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February 08, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-08

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Monday, February 8, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII, No. 89 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Mi 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Landlords coerce tenants into forfeiting their rights:
YMove on tenants rights

4

Negligent health care kills

FEBRUARY IS TYPICALLY a month
when student-tenants encounter
problems looking for new housing
and preparing to move out of their
previous residences. Students
should pressure their landlords to
adhere to housing codes until the
end of the lease and think critically
about a lease or any other agreement
between a new or existing landlord.
Landlords can easily take
advantage of inexperienced tenants,
but a working knowledge of city
and state laws controlling landlord-
tenant relationships can prevent the
majority of abuses.
.Landlords are obligated to
provide a copy of the Tenants
Right's Handbook when tenants
move in. The manual is designed to
inform tenants of their rights and
outline the responsibilities of the
landlords. Failure to provide the
handbook is punishable by a $500
fine, but it is incumbent on "the
tenant to complain to the Housing
Inspection Bureau.
. *The damage deposit a tenant pays
*for moving in cannot exceed 1 1/2
::ponths rent, even if the last
Month's rent is included in the
leposit. If the landlord demands too
~nuch deposit money, either ask for
it back or move in and deduct the
d ifference from the first months
:<rent.
*The landlord cannot ask for a
second deposit if the tenants are
, renewing their lease for a second
w term. If this has already been paid,
count it as rent toward the new term
of the lease.
*Fines incurred by late rent
ayment are a form of contract
penalties which are illegal in the
state of Michigan; leases cannot
stipulate a late fee more than $10-
15. The courts seem willing to
uphold these smaller amounts, but
tenants should recognize that late
fees are very rarely challenged.
The rational behind a late fee is
C not punishment of the tenant, rather
liquidated damages - such as
interest - that the landlord suffers
from not receiving the rent on time.
Tenants which feel the late fee was
, imposed unreasonably early (i.e.
requiring a second rent payment in
less than a month) or that a late fee
is too high, should challenge the
landlord.
*Cleaning fees are illegal. The
landlord must pay for the initial
cleaning to insure that the residence
is clean and habitable. City Housing
code stipulates that the unit must
"be clean, sanitary, and fit for
human occupancy" before the tenant
takes possession.
*As soon as possible after moving
in the tenants should compile a list
of damages and assess the condition
of the premises. The landlord is
obligated to provide the tenants with
%:two copies of an inventory checklist
covering all parts of the premises.
Many lists are incomplete, so
tenants should make sure to list all
items not on the list.

*Many Ann Arbor buildings do
not meet the city's Housing Code
due to fire code violations or lack of
maintenance. If the landlord is
unwilling to improve the situation,
tenants should call the city Housing
Inspection Bureau.
*Tenants are obligated to report
problems requiring repair or
physical improvement to the
landlord. Requests should be in
writing and tenants should keep a
copy.
'Landlords do not have the right
to enter a residence without prior
"reasonable notice." Tenants should
ask that this be specified in the
lease. If problems of unauthorized
entry persist, tenants should rekey
the locks and only admit the
landlord when correct notice is
given.
.If the tenants pay the heat, city
law requires landlords to caulk and
weatherstrip all doors and windows
and place R-19 insulation in the
attic. Failure to weatherize is
grounds for withholding rent and a
complaint should be filed with the
Housing Inspection Bureau.
Landlords use a variety of tactics
to manipulate tenants into paying
for repairs and giving up their
rights. Threats of eviction, filing in
court to sue without following
through, and lying about the content
of the law are common occurrences.
Tenants should not pay for
anything that improves or maintains
the upkeep of property. It is the
landlord, not the tenant, who will
benefit from painting, construction,
or repairs after the lease is
terminated.
This includes labor. Tenants
should not agree to make
improvements in which the landlord
pays for materials, but does not
compensate for tenants' labor.
If landlord does not perform re-
quired repairs or agreed upon im-
provements, then the tenants
should withhold rent. A letter
containing a complete list of
grievances should be sent by
certified mail to the landlord in
place of the rent. The rent should
be placed in escrow at a bank or in
a separate savings account until the
problems are resolved.
There are campus and community
service organizations to which
tenants can turn for aid.
Student Legal Service
3409 Michigan Union
763-9902
The Ann Arbor Tenants
Union
4001 Michigan Union
763-6876
Housing Inspection Bureau
city hall
994-2678

By Hesham Ragab
"The realities of Apartheid are not to be
found in segregated parks anJ separate
lavatories, but in infant mortality rates,
cholera epidemics, and TB statistics."-
from The South African Disease:
Apartheid and Health Services by Cedric de
Beer
Beginning Feb. 8 and continuing
through Feb. 12, the Black Medical As-
sociation, for a third consecutive year, will
host daily events devoted to the current
strife within the frontline states of South-
ern Africa. This year's program, dubbed
"Southern Africa Awareness Week," will
represent our strongest effort to date and
participants include prominent Southern
African health care leaders, recent returnees
from the region and, additionally, a diverse
film series.
Apartheid is a system of oppression that
exploits a Black majority as a source of
cheap and expendable labor. In South
Africa, racial discrimination is enshrined
in the constitution. Given this infrastruc-
ture, any discussion of health must be
within a political, social, and economic
context.
The civil war in Azania(South Africa)
has produced a towering health care emer-
gency which is against a background of
massive ill-health created by apartheid's
hideous living and working conditions.
The average Azanian succumbs to the in-
fectious diseases (pneumonia, diarrhea)
commonly found among the poorest
populations of the world, while these dis-
eases are in the minority in the European
population. South Africa's military in-
volvements and incursions into neighbor-
Hesham Ragab is a senior member of
the Black Medical Association and an or-
ganizing member of "Southern African
Awareness Week."

ing states have been almost universally
condemned. However, the extent to which
policies of apartheid, economic disruption
and destabilization have seriously effected
the lives, health and welfare of people,
both within the frontline states and Aza-
nia, has been rarely reflected on, and al-
most certainly too little appreciated.
Imagine living in a Black township such
as Soweto where just one ill-equipped
hospital serves 3 million people; a step
belonging to a set of stairs is considered a
hospital bed, where invading security po-
lice hunt their own gunshot victims, and
where physicians carry a gun under their
coats. Ponder being one of the over
140,000 Angolan and Mozambican chil-
dren under the age of five, too young to
understand or counter civil conflict, whose
lives last year were lost as a consequence
of South African backed war and destabi-
lization. True, as the Pretoria regime
grows more entrenched it becomes further
isolated. But the unacceptable fact is that
while today war is oppressing thousands,
the United States and British governments
continue to play along in a selfish game
that reaps dollars, pounds and rands, while
it wastes women, children, and men.
Given this appalling truth, we believe that
all students should join us in taking heed
to the United Nation's "Activities Against
Apartheid" statement which calls for stu-
dent involvement and action through
teaching.
Some may wonder the need to address.
the extreme institutionalized racism in
South Africa when we ourselves have
racial inequality, including a dual health
care system, in America. South Africa has
one European doctor per 400 Europeans.
compared to one African doctor per 90,000
Africans(Susser, Journal of Public Health
Policy, 3:4, 1982). But what about the
racial disparity of 1/400 vs. 1/4000 here in
the United States? In some parts of
Southern Africa between 30 percent and 50

percent of African children die before their
fifth birthday, and infant mortality can be
as high as 550 per 1000 births. However,
infant mortality rates for African-Ameri-
cans are similar to many impoverished
third world countries and figures are twice
as high for Blacks vs. whites (21.7 per
1000 vs. 10.3 per 1000) here in the United
States. Clearly, there is much work to be
done here, so why "teach on" Azania? The
reality is that we specifically attend to our
studies and, in addition, engage in various
activities all year with the full intent of
struggle geared toward raising African-
Americans to equal status. Our "event"
merely illuminates ongoing solidarity
with the people of Southern Africa! Con-
sider the liberation of Azania as the final
step in the political emancipation of
African people from centuries of humilia-
tion and exploitation.
Real African redemption will be the first
step in regaining Africa's true glorious
past, which includes stupendous social and
scientific achievement. Given the neces-
sity of an inter-connected world and our
governments role in Southern Africa, we
encourage all students to investigate, re-
search and then act on conviction by sup-
porting such events as "Southern African
Awareness Week." Lastly, we must all be
aware our support does matter-impri-
soned African -National Congress leader
Nelson Mandela reflected nearly a decade
ago:
"I can tell you from my own personal
experience over the past fifteen years when
I was confined and restricted, that I got my
inspiration from the very knowledge that
one is not alone. In our particular struggle
outside groups have a tremendous psycho-
logical effect on masses, on us as.individ-
uals who live in a society where we have
been completely rejected by a minority.
The knowledge that the struggle is an in-
ternational struggle for the dignity of
man-this alone sustains you."

I

4

4

Steiner's comments not a racist act

I

By Eddie Pont
I find it sad that the movement to end
racism on this campus has become caught
in the rut of arguing semantics and reading
into, the remarks of LSA Dean Peter
Steiner. For all the intense discussion
concerning what Steiner has said, I have
yet to hear any person or group point to
an allegedly racist act he has done. I am
not saying he unquestionably is not racist,
nor that racist quotations do not merit
condemnation. I am saying that, in the
absence of actions, quotations alone, un-
less viciously racist, are not enough to
convince me he poses the threat UCAR
and Concerned Faculty would have us be-
lieve.
Even the quotations though, cited as
proof positive of Dean Steiner's racist be-
liefs, do not seem compelling enough to
me to merit the storm of protest he is re-
ceiving. There seem to be two statements
people feel prove beyond the shadow of a
doubt he is racist. One is the quotation
that expresses his desire not to change U
of M to emulate Wayne State or Howard
University. Steiner explained that U of M
cannot solve its minority enrollment
problems by either model, since it does
Eddie Pont is an RA. at West Quad and
a LSA senior.

not have the necessary elements.(Daily,
1/13/88) U of M is not historically Black,
as is Howard, nor is it an inner-city col-
lege in an area with a large number of
Blacks, as is Wayne State. If this is what
he meant, I do not see the racism in his
comment. It is merely a statement of fact,
and fact by definition cannot be racist.
UCAR's Pam Nadasen's response to this
was Steiner did not refute t h e
"implication" that this university would
be degraded if minorities were to "flock"
here. I would first wonder if anyone both-
ered to ask him to clarify this at his press
conference. But more importantly, I am
dismayed at what UCAR has reduced itself
to: demanding an administrator clarify an
"implication" of a comment made four
months ago. Is racism so vanquished on
this campus that UCAR has nothing bet-
ter to do with its time?
The other quotation people seem to feel
uneqciivocally belies Dean Steiner's racism
is his comment that, among other things,
a change of attitudes among Blacks con-
cerning higher education is necessary to
solve the problem of Black underrepresen-
tation on University faculties. First, he
certainly does not imply this is the sole
reason for Black underrepresentation; he
indicates it is one of many possible rea-
sons. More importantly though, I am dis-
turbed by the quickness of people to label
this argument as racist, and thus not open

to further discussion. I do not know if
Black attitudes are a possible cause for
their underrepresentation, but I'd at least
like to hear all sides: of the issue before
making my decision. This, far from. being
racist, is the antithesis of racism: open-
mindedness. Furthermore, no less a critic
of white society than Malcolm X advo- 4
cated the same general principle, Black
self-improvement in order to better their
lot in society, twenty years ago. What-
ever people want to think of Malcolm X's
ideas, no one even remotely familiar with
his life would accuse him of racism
against Blacks. Why do we stamp Dean
Steiner as racist for uttering the same be-
lief now?
Some people also feel this quotation
indicates "victim-blaming" - putting the 4
blame for Black underrepresentation on
Blacks. The obvious implication of this is
that any criticism from someone outside a
culture is somehow morally wrong. May
only Black sociologists legitimately in-
vestigate Black culture? Can only Asian
historians legitimately examine Asian
history? The very idea is repulsive to our
concept of freedom of intellectual pursuit.
The way to respond to Dean Steiner is to
prove, with evidence, that what he be-
lieves is. incorrect. To accuse him of
'victim-blaming" is to cloud the real issue
with vague accusations of racism, and
nothing gets accomplished.

LETTERS
'U' forces students to fight racism

4

Legal Services
Southeastern Michigan
420 N. Fourth Avenue
665-6181

of

To the Daily:
LSA Dean Peter Steiner
commented (Daily, 1/11/88):
"It is convenient for students to
make a fuss about this now,
perhaps because they have
nothing better to make a fuss
about." The "fuss" is the
United Coalition Against
Racism's (UCAR) condemna-
tion of the racist remarks made
by Steiner in a speech to LSA
department heads and directors
on September 17 (as well as a
growing list of other racist re-
marks). UCAR members have
other things to do. Fighting
racism is not something we do
for fun. We have classes, jobs,

racist education for those stu-
dents here (predominantly
white). In one sense, Dean
Steiner's remark is correct: We
have decided that racism is
something to make a "fuss"
about. The University Ad-

ministration's decision to re-
main silent regarding the Dean
of LSA's repeated racist re-
marks reflects its refusal to
confront the racism inherent in
its policies and actions. Per-
haps, if the University Admin-

istration took racism more
seriously, students would be
able to focus on academics.
-Darin Bradley
January 28

Learn more about Africa

,. THIS WEEK A COALITION Of Stu-

in inadeauate health care. .

A

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