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November 23, 1999 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-23

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One hundred ninze years of editona~lfreedom

Tuesday
November 23, 1999

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aculty to examine course notes on the

Web

y Jeremy W. Peters
aily Staff Reporter
The Internet notetaking service Versity.com,
n which many students have come to rely, has
cently come under scrutiny by University offi-
als who are concerned about legal issues raised
ye publication of notes on the Web.
a written statement sent to University fac-
Ity, Provost Nancy Cantor said her office, in
njunction with the Office of the General
ounsel, will form "a small working group to
udy the issues posed by Versity.com and simi-
.r Internet-based commercial notetaking ser-
Ices."

Since the University has no official policy
regarding notetaking for profit, the main objec-
tive of the ad hoc committee will be to recom-
mend to University officials a specific course of
action, if any, to take.
In an address to the Senate Assembly meeting
yesterday, General Counsel Marvin Krislov cau-
tioned that an official University position would
have to be carefully worded in order to avoid any
possible infringements upon First Amendment
rights. He cited the policy enforced at Michigan
State University as an example of a school that
employs a restrictive policy concerning com-
mercialized notetaking.

"Michigan State does have a policy prevent-
ing students from unauthorized notetaking for
commercial purposes. We happen to think that if
that policy were challenged under the First
Amendment then that might be problematic," he
said.
Krislov noted that the possible infraction of
copyright laws was a concern and needed to be
addressed, but he said also that those issues are
sensitive.
"The copyright issue is not black and white
and there would be some obstacles to enforcing
it against a company," Krislov said.
The conflict over copyrights has become a

complicated issue. School of Information
research scientist Stephanie Teasley recalled an
incident in which a student allegedly copied
notes for an Internet-based notetaking company
from the notes his professor provided on the
class's Website.
In this case. Teasley said, "it wasn't clear who
owned the Webpage ... and who got to decide
what, if any, legal action was taken."
Versity.com recently sent letters to about 100
members of the faculty encouraging them to
partake in a pilot project the company is launch-
ing. In exchange, the faculty members would
receive copyrights on the notes, the right to

review the notes before publication and the pay-
ment of royalties through stock options.
Cantor said she does not advocate Versity.com
practices and that, "the University does not con-
done or encourage commercial notetaking in
any form."
Krislov, although admitting that the publica-
tion of notes on the Web does have its draw-
backs, said it can also be a useful educational
tool.
"We feel it deters students from going to class,
but on the other hand, it is quite possible that
these notes could be productive to the educa-
tional environment," he said.

- Boycotting the

Union

Protesters:
Union unfair
to minorities
By Sana Danish
Daily Staff Reporter
Everyday students pass in and out of the
Michigan Union without giving it much thought,
but it wasn't so easy yesterday during the Defend
affirmative Action Party's protest outside Union
trances.
The purpose of the boycott was to protest "the dis-
criminatory and racist practices toward black and
Latino/a social events in the Union," according to
the boycott flier.
"Student action is necessary to make sure that the
policies are changed," said LSA sophomore Erika
Dowdell, a DAAP member.
At the main and north entrances of the Union
more than a dozen DAAP members and some other
students passed out fliers and urged students to boy-
Ott the Union for the day.
The effort was aimed to increase awareness about
alleged discriminatory practices by Union adminis-
trators and the Department of Public Safety against
black and Latino/ a students.
Protesters cited the early stoppage of social
events, arbitrary limitation of the number of
attendees at events, prevention of black and
Latino/a students from leaving events through
the front door of the Union and requirement for
Sistbands at black and Latino/a events at the
ion.
Director of the Union Audrey Schwimmer said
the policies of the Union are not discriminatory,
and the Union administration is "currently in con-
versation with students and DPS about the issues
involved."
LSA first-year student Metse Marang said she
was helping to spread information about the boycott
because she feels discriminatory policies are in
effect and nothing is being done.
"They've been reviewing the policies for 10 years
and nothing has changed," she said.

' totry
alternative
admissions

By Nika Schulte
Daily Staff Reporter
The University will admit students
next fall who may be overlooked
because of standardized test scores but
have skills that indicate they could suc-
ceed in a competitive academic envi-
ronment as part of a pilot research pro-
ject.
Through the program. which is
being funded by a $1.9 million grant
from the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation, the University and other
schools each will be admitting 20
students based on the scores they
achieve on the Bial-Dale College
Adaptability Index.
The index was created by Harvard
University student Deborah Bial.
Harvard University education and
social policy Prof. Gary Orfield, who is
advising Bial on the project, said the
index helps identify students who have
been overlooked by measures such as
standardized tests.
"It identifies skills not measured in
standardized tests, skills that are rele-
vant to succeeding in an academic envi-

roniment," Orfield said, citing leader-
ship as one example.
The Wall Street Journal reported
yesterday that the 100 students will be
selected from a pool of more than 700
public high school seniors in New
York.
Evaluators will use interviews and
activities that check their non-cognitive
skills to test the students, who will also
be enrolled at Pennsylvania State
University, Rutgers University and the
University of Delaware.
One non-cognitive skill test chal-
lenges teams of students to jointly
build a robot out of Legos, receiving
a score of zero to four for their
work, according to The Wall Street
Journal. '
Two lawsuits filed in 1997 by the
Washington, D.C.-based Center for
Individual Rights on behalf of white
applicants challenge the University's
use of race as a factor in the LSA
and Law School admissions process-
es.
University spokesperson Julie
See PROGRAM, Page 2

JESSICA JOHNSON/faily
Students rally around the Michigan Union to encourage a boycott of the buildingfor alleged discrininatory
practices against black and Latino/a students.

Jodi Masley, a Law third-year student, explained
her reason for active involvement in helping with the
boycott.
"I'm a woman and I grew up working class, so I
know what it feels like to be discriminated against,"
she said. "I believe in a perspective of militant inte-
grationism."
Schwimmer said the policies and practices of the
Union that have come under fire have mostly to do
with the size of the events themselves rather than the
students who were sponsoring them.

"The events hosted by the (Black Greek
Association) groups are some of the larger events
the Union hosts," she said.
She said DPS ;assigns one officer per 100 atten-
dees for Union events.
She went on to explain that the reason behind
using wristbands at the events is a concern for
fire safety, adding that issuing wristbands at
large events allows Union organizers to keep
track of the number of attendees and avoid
See PROTEST, Page 2

Body art

Namesake schools
attract students

By Jodie Kaufman
Daily Staff Reporter
Presidential candor will give prestige
to the School of Public Policy begin-
ning next fall. The University Board of
Regents approved a plan to rename the
school the Gerald Ford School of
Public Policy last Thursday.
But the new name is not the only
change coming to the school.
"The school is in expansion mode,
we are starting new programs, figuring
out undergraduate programs, this
increase in public visibility came exact-
ly at the time we are trying to expand,"
School of Public Policy Dean Rebecca
Blank said.
Associate School of Public Policy
Dean John Chamberlin said, "We are
planning on expanding our current pro-
gram, expanding our fellowships,
opportunities we cannot afford right
now."
The University is following other
institutions, such as Harvard
University, Princeton University and
the University of Texas in adopting a

financial resources," said Edwin Dorn,
dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School
of Public Policy at the University of
Texas at Austin.
Blank, who became dean in August,
said increasing the amount of money
the school receives is just one of the
goals she wants to achieve for the
school.
"We are launching a major endow-
ment fundraiser, this is a new school
with no endowment," Blank said.
Chamberlain said choosing the per-
son to name the school for was not dif-
ficult.
"Gerald Ford is a natural choice,
coming from Michigan and graduat-
ing from U of M," he said.
Dorn said Ford's influence in poli-
tics will help the school forge a strong
identity.
"Ford made a big difference as a
member of Congress and as president.
He became president at a difficult time,
and helped restore confidence in the
government which was being lost as the
result of Watergate," Dorn said.

JESSICA JOHNSON/Daily
Cherie Wolfe, a window designer for Visual Effects, sets up a holiday display in the
window of Van Boven clothing store located on State Street yesterday.
'Buy NOthing Day'
tries toempty stores,

By Lisa Koivu
Daily Staff Reporter
While many holiday shoppers will
spend the day after Thanksgiving rav-
aging sale racks in search of bargains, a
group of University students will buy
nothing and in the process spread the
word about Buy Nothing Day, a nation-
al campaign to reduce the mass con-
sumerism that makes this Friday one of
the most profitable retail sales days of
each year.
"The idea is to make people in indus-
trialized countries aware of how dispro-
portionate their rate of consumption is
compared to other countries," said
Andy Cornell, an LSA senior and
member of Students Organizing for
Labor and Economic Equality.
Rlriirnan i Aia that nriante'A in

wanted to get the entire campus
involved. We want to spread the mes-
sage that people should really think
about how many things that they want
to own," Hefferan said. "They don't
always have to buy the best or the
biggest."
Many local business owners, who
count on an increase in shoppers Friday,
said the boycott will have little impact
on their business.
"A lot of people get their holiday
shopping done on that day. I doubt that
the campaign could hurt us unless it
was to grow into something larger. For
now though, it is a tradition to go shop-
ping the day after Thanksgiving," said
Dan Switzer, manager of Steve &
Barry's University Sportswear on State
street.

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