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January 20, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-20

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 20, 1999

(Tte atch41vUn a-tw,4,lg

In Michigan's most importantjobs, it's hip to be dumb 0

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

HEATHER KAMINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

W ould you let a doctor operate on you if
she never held a scalpel before?
Would you only take classes from profes-
sors who didn't graduate from college?
Would you let a lawyer defend you in a

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.

murder trial if he's
never argued a case?
Would you buy a
painting from an artist
who doesn't know the
difference between
contrapposto and
chiaroscuro?
These questions
seem rhetorical, but in
our fine state govern-
ment, they are all too
real.
For the past year,
our state House has
suffered from lifetime
term limits, which
Michigan's voters
approved through ref-

26 years later, Roe v. Wade quietly erodes
T oday is the 26th anniversary of one the Roe is overturned, and desperate wom
Supreme Court's most controversial will turn to alarmingly unsafe metho
decisions: Roe v. Wade. The case that legal- Roe guarantees that if a women decides
ized abortion is as contested as ever. Roe have an abortion, she can have a safe a
has taken a tremendous beating from con- legal one. Roe was a major victoryf

Jeffrey
Kosseff
.W ,

represented Ann Arbor in the state House
since 1995. Because of term limits, this will
be her last year as a state representative.
"The longer you're there, the more you
understand the process and the budget,"
Brater said. "You know the history behind
certain legislation."
The flood of new members, Brater said,
prompted more extreme positions and less
compromise in the House. Legislators don't
have as much time to build relationships that
cross partisan lines. They don't have time to
thoroughly work on and learn about the state's
most vital problems.
This should bother the University commu-
nity, which depends on the state for a signifi-
cant part of its general fund, While the issue
isn't as exciting as sweatshop labor or affir-
mative action, its consequences affect us all.
Term limits rest on the claim that policy
makers don't need experience. And propo-
nents also believe that term limits will drive
corruption out of the legislature.
Both claims have terrible logical flaws.
They don't realize that politicians, like all
other people, need experience to succeed.
Like any job, policy making has a skill set that
grows with experience. Brater, for example,
has been an advocate for the environment and
consumer rights. Term limits, unfortunately,
will rob the state of her expertise next year.
The best politicians are often the most
senior ones. Consider Franklin Roosevelt,
who was arguably the best president of the
Twentieth Century. Even experienced Sens.
Ted Kennedy and Jesse Helms, despite their
partisan extremes, greatly contributed to the
country's political landscape.
Policy makers have perhaps the toughest
management jobs in the country. They serve
all of their constituents rather than a few key
shareholders, and governments are enormous-
ly complex. In the House, a freshman legisla-

ien
ds.
to
and
for

tor chairs the subcommittee that appropriates
funds to the University, That lack of experi-
ence frightens me. It often takes legislators six
years to get used to their jobs. I can't imagine
appropriating billions of dollars of money with
no prior legislative experience.
This fear of experienced politicians is..
responsible for the success of Jesse Ventura,
whose ridiculous anti-politician propaganda
defeated the campaigns of two knowledgeabl
candidates. As governor, Ventura is .
Minnesota's chief executive. He's more than
just a tough figurehead - he has tremendous
management responsibilities. His lack of$s
experience didn't impress me, like it did vot-
ers nationwide. It depressed me. The recent"
hype over potential presidential candidate:
Donald Trump depressed me even more.
I don't want a country governed by profes-
sional wrestlers and billionaire moguls who
don't know anything about cost-benefit analy
sis and public service. I also, however, don'
want a government of corrupt party bosses
who have lifetime appointments because of
support from big-money special interests.
Term limits don't solve this problem. Brater
offered a more efficient and sensible solution.
"Reform needs to come in the form of cam-
paign finance reform,"Brater said. "Term lim-
its changed the players but not the system.'
As long as we have wimpy campaign i
finance restrictions, we will have corruption
Experience doesn't corrupt. Greed corrupts.
Citizens must realize that policy making
requires certain skills - and term limits pun-...
ish people who have those skills. Hopefully,
we'll see a referendum on the ballot within the
next decade that would repeal term limits. If
you vote on that question, please consider the
problems of being governed by a House of
incompetence.
-Jeifrey Kosseff can be reached over
e-mail atjkossefl@umich.edu
GRINDING THE NIB

servative legislators. So many states have
since enacted thinly-veiled obstacles, such
as required waiting periods and parental or
spousal consent that Roe's original power
faces constant erosion.
State governments cannot dictate
whether abortion is morally right or
wrong. Abortion will always exist, even if

feminists in the '70s, and since then, we've
seen progress quietly backslide. This must
not continue. Abortion may be a personal
decision, but the right to have one is not
debatable. Roe needs enforcement at the
federal level. States should not be allowed
to manipulate a law to better suit their leg-
islators' morals.

erendum. Sixty-four new state representatives
took office last January due to the six-year
limit. Eight-year limits will begin to effect the
state Senate and governor in 2002.
Like eating a bowl of raw cookie dough,
driving in the rain without directions or throw-
ing back that extra shot of Jagermeister, term
limits sound like a great idea but have devas-
tating consequences once they become reality.
Michigan's legislature, like most state gov-
ernments, has experienced its fair share of cor-
ruption. The automakers and other big busi-
nesses contribute vast amounts of money to
local campaigns, and many of the state's envi-
ronmental laws reflect that relationship. In the
early '90s, staffers in the House Fiscal Agency
embezzled millions of dollars. Corruption
exists, but are term limits the remedy?
I asked Liz Brater, a Democrat who has

Not ready for '
Sweatshop document has right idea; needs work

CHIP CULLEN

tudents Organizing
Economic Equality

for Labor and
(SOLE), one of

the campus's most prominent activist
groups, is pushing University President
Lee Bollinger to sign the Worker Rights
Consortium, which aims to improve labor
conditions under which University-
licensed apparel is produced.
Unfortunately, the WRC is a flawed docu-
ment that lacks specifics, so the
University cannot - and should not -
sign it in its current form. Instead, the
administration should work with labor
rights activists to map out the details. But
we insist that both parties work together
quickly and efficiently to reach a compro-
mise. Once our campus takes a firm stand
on workers' rights, many other schools
will follow suit.
The University, home not only to lead-
ers in the sweatshop movement but the
most popular athletic logo in the world, is
being watched by other universities
debating their own course of action.
SOLE and the WRC aim to end sweatshop
labor, or at least prevent the University
from indirectly supporting it through ath-
letic clothing.
The movement's outcry about labor
conditions is right on target. They have
worked diligently and seem close to mak-
ing a difference in the lives of workers
hundreds of miles away.
It is in the best interests of the
University, which is prone to bureaucratic

hang-ups, to act quickly on its potential to
influence other schools and the sweatshop
labor movement. But quality is far more
important and influential than speed.
Signing the WRC is far better than
joining the Fair Labor Association, which
advocates corporate monitoring and
makes cover-ups easier. But WRC's lack
of specifics undermines its potential
power. The WRC aspires to prevent
exploitation by revealing the location of
sweatshops and their working conditions.
The WRC presents a catch-22: make it
more detailed and some may find it too
binding; leave it vague and it cannot
accomplish as much. But being binded to
a less-than-concrete but more popular
document undermines what SOLE is try-
ing to accomplish. The University should
not sign onto the current version of WRC
because it is a public business, and no
business executives would bind them-
selves to a document that lacks detailed,
concrete specifics. The WRC is based on
ideals - good ones - but legal ramifi-
cations have yet to be fleshed out. What
exactly would the University be responsi-
ble for? It's not clear.
For the University administration to
make a commitment, it needs to know
exactly what it is getting into. United
Students Against Sweatshops, SOLE's
umbrella organization, needs to make
some compromises to give the WRC real
definition.

71 , an Daily-wecomesletters m
aft of its readrs. Lettes from Unyrsity stu-
dents, faculty, staff and am mistrators will be
given priority over others. All letters nt
include the wter's name, phone number, and
school year or University affiliation. The Daily
will not prtint any lfetter lthat e =not be verified,:
Adho minem attacks will not be tolerated.
Letters should be kept to approximately 300
words. The ichlganDtaily reserves the right to
edit for length, clarity and accuracy. Longer
"viewpoints" may be arranged with an editot.
Letters will be run according to order received
and the amount of space available,
letters sbou d be sent ov er e-mnail t
drl leters ut c#ric' or n ail to the Daily
at 420 Maynard St. Editos can be reached at
764-0552 or by sending e.i-mail to the above
addrss. Letters e.maled to the Daily will be
geno ty over those droppd of rin person or
sent via theU&. Postal Srxice,,
Word 'diversity' is
without clear
definition
To THE DAILY:
I am writing because I am confused
regarding the recent furor over the
University's admissions procedures, and
hoped that someone, be it the Daily's edito-
rial staff or otherwise, could enlighten me
as to how the process works.
The first issue which confuses me is
what the administration actually means by
"diversity?" Does the University mean
diversity in the "ethnic" manner only, or do
regional, national, cultural, socio-econom-
ic, sexual and religious differences consti-
tute part of what it means to have a diverse
student body as well? Are the above con-
siderations factored into the admission
process, and if so, in what manner and to
what degree?
I ask this because while the gay and les-
bian community on campus is certainly dis-
tinct, and adds a constructive voice to many
topics, I am unaware of any complaints of
favoritism regarding the admission of gays
and lesbians. Nor am I aware of so-called
"reverse discrimination" which benefits
Hindus, Jews. Chinese, Koreans, Japanese,
Muslims (many of whom are of African
descent themselves), or any of the other
unique and diverse peoples and individuals
who make up the student body of this
University.
To be honest, I am ignorant as to
whether the University even takes religion
or sexual orientation into account when
reviewing applications. Although it seems a
University pledged to diversity would, I am
curious to learn the manner in which they
do so.

t WffEr WY WC CAMWT
"p, , 3UST HAVC SOME DELTA SIG S"SH O T EE UN
rHr. , ES OLN

Break the Code
'U' is infringing on students' rights

Again, I suppose I'm just ignorant
regarding what "diversity' means ,to the
University, and am interested in what kinds
of diversity warrant special attention in the
admissions procedure.
ALEXANDERLCRAWFORD
LSA STUDENT
Article on TV
channel needed
RHA's input
TO THE DAILY:
The Wednesday, Jan. 19 issue of the
Daily contained an article entitled "U
Channel 72 now shows movies continu-
ously." While we at RHA appreciate that
you ran the article, helping to make stu-
dents aware of the additional RHA Movie
Channel hours, we are greatly disappoint-
ed that you did not attempt to contact any-
one at RHA for a quote or to explain the
new service. Our phone number is listed
and we have been contacted many times
this year by your reporters. If you are
reporting on an RHA program, why did
you not bother to contact anyone at RHA?
Furthermore, our Website is not
www. housing. umich. edu (University
Housing's Website). You can find RHA on
the web at www urnich.edu/-rha. A quick
check of the website or actually contact-
ing someone at RHA would have prevent-
ed that incorrect information from being
published.
JASON TAYLOR
RHA PRESIDENT

her doctor alone

L ast Saturday, the University started
training a new group of students in
how to carry out its infamous Code of
Student Conduct. They are probably stu-
dents with good intentions of democrati-
cally helping with the University's disci-
plinary system. Of course, the road to
hell is paved with good intentions, and
the deviltry worked into the Code is not
very democratic at all. The University is
looking into changing the Code, but the
fact remains that its fundamentals are so
unjust that it must be completely abol-
ished.
Run through the Office of Student
Conflict Resolution, the Code describes
"possible behaviors which are inconsis-
tent with the essential values of the
University community." The behaviors
are punished by "possible sanctions
which are intended to educate and to
safeguard members of the University
community." The Code allows the

Abortion is concern
for a woman and 4

the possibility of double jeopardy. A stu-
dent may be tried in a court of law and
convicted - then disciplined by the
University for the same crime. It is
unconstitutional in a court of law for one
person to be tried twice for the same
crime.
Why does the University believe it is
above this?
The Code appears to put power in the
hands of the students, allowing the
accused student to choose between hav-
ing either a Resolution Officer or a
Student Resolution Panel arbitrate the
dispute. But this is hardly a democratic
process - and students are denied legal
counsel.
Even after a student panel makes a
decision, they do not have the last say.
Their judgement is only a "recommenda-
tion" to the Dean of Students, who sub-
sequently looks over the ruling and
decides whether to accept or change it. In

TO THE DAILY:
I wish to respond to the Jan. 19 column
by Mike Lopez that unilaterally (and rather
emphatically) speaks in favor of "pro-life"
and its insolubility with "pro-choice," both
with respect to abortion. It seems to me that
both of these positions have been so oft-
cited that they have each become cliches 0
their own right, and that their true meanings
(to the extent that either phrase has a mean-
ing) are all-too-often looked over.
To say that those who are pro-choioe
cannot be pro-life is to completely over-
look the definition of "choice," perhaps
the most potent, important power we each
possess. If a unified standard of "pro-
death" were imposed upon all pregnabt
women, certainly mad chaos would ensu*
and all humanity would soon embark on
Lopez' pretty path to extinction. But the
more pressing matter at hand is that if
such a morbid decree were made, preg-
nant women would lose their power lo
choose - and the same would occur were
Hollywood to force all impregnated
women to give birth.
It's rather ironic that the subject at hand
has been broached by two guys, who in
reality have little or no say in such things.
In the end, we must remember that aborti4
is a concern for a woman and her doctor,
and that -those who would attempt to regu-
late it one way or the other embark on a
journey just as futile as trying to mix oil and
water.
JOSH BREITZER
LSA AND MUSIC FIRST-YEAR STUDENT

This is in response to James Wilson's
Jan. 14 letter titled "Donating meals
outside the cafeteria is a bad fundrais-

abuse, domestic violence and countless
other problems caused by social and
economic injustice.

and only time that ASB has participatel
in the meal-sacrifice and there were at
most four people from ASB at each
dAr las. i t XUPfPI-'

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