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September 02, 2003 - Image 28

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4

VIEWPOINT
A student's primer on Code conversion

BY ANDREW BLOCK
Students at the University are recognized across the country for
their commitment to protecting civil liberties. On the level of nation-
al politics, University students are the first to organize against what
they view as an infringement on their rights or the rights of others.
Now is the time for students to stand up and be heard in the debate
over their rights as members of the University community by sup-
porting the Michigan Student Assembly's proposed amendments
to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, for-
merly known as "The Code."By simply logging on to www.stu-
dentpolicies.dsa.umich.edu/review/, students can lend their
voices to the cause.
Despite a general lack of awareness of the existence of the
Code, this document directly affects every single student
at the University. The Code governs all behavior that is: r
primarily non-academic, stating which types of behavior
the University considers a violation of its policies and laying
out the disciplinary process required to address such violations.
While the Code can be used to promote a safer, more responsible cam-
pus community, certain portions of the policy permit an unnecessary
extension of the University's power or fail to secure rights that should be
basic to the disciplinary process. While the stated purpose of the State-
ment is to educate the student body, the reality is that students facing the
disciplinary procedure are subject to punishments ranging from simple
probation or community service to suspension or expulsion.
The Student Rights Commission of MSA has been working hard
over the past months to bring desperately-needed changes to the Code.
Once every two years, MSA has the opportunity to propose amend-
ments, which are then reviewed by a faculty committee before being
forwarded to the President. While several of our seven suggested
changes have been received positively by the faculty and the adminis-
tration, there is some disagreement over certain amendments that
would afford much-needed protection to students' civil liberties.
With respect to the disciplinary process, two parts of the Code
stand out as particularly disturbing: The denial of the accused's right
to legal representation during an arbitration hearing and the inability

of accused students to open their hearing to the public unless consent
of the complainant is also given. Although many other Big Ten uni-
versities (including President Mary Sue Coleman's old home) make
provisions for legal representation at the student's expense and allow
the accused student to open a hearing unilaterally, the University lags
behind in affording similar protections to its students. Our amend-
ment would correct this imbalance by making these options available
to students under certain circumstances. It is unfortunate that an
1 institution famed for its progressivism has thus far been unable to
adopt procedures that ensure that students' basic rights are pro-
tected.
The potential also exists for the University to overreach
the limits of its power. Currently, behavior that occurs in
Ann Arbor but off University property may be considered a
violation of the Code. Through our amendments, the Student
Rights Commission is attempting to restrict the Universi-
ty's authority within its natural boundaries: University-
owned property, public property immediately adjacent to
that property and University events and programs. The
University should not have the power to punish students for behavior
that occurs away from the campus area unless that behavior provides a
serious threat to the University community, a condition that is explic-
itly contained in the amendment.
Student input is critical to the amendment process. The faculty are
reviewing the proposals at this very moment and will soon be decid-
ing whether to recommend that the amendments be accepted or reject-
ed by Coleman.
Go to wwwstudentpolicies.dsa.umich.edu/review/ and let the facul-
ty know how you feel about MSA's proposals by scrolling down to the
feedback form at the bottom of the page. A complete version of the
proposals and a quick-review summary are available to facilitate the
feedback process.
You owe it to yourself as a student at the University to be a part of
this monumental process. Let your voices be heard now, before it's
too late.
Block is the chair of the Students' Rights Commission of MSA.

4

4

4

My deity can defeat your deity
HUSSAIN RAHIM NARCouivT.c INSOMNIA

Did you know that
God was on trial?
Not the one he's
been on for years in my
head but the one that
occurred in a more corpo-
real realm on February
10-12 from 7-9 p.m. in
Rackham Auditorium.
The time was within my
schedule, the price of free was within my
range and the topic is always relevant so I
made the adventurous trek.
The first night's discussion dealt with the
existence of God and why that question is
important. The speaker, while very eloquent,
gave the philosophical arguments heard by
those who have ever partaken in the good-
ness that is a philosophy course. Then the
really sexy part of the discussion came -
the question and answer. The questions
ranged from obscure Steven Hawking nega-
tive universe theories, to pertinent questions
of everyday existence. The closest question
to the one I didn't get to ask from the line
was about the purpose of life and the entire
paradox of God. The lecturer agreed with
the basic givens of God. If there was a God,
he would be all knowing, all-powerful and
perhaps all-good. He also said God would
have created life for the creations to enjoy
it. So why would or how could an all-know-
ing God punish someone for sins they com-
mit when their path is immutable? With the
acceptance of God, as he is defined one also
accepts the view that their life is all but
determined. Maybe statements of "That's the

way God wanted it to be" have incensed you
as much as they have me. Although I may
not know the plan would have, if there were
one it leaves little reason to be alive. There
is little purpose to live a fatalistic life.
If one juxtaposes fate with the quaint
notion of free will then you believe that one
can act in a way that will surprise God?
Pretty vain thought. So I asked Dr. William
Lane Craig this. He explained with a pretty
good analogy that God is a perfect barome-
ter, he or she can tell you the weather but
God doesn't directly affect the weather,
whereas the sun, clouds, rain and such actu-
ally determine the weather. Good analogy, or
so I thought until that pesky free thought
started to seep in.
Cut to Tuesday's lecture where the topic
was secularism and pluralistic truth or reli-
gion's role in society. His lecture was quali-
ty and all but the question and answer is
what I paid the big money for. The questions
were fairly intelligent with the highlight
being the Muslim student who tried to point
out the divisiveness that is inherent in Chris-
tianity. Hmmm, is that a fight you really
want to get into? There are so many incon-
sistencies within any religion that the only
time they can unite is to fight another reli-
gion. The speaker easily dismantled the stu-
dent's argument. During their discourse the
tension of Muslim v. Christian became pal-
pable. One mental giant proceeded to yell
"Amen!" in conjunction with a retort from
the speaker. And that's when I remembered
that religious people scare me.
I was at an event sponsored by a myriad

of Ann Arbor churches and University
Christian groups. Visions of excommunica-
tion and fatwas passed through my head. I
realized the error in holding a philosophical
trial of God where the judge and jury are all
Christian. God will get off with apologies
from the court. I realized the question and
answer session, while very scholarly, was
tantamount to asking your heathen question,
get your holy answer and move on. Without
question, I appreciate the organization,
effort and progressive thinking that went
into this event and this was one of the most
intellectual ways I have seen religion dis-
cussed. However, I did not attend the forum
to be proselytized, and without a strong
counter presence the mood inevitably shifts
to this direction.
At the end of the second night I asked
this speaker my question from the previous
night. Why be punished for a path I can't
alter? I told him the barometer analogy but
this time I said that God is the perfect
barometer that can predict and control the
weather. So if he can't be surprised, why
give life? He said it comes down to two
things: Either man is something totally dif-
ferently or God is not all-knowing. A power-
ful being with that is not all-knowing: I
know him - he's the president, and that
thought was even more disturbing. Maybe
the only answer is that there is none and that
the purpose is to enjoy it and live. I skipped
Wednesday's lecture. Too much thinking, I
should go pray.
Rahim can bereachedathrahim@umich.edu.

I

4

ErVIEWPOINT
.~Carr 'officially on the clock'

BY JOSEPH LITMAN

Born and bred in New York, I never had a
natural allegiance to any local college foot-
ball team because most of them were mar-
ginal at best against mid-level teams. Neither
my NYU-graduate mother nor my Brooklyn
College-alum father had any reason to indoc-
trinate me with a preference for either of
their alma maters. Thus, my attachment to
college football was forged by what was on
television - lots of Notre Dame and Michi-
gan games.
The Fighting Irish quickly became my least
favorite team. I detested that the media loved
them and I had no patience for the deification
of Ron Pawluses. (And, while this is non-foot-
ball related, I need to get this off my chest while
lambasting Notre Dame: No coach was less
deserving to end UCLA's basketball winning
streak than the English-language-butchering,
totally-moronic, worst-college-basketball-ana-
lyst-alive Richard "Digger" Phelps. Now back
to your regularly scheduled "Why-Notre-
Dame's-the-Worst" broadcast.) Thus, I was
killed when they would beat "cool" teams like
Michigan and hurt even more when a program I
so thoroughly abhorred was so widely adored
by seemingly everyone else.
This deeply felt discontent with the Irish led
me to embrace Michigan. The school's beautiful
colors, ubiquity on the boob tube and amazing
fortunes, both good and bad, made it easy, any-
way. I danced around my living room when
Desmond Howard struck the Heisman pose in
the end zone; I cried when Kordell Stewart
threw that ball 70 yards to Michael Westbrook
by way of the Michigan secondary.
In fact, by the age of 15, I had already
decided that I'd like to attend the University

University. (Vomiting. Lots of vomiting.) Due to
my passion for the Maize and Blue, I quickly
came to resent every Ohio State victory, viewing
them as personal insults. Who was I rooting for
each week? Michigan, and whichever teams
were playing Notre Dame and OSU.
Last Friday night, I sat at home sickened
because Ohio State defeated Miami to claim the
National Championship. Forget a punch; I felt as
though someone had smacked me in the stom-
ach with a lead pipe. I quickly called some
friends to try and commiserate, but one of them
completely punked me. Instead of lamenting the
Buckeyes' victory, he waxed about Big Ten
supremacy - evidenced by the conference's 5-2
bowl record and title-winning champion - and
the solace Michigan could find for having all
but beaten OSU in the Horseshoe.
Initially, I supposed that finding a silver lin-
ing in that gray cloud seemed, if nothing else,
poetically appropriate having watched the Scar-
let and Silver euphorically run around Sun Devil
Stadium.
Quickly, though, I returned from the illusion
and realized that all the Buckeye victory proved
was how far our team is from where it should be
- a distance akin to the one between Tampa
and Tempe. Michigan was not in the title game
matching Miami's speed; Michigan was not
showing championship resolve by finding ways
to win each week; most importantly, Michigan
was not galvanized by its,coach's confidence
and discipline. Instead, we were left to the mercy
of Ron Zook's idiocy; we were left with yet
another disappointing season.
Something, therefore, has to change. Out
with Schembechler and in with Spurrier; run it
up, don't grind it out; speed beats speed, brawn
does not. Augusts should hear players and
coaches talking about winning the national title;

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