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February 19, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-19

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4- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 19, 1997

UMĀ£4I019u &g

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'Iknow one of the Implications of the new law
will be that women will be forced to stay in
abusive relationships.'
- Rita Henley Jensen, columnist for The Chicago Tribune, on the federal welfare
reform package, at a University-sponsored panel on welfare and the media

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.
No voice without vote
Ex-officio student regent is only a first step



The University community has debated
the idea of a student representative on
the University Board of Regents almost as
long as the board has governed the institu-
tion. In recent years - thanks to the efforts
of Michigan Student Assembly leaders -
the regents have allowed MSA presidents to
sit at the table and speak on issues as an
elected student representative. However, the
so-called "student regent" has no vote and
students have little or no means to influence
the decisions that effect their daily lives.
The current efforts to extend the scope of
the student regent's position on the board
have the interests of the student body at
their core. Most of the regents are removed
from daily campus happenings and few are
involved with students in any significant
way. A voting student regent could help
connect the regents with campus issues,
putting student welfare above partisan poli-
LSA Rep. Andy Schor, chair of the stu-
dent regents task force, has drawn up a bill
for presentation in the Michigan state
House. The bill would allow a full student
representative to be elected to the board
with full voting privileges. Legislatures and
voters in other states have seen similar ini-
tiatives - Schor has modeled his bill on
their successes.
Schor hoped that the proposal would see
the House floor in the near future, through
Rep. John Schwartz (R-Battle Creek), a
University alumnus and the chair of the
Sub-Committee on Higher Education.
Schwartz, who often sponsors bills on the
University's behalf, declined to sponsor the
bill because he is "uncomfortable with a
full vote." Schor is currently lobbying other

representatives to introduce the bill to the
House and suggests taking other courses of
action in the interim.
When Schor presents the prospective bill
to the regents, making them aware of MSA's
efforts, they will likely discuss the issue of
an ex-officio representative. The regents
should approve such a measure; however, it
should in no way settle the issue of a voting
student regent. Ex-officio status, while a
step in the right direction, would not com-
plete the process. Students, as the largest
constituency at the University, deserve a
voting representative to make their voice
heard - and count.
Even many of the staunchest opponents
to a full student regent support raising the
current position to ex-officio status. The
regents should vote to make the current stu-
dent representative an ex-officio member
- giving the student representative
increased power to lobby and present issues
to the board. University President Lee
Bollinger is an ex-officio member and if the
student regent position is classified as such,
current MSA President Fiona Rose could
voice student opinion similar to the way in
which the University president voices his.
A student voice - backed by voters -
would benefit the entire student body.
Students registered to vote in Michigan
should write to their representatives and
make it clear that University students have a
right to affect the direction in which the
institution travels - and that includes a
voting student regent. Students are the ulti-
mate purpose and product of the University;
a voting student regent has the ability to
focus that purpose and hold the rest of the
board accountable to the same ends.

U'r+ L) ,


Binding democracy
House correctly dismisses term limits bill

Term limits may be a popular notion
among the American electorate, but
they may be more trouble than they are
worth. Recognizing that fact last week, the
U.S. House of Representatives rejected a
proposed constitutional amendment calling
for term limits. The amendment, brought to
a vote for the second time in three years,
failed amidst rancorous debate over the
exact terms of the proposal. Even the advo-
cacy group "U.S. Term Limits" did not sup-
port the bill. Whatever the rationale,
Congress made the correct decision in
rejecting an unnecessary shackle upon the
business of politics.
Those supporting term limits continu-
ously bring up the specter of "career politi-
cians" and their supposed trysts with special
interest groups. What they fail to acknowl-
edge is the political know-how and ability
these long-serving officials bring to
Congress. They are people who know how
to work in Washington and in state capitals
across the nation. Their experience gives
them the skills necessary to guide legisla-
tion through Congress. A representative
who no longer serves his or her constituents
has a built-in term limit: an election.
Term limits would directly affect the leg-
islative process. Gridlock often paralyzes
Congress; what legislation gets through
often does so through the work of skilled
politicians. With term limits, gridlock would
continue - term limits cannot remove con-
flicting ideologies. It could increase, as new
members of Congress, untrained in political
give-and-take skills, fail to advance legisla-
Another deleterious effect might emerge

great asset for lawmakers, gained only
through years of service. Reducing public
servants to short terms would reduce the
weight of tradition in the legislative
process. Proponents of term limits com-
plain about special interests controlling
Congress - but they cannot guarantee that
inexperienced politicians can withstand the
same temptation.
A subtle, hidden cost lurks behind term
limits. Currently, some of the "real" power in
Washington lies in the hands of congression-
al aides. These faceless bureaucrats, who
conduct most of the research and develop
most of the ideas presented by legislators,
also provide a support network for new leg-
islators. As newcomers arrive every few
years, they would turn to these aides for help,
deprived of experienced hands to guide them
through the tangles of Capitol politics. If
Washington faced constant turnover,
unelected congressional aides could wield
inordinate power.
These hypothetical arguments may come
true next year in Lansing, as Michigan's
two-year-old term limits law takes effect.
More than half of the State House of
Representatives will find itself out of jobs
after the election in November, including its
most influential and respected senior mem-
bers. Finding replacements who will capa-
bly serve the state may pose an increasing
challenge as lawmakers are forcibly retired.
In the long run, term limits are an artifi-
cial and potentially dangerous restriction on
the political system. Beyond the coerced
retirement of potentially excellent leaders,
term limits reduce voters' choices. Voters
have the chance to decide the worthiness of

Oscars are
not fair
This is not so much a
response to Ed Sholinsky's
letter ("Oscars snub deserv-
ing performers," 2/14/97) as
it is a commentary to all peo-
ple who go around wailing
"travesty" this and "miscar-
riage of justice" that every
year when the Academy
Award nominees are
announced, and worse, when
the recipients are actually
Contrary to what people
may believe, or to what the
Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences wants peo-
pIe to believe, no such prize
system is an infallible mecha-
nism for awarding the most
deserving artists and enter-
tainers. Rather, the Oscars are
doled out by highly partial
groups of people who make
up the voting population of
the Academy, who are not
inclined to have even watched
the majority of the films for
which they are voting.
To make a comparison,
someone once pointed out
that the most successful
movies at the Cannes Film
Festival are the movies that
French people like. We fool
ourselves if we imagine that
winners are chosen solely on
the basis of technical or artis-
tic merit and not popularity
or personal prejudice.
The fact remains that peo-
ple have different tastes in
movies, and it's the taste of
the members of the Academy
- and no one else's - that
decide the awards. I hated
"Lone Star." There is nothing
superior about a screenplay
whose only novelty is the
ability to combine several
cliched plot-lines semi-com-
petently. In my opinion, that
film is an over-long con-
trivance masquerading as
something artful. And how
about Woody Harrelson?
"Hey, have you seen my
southern accent? You know,
I've got a pretty good south-
ern accent. You like southern
accents'?" You get the idea.
It's not as though the
Academy Award is an indica-
tion of the popularity or
longevity of a particular
work. Raise your hands,
those of you who saw
"Gandhi." Now, those of you
who saw the movie "Gandhi"
also saw it defeated for the
Best Picture Academy Award
by "E.T."
In the end, people - and
not little golden statues -
decide the worth of a movie
and allowing the Academy to
dictate or influence your
opinions of particular films is
silly. If you dislike their
choices, do what I do: Ignore
them. Maybe they will go

would like to address the
issue of Michigan Student
Assembly's allocation of
funds to support an active
student group on campus. We
strongly feel the issue MSA
needs to deal with is the
legitimate problem of sup-
porting and funding student
MSA is supposed to rep-
resent all students and affili-
ated groups. As a result, stu-
dent groups look to MSA for
theirsupport - be it for sim-
ple advice or funding for pro-
grams. What MSA needs to
focus on is ensuring that stu-
dent groups receive this sup-
port all year round.
We feel MSA is not living
up to their responsibilities to
the students in supporting
their groups and activities.
The fundamental problem is
not with one individual or
one student group. MSA is
more concerned with general
bureaucracy than they are
with helping student groups.
This summer, UAAO
attended two or three MSA
meetings in order to request
funding for an event that was
to be held early this past fall.
Each time, UAAO was
denied the opportunity to
simply request for funding
because quorum was not met.
This severely impeded the
organization from function-
ing in terms of events to be
held this fall.
As it stands, all students
can face this problem during
the spring and summer terms.
Because quorum is often not
met during these terms, stu-
dent groups are unable to
apply for any funding from
MSA for one-third of the
entire year. This specifically
puts all the students of the
University at a distinct disad-
We would like to see our
representatives on MSA
using their time more wisely
to devise better ways to sup-
port students at this
Rather, what we see
occurring is MSA spending a
quarter of this entire Winter
term dealing with a one-time
mistake that has been respon-
sibly acknowledged by Probir
Mehta. In the past couple of
weeks, we have lost sight of
the real problem in this situa-
tion. It is time that MSA real-
izes that the current problem
lies with student groups not
being able to apply for fund-
ing during certain parts of the
year and takes action to solve
Run play
reviews prior
to closing

If this is not enough time
to get the piece edited and
printed, then attend a dress
rehearsal and print it saying
that it was a dress rehearsal.
MSA officers
are 'corrupt
and arrogant'
I have made a point to try
and accept the election of
Fiona Rose and Probir Mehta
as President and Vice
President of MSA. Even for-
getting the fact that Rose and
Mehta are the flag bearers of
increased student fees, I can-
not remain quiet.
Mehta and Rose represent
the most extreme example of
political corruptness and
arrogance. Their very posi-
tion on Mehta's misappropri-
ations of funds reeks of dic-
tatorship not representative
I think all of the members
of MSA and the student body
need to look at the facts
before they excuse Mehta's
unethical actions.
First, improper allocation
of $500eby Mehta was not a
"mistake!" This action was a
conscious decision. Mehta
first determined that a quo-
rum could not be established.
He then chose to take matters
into his own hands and did
what he wanted to do. It is
clear that this action benefit-
ted an organization that he
subsequently joined.
Second, the money Mehta
allocated in full violation of
MSA rules and guidelines
belongs to the student body.
That money comes from the
taxation of the student body.
Who the hell does Mehta
think he is, Robin Hood?
We must consider why
Rose and Mehta think they
should be allowed to unilater-
ally allocate funds as they see
fit. Rose claims, "1 would
have done the same thing."
Do the funds MSA collects
from the student body belong
to Rose or Mehta? No, those
funds are not Rose and
Mehta's personal bank
account. But this attitude
seems to explain why Rose
and Mehta support higher
It is clear that Rose and
Mehta see nothing wrong
with was was done with the
student body's money. That is
why Rose and Mehta must
now show some real leader-
ship and resign from the
MSA. Also, Mehta should
pay back the improperly allo-

Anatomy ofa
University class
'C lasses large enough to require
discussions tend to be filled with
all different types of people. In such an
environment, one has the opportunity
to see fellow classmates up close and
personal and become privy to their
innermost intellectual thoughts and
personal emotions
regarding the sub-
ject matter of the
cs.And it's scary as
Honestly. I think
you could get a
more balanced
and level-headed
group of people if
you took 30 peo- JAMES
pie at random MILLER
from the West MILLER ON
Virginia State Fair TAP
and Gun Show.
Haven't you ever wondered how the
University manages to find such a
huge crop of yo-yos for each class and
what they do when they're not sitting
next to you, doing a crossword puzzle
and trying not to get drool on thei
shoes? Well, somebody has to. And
since I get paid to do this...
Let's start off with my favorite: The
Nietzsche disciple. Generally, they
have a slow, vacant look on their face,
apparently weighed down by their
giant intellect. Theydhave a lot of stuff
scribbled on their backpack and are
covered with little pins from hang dog
leftist causes that they rabidly support
and barely understand. He/she wil
usually reek of clove smoke and
espresso and have a copy of "Beyond
Good and Evil" hanging conspicuous-
ly from their pocket, as if to scream
"HeyI read complicated books of phi-
losophy! I'm smart and all of those
guys who beat me up in the eighth
grade for painting my nails black are
just tools of the establishment, man!"
Favorite quote: "Yeah man, that's Just
like what Nietzsche says in this boo
I'm reading. It's by Nietzsche. He's
sayin' that all those Christian weirdos
are just sheep, man. He says you just
gotta do your own thing, man. You
know, like be your own God, or like,
Superman, or something. Yeah man.
The Lost Stoner. This guy is easy to
spot. A whiff of patchouli and the
rustling wool of his Guatemalan
sweater will herald his coming. His
hair is in the horrid middle stage o
dreadlock transformation and looks as
if he spent the morning smearing it
with rubber cement and putting those
little rings in it. Kind of a Timothy
Leary Christmas tree.. Favorite quote:
None, really. The men of the species
usually keep quiet. The women can
often be overheard speaking in high,
childishly excited voices that come
from the joy of being bra-less
Something about how they hugged a
puppy in the Diag on a sunny day and
will now be happy for the rest of the
week and might even write a short
story about it. Oh, by the way, they just
spent their last $50 on a navel ring and
are grubbingequarters in front of
Stairway to Heaven, but that's okay
because they're really cool. Like a
Phish show, or something.
The Apple Polisher (also known as
Bobby Butt-Smoocher). The deadc
giveaway of the Apple Polisher is the
nod. They nod vigorously to every-

thing the professor says, as if having a
personal conversation. Often, he/she
will have taken at least one other class
with the professor and will use this
previous relationships to foster a mis-
placed sense of intimacy with them.
Favorite quote: Given the fact that they
have such a close relationship with the
professor, they are given to addressin
them by their first name, in that grat-
ing, nose-first way that raises the
hackles on the back of your neck. They
make frequent comments like: "Well,
Robert, my reading of Joyce here is
that all of Western civilization is con-
structed upon the supremacy of the
phallus. I mean look, even the book
itself is shaped like a penis, if you roll
it up and look at it right. See, I'm an
expert on the phallocracy because I leq
the girls at the NOW meeting cut my
hair. I'vesbeen to three whole Women's
Studies seminars, so I know what's
good for all women.'
De facto Urban Outfitter employ-
ees. Just look for a crossword puzzle.
These are the ones (girls for the most
part) who would rather be anywhere
else but class. Their eyes move about
the room nervously. They shift their
clogs under the desk in boredom. I
asked a direct question they will stare
blankly and repeat the question back to
the GSI, rephrased with a few hundred
"likes." Most of the time they travel
with a partner (because obviously,
nothing is good if your friends don't








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