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February 18, 2000 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 18, 2000

(Tbe Edigv Da~
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 MIKE SPAHN
daily. letters@umich.edu Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by EMILY ACHENBAUM
students at the gEditorial Page Editor
University of Michigan
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.

Party at the Lodge? One Greek questions the rules


Wage rage
Living wage veto was a step backwards

S oon, we'll all be spending a lot more
time at the Elks Lodge. Yes, that's
right, due to a resolution passed by the
National Sorority people, (or National
Panhellenic Conference) fraternity par-
ties will essentially
be movedaout of the
houses and into
alternative venues.
Why? Because at a$
NPC conference in
1998, the members
passed a Resolution
to "encourage their
collegiate chapters
to co-host non-alco-
holic events with
those men's fraterni-
ty chapters who Erin
have implemented McQuinn
the policy of sub- :
stance-free fraterni-A
ty housing." A reso-*Wd.
lution means that it
was not unanimously passed, so they can
only suggest it. But many of the nationals
to our sororities here at the University
have heeded the call of this resolution
and drafted their own policies regarding
alcohol and parties. These range from no
parties at a non-dry house, to no parties
with a non-dry house. What this also
conveniently means is that a lot of liabil-
ity is taken off of sorority national chap-
ters - but they insist that the real heart
of this resolution is for the students' per-
sonal safety.
This means that fraternity and sorority
socials must now seek out other places to
host their parties. This might work out
just fine if we went to the University of

Wisconsin - the land of the cheese and
also of many bars. But alas, here we are
in Ann Arbor with our four (or so) bars.
So the Greek community has been told
by NPC spokespersons to "think outside
of the box" and contact alternative
venues such as Elks lodges andbanquet
halls. The Greek community was also
encouraged by this spokesperson to con-
vert abandoned warehouses into swingin'
fraternity funhouses. But I'm pretty sure
that there aren't any Elk's Lodges or
abandoned warehouses on the corner of
Hill and Washtenaw. Therefore we must
either charter continuous,buses, or all
leave at the same time. And then there's
always drunk driving. But as the
spokesperson said, "that's a personal
choice." That's funny, I thought they were
looking out for our best interest.
Not only are they preventing parties
and being a platform to drunk driving,
but they're also disempowering women.
The same women that the NPC was sup-
posedly trying to.look out for. By moving
the parties out of houses, the sorority
girl's role of checking lists and playing a
part in who gets in is taken away. It now
goes to the bouncer.
Here we are, looking in the face of a
reoccurring problem affecting the world
today. What it all boils down to is prob-
lem stemming from a terrible memory
disease affecting almost 99 percent of the
population; everyone forgets what the
hell it's like to be young. Almost all of us
are guilty of it already. If you've ever
turned down playing tag/coloring with
your younger cousin/little sib - you're
guilty. It seems that we all seem to for-
get what it's like to be in a particular age

group as soon as we outgrow it.
The same thing is happening here. It's
a bunch of old women, halfway across
the country, thinking they know how to
run our lives - that they know what col-
lege students want. They also think that it
is their responsibility to protect college
girls from themselves. They go on to
assume that every University is the same,
and passing a "resolution" will fix every-
thing. That's the major problem here. It's
a law that's trying to fix a social problem.
The NPC is trying to be mothers to not
only sororities, but fraternities and also
the University as a whole. They stated
that their resolution is to "help remove
alcohol as the central focus of campus
life." Get that? Campus, not Greek. They
even go on to call it an "amendment."
Obviously no one at the NPC has ever
taken a Poli Sci course. Because if they
did, they'd know that you can't pass leg-
islation to try and correct a social prob-
lem. Someone should really tell them
that Prohibition was repealed.
Basically, all these new rules are to
slowly kill off the Greek system. It's no
secret that there's been very bad press
surrounding everything Greek. This puz-
zles me somewhat as we don't blame any
other organization for the mishaps with
one of their members. No one would try
to shut down Circle K if one single per-
son messed up. But Michigan's
Panhellenic board is fighting this resolu-
tion, and hopefully the Greek system will
persevere. And maybe next year we won't
have the additional problem on our hands
of finding a nearby Elks Lodge.
-Erin McQuinn can be reached via
e-mail at emcquinn@umich.edu.

hen the Ann Arbor City Council
approved a living wage- ordinance
last week, they were on track to improv-
ing working conditions for hundreds of
employees working for city-affiliated
contractors. Unfortunately, the proposal
never made it past the city's Republican
One reason Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid
Sheldon vetoed the proposal, according
to the letter she sent the city clerk
explaining her veto, was that living wage
plans such as these are decided at a state
or federal level, rather than a local level.
But by refusing to act, she has effective-
ly killed a well-intentioned, reasonable
bill; one that has been passed in similar
forms in municipalities like Miami,
Boston, Los Angeles and Baltimore.
Because there is no majority in the coun-
cil, the veto is likely to stand.
The proposal would have required
contractors affiliated with the city to pay
employees $8.50 an hour plus benefits,
or $10 an hour without benefits. The cur-
rent minimum wage of $5.15 - which
few contractors pay anyway - is insuffi-
cient to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Few
people would willingly perform the gru-
eling and thankless tasks of recycling,
waste management, parking structure
services and other occupations for such
an insulting pay. They would much rather
live above the poverty level. Other work-
ers make more than minimum wage and
do not perform tasks that directly benefit
the city. When considering why many
people would turn to assisted living
rather than seek employment, the fact
that the wage is not attractive must be

Critics have predicted that prices
would rise significantly in cities with liv-
ing wages, but studies have shown that
this is not the case. Nor have businesses
turned to other cities or unemployment
rates risen, like some experts proposed.
While the verdict is out on cities like
Detroit, Ypsilanti and Warren, they cer-
tainly have not been affected negatively
by their decision to enact living wage
Common sense dictates that compa-
nies that obtain lucrative city contracts
should be required to pay their employees
a respectable wage. In our prospering
economy, many already must, so they
would not -be affected significantly by
this plan. To consider the monetary
effects of the plan, it would cost the city
a mere $200,000 for one such contractor.
In fact, in a study by the Preamble Center
for Public Policy, the cost for a living
wage ordinance implementation in
Baltimore came out to be only 17 cents
per person annually. Is 17 cents a reason
to deprive hard working contractors fair
pay? This is a small price to pay; espe-
cially if the workers choose to live in Ann
Arbor and to spend their money in the
city. Furthermore, although the study
could not attribute this to the ordinance,
contract costs actually decreased slightly
after the bill's passage.
The ordinance is not only justified
theoretically, it has been proven feasible
in other cities across the nation. By
ignoring the possible benefits of the pro-
posal, Mayor Sheldon made the incorrect



Stage fright
National media must remain objective

Former student
defends the Code
The Daily's Feb. 9th editorial ("Help
toppleathe code")regarding the Student
Code and was disappointed by your tone.
I was a part of a student group that helped
to author the current code (with scant
interest from the student body) under for-
mer Vice President of Student Affairs
Maureen Hartford in 1998. Although I
was initially against the Code. I came to
appreciate that it mostly served to protect
students from other students. Without the
Code. there is no established process for
the University to protect students from
other students who stalk, harass, assault
or rape them.
Without the Code, every problem
between students would have no recourse
except the already overcrowded (and
slow) legal system. Without the Code, any
complaint made to the administration
against another student would be handled
through an undocumented system, arbi-
trarily, without recourse.
Ultimately, no University-wide system
for the protection of students will work
without the trust and faith of the student
body. It is unfortunate that the Daily con-
tinues its disinterest in fostering this trust.
Daily's editorial on
MP3s had several
factual errors
I realize the concept of an editorial is
to provide opinion and commentary, but
the Daily's Feb. 16th editorial "A benign
parasite," the Daily reference "facts" that
just are not true:
"The use of MP3s, music files
designed. specifically for use over the
Internet, has become a very contentious
issue." True: MP3 files can store music.
False: MP3 file format was designed for
the Internet. Perhaps some had that end in
mind, but the compression was developed
for Audio and Video compression on

ecret societies. Allegations of racism.
a Firebrand campus activism. On the
surface, these are the perfect ingredients
for a sensational news story - and it is
precisely what those following the nation-
al news will no doubt hear about the
Michigamua standoff, which is now end-
ing its second week.
The controversy has even caught the
eye of civil rights activist Rev. Al
Sharpton, who is coming to the
University this Saturday to endorse the
Students of Color Coalition's occupation
of the Michigamtia office. Sharpton says
he will be accompanied by a team of
reporters from CNN and ABC's 20/20 and
+Nightline. The situation is such that CNN
and ABC can put a variety of angles on
their coverage - including sensationalist
Producers at CNN and ABC should
fight the temptation to exploit the situa-
tion for its potentially outrageous ele-
ments. Inflammatory rhetoric may make
for interesting press, but in this case there
is more to it than that; CNN and ABC's
coverage should present the situation's
complexities responsibly.
The press does have a valid story to
cover: The SCC has good intentions in
f5ighting racism, and it is also encourag-
ing to see a resurgence in campus
Few would deny that many of the items
,currently on display in the Union tower
are racist and demeaning. But all that is
known for certain is that Michigamua's
history is marred by racism.

held completely responsible for what the
group has done in previous years - and
all groups have aspects of their past that
are shameful today. They are responsible
for where the group goes from here - the
details surrounding which artifacts were
in the attic and which were currently
being used by the organization must be
sorted out.
In 1989, Michigamua agreed to end its
use of Native American culture, aside
from the name; while there probably is no
way of knowing how well Michigamua
has lived up to that promise, the First
Amendment gives any group the right to
say what it likes, no matter how distaste-
But members of Michigamua have
shown a willingness to come clean about
past actions, and they have given up own-
ership of the artifacts being exhibited by
the SCC. Although this does not undo the
offense that these artifacts have caused to
many minorities, it could be a beginning
of a resolution.
The entrance of Sharpton and the
national media complicates things further.
There is more to the Michigamua contro-
versy than just a clear-cut case of racism,
and the facts are already confused enough
- they should be sorted out be those who
know them the best, namely Michigamua,
the administration and the SCC.
It is crucial that any coverage of the
situation is fair, and considers that
Michigamua's use of offensive artifacts is
unclear. The only way to get through this
situation is with constructive dialogue

:..ARE <*
CHAPELq(-m d

many media types. DVDs use similar
compression. There are MP3 players that
don't require the Internet.
True: content copyright issues are in
contention. False: MP3 use is being
debated on campus. Usage is permitted as
long as it does not break other statutes or
otherwise be an illegal act. Nobody is (or
talking about) yanking Rios out of the
hands of people. The effect on the health
of the campus network, the effect on aca-
demic pursuit of the members of the insti-
tution and the alignment of these activi-
ties with community goals are being eval-
"Napster turns any computer it is
installed on into a server - any of the
program's other users can then download
MP3 files from that computer" True:
Napster has a function of serving files.
True: Napsterainstalls with this feature on.
False: Napster turns a computer it is
installed on into a server. Users can turn
off the serving function. The statement
implies users are not able nor responsible
for knowing that it comes configured this
"The network at the University is
much larger and stronger than that at
Northwestern and other smaller schools."
Larger does not mean better prepared, and
in fact may mean less prepared. I'm not
sure how one rates the relative strengths
of networks.
"It [the University network] is, in fact,
one of the most highly rated college net-
works in the country. Napster cannot
cause any serious problems at its current

usage level." True: The University consis-
tently scores high on comparisons with
various metrics. False: Napster cannot
cause any serious problems at its current
usage level. Again using broad terms.
Serious problems? The expense of IT pro-
fessionals investigating, monitoring and 5
troubleshooting problems at current or
past usage levels is a serious problem.
The loss of connectivity, or time, due to
slow or non-responsive networks is a seri-
ous problem. The dismissive attitude
towards the legal and ethical use of IT on
campus is a serious problem.
"According to ITD, Napster currently
takes up 3 percent of the network
resources, a noticeable amount but hardly
cause for a ban." I would suggest that you #
reaffirm thisfact. I believe the number
reported in the Daily on Feb 8th was the
best number known at that time, but was
still a low estimate. Almost certainly the
same source would cite higher numbers
"There is no legitimate reason for ban-
ning Napster or any services like it at this
time." False: I understand that folks want
to use this program. However, your state-*'
ment is very broad and shows an unfamil-
iarity with the issues. There are numerous
real issues with services such as napster.
Any one would be a reason to limit access
to resources.

Student comes to Goss' defense

The editorial printed in the Feb. 7th
issue of the Daily, ("Goss should
go") fails to address several issues about
the apparent forced resignation of Tom
Goss. The author of the editorial writes
that Goss "will be leaving the athletic
department in shambles." Since when is
basketball the only sport in our athletic
department? If memory serves me,
Michigan athletic teams have been very
successful as of late. The football team
won the Orange Bowl, also bringing with
it S12 million for the BCS berth it
received, the hockey team is ranked
amtn . the ton five teams in the cnnntrv

integrity. Tom Goss inherited a basketball
team in severe disarray when he became
AD, and perhaps he made a poor choice
in choosing the inexperienced Brian
Ellerbe as the new head coach, but the
issues of Ed Martin and his influence
under Steve Fisher are things that Tom
Goss cannot and should not be held
accountable for. The University is forcing
Goss out now, in hopes that they will be
able to clean house and rebuild the ath-
letic department..
There are two problems with this. First
of all, I don't think that the department is
in that had of shane. The maiority of the

mistakes. He has represented the A
University with class and dignity, as well
as overseeing an athletic department that':
has seen much success in his 29 months:
here. It is unfair to blame him for the-
recent problems with the basketball pro-
gram. It seems that the nobody knew any-
thing was wrong, including JamalM
Crawford, who unfortunately is suffering
the most because of this situation.
Additionally it is unfair to blame Goss
for issues concerning the basketball pro-
gram that occurred before Goss got here.
There may be a bigger story here as well.
Although there are sufficient reasons to

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