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November 14, 2001 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-14

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LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 14, 2001 - 3

HiGHER ED
Minnesota same
sex health care
plan to take effect
MINNEAPOLIS - Marjorie
Cowmeadow, associate dean of Gener-
al College and University of Minneso-
ta employee of 33 years, has been
waiting for the University to enact
same-sex domestic partner health care
benefits.
Cowmeadow and Teresa Schneider,
partners for 23 years, will receive these
benefits starting Jan. I when the Uni-
versity will begin a new health insur-
ance plan. Employees in same-sex
domestic partnerships will receive the
same medical benefits offered to mar-
ried partners.
"It's a work equality issue,"
Cowmeadow said. "It means (the Uni-
versity is) not discriminating against
employees."
"With Teresa and I, there were peri-
ods of time where she was out of work
and I could not cover her," Cowmead-
ow said. "For the first time, we're able
to cover our partners."
"I retire Jan. 2, 2002, and I feel like I
can retire, having pulled this off,"
Cowmeadow said. "If I didn't have this
I'd feel terrible leaving this place."
The University has tried to imple-
ment medical benefits for same-sex
domestic partners since the Board of
Regents passed a resolution in 1993
saying the institution is committed to
providing equal benefits.
Indiana university
to distribute Star
on campus free
INDIANAPOLIS - Against the
advice of journalism educators in Indi-
anapolis and Bloomington, a top
administrator at Indiana University-
Purdue University at Indianapolis has
cut a deal that some say could harm the
financial status of student publications
across Indiana.
Vice Chancellor Karen Whitney has
accepted a proposal from The Indi-
anapolis Star - which is owned by the
Gannett Company - to distribute the
state's largest newspaper on campus
free to students. The newspaper has
also made a pitch at Indiana University-
Bloomington and most other Hoosier
colleges.
IUPUI has not signed a contract with
The Star yet, and it is unclear how
many papers will be distributed and
where. University sources say one sce-
nario could be that The Star would be
available in news racks next to The
Sagamore at IUPUI.
That possibility, as well as how The
Star raises money for the program,
alarms journalism leaders at IU and
other universities.
Nebraska student
regent to take office
despite police record
OMAHA, Neb. - Student Body
President/Regent elect Damien Coran's
criminal history will not prevent him
from taking office in January, Universi-
ty of Nebraska-Omaha officials said
early last week.
Coran is "eligible to run for and
serve as student body president/
regent," said Rita Henry, assistant to
the vice chancellor of student affairs.
Coran was elected student body
president/regent last month with a

majority vote and a 20 percent victory
margin over current student body pres-
ident/regent Mallory Prucha.
However, Coran's eligibility to serve
as student body president/regent came
into question after The Gateway discov-
ered Coran had been cited with a num-
ber of crimes between 1993 and 1998
and had spent nearly a year in prison in
1998.
Coran's criminal history was given
to university attorneys for review
shortly after the elections. That legal
counsel advised Henry that Coran was
legally eligible to hold office. Under
Nebraska state law, convicted felons
are ineligible to hold certain elected
offices.
"As far as I know, there hasn't been
any felony that would trigger this con-
stitutional provision," said John
Wiltse, senior associate general coun-
sel of the university and the attorney
who reviewed Coran's record.
- Compiledfrom U- WIRE reports by
Daily StaffReporter Lizzie Ehrle.

MSA paying for vans damaged on trip

By Kara Wenzel
Daily Staff Reporter

fssembly charg ed $3, 093. 04 for damage
on way to student government conference

The Michigan Student Assembly last night
approved spending $3,093.04 to pay for dam-
age to rental vans that occurred during repre-
sentatives' trip to Minneapolis last month for
a conference of the Association of Big Ten
Schools.
One of the drivers of the two vehicles, LSA
Rep. Zach Slates, said police reports were
not filed because the damage wasn't noticed
until long after it occurred.
Therefore, the rental company refused to
pay for repairs even though the vans were
insured.
Slates admitted damaging the vehicle he
was driving by striking a freeway median. A
second van, driven by LSA Rep. John Simp-
son, was damaged by an unknown vehicle
while parked.
Some members of the assembly voiced
concern that the assembly's money was being

used to cover up reckless actions; however,
the majority of the assembly agreed paying
the repair costs was unfortunate but neces-
sary. The motion to disperse the funds passed
17-5-4.
Also last night, MSA unanimously passed
a statement in support of women's right to
fully participate in social and political life.
The resolution requires the Women's Issues
Commission to form a task force "working
against the perpetuation of passive accep-
tance of sexism through the media and
among members of the University communi-
ty."
Commission co-chair Elizabeth Higgins
said the resolution is "a response to an
increase in publicity about sexual harass-

ment. It used a specific case, Jessica Curtin's,
to show the usefulness of coming out after
you are harassed."
The writing of the resolution was triggered
by comments printed about Rackham Rep.
Jessica Curtin in the Michigan Independent
and numerous alleged rapes and other forms
of sexual harassment recently on campus.
"The issue (of sexual harassment) needs to
be talked about and acted on," Rackham Rep.
Jessica Curtin said. "Our first victory was
with the Independent's public apology, which
showed it is not hopeless; people can
change."
Later in the meeting, the assembly passed a
resolution to ask Dining Services to serve
Fair Trade certified organic coffee.

The use of Fair Trade certified coffee helps
small farmers receive more of the profit their
coffee by guaranteeing the coffee will be sold
at $1.26 per pound, which is about four times
the market price.
Student groups such as Students Organiz-
ing for Labor and Economic Equality, Cam-
pus Greens, the Public Interest Research
Group in Michigan and the New World Eco-
nomic Agricultural Group support University
residence halls' use of fair trade coffee, and
they are researching the feasibility and addi-
tional cost it could incur.
LSA Rep. Rob Goodspeed said some of
these groups will be setting up tents near res-
idence hall dining rooms to garner student
support for the use of Fair Trade coffee.
The election of MSA and LSA Student
Government representatives and voting on
the $1 student fee increase began last night at
midnight and runs through midnight tomor-
row. Students can access the voting website
at vote. www.um ich. edu.

Unattended belongings
lead to high larceny rate

By Jacquelyn Nixon
Daily Staff Reporter
The Department of Public Safety has received numer-
ous reports of larcenies in recent months from students,
professors and University employees who have left their
personal items unattended in libraries, offices, gyms and
study areas.
DPS Lt. Joseph Piersante said because people in the com-
munity possess more portable electronics than they have in
the past, more precautions are necessary to prevent thefts.
"Larceny is the crime of opportunity," he said.
DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown stressed that items can
be stolen even if students appear to be attentive and keeps
their possessions close to them.
"People fall asleep in the library and their bag is stolen,"
she said. In a recent report, a student said her backpack was
stolen from underneath her chair while she sat a table in
Shapiro Undergraduate Library.
"We're dependant on people to take away the opportuni-
ty," she said. Anything that is left out of sight of the owner
for any amount of time is unattended and has the possibility
to be stolen.
"People are getting a little lax with electronic devices,"
Brown said. While studying, students forget about the worth
of the items in their possession, such as cell phones and
Palm Pilots.
"People are assuming they are safe (in University build-
ings), but we have predators in society," Brown said.
Students are not the only victims of larceny. Professors
and University employees are guilty of leaving equipment
and laptops in their unlocked offices - sometimes for days
at a time. Brown said office doors need to be locked during
lunch breaks, as University employees often report credit
cards stolen.
"Credit cards ... everyone carries those," Piersante said.
Those are taken and you are maxed out in an hour. (The
thieves) know where to use the card - Meijer, or purchas-
ing gift certificates to get cash and electronics at Best Buy."

Brown said students leave their possessions at tables, near
computers or on the floor while they run brief errands such
as talking to a friend, using the bathroom or going to the
stacks.
Brown said this is the season of thieves stealing textbooks
to sell them back for profit.
"At that time of year you don't need that additional psy-
chological pressure," she said. "They get to sell it back,
while you are stuck trying to study."
Brown said students leaving their property against the
walls of the basketball courts in the Central Campus Recre-
ation Building are as susceptible to larceny as students who
leave their belongings unattended in the locker room.
The people who are guilty of stealing these items are
dressed similarly to students and are often undetectable,
Brown said. Non-students get in through doors that are
propped open and when people are entering and exiting the
building.
"They are our prime suspects," Brown said. She added
that high school students are often the perpetrators of these
crimes.
"They really fit in well ... because they are dressed
appropriately," she said.
Patrons of the Media Union have also been targets for
thieves because of its hours of operation.
"The Media Union is open 24 hours and now the perpe-
trators are 24 hours," she said. "There are not a lot of people
around, but there is a lot of opportunity at 4 a.m."
Brown said thieves in the University's parking garages
are given many opportunities, as vehicle owners leave lap-
tops and cell phones in plain view. She said victims leave
their vehicle windows down and doors unlocked. Thieves
seize the opportunity to steal University parking lot hang
tags.
Brown said hang tags are resold for a small profit. DPS is
performing a pilot experiment and may adopt an automated
parking device next year which would identify the owner
and corresponding vehicle. If the device was reported
stolen, it would be rendered worthless.

AP PHOTO
Audrea Jackson (right), 15, of Cass City, who was held hostage at gunpoint by
a fellow student at The Adult Learning Center Monday, gets a hug from her
sister Jessica, 16, who also attends the school in Caro. A 17-year-old student
wielding a pair of guns took Jackson and a teacher hostage before freeing his
captives and killing himself, authorities say. Neither hostage was injured.
17-year-old takes
hostages in school,-
commits suicide

CARO (AP) - A 17-year-old gun-
man who killed himself after a three-
hour hostage standoff in his classroom
was a somber, polite student who gave
no warning beforehand, his principal
said yesterday.
"I've had people I've expelled for
threatening to kill people. It wasn't
one of those who did it. It was a kid
who never popped up on my radar,"
said Erl Nordstrom, principal of the
Caro Learning Center, an alternative
high school for troubled students.
The school, a two-story building
with a dirt driveway, is located 75
miles north of Detroit and 30 miles
east of Saginaw in rural farm country.
It sits next to railroad tracks and near
Camp Tuscola, a state prison facility.
Chris Buschbacher was upset over
a breakup with his girlfriend two days
before Monday's standoff, Tuscola
County Undersheriff Jim Jashinske
said. The teen hid a .22-caliber rifle, a
20-gauge shotgun and a tube of gun-
powder in a locker room shower stall
sometime Monday.
The girl, who wasn't named by
police, was in a science classroom
with a teacher and two other girls
when Buschbacher walked in with the
guns around 2:40 p.m., Jashinske said.
She and another girl ran to Nord-
strom's office, saying Buschbacher
was firing a cap gun. Buschbacher
took as hostages Audrea Jackson, 15,
and science teacher Joseph Gottler.
When Nordstrom entered the class-
room, he found Buschbacher seated at
Gottler's desk.
"He said, 'Erl, get out of here,"'
Nordstrom said.
The teen then fired a warning shot
in Nordstrom's direction, the principal
said. Nordstrom said he shut the class-

room door.
Nordstrom, who said he didn't see
the hostages, instructed his secretary
to call 911, and he evacuated the
building room by room.
After the evacuation, Nordstrom
returned to the room.
"I said, 'Chris. This has got to
stop,"' Nordstrom said, but
Buschbacher warned him to shut the
door or he'd shoot again, so he did.
After negotiations with sheriff's Lt.
James Giroux, Buschbacher released
Jackson in exchange for a pack of cig-
arettes and a lighter, and freed Gottler
about an hour and a half to two hours
later. Neither hostage was injured.
The teen's mother came to the
scene, but he refused to speak with
her, Jashinske said.
Buschbacher shot himself in the
head in the classroom at 6:16 p.m.
while a state police emergency
response team was preparing to enter
the building.
The teen brought the guns from
his Caro home where he lived with
his mother and stepfather. His father
lives in Florida.
Schools in the town don't have
metal detectors, security checkpoints
or guards, but 15-year-old Matt
Franklin, a sophomore at nearby
Caro Community High School, said
he wished they did.
"If it happened there, it could hap-
pen anywhere," he said.
Franklin said he didn't know
Buschbacher, but said he lived near
the learning center and was afraid
during Monday's standoff.
Caro Superintendent Dennis
Anderson said he's not sure whether
the district will add additional secu-
rity.

THE CALENDAR
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Speech by Tweed Roo-
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Egyptian Test Tube Baby-
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