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February 28, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 28, 1995

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TWENGE

THE ERASABLE PEN

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

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULE BECKER
JAMEs NASH
Editorial Page Editors

Sex and the ex: Must libido
jeopardize a friendship?'

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.
Housing rates
'U' should justify recent increases

At its February meeting, the University
Board of Regents approved increases in
University Housing rates. The increases--5.1
percent for residence hall rooms and 5.6 per-
cent for apartments -were proposed by Vice
President for Student Affairs Maureen A. Hart-
ford and passed the regents virtually without
comment. This quiet decision fails to recog-
nize the meaning of such an increase to the
students who have to pay it.
For residence halls, 3.9 percent of the in-
crease is due to inflation - a reasonable
figure. However, another 0.7 percent will be
allocated to extending Ethernet in the halls -
a somewhat more questionable goal. While
increasing student access to the Internet and
improving convenience are certainly impor-
tant, charging all Housing residents for the
service is unfair. Not all residence halls will
have Ethernet access next year, yet residents of
all dorms will pay for the expansion. Further-
more, Ethernet benefits only those students
with computers, forcing others to pay for a
service they do not use. Instead of folding
Ethernet expansion into a total rate increase,
perhaps Housing should charge only those
who actually use Ethernet to pay for its instal-
lation in the rooms. This would lessen the rate
increase and inprove fairness across the board.
The remainder of the increase for residence

hall rooms is due to the change in next year's
calendar. Because fall term begins two days
earlier than in the past -on the Tuesday after
Labor Day-the residence halls will open five
days earlier than in fall term 1994. This plan
also is flawed. The earlier start is due to the first
football game of the season, to be held Satur-
day, Aug. 26. Because many students want to
move into their rooms in time for the game, the
residence halls will be occupied nearly two
weeks before the start of classes. This not only
creates chaos in the halls for the week before
classes begin, but unfairly penalizes students
who do not wish to move in until closer to the
beginning of the term. Instead of charging all
students for this period of time, Housing could
charge only those who wish to move in earlier
than in previous years. Or - better yet -- the
University could figure out a better schedule
for classes and football that does not create
such a dilemma for the Housing Division.
The increases for next year are not outra-
geous, and the majority is due simply to infla-
tion. However, with more and more students
rejecting the residence halls for off-campus
housing, the University must be conscious of
the impact of its rates. Increases should be
thought through carefully, and should take
care not to charge those who will never see the
benefits of their payment.

I spent my vacation with my ex-boyfriend
this year. Believe it or not, I had a great
time.
Somehow over the years I've managed
to stay friends with most of my ex's. I've
also had quite a few platonic male friends.
According to a lot of people, both of these
are Really Bad Ideas. "Men and women
can't be friends without the sex part getting
in the way," opines Harry (Billy Crystal) in
"When Harry Met Sally," and I know plenty
of people who agree.
Harry's got a point, but there are really
two parts to his statement. I agree that the
sex part gets in the way, but it doesn't have
to sound the deathknell for a very unique
and fulfilling type of friendship. My friend-
ships with men have been some of the most
rewarding relationships of my life, and
they're worth every bit of trouble the sex
part sometimes causes.
So how can you possibly stay friends
with someone once you've thrown small
appliances at his head, shared all of your
deepest secrets, and understood the disgust-
ing intricacies of his morning throat-clear-
ing ritual? My question has always been the
opposite: How can you not?
Especially if you're on bad (or homi-
cidal) terms after a breakup, it's difficult to
think about staying friends with an ex-
boyfriend or-girlfriend. You're sick of them
(or worse, they're sick of you), so spending
more time with them turns the stomach. Yet
in the not -too-distant past, this person was

probably your best friend. As I see it, break-
ing things off completely denies that any
friendship ever existed. Chances are, you
have a lot in common.
There's also very little you have to ex-
plain to an ex who's now your friend. They
know about your likes and dislikes, your
psycho mother, and your innermost fears.
And of course there's all of your shared
memories of things you did together and
people you knew. Losing that is like losing
a part of your life - a denial of memory.
The sexual tension is also gone. It's
sometimes a challenge to navigate around
the attraction that may still exist, but for the
most part you're comfortable being with
each other. With an unfamiliar friend, you
might worry about what you look like in
your bathing suit. But as one of my ex's put
it when we were going to go swimming,
"Oh, you know what I look like."
This is precisely the problem with cross-
sex friends you haven't dated: You don't
know what they look like, and sometimes
you can't help but wonder.
Making and staying friends with an Al-
ways Platonic Opposite Sexed Person
(APOSP) is both harder and easier than
staying friends with an ex. It's better to
already have aromantic partner when you're
friends with an APOSP-you don't have to
explain the unanswerable question of "If we
like each other so much, why aren't we
going out?" Often the answer is that you like
being friends, but you're just not attracted to

him romantically. He's not your type, or
your religion, or generally not Mr. Right.
Saying that, however, could wreck the
friendship.
It shouldn't. It's time to get beyond the
deprecating label "just friends," and ac-
knowledge that male-female friendships can
be just as rewarding as same-sex friend-
ships. Liking someone as a friend and not as
a lover is not an insult.
Being friends with a member of the
other sex is also a great learning experience.
Men are not a mystery to me - I've been
friends with them all my life, and no one has
to tell me what makes them tick. (If you're
wondering, it's work and sex, just like most
women.) Being friends with men has en-
riched my romantic attachments and made
getting to know men much easier.
On a larger scale, male-female friend-
ships are also a fundamental part of gender
equality. A physics professor I worked for
was surprised when I told him that I lived on
a co-ed floor in my dorm. "Doesn't living
with women tend to sissify the men?" he
asked. By his way of thinking, men and
women are only sexual objects to each
other, not flesh-and -blood people who have
things in common.
But men and women who live in dorms
with each other, talk to each other, and go
places together find that the other sex isn't
so different after all. Without cross-sex
friendships, we are only bodies to each
other-just the sex part, and nothing more.

I

Young, hungry, too bad
Children lose in budget balancing act

JIM LASSER
r*

SHARP AS TOAST

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"Give us the
money. We can
use it more
effectively and
efficiently than
any federal
bureaucrat."
- Georgia Gov. Zell
Miller; a Democrat
seeking finds for school
lunch programs for
children, after a GOP bill
to eliminate the federal
lunch program

f recent legislation is any indicationHouse
Republicans apparently would like to let
America's children go hungry in order to bal-
ance the federal budget. Last Wednesday five
House of Representatives subcommittees ap-
proved drastic cuts in social programs, includ-
ing the reduced/free school lunch program, as
well as Women, Infants and Children (WIC),
a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant
women, infants and small children.
First itwas theCorporationforPublic Broad-
casting, then peacekeeping funds for the United
Nations. Budget hawks also plan to cut aid to
Russia, federal assistance to veterans and home-
less youth and job training and education pro-
grams. Taking away culture and education and
stamping out a chance for world peace is not
enough - Republicans plan to yank the net
out from under struggling American citizens.
They have the mistaken impression that starv-
ing the poor and denying them education will
make them go away.
The poor will not magically disappear.
Malnourished babies and children will grow
up to be underachieving adults. Refusing to
feed people only perpetuates a depressed
situation. Many believe that they could do it
better than the people at the bottom of the
heap, that somehow work ethics or family
values could carry them. Chances are, not
one person in Congress has ever been in the
shoes of a welfare mother, unable to feed his
or her children.
Moreover, complaints about system abuse
are not viable reasons to deprive children.
Directing the consequences at the children
only serves to punish them for the sins of their
parents.
Proponents of the cuts claim they have the
children's best interests in mind. The plan is

to wipe out federal school lunch programs,
but give block grants to the states to imple-
ment the individual food programs, reducing
paperwork and cost. Stuck in a pipe dream,
Republicans foolishly want to entrust these
programs to the already-overburdened states.
Unchecked, the block grants will become re-
election tools for uncaring politicians, or will
fill whatever holes the states need to patch.
This "flexibility" will not create a comprehen-
sive nutrition program, but a sloppy failure.
Experience has taught the federal government
nothing - social programs have never flour-
ished on the state level. Furthermore, the ex-
pense would more than likely raise the overall
cost of school lunches, placing the burden on
the middle class. Those who can now afford
lunches at regular prices soon may not be able
to.
Apparently the conservatives have for-
gotten their old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't
fix it." They are breaking down a federal
program that feeds approximately 25 million
schoolchildren every day. In the state of
Michigan, almost half of the children who
purchase school lunches use the reduced/free
lunch programs. Many schools also provide
breakfast, ensuring two square meals a day.
What is wrong with this program?
Fortunately, the proposed cuts will meet
some opposition in the Senate. In the mean-
time, citizens must let their representatives
and senators know that cutting school lunches
and WIC is an abomination against innocent
children. This overzealous destruction of
worthy programs will attack a part of the
population that does not even have a vote and
needs special protection in such decisions.
Whatever the budget problems, starving
America's children is not the answer.

VIEWPOIN

Wright: I
By Andrew L. Wright
I am writing in response to
the articles and editorials which
have surrounded the action of the
Michigan Student Assembly to
recall me as chair of the External
Relations Committee (ERC).
While many of my actions were
inappropriate, I would like to
present my side of the story and
report several facts about the
matter that either have not been
reported or have been reported
incorrectly. I do not write this
letter to exonerate myself from
the actions that I have taken,
which were wrong. However, I
feel that there are some inconsis-
tencies in the alleged acts put
before the assembly on Tuesday,
Jan. 31, 1995 and, as a result
published in the Daily on Feb. 1,
.1995.
I was not found to be respon-
sible for sending the anonymous
donation of $796 to the assem-
bly. I would like to emphatically
state that I am in no way respon-
sible for the donation or the con-
ditions that were attached to the
donation. Secondly, I was not
involved with the financial over-
sight of funds spent on the Asso-
ciation of Big Ten Students Con-
ference which I and two other
assembly members participated
in at Indiana University, Nov.
17-20,1994.I take full responsi-
bility for not supervising these
expenditures more closely. I

didn't deserve MSA dismissal

administration without MSA's
knowledge or approval for up-
coming conferences, I had spo-
ken about both trips extensively
in Steering Committee, had spo-
ken about both trips and specifi-
cally who I was going to request
funding from in several ERC
meetings. Additionally, I sent to
MSA President Julie Neenan two
e-mail messages letting her know
about these meetings. Finally, I
did not "disinvite" Mayor Ingrid
B. Sheldon to the MSA meeting
ofJan. 24, 1995. Iasked her if she
would be willing to reschedule
the meeting, which she did. I
would also like to mention that
according to the mayor's office
and a phone conversation I pre-
viously had with the Mayor she
was planning to speak to MSA
on Feb. 7, 1995 until she re-
ceived a call from someone on
MSA, parenthetically not my-
self, who asked her not to come
again. In summation of the alle-
gations alleged against me, I am
not responsible for the anony-
mous donation. I take full re-
sponsibility for the irresponsible
spending at the ABTS confer-
ence. I am confident that
members of MSA's administra-
tion and assembly members knew
about my presentation to the
University administrators before
they occurred. I am also not re-
sponsible for the later reschedul-
ing of that appearance.

winter 1994 elections, MSA had
just withdrawn itself from the
Michigan Collegiate Coalition (a
statewide student lobbying orga-
nization), the United States Stu-
dent Association (a federal stu-
dent lobbying organization), had
not maintained any relations with
the city of Ann Arbor, has no
students involved in the city gov-
ernment, and had allowed the
subcommittees of ERC to dete-
riorate. I immediately began the
process of hiring an independent,
outside, professional lobbying
firm to represent the assembly in
Lansing. This process was guided
almost entirely by myself-from
the initial bidding process through
interviews, follow-up contacts,
and finally the signing of the
contract in January 1995. While
members of the assembly did
assist me, the majority of this
work was done by myself. I also
wrote the current procedures and
guidelines used by the assembly
for action on state legislation.
Additionally, for the first time in
the history of MSA I have posi-
tively worked on the students'
behalf in the chambers of City
Hall. I have attended all but three
regular business meetings of the
Ann Arbor City Council, and I
have stayed until their conclu-
sion. I have had numerous con-
tacts with the mayor and indi-
vidual members of City Council
outside their meetings. I was in-

fect them. I also secured the
mayor to come speak to MSA
last year and speak at a student
government conference held at
Michigan over the summer,
which has not occurred in recent
history. I also assisted the assem-
bly in bringing the mayor and
members of the City Council to
the Campus Safety Awareness
Walk. In summation since my
term began, and the External
Relations Committee has been
restructured to operate more ef-
fectively, the membership of
ERC and attendance at its meet-
ings has more than doubled, new
initiatives and procedures have
been started and effectively pur-
sued, state lobbying has been ef-
fectively worked on with the hir-
ing of our new lobbyist, and rela-
tions with the city of Ann Arbor
have improved exponentially. I
will not, nor should I, apologize
for these effective, necessary
improvements made in the office
during my- tenure. I fear that
ground will be lost not gained in
the next few months.
While I do not agree with the
actions taken by the assembly in
the meeting of Jan. 31, 1995, I
respect their decision and I have
no desire to serve if the assembly
has no confidence in my abili-
ties. I do however sincerely ask
the assembly and the entire Uni-
versity community to question
whether or not the actions they

Sen. Carl Levin (D)
459 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6221

Sen. Spence Abraham (R)
B40 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-4822

Rep. Lynn Rivers (D)
1116 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

I

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