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March 10, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-10

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 10, 1995

US1w £idhiign lativg
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by JULIE BECKER
students at the JAMES NASH
University of Michigan 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.
Gdetting out te vo
Voter drive a good idea, but needs work



Football and Thanksgiving:
A tale of two Blue turkeys

Last week, a proposal was raised to imple-
ment a non-partisan effort to encourage
students to vote in the upcoming Michigan
Student Assembly elections. While a good
start, the plan is insufficient if MSA is serious
about increasing student participation.
Few would argue that something needs to
be done about the low level of participation
in MSA elections. In the past several elections,
voter turnout neverexceed 10 percent. Clearly,
something must change.
The MSA plan calls for each party to post
20 non-partisan flyers on campus encouraging
students to vote. This might raise turnout some-
what, and it is hardly an unreasonable demand
on the parties. Also, the non-partisan nature of
the plan would benefit MSA.
Sadly, the impact of the plan on turnout
would probably be negligible. The fliers might
persuade a small number of students to vote,
but the fact is that students already know that
there is an election coming up - they are
bombarded with partisan campaign fliers in
nearly every campus building. In most cases,
students still do not vote, because they know
nothing about'the candidates and do not feel
the outcome of the election affects them. Ac-
tion must be taken to educate and involve the
student body. Telling people to vote is fine,
but giving people a reason to vote would be
more successful.
One way MSA could increase participation
would be to distribute more literature. The
assembly should publish a journal - to be
distributed around campus just as other publi-
cations are - that would serve as a forum for
the different parties and officeholders to ex-
press their views to the public. On a partisan
basis, the individual parties and candidates
should make their platforms available at the
residence halls, perhaps via campus mail. This
would help students - especially first-year
students, who are least likely to know about

MSA - to understand the differences be-
tween candidates. If better information could
be given to students about the issues, voter
turnout might well increase.
If students are to be more involved, MSA
officials and candidates must also have greater
visibility on campus. Too many students
think MSA is a "club," not a vital part of the
University community. Starting at Orienta-
tion, officials should make their presence on
campus felt. MSA members must make a
concerted effort to talk to large numbers of
students and student groups about the issues
facing student government. MSA has the abil-
ity to better assert its presence within the
University community - if it did so, voter
turnout would rise.
In addition, MSA campaigns should put a
higher emphasis on person-to-person contact.
People would vote in higher numbers if they
felt a personal stake in the election. MSA
members should increase voter drive efforts
all over campus, appearing in person to dis-
cuss issues and voting without regard to
personal philosophy. One roadblock to inter-
action between the candidates and the voters
is University policy. Solicitation is banned in
the residence halls - and MSA falls under
this ban. MSA should be exempt from this
regulation for non-partisan, get-out-the-vote
efforts. Admittedly, door-to-door activity
would annoy some students. However, there
is overwhelming evidence that such activity
succeeds in mobilizing voters. The desire of
some residents for privacy must be weighed
against the benefits to all students of a suc-
cessful student democracy.
The most important democratic student
institution on campus, MSA, needs to take
steps to increase voter turnout. The proposal
for a non-partisan flier drive is a small first
step. However, MSA must involve the stu-
dent body if participation is truly to rise.

Michigan athletic boosters often talk
about having a football team the
University can be proud of. At this point,
we'd settle for a football team the Univer-
sity can see.
That won't happen much next fall.
Michigan's first game -the Pigskin Clas-
sic against Virginia-is scheduled for Aug.
26, a full nine days before the start of classes
in the fall term.
Many first-year students probably won't
come to Ann Arbor that early. As a result, if
the Wolverines lose to the Cavaliers, some
students will start their college careers al-
ready out of the national title hunt. Talk
about getting a jump-start on tradition.
And that's not all. Next year Ohio State
visits Michigan Stadium two days after
Thanksgiving, when many students will be
home for the holidays. That's like schedul-
ing the Revolutionary War while the min-
utemen are at Club Med.
Not that the students won't get to see any
games. Big Ten "rivals" Northwestern,
Minnesota and Purdue are scheduled to play
at Michigan. Those three teams are major
threats any time they step on the field with
the Wolverines. Last year, late in the season,

one of them even made a first down.
In addition to those conference gems,
Michigan is slated to host Miami next sea-
son. That might sound like a great game,
except that the Miami in question is not
Miami(Fla.) but Miami (Ohio), also known
as Miami (the bad one). Scheduling the
Redskins instead of the Hurricanes is like
replacing Notre Dame (Ind.) with Notre
Dame (France).
To round out the home schedule, Michi-
gan also hosts Memphis (formerly Mem-
phis State). Not to insult the Tigers, but it
took them until last year to realize that
Memphis is not a state. It shouldn't take
Michigan students long to figure out Mem-
phis is also not much of a football team.
Miami (Ohio) and Memphis (Tenn.) are
the Spam and Spam Lite of college football
- anybody could devour them, but who
would want to? The Wolverines could go to
Scorekeepers in the morning and still beat
both teams in the afternoon.
It's bad enough that Michigan's home
football schedule is weaker than ballpark
beer. What's worse is that the two games
that should be interesting - Virginia and
Ohio State - are scheduled when students

are traditionally not in Ann Arbor.
These scheduling injustices aren't lim-
ited to football. Two weeks ago, the men's
basketball team played its home games
against Indiana and Illinois over spring break.
The Hoosiers came to Ann Arbor two days
after classes ended and the Illini made their
appearance the last day of the break. Other
than the obvious benefit of keeping Bobby
Knight away from the student body, there
seems to be no reason for this.
Students could have stayed two extra
days and watched the Michigan-Indiana
game. Of course, students also could go to
their 8 a.m. classes, but it's not exactly
Students were forced to miss out on one
of their school's great rivalries when they
were out of town for the Michigan-Indiana
game. Many students will also miss one of
college football's greatest rivalries when
they are home for the Michigan-Ohio State
game next Thanksgiving.
Last year, Michigan's. home football
record was 3-3. What could be worse than
watching your team lose three home games
in one year?
Reading about it the next day.



.51, CoULD

. _ ,. _ . _.


$415ff,? 9

"The young
campus can pick
up on these
things. The
bottom line is,
white folks don't
- Western Michigan
University Black Studies
Prof Ben Wilson, o;
racial tension at WMU


Civil wars

Legal reform bill would hurt consumers

n important issue in the minds of Ameri-
A can voters, legal reform has recently
caught the attention of Congress. With a
sweeping civil litigation bill, some lawmakers
hope to eliminate much of the corruption in the
courts. Unfortunately, this legislation will deny
the average American legal recourse when he
or she is penalized by the actions of major
corporations. Realizing this, earlier this week
PresidentClinton warned House SpeakerNewt
Gingrich (R-Ga.) and other supporters of the
bill that it is extreme and will not have his
support. Clinton's actions, however, may be
too little too late.
The political scene has lately been rife
with criticisms of the legal system. Voters
are upset by the numerous tales of frivolous
lawsuits, corrupt attorneys, besieged corpo-
rations and a flooded legal system that is
unable to handle the pressure. Some of this
criticism is deserved, and something clearly
needs to be done. In response, Congress is
now considering legislation to mandate fed-
eral standards in all product injury lawsuits,
including those decided by state courts; im-
pose strict limits on punitive damages in all
civil cases; and force the loser to pay the
winner's legal fees in most instances.
In its attempts to counteract corruption,
however, Congress has oversteppedthebound-
aries of the necessary, as well as the practical.
Civil law has existed for years because there is
a need for it. Corporations wield a great deal
of economic and political power, and they

are generally concerned with the bottom line
- meaning they can and do shortchange the
American people. Even with the high degree
of corruption, there is an even higher degree of
legitimacy. For every frivolous lawsuit, there
are numerous others that are valid, both in the
remedy they offer to injured parties and in the
precedent they set.
As it eliminates corruption, this legislation
will effectively eliminate civil law. It will deny
the average American the right to his or her day
in court. Given the risks imposed by this
legislation, how many people would be will-
ing to bring a suit, even if they honestly be-
lieved they were in the right? The legislation,
as it now stands, clearly favors big business
much more than the average person it is sup-
posed to help. It trades legal corruption for that
of large corporations.
There are better ways to deal with the
problem of civil law in this country. Other
nations, such as England and Japan, have been
able to create systems that preserve citizens'
rights. Legislators should look elsewhere for
solutions, rather than passing laws that will
paralyze the American legal system. As for
the president, he is to be applauded for using
the power of his office to counteract this
measure - but given the position of this bill
on the congressional agenda, he could have
opposed it more quickly and with more force.
Congress must understand that America
wants to see wrongdoing eliminated in civil
law, not the principles of civil law itself.

Cho descends
into liberalism
To the Daily:
The procrastinator that I am, I
hadn't gotten around to congratu-
lating Mr. Cho for his fine col-
umn appearing in the Feb. 27
issue of the Daily ("Agenda heads
down the wrong path").
It shocked and amazed me
that something conservative was
written in the Daily,sand on the
editorial page no less!
Then came the disappoint-
ment. The March 6 paper has
another column by Mr. Cho
("Asian Americans and the model
minority myth") and a letter from
Ms. Eriksen ("Columnist misin-
terprets gender issues"). First, Ms.
Eriksen blasts the very article
that I loved so much, and then
Mr. Cho reverts to liberal views
by scolding the University for
not recruiting Asian Americans.
I'll admit there are problems in
society, and I also admit that I
don't have all the answers. How-
ever, I'll always refuse to admit
that affirmative action is an op-
tion. It simply makes a bad situ-
ation worse.
Heath Wehrman
Engineering sophomore
civil rights
To the Daily:
Mark Fletcher's letter de-
fending the GOP's crime bill as
"not being an affront to civil
liberty" (2/27/95) cries out for a
response. According to Fletcher,
..4c .f the T- T ,Cnllecr

tences, repressive laws and the
destruction of citizens' rights.
They do this not out of actual
concern for crime victims, but to
win elections.
If politicians actually had con-
cern for crime victims they would
enact measures that would re-
duce crime. Since crime is a
product of a sick society that
allows poverty to run rampant
and education systems to rot
while our "defense" (read ag-
gression) budget soars billions
higher, measures to reduce
crime would include funding for
social needs like education and
decent environments, including
housing and jobs. However, poli-
ticians, especially Republicans,
ignore the roots of crime and
instead play on voters' fears by
offering emotional non-solutions
like capital punishment and more
But I digress. To respond di-
rectly to Fletcher's main claim:
There is a huge difference be-
tween allowing evidence ob-
tained with a warrant that later
was deemed to be invalid, and
not even having to bother to get
one in the first place! Rather
than a "technicality" protecting
"criminals," the warrant is an
extremely important barrier to
police abuse and harassment by
citizens of this country. Since in
the United States, the last time I
checked, people are innocent until
proven guilty, the person that the
warrant is served on is at most a
suspected criminal, and has all
the rights to due process that our
constitution grants each and ev-
ery citizen. Allowing police to
proceed without warrants
tramples on my rights and your
rivhtc ntitm, cn-alle rii-a-._

crime." I suggest that Mr. Fletcher
try and understand the real rea-
sons for crime, and the actual
ways to reduce it, reread the Bill
of Rights, especially Amendment
Four, and try and get at least a
minor understanding of the con-
cept of "civil rights" which few
reactionary Republicans seem to
Hays Ellisen
First-year law student
Debate on
necessary to
dispel myths
To the Daily:.
Free speech is a fundamen-
tal right given to all citizens of
the United States. The purpose
of free speech is to educate
people and make us think about
the issues at hand. This is why I
would truly like to thank Mr.
Yob for his contribution con-
cerning the Kiss-In ("Congress,
'U' shouldn't approve homo-
sexual activity" 3/1/95). His let-
ter has caused other people to
write letters in response, causing
a sort of debate which is how
learn about each other and clear
up misconceptions.
I am writing in response to
Mark Fletcher's letter "Letter
writer showed bravery," (3/8/95).
I appreciated Mr. Yob's letter.
Mr. Fletcher tries to say that lib-
erals resort to name calling when-
everaconservative speaks, Idon't
see that as the case. The letter
written by Mr. Walsh was not a
personal attack on Mr. Yob, but
rthr on h isd Mr. Vobs

some misconceptions on the part
of Mr. Fletcher. "If people can
change from gay to straight, is it
unreasonable to suggest the op
posite might happen." Let me
address this by saying, why would
somebody who is heterosexual
all of a sudden decide that he or
she wants to be gay? Gay, lesbian
and bisexual people are faced
with discrimination and hate ev-
ery day. We fear being the butt of
jokes and the victims of violent
hate crimes. We fear showin
affection to our significant oth-
ers in public for these very rea-
sons. Come one, come all, it's
great! As for those homosexuals,
who have "claimed" to change,
you might consider what changes
they have made. These people
are still homosexual or bisexual,
the only thing they have done is
to deny who they are. Theg
changed their lives in order to
make society happy. No thank
you. I lived in the closet for too
long to go back. I have never
known any other sexual orienta-
tion, the only difference now is
that I accept it and embrace it.
The Kiss-In on the Diag was
not to shock the straight people
who innocently passed us. ThA
point of the Kiss-In was to in-
crease visibility of gay, lesbian
and bisexual people-and to create
a safe haven where we could
show affectiontoward each
other without fear. Something
that so many straight people do
not realize is that they interact
with homosexual people ever#
day. We are your family, friends,
classmates and co-workers.
We are all citizens of the
United States, thereby we all
have fundamental rights that
gra.t..PMAM o 11c amnP

Julie t

an Student Assembly
Neenan, president

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