BY VERA SONGWE
He is the third Black president of the
Michigan Student Assembly.
He is a forceful speaker, has been em-
broiled in campus issues, and has been
criticized by both University regents and
His name is Mike Phillips, and on April
4 he will finish his term.
"I always wanted to grow up and be
somebody," said Phillips, an LSA senior
who grew up in Detroit's west side Brew-
ster housing projects. "Compared to the
guys I grew up with, I am further along
than most of them."
I Phillips, the second child in a family of
three, was born to illiterate parents who
believed in the "American Dream."
"In retrospect, I can see how awesome
(living in the project) was. We could not
go out. We thought we never had an op-
The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 24, 1989 - Page 3
reflects on Black student life at 'U'
tion. We thought we were at the bottom of
the line," he said.
Phillips said he wants to be a lawyer,
because "when I grew up in Detroit, I saw
how hard it was for minorities to get legal
As a Black student and MSA President,
Phillips seems to be on the right road to-
ward fulfilling his dream. But there have
"As a student, my greatest problem has
been dealing with the imbalance of the
Black population in Ann Arbor and the
school. "When you get to the University
from Detroit and you are a Black student,
you know that you are in the the minor-
ity... You don't hear about it," he said. "I
think its a common experience for minority
students that the University is no melting
"It's important for Black students to
come to the University and stay here be-
cause it is a good educational environment.
And the more Black students who come
here, the better an ethnic environment we
will get," Phillips said.
Phillips' tenure as MSA president has
received criticism from his peers. He has
been termed sexist by some assembly
But Phillips says the charges are rela-
tive. "Every man is sexist, because no man
knows what the woman's perspective is,"
Describing himself, Phillips said, "He
may be an asshole, blatantly honest. He
says all men are sexist, but he is not con-
Phillips pointed out that 75 percent of
all MSA representatives are women or
people of color.
Last fall, MSA Vice President Susan
Overdorf said, "Mike Phillips is a very
forceful person who has strong views and
argues forcefully for them. I can see how
this forcefulness may seem intimidating to
Some of Phillips' first actions in office
were to criticize the University administra-
tion. When former Interim President
Robben Fleming proposed an anti-discrim-
ination policy last year, Phillips called it a
"code" of non-academic conduct and said it
suppressed student rights. As MSA's Stu-
dent Rights Committee chair, he was one
of the policy's most vocal opponents.
Since then, Phillips' direct, forceful
style in office has given him a controver-
sial image. The University's Board of Re-
gents threatened to cut the assembly's
funding last summer after Phillips oversaw
MSA's spring decision - later rescinded
by MSA - to place advertisements in high
school newspapers describing what many
assembly members considered racist Uni-
Phillips also came under fire from sev-
eral regents, who criticized him for his
comments that Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann
Arbor) was "racist, sexist, and homopho-
bic" because of his statements at board
But in response to the regents' objec-
tions, Phillips said, "Anyone in power is
going to be under a lot of criticism. And I
am a minority in power."~
Phillipshas led several protests against
the administration because he said the re-
gents and executive officers are good bu-
reaucrats, but insensitive to student issues.
As a campus leader, Phillips has had his
share of conflicts. But in the long run, he
said, it pays off. "Take a stand on whatever
you believe in," Phillips advised. "Just do
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - PLO
Yasser Arafat jousted and joked yes-
terday with about 15 Israeli journal-
ists, telling them: "We are not ask-
ing for the moon."
The unusual incident came after a
week of intense diplomacy initiated
by the Soviet Union and was aimed
at bringing Israel and the Palestine
Liberation Organization to the
"I hope this will help both of us
to understand our points of view."
His message was that the PLO's
quest for negotiations was sincere
and not a tactical maneuver as
claimed by Israeli Prime Minister
But Arafat gave no ground on is-
sues such as the PLO's demand for a
Palestinian state, which Israeli lead-
ers oppose, and the right of exiled
Palestinians to return to their home-
He attacked the Israeli govern-
mpent for refusing to deal with the
skip Florida for
BY KRISTINE LALONDE
Spring break may be changing.
Instead of picturing beer bottles
and debauchery on a crowded Florida
beach, the image of a tall, cool drink
under a palm tree in Mexico or the
Caribbean may come to mind. Have
college students become more so-
phisticated in their travel tastes?
Mexico seems to be the hot spot
for University travelers this year,
according to a travel agent at Faber
Travel. South Padre Island, Texas,
and Aspen, Colo., are distant runner-
"It's warm there and it's too cold
in Ann Arbor. It's the place to be
this spring break. I've been waiting
for a long time," said LSA sopho-
more Nancy Silva, who will head to
South Padre Island with three
But after midterms, many stu-
dents just want to collapse from ex-
haustion or catch up on work.
"I can't wait to go home and do
'I can't wait to go home
and do absolutely noth-
-LSA sophomore Jeff
absolutely nothing," said
sophomore Jeff Schoenherr.
PLO leader Yasser Arafat talks to Israeli journalists during a meeting which was arranged by Israeli peace
campaigner Abie Nathan.
PLO. "To be'an ostrich will not
serve anybody," he said.
Arafat said he saw progress in
what he described as the indirect ne-
gotiations that took place Wednesday
when he and Israeli Foreign Minister
Moshe Arens met separately with
Foreign Minister Eduard Shevard-
However, he said: "There is a lit-
tle step advanced (forward) in the Is-
raeli position." He did not elaborate.
Though he criticized the Israeli
government, Arafat joked with the
journalists. When a reporter insisted
on asking a question in Arabic in-
stead 6f English he said: "This is
"He is a Palestinian with a sense
of humor. The man is quite funny,"
Israeli journalist Amnon
Abramovitch said after the meeting.
Asked if he was worried about his
image in Israel, Arafat said, "I am
not worried about my image with
Israeli government. I am worried
about the Israeli people."
Waving his arms excitedly, Arafat
said Israel's Cabinet had authorized
the Mossad intelligence agency to
assassinate him. He said the plan
was code-named "Best Hit."
Tyrone Andrews, an LSA first-
year student, said he will probably
spend some of the break at his De-
troit home and some of it catching
up on studying in Ann Arbor.
"It will be a relief. It will let you
think about what you've learned," he
Residence halls will remain open
during the break, and a few resident
advisors will stay on duty.
What's happening in Ann Arbor today
"'Economic Sociology and
,- Prof. Fred Block, University of
Pennsylvania. 2553 LS&A Bldg.,
Table tennis Club - Coli-
seum, 6-8 pm.
-U of M Archery Club -
Coliseum, 8-10 pm.
U of M Shorin-Ryu Karate
Club - 2275 CCRB, 6-7 pm.
U of M Taekwondo Club -
1200 CCRB, 6-8 pm.
Psychic Fair - School of
Metaphysics, 719 W. Michigan
Ave., Ypsilanti, 1-6 pm. Dona-
} tions Requested: $7 for one read-
ing/$15 for three.
Peer Writing Tutors - 611
Church St. Computing Center, 7-
11 pm. Tutors ECB trained.
Northwalk - Sun-Thur, 9 pm-1
am. Call 763-WALK or stop by
Safewalk - Sun-Thur, 8 pm-
1:30 am; Fri-sat, 8-11:30 pm.
Call 936-1000 or stop by 102
"In the Traffic of a Targeted
City" - At the Performance Net-
work, 8 pm. Tickets in advance
$10, at the door $12.50. Running
until Feb. 26.
Laughing Hyenas W/Special
Guests, Viv Akauldren - At
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Jones Hall Recreation Rm., bands
start at 8:30 pm. All ages.
"Dr. Faustus" - Residential
College Players. RC Auditorium,
701 East University, 8 pm. Friday
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All items for the weekday list must be mailed or delivered to us at 420
Maynard at least three days before your upcoming event. There will be no
previews of any kind, and all items for Weekend Magazine must be delivered
the Friday before publication.
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