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December 06, 2000 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-12-06

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 6, 2000 - 3

Forum focuses on

whistleblowing' laws

Parents of Texas
A&M students
consider lawsuits
Victims of Texas A&M University
students killed in the collapse of of the
shool's traditonal bonfire while under
construction are claiming they are find-
ing it difficult to receive money for
funeral and medical expenses.
Texas A&M Vice President of Stu-
dent Affairs Malon Southerland sent
out a letter asking families if they
needed funding for funeral and med-
ical expenses, which was to come
* fom the Bonfire Relief Fund.
Southerland said the committee would
look at the requests and act on them
appropriately in the letter.
Les Heard, father of one of the vic-
tims said he sent in a request for
550000, later receivina a letter ack
from Southerland stating the fund's
amwas to help everyone. Heard's
Srquest would have used up a large
portion of the fund, Heard said.
Executive Director for University
Relations Cynthia Lawson said the Bon-
fire Relief Fund is not running low and
that half of it's capital, which was origi-
-nally at S650,000, has been used up.
Heard and other parents are still
"considering a lawsuit as they have not
received all the money they need.
Nancy Braus, whose son was
severely injured in the accident, said
the University has broken their
promise to pay for his medical bills.
lThe Heards sent letters to victims'
" mil ies last month explaining their
'itent to urge legislators to grant them
ian exemption from the state tax law
that limits judgements against state
institutions to 5500000.
Minority students
"question brochure
While the University of Ioa
admissions office claims that pam-
phlets with staged photos of diverse
groups of students properly represents
the university, minority students are
questioning this validity.
Ul Senior Lavar Lard said because
of the recruitment photos, students
often come to UI expecting a very
"diverse campus.
Lard refused to participate in the
*hoto shoots because he said they do
not accurately represent the campus.
"You cannot promote diversity in a
-picture, they don't give these groups a
lot of funding. They do not promote
diversity on this campus, so they should
not create that impression," Lard said.
Other students find soliciting
minority students for photo shoots
wrona as well.
University Relations sent out an e-
iiail asking students to participate in the
photo shoot, and many believe it was
targeted at minority groups, not repre-
senting the true student population.
University Relations shoots pictures
al year in natural settings but feels it
cannot always get every group in its
UI Director of Admissions Michael
Barron said inviting student groups to
participate in the photo shoots ensures
that all groups are proportionally and
appropiately represented.
Ohio State U. left
concerned about
image after riots
Ohio State University is concerned
about its imaae after riots erupted
after the University of Michigan-Ohio

tate football game last month.
"There is a sense that we do have
n issue with this from time to time."
,OSU spokesman Lee "Tashjian said.
He said that neaative events like the
riots can offset Ohio State's reputa-
Negative responses have come up
;ix) focus groups Ohio State has held
around Ohio at high schools. IHigh
school juniors and seniors in the top
25 percent of their classes have
xpressed concern over the riots, and
some said it turned them against
desires to attend Ohio State.
Compiled from &-U1i'e reports.

By William Wetmore
For the Daily

Laws protecting "whistleblowers," employees
who expose illicit activities of employers, were
central issues in a forum yesterday concerning
dispute resolution at the University.
Three speakers were featured at the forum,
titled "Whistleblowing, Arbitration, Mediation,"
each addressing a different method by which
employees and employers may resolve disputes.
University alum and Ann Arbor employment
lawyer Jeffrey. Herron clarified Michigan law con-
cerning the rights of whistleblowers. Law Prof.
emeritus Theodore St. Antoine stressed important
decision-making differences between arbitration and
negotiation. University alum Zena Zumeta of the
Collaborative Workplace and Mediation Training &
Consultation Institute, spoke on the advantages of

I lerron argued that there is "a catch" in the
Michigan statute that protects the rigahts of
employees to expose wrongdoing of employers
without worry of termination, demotion or salary
reduction. There is a deadline of 90 days after the
alleged occurrence of wrongdoing for filing liti-
gation against employers, Herron said, and if
employees are unaware of such a limit, serious
wrongdoing by employers could go unaddressed
by the courts.
"We don't want people to lose their rights out
of ignorance,' I lerron told an audience in the
Michigan Union's Pond Room. "The short statute
of limitations creates tension in the dispute reso-
lution process by requiring injured employees to
litigate quickly, potentially at the expense of
other methods of dispute resolution."
In addition to the 90-day limit for filing suits.

injured employees must report w rongdoing to a
public body. Litigation cannot be brought if
employees only report grievances internally. But
since the University is itsolf a public body, 11er-
ron said, employees may report through Universi-
ty channels.
Injured employees must also seek something
beyond personal gain in filing litigation. The
Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that employ-
ees must be motivated by some public good ill
filing suits.
"It is important to know why you are blowing
the whistle," I lerron said.
Herron also argued that many disputes at the
University are best resolved by methods other than
litigation. If institutional change is sought rather
than monetary damages, arbitration or mediation
would likely be more effective, he explained.
St. Antoine pointed out important differences

between arbitration and mediation. "In arbitra-
tion, the parties are bound by the decision of the
third party," he said. "Mediation is a voluntary
agreement in which the mediator has no decision
making power. Arbitration is confined to the
issues presented and ends in an up-or-down
answer by the arbitrator.
Zumeta discussed the advantages of mediation.
She explained that as a mediator, it is often more
effective to go beyond the issues presented by the
parties in order to reach underlying issues caus-
ing the dispute.
"Parties aren't necessarily seeking the damages
they came into the situation demanding. Media-
tion is able to resolve underlying issues in dis-
putes," she said.
The forum was sponsored by the University's
chapter of the American Association of University
Professors and the Academic Women's Caucus.


State House votes to increase
cost of abortion coverage

LANSING (AP) -Lployers would have to pay more
to offer abortion coverage as part of their health benefits
under legislation approved yesterday by the state IHlouse.
The bill, approved 63-35 with I Imembers not vot-
ing, would changae the situation currently facing
employers who offer benefits. Now, employers must
request that abortion coveraae be removed from their
basic health plans.
1employers would have to pay more to offer supple-.
mental abortion coverage for their employees because it
wotild be on top of the cost of their health benefits.
Employers would not be allowed to pass the additional
costs of supplemental abortion coveragc on to theirr

employees under the legislation.
If employers decide against offering abortion cover-
age as a supplement to their basic plans, an individual
can either seek abortion coverage from an insurance
provider or pay out of pocket for an abortion.
An abortion in the first trimester costs between $250
and S300, said Judy Karandjeff, public affairs direct&
for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. She did
not know the cost of an insurance policy for an abortion;
The legislation would not affect Medicaid recipientsg
The bill was approved following lengthy debateti
House Democrats, including an emotional speech frotr
Rep. Rose Bogardus who recounted having an abortion;

Palestinian activist Adel Samara speaks yesterday in the Michigan Union's
Pendleton Room.
Samara1 iscusse
troubles in Istael


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By Jacquelyn Nixon
taly St tiReporter
Public Health freshman Gaiiel
Ziridari said at the heart of the
Israeli-Palestiniiari coiflict is a strug-
gle for mairtaining hiunian ri ghts.
"Onice Israel took coiirol, Pales-
tiiians had to apply for ownnig their
own homes on their land," Zindani
said. "If they wanted to remodel their
home, which had a hole in the roof,
they had to get permission from the
Israelis. Arid if they moved out, the
Israelis would demolish their hoie.''
Palestinians' econiomic struggles
werne some of the subjects addressed
yesterday in Adel Sariiara's lecture
titled "Why have the Peace Process
Neaotiations Failed?"
Enigineering sophomore Ashraf'
Zahr said Samara, a West Bank
native, served in prison for 5 1 2
years under I rae i occupatio ad
most recently for 27 days in Novem-
ber 1999for signing a petition.
"The petition was directed against
the Palestiniani authorinty for criticism
of their practices and corruption.,
Zahr said. "The money\ was going
into their pockets, and to recruit nieii-
bers. It wasin't going to the people.'
In the lecture, sponsored by the
Muslim Student Association, Samara
said the day-to-day actions of the
Palestinians are controlled by the
Israel is.
"There is repression and there are
people constantly strurggling agarinst
repression," Saiara said.
The five million 'refugees lost their
homes and identities and became a
suspicious people, Samara said.
"This is a political economy oft
corrunptioni," le said.
The amount of water used in Israel
and the Gaza Strip is distributed by

the government in unequal portions,
Samara said. The water consumption
allotment is significantly less for
Palestinians in comparison to the
Also the Palest inians' lack mobihi-
ty within their professions, speci i-
cally with jobs involvinig in1porting
and exporting. which is also con-
trolled by the Israelis, he said.
Withoutit a change in israel Samiia-
ra doubts there w ill be peace in
region. Capitalistic influences from
major nations are one of' the imaiml
reasons for failure of peace.
"The capitalist mode of produc-
tion in Palestine is a result of Biritish
and French colonialism and inimperi-
alismii;' Samara said.
Israel's socioeconomic structure is
whiene change should take place, in
addition to the riafit of return, dis-
mantled Israeli power over Palestine
aid dismantled econoi restrictions
ili order for there to be peace, Sama-
ra said.
lie also said Israel should with-
draw its forces from dthe West Bank.
Zindanii said oni a national level.
the United States should take a firm
stance on lthe conflict. just like the
other members of the lnited
' 'We took a stance iii the Iraqi and
Kuwait conflict, the Serbia and
Bosnia conflict and then with Serbia
and Kosovo. We took a firm stance
on each one of'these conflicts, but we
haven't been firm in this conflict'
Zindani said.
There should be restrictlions as to
what the money distnibuted to Israel
is used fr, he said.
"I hunmanitarian efforts siloud go
f'or places surchi as hospitals --in
both Israel and Palestine," Zindani

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