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February 23, 2006 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-23

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

c 9; k;'A_.. f i .

Opinion 4A

Aaron Kaplan thinks
Americans don't
save enough

Arts 5A Student hits it big in
hip-hop production

One-hundredffteen years ofedftoriaifreedom

Sports 8A

Smith loses weight,
gains confidence

mom WIN- -- - ---------------- ---- - - MIIMFAW


Ann Arbor, Michigan

Vol. CXV, No. 82

2006 The Michigan Daily

O " l


Third plaintiff
added to suit
against 'U'

Original plaintiff speaks
out for first time about suit
that alleges U breached
Michigamua agreement
By Carissa Miller
Daily Staff Reporter
At a press conference yesterday, the
plaintiffs of a lawsuit against the University
announced a third co-plaintiff, Karen Brewer,
a former University employee.
The suit claims the University failed to
enforce a 1989 agreement with Michigamua
prohibiting the society from referencing
Native American culture and customs in its
Brewer joins Ann Arbor lawyer Christo-
pher Bell, a graduate of the University, and a
University employee only identified as "John
The press conference marked the first time
Bell has spoken publicly about the suit since
he filed it Feb.6.
Brewer resigned nearly six years ago as
an outpatient clerk for University Health Ser-
vice, a post she held for 12 years. She said
she resigned because of "emotional stress"
brought on by Michigamua.
At the conference, Brewer also declared
her support for the proposed boycott of the
University's undergraduate programs by pro-
spective students, staff and faculty.
"It is our responsibility as native people, as
a community, to speak out," Brewer said.
Bell filed the lawsuit on behalf of Native
American students, faculty and staff at the
University between 1989 - the year the
agreement was reached - and 2000, when
the University and the society severed ties
with each other.
Lawsuits alleging a breach of contract must
be filed within six years of discovery of the

violation, Bell said. Because the agreement
surfaced in 2000, the last day to file a lawsuit
against the University was Feb. 6 of this year.
Bell said he had anticipated someone clos-
er to the issue to file a grievance against the
University. For example, he referenced those
involved in the 1989 agreement and members
of the Students of Color Coalition, which
discovered Native American artifacts in the
society's meeting space in the tower of the
Michigan Union in 2000.
With the deadline fast approaching and no
sign of legal action, Bell said he decided to
step in and file the suit Feb. 6.
The University has not yet been officially
served with the lawsuit. Bell said he is waiting
for Brewer to be added as a plaintiff and plans
to serve the University within the week.
The lawsuit, which requests a jury trial,
calls for financial compensation for Native
Americans at the University between 1989
and 2000 who were discriminated against as
the result of Michigamua's presence on cam-
Bell said the reparations would likely apply
to more than 500 students, staff and faculty,
but it is up to the jury to decide the amount
to award.
"But we aren't talking pennies," Bell said.
"We want damages."
Bell said the lawsuit contends the 1989
agreement is a legally binding contract, but
he expects the University will argue the oppo-
University spokeswoman Kelly Cunning-
ham said the University would not respond to
the lawsuit until it receives official notifica-
"It would be irresponsible of us to act
before being served," Cunningham said.
The University maintains that the lawsuit
has no merit and intends to seek a dismissal.
Faculty in the Native American Stud-
ies program said in a written statement that
See BELL, page 7A

Amir Sulaiman, spoken word artist, native New Yorker, activist and educator, performed in Auditorium B of Angell Hall yesterday. Sulalman
recently released his album "Dead Man Walking" and is involved with the Black Arts Movement.

MSA won't fund groups that lobby

Lyricists wanted to
pen new M' song

Resolution vote split
dramatically along
party line's
By Dhruv Menawat
For the Daily
Members of the Michigan Student
Assembly clashed Tuesday night,
barely voting down a resolution to
allow MSA to fund student groups
that lobby.
After an extended debate about the
benefits and risks involved in allowing
MSA to fund student organizations'
lobbying efforts, the assembly voted
down the resolution by a vote of 13-12
with one abstention.
The vote was split dramatically
along party lines.
Representatives of the Students 4
Michigan party, which currently holds
a majority in the assembly, unanimous-
ly voted against the resolution based on
its potential risk to MSA's tax-exempt
status as a public organization, and
suggested that the resolution's sponsor,

MSA Rep: Rese Fox, was driven by
ulterior motives.
Fox is running as the vice presiden-
tial candidate for the Michigan Progres-
sive Party, which was formed last fall to
challenge S4M.
Maya Kobersy, University assistant
general counsel, gave a presentation
Tuesday night at the meeting to inform
representatives about the impact of the
resolution. She said that neither MSA
nor the University can devote a signifi-
cant amount of their budgets to lobby-
ing efforts because, according to IRS
regulations, they are tax-exempt orga-
Kobersy defined lobbying as any
effort to influence legislators by con-
tacting them or encouraging the public
to contact them.
However, proponents of the resolu-
tion say MSA has the right to fund lob-
bying activities as long as they have a
system that follows federal regulations
set for tax-exempt organizations.
Fox stressed that this resolution did
not intend to breach any regulations,
but focused on bettering the current

funding system and working to support
student groups that want to lobby.
Proponents claim that many stu-
dents decide to come to this University
because of its reputation for political
activism. Providing student organiza-
tions the opportunity to lobby would
afford hands-on learning experience
to students. In order to facilitate this
opportunity, the resolution stated that
creating a mechanism to fund and track
lobbying expenditures may allow MSA
to fund student organizations' lobbying
activities, provided they are administra-
tively feasible and comply with the law.
There was also a provision explic-
itly guaranteeing that all involved par-
ties take the necessary steps to ensure
MSA's tax status will not be endangered
by these funding mechanisms.
Dissenters argued that despite the
University's history of political activ-
ism, it is not the primary purposes of
the University.
Last March, a similar proposition
was brought up in an MSA meeting.
The Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan petitioned MSA for $20,000.

The resolution was voted down due to
the risk that funding PIRGIM - histor-
ically a lobbying organization - would
jeopardize MSA's tax-exempt status.
Some believe that Fox, who was the
external relations chair of PIRGIM last
year, sponsored Tuesday's resolution in
an attempt to resuscitate PIRGIM.
S4M party Chair Robbie O'Brien,
expressed concern that Fox's involvement
in PIRGIM is influencing her actions.
"In my opinion, Rese wanted to pass
this resolution to bring back PIRGIM,"
O'Brien said.
He also said that S4M is open to
student groups being able to lobby
with MSA funds, but that they would
never be willing to spend money on
Fox denied allegations that she was
motivated by a personal affinity for
PIRGIM or student lobbying. She said
PIRGIM principally deals with corpo-
rations instead of government legisla-
tion. She said it was not, technically
involved in lobbying and therefore has
no connection to the resolution.
See MSA, page 7A

Glee Club holding
contest requesting lyrics
for 1st official Michigan
song composed in 13 years
By Kimberly Chou
Daily Arts Writer
The opportunity to contribute lyrics to a
Michigan song only comes along once in a
The Michigan Men's Glee Club is seeking
original lyrics for a new Michigan song to be
composed by first-year Glee Club Director
Paul Rardin.
Open to all Michigan students, faculty,
staff and alumni, the contest's winning lyrics
and accompanying music will be the first new
Michigan song in 13 years.
The most recent ode to the University,
"Memories of Michigah," was the winner of a
1993 contest for both lyrics and music.

"There's a big gap (between the songs)
- and an even bigger gap before that;' Rar-
din said.
Before "Memories of Michigan," the last
song debuted in 1967, the same year of the
Glee Club's unprecedented three-week world
"I felt we needed to add to the repertoire.
That was the goal," Rardin said. Most of the
songs in the Michigan collection were written
before 1950, and many before 1900.
A University alum - Rardin received his
master's from the School of Music - the
director said he understands the scope of the
"It is a big deal," he said. "It's certainly
very humbling (composing a piece that will
be) compared to these classics."
Rardin said he will not start composing the
music until after lyrics are chosen.
"I don't want the music to influence what
the words say" he said.
If they have a "pomp and circumstance
See GLEE CLUB, page 7A

" Home sweet home? Groups
at risk of losing office space


MSA urges committee
to extend deadline
for spaces at Union
Dhruv Menawat
For the Daily
Some of the University's most influ-
ential student groups may be without a
home next year.
The College Democrats, Model
United Nations Black Student Union,

applicants. The committee is composed
of three Michigan Union Board of Rep-
resentatives members and three MSA
representatives. Assembly members
were added to the committee to lend a
student voice.
Office space leases last two years,and
half of the leases are up for renewal next
month. The original deadline was diffi-
cult for many groups to meet, because it
was only seven days after students had
returned from winter break. This is also
the time when organizations transition

organizations were never contacted
about the application process or the
The online application did not even
state the deadline for submission.
Many of the organizations said that
although OSAC claimed to have tried to
contact them using information posted
on Maize Pages, the contact informa-
tion listed there was outdated.
As a result, many student organiza-
tions never even knew they missed the


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