The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 6, 2005 - 3
MSA to host
The Michigan Student Assembly
will hold a roundtable event tonight at
8 p.m. on how student organizations
can obtain funding. Guest speakers
will advise student leaders on devel-
oping their organization. The event
will be held in MSA chambers on
the 3rd floor of the Union.
to perform at Hill
The University's chamber choir,
conducted by Jerry Blackstone, will
perform Petite Messe Solennelle at
Hill Auditorium tonight at 8 p.m.
Admission is free and seating is
will hold public
Coke's conduct in
Protesters from 18 student
groups gather at Fleming to urge
administration to cut contract
By Carissa Miller
Daily Staff Reporter
A coalition of University groups expanded their
criticism of Coca-Cola yesterday to include allega-
tions of union busting in Turkey and Indonesia.
About 25 University students assembled out-
side the Fleming Administration Building last
night to protest the University's contract with
Coca-Cola. Protesters the building three times
- once for Coca-Cola's alleged environmen-
tal violations in India, again for Coke's alleged
complicity in violence against union leaders in
Colombia and a third time for alleged union
busts in Turkey and Indonesia. Afterwords, they
moved past various administration offices inside
"We wanted representatives from different
groups to come to remind the University of the
diversity of students in the coalition and the
multiple aspects of this issue," said LSA senior
Jayanthi Reddy, a member of the Association for
India's Development. "It is not just an environ-
mental issue or a labor issue. There are lots of
students that would like to see the University cut
its contract with Coca-Cola."
Currently, 20 student organizations - includ-
ing Students Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality, the College Democrats and the Univer-
sity's United Asian American Organizations -
have formally declared their support for the Coke
Campaign Coalition. "We believe (the coalition)
deserves a response from the University," said
College Democrats chair Libby Benton. "Right
now, it is important to keep up the presence and
visibility and show that delaying a response won't
make student activists go away."
Representatives from 18 of the 20 student
groups were present at the protest, including the
campus chapter of Amnesty International and
the Graduate Employees' Organization. Yester-
day's turnout was an improvement over a dem-
onstration last month, when only four student
members of the coalition showed up to picket
outside the administration building.
During the past year, the Coke Campaign
Coalition has pushed the University to cut its $1.3
million contract with Coca-Cola, based on the
company's alleged international human rights
and environmental abuses.
The University announced in October that
Coke successfully met the first requirement for
contract renewal set forth by the University's Dis-
pute Review Board, which stated that the com-
pany must either engage in "good faith actions" or
accept a third-party audit. The DRB, charged with
investigating whether Coke adheres to the Vendor
Code of Conduct, developed a set of deadlines
Coke must meet for the 2005-06 academic year.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said
the University's position remains that the best rela-
tionship it can have with Coke is one of exerting a
positive influence on the company's conduct. She
said the October decision to continue working with
Coke was appropriate because there were indica-
tions the company had made progress toward com-
plying with the code of conduct. The University's
next deadline for Coke is set for Dec. 31.
Peterson said the University's contract with
Coke will most likely be cut if the company does
not meet the remaining deadlines or act in a man-
ner that fosters a valuable working relationship
with the University.
"The University has been taking this issue very
seriously," Peterson said. "Students are free to
express their concern, and this group of students
want to let the University know of their concern
with this issue. We are aware of that."
Some students, such as LSA junior and Environ-
mental Justice member Ben Grimshaw, said that a
show of support from multiple student groups might
have more of an impact on the administration.
and chapter repre-
sentatives will hold a public meeting
tonight at 7 p.m. in the Pendelton
room in the Union. Meetings occur
weekly but are open to the public
only once a month.
Two streakers hit
Markley dining hall
Two naked men ran through Mary
Markley dining hall around 1 p.m. Sun-
day, according to the Department of
Public Safety. The crime is still under
investigation and no suspects have yet
A computer chair from a lab on the
first floor of Mary Markley Residence
Hall was reported missing Sunday
around 1:49 p.m. DPS has no suspects in
set fire to stove in
DPS responded to a small fire in an
apartment in Northwood IV around
8:23 a.m. Sunday. The fire was promptly
A caller reported a damaged handrail in
a stairwell in Mary Markley Residence Hall
around 1:49 p.m. according to DPS Sunday
afternoon. There are currently no suspects.
* In Daily History
plan to make rush
" less structured
Dec. 6, 1963 - The Panhellenic
Association President's Council sub-
mitted a revised rush plan to sororities
yesterday in an attempt to make the
recruitment season less structured.
The proposed plan would cut down
the number of rush sets from five to
four. If approved, the two middle sets
would be totally unstructured.
Panhel President Patricia Elkins
said the new system would let rushers
set their own schedules and they could
decide when to come and leave. She
added that houses would be open three
weekday evenings from 7 to 10:30 p.m.
Mixers would remain virtually
unchanged because the Panhel leader-
SHUBRA OR / Daily
Professor Carl Cohen and RC Director Thomas Weisskopf debate issues pertaining to the Michigan Civil
Rights Initiative yesterday.
Chavez supporters rally
after successful election
Election boycott and low
turnout increases domestic
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Supporters of
President Hugo Chavez vowed yesterday to accel-
erate Venezuela's shift to a "new socialism" after
claiming victory in elections that were expected
to give pro-Chavez politicians all 167 seats in the
Several of Venezuela's major opposition par-
ties boycotted the vote on Sunday, which had an
estimated turnout of 25 percent and is likely to
further polarize Venezuelan society. The coun-
try has been deeply divided by the leftist leader's
rhetoric, his alliance with the Cuban leader Fidel
Castro and his efforts to seize unproductive farms
for poor farmers, start state-funded cooperatives
and expand social programs for the poor.
"Silence united Venezuelans," said Gerardo
Blyde of Justice First, one of several leading
opposition parties that pulled out days before
the vote, complaining the voting system could
not be trusted.
The U.S. - long skeptical of Chavez's com-
mitment to democracy and his leftist policies
- cast doubt on the results.
"Given that rate of abstention, plus expressions
of concern by prominent Venezuelans, we would
see that this reflects a broad lack of confidence in
the impartiality and transparency of the electoral
process," State Department spokesman Adam
Ereli said yesterday.
Official results were still pending yesterday,
but internal tallies showed Chavez's party won
114 seats and the remainder went to aligned par-
ties, said Willian Lara, a leader of Chavez's Fifth
Republic Movement party.
That would give the party the needed two-
thirds majority to allow it to amend the consti-
tution. Some lawmakers have said they hope
to extend term limits for all offices, including
Pedro Lander, a newly elected congressman,
said yesterday the new National Assembly
will aim to "deepen the revolutionary process
more and more."
Chavez has accused the opposition of plotting
the boycott with the help of the United States as
part of a larger plot to "destabilize" the country.
Both Washington and the opposition have denied
The head of Venezuela's electoral authority
defended the vote and criticized the opposition
and the country's private media.
"The direct consequence of having carried
out transparent elections ... is a calculated
attack, scorn, insults and finger-pointing," said
Jorge Rodriguez, president of the National
The turnout - lower than in 1998 and 2000
congressional votes - came despite a govern-
ment effort to get Venezuelans to the polls.
"We're not satisfied with the results of the
elections," Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez
Chavez' officials also blamed an explosion
on a major oil pipeline Saturday on government
opponents and said the U.S. meddled in the elec-
tions through the nonprofit group Sumate, which
receives money from the Washington-based
National Endowment for Democracy, a private
group funded by Congress.
Continued from page 1A
Cohen vehemently dis-
agreed with Weisskopf.
"Our state, our government,
has no business giving prefer-
ence to anyone on the basis of
the color of her skin - that is
morally wrong," he said.
Cohen said affirmative
action today is much different
than it was 40 years ago.
"What is called affirmative
action now is blatantly dis-
criminatory," he said.
Weisskopf said Cohen
wrongly assigned a higher pri-
ority to the "procedural ideal
of treating every individual
exactly the same way" than
"the substantive ideal of reduc-
Weisskopf also made a dis-
tinction between "positive"
and "negative" discrimina-
tion. He described negative
discrimination as the unfair
treatment of a particular
group and defined positive+
discrimination as unequal
treatment aimed at improving
a group's standing in society.
Cohen disagreed, saying,
"It is unacceptable to talk
about positive discrimination
and negative discrimination.
Discrimination by race is
To illustrate how he thinks
students are hurt by the use of
racial preferences in the Uni-
versity's admissions process,
Cohen excerpted a letter from
LSA junior Miesha Williamson
printed in The Michigan Daily:
"When I ask a question in class,
I have to worry about being
seen as the dumb black girl who
doesn't deserve to be here."
Cohen said the fact that
Williamson must face this
stigma is cruel.
Weisskopf said he agreed
"It is unacceptable to talk
about positive discrimination
and negative discrimination.
Discrimination by race is
- Carl Cohen
that Williamson's concerns
are a negative consequence of
affirmative action but stressed
that race-based preferences
are only one small factor in
the admissions process and
that all students must be high-
ly qualified to gain entrance
to the University.
RC sophomore Mike
Lamarra said debates such as
last night's meeting provide
an important outlet for cam-
pus dialogue on affirmative
"A debate like this is good
because both sides are equally
represented," he said. "It gives
people a healthy opportunity
to express these ideas."
Continued from page 1A
tech transfer office. Slessor speculated on
what factors make Caltech the leader of the
tech transfer pack.
"Every single person in our office of tech
transfer has a PhD from Caltech, so we all
have very personal relationships with the Uni-
versity's faculty," he said. "Furthermore, we
all understand what we do on both a technical
and business level, and we remind ourselves
to be very hands-on in terms of the licensing
With the promise shown by recent gains, the
University's Tech Transfer Office is already
taking steps to ensure such phenomenal growth
will not be an aberration.
"We have made terrific
progress with such
a large increase,"
- Kenneth Nisbet
Executive director University's
Tech Transfer Office
"We are strongly committed to keeping our
superb staff motivated by challenging them
with new, unique projects and retaining well-
qualified partners who will be strong assets in
the future,'' Nisbet said.
UK gay couples register for legal partnerships
New law allows same-sex couples
to hold civil ceremonies and share
LONDON (AP) - Gay couples began reg-
istering for civil partnerships at town halls
across Britain yesterday as a law took effect
giving them many of the same legal rights as
Although the law stops short of allowing same-
sex couples to marry, many said they were still eager
to claim the benefits and official recognition of their
relationships - for which some have waited decades.
The Times of London marked the day by publishing
notices of "gay marriages" for the first time.
"We're absolutely delighted," said 80-year-old John
Walton, registering in London with his partner of 40
years, Roger Raglan. "It's enormously important to us
that we should be able to state to everyone that we are
The law nassed last year desnite some onosition
"It was wonderful," said the Rev. Debbie
Gaston, a minister at Metropolitan Community
Church in Brighton who plans to formalize her
union with Elaine Gaston on Dec. 21. "We were
aware that it was history in the making and we
were overwhelmed by it all. It's been a long
The first partnership ceremonies will be held
Dec. 19 in Northern Ireland, Dec. 20 in Scotland
and Dec. 21 in England and Wales.
The Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and Spain
have legalized same-sex marriage, while Ger-
many, France and Switzerland have laws similar
to Britain's. In the United States, only Massachu-
setts allows gay marriage, while Vermont and
Connecticut permit civil unions.
While the legislation aroused some opposition
in Britain, it did not provoke a huge controversy.
It caps a remarkable transformation in social atti-
tudes that began when Victorian laws outlawing
homosexuality were overturned in England and
Wales in 1967 - although they persisted in Scot-
land until 1980 and Northern Ireland until 1982.