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March 18, 1998 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-18

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ews: 76-DAILY
dvertising: 764-0554

One hundred seven years of editorizlfreedom

March 18, 1998

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I State rep. hopes voters will
ecide fate of affirmative
iction across Michigan
ike Spahn
Staff Reporter
Opponents of affirmative action are preparing
iemselves for another assault on racial prefer-
ices, but this onslaught does not involve law-
jits or legislative proposals.
Rep. Deborah Whyman (R-Canton), who
as worked with other legislators to bring
vo lawsuits against the University targeting
s use of race as a factor in its admission
rocesses, is planning to begin a statewide
ion drive that would put a proposal to
affirmative action across the state on the

November ballot-
"This will be a grassroots effort to repeal gov-
ernment discrimination," Whyman said.
The proposal mirrors California's Prop. 209,
which banned the use of race and gender prefer-
ences in college admissions and other govern-
ment-funded operations in California in 1996.
The lawsuits filed this past fall against the
College of Literature, Science and the Arts and
the Law School may not be necessary to end
affirmative action policies, Whyman said.
"Why should we be forced to sue a public
institution like the University of Michigan to end
race bias when we can do it with a popular
vote?" Whyman asked.
Whyman said state programs and institutions
should not use racial preferences.
"We feel that people should compete based on

merit and ability and nothing more," Whyman
But LSA senior Jessica Curtin, a member of
the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By
Any Means Necessary, said equality does not
exist today, and affirmative action is the way to
ensure it.
"Racism and sexism deny opportunity to
minorities and women, not affirmative action,"
said Curtin, who is running for a seat on the
Michigan Student Assembly with the Defend
Affirmative Action Party.
Lester Monts, associate provost for academ-
ic and multicultural affairs, said the petition
drive is not on the right track, and affirmative
action is an important part of the University.
"Don't these politicians have at least an ounce
of creativity and imagination? Must they follow

the warped, misguided path of others?" Monts
Curtin said that nothing progressive can come
from Whyman's effort.
"I think this means ... that the resegregation-
ists are expanding their attacks on affirmative
action," Curtin said.
Monts said there are other problems in the
state that could be addressed instead of
Whyman's initiative.
"How about a petition drive, Rep. Whyman,
to improve K-12 education in Michigan public
schools?" Monts asked.
Whyman said the drive will need to collect
about 310,000 signatures on a petition
before July 6 to qualify the proposition for
the ballot. She is currently piecing together
the petition and gathering other elected offi-

cials to support the drive. These supporters
will be announced in the coming weeks,
Whyman said.
Whyman said she would not be starting the
drive if-she did not believe that it would be suc-
cessful. She said she is confident that if the pro-
posal gets on the ballot, it will pass.
"If we get it on the ballot, I guarantee you I'll
have the votes in November," Whyman said.
But Curtin said the proposal, if it makes the
ballot, could be defeated if groups like hers
organize against it.
"It's impossible to say at this point," Curtin
said. "I'm confident we could win, but it
depends on how much we organize.
"It completely depends on what we do as stu-
dents and as supporters of affirmative action,"
she said.

focus on
By Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud
Daily Staff Reporter
While some Michigan Student
ssembly candidates are supporting the
es! Yes! Yes! campaign of the Student
Regent Task Force, other candidates are
responding with No! No! No! ,
MSA currently is seeking voter
approval of a ballot proposal to raise
student fees by $4-
5. MSA would use
M the money to pay a
company to gather
F signatures in sup-
port of placing a
question on a
statewide ballot
MatchI .an 1 asking Michigan
Student voters to authorize
Regent the installation of a
voting student rep-
resentative on the University Board of
Ezabeth Keslacy, an LSA sopho-
more running for MSA president with
he New Frontier Party, said MSA's foray
to state politics will squander the
assembly's precious time and resources.
"MSA should spend more time mak-
ing the campus a better environment for
students rather than wasting time on an
issue that's just a dead end," Keslacy
said. "I don't think voters are going to
vote for it. To spend $400,000 to get it
on the ballot is just a waste of money"
Other candidates said student pres-
See REGENT, Page 5



elections to
kick off today

By Katie Plona
Daily Staff Reporter
For weeks, colorful posters have
announced the coming of the
Michigan Student Assembly's annu-
al presidential and vice presidential
But today marks the first day of
the assembly's major election - a
campaign-intensive day during
which students will be able to put
faces with the names they see on
This year, four slates are vying for
the opportunity to lead the assembly in
its two top spots this coming year.
Students' Party vice presidential can-
didate Sarah Chopp, who currently
holds an LSA seat on the assembly, said
she will use today and tomorrow to
encourage all students to exercise their
voting powers.
"Even if I lose, if 25 percent (of the
student population) goes out to vote, I'll
feel like I won," said Chopp, an LSA
first-year student.
Voter turnout for last year's presiden-
tial election totaled 15 percent of stu-
dents, which was higher than turnout in
past years.
Chopp, who is running alongside
Students' Party presidential candidate
Trent Thompson, said the long hours of
campaigning will be spent connecting
with students.
Just like Chopp and most other can-
didates, independent presidential candi-
date Ferris Hussein, an LSA junior, said

Polling Sites:
Today and tomorrow:
Angel H all 8:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
UGLI 6 - 11 p.m.
Union 11 a.m. -11 p.m.
Bursley 4 - 7p.m.
Today only:
T Markley 4 - 7 p.m.
Tomorrow only:
South Quad 4 - 7 p.m.
Today and tomorrow:
0 At www.umich.edu/~vote
he and his runningmate, Nick Pavlis,
have a packed schedule planned for the
election's duration.
"Our goal is to mobilize people who
haven't voted in the past," Hussein said,
identifying that group as largely juniors
and seniors who have been turned off
by past MSA actions.
Hussein added that he and the stu-
dents allied with him are taking
advantage of a St. Patrick's Day party
that his fraternity house is hosting to
distribute information about their
LSA sophomore Albert Garcia,
another independent vice presidential
candidate, said he and runningmate
Ryan Friedrichs plan to campaign at
Greek houses while going door-to-door
throughout student neighborhoods, as
See MSA, Page 2

LSA Rep. Bram Elias hangs a sign outside of a window of the Michigan Union yesterday in support of the Yes! Yes! Yes!
ballot proposal to further MSA's efforts to gain student representation on the University Board of Regents.

Affimative action foe to
speak tonight at League


toast to St.

By Lee Palmer
Daily Staff Reporter
Ward Connerly, a key spokesperson for California's Prop.
209 - the ballot initiative that outlawed affirmative action
in the state of California - will speak tonight in the League
Ballroom at 7:30.
Connerly served on the University of California's Board
of Regents when it voted to end its use of affirmative action
in its admissions processes in 1996 and currently chairs the
California Civil Rights Initiative.
Members of Students for America, the campus organiza-
tion sponsoring Ward's visit, said they hope his visit will give
the University an opportunity to hear some dissenting views
on affirmative action.
Business junior Nicholas Kirk, the president of Students
for America, said he looks forward to welcoming to campus
the man "who destroyed affirmative action in the California
"I am excited basically because given the current lawsuit
and Ward's work out in California, this University deserves
to hear an anti-affirmative action viewpoint," Kirk said.
This past fall, the Center for Individual Rights filed law-
suits against the College of Literature, Science and the Arts
and the Law School targeting their use of race as a factor in
their admissions processes.
Kirk also said he hopes Connerly will state Rep. Deborah
Whyman's (R-Canton) initiative to end affirmative action
statewide, which is similar to California's Prop. 209.
Lester Monts, associate provost for academic and multi-


By Eliana Raik
Daily Staff Reporter
University students enjoyed corned beef
and cabbage accompanied by tall glasses
of Irish beer yesterday, recalling long-held
traditions in celebration of St. Patrick's
"Everyone is Irish on this day," LSA
sophomore Ari Perler said.
Although St. Patrick's Day is traditionally
an Irish holiday, students of all ethnic back-
grounds took part in the day's celebrations.
"I'm not Irish, but I'm enjoying St. Patrick's
Day as a true, spirited holiday," LSA junior
Pancho Rodriguez said. "I respect the Irish
St. Patrick's Day memorializes the
patron saint of Ireland, who is credited for
converting most of the Irish population to
Christianity. While some students recog-
nized the holiday by attending church ser-

LSA senior Lucia Watson and University alumnus Tracy Ford enjoy St. Patrick's Day
festivities yesterday at Ashley's Restaurant and Pub.

first-year student Dylan Brock said.
For many students, drinking beer is a

company of their friends. "My friends
and I go to the bars during the day and
then aairnat night." LSA iunior Scott

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