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One hundred eight year of editori freedom
February 23, 1999
J )(Dj$" The MChjgA$j Daily
'A question of
life or death
*Experts give media
coverage failing grade
By Kelly O'Connor
Daily Staff Reporter
Intense emotional discussion filled
the Michigan Union Ballroom yester-
ey as nationally renowned journalists
d experts gathered before a crowd of
hundreds to debate media coverage of
The responsive audience left few
seats empty as they listened to more
than four hours of speeches, debates
and panel members' accounts of how
the issue has affected their lives.
The conference, "Covering
Assisted Death: The Press, the Law
and Public Policy," opened with
eynote speaker Arthur Caplan of the
niversity of Pennsylvania relaying
the findings of his recent study, which
analyzed the way the media has por-
trayed the assisted suicide issue.
Caplan said about 50 percent of the
S,400 media stories following the CBS
show "60 Minutes" broadcast of a
videotape showing an assisted suicide
referred to the death as a crime -
instead of a suicide or voluntary death.
aplan said this is evidence of incom-
"If I had to give a grade to the
media for its coverage of the different
sides of the assisted suicide issue, it
would be near failing," Caplan said.
Betty Rollin, NBC News correspon-
dent, said she agreed with Caplan's
negative view of media coverage.
"The media has failed to make a
clear difference between people wh6
are for assisted suicide and people who
are for Dr. Kevorkian," Rollin said.
She also spoke about Oregon legisla-
tion allowing doctors to prescribe lethal
doses of medication to terminally ill
patients wishing to die. Although some
opponents of the law feared it would
trigger an overwhelming amount of
requests for the drug, this has not
occurred, she said.
"Opponents said you legalize this
and you're going to have a stampede
to Oregon," she said. "None of that
Mike Wallace, senior correspondent
for "60 Minutes," told the audience
about how he obtained the videotape of
the assisted suicide from former doctor
Jack Kevorkian and the process of
deciding whether to televise the tape.
After viewing it with colleagues, he
said, there was no question in their
minds that it should be broadcasted.
See PANEL, Page 5
By Nick Faizono
Daily Staff Reporter
The Graduate Employees Organization and the University
returned yesterday to discussing one of the most integral
issues in the past four months of contract negotiations -
One day before members will decide whether to act on a
recent strike authorization vote, GEO is requesting a 9 per-
cent wage increase in graduate student instructors' monthly
salary. The University is offering GEO a 2.5 percent guaran-
teed increase in wages or the equivalent of the faculty's annu-
al salary increase.
The University is also offering GEO a recalculation of the
amount of hours GSIs work. Under this plan, all GSIs with
appointments of .4 - those who work approximately 40 per-
cent of the hours of a full-time faculty member - would
move up to an appointment of .5.
But GEO Chief Negotiator Eric Odier-Fink said this recal-
culation is meaningless to GEO since it does not offer GSIs
a wage increase.
"They're just asking us to do more work for more hours,"
Odier-Fink said. He added that the recalculation does not
even affect the majority of GEO's membership, making it
even less useful to the organization.
University Chief Negotiator Dan Gamble agreed that the
University's proposal was not designed to affect GEO's entire
membership -just those with a .4 appointment.
"Our goal was to increase the .4s to a living wage,"
Gamble said. "There isn't enough money allotted to us to
give this to (GSIs with) .05 or .10. The money is best spent
on the .4s."
Gamble added that the University is still concerned with
See GEO, Page 7
Members of Not Dead Yet, an anti-assisted suicide organization, listen as a panel speaker delivers
his views on the issue in the Michigan Union Ballroom yesterday.
Day to defend ative action
Daily Staff Reporter
Colleges across the nation plan to
participate in the second annual Student
and Youth National Day of Action in
Defense of Affirmative Action tomor-
This will be the "first year of a
said Caroline Wong, a member of
the Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action By Any Means Necessary.
Scheduled events include a rally on
the Diag at noon and various lectures
Last year, the movement included
only two colleges in addition to the
University branches of the
University of Texas and the
University of California system.
Since last year, BAMN members said
they have seen growth and change in
the movement to defend affirmative
"The amount of response and level of
national consciousness has risen
tremendously," Wong said.
The University of Washington, which
came under attack for its affirmative
action in admissions policies in 1997,
plans to participate in this year's Day of
"We're taking the 24th (of
February) to celebrate and com-
memorate all the good things affir-
mative action has done in the past,"
said Tyson Marsh, an associate stu-
dent member of the University of
Washington Board of Control.
The Day of Action movement was
organized through the University's
BAMN chapter, Wong said, adding
that BAMN members who sent e-mails
to schools across the country encour-
aging them to participate in the
National Day of Action received many
It's important that there is a whole
day devoted to the fight to defend
affirmative action rather than just
See DAY, Page 2
Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger performs last night at the Palace of
Auburn Hills In front of a nearly sold out crowd.
tesolution to talks
® "Dead Man Walking" author speaks
about her experiences, which inspired
an award-winning movie
By Robert Gold
For the Daily
Speaking before an audience that filled nearly two-thirds
of Rackham Auditorium, Sister Helen Prejean, author of
"Dead Man Walking," shared her experiences yesterday deal-
ing with death row inmates and families of victims.
Prejean opened her two-hour talk by discussing the need
to take an in-depth look at the controversial issue of capital
punishment before making a decision.
Explaining her views through personal stories, she said
people would not support the death penalty after learning
more about it.
"You can't see it, but next to me is a bag of stories, "said
Prejean, whose book inspired the award-winning movie by
the same name. "I travel across the country and tell stories.
That's what.I do."
Prejean dedicated most of her talk to discussing her expe-
riences with death row inmates - specifically Matthew
Poncelot, who was portrayed in the film. Her story started,
Prejean said, when she had naively volunteered to write to a
death row inmate in the early '80s.
"I never dreamed I was about to have a passport into a
strange country,' Prejean said. She said she felt the same way
most people might feel about prisoners. "In the back of my
mind was 'prisoner-death row inmate - not human," Prejean
But during the next two and half years, Prejean said, she
Day of Action Events
10 a.m. - "The Ballot Threat, the
Movement & the National Situation,
Union Pond Room.
12 a.m. - Rally on the Diag
2 p.m. - "Affirmative Action and
the Law," Hutchins Hall
3 p.m. - "Sexual Harassment and
Racism on Campus," Union Room
6:30 p.m. - "Affirmative Action and
By Nick Falzone
Daily Staff Reporter
After spending more than two years
reviewing current University tenure
policies, the faculty's tenure commit-
tee proposed a revised edition of the
University's policy to the faculty's
governing body yesterday, calling for
the addition of an appeals process for
Tenure Committee Chair Charles
Garvin, a Social Work professor,
told members of the Senate
Advisory Committee for University
Affairs that one of the primary rea-
sons his team revised the current
policy was to increase a candidate's
involvement in the tenure attainment
Garvin said candidates currently
have little involvement in the
"We don't want the (non-tenure
track) faculty member to just send in
their dossier at the beginning and look
for their name in the newspaper at the
end," Garvin said. "We want them to
have input and feedback every step of
But many SACUA members said
they believe the revision would give a
tenuire candidate too much power.
Los Angeles Times
RAMBOUILLET, France - In
more than two hours of intensive talks
Sunday, Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright urged ethnic Albanians to
withdraw their remaining reserva-
tions about an autonomy plan for
sovo, in effect clearing the way for
TO air strikes on recalcitrant
Albright said the Albanian negotia-
tors are "working very hard and are
moving toward a yes" on the peace plan
that was drafted for the separatist
Serbian province by the United States
accept the proposal and the Serbs
reject it, NATO is prepared to launch
a bombing campaign against Serbia.
But if the Albanians also reject the
peace plan, bombing would be impos-
Albright told reporters gathered in a
drizzle outside the Rambouillet City
Hall that the Serbian government has
not relaxed its opposition to a NATO-
led force to police the agreement. The
Serbs said Saturday that they had
accepted the political aspects of the
Albright, who also met for a little
Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking,"signs a
copy of her book after her speech at Rackham Auditorium
tims, Prejean said she experienced feelings of extreme out-
rage and guilt.
"When we feel outrage, it is hard to remember the princi-
ple," Prejean said. "At this point, I was hanging on to this
principle by my fingernails."
After the speech, Prejean said she still struggles with her
feelings on the subject. "Whenever I am in the presence of
victims' families, I experience great guilt," Prejean said. "I
always sort it through; I still go through it."
Despite the emotional and controversial aspects of
Prejean's discussion, many audience members repeatedly
broke into laughter when she gave more light-hearted anec-
At the Pnd oA 'f he~r talk, the auiepnce gavePrejen a stand-