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September 06, 1990 - Image 71

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-06

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

Continued from page 3
system because they have made good
friends and enjoy the social life.
"You make a lot of good friends,"
said Lorne Gearhart, of Tau Gamma
"It's a good way to get to know
people," said Julie Hail, president of
Pi Phi, who said though members of
her house wouldn't go around hail-
ing the Greek system, most hold
good feelings for it.
Continued from page 5'
partmental concentrations, said Ea-
Those who RC students who earn
LSA degrees must meet some non-
LSA standards, to remain in the Res-
idential College, however.
Although it is a division of LSA,
and RC students take LSA courses,
the RC has its own requirements for
degrees. These include a special sem-
inar for first-year students, an arts
practicum, and a foreign language
seminar. The school also employs
special grading procedures.
The first-year seminars emphasize
writing, inquiry, and discussion by
the students, to develop students' an-
4 alytical skills.
"Students will find that learning
in the University is not just sitting
in lecture and taking notes. They
sense for a fact that knowledge is not
something fixed forever more," Ea-
gle said. He stated that the challeng-
ing, analytical attitude seems to
stick with RC students.
"LSA faculty have remarked that
they can tell when a Residential Col-
lege student is in class. They're not
at all shy about asking questions
right from the very beginning," Ea.
gle said.
In addition to the first-year semi-
nar, the arts practicum requirement is
designed to complement the study of
the liberal arts. The advantage of the
practicum, Eagle said, is that stu-
dents can take the art classes directly
,'.through the RC, without the hassle
of enrolling in Art School courses.
The foreign language requirement
for RC students differs slightly from
LSA requirements. In addition to ob-
taining fluency in a foreign lan-
guage, RC students take an upper-
level seminar in the language. They
must first pass a proficiency exam
that includes an oral interview.
RC students also have the option
of taking intensive French, German,
Spanish, or Russian through the RC
instead of the regular LSA language
courses. The intensive classes meet
twice a day and are augmented by
daily language tables at lunch in the
East Quad cafeteria and with weekly
coffee hours, where only the target
language is spoken.
"An important part of the pro-
gram is the extracurricular part," said
Janet Shier, an RC lecturer in Ger-
mar Because the programs' empha-
sis is on students developing lan-
guage skills, speaking the languages
"seems to come naturally" to the
students, Shier said.
One unique aspect of the RC is
its grading policy. Students are
given written evaluations instead of

letter grades in their RC classes.
Some faculty, such as Shier, like the
evaluations because they can com-
ment upon students' strengths. RC
students like the policy because it
puts less pressure on them, added
"Students aren't so competitive
with each other. Students work with
each other," said Hana Salah, RC
junior in French.
The curriculum is not the only
unique aspect of the Residential Col-
A lege. Through student-elected posi-
tions to the RC Executive Commu-
nity, Educational Policy Committee,
and Student Life Committee, and by
participating in monthly Town
Meetings, RC students take an ac-
tive role as interfaces between their
peers and the administration.
"The students, from the begin-
ning, have a strong sense that they
have some control over the nature of
the education that they get here,
from an administrative point of
view," said Eagle.
The students serving on the Ex-
ecutive Committee help the faculty
to make the day-to-day decisions
about the RC. The Educational Pol-
icy Committee members are in-
v lved in development and selection
of new RC courses. During Town
0 Meetings. the members of the RC

MSA spring elections ring in liberal leaders

by Daniel Poux
Daily MSA Reporter
Each fall, incoming students are
confronted with a myriad of campus
groups inviting them to join up and
"make a difference" with their partic-
ular cause, whether it be liberal,
conservative or otherwise. The
Michigan Student Assembly (MSA),
the University's most powerful stu-
dent government is a rare exception
that attracts student activists from
both sides of the political spectrum.
From their chambers on the
fourth floor of the Michigan Union,
MSA and its many committees and
commissions work to protect stu-
dents' rights and promote student
concerns, coordinate the activities
and funding of the hundreds of cam-
pus organizations, and provide a
mouthpiece for the student body in
its dealings with the University Ad-
Student representatives are elected
for one-year terms, half in November
and half in April, so \that the assem-
bly has a constant influx of new
blood, to work with the experienced
student representatives elected the
previous term.
Representation on MSA is based
upon the size of the different schools
at the University, so that large
schools such as LSA and Rackham
elect more students than the Natural
Resources and Architecture Schools,
for example.
Once elected to MSA, student
representatives' minimum require-
ments are attendance at the Tuesday
night weekly meetings, membership
on one of the assembly's commit-
tees or commissions, and completi-
tion of several office hours each
week, so that the representatives will
be available to hear constituents'

Jennifer Van Valey was elected president of MSA last spring, ending the
reign of conservative Aaron Williams.

school year was no exception. The
spring elections saw intense cam-
paigning from both sides, as the Ac-
tion Party nosed out a victory over
the Conservative Coalition. New
MSA President Jennifer Van Valey,
an LSA junior who ran on the Ac-
tion Party ticket, pledged to put an
end to the partisan politics that have
paralyzed the assembly in the past.
However, Van Valey will have
her work cut out for her in the com-
ing year, as assembly controversies
continue. MSA has been divided for
years over the issue of student group
recognition. The Christian Corner-
stone Fellowship (CCF), a funda-
mentalist student group, has been at
the center of a two-year assembly
battle over whether the assembly
should recognize certain groups with
controversial or potentially offensive
views. Gay and lesbian rights groups
on campus have argued that the CCF
discriminates against homosexuals,
and that the student government
should not support discrimination
through their recognition process.
Assembly conservatives were
able to push through a "Student
Group Bill of Rights" as an amend-
ment to MSA's Constitution in last
April's elections, which essentially
guarantees the right to "self-defini-
tion" for all student groups, and pro-
hibits the assembly from derecogniz-
ing campus organizations based
upon their ideaology.
It is clear that the battle over stu-
dent group recognition is far from
over, however. New president Van
Valey has called the constitutional
amendment a "Bill of Abusive
Rights," and has said she will work
this fall to have the amendment ruled
unconstitutional by the Central Stu-
dent Judiciary, MSA's highest court.
Another assembly controversy

that will be on the agenda this fall
deals with the University Adminis-
tration's efforts to institute a Code
of Non-Academic Conduct, which
would establish guidelines and pun-
ishment procedures over students'
behavior outside of the classroom.
Many on the assembly feel MSA'-s
primary responsibility is to act as a
liason between the students and the'
adminstration, and that MSA should
work with the regents to ensure the
Code includes students' concerns.
However, another contingent on
the assembly led by Van Valey is
completely opposed to any type of
Code. "No Code" was one of Van
Valey and the Action Party's cam-
paign platforms last April, and she
has stated that any dialogue between
the assembly and the administration
would grant the behavior restrictions
legitimacy. She has pledged to lead
the fight against a Code, even asit
becomes more apparent that Univer-
sity officials will institute restrici-
tions on non-academic behavior with
or without student input.
From the recent controversies
that have divided the assembly, to
the newly-formed commission de-
voted to environmental concerns, it
is clear that MSA is alive and work-
ing as a voice for the students in
this campus. Students who really
want to "make a difference" should
check out the Michigan Student As-
sembly, for there is no better place
for aspiring politicians and concerned
student activists to get to work.

The majority of the assembly's
work is accomplished on the thirteen
committees and commissions, each
with its own focus. One of MSA's
primary responsibilities is the allo-
cation of funds to student groups.
There are always too many groups,
and too little funds to go around, so
the assembly's Budget Priorities
Committee works to ensure MSA's
money is fairly and appropriately
The Student Rights Commission
(SRC) and the External Relations
Committee (ERC) both work to
promote students' concerns. The
SRC is active on campus and in
Ann Arbor, monitoring and working
against the efforts of the local gov-
ernment and the University Adminis-
tration to curtail students' freedoms.

The ERC lobbies on the state and
federal level, to make sure lawmak-
ers in Lansing and Washington hear
students' voices and opinions.
The majority of the assembly's
other bodies deal with specific con-
cerns, from the Womens' Issues
Commission and the Minority and
International Student Affairs Com-
missions to the newly formed Envi-
ronmental Affairs Commission, es-
tablished at the assembly's final
meeting last April. Through these
commissions, MSA members work
to coordinate the efforts of student
groups with similar concerns, and
provide a mouthpiece for funding and
representation to the Administration.
MSA has traditionally been a
place of controversy and struggle be-
tween left and right, and the previous


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