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One hundred nine years of editoriilfreedom
November 9, 1999
WASHINGTON (AP) - A conflict
between a conservative Christian law
student and a public university famous
for its liberalism arrives at the Supreme
Court this week, in a free-speech contro-
versy that could affect campuses nation-
wide and possibly impact government
funding of political or artistic expression.
*e dispute concerns whether the
University of Wisconsin at Madison -
or any state school - can force students
to pay "activity fees" that go, in part, to
groups engaging in political advocacy
that students may oppose, on topics such
as abortion or environmentalism.
Provoking dozens of "friend of the
court" briefs, the case is significant
mostly for campuses, where ideas are
exchanged and society's dilemmas
d ted. But an eventual ruling could
t h on recurring controversies
about government funding at all lev-
els for free expression and the arts.
The case before Seetfomorrow's
the court began edci on of The
when Wisconsin Mie igan Daily
law student Scott for verage from
Southworth object- .Wa ington D.C.
ed that his student- of t Wisconsin
activity fees were cas arguments
in ctly support- to b presented
in several liberal to t U.S.
Wisconsin student Suprme Court
the UW Greens, the Campus Women's
Center and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender Campus Center.
"It was a gut-level thing," Southworth
said, explaining that he opposed "being
forced to support the propagation of
opinions that I disagree with - on an
id ogical basis, a political basis and
es ially a religious basis."
Many public universities collect stu-
dent-activity fees that are funneled to
campus organizations for their various
projects and pursuits, and as a result,
several other states have joined the case.
The University of Michigan Student
Assembly collects $5.69 from students
each semester to fund students groups.
One "friend of the court" brief,
si d by 15 states, defended student
fuing for campus groups by arguing
that "these programs further education-
al goals by fostering 'a marketplace of
ideas'.. . (and) exposing students to a
variety of viewpoints."
Scores of other education, labor, and
political groups have also jumped in
with amicus briefs. The Virginia-based
American Center for Law and Justice
asserts that forcing someone to pay fees
for political advocacy he opposes "is a
f.omental violation of virtually
every right in the First Amendment"
The American Civil Liberties Union,
on the other hand, contends that
Southworth and his fellow protesters "are
in the same position as taxpayers who
object to the use of a municipal park for a
controversial political rally They can cer-
tainly make their objection known, and
even use the forum as their vehicle for
do so, but they may not express their
diasure by withholding taxes."
Southworth, a native of Wisconsin
and the first in his family to go to the
state's flagship university, said he first
tried to avoid paying the 1995-96 annu-
al student fees of $331.50 by writing a
letter to the school administration.
When he received no response,
Southworth sued along with two other
students, alleging that their First
Amendment rights of free speech,
a iation and religion had been vio-
la . They won in lower courts.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
7th Circuit, whose ruling the justices
will review this week, traced
Southworth's right to avoid paying the
fees to a line of-cases upholding the
"right not to speak." The Supreme
Court's decision could affect student
fees at Michigan, which is under the
jurisdiction of the 6th Circuit Court.
e court relied, for example, on two
past Supreme Court decisions, one that
stopped a government employees' union
from spending dues on ideological caus-
es its members opposed and another that
prohibited a state bar association from
using dues to pay for political activities
with which some members disagreed.
Act may privatize
By Yael Kohen
Daily Staff Reporter
A congressional act scheduled to be voted on this week
may change the way interest rates of student loans are admin-
The debate regarding whether student loan interest rates
should be determined by the federal government or the pri-
vate student loan sector heated up after a student loan provi-
sion was added to the unrelated Work Incentives Act.
The act, which deals with the funding of health care incen-
tives for working individuals, contains a provision that would
change the method of determining the interest rate index.
Instead of deciphering the index from treasury bills, govern-
ment-backed interest rates, the index would be based on com-
mercial paper, corporate-backed interest rates.
The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and
Senate last month and is in conference committee. President
Clinton has come out against the change to commercial
paper. Among the issues being negotiated in the committee is
the student loan provision.
"It doesn't affect the students at all" said David Foy, press
secretary for U.S. Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Ca.), who is
chair of the House Subcommittee on Post-secondary
Education, Training and Life-Long Learning.
The bill cuts costs for the lending community, but will not
create a windfall for the private loan industry or increase costs
for the government, Foy added.
Molly Sullivan. spokesperson for Sallie Mae, one of the
largest student loan agencies in the country. explained that
according to the Congressional Budget Office, the switch to
commercial paper would save the government $20 million.
But student and education representatives disagree,
The proposed switch would up federal subsidies for
lenders to the commercial rate, which is generally higher than
the treasury bill interest rate, thus shifting much of the poten-
tial loss on student loans to the government, Ivan Frishberg,
director of the Public Interest Research Group Higher
Education Associate. a
The provision is designed to make lending more attractive
by raising the amount of guaranteed government aid to
lenders, thereby shrinking the disparity between the amount
lenders pay for getting the money and the interest rates they
are allowed to charge on loans.
See LOANS, Page 2
LSA senior Amanda Schmiege talks with financial aid advisor Esther Warner
yesterday about financial aid for Schmiege's plans to study abroad in London.
By Shomari Terrelonge-Stone
Daily Staff Reporter
A panel of four anti-sweatshop sympathiz-
ers hosted an educational forum last night to
address the different ways the University can
help workers in sweatshops.
The panelists debated which type of
implementation policy the University should
use when dealing with sweatshops, the
Worker Rights Consortium or the Federal
Marion Traub-Werner, a University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill student, com-
mented on the strength of the WRC and said
the University's support could induce compa-
ny accountability and stop sweatshop abuses.
"WRC is an enforcement mechanism for
the code of conduct," she said.
FLA and the WRC are alternative means
to deal with sweatshop labor. Both advocate
increased notification of factory sites, but
members of Students for Organizing Labor
and Economic Equality said they believe the
WRC will be more successful in attaining
University administrators have said they
will not decide until May if they will sign on
to the WRC.
Traub-Werner also indicated that the WRC
responds to worker complaints and uses
independent investigations of factories to
force companies to improve their labor prac-
Code stall in
By Nika Schulte
Daily Staff Reporter
The Michigan Student Assembly and the Office of Student
Conflict Resolution have yet to finalize plans to make the
University's Code of Student Conduct easier to understand
and easier for students involved in the process, following
reviews of the Code last semester.
Career Planning and Placement Director Simone
Himbeault Taylor, who provides oversight to OSCR, said one
recommendation by the external and internal Code reviews
presented to the University's Board of Regents in February
called for an alignment of Housing's Community Living
Standards with the Code.
The Code is the University's set of guidelines that govern
student behavior. The University can sanction students for
violations of the Code - offenses that include damaging
University property, committing sexual or physical harm or
misusing drugs or alcohol.
Students expressed particular concerns about the lack of
continuity between University alcohol policies.
"One thing students were concerned about is that for
students living in residence halls there was one set of
sanctions, and for students walking down the street with
a container there was a different set of standards,"
Taylor said the office implemented a Housing liaison in
September that serves to help identify Code violations
occurring in residence halls. In addition, OSCR has a new
data manager position which allows for more consistency in
monitoring a student's first, second and third Code viola-
Taylor said the office is now doing the background work
to align the policies so that when the documents are set to
See CODE, Page 7
Jeffrey Ballinger,,director of Press for Change, spoke at last night's sweatshop panel
Ballinger woks to expose Nike's sweatshop conditions in Indonesia.
tices. She also noted that the University can
support "workers struggles and can hold
companies accountable for all of their facto-
ries around the world" by bringing as much
information to the public about these oppres-
SOLE said recently they have urged the
University to join the WRC. The Michigan
Student Assembly voted last week, 29-1,
encouraging the University to embrace the
WRC implementation policy.
SOLE members said the administration
needs "to take a stand" by joining the WRC.
Public Policy Prof. John Chamberlain,
the head of a University board dealing
with the anti-sweatshop movement, has
said it would take until May for the
Advisory Board to recommend the joining
"We want the University to join WRC now
so that it can participate in a process of turn-
ing the WRC into reality," said LSA junior
and SOLE member Peter Romer-Friedman.
See SWEATSHOP, Page 7
M SA takes to road
for weekly meetings.
Israeli author Yaron Svoray speaks at Hillel last night about his experiences infiltrating a neo-Nazi
organization. Svoray's book, "In Hitler's Shadow," became an HBO original movie titled "The infiltrator."
Former spy sZeak aout
life as neo-Nazryi infiltrator
By Jeannie Baumann
Daily Staff Reporter
Following its eighth meeting of the semester,
the Michigan Student Assembly is launching a
campuswide tour, taking its weekly meetings
to North Campus, Central Campus and the Hill
Area in an attempt to reach constituents who
have expressed little interest in student govern-
The meetings usually take place in MSA cham-
bers in the Michigan Union, but the assembly met
last week in Stockwell Residence Hall, and
tonight's meeting is planned for 7:30 in the East
Dining Hall of.
Bursley Residence s
Hall. MSA will 11 Wh at Svn wt '-
return to its usual A-s- y
chambers two weeks uki et g3
from today, after next M o tt
week's scheduled Wftefe: East 1 O Mail
meeting in South of utey"t ; l
Hall. A reception precedes each meeting at 7 p.m.
LSA sophomore Shari Katz, co-chair of the
MSA communications committee, said the tour is
part of the assembly's attempt to reach out to more
students and encourage their participation in stu-
"First and foremost, we want to bring MSA to
the students,' Katz said. "If we bring ourselves to
Katz added that the MSA Communications
Committee wanted to remind the assembly that it
represents all aspects of student life.
MSA President Bram Elias echoed her
"The goal of a student government is to repre-
sent all students. But the inevitable tendencies of
MSA is to wind up talking to the same people over
and over. As a result, people who really make an
effort to come out to MSA and talk to us might be
overrepresented in our decision-making process.
This is a way to get some fresh input, some broad-
er perspectives, and it's an opportunity to recon-
nect MSA with the rest of campus," he said.
Elias added that the residence hall meetings
give the assembly an opportunity to let students
know what representatives have been doing.
"We really do think MSA has done some great
stuff, so it's nice to take our show on the road," he
Two weeks ago, MSA representatives attended a
conference for student governments of Big Ten
schools. At the weekend-long convention in
Madison, Wis., student government leaders
focused on how to increase diversity - both on
student assemblies and on campus in general.
MSA members decided to step up efforts to create
stronger ties between the assembly and student
"One of the things we talked about at the
television specials and history classes,
>ns about the Holocaust and the Nazi move-
are taught everyday. Last night, Yaron Svoray
his lesson to the University: the ideals of
sm can be still found in the minds of men and
Nazis of today.
Svoray, a former detective sergeant in the Israeli
Central Police Command, is the son of two
While Svoray did mix some humor into the
speech, he told the audience a disturbing scene
propelled him into the role of spy of the neo-Nazi