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January 26, 1995 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-26

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One hundred four years of editorial freedom

Student opens
code records
to public view
*l Despite dismissal of court case,
'U' to conduct closed code
hearing tomorrow
By RONNIE GLASSBERG
Daily Staff Reporter
Washtenaw Country District Court Judge Elizabeth
Pollard-Hines on Friday dismissed assault and battery
charges against American culture doctoral student
Melanie Welch.
* But that decision will not bring Welch's case to a close.
Tomorrow, English Prof. Peter Bauland will preside as
Welch's case continues - under the Statement of Student
Rights and Responsibilities, the University's code of non-
academic conduct.
Welch's case marks the first time aperson accused under
the code has opened her case to public scrutiny and asked for
the hearing to be held in public.
Welch, a 49-year-old single mother, is being charged
under the code by her former neighbor in University Family
Housing, Yaakov Lavie, for assault and harassment. Welch
quested that her hearing be opened, but the University has
denied that request.
"At best, these are extremely marginal offenses. It's a
lot of time and effort on everyone's part, essentially
duplicating what the court has already done," said David
Cahill, an attorney representing Welch on a pro bono basis
for her code hearing.
Lavie, who is not a student, filed charges under the
code after a June 16 incident in which Welch allegedly
attempted to spray water at his wife and children, kicked
in and scratched his wife.
Welch maintains she kicked Lavie in self-defense and
that she never sprayed the Lavies. She also attempted to file
charges against Lavie under the code, but could not since he
is not technically a student.
"It seems that they're protecting the rights of the
plaintiff rather than the rights of the accused," Welch
said. "He gets to make all the complaints and I have to
defend myself."
In July, Welch was charged in Washtenaw County
istrict Court with two counts of assault and battery. On
ept. 30, Welch pleaded no contest under advisement, and
Pollard-Hines issued a no-contact order with the Lavies.
By pleading no contest, Welch was able to avoid a trial,
and at that time the case was to be dismissed "if she stayed
out of trouble."
Department of Public Safety records, however, provide
a different depiction of the plea from the court record.
In a description of the September hearing, DPS officer
Timothy Shannon wrote: "At this time a plea agreement
was reached where Welch would plead guilty to two
*ounts of disorderly person and the judge would take the
case under advisement. The plea was made and the case
was closed.... The official court record indicates a no-
contest plea was entered."
Cahill said the difference between the report and the
court record will be brought up at Welch's hearing.
See CODE, Page 7

Housing chief

talks at 'U'

on

Demis. plans

By DAVID SHEPARDSON
Daily News Editor
Secretary of Housing and Urban
Development Henry G. Cisneros came
to campus yesterday morning to talk up
President Clinton's mid-term, 81-
minute State of the Union address and
promote the administration's educa-
tion policies to a crowd of more than
200 students at the Michigan Union.
He also strongly defended the
Clinton administration's plan to
downsize public housing programs amid
vocal criticism from local activists.
Flanked by top University lobby-
ists and state housing officials, Cisneros
reiterated the president's commitment
to the Direct Student Loan program,
AmeriCorps and federal job train-
ing grants. He also repeated calls to
expand individual retirement ac-
counts so they can be used for edu-
cation and a proposal to allow par-
ents to deduct tuition.
The tuition tax-credit plan would
allow up to $10,000 a year in higher
education costs to be deducted by fami-
lies making up to $120,000. The pro-
posal would be phased in over five
years.
The expanded IRA would allow
families earning up to $100,000 a year
to spend the retirement accounts -
without penalty -for tuition, for a first
home and for medical expenses.
Clinton wants to change federal job
training programs to provide "fully
portable job grants" of up to $2,600 a
year so the unemployed can acquire
new skills, Cisneros said.
While Republicans have been gen-
erally receptive to the president's
higher-ed tax credit, job training pro-
posals and expanded IRA, they have
been critical of AmeriCorps and the
Direct Student Loan.
"The speaker is a big supporter of
education. But he doesn't believe we
should be spending money on big-
government, so-called 'volunteer' pro-
grams like AmeriCorps," said Toni
Blankley, a spokesman for House
Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Blankley said Gingrich believes
the Direct Student Loan program

would be better served by the private
sector.
Cisneros rejected Republican criti-
cismof the loan program and applauded
the University's role. "The University
is the largest user of the-program. More
students here get those loans than any-
where else."
Walter Harrison, vice president
for University relations, said in intro-
ducing Cisneros, "Thousands of Uni-
versity students use. the loans and we
are proud to be leading the way."
Later, in an interview with the
Daily, Cisneros said he is not pre-
pared to "write off' the interest-free
status of student loans while in col-
lege.
"I know Republicans want to elimi-
nate having the government pay the
interest while students are in school.
But we need to fight like hard to protect
it," Cisneros said.
Also on hand for Cisneros' speech
were 10 AmeriCorps volunteers, in-
cluding Willie Smith, a 28-year-old
Flint Northern High School graduate
who works in an HIV-AIDS outreach
program in Genessee County.
He said the program "has changed
my life."
"It's given me an opportunity to
give back to my community and really
make a difference," Smith said.
Cisneros vowed to retain the pro-
gram.
"The president will not allow the
Republicans to starve to death
AmeriCorps," Cisneros said. "It's a
line in the sand."
LSA junior Sam Copi was one of a
half dozen protesters who held up signs.
Copi accused the president of pander-
ing during his State of the Union ad-
dress on immigration.
Copi and other, protesters urged
Cisneros to raise funding for public
housing.
While emphasizing the
administration's plan to shrink HUD's
63 programs into three as part of "re-
inventing government," Cisneros
bluntly said: "Up on Capitol Hill,
they are talking about cutting HUD
See CISNEROS, Page 2

MICHAEL FITZHUGH/Daily

(Above) Secretary
of Housing and
Urban
Development
Henry Cisneros
speaks in the
Michigan Union
yesterday.
(Right) Robert
Morgan, a
member of Ann
Arbor's Homeless
Action
Committee, holds
a sign in silent
protest.

MICHIAEL FiIZHUGH/alay

News Analysis
'Judicial adviser Antieau faces tricky legal questions

By FLINT WAINESS
Daily Staff Reporter
As the judicial adviser for the Statement of
Student Rights and Responsibilities, Mary Lou
Antieau has a job that places her in the lime-
light.
In addition to keeping in close contact with
students being investigated or charged under
the code, Antieau is the one who must provide
the day-to-day interpretations of situations
where the code's language and intent lend them-
selves to ambiguity.
This means Antieau is the key player in
determining many of the central issues sur-
rounding the statement. For instance, when
should a hearing be open to the public? Are
code records educational or disciplinary in na-
re? Are students who take part in code pro-
ceedings subject to confidentiality restrictions?
Recently, several students have stepped for-

ward to claim that Antieau's interpretations
have been questionable.
These students claim that Antieau's posi-
tion is one that holds too much power, and that
her interpretations of the statement as well as
the Family and Education Rights and Privacy
Act are far-fetched.
First, there is Darcy Niven, an LSA junior
whose code case was first reported in the Daily.
Niven's ex-boyfriend admitted guilt under
the code for physical assault, harassment, bat-
tery or endangerment of any person, and was
subsequently sanctioned. But now Niven is
being investigated by Antieau's office for ha-
rassment of her ex-boyfriend.
This does not necessarily mean Niven will
be charged. However it does mean that Antieau
is trying to determine whether the Daily ob-
tained documentation of Niven's case directly
from Niven.

If Niven is determined to have provided the
name of her ex-boyfriend to the Daily, this will
most likely be construed to be a breach of
confidentiality, Antieau said. As a result, she
will be charged with harassment under the
statement.
"Once you come under (the code), it's stated
... this is a confidential process," Antieau said.
"I also counsel the individual parties at the
conclusion of the hearing and remind them that
this is confidential," she added.
But communication Prof. Joan Lowenstein
vehemently disagreed.
As to charging Niven with harassment, "It's
a violation of her First Amendment rights,"
Lowenstein said.
MSA Student Rights' Commission chair
VinceKeenanechoedLowenstein's sentiments.
"It seems fishy confidentiality could be
violated by one of the participants. They are not

sworn by anything. Panelists are, attorneys
are, but if you make a complaint, it is my
understanding you can even petition to get an
open hearing."
Charging Niven could be a roundabout way
for Antieau to make a point about Family
Education Rights and Privacy Act, otherwise
known as the Buckley Amendment, Keenan
continued.
The federal government, under FERPA,
can withdraw funds from universities that don't
protect students' educational records.
Some University administrators, including
Antieau, have concluded that records related to
the statement are educational in nature. Thus,
the University must protect certain portions of
the records from the public eye.
Antieau said that on Aug. 11, 1993, the
Department of Education put out a notice in the
Federal Register inviting "interested persons

... to submit comments and recommendations
regarding" the secretary of Education's pro-
posal to "amend the regulations implementing
the FERPA."
Antieau said the Department of Education
has not clarified further how FERPA is to be
interpreted.
Lowenstein, however, argued that the ball is
not in the secretary's court.
She noted several court cases that specifi-
cally exempt disciplinary structures at universi-
ties from FERPA regulations.
On March 15, 1993; the Supreme Court
of Georgia ruled, "We do not believe the
documents sought are 'education records'
within the meaning of the Buckley Amend-
ment."
The ruling arose from a case brought by the
University of Georgia's student newspaper, the
See ANTIEAU, Page 2

INSIDE
WEEKEND
The 18th annual Ann Arbor
Folk Festival opens Saturday
at Hill Auditorium.
SPORTS 5
Michigan freshman Jerod

Balanced budget
nears final passage

Michigan
Reps.split on
amendment
WASHINGTON (AP)-Only one
Democrat from Michigan's delegation
has sided with Republicans so far in
unnortine a balined hiniet ramend-

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a de-
bate with enormous economic and po-
litical significance, the Republican-con-
trolled House advanced yesterday to-
.x aA a c n.an... - n a h,.nm A s.A_

House Democratic Leader Rich-
ard Gephardt of Missouri told law-
makers the proposal was "perhaps
the most important issue we will
rnne .. Ar .n ,,r. 1,whn- .ti ,in the

: .. . .

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