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December 01, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-12-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 1, 1994

c~be A idrigatn ~

'It's about sex, drugs, love, war. It's all those

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

- Tammy Jacobs, director of MUSKET's "Hair"

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.

Delaying aman
Administration stalls on Code amendments

Another semester is about to close on an
unamended Statement of Student Rights
and Responsibilities, commonly known as the
Code. Unlike last semester, when the adminis-
tration at least attempted to allow amendments
to pass through, this term officials have been
completely inactive in furthering the passing
of amendments. While students never approved
of the Code, they have compromised with the
administration in creating an amendment pro-
cess satisfactory to all. However, the purpose
of compromise is negated by the
administration's failure to keep up its end of
the bargain.
Last year, attempts to pass amendments to
the Code encountered many problems. Out of
50 randomly selected student jurors, a quorum
of 26 jurors is necessary to vote on proposed
amendments. As it turned out, that was not an
easy number to gather together. At one meet-
ing 23 students showed - making it close but
still three short. Dangerous weather conditions
on some occasions also prevented jurors from
Ignoring the past three beautiful months,
the administration has not yet scheduled an-
other amendment hearing. Reportedly, the next
date will not be sooner than late January. While
the amendment process is clearly problematic,
it is currently the only leverage students have
with the Code, and administrators must be
willing to accommodate them. The failure to
schedule a hearing this semester is reprehen-
sible-and now, enough time has been wasted
that immediate action is essential. A meeting
should be held upon the start of classes in
January. If the weather or a low number of
jurors prevents a vote, then a new date needs to
be rescheduled promptly. This process has to
be continuous and consistent until the objec-
tives are accomplished, and the amendments
can be forwarded for a Board of Regents vote.
Speed is imperative in this situation be-

cause the Code directly affects the lives of
students. Its jurisdiction covers anything that
takes place within 30 miles of the 'M' on the
Diag - an area stretching through, for in-
stance, Ypsilanti. Therefore, under the Code
what students do in the privacy of their own
homes could affect their status at the Univer-,
sity. Furthermore, the Code presents guide-
lines to adult students that no other adult is
expected to live up to.
While the student body overwhelmingly
disapproves of this in loco parentis measure,
many students are willing to work with the
administration to make the Code more ame-
nable to their needs. A particular issue of
concern is opening up the proceedings of
Code hearings. The current Code structure
allows for closed hearings - in other words,
there is no student check to determine whether
the system functions fairly. Similarly, the
records of such hearings need to be available
and censored only enough to protect students'
identities. Protecting the name of an indi-
vidual is reasonable. Keeping entire incidents
shrouded from public view by presenting Code
records with a dearth of information is an
invitation to violations of individual rights. If
the Code has to exist, it must be implemented
in a way that safeguards student rights.
Previous case law indicates that universi-
ties have a right to dismiss students under
proceedings like the Code -- therefore, the
Code cannot be attacked on broad legal
grounds. However, students feel that the pa-
ternal tenets of the Code are unreasonable for
adult citizens. The administration is further
insulting the intelligence of the student body
by delaying important changes to the un-
wanted document. Although students were
willing to compromise in this matter, the
administration does not seem to be willing to
cooperate. The wait has been long enough -
it is time to act.

Grading proposal makes wrong assumptions

Giving away guns
Misguided proposal to relax criteria must fail

n its last session before the newly elected
lawmakers take office, the Michigan Legis-
lature is turning its attention to the problem of
crime. Because this is a lame-duck session, the
potential to pass effective crime legislation is
probably increased. Unfortunately, however,
a few proposals are being made that, if passed,
will prove highly detrimental to the safety of
citizens. Prominent among these is a proposal
to modify the current state gun control laws
written by Rep. Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt).
Cropsey's bill provides for a number of
significant changes to the laws regulating the
purchase of guns. Presently, applicants for
firearms permits are reviewed by a county
board consisting of the Sheriff, State Police
officers, a prosecutor and three reviewers ap-
pointed by the county commission. The board
is allowed to use discretion in approving or
denying a permit. The proposal would elimi-
nate the State Police from the board, and would
set narrow criteria for boards to use when
considering applications.
Rather than helping to solve the problem of
crime in this state, the only significant thing
this bill would do is make it easier to legally
buy a gun. That wouldn't be such a grave
problem in most instances. However, the cur-
rent composition of the board exists because
law-enforcement officers are considered duly
qualified to judge whether an individual is
competent to carry a concealed weapon. As
Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga
has noted, most concealed weapon applicants
are not denied this privilege now-itis merely
those few candidates that demonstrate incom-
petence to carry a weapon. An individual, say,

every criteria that can be officially set checks
out, yet it is still clear that the person being
reviewed should not have a gun. Cropsey's
bill, if passed, will effectively increase the
number of people of questionable background
walking Michigan's streets with firearms in
hand. In addition, law enforcement groups
say that the proposal would force officers to
consider everyone armed at a crime scene. It
would make it so easy to get a permit that the
permit would, in officers' eyes, carry no legal
The proponents of the bill consist mainly
of anti-gun control interests such as the Na-
tional Rifle association (NRA). They cite
abuses in the current system as reasons for
loosening the criteria for gun permits. It is true
that a review board now has total discretion in
granting or denying a permit, and therefore
abuses are possible. In the words of NRA
spokesperson "they can deny you a permit if
they don't like the way you part your hair."
However, these occurrences are infrequent if
not rare, and are not sufficient reason for so
vastly changing the criteria. Despite the pos-
sibility for taking advantage, the current laws
help to keep guns out of the hands of criminals
and those who may be temporarily unstable,
and that positive outweighs any abuses that
now exist.
The Cropsey bill if passed into law would
not, as some critics have stated, drastically
increase violent crime rates in the state. Other
states have passed modified versions of the
Cropsey bill, and crime rates have not changed
in any statistically significant fashion. But it
would put weapons into the hands of those

To the Daily:
I write this in response to
Mr. Matthew Dennison Mor-
gan ("New grading system to
combat racism," 11/23/94). I
wish you could see, Mr. Mor-
gan, how angry I am. I squirm
as I write this. I'm glad the
solution is so easy. This ques-
tion that has tugged at my mind
for the 18 years I have lived in
Detroit and have been a think-
ing person can be solved by
your grade-multiplier. Wow.
O.K., so maybe adoption of
your grading system would
"bring the University signifi-
cantly closer to the goal of
equally high graduation rates
among the various ethnic
groups that vibrantly enrich this
fine campus." It's nice to see
someone taking such a long-
term view. Ha! Now if you had
incapable of
To the Daily:
Just like Proposal A last
school year, some Democrats
will not stop whining when they
lose and have to cry to the Daily.
While the leaders of the Col-
lege Dems took the high road,
refusing to be rhetorical, obvi-
ously this was not good enough
for Mr. Verani, with his letter
of November 15th ("Speaker
Gingrich takes office"). The
problem with his argument
seems evident when he de-
scribes Earth Day 1970 as one
of the "landmark events" in our
nation's progress. Most Ameri-
cans do not see Earth Day as
one of those cataclysmic events
that shook the world. So to criti-
cize Mr. Gingrich for disliking
Earth Day seems incredibly
trivial. However, Mr. Verani
then goes on to put words in
Mr. Gingrich's mouth that are
as incorrect as they are repul-
sive. To suggest that Mr.
Gingrich would like us to rees-
tablish the "separate but equal"
doctrine is not only a flat out lie
but another useless attempt to
portrayRepublicans as racist.
The Republican party is trying
to reach out to minorities, for
they have been most hurt by the
radical liberal social programs
of the past. Yet anytime a mi-
nority joins our party they are
outcast and called names wor-
thy of the KKK by people who
supposedly preach "tolerance."
Mr. Verani's summary and out-
come analysis of the Contract
with America has no factual
basis and if you want to see
cnmnn iiOeP ncinl enfd-

introduced your suggestion as
a temporary bandage instead
of a correction for "inherent
bias," that would be a different
story. Do you realize what it
sounds like you're saying? To
disadvantaged people: Go to
your under-funded schools,
Live in your dangerous neigh-
borhoods. Grow up in your
whirls of social and economic
problems. Then come to this
University, and your life will
be wonderful because we will
multiply your grades by some
factor greater than one. And to
the majority: Keep your wealth
and power and comfort. It's
inherent to our capitalist sys-
tem. Fund your own schools,
not theirs. Multiply theirgrades
and keep them quiet. Don't
worry about actually educat-
ing them. And please keep fur-
ther from your mind the idea of
people are skeptical of liberal
"Crime Bills." The liberalsjust
don't get it, and that is why
they failed so miserably a few
weeks ago. The Republicans
made a pact with the people to
change government, encourage
responsibility and lower the
burden government places on
people. A religious right take-
over? No, a common sense
takeover that the American
people obviously wanted on
Nov. 8th.
Mark Fletcher
LSA Junior
President, U-M College
PC advocates
attempt the
To the Daily:
I thought I should clarify
what I wrote last Monday about
the Markley Multicultural Ac-
tivities Council. I did not imply
that neither the MMAC nor the
three gay students were
unbusiness-like in their deal-
ings with each other over the
"Male Rent-a Friend" event.
The "lack of reason and matu-
rity" of which I wrote refers
not to the behavior during me-
diation but the instance of po-
litical correctness that appears
to have prevailed here. If one
doesn'tagree with me thatmost
PC is crazy and infantile, one
mightmisconstruemy remarks,
which is a fault of mine.
My argument depends
solely on the information in the
Daily article written by Katie
Hutchins two weeks ago; I
claim to know nothing else
anot MMACo r nv of their

people actually learning to-
gether. Most importantly, be
careful when hiring aMichigan
graduate. You don't know the
real elevation of their almighty
GPA god.
I don't think your idea
smacks of "reverse racism" and
I share your quest for a solu-
tion. To your question, "Is it
fair for someone to grow up in
the midst of alcoholism, job-
lessness, drug abuse, or drive-
by shootings?" I say never.
These things don't have to be
an "inherent bias" of our sys-
tem, although you seem to be
resigned to that fact. We only
need to see where problems
start, instead of giving grown
human beings pacifiers to suck
Andrea Urble
SNRE first-year student
This leads me to ask of the
three gay men, "Did you seek
admission so you could DATE
or BEFRIEND the volunteer-
ing rentees?" If you wanted to
make friends, you should have
simply left, realizing the event
really wasn'tforplatonic friend-
makers. But being PC, you'd
rather cast aside reason in favor
of abitch session over wording.
If you were angling for some-
thing closer to a date, you'd
have to acknowledge that it
wouldn't be fair to rent a het-
erosexual who wouldn't be
comfortable being tucked in bed
by a guy. You could quietly
lodge a concern with the coun-
cil about the absence of a "Gay
Rent-a-Friend", but being PC
you'd rather bust your way into
the existing affair, making a
I stated in my last letter that
almost no activity in life is
equally suited to be partaken by
all people. Anything a human
being does is going to displease
someone, somewhere. Any ac-
tivity that the Markley Multi-
cultural Activities Council
sponsors is going to displease
someone, somewhere. But
MMAC can please almost ev-
erybody with a range of spon-
sored activities so that some-
thing can catch the eye of ev-
eryone. If MMAC establishes
fund-raisers suited exclusively
for homosexuals, blacks,
women, rich white males, etc.
that should be fine as long as
everyone gets a chance to do
something. But if gays don't fit
in at "Male Rent-a-Friend",
don't waste time and effort at-
tempting the impossible.

Another look
at Nov. 8
Three weeks after the GOP elec-
toral landslide, the standard conven-
tional wisdom the mainstream media
have produced so far - that Nov. 8
was a simple repudiation of the
Democrats and their agenda - has
revealed the poverty of our current
political discourse. Have political
commentators addressed anything
but the superficial, the stratagem, the
content-less horse race, voters' irri-
tation and impatience with big gov-
ernment? So why has the South been
conquered by'Gingrich Republicans,
who advocate an economic, social
and cultural conservative orthodoxy
Why can't even a DNC-style South-
ern liberalism attract the Bubbas of
the electorate? Why do most white
males now believe it is anathema to
punch Democrat and support an alien
"Other" - gays, feminists, poor
people, blacks and urbanites? Presi-
dent Clinton's spinmeisters weren't
that far off when they opined that the
swing to the GOP represented an-
other endorsement of "change."
But an intellectually richer, more
substantive interpretation of the elec-
tion does exist, and it can be found in
a political philosophy called "a poli-
tics of meaning." This viewpoint
holds that the success of the Repub-
licans and its union-like base, the
"radical religious right," can be at-
tributed to their effective addressing
of the social, spiritual, ethical, val-
ues-based needs of the American
body politic, while the Democratic
Left has largely ceded the values
discourse to intolerant, religious ul-
traconservatives on the Right. For
liberals, this was the recipe for disas-*
ter on Nov. 8 that split the New Deal
coalition, and forced the Dems into
minority status in the House for the
first time since 1946.
To say that something of a spiri-
tual and ethical vacuum pervades
American society and politics would
be to put it lightly. And as real wages
and mean family income stagnate,
the electorate is struggling to align its9
societal, familial and personal hopes
and fears with a political message
that recognizes this. The youthful,
energetic Clinton presidential cam-
paign in '92 touched on Americans'
quest for change and hope that the
cycle ofpessimismcould be reversed
by a candidate who seemed to feel
the pulse of the American psyche and
soma, who was prepared to take poli-
tics into a new era, crossing the old,
worn-out boundaries that divide and
separate. Bill Clinton activated this
"politics of meaning" schema, and
raised the hopes and spirits of mil-
lions. But unfortunately, in his two
years in the White House, Clinton
and the congressional Democrats
have failed to clearly lay out its prin-
ciples, became bogged down in un
satisfactory political compromises
and projected a hazy, shiftless politi-
cal image. Says Michael Lerner of
the Jewish bimonthly Tikkun: "While
Clinton and the Democrats have
wasted two years mucking around..

the Right has been at work in the
larger society, powerfully promot-
ing its own sectarian perspective and
convincing people that its worldviews
can help explain the problems they
face in daily life."
If the proponents of a politics of
meaning can infuse liberalism with a
more holistic, universally ethical,
humane political philosophy, much
of the ammunition and sound bites of
the "radical right" could be effec-
tively countered. I would much rather
have liberals or the moderate Center
talking about family values than Dan
Quayle or Jesse Helms. Liberals can
responsibly invoke apolitics of mean-
ing that addresses the needs and con-
cerns of the vast American middle
class and invoke this discourse to
respond to an American society that
is in decline due to raging violence,
familial dysfunction, considerable so-
cioeconomic divisions between thel
rich and poor and the lack of eco-
nomic opportunity for many in our
increasingly technocratic world.
Above all, liberalshcannot and
must not shy away from honest, com-

Michael R. Wheaton
Engineering Junior

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