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March 13, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-13

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4- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 13, 1996

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'We want the community to know we are here
and we are strong.'
-Marie Ting, a program coordinator for the Office
of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, explaining the
purpose of Asian American month

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.
Babysitter wanted
MSA child care funding proposal has potential

t1 D0




B eing a student at theUniversity is not
easy. However, being a student and a
parent is near impossible. Students with chil-
dren have to worry about more than just
getting their homework done. At the top of
the list are the added expenses such students
face. They have to agonize over their
children's needs in addition to scraping tu-
ition money together. The Michigan Student
Assembly is working to aid the approxi-
mately 2,000 University students who are
parents. Before spring break, the assembly
approved a ballot proposal for this month's
general elections that would provide finan-
cial assistance to these students. The assem-
bly must iron out some details, but the plan is
an excellent way to improve student life.
If the legislation is approved, students
would be charged an additional $1 fee per
semester. The approximately $70,000 dol-
lars raised would help to fund a new Univer-
sity infant care program and would provide
for "child care tuition vouchers," distributed
through the Office of Financial Aid. LSA
Rep. Fiona Rose, who chaired the task force
that wrote the proposal, said the logistics of
the proposed voucher system need fine tun-
ing. She mentioned a similar program at
Indiana University that works smoothly. The
University of Wisconsin also runs a success-
ful program - asking for $3.50 per term for
only one percent of the students body.
The program is necessary as well as vi-
able. The average cost to raise a child in
Washtenaw County is $10,000 per year.
University students with children spend ap-

proximately $8,000 to $9,000 on their off-
spring - a big expense when added to the
cost of a University education. For a minus-
cule contribution, the student body can aid a
lot of parents.
The proposed program is similar to many
other student services at the University -
asking students to contribute a little toward a
worthy program will promote a stronger,
more unified community. For example, not
all students live off campus, but students'
money is given to the Ann Arbor Tenants'
Union. Not everyone needs a lawyer, but
students still contribute to Student Legal
Services. The University eventually may
implement a student health care plan along
the same principle. These services are impor-
tant because they help a majority of Univer-
sity students and every student could need
them at some point in their education.
When questioned, Rose said she was not
sure exactly how the Office of Financial Aid
would distribute the vouchers. Instead, she
pointed to the program at Indiana University
as proof that a similar one could work here.
However, between now and the election,
Rose and the assembly must work out the
details of the proposal to assure students that
the initiative is indeed possible and practical.
As the MSA election approaches, the races
for president and representatives often over-
shadow important ballot proposals. Child
care funding should not be overlooked by the
candidates - especially after the race is


Seizing property
Cordeiintroubling for innocent people

O n March 4, the U.S. Supreme Court
issued a decision that emphasizes the
police's and government's broad rights in
forfeiture cases - a decision that poses seri-
ous risks to individual citizen's constitu-
tional rights. In deciding Bennis vs. Michi-
gan, the Court held that law enforcement
officials may confiscate property used in
illegal actions, even if the property belongs
to innocent individuals. While states are pass-
ing stricter forfeiture laws to deter drug deal-
ers and crime syndicates, the decision opens
up the possibility that laws intended to stop
serious criminals may also punish innocent
The decision arose from a Michigan case.
A married couple, John and Tina Bennis,
bought an 11-year-old Pontiac sedan in both
names. Soon after, John Norris solicited a
prostitute and the two engaged in a sexual act
in the car. He was arrested by Detroit police;
the police said the car added to a public
nuisance and therefore they had the legal
authority to confiscate it, and to auction or
destroy it. However, the confiscation was
unfair to Tina Bennis, a co-owner of the car.
Although she had not been involved in the
criminal act, she lost her only means of
transportation to her employment. She sued
to get the car back in a closely watched
lawsuit, which eventually reached the Su-
preme Court.
In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that Tina
Bennis, although guilty of nothing, had no
claim to her car. The majority opinion cited
the Michigan law that initially authorized the
police to confiscate it. Chief Justice William

Rehnquist discounted Tina's claim by citing
the Court's long history of upholding the
government's right to the forfeiture of inno-
cent people's property. Rehnquist's main
argument: There is a well-established prece-
dent, and the majority agreed that this case
did not warrant a reversal.
The dissenting opinion makes more sense.
It states that "neither logic nor history sup-
ports the Court's apparent assumption that
their complete innocence imposes no consti-
tutional impediment to the seizure of their
property simply because it provided the lo-
cus for a criminal transaction."
Rehnquist and the other majority justices
misunderstood a precedent - and refused to
reverse it in their ignorance. As a result,
innocent citizens will be constantly under
threat of police suspicion, and the police's
right to confiscate property.
The decision gives the police an unbal-
anced amount of power, and places innocent
people in jeopardy. This is contradictory to
the American credo of"innocent until proven
guilty." It negates the people's right to own
property free from governmental interfer-
With the Bennis decision, the Court af-
firmed law enforcement agents' legal right
to confiscate the property of the innocent
simply because the property was the location
of a possible crime - despite varying cir-
cumstances. Legislatures must work harder
to weed out such laws to protect the innocent.
The Court may reverse its decision in the
future, although for the time being, it is has
affirmed a questionable precedent.

skews facts,
misses point
I am responding to the
editorial of Feb. 23 ("70%
representation: MSA reps.
slight out-of-state students).
As I am an out-of-state
student, this statement is
totally incorrect. I am in
favor of financial aid to all
students,awhether in-state or
The editorial also failed
to get the facts straight. I
testified in front of the
higher education committee
that the state Legislature
should eliminate the tuition
to inflation provision in the
budget, because this
provision withheld substan-
tial sums of money from the
University last year. In
addition, I did this with the
full authority of the External
Relations Committee, of
which I am the chair.
The Students' Party
testified in favor of cutting
$36 million from University
allocations from the state.
This testimony was signifi-
cantly different from what I
I feel that the in-state
students should be able to
gain the full benefits from
the Tuition Tax Credit. This
can only happen if the
provision, which gives
money solely to schools that
hold tuition to the rate of
inflation, is eliminated. If
this happens, every in-state
University student can
receive up to $250 from the
state. This, in fact, would
have a positive effect on out-
of-state students because
more money would go from
the state to Michigan
residents, thus allowing the
University to provide more
financial aid to other
students. I think that all
students should benefit from
financial aid.
'Babe' is
worthy of
Oscar nod
I'm writing in response
to Joshua Rich's mistaken
evaluation ("Nominees vie
for the little guy," 2/22/96)
of "Babe" as only a "de-
lightful children's movie..
but does not belong in (a)
group of much deeper,
mature movies." True, on a
surface-only analysis one
might be able to say that
"Babe" is solely a movie for

compromise, listen to one
another and to act out of
unselfishness that many
humans seem to lack today.
Moreover, the craftsmanship
in "Babe" was more than
excellent - the acting both
by humans and animals in
"Babe" was superb (e.g.,
James Cromwell was
nominated for Best Support-
ing Actor), the script and
plot were highly imaginative
and "Babe" is the only
movie of the year that can
justly be called "originally
When I first went to
view,"Babe," I was in
Chicago with my nieces. I
went because they're
children and they wanted to
see a movie made for kids.
However, when we walked
out of the theater after the
movie, I had a much bigger
smile on my face than they
If Rich wishes to close
his mind and refuse to see
that incredibly creative
movies portraying positive
messages - both deeply
embedded within the movie
and also included superfi-
cially - are not worthy of
being considered in the
same class as "deeper,
mature movies," then
perhaps Rich should watch
"Babe" again and take a
closer look. He'll be sure to
see that with "Babe," there's
more than meets the eye.
Jim Lasser has once
again published a cartoon
that encourages students to
embrace ignorance and lock
reason out of the University
("Sharp as Toast," 2/28/96).
Lasser has often
trivialized the struggles of
people of color. Lasser's
recurring misrepresentation
of Native American Indians
suggests that Lasser has
some problem with Ameri-
can Indian students.
What is more astonishing
is that the editors of The
Michigan Daily would think
such cartoons are fit for
print. The cartoon is an
example of the editor's
deficiencies in judgment. I
suggest that the cartoonist
get help for his problem and
that the editor not continue
to enable racismindthe
press. Enabling and
perpetuating racism is not
free press.

ideas, not
I have frequently told
many people that I do not
support Patrick Buchanan.
This is because I disagree
with him on the issues.
However, I will not stand by
as Michael Rosenberg and
Dean Bakopoulos assassi-
nate a fellow Republican's
This attack does not
surprise me from
Bakopoulos ("President
Buchanan?" 2/29/96), a
writer who made the same
accusations at his old job
with the Michigan Review
(and showed his true colors
by moving to the Daily).
Rosenberg cites a quote
from Buchanan that Martin
Luther King was the most
divisive man in contempo-
rary history ("The only thing
we have to fear ..." 2/29/96).
From this we are to assume
Pat is a racist. How on earth
can one assume a man is
racist because he calls King
divisive? If I called Louis
Farrakhan divisive, am I a
racist as well?
Rosenberg also conve-
niently deletes the fact that
this statement was made in
1969, after King's death but
when King was considered
divisive due to his anti-
Vietnam war activities. We
now hail King as a great
man, but at that time his
anti-war activities made him
unpopular. Historical context
provides many answers for
the misconceptions about
Rosenberg then brings up
the threat of militias, of
skinheads, and makes no
factual connection between
these and Buchanan. If the
paper trail on Buchanan is so
rich, where are the quotes to
support these allegations?
Bakopoulos attacks
Buchanan as a nut and a
homophobe, yet there are
several gay Republicans who
agree with Pat Buchanan's
issues and support him (one
is running for Congress in
San Francisco).
For almost every quote of
Pat's taken out of context, I
can respond, but sadly do not
have the room in this letter
to do so. I disagree with Pat
on the issues, but will not
smear him in an attempt to
advance my own agenda. I
guess Rosenberg and
Bakopoulos have no problem
doing so.

'U' consultant
reflects new era
Ours is an Age of Consultants.
This is sad, but even worse is
the trend, which is pointing toward
more and more consultants until no
person or business does anything
whatsoever without first hiring a con-
sultant. As with most trends in the
corporate world, the University is not
exempt from
This newspa-
per reported on
Monday that the
University has '
hired a Presiden---
tial Search Con-
sultant for the
bargain base-
ment price of
Malcolm JORDAN
MacKay of
Reynolds Asso-
ciates isgoingto findthis University's
next president. Or at the very least,
he's going to write a lot of memos.
Now, I certainly understand Mr.
MacKay's interest here. I would like
to get $86,666.67 just as much as the
nextguy. It would make my creditors
and me very happy. But, if you're a
naive middle western type like me,
you might wonder, as I did, just why
the University can't hire its own presi-
dent. What exactly does a consultant
do anyway?
According to the contract between
Mac Kay and the University, our boy
Malcolm is going to prepare a "posi-
tion description and prospectus to be
used as a marketing tool in the re-
cruitment process," "conduct refer-
ence or other background checks"
and do the down-and-dirty negotiat-
ing once a candidate is selected.
Malcolm will also interview and
screen candidates.
This means one of two things:
1) Malcolm is going to have a great
deal of influence over the selection
' because he will be able to control
information flow to the regents and
to potential candidates. This would
be bad because our next president
could be Malcolm's brother-in-law
or, more realistically, someone from
the vast web of contacts known to
Russell Reynolds Associates. Appar-
ently, this is what the regents want.
One ofthe selling points of Malcolm's
proposal is that his firm knows who's
who and so can recommend candi-
2) Malcolm will not do anything
important because we don't need
someone to design want ads. Besides,
the search committee can conduct
interviews, etc. ... Isn't it just a
waste of money, plain and simple, to
hire someone to do these things?
Of course it is. But then again,
everybody hires consultants these
days. Lawyers are kind of like the
original consultants. But lawyers
make sense because the law is -
must be -complex. It is also slightly
enigmatic, based as it is on old tradi-
tions and practices. You can't figure
all of it out by yourself.
And lawyers were never mere con-
sultants. They can also be heroes.
However rarely, lawyers save the
falsely-accused (paying) client, or
they protect the rights of the down-
trodden. Hence the Courtroom
Drama. Can you imagine a Consult-

ing Office Drama?
Accountants too have been around
awhile. Having failed utterly for the
past four years to balance my check-
book, I never question their utility.
Now, however, there all kinds of
consultants. If a business wants to
fire someone, they use an
outplacementeconsultant. Hiring
someone requires a search consult-
ant, and you need an information
technology consultant to run your
computers. To make sure that new
employees don't offend anyone, you
hire a consultant to conduct diversity
training. Ifpeople still insist on being
offensive, you can send them to sen-
sitivity training. And of course you
don't manage the firm yourself -
you hire a management consultant. If
you get transferred, you hire a reloca-
tion consultant. In "Father of the
Bride" there's even a wedding con-



Lawyers, who are themselves con-
sultants, hire other consultants all the
time. Gone is the day when a canny
lawyer and all his knowledge of hu-
man nature had an advantage in jury
selection. Now everyone hires jury
consultants. In fact, our canny law-
yer probably would quit his practice
and start a "consultancy."
In the Age of Consultants, the way
to win is not by mastering the tricks
of the trade yourself, but by knowing'
which consultants to hire. Does any-
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