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March 12, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-12

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4- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 12, 1997

~le Etdiguu &ig

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

JOSH WHITE
Editor in Chief
ERIN MARSH
Editorial Page Editor

NOTABLE QUOTABLE,
'More and more the people in government
see supporting the University as an expense,
rather than as a welcome obligation.'
- University Regent Philip Power (D-Ann Arbor) on the shift in public
opinion that has caused a drop in support for large research institutions

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. A ll
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
FROM THE DAILY
Buying a vote
Fee does not guarantee a student regent

JIM LASSER

£ DICDt T NOGW
WENT CANOEING
SPRING BREAK!

YOU
ON

YUR

What would it take to win a seat for a
voting student representative on the
University Board of Regents? According to
the Michigan Student Assembly, the task
carries a $400,000 price tag.
During the last MSA meeting before
spring break, the assembly decided to let
students decide if they want to back a drive
for a voting student regent with their wal-
lets. Students will have the opportunity to
approve a one-time student fee of $11
($5.50 each semester) in this year's spring
MSA elections. The money would support a
signature drive to gather the 310,000 names
required to place the student regent issue on
the statewide ballot in the fall.
While a voting student regent would
improve the student voice at the University,
the studeht fee is not very practical.
Students on campus are not likely to offer to
pay an extra $11 when its ability to win a
student regent is tenuous. MSA is equipped
to lobby and work toward getting a student
regent proposal on the state ballot, even
without a new fee.
If students approve the fee, the regents
have to give their collective nod before it
appears as an additional charge on tuition
pills. It seems unlikely that the regents
would approve a large fee for an issue that
they believe could diminish their power.
However, if the board did bow to a wave of
student opinion, getting the issue on the bal-
lot could still be a difficult task.
To collect the required signatures, MSA
would have to organize a statewide drive,
nost likely hiring a professional headhunt-
lug firm. It would be a massive undertaking
that MSA has not proven it is equipped or
ready to handle. Several years ago, advocates
of physician-assisted suicide - who had a
At ivisn

significantly more organized grassroots
structure in place - failed to collect the req-
uisite number of signatures to get their issue
on the ballot. There is no reason to believe
that MSA could do much better with a hefty
fee.
If the question made the ballot, how
could voters be persuaded to support the
issue? The lack of a support structure
behind the proposal is more significant than
money. MSA's student regent task force
should continue to try to work with the stu-
dent governments of Michigan State
University and Wayne State University, who
also stand to benefit from such a proposal.
A coalition of the three schools would be
better equipped to handle a statewide drive.
MSA has had little direct success in
finding a state congressperson to introduce
the ballot proposal into the legislature. State
Sen. Joseph Schwarz (R-Battle Creek), a
University alumnus and the highest-ranking
member of the sub-committee on Higher
Education, decided not to support the issue,
making it very difficult to get the proposal
introduced - much less find two-thirds of
the legislature to approve it.
However, the setback does not mean that
MSA should stop lobbying the legislature.
MSA must apply constant pressure on the
issue and continue to try to persuade the
state legislature to consider placing it on the
ballot. The ballot question in the MSA elec-
tion could drop the student regent issue
altogether. MSA should not dismiss the idea
of a voting student regent simply because
students are unwilling to pay the assembly
additional funds. MSA would do better to
educate students - and the rest of the state
- about the benefits of a voting student
regent before they yak fpr such a hefty fee.

NR-l
f !
LETTERS TO TH E EDITOR

.;=1

nreborn

UMass students protest a broken promise

ive years ago, in the wake of the
FJRodney King trial and riots, the student
;group Asian, Latin, African and Native
Americans (ALANA) at the University of
Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., protested
;the minority environment on their campus.
Their actions resulted in a U.S. Justice
Department-mediated settlement, under
=which UMass administrators agreed to
.reform certain aspects of campus life.
Among the promises was a commitment to
hire more minority instructors.
a Last week, feeling that the UMass admin-
-istration failed to make adequate progress on
-the original ALANA agreements, the group
=protested again. In a stunning display of stu-
dent activism, nearly 200 protesters occu-
pied and shut down a UMass administration
building for six days, while thousands more
,cheered the protesters from outside.
Once again, the outcome is a series of
:promises from the UMass administration.
Whether their promises will lead to signifi-
-cant change remains . undetermined.
Nevertheless, the protest offers lessons to
11 college and university communities.
For students, ALANA's actions signal the
power and potential of student activism, a
quality that has declined since the era of "no
nukes" campaigns and demonstrations
against the war in Vietnam. Only 30 years
ago, students were prominent in activist
-movements. In many ways, those students'
actions changed the lives of all who fol-
lowed. More important, their work helped
change the world. Today's students seem to
ignore that heritage and deny their potential
to incur change. Rather than acting on their

their liking.
The administration at UMass -- and oth-
ers across the country - should also take
lessons from the ALANA protest. Far too
often, general student apathy allows admin-
istrations to impose rules upon students -
like the University's Code of Student
Conduct -- contrary to their best interests.
ALANA's actions serve as a reminder that
activism is not dead -- and administrators
should remember the results of their protest'
when considering regulation or creation of
policies burdensome to students.
But there is a greater lesson for UMass
and other schools. Although race was not the
only issue at stake, it was the most prominent
factor in the protest. Five years after the orig-
inal ALANA protests, minority enrollment
at UMass hovers around 15 percent. The cur-
rent protesters called for an increase in
minority representation to about 20 percent.
Critics may call-their demand a "quota"
that counters the positive principles of affir-
mative action. However, the benefits of
diversity far outweigh the critics' claims.
Affirmative action was designed as a way of
ensuring that qualified minorities receive
positions they deserve - positions for which
they may have otherwise been overlooked
due to race. Along the way, affirmative action
diversified American workplaces and cam-
puses, allowing different races to learn about
each other.
As a state-supported university, UMass
should already have a strong commitment
to diversity. Apparently, a disruptive six-day
occupation is necessary to remind the
administration of their commitment and to

Don't force
diversity on
students
TO THE DAILY:
After reading your
insightful front page article
on the new gay minority
activist group on campus
("All Us' unites gay minority
students", 2/25/97), 1 was
inspired. I've decided to
begin my very own activist
group. It will be for gay, les-
bian, bisexual and transgen-
der Jewish amputees. Even
though I fit into none of
these categories myself, I
have noticed the lack of
awareness and understanding
that the student body seems
to have for students who
belong to this category.
I see thisas my part in
cramming diversity down the
throats of those around me.
Not only that, but I demand
that whenever the three or so
members of my group meet,
we earn a front page article
on the- Daily. I also plan to
keep my group similar to
other activist groups on cam-
pus by defending our First
Amendment rights to free
speech whenever applicable.
Unless, of course, anyone
should have the audacity to
disagree with me within the
Daily, in which case we shall
take to the streets and confis-
cate all copies of the newspa-
per on campus. Any other
course of action just wouldn't
make sense.
Due to the fact that
enrollment of gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender
Jewish amputees has been
declining the last few years,
we demand that new quotas
be set up by the University,
such that for every white
male that has held us
oppressed for so long, there
is at least one gay, lesbian,
bisexual or transgender
Jewish amputee. We also
require our very own
Diversity Day.
We know that since when
a certain group yells "jump,"
the entire campus yells "how
high?" (despite the presence
of intellectual merit), our
demands will be met quickly
and with ease.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual,
and transgender Jewish
amputees are people, too.
Please try to increase your
understanding of their strug-
gle in this most hated country
of ours that so ruthlessly
oppresses all those who don't
fit the "accepted" mold.
JOHN DEBAY
LSA SOPHOMORE
Wrestling
article was
. . . - I -

formed the team of Doom
(before Simmons won the
world title, not after, as the
story reported). Doom won
the NWA World tag titles
from The Steiner Brothers. (It
wasn't incidental that the
Steiners wore Michigan letter
jackets. Using their real
names of Rob and Scott
Rechsteiner, they were U of
M wrestling legends in the
'80s. Scott holds many team
records, including the honor
of being an All-American.)
Simmons went on in 1992
to defeat Big Van Vader, not
Ric Flair, to become the
WCW World heavyweight
champion. Simmons indeed
broke the color barrier as the
first and only black world
champion.
Currently, Simmons gave
up his "slave name" and
wants to be referred to as
Faarooq. He is the leader of
the Nation of Domination, a
take-off on the Nation of
Islam. Faarooq may be in the
twilight of his career, but I
see bright things for him and
the NOD in the remainder of
1997.
DAVID TAUB
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
Actions of
one do not,
define all
Republicans
TO THE DAILY:
Although I do not actively
participate in College
Republican activities on cam-
pus, I am actively involved
with fund-raising campaigns
and have worked for both
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
and Sen. Spencer Abraham
(R-Mich.). Through my work
I have learned that, contrary
to Sara Deneweth's letter
("Kirk incident represents
GOP demise," 2/25/97), the
Republican Party, both
nationally and on campus, is
stronger than ever.
Deneweth inaccurately
generalizes Republicans as
"elitist" and "exclusive" who
reject those of different social
and economic status.
However, I would like to
offer a first-hand account to
Deneweth (since she has
been misled) that I, as well as
those with whom I have
worked, are neither exclusive
nor elitist and certainly do
not reject people of different
social or economic classes.
In fact, my co-workers
and I represent a wide array
of religious, racial and socio-
economic backgrounds and
participate with the
Republican Party not because
of these, but because of ide-
ology and common beliefs.
The actions of Nicholas

Democrats have always been
inclusive and openly wel-
comed any person, I suggest
Deneweth read the history of
her party, paying close atten-
tion to the practices
employed before John F.
Kennedy.
ScOTT L.VERNICK
LSA JUNIOR
States should
abolish the
death penalty
TO THE DAILY:
March 1 marked the
150th anniversary of the abo-
lition of the death penalty in
the state of Michigan. This
courageous act occurred
because it had become clear
that there were inherent
injustices associated with
capital punishment. These
injustices continue to exist
with the death penalty.
Unfortunately, the majori-
ty of states have not followed
Michigan's lead. Currently,
38 states and the federal gov-
ernment have the death
penalty. And it is used to
punish the innocent, minori-
ties, poor people and political
radicals.
According to a recently
released study by University
of Florida sociology profes-
sor Michael Radelet, 68
inmates have been released
from death row because of
doubts about their guilt since
1972. Radelet said, "It makes
you wonder how many peo-
ple weren't so lucky"
Unfortunately, the number
of innocent people to be exe-
cuted in the coming years is
only likely to grow. The fed-
eral government and over
half of the states with capital
punishment have enacted
laws that severely hamper the
right of death row inmates to
appeal their convictions and
death sentences.
Even when individuals are
guilty, whether or not they
receive the death penalty is
usually determined by race
and class. African Americans
make up over 40 percent of
those on death row (and over
50 percent of those who have
been executed since 1930). A
disproportionate number on
death row are Asian, Latino/a
and Native American.
The economic status of a
person on death row also
plays a significant role in
whether or not a person
receives the death penalty.
High costs make private
investigators, psychiatrists
and expert criminal lawyers
out of reach for most work-
ing class and poor people. As
the saying goes, if you've got
the capital, you don't get the

Joe & Jenny:
Evil McCartlys
are everywhere
Irealize that I may be jeopardizing
my membership in the coveted G
Club - and in doing so, lose my spit-
ting, scratching, staring and Pacino
privileges.
1, James. Patrick Miller, a card-carry-
ing male, really hate Jenny McCarthy
Before we get
into this, let's dis-
tinguish this from
a physical argu-
ment. She is a
fine-looking
woman. I'd be a a
giant liar if I tried
to tell you that I
don't think a for-
mer Playmate of
the Year is not AIE
very easy on the MILLER
eyes. She is one MILLE
hell of a piece of -* T O
eye candy, and
you'd be hard-pressed to find someone
who thinks otherwise.
Nor is this a philosophical argument.
I don't think that the lovely Jen
objectifies women everywhere or cr
ates a climate of unhealthy sexuality in
America. I think this would be giving
her too much credit. At least, I certain
ly hope that someone who makes her
living by getting 12- and 13-year-old
boys to commit mortal sins doesn't
dictate social norms. No, this is a com-
plaint based solely on her merit, or
lack thereof.
She was a good Playmate. Maybe
even the best of Playmates (no disr
spect to that venerable grande dae
Vanessa Williams). But there haW
been, and always will be, lots of goo
Playmates: However, doesn't it seem
like it's a violation of the natural ordt
of things for Playmates to have a life
after leaving Hef's auspices? The tal-
ent of these women only exists
between the ass-kissing interviews an'd
the Tom Wolfe stories of Playboy
glossy paradise. Like seeing your el
mentary school teacher at the supe-
market, there is something unsettling
and out of place about seeing.A
Playmatein other areasof public life.
It's unholy, I tell you.
And then she moved to "Singled
Out."
To be fair, I've always had a pro-
found, seething, Ahab-like hatred for
the show. It encourages stupid people
to copulate, for one. And besides, ho
many tight shirts, empty heads an
guys from Salt 'n' Pepa videos does
one need? Jenny made it worse. I have
yet to see a woman who irritated me
faster. She smacked around the mle
contestants. She made gross faces into
the camera andexpected it to pass for
hiumor. She makes sex jokes on a dat-
ing show filled with folks who spent
their formative years feeling each
other up to Bel Biv Devoe albums ar
poisoning their brains with hair gel
and Stussy hats. I liked her the first
time, when she was called Bob
Eubanks.
And then, all of a sudden, everyone
decided that she's a talented comic
actress (probably the same people who
think the Wayans brothers are funny.)
Never mind that talented female
comics like Janeane Garafalo can't
catch a decent break and have to pla
second banana to the emaciated lik
of Uma Thurman. Jenny should have
her own show. Of course she should!
Why, just look at the rapport she has
with the contestants! They're riveted to

her.
Of course they're riveted to her!
They're staring at her chest! I'm sure
people wouldn't be ;able to take their
eyes off a chick with three arms and a
hump,but that's not a good reason
shove her in front of a camera.
Remember when only talented and
original people got their own TV
show? I don't. But every time I see
Jenny and her "talents" I think I hear
the faint sound of Mary Tyler Moore
crying herself to sleep.
To no one's great surprise, the show
is just not funny. Predictably, the labo-
rious half hour is filled with vomit and
armpit-hair jokes and other routines
that look as if they were lifted from tle
pages of a third-grader's notebook.
But I think I've figured out her
secret (I mean, apart from the cleav-
age). It's only funny because she's
fine. I don't think anyone would watch
some great big fat thing with boils and
frog warts grab her breasts on cable
(no one outside of the fetish market).
But what bothers me most about the
broad is what she says about me
everywhere. She makes us lo
absolutely foolish: We follow with rapt
attention. We stare, at "Singled Out"
like dogs out a car window. We allow
ourselves to be led around by our
Johnsons by this trollop. We prostrate
ourselves before the craven MTV god-
-JJ ._ t . c _ .., .,.,

i

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