One hundred nine years of editoralfreedom
March 9, 2000
0 Vice president addresses
undecided voters at a Wayne
State University forum
Daily Staff Reporter
DETROIT - Vice President Al Gore barely
broke a sweat in the sweltering gymnasium as he met
with undecided voters in Wayne State University's
Matthei Athletic Center to gather support for Satur-
day's Michigan Democratic caucus.
While Gore invited the audience to the open meet-
ing for questions on a range of issues - both for-
and domestic policy - education seemed to be
audience members' main concern, and Gore was
prepared to answer.
Gore was not hasty to answer each question, giv-
ing his full attention to subjects including teacher
quality and quantity, after-school programs and spe-
cial education. Affirmative action was also on the
"There are many indications that would lead you
to believe that we made a lot of progress in closing
the gap between blacks and whites," Gore said, later
adding that "speeding up the achievement of equal
opportunity is in everybody's interest."
Gore said the economic gap between races has not
been eliminated and affirmative action is necessary
to combat this gap.
"The average African American family wealth is
one-tenth the average white family wealth," Gore
told the multiethnic and racially diverse crowd.
"The number one priority in investing in the future
is the need to bring revolutionary progress to our
schools," Gore said.
One audience member, Victor Marshall from the
Citywide Student Council of Detroit, asked the vice
president to pledge his commitment to education and
public service. Gore readily accepted.
As the audience asked other questions, Gore
emphasized the need to increase the quality as well
as the quantity of teachers in the classroom by giving
monetary incentives and standard certification tests
in his 21st Century Teacher Corps program.
Gore also discussed his "school days" which
includes plans to visit various schools to teach for a
day and speak with parents to discover the internal
problems of public schools.
Local organizations were asked to invite undecid-
ed voters to the open meeting yesterday so they
could.ask Gore why they should vote for him in Sat-
urday's caucus as well as the general election in
November, when he will most likely face Republican
Texas Gov. George W Bush.
See GORE, Page 2A
Inside: After failing to win any primaries, former senator
Bill Bradley is expected to endorse Gore today. Page 7A
By Lindsey Alpert
k aly Staff Reporter
LSA sophomore Erika Dowdell
walked alongside thousands of affir-
mative action supporters Tuesday in
Tallahassee, Fla., protesting Florida
Gov. Jeb Bush's proposal to end affir-
mative action in the state.
"I went down to Florida so that peo-
ple in Michigan can be fighting as
well," said Dowdell, a Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly representative.
*The crowd drew adults and students
alike on the hot March day to hear
Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King III
and other speakers including Shanta
Driver, a national coordinator with the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action By Any Means Necessary.
"We know that
we can win this
r fight because we
stand on the
truth," Driver told
the crowd. "Our
action is about a
handout. to black
people, to brown
Dowdell people, to
women. We say
that's a lie. It's about the fight for
Police and political officials in Flori-
d's capital city estimated that 10,000
people participated in the march, but
many participants insist there were
many more people.
"There were way more than 10,000
people," Dowdell said. "I'd say there
were about 20,000 to 30,000."
The march lasted for more than six
hours and Tallahassee police reported
that several members of the crowd
*re treated for heat related illnesses.
But the heat didn't stop the partici-
pants as they cheered on the speakers.
"The crowd was tremendously
receptive," Driver said. "The crowd
was looking for a political step for-
Affirmative action advocates hope
to take that step, as there has been talk
of a national march on Washington.
P.C. The gathering in Florida was the
first time that so many people got
ether on a national level.
"It really is time to plan a march on
Washington in defense of affirmative
action," Driver said. "We've been
building momentum and in the next
few months we've got to explore mak-
ing it happen."
The march did not draw many pro-
testers, but at one point an airplane
few over the crowd with a banner in
"port of the governor reading "God.
1ess you Jeb."
"I was up on the podium and no one
on the podium took note" of the ban-
ner, Driver said. "So I don't think it
had any effect."
"This is the beginning of a new civil
..:l~c nvv n th-+at rn w in th fvht
Vice President Al Gore speaks to undecided voters during a forum at Wayne State
University in Detroit yesterday.
Police to start
By Hanna LoPatin
Daily Staff Reporter
The well-known phrase "Buckle-
Up" will have new meaning for
Michigan drivers and passengers as
new legislation that enables police
officers to stop cars when those
inside aren't wearing their seat
belts goes into effect tomorrow.
Currently anyone who doesn't
wear a seat belt can be ticketed
only after being pulled over for
defective equipment or traffic vio-
lations, but under the new law, vio-
tors satisfied with the current law
voted against it.
"There was a feeling by some
legislators that some people out
there didn't want to be forced to
wear a seat belt," Bullard said.
Bullard cited California as an
example that changing Michigan's
law will induce people to put on the
belt. After upgrading the offense to
primary, California reported
200,000 fewer seat belt tickets, he
Michigan State Police Trooper
Colleen Wesley said the law applies
Cheryl Kassler carries her daughter, Lysette, while a church minister from St. Mary's Student Parish marks her forehead
with ashes yesterday.
Ash* Wednesday mark the
belt law can be
pulled over and
ticketed by solely"
for not buckling
By changing its
seat belt law,
the lead of 17
states and the
gan Public Infor-
"It's a significant
amount of lives
saved, a significant
amount of money
to all drivers and
front seat passen-
gers, but back-
who are more
are not required
by Michigan law
to wear a seat
be ticketed for
- Sen. B
ill Bullard I
R-Milford $25, she said.
said she still
By Elizabeth Kassab
Daily Staff Reporter
Every year the wild indulgence of Mardi Gras and
Paczki Day lead to Ash Wednesday and the Christian
season of Lent, characterized by fasting and sacri-
Ash Wednesday, which was celebrated yesterday, is the
beginning of Lent. This period of 40 days and six Sun-
days proceeds the holiday of Easter.
Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Christ
from the.dead and is a reminder that death is not the end-
all, said Michael-Ann Dunbar, associate pastor of the
First Congressional Church.
Christians celebrate Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter,
but different branches of the faith have varying traditions.
Dunbar said the First Congressional Church doesn't
use ash as a symbol of the beginning of Lent. A block
away, St. Mary's Student Parish was filled past capacity
with people marked with crosses of ash on their fore-
LSA sophomore Tim Mooney explained that ashes
serve as a reminder of the course of life. From "ashes you
come, (to) ashes you will return," Mooney said.
Ashes are also "a sign that recognizes what you believe
in," LSA sophomore Mary Godwin said.
The mark of ashes on the forehead is a symbol of
humility, said LSA junior Laurie Burkitt, a member of
the First Methodist Church.
In the Catholic church, ashes are made from.last year's
paims, St. Mary's Father Tom Firestone said.
See LENT, Page 2A
enforcement laws have reported a
10 percent to 15 percent increase in
the use of seat belts, she said.
Michigan has a 70 percent compli-
ance rate based on the current law,
which makes refusal to wear a seat
belt a secondary offense.
"The whole goal is to increase
safety belt use so that we can save
lives," Readette said.
Sen. Bill Bullard (R-Milford),
who sponsored the bill, said, "It's a
significant amount of lives saved, a
significant amount of money
The proposal passed through the
Legislature with little opposition,
Bullard said, although several sena-
hopes that the law will encourage
all passengers to buckle up.
"We know that people who don't
wear seat belts are more likely to be
hurt," she said.
Wesley said some violators may
not receive a fine, but merely a
"The purpose of the bill is not to
have police write more tickets, the
purpose of the bill is to save lives,"
State officials held press confer-
ences yesterday in Lansing, Grand
Rapids and Detroit "to remind peo-
ple the new law takes effect on Fri-
day," Readette said.
Drivers of children who are not
sitting in proper child-restraint
seats may be fined $10, Wesley
Students celebrate Mahashivratri
By Caitlin Nish
Daily Staff Reporter
Students dressed in apparel ranging from
traditional punjabi dresses to Tommy Hil-
figer jeans gathered in the Michigan
League's Kesseler Room last night to cele-
brate the Hindu holiday of Mahashivratri.
The Mahashivratri puja service, spon-
sored by the Hindu Students Council,
attracted more than 60 students who were
led in prayer by Vidya Kumar, a second-
year medical student.
"Mahashivratri is my favorite holiday
because, to me, Mahashivratri is sort of the
culmination of Hinduism," Kumar said.
"This is because the whole idea of the
linon q allh cine renresents the idea of
Mahashivratri is a Hindu holiday that recognizes
Lord Shiva, who is worshiped as the destroyer
of demons and evil.
According to an HSC pamphlet,
Mahashivratri is celebrated on the 14th day
of the dark half of Magh, a month on the
Hindu lunar calendar.
Mahashivratri translates to "The great
night of Shiva" and recognizes Lord Shiva,
who along with Bramha and Vishnu com-
pletes the triumvirate of Hinduism.
Shiva is worshiped as the destroyer of
demons and evil while Bramha-is known as
Wadehra, who coordinated the service.
Following the bhajan was the puja and
bathing of Lord Shiva. The Mahashivratri
puja involves each attendee pouring milk,
honey, yogurt or water on the idol of Lord
Along with the bath, the idol is then
anointed with sandalwood paste. This
included the Shiva Ashtottara Shatana-
mavali. in which flowers were taken from