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April 17, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-17

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 17, 1997

d Pai
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 JOSH WHITE
Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH
students at the Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan
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.
Mutual benefit
Kelley protects same-sex benefits at 'U'

'Hope has always powered Detroit. I think Mayor Dennis
Archer is the Tiger Woods of empowerment zones.'
- Vice President Al Gore, in a speech at the White House
Community Empowerment Conference in Detroit
~~ ~
(SA4M 5OME8O'tove p , o Z AV
s-ro P
1 f Cf
Unite against high tuition costs

M any people take the benefits of mar-
riage for granted - a luxury that
same-sex couples do not enjoy. Amid
uproar over extending health-care benefits
to domestic partners of gay or lesbian
employees, the University amended the
University Board of Regents' bylaw 14.06
in 1994 to allow same-sex partners of
University employees the same benefits that
their heterosexual counterparts receive.
Last year, the state attached a stipulation to
its annual budget for higher education
appropriations, threatening to revoke part of
an institution's funding if it provided bene-
fits to same-sex partners. A recent ruling by
State Attorney General Frank Kelley dic-
tates that the legislature cannot place such
stipulations in its appropriations. Kelley's
decision reinforces the University's autono-
my and helps same-sex couples receive
equal benefits that they deserve.
The state's present law deducts the
amount that universities spend to cover
same-sex benefits from their state allocation,
totaling $160,000 for the University last
year. Before deducting the money, the legis-
lature sought the opinion of the state attorney
general, so the University's allocation
remains intact - so far. On Friday, Kelley
rendered a 12-page written opinion, stating
that the law violates the University's autono-
my. The state legislature should follow
r Kelley's dictum and remove the stipulation
'from the appropriation, supporting higher
education without imposing penalties for dif-
ferences in institutional philosophy.
Domestic partnerships deserve the same
treatment afforded married heterosexuals.
_M Because there is no legal device to allow for
gay or lesbian marriages, many of the perks
Mandating education
T he rehabilitation of inmates should be
the goal of any state correctional facil-
ity. The criminal justice system holds a
responsibility to prepare inmates to re-enter
A society as law-abiding citizens.
Correctional facilities should focus on the

of a legal union - such as employer-pro-
vided health-care coverage - are not avail-
able to them. Policies like the University's
go a long way toward rectifying the problem
and creating equality. The University
should maintain its stance on the issue -
regardless of state interference - and serve
as a model for other institutions.
Some state legislators apply personal,
political or religious beliefs to the issue of
same-sex benefits. They should not use their
financial influence on higher education as a
means to force their beliefs down the throats
of University administrators, or those with
starkly different philosophies. The state
should not legislate morality or make a
value judgment on the University's policies.
The legislature's interference in the
University's health-care policies also threat-
ens the University's autonomy. The regents
are elected by Michigan state residents for a
reason: to run the University and decide its
policies. The legislature should not extend
itself into the University's operations by
second-guessing the regents' decisions.
Instead, legislators should allow the
University to maintain its autonomy by
leaving policy decisions up to the regents.
Gay and lesbian couples still struggle to
be recognized as legitimate partnerships;
some employers use this status to deny
domestic partners access to benefits that het-
erosexual partners receive. The University's
_policy serves as a model for other institutions
and promotes a more tolerant community.
The state legislature should work toward
augmenting tolerance by endorsing such pro-
grams -not fighting them. It should submit
to Kelley's decision and allow the University
to determine its own policies.

BY MICHAEL NAGRANT John Engler's proposed budget
Once again, as students the University will once again
depart for a summer filled be the highest funded of any of
with relaxation, classes, or Michigan's public universities.
work, the University Board of Setting the tuition increase
Regents will begin delibera- at the rate of inflation will
tion on their budgets and the also allow University of
tuition rates for next year. Michigan students to receive a
While some students will be tuition tax credit reimburse-
working more than 40 hours a ment. This money could be
week to earn spending cash spent on books or any of the
for the school year, others will myriad of other costs of
be working overtime to pay attending college.
for the increasing costs of The University has experi-
education. enced problems in increasing
The regents began a trend minority enrollment this year
in proposing low tuition hikes and campus groups have
with last year's 3.5-percent demonstrated for the need of
increase, the lowest since increased financial aid.
1984. The trend must be con- Keeping tuition low will allow
tinued. It is imperative that the greater access to an education
regents keep tuition increases for many of these students.
at the level of inflation. The costs of tuition are too
The University is in a very high for many students to
stable financial position this absorb without taking out
year to meet the rate of infla- loans. In the last few years,
tion. This year, the Michigan many of the nation's federal
Telefund Campaign surpassed funding sources have come
its goal by more than under attack, and families are
$250,000. Although state forced to take out non-federal
appropriations have yet to be loans whose interest is com-
finalized, according to Gov. pounded while students still
attend school.
Michael Nagrant is the These are a few of the
Michigan Student Assembly many reasons for keeping
President and an LSA junior tuition low. Students must

of fundin
term is r
cent of t

improvement of characteristics deemed ing sent
crucial to society. necessiti
However, a bill in the state legislature, of inmat
g sponsored by Rep. John Freeman (D- textbook:
Madison Heights), takes the idea of educa- essential
tion as part of rehabilitation and proposes to correctio
require it. Specifically, his bill would ing on a
,,demand that most inmates earn a high to presen
school diploma or its equivalent to qualify zational
for parole. While plans to expand education Final
in correctional facilities are admirable, the it stands
proposed bill has many problems that need those wh
consideration. for thos
Requiring a high school diploma or its has the
:equivalent (in the form of a General school d
:Education Development certificate) before quences,
,granting parole infringes on inmates' per- legally
sonal and civil liberties. Through this leg- diploma
islation, the parole board would, in ment to
essence, grant or deny parole on the basis therefor
of educational achievement or academic within th
ability. Even though the bill would allow Whil
the Department of Corrections to waive part of in
the requirement for inmates with learning be requi
disabilities or for those who are not profi- and safe
cient in English, all citizens should be pro- held ba
tected from discrimination on the basis of tional ac
education. school d
=: There is also the ever-present question of the so
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109-1

I cause problems
ng - or lack thereof. The proposed
on requires inmates whose prison
two or more years to achieve high
evel proficiency. According to the
ent of Corrections, almost 90 per-
he state's 40,916 inmates are serv-
:ences of at least two years. The
ies to educate such a large number
tes are overwhelming. A paid staff,
ks and other materials would be
1. While expanding education in
onal facilities is a positive goal, tak-
project of this magnitude promises
nt significant financial and organi-
ly, with the proposed legislation as
s, the state forces education upon
ho are not free - but it is a choice
e who are. Every Michigan resident
option of whether to receive a high
diploma. Regardless of the conse-
, at the age of 16, any person can
drop out of school. A high school
, or its equivalent, is not a require-
the vast majority of this nation and
e should not be to those citizens
he justice system.
e education can be an important
nmates' rehabilitation, it should not
red. Prisoners deemed rehabilitated
to re-enter society should not be
ck due to shortcomings in educa-
hievement or failure to earn a high
diploma. Education should be part
olution, not part of the punishment.

out of the
Nichols Arb
A public discussion has
begun over the appropriate
uses of Nichols Arboretum.
The Arb is a unique arbore-
tum and nature preserve
owned by the University and
the city of Ann Arbor that
receives more than 100,000
visits yearly. It is important
that there be a single set of
rules for the protection of the
plant specimens and natural
areas that all individuals and
groups respect.
The visitors' guide states
that the Arb's mission is to
provide a setting for education
and research for use by the
University, Ann Arbor public
schools and the State of
Michigan. As an arboretum,
the plant collections and
native ecology are central to
this mission. The Arb exhibits
more than 450 woody plant
species, collected over
decades, from around the
world. Arb staff, as well as
other biologists and botanists,
have said that particular
ROTC activities harm the
Arb's valuable plant collection.
These are the specific
activities that I am concerned
No. 1. Walking and crawl-
ing by units of 15-20 soldiers
off the pathways through
forested and woody plant
areas of the Arb, in heavy
combat gear - camouflage,

River, published in the Daily
on Sept. 27, 1996.
The quiet enjoyment of
the Arb by other users is
shattered by these activities.
The traditional activities of
urban nature preserves -
strolling, visits by groups of
schoolchildren, family pic-
nics, quiet walks, personal
reflection, prayer, bird watch-
ing, examining plant speci-
mens, searching for wildlife
- are being severely disrupt-
ed. The high-speed nature
and noise of these activities,
the presence of machine gun
replicas and the harm to plant
specimens and bird nesting
behaviors present significant
public safety and environ-
mental concerns.
ROTC has an alternative
site for these activities, which
may be in a less environmen-
tally sensitive area and with
fewer civilian users. It is clear
that ROTC takes its mission
very seriously; it is important
that the University and the
community take the Arb's
mission seriously. ROTC and
the U.S. military do not honor
their institutions by conduct-
ing such activities in a sensi-
tive environmental area with
many civilian visitors.
Citizens for the Protection
of Nichols Arboretum
believes that the University
and Ann Arbor community
will agree that these types of
military training exercises do
not belong in the Arb.

take an active role in lobbying
for this change. The
Michigan Student Assembly
is spearheading a campaign to
make this happen, but we
need students to voice their
opinions and bolster support.
Students can e-mail all of
the regents at regents@
umich.edu, and can send
direct mail to any or all of
the regents in care of: Sylvia
Clerkley, Secretary of the
University, 2008 Fleming
Building 1340, Ann Arbor,
MI 48109.
In addition, students can
sign a petition - available at
MSA or in the Fishbowl until
the end of classes - support-
ing a cap on tuition increases
at the rate of inflation that we
will present to the regents in
June. Students who are inter-
ested in speaking at the June
regents meeting to voice their
support for this proposal or
to address high tuition costs
can e-mail
Please take the time to
make your voice heard before
you leave campus, otherwise
when you return next fall,
your tuition bill might be a
lot higher.
gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender peope.
Jeans Day is not about
proclaiming your own sexual
orientation; it is about
demonstrating that you sup-
port equality and human
rights. If you don't have
jeans, denim patches will be
available all day Thursday in
the Lesbian Gay Bisexual
Programs Office (on the third
floor of the Union) and at a
table in the MUG (ground
floor of the Union) between
I11 a.m. and 3 p.m. We
encourage you to bring out
the denim and join us in sup-
porting equality!
Advice Online'
thanks Plona
The Advice Online staff
wishes to extend a public
'thank you' to Daily reporter
Katie Plona. Her hard work
and research resulted in a
clear and informative article
("Advice magazine provides
course info on Web," 4/8/97)
detailing MSA's Advice
Online, which makes student
evaluations of their instruc-
tors available on the Web.
The purpose of Advice is
to encourage high-quality
instruction and accountabili-
ty. Please support MSA and
Advice in our continuing

'U'touches the
lives ofall who*
pass through it
F' or better or worse, I will not be
speaking at graduation.
However, as I prepare to leave Ann
Arbor, there are a few things I want to
say. Below is the speech I would have
The scene outside of Markley Ho
four years ago was
one of chaos and ...
disorder. The sky
was grey and'
brooding; it rained
incessantly. There
was a massive
traffic jam and "
people were scat-
tered everywhere.
New University
students, includ- ZACHARY
ing myself, raced RAimi
through the nar- 'E
row hallways ofMIRRORS
the dorm trying to
buy carpet, unpack and say goodbye to
their parents.
Now, on graduation day, it is hard to
believe that any of us survived our first
meeting with the University. At that
time, the University seemed unm4
ageable, and its essence seemed elu-
sive. But as time passed and I became
acquainted with the school and al it
offers, I, like so many of my peers,
developed a deep appreciation for the
school and its role in society.
It is a role that attempts to prepare
future generations of leaders by equip-
ping them with tools to improve their
lives and communities. Some of these
tools are intangible - like the abili
to think critically and a deepening
perspectives - and others can be
grasped, like factual knowledge and a
diploma. This tool-gathering process
is a two-way street. The University
must always offer students opportuni-
ties to expand their minds, redefine
and refine their ideals, and challenge
the established order. And students
must take advantage of such opportu-
nities. Essentially, the relationship i
What 'U' must do
The University has the duty to main-
tamn high standards of learning.
Currently, the University does not pro-
vide a rigorous enough writing pro-
gram. Students are graduating without
the ability to construct a logical para-
graph or even a complex sentence.
Such ignorance threatens to erode one
of humans' most fundamental ways of
communicating. This is a problem, a
it must change.
In too many classrooms, educators
are opting for the easy way out.
Standardized tests are replacing more
rigorous and analytical exams.
Students' individuality is not being
nurtured; instead, they are being
trained to think like machines.
Overall, there is not enough emphasis
on critical thinking. This is a proble
and it must change.U
But not all is bad. One of the
University's greatest strengths is its
diversity. The institution continues to
enroll high levels of racial and ethic
minorities. Moreover, it inatriculates
students of all different socioeconom-
ic backgrounds. As a result, there is
the potential for rich dialogue among
students from these varying back-
grounds, which offers students the
opportunity to learn about new c
tures, and in the process, devise wa
to effectively articulate their own

backgrounds and beliefs. And, this
rich diversity allows people to deepen
their perspectives on human relations
and toslearn to work better with others.
This must continue.
Students and the covenant
While the University has a responsi-
bility to provide a rich array of oppor-
tunities, students have the responsibJ
ity to take advantage of them. Many
educators do wish to engage students
in the pursuit of knowledge and -the
expansion of their intellectualscapabil-
ities. Several of my professors, for
example, have taken a personal inter-
est in my education; this is not uncom-
mon. Such involvement provides a
stronger and more challenging envi-
ronment that benefits everyone.
Opportunities are there. Students mit
Student apathy is a plague that
threatens to erode our voice . in
University and national affairs. Things
that directly affect students are con-
stantly occurring. During the last four
years, for example, the University
assaulted students' rights with its
implementation of a grossly paternal-
istic Code of Student Conduct. And
the U.S. government threatened to
financial aid, which would put the 63
of education out of reach for thou-
sands. Students must never aceppt
these actions; instead, it is incumbent
upon them to defend their rights.
Students must respond.
As we leave the sheltered confines



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