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April 13, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-04-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 13, 1994

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'They completely Ignored all the rules, but they didn't know
any better.'
-MSA Representative Meg Whittaker, commenting on the Central Student
Judiciary's actions regarding the new MSA constitution

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

Editor in Chief
FuNr WAmEss
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.



19:141 ji 0 9: 1 * ITA I VA


..w Iin.l .. ib..


Keeping tabs on the code
'U' must release full information, not summaries

A rcdMooNc r jFAT If
- r

espite spurious claims that it is only
following the law, the University con-
tinues to operate in violation of its own
Statement of Student Rights and Responsi-
bilities. This week, the University finally
released information regarding cases brought
under this code of non-academic conduct.
However, the University's case summaries
- released in place of the full records the
University pulled from the public last month
- are so incomplete that students are still
unable to evaluate any actions taken by the
The code itself states that "records will
be maintained in such a way that data on
violations of this policy are easily available
to the public." The University pulled all
information on cases heard under the code
out of public view last month, only to re-
release the information - in a severely
abbreviated version -on Monday. In doing
so, University officials smugly believe that
they have fulfilled both the letter and the
spirit of the law. They have done neither.
The abbreviated case summaries give little
information, and cannot assist the public in
its evaluation of the code.
The University claims that it is releasing
the code records in this form to comply with
the Family Education Rights and Privacy
Act (FERPA). This is simply not true.
FERPA applies to academic records, and
leaves open to interpretation any records
regarding non-academic conduct, such as
records of code cases. This was proven
when the University of Georgia lost a law-
suit for records of proceedings held under its
student conduct code. The ruling clearly
stated that FERPA applies only to academic
records, not records in cases governed by
codes of non-academic conduct. The con-

clusion to be drawn from this ruling is if the
University takes on the responsibility of
administering a code covering non-academic
conduct, it must also take responsibility for
leaving the records open for public scrutiny.
The Michigan Freedom of Information
Act requires the University to release origi-
nal documents pertaining to disciplinary
codes, not the "summaries" the University
is currently releasing to the public. Univer-
sity officials may protect the privacy of
students involved in these cases by blacken-
ing out identifying sections of the original
documents - the procedure that the Office
of Student Affairs previously used. Instead,
the University has chosen to completely
rewrite and summarize all cases, which ef-
fectively gives administrators the leeway to
edit anything that may cause students to
criticize the code. While there is currently
little reason to believe this would happen,
the new format would easily allow this type
of tampering.
The code is the most important and sweep-
ing document covering student conduct at
the University. The University itself has
asked for student input on, and amendments
to, the code.
However, the new format the adminis-
tration has chosen for releasing information
on the code cases does not give students
enough information to evaluate the code's
procedures and decisions. This is clearly a
violation of the Michigan Freedom of Infor-
mation Act, and FERPA does not provide
the legal backup the University claims it
does. The University can and must release
the information regarding code cases. Stu-
dents must have full information, so that
they can accurately keep tabs on the code
governing their conduct.


misrepresents facts
regarding LSA honor
To the Daly:
The headline for your
editorial of April 7, 1994
incorrectly states
"Committee recommends
LSA honor code" and then
goes on to criticize the
Committee for doing so. In
fact, the Daily and this LSA
committee are in agreement
that an honor code is not the
most appropriate response to
address concerns of
academic freedom within
LSA. Our report states:
"Rather than attempt to
establish a rigid honor code
system, which we do not
think would work effectively
for LSA, we recommend an
aggressive, visible
educational effort..."
This committee of faculty
and students met this year to
review the LSA Academic
Judiciary and consider how
best to address issues of
academic integrity. The
Committee has
recommended that the
College give more attention
and discussion to issues of
academic integrity, that
students be made aware of
definitions of cheating and
plagiarism and that faculty
give clearer guidelines about
collaboration when assigning
group projects and take-

home exams. It also
suggested a number of ways
to improve upon the existing
process of adjudicating
charges of cheating so that it
is less formidable and more
The committee has also
made the report available to
LSA faculty and to LSA
Student Government for
comments and suggestions.
Even though your editorial
headline got the story wrong,
we welcome the Daily's
interest in bringing attention
to the issue of academic
integrity and hope that you
will be a partner in helping
to educate students about this
issue's importance. We just
ask that you be more careful
in reporting the Committee's
LSA Assistant Dean for
Undergraduate Education
Keep campus
To the Daily:
Thousands of people,
staff, students and visitors,
walk and otherwise travel
around campus, so the visual
state of the surroundings is
very important. Spring
brings not just warmth and
singing birds, but other less
welcome visitors to the Diag.
The melting snow uncovered
months of candy wrappers,
old flyers and other assorted
junk, and this is joined daily
by a new batch of litter.

Students and other users
throw at least three big bags
full of trash on the diag every
day when the weather is nice,
and this doesn't include the
added mess of ongoing
University grounds crew
is responsible for keeping.
outdoor areas of campus tidy
and attractive. Picking litter
is just part of that job, and as
a grounds student employee I
expect to do a certain amount
of cleaning up trash dropped
or blown on to the diag.
However there are many
other things I'd rather be
doing, and it seems employee
hours and our tuition money
could be spent on better
things if there were a few
less Snickers wrappers,
Daily's and doggy-doos
strewn all over.
Grass needs to be
reseeded, and flower beds
planted, weeds hoed, and
many other tasks need to be
done, all on a limited budget.
Sunshine may be free, but
not much else is, and that
includes an attractive campus
atmosphere, one that YOU
are helping to pay for. As
you enjoy the great weather
while on campus, please give
these ideas just a moment of
thought and effort. Please
don't litter.
SNRE senior

ahead with
the U.S.
We're pulling out of Somalia,
right? But we're getting ready to
bomb Bosnia and doubling our
forces in Macedonia, OK? We
need a "peace dividend" today
for health care and of course we
have to save somewhere to reduce
the deficit. But if we cut the armed
forces we'll get instant
unemployment, they say; and the
Pentagon warns that it's a jungle
out there and we have to be ready
to fight two wars at once. So what
do we do?
What we do is certainly not
going to be easy, and is probably
going to be painful. Most of the
comments above are true, but they
look at the wrong questions. The
right question may be: what do
American armed forces need to
do, and how big must they be to
do it? Let's take a look at that
first, and then see what the price
tag comes to.
First, most would agree that
the general missions of our armed
forces are to defend this country,
to protect national interests
worldwide, to ensure domestic
order, and to support U.N.
operations. So what are our armed
forces now organized to do? Nuke
and destroy Russia and China in
a few hours, and also be ready on
short notice to fight two
nonnuclear regional wars at the
same time: anybody, anywhere,
at any time. That's a tall order,
and it requires something like our
present strength: 1.7 million
troops with the best of everything,
ready and able to move fast. It
costs about $300 billion a year.
Maybe we can cut some troops
and save some money, but not
much; not if we want to be able to
do those things. But do we want
to destroy Russia and China? Do
they want to destroy us? Are we
not missing a great opportunity
for mutual assured disarmament?
We may still need a second-strike
nuclear force, secure from anyone
else's first strike and strong
enough to deter anyone from
hitting us; maybe just enough
warheads to cripple either Russia
or China. And what about those
two simultaneous regional wars?
Is that for real? Just one war in
Korea, then one in Vietnam and
recently one in the Persian gulf
each strained us to the limit; we
had to go begging each time for
allies to help us out. And are
those expensive readiness
requirements of the Cold War
still for real? Is instant military

response just another way of
saying, "Shoot first, ask questions
later?" Do we want that?
So if general nuclear war, two
simultaneous regional wars and
instant readiness are now
questionable goals, what goals
are more realistic in a world
without superpowers? Minimum
nuclear deterrence and the ability
to fight one regional war with the
help of allies seems about right,
and we don't have to be ready to
fight in two hours, wither. So
what armed forces do we need?
On this, the arguing has gone on
since 1989, with no clear results
and so very little reduction in
forces. Try this:
* Army - from 14 divisions
to four, with eight more in the
- Air Force - from 16 to six
tactical wings, with 12 more in
the reserves, plus 100
intercontinental ballistic missiles.
" Navy - from 450 ships to
200, including four aircraft



Injustice in Singapore
Flogging is a violation of international human rights

M icheal Fay is an 18 year-old U.S. citi-
zen visiting his mother and stepfather
in Singapore. Last October, Fay pleaded
guilty to vandalism of cars with spray paint
and eggs - a minor crime in the United
States. In most civilized countries, the pun-
ishment "fits" the crime. Not so in Singapore.
Under Singapore's dictatorship, Fay was
sentenced to four months in prison, a fine of
$2,215 and a flogging - a mandartory pun-
ishment for vandalism in Singapore.
Soon, Fay, after having completed his
prison sentence and paid his fine, will be
bound naked and lashed repeatedly with a
rattan cane - a procedure that will most
likely leave permanent scars. Typically, the
pain is so excruciating that the victim goes
unconscious before its completion. Not to
worry, though - a doctor will stand by in
order to prevent Fay from going uncon-
scious, to ensure that he experiences the full
effect of his punishment.
Alone, the combination prison sentence
and fine is a harsh - although lawful -
punishment for the minor crime of vandal-
ism. However, the flogging, as it involves
the infliction of intense and psychologically
damaging pain for purposes of punishment,
is, by definition, torture..
Torture is an inhumane form of punish-
ment that no state or government should
have the right to inflict on any human being,
whether citizen or foreigner. Freedom from
torture is a fundamental right that transcends
political boundaries. Recognizing this, the
United Nations has established a "Conven-
tion Against Torture" applicable to all civi-
lized nations which states: "no circumstances
whatever may be invoked as justification for
torture ..." Singapore, by promoting flog-
ging as an acceptable form of punishment, is

A state which endows its government
with the ability to torture, however, is a state
of very restricted freedom. In Singapore, in
order to curtail crime, Fay will suffer at the
hands of the government. Ironically, under
the pretense of freedom from crime, citi-
zens enable the government to commit a
crime arguably worse than the crime being
punished - as evidenced by this case. In a
society where the individual is sacrificed
for the government, there is little room for
freedom, be it freedom from crime or free-
dom from torture.
Unfortunately, the United States cannot
stop Singapore's infraction of morality. Nor
can it feasibly stop Singapore's gross viola-
tion international law and human dignity.
The U.S. government will do little more
than it already has - a letter on Clinton's
behalf asking for an unlikely clemency. The
U.S. government cannot start a war over this
issue, nor will it impose economic sanc-
tions. The sad truth of the matter is that in
the face of this gross torture, the United
States can do little but stand by and watch.
Furthermore, Fay is only one victim. He
is only one of thousands of annual flogging
victims in Singapore. His torture is just one
symptom of a systemic problem, a blatant
human rights violation that is recognized
not as torture, but as acceptable punishment
in the name of protecting citizens from such
horrific problems as graffiti.
This crime against humanity must be
stopped, and the burden is on the United
The Clinton administration should con-
demn this flogging in the strongest manner
possible, and the public should join in iso-
lating Singapore and its goods from the
world community. Americans have the abil-

!' !'I !oJI[e~

Stay out of
As Americans, we c
would like to assume that di
every country is going to e
hold the same values that ar
we as a Western country
hold. Singapore's decision c
last month, to sentence O
Micheal Fay to six lashes st
with a cane for vandalism, w
does indeed soundasm
extreme by our standards. cr
However, Singapore is m
not, nor has ever ai
presumed to be, a Western th
country. fr
If the issue is ri
international standards for el
the treatment of accused dc
criminals, people will a
argue that the judicial or
system of Singapore must pl
be violating some
international norm of u
penal behavior. Caning, ni
along with flogging and b
beating, is defined as se
corporal punishment by th
the United Nations, of o
which Singapore is a e
member. le
However, there are no F
international agreements a
that foral nly toa n-nrnrn 1

pecifically - cites a
ountry's right to self-
etermination in
stablishing its cultural
nd social values.
As a non-Western
ountry, Singapore has its
wn set of beliefs And
andards that have
vorked very well for that
cuntry. Singapore views
rime as something that
gust be dealt with sharply
nd severely. In its eyes,
e benefits of a crime-
ee society outweigh the
ghts of criminal
ements. It has chosen to
eal with crime severely,
nd it shows: Singapore is
ne of the safest, cleanest
laces in the world.
It is completely
understandable and
ormal for Americans to
e shocked at Mr. Fay's
entence and be vocal over
eir disapproval. It is, in
iur view, cruel and
xcessive. Asking for
niency on grounds that
ay is a foreigner, and not
ccustomed to such a strict


foreign governments,
especially when the United
States is in no way a role
model in human rights and
equality - as a mild
example, corporal
punishment in the form of
paddling was executed on
approximately 500,000
students in American
public schools last year.
Furthermore, it is
discriminatory for the
United States to say that
our Western standard of
justice is better or more
ethical than Singapore's.
To draw a parallel,
would it be proper for the
Japanese government to
demand that the Louisiana
man acquitted of shooting
a Japanese foreign
exchange student in his
garage be convicted of
murder? American values
allow killing in self-
defense. But in Japan,
where gun ownership is
unheard of, citizens could
not understand how we
could acquit a man who
had killed another.



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