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One-hundredfourteen years of editorialfreedom
www.michigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan m Vol. CXV, No. 87 2005 The Michigan Daily
By Karl Stampfl
Daily Staff Reporter
planned vote on whether to fund a Univer-
sity chapter of the Public Interest Research
Group in Michigan will most likely be
delayed. An injunction filed by MSA Chief
of Staff Elliot Wells-Reid halted the vote -
which was scheduled for tonight - by argu-
ing that PIRGIM's alleged lobbying would
endanger MSA's tax-exempt status.
The decision to suspend the vote in lieu
of a full trial was handed down by a three-
member Central Student Judiciary during a
preliminary hearing last night. A full trial
will take place on March 9 in the MSA
Chambers in the Michigan Union.
Wells-Reid petitioned the CSJ because
he said PIRGIM's lobbying efforts could
threaten MSA's tax-exempt status - which
would be difficult to regain if lost. Wells-
Reid also made another argument which the
CSJ rejected. He said that because PIRGIM
lobbies the state legislation and the assem-
bly's funding comes in part from students,
for the MSA to put $20,000 toward a cam-
pus chapter of PIRGIM would be violating
basic freedom of expression rights.
PIRGIM is a citizen-funded group that
tackles issues like the environment, high
prices for college books and the protection
Representatives from PIRGIM and MSA
General Counsel Jesse Levine argued that
funding PIRGIM would not endanger the
tax-exempt status. They described a.dif-
ference between lobbying - persuading
elected officials to take specific stances on
- and advocacy, which is doing research
on issues and presenting them to legislators.
Part of PIRGIM's umbrella organization,
they said, is involved with lobbying, but
none of MSA's funds would go to that part.
If MSA provides funds to Students for
PIRGIM, the organization will be renamed
"Student PIRGIM would not lobby at all,"
said Carolyn Hwang, Students For PIRGIM
See PIRGIM, Page 3
Coke representative Lori Billingsley speaks alongside colleagues Percey Wells and Harry Ott at the Michigan Student Assembly debate about
Coca-Cola In the MSA chambers of the Michigan Union last night.
MSA to vote on anti-Coke resolution
MSA listened to
both Coca-Cola and the
Killer Coke Coalition
By Jeremy Davidson
Daily Staff Reporter
Members of the Michigan Student
Assembly met last night to discuss alle-
gations against the Coca-Cola Compa-
ny concerning human rights violations
in India and Colombia before voting
tonight on a resolution to recommend
that the University end its contract with
the soft drink giant.
MSA representatives had the oppor-
tunity to hear from representatives
from both Coca-Cola and the student-
led anti-Coke campaign known as the
Killer Coke Coalition
If MSA votes against Coke, it will be
agreeing to a resolution that would aim
to pressure the University to cut its $1.2
million contract with Coca-Cola.
"It was an excellent opportunity for
both sides to confront the issues, for
representatives to hear the concerns
of both sides and for students at large
to make their own judgements," said
LSA senior Jason Mironov, president
MSA had originally planned the vote
for last Tuesday but delayed it to get a
perspective from both sides.
RC Junior Ashwini Hardikar, co-
chair of MSA's Peace and Justice Com-
mission spoke about the significance of
"Symbolically this will help pres-
sure the (University) president and
others involved in making the decision
about the contract to drop (it) with the
University," Hardikar said.
MSA first heard testimony from
Laura Billingsley, a spokeswoman of
the Coca-Cola company, and Harry
Ott, director of Global Environmental
Assurance at the Coca-Cola company.
Billingsley said some of the allega-
tions brought against Coke include that
the company supports intimidation of
union leaders, and that the company
does not provide sufficient protection
for its employees.
"The Coca-Cola company has col-
lective bargaining agreements in place
with 11 different unions in Colombia,
covering wages and benefits, and health
and safety measures," Billingsley said.
If any employee feels unsafe, she
added, there are a number of safety and
security measures, which Coca-Cola
can utilize. These include transporta-
tion to workers' houses in order to pro-
tect them from possible paramilitary
One of the allegations the Killer
Coke Coalition and Coca-Cola workers
abroad have made against the company
is that it uses paramilitaries to intimi-
date its workers.
Billingsley added that these ben-
efits are offered collectively through
the union, the government and the
Javier Correa, an activist in the anti-
Coke campaign and former worker at a
Coca-Cola bottling plant in Colombia,
disagreed with Billingsley's statement,
saying that Coca-Cola never provided
See COKE, Page 7
By Laura Van Hyfte
Daily Staff Reporter
A series of burglaries occurred this weekend at sev-
eral student homes neighboring campus, resulting in the
pilfering of laptop computers, iPods and other valuables.
The break-ins occurred on South Division Street, East
University Avenue, Prospect Street and the Sigma Phi
Epsilon fraternity house on State Street.
A crime analyst at the Ann Arbor Police Department
will investigate all of the burglaries tomorrow to determine
whether they are connect-
ed, said AAPD Lt. Mark
Hoornstra, adding that it
was not possible to know
yet if they were related.
Sigma Phi Epsilon had
an estimated $2,500 worth
of valuables taken, said Sig
Ep President Scott Cohen,
who filed the report with
AAPD. Cohen reported
that a digital cable box, a
DJ mixing box, one com-
posite of fraternity photos
and assorted other items
just not as
in a crime."
- Mark Hoornstra
Bush wants to
funding to states
* Proponents of the nation-
al program say new proposal
would lead to bankruptcy
By Julia Homing
Daily Staff Reporter
If a provision of President Bush's 2006
budget is passed by Congress, federal fund-
ing for Amtrak would go from $1.2 billion
each year to zero, requiring the states to
pick up the costs of Amtrak services -
including those offered at the Ann Arbor
The proposed changes could affect the
travel plans of many students who use
Amtrak to travel to stops from Chicago to
At a news conference in Chicago last
week, Department of Transportation Sec-
retary Norman Mineta said the proposed
Mineta said Amtrak functions best where
individual state governments make bud-
getary decisions for the rail service. Steve
Kulm, director of public affairs for the Fed-
eral Railroad Administration, agreed with
"(Under the new budget), the states will
become responsible for where the service is
needed, how it is operated and the funding
for the service," Kulm said.
"States are already in charge of transit
systems, airport authorities and highways.
Why should rail be different?" she added.
But Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov.
Jennifer Granholm, said the governor hopes
Congress will reject Bush's proposal and
continue to fund Amtrak. The state is cop-
ing with a $370 million revenue shortfall in
the current fiscal year.
"Our hope is that Congress would also
recognize the economic and quality-of-life
had been taken sometime Sunday morning.
"The fraternity composite alone costs roughly $2,000,"
A majority of the items were stolen from the main floor
and belonged to the chapter. Cohen said he filed the report
primarily for insurance purposes. No items, to the frater-
nity's knowledge, were stolen from any other floor.
"To my recollection and my history here, this has never
happened before. Sometimes people may steal composites
just for a joke, and it doesn't bother me, but this definitely
wasn't just a prank. This was a serious robbery," Cohen
said, adding that he did not know why someone would
steal a fraternity composite.
"The composite was locked in a glass case that was built
into the wall. They literally ripped it out of the wall. ... We
don't believe that we will be getting it back," he said.
Hoornstra said students' homes are often broken into
because they are not careful or aware of the danger of
burglary. It is not unheard of for a burglar to enter a home,
and upon confrontation by an inhabitant, declare that they
know one of the residents, Hoornstra added.
"We have a number of incidents of when a burglar may
say 'Oh - I'm looking for John,' and an unsuspecting
kid could reply, 'John doesn't live here' - unaware that
they were just being robbed. Then the burglar could turn
around and walk out without anybody knowing what he
was up to," Hoornstra said.
"If stuff like this happens, we need to be contacted
right away," Hoornstra added.
The densely populated student residential areas can
Amtrak conductor Gary Turnblom helps passengers board the 355 train to Chicago
yesterday at the Ann Arbor Amtrak station.