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October 14, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 14, 1996

C iw iigrn ? EC1I

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'In a college town you deserve to feel safe and secure,
and that you have an environment that
you can really learn in.'
- Residence Halls Association President Randy Juip, responding to the sexual
assaults that have taken place on campus in recent weeks

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailys editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Regents should compl
fter months of side-stepping Michigan
law, the University Board of Regents
finally crossed the line.
The quest for a new University president
was humming along until a Washtenaw
County judge halted the search process
Friday afternoon - and with good reason.
.r...The Ann Arbor News, the Detroit Free
Press and The Detroit News have teamed up
to file a lawsuit and motion claiming the
University is violating a permanent injunc-
tion against holding secretive presidential
searches. The three newspapers have under-
taken an important task - and the regents
should not fight the lawsuit, but agree to
hold the remaining search process in public,
in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.
The court should make the University start
over and do it right - do it legally.
From the start
In fact, the regents should have begun
the process openly. Throughout the entire
search process, which began last fall, the
Board of Regents has pushed the line of
tllegality. Each step has been in sloppy dis-
regard of the Open Meetings Act. Despite
'the employment of many who understand
the law, the University has been pulled into
;court for the second time in eight years.
1988 redux
The regents knew their activities would
come under heavy scrutiny. In 1993, the
Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the
*University's 1987-88 search for president
lwas illegal; the court held that the regents
violated OMA.
When the search for the president began
last fall, the regents made public statements
,conveying their desire and intention to fol-
low the laws and to not repeat the same
search mistakes as in 1988. Media organi-
zations heightened their scrutiny and the
regents knew it - the current situation is
their own doing.
The regents spent a lot of time explain-
ing how its search in 1996 would be differ-
ent from 1988; however, they did not put as
much effort into making sure the search
would live up to the public comments.
Instead, the regents and their lawyers for-
mulated ways to circumvent the act.
The newspapers' lawsuit mentions two
areas where the University violates the law.
First, it claims that the Presidential Search
Advisory Committee, which the regents
appointed to gather information about
potential candidates, broke the law.
According to OMA, a public governing
*body may appoint a subcommittee to meet
privately in a "purely advisory" role. This
does not include interviews or decision-
However, several Freedom of

lip limbo
y with the law's




A Ro17 lDOLE



IN J).'t

committee only was permitted under law to
advise the regents, it had no reason to meet
in private.
PSAC was supposed to compile a list of
possible candidates and present its top five
recommendations to the regents. PSAC met
in private all year. The regents would have
released about 300 names (and the five
PSAC recommended) to the community
today, passing this announcement off as the
culmination of a truly open search.Then, in
the spirit of openness, the regents would
have convened in private to discuss the
However, the law clearly states that only
confidential issues, such as medical condi-
tions and marital status, may be discussed
privately. If the regents believe they need
two days to talk about who is sick and who
is married to whom, fine - but they had
better not deviate from those topics.
Furthermore, Lehman and Malcolm
MacKay, who the University hired to hunt
for potential candidates, will be present to
answer questions on confidential subjects.
Or any other subject - since less than
24 hours later the regents were scheduled to
announce their final list of choices.
A written statement from the University
says, "The Presidential Search Committee
will meet to review applications. The meet-
ing will be closed." These actions violate
the spirit, and likely the letter, of the law.
The court defines deliberations as any deci-
sion-making - not simply about candi-
dates, but also how decisions will be made.
The regents, however, seem to define delib-
erations as actual, final decision-making -
the yes or no. That's illegal. The newspapers
have a substantial case for a lawsuit.
The right to know
The regents' stubborn fight against
OMA is a disregard of citizens' rights, as
the law ensures that the public is informed
and has access to the decision-making
process of its elected representatives.
Without the law, the community has no idea
what type of person the regents will chose
to lead the University into the next century.
The public never will know exactly what
the regents had planned on discussing in the
meeting planned for today - and that is the
point. If the regents and its subcommittee
held all of the proceedings in public, the
community would not be wondering what
occurred behind closed doors. Instead, the
regents are trying to pacify their con-
stituents - and the press - by feeding bits
of information at a time. But that is not an
open process. An open process would show
the candidates' full backgrounds, what their
colleagues think of them, and what quali-
fies them to be president of this university.
Try civil obedience
The regents have fallen through their
thin ice. They are flaunting a state law and
squandering time and taxpayer money on a
lawsuit they should not be fighting. If this is
their idea of civil disobedience, they need to
read up, because their last protest rang up a
whopping $385,000 in legal fees.
Moreover, every minute the University
spends pursuing this suit, it stagnates with-
out a permanent leader. Fortunately, some-
one as capable as interim President Homer
Neal is at the helm. But the regents should

drop their fruitless cause and put the
University first.
It is possible that the court will force the
regents to scrap the current search and start
from scratch. It would serve them right, but
a third strike would be an additional embar-
rassment for an institution of its reputation.
From now on, the regents should make
all proceedings open to the public, as they
should have done in the first place, out of
respect for the law - and the faculty, staff

1 Iq"' f
'PF (


1 Q


I am deeply disturbed by
the recent incident of hateful
messages chalked on the
Diag, and I believe that in
this case I cannot, as presi-
dent, let the matter pass by
without comment.
Our University holds free-
dom of speech as one of its
highest values: We cherish it
and we protect it, even and
especiallywhen the speech is
considered offensive by most.
However, when speech calls
for violence against other
members of our community,
although it might be protect-
ed, it is self-evidently repug-
nant to the community. It
transgresses against the civil -
ity andtrespectfulness for
others that undergird our
community and that create
the environment in which
free discourse can flourish.
Such speech represents,
therefore, an abuse of the
privilege of University citi-
zenship and is worthy of
Where are
the issues?
The most insightful com-
ment I have heard thus far on
the 1996 presidential election
was frombmy German friend
who has been working in this
country for a year now. I
asked him one afternoon
what he thought of the cur-
rent election. He looked at
me with a certain noncha-
lance (as most Europeans
do), and said, "Well, it's just
boring. The candidates are
basically an older and
younger version of the same
thing. It's not like America is
deciding upon what form of
government to adopt or to
radically change its constitu-
tional underpinnnings."
So true. In the larger
scheme of history and poli-
tics, this election is insignifi-
cant and boring. However, it
obviously excites people
enough to chalk every seg-
ment of concrete with various
slogans and campaign
Why? Do they really
think that the typical student
will be enticed to vote with
such witty and endearing say-
ings as, "Legalize Kemp"?
Some people think so. And
some people also vote for
Mickey Mouse.
Throughout my life, I
have always heard people tell
me that a citizen should exer-
cise his or her right to vote,

ters that read "Republicans
are tolerant" or "Republicans
like poor people" written by
Joe Schmo, first-year
Engineering student. No one
wants to believe that they
associate with racists, crimi-
nals or sex offenders. The
easiest path is denial.
Conversely, I am disap-
pointed at the Daily's "I'm a
liberal like all of my friends"
slant in most of its reporting.
Journalists should understand
better than anyone else how
political identities are often
pre-packaged ideals that only
serve to make you feel good
about yourself.
The easiest way to think
is not to. Are you really inter-
ested in changing something,
or are you more interested in
how other people see you as
someone who is interested in
changing something? It is a
distinction often muddled.
The entire "politics as
personal" concept is fascinat-
ing. In one way, it can
describe people whose lives
are affected, often for the
worse, by socio-political atti-
tudes, such as the homeless,
minorities, victims of sexual-
ized violence, immigrants,
etc. But what is apparent at
the University is many people
basing their identities on the
external political world.
Examples abound. Think
about it. Just please don't ask
me to vote.


Fee increase
for service
As a volunteer for Project
Serve and co-author of the
proposal which was dis-
cussed in articles "MSA
looks to hike student fee to
$4.19" (10/2/96) and "MSA
fees are fifth highest in Big
Ten" (10/4/96), 1 am writing
to clarify some of the
assumption made by reporter
Will Weissert about the stu-
dent fee increase. Despite
ardent efforts on the part of
Dwayne Fuqua from Black
Volunteer Network and
myself to explain that the
proposal attempts to increase
fees for community service
and social change at the
University, Weissert continu-
ally stresses it as an increase
to fund Project Serve and
BVN. In reality, the proposal
is set upsto ensure that stu-
dent fees would fund any ser-
vice or activist organization
who desires funding.
The proposal sets aside
$23,751.50 for other student
groups to fund educational,
activist or service projects.
The fact is that we at Project
Serve and BVN recognize the
fact that other student groups
are sorely underfunded by the
University. This proposal
could make funds available
for multicultural groups,
other service groups, and any
student organization wishing
to heighten awareness or help
the community.
This is not to say that a
large portion of the fee will
not go to Project Serve and
BVN. However, our goal is to
use the funds to get students
involved in community ser-
vice. It is for this reason that
we created a committee to re-
evaluate the funding break-
down each year. It is our feel-
ing that other service groups
will sit on this committee in
order to aid the decision of
where the money would be
most effective. If it is not
practical to give the amount
of funding which was initial-
ly proposed to Project Serve
and BVN, then the funds
would be re-distributed.
Project Serve and BVN
have not created this proposal
to increase the scope of our
own interests. We wish to
provide an opportunity for
students to be part of their
communities through service,
much in the same way that
the student fees provide stu-
dent a means by which to be
a part of campus activities
through UAC. Thousands of
students demand opportuni-
ties to work in service each
This number has been
increasing exponentially in
the last decade; the demand
has been exceeding the
capacity of the programs
given current funding. This
proposal gives students the

Commuvanf CHEST'
College datingi
F reshman year I was amazed often
One night, a girl in a tie-dye and a
white hat came bounding down the
hall, past my dorm room.
screamed. "HEY! EVERYONE, I'VE,
Apparently the
boyfriend was a
new addition
And I had
thought we'd be
over high school
tactics by then.
This girl was
behaving like
junior high.
But we don't get
better in college.
How many of your ADRIENN
friends are in stu- JANNEY
pid dating situa-
tions? I meanthe kind that negate IQ
"We've got so much in common .
He's got all the same Phish albums I
That would be Nancy. She's found
her Soulmate, capital "S." They shat
the interests of Phish, weed, soy mi
and sex. They've only known each
other a week, and already they, like,
know they're dancing to the rhythm of
the same drum.(Correct me if I'm
wrong, but can't the same drum play
different rhythms?)
Sid, on the other hand, has a fearoi'
intimacy syndrome, variety IA.
"I want someone who's beautiful and
smart and pretty and intelligent and,
like, really nice. But we've got to, lik
connect, you know? I want someon
who really understands me."
Two weeks later, he's found the per-
feet girl (again), but she's taken, and
he'll never love again. Why does this
always happen to him'?
(Get a grip, Sid.)
Sid becomes obsessed, stalks her
and gets brought up under the Code of
Student Conduct. They run into each
other in Angell Hall, and Sid'4
expelled from the University for writ-
ing his English paper in the same com-
puter lab as his chosen one.
Maybe she wasn't so perfect for him,
but he hasn't given up hope.
(Sid needs to learn some impulse
control as well.)
Then there's George and Irene. You
probably know about fve of these
hyperactive pairs. "We're, like, best
friends." (How come the word "like"
always enters into a description of ho$
you feel about someone? "Do you ike
him like him, or do you just like him?"
"I don't know. I think I like him.")
They spend all their time together,
their friends begin to treat then like
Siamese twins, and neither of them
wants to date anyone right now. One
pair I know even occasionally shares a
bed. But they're just friends. And their
friendship transcends all else.
Give me a break.
Wouldn'tayou like to bash George's
and Irene's foreheads together?
(Hey, I won't tell. Wasn't lookin'.)
One night, Irene finds George hook-
ing up with another "friend" at a party.
She goes completely postal, gives him
a black eye, and now they don't speak.
So much for a transcendent friendship.
Sue and Johnny are the people who
don't even sleep in the same city, but
claim to be dating. This couple
marked by $200 phone bills and lots o
desperate, sniveling, sniffling conver-

sations. Boo hoo. My favorites are the
ones who do it overseas - that's certi-
My freshman year I would go to
sleep to the sound of long-distance
conversations in the hallway. One can
only take so much hysteria. "But my
mother says I have to come home
Christmas, and I want to see you. Wh
are we going to DO?"
Oh, and the arguments: "How can l
spend the rest of my life with you if
you can't even return my phone call
within one hour of the time I called?"
I think she was serious.
I know of a guy who has one girl-
friend in Troy and one in Kalamazoo.
They don't know about each other-
Some have trouble, however, gettin
a relationship off the ground.
Party pick-up lines are a problem.
The best (a-hem) one I've heard at col-
lege: "You're the most beautiful girl in
the world. Belie me, I've traveled
the world and I know." Needless to tell
you, gentle readers, he didn't get very
The actual date doesn't accomplish
much either. So you're in your almost-
best clothes at Gratzi (hoping that
the way down here on Main Street no
one will spot you). You both clean.up
pretty well, you get caught up in a
deep conversation about your life
goals - and your professor walks in.
Buzzkill. The only things worse
would be your boss or your parents

Information Act requests reveal that PSAC
chair Jeffrey Lehman - dean of the Law
School - has done extensive traveling. The
requests black out where he went and with
whom he spent time. Presumably, he was
speaking with potential presidents, which
implies interviewing.
Also, a FOIA requested by The
Michigan Daily produced three form letters
- not the originals - that PSAC sent to
candidates. FOIA language does not allow
an official to turn over a representative sam-
ple of a set of documents, but the University
did not want to disclose who or how many
applicants Lehman approached. Ann Arbor
media attorney Joan Lowenstein said the
redaction of names from these documents is
A form letter said, "... we are doing
everything we can to prevent it from being
known that we are meeting with potential
candidates." They tried.
PSAC should have conducted its affairs

'U' must be
Coming Out Week is
commemorated as support of
the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgendered members of
our community. It is also a
time to educate our peers of
our struggles, acknowledge
our heroes, and promote
acceptance of diversity. As
the Coming Out Week is cel-
ebrated around the nation, we
at the University have started
this week of pride in shock,
sadnesssand anger. Our posi-
tive messages have been
defaced, our flyers torn, our
efforts offended. The worst
pain comes from knowing
that this thoughtless work of
hate was produced by some
of our fellow students.
Such actions cannot be
tolerated. As a society, we
have for too long been stand-
ing idly by as one minority
after another suffered dis-
ci imination. We can no
longer afford just "to bury
the hatchet." I am appalled
that some members of
College Republicans have
decided to use their freedom
in such a hateful, ignorant
and disrespectful way! As for
the rest of our community, I

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