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March 13, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 13, 1995

Ulhe 3idijgzu 1atg

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

JAMEs R. CHOBBENEATH THE PALIMPSEST
Defining the family-

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.
Abuso power
MSA meeting puts politics over governance

Tuesday's MSA meeting was a fine ex-
ample of bad behavior by our elected
student officials. From the political grand-
standing of certain representatives to the repre-
hensible behavior of President Julie Neenan of
the Michigan Party, the members of the as-
sembly proved to their constituents that they
have few qualms about putting politics be-
fore governance.
At the meeting, two resolutions were pro-
posed by assembly members. One condemned
participation in Leadership 2017, a leader-
ship training seminar that Neenan attended
this summer. The other attempted to recall
former MSA president and Michigan Party
stalwart Craig Greenberg from his position
as chair of the Student Regent Task Force.
MSA members sponsoring the proposal ac-
cused Greenberg of neglecting his duties as
chair by failing to call a meeting within the
required four-week period. Neenan initially
refused to hear debate on these proposals
and, when assembly members tried to over-
rule her ruling, adjourned the meeting.
There was so much wrongdoing on both
sides that it i difficult to assign degrees of
blame. First and foremost, Neenan's attempt
to suppress debate was completely out of
order. She neglected to follow assembly pro-
cedure of putting discussion to a vote, and
refused to hear an appeal to reopen debate.
Neenan clearly demonstrated that she has
little regard for the democratic workings of

MSA. Her suppression of open debate was
clearly political, as both resolutions were
aimed at the actions of Michigan Party mem-
bers. This behavior represents a blatant abuse
of the power of the office.
However, Neenan is not the only one who
deserves criticism. The proposals - spon-
sored mainly by Students' Party representa-
tives - were as politically motivated as
Neenan's behavior. Leadership 2017 is hardly
apressing issue at this point. To dredge itup on
the eve of the general election was mudsling-
ing of the highest order. As for Greenberg, he
has proven himself hard-working and well-
versed on the issue. Attempting to recall him
on a minor technicality such as not calling a
meeting in the prescribed period was an
undeserved jab at the Michigan Party.
The events of this meeting tell a particu-
larly uninspiring story of our current govern-
ment. They speak of an assembly intent on
putting political posturing before student in-
terests, and of an executive who clearly does
not fathom the limits of her power. Tuesday's
proposed resolutions were malicious, but at
least the sponsoring representatives remained
within the letter of the law. Of greater con-
cern was Neenan's abuse of power. The
student body deserves better behavior from
its elected officials. These officials need to
realize that they were elected to serve their
constituents, not advance their political ca-
reers.

Emily Decker's youngest daughter has
no qualms telling her kindergarten
class that she has two moms. Emily and
her domestic partner, Fran Dunaway, have
lived together for more than a year with
Emily's three young children from a pre-
vious heterosexual marriage. Emily
teaches an undergraduate seminar on indi-
vidual identity at the University. Fran
works at home as a freelance writer. Both
take the time to pick up the kids after
school and listen to the eldest son recount
stories of playing "Smear the Queer" in
the schoolyard. In Ann Arbor, Fran and
Emily are registered domestic partners --
together they're a family.
A revolutionary idea to heterosexual
people, gay marriage has always seemed
right for gay couples. For years gay men
and lesbian women have been denounced
and spat upon. They've been denied the
right to raise legal families, as many view
a same-sex partnership as unnatural and
unhealthy. Yet people such as Emily and
Fran value the traits that characterize tradi-
tional families - the loving commitment
between two adults and the nurturing of
their children."Being a parent is a hard job.
You need to have your shit together. Not all
heterosexual parents have it together. It's
about providing a loving environment for

children," Emily said.
When same-sex couples set out to make
that commitment, they encounter serious
barriers imposed by an ignorant and
homophobic society. For same-sex
couples, health insurance coverage does
not extend to an uninsured partner. Simi-
larly, they receive neither joint tax returns
nor survivor's benefits from Social Secu-
rity. Nowhere in the United States does the
government recognize gay marriages. In
fact, most states have deemed homosexual
marriages illegal. In Ann Arbor, couples
can register for domestic partnership as
proof of cohabitation, but this is merely
symbolic with no legal protection. The gov-
ernment continues to drag its feet in extend-
ing benefits and recognition to gay couples.
Fortunately, this is changing at the Uni-
versity. Last year the regents approved an
amendment to regents' Bylaw 14.06 - an
anti-discrimination policy - to include
sexual orientation. In accordance with the
bylaw change, the University made same-
sex couples eligible for family housing as
well as health and life insurance benefits.
The benefits kicked into effect Jan. 1.
Emily and Fran are among the estimated
70 couples who have signed up to receive
benefits. Fran, who previously did not
have health insurance, was then able to get

a timely checkup. Doctors discovered a
fibroid growth on Fran's uterus that they
will continue to monitor. Undetected, the
growth could have led to further compli-
cations.
"We now have the peace of mind know-
ing that we have the support and can afford
(medical help) on the income that I make,"
Emily said. "We were one medical catas-
trophe away from having no money at all."
The bold initiative taken by the regents
is a step in the right direction because it
protects gays and lesbians fromharassment
and discrimination at the University. More
important, it recognizes that same-sex
couples can indeed anchor a nurturing fam-
ily. Parenthood is blind to whether parents
are gay or straight - it is the cooperation of
two loving parents. Children yearn for sup-
portive and loving parents rather than indif-
ferent, abusive ones.
The world is hard enough as it is for
heterosexual parents, both single and in
partnerships. Regardless of their sexual
orientation, two committed individuals
who want to provide a loving atmosphere
for their children should be encouraged
and not scorned. We should embrace com-
panionship and not pass discriminatory
judgment on partnerships just because they
are unconventional.

9

JIM LASSER

SHARP AS TOAST

I

At Z WE. EVEoDo iS EAT z. OW)LTE
I AT '$REPNUR/'.S $A EL$! /SAM1WATCH "PUJLP FICT1/ON
/ FOR THE '23 rd TI MF.. .
"AZEiV ANO N2 SD
( f
Ann Arbor is a diverse and thriving city which
offers many entertaining outlets for the U-M student.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"I don't care. He
can come back,
stay and play
baseball or go
and play golf....
He's another
man. He puts his
underwear on just
like I do."
- Detroit Piston Oliver
Miller, on Michael
Jordan's return to
professional basketball

Wrongful expulsion
Notre Dame errs in ban of homosexual group

n a reversal of previous university policy,
the administration of Notre Dame Univer-
sity has removed the right to meet on
campusfrom the Leaders of Gays and Lesbi-
ans of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College
(GLND/SMC). This action denies the group
official recognition after nine years of being
on campus and effectively expels the group
as a student organization.
According to Father Peter Rocca of Notre
Dame's Office of Student Affairs, the deci-
sion was based on the group's advertisement
of its meetings during the fall 1994 semester.
According to CNN reports, other groups that
have held protests in defense of GLND/SMC,
such as Amnesty International, also face the
risk of expulsion as a group. Members of
Notre Dame's administration have been
quoted as unwilling to "condone homosexu-
ality," thus demonstrating a clear misunder-
standing of the group's purpose on campus.
While Notre Dame may be a private insti-
tution with the inherent right to admit and
exclude whomever they please, the decision
to ban the GLND/SMC is nonetheless mor-
ally abhorrent. By allowing the group on
campus in the first place, Notre Dame dem-
onstrated at least some tolerance for homo-
sexuals. Revoking that permission nine years
later under the guise of a technicality involv-
ing the right to use university facilities is
masked homophobia and is reprehensible.
This action in many ways underscores the
need for gay, lesbian and bisexual offices at
colleges and universities around the country.

The past few years have witnessed an in-
creasing undercurrent of intolerance toward
the rights of homosexuals. Decisions not to
provide for centers such as the GLNDIMC
underscore their need in the first place: to
provide a place of support and understanding
in what can otherwise be a climate of fear and
hatred. The intention of campus gay and
lesbian centers is not to provide a recruitment
center for homosexuality, as Notre Dame
officials claim. Rather, it is to provide a
venue for community and support. The pre-
cedent that Notre Dame may be setting is no
doubt a chilling one for private schools:
Students paying upwards of $20,000 a year
to attend school are being told by its admin-
istrators that they have no place at the school
and are viewed as morally corrupt.
The show of support from students and
faculty alike at Notre Dame in continuous
rallies and protests during the past month
demonstrates sufficient support for the uni-
versity to recognize them as a legitimate
student group. The ensuing uproar from other
student groups and faculty over the decision
to ban the GNLD/SMC shows that Catholic
universities should not be strong-armed into
an atmosphere of intolerance.
Notre Dame, and universities across the
country, need to realize that is not possible to
provide a comfortable atmosphere for stu-
dents while forcing them from university
facilities. Colleges and universities, be they
private or public, should make every attempt
to be all-inclusive to students, not exclusive.

LETTERS

Accusations fly as MSA elections near.*

To the Daily:
The Students' Party proposal
to increase funding to student
groups is flawed. Under this
proposal, presidential and vice-
presidential candidates Brian
Elliott and Fiona Rose would
apparently eliminate the fund-
ing for ADVICE Magazine and
redirect it toward the Budget
Priorities Committee. They jus-
tify their actions by explaining
that ADVICE can be produced
just as effectively as an on-line
service. They are misinformed.
The staff of ADVICE Maga-
zine has been working with ITD
since the beginning of the year,
in an attempt to create an AD-
VICEeon-line service on
GOpherBLUE. While this pros-
pect holds much promise, such
an on-line service would only be
able to complement the actual
publication. Students using such
a service on GOpherBLUE would
not be able to browse and com-
pare courses in the same manner
as the magazine allows.
If the Students' Party were to
implement this drastic proposal
and eliminate the budget for
ADVICE Magazine, course
evaluation at the University
would surely suffer. ADVICE
Magazine, which has been
evaluating courses for more than
15 years, should be above elec-
tion politics. Elliott and Rose
should carefully consider all the
facts before making such rash
proposals.
Ih SI afanhl

conducted Tuesday's meeting
in the absence of Vice President
Jacob Stern.
President Neenan, during the
meeting, asked that all mem-
bers refrain from "politicking"
in MSA chambers and during
meetings at this time, two weeks
before MSA elections. Near the
end of the meeting, two resolu-
tions came be-
fore the as- "in light c
sembly; the
first involved Nee
eliminating unden
MSA partici- actions, v
pation in
Leadership our ablill
2017, in this resi
which presi-
dent Neenan (to stul
herself par- sev,
ticipated. The
second in- COmpr
volved recall- - Eight MSA
ing former "It Is
MSA presi-
dent and unfortuna,
Michigan Students
Party member Willingt
C r a i g wingti
Greenberg such le
from the posi- attempt ti
tionofStudent
Regent Task Michigan
Force chair. me to,
President
Neenan ruled upcoml
both of these elect
resolutions - Craig G;
out of order.
Several MSA representatives
objected and appealed the deci-

If
i
'It
t
Iie
ti

To the Daily:
Over the past two years, no
one has worked harder to ad-
vance the cause of a student
regent than MSA President Julie
Neenan or myself. Because I
passionately care about this is-
sue, but was unable to achieve
this goal while MSA president,
I accepted the
position of
President chair of the
ian's MSA Task
Force on Stu-
DcratiC dent Repre-
e feel that sentation on
the Board of
Vto fulfill Regents last
Dnsibility year because
ents) is I felt I could
do a very
rely good job fur-
nised." thering this
cause. Over
epresentatives the past year,
truly I believe I
e trulhave; the stu-
e that the dent body is
Party is closer to hav-
stoop to a repre-
vs In an serve in some
trash the official ca-
P and pacity than
party n ever before.
vin the Unfortu-
g MVISAnately, I now
am resigning
ion." my chair, not
enberg because I
have done a
poor job, but because I do not
wish to give the petty political

my recall for an absurd reason.
It is utterly horrific that the
Students' Party is politicizing
the issue of a student regent, for
such partisan banter will cer-
tainly lead to its detriment. It is
an idea they say they support,
yet their actions prove other-
wise. First, at last month's re-
gents' meeting, a Students'
Party leader incomprehensibly
rambled through a poorly writ-
ten speech supporting a student
regent. The speech was so bad
that it prompted one regent to
tell MSA President Neenan,
"There went your issue."
Now, two weeks before the
MSA election, three weeks be-
fore my one year-term as chair
ends, and the night after Presi-
dent Neenan and I began a new
round of negotiations with the
regents on our latest proposal,
they amazingly decide I am no
longer doing a good job.
There is certainly room for
partisan politics in MSA. Yet
on this issue, which has the near-
unanimous support of all stu-
dents, there is no such room -
partisan politics merely hurt this
cause, rather than further it. It is
truly unfortunate_ that the Stu-
dents' Party is willing to stoop
to such lows in an attempt to
trash the Michigan Party and
me to win the upcoming MSA
election. Such tactics show they
are more interested in playing
the politics of destruction than
working to construct a more ef-
fective student government.

HOW TO CONTACT IEM

University Regent Daniel Homing
(R-Grand Haven)
600 S. Beacon Blvd.
Grand Rapids, MI 49417
University Regent Nellie Varner
(D-Detroit)
771 East 8 Mile Rd., Suite 223

University Regent Rebecca McGowan
(D-Ann Arbor)
2210 Melrose Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
University Regent Philip Power
(D-Ann Arbor)
412 E. Huron, P.O. Box 7989

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