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March 24, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 24, 1999

O~be Lid jian +&ii utg
420 Maynard Street H HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 EAtor KACif
f Editor in Chief
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited ad EFFREY KOSSEFF
Edtdand managed byJEFYKoSF
students at the .. DAVID WALLACE
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
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

Aggravation, coffee shop terrorism and social justice

Vote Elias, Coulounos
Blue Party has clear vision for MSA

The recent SOLE sit-in at the presi-
dent's office got me to thinking. I
used to believe that student activism, with
the exception of burning furniture on
Munn Field, was dead. The campus world
had gotten too big
and the student body
had become too
diverse and disinter-
ested..
But here I was
wrong. They had a
sit-in and something
changed. So I said to
myself "Self, maybe
we should try to
change some things
on campus. It seems
to work nowadays." James
I became disin- Miller
terested in politics M
and policy when I
realized that in On Tap
America we let
lawyers make laws. No hope there. So my
new pet interest is in the students them-
selves. Specifically, how to change and
correct some of the more lost, clueless,
brainless, hapless and gutless among us.
The time has come to build a mass, mili-
tant student movement to AGGRAVATE
YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS!
Project 1) The war on cellular tele-
phone technology. Unless you are a mem-
ber of a singing group, or sell drugs other
than marijuana to your little brother's
friends, you do not need a cell phone. End
of discussion.
I can understand having one for occa-
sional use in emergencies. There are, how-
ever, entirely too many people walking
around having conversations on the street,
in coffee shops and (the author shudders)

on the sacred ground of a library.
Discussing evening plans or other non-
urgent things is pretentious bullshit. If
you do this regularly and are reading this:
Kill yourself. Today. And let me watch.
Here's the project: Start smacking the
phones out of their hands. When you pass
one of the sinners, just reach out and
smack the phone out of their hand. Just an
open handed slap and the phone will sail
out of their hand and smash on the con-
crete like champagne flute. Your victim
will stare at you outraged and try and
remember the last time they had to deal
with a crisis, like sitting next to a black
guy on the bus. If the target is also wear-
ing $500-$600 worth of clothes, you may
feel free to knock their face away from the
phone instead. Try a brick.
Project 2) Baiting film students. Two
of my closest friends are film students, so
were it not for them, I never would have
been introduced to this little world. More
than any of the other humanities, film stu-
dents have little or no capacity to realize
comedy in their field of study and conse-
quently take all things film as seriously as
most people take childbirth.
To lighten the general mood on cam-
pus, I recommend teasing the film stu-
dents. This involves being a part of a con-
versation with one or more film students.
Him: "Well, obviously, Bergman is
exerting a kind of Cartesian dualism in
this film. Just as the narrative form and
the use of the image unravel toward the
end, so does Descartes' epistemology."
You: "Yeah. Whatever. If that movie is
so good, why didn't they make it in
English? Huh? Why isn't Neve Campbell
in it? It sounds totally boring. I mean, I
like old movies like "The Breakfast Club'
but not THAT old. Did you hear they're

remaking 'Citizen Kane' with Gwenyth
Paltrow and Tim Allen?"
Your faked stupidity will remind him
that movies with talking animals and 16
year olds in tube tops make more in two
months than all the art films combined.
He might take a swing at you.
Project-3) Annoying liberals. I myself
am a liberal and come from a family that
makes the Ginsburgs look like the
Bunkers. Our family crest has on it an
actual bleeding heart and a welfare check.
But anyway.
There are lots of liberals on campus, so
there should not be an problem finding
one in class. Make comments like "Of
course women make $.70 on the dollar.
They're GIRLS! Hello!" or "Have you
noticed how many homeless people are
fat? I'm not paying another dollar in taxes
until I see some gaunt, weak homeless
people."
College liberals, almost as much as
college conservatives, are so convinced of
their own moral rectitude that no matter
how sarcastically or intentionally humor-
ously you make these comments, they will
descend on you like lesbians on brown
shoes. They will probably get to a teary
and emotional story about their
Alternative Spring Break volunteer mis-
sion helping the Picturesque Poor before
they realize you were kidding, and they
look like humorless, irrational zealots.
Project 4) Vote in MSA elections.
Lobbyists and consultants need to come
from somewhere. Give their training camp
the fake power and illusory fame it
deserves. It keeps them away from impor-
tant things, where they could hurt them-
selves.
-James Miller can be reached over
e-mail atjamespm(qjumich.edu.

n the Michigan Student Assembly elec-
tions, which began today, three slates
,of candidates seek student support to fill
"the assembly's executive positions. All
slates have strengths and weaknesses they
would bring to MSA. Out of the three,
"slates, the Blue Party's presidential candi-
sdate Bram Elias and vice presidential
candidate Andy Coulouris are the most
;focused and have the most to offer the stu-
:dent body.
This is the first time the Blue Party is
running for MSA. It mainly consists of
former members of the Students' Party,
;which has dominated the assembly for the
past two years. Elias and Coulouris said
they created the new party to avoid "party
bosses" and equalize power among the
,assembly members. They admit it was a
,political move, and the Blue Party does
rnot have many differ-
ences on issues with the
Students' Party. But
Elias's and Coulouris's
backgrounds and motiva-
tion set them apart from
Students' Party candi-i
dates Sarah Chopp and
Sumeet Karnik.
Elias, who currently Elas
serves as MSA's treasur-
er, and Coulouris, a former MSA repre-
sentative and current co-coordinator of
Voice Your Vote, have wide-ranging expe-
rience that works well together. Elias
knows the technical aspects of MSA. He
oversees all financial affairs of the assem-
bly.
Coulouris, with his experience on
Voice Your Vote, brings vast experience in
mobilizing the student body for a cause
most people support - voting. Together,
they have developed a plan that will lead
MSA in the right direction for the next

Their platform contains a short list of
reachable goals, not a long list of unimag-
inable promises. They will continue the
fight to reform the Code of Student
Conduct. MSA has done an exceptional
job reviewing the Code in the past year,
releasing a thorough report to the
University Board of Regents.
The Blue Party has plans to move
MSA to a direct constituency. This would
allow students to have their own represen-
tative to whom they could make sugges-
tions and ask questions. Under the current
system, representatives are elected at
large, and they do not answer to a specif-
ic group of students. Direct constituency
would make representatives more
accountable for their actions, and it would
let students participate more in the assem-
bly's government. Currently, the assembly
is distant to most stu-
dents, and this can be
seen in the low voter par-
ticipation numbers of
past semesters.
Elias and Coulouris
also realize the value of
MSA External Relations
Committee members lob-
couiouris bying in Lansing. This is
one of the most impor-
tant functions MSA can serve for stu-
dents. It allows student opinions to be
known to those who shape the state's poli-
cies on higher education - particularly
funding, which has been inadequate over
the past two years.
Curtin and Dowdell are attempting to
use MSA to build a nationwide activist
movement on campus. This is admirable,
and Curtin has led many successful politi-
cal movements on this campus over the
past few years. Curtin has taken strong
and correct stances on issues such as affir-

Blue Party plans to improve student life

By Bram Elias and Andy Coulouris
We have been part of the Michigan
Student Assembly for more than a year
and a half. Right now, Bram is the MSA
Treasurer and Andy's the co-chair of
Voice Your Vote, organizing voter regis-
tration drives in underrepresented com-
munities and across campus.
Seema Pai and John Naheedy, the
Blue Party candidates for LSA Student
Government President and VP, have been
two of the most successful and approach-
able members of LSA-SG over the last
few years.
Working on student government and
around campus, we developed a vision for
MSA and LSA-SG which emphasizes
empowerment, enthusiasm and service.
The Blue Party is committed to providing
services and completing projects that
make student life a little bit cheaper or
easier. We tend to eschew lofty campaign
promises in favor of promoting realistic
goals that we can accomplish in the next
year and which will have a positive, tan-
gible effect on students' lives.
We have four major goals for next
year's student government:
This year saw the test-run of the
Student Coursepack Service. We provid-
ed at-cost coursepacks to students in
selected classes, saving them between $8
and $30 a coursepack.
The test has been successful, and next
year we plan to lead MSA in institution-
alizing and expanding the SCS to serve

thousands of students instead of a few
hundred.
Defending students, both from the
Code of Student Conduct and from the
University and city policies which unduly
harm independent student communities.
Whether you're Greek (like Andy) or not
(like Bram), it's hard to ignore the special
attention that the Greek system received
from the University and local law
enforcement this year.
The same goes for students of color,
whose Union events are watched with
disproportionate scrutiny by security. We
want to address the policies which
infringe on the daily life of any student
community.
Working towards some form of stu-
dent representation on the University
Board of Regents. We have been on this
fight since we first joined MSA, and
we've grown up a lot since then: where
we used to aim for the creation of an
elected student regent and curse the heav-
ens when it sounds boring. It is boring.
But it's important, and the Blue Party
has the most experience on this issue and
will, we hope, be able to deliver some
small gains next year.
Instituting direct constituency on
MSA, so that every student on campus
gets one MSA rep to whom they can
address questions and complaints about
University life. This is a big departure
from MSA's current at-large system;
political theoreticians and constitutional

scholars love this plan. We love it because
it means that MSA will ask you for
advice all year long, not just during elec-
tions.
We don't bring big promises to the
table. As president and vice president, we
want to engender the enthusiasm for
working on student services which comes
from growing your own ideas into func-
tioning services, not from being handed
part of someone else's campaign plat-
form. Blue candidates have brilliant, real-
istic ideas - ASL course that fulfill the
language requirement, defaulting campus
printers to double-sided copies, more
restaurants in Pierpont commons, grass-
roots lobbying for concerned students
instead of embarrassing sententious reso-
lutions about national affairs, reforming
the residence hall meal credit system,
better campus lighting, improving the
CCRB, expanding the new Academic
Minors system, at-cost copies for stu-
dents and on and on.
Vote for the Blue Part and watch these
ideas bloom.
This election is about differences in
attitude more than differences in policy
ideas. The Blue Party Its fun doing the
often tedious work of student govern.
ment. When you vote today or tomorrow,
help us out. Go Blue.
- Bram Elias can be reached over e-
mail at btelias@umich.edu and Andy
Coulouris can be reached at
acoulour@umich. edu.

M1

year. mative action and the Ann Arbor Police
Elias would thrive as MSA president, Department's harassment of fraternities.
and this is evident by his performance But political activism is only one of
over the past year as treasurer. Most MSA's many roles. And Curtin does not
importantly, he. revived the forgotten seem to focus on campus-specific issues
promise of an MSA coursepack store that other than affirmative action, such as the
ffers coursepacks at cost value. Code, which has oppressed students for
Although the coursepack store only too many years. When Curtin was asked
serves a few classes, it is incredibly what weaknesses she would have if elect-
iipressive that Elias was able to get this ed at her Daily endorsement interview, she
s>re up and running. He turned a broken could not name any personal weaknesses
Plromise made before he was even and said the only problem would be if stu-
ivolved with MSA into reality. He led dents were unwilling to be politically
toe fight for a student regent, even when active in support of her causes. Everyone
i appeared the campaign would has weaknesses, and this demonstrates
.ievitably fail. that she may be unwilling to compromise
b Other candidates lack Elias's and in certain situations. Curtin has a valuable
(oulouris's focus on student issues. voice on campus, and she has done an
IMfend Affirmative Action Party candi- exceptional job as chair of the Peace and
4tes Jessica Curtin and Erika Dowdell Justice Copmission. But at this time, she
ive strong political beliefs that they is not prepared to hold MSA's executive
iuld be unlikely to compromise if their office.
anstituents disagreed. MSA must serve Chopp is a sophomore who lacks the
iil students, not just students with certain vision of Elias and Coulouris. Her under-
political beliefs. Curtin and Dowdell view standing of MSA's many facets is ques-
?ISA first and foremost as a political tionable, and she seems more concerned
ativist organization and do not concen- about the length of MSA meetings than
tgate enough on the services it provides to the content. Chopp would benefit from
the campus. Chopp and Karnik, while they continuing to be active in MSA for anoth-
do not have the same political drive as er year, and re-evaluating her intentions
martin and Dowdell, lack the enthusiasm *for executive office next year. If elected,
and understanding necessary for the job. Chopp would maintain the status quo of
Flias and Coulouris, however, understand MSA but not move it forward with new
f$MSA's role as being an advocate for stu- ideas and projects.
dont rights as well as a service provider. Under Elias's and Coulouris's leader-
' hey also have tremendous enthusiasm for ship, MSA's power and influence would not
!I4SA projects geared toward improving be spread too thin. They have realistic aspi-
sfudent life. This is evident in their plat- rations and would act as advocates for all
fqrm. students to the University. administration.
& Elias and Coulouris do not promise Vote Brain Elias for MSA president and
zen of hiwe henefits for students. Andy Coulouris for MSA vice president.

r

Students' Party has solid record of success

By Sarah Chopp and Sument Karnik
We are extremely excited to be run-
ning for MSA president and vice presi-
dent. The opportunity to represent the
student body of this University as the
first MSA President and vice president
of the new millennium is a daunting one,
but one that we are prepared to enthusi-
astically accept.
Through our experience and continu-
ous dedication we have worked tirelessly
to represent student interests. Our firm
belief that the assembly should be a ser-
vice to students is evidents We have
amassed a record of success that we are
extremely proud of.
Those successes include:
Increased student group funding
Increased Student input on
University tuition committees
Free self defense course

Student gripe hotline
O Lecture mentorship program
Real-time caption at all major U
events
"Know your rights" cards
Now, we ask for your support again,
to continue to bring about new and posi-
tive initiatives to your student govern-
ment.
Some of the Students' Partys' exciting
ideas include:
"Freshman Forgiveness" program
- intended to offer students a second
chance to improve their academic perfor-
mance on campus.
Concentration/major mentoring
program, which would create peer advi-
sors in all the concentrations, offering
students more complete information as
they select their field of study.
Electronic lobbying - increases

student input in their seats of govern-
ment, and allows students to mobilize
campaigns within seconds.
* Increase environmental awareness
- encourage janitors to recycle all
paper.
Outreach to student groups -
MSA will host an extra meeting for all
groups with 400-plus members to share
ideas and concerns
There is a lot of work to be done on
the Assembly, but we are ready to dive
into the proposed projects and get things
done.
We ask your support to help us con-
tinue our good work into the next millen-
nium. Thank You!!!!
- Sarah Chopp can be reached over
e-mail at chopps@umich.edu,
and Sumeet Karnik can be reached at
sakarnik@umich.edu.

DAAP is part of national student movement

By Jessica Curtin and Erika Dowdell
The Defend Affirmative Action Party
is running to turn MSA into a fighting
student union and a leading force in the
growing national student movement. The
Defend Affirmative Action Party is a
force on the assembly that represents and
fights for all students' rights and inter-
ests. For us, doing this is not counter-
posed to the fact that we also specifically
represent minority and progressive stu-
dents at the University.
" .A new student movement is growing
in this country.
The point of departure of this move-
ment has been the fight to defend the pro-

tinue to take them into account and offset
their impact.
Through affirmative action, American
society made an important, partial step
towards integration and equality. DAAP
members have been leaders of the move-
ment to defend affirmative action nation-
ally.
This movement has begun to turn the
tide against the attack on affirmative
action. MSA should take a more active
leading role in defending affirmative
action in higher education nationally.
Fight racism, sexism, sexual harass-
ment, anti-semitism and anti-lesbian/gay
binotry on camous: MSA should be a

sororities: DAAP repeatedly put forward
a resolution in defense of students' rights
and against police harassment and perse-
cution. On our third try a weakened ver-
sion finally passed. The current anti-
drinking hysteria is a media creation
intended to get good PR for the
University and protect the administration
from legal liability, at the expense of stu-
dents' rights. DAAP calls for an end to
police harassment and for dropping the
charges against the Phi Delts.
Abolish the Code: The Code func-
tions to give the administration more
power to act selectively against students.
It does not provide any additional protec-

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