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November 08, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-08

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 8, 1994

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

Jessie Halladay
Editor in Chief
Samuel Goodstein
Flint Wainess

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.

'We are close. We are not going to lose the House,
and we are not going to lose the Senate if people
come out to vote.'
--Democratic Party advisor Tony Coehlo on today's midterm elections
' r
% Il m n m m im m ,.. ShY

Crime and punishment
Misdemeanors to be replaced by civil offenses

O n this campus, a student can receive 10 to
60 days imprisonment, a fine not more
than $50, or both for an offense as minor as
skateboarding. A new proposal to the Board of
Regents would change this by lowering sev-
eral misdemeanors -criminal offenses -to
civil infractions, the equivalent of a speeding
ticket. Instead of the current harsh punish-
ments, the consequences of these offenses
would be a fine of up to $50. The Board of
Regents should approve this proposal for sev-
eral reasons.
First, it would take the burden off of the
Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office and
give the responsibility to the Department of
Public Safety. As a criminal offense, each case
has to be seen in court. Excessive paperwork
is generated, and this process serves only to
add yet another layer of bureaucracy. The
number of misdemeanors that come through
the overburdened Prosecutor's Office does
not seem justified by the seriousness of the
Nor does the law have a legitimate basis for
remaining in place. The ordinance is based on
anobscure 1905 statute. After almost90years,
it is time to reevaluate the effectiveness of the
law. A committee did just that for one year
prior to making this proposal. After examin-
ing how the ordinance works it was decided
that new proposal would be more effective.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, crimes
wouldbe easier to prove as civil offenses rather
than as criminal misdemeanors. One major
concern of this proposed change is that the lax
punishments will encourage students to violate
the law more often. However, the Prosecutor's
Office believes that DPS will write as many
tickets as they do now. The difference would
be that students are not subjected to jail time. In
addition, a civil offense does not go on an
individual's permanent record.
Minor violations which no one considers
truly criminal do not need to stay with a person
throughout life. A criminal record seems ri-
diculously extreme for having a pet without a
leash, or a pet in an area where pets are not
allowed. Or, for that matter, littering on cam-
pus, improper sales and solicitations and skate-
board riding. Disorderly conduct - a broad
category - and alcohol possession and con-
sumption are also included.
Stringent punishments only serve to sup-
port an outdated system. The consequences are
far too austere for the circumstances. Paper-
work and bureaucracy are piled high. It is
virtually impossible for a student to get a fair
punishment in the current system. With the
new proposal in place the system will be more
efficient and more fair for all those involved.
Certainly students do not need to be treated as
hardened criminals.

Investigation of the serial rapist breeds fear

To the Daily:
As a black male student on
the University of Michigan
campus and a concerned citi-
zen, I was staggered by the
revelation in Frank C. Lee's
article in Monday's Daily (10/
31/94) that there were 500 po-
tential suspects targeted for
investigation as the serial rap-
ist. I sincerely hope that Mr.
Lee got his statistics wrong,
and I hope that the Ann Arbor
Police Department has soundly
chastised him, if indeed this is
not a true indication of how the
investigation is proceeding.
Five-hundred black suspects,
and I emphasize black suspects
since this is the information we
are being told, would almost
cover all the black males at the
University, not to mention
black males who purportedly
fit the printed description -- a
description I might add that
keeps changing. I do not wish
to suggest that the rapist is a
University of Michigan stu-
dent, but five-hundred sus-
pects, of which two-hundred
have been cleared is a very
large number and says some-
thing about how numbers are
used to reassure us that some-
thing is being done. Is anyone
supposed to feel secure in the
knowledge that 500 black
males are viewed as rape sus-
pects? This is tantamount to
saying that the police have no

suspects and casts a net of fear,
paranoia and racial mistrust
over the entire city. Are women
really supposed to feel relieved
that all light skinned black
males of a certain height and
weight are suspect? Is the black
community, small as it is, sup-
posed to just lookthe other way
while 500men are underinves-
tigation? I think not.
I have watched this scenario
develop over the past months
with a growing sense of trepi-
dation, paranoia and fear. Our
entire community is gripped by
fearand suspicion. I have stifled
my own fears and tried to stay
on task with my studies and
continue to have some kind of
life. But 500 black males, of a
certain height and weight are
targeted for investigation and
are, were, potential suspects. If
this is really going on and two-
hundred have already been
questioned and sent on their
way, then this method of con-
ducting a thorough investiga-
tion is beginning to sound like
persecution and everyone in the
community should be on guard.
Who are these men? How are
they being targeted? What ques-
tions are they being asked?
What happens if they are not
cooperative or don't have the
money or resources to defend
themselves? Are they being
tested to see if their DNA
matches the rapist? Will every-
one breathe a sigh of relief once

someone is formally charged?
Will rape still be crime or will
everyone just go back to a nice
peaceful sleep? This is a dan-
gerous situation.
There is a heinous criminal
in our midst, who visits on us
his predatory instincts. Are the
police retaliating by rounding
up 500 black suspects? The
usual suspects? The women
who have been victimized by
this fiend deserve to know, as
well as the rest of us, that the
police are doing their job. But
500 suspects is not a reassuring
statistic. It is frightening. It is
frightening because if the po-
lice, in their efforts to catch this
criminal, exacerbate the situa-
tion by further creating an at-
mosphere whereby a consider-
able portion of one community
is now systematically being
singled out and rounded up,
everyone loses. For men and
women alike, blacks and
whites, there is no comfort for
anyone in knowing that 500
black men and possible more
are slowly being sifted through
the criminal justice system to
ferret out the rapist. I sincerely
hope that each and everyone of
us will monitor this situation
and ourselves carefully before
we know it led to a period of
racial hostility and open con-
Steven Rabinowitz
University student

Parking problems
University punishes students for lack ofparking

Fear of a
election day
Most Americans eagerly await
election day. After tonight, they'll
finally be able to watch television in
Just about any commercial is bet-
ter than some of the political ads
besieging us this fall in Michigan.
Every time I watch Spence Abraham
pick up his kid and then go on to
attack programs which benefit chil-
dren, I switch channels in a desper-
ate attempt to find the guy who's
been in Antarctica while Reggie
Miller was buying Wheaties (you
know which one I mean).
More frightening than Abraham,
however, is our short memory. Re-
publican candidates across the county
are sliding into office on platforms
that would make Ronald Reagan
proud. We seem to have forgotten
the deficit, the cuts in social pro-
grams, the intolerance and the hy-
pocrisyofthe 1980s.Theentire coun-
try now "does not recall" Iran-Contra.
Our memory has slipped so far,
in fact, that Oliver North could be
sitting in the Senate a few months
from now. Larry Sabato, a professor
of government at the University of
Virginia, puts it bluntly: "What's
unusual about this race is that North
is a convicted felon."
But it seems that all's fair in love,
war and family values.
Especially in North's case, the
issue is no longer economics, or de-
fense,orcivil liberties.His raceepito-
mizes what has become a battle for
America'ssoul: aculturalwarwhich
pits Fundamentalist Christian con-
servatives against more progressive
James Hunter, author of"Culture
Wars," compares the two groups'
differences to the ideological con-
flicts of the Civil War: eachcomes to
the battle with unbending ideas about
"the meaning of life (and) right and
wrong." Even the Republican party
feels the strain, trying, to mediate
between its more mainstream wing
and this new Moral Majority. Politi-
cians like North may mention eco-
nomic issues, but their basic cultural
message frightens even some eco-
nomic conservatives and libertarians.
At a rally in Virginia recently,
North held a copy of the Bible aloft.
"I'm now 51, and this is the only
book I've ever read cover to cover
more than once," he said. "What we
have here is an opportunity ... to
restore those biblical values in which
(the nation's founders) believed so
strongly."'Earlier, he attacked social
programs such as the Great Society,
saying that people should instead
turn to "the Creator" and the Bible's
Not only has North forgotten
Christ's compassion for the poor,

but it now appears that the down-
trodden should look to God for free
handouts. He also forgets that the
majority of the nation's founders
weren't Christians, but fairly non-
religious Deists. But it's an appeal
that draws cheers every time, true or
not. As the Church Lady would say,
"How conveeeeenient."
Growing up in Irving, Texas in
the 1980s, I was 10 before I knew
that 'taxandspendDemocrat" wasn't
one word. (I had similar trouble with
"thoselibearlsinCongress.") What's
more frightening is the cultural world
I lived in: before I left for college in
Chicago, I had never met a Jewish
person, or a Hindu, or a Muslim. I
had never met a feminist or another
moderate or liberal my age. My class-
mates argued that all gay people
should be quarantined to stop the
spread of AIDS, and agay teacher of
mine was fired. The Fundamentalist
Christians I went to school with were
even convinced that Catholics were
not true Christians.

0ne of the worst aspects of Ann Arbor life
is parking. It is a problem anytime, any-
where. Parking in parking lots, metered spots,
garages, on side streets - parking is a never-
ending hassle. Space is scarce during business
hours, school hours, athletic events, evenings
and weekends.
However, the University's methods ofdeal-
ing with this problem are startlingly uncoop-
erative. University staff members have to pay
exorbitant yearly parking rates in order to
receive a parking space sometimes far from
the building where they work. Students barely
have a chance at any type of parking space -
even commuters end up in ridiculous parking
situations. Many drivers are left to take their
chances finding a metered spot, and quite
possibly finding a meter maid as well.
The difficulty extends to North Campus.
Last month commuters who park in the Gla-
cier Way commuter lot discovered that their
spots had been taken by employees of the VA
Hospital. With atypical lackofcommon sense,
the University sold the same parking spots to
both VA employees and commuters.
To further aggravate the situation, the Uni-
versity ticketed the displaced commuters for
parking on the grass. Grievances were made
through appropriate channels, and the Univer-
sity agreed not to ticket the commuters for
parking on the grass in the Glacier Way com-
muter lot. However, the next time the com-
muters needed a place to park, they found that
the grass had been painted over with orange
"No parking" signs, a childish response for
such a prestigious institution with plentiful
resources. Meanwhile the Hayward and

Hubbard lots -lots that are closer to student
buildings than other parking locations -were
sitting empty.
With some prodding, the University relo-
cated the VA employees to the Hayward and
Hubbard lots. This solution is better than noth-
ing. However, it would make more sense to put
the VA employees in the Glacier Way lot,
closer to their workplace. Then the commuters
could use the Hayward and Hubbard lots, bring-
ing the students much closer to their classes. In
this scenario, an entire bus route would be
eliminated - there would be no need for it.
And, more importantly, it would increase safety
by cutting out a 20-minute walk, often in the
As if the parking atrocities on North Cam-
pus are not enough, the University is proposing
to raise its ticket rates. An expired meter ticket
will go from $3 to $10. The proposed fee is
twice that of the city's current rate, and more
than threetimes the University's current charge.
Other parking violations will be double the
current University rate - from $10 to $20.
These new penalties will only result in the
University making more money off of stu-
dents, who are in a bad position when it comes
to parking to begin with. It will do nothing to
solve the current parking problems.
After all, students are not just parking on
University property to hang out and take up
space. They are here getting an education. If
there were better parking alternatives, students
would not need to extend their allotted meter
time, or park on the grass. The University
needs to stop punishing students for its abomi-
nable parking situation.

Fischer also
on far-right
As a senior at the Univer-
sity I have never felt compelled
to write a letter of dissent to the
Daily editorial staff. But the
Daily's endorsement of An-
drea Fischer represents such a
lack of knowledge and logic,
and if successful posses such a
threat to all aspects of the Uni-
versity that I feel obligated to
Your endorsement of An-
drea Fischer over Paul Brown
is groundless and shows an
irresponsible ignorance of the
candidates and what they be-
lieve in. Your attack on Re-
publican candidate Dan
Horning as being a disciple of
the radical right is correct but
this description applies even
more to Andrea Fischer.
Fischer'sown signed and docu-
mented platforms states her
total opposition to any gun
control law, abortion under any
circumstance and more perti-
nent to the University and my
fellow students, her belief and
wish that creationism should
be taught and given equal time
to evolution. Even David Duke
would considerAndrea Fischer

to be a disciple of the radical
On the issue of tuition raises
both Brown and Waters have
worked to keep tuition down
and increase the amount of stu-
dent aid available. In fact tu-
ition has only gone up as state
funding has plummeted. This
fiscal responsibility has resulted
in the high level of educational
resources, quality of professors
and over all quality of educa-
tion unlike any other time in the
history of this University. Sec-
ondly, to criticize Brown for
voting in favor of administra-
tive recommendations over-
looks the fact that Brown was
responsible for highering those
very qualified and successful
administrators, and two those
recommendations have almost
always proven to be the right
You correctly commend
Regent Waters for his under-
,standing of the importance of
having aheterogeneous student
body but you do not acknowl-
edge Regent Brown's equal
devotion to this belief. During
Regent Paul Brown's leader-
ship on the Board the Univer-
sity has developed programs
thathave successfully increased
minority enrollment by 216
percent and female members

of the faculty by 190 percent.,
In a final show of stupidity
you slap all students like my-
self who live north of your cen-
ter of your universe (Ann Ar-
bor) by criticizing Brown for
the fact that he lives in northern
Michigan. If you are not aware
the Board of Regents are sup-
posed to represent the citizens
of the whole state of Michigan
and as the only regent or candi-
date from northern Michigan I
find his residence to be a posi-
tive. In the ultimate act of hy-
pocrisy you criticize Brown for
living in northern Michigan
while you commend Fischer
for her plan to rent an apart-
ment in Ann Arbor. You obvi-
ously did not ask Fischer why
she wanted an apartment when
she lives about an hour away.
The reason is that she is getting
married and is moving to live
with her husband in Florida,
and the only reason she is get-
ting an apartment is that for her
to legally be a regent she must
have a Michigan residence.
The choice today is clear:
reelect Paul Brown and James
Waters to the University Board
of Regents.
Michael Bride
Engineering senior


Governor: Howard Wolpe (D)

U.S. Senate: Bob Carr (D)

U.S. House 13th District: Lynn Rivers (D)

State Senate 18th District: Alma Wheeler Smith (D)


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