One hundred eleven years ofeditonrflfreedom
November 6, 2001
By Ted Borden
Daily Staff Reporter
University students and residents of Washte-
naw County should expect higher natural gas
prices early next year. Michigan Consolidated
Gas Co., a major supplier in the area, has
announced plans to increase its rates by as much
as 50 percent on Jan. 1, 2002, the date state gov-
ernment regulations of its prices expire.
MichCon is one of the two major gas suppliers
in southeastern Michigan. It supplies more than
. 750,000 customers, mainly in Wayne and Washt-
The company expects to raise its rate-from
$2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet to $4.50. The average
household uses 10,000 cubic feet per month.
The other major company, Consumers Energy,
was allowed to set it own prices last April and
has increased prices from $2.82 per thousand
cubic feet to $3.72 over the past year. The com-
pany serves 800,000 residents in Oakland Coun-
ty, as well as parts of Wayne and Macomb
Because MichCon does not plan to change
usage and delivery service charges, overall bills
are only expected to increase by 15 to 25 percent.
Overall heating costs for the University will
not increase, said Diane Brown, facilities and
operations spokeswoman. She noted that the
University buys its reserves on the open market.
But John Wessinger, a landlord who rents out
21 buildings on campus and pays for many ten-
ants' utilities, said these are "unsettling times"
for local landlords and renters.
The overall costs of renting "are going to go
up dramatically, but no one truly knows how
much," Wessinger said, and his calls to gas com-
panies yielded ambiguous answers.
"Someone definitely needs to clear the air on
this," he said.
Wessinger said that aside from rising gas
costs, the increasing costs of insurance will also
likely push up rents.
Students who pay their own gas bills each
month aren't looking forward to the price
"Since it hasn't happened yet, it's hard to say
how much this will increase the bill," said Engi-
neering junior Ryan Brown. "With everything
we pay for, it's just going to be another added
expense. Obviously, it's something I'd prefer to
Engineering senior Nathan Clark said he
shared the same sentiment. "Part of me feels like
the company has to make money, but part of me
doesn't want to pay" Clark said. "I made a lot of
money over the summer, so overall, it doesn't
make a huge difference."
But while many bemoan the increases, offi-
cials note that the poor economy and dampened
demand for gas are limiting the amount that
companies are planning to raise prices.
On a positive note, MichCon will not be able
to charge customers more than $4.54 per 1,000
cubic feet under a state regulation awaiting
approval. Consumers Energy cannot charge more
than $4.68. Utility companies cannot charge
more for natural gas than they pay, because the
state bans profits from natural gas sales.
By Jacquelyn Nixon
The Delta Delta Delta sorority did
not contribute any funds for the Oct.
25 unregistered semiformal at the
Beta Theta Pi fraternity house, where
two 18-year-old freshman sorority
pledges claimed they were drugged
and sexually assaulted, Panhellenic
Association President Stephanie Deal
According to the sorority's national
organization policies, chapter funds
cannot be given "for any reason, to
any organization co-sponsoring a
social event where alcohol will be
The policies also state that chap-
ters are only allowed to co-sponsor
an event at a fraternity house if the
function is alcohol-free.
A majority of the sorority's
pledges and a few of its other mem-
bers attended the party, a Delta Delta
Delta freshman pledge told The
Michigan Daily on Sunday. Most of
the women at the party are affiliated
with the sorority, she added.
SDelta Delta Delta President Martha
Rothbaum told the Daily last week
that, she did not know the party was
The sorority has decided to put
itself on voluntary probation. That
decision is in line with Beta Theta Pi,
which also went on probation volun-
tarily and will not hold any events
until investigations by police and the
Interfraternity Council are complete.
Whether Delta Delta Delta will
face further penalties for attending
the event will be determined by the
Office of Greek Life's Social Respon-
sibility Committee, which monitors
adherence to the Greek Life alcohol
"Like the IFC, we're waiting until
the criminal investigation is over until
we take further steps," Deal said.
The sorority is taking time to
reflect on its risk-management poli-
cies and how its members help each
other in social situations, she said.
In 2000, the national organizations
of 13 out of the 15 sororities on cam-
pus restricted their local chapters
from co-sponsoring events with alco-
hol at fraternity houses.
It has not yet been confirmed
whether the party was a two-way,
Deal said, which Delta Delta Delta
and other sororities are restricted
from holding by their respective
i See PARTY, Page 7
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The giant clock hands on one side of Burton Memorial Tower are seen from inside the bell tower yesterday afternoon.
Man arrested trying
to board United Airlines
flight at O'Hare airport
CHICAGO (AP) - Private securi-
ty workers at O'Hare International
Airport have been suspended for
allowing a man to pass through a
checkpoint with several knives and a
stun gun in his carry-on luggage.
Federal law enforcement officials
said there was no indication the man
was involved in terrorism. They said
he told them he owned the knives for
protection and mistakenly packed
them in a plastic bag rather than his
luggage before leaving for the airport.
In a statement issued yesterday,
Atlanta-based Argenbright Security
Inc. said eight of the workers they
hired to operate the screening opera-
tions at United Airlines' terminal had
been suspended pending a company
The Federal Aviation Administra-
tion is also investigating.
City officials said the workers,
including one supervisor, failed to
detain the Subash Gurung, of Chica-
go, after two folding knives were dis-
covered in his pocket when he passed
through a metal detector.
The workers did not notice seven
other knives, a stun gun and a can
marked tear gas when Gurung's bag
went through an X-ray machine.
Instead, they were found by United
employees in the gate area who
searched Gurung's carry-on bag,
police spokesman Thomas Donegan.
"Something obviously went seri-
ously wrong here, and we're trying to
find out if it's the employees' fault,"
said Monique Bond, spokeswoman
for the Chicago Department of Avia-
tion. "If weapons were confiscated, he
See O'HARE, Page 7
New Mcard more durable,
but design gets low marks
By C. Price Jones,
Daily Staff Reporter
In response to the number of Mcards that
turned into nothing more than tattered plastic
remains, the University introduced an
improved, more durable, Mcard earlier this
"The University was aware of the delami-
nation problem," said Fred White, associate
director of financial operations for special
projects. "We issued replacement cards free
of charge to students who turned in their
problem cards. The composite of the new
card is comparable to a Visa or MasterCard
and we do not anticipate this problem with
the new card."
The color of the card has created distaste
among some University students, who find
the new design worse than its white predeces-
sor. However, others believe that the new card
won't be as easy to lose.
"It's bright. You can't lose it," said Art and
Design freshman Kevin Zaloga. "But when I
left it at home the other weekend, when I
came back I was out of luck. I couldn't get
into the dorms, get meals, or anything. If we
had a database rather than a card, or some-
thing you already have on you, that would be
card is the elimination of the cash chip - a
concept similar to a debit card that failed to
take among Mcard holders and local retailers.
The gold cash chip feature in the old
Mcard has been discontinued due to the "lim-
itations of the current chip technology and
equipment, as well as financial reasons," said
The cash chip equipment was in need of
expensive repair and upgrades, which exceed-
ed the revenue and benefits provided.
Getting rid of the cash chip also made
sense financially. Cards without the chip cost
33 cents per card, but those with the cash chip
cost $3.16 per card.
"There may be other technologies than the
chip that we're going to look into," White
The cash chip "never developed like they
thought it would," said Jim Decker, owner of
Decker's Drugs on South State Street. "With
debit cards and everything else there wasn't a
great need for it."
"With the ease of students acquiring the
Visa or MasterCard, and since they have
reward programs, the other card certainly
wasn't able to do anything they couldn't,"
said Bud Van Der Wege, owner of Moe's
See MCARD, Page 7
Photo illustration by DEBBIE MIZEL/Daily
The University has replaced the original white
Mcard (left) with a redesigned, more durable
The design introduced this year replaced
the white background model in place since
the Mcard was created in 1995. With more
than 108,000 faculty, students and visitors
holding active Mcards, the old version may
still be scanned across campus for building
and library access, dorm meals, Entree Plus
One notable difference of the new yellow
aylocal races on.
From staff and wire reports
Michiganians will cast ballots today in mayoral and other
local elections, while Traverse City, Kalamazoo and Hunt-
ington Woods all put gay rights measures before voters.
In Ann Arbor, three of the city's
five City Council seats up for elec- Inside
tion this year are contested. New York chooses
Councilman Robert Johnson, a its next mayor.
Democrat, faces Republican Scott Page 2.
Wojack in the 1 st Ward. Incumbent
Democrat Joan Lowenstein is challenged by Republican
Michael Reid in the 2nd Ward. In the 4th Ward, GOP Coun-
cilwoman Marcia Higgins faces Green Party challenger
Ann Arbor voters will also decide whether to renew a 2-
mill levy for street reconstruction for the next five years.
Elsewhere in southeast Michigan, voters pick mayors in
cities including Detroit, Dearborn, Lincoln Park, Pontiac,
Southfield, Sterling Heights and Westland. Lansing resi-
dents cast ballots for mayor, and voters in Traverse City
pick a mayor for the first time since 1940.
One Michigan Senate seat - the 12th district, formerly
held by David Jaye - also is up for grabs.
Residents of Traverse City and Kalamazoo will decide
whether to adopt a charter amendment that prohibits the
cities from passing laws that would offer civil protection to
gays. In Huntington Woods, voters will decide whether to
ratify an anti-discrimination ordinance that protects many
groups, including gays.
Those measures have drawn heated debate over whether
Housing rush officially begins
By Jordan Schrader
Daily Staff Reporter
The months of October and
November are often frantic for Uni-
versity students as they scramble to
sign housing leases before their
options run out.
Those who haven't yet settled on
a living situation for next year made
their way to the University's Hous-
ing Fair yesterday, hoping to find a
place to call home.
More than 40 housing-related
organizations were represented at
yesterday's second annual fair, giv-
ing attendees an opportunity to see
The diverse choices represented
at the fair included residence halls,
co-ops, family housing, and private-
ly owned off-campus homes and
The table for Homeshare adver-
tised a more unconventional choice
- sharing a house with a senior cit-
"It's an intergenerational experi-
ence," said Jan Arps, the representa-
tive from Homeshare.
"It's also very affordable. The
rents are anywhere from $250 to
Promoters for Family Housing
cially kicking off the hunt for fall
The University asked landlords to
not advertise for 2002 housing until
today, after the annual housing fair,
to prevent early lease signing.
"It was really helpful," said LSA
freshman Jason Roberts. "I've been
StudeInts look throug4h brochuires about campus-area houses