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October 07, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-07

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4A'- The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 7, 1996

Ad o1 w £Idigun 1

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

(Alcohol) works against the mission of education.
Students come to college to gain information
and knowledge.'
- Ellen Shannon, South Quad coordinator offresidence education,
commenting on drinking in college

:..f .

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
BreaMg free
SDIRP will benefit from split with MSA

T he Student Dispute Resolution
Program is growing up. As an asser-
tion of its newfound adulthood, the SDRP
recently announced plans to break its ties to
its parent organization, the Michigan
Student Assembly. The separation will take
effect at the end of this semester; then the
resolution program will lose complete
financial support from MSA. Despite the
loss of funding, SDRP's move toward
auinomy is necessary to increase its effec-
Since its inception in 1995 as a division
of MSA's Students' Rights Commission, the
program has provided free mediation ser-
vices - often as an alternative to the Code
of Student Conduct - to University stu-
dents facing serious personal conflicts. At
that time, the affiliation with MSA was a
necessary legitimizing force for the young
program. However, the program has proved
itself a valuable student service over the
past year and has outgrown the need for its
association with MSA.
The structure of the association has
become a hindrance to SDRP's efficiency.
In its current relationship with MSA, most
of the resolution program's decisions must
receive approval from several people within
the MSA hierarchy before they can be acted
upon. However, most MSA representatives
have no formal training in conflict resolu-
tion. The resolution program's employees
receive training through the Supreme Court
State Court Administrative Office's media-
tion training division.
Clearly, the assembly's untrained repre-
sentatives should not have a voice in the
SDRP leaders' decisions. MSA's control

over the program is a clear justification for
separation. With its independence, SDRP
will be able to assist students involved in
conflicts more easily and efficiently than
before. This can only benefit students.
With increased efficiency, SDRP could
help students involved in disputes circum-
vent the Code. Code regulations prohibit
legal representation during hearings and do
not allow open case records. Therefore, it is
impossible for students to employ profes-
sional advice at a hearing or establish
defense by case precedent. In short, it
behooves students to avoid the Code -
increasing SDRP's efficiency will assist
students in this effort.
Though MSA provides funding for the
resolution program, the assembly's finan-
cial control has proved troublesome for
SDRP. Scott Pence, SDRP founder, says the
program receives funding on a "maybe,
maybe not" basis. This hinders long-term
When the group searches outside MSA
for funds, however, it is often unsuccessful.
Potential supporters believe the organiza-
tion receives all the money it needs from
MSA. Under the current arrangement, it is
nearly impossible for the program to secure
adequate funding. Separation from MSA
would make it easier for the program to stay
financially afloat and would ultimately
reduce financial pressure.
By avoiding the Code, securing funds
and eluding MSA's control, SDRP's seces-
sion will greatly increase its effectiveness.
It will execute resolves on its own terms and
become a more potent force in resolving
student disputes.


21 T CENTLuy!t
- * *
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tTE- R- T ,-"ED- S I

Friendly skies
New FAA bill seeks to restore travelers'. faith

Due to recent aviation tragedies, the
104th Congress recently passed the
Federal Aviation Administration bill. It
authorizes programs worth $19 billion over
two years for increased airport security
measures. The bill includes background
checks on baggage handlers - an impor-
tant step to the further prevention of flight
tragedies. Although relations between the
Republican-controlled Congress and
President Clinton are often rocky, they
deserve commendation for coming together
and passing a bill that is in the best interest
of the country.
Support for the legislation has increased
in recent months, after several air tragedies
- including the ill-fated TWA Flight 800
to Paris. A slight increase in security could
help to nip the source of tragedies in the
One of the bill's goals is for airline com-
panies to heighten their scrutiny of poten-
tial employees. However, the bill may have
negative ramifications for some airline
employees. Background checks on all the
airlines' baggage handlers fall dangerously
close to the line between public security
and a violation of individual rights.
Employment situations should be handled
on a case-by-case basis.
An individual charged with a petty crime
who has served his or her time should not
be discriminated against for attempting to
find a job. On the other hand, an individual
convicted of a crime involving explosives
or terrorist-related matters should be denied

such employment.
Background checks will not completely
rule out the threat of terrorism. In the case
of the TWA flight, such background checks
may not have prevented the crash. The other
major airline tragedy this year involved the
ValuJet flight that sunk in the Florida
Everglades. Maintenance workers' lax
supervision of the plane contributed to the
crash. The background check proposal may
eliminate some threat of terrorism aboard
the airlines, but it is only the beginning of
the security measures the FAA should take.
The United States has been too lax with
security measures in comparison to other
countries around the world. Many countries
have strict security procedures - such as
searching bags and questioning passengers
- that have helped to significantly reduce
the threat of terrorism.
The security measures in the United
States can be as simple as walking through
a metal detector while the passenger's
carry-on bag travels through an X-ray
machine. Often, airline employees allow
travelers to board flights without asking a
single question or searching a bag.
In an attempt to pacify travelers' con-
cerns with airport safety, Congress has
taken an important first step. While the bill
is not perfect, it does include legislation
that should reduce the threat of tragedy and
terrorism. Because of the sensitive nature of
background checks, airlines should proceed
with caution. In the meantime, the skies
have become a safer as a result of the bill.

Alum defends
As a recent University
graduate, I am sad I am no
longer able to defend the
GOP on campus. However, I
was driven to write one more
letter to the Daily in response
to attacks directed at the
College Republicans.
My good friend Nick Kirk
has come under fire by the
liberals on campus. This does
not surprise me, for I realize
how much they fear an effec-
tive conservative. However, if
they are to attack him, they
must first get their facts
Noah Robinson cites that
Reagan actually imposed the
largest tax increase, due to
the inflation difference
between 1986 and 1993
("Kirk's letter does not tell
whole truth," 9/30/96).
However, the fact remains
that Bill Clinton proposed the
largest tax increase in histo-
ry: He proposed $359 billion
in new taxes in 1993. If Noah
calculates inflation correctly,
that is far more than Reagan's
"tax increase." The GOP was
able to stop Clinton partially
in 1993, thus only $258 bil-
lion was signed into law, but
as the minority, we had little
ability to stop any more of it.
More importantly, Reagan
only increased taxes in 1986
because a Democratic
Congress would not reduce
spending. In all, Reagan and
Bob Dole cut taxes by a net
$2.5 trillion during the '80s
(Washington Post, 7/12/96).
In response to Jason
Finn's attack of Juliette Cox
("A balanced budget?"
9/30/96), the economy does
need revitalization. It disap-
points me that any business
school student could say that
2.5-percent growth is won-
derful. Take an economics
lesson. According to
Investor's Business Daily,
Clinton's economic growth
rate "is tied for dead last
among postwar expansions"
(7/22/96). Real GDP grew
much faster under Reagan
and supply-side economics
- in 1984, by even 6.8 per-
cent. Under Reagan's tax
cuts, federal revenue tripled
during the 1980s; it was
excessive spending that
caused the large deficits. If
Democrats wish to attack
people like Nick and Juliette,
get your facts straight first.
evokes bad

top" showed extremely bad
journalistic judgment. I find
the name of the group offen-
sive in and of itself, and then
for you to combine it with
"bullets" added even greater
offense. Some might say,
"Get over it. That was over
35 years ago." But the killing
of a person, who was to
many of us a heroic figure at
the time, was very traumatic.
It was an experience we will
never "get over" The cavalier
treatment of this assassina-
tion in a headline is beneath
the generally very high stan-
dards of the Daily.
Signing is
When discussing the arti-
cle "Louder than Words"
(9/25/96) with another stu-
dent, I was astonished to hear
the comment that sign lan-
guage did not have the cul-
tural content of European
languages and should not be
taught at the same level (for
credit) at the University.
No doubt, some of the
content is different from
European languages.
Certainly the form is dif-
ferent (visual rather than
However, the assertion
that deaf culture is somehow
lower than other cultures sug-
gests arrogance almost as
much as it does ignorance.
The University should
offer sign language for credit.
Can the University pro-
vide a reason for not offering
sign language for credit?
Rivers has
Joe Fitzsimmons claims
to be very pro-education.
At a campaign forum in
September, he said, "If any-
one wants to cut the funds to
educate our children, as far
as I'm concerned, it will be
over my dead body. It's
extremely important."
If this is so important,
then why did Fitzsimmons
fail to vote in any school
board, millage or bond in the
10 years he lived in
Livingston county?
Since moving to Ann
Arbor in 1995, he missed the
school board election as well.

"Outstanding New Member"
of the 104th Congress for her
support of education funding.
Rivers served as member and
president of the Ann Arbor
school board.
And she has consistently
voted for full funding for
Head Start.
When you go to the polls
on election day, think about
who you are voting for.
If you feel that it doesn't
matter if your representative
is all talk, then vote for Joe
However, if your repre-
sentative should be someone
who stands up for what she
believes in and turns her
words into actions, then Lynn
Rivers is the candidate who
deserves your vote.
Daily gives
Kirk a lot of
I appreciate the upsurge
in the Daily's coverage of
politics in this election year.
It is the responsibility of the
press to keep the public
informed on relevant issues.
However, I am finding it dif-
ficult to rationalize your
decision to print every single
utterance by College
Republican President
Nicholas Kirk.
I realize the Daily has
been fair in giving equal
press to letters from College
Democrats or to letters that
communicate their message. I
have no problem with a
healthy debate of issues.
What I am seeing, though,
is a tremendous amount of
space given to letters (Kirk in
particular) that serve merely
as campaign rhetoric relating
to no specific issues in dis-
cussion. Does Kirk think he
is in charge of press releases
for the Republican Party
Furthermore, it seems he
is only spewing the propa-
ganda from soundbites he
heard from Bob Dole or
Newt Gingrich on Headline
News. Much of it is accusa-
tions and insults on the
Whitewater hearings,
Filegate, drug policy, interna-
tional policy, etc. Some of
these are relevant issues, but
ad hominem attacks based on
insinuations waste valuable
space. If he has something to
say, then fine. But I am sick
of him and his cronies parrot-
ing what Big Brother in
Washington said in a press
conference. All these college
political groups dois mimic
the real debates that go on.
In this election season,
the students need to hear the

Multiple choice
T o paraphrase Marcellus in
William Shakespeare's "Hamlet'
something is rotten in the state of
American education.
Hamlet soon discovered that the rot-
ten "something" was a corrupt uncle;
on Saturday morning, I discovered a
different rotten
something: stan-
dardized tests.
Like hundreds
ofo ther
University stu-
dents, I awoke at;
the crack of dawn
Saturday and
stumbled to
Angell Hall. We
were there to take
the Law School ZACHARY
Admission Test. M. RAIMI
Midway through
the exam, while I was reading a pas-
sage about the flight agility of birds, I
could not stop thinking how stupid
standardized tests are. Whether it is
the LSAT, SAT, GRE or an Economics4
101 test, multiple choice exams inter-
fere with and often undermine free
thinking and creativity. Educators
should abolish such exams.
People who believe in standardized
tests inevitably point to statistical evi-
dence that shows scores accurately
predict one's potential for achieve-
ment. For example, many college
admissions officers believe that SAT
scores are an accurate indicator of
one's academic potential for the first{
year of college.
Even'if this is true - and I believe it
is a highly questionable correlation -
standardized tests do nothing to pre-
dict what kind of person you are, what
you could contribute to a university
community or how you think. In our
society, standardized tests have
eclipsed these more subjective and
meaningful criteria. Just ask .anyone
applying to law school.
In fact, one of the major problems
with standardized tests is that they are
meaningless. This does not mean that
they are worthless - the math skills
on the SAT are important to know.
However, it is possible to display math
skills in other ways.
Several leading scholars have made
this case, including Theodore Sizer, a
former Harvard dean whose beliefs are
prominently featured in last week's
U.S. News & World Report, and
Michael Lerner, author of the recently-
published "The Politics of Meaning.
In "Politics," Lerner argues that stan-
dardized tests significantly contribute
to and reinforce a society based on
materialism, a bottom-line mentality
and a false sense of merit. He writes,
"Like so much of our education, the
SAT rewards meaningless thought -
thought which assumes the separation4
of mind from body, of thought from
feeling, and of analysis from intu-
Lerner is correct. These tests reward
students for the number of ovals they
fill in correctly, not how they think,
not how they use their experiences and
values to reach decisions, not what
their ideals are.
Moreover, tests do not measure stu-
dents' effort or willingness to work.
Many students who walk into the SAT
and receive 1,500 have poor grades,
bad study skills, and a lack of interest
in learning. Yet students who work
hard and get involved with their class-

es can earn much lower scores.
Educators say that the tests measure
aptitude. But is aptitude measured by
the number of vocabulary words you
know? A significant portion of the
SAT's verbal section is dedicated to
definitions. The more words you
memorize from a dictionary the higher
score you will receive. How many of
us really know the definition of
Even more ridiculous, the tests are
so random that pure luck can give you
a higher score. According to the score
sheet for the June 1996 LSAT, the dif-
ference between the 58.6th percentile
and the 67th percentile is just three
questions. Many students who take the
LSAT - and other admissions tests -
randomly guess on a few of the ques-
tions because they run'out of time. A
student who selects "A" consistently
for these random answers can get the
58.6th percentile while a student who
guesses "D" consistently could end up
with the 67th percentile - and a letter
of acceptance to a better law school
than the first student.
Standardized tests have become so
important in our society that entire
industries have arisen from them. U.S.
News publishes annual lists of "best"
schools. Because test scores are sim-
ple and neat numbers, rankings often
rely on them to rate schools. This ends





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