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November 18, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-18

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 18, 1996

ibe Idrigun alig

420 Maynard Street RONNIE GLASSBERG
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by ADRIENNE JANNEY
students at the ZACHARY M. RAIMI
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
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
Ann Arbor PLAG
Local chapter one of the most active

'By the time we get this figured out,
the kids are going to be old enough
to take care of themselves.'
,- Regent Daniel Horning (R-Grand Haven), during childcare
deliberations at Friday's University Board of Regents meeting
COrAt+ EL ,

T he editorial in Friday's edition of The
Michigan Daily, "Help from friends,"
contained a significant error and oversight.
It stated that Ann Arbor does not have a
chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays, an organization dedi-
cated to improving the atmosphere for
homosexuals. However, Ann Arbor does
have a chapter - one of the largest in the
nation. Although this error was unintention-
al, we regret it and any confusion or harm it
may have caused.
Ann Arbor's PFLAG chapter was created
in 1982. Through the years, its members
have been dedicated to building it into one
of the nation's best. It now has about 90
PFLAG has more than 400 chapters
nationwide. One chapter opened in subur-
ban Detroit about 10 years ago, and another
opened recently. Overall, the organization is
committed to promoting and maintaining
the well-being of gays and lesbians. In addi-
tion, it works with family and friends of gay
people to educate them - and the public at
large - about issues affecting the homo-
sexual community, such as discrimination
and civil rights.
Not only does PFLAG have a local chap-
ter - Ann Arbor's is one of the most active
chapters in the nation. It meets the third
Sunday of every month. At these meetings,
members often divide into smaller groups
to discuss issues affecting them and their
sexuality; these are confidential and pro-
vide members with an "atmosphere of
absolute confidentiality and trust," as its
November newsletter reported.
The chapter also works hard to reward
academic success. It runs a scholarship pro-
gram for outstanding college students. In
addition, the chapter hosts local confer-

ences that serve to inform and educate the
public. And its newsletter keeps the com-
munity informed about issues affecting
gays and lesbians in Washtenaw County -
and across the nation.
The city's chapter is one of several
resources for the University's gay, lesbian
and bisexual population. The University's
Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Programs Office has
a strong presence on campus. It hosts pro-
grams and speakers dedicated to improving
the atmosphere for gays and lesbians on
In addition, it works closely with the
Queer Unity Project. Ann Arbor PFLAG
President Bob Edwards said in an interview
that because PFLAG and LGBPO are
linked closely, Ann Arbor, compared to
other cities, "offers the opportunity to cre-
ate an atmosphere with more safety and
more acceptance."
As the anti-gay and lesbian movement in
the United States becomes more vocal,
PFLAG is an important resource in combat-
ing hateful rhetoric and foolish public poli-
cy. For example, Congress recently passed
the Defense of Marriage Act, effectively
preventing gay marriage. President Clinton
signed it. Moreover, a vocal conservative
population on campus is opposed to the
University giving economic and health care
benefits to same-sex partners. And the
Michigan Legislature tried to penalized the
University's decision to give benefits in last
year's appropriations.
Amid all the angry rhetoric and backlash
about gay rights, PFLAG - both the Ann
Arbor chapter and the national organization
- is an important ally for the gay communi-
ty. Its work has helped gays, lesbians, bisex-
uals and their families gain acceptance and it
has created a more tolerant community.

To the rescue
Columbia U. explores other loan options

Thanks to an innovative financial aid
program, a Columbia University edu-
cation will become more accessible than
ever. Last Wednesday, the school
announced the establishment of a new type
of student loan to afford students lower
interest rates, more repayment flexibility
and simplified loan shopping. Though
Columbia's name will appear on the new
loans, banks and other private lenders will
provide the money and will award students
special loan benefits. Columbia's plan
could be a model for financial aid programs
at other universities.
For the current subsidized federal gov-
ernment loans, many students pay more
than 11-percent interest. The new Columbia
program would reduce this rate to about 9
percent, saving students more than $3,000
of interest on a $20,000 loan. Students and
their families who seek loans to cover
financial contributions also could secure
funds from Columbia at below-market
rates. These marked interest savings are
especially important in the face of recent
Congressional Record statistics - showing
that by 1998, the average debt for America's
5.6 million student loan recipients will
reach $21,000.
The new plan also offers a necessary
supplement for students unable to secure
sufficient financial aid through government
programs. The Stafford program - the pri-
mary federal loan program - allows only
$2,625 in loans to first-year students,
$3,500 to sophomores and $5,500 to juniors
and seniors. These allotments often prove
inadequate to support students at expensive

nearly $25,000 total cost for out-of-state
students. Though government loans and
direct scholarships would remain in place,
the new plan would provide students and
families with much-needed additional loan
Another merit of the new plan is its sim-
plicity. Typically, students must wade
through a long list of private loan programs
to find one best suited to their needs.
Columbia's new plan only presents about
seven options - all with terms superior to
those of the typical private and government
loans. These options include prepayment
and installment plans, tuition insurance,
and a line of credit. Consequently, students
will experience much less trouble pinpoint-
ing an appropriate loan.
The University of Michigan could also
make education more accessible to its stu-
dents by implementing a similar program.
Currently, the University has a commitment
to provide all in-state admitted students suf-
ficient financial aid to meet their govern-
ment-calculated financial need each year.
The new plan, because it places less of a
financial burden on the institution, would
enable the University to broaden that com-
mitment to include its out-of-state students.
Columbia University's new plan will
make education more available and
decrease the financial burden on students
and their families. In light of federal aid
cuts and a national anti-higher education
attitude, students will need places to turn.
Other institutions - including the
University of Michigan - should examine
similar versions of this program to make

review was
'shoddy' and
a 'shame'
I'm writing in response to
the Soundgarden concert pre-
view in last Tuesday's Daily
("Soundgarden spins back to
Detroit," 11/12/96). Not
being a frequent reader of the
Daily, I'm not sure what the
normal quality of your arti-
cles are, but I would certainly
hope that the shoddy journal-
ism of that particular article
is not representative of your
entire paper.
I thought it was very irre-
sponsible for the writer to
take the band members'
quotes out of context, in
order to try to make them fit
the negative image of the
band which the writer was
unfairly trying to portray.
I think it is a shame that
some critics would abuse
their power in order to belit-
tle such great artistic talent.
The main point of the
article was that
Soundgarden's latest album,
"Down on the Upside," is a
very poor piece of work. The
fact is, Soundgarden is a
band among the most
respected and musically tal-
ented in rock music today,
and "Down on the Upside"
has met with phenomenal
record sales, air play, fan
approval and critical acclaim.
And despite all their suc-
cess, they continue to write
songstwhich have deep emo-
tional meaning for a lot of
I attended the Tuesday
night Soundgarden concert,
which the writer recommend-
ed not going to.
It was both inspirational
and life-affirming.
And it rocked.
Janney is
a 'liberal
I just read Adrienne
Janney's column on the upris-
ing at Berkeley, and, after
vomiting, decided to write
this letter ("Without speech,
we become immune to our
own racism," 1/11/96).
You have to learn to tem-
per your emotional beliefs
with a small measure of
ration. One who opposes
affirmative action is not nec-
essarily a racist. What term
do you use to refer to some-
one in the Ku Klux Klan?
How do you differentiate
hi...., nAr nAimti anA

If you don't allow for a
distinction between these two
groups, you cannot expect to
retain an ounce of credibility.
As for the statement,
"Colorblindness, in my eyes,
is racism' this is the biggest
load of excrement I have ever
read in the Daily, and that is
saying so much. What is your
goal? If not a society in
which everyone is judged
regardless of color, then
Get over your self-hatred
of being Caucasian.
Colorblindness should be
exactly the goal. This doesn't
mean ignoring racism; in
fact, exactly the opposite.
It means going after a
company like Texaco and
enforcing colorblindness.
In the future, be careful of
using words like racist and
racism, lest they lose the
power to awaken people.
You purport to be toler-
ant; I say, "physician, heal
You are a liberal
McCarthy, screaming "racist"
at all who disagree with you.
students are
smarter than
a Kansas
bac kcourt
In your Tipoff '96 special
basketball preview of Nov.
14, you mention that the
Kansas backcourt is "smarter
than our top two Med stu-
As the University's two
smartest and mostwmodest
medical students, we beg to
While we are both tall,
incredibly good-looking,
have dunked a basketball or
two in our lifetime, and are
flattered by the comparison,
we do not feel that the
Kansas backcourt can match
our academic prowess (or
prowess in other areas, for
that matter).
We can appreciate the
long hours of practice and
hard work that go into
becoming a successful colle-
giate athlete, but it is still just
a game!
Playing basketball may be
entertaining for the
University community and
serves to enhance school
spirit, but it will certainly
never save anyone's life.
So in the future, when
seeking to illustrate the intel-
ligence of basketball players
or any other athletes by com-
narina them to other students

should talk to
Caught up in midterms
and in planning my schedule
for next semester, I had
almost managed to forget
until today that it's that time
of year again - time for
Michigan Student Assembly
elections. Time to see candi-
dates going door-to-door to
introduce themselves to the
students who will be voting
for them, time for them to be
arranging debates between
themselves so that we can see
where they stand on all of the
issues, and time for the
whole student body to turn
out and vote for the candi-
dates they find most ready
for the job of representing all
of the students on this cam-
pus to the University admin-
istration, the Board of
Regentsand to the entire
state of Michigan.
But of course, none of
that will ever happen because
these are, after all, MSA
In the two years that I
have been at this university, I
have had only one candidate
ever introduce himself or her-
self tome, and ask for my
vote in the upcoming elec-
tion. She was my twin sister
- I would hope that she
could find the time to men-
tion to me that she was run-
ning for election.
With all the posters that
regularly wallpaper the
Fishbowl and various other
sites on this campus in the
week before MSA elections,
the sight of a poster that
actually says anything about
where a candidate stands on
any of the issues is still a rar-
ity. Mostly all we get to see is
the candidate's name in really
big letters; while name recog-
nition at poll sites is a good
thing, wouldn't it be nice if
students actually got to make
an informed choice about the
candidates for whom they
were voting? The few times
anything about the candidates
themselves are ever written
on posters, usually we're
treated to such political
genius as 'Aliens Support
Winick" and "Bringing
Better Weather to Campus.''
Gosh, that really inspires me
to run right to the poll sites
the minute they open.
So many MSA represen-
tatives have written to the
Daily arguing that they don't
feel they get enough cover-
age. Rather than asking for
more coverage, maybe they
should try using the media
they already have more effec-
tively. They complain about
low voter turnout, but why
should voters turn out to vote
for candidates whose views
we know nothing about?If
et..rlan c .ant . ll ,at.hp

MSA: It is a
necessary evil
t is, unfortunately, that time of year
when the halls of every building on
campus become littered and plastered-
with posters of smiling people telling
you why they want to be on the student
Yes, Michigan Student Assembl9
elections are upon us once again.
Coming on the
heels of a national
presidential elec-
tion and a
University presi-
dential selection, r
it is unlikely that
students can han-
dle more politick-
The messages '
and the annoy- ZACHARY
ances never M. RAIMI
change. The
posters keep the same slogans:
"Your voice in the government."
"Making the assembly work for you
"I'll be a new voice - your voice."
And all we really want is for them to
shut up and save their voice.
Only about 10 percent of the stude
body will vote this year, if the past is ou
guide. That means thousands of st%.
dents simply do not care enough to cast
a ballot. Turnout could be even loWet
this year - eight parties and countless;
independents have thrown their hats into
the ring, making candidate selection
more complicated than in the past.
After four years of watching these
elections,I have come to a conclusion.
that some will find disturbing: MSAis
a necessary evi. Its functions 4
gravely important to students. As
annoying as it can be, MSA serves,
some very useful purposes, which I've
outlined below.
n Amusement: First, the assembly is
an amusing operation.
Students, not much different, from
you and me, run around campus trying
to solicit votes. Many hang idiotic
campaign posters that will make yo
chuckle. One year, a party's membe
drove a golf cart on the Diag heckling.
potential voters (and hitting some too)..
And the idea that students will single-,
handedly improve your life and mine
is laughable.
When the campaigning stops and the
representatives get to the business of
governing, petty bickering usually,
breaks out. This, too, is very funny.
After all, the issues are not very divj-
sive, the parties have few differenc.
and most of the student body couldnT
care less. So what's the point of fight-
ing? In a university atmosphere, where.
academic pressure is pervasive, a little
comic relief can go a long way.
And all we really want, ,.
is for them to shut up.
0 Student representation: Whether
we like it or not, MSA representativ
and especially the president, act af
lobbyists for student interests at .
University, Lansing and Washington
D.C. This purpose is very important
MSA is one of the few voices that:
administrators will heed.
For example, many students thought
the University should create affordable
childcare for student-parents. Very few
organizations could have led the chargec
But MSA, because of its ties to
administration and its knowledge of
University, was able to lobby on child

care's behalf. And the regents, no doubt,
recognizing that students wanted this
program, voted to create one last week
Student group funding: One of
MSA's most important activities is to
give away your money. Through its,
BudgetsPriorities Conmittee, MSA
allocates about $90,000 to studen'
groups. These groups use the money
sustain themselves and provide activ a
ties for students. ,
BPC's method for allocating money,
can be fair. It allows most groups to,;
present their goals and plans, and then
it tries to give them money in an equi-
table manner. In many cases, this
keeps individual student groups fromf
charging membership dues.,
Thousands of students each year bene"
fit from this purpose. And th
University overall is :much strong
with hundreds of student groups.
Important goals: Believe it or note
MSA has many important goals. Some
of them can be accomplished, many
have no chance. But either way, tae
assembly has the power to catapult
items to the front of the University's-
For example, many representatived
have been fighting for a voting studej
regent who will represent the intere
of students in a meaningful way at the
regents' table. This goal is not impos-.
sible to attain, and the assembly is corr
tinuing to fight for it by meeting witb%
legislators in Lansing and Universtya
administrators. Already, they hav&


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