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September 12, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 12, 2000

cte Sitigti $$Qi g

Instant run-off voting: How to shake up the system

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, M1 48109_
daily. letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

F or the past couple of elections, the two
major parties, Republicans and Democ-
rats, have been getting more and more con-
cerned about third party candidates. Some can

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

argue that George Bush
1992 solely because of
that pernicious Ross
Perot character. He was
back in 1996, albeit
without as much force,
and did some damage
to Bob Dole. This year,
they're back again. The
third parties are defi-
nitely making waves,
and are beginning to
concern the big two..
Ralph Nader, running
for the Green Party, is
one of the most well-

lost the election in


Cantor case reinforces students' privacy

F ollowing the tragic alcohol-relat-
ed death of his daughter Court-
ney, two years ago, George Cantor
alleged the University was negligent
by failing to provide a safe environ-
ment for students with regard to the
dangers of drugs and alcohol. Washt-
enaw County Court Judge Melinda
Morris ruled that because Courtney
Cantor leased her room it was consid-
ered a private residence.
This Friday Judge Morris held her
position on the side of the University
after George Cantor requested inci-
dent reports on University students
who have abused drugs or alcohol.
The information is meant to provide
evidence of drug and alcohol abuse at
the University which --
has been overlooked. In tis in:
Morris ruled that turn-
ing over such records he1nM
would violate the Fam- t
ily Education and t
Rights of Privacy Act, aNree ti
which bars the release a
of student records nta o
without the student's bd and
permission. o y
Additionally, thec
court does not agree concurs-
with Cantor's sugges-
tion that incident reports regarding
other students are relevant to whether
the regents effectively educated
Courtney and other students. It would
not, as Cantor's attorney Darrel
Peters suggests, provide evidence of
"a pervasive culture of alcohol and
drug use and abuse which was toler-
ated and/or ignored by University
officials." It would simply invade the
privacy of students and their families
while breaking a law.
Cantor's claim that the University
is obliged to warn residents of any
unsafe conditions is a valid one, but


the University has a responsibility to
protect rights and records of its stu-
dents. This year's United States vs.
Miami of Ohio concluded that law
enforcement records of students are
not educational records and Cantor's
request for such records falls under
the category of education records.
The University has a history of
acting as a surrogate parent as can be
seen by the subsequent debates sur-
rounding the implenentation of the
Code of Student Conduct, an internal
disciplinary system designed to gov-
ern student behavior outside - or in
addition to - the justice system.
The University introduces its own
rules and punishments to compli-
__ ent those already
stanceissued by the legal
But in this
instance, the Univer-
t i sity agrees that it is
at it Inot a governing body
" and the court con-
efUIEg curs. In contrast to
what the Code of
fStudent Conduct
would imply, the
University should
not act as a surrogate
parent to its students. It should not
punish them for violations already
covered under the law, and as illus-
trated in the current Cantor lawsuit, it
is not responsible for protecting stu-
dents outside a reasonable realm of
The denial of Cantor's request for
access to such records is important.
But the records shouldn't even exist.
The University should not be able to
prosecute students for offenses out-
side of the academic realm. That is
what the criminal justice system is

known third party can- ""I
didates. Then we've got ' thiw'
Flarry Browne and the:
Libertarians and John
Hagelin (or Pat
Buchanan, I don't think the Reform Party has
gotten their act together yet). In any .case, that's
three viable third party candidates. None of
them have managed to break double digits in
the polls, as Perot did in '92, and there's a very
simple reason for that.
People "learned" from the mistake of vot-
ing for Perot. People "learned" that we can't
have a quiet revolution in this country, and
that we cannot make a change. People
"learned" that we, the voters, don't hold the
power. People "learned" to vocally berate the
two party system, but then to go vote for
either a Republican or a Democrat in order to
prevent the other major party candidate from

And the two major parties love the fact that
we have "learned." The Republicans and the
Democrats need the third parties to be dis-
counted, and for a vote for a third party can-
didate to be considered a "wasted vote,"
which is the new buzz word for this year's
elections. The propaganda that the two par-
ties would like us to believe is that it's better
to vote for a winner, even if you don't agree
with the candidate you're voting for. As
Nader is fond of saying; "You don't vote
because I can't win, and I can't win because
you don't vote." He's right, but the Republi-
cans and the Democrats have gotten us all so
tangled up in doublespeak that it's become
common parlance to say "I have to vote for
Gore, or else Bush will win," or vice versa.
I'm not going to tell anyone to vote for a
third party candidate. Your vote is your own,
and I only hope that people learn about all the
candidates before making a decision, because
an uninformed vote is the only real "wasted
vote." I am, however, hoping that people get
informed about an entirely necessary reform
to the election process in this country, and
that is the little-known concept.of "Instant
Run-off Voting."
IRV is an electoral process in which an
elected official wins because of a majority
vote, not because of a split vote, as was the
case in 1992. Instead of simply marking an X
next to one candidate, the IRV system allows
people to rank their votes in order of prefer-
ence. So I could go to the ballot and rank
Harry Browne as my Number One choice and
George W as my Number Two choice. (Both
of these are, incidentally, hypothetical, since I
would rather ingest raw sewage than vote for
either of these clowns).
After that, the beauty of the IRV system
takes over. If, after all the votes are tallied,

Harry Browne failed to win the majority, my
vote slides down to Bush, and the votes are
recounted with all of the "run-off" votes
added. If, on the other hand, Browne succeeds
in winning the majority, my vote will not slide
down to Bush, and I will have effectively had a
hand in electing a third party candidate.
It's a beautiful system, because the cliche
"A vote for the third party is a wasted vote"
statement will be entirely negated. I can,
without a guilty conscience, vote for a third
party candidate, and know that I am not
effectively splitting the vote away from one of
the two more likely candidates, Bush or Gore.
I won't feel like a complete idiot for voting
for Nader, and then having Bush win the
election because my otherwise Democratic
vote would have gone to a candidate with a
small chance of winning.
There's not much national support for IRV,
for obvious reasons. Bush and Gore, and their
respective parties in general, are scared as
hell of IRV, because it destroys their flimsy
command over the Independent voter. So far,
Bush and Gore have not responded to any of
the issues and solutions proposed by third
party candidates, but rather argue on the basis
of popularity and power. Hell, the third par-
ties aren't even allowed into the Presidential
debates, because it would destroy Bush and
Gore's glossy exterior to have to face up to
the allegations made by Nader, Browne and
Buchanan regarding the dirty corporate
money running our government. But if IRV
were in place, Republicans and Democrats
would have to come out behind the seemingly
impenetrable wall of the two-party system
and earn their votes instead of assuming
- Manish Raiji can be reached
via e-mail at mraijiLaumich.edu.


'Students who engage in person to person file sharing
are not copyright infringers..'
--Napster CEO Hank Barry.

Open accessii
Debates need third party candidates.
D espite protesters' warnings that commission board.
debates solely between Al Gore When third-p arty candidates are
and George W. Bush will be boring excluded from the debates, the com-
enough to cause car accidents (as mission's goal of providing the "best
motorists fall asleep listening to them possible information to viewers and
on the radio), the Commission on listeners" is lost. Their participation
Presidential Debates will not allow would force Bush and Gore to discuss
third-party candidates to participate in issues on which they have similar
the presidential debates this year. Fail- views. Americans need to see all sides
ure to allow these candidates to join of the issues - not just the Democrat-
the debates reduces their appeal and ic or Republican ones.
effectiveness. Their participation also forces can-
The CPD should reduce the eligi- didates to defend themselves from all
bility requirements to allow candi- sides. For example, Bush isn't going
dates like Nader and Buchanan to to criticize Gore for his stance on
participate. It should also appoint environmental issues, but Nader cer-
members to the Commission Board tainly would.
who do not belong to the two major Debates would also be more inter-
parties. esting with another viewpoint. Higher
The CPD was formed as a private interest in the debates likely translates
agency with the aim of ensuring "that into greater voter participation and
debates ... provide the makes the election
best possible informa- more democratic.
tion to viewers and lis- N'iIn Iommissio Onl For many of these
teners." It requires a -r- reasons the American
candidate to have at PI dntIl public has demon-
least 15 percent support D a st ustrated an over-
in the polls if he or she t whelming desire to,
wants to be involved in see debates with third
the debates. Ralph eSI5I u/StIa S party candidates. In a
Nader and Pat - - --lia recent Fox News poll,
Buchanan, currently it ispal tca'ty 64 percent of Ameri-
with two and one per- b ecans said they would
cent of the popular vote like to see Ralph
respectively, fall below Nader and Pat,
this limit. Buchanan participate
The Commission is a supposedly in the debates. Clearly the people.
"non-partisan ... corporation not affil- think that the way to achieve the Com-
iated with any party. But its structure mission's goal of best educating the
demonstrates that it is politically public is to allow these candidates to
biased. The CPD board is composed share their views in the debates. Isn't
exclusively of Republicans and that who these debates are for?
Democrats. That said, there is a realistic limit
The Commission has also been to the amount ofpeople that can have
sponsored by major corporations such a productive debate. This fact is why
as Philip Morris and Ford - the type the CPD should ease its restrictions
of "big business" that third-party can- for the debates, not eliminate them
didates often fight against. It comes as entirely.
no surprise then that the debates tend But the Commission simply cannot
to favor candidates from the two main ignore the positive impact these third
parties. If the CPD truly wants to be party candidates would have on the
non-partisan it should (at the very debates. If nothing else, it has the
least) include members outside the opportunity to ensure that people stay
scope of mainstream politics on the awake this year.
Ilr W i~hTI

Basketball ticket
hike is ridiculous
I was wondering if there are any prerequi-
sites to becoming athletic director. I think Econ
101 should definitely be one if the athletic
department is ever to get rid of the huge budget
deficit. Does Bill Martin realize that offering an
inferior product and raising prices does not gen-
erally make a lot of sense?
Last year about 1,000 students bought bas-
ketball season tickets. At $100 a pop, that's
SI00.000 to the athletic department. Now this
year at S104, to get the same amount of money
as last year, they would have to have 962 stu-
dents buy tickets. No chance.
How about if they did sell 1,000 tickets?
Well! That's a whopping $4,000 to chip
away that 83,.000.000 deficit.
Give me a break.
Give the fans a break.
Freedom of
education means
freedom of content
In response to Jon Curry's letter and opin-
ions on the "How to be Gay Class" ("'How to
Be Gay' class is a passive form of promotion,"
9/8/00), 1 find two critical flaws in his argu-
ments. First, the argument is made that some-
how, by offering a class, the university and
society passively promotes and condones the
gay lifestyle. Using this logic, any class offered
at the University somehow promotes and con-
dones the topic, which is absurd. Are we to
believe that if a class is entitled "How to be a
Nazi: The History of the Third Reich," that it
somehow passively promotes and condones the
actions of Hitler during the 1930s and 40s?

If merely teaching history and exploring lit-
erature condones all of the actions and lifestyles
that humans have engaged in throughout histo-
ry, then there are probably quite a few classes
taught at the University which should be
Second, the argument was made that the
taxpayers have the right to say "I don't want my
money being used to teach a class on a topic
that I do not wish to learn about." Using this
line of logic, if the state were over 50 percent
Democrats and someone proposed that a class
be taught entitled "How to be a Republican,"
then as taxpayers. the majority should have the
right to abolish the class. After all, the majority
of taxpayers are Democrats who neither con-
done nor hold any interest in learning about the
Republican party. Why should they have to pay
for the class?
I believe that J.S. Mill said it best: "If all
mankind, minus one, were of one opinion, and
only one person were of the contrary opinion,
mankind would be no more justified in silenc-

ing that one person, than he, if he had the
power, would be justified in silencing
mankind." We, as a society, have agreed that
education is good and knowledge is good.
We have also agreed, as a society, that we
are willing to contribute toward those goals
even though each of us, as individuals, may or
may not agree with each other on any specific
topic. In the very nature of this agreement, we
concede that we are not infallible, that our
beliefs and our truths contain uncertainty, that
our strongest opinions are often still only opin-
ions, and that no individual, no minority and
even no majority, is truly qualified to limit the
discourse on any topic. Any course whose goal
is to open an objective and informed discourse
should be allowed and must be allowed. We
cannot truly claim to value knowledge or edu-
cation if we believe we can reserve the right to
dictate content.



I E'N'L.k -e


ACT or- REG. EifM(,

:,~ ic-,.f " } i'.?


I "
L 1
7 f K... "m r

Poles, Wolverine Access and no more phone numbers

R eturning to the University after a summer
spent in Ann Arbor didn't require much
adjusting for me. The only thing that caught me
off guard upon arrival on campus were these
poles everywhere. Does
no one else notice them?
1 have no clue whatsoev-
er what the University is
actually constructingsbut 3
it looks like they're cor-
railing us in like cattle. It.
might just be me, but
hundreds of giant cylin-
drical fence posts kinda
take away from the beau- $
ty of campus.
The other thing that Erin
really ticks me off is
Wolverine Access. I McQuinn
thought when they re-did .yg_%.
the system it was actual-

Ameritech won first place on my list compa-
nies that I'd like to see go bankrupt. I called to
get my phone line activated and was just
thrilled to find out that the earliest date they
had to offer was Sept. 21st. I just accepted it
until I noticed that everyone else already had
their phone lines. But what really pissed me off
was a week after I called, another chica con-
tacted Ameritech and got hers turned on the
next day.
When I finally called Ameritech again I had
the pleasure of speaking with Jodie, or Janice
or Janet or something. This is all after the man
inside the telephone told me that I was about
to experience a wait time of greater than ten
minutes. This lovely lady used her bitchiest
customer service voice to give me a bunch of
useless information. When I said that it didn't
make any sense, she told me that since I don't
understand the electrical system in my house,
I shouldn't try to understand the phone ser-
xz,-'P 1 then Pyinrlned to lith nl r r hckLie or

Ameritech man came back one second later
and said that they ran out of phone numbers ...
How the hell do you run out of phone num-
bers? Just make some more up! I'll make up
my own number if I have to, I don't care - I
just really, really need a phone. So there I was,
practically ready to give up my first-born just to
have a phone line. Desperately pleading with
the Ameritech man to pleeeeease give me a
So all I have now is my Sprint PCS, which is
a pretty sorry excuse for a cell phone. I look
like an idiot running around the house holding
it above my head trying to get a cell. I should
really just get a new service. But I'm stubborn
like that, and I paid too much money for a
phone that has voice dial and web access, but
never rings. I just can't make myself break
down and get a phone that works.
So why do I even have a cell phone any-
more, the only thing that actually works on it is
voice~mail.It semsto haive lost its rinizirni


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