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September 10, 1992 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-10

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 10, 1992

Elor in(I ut

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
764 - 0552

Opinion Editors

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Dadly's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

:' .

M .

New code lacks d
"We have no comprehensive code now, and the
University has none planned. This is not a priority
for me or members of my administration."
-James Duderstadt, November 27, 1990, in
letter to students, published in the Daily
O kay, so he changed his mind a little. In fact, the
"Statement of Student Rights and Responsi-
bilities," which was mailed out to students this
summer, is a comprehensive code of nonacademic
conduct. While the latest code has corrected many
of the glaring flaws in previous codes, it would still
cause more problems than it would solve.
In 1988, the University responded to* student
protests against racism by implementing a danger-
ously vague and overly broad code regulating
students' conduct outside the classroom. After a
district court struck down this code as an unconsti-
tutional restriction on freedom of expression, the
University implemented an interim code aimed at
halting racial and sexual intimidation. This code,
too, was suspended following a recent Supreme
Court decision limiting anti-hate speech measures.
You have to give them credit. If not totally
honest, at least the administration is persistent.
The new code will take a different, and hope-
fully more legal, approach. First, it will deal only
with harassment and theft or property damage.
Second, rulings will be handled by student tribu-
nals rather than administrative decree.
While these changes represent a welcome im-
provement over the old code, this code ignores one
basic fact: we already have a legal system in this
country. While this may seem obvious to students,
ithas apparently eluded our administration through
four years of code-mongering.
While the U.S. legal system is imperfect, it is
based in hundreds of years of precedent and well
thought-out legal theory. The student tribunals to
be utilized under the new code, on the other hand,
are mere kangaroo courts which do not necessarily
follow standard legal procedure. For instance,

ue rocess
grouns for guilt exist if a majority of jurors find it
"more likely than not" that the defendant is guilty.
Call us sentimental, but we prefer the defendant
being innocent until proven guilty "beyond a rea-
sonable doubt."
Why, then, do we need to set up our own legal
system? The letter introducing the code furnishes
several horror stories, such as beatings and harass-
ment of students and professors, which supposedly
warrant disciplinary action by the University.
This implies that if there were no code, rapists,
thugs and other criminal scum could wander freely
throughout campus and terrorize the University
community without fear of punishment. This im-
plication is totally inaccurate. All of the examples
are illegal actions, subject to prosecution in courts
of law.
Granted, there may be some instances when the
code may spare grief to the victims of harassment
by imposing swifter justice. However, this comes
at the expense of legal safeguards designed to
protect the innocent from false prosecution. Vic-
tims' rights count, but they do not supersede the
rights of the accused.
The administration is attempting to build sup-
port for this code by playing on students' fears of
rape and harassment, just as it played on those fears
when pushing previous codes and deputizing the
University police force. The connection is very
First, deputized police replace the Ann Arbor
cops. Now the code usurps the legal system itself.
A disturbing pattern emerges: The University has
created its own government within the ivory tower,
a government which is not bound to the standards
and principles of the outside world and is account-
able to nobody.
The city of Ann Arbor already has police and
courts of law to protect it. The University need not
assume these functions. There is no reason to
assume that it can do a better job. Once again, the
best code is no code at all.


FrS K N O W v ' T * F . V vWi 'N- r r p
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Dea, Mich.gnWS'e aoknsf: ward Itrs atersbut eheoedsbyth ors agat eponsibrlties.Thiwasek
Welom to getyAnnAbr.oh trbmsthad Noethestthryisaaredtha ailhdtserouhs sm;thu
Th9-9sacyemicarhop7tanaeyuriththedniverit's foungsa sdfyDuringate sntd eteder
ver sary of Angell Hall: and in early October, Vice President
the Univer- Hartford will be holding meetings
s ity of . "Religion, morality, and knowl- around campus, including two com-
M ic hig an, edge being necessary to good gov- munity forums, for further discus-
an occaso men and the happne of mn- son Afterhearing yur comments,
ceeebr a te cation shall forever be encouraged" put into place in October. We hope
with sympo- to try it out for a year on an interim
sia and other As we approach the end of this basis, and then bring it to the Board0
s p e c i a I century, that fundamental idea -- of Regents for final approval early
e v e n t s that education is essential for the in the next academic year.
throughout well-being of society -- takes on I won't go into the details of the
the year. new meaning. We accept that chal- policy here, but I do urge you to
You may have noticed banners pro- lenge at the University of Michi- continue to be involved with us in
claiming the anniversary on the gan. We are proud to be, as "The helpng to shape it. Our involve-
streets around campus. Victors' puts it, "the leaders and ment, and your comments, will help
B ut we ought to take a moment best." make this a better community for us
as the academic year begins to re- This year we will face aparticu- all.
fleet on that 175-year history. Our larly interesting challenge: defin-
University began as a gift of land ing what it means to be amember ofrmAeiaInantbsfoa thUivstyfMcigno-
"college in Detroit." The Univer- munity. As you know, we have University President
sity moved to "Ann Arbor twenty proposed anew StatementofRights
Before a woman cries out ... Fo h
by Yael Citro millions of women in the world and Opnion ettors
thousands of women on the cam- "Smatfunyad fearless" "All
Last week, my former landlady pus, all of whom are victims of the new tha's ftto print" For
told me that one of the women who rane

moved into my apartment from last I am reminded of a conversa- some reason, our goals seem more
yehad been raped. A man simply tion I had with a friend while riding zine than thetofSthe New York
walked into the apartment building, our bikes down State Street at 2 Times. If we succeed in putting out
woke the woman up, and raped her a.m. The streets were absolutely the type of Opinion page we hope
in her home -which was once my empty and he said, "I am glad no we will,oureditorialswillbeclever,
home. one is around. No one can hurt me. well informed and persuasive. We
There is the shock and the "Oh I turned to him and said, "I am wl r oeaut n rtcz h
my God," that comes after hearing scaredno one is around, no one wi will try to evaluate and criticize the
of someone who has actually been hear me , trends going on on this campus,
raped. This is a fundamental differ- without taking ourselves too seri-
Shock? ence between how men and women ously. And we will not hesitate to
If there is any emotion that does live in society. Women are con- jump on any aspect of administra-
not belong here it is shock. I can be stantly readjusting their behaviors tve policy, government action or
hurt; I can be angry; I can even be and living on the defensive in order mink needs fixingus
scared. to avoid being raped. That's what we're trying to do:
HoIeveryto be shocked implies There is the way the world put out as wa eeryida that do:
that I never really thought it could should be and then there is the way densPra, enjy eaguttk
happen. The reality is that it can the world is, as if this fact has to be dents read, enjoy reading, but take
happen to me. It can happen to stated. The challenge to the city, to heart. We realize that the people
anyone. Untilpreventative measures landlords, the administration and who work ate the same views as a majority
are taken tohelp stop rape, Ican't be students is to see the way the world stuets on as B tat is
shocked when it happens. of students on campus. But that is
The entire debate on rape is de- Me-adaysol ohv not to say that our collective vision
sigedforafera rpealead hp- bee soex-adlafterhearing about isn't worth noting. Our editorials
pens. The discussion on campus the rape because her building had may seem cynical at times, but their
over rape and sexual assault takes no security stem. intentions are good.
lace during designated times - The people of Ann Arbor And just in case our vision isn't
during speak-outs and rape preven- shouldn't be shocked over rape lteer eto balane it out. It ha
tion w aeenk.toked because it is difficult to see one's been our longstanding commitment
t want a en ay or a hand in front of one's face when to run as many letters, and as many
token week when everyone wears walking the streets of Ann Arbor at diverse opinions as possible.
green ribbons and victims of sexual night. . ., So, enjoy theyerno the
assault vent while the rest of us sit The administration shouldn't be pg, and the year, enjoy the
around and listen. These are pro- shocked when a woman is raped on page, and write lots of letters.
grams designed to help victims af- campus because the lighting around Ther no good reason not to. Af-
ter the fact. However, there are University buildings and in theDiag ter all,_it's free.
is romantic at best.
D lya sAm I the only person who has
s ever wondered why it is so easy to The Daily encourages
find a 'U' cop at 3 p.m. but so it's readers to voice their
difficult to find one at 3 a.m.? Per-..
sonally, I don't find people sled- opinions. All op-ed pieces
Are von considering ding in the Arb a threat to campus should be no more that

MSA betrays, student interests

Tt's been a long summer in Ann Arbor, with little
Arelief from the Summer Michigan Student As-
sembly. The Progressive Party leadership seemed
more interested in fostering a political agenda than
protecting the interests of the student body.
The Summer Assembly's first notable mistake
showed up when MSA's leadership came to the
June meeting of the University Board of Regents
to request a 78-cent increase in the student fee,
despite the fact that a majority of students favor a
cap on the current student fee of $6.27. Fox claimed.
the referendum concerning the fee cap was illegal.
But even if she's right, it took a lot of nerve to go
into the meeting with little or no justification for
the increase.
MSA's leadership only cited a need for in-
creased funding for Student Legal Services as
reason for the hike, and was taken to task by the
regents for fiscal irresponsibility. Moreover, to
seek such a large increase during a recession with
steep tuition increases looming made all of MSA's
complaints about rising college costs looks like a
Come July, when Fox had an opportunity to
live up to her campaign promise of opposing
tuition increases, she let the issue slide, fearing that
opposition to a tuition hike would be inconsistent
with her request for an MSA fee increase. Such
posturing against the interest of Fox's constituents
is unacceptable.

In addition to MSA's bungling of these situa-
tions, the Assembly found time to haphazardly
hand out money to random student groups. One
notable example was last month's $350 appropria-
tion to a student group to produce a pamphlet about
Guatemalan weavers. The lives of these weavers
may be a educational goal worth studying, but
choosing to fund the pamphlet in the midst of a
budget crunch hardly constitutes wise fiscal deci-
sion making.
However it is reassuring to know that MSA is
concerned with students in other schools. In June,
MSA passed a resolution "standing in solidarity"
with students at Rutgers who opposed their tuition
It seems the Assembly has more solidarity with
Rutgers University and weavers in far-away Gua-
temala then the students of the University of Michi-
The regents have reacted to MSA's on-going
incompetence by charging Vice President for Stu-
dent Affairs Maureen Hartford to investigate the
possibility of crafting a new MSA. With the aide of
a graduate student, Hartford will look at ways of
reforming MSA.
The Progressive Party's stewardship of MSA to
date has been a display of incompetence. Despite
countless opportunities to show genuine leader-
ship and provide a clear voice for student concerns,
MSA has disappointingly done neither.

... and student publications

nfortunately, Fox was not so neglectful when
of it came to jeopardizing the year-long process
of restructuring the Board for Student Publica-
tions, which governs the Daily as well as the
Michigan Ensian and the Gargoyle. At the same
regents' meeting where she abandoned her cam-
paign pledge to fight against tuition hikes, Fox
launched an assault on the proposed changes to the
regental bylaw that governs the Board, claiming
that the changes were a naked attempt by the
administration to exert control over the Daily's
editorial content.
The Daily greatly appreciates Fox's concern
over our editorial freedom. But there's just one
problem. The bylaws which she attacked were
written, in part, by Daily editors, in order to help
preserve the Daily's editorial freedom. In other

tended meetings.
Under the new bylaws, current board members
would nominate Daily alumni to be members of
the new Board, and President Duderstadt would be
charged with approving them. Fox asserts that
such a board would leave the Daily vulnerable to a
hostile takeover. Actually, it gives the Daily just
what it needs: guarantees of editorial freedom, a
board of Daily alumni, but the protective cloak of
the University should problems such as lawsuits
Nevertheless, Fox insisted that MSA, not the
Daily, knew what was best for the Daily. At an
MSA special meeting days before the regent's
vote, MSA tried to pass a resolution protesting the
changes. Luckily, the Assembly did not make
quorum, as was often the case throughout the

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