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January 12, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 12, 2005

OPINION

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
We need to
establish in the
public mind a key
fiscal fact: Right
now we are on an
unsustainable course.
The reality needs to
be seared into the
public consciousness.
- White House political strategist Peter
Wehner, in a memo to conservative groups on
Social Security reform leaked last week, as
reported Monday by washingtonpost.com.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPbOX

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Due process
JORDAN SCHRADER PORT HURON STATEMENT
t isn't exactly the cess. The other 113 cases that OSCR took against hazing. That may not translate into
higher-education ver- care of were settled in more informal set- harsh penalties this year, if administra-
sion of Guantanamo tings, in which the accused students accepted tors think a warning shot is enough. But the
over at the Office of Stu- responsibility for their misdeeds or agreed crackdown illustrates that treatment of code
dent Conflict Resolution. to sit down with their accusers and work out violations depends on the values and whims
Students don't face their differences. of the changing leaders of the University. It
particularly draconian So the students' demands for legal repre- will especially depend on the philosophy of
penalties at the hands sentation at the hearings seem unnecessary. OSCR's leaders and the people they choose to
of the disciplinarians Nothing to get worked up about - it only arbitrate student disputes.
charged with enforcing affects a handful of people. I know if I faced being thrown out of the
the University's code Yet that handful could include any student University because of accusations against a
of conduct. OSCR can't on campus. Particularly affected are those in group I belonged to, I would want a lawyer.
take legal action against students. It can the Greek system, now that several chapters I know if the accusations were so serious
suspend or expel them, but the office didn't on campus have been swept up in an inves- they could lead to a criminal investigation,
suspend a single student in the 2003-04 tigation of alleged hazing practices. Hazing I wouldn't be satisfied with having the law-
school year, and it hasn't reported expelling falls under the code, so OSCR has the task of yer whispering in my ear, which is currently
a student since 1996. Because OSCR views disciplining the students involved. allowed at OSCR hearings. I would want him
discipline as an educational process, it often University officials described pledges pleading my case and cross-examining my
sentences students to take a conflict-manage- locked in car trunks and driven in circles until accusers.
ment class, write a paper or just apologize to they were sick, while others were allegedly OSCR Director Keith Elkin says adding
the accuser. stripped to their underwear and left in a room lawyers to the mix would "fundamentally
Yet a group of dedicated students again with the wind blowing through open win- change the nature of our process, and we
and again tries to reform OSCR and rewrite dows until one pledge required medical atten- would look more like a criminal justice sys-
the code of conduct, arguing that the whole tion. Surely those accusations are significant tem." It's an understandable concern. But if
process is an abuse of power over students. enough that some students faced (or still face) it only applies to a couple of hearings a year
This year, they are focusing on obtaining potential expulsion - though the secretive - probably fewer, if lawyers were allowed
legal representation for students who face process prevents us from knowing for sure for only the most serious charges - it should
expulsion at code-violation hearings. A com- until the University makes its final report. have little effect on the day-to-day conflict
mittee of faculty and students will consider Perhaps the fact that no one had been management of OSCR.
whether to make that and other code amend- expelled for code violations in nearly a It's true that the change would affect few
ments on Friday. decade should have comforted the students people under the philosophy of education
So why try to reform the expulsion process in the chapters under investigation. But prob- espoused by OSCR's leaders. But philoso-
when it hasn't handed down an expulsion ably not. After all, the University also hasn't phies can change and students can quickly
since before the football team won its last systematically pursued hazing violations until find themselves in over their heads. The Uni-
national championship? recently, at least not with such a public cam- versity would do well to throw them a line.
Moreover, the kangaroo court isn't exactly paign. It used to take serious injuries like the
hopping - few students go to a formal hear- one in 2003 at Sigma Chi to provoke a major
ing. In 2003-04, just two cases went through investigation. Schrader canbreached .
the much-criticized formal arbitration pro- The University is making a statement jtschrad@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0

Columnist misunderstands
nature of abortion debate
TO THE DAILY:
In Pro-Choice and Hating It (01/10/2005),
Daniel Adams misses the point. The real tragedy
in this case is that a pregnant 16-year-old thought
she had no options but to be the repeated victim
of violence by her boyfriend.
Sadly, due to anti-choice regulations and the
increasing construction of barriers to choice, such
as mandatory waiting periods and parental con-
sent, many young women who become pregnant
often feel they cannot rely on the medical com-
munity to assist them and decide to take matters
into their own hands. The first large anti-choice
statue post-Roe v. Wade, the Hyde Amendment,
resulted in casualties almost immediately. The
amendment cut off all state funding for safe and
legal abortions, and Rosie Jimenez, a 27-year-old
college student, was desperate. Unable to afford a
safe abortion performed by a doctor, she resorted
to a back-alley abortion and died as a result. Her
body was found with a $700 check for her college
tuition in her pocket.
Adams speaks of the "polarizing" of the
choice in this country. Students for Choice
agrees that the debate has become deconstruc-
tive because our focus is in the wrong place.
Rather than arguing over the status of a fetus,
we need to take measures to prevent unwanted
pregnancies through comprehensive sex edu-
cation, affordable contraception covered by
medical insurance and the promotion of healthy
relationships. Additionally, we need to provide
support for mothers and their children through
pre- and neo-natal care and child care services
available to all. But in the case that an unwanted
pregnancy does occur, a woman must have the
option to terminate her pregnancy in a safe and
affordable manner.
Our politicians, regardless of party line, have
shown that they care about scoring political
points rather than caring about the well-being of
children, mothers and families. Let's not fall prey
to their rhetoric and demand that we support and
care for the children that come into this world.
Ashwini Hardikar
Greg Malivuk
Natalie Phelps
Lisa Bakale-Wise
Rebecca Rueble
The letter writers are members of the executive
board of Students for Choice.

difference. And that's still assuming that death
through prolonged and repeated blunt trauma is
not any worse than any of the relatively quick
ways abortion can take place.
Most people, though, probably have some
concern for the women involved, who are
actual human beings according to every ethical
system I am familiar with, rather than potential
human persons. And if women figure into the
abortion issue at all, there's a huge difference
between a procedure performed in a hospi-
tal using a surgical-grade vacuum and what a
scared teenage boyfriend did with a bat. In one
case, a woman is in a safe hospital environment
and typically experiences only slight to moder-
ate discomfort, akin to menstrual cramping. In
the other, a woman was beaten repeatedly in
the abdomen with a bat. Let me repeat that key
point: A woman was beaten, by her boyfriend,
with a bat.
I hope I don't go too far out on a limb when I
say that beating a woman with a bat, or beating a
man with a bat, or beating a child, or a dog or cat
should never be okay.
Adams may himself have conveniently ignored
the procedures he claims to defend, but most of
the pro-choice individuals I know would appreci-
ate being left out of the "we" he accuses of disre-
garding the realities of abortion. I am doubtless
in the company of millions of other pro-choicers
when I say that I understand exactly what abor-
tion is and what it does. I also understand that
for many pregnant women it is the only available
option. I understand that if it weren't for unwar-
ranted restrictions like mandatory 24-hour wait-
ing periods for a surgical procedure no one does
on a whim, certain women might be able to have it
done safely and legally early in pregnancy instead
of getting beaten repeatedly with a bat.
Greg Malivuk
LSA senior
'U' partly to blame for
housing situation
TO THE DAILY:
In response to Jesse Levine's viewpoint
(Addressing Ann Arbor's tenant problems,
01/10/2005), I sincerely hope that the Housing
Legal Reform Project can effectively repre-
sent and empower off-campus renters. Rent-
ers would not be in such a poor position if the
University could provide acceptable campus
housing at a reasonable price. Had the funds
that fueled former University President Lee

student population and, ultimately the entire
University. For starters, let's demolish the Frieze
Building and build North Quad to the sky!
Miles Putnam
LSA senior
Professors and publishers
affect textbook prices
TO THE DAILY:
I support Mike Roth's letter to the editor
(Daily textbook shopping suggestions are 'dead on,'
01/10/2005) and the Daily's editorial (Buying
books, 01/07/2005) about the concerns of the text-
book purchasing system and the increasing text-
book prices. The solutions in both articles were
commendable and had good ideas of how the Uni-
versity and students can alleviate the problems of
buying textbooks. Students could also make use
of book exchanges as well, such as www.dogears.
net and the Student Book Exchange.
Nevertheless, both the Daily's editorial and
Roth's article left out some key actions that pro-
fessors and the University could take to combat
increasing prices. Price increases can be caused
when publishing companies update textbooks but
change very little of the actual content. Many of
these new editions come with "bundled" mate-
rials, such as CD-ROMs, answer booklets and
other excess materials that are sometimes not
used at all in the duration of a course. Unfortu-
nately, when professors assign the new edition of
a textbook, the cheaper, older edition cannot be
used for the course. Because these excess mate-
rials and small content changes raise textbook
prices significantly, professors should not assign
these more expensive, newer "bundled" text-
books for their courses. In the case that the new
edition must be used, professors should work to
accommodate students who wish to use older
versions of textbooks. For example, professors
could provide online supplements of the updated
portions of the text to complement the older edi-
tions of the textbooks.
Besides using creative solutions to decrease
textbook costs, professors should use their
standing to communicate student concerns to
publishing companies. Recently, the California
Public Interest Research Group, wrote letters
to textbook companies urging them to decrease
unnecessary textbook updates and has worked
to pass bills to prevent this problem. CALPIRG
had found that many of the high textbook prices
are not set by local bookstores, but instead by the
national publishing companies. Because publish-

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