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March 21, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 21, 1994

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board.
All other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
MSA Ballot Questions
Vote yes' on Ballot Question A

'Somebody is boring me ... I think it is me.'
-Dylan Thomas
WATCeH OvTFO: V o40ra~:
.FAL~N6I TO~b~j' 1i~flr Hoy-t
I . FA LL I N6,TOO L y L $ rr H o y t
i GC

M ichigan Student Assembly (MSA)
President Craig Greenberg and Vice
President Brian Kight have proposed a new
All-Campus Constitution, to appear on to-
morrow's and Wednesday's ballot as Ques-
tion A. Addressing flaws in the current sys-
tem, as well as proposing structural changes,
the new constitution, if voted in, promises a
more effective, consistent and operative
environment for future MSA leaders. There-
fore, we support a YES vote on Question A.
One of the issues stressed is committee-
commission reform; if passed, commissions
and select committees would no longer be
enumerated by the constitution, but rather
assembly members would have the power
- by a'two-thirds vote - to form new
committees or dispense of old ones when
needed. This would give MSA members
more flexibility, as they would be able to
continually modify committees in response
to changing times, needs and issues.
The new constitution also focuses on
elongating terms of office for judiciary
branch officers and committee chairs. Cur-
rently Central Student Judiciary justices only
serve for one year, but under the new consti-
tution, they would serve until they graduate
or resign. Similarly, the current half-year
terms served by committee chairs would be
extended to a year. Both of these changes are
intended to give MSA more stability and
consistency - and less pressure to conform
Vote 'yes' on Ballot Questio
n the hierarchy of rights, representation
stands near the top; a community can
never be wholly functional without a mecha-
nism to ensure that the individuals within
that community have an adequate say in the
policies and laws governing them. For Uni-
versity students, this most basic right does
not exist.
The Board of Regents consists of eight
members, popularly elected by the voters in
the state of Michigan. This, of course, makes
perfect sense, as the University is a public
institution supported by taxpayer dollars. A
problem arises, however, as many of the
ordinances and rules laid down by the re-
gents (the code, for instance) directly and
tangibly effect not Michigan taxpayers, but
University students.
Many University students don't vote in
Michigan. It doesn't take a political scientist
to see the problems that this system creates
Vote 'no'on Questions C,D
The issue of tuition waivers for MSA
leaders has boiled in the waters of con-
troversy since its inception in January. Two
months ago, MSA President Craig Greenberg
announced that both he and Vice President
Brian Kight would each receive waivers of
$2,500 a term beginning this semester. As
expected, the student body, the Daily and
other MSA members strongly voiced their
opinions, both for and against tuition waiv-
ers. The resolution of this controversy is
both democratic and complicated: there will
be four questions concerning tuition waiv-
ers on the MSA election ballots this Tues-
day and Wednesday.
The first question, Question C, asks
whether the current All-Campus Constitu-
tion - the governing constitution for MSA
- should be amended. The amendment
under Question C would delete from the
Constitution a clause that makes it illegal for
MSA leaders to be given salaries; further-
more, it would add a clause stating that it is

within MSA's powers and functions to "pro-
vide for, or to arrange for the provision of
tuition waivers, scholarships, salaries..." for
MSA officers. We urge students to vote NO
on this question for the sole fact that it would
give MSA too much explicit power. This
amendment would make it possible for a
majority of MSA to approve funding for any
MSA member for any reason - leaving
nothing to interpretation. The amendment
therefore goes beyond the idea of tuition


to the political tides of MSA. As the system
presently stands, officials have little time to
become accustomed to their positions be-
fore they have to give them up to incoming
officers; this results in an inefficient system
in which officers are always in transition,
lacking the needed time in which to gain
experience and to become expert in their
Finally, the new constitution would lift
the ban on MSA members receiving finan-
cial support. This change is critical, as it
would allow MSA leaders to be compen-
sated for the enormous time spent working
on the Assembly. Recently, the appropri-
ateness of tuition waivers has been fiercely
debated. Passage of the new Constitution
would allow MSA to vote on whether or not
they should fund themselves - this allow-
ance is critical because should the adminis-
tration back out of plans to support student
leaders, MSA would have a mechanism to
do so.
These changes in the constitution come
at an important time, one in which it is
critical that MSA becomes stronger, more
effective and more responsive to student
needs. As the elections draw near, we hope
to see a revived interest on behalf of candi-
dates and students. Hopefully, this revamp-
ing of what has been a confusing and often
restricting structure will spawn improve-
ment in the process and the future of MSA.
n B
for the student body.
A YES vote on ballot question B -
which asks if a student, elected by the stu-
dent body, should sit "on the Board of
Regents in at least a non-voting capacity"
- would make it clear that the status quo is
no longer acceptable. The ballot question is
not binding, and it does not create a student
regent (only a change in the Michigan Con-
stitution could do so). It is, however, a
powerful survey of student awareness and
A non-voting student regent is an idea
that has made it on to the platform of the
Michigan Party; it is an idea that Vice Presi-
dent for Student Affairs Maureen Hartford
has expressed interest in and support for;
and lastly, it is an idea that several regents
have taken to warmly. Don't allow the
underrepresentation to continue: vote yes
on ballot question B.
and E; 'yes' on F
hand, allows MSA to pay themselves at
their own discretion.
Questions D and E also concern tuition
waivers. Question D asks if a "fund or
program" should be established to provide
scholarships and/or tuition waivers to the
president and vice president. Question E
asks whether money for tuition waivers
should come directly from the University.
Both questions are loaded with vagueness
and ambiguity. What constitutes a "fund or
program?" Is direct money from the admin-
istration a "program?" And what does MSA
mean by "directly from the University"?
This could be interpreted to be a salary from
the administration, or a separate endow-
ment fund to support student leadership.
While we support the idea of an endowment
fund, Question E is too vague to support.
Because these questions are not clear in
their wording and may be used to students'
disadvantage, we urge students to vote NO
on Questions D and E.

Finally, Question F asks if executive
officers of MSA should receive financial
compensation. We believe they should -
under the specific conditions described
above - and thereby advocate voting YES
on Question F.
Many MSA leaders do indeed put in
countless hours that take away from their
ability to work part-time jobs. Because of
this, financially-strapped students may avoid
running for MSA due to financial concerns

Masturbation column
in bad taste
To the Daily:
I have always given the
Daily the benefit of the doubt
- reading it during lunch
has been a ritual for me since
September, and often I find it
entertaining and informative.
This past Friday, however, I
believe one of your writers,
Jeremy Katz (Coming of
Age, 3/11), went over the
Freedom of expression
and taking a risk to be
humorous are one thing, but
Mr. Katz's discourse on the
benefits of masturbation was
appalling and a disgrace to
both the Daily and men
everywhere. Not only should
he have stopped while he
was ahead (I admit the article
originally caught my eye and
I even snickered in the early
going) but should have
drawn the line between wit
and obnoxious, smug humor
that goes too far.
Most importantly, I hope
Mr. Katz realizes that unlike
himself, the majority to
healthy young men at the
University have better things
to do than slap the salami on
an idle Friday night. And
exactly where did he get
those percentages of males
and females that allegedly
masturbate, anyway? Just
LSA first-year student
What will we call the
To the Daily:
What will we call the
UGLi when the renovations
render it an attractive
building? For so many years,
the Undergraduate Library
has beared testimony to the
intellect and quick wit of the
University's student
community. Not only do we
save valuable time by
abbreviating the
Undergraduate Library's
title, we create a clever pun
in the process. But now that
the University has decided to
beautify the UGLi, we face
an ethical dilemma: can we,
in good conscience refer to
an impressive piece of
architecture as "ugly"? What
will happen to the
cohesiveness of Ann Arbor's
scholarly community if we
stop calling the UGLi "the
ugly"? Will a wedge develop
in future years between the
older alums, who used the
term "the ugly," and the
younger alums, who adapted
their terminology? By
reconciling our moral/
linguistic dilemma, are we
initiating further difficulties?

Does the construction of a
better Undergraduate Library

One hundred years from
now, during summer
orientation, a group of
incoming students, led by a
guide, will be given a tour of
the campus. Upon
approaching the
Undergraduate Library, the
guide will say, "And this is
the Undergraduate Library
or, as we call it, 'the
After staring at the
building, an incoming
student will ask, "Why do
you call it 'the ugly'?"
And, after a few tense
moments of silence, the
guide will respond, "I don't
LSA senior
Over Kalt's head
To the Daily:
I am writing in response
to Brian Kalt's March 14
column, ostensibly on
George Orwell's 1984. This
piece is, to be blunt, idiotic
from start to finish.
He begins by telling us, "I
liked 1984." Thank you,
Siskel and Ebert, as if
anyone cares what your
opinion of it is. Orwell
hardly needs Kalt's
endorsement to find readers.
He then follows this up with
an even more earth-
shattering bit of criticism,
"All that Big Brother stuff
was sort of interesting ..."
What does that mean, it gets
six out of 10? You had to
skim past the more difficult
passages? Couldn't find the
Cliff's Notes? It wasn't as
good as Terminator 2?
And then he goes
spinning off on a tirade
against the rest of the world,
generalizations armed and
ready. Orwell, of course, is
never mentioned again,
probably because Mr. Kalt
realized that the opening has
nothing to do with the rest of
the column. Yes, 1984 is
quite relevant to our own
time and place, but it doesn't
need people like Kalt to
speak for it. Certainly no one
who uses words like
"gazillion," "doofuses" and
"screwed big time"~ in a
supposedly serious column.
First we begin with a
lament over the United
States' need for enemies.
Then, suddenly, the problem
is that Americans support
presidents who look tough.
No, wait, they're just
ignorant. But then, if you're
going to fight a war you
should win it. And don't
forget to support the troops,
like I did. But at least there's
no draft. "The U.S.
government will never stop
redirecting its favors
overnight and sending
Americans off to die in
countries they have never
heard of." I won't even try to

decipher "redirecting its

Any link to 1984 is
completely lost. And the
writing of the piece makes it
virtually unreadable; it is
unfocused, rambling and
In the future, please leave
real writers like George
Orwell alone and stick to
something you can deal with
LSA junior

Why St. Patrick's Day?
To the Daily:
On the front page of
yesterday's Daily, students
were quotedsaying they did
not know why St. Patrick's
day is celebrated. St.
Patrick's day, like Passover,
is a celebration of freedom
and pride in one's identity.
The Irish people were subject
to oppressive English rule for
centuries, during which their
language, customs and
religion were not recognized
as legitimate. Movements for
Irish self-determination were
violently suppressed. Many
people were put to death
simply for wearing the color
green as a symbol of
resistance and Irish identity.
In this country, Irish
immigrants organized St.
Patrick's day celebrations in
reaction to the prejudice they
found here. Fortunately that
prejudice is all but gone now
and the holiday is a happy
Death tolls understated
To the Daily:
Sam Dudek began his
article "Holocaust Victims
Recalled in Diag Vigil" with
a shocking figure. He stated
that "six million people
perished during the
Holocaust." This is a
shocking and tragic piece of
history but it is also wrong.
There were six million Jews
murdered in the Holocaust by
the Nazis but also six million
Poles, mental and physical
"incompetents," Gypsies,
homosexuals, Soviet
Prisoners of War, and
Communists, among others.
The inaccuracy of the
article did two things which
discredit the entire
newspaper. First, it revealed
a shortcoming both in the
research of the article as well
as the editing that is
distressing.,Second, the
statement undermines the
very intention of the article.
The Holocaust victims were
not recalled, they were
forgotten. Alan Poliky was
quoted as saying that the
vigil was intended "to make
sure nobody forgets exactly
what happened." If the Daily
article is any indication, it

only three
Here's my favorite pet peeve. A
class that meets three hours a week,
and has two midterms, a final, a
fifteen-page term paper and two
hundred pages of reading every week
is worth three credits. A class that
meets four hours a week, and
requires a final, no papers and twenty
pages of reading every week is worth
four credits. After being annoyed by
this fact for a year or two, I decided
to e-mail to some University
administrators about it. Here are my
two favorite responses.
Dean Edie Goldenberg: "I think
this entire area of course loads and
credits need~s] our continuing
attention and we're still actively
discussing these matters in the
Philip Gorman: "So far as the
[LSA Curriculum] Committee is
concerned, the matter is settled -
I've seen nothing to indicate they
have any desire to revisit the
Hmmm, what's wrong with this
Let's take a few steps back. Here
is what Mr. Gorman, a polite,
efficient fellow, told me about the
LSA credit allocation policy:
"Rather than try to make some
estimate about how much work was
really involved for students enrolled
in the class (a nearly impossible
task, given the number of classes,
the variety of assignments, differing
student abilities, attitudes, and
interests in doing the work, etc.), the
College decided to base the decision
on the amount of work done by the
INSTRUCTOR instead." In other
words gentle readers, YOU don't
have to do anything to get your
degree; your diploma indicates that
your instructors (all presumably
interchangeable)worked on you for
1560 hours. Gorman admits that this
method is "imprecise and
It didn't used to be this way.
Many years ago, the faculty went on
record as supporting a course-based
system - a class would be worth a
class, not three or four credits. The
administration chose instead to allow
departments to make their harder,
upper-level classes four credits
instead of three. Only two
departments, political science and
history, bothered to do this. Then,
over the summer of 1991, LSA
forced the political science and
history departments to stop this
When upper-level history and
political science classes had their
credits reduced, few of them reduced
their course requirements. Nor
should they have. Last winter I took
History 582, American
Constitutional Law History.
Although it was reduced to three
credits, it still literally required more
work than my other three classes,
worth ten credits, combined. It was
a damn good class, well worth the

effort, but I feel that I earned four,
not three credits for it. Students
should not be penalized for taking
challenging classes, they should be
rewarded for it.
With all due respect, Mr.
Gorman, it is not "a nearly
impossible task" to determine how
much work is "really involved for
students." It's really quite simple.
Every student in any class has to do
the same assignments and take the
same exams as everyone else in the
class. Professors know when classes
ask more of students than usual; just
ask them for some input.
I saved the best e-mail for last;
President Duderstadt wrote me that
"three credits ... is the norm at most
universities. Further, at most
universities, five courses per term is
the norm." Golly, President
Duderstadt, if every other university
president jumped off of a bridge,
would you? Five classes per term
isn't "the norm" here. As a proud
history major, I tell you on good
~-..t«.a. 1- -n . -







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