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March 23, 1994 - Image 26

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-23

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Abortions added to
student insurance
Tina Cardinale is considering leaving
her university's health plan this fall
because of a $3 increase in her insurance
fees.
The extra money, of course, is not the
real issue. She is upset because the fee
increase will provide abortion coverage in
Northeastern U.'s student health plan. "I
would be opposed to paying for it even if
it was a nickel," says Cardinale, an MBA
student and a member of Northeastern
Students for Life.
Northeastern, Louisiana State U., the
U. of Florida and Florida State U. have
recently joined an increasing number of
schools which are expanding student
health insurance to include abortions.
Both moral and financial concerns have
surfaced as a result.
At Northeastern, for example, the
Women's Law Caucus spearheaded the
movement to offer students coverage for
elective abortions. The coverage began
last September, but the insurance fee
increases won't take place until this fall.
"We feel that it's part of reproductive
health care for women," says Susan
Cieutat, a third-year law student and a
member of the caucus. "The idea that a
woman should pay for it herself is a puni-
tive attitude. We don't have that type of
attitude about other medical needs that
college students have."
But opponents at Northeastern object
to paying insurance fees for a procedure
they morally oppose. "It's not the amount
that bothers me, it's what it's for that
bothers me," Cardinale says. "Paying for
something that is in my mind the act of
committing murder, that's the problem."
The same coverage has been available
to faculty and staff for almost a decade. It
will cover up to $250 for an abortion,
which would be performed off campus.
According to Planned Parenthood, an
average abortion in the first trimester
ranges from $200 to $400.
Because of the moral significance of
abortion coverage, some schools have
made more insurance options available.
At Harvard, students who object to abor-
tion can deduct the coverage from the
cost of the plan. At the U. of Florida, stu-
dents have two options: a $96-a-year plan
which only covers basic infirmary services
or a $507 comprehensive plan which
includes up to $300 abortion coverage.
But for many colleges, no moral
debates are necessary; their schools can't
afford the added cost of elective abortion
coverage. At the U. of North Florida, for
example, only about 150 out of 9,000 stu-
dents purchase the school's insurance
package, making the added coverage pro-
hibitively expensive. . Kimberly
Chrisman, The Stanford Daily,
Stanford U.
8 " U. Magaziie

he Mojave
Desert north of
Death Valley,
Calif., is not
your average
college town. There arer
no bohemian hangouts,
no ivy-covered build-
ings and no football sta-
diums amidst the vast
desert and local wildlife
- it's not the kind of
place you'd expect to
find a prestigious
college.
But that's exactly what min- Deep Springs students Noah Hammi
ing mogul Lucien L. Nunn
intended when he created
Deep Springs College in 1917. Ln route
This all-male school, located
ditions, operates on Nunn's
vision of "removing the
nation's brightest males from
the temptations and distrac- Bphil4ip . Brow
tions of civilization and pro-
viding them with an abundance of heart."
It has been described as one of the nation's most unusual
academic experiments.
Twenty-six mostly middle- and upper-middle-class mem-
bers of the nation's academic elite attend Deep Springs in
almost complete seclusion. The students possess a couple of
radios and one television that doesn't work well, but they
have discussed getting rid of even those distractions.
A strict isolation policy forbids students from leaving the
2,500 acre ranch while school is in session. Rarely, excep-
tions to the policy are granted. One student needed to have
his braces tightened every two weeks. Another wanted to
attend Catholic Mass on Sundays. They were given permis-
sion, but only after the entire student body agreed.
Attendance at the two-year college is free - all accep-
tances come with full scholarships. The only requirements:
exemplary academic achievement and a desire to transfer to
an Ivy League school.
"There's no one thing that is attractive about this col-
lege," says second-year student Hank Hancock. "The best
way to describe this place is with our name for the pro-
gram. We call it the 'Deep Springs Experience."'
As a crucial part of the experience,
students spend about 20 hours a week
doing assigned duties on the ranch
such as milking cows and pitching hay.
Hancock, a Houston resident, is
responsible for washing pots and pans.
On the rare occasion when there's free
time, he and his classmates hike and go
mountain climbing. The rest of the
time, students delve into the liberal-
studies curriculum that they help to
devise.
Hancock stays in touch with friends
from high school who went on to more
traditional schools, and he says, "I
think the education is a lot more here.
I'm more satisfied with what I'm get-
ting."
One way Deep Springs maintains
fresh ideas is by frequent faculty
turnover. The college president's term
is limited to three years and faculty Students work theranch

JOE
PE SCI
FASE BRENDAN
If you want RIYRA
a degree PATRICK
go to Harvard. DEMPSEY
JOSH
If von want H MLO

and Damon Rich help with the annual potato harvest
to the Ivy eague
ge recruits academic eite
members may stay a maximum of six.
First-year student Noah Hamm says Deep Springs places
more of an emphasis on the learning process than other
colleges. Recently, one of his teachers received a call from
an alumnus who had moved on to an Ivy League school and
complained that he couldn't get good grades unless he sim-
ply memorized material. "The problem the Deep Springs
alum was having was he was trying to learn too much,"
Hamm says. He compares that to the way Deep Springs
students are encouraged to challenge ideas: "The learning
here doesn't stop. It's not just in classes."
Pat O'Connor, dean of the college, says, "There is a cer-
tain type of psychological consciousness which brings stu-
dents here. Some want to be cowboys, some like the rural
atmosphere, some like the communitarian aspects of the
campus - and some just don't know exactly what attracts
them."
About one-third of Deep Springs' funding comes from an
endowment of $4.5 million. The other two-thirds come
from donations. "The college is substantially funded by
alumni, so alumni are very important to us," O'Connor says.
These days, though, the alumni are pushing for some rad-
ical changes at their alma mater. "A large
number of them would be very happy to
see us go co-educational." Maintaining
financial stability could cost Deep
Springs its 77-year policy of not admit-
ting women. "If not, our sources of
funding may dwindle," O'Connor says.
"As an alumnus myself, I wish this col-
lege would have been co-ed in 1975, but
I'm only one voice. This would be a
wonderful experience for both men and
Swomen."
- The Board of Trustees will decide on
the issue of co-education in May. If they
rule in favor, the first female class will be
admitted in July. Now, O'Connor says
opinion is divided on the issue. "The
grounds are really rocky among contrib-
utors and the trustees, but the campus
will live on if and when this happens," he
says. "When it happens, a new era will
20 hours aweek. begin."
APRIL 1994

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