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February 14, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-14

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 14, 1996

atbe £iirn &iilg]D(1

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion ofa majority ofthe Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
The BPC 'non-crisis'
MSA's poor planning causes a budget crunch

'The publishers' insistence for
copyright fees amounts to extortion.'
- Jim Smith, owner of Michigan Document Services
'U'fi comntIpi ve AA hre
~ ~ - - - - -- - - - ~
l1 community split over SAPAC charges

Michigan Student Assembly Vice Presi-
dent Sam Goodstein predicts before
year's end, funds will be "completely washed
out." And many student groups will be washed
MSA's Budget Priorities Committee car-
ries out one of MSA's most important func-
tions: allocating funds to campus groups and
organizations. Last week, members realized
they may have promised more than they can
deliver - a disappointing, if not dangerous,
precedent to set. In all, 91 student organiza-
tions rely on BPC for funding through re-
quest and presentation. If MSA's budget
collapses as predicted, these groups will have
nowhere left to turn. MSA must take steps
immediately to minimize the imminent dam-
age and prevent future fiscal crises.
BPC currently holds seven hearings per
year to accept presentations from student
organizations requesting MSA funds. While
the frequency of hearings is convenient for
some of the smaller groups, it is economi-
cally unwise. Seven hearings will hurt stu-
dent groups in the long run: the present
budget crunch is a case-in-point example.
BPC promised away the bulk of its funds
during the first five hearings of the fiscal
year. With two scheduled hearings left, BPC
members found that they overextended them-
selves. Their lack of foresight and planning
will leave many groups unfunded. If MSA
insists on maintaining a seven-hearing fiscal
year, they must hone their arithmetic skills to
plan efficiently. Some would call the blunder
inexcusable - MSA deals with approxi-

Clinton poor
brave new world

mately the same number of organizations
and sees many ofthe same monetary requests
every year. This year was no different, nor
have there been any surprises.
A better solution would be to cut the
number of hearings to three or four. Quar-
terly hearings could decrease or altogether
eliminate the instinctual habit of promising
large sums too early in the year. Fewer hear-
ings may prompt a more even distribution of
student group requests, enabling BPC to stick
closely to a quarterly budget plan.
However, before any plans are made for
future reform, MSA must deal with the prob-
lem at hand. BPC Chair Matt Curin indicated
that supplemental emergency funding may
be available from other MSA committee
budgets, such as Advice magazine and the
Central Student Judiciary. MSA members
have yet to reach an agreement on the poten-
tial fund transfer -- many feel it would be
unfair to penalize these groups to save BPC
from its own mistake. To some extent, it's
true. MSA cannot make a habit of robbing
some groups of funding to cover other groups.
BPC runs into a shortage each year; it
seems the problem is chronic. However, the
current shortage is steep enough that rear-
ranging budget allocations might be neces-
sary. MSA must learn to plan ahead to avoid
future emergencies.
Two BPC hearings remain in the fiscal
year. It will then be time for MSA members
to rethink hearing and allocation policies -
student groups cannot be expected to pay for
any more of MSA's mistakes.

Democracy bypmailn
New voting method encourages participation

N ot only did the Democratic Party tri-
umph in Oregon recently, democracy
did as well. Ron Wyden beat Gordon Smith,
a Republican, in a special U.S. Senate elec-
tion. But the election was notable not be-
cause of a Democratic victory. Mail-in vot-
ing made Wyden's win special.
Voter participation was well above aver-
age and election procedures were essentially
flawless. While questions remain as to
whether mail-in voting will work in each
state, it is an innovative way to make democ-
racy more accessible to all voters. Other
states should follow suit.
Oregon has held elections by mail for
school bond issues and statewide ballot ini-
tiatives for the past 15 years. But the recent
Senate election, which filled Bob Packwood's
seat, was the first federal mail-in election.
Oregon voters received ballots approximately
three weeks before the election. Voters could
mail ballots or drop them off at a designated
Voter participation for the Oregon elec-
tion was a staggering 66 percent. The elec-
tion set an Oregon record for voting in a
special election, and was well above the
national average. For example, only 38 per-
cent of eligible voters nationwide voted in
the 1994 Congressional elections. Although
turnout may have been unusually high be-
cause the mail-in process was novel, it none-
theless offers voters easier access to democ-
racy. Since voting can be difficult with work

commitments and long lines at the polling
locations, any secure system that encourages
more citizens to participate should be adopted.
Opponents of mail-in voting in Oregon
and elsewhere claim the long balloting pe-
riod makes it necessary for candidates to
sustain longer media campaigns to attract
both early and late voters. Critics also argue
that Oregon saw excessive amounts of mud-
slinging in the recent election. However,
negative campaigning and excessive televi-
sion advertisements are a common aspect in
political campaigns nationwide. Mail-in vot-
ing should not be blamed for the rise in
campaign spending or an increase of politi-
cians' bad manners.
While mail-in voting a success in Oregon,
potential for corruption lies in this type of
system. Officials will need to develop some
form of voter verification to prevent fraud.
The U.S. Postal Service performed well in
the Oregon election; however, with tons of
mail each year left undelivered, postal accu-
racy could sway an entire election. If other
states are considering adopting mail-in vot-
ing, they must first investigate these con-
Despite possible loopholes, mail-in vot-
ing should be pursued in other areas of the
country. While fewer and fewer citizens are
making it to the polls, mail-in voting is a
creative step toward getting more citizens to
vote - although the ultimate responsibility
is theirs.

reporting on
I have been following the
Daily's reporting of the
controversy involving
SAPAC staff and volunteers,
and have been concerned by
the paper' s approach. I don't
think it is responsible; it
seems unnecessarily and
destructively sensational and
inflammatory. A spirit of
"public journalism' that
works for the good of the
community would be more
helpful here. Certainly, the
Peer Educators who initiated
the protest of Janelle
White's dismissal and the
process surrounding it may
have legitimate concerns
worth talking to the director
and other staff about.
Certainly, organizations
have to struggle to best
understand and serve the
needs of a diverse constitu-
ency, and often don't do as
well as they would like.
Certainly, confidentiality is
very important to SAPAC's
credibility. And certainly,
the Daily can and should
investigate and report when
it learns of a Peer Educators
protest. However, the only
things that are really known
is that there is disagreement
between some of the
volunteers and the director
about the legitimacy of
Janelle White's dismissal,
and that Debi Cain, in
conversation with some of
the SAPAC student staff
who were meeting with her
about concerns, spoke of
another SAPAC worker as a
"survivor." Confidentiality
was broken in that "in-
house" context. That
doesn't make it OK, but
without much more evidence
of problems, that one
mistake certainly doesn't
warrant fanning flames of
the assumption that confi-
dentiality is a problem at
SAPAC and that students on
campus might well hesitate
to use its services.
The issue about serving
students of color and gay
and lesbian students better
doesn't surprise me at all,
and I doubt any member or
staff person of SAPAC
would not agree that they
need to work on that. What
organization that is mostly
white and mostly straight

doesn't? (Anti-abuse
organizations organized to
serve women nationally are
only recently realizing they
have to learn how to include
lesbian victims of same-sex
abuse.) The Daily needed to
be more cautious than it was
in linking this to Janelle
White's dismissal because
she is African American and
lesbian, without further
investigation in more depth.
Those are very serious
charges. (And Cain is at a
disadvantage in defending
against this - personnel
matters can't be divulged to
the public.) This is an in-
house struggle. Some
people are clearly upset
with Debi Cain's leadership.
Some people clearly do not
think Janelle White's
dismissal was justified.
Obviously, SAPAC has
work to do, and the
situation is reportable. I
urge the Daily to be
responsible in educating the
community without doing
damage to the fine work of
the many volunteers and
must have
In light of recent letters
to the editor by SAPAC
volunteers, I feel a strong
need to clarify my position
on the unfortunate contro-
versy that has erupted. As a
"protesting" SAPAC Peer
Educator, I am deeply
disappointed, disturbed and
sincerely hurt that I am no
longer able to trust SAPAC
or to do the important work
against sexual violence
under its name. Over the
past two years SAPAC has
been a great resource for
me, allowing me to learn,
deal with personal issues
and providing me with a
vehicle with which to serve
the University community. I
have grown to be very
committed to the anti-
violence movement and I
wholeheartedly believe that
SAPAC is an invaluable
resource on this campus.
But no organization is
perfect. It's true that I know
only one side of the story
about Janelle White's

termination. But I also know
that the way SAPAC staff
informed the volunteer
groups about the situation
gives cause for suspicion.
Different staff members told
different stories to different
groups of volunteers, some
of which information was
conflicting and contradic-
tory. As a volunteer who
worked directly for Janelle
in the PE program (which
none of the other volunteers
writing letters this week
did), I have seen Janelle
(White) work and have
known her in a "profes-
sional" capacity. None of the
explanations I have heard
coming from SAPAC staff
sound plausible. There is
much suspicion around the
entire situation. Even this,
however, may not be seen by
some as justification for a
work stoppage. But a blatant
breach of client confidential-
ity by the organization's
director is a clear sign to me
that SAPAC is not currently
living up to its stated
mission or to its potential. I
cannot in good conscience
give a presentation on
acquaintance rape to a class
and tell them that SAPAC is
a great place to go for help.
I'd be thinking in the back of
my mind that client confi-
dentiality is not always a
number one priority with the
staff, as it should be.
Sexual violence is an area
where confidentiality in
counseling is extremely
important. Many women
don't report the crimes to the
police or even tell their
families, so it's especially
important to provide a safe,
confidential atmosphere in
which they can obtain the
help that they need in a
time of crisis and healing.
I'm unsure whether SAPAC
is currently living up to
I also want to point out
that the Daily's reporting of
the controversy is essential
to the correction of
SAPAC's problems. The
University community needs
to know, so that people can
make educated decisions
about whether to go to
SAPAC for help or whether
to become (or remain) a
SAPAC volunteer. And the
administration needs to
know that students find this
behavior by SAPAC staff

I think that-Bill Clinton will win
re-election in November. How-
ever, I am worried about the manner
in which Clinton will win. I'm wor-
ried that the issues on which Clinton
campaigns will be the wrong issue
I'm worried that Clinton will win
without addressing the most impor-
tant issues we face. He may do this
because it seems
he can, because
it seems theelecc-
tion will be his
to lose.
Clinton may,
in fact, be able ' l
to win by en-
c o u r a g i n g
Americans, as
he did in the
State of the
Union Address, JORDAN
to watch less
television and STANCIL
spend time with
their children. But for him to do so
would be to let America down. In
doing so he would neglect the mo
important issue of our time: The fact
that most people don't make as much
money as they used to make. Inci-
dentally, this is also the reason that
people spend less time than before
with their children.
We know that theliving standards
of most Americans are falling. As
Bill Clinton so articulately explained
in 1992, people are working harder
for less money. Increasingly, both
parents work, but this has not led to
more prosperous lifestyles. This has
weakened families-notjust among
the very poor, but also among the
middle class and even the upper
middle class, where people must
work harder than ever to keep a
tenuous grip on an insecure pros-
perity. These economic problems
have changed the substance of
American life.
As is widely known, the connota@
tions of words like 'job" and "ca-
reer" have changed, perhaps for-
ever. I use the passive voice because
no one knows exactly who's re-
sponsible, although there are plenty
oftheories. Perhaps Corporate Greed
did it, or Healthy Competition, or"
Free Trade or the Decline of Unions.
Or maybe it was History. Inevita-
bly, the search for an agent is fruit-
The central experience of adult
life - work - is different, and
change is cloaked in the sterile eu-
phemisms ofcorporate America. We
have a whole lexicon of words like
"outsource" and "outplace," and, of
course, "downsize," although I'm
told by a B-school friend that the
term currently en vogue is
The new ideal is not a loyal en*
ployee married for life to an equally
loyal employer. The new ideal is the
rugged individual, a kind of self-
contained work unit who sells his or
her skills to the highest bidder, who
cringes at the thought of lifetime
employment with one company, and
who brooks no fear of change.
The Economy, that most inscru-
table god, wants everyone to be an
independent contractor, and I sa
"Great." After all, it would be th
height of hypocrisy for liberals who
complained so strenuously about the
ennui of the corporate lifestlye to
lament that very lifestyle's collapse.
It would be almost as bad as conser-
vatives who long for the return of
the Cold War.
But even if this particular brave
new world isn't so bad, we still have

a problem. Where is all the mone.
going? Why do CEO's make hun-
dreds of times more than the salary
of the lowest paid worker? Would it
be so bad if they only made 50 times
more? If the American Century was
made possible by the growth of an
upwardly mobile middle class, what
happens when we have downward
mobility? We hear from all direc-
tions that education is more neces-
sary than ever, and yet educatioh
becomes ever more expensive an
less accessible for most of the na-
In 1992, Bill Clinton had answers
to these questions. His success was
due to his ability to define the prob-
lem of declining wages and living
standards and to propose solutions.
When a member of the audience at
one of the 1992 presidential debates
asked the candidates how the receg
sion had affected them personally,
Clinton was the only one who un-
derstood. His campaign was based
on the idea that the economy does
affect people personally. It affects
what they do every day. It affects
how they raise their children.



the attack on the Alliance
revolves around one quote
made by speaker of the
Black Student Union,
Sherise Steele (which given
the Daily's record may have
very well been misquoted).
To those who readily shun

legitimate. I support the
Alliance Four Justice
because minority services do
need to be re-evaluated if
they are to properly serve
students of color. Who are
the most qualified people to
do this other than the


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