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October 02, 1992 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-02

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 2,1992

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editors

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan


Unsigned editorials represent a mwjority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
'U' veils existing code of conduct

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Despite the administration's attempts to solicit
student input on the new "Statement on Stu-
dents' Rights and Responsibilities," it is now abun-
dantly clear that the University has been operating
and negotiating entirely in bad faith.
The students on campus have been grossly
mislead to think that the new code is necessary for
student safety and required by federal law. In truth
- as MSA Rep. Brian Kight discovered- a code
of conduct, the "Rules of the University Commu-
nity," is currently in place, and has been since
1973. Depending on whether the existence of the
code was forgotten or intentionally overlooked,
the administration has been either inept or negli-
gent. Most likely, it is a combination of both.
The 1973 Rules were adopted by the regents
with the cooperation of the Student Government
Council SGC) - MSA's predecessor - and the
Senate Advisory Committee for Undergraduate
Affairs (SACUA). All three parties - represent-
ing the interests of the administration, students and
faculty - had the power to veto the Rules. The
administration's mythical student involvement in
the Statement pales in comparison to the real
involvement students had in developing the Rules;
today, students have no veto power. Moreover, the
Rules, while still being unsatisfactory, is far better
in its protections of civil liberties than the State-
Regental bylaws clearly state that only the
University Council - a board consisting of three
students, three staff and three faculty - can pro-
pose amendments to the Rules. The amendment
would then have to be ratified by the SGC (now
MSA), SACUA and the administration. In an act
of unfortunate despotism, however, the adminis-
tration dissolved the University Council when it
became clear that the Council would not support
the administration's demands for a stricter code.
In a sense, the new Statement can be considered

an amendment or re-draft of the current Rules. The
only way the administration could alter the Rules,
wi thout violating its contract with the students, is
by asking the University Council to authorize the
changes. Conveniently, the Council no longer ex-
The real issue is the administration's callous
breach of trust. The Rules were a contract agreed
upon by the administration, faculty and students. In
fact, there may be legal issues at stake. Unless the
regents alter the by-laws, the University can'tratify
a new code. Legal action may be warranted.
More importantly, students should be skeptical
about any talk of student involvement. Students
helped draft the Rules and trusted the administra-
tion to properly enforce them. Instead, the admin-
istration filed the rules away, abolished the Univer-
sity Council, and misleadingly cited federal law as
impetus for the Statement.
Federal law really isn't an issue at all. The
administration could have easily proposed sexual
assault and the drug and alcohol policies as amend-
ments to the current Rules. The University Council
would be obligated to propose the amendments,
resolving any conflict with the law. Furthermore,
the existence of the 1973 code once more belies the
administration's fear-mongering claim that it has
no mechanism to discipline campus crime.
Whatever its motives, the administration de-
serves only students' disdain, not trust. If the ad-
ministration does wish to save face, however, it can
take some steps. The administration must address
the existence of the 1973 Rules and why it feel the
Rules are inadequate.
The University Council must be reconvened to
consider the new Statement as amendments to the
current Rules. And, most importantly, the adminis-
tration owes its students an explanation. If the
University wants to build trust, it is currently going
about it the wrong way.

Read it, know it, join the debate
MCC. Can beggars also be choosers?
'U' should not collect fees for non-'U' organizations

by Paul W. Brown
The following is an excerpt from a.
letter written by Regent Paul Brown
(R-Petoskey) to Rep. Morris Hood
(D-Detroit) on July 23, 1992. Due to
the fact that the University Board of
Regents is currently being sued by
MCC and Zimmerman, the adminis-
tration chose to submit the following
letter to avoid complications in court.
Dear Representative Hood:
Thank you for your letter of July
14, 1992 concerning funding of the
Michigan Collegiate Coalition
(MCC). Apparently a misunderstand-
ing has arisen with respect to manda-
tory fees being collected by the Uni-
versity for non-University functions.
The problem with collection of
the MCC fee was not any position it
took on any issue but rather the wis-
dom of the University using its fee
collection process for an independent
organization. The University Board
of Regents has come to believe that
the University should not be in the
business of imposing fees on students
for outside organizations, even though
1,916 students voted for it. (Student
votes are not popular. In that election
3,494 students out of about 35,000
voted). As you can imagine, there is
no end to the line up of organizations
which would like to use the Univer-
sity billing system to collect fees for
Brown is a University Regent
from Petoskey, MI.

them. There may also be legal prob-
lems involved. We really should not
be in that business.
The actual proposal that came to
the board was that we continue a$.35
fee for Michigan Student Assembly
earmarked for MCC. The problem

anon-University organization (MCC)
when they may disagree with one or
another position of the MCC. Stu-
dents are still perfectly free to contrib-
ute to the MCC directly if they desire
or convince their elected representa-
tives to do so through MSA.


The problem with collection of the MCC fee was
not any position it took on any issue but rather the
wisdom of the University using its fee collection
process for an independent organization.

Cut & cap could gut education

T o most people, the economic chaos and down
ward-sliding education system wreaked by
Proposition 13 in California has been a lesson in
the danger of tax-restricting measures. Apparently
This lesson has escaped a coalition of anti-tax
groups supported by the Republican party and
Gov. John Engler. They have put two dangerous
proposals on the Michigan ballot which would cap
property taxes at their existing levels and exempt
more of those taxes from funding education. These
proposals would butcher essential state services,
including education.
Proposals A and C, called "cut and cap," would
cut property tax rates by 5 percent increments
every year until 1997, and cap property assess-
inents to the rate of inflation. That means even if
property values increase, taxes go down. That
would cripple the state's schools, since schools are
funded primarily by property taxes. Moreover,
broposition C would exempt a greater percent of
those property taxes from funding education - a
double blow the Michigan's schools.
Proponents say that state growth will pay for
the tax cut. But Michigan has seen little or no
economic growth in the last 5 years. In the likely
base that this growth doesn't materialize, the state

would resort to steep cuts. That means key pro-
grams like higher education, public health services
and social services will suffer.
Advance Michigan, a broad-based group op-
posing the proposals, estimates that if cut and cap
had been enacted in 1986, the losses to education
alone would have totalled $250 million - a stag-
gering figure considering Michigan schools are
under-funded already.
Additionally, the proposals would create new
problems in the housing market. Right now, tax
laws don't discourage people from selling their
homes. Houses are reassessed and taxed periodi-
cally. But if cut and cap takes effect, houses will
only be reassessed for tax purposes when a sale
takes place. This would invite sleazy "under the
table" sales and discourage regular home sales -
a great source of revenue for the state.
Despite what proponents say, cut and cap would
not do much for the middle class, and would most
benefit corporations and real-estate moguls. In
fact, the tax cut would deal a blow to senior
citizens, since the cut would be off-set by a decline
in their homestead property tax credit. These are
heavy sacrifices to pay for proposals that will do no
more than gut key state programs.

with that is that we have long fol-
lowed a policy of not telling MSA to
whom they can make contributions.
That decision is left strictly to MSA
without interference from the admin-
istration or the board of regents. Be-
lieve me, they contribute to all sorts
of organizations, programs and indi-
viduals which you and I, as well as
the Board of Regents and administra-
tion would rather not see as objects of
MSA philanthropy. However, we do
not interfere as MSA is the properly
elected representative body of the
students and it is really MSA which
should make determinations as to
whom they want to give their money.
I cannot agree that it is an affront to
political freedom to ask MCC to re-
ceive its funding the same way as
every other organization funded by
students. In fact the very opposite
argument can be better made - that
itis an affront to thepolitical freedom
of our students to force them to pay a
fee directly through the University to

MCC serves interests of students, 'U'

by Stephanie Arellano
The Michigan Collegiate Coali-
tion (MCC) filed suit against the Uni-
versity of Michigan inJuly 1992 after
the University Board of Regents voted
to defund MCC in June 1992.
It was obvious from the transcripts
and minutes of the meeting the ratio-
nale for defunding MCC was our stand
in support of legislation to cap tu-
The regents made it quite clear to
us that if we had not supported the
tuition cap that we would not be in the
bind that we are in now. We filed suit
based on what was actually said and
what took place at that meeting.
This type of action sets a danger-
ous precedent for student rights. Does
this mean thatout of fear of losing our
funding, MCC cannot advocate for
anything with which the University
disagrees? If that is the case we would

never have advocated for the Cam-
pus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of
Rights, and it probably would not
have passed the House so quickly
and easily. Will we always face threats
of defunding when student interests
conflict with those of university ad-
Some regents and administrators
have expressed concern that the in-
terests of the University (meaning
the regents and the administration)
differ from those of the students and
that student groups like MCC should
not be in the business of advocating
for issues with which the University
disagrees. If the administration finds
that its interests are so vastly differ-
ent than the interests of students, per-
haps it is the administration that needs
to re-evaluate its interests - not the
MCC has attempted twice to settle
this matter and the University has
refused. I believe that the settlement
terms proposed by MCC were more
than reasonable. MCC simply wanted

The University community has all
sorts of organizations and individuals
who differ with the board on many
issues, political or otherwise. That is
as it should be. Members of the fac-
ulty, student body, unions, alumni and
citizens generally engage in debates
of all sorts at the University all the
time. One of the first things I did when
I was elected to the board of regents,
and this was long before the Open
Meetings Act was on the books, was
to get a resolution through the Board
providing time at each regents' meet-
ing for any member of the public to
address the regents on whatever sub-
ject one cared to talk about. I assure
you I still believe debate, dissent and
academic freedom are at the heart of
the University and its mission to the
people of Michigan, and we will al-
ways encourage it.
However, we do not believe it is
proper for the University to collect
mandatory fees for organizations
which are not part of the University.
does not
it's regular dues to be paid, attorney
fees; and a system for student fee
autonomy. Having rejected MCC's
offers to settle, we and the university
are subjected to spending hundreds of
thousands of dollars in legal fees and
MC thinks what we asked for
was fair. Student fee autonomy would
not only empower students to tax or
not tax themselves, but it would also
remove the regents from involvement
in campus political issues where they
have no place. We think these matters
that affect student life should be left in
the hands of the students.
MCC is the state student associa-
tion for the students of Michigan's
public universities. Established by stu-
dents and incorporated in 1988, MCC
is the nation's fastest growing state
student association. MCC conducts
research, advocacy, and educational
activities. Completely organized and
lead by students, MCC provides a
unified voice in the state legislative
s'free speech
tuition caps. I am also pursuing legal
action for another reason - student
rights. I believe that we are here, in the
'training ground of democracy,' to
learn about self-governance. One of
-the main causes for the American
Revolution was to win the ability for
the colonists to set their own rate of
taxation, rather than have it set by an
'alien government' who didn't under-.
stand their problems. The administra-
tion of this school has revoked that
hard-won right from its students. The
regents' refusal to allow students to
set their own fees is a deliberate move


No new nuclear testing


onsidering all the rhetoric President Bush
spouts about the "New World Order," one
would think he would eventually emerge from his
archaic, Cold War cave and think like a peace-time
president. The president revealed his support for
resuming nuclear testing, if and when China re-
$umes its own testing. Not only does this move
,represent poor foreign and environmental policy,
but in light of the final passage of the Strategic
Armaments Reduction Treaty (START), such be-
havior seems grossly anachronistic.
The president has proposed resuming testing
before. During the 1988 campaign, he used this
topic to label Democratic presidential candidate
Michael Dukakis as weak on defense. The world
has changed substantially since then, however.
When Russian President Boris Yeltsin visited
the United States this summer, he announced with
President Bush a surprise agreement on further
cuts, often called "Deep Cuts" or Start II. The
;White House had actually made significant progress
in the arms control arena.
Bush still hasn't offered an adeauate reason to

soon-to-be nuclear powers as India, Pakistan, and
South Africa may follow U.S. example by begin-
ning their own test programs. Such rampant nuclear
irresponsibility would counter the progress made
by START and "Deep Cuts."
The environment is another critical factor.
Nuclear tests, even if conducted underground,
threaten ground water, soil and the atmosphere.
The U.S. government should not compound the
health problems of Americans, when the U.S.
nuclear program has already caused thousands of
people to suffer from cancer and leukemia.
If the president wins re-election, the American
people had better hope the promise to resume
testing was empty rhetoric. Releasing nuclear ra-
diation into the atmosphere won't improve any-
thing - not the environment, not our health, and
certainly not national security.

Arellano chairs the Michigan
Collegiate Coalition in Lansing.
MCC funding cut,
by Tobias Zimmerman

It was issues like the rising cost of
education which first made me inter-
ested in student government. I hoped
to use my voice to represent students
and our interests. I have since been
elected to the Michigan Student As-
sembly and increased my involve-
ment with student groups, but I have
come to an extremely depressing con-
clusion: students can scream at the
University until they are blue (or
maize) in the face, and end up just
where they started.

violation of student
there are universal feelings against
the code, yet that opinion of the duly
elected student government falls on
deaf ears in the administration.
At this point the University Board
of Regents has demonstrated an un-
willingness to work with the stu-
dents, while treating us as equals. In
the state of Michigan there is only
one body over the regents' heads and
that is the state legislature in Lan-
sing. Although it is extremely diffi-
cult for students to go directly to the
capitol, we are effective there when
we present a unified voice through a

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