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September 04, 1986 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-04

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Page 16- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1986

'U' battles over
banner limit on Diag

New 'U' phone
system installed
with difficulties


As students walk through the Diag
this fall, they may see patches of sky
through the fluttering banners
hanging from the trees and adver-
tising everything from Greek rush to
political meetings.
The banners are part of the Diag's
atmosphere, but for a while this
summer, it looked as if they would be
In June, the University's Office of
Business Operations declared that no
banners could be hung between trees,
and only three could be rigged to
predesignated signposts. At the time,
John Weidenback, director of
business operations, said the ban
would prevent injuried from hoisting
the banners and "preserve the
aesthetics of campus."
Student leaders were not pleased by
the move. Eric Schnaufer, a law
student, said, "It's either an ad-
ministrative blunder or an attempt to
sanitize the Diag. The 'U' definitely
wants to regulate political ex-
Policy reversed
But in a sudden reversal, Univer-
sity administrators apparently
decided to lift the limit. According to
University Vice President for
Academic Affairs and Provost James
Duderstaft, a statement ending the
limit was read at a meeting of the
University's executive officers in
"I assume they finally realized that

it was a big concern for students - so
they decided not to push it," Duder-
stadt said. He could not recall who
read the statement, but speculated it
was a joint decision by Vice President
for Student Services Henry Johnson
and Vice President and Chief Finan-
cial Officer James Brinkerhoff.
Neither could be reached for com-
Though the reasons for reversing
the banned policy remain unclear,
Michigan Student Assembly
President Kurt Muenchow attributed
it to "bad PR generated from student
opposition." Both MSA and the
University Activities Center (UAC)
protested the limit. "This is a good
example of what happens when
students get together and protest an
unfair decision. If we hadn't made the
fuss, there would be three banners in
the Diag," Muenchow said.
Muenchow spoke with Vice
President Johnson while Intra-
Fraternity Council President Danny
Kavanaugh and University Activities
Center President Nick Bhatt wrote a
letter to University President Harold
Shapiro opposing the limit.
"I think the decision was made to
diffuse criticism. (The ad-
ministration) was under a lot of
pressuree and they wanted to avoid a
big stink," Bhatt said.
The main benefactors of the rever-
sal in policy are fraternities and
sororities who will not have to com-
pete for banner space during Sep-
tember and January rush.

While administrators say the
University's new $38 million phone.
system will make things more ef-
ficient this fall, installing the phones
this summer brought complaints from
students and administrators alike.
West Quad residents and staff com-
plained bitterly about their phones
being ripped out to switchover to the
new system. They reported security
problems for female residents,'
cockroaches in dorm rooms, and just
a general pain in the neck.
Both West Quad students and
various administrators also com-
plained about Centel Business System
workers installing the phones, calling
them rude, incompetent, and lazy.
Beneficial in long run
Despite the inconvience, University
officials say the new phones will be
beneficial in the long run. For exam-
ple, the University will now control
the system, instead of AT&T, and will
not require an outside operator to
connect long distance and local calls.
The system, said Roxano Block,
director of telecommunications
systems, will pay for itself in nine or
ten years, because the University will
save money normally paid to
Michigan Bell for local calls.
High technology also infulenced the
University when they selected Centel
in 1984. Dorm rooms will have a data
transmissions feature which has ac-
cess to the University's computing
Sam Plice, the University's director
of telecommunications and ad-
ministrative systems, says this will
alleviate long lines at computing cen-
ters, especially during exam time.
The new phones, for University em-
ployees and office buildings, come
complete with call hold, call waiting,
and access to a second out-going line.
Each phone will have only one line,
rather than the many lines of most
business phones.
But Owen Jansson, administrative
manager for the Center for Human
Growth and Development, does not
find these features very efficient. "I

don't even use the hold button
anymore because you have to press
four buttons (instead of one), and to
get the person back, you have to hang
up the phone and press some more
buttons,"' he said.
Security and roach problems
The installations caused some more
serious problems. In May, a drunken
man repeatedly knocked on a female
students' door in West Quad, residents
said. With no place to go, and their
phones ripped out by workers, the
student and two friends endured the
knocks for close to an hour before the
man left.
Another inconvience in West Quad
was cockroaches who began ap-
pearing en masse since the in-
stallation began. The control room for
the new phones lies next to the bottom
floor of food service.
A food service official refused to
comment, and Centel officials called
the charges "far-fetched." But a
resident from 4th Adams who wished
to remain anonymous claims that
cockroaches forced him to change
He said, "I killed three of them one
night. In my new room (next door), I
killed two more. Then after they
sprayed, I killed two more. There
were so many dead cockroaches lying
around, I had a party for them one
West Quad residents say they were
never told they would be without
phone service most of spring term.
Rick Jones, an LSA sophomore, said
he was "deceived" into signing his
lease. "If people knew about the
phones, they never would have lived
here," he said.
"Everything that I knew about the
phones for the past year have gone
contrary to what has actually hap-
pened," said West Quad Building
Director Alan Levy in May.
West Quad residents were treated to
a dinner dance in June. According to
Levy, "It's a small way of saying we
feel badly about the inconvenience
that students have experienced while
staying here."



Daily Photo by JOHN MUNSON

Rush is traditionally a time when banners blossom from Diag trees. Will
new rules stump the harvest?

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