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September 09, 1991 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-09

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Page 4- The Michigan Daily- Monday, September 9, 1991
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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

ANDREW K. GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
STEPHEN HENDERSON
Opinion Editor

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.
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M
nion policy
Administration must find a better way to ensure student safety

┬░ReEoRM┬░
M-o-N-E-Y ReFoRM!
1
EWCIS1pN

T his past weekend, people trying to enter the
Michigan Union were confronted with secu-
rity checkpoints demanding a student I.D. for
admission to the building. The tightened security
was a provision of a new policy instituted last week
by the Housing Office. Presumably implemented
as a form of crowd control, the establishment of
these checkpoints was misguided and just plain
wrong on two counts.
First, the planning and implementation of the
new policy were conducted under a shroud of
secrecy last week. The Housing Office never issued
a press release, and certainly has not entertained
any open discussion of the policy. Particularly
disturbing is the fact that the Black Greek Asso-
ciation, which frequently uses Union facilities on
the weekend, was not included in the formation of
this policy. For an administration which claims to
value the input of students on decisons affecting
theirlives, this particular process provided striking
evidence of the failure to bolster that verbal com-
mitment with actual deeds. After arguing on this
page just last week for greater communication
between students and the University administration,
we at the Daily cannot help but feel that our
message is not reaching the Fleming Building.
Secondly, the very existence of these check-
points - and the consequent exclusion of all non-
students from the Union on Thursday, Friday and

Saturday nights - betrays this University's mis-
sion as a public institution. In case those in the
Fleming Building have forgotten, it is high time for
them to again be reminded that the University of
Michigan is paid for, in part, by the state's taxpayers.
That means that its facilities in the Union -
including the ground-floor food court, the public
study areas, and the public lounges - are here for
all the citizens of this state to enjoy. Assured public
access to public property is a basic tenet of our state
and federal laws. The University should not be so
quick to disregard these legal traditions.
Of course, the University has a responsibility to
ensure students' safety in the Union and elsewhere
on campus. Increased security measures may often
be necessary for large events incorporating diverse
groups of peoples. But the University must find a
way to temper volatile situations without com-
promising its obligations as a public institution.
And it must do so with the full participation of
students, faculty, staff and the surrounding com-
munity.
Limiting discussion of such drastic policy
changes - and limiting access to people who are
excluded by such changes - is not only prohibi-
tive, but possibly illegal as well. If a concern for
public relations is not enough to suggest that the
University apologize for and revoke its new
checkpoint policy, the law may demand it.

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Off-campus living
Tenants should know their rights, and ensure their protection

Reprinted from September 1989
T he first time you take a shower in your new
apartment, you discover an unidentifiable type
of slime growing from the ceiling. The carpets are
dirty; paint is chipping off the walls. The only
emergency exit from the second floor, other than
jumping, is an unstable-looking ladder propped up
against an exterior wall. You pay your rent a week
late and your landlord charges you a $20.00 late
fee. You ask your landlord to do some repairs and
after two weeks of no response, he or she arrives
without notice as you are about to step into your
slime-covered shower.
All of these are violations of your rights as a
tenant.
You, as a tenant, can control the quality of your
housing. You can demand that your rights be rec-
ognized, and that you receive adequate compen-
sation when they are not.
Landlords are obligated to provide tenants with
a copy of the Tenants'Rights Handbook published
by the city. Failure to do so is punishable by a fine
as large as $500, but it is incumbent upon the tenant
to complain to the city's Housing Inspection Bu-
reau.
Many buildings in Ann Arbor do not meet the
housing code due to lack of maintenance or fire
code violations. If the landlord is unwilling to
improve the situation, tenants can call the Housing
Inspection Bureau.
Landlords are obligated to provide to provide
clean, tenantable housing at the time of possession.
Failure to do so is either grounds for withholding
rentuntilthe dwelling is cleaned or justification for
charging the landlord the cost of cleaning by
deducting the amount from the rent.
As soon as possible after moving in, the tenant
should compile a list of damages and assess the
condition of the premises. Landlords are obligated
to provide two copies of an inventory checklist
covering all the parts of the building that the
landlord owns. Many lists are incomplete, so ten-
ants should be sure to write in anything not in the
list and keep a copy.
A tenant can withhold rent if a landlord does not
perform required repairs or agreed upon improve-

ments. A letter containing a complete list of griev-
ances should be sentby certified mail to the landlord
instead of the rent. The rent should either be put
into escrow at a bank or into a separate savings
account until the issue is resolved.
If the tenants are responsible for paying the
heat, city law requires the landlord to caulk and
weather strip all doors and windows and insulate
the attic. Failure to weatherize is grounds for
withholding rent and a complaint should be filed
with the Housing Inspection Bureau.
Landlords do not have the right to enter a
tenants' residence without reasonable advance
notice. Once tenants have made an agreement such
as a lease and moved in, the apartment is their
home and unauthorized entry constitutes invasion
of privacy and trespassing. Landlords frequently
charge students for cleaning, late rent, and tenant
organizing by keeping security deposits. This is
illegal.
Security deposits are only supposed to be used
for damage not expected during the normal course
of living, or unpaid rent or utility bills. Dirt is not
damage. Cleaning is not repairing.
Security deposits cannot exceed one and a half
month's rent. If the landlord charges too much
deposit, either ask for it back or move and deduct
it from the next rent payment.
To get the security deposit back, the tenant must
give the landlord a forwarding address, in writing,
within four days of moving out.
Within 30 days of the date the tenant moves out,
the landlord must send an itemized list of any
deductions claimed and the remainder of the se-
curity deposit, or the full deposit if no charges are
deducted. If the landlord does not meet this 30-day
requirement, the landlord has then lost all claim to
the security deposit and must return it in full,
unless the withheld money is for unpaid rent.
To help tenants become more informed, the
Ann Arbor Tenants' Union (AATU) has published
How to Evict Your Landlord: An Ann Arbor Ten-
ants' Primer. The book contains a detailed account
oftenants' rights and suggestions of how to prevent
potential abuses. It is available at the AATU.
Read the book. Know your rights.

AATU is
vital to students
To the Daily:
I was at the Michigan
Student Assembly (MSA)
meeting on June 25, where MSA
President James Green proposed
his budget for the upcoming
year. He hoped to cut the student
fee by 45 cents. The University
Board of Regents actually cut
the fee by 50 cents later in the
summer. Most of the cut will be
absorbed by the Ann Arbor
Tenants' Union (AATU), which,
according to the budget pro-
posal, will see its allocation
slashed in half.
Green clearly doesn't think
the AATU is giving students
their money's worth. But how
much money are we talking
about? Only 67 cents of the
student fee now goes to the
AATU. For the price of a coke,
students have a vital Tenants'
Union advocating for them.
Green doesn't seem to think
that the AATU is so vital. But as
I'd like to demonstrate, he is
wrong. Since 1967 the AATU's
"non-vital" phone and counsel-
ing services have been helping
nearly 2,000 students each year.
The AATU also conducts
workshops in most residence
halls for first-time renters and
holds periodic campus-wide
workshops. We provide organiz-
ing assistance for tenants with
building or complex-wide
problems. We publish an
informational newsletter of
tenant issues and distribute a
tenants' rights handbook and
other informational publications.
We are establishing a computer
conference for students on the
Michigan Terminal System
(MTS) and working with other

campus offices to establish a
fair housing center.
Students benefit not only
from the organization's direct
services, but also from our
efforts to pass and defend pro-
tenant state and local legisla-
tion. Regardless of whether
students use AATU counseling
services, they benefit from our
legislative and educational.
work through better housing
conditions, security deposit
refunds and a better under-
standing of how rental housing
works.
Over the last decade we
have greatly strengthened the
housing code through such
amendments as the 1985
"weather ordinance" and more
recently, a "privacy ordinance."
These campaigns have resulted
in a higher quality of living for
students.
An integral part of Green's
proposal involves halving the
current staff of two. But
training and supervising
volunteers and work study
students is, itself, a full-time
job. So what will happen to the
other services the AATU
provides?
Simple. They disappear.
That means no more dorm
workshops, no MTS confer-
ence, and a limit on the
informational handbooks we
put out. In addition, counseling
hours will be severely curtailed,
leaving as many as 1,000
students without our services.
I think the question that
needs to be asked, is why is the
president who campaigned
around greater student services,
choosing to do this?
Jen Rubin
School of Social Work
AATU volunteer

The Daily encour-
ages responses from
its readers. Letters
should be 150 words
or less and include
the author's name,
year in school and
phone number. They
can be mailed to:
The Michigan Daily,
420 Maynard, Ann
Arbor 48109. Or
they can be sent via
MTS to. The Michi-
gan Daily Letters to
the Editor. The Daily
does not alter the
content of letters, but
reserves the right to
edit for style and
space consider-
ations. If you have
questions or com-
ments, you should
call Stephen
Henderson at 764-
0552.

O

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Athletics before academics?

by Noah Finkel
At midnight on Monday, Oct.
14, men's basketball season
tickets will be made available for
students at Crisler Arena. The
sale, dubbed by the Athletic
Ticket Officeas "Midnight
Madness," will offer the first
4,000 students a season ticket
card. With that card, students can
obtain a reserved seat on a game-
by-game basis beginning two
hours prior to game time. The best
seats will be issued to those in
line earliest.
Students' seats will be behind
the team benches this year, rather
than behind a basket. And more
seats will be made available to
students in the lower, blue
section. Coach Steve Fisher said
"this will increase student
involvement... (and) will have an
impact on the crowd. Now we've
got them there and involved."
Better seats for the students
will likely make them louder. But
requiring students to show up
hours before game time to receive
the best seats is, as said by the
ticket office, "madness."
Not only will this policy

academics at the University.
I have been attending Michi-
gan basketball games for almost
15 years, but I do realize educa-
tion is the basic mission of this
institution. Why mnake students
who are basketball fans and want
good seats take an extra two hours
out of their day? These are two

Not only will this policy inconvenience stu-
dents by prohibiting ticket transfers and
requiring students to wait in line hours ahead
of tip-off in often-inclement weather ... it
shows athletics have taken a higher priority
than academics at the University.

thousands of silent alumni, faculty
members, and community
residents occupying seats close to
the court. And we will still have
thousands of students who make
plenty of noise but cannot arrive
early sitting in the upper reaches
of the gold section.
Not only is this effort ineffec-

hours that should be spent on
more intellectual pursuits.
The University should make
watching athletics as simple as
possible so the activity does not
take us away from the more
important activities at the Univer-
sity.
Coach Fisher can find a lot of
sympathy on campus in his
crusade to have a louder crowd. A

tual, it comes at the expense of
academics. Students already take
two hours to watch games; they
should not be penalized with poor
seats if they decline to take
another two. Those two hours
should instead be spent studying,
or participating in cultural or
political events.
Nationwide, university
presidents are taking back control

Nuts and Bolts

by Judd Winick

ATTENTION:

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MINE ! 2' M 40WN&

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