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September 06, 1990 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-06

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 6, 1990_- Page 13

Uie Eidigud &iil
New Student Edition
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Greek System offers more than is apparent

Opinion Page Editor
Stephen Henderson

Editor in Chief
Noelle Vance

Managing Editor
Diane Cook

Unsigned editorials represent the majority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other items are not necessarily the opinion of the Daily.

Decision of MSA funding should be students'

crease for the Michigan Student Assembly raises serious
issues concerning decisions made about student
The rejection came at the July 20 meeting of the
Board of Regents, when the rest of the University's
budget was decided. Regents Thomas Roach, Deane
Baker, Veronica Smith and Neal Nielsen all voted
against a funding increase for MSA.
While there are legitimate reasons for not supporting
the requested budget increase, like the history of MSA
budget mismanagement and cost overruns, the motives
behind the regents' rejection are disturbing.
. V
The discussion preceding the vote on the issue
revealed a conflict of political interests between those
regents voting against a-funding increase and MSA
President, Jennifer Van Valey.
Instead of the discussion the real issues at hand -
whether or not MSA has been fiscally responsible in
working with its current budget - it focused on
political differences the regents have with Van Valey.
The fact that she has "opposed (the regents) at every
turn," as Regent Roach put it, seems to be the primary
factor in the decision not to increase funding.
However, it is part of Van Valey's job as MSA
President to oppose policies employed by the regents
that could be detrimental to student life at the
University. MSA should protect student interests
concerning such things as deputized security, the
possible policy on anti-discrimination and harassment
and the possible code of non-academic conduct.
However, the regents have chosen to hold these
matters against the assembly when it comes to issues of
This action brings to light a very serious problem
inherent in the system that decides MSA's budgetary

Although there is good reason to deny MSA the
6.5% increase it requested - the body has demonstrated
a certain degree of fiscal irresponsibility with current
funding - it should not have been the regents that
made this decision.
The fact is, the money that would have been
allocated to MSA by approval of the increase would
have come from student fees included in the tuition
bills. Therefore, the decision as to whether or not the
increase was granted should not have been the regents'
to make. The issue should have been put to a student

During my past three years at the
University, I have heard or read very1
few positive things about the Greek1
System. Many on this campus
would have us believe thata
"Greeks"- members of fraternities+
and sororities - do not care about
anyone but themselves and foster a
"rape culture" and an alcoholic
lifestyle with their mindless party-
Despite these stereotypes, I
joined the Greek System in the win-
ter of 1989.
I have learned that the Greek Sys-
tem is quite different from the image
that people commonly hold. Many
members of the system do care about
the problems within it and the ef-
fects that those problems have on
the rest of the University commu-
These people have actively ad-
dressed issues from sexual assault to
racism to substance abuse to home-
lessness. Many problems that are
perceived to exist only within the
system are actually societal prob-
lems that are more easily identified
among Greeks because they live in
an institutionalized setting.
I first discovered that leaders in
the Greek community were dealing
with these problems during last
year's Sexual Assault Awareness
Eric Reicin, vice president of the
Interfraternity Council (IFC} and a
member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fra-
ternity, worked with the Sexual As-
sault Prevention and Awareness Cen-
ter {SAPAC to organize a work-
shop on date-rape. At this session
representatives from all the fraterni-
ties and sororities on campus talked
about the prevelence of sexual as-
sault and the climates that could fos-
tor it.
I did not attend the session be-
cause I was skeptical about what
could be accomplished. Contrary to
my expectations, however, people
left the day with a better understand-
ing of how the Greek System's gen-
der exclusivity propogates situations
where sexual assault is likely to oc-
As Reicin said, "The problem is
not the fact that men and women
have separate living conditions be-
cause the institutional
structure of the system enables
younger adults to develop a stronger
sense of their own identities as men
and women. The issue is how to
address the problems that can arise
when people live in these situa-
We knew that we couldn't change
the world with this first workshop,
but we wanted to begin focusing
people's attention the problems that
we're going to have to deal with if
the Greek System is to remain rep-
Throughout last fall, I began to
see that an individual could be in the
Greek System and not advocate a life
of all-out hedonism. It was for this

reason that I ran for the position of
Public Relations Chair on Inter-
Fraternity Council (IFC) and joined
University President Duderstadt's
task force on alcoholism and other
I began to encounter people who
wanted to encounter problems such
as racism and substance abuse on a
grass roots level.
By Jon W. Fink
In a number of fraternities, I have
encountered students of almost every
race and creed with a variety of social
views. Ed Waffle, a member of
Theta Delta Chi Fraternity, once told
me while we were playing tennis,
"When I first joined, I felt uncom-
fortable about being a minority in
the system but I soon found it made
little difference. My social life has
thrived since I joined the house and I
wouldn't have done things any other
Mary Beth Seiler, the Panhellenic
(Sorority) Association advisor
confirmed that this has also been the
case for minority members of the
sorority system saying, "We do not
actively go out and recruit minority
students to rush sororities. However,
the women who have rushed have
had almost'no problem joining and
found the social and philanthropic
opportunities they have had to par-
ticipate in very rewarding."
From my position as Public Re-
lations Chair, I also became a mem-
ber of President Duderstadt's Task
Force on Alcoholism and Other
As a member of this committee I
have learned that Greeks have been
actively addressing the issue of sub-
stance abuse for several years.

is the dry rush that the IFC imposed
on itself last semester.
This was the first widespread ef-
fort by all fraternities to curb alcohol
abuse and tell the University and the
city of Ann Arbor that the Greek
System did not need alcohol to sus-
tain itself. Although a variety of fac-
tors went into the decision for dry
rush, including pressure from insur-
ance companies, members of the
system ratified the prooposal because
they realized that alcohol use had to
be addressed to give credibility to the
entire system.
In the past year it has also be-
come clear to me that members of
the Greek system can remain active
members in the general community.
No issue has helped to fix this view
in my mind more than the Greek
Week Steering Committees recent
projects with the homeless during
the annual Greek Week Charity.
Graduated senior Amy Davies,
co-Chair of the Steering Committtee
and a member of Alpha Gamma
Delta Sorority, set up an event
where representatives from every fra-
ternity and sorority in the system
helped to repair the Women in Tran-
sition Shelter in downtown Ann Ar-
I spent the afternoon of that event
sanding, cleaning, and painting the
shelter. I left with a feeeling of ap-
preciation for the enthusiasm the
people at this event brought with
them for the process of grass roots
organization and the desire to create
social change on a local scale.
For me, Davie's actions and.
those of the other people mentioned
in this article help to illustrate an
important choice. That is the free-
dom to select a life where we benefit
only ourselves or one where we
choose to make a change in our


MSA is a student-elected body that should work to
protect and serve student interests on campus. The
amount of money that it receives in order to fulfill this,
therefore, should be decided upon by its constitutents,
the students.
If students feel that MSA is not efficiently or
responsibly handling its money, then it should be their
decision to cut that money, not the regents.
What the system now allows is for the regents to
control the political nature of MSA. According to what
Regent Roach said, they will not fund an administration
that does not support what the Board of Regents decides
to do.
However, this contradicts the very nature of the
assmembly. If MSA does not speak out in favor of
student interests for fear of losing its funding, then
those interests are in danger of not being represented.
The regents have decided this year that MSA will not
be granted a budgetary increase. But this decision was
not made for the right reasons and was not made by the
right people. Students and MSA should work together
to make sure this is the last year this occurs. Let MSA
be financially accountable to its electorate, the students.

Three years ago Greeks began to
participate in the National Collegiate
Alcohol Awareness Week. Programs
have included an alternative beverage
day, a non-alcohol party on the diag,
and speakers who have addressed the
detrimental effects that substance
abuse can have on people's lives.
The week's activities have been
administered by a representitive from
the Panhellenic Association, the
IFC, a representitive from Univer-
sity Health Services, and a member
of the Michigan Student Assembly
- the University Student Govern-
The best evidence I have found of
students in the Greek System's will-
ingness to combat substance abuse

community that will benifit every-
one in it.
The Greek system provides the
opportunity to act on both these
possibilities, so people can enjoy
themselves and help others.
So the next time you pass by a
fraternity or sorority house, remem-
ber that there is more going on in-
side than mindless drinking and par-
tying. Remember that the Greek sys-
tem produces responsible members
of the community.
Fink is a member of Theta Delta Chi
Fraternity and is the Public
Relations Chair for the Inter-
Fraternity Council.


Student Group funding process
location of $1,000 to the Palestine Solidarity Commit-
tee to partially fund a two-week trip to the West Bank
* has once again raised important issues concerning MSA
funding of student groups.
One of the most important things MSA does is to
allocate money to student groups. In the past, there has
been much controversy over the way this has been done.
Many groups have gotten a disproportionately large
amount of funding from the assembly while other
groups have gotten little to no funding at all.
This specific allocation is an example of a dispropor-
tionately large sum of money going to funda small mi-
nority. The money is being spent on two people - one
a non-student - to travel abroad.
However, this incident is a symptom of a larger
problem inherent in the funding system of the assem-

needs reform
aims instead of paying for programs that will benefit
the student body at large.
Already the University administration spends stu-
dents' tuition dollars according to its own value judg-
ments, but should the student-elected government partic-
ipate in the same type of misappropriation?
Ideally, if MSA is to fund any political groups, it
should fund all political student groups represented at
the University proportionately. Therefore, all students'
interests would be served through the assembly.
As it stands currently, MSA is taking all students'
money to fund one political end, which is inadequate.
What should be done to improve the system of stu-
dent group funding within the assembly would be to set
up some sort of guidelines concerning the funding of
student groups with political intents.

With sexual activity comes responsibility

Dear U-M College Women:
As a physician caring for college
students, I have thought long and
hard how I could impact the rising
incidence and prevalence of sexually
transmitted infections on campus. I
want so much to reach all of you
that I decided to write an open letter
to the widely read the Daily.
Where do I begin? This letter is
addressed primarily to women be-
cause sexually transmitted diseases
have a far greater impact on women
than on men, although the responsi-
bility for spreading them falls upon
The majority of these infections
cause more subtle symptoms in
women, leading to delays in seeking
medical attention. They are harder to
diganose in women than in men.
Women are more likely to suffer se-
rious consequences such as infertil-
ity, tubal pregnancies, and cervical
As I write this letter, I remember
vividly patients I've cared for this

past year. The 19-year old woman
with herpes who had a condom in
her purse that went unused because
her boyfriend swore he'd never had
any sexually transmitted diseases.
I remember the 21-year old
woman diagnosed with gonorrhea,
chlamydia and herpes transmitted
during a single episode of casual sex
when she became intoxicated at a
Unfortunately, you cannot count
on your partner to protect you from
sexually transmitted diseases. You
need to protect yourself. There are
ways to be sexually active - kiss-
ing, massage, mutual masturbation
- without sexual intercourse. In
fact, abstinence is the only sure
guarantee against contracting a sexu-
ally transmitted disease.
If abstinence is not possible for
you, the use of latex rubber condoms
with the spermicide containing
nonoxynol nine is the most effec-
tively known method to minimize
your chance of contracting a sexu-

ally transmitted disease, with the co-
incidental benefit of contraception.
Find out about your partner's
health and sexual history. Talk about
previous partners and previous sexu-
ally transmitted infections. Be pre-
pared to postpone or not have sexual
intercourse if your partner is not re-
sponsive to your concerns or is not
taking you seriously.
I am not trying to unduly scare
Sexual activity is normal and
pleasurable, but in today's times can
be a hazard to your health and well
being, carrying the risk of Tong term
consequences. There is a good deal
you can do to minimize the risk to
you and your partner. Please take the
responsibility for preventing sexu-
ally transmitted diseases. And if pre-
vention should fail, please seek care
as soon as possible.
Toby Jacobowitz, M.D.

What has traditionally taken place within MSA has
been a... system of funding that has to do more with the
pursuance of specific political agendas than the
welfare of all students.

What has traditionally taken place within MSA has
been an inconsistent and disproportionate system of
funding that has to do more with the pursuance of spe-
cific political agendas than the welfare of all students.
The fact that the current assembly is allocating such
a large amount of money to the PSC for two people is
only one example of this. Because the political agendas
of MSA and the PSC happen to coincide, the assembly
saw fit to give a larger allocation to this student group
than is typical.
The problem with the funding of a certain political
agenda is not unique to this administration. Most past

Currently, Budget Priotrities Committee (BPC)
guidelines apply to all student groups requesting MSA
funding. However, once the questions of funding reach
the floor of the general assembly, the decision seems to
become one that employs a personal value judgment as
opposed to a judgment based on uniform guidelines.
What MSA needs is a set system of regulations for
funding of political student groups, whether their fund-
ing is decided in the BPC or on the general floor.
For too long now, students have had their money
taken advantage of bv itso wn nvernment. The nast


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