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September 29, 1999 - Image 1

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-29

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roday: Showers, High 70. Low 61.
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One hundred nine years of editorilfreedom

Wednesday
September 29, 1999

A
p .- ; ,a x ;

hAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Affirmative

action

takes a hit

Today marks the 109th
anniversary of the first edition of
The Michigan Daily. Free from
~ersight by administrators and run
Whtirely by studnts, the Daily has
existed as a student voice on campus
for more than a century. Join us
today as we celebrate our
editorial freedom
- The editors
Harvard
easures
student
dislikes
By Caitlin Nish
Daily St-ff Reporter
then applying to law schools, many
students keep their copies of the US
News & World Report rankings in one
hand while holding applications to the
top ten schools in the other.
But studies show that the top ranked
schools are not necessarily the ones
where students are happiest.
With a notorious reputation for a
stressful and cutthroat atmosphere and
tee of millions of dollars being spent
c a long-term strategic planning
process, Harvard Law School recently
commissioned McKinsey & Co., a top
management consulting firm, to find
out what students like and dislike about
the school.
"It is fair to say that we wanted to find
a systematic way of listening to student
issues. Our number one concern is that if
you do nothing more than listen to those
who complain, you don't know if you
h& a systematic way of finding out
what's going on at the school," said
Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law profes-
sor and head of the committee on institu-
tional life at Harvard.
The 1 75-page study gauged student
opinion on issues such as class size and
whether students wanted on-campus
housing - two of the factors which
may have influenced Harvard's low rat-
in a 1996 ranking of overall student
s faction.
The ranking, compiled by the
National Jurist and Princeton Review,
showed Harvard placing 158th out of
170 law schools although this year's US
News & World Report shows Harvard
tied with Stanford as the No. 2 law
school in the country.
Based on criteria such as students'
impressions of faculty, facilities and
the quality of life on campus, the
U 'versity of Michigan Law School
r ed 63rd in student satisfaction. US
News & World Report shows the
University sharing the No. 8 spot with
Duke in academic rankings.
Yale Law School, which ranked first
in academic rankings was rated by stu-
dents as 16th out of 170 law schools.
School officials cite this high rate of
student satisfaction as the result of
Yale's small and intimate atmosphere.
jly observations having been here
many years lead me to think that stu-
dents rank us highly because we are a
relatively small school, a school which
truly tries to attend to the needs of all
students. Our size and the attitudes of

By Jewel Gopwani
Daily Staff Reporter
A decision handed down by the 4th
Circuit Court of Appeals last week may
impact the use of affirmative action at all
schools - regardless of grade level - in
the court's jurisdiction, which encom-
passes Maryland, North Carolina,
Virginia and West Virginia.
On Friday, the court ruled in Tuttle v.
Arlington School Board that Arlington
Traditional School's use of race as a fac-
tor in the admissions process is unconsti-
tutional.
Arlington Traditional School in
Arlington County, Va., is an alternative
kindergarten that used a weighted lottery

4th Circuit Court rules use of
race as a factor unconstitutional

system, where applicants from under-
represented-groups had a higher proba-
bility of being admitted to the school,
according to the ruling.
The court found that the Arlington
County School Board violated the Equal
Protection Clause of the 14th
Amendment. According to the opinion,
the school's policy was not "sufficiently
tailored to pass constitutional muster."

Terry Pell, senior counsel at the
Washington D.C.-based Center for
Individual Rights, said last week's ruling
should have caught the attention of every
school that employs affirmative action.
"It shows that it's possible to have a
diverse student body in the full sense of
the word without racial preferences,' Pell
said, referring to the argument used in
courts that using race in admissions is

constitutional to achieve a diverse student
body.
In fall 1997, CIR filed two lawsuits
against the University challenging its use
of race as a factor in admissions. The
firm filed the lawsuits on behalf of three
white applicants - two who claim they
were denied admission to the College of
Literature, Science and the Arts when
less-qualified minorities were admitted

and one who made similar charges
against the Law School.
The University of Virginia's Board of
Visitors has created a committee to
review the legalities of its admission
practices, which uses race as one of many
factors.
"The student perspective is that every-
one values diversity," said Robert
Schoenvogel, a student member of
Virgina's Board of Visitors - which
consists of governor-appointed officials
and one board-appointed student. "I don't
think (the decision is) going to drastical-
ly affect what that committee is doing"
he said.
See VIRGINIA, Page 3

MSA supports
'U,' intervenors

Assembly members
approve resolution to back
use of race in admissions
By Jeapnie Baumann
Daily Staff Reporter
The Michigan Student Assembly's
debate surrounding affirmative action
continued last night when assembly
representatives voted on several reso-
lutions regarding the controversial
issue.
A 21 to 8 vote showed support for
the University and for two coalitions
- composed of students and several
national organizations - who recent-

ly became defendants in the two law-
suits facing the University for its use
of race as a factor in the admissions
process in the College of Literature,
Science and the Arts and the Law
School.
The assembly voted to back the
University's use of affirmative action,
with only a few members dissenting,
and disagree with the plaintiffs' claims
that the University use of race in
admissions is unconstitutional.
MSA representatives also addressed
campus dialogue of the issue when two
other resolutions were brought to the
table, one of these designating Oct. 14
See MSA, Page 2

Courtesy of Dreamnworks
Kevin Spacey, as Lester Burnham, enjoys the new freedom his anti-establishment attitude affords him. His wife Carolyn
(Annette Bening), remains suspicious of his true motives.
AMERI'CA BEAUT
Kevin Spacey plays suburban dad
wh

Splendor in the grass

By Matthew Barrett
and Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writers
Kevin Spacey stars in "American Beauty" as Lester
Burnham. a suburban father who's lost his way until he
finds the strength to challenge the system. Galvanized
by the "I'm not afraid of anything" attitude exhibited
by his next-door neighbor. Lester goes from an adver-
tising industry drone who's "lost it" to a weed-smok-
ing, iron-pumping, burger-flipping would-be Humbert
Humbert.
His wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), is a real estate agent
so into self-help tapes that she actually believes the hype.
Jane (Thora Birch), his daughter, despises both of her par-
ents equally and is pinching pennies for~a boob job.
"I think Lester manages to sort of tap into a part of his
life that must have been alive and well in college. Annette
and I spent a good deal of time in rehearsal talking about
what they must have been like when they first met, how
great their life used to be," Spacey said in a recent inter-
view with The Michigan Daily. "We began to figure out
when it started to fall apart, when priorities began to
change and their focus on both sides began to be other
things."
Part of Lester's attraction to audiences is his effort to get
out of the rut that is his life, and become something more.
His journey to find himself again - whether that be his.

inner youth or inner retiree - allows Lester to begin to
live out his life-long fantasies, something Spacey feels
most people can relate to. Speeding along Lester's rebirth
are boy-next-door Ricky (Wes Bentley) and wannabe
Lolita, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari).
Spacey credits the three young actors, Birch, Bentley
and Suvari, with forming the soul of the film and making
it accessible to audiences of all ages. "Kids are really lov-
ing it, I suspect not only because of what the film's about
but also because of the performances of these three
incredible actors," Spacey said. "They are, thank God,
playing teenagers that aren't just angst-ridden and trying
to get laid.
"What we're hearing is people saying 'thank you.' In
this glut of movies that are supposedly dealing with the
problems of youth, it's nice to have one that's actually
dealing with it in an honest and mature way."
For Spacey, "American Beauty" represents somewhat of
a shift in roles. Previously known for his twitchy, tense
performances in such films as "The Usual Suspects" and
"Seven," here Spacey takes on the more familiar world of
suburbia. Recently, he made a high-profile career move in
taking the lead role in "The Iceman Cometh" on the stage.
"I don't think I could have ever done this film without
having done 'Iceman.' Its spirit and what Lester is search-
ing for are on many levels the things that the characters in
See SPACEY, Page 7

SAM HOLLENSHEAD/Daily
LSA sophomore Aimee Kraft takes advantage of the unseasonably balmy
weather yesterday by studying on the grass in the Diag.

See HARVARD, Page 7

Undercover officers help
implement AAPD program

By Dave Enders
Daily Staff Reporter
If the person behind the liquor
counter looks like an Ann Arbor Police
Officer, there's a good chance that's the
case.
Operation Spotlight, a six-month-old
initiative by the AAPD to keep minors
from purchasing alcohol by placing
undercover officers in liquor-selling
establishments across the city, is in full
effect.
«I anvi he nr n t t he vonnter)

Scenes like this one at Campus
Corner, described by a LSA first-year
student who was attempting to illegally
purchase alcohol and asked that his
name not be used, have become increas-
ingly common since April, when
Operation Spotlight began.
The program is a three-phase
operation. The first two phases,
which took place this spring, con-
sisted of the training of local wait
staff on how to spot fake IDs. The
third nhsen i the nus of undercnver

mer's total of 190 for the same period.
Mike Zsenyuk, Operation
Spotlight's coordinator, was hesitant to
credit the program with the drop in
MIPs.
"You're always hopeful you're having
an impact, but I can't say for sure," he
said.
He also stressed that "the goal is not
to serve more MIPs, it is to keep alco-
hol out of the hands of minors."
The project is funded by a $5,400
crant from the from the Office of

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