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January 13, 2003 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-13

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LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 13, 2003 - 3A

Expected deficit may lead to double-digit cuts

DPS apprehends
eyeglass thieves,
victim not injured

A man walking outside of the
Michigan Union at approximately
1:50 a.m. yesterday reported that three
suspects confronted him and stole his
glasses before attempting to escape
with their vehicle. However, Depart-
ment of Public Safety officers nearby
located and stopped the vehicle at the
Monroe and Tappan street intersec-
tion. Officers arrested all three men,
one of whom knew the victim,
according to the DPS report.
No one was injured during the con-
frontation and officers recovered the
victim's glasses from the suspects.
Men seen stealing
sign from parking
structure
Two men allegedly stole a parking
lot sign belonging to a State Street
parking structure. The theft occurred at
approximately 2:10 Friday afternoon.
The men were seen taking the sign and
then escaping in a vehicle, heading
north on Packard Street.
* Blank check,
hundreds of
dollars stolen
An employee of the A. Alfred Taub-
man Health Care Center told DPS offi-
cers Friday that a blank check was
stolen from her purse sometime last
month while she was at work. The
caller said the thief then cashed the
check for several hundred dollars.
Driver vandalizes
car after losing
parking space
Two drivers parking in the Church
Street parking structure allegedly
began to argue Thursday morning over
who saw an empty parking space first.
After the victorious driver parked in
the space and left, the other driver
reportedly damaged the person's vehi-
cle, though DPS reports did not state
how extensively.
Officers were able to locate the dis-
gruntled driver, who was arrested for
malicious destruction of property.
Man with unclear
motives dents car
door, then escapes
According to the DPS incident log,
several observers testified that they
saw a man intentionally dent another
car with the door of his own vehicle
Friday afternoon. The man's motives
are unclear and it is unknown how the
observers were able to gauge his inten-
tions. The man left the area before offi-
cers could arrive.
Patient hurls chair
at physician, but
misses target
A University Hospital patient was
escorted from the building Friday
night by DPS officers after throw-
ing a chair at a physician. The chair
did not strike the physician, who
told officers he did not want to file
a report.
In an unrelated incident, an offi-
cer was allegedly punched in his
left shoulder area Wednesday night
by a patient in the Psychiatric
Emergency Room. DPS reports
state the patient was attempting to
leave the building.
Fight initiates at
end of celebration
A multiple-person fight allegedly

erupted between several partygoers
attending a celebration in the Michigan
Union Ballroom early Saturday morn-
ing. The cause of the fight is unclear,
but DPS reports state that it began as
the party was breaking up. Nobody
was injured, though one person was
arrested for assault.
Neglected water
faucet causes
flood in Stockwell
Police suspect that an unknown
person left a water faucet in a
Stockwell Residence Hall custodian
closet turned on over break, causing
damage to three floors of the build-
ing and creating a small flood in the
basement.
The property damage was discov-
ered Saturday morning.
DPS officers fail to
find hiimninr trash

LANSING (AP) - When the state's three
budget experts meet tomorrow to estimate how
much tax revenue the state can expect, they
won't be giving lawmakers a blueprint for how
much they can spend but rather how much
they'll have to cut.
State Treasurer Jay Rising, Senate Fiscal
Agency Director Gary Olson and House Fiscal
Agency Director Mitchell Bean already know tax
revenues aren't going to be enough to support the
current level of state spending.
Their joint estimate tomorrow on expected state
revenues will pave the way for lawmakers and Gov.
Jennifer Granholm to decide just how many pro-
grams will have to be slashed in the year ahead.
The state could face a deficit as high as $2 bil-
lion in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, which
could require cuts of more than 15 percent.
The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency
expects the state will have slight shortfalls even
in its current $8.9 billion general fund and $12.7
billion school aid fund, despite cuts made by
lawmakers last month.
"It's likely the worst in the 25 years I've been
here, primarily because the state has already
made some pretty significant cuts in the general
fund budget in the last two years," Olson said Fri-
day, referring to an 8.5 percent slash in spending.

"That's why this is a different period than the
early '80s or the early '90s."
The state's rainy day fund will be drained by
September and there's little left in specialized
funds the state has been able to dip into in recent
years. An income tax cut that took effect Jan. 1
will trim $200 million from state revenues this
calendar year.
The state also is facing about $100 million
less from the federal government to cover the
rising cost of Medicaid, which provides
health insurance for 1.2 million low-income
people and takes up 25 percent of the general
fund budget, Bean said.
Olson said President Bush's tax proposals,
if enacted, could cost the state up to $200
million in the coming budget year, although
there may be some offsetting increases if they
spur the economy.
Meanwhile, state expenses are expected to
rise as state employees get a raise, state pen-
sion costs go up, $110 million more in debt
service is added and prison costs increase.
A large part of the bleak revenue picture
has been the state income tax, which brought
in $4.8 billion in fiscal 2001 but is expected
to bring in only $4 billion this current fiscal
year, according to Olson.

"It's likely the worst (deficit) in the 25 years I've
been here, primarily because the state has already
made some pretty significant cuts."
- Gary Olson
Senate Fiscal Agency Director

A 0.1 percent annual cut in the income tax
rate each of the past three years is responsible
for part of the drop. But so is the slumping
stock market, which has given investors little
or no capital gains in recent years on which
to pay taxes.
It's a trend that has put the state ever deeper in
the hole. But Michigan faces not just the effects
of tax cuts and a slumping economy but the
need to realign its spending, which has contin-
ued to go up faster than its base revenues.
"The need still exists for the state to adopt a
strategic approach to bringing base revenues and
spending back into balance," the nonpartisan Citi-
zens Research Council of Michigan said in a
2002 report.
Bean estimates there will be about a 2 percent

increase in the amount of money Michigan will
take in between the current budget year and the
one coming up.
But "it certainly doesn't come anywhere
close to covering spending at existing levels....
Some people may have hoped we'd grow
enough to get out of it," but that isn't going to
happen, he added.
Robert Kleine, an East Lansing-based consult-
ant and former state economist, said he thinks the
revenue estimators have a better chance of being
on target this year.
"A lot of the economic indicators are looking a
little better. The stock market is more stable," he
said. "The one thing that still looks weak is
employment. ... (But) I don't think there's any dan-
ger that we're going to go into a recession again."

Tell me a story

Number of mentally
il prisoners increase,
jails lack funds to cope

Children and parents gather at the University of Michigan Museum of Art on State Street ohar
award-winning storyteller Jay O'Callahan yesterday.
Univ ersRity lyers deny sexua
harassment claims y professor-

DETROIT (AP) - The number of
mentally ill people being locked up in
Michigan jails and prisons is increas-
ing, leading to a heightened risk of
inmate suicide.
Frustrated administrators say they
lack the money, personnel and expert-
ise to evaluate or treat such inmates.
"We weren't designed to deal with
mental health issues. We weren't
intended to deal with the mentally
ill," said Terrence Jungel, executive
director of the Michigan Sheriffs
Association. -
But treatment behind bars, not in
clinical settings, is all that is available
for many mentally ill lawbreakers.
Michigan has closed 10 state
mental hospitals in the past decade.
According to a Sunday report in The
Detroit News, 23 percent - or
11,598 - of new state prison
inmates in 2002 reported past men-
tal health problems. That's an
increase from 19 percent - or
6,169 - in 1990.
Nationally, the number of mentally
ill persons,-behind-bars- is almost five -
times the number of patients in state
mental hospitals, according to the U.S.
Justice Department.
"We have a failing mental health
system," said Elliot Luby, a clinical
professor of psychiatry and law at
Wayne State University. "The effects
are felt at county jails. They don't have
the funds, hospitals here have been
closing and there are very few acute
care facilities.
"So the hospital settings then
become the prisons."
The influx of mentally ill inmates
means jail administrators are facing
problems similar to those of mental
health professionals - including pre-
venting suicides.
Suicide is the third-leading cause
of death in prisons and the leading
cause of death in jails nationwide,
according to the Justice Department.
Suicides are relatively uncommon,
however, in Michigan's state prisons,
which now house nearly 50,000

inmates. The Department of Correc-
tions has recorded 45 suicides since
1995.
Similar figures for county jails are
not available in a central database. In
Wayne County, eight inmates killed
themselves since 1999 and six
Macomb County inmates took their
lives between July 2000 and last April,
The News said.
In November, Oakland County
recorded its first jail suicide in more
than a decade, that of a schizo-
phrenic 19-year-old who hung him-
self with a sheet.
The Michigan Corrections Depart-
ment has detailed policies for oversee-
ing prisoners who may be suicidal and
for administering prescriptions.
The department also inspects jails to
make sure they have written policies
covering inmate care, but its oversight
powers are limited. Its inspection
reports go to sheriffs and county com-
missioners, who must decide how to
address any deficiencies - and how to
pay for solutions.
The Michigan Sheriffs Association
is working to help its members deal
more effectively and safely with the
mentally ill inmates in their jails.
Two training sessions will be held
May 29-30, Executive Director Jun-
gel said.
"We're looking for better ways of
diverting the mentally ill from county
jails to treatment programs," Jungel
said. "One of the problems is that there
is really limited availability of regional
treatment programs. It's a community
problem that needs to be dealt with on
a community-wide basis."
Gov. Jennifer Granholm sympa-
thizes with the sheriffs' plight, but the
state's own budget woes would limit its
ability to respond, spokeswoman Mary
Dettloff said.
"The governor feels jails are not the
place for us to keep the mentally ill,"
Dettloff said. "We've received a lot of
information from mental health advo-
cacy groups who want us to take a look
at this."

By Jeremy Berkowitz
Daily Staff Reporter
A brief filed in November by Uni-
versity lawyers contends that sexual
harassment and discrimination claims
made by English and American cul-
ture Prof. Betty Bell against English
Prof. Lincoln Faller and English and
American culture Prof. Alan Wald are
not valid.
Bell's attorney, Christine Green,
filed the lawsuit against the defen-
dants last September on four counts
of race discrimination, gender dis-
crimination, sexual harassment and
intentional infliction of emotional dis-
tress. She is asking for $25,000 in
damages and compensation. The law-
suit was filed in Washtenaw County
Circuit Court.
University spokeswoman Julie
Peterson said both sides are in the
middle of a discovery phase -
preparing to go to trial - but she is
unsure when the case go to trial.
"That's up to the court, so we're
waiting to hear a scheduling date,"
Peterson said.
In a September brief Bell said her
difficulties with the University
began during her second year of
teaching in 1994 when she was
asked to create and direct a Native
American Studies Program. Bell
alleged she was solely responsible
for developing and teaching most of
the new classes without any assis-
tance or additional compensation,
while also fulfilling other require-
ments of an assistant professor. She
said the amount of work she under-
took overburdened her and there-
fore delayed part of her tenure
application process. She also suf-
fered emotional distress, which
caused her to take a leave of
absence.
"Plantiff's responsibilities in that
regard were far in excess of those
imposed upon other Assistant Pro-
fessors," The brief stated, "(Her)
excessive responsibilities, the
defendants' failure to recruit addi-
tional faculty, as well as the failure
of defendant to provide assistance

and mentorship, delayed and inter-
fered with (the) plaintiff's ability to
achieve tenure, and had a deleterious
effect on her career as a scholar and
as a novelist."
But in their brief, the defendants
argue while Bell played an impor-
tant role in the development of the
NASP, she had much assistance.
The brief also said these responsi-
bilities were not imposed on Bell,
and that they did not seem to be
burdensome on her.
"The official administrative
responsibilities were not excessive
and they were not imposed upon
(the) plaintiff. Moreover, (the)
plaintiff's administrative responsi-
bilities have to be viewed in the
context of the advantages which
were provided to her over the years,
in the form of course releases,
leaves, summer ninths and financial
assistance."
In addition, they said Bell was
the highest paid assistant professor
in both her departments from 1994
until 2001 when she resigned as
director of the Native American
Studies Program of the English
Department.
In Bell's brief, there are also
claims regarding sexual harassment
and discrimination initiated by Fall-
er and Wald. There were several ref,
erences to alleged remarks made by
Faller insulting Native Americans.
Wayne State University Law
School Dean Joan Mahoney said
many sexual harassment and discrimi-
nation lawsuits take on a "he said, she
said" feeling. She said the obstacle of
sexual harassment lawsuits is not just
determining whether someone's
claims are valid, but also if they con-
stitute sexual harassment.
"It's a difficult area. Sometimes the
question is not who did what, but
whether that rises to the level of sexual
harassment," Mahoney said. "If it goes
to trial, a jury simply has to decide
which is the more credible witness."
Bell's brief cites one instance in
which Faller allegedly made an insen-
sitive remark to Bell. After offering
alcohol to Bell, which she refused

because she said she did not like alco-
hol, Faller reportedly asked, "What
kind of Indian are you?"
But in Miller's brief, Faller denies
that he made those remarks and added
that he had repeatedly seen Bell con-
sume alcohol - such as wine - at
parties.
In addition, she said Wald, with
whom she had a personal and sexual
relationship from September 1993 to
February 1994, allegedly gossiped
about her with other faculty members
and also insulted her to her face.
"The Plaintiff has sustained
injuries, including loss of earnings
and earning capacity, loss of career
opportunities (and) loss of reputation
in the academic community," Green
wrote.
Wald claims he had an erratic rela-
tionship with Bell after they ended
their relationship in 1994. He said
there were times where she refused to
talk with him and other times when
she made efforts to reconcile with
him and become friends. He said he
never insulted or talked about her
behind her back.
"Several of the efforts at reconcilia-
tion consisted of invitations to come
to (the) plaintiff's house for drinks,
and on one occasion, perhaps the
'1997' to which plaintiff refers, there
was a limited sexual encounter, but no
resumption of a relationship." Miller
wrote in the brief.
He also refuted a claim by Bell that
he had tried to exploit her over the
years. He said he was never in a posi-
tion of power over her until July 2000
when he became director of the
American Culture Program, adding
that once he became director he
always treated with her respect.
"At no time during his term as Direc-
tor of American Culture - the only
time when Wald had any 'power' over
plaintiff - did he ever request that
plaintiff take on any important assign-
ments," the defendants' brief said,
adding that all of Bell's assignments
prior to her January 2002 sabbatical had
been made prior to Wald's term or they
were decided by former LSA Dean
Shirley Neuman, or Bell herself.

I

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