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March 16, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-16

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 16, 1998

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailys editorial board.
All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
No, No, No
Hefty fee would not guarantee a student regent

'There are no special precautions and no concerns ...
I truly believe the people of Detroit are very adult and
mature and will act that whatever the verdict is.'
-Detroit Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon, on the preparations he has made for
the verdict in People v. Budzyn, which could be handed down as early as today
t 6 "

his week, the Michigan Student
Assembly will make its second attempt
to collect $400,000 of student money to fur-
tier its push for a voting student representa-
tilre on the University Board of Regents.
ILuring MSA elections, students will have the
opportunity to decide whether to approve a
student fee of $12, spread out over three
sdmesters, to support the MSA Student
Regent Task Force in its effort to collect the
310,000 signatures needed to bring the stu-
dent regent proposal to a statewide vote.
Although students should align themselves
biind the push for representation on the
beard, approving a hefty student fee is not an
eficient or effective means of helping the task
fdrce achieve its goal. MSA would do better to
step up lobbying efforts and continue fighting
alngside other state universities through the
ooe-year-old Coalition for Student
Representation - an alliance of higher edu-
cation institutions seeking to secure voting
seats for students on their governing bodies.
Tie assembly's current funds enable it to con-
tinue both of these activities without exacting
an additional charge from students.
Poll results released by the state Office of
the Governor reveal that 73 percent of
Michigan voters would give their affirmative
vote to a student regent ballot proposal, yet
bringing the issue to a referendum vote proves
a difficult task. The path MSA chose by ask-
ing for a fee only complicates the endeavor.
Should students approve the fee, the
reents also must vote to allow MSA to levy
tlt charges. As the fee would constitute a step
tdwiard lessening the regents' power, board
niembers would have little incentive to give
their approval. But if the board did acquiesce,
success in gathering 310,000 signatures
vw&uld still be far from guaranteed.
To its credit, the task force has already
awned itself with contacts at the same signa-

ture collection firms employed by the office
of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan).
Nevertheless, the professional headhunters
will undoubtedly encounter difficulty in com-
pelling 310,000 voting adults - most of
whom graduated from college decades ago
- to petition for a cause which does not.
directly affect them. Although voters would
likely support the push for a student regent if
lawmakers placed the issue on the fall ballot,
the average voter would likely prove too apa-
thetic to support a signature drive. The result:
400,000 wasted student dollars.
In working with Michigan State
University, MSA recently succeeded in secur-
ing Rep. Lingg Brewer (D-Holt) to sponsor a
bill in the state House of Representatives to
place the student regent issue on the ballot.
The new sponsorship constitutes a large step
forward from last year when MSA had no
definite support in either house. While the
bill will likely slide through the Democrat-
controlled House, it will still be laid to rest on
the floor of the Senate, where it faces conser-
vative opposition. Having conquered one
house, however, lobbyists now have more
surety to back future efforts.
MSA has made appreciable progress in
organizing and solidifying its quest for a stu-
dent regent in the year since it first requested
a fee to fund a signature drive. But flaws
inherent in the process of securing student
dollars to fund a signature drive with only a
marginal likelihood of success eliminate it as
a practical means of winning a student regent.
The MSA task force, in alliance with other
state universities, must remain committed to
lobbying the Legislature and furthering
efforts to rally students and the general voting
population behind the issue. Since it will like-
ly not effect the creation of a student regent,
students should vote "no" on MSA's student
regent ballot question.

Construction zone

Projects can harm 'U"s
O ne of the worst perceptions about the
University, held by outsiders and stu-
dents alike, is that it is too big and bureau-
cratic. While these concerns are often exag-
gerated by people not enrolled at the
University, they do have a truthful founda-
tion. For example, class scheduling for
iicoming first-year students can be diffi-
cult, and the number of people in many
introductory lectures is often overwhelm-
ing. These parts of University life can be
very frustrating and are one of the major
problems that large institutions of higher
education have to sort out. These types of
problems often can harm the University's
academic environment - administrators

must work to counteract them.
This semester, students living in East
Quad are dealing with a major inconve-
nience that exemplifies this sort of problem.
After more than five years of planning, the
construction of a new elevator designed to
make the residence hall more accessible to
handicapped students began last month.
With this construction, students living near
the stairwell being gutted to accommodate a
new elevator shaft have had to deal with the
disruptive noise of jackhammers and other
machines used to clear space for the elevator.
The problem with project like these are not
their intent - indeed, the construction of a
new handicap-accessible elevator is a neces-
sary improvement to the building, providing
greater access to disabled students. The only
existing elevator in East Quad is inadequate
for handicapped students.
The problem with this type of construc-

learning environment
of the construction. Students should have
been made aware before any leases were
signed for next year that this construction
project would extend through October.
Students should also have been informed in
writing when this construction was going to
begin, not through word of mouth or the
sound of jackhammers. The construction *of
the elevator should not occur during the
school year but instead, should take place
during a period when most students will not
be disrupted. More opportune times include
the beginning and end of summer break -
when Orienation is not in session - and
spring and winter breaks. The construction
schedule of this long-awaited elevator was
handled very poorly by University officials.
While University Housing espouses its
"living-learning" environment, construc-
tion projects like the one in East Quad
severely hamper the educational nature that
the administration hopes to foster. But this
problem is not limited to one residence hall
- construction is common among
University Housing's buildings, often forc-
ing students to leave their homes to study.
Problems like the new East Quad eleva-
tor make students, who are enrolled and liv-
ing in a University residence hall, feel like
their concerns are not being taken into con-
sideration during the decision-making
process. In order for the University to
improve broad-based negative assumptions
about the inefficiency of such a large
bureaucracy, it must conduct itself in a dif-
ferent, more student-considerate manner.
Students have to feel like their voices are

MSA should
not try to
raise fees
Currently, the Michigan
Student Assembly has a drive
to raise student fees to hire a
lobbying firm known as the
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" campaign.
What the campaign repre-
sents is another attempt by
MSA to raise student fees.
It would be wrong for me
to say or even suggest that I
have discussed this campaign
with all of my constituents.
Having said that, those con-
stituents I have talked to are
extremely concerned with
MSA increasing student fees
once again for any reason. On
the surface, a student regent
seems like a noble and worthy
cause. But when the simple
needs of graduate schools and
their feelings of disenfran-
chisement go unresolved, how
can MSA now try to reach for
broader powers aid more
cash? MSA has a serious
problem with constituent feed-
back, and feedback is what is
required for representation. I'll
be the first to admit it. As a
representative of a small
school (the Medical School), I
have trouble getting feedback
from my constituents. As more
and more students fall to the
sidelines and do not receive
adequate representation, MSA
cannot in good conscience
continue to propose one fee
increase after another every
election cycle.
MSA fee increases are not
being passed or supported by
the majority of the student
body. It hurts MSA's credibil-
ity when it calls for a
decrease in coursepack and
student fees and then calls
for an increase in MSA fees
at almost every election. It's
bad leadership, it's bad poli-
tics, and it's bad representa-
tion. MSA should solve its
domestic problems before it
goes to the capitol.
National Day
of Action was
a 'success'
The National Day of
Action at U of M on Feb. 24
was a great success. We set an
important precedent in the
fight to defend affirmative
action. For the first time,
University students called a
one-day strike/class stay-away
in defense of affirmative
action. Through the participa-
tion of hundreds of students
and many teachers, we

the unprecedented unity
achieved among various stu-
dent organizations. At the
march and sit-in, the unity of
our causes and the necessity of
building a united movement
was stressed. University and
high school students from Ann
Arbor and Detroit addressed
issues of racism, sexism,
homophobia and opposition to
bombing Iraq. We made plans
to continue building the
activism that was begun on
Feb. 24 by organizing to
protest and then speak inside
when anti-affirmative action
leader Ward Connerly comes
to campus on March 18.
Despite a virtually com-
plete local media blackout,
we succeeded in getting our
message out to the country
over CNN. Students from
New York and New Jersey
have initiated the call for
another National Day of
Action to take place on April
I and have contacted us to
act in conjunction with them.
The organizers of the
National Day of Action invite
all students to join the student
movement that is being built at
U of M and spreading to uni-
versities across the country. We
are on the threshold of build-
ing a new mass civil rights
movement that can fight for
real social equality and justice.
Please attend the Ward
Connerly protest on March 18.
To the Students for
America and Ward Connerly:
BAMN is interested in having
our National Organizer,
Shanta Driver, debate
Connerly on March 18. Driver
recently attempted to debate
state State David Jaye (R-
Macomb) but ended up mak-
ing a solo appearance when he
failed toshow up. Please con-
tact us at bamn)umich.edu if
you are interested.
Vote 'yes' for
a student
Getting a student on the
University Board of Regents
is an idea that dates back to
the '60s and U.S. Sen. Tom
Hayden (D-Calif.). More than
a year ago, I started the
Student Regent Task Force.
We began to research how to
get a student on the board,
and we made some great
progress. Unfortunately, I
decided to ask the students
for money for this effort
before it was ready; and the
students justly rejected the
Fortunately, the students of
the University were not let
down after this setback. Trent
Thompson and Andrew
Wright took over the reigns of
this project and moved it to

statewide so that this issue can
go on the 1998 general elec-
tion ballot.
Now this issue has come
to a deciding point for the stu-
dent body. The "Yes! Yes!
Yes!" campaign is in full
swing, and MSA is asking the
students for a temporary fee
increase in order to make this
dream a reality. Even in the
'60s, when student activism
was at its peak, the students
weren't able to accomplish
this feat. Now, 30 years later,
it is in our grasp. I urge all
students to vote "yes" on the
student regent questions dur-
ing the next election.
Vote Friednrchs
for MSA
I'm very disappointed in
student government here on
campus. Oh, it's my own
fault as much as anyone
else's, I know. A couple of
years ago, I threw my hat into
the ring only to find out that
I was as incompetent as most
others in student government.
1 am greatly pleased to
see that Ryan Friedrichs is
running for the presidency of
the Michigan Student
Assembly. I honestly can
think of no one who can per-
form a better job leading
MSA than that he can.
I feel that the University's
student population has largely
tried to pass off life here as an
island isolated from the rest of
the world. How many of us are
content to sit around doing
absolutely nothing to con-
tribute to the world around us,
even the community that we
live in? I'd hazard to guess that
the number is pretty high.
So, who's doing anything
to make sure that somehow
the student body is better off?
I answer Ryan Friedrichs, a
ceaseless worker for students.
Unlike the vast majority of
MSA candidates, he seems
not to invent clever issues to
put on his posters and forget
them the day after election.
He gets stuff done.
Potentially more important
is his work off campus:
Friedrichs was one of the
leaders of Voice Your Vote,
which got thousands of stu-
dents registered last election.
He's been an active force in
making voter registration easy
here on campus by convincing
the Office of Housing to
make it part of the move-in
process starting next year.
Friedrichs has been a
leader all over campus -
I've just had the pleasure of
knowing him in a few roles.
With his running mate,
Albert Garcia (who himself
seems to be quite a doer),

Old playmates,
childhood and
a return to the
sense ofsnow
S ay what you will (and I'm sure you
will) about the weather in Michigan.
It's too hot, too cold, too rainy, tci.
snowy, and yes, we even get snow aft
spring break. What an insult.
But it makes ________
sense to me.
Summer is hot.
Winter is cold.
Spring and autumn
are usually some-
where in between.'
To quote Lucy
M a u d e
Montgomery, author
of my favorite chil-
dren's book, "Anne ERIN
of Green Gables," MARSH
"God's in His heav- dKING
en, all's right with 1.)'
the world."
Of course, there are surprises. Take,
for example, the unexpected snowfall
that hit just as many of us were settling
in to watch the first round of the NCAA
tournament. Fodder,rI'mdsure, for g4
ing aplenty come Monday morning.
Growing up in southwest Michigan,
my first words were "mama," "daddy"
and "lake effect." The lake effect, for
those who may not be familiar, is a
weather pattern that causes snow show-
ers when cold air passes over a large,
warmer lake (like one of the Great
Lakes) and picks up moisture and heat.
The sixth-grade translation of this is,
"Yaaaaaaaaaaay! No school!"
I'd forgotten the degree to which m
life had been governed by whatever
wintertime phenomena happened to be
occurring outside. In Ann Arbor, believe
it or not, we don't have it so bad. Salt
the roads, scrape the walk, brush some
snow off the car, and you're good to go.
Not the case in my hometown. And at
the end of our "spring" break last week,
for the first time since I'd left for col-
lege, Iwas snowed in.
When I watch the evening news
made-for-TV specials about natural dis-
asters, I'm constantly amazed that some
wind, some rain or some snow can pro-
duce such utterly devastating effects.
The Titanic, after all, was sent to her
watery grave by nothing more than a big
ice cube. The power wielded by our
basic environmental elements is really
nothing to scoff at.
And when it snows in West Michiga
the flurries are fast and furious a
swirling. So I was literally stuck at
home. After pacing the house and fret-
ting about whatever work I was missing
at school, I resigned myself to the kind
of stay-at-home activities I enjoyed
years ago, when snowy days were a
golden license to play. I picked up some
very important lessons in the process.
I relearned what it means to be a big
sister to Megan, Chris and Willt
Kitten. When I left, I thought of my si -
ter as a nuisance with blond pigtails. In
that child's place is a gorgeous, clever,
funny, stylish, 17-year-old woman
(happy birthday, Meg!). My brother, I
thought, was positively embryonic when
I left home. Not so now - he's smart as
a whip, he can sing a whole repertoire of
songs from "TheaSimpsons," and he's
always game for a Hitchcock movie, a
discussion about the politics of Northern
Ireland or a scorching contest of TetriO
Will the Kitten is now Will the Ca.
Whensdid all this happen?
Best of all, I recaptured the unfet-

tered joy of the "snow day." I remem-
ber monitoring winter evenings very
carefully in grade school, pressing my
nose against the window and crowing
triumphantly as the flakes fell fast and
heavy. As the frosty quilt carpeted the
trees, mailboxes and birdhouses, as the
traffic slowed to a crawl on our ro4
the inside of the house came to life.
Kids jumping on couches, begging for
later bedtimes - because school
would surely be canceled the next day.
The next morning, sitting up in bed, in
the dark, hugging knees to chest, lis-
tening carefully to the radio for the list.
"Allegan County," Mr. Weatherman
droned, "... Hamilton, Hastings,
Hopkins ... Thornapple-Kellogg ..
Wayland Union."
Freedom. It was like getting a day £
your life back. No dittos, no arithmetic
quizzes, no homework. Just fun and
snowmen and videos and grilled cheese
with pickles. That was the best - no
one made anything better than Mom's
grilled cheese.
I feel lucky to have experienced
another couple of snow days with my
brother and sister. True, it's not exactly
like it used to be - I guess nothing im
Things change.
But I have two new, wonderful play-
mates. I'm grateful to have rediscovered
them while we're all still schoolkids.
Before long, I'll be a "grown-up" with a
job, a health plan and a 401(k). And



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