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January 24, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 24, 1994

UFlw Sidtilgn&dI

Sharp as Toast

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

JOSH Dulow
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.



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rs are a conflict of interest

This week it became official - the University
administration has bought MSA, which was once
the student government here on campus.
MSA President Craig Greenberg announced at
last Tuesday's meeting that both the MSA President
and Vice-President will be awarded tuition waivers
of $2500 per term, beginning this semester. While
we are not opposed to the funding of student leaders
to achieve a stronger MSA, several conflicts exist in
the administration's tuition waiver scheme. Stu-
dents should be concerned with this latest develop-
ment: $10,000 of their tuition money will now help
fund the so-called 'education' of two student lead-
ers, but will in actuality buy the administration a
degree of influence over students.
The reasoning for this "scholarship" seems too
simple. To be an effectiveleader of MSA, one must
devote a tremendous amount of time to the task.
Greenberg claims to spend nearly 50 hours every
week on MSA responsibilities, and there is no rea-
son to doubt him. This time commitment eliminates
the possibility of having a part-time job, valued at
$2500 per term.
Would the President or Vice-President have a job
if they were not on MSA? Clearly, this answer will
vary from individual to individual, yet there is an
easy method to account for this. The money awarded
to the MSA leaders must be need-based and not
simply handed over blindly. If it is obvious that a
student leader does not need $5000 every year to pay
for college, the money can be spent much more
appropriately - perhaps to help other student lead-
This leads to the administration's motives which
must also be questioned by students and MSA. It
seems hard to believe that the administration -
namely Maureen Hartford- is solely looking out
Amendingkthe e
0 Administration. makes amer

for the continued financial status of MSA leaders.
The administration has a huge stake in the tuition
waivers; the leaders of MSA are now working for
the administration.
Furthermore, the agreement, as it stands now,
doesn't include explicit guarantees of continual
funding regardless of MSA's political actions or
other external factors. Such an agreement would
guarantee that the administration would not have
an undue influence over MSA. This is a must, and
should be negotiated immediately.
While there is nothing wrong with the admin-
istration wanting a stronger student government,
there are other ways to achieve this. The admin-
istration, as a gift to MSA and to all University
students, can open a $150,000 student leader
endowment fund. Interest generated from this
fund would continually reimburse student lead-
ers on a need-based scale. A neutral, independent
body would distribute the scholarship money,
removing the funds from the pernicious clutches
of Maureen Hartford's office.
Still, there are inherent problems whenever
student leaders are funded by administrators.
There are other student organizations with lead-
ers who put in just as much time. And what about
an MSA President and Vice-President who don't
spend 50 hours a week working for the student
government? While the current President and VP
clearly do put in a tremendous effort, it is con-
ceivable to imagine individuals neglecting this
work and still earning $5000.
The tuition waiver system is now a gigantic
conflict of interest. MSA and the administration
must work to eliminate this conflict while ad-
dressing these numerous concerns all University
students share.
idment process tedious

lr * I -

's actions justified

One year after the University instituted the State
ment of Student Rights and Responsibilities
(SSRR), students will finally have a chance to,
propose amendments to it this Thursday. Although
this opportunity could conceivably allow students
to have input into this important policy, in reality,
the amendment process is stacked against students.
The SSRR faced student opposition from its very
conception, and this opportunity to amend the
code, which comes only after it has been, in effect,
law on this campus for over a year, is not an
adequate avenue for the University community to
express their true feelings about the SSRR. It is
certainly not what it is purported to be .- a step
toward making the statement a reasonable policy to
govern the students, faculty, and staff of the Uni-
On January 27, in the Pendelton Room of the
Union, proposed amendments to the SSRR will be
reviewed by a hearing panel, composed of at least
26 of the, 50 student jurors already involved in the
SSRR's disciplinary process. The student hearing
panel will consider amendments proposed by the
Michigan Student Assembly, any University ex-
ecutive, any of the student jurors, SACUA, or any
amendments accompanied by a petition with 500
signatures. Amendments which are approved by a
simple majority of the jurors will be presented to
the Board of Regents for a vote at its February
monthly meeting.
The University has created an amendment pro-
cess that leaves students in the dark. Because the
SSRR has proceeded surreptitiously from its incep-
tion, students have never had the opportunity to.
know what aspects of the SSRR need to be fixed,

and what aspects need to be scrapped. Many Free-
dom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for docu-
ments relating to cases prosecuted under the SSRR
have been repeatedly thwarted by the University,
and the SSRR's Kangaroo Court only meets be-.-
hind closed doors. Moreover, not only has this
secretive process insured that students won't be
able to amend properly the problems in the SSRR,
but allowing only amendments accompanied by
500 signatures to even be presented provides a
tremendous disincentive even for the most in-
formed student.,
In short, the University community is hindered
by a lack pf information. Only recently has any
information at all been available about how these
student jurors are trained, or many other aspects of
the Statement's inner workings. How can the ad-
ministration expect the University community to
propose reasonable alterations in the Statement,
when they have never really had the opportunity to
understand how it works at present?
Of course, even allowing for the assumption
that students will be given more information on the
history of the SSRR, this process still begs yet
another unanswered question: if all SSRR pro-
ceedings are held behind closed doors, how can the
University community rely on student jurors to
decide what amendments are worthy? Even if
Hartford and Antieau haven't made an explicit
effort to persuade student jurors, just by the fact
that two persuasive individuals, both with a pro-
SSRR bias, are in constant contact with the student
jurors indicates that there decisions on "worthy"
amendments could be called into question. Only
time will tell for certain.

As a recent Swarthmore
graduate, I have been fascinated to
witness the ways in which people in
this community have been
grappling with a problem about
which they seem to be
tremendously uninformed.
One letter to the editor (1/19/94)
suggested that President Bloom's
decision - to offer to finance a
male student's mandated semester
away from Swarthmore - is
evidence of contemporary, spineless
acquiescence to the forces of
political correctness (and implicitly
the hegemonic power of hysterical
feminism); while an editorial in the
Daily ("Out of my hair" 1/20/94)
alleged that the same president was
instead sweeping the problem of
sexual harassment under the rug,
not giving women their due, and
circumventing modern notions of
justice in favor of exercising a
totalitarian authority to rid himself
of unpleasant problems.
I would like to suggest that a
more helpful analysis can be made
of the events at Swarthmore by
considering the long and short-term
goals President Bloom may be
trying to serve. On a fundamental
level, Bloom's position entails a
commitment to the education of all
the students to matriculate at
Swarthmore. To the extent that a
student engages in behavior that
creates significant problems for
another student, the administration
has an obligation not to behave as a
completely neutral body (something
that we legitimately expect from
our courts of law) but as a body
invested in creating an environment
that is safe for all members of its
When a woman (or man) wishes
to be free from continuous attention
- whether it is intended to be of a
flattering or a frightening nature -
she should be able to express her
wish to their admirer (or stalker)
and have it respected. No women
(or men) are demanding that other
people refrain from initiating
conversation of making
introductions; people are merely
saying that if they have rebuffed a
sexual overture, and then made
explicit a request to be left alone,
their wishes should be heeded. Most
people are more than sensitive to
rejection, and after a gentle let
down, will go their merry way
without attempts to retaliate or wear
down the resistance of the person
they wish to be with.
But when, as at Swarthmore, a
woman's clear desire to be left
alone is ignored, and the man takes
Hoffer is a first-year Law student
and 1992 Swarthmore graduate.

it upon himself to let himself into
her room, rifle through all her
belongings (so that he can later
accost her and tell her that "he
knows all about her"), wait on a
bench outside the entrance to her
dormitory for hours on end, follow
her, announce the fact that they will
"be together," and in general make
it very difficult for her to simply go
about the business of being a first-
year student at a college she earned
the privilege of attending. Shouldn't
she be able to expect that the
college will recognize a duty to step
in and help resolve a conflict she
did nothing to encourage (unless
going to a party and responding to a
person who initiates what seems
like a harmless conversation is just
asking for it).
What the administration did do
was step in, and let the man in
question know that his attention
was unwanted, and as he didn't
have a right to her time or energy,
he needed to respect her wishes and
stop pestering her. It was only after
he blatantly ignored both a request
by his resident assistant, and a
demand by the Dean to leave the
woman alone, that he was brought
in front of Swarthmore's highest
judicial committee. While the
committee was split three to three
on whether to call his "attention"
sexual harassment, they did
recognize the woman's right to be
left alone, regardless, and ordered
the man to make every effort to stay
away from her. Shortly thereafter,
he blatantly ignored the
committee's demands, and moved
straight from notoriety in the sleepy
village of Swarthmore to notoriety
in the nation's headlines.
While offering to pay for a
student's semester at another school
seems at first blush to be a strange
way of punishing someone,
Swarthmore's main goal is, as it
should be, not simply to be
punitive. The woman involved in
the case just wanted to be left alone,
and not be continually punished for
having the misfortune of being
attractive to this man. Not only
would expelling the man cut all of
Swarthmore's ties to him, thus
destroying their hopes of facilitating
healthy changes in him, but the
woman involved would appear,
both to the man and many others, to
be a "hypersensitive bitch" who
ruined someone's education
because she couldn't deal with
being hit on. If he were expelled,
there would also be nothing to
prevent him from living near the
campus to continue acting on his
infatuation, and the woman would
be on her own to deal with the
problem, on her time, and with her
It is also clear that letting him

stay at Swarthmore, even if he were
to receive counseling, would not be.
sufficient. He has made it clear that
he does not care about her desire to-
be left alone, or the college's desire,
that he respect her wishes.
Swarthmore was right to suspend
him for a semester - the woman
deserves to be left alone, and it is
punitive to expel someone from a
community (even for a limited
time) that they clearly want to be a
part of. And although it is
legitimate for Swarthmore to mete
out a certain amount of punishment,
what Swarthmore should be (and is,
I am arguing) really interested in, is
creating a safe community where its
students can pursue their education
to the best of their ability.
Swarthmore has no interest in
sabotaging the man's education,
and a great interest in his returning
to Swarthmore a more mature and
responsible person, thus their
requirement that his return is
contingent on his receiving
counseling (this should not be
confused with a duty to keep him
on their campus to facilitate that
change). It is not radical to think
that a person will be more likely to
make personal, emotional, and
educational headway if they are not
just lying around, our of school,
possibly unemployed, and very
Especially since Swarthmore
already made a significant financial
commitment to his education (a full
scholarship at Swarthmore is work'
far more than $10,000 per semester)
financing his semester at a different
school is actually a fantastic way of-
increasing the odds that 1) he will
not simply loiter around
Swarthmore's campus and continue
to pose a headache for the victim of
his attention and that 2) he will
return to Swarthmore more capable
of being a positive member of the
This analysis will no doubt be
unsatisfactory to those who prefer
punishment for punishment's sake
(as long as it is absolutely, totally,
clearly, beyond a shadow of a doubt
proven that someone is guilty of a
horrific crime). Real life doesn't
work that way, however, and people
like college administrators are
forced to navigate carefully and
cautiously, and sometimes with a
great deal of creativity, through a
world full of people who are
increasingly quick to jump into
antagonistic "for me to win - you
have to lose" positions. I say
Hurrah to those willing to respect
their classmates, without creating *
additional negative repercussions
for women (and men) who have the
guts to believe that they are entitled
to their own space, and a little peace
of mind.

Dedicated to the vision of Dr. King

I wish to thank the campus and
community for a successful 1994
Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day
celebration. The events of the Sym-
posium sponsored by the Office of
the Vice Provost for Academic and
Multicultural Affairs and the many
speakers, workshops and exhibits ar-
ranged by campus units addressed the
issues that characterized and revital-

the Symposium Planning Commit-
tee, and the Committee Co-chairs
Catrina Smith, undergraduate student
in LSA and the School of Music;
Karen Downing, Associate Librar-
ian, University Library; and Ralph
Williams, Arthur F. Thurnau Profes-
sor of English.
Our gratitude is also extended to
the students who organized and par-
ticipated in the Symposium events:

velop a scheduling structure that will
allow maximum access to Sympo-
sium events.
My office is committed to creat-
ing opportunities for people to ex-
press their diverse ideologies and re-
late them to Dr. King and the ideals he
In order to accomplish this goal,
we must all work together unselfishly
to rededicate ourselves to the vision

Moralism not factor
in abortions
To the Daily:
John Schauble's letter ("PC
terms can't mask truth about
abortion," 1/21/94) was amusing, if
onlv fnr its unbridled

both society and themselves by not
having a child they don't want or
can't provide for.
Do you want to see a society
where poor and neglected children
grow up in an environment that
doesn't want them, where there's no
one to tell them that killing isn't a
mav t cMnp rnrhlpmcnr that cex

their bibles and see the real world.
You'll never need an abortion.
You don't understand how
vulnerable women (especially poor
and educated ones) are as child-
bearers and as slaves to a male-
dominated society. You don't know
what an unloved child goes through
in i n(n-...n,;rrn pmrnunmet I '.

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