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February 04, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-04

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 4, 1998

Ulwe IIid$tan dlg

Race issues and
all their silly,


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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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
Clever cooperati
MSA should work with 'U' administration

'it Is important to understand where people are
coming from in order to make the University more
productive. Diversity is an untapped resource.'
- LSA sophomore Richard Nunn, co-chair of La Voz Mexicana, speaking on
Chicano History Week and the need for diversity at the University

L ast weekend, the Harlan Hatcher
Graduate Library remained open for
an additional two hours, beginning a new
schedule more conducive to the late-night
study habits of many University students.
The library will remain open until 2 a.m.
Sunday through Thursday, allowing more
students to access the library's extensive
resources and quiet study areas during
what are, for many students, peak study
hours. The success of the Michigan
Student Assembly in achieving its goal on
this issue sets a new precedent for com-
munication and cooperation between
University administration and students.
From its initial proposal to MSA to its
final implementation this past weekend,
the project of extending the library's
hours has been a model for the mutual
benefit of students and administrators.
Interim Director of the University
Libraries William Gosling's willingness
to listen to the students' proposal sets a
precedent for administrators to follow.
The administration and students set aside
their differing viewpoints in order to work
for the greater good of University stu-
dents. The Office of the Provost is also to
be commended for its efforts to cover the
cost of additional staffing and security,
allowing the students to cut through red
tape and accomplish the extension of
library hours this semester.
The successful extension of Graduate
Library hours also sets a standard for
MSA to maintain. The assembly is sub-
jected to frequent negative criticism of its
effectiveness, and this episode of success-
ful cooperation with the administration
opens new doors for it to fully achieve its
intended position as advocates for
University students.

Individual MSA representatives should
follow the lead of the Academic Affairs
Commission, which proposed the exten-
sion of the library's hours, in making
MSA more effective and efficient by
working on special projects. If each mem-
ber of MSA were to select a project to
work on the assembly would accomplish
its goals in an efficient manner, thus ben-
efiting the student body it represents. But
the initiative of student-administration
cooperation should also extend to the
general student body - individual stu-
dents should take it upon themselves to
make the University a better learning
The immediate benefits of the exten-
sion of the library's hours to students are
obvious: greater access to resources only
found in the Graduate Library and late-
night access to one of the best study areas
on campus. Yet the hidden benefits -
those precedents regarding the coopera-
tion between University faculty and stu-
dents for the common good created dur-
ing the extension project - will prove to
be equally important in the future. The
administration has displayed a willing-
ness to listen to the concerns and com-
plaints of students, which, to continue
effective and efficient communication,
must be preserved.
Further, the assumption of individual
projects by MSA members is a precedent
that will allow MSA to accomplish more
that benefits the student body. The chan-
nels of communication between the stu-
dents and the administration must not
close. The extension of the Graduate
Library's hours serves as a model of effi-
ciency and cooperation that should be fol-
lowed in the future.

Tax burdens
IRS should allow case-by-case analysis

A recent ruling by the Internal Revenue
Service may lighten the tax burden
on university students across the nation.
The ruling, Revenue Procedure 98-16,
exempts university-employed students
from paying the 7.65-percent Federal
Insurance Contribution Act tax if the stu-
denttakes six or more credits, regardless
of the number of hours they work per
week. Previously, only one credit was
required for the students to be exempt
from the tax, but students were limited to
20 hours of tax-exempt work per week.
Although the new ruling increases the
number of credits required to be exempt
from the FICA tax, it is nonetheless bene-
ficial to working students. The ruling will
return hard-earned money to students
nationwide who have jobs with their uni-
The previous 20-hour tax-exempt work
week was exceeded by many students who
work part-time or hold multiple jobs.
While the number of credits necessary to
be exempt from the tax has been raised,
this should not cause problems for most
students, since most take more than six
credits. Usually, students applying for tax-
exempt status attend a university full time,
which entails more than six credit hours.
The new credit requirement also prevents
anyone from enrolling in a one-credit
class simply to be exempt from the FICA
While the new system brings change to
many students at colleges across the coun-
try, University students are already exempt
from the FICA tax. The University follows

regardless of credits or weekly hours or.
Students at the University might not feel the
repercussions of this new ruling but it could
help them nonetheless if they transfer to
another school.
But not all colleges follow the same
guidelines as the University's administra-
tion. The new ruling's major accomplish-
ment is that it sets a standard guideline for
colleges across the nation. While the new
system is consistent, it would be better for
tax exemption to be determined on a case-
by-case basis - some students may have
legitimate reasons for taking fewer than six
credits while working for their universities,
and it is not fair to deny these students tax
exemption privileges. A student employed
by their school may opt to enroll in fewer
classes to ease coursework while working
long hours. Students should not be pun-
ished for this type of decision. The ruling
by the IRS should realize students' needs
and provide tax-exempt work without man-
dating a unwaivering amount of credits.
Judging cases individually would be more
beneficial to students in these types of situ-
The fact that the new procedure does
not take individual situations into account is
something that needs to change. But in gen-
eral, the ruling is beneficial to students
employed by their respective universities. It
prevents students who work multiple jobs
from facing the burden of the FICA tax
along with the responsibilities of classes
and jobs. The opportunity to receive a high-
er education - even as it grows more
expensive - should be eased in as many

omitted Iraqi
In the Jan.29 Daily, there
was an article taken from The
Washington Post with he
headline "US searches for
diplomacy in Iraq."
Interestingly, after reading
the contents of the article,
one came to an opposite con-
clusion. The United States is
planning to renew another
bombing campaign against
Iraq while entirely rejecting
any diplomacy that might
alleviate the situation. The
"diplomacy" comes in as a
way to convince otherwise
slavishly devoted allied gov-
ernments that what the
United States says goes in the
Middle East and in the whole
Left out of this article, and
the Daily's coverage of the
events in general, is the
immense suffering already
going on in Iraq as a result of
U.N.-imposed (but U.S.-led)
sanctions dating back to 1990.
The United States and its
allies deliberately destroyed
the civilian infrastructure of
Iraq during the Gulf War -
the sanctions prohibit this
infrastructure from being
rebuilt. According to U.N.
Food and Agricultural
Organization reports, more tan
one million people - more
than 500,000 of whom are
children - have died from
starvation and disease as a
direct consequence of these
sanctions. Under the "oil for
food" deal, Iraq has only
received 29 percent of the
expected food supply by last
May. Given that the U.S. mili-
tary is not exactly known for
its sensitivity to human life,
another military strike would
only exaggerate this horror.
These omissions do not
help to stop (or even help to
foster a debate about) the
drive toward another military
strike against Iraq that will
cause even more death and
suffering in that country and
in the region as a whole.
Although entirely pessimistic
about the prospect, I hope
that the Daily will raise ques-
tions about the legality and
morality of the United States'
intervention in the Middle
East as the day draws nearer.
Humor is
needed when
facing life
I am writing in response to
Camille Noe"s letter ("'Bear
Bones' objectifies women,"
2/2/98). It seemed rather ironic

skin color, it is no more
acceptable to discriminate
against the opinions of sexists
and Nazi's than against those
of women and African
Americans. The hallmark of a
truly free society (which I take
it Noe is not interested in) is
toleration for all opinions,
however unpopular they may
be. This has the following
advantages: If false opinions
are expressed, we may publi-
cally denounce them with rea-
son and thereby both gain a
clearer understanding of the
"truth" ourselves and convince
others that they are in error (as
opposed to simply denouncing
them and silencing them,
which only breeds resentment
and hatred).
If we are not completely
right ourselves (for example,
by asserting that all women
or men are powerful intelli-
gent and dynamic), we gain a
more complete understanding
of reality by engaging in dis-
course with others who dis-
agree with us. When we
silence others, we deprive
ourselves of the truth.
Finally, we must realize
that what is in question here
was a cartoon, not a serious
piece of argument denounc-
ing women. This was not pro-
paganda; to compare it to
Nazi campaigns is ridiculous.
It was a humorous piece and
should be taken as such. We
have a choice - we can face
life and liberty with a sense
of humor, or with a sex or
race-conscious prejudice that
we express byesilencing oth-
ers. To me, the choice seems
Daily cartoon
was offtarget
The right to unionize is a
crucial one and no worker
should be penalized for
union activity. I write these
comments unaware if these
important labor rights were
violated at the Ann Arbor
Borders Books and Music -
I do not know the whole
story. But I've been their
corporate monkey for two
years - in both Ann Arbor
and Novi --and I have
always found their manage-
ment to be approachable,
professional and mighty easy
to please. I think the cartoon
"Purple Herring" (1/29/98)
is populist and off-target.
Never in my time were
Borders employees threat-
ened or warned against
union activity. Most of the
employees only became
aware of union efforts in
Philadelphia through meet-
ings with our managers and
through daily newsletters the
company prominently dis-

ness trying to expand its mar-
should allow
bus stop
After a truck smashed into
the bus shelter at the corner of
Washtenaw and South
University Avenues, the Ann
Arbor Transportation
Authority asked permission
from the Greek "service"
organization Kappa Alpha
Theta to build a new shelter
on a corner of their property.
The answer was a resounding
The kind gentlemen of
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, upon
whose property the decimat-
ed shelter once stood, gener-
ously offered the use of addi-
tional space for a new struc-
ture. But the sidewalk drops
off into the famed "Mud
Bowl" and there isn't enough
room for a shelter that would
comply with the Americans
with Disabilities Act.
More than a year later,
there is still no shelter at this
bus stop. It's too bad that the
sorority is so insensitive to
the needs of the community
that it's leaving us literally
out in the cold. I don't know
if their decision was made
because they think the shelter
will be an eyesore or if they
don't wish to attract the type
of people (like graduate stu-
dents) who ride buses.
Regardless, I hope the resi-
dents, can soon peer out from
their warm rooms with a clear
conscience. Their action will
surely demonstrate the real
underlying principles of their
organization. And we'll all be
review ignores
band's music
I am writing in response to
the article written about the
band SafeHaven ("SafeHaven
fails to provide warm, sonic
support," 1/30/98). Is it the
Daily's policy to just repeat the
lyrics for the majority of the
article? Shouldn't a review of a
CD talk about the music? The
CD has great instrumental
interludes, a wide variety of
sounds and great lyrics. And
what about the band members?
Marquina Liev had very few
things to say, but when she did

related things
ll be honest with you. I went to a
Michigan Student Assembly meeting
to make fun of the whole thing. I
thought, rightly so, that a room full of
parliamentary half-breeds with prom
committee complexes would be inter-
esting material for a column.
Or at the very
least, a relatively
fruitful target for
I came away from
last week's meeting
with something
much better. Ladies
and gentlemen, I
give you: BAMN.
For those of you
who don't know .1ME
BAMN stands forM& LER
"By Any Means MILLER
Necessary" and it is ON r AP
one of the groups
on campus that formed in the wake of
recent attacks on affirmative action.
Last Tuesday, BAMN sent a small con-
tingent to the MSA meeting to express
its extreme displeasure with the ballot
proposal due to go before the assembly.g
It seems an MSA representative pro-
posed an amendment that would have
asked students if they wanted MSA to
lobby the administrationfor the removal
of admissions preferences that used race
and ethnicity as deciding factors.
The BAMN members were not
happy and they made sure that MSA
knew it.
But it was hard to tell just who was
unhappy. Every constituent who stood
to speak was a member of about three
different groups, all with names that
sounded like they had been chosen
from a hat filled with sliced up copies
of the Residential College course
Apparently, campaigning for social
justice is such an individual thing that
they all need to be apart to express
their own styles. ("Hey, no fair. We
had the 'hey hey, ho ho, racism has got
to go' signs first. Get your own Maoist
BAMN members' main beef with the
proposal was that they felt such a nega-
tively phrased question would bring a
more fervent response from affirmative
action opponents than it would from
their supporters.
Which begs the questions: Isn't this
a democratic assembly? Shouldn't
MSA be as in touch with the students
as possible, despite how BAMN, o
anyone else, feels about their odds?
If Jessica Curtin and the rest of
BAMN feel a loss coming, they need
to try harder to force their points or
admit that majority rules, and not just
when the majority shakes their fists at
If the anti-affirmative action folks
had tried to block a ballot issue with
such tactics, there would have been a
explosion of protest from the other side,
and rightfully so.
Several MSA members, to their
credit, made the point that the mea-
sure was just to ask students how they
felt about the issue and nothing leg-
islatively binding would come of it.
The meeting had moments of high
comedy, too. In spite of themselves,
several of the protesters stumbled over
the phrase "race and ethnicity," adding
one too many "th" sounds, so instead of
sounding like a "Soldier of the People"
they sounded more like Sylvester the

One would stand up, focusing on all
the women's studies and sociology
classes they could, and in the midst of
their outrage over racial injustice,
drop a line, stutter and sit down
amongst the spotty applause. Imagine
John F. Kennedy giving his Peace
Corps speech on the steps of the
Union zipping up his fly and wiping
his hands on his jacket, and you have
an idea of the anti-climax involved
When they weren't showing off their
rhetorical hops, they were busy shoot-
ing themselves in the foot by throwing
around the words "racist" and "bigot"
Anyone who didn't support affirmative
action was a bigot, as was anyone who
thought that students should get to
decide the matter for themselves rather
than letting the BAMN oligarchy do it
for us.
This is stupid for several reasons.
First, since "racist" and "bigot" are
insults, when you insult someone who is
trying to solve the same problem you
are, you tend to make enemies quickly
for no good reason.
Pretty soon, everyone is either
hedging and running for cover or
shouting at each other, and nothing
gets solved.
Second, it's stupid because it seems
so tailored for self-gratification. "You
don't agree with me, so you're a moral
degenerate, and I'm better than you, and

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