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February 06, 2002 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-06

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LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 6, 2002 - 3

HIGHER ED
Connerly pushes
racial initiative
LA JOLLA, Calif. - University of
California Regent Ward Connerly is
behind an initiative that would ban state
agencies, including UC, from collecting
racial and ethnic data.
The Racial Privacy Initiative, if
passed, will enact an amendment to
California's state constitution that will
prohibit classifying "any individual by
race, ethnicity, color or national origin
in the operation of public education,
public contracting or public employ-
ment" within the state of California,
with limited exception. Connerly and
the American Civil Rights Coalition
authored the initiative.
In the past, Connerly has been rela-
tively successful in his crusade to elimi-
nate affirmative action and racial
classification in public agencies.
RPI is the first initiative of its kind
that would phase out almost all racial
classifications made by the state gov-
ernment; however, the initiative does
exempt medical research, law enforce-
ment and the Department of Fair
Employment and Housing - all of
which may continue to specify individ-
uals by race "lawfully."
Kevin Nguyen, a spokesman for the
ACRC, said the initiative is a progres-
sive step in race relations. "It's much
more productive and unifying to end
this arbitrary and artificial system of
racial classification," he said.
Resolution calls
for resignation of
Boise president
BOISE, Idaho - A resolution sup-
porting Boise State University student
government President Nate Peterson's
petition to oust Boise State President
Charles Ruch has gained momentum in
the ASBSU Senate.
The resolution passed on to third
reading with a 9-6 vote, showing sup-
port of Peterson's campaign in ASBSU
is not unanimous. From third reading,
the resolution need only be voted on
once more before going to Peterson for
signing.
Backers of the bill said they not only
supported Peterson's drive but also felt
ASBSU Senate needed to take a deci-
sive stand on the issue.
Opponents, including some who
signed Peterson's petition, worry the
resolution may not meet the approval of
the majority of students at Boise State.
The resolution was sponsored by
several students on the school's student
government body under the premise
"President Ruch has lost the faith and
confidence of the student body."
Texas A&M will
not burn Aggie
Bonfire this year
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
Aggie Bonfire will not burn next fall,
Texas A&M University President Ray
Bowen announced Monday, revealing
that preparations for Bonfire 2002, 18
months in the making, came unraveled
in the past week.
Turner Construction, the New York-
based firm that was serving as the safe-
ty consultant for the bonfire, withdrew
from the project yesterday because it
was unable to obtain insurance to cover
the firm's liability for its work on the
bonfire.

"Without an acceptable safety plan,
the limited role that has been preserved
for students still carries a danger above
what we can tolerate," Bowen said.
Even with a safety consultant,
revised estimates of the cost of the bon-
fire make it unlikely the 90-year-old tra-
dition could continue, Bowen said. The
projected price tag for Bonfire 2002
was $2.5 million, about $1 million
more than previous estimates. "We sim-
ply cannot spend this much money to
construct the bonfire," Bowen said.
The other factor behind his decision,
Bowen said, was the legal liability the
university would incur if it continues to
sponsor a high-risk activity like the
bonfire. Twelve Aggies were killed and
27 were injured when the bonfire stack
collapsed in 1999, and many of the vic-
tims' families have sued A&M and top
administrators, including Bowen, alleg-
ing the University's negligence caused
the accident. Liability insurance for stu-
dents and staff who work on the bonfire
would cost $450,000, Bowen said.
- Compiled from U-Wire reports by
Daily Staff Reporter Maria Sprow

Material girl

GEO members:
Stiike is unlikely
but a possibility

By Jordan Schrader
Daily Staff Reporter

RYAN LEVENTHAL/Daily
Rackham student Denise Poon gives materials to LSA freshman Tao Tao Wang at the Coalition of Asian Social Work
Students table at the School of Social Work yesterday.

'

won't switch to popular

wireless computing system

The University and the Graduate
Employees Organization each feel
that a strike by the GEO is not the
inevitable conclusion to their cur-
rent uncertain situation, spokesper-
sons from both organizations said
yesterday.
GEO president and Rackham stu-
dent Cedric deLeon said there are
many forms of job action available
to the graduate student instructors
union if the contract does run out.
He named several alternatives to a
walkout:
An informational picket not
involving job stoppage;
"Button days" on which all GSIs
would wear pins;
Stamping graded undergraduate
papers with "Graded By Union
Workers;"
A petition campaign to obtain GSI
signatures, and
Displaying posters showing infor-
mation related to contract negotiations.
Even within the strike category,
there are several options for the GEO
to consider, deLeon said.
"There's a possibility of an open-
ended strike. Or there's a walkout - a
short work stoppage just to show the
administration how powerful we are,"
he said.
"We are not operating under the
threat of a strike," University spokes-
woman Julie Peterson said. "That is
not the tone of the conversations we're
having with GEO."
Because a strike is a distant possi-
bility, Peterson said she is uncertain
how the University would handle such
a situation.
Individual academic departments
within the University are responsible.
for classes being held as scheduled,
she said. Those departments would
determine how a walkout would be
handled.
"In some instances, some GSIs
would still teach. Some faculty would
cover for them, or staff. It depends on
the situation," Peterson explained.
DeLeon said he hopes all GSIs
would participate in any job action

"We are not
operating under
the threat of a
strike.
- Julie Peterson
University spokeswoman
decided on by GEO and faculty would
cooperate as well.
But Peterson said when GEO staged
a walkout during the last contract dis-
pute in 1999, many GSIs remained in
the classrooms. Some faculty refused
to teach during that time, she added.
"I believe the majority of classes
met, some at an alternate location,"
she said.
Although Peterson would not com-
ment on what repercussions graduate
students might face in the event of. a
strike, she said she believes there were
no punitive actions taken against the
participants in the 1999 walkout.
Little progress was made during
a bargaining session with the Uni-
versity last night, GEO chief nego-
tiator and Rackham student Alyssa
Picard said.
A slight improvement was made on
the subject of job posting, she added.
GEO wants the University to ensure
that all job opportunities for GSIs will
be publicly posted to eliminate any
favorable treatment, which Picard said
often hurts women and minorities
most. Although University negotiators
did acknowledge the problem last
night, they nonetheless remain unable
to punish those who discriminate, she
said.
Picard added that the University
also continues to refuse the GEO's
proposals for specific language in the
contract protecting GSIs against
harassment. But Peterson said there
was no need for new language.
"The University has very carefully
crafted harassment policies that apply
to all faculty and staff, all employees
at the University and all students for
that matter. We don't accept harass-
ment in any form,' Peterson explained.

By Annie Gleason
For the Daily

Imagine having the ability to surf the web, e-mail
friends or do research while enjoying the outdoors.
This became a reality for students at Western Michigan
University last week as the school unveiled a campus-
wide wireless computing system. Western is the first
higher education institution in the state to install a
campus-wide system.
The University of Michigan does not have a campus-
wide system, but several schools within the University
are equipped with wireless capabilities.
The Engineering and Business schools and the School
of Information have wireless systems installed, and sev-
eral other University buildings are following their lead.
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Shapiro Undergradu-
ate Library, the Michigan Union, Pierpont Commons and
the Michigan League are expected to install wireless
computing this spring.
But University of Michigan officials have no future
plans for installation of campus-wide wireless comput-
ing.
"This is not a central initiative," said Andy Palms,
director of Information Technology Communications.
Palms said it is up to each school or college on cam-
pus to decide whether to spend its funds on the instal-

lation.
The University is working on other projects to improve
its technological systems.
Students can expect better and faster Internet connec-
tions in the near future with speeds expected to become
four times greater than current levels.
"Our campus backbone data network is very cutting-
edge," said Palms. "There isn't a better network in the
country than what we've got."
The initiative at Western was created to convenience
both students and faculty at the university.
"If the entire campus were wireless, students would
have access to the technology any time, any place," said
Viji Murali, vice president of information technology at
.Western.
Wireless systems allow Western students to bring lap-
tops or handheld computers anywhere without worrying
about finding proper wires or plug-ins. The only cost to
students is purchasing a card to access the wireless sys-
tem.
"Students absolutely love it. ... They use it for e-mail,
surfing the web. ... They talk to their professors," Murali
said. "On a beautiful sunny day they are outside using
their laptops."
Murali noted that it would have cost Western Michi-
gan seven to 10 times more to individually wire each
building than it did to install the wireless system.

MSA chooses new
election directors

*1

By Tomislav Ladika
Daily Staff Reporter

During an emergency gathering by
Michigan Student Assembly's Steering
Committee following the last night's
weekly meeting, LSA freshman Colin
McGlashen was selected as the elec-
tion director for the upcoming spring
elections.
MSA President Matt Nolan said the
Steering Committee unanimously
chose McGlashen. He said
McGlashen's role will be mainly
administrative, but the election direc-
tor also presides over the Election
Board - a student court that reviews
allegations accusing candidates of
breaking election rules.
"He has no experience working with
any parties and therefore will be com-
pletely neutral," Nolan said. "To have
an election director to call decisions
right down the line ensures confidence
in the process."
He added that McGlashen's organi-
zational skills are another desirable
characteristic.
The emergency meeting was called
because MSA election code stipulates
that an election director has to be
named no later than 40 days before
MSA elections. The elections will be
held March 20 and 21, which means
that the deadline for naming a director
would have been tomorrow.
Nolan and MSA Vice President Jes-
sica Cash proposed LSA senior Rob
Shereda for the position on Feb. 3, but
he was rejected by the Steering Com-
mittee.
MSA Student General Council John
Carter said Shereda was dismissed
because several members of the Steer-

ing Committee feared Nolan and Cash
were making a biased selection. He
said although these members did not
attend the emergency meeting, they
had previously showed signs of sup-
port for McGlashen.
During the regular MSA meeting,
LSA representative Peter Apel tried to
pass an amendment to the election
code allowing MSA to wait until 32
days before the election to name the
election director, but this proposal did
not pass by the required margin of
two-thirds.
LSA representative John Simpson
said Apel brought up the amendment
to give MSA an extra week to careful-
ly deliberate before finally selecting a
director.
MSA also passed a resolution in
response to a Parking and Transporta-
tion Services proposal to monitor stu-
dent parking lots 24 hours a day using
Automatic Vehicle Identification, a
small computer chip that can be placed
on a car windshield. Cars without this
chip would be restricted from the lots
late at night.
The resolution specifically stated
that students and their parents fre-
quently use the parking lots after 6
p.m. Nolan said the resolution
means that "were there ever to be
any proposal to limit the access of
(student) parking lots, we would
oppose that."
Engineering representative Elliot
Wells-Reed said Parking and Trans-
portation Services has already decided
to postpone implementing the system
until 2003. He stressed that the resolu-
tion does not oppose AVI technology,
but only the idea of restricting student
parking.

YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE
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"ADVICE FROM THE WOMEN WHO CRACKED THE GLASS CEILING
WHEN IT WAS MADE OF STEEL"
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THURSDAY FEBRUARY 7,2002
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