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September 05, 2003 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-05

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September 5, 2003
@2003 The Michigan Daily
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Vol. CXIVI, No. 4


One-hundred-twelve years ofeditonalfreedom

Sunny with
winds from
the north-
west at six
miles per

:?; 73


-- - - ------------


commission to

probe LGBT issues

Kheirudin Sahimin takes a rip off a hookah, a long tube passing through an urn of water that cools smoke as it is drawn
through. The hookah was a popular attraction at the Arab Students Association table yesterday in the Diag during Festifall.
F ntices suents
t Jo campus activities

By Carmen Johnson
Daily Staff Reporter

If you didn't know how many stu-
dent groups existed on campus
before, you do now. A lot.
On a crowded Diag, 325 student
organizations set up booths inviting
students to join their groups at Fes-
tifall yesterday.
LSA freshman Rachael Maciasz
walked around the Diag with hands
fug of free.literature and goodies
handed out by student organiza-
"The amount of student groups
that are out there are is overwhelm-
ing," Maciasz said. Although she
admitted to being primarily inter-
ested in community service organi-
zations, she still ventured to several
tables. "But I signed up for any-
thing that gave out chocolate."

From ethnic and minority groups
to political groups and pre-profes-
sional organizations, there was a
range of choices to satisfy any stu-
Engineering sophomore Yunwen
Lee sat at the Singapore Student
Association table giving out picture
frames and t-shirts to students.
"We even attracted people who
weren't from Singapore," said
Yuwen, who has been involved with
SSA since last year..
For new groups, like the Jewish
College Republicans, Festifall is an
effective way to promote their
"It's been really busy and suc-
cessful," Business School junior
Eric Singer said, pointing to the list
of names collected.
Festifall organizer Ray Wixson
from the Office of Student Activi-

ties and Leadership spent the day
making sure no student groups
encountered problems.
"There's so much energy for Fes-
tifall," Wixson said. "It's the first
week of school, the weather is usu-
ally nice and everyone's excited
about the new school year."
Student organizers registered
groups during the summer, all hop-
ing to secure a spot most visible to
students. Booths are organized cate-
gorically in and along the peripher-
al of the Diag.
This year, student academic
groups were the lucky ones -
accruing prime Festifall locations
right in the center of the Diag.
"And if we could accommodate
more tables there would be a lot
more groups out on Festifall," said
Wixson. "There were 100 groups on

Meetings with the task
force will evaluate the
University's treatment of
LGBT individuals
By Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Reporter
Two town-hall meetings have
been scheduled by a University task
force to serve as a forum for com-
munity members to come together
and discuss their thoughts on the
campus atmosphere for lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender individu-
The group - known as the Task
Force on the Campus Climate for
Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and
Gay Faculty, Staff and Students -
which was started in response to
student requests made Fall semester
last year and appointed in March -
will be evaluating University poli-
cies and practices and making rec-
ommendations to ensure LGBT
campus community members feel
safe and comfortable.
Appointed by Provost Paul
Courant, the task force investigates
the climate on campus for transgen-
der, bisexual, lesbian and gay facul-
ty, staff and students.
These were issues last closely
examined about 10 years ago, when
Res halls
By Trista Van Tine
Daily Staff Reporter
Starting officially this semester,
each student living in University
housing has been provided a secure
personal mailbox for voice and fax
In an effort to provide newer
services to the students, faculty and
staff, the telephone service provider
for the University, Information
Technology Communications - or
IT Com - has developed the U-M
Message Center.
"Each student who is living in the
residence halls has their own four-
digit number and were given
instructions and information about
how to use the system prior to
move-in," said Jason Taylor, Univer-
sity Housing spokesman.
"The big effect is that you are no
longer able to dial the room phone
number to connect to their voice
mailbox. People have to dial the
student's personal number to leave a
message," he added.
All of these personal numbers
begin with 565, where the last four
digits compose the number assigned
to the individual student. In order to
reach a number in the 565 exchange
from a campus telephone, the caller
must dial 9 followed by the seven-
digit number.
Some of the new features include
forwarding messages to a telephone,
fax machine, e-mail address, short
message service device or pager.
For returning students, this is
quite a change from the former five

earlier groups made reports and
recommendations addressing simi-
lar topics.
"The University has for a long
time had general policies with
regard to gays and lesbians and
bisexuals and those are in the
Regents' bylaws," said Bruce Frier,
chair of the task force.
"But (with) the general issue of
how existing regulations are work-
ing, we haven't looked at this ques-
tion for about 10 years, so it
seemed time to do that."
He added that policy with regard
to LGBT issues has been changing
quickly, and that the University has
been working to respond to devel-
opments in a timely fashion.
One change the University took
came Tuesday with its revision of
the Statement of Student Rights and
Responsibilities, when gender iden-
tity was added to the code as a pro-
tected group.
In the past, University policies
did not recognize transgender indi-
viduals in a separate category and
as having separate needs, so some
policies currently in place need to
be evaluated to see if they ade-
quately protect transgender individ-
uals, he said.
Evidence collected by the Office
of LGBT Affairs in a 2000 survey,
results of which will be released

shortly to the public, indicates that
students - whether they were
transgender individuals or not -
felt that the climate at the Universi-
ty was unsafe for transgender indi-
viduals, Frier said, a classic studies
and law professor.
That's a very serious matter," he
said. "It indicates that there are
some students who just don't feel
safe here. And that's something the
University obviously takes very
Past actions taken on campus to
accommodate transgender individu-
als include an inventory of campus
restrooms, taken earlier this year, to
provide a listing of where and how
many unisex or gender inclusive
restrooms are available, and the
establishment of a Gender Identity
Work Group this past academic year
to learn about what might be miss-
ing in current programs and how to
better serve transgender students.
Frederic MacDonald-Dennis,
director of the Office of LGBT
Affairs said he thinks the task force
is both a necessary idea and a great
one. "I think it's an important time
for us to do another test of our cli-
mate so that we can find ways of
making it more inclusive and more
welcoming for all students," he
said, adding that he feels there have
See LGBT, Page 7

Haven't we met before?

Business School senior Matt Viaches, one of the Mentorship Program's communications
coordinators, speaks in Rackham Auditorium, during the Mentorship kickoff.
Coleman kicks
off, participates in
mentor program,

Art and Design senior Yen Shipley, who represented Michigan in Playboy's "Girls of the Big Ten," signs autographs at
Campus Corner yesterday. Inid: Shi signs as boys eagerly await her autograph. Page 8.

Democratic presidential debate focuses
on Bush's Iraq, economic policies

By Michael Kan
Daily Staff Reporter
President Mary Sue Coleman will
not only be watching over the entire
University this year, but she will
also be watching over several fresh-
men as a mentor.
In a speech last night at Rackham
Auditorium, Coleman along with
other speakers introduced the Uni-
versity's Mentorship program to a
crowd of first-year students partici-
pating in the program.
"This year, this event has special
meaning toward me, because I will
be mentoring in it," said Coleman.
"This program not only allows me
to mentor students, but more impor-
tantly, allows me to meet with stu-
dents first-hand," Yang said.
Peer mentor and LSA senior Lisa

dent's needs."
"I feel that she will be very open-
minded toward working with the
students, one on one," she added.
Coleman, along with many other
faculty members and upper class
students are trying to make college
life for freshmen more comfortable,
said Ayanna McConnell, Mentor-
ship Coordinator.
"The Mentorship Program is, in
some way, meant as a continuation
of the orientation program for
freshman," she said.
"The program is trying to help
them transfer into college."
McConnell added.
Included in the mentorship pro-
gram are peer mentors, or upper
class students, which help students
connect with life at the University.
"Peer Mentors help make the

a mostly cordial televised debate,
Democrats vying to replace President
Bush brushed aside their own differ-
ences last night and roundly con-
demned his handling of the economy,
Iraq and immigration policies.
"This president is a miserable fail-
ure" "aid former House Democratic

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean,

They welcome

who achieved

"L T

front-runner status W hy Wol.
after a summer
surge in the polls want to ke
and in fund rais-a hi
ing, had expected any 1 ing
to be a primary tax plan?'
target of his rivals.

ld we
)f the Bush

d Bush's decision to
finally seek U.N.
help in stabilizing
postwar Iraq, but
argued that he
should have done it
earlier and suggest-
ed his delay has
jeopardized U.S.

who by the luck of the draw got the
first question at a televised debate
among eight of the nine Democrats
seeking the party's presidential nomi-
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts,
who had cast himself as the early
front-runner, said that "the swagger of
a president who says 'bring 'em on'



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