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March 27, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-27

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 27, 1997

cat ire Ntjcbt!xtt , "43

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'The repulsion is understood. We
basically have no limits anymore.'
- Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), expressing his observation of public response
to campaign spending to an audience .of University students on Tuesday

An open letter .
to Michael
Nagrant and
Olga Savic
D ear Michael and Olga,.
Congratulations on your election
as Michigan Student Assembly presi4
dent and vice president.
The campaign appeared to be
refreshingly clean
compared to previ- ||||||

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.
Untimely tests

T he University final exam schedule
promises to present a conflict this year
to students planning to observe Passover
with their families. Spanning from sundown
on April 21 until April 29, the Jewish holi-
day coincides with the last days of classes
and the final exam period, scheduled to
begin on the 24th. In response to this prob-
lem, the University has established and pub-
licized a March 31 deadline for students to
notify their professors and graduate student
instructors of an imminent conflict so that
they may offer pupils reasonable alterna-
tives for completing missed classwork.
The University's efforts to accommodate
students observing Passover fall in accor-
dance with its practical new policy on reli-
gious-academic conflicts. Adopted late last
July, the policy constitutes a positive effort
on the part of the University to allow stu-
dents to observe religious holidays without
facing an academic disadvantage.
The policy exists to establish a universal
regulation barring professors from penaliz-
ing students for missing classes or examina-
tions on religious holidays. It states that stu-
dents should give reasonable prior notice of
a religious absence so that professors and
GSIs may arrange alternative measures to
ensure that students may have an opportuni-
ty to complete required coursework. The
University expects that faculty will work
with students to arrive at a reasonable com-
promise unless such a compromise would
present an unreasonable burden on the fac-
ulty. The policy further outlines a general
appellate route for students facing unyield-
ing professors: Students should first
approach the department chair for an over-
ride. If their problem remains unresolved,
they should contact either the dean of the

policy helps students
school or University Ombuds Jennifer
Walters. Hillel governing board chair
Anthony Scaglione said that students facing
problems making alternative academic
arrangements for Passover can seek help at
Hillel if other courses of action fail.
Prior to the adoption of this policy, no
blanket requirement demanded that profes-
sors or graduate student instructors take
steps to accommodate students' religious
observances. As a result, Scaglione said,
some students often found certain professors
unwilling to compromise. Though students
may still find trouble eliciting a compromise
from professors, the policy gives students a
channel for appeals and recourse in the event
that professors do not yield. Furthermore,
the existence of a specific policy on reli-
gious-academic conflicts more strongly
inclines faculty to provide students with
alternatives. In addition to commanding all
faculty to make a reasonable effort to help
students, the new policy has heightened
awareness on campus that religious conflicts
often present problems for students of vari-
ous religions. Consequently, it has sensitized
the University community to the issue of
religious-academic conflicts. Moreover, the
policy places the University clearly on the
side of the student in this matter - unlike
prior years when the school took no clear
Though Passover will act as the first
major test of the new policy's effectiveness,
the University's effort to lessen the severity
of religious-academic conflicts will dimin-
ish the stress facing students whose obser-
vances sometimes clash with the school cal-
endar. By advocating students in this matter,
the University will enable religion and acad-
emia to better coincide.




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Green House
State must approve environmental bills

M ichigan's natural reserves are a
source of beauty that pollution
threatens to destroy - a calamity that the
state should work better to prevent. On
Monday, State Rep. Liz Brater (D-Ann
Arbor) announced her intentions to intro-
duce three bills into the state House that
would strengthen the state's environmental
protection policies. The bills would
improve the present system's effectiveness
by establishing several programs to obtain
better environmental data, evaluate the
information more productively, and pro-
mote change. The state legislature should
pass Brater's legislation to help the state
regain its environmental strength.
After his last election, Gov. John Engler
and the Republican-controlled state legisla-
ture eliminated 19 committees that oversaw
various state environmental issues -
replacing them with the Department of
Environmental Quality. The new depart-
ment's lack of effectiveness is evident in the
decreased number of environmental clean-
ups since its formation. Engler's cutbacks
on environmental programs is problematic
and needs an immediate remedy.
The legislation would require signs
informing the public of pollutants posted at
polluted locations. One of the bills would
also establish a system of environmental
indicators to gather data on the pollution
level of the state's natural resources. The
legislature should pass the bills - creating
the commission would boost the state's
fluctuating environmental health.
Under the bills, the state would compile

Environmental Quality fulfills its duties.
The data summary could serve as a method,
to prevent the department from neglecting
some of the state's environmental issues.
Despite bipartisan backing in the state
House, the bills face opposition from
Republican senators. Several of those oppo-
nents stated that the bills would introduce
unnecessary bureaucracy into the state's
environmental program organization.
However, there is no evidence that the bills'
passage would spawn additional bureaucra-
cy. The new programs would improve the
state's environmental efforts over the pre-
sent programs. The legislation's conserva-
tive opponents used "bureaucracy" to give
it a bad image - a poor tactic that indicates
petty partisanship. The senators should
abandon such tactics and commit them-
selves to helping the state's ecological
Brater stated that the environmental
indicators would cost the state more than
the present programs. In comparison, clean-
ing up an environmental problem could cost
the state far more than the installation of a
preventative system - making the legisla-
tion's plans both economically and environ-
mentally sound.
The state faces a serious problem that
threatens its natural resources. Brater's leg-
islation offers a viable plan to curb some of
the problems and better the state's environ-
mental bill of health. Moreover, the new
policies' preventative measures would save
the state money by preventing costly clean-
up processes. It behooves the legislature to

.This is in response to
Stephanie Stowe's letter
("Playboy is an 'art form,"'
3/24/97). I think it's time for
people to wake up and see all
the negative effects pornogra-
phy has on women. It's not a
matter of "having the choice
to pose or not" as Stowe so
simply suggested. Instead
people need to look at the
broader scope and realize
that these images we see,
whether it's in Playboy or
Hustler, contribute to women
being viewed as nothing
more than erotic subordi-
nates. Just because Playboy
actually "shows a woman's
face" unlike the other
garbage that focuses on body
parts doesn't make it any bet-
ter. The message to anyone
who opens it is clear:
"Women are nothing more
than sex objects for men to
masturbate over. w
Regardless of whether or
not Playboy is paying tribute
to the "Women of the Big
Ten" or the "Lawyers
Association' once women
strip to pose, they inevitably
reinforce the notion that no
matter how arduously they've
worked to achieve success
using their intellect, they are
actually nothing more than a
piece of meat. If such women
believe they are being taken
seriously simply because
their bodies are plastered
across the pages of Playboy
as opposed to Hustler, I
strongly urge them to think
Although many people
are under the misguided
impression that "simply pos-
ing nude for a magazine
doesn't hurt anyone," they
need to realize that violence
against women is directly
linked to their objectification
through pornography. Please
do not confuse material like
Playboy with "art - this is
just another way of arguing
for the subordination of
women. Playboy, when
stripped to its core, is nothing
more than a magazine made
for the pleasure of men and
the devaluation of women. I
encourage all those who
value such filth for the plea-
sure it arouses to ask them-
selves this question: "Is all
this pleasure worth the dehu-
manization, subordination,
and ultimate harm women
experience?"'- I hope you
answer with a unanimous,
roaring "no!"
'l 1' m it

our community for many
years, the University admin-
istration has consistently dis-
couraged any efforts to pur-
sue it.
As recent enrollment and
application figures for
Latino/a students demon-
strate, the University has a
problem recruiting Latino/a
students as well as faculty.
One of the factors influenc-
ing this is the lack of a space
our community can call our
own at the University. Our
community and organizations
are in a constant struggle for
space to hold events and
meetings. The lack of a place
where we can belong as
Latinos/as isdetrimental to
the vitality of our community
and contributes to the
University's problems in
retaining Latinoa students.
A Latino/a Cultural
Center would contribute
greatly to the University's
efforts to recruit and retain
Latino/a students, faculty and
staff as well as making an
invaluable contribution to the
diverse atmosphere the
University values so highly.
As such, the University
should pursue the creation of
a Latino"a Cultural Center
with as much vigor as many
Latino/a students intend to in
the coming months.
P roteSt story
ignored other
side of porn
We are writing to express
our deep concern about the
Daily's March 19 article,
"Playboy takes off on campus
amid protest." The Daily
topped its objective treatment
of the event with the photo
caption "Protest of the
Month." Instead of presenting
a fair and unbiased view of
pornography as a serious
issue, the Daily opted to trivi-
alize it with a "humorous"
allusion to Playboy's
"Playmate of the Month."
The article gives very
comprehensive coverage of
Playboy employees' under-
standing of the protest -
quite enlightened - and
reduces the purpose of the
student protest to a few
quotes. In the interest of
actually representing the stu-
dents' perspective we would
like to correct the Daily
reporter's incompetence and
ignorance by offering the
side of the story ignored in
Wednesday's article:
Student posing: I have
been waiting to pose since I
was a little kid.
Student nrmtestr ihve~

thing more national.
Student protester:
Pornography is national.
Playboy has the highest cir-
culation of any magazine in
this country. More people
pick up the misogyny of
Playboy than pick up a
Daily: Magazine officials
found many protesters hoping
to discourage women from
showing their stuff.
Student protester: Every
day, women at this university
show their real stuff - their
intellect, creativity and social
activism - without putting
their bodies on display.
We find the Daily's trivi-
alization and misrepresenta-
tion of the protest extremely
irresponsible and offensive,
and hope the Daily will
refrain from such shoddy
journalism in the future.
cove rage
I was disappointed in the
Daily's coverage of the LSA -
Student Government election.
As students only source of
information on student elec-
tions, the Daily has a respon-
sibility to have full and com-
prehensive coverage of the
elections. -
Yet, the Daily only men-
tioned the outcome of the
presidential and vice presi-
dential races. The outcome of
the representative races and
the result of the vote to
change LSA-SG constitution
were never covered. I would
hope the Daily would do a
more thorough job of report-
ing student government elec-
tion results in the future.
MSA should
maintain ties
to students
after elections
This week all the election
posters, banners and diag
boards will come down, but
the communication musttcon-
tinue. This link between the
Michigan Student Assembly
and the student body must be
However, this is a two-

ous years - not
only were there
fewer campaign
posters, but there
were fewer ad NIf :
hominem attacks.
And, the voter
turn-out rate
increased to about
15 percent, which ZACHARY .
is a good sign. RAIMI
Your, victory, SMOKE
however, must be a
sword. While your jobs promise to be
personally and professionally reward-
ing. *they wil l bring you tough criti-
cism, great responsibility and extre
You two were able to reinvigorate the
Students' Party. Now, it is your respon-
sibility to reinvigorate MSA.
Often, people deeply rooted in orga .'
nizations lose sight of the public's per-'
ception of them. You two, for example,
have spent much time within MSA's
chambers, so it is important to hearhan
outsider's perspective, which is the
purpose of this letter.
For the majority of the student bod
MSA is nothing more than a collection
of whiny, annoying, bratty kids whor
fight over stupid and petty things..
They think the reason why you partic-
ipate in the assembly is because you
wish to add a fancy line to your
Some students actually think MSA
has a purpose, but many. of these stu-
dents have become distressed with th
assembly's ethical and financial prafl
tices. For example, current president
Fiona Rose attracted widespread criti-
cism when she spent about $150 on a
Franklin Planner with MSA funds,,
While not illegal, it seemed to be an
excessively expensive item. And cur-
rent MSA vice president Probir Mehta
came under fire when it was discov-:
ered that he inappropriately autho-
rized funds to a student group last
summer. Even more students wei1
outraged when former president Flint
Wainess compromised his anti-Code
of Student Conduct position. These:
are just three examples; you should
know better than, any of us that many
more exist.
You two enter the executive offices'
of MSA with the chance to build on
MSAs positives and redefine the'
assembly's purpose in students' live
While the assembly should continueW
fund student groups, fight for a stu-;
dent regent, and work with the regents
to keep tuition increases under contro,,
you should take advantage of the many
opportunities to make MSA more rel-
evant to students' lives. To do this, you
must concentrate your efforts on the
little things that affect our quality of
life at the University.
Let me give you two examples. A
few years ago, when LSA decided
prevent fourth-term foreign languag
students from electing the pass/fail
option, MSA did not do enough to
fightsthis terrible assault on student
rights. While this "fight" fell under the
jurisdiction of LSA-Student
Government, MSA should have gotten
involved. The majority of the students
were opposed to this plan. When they
needed their student government, it
was nowhere to be found.
Second, MSA did not do enougb.
when the Information Technology
Division changed some of its policies
and angered many students. ITD
raised printing fees in its computer
labs from four to eight cents per page.
Also, it removed the wait-list policy
for computers at Angell Hall. (And, for
several weeks earlier this term, the

dial-in servers caused majop
headaches for off-campus student1
due to technical troubles, logging inl~
the University's computer serverswas
Despite the anger these policies
incited in University students, MSA
did not stand up to ITD and fight.
While such a battle may be less glam-
ourous than a petition to get a student
'regent, this is much more relevant to a
majority of University students. MSA
was silent on the issue and studero
felt as if they had nowhere to turn.
Mike and Olga, your platform shows
promise. For example, you have called
for the establishment of a student-run
coursepack storewhere studentscan-
sell or swap coursepacks. This is at
excellent idea, one that will actually

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