty alike. A student gover-
nment that wielded power with the ad-
ministration. Is Oakland's student gover-
nment unusual? Not at all. In fact, almost
every student government around operates
just this way. It is MSA that is unusual. It is
MSA that has a basic problem of gaining
respect. And I say this from experience,
having communicated with almost every
major student government around the state.
Clearly, MSA has to change it's ways.
But how can legitimate state and national
student concerns be addressed? They can be
addressed through participation in the state
and national student governments. The
national student government, The United
States Student Association (USSA) deals with
national student issues. It has been very ef-
fective in dealing with such national student
concerns as federal financial aid cuts and the
21-year-old drinking age. By participating in
the USSA, MSA can give students a voice in
national student affairs, and national
representation, which is the role of the USSA.
However, MSA voted last week against par-
ticipation in a USSA event, one of only two
such events a year. MSA can address state
student concerns through the Michigan
Collegiate Coalition (MCC), our state student
government. The role of the MCC is to deal
with state student concerns. The USSA and
the MCC are the two vehicles through which
MSA can address national and state student
concerns without actually having to deal with
them itself. The result: MSA can devote all
of its energy and resources toward campus
issues and problems, such as rape.
What is wrong with a student government
trying to educate the students? Very simply
the "education" students receive becomes
entirely too subjective. For instance, two
years ago, Mary Rowland served as president
of MSA. The students were thoroughly
"educated" on every political viewpoint far
left-of-center. One simply has to look at an
old issue of the MSA news to see this. One
simply has to recall an MSA sponsored bus

trip to Washington D.C. for a peace march to
see this. The students were educated to be
leftists with their own student fees, whether
they liked it or not. However, when a right-of-
center viewpoint came to campus, former
Secretary of State Alexander Haig, the MSA
News devoted the whole back page of its issue
to something that has become a disgrace to
the University. The back page consisted of a
picture of Haig, tainted with devils eyes, hor-
ns on his head, and missiles in the
background. Underneath the picture, it sim-
ply read "Haig." It is no coincidence that
Haig received a disgraceful reception at
Rackham Auditorium. The one chance MSA
had to "educate" the students on the other
political point of view was lost. With actions
like this, it is no wonder MSA has trouble get-
ting respect from the adminigtration. It is no
wonder MSA has "public relation" problems.
And to think that Mary Rowland said, "We
must educate students on both sides of the
issues."
The one saving grace for MSA this year has
been President Scott Page. He has brought
some moderatism to MSA, and has sought to
strenthen ties with the United States Student
Association, and the Michigan Collegiate
Coalition. He commands a great deal of
respect. However, the president alone cannot
control the actions of the assembly as a
whole. MSA must move away from trying to
"educate" the students and sponsoring
political activities. There are just simply too
many problems on campus. It must be
remembered that every ounce of energy, and
every dollar used to try and change Central
America and the arms race, is an ounce of
energy and a dollar taken away from campus
problems. How can we justify giving money
to the Progressive Student Network for
Nuclear Awareness Week when 200-400
women a year are raped on campus and there
is still no escort service. Clearly, MSA must
reprioritize its goals. And when it does, it will
find that it will be a much more effective and
efficient organization, with a better image.
Just ask the other student governments,
around the state.

4

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Wasserman

4

N4oW, MAMb1E, 'NAV' AL1S FUSSOVRSEAS
NWUT THE IS1T1E46TA Op I~rEDoU.12?

Keys to peace

D ESPITE ALL the recent hoopla
about new developments in the
Mideast peace process, there are still
many stumbling blocks on the road to
peace. It seems that all the key actors
are simultaneously looking for sincere
and lasting negotiations, but they have
different sets of motives, goals and
agendas which inevitably contradict
each other.
Perhaps most essential to the suc-
cess of the peace talks is the involv-
ment of the United States. The
disorganization among the Arab states
has forced them to appeal to the U.S. to
lend a guiding hand by acting as an un-
biased overseer. President Reagan
has responded with a flat out "no."
Clearly without U.S. involvement in
the peace process the various actors
will spin their wheels due to their
clashing concerns, ideologies, and
pressures from home. The U.S. should
act responsibly, assuming a leading
role in promoting peace in this volatile
area.
The first step must be the Palestine
Liberation Organization's final and
unequivocal adherence to the
provisions of the United Nations
resolution which allows for the
peaceful co-existance of all nations of
that region, including Israel. The
February 11 agreement between
Yassar Arafat, the leader of the PLO
and King Hussein of Jordan seems to
offer just such concessions, but .the
language is fuzzy and 'the U.S. and
Israel see little interest in it. It was
purposely vague to give just enough of
a signal to the U.S. of a concession, but
at the same time not to aggrevate the
radicals in his own movement.
King Hussein of Jordan, who has
initiated much of the recent discussion,
will have to affirmatively outline a
proposal to create a joint Palestinian-

Jordanian estate under his rule. This
is important because it eliminates the
possibility of a pro-Soviet West Bank
Palestinian state to arise between
Israel and Jordan. Secondly, Israel
has affirmed that Jordan must be
willing to accept something other than
a total Israeli withdrawal from the
West Bank.
Israel will be very interested in talks
if the PLO and Jordan can make these
concessions, but peace is not at the top
of their priority list. They first want to
complete their military withdrawal of
Lebanon. Shimon Peres needs to keep
the governing coalition of the
Labor and Likud parties together so
both can be held responsible for the
consequences. He feels that peace
talks now might seperate them.
Secondly, he needs a redefinition of
peace from the Arabs and to warm up
relations with the Arab states in
general before getting started.
Egypt on the other hand is trying
desperately to get the talks going.
Hosni Mubarak needs stable
diplomatic and economic relationships
among mideast nations in order to
relieve economic problems in his own
country. His eagerness to attain peace
has lead him to speak almost too
openly about new Arab concessions
angering his fellow leaders.
The final result of the developments
then doesn't add up to much more than
a lot of discussion that is sincere, but
ineffectual. Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and
the PLO are all working towards
peace, but each defines peace differen-
tly. So until they are all able to sort out
the competing factors and come to
some mutually acceptable concessions
there is not much chance for peace.
The sooner the U.S. steps in and lays
out the necessary framework, the bet-
ter the chances are for Mideast peace.

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Letters
Daily m
To the Daily:
I am sorry to report that in the
March 14 Daily ("Candidates
miss election forum"), a reporter
misquoted (despite his seeming
attentiveness to my statements)
my remarks concerning City
In praise of
Daily photos
To the Daily:
Your photography staff is to be
commended! Rarely has the
cover of a college newspaper por-
trayed as much warmth as the
front page of The Michigan Daily

isreported
Council candidates' attendance
at an open forum sponsored by
the Lesbian-Gay Political Caucus
of Washtenaw County on March
13.
Of the nine candidates, three
Democrats responded to our in-
vitation: Jim Burchell (Ward 2)
promised to attend and did so;
Lowell Peterson, running unop-
posed (Ward 1), came to the
meeting although he had
originally been uncertain of his
attendance; Kathy Edgren
BLOOM COUNTY

orum a
(Ward 5) let us know that she
preferred to do door-to-door can-
vassing on the night in question.
I would appreciate your
publishing this letter so that the
candidates' courtesy and com-
mitment can be a' matter of
public record.

ttendance
-Jim Toy
March 15
Toy is a member of the
Lesbian-Gay Political Caucus
of Washtenaw County. '

The Michigan Daily encourages input from
our readers. Letters should be typed, triple-
spaced, and sent to the Daily Opinion Page, 420
Maynard, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.
by Berke Breathd

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