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September 10, 1987 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Page 10 -The Michigan Daily, Thursday, September 10, 1987

MSA: the

mouthpiece for



Imagine 50 students sitting
around an extended oval table. Three
of the students ardently support
military research at the University,
and four other students have
organized a sit-in against it. The
rest of the students don't know the
pros and cons of the particular
issue, but they will before the night
is over.
Every Tuesday night, the
representatives of the Michigan
Student Assembly meet to tackle
both the national and local issues
that confront them. Although the
assembly often passes resolutions
to endorse a position, they rarely do
so without dissent.
"As an organization, MSA is
really unique at the University,"
said MSA President Ken Weine, an
LSA senior. "You have a College
Republican sitting across the table
from a Marxist. You're bound to
have interesting and drawn-out
discussions and arguments."
WEINE was drawn to MSA in
his first year by his concern over
the debate on the code of non-
academic conduct although he had
never participated in high school
student government.
"MSA gives students who are
concerned about an issue an avenue
to express their interests," Weine
said. "In high school, there didn't
seem to be any salient issues."
Opposition to the code, Weine's
primary interest, has been one of
the assembly's primary issues for
nearly 20 years. Under a Univer -
sity's Board of Regents' bylaw, the
students are given the right to veto
any proposed code. The assembly

has vetoed all University proposals
and staunchly oppose any code
proposal that includes academic
sanctions such as suspension or
ALTHOUGH a code drafted by
the administration seems imminent,
continued opposition has success -
fully postponed the issue, and MSA
representatives hope the University
will eventually write a code
excluding unacceptable sanctions.
In addition to the code, assembly
members have worked on removing
a residence hall party policy,
installing emergency phones, and
improving lighting on campus.
Vice President Becca Felton, an
LSA senior, joined the assembly
her first year when the assembly's
Women's Issues committee spon -
sored a sit-in at the Fleming
Building for better lighting.
"I think it's great if people start
out with one issue, like I did with
women's issues," Felton said.
"Students who have been involved
with student advocacy in high
school definitely have a place here."
ACCORDING to Weine, sit-
ins, protests, and letter-writing
campaigns comprise most of the
assembly's power. In addition,
student appointees to administration
committees can participate in
University decision-making.
"We don't have any wielding
power, any leverage," Felton said,
adding, "We don't have any
monetary power unless we put all
of our funds into protest."
The MSA constitution has never
been approved by the regents, but
the board bi-annually approves
assembly funding through the

Student Verification Form. Ac -
cording to Associate Vice President
for Student Services Thomas
Easthope, MSA is considered a
legitimate voice of the students.
"The University funds (MSA) to
be the student governance on this
campus," Easthope said. "They
carry weight because they have been
elected by their constituency. How
the students view them is much
more important than how the
administration views them."

A TURNOUT of over 6,000
students to vote in the MSA
election last March, the highest in
over ten years, indicates that many
students do view the assembly as
their mouthpiece to the
Last March, a petition from the
Involved in Michigan Political
Action Committee asking assembly
members to restrict themselves to
working on campus issues was
another indication that students

consider MSA important.
IMPAC member Sandy Hauser,
LSA senior, said group members
thought that resolutions on
international issues did not
represent students' viewpoints. .
"We hope we've sent a message
to the members of MSA that they
should either not vote on
international issues at all or get
some feedback before voting,"
Hauser said.
IN ADDITION to passing
resolutions and advocating student
concerns, MSA has a bureaucratic
and administrative side. The
assembly has six external com -
missions such as Women's Issues
and Student Rights, and six internal
committees such as Rules and
Elections which handle the
administrative affairs of the
"There are two assemblies,"
Weine explained. "One deals with
lobbying the administration on
campus issues. The other assembly
is a facility for student organ -
izations. We do everything from
providing space for donut sales and
coffee to allocating funds to student
Last year MSA was responsible
for bring Rev. Jesse Jackson to
campus and provided funding for
Rape Awareness Days.
According to LSA senior Hilary
Farber, former chair of the
Women's Issues Committee, the
assembly does not take enough
credit for the events it sponsors.

"I DON'T think people know
enough about the student govern -
ment," Farber said. "We operate
behind the scenes and do all these
good things, but there's not an
increase in voting in the elections.
People don't even know who's on
Farber attributed MSA's increa -
sed visibility on campus last March
to the Public Interest Research
Group in Michigan campaign
(PIRGIM). The PIRGIM funding
controversy centered around whether
the interest group should be funded
through MSA or not. More
students voted either for or against
funding PIRGIM than voted for the
The PIRGIM controversy also
divided assembly, members for
much of last year. Former MSA
president Kurt Muenchow wanted
PIRGIM to return to the regents for
funding, but the majority of
representatives agreed that the
environmental group would only
survive with MSA funding.
The regents approved funding for
PIRGIM through the MSA fee in
The debates and political ploys
over the issue often lasted late
Tuesday nights and, according to
Felton, tied up many of the
assembly's "key players."
"I think most representatives are
political, and that's why they're
here," Felton said. "It's not a bunch
of people who want to be senator or
president of the United States, but
they're people who really care about
an issue."

z> '
; y4

Daily Photo by JOHN MUNSON
MSA President Ken Weine and Vice President Becca Felton listen to
University Vice President for Student Services Henry Johnson offer the
University's Board of Regents a proposal for funding the assembly.

The Diag
'U's main hang out offers it all

Amy Markowitz dressed as penguin--the symbol of the Alternative
Career Fair sponsored by East Quad-hands out stickers on the Diag
advertising the fair.

In 1841, the University decided
to put paved walk ways in a grassy,
tree-coverd portion of the then
fledgling campus. The walk ways
started at different ends of the
campus and met smack in the center
- the birth of the Diag.
Now, 146 years later, fraternity
and sorority members jump in
jello, people speak about the second
coming, recent alumni build ten-
foot tall skate board ramps, and
students just hang out when they
probably should be doing some -
thing else.
74 percent of all doors in the
University, excluding bathroom and
dorm room doors, open onto the
Diag, so if you're lost you're
probably on the Diag which is all
right since there's usually a lot
going on.
Some people may be trying to
sell airplane lessons or little green
and red tags. The airplane lesson
cost more. Greeks dribble
basketballs and ride on seesaws for
days on end trying to set records and
raise money for charity. Students
build shanties in protest of
Apartheid. People from Dyanetics
hand out personality quizzes, and
giant penguins walk around handing
out little stickers.
Between the hours of noon and 1
p.m., students can exercise their
Constitutional right of free speech.
Thrift ho
Gently Used
Merchandise in
Exceptional Condition
*Vintage clothes
eClassic accessories
*A variety of books
eHousehold items
(across from Kroger 's)
Mon.-Fri. 10-4 Sat. 10-1

High noon at the Diag has seen
many heated rallies. BAM III started
the rally there last year that would
eventually prompt a face-to-face
discussion with University
president Harold Shapiro about
racism on campus.
In 1953 the graduating class
donated a three hundred-pound"brass
'M' to place right in the middle the
Diag. Years later the 'M' took on
an aura of its own and a legend
which warns that first-year students
will fail their first blue book exam
if they step on it.
Upperclass students often flaunt
their imperviousness to the curse
by sitting on the 'M'. Some even
take pleasure in tormenting first-
year students. According to one
large senior, "It's real fun. We
make them jump on the 'M' and
then they squeal real loud. I can't
wait for the fall."
But if incoming students can
make it through those first couple
of months on the Diag and still
pass their first exam, then they're
well on their way to becoming
Diag veterans and ready for more of
the campus' main hang out. And
there is much more. Come spring
the Diag is the scene of a big bash
- a Hash Bash to be more exact.
The Hash Bash, celebrated every
April 1, is one of Ann Arbor's rites
of spring as students and Ann Arbor
residents get together to celebrate

the city's $5 fine for possession of
Although the popularity of the
bash took a dive in the '80s, recent
years have witnessed a8revival of
enthusiasm for the 18 year-old
Another Diag party that was held
for the first time last spring and
hopes to become an annual tradition
as well is Spring Thaw. Put on to
raise money for the Ronald

McDonald House, Spring Thaw
brings together local bands and puts
them on the steps of the Graduate
Library for an afternoon of live
music and - if last year's is any
indication - a lot of partying.
So whether you want to jump
for joy, jump into a protest, or
jump in jello, you can do it at the
Diag. Come on down, experience
it, but be careful not to let the older
students make you walk on the

40% -50%
Dorm Rooms

Earle Restaurant chef Mike Bush skateboards on a ramp placed on the
Free Ireland Solidarity Committee shanty on the Diag on St. Patrick's

State ignores 'U' $ request

L Carpet Installation OPEN: TWTh 8-6
Tools & Supplies F 8-8
Closed Sun. & Mon.
The Remnant Room

(Continued from Page3
Concern about the growing
number of out-of-state students
accepted on this basis prompted an
amendment to the Senate's higher
education bill in June. If the bill
passes, the University would be
forced to give priority to "qualified
Michigan students" over out-of-
state applicants.
"We're sending a message to the
University of Michigan and any
other University that does not hold
our Michigan students in highest
esteem a message," Hood said. "I've
had a number of complaints about

the high number of in-state students
who've graduated from high school
and can't be admitted because of
But University Regent Paul
Brown (D-Petoskey) said that the
benefits of admitting out-of-state
students outweigh the problem of
limited space for in-staters. "It's not
as if all in-state students stay here
forever, and all out-of-state students
run off home," Brown said.
According to Duderstadt, the
University needs a minimal budget
of $24 million. He told the
University Board of Regents in

June that an additional $21 million
will be necessary to meet financial
obligations which include a $1
million initiative to improve
undergraduate life, a new contract
for University teaching assistants,
and improved laboratory equipment.
Although Duderstadt denied that
the tuition hike could reach ten
percent, he indicated that peer insti-
tutions were facing increases of up
to 12 percent and that large in-
creases would probably not
adversely affect the growing pool of


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