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January 26, 1996 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-26

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4 The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 26, 1996

Uige Lirigan Datl

i-i

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI

Street
48109

Edited andmanaged by
students at the
University of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

You came you saw, you wrote.
Now it's tJ'e to pack fti.

Urles 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.
Leadersh 11996
Were can students find direction?

(T ead: v. 1 a: to guide on a way esp. by
going in advance; b: to direct on a
course or in a direction; c: to serve as a
channel for.
"Leader: a person who leads."
. Since September, when President James
J. Duderstadt announced his plans to resign
at the end of June, regents and administrators
have been absorbed in searching for his suc-
cessor. In their struggle to put together a
search process that would result in a credible
person to fill Duderstadt's shoes, official
leadership has been strangely inconsistent-
and students have been slow to fill the void.
In part, the regents' hesitancy has been to
their credit. The search forums, headed by
regental search co-chairs Shirley McFee (R-
Battle Creek) and Nellie Varner (D-Detroit),
have done an admirable job of allowing the
community to express its views on the next
leader.
However, despite their efforts to reach out
to the community, the regents seem unable to
formulate a coherent plan. They appointed a
firm to help conduct the search, without any
specific idea of exactly what the firm's role
will be. Then -- after haggling for months
about the meaning of the state's Open Meet-
ings Act - the regents announced that they
will appoint an advisory committee for the
search. On the surface, this is a positive step.
But the committee's meetings will be -
surprise! - closed.
And yesterday, shocking students and
administrators alike, the regents unexpect-
edly appointed an interim president. Despite
his relative anonymity, Vice President for
Research Homer Neal is not a bad choice. He
'has received much respect as an administra-
;tor, and he will be the first African American
to head the University - a major step.
Neal may well prove to be an exemplary
interim leader, but he has shown no interest
in the permanent job. Thus efforts toward
finding a new president must continue un-
checked - and they must take place in the
open. By appointing an advisory committee,
;the board appears neatly to have sidestepped
the Open Meetings Act. The act dictates that
virtually all meetings among elected offi-
cials be open to the public. Since no regents
will serve on the advisory committee, the
board argues that the committee legally can
,close its meetings.
Whether or not the regents are within
legal bounds, their actions violate the spirit
of the Open Meetings Act. Even if the com-

mittee cannot eliminate candidates from the
list, its recommendations presumably will
carry considerable weight. Students have a
right to observe the process by which those
recommendations are made, to ensure a fair
decision.
But would students do this, even if they
could? In one sense, the regents hardly de-
serve blame for their actions. They have
given students ample chance to express them-
selves, yet few have taken the opportunity.
The student forum in December garnered a
paltry turnout - 50 students cannot repre-
sent the entire campus population.
Moreover, 50 students should not have to
represent the entire campus population. The
University is home to some of the brightest
and most active college students in the na-
tion. Yet when it comes to campus issues -
particularly those involving the University
administration - the vast majority are con-
tent to sit by and let the bureaucracy make
decisions for them. Students complain about
construction, about graduation requirements,
about parking. They complain about a Uni-
versity that is impersonal and insensitive to
undergraduate education. Yet how manystu-
dents can name an administrator aside from
Duderstadt? How many even know how
Duderstadt's successor will be chosen?
If students are dissatisfied with campus
life, they have few to blame but themselves.
The University president is not directly re-
sponsible for campus events, but he or she is,
in every sense, the University's leader. He or
she guides the way, sets the direction, opens
the channels.
It has been said that societies invariably
obtain exactly the government they deserve.
The principle holds as true for University
students as for any state or nation. If students
do not exhibit leadership of their own, lead-
ership will be given to them. And it will
inevitably take them down a path they do not
want to travel.
Like other societies, the University com-
munity displays a delicate balance between
the governors - regents and administrators
- and the governed - students. Each has a
responsibility to contribute to that balance by
respecting and soliciting the other's partici-
pation. The new University president, above
all, should be an individual who understands
that balance. Neither students nor the admin-
istration can lead the University alone. A
working partnership is the best -- and per-
haps only - chance for success.

magine, if you will, the following sce-
nario. You have just turned 21, and while
recovering from side effects of the 21st
birthday, you receive a phone call. It is one
of the reporters at The Michigan Daily, and
he has an announcement. The president of
the University has just announced his resig-
nation - a revelation as unexpected as it is
significant. What do you do?
An old maxim of journalism has it that
the news never sleeps, so neither do the best
reporters. The news doesn't get hung over
either, so the aftereffects of a birthday cel-
ebration are a sorry excuse not to do your
job.
What do you do? You carry yourself into
the Daily, where you spend your hangover
reflecting on the eight years of the president's
term. You do this because ever since your
first days at the University, the Daily has
been your job.
You started it with timidity, maybe. You
saw an ad for free bagels and political de-
bate, and you made your way to the Student
Publications Building to see what it was all
about. Two women greeted you, both smart,
both feminists, both utterly intimidating.
Still, you stayed, writing about baseball with
a scruffy editor in chief and about cock-
roaches in school walls with an even scruffier
fellow staff member.
Or maybe, as a new student here, you
flipped through the pages of the paper while
waiting for your first discussion section to
begin. Naively, you didn't realize then that
discussions don't begin until the second
week of class. But the time sitting outside of
an empty classroom in the Modem Lan-
guages Building was well-spent: The ar-

ticles in the student newspaper impressed
you, and you saw an ad welcoming you to a
"Mass Meeting" in the Student Publications
Building.
Little did you know that the mass meet-
ing was the first of hundreds of hours you
would spend there.
Days and nights you spent at the comput-
ers. You came in covered with snow, drip-
ping with rain, seeking refuge from the sum-
mer heat. You listened to people discuss,
politely and otherwise. You pushed yourself
in between your editor and his associate,
trying to drown out their screaming with a
little of your own. Your name moved up in
the staff box, emerging from the masses of
"Staff," and you protested in vain at Bosnia
obsessions and the misuse of "quintessen-
tial."
You worked. You edited. You wrote.
You designed. And maybe, between edi-
tions, you actually found time to attend class,
do your homework and lead some shadow of
a social life. If this sounds like a bleak
description of life at 420 Maynard, it's only
part of the picture. Your marriage of conve-
nience turns into a perfect partnership, just
the right "moderate and rational" blend of
intelligence and goofiness. You get to learn
and lead and laugh. You get to threaten -
sometimes mockingly, sometimes not -to
kill your editor in chief.
Try doing that at a "real" newspaper.
In some ways, however, the Daily is as
real as life gets. Students stopping by be-
tween classes write about a serial rapist
stalking Ann Arbor. Sleep-deprived editors
debate affirmative action and marijuana le-
galization. And you, bleary-eyed but ideal-

istic, are part of it all.
You look back, after three years, after a
year in charge. You think of the big issues,
trying to count the sheer number of inches
you have given to the Code and the Clinton
presidency. You take stock of your enemies
- you wonder what Maureen Hartford and
Mary Lou Antieau and Deane Baker and
NWROC think when they pick up your opin-
ions in the morning. You take stock of your
friends, the ones who have sent you letters
and e-mail messages and phone calls to
support something you've written.
You take stock of your friends, the ones
you've made over proofed pages and dinne
breaks at the Union. You quietly thank those
who. have encouraged you to keep doing
what you're doing, despite the less-than-
promising job market for would-be journal-
ists. Without friends and enemies, produc-
ing a newspaper five days a week would be
no more than applying ink to newsprint
lifeless words devoid of meaning.
You adjourn your last meeting, and as
the room empties out, your eyes fill it up
again with those who peopled it so vibrantl4
during your time there. You see their faces,
hear their voices. You look at the volumes
on the wall, where those voices are indelibly
preserved.
You take one last look, adding your
ghostly presence to the scores that already
reside there. And you thank them, and thank
yourself. It's been a hell of a ride.
- Julie Q. Becker and James M. Nash
can be reached over e-mail. They can also
be found wandering the streets of Ann Ar
bor, desperately seeking a page to proof
read.

JiM LASSER
THAIT 5 FUNNY - -
1DOE5N'T HAVE

THis BooK
AN Y ?AGE:S

SHARP AS TOAST

THAT S WH
II V NO
F',N Y

/ J

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'That's all there 4
Is. There Isn't
any more.'
-Bob Ufer, the
legendary voice of
Michigan football, in his
sign-off at the
end of games.u

D

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..=

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Z
r
K 1'"
.. fi
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: _ .,
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.. s

FINAL THOUGHTS

A moment inthe sun
Clinton seizes rhetorical advantage in address

N o one can accuse President Clinton of
being an inept politician. Corrupt,
maybe; indecisive, yes; perhaps even too
"slick" for his own good. But not inept - as
his State of the Union address demonstrated
Tuesday night. Relishing his last night in the
spotlight before the 1996 campaign begins in
earnest, Clinton co-opted the Republican
pledge to end "big government." In doing so,
Clinton made himself the Republicans'
Democrat: a president cleaving to the center
against a Congress straying right of the main-
stream.
Clinton's speech was neither fiat nor folly,
a political treatise lacking in specifics but
hitting the right rhetorical buttons. Clinton
pronounced that "big government does not
have all the answers" and attacked the uni-
versal bogeyman of bureaucracy. He bor-
rowed from the pioneer mystique of self-
reliance and helping one's neighbor while
allowing that Americans should not "be left
to fend for themselves." Clinton's words
may well have made FDR blush, but they
seemed in tune with the national zeitgeist

drop of cuts to financial aid for needy stu-
dents, however, Clinton's scholarship pro-
posal seems like a sop to the middle class,
whose support he desperately needs to win
this fall. While alleviating tuition for high-
achieving students of mostly middle- or up-
per-class backgrounds, Clinton also should
consider poorer students who have succeeded
in the face of great adversity.
Additionally, Clinton called for tax in-
centives for businesses that clean up aban-
doned properties. That proposal -while not
outlined in detail-- blends a concern for the
environment with the GOP mainstay of cor-
porate tax relief. Clinton should exercise
restraint in handing out tax breaks to busi-
nesses, which already take advantage of the
government's generosity to the tune of sev-
eral billion dollars a year.
Analysts were quick to frame Clinton's
speech and Senate Republican leader Bob
Dole's televised response as a sneak preview
of presidential debates to come. Not so. Dole
seems the likely GOP standard-bearer to face
Clinton in November. But Dole's uninspired

Julie Becker
Editorial Page Editor
"If we begin sanctioning people for
expressing their thoughts, it will become
increasingly difficult to know where to
draw the line. Soon, no one's ideas will be
safe; they need only be condemned by a
majority of their peers to be stifled into
silence."
-From my first editorial, on Marge
Schott's suspension from Major League
Baseball, Feb. 8,1993. 1still believe it.
Darren EVersn
Sports Editor
When LSA senior Seth Baldwin described
a certain Michigan student organization as a
'very cohesive, self-perpetuating entity,' he
was probably referring to the fencing club, of
which he's a member.
It may well be, but it's got nothing on the
Daily -except some really sharp swords, I
guess.
James M. Nash
Editorial Page Editor
"Forget the anti-incumbent electoral cli-
mate, city voting patterns and the coattail
effect of Gov. John Engler. David Stead is
going to win the Ann Arbor mayoral race
because he's more 'cuddly' than the city's
last Democratic mayor, Liz Brater."
-- From my news story, Oct. 28, 1994.
Stead lost the race.

Jonathan Berndt
News Editor
"Shootings, lootings and serial rapists,
plea bargains and furlough programs - all
have people concerned about crime."
-- From an analysis of the 1994 guber-
natorial and congressional races,
Nov: 7, 1994
Nate Hurley
Managing News Editor
"People sometimes need to step away
from it all - and laugh. With the depress-
ing news of death and violence, which just
becomes more and more unreal, there is
often no way to rationalize it - no emotion
fits."
-from Better Nate Than Never,
Nov. 10, 1994
Antoine Pitts
Managing Sports Editor
The Michigan men's cross country team
returns to action this weekend for Sunday
morning Michigan Invitational. This meet
represents an important moment in the
season for the Wolverines.
"This is a key time for us because I have
to start making decisions on who's going
to run in the Big Ten meet," Michigan
coach Ron Warhurst said.
- From my first story, October 16, 1992

Lisa Dines
News Editor
"Making the wrong decision in a hurry is,
not better than the right one slowly."
- Chemistry Prof. Tom Dunn on the
administration's decision-making policies,
March 1, 1993
This is from coverage on
first beat -faculty.

Brent McIntosh
Sports Editor
In On the Road, Jack Kerouac wrote:
"I realized these were all the snapshots
which our children would look at some-
day with wonder, thinking their parents
had lived smooth, well-ordered, stabi-
lized-within-the-photo lives ... never
dreaming the raggedy madness and riot o
our actual lives.",
The Daily is my snapshot.
Michael Rosenberf
Editor in Chief
"... Egos are also a big problem at the
Daily. Let's start with Mr. Rosenberg's ego.
..Mr. Rosenberg thinks he's a sportswriter
and a comedian? Now that's truly funny."
- Nelson Peralta, then second-year Law
student, in a letter to the editor respond
to my first-ever article for the Da

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