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February 06, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-06

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 6, 1997
Ulbe StdiCg r ouiMg

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

I V P" E d ito r in C h ie--f
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion o/fthe' majoritV of tui Daily vdiWria! board. A 11
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Dailv
Inappropnate alocatlo
MSA officers must not ignore BPC

'If I was a woman serving in the armed forces today, I
would be very much concerned about the environment.
It's not just sexual harassment. It is abuse of power ....'
- Sen. Olympia J Snowe (R-Maine), at Senate hearings for
Army officers accused of sexual harassment and misconduct
-r-IM E Fbe you
l~A Cie r'My

Clinton and
Bollinger can
shape powerful


M ichigan Student Assembly Vice
President Probir Mehta recently
admitted to violating MSA procedure when
hegave more than $500 to the United Asian
Aierican Organization in September.
Mta's infraction sparked an uproar in
MSA - members called for investigatory
co'rifIttees and punishment. Mehta's action
was wrong and violates MSA's code of gov-
ernance, but instead of resorting to person-
al politics - as it is wont to do - the
assembly should examine the principle of
the 'situation and create a pro-
cedure for handling similar
situations in the future.
'One problem at the root of ;
the situation is that UAAO
requested funds at a time of
the year when MSA is partic-
ularly vulnerable. During the
summer term, groups that
plan activities for the fall
look to MSA for funding.
MSA cannot grant funds
unless it meets a 10-member
quorum. MSA frequently has difficulty
making even a reduced quorum during the
summer term.
Mehta faced a difficult situation last
summer when a group that badly needed
funding appealed to an incomplete assem-
bly. He did what he deemed appropriate at
the time, but he made the wrong choice.
MSA's policy states that all student groups
requesting funds must receive them through
MSA's Budget Priorities Committee. MSA
officers have no discretionary spending
MSA's purpose is to represent students.


The students trust the assenibly with the
student fees they pay each year. If Mehta's
incident creates no change, it will set a
precedent for MSA officers to bypass BPC
in the future.
In the past, orgaizations such as
Project Serve and the Black Volunteer
Network have attempted to bypass the BPC
process and receive funding directly from
the student population by placing their pro-
posals on the ballot. Unilvers-ity students
defeated their proposals, placing their faith
in MSA and BPC. The students
have spoken: they vote d for
groups to appeal to BPC for
funding. Students maintain that
all student groups should get
Mb, funds by standing in line and
making proposals.
However, for groups to fol-
low procedure. MSA must be
prepared to accommodate
them. BPC must handle appro-
priations responsibly and
MSA's summer procedure must
allow groups to petition properly.
MSA is obligated to rectify the situation
to avoid future incident. MSA officers and
representatives alike must adhere to the
rules. As LSA Rep. Andy Schor said, the

Clinton can't deliver budget

rules already exist

if the assembly does

In 1992, Bill Clinton
promised he would be a "new
Democrat" and balance the
budget within five years. It is
now 1997 and after the
biggest tax increase in history,
two years with a Democratic
legislature, and two more with
a fiscally focused Congress,
the United States government
is spending $694 million per
day more than they receive.
The current deficit is
a p p r o x i m a t e I y
give or take a few billion.
Your share of this exorbitant
sum is presently in the neigh-
borhood of $19,626.
However, each day this
amount increases by $2.60.
For the fiscal year of 1997,
the interest on the debt will
cost $198 million, more than
95 percent of the Department
of Treasury budget. During
the cold war, the amount spent
on interest was about one-
third of the defense budget.
Today they are nearly equal.
Also, the interest payment on
the deficit falls just shy of the
Department of Health and
Jeremy Mollison is an
LSA first-year student.

Human Services' budget,
which is currently $204 mil-
lion. These three programs
combined account for close to
70 percent of the U.S. budget.
With all of these figures in
mind, it is not surprising that
many advantages would
accompany a balanced bud-
get. Most notable to college
students is the approximate
two-percent decrease in inter-
est rates. This decrease would
lead to an average savings of
$215 per student loan. A bal-
anced budget would also save
families more than $2,000 per
year in mortgage payments
and $180 in car payments.
That's better than any tax
credit that has ever been pro-
. Don't get too excited,
however - if Clinton has his
way, you will never see that
$215. Unfortunately, he has
decided that politics comes
before policy and if Congress
were to succeed in passing a
balanced budget, it would
reflect poorly on his party.
Let us not forget that the 1998
elections are less than two
years away.
Sadly, he has already
defeated a balanced budget
amendment once. In the first

not enforce them, they will be broken again.
MSA heightens students' disapproval and
distrust when its members choose to under-
mine the assembly's purpose.
However inappropriate, Mehta 's infrac-
tion is history. MSA should now concen-
trate on creating and abiding by policies
that maintain BPC's budgetary function.

vote during the 104th
Congress, seven Democrats
who had originally supported
the measure changed their
minds and the amendment
lost by one vote.
This year, with the
increased Republican majori-
ty in the Senate, the chance
that Clinton will be able to
block its passage is dimin-
ished. However, thanks to mil-
lions of dollars in campaign,
contributions by the AFL-CIO
and similar groups, the
Democrats were able to chip
away at the Republicans.'
majority in the House.
Hence, the passage there
looks dim and it is possible
that the blue-collar family that
the unions are said to protect
will not get much-needed
relief in interest payments.
With all that said, it is
important to mention that
Lynn Rivers (D-Ann Arbor)
failed to vote for the amend-
ment in the 104th Congress.
If the support is gathered in
the House for the amendment,
then ratification cannot be far
behind and the "old
Democrat" that we have
grown to know and under-
stand just might learn a lesson
about good policy.

P residents come and go, but their
legacies live forever.
As Lee Bollinger assumes the presi-
dency and Bill Clinton retains his, I
cannot help but note an interesting
parallel. We, the
members of theh'
University com-
munity, have the
opportunity to
watch two presi-
dents shape their
agendas and lega-
cies before our
eyes. We must
view Bill Clinton
from afar as he ZACHARY M.
devotes his second RAimi
term to securing a - SMOK
place in history. MIT,
And, just days
ago, Lee Bollinger began his tenure as
president, kicking off a quest to leave
his mark on this institution.
Although the two presidents' job
descriptions and responsibilities may
appear to be vastly different, there are
some similarities. Both are in high-
profile jobs that carry tremendous
pressure and expectations. Both run
large andaunwieldy public bureaucra-
cies. Both have the power to affect sig-
nificant numbers of people. And both,
presumably, wish to do a great job.
As they pursue excellence, I have a
few suggestions for how each can
attain it.
Reaching out
Lee Bollinger is assuming the
University presidency at a time of
great promise. His recent predecessors
have restored financial stability to the
University, improved its infrastructure
and diversified the student body. Now
Bollinger has the opportunity to turn
the office of the president into an
activist and populist agency, one that4
fights on the side of students against
the bureaucracy.
To do this, he must win the confi-
dence of the disparate and diverse stu-
dent body that occupies campus. He
should host random gatherings at his.
house. He should eat in the
University's residence hall cafeterias.
He should teach a class, as he
promised. He should spend time shak-
ing hands on the Diag. He should sit in
the students' section at football games.
He could even do work in the UGLi.
By reaching out to students, being
accessible and maintaining a presence.
on campus, Bollinger can win the stu;
dent body's confidence. Then he
should focus much of his attention on
undergraduate education.
Bollinger should reinvigorate intel -.
lectual energy in the liberal arts.
Professors too often rely on standard-
ized tests and meaningless busywork
that do not provide rigorous challenges
to students. Moreover, the University,
as a whole does not emphasize or,
teach writing enough. And the school
continues to churn out, in mass num-
ber, students who have never read any
of the classics and who do not have
mathematical skills (I'm a good exam-
ple). This must change and Bollinger
has the opportunity - and the office
- to lead the crusade.
Bollinger should use the bully pulpit
of his office to devise ways to inspire
students to learn. This is not an easy
task, but it is necessary. By reaching.
out to students in symbolic ways --
like eating in dorm cafeterias - and
making significant improvements in
the quality of education, Bollinger has
the chance to leave his legacy, one that
would be defined by compassion and
commitment to students and their edu-
Reinventing government
Outside the world of academia, Bill

Clinton is on the prowl. His aides say
he will devote much of his second
term to securing a place in history.
Clinton ought to begin this campaign
by making good on his promise to,
"reinvent government."
Clinton, with the assistance of Vice
President Al Gore, devoted much of
his first term to reducing the size of
the federal government. In fact, the,
government is now about the size it
was during John F. Kennedy's admin-
But shrinking the size of the federal
work force is only the beginning;
Clinton should reinvent many of the
government's most important pro-
grams. Currently, bankruptcy looms
over Medicare and Social Security.
Both Clinton and the Republicans,
have submitted proposals for scaling
back the growth of Medicare,'but nei-
ther side has developed a comprehen-
sive plan to keep the government pro-
gram solvent well into the next centu-,


y Clinton should revise student aid package
ore often than not, proposed solu- for their last - and usually most expenv
tions to the student aid problem only - years of school.
d~use more questions. Such is the case in If the $1,500 tuition credit will not
\shngton once again, as the Clinton fice for families who have students in f
am inistration tries to iron out the details of year colleges or universities, another opt
4proposal that - if successfully modified exists. The aid package's second opt
-4 could ease students' financial burdens. would allow families to deduct up
4 In Tuesday night's State of the Union $10,000 from their taxable income for e
address, President Clinton detailed his of their students enrolled in colle
j0-billion federal college aid package. The Although the tax break could help th
oposal includes tax breaks, tuition cred- sands of middle-class families, it is
it, grants and new scholarships. At first, example of how Clinton's package m:
t e plan sounds like a gift to families slight poorer families; tax wbreaks
gerywhere who face the hardship of pay- help those who pay few taxes .
itg ever-increasing college tuition costs. Despite its flaws, Clinton's student
Wihile the plan has some positive compo- package has the potential to be the la
vents - the 25-percent increase in Pell mark of his presidency. Besides
rant funding is hard to ignore - Clinton's American ego boost that would come v
pckage may slight those who most need education levels closer to reaching thos
Atra help. other countries, the true impact would
At the center of Clinton's proposal is the much more immediate and important:
ape Scholarship, a tuition credit that economy demands better-educ ated work
,uld refund up to $1,500 to families dur- With his plan, Clinton has vowed to prov
ig each of the first two years their child more access to higher education, simila
ftends college and earns a 'B' average or the role the G.I. bill filled after World
4 tter. $1,500 is slightly more than the II. It could create a new standard
tiuition for most community colleges; American education by making two y
.linton's chosen number aligns with his of college nearly as universal as high sch
al to make basic higher education avail- - currently, only about 60 percent of h
le to a larger number of Americans. school graduates nationwide go on to
The 'B' average requirement presents a lege.
w problems. Students who struggle with Clinton must still work out the detail
ils may need to hold a job to supplement with a $50-billion proposal, there is no
ihsufficient government aid - an added son for poorer families to be short-chang
rsponsibility that would take time from the Although tax breaks for the middle c
fort necessary to maintain a high enough will help thousands of families, they do
$PA. Some critics of the proposal fear that direct aid to those who need it most.
4kofessors will feel pressure to boost the Last, one of the proposal's biggest fl
irades of students desperate to qualify for is that Clinton has yet to elaborate on E


e of
r to


'U' will miss
Neal's vision,
You correctly note
President Emeritus Homer
Neal's contribution to the
University ("Homer's
odyssey," 1/31/97). Perhaps
his most important contribu-
tion as interim president of
the University was that his
imprint on the University
community did not come
with the notoriety of his pre-
Over the past 30 years,
Neal repeatedly demonstrated
his effectiveness as a leader
and visionary. No one should
have been surprised by his
stewardship through a turbu-
lent period at the University
that experienced a rare
turnover of its executive offi-
Neal provided the needed
stability and character for the
executive office; in recent
years, stability and character
in the president's office has
been in questionable supply.
Neal forthrightly addressed
the typical University
shenanigans and quickly dis-
posed of them to the gossip
Many University students
probably did not know Neal
was the interim president
until the nianue-unveilinL

sorely missed.
MSA action
is insufficient
I thought that we only let
people off with a hand slap in
Washington. The Mehta situ-
ation proves that wrong
("MSA will not probe
Mehta's allocation," 2/5/97).
It is too bad that these
pseudo-politician MSA mem-
bers believe that they are
above the student body.
Just another example of
why MSA does not work.
Drills demand
Last Thursday at 4:30
a.m., Alice Lloyd Hall had a
fire drill. As I reluctantly
made my way down the stair-
case, not the elevator, and
made my way fhrough the
main lobby, what I saw
shocked me.
Most of the resident advi-
nrs and a few other individ-

fire drills, I would appreciate
it if everyone was involved.
If the RAs do not feel they
need to participate in a drill
at 4:30 a.m., maybe they
should consider changing the
time it is practiced.
Spirit lessons
given in Yost
I'm writing in response to
Jeffrey Goff ("Many ways to
improve Crisler Arena atmos-
phere," 2/3/97). For those
who need spirit lessons,
attend a hockey game.
Goff seems to believe
that the lack of spirit in
Crisler is because the athletic
department is not as commit-
ted to basketball as they are
to football.
This is obviously not the
problem. Hockey is not sup-
ported anywhere as much as
basketball. It's not shown on
television as much as either
basketball or football. It's not
shown anywhere but PASS
and, of course, live in Yost.
This brings us to the
other argument - that the
fans are too far away. This is
probably a good explanation.
My tickets at Yost are only
five rows from the ice and
the furthst rowi is 1 5Th


s --



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