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March 17, 1993 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-17

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Page 2-The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 17,1993
Woman mounts petition drive to support
local couple in landmark custody battle

by Will McCahill
Daily Crime Reporter
An Ann Arbor woman is rallying
public opinion around a nationally
publicized local custody battle in an
effort to support the "home team."
Appalled by more than two years
of legal proceedings in the DeBoer-
Schmidt custody battle, Joan
Engstrom is collecting signatures
from her neighbors and friends.
Engstrom said her petition drive
is aimed at encouraging the
Michigan Court of Appeals - the
next body to rule on the case - to
consider the best interests of the
child involved.
Engstrom plans to deliver her

petition to the justices hearing the
case today.
The court will decide within the
next two weeks whether Washtenaw
County Circuit Court Judge William
Ager acted legally when he assumed
jurisdiction over the case in January.
Ager granted custody of a two-
year-old girl to Jan and Roberta
DeBoer of Ann Arbor - who have
raised her from birth - rather than
to her biological parents Dan and
Cara Schmidt of Blairstown, Iowa.
In his decision, Ager stated that it
was in the child's best interest to
remain with the DeBoers. However,
Iowa courts previously gave the
Schmidts custody because of

biological ties.
The Schmidts took their case to
the Michigan Court of Appeals,
claiming that Ager violated federal
law by overruling the Iowa courts.
Engstrom had no previous rela-
tionship with the DeBoers, but said
the story outraged her and made her
want to help the girl and the
DeBoers, who she said she believes
have the better claim to the girl.
Engstrom said she has come to
know the DeBoers fairly well in the
course of her efforts.
"They're fantastic people," she
said, adding that they are very sup-
portive of the drive and other local
efforts on their behalf.
The lengthy legal battle has taken
its toll on the couple, Engstrom said.
"They're up and down about the
trial."
With the help of local residents

and many local businesses,
Engstrom distributed the petition
throughout Ann Arbor.
However, the petition drive has
taken on a life of its own, and ex-
tended far outside the Ann Arbor
area.
Engstrom has sent petitions to
towns throughout Michigan - in-
cluding Saginaw, Clarkston and
Grosse Pointe - and throughout the
country, as far as New York,
Arizona and California.
Even residents of the Schmidts'
hometown in Iowa have requested
copies.
Engstrom has received several
thousand signatures already and ex-
pects to collect more than 10,000.
She said she hopes the diversity
of the petitioners will encourage the
judges to consider the case more
carefully before making their
decision.

DPS
Continued from page 1
DPS instead of with a neutral outside
entity," he added.
DPS Lt. James Smiley, speaking
on behalf of DPS Director Leo
Heatley, said he thinks the relation-
ship between DPS and the commit-
tee is open and effective.
"Committee members have taken
an active interest in how we do
things, there is an open line of com-
munication and both sides are well-
DEBATE
Continued from page 1
"I hope a new sense of trust and
cooperation will develop between
the downtown merchants and City
Hall," Creal said.
Fifth Ward Democratic candidate
David Stead said he plans to use his
experience as an environmental con-

received," Smiley said.
"There are no changes that are
needed - we are satisfied with the
ways things are now."
Four students will be vying for
the two positions during elections
today and tomorrow.
MSA Rep. Brian Kight, who is in
charge of election procedures, said
candidates and the board are not af-
filiated with MSA or particular par-
ties, and will only be on the ballot so
students campus-wide can take part
in the election.
sultant to help facilitate problems @
between business and government.
Kent Charles Hyne, 5th Ward
Libertarian candidate and newcomer
to the political arena, stressed the
need to curtail crime in Ann Arbor.
"I don't accept this crime. If you
don't accept this crime then make
me your mouthpiece," Hyne said.

I

The Michiganensian Yearbook is
looking for a business manager
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Responsibilities include budget-
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other duties. Applications are due
by March 22nd. If you have any
questions or would like an appli-
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or call 764-9425 and ask for Randy.

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looking for an editor-in-chief for
the 1993-94 school year. Duties
include design, writing, and staff
management. Applications are due
by March 22nd. If you have any
questions or would like an
application, stop by the Student
Publications Building - 420
Maynard St., or call 764-0561 and
ask for Megan.

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CONTRACT
Continued from page 1
committee to call a strike if it
deemed necessary. The two sides
have been trying to agree on a new
contract since last November.
Dave Toland, a member of the
GEO bargaining team, said, "We
want to sign a contract. The two
sides are very close."
Jon Curtiss, chair of the GEO
bargaining team, agreed, "The gap
between what we're proposing and
the University proposal is as small as
it's been."
Toland added that, while a strike
is technically possible, "We would
not call a strike given the current
circumstances."-
The University did not extend the
TA contract, which expired yester-
day. However, Curtiss said TAs will
continue to work without a contract
until a new agreement is reached.
"It depends on when we can set
up another bargaining session," he
said. "I don't want to work too long
without a contract."
He added that the negotiations
would be taken to a mediator in
Detroit if no further progress were
made.
CASES
Continued from page 1
ulty member will facilitate each stu-
dent hearing panel, although they
have no voting power.
Three other violations of the pol-
icy have been brought to Antieau's
attention. They are in various stages
of the hearing process.
A first-year male in the School
of Engineering, accused of physi-
cally assaulting another male stu-
dent, has chosen mediation for his
case. A residence hall education co-
ordinator made the charge.
Antieau is still investigating
the case of a fifth-year LSA female
who was allegedly stalked on a
number of occasions in the Michigan
Union by a male student. The ac-
cused has not yet responded to the
charges and the case is still open.
A male senior has denied two
charges brought against him by a
non-student: illegal sale, distribution
or manufacturing of drugs and phys-
ical assault, battery and endanger-
ment. The alleged drug was cocaine.

Toland said the main disagree-
ment regarding the current contract
offer centers on the registration fee
waiver. The administration refuses
to waive the fee, but has offered to
cap it at $40 for the second year of
the contract.
Currently, the fee stands at $80
for all TAs.
"We really feel that it's important
to hold out for the fee issue," CurtissO
said. "That $40 is important to us to
make ends meet."
Anne Dickens, a TA in the
German department, agreed that the
registration fee issue is important.
"It's the principle of the matter,"
she said. "The University needs to
come to terms and start treating us as
equal employees.
To protest the slow negotiations,
the union is sponsoring "GEO
Solidarity Week." TAs are being
asked to hold their classes in public
places around campus today and to-
morrow. The week will conclude
Friday with a noon rally and a
Dance-on-the-Diag.
Joan Sitomer, a Women's Studies
TA, warned fellow TAs not to be-
come complacent.
"I hope that TAs don't lose their
momentum," she said.
DPS made the complaint and the
case is still under investigation.
Antieau said the policy is work-
ing well so far.
"I guess things are moving along
as I expected they would be,"
Antieau said. "It's a fairly represen-
tative sample of cases."
But Antieau said most students
still do not understand the policy.
"I'm starting to get an apprecia-
tion for how difficult it is to help
students gain a real understanding of
what the policy and the process is
about," Antieau said. "Most people
don't have a good idea what it's all
about."
Antieau said accused students are
also confused.
"There is confusion about what it
means to be charged and that's why
we're taking time to develop materi-
als to give them that take them
through each step of the process,"
Antieau said.
Antieau said this confusion could
explain why DPS has brought the
majority of complaints to her
attention.

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STAFF: Jule Becker, Oliver Gancoa, Sam Goods tin, Patrick Javid, Judith KAlka (Edtial Assistant), Jason Uchtstln (Edtodal
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5o Breastroke Scott Peskey Scott Dill
200 Freestyle Joe Fredal Eric Bailey
50 Butterfly Brad German Eric Bailey
200 Free Relay Alpha Tag Omega Water Polo - Men

.. , * o

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