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May 20, 1992 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1992-05-20

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4- The Michigan Daily Summer Weekly- Wednesday, May 20, 1992
J1lie Afichignig Ttl itl EDITOR IN CHIEF Unsigned editorials represent the opinion 420 Maynard Street
NO ' - ANDR EW M. L EVY of a majority of the Daily's editorial 764-0552
OPINION EDITORS board. All other cartoons, signed articles, Edited and Managed by
GIL RENBERG and letters do not necessarily reflect the Students at the
DAVID SHEPARDSON opinion of the Daily. University of Michigan
Read our lips: No new tuition increases

O n Thursday, the University Board of Re-
gents approved a$62million bond issue to
pay for the renovation of C.C. Little, East Engi-
neering, and Randall Laboratories, despite the
fact that the state legislature has refused to fund
these capital outlay projects for the past six
years. While these renovations are desperately
needed, serious questions remain about the
manner in which the University has gone about
obtaining funding for this project.
Inevitably, with inflation and skyrocketing
costs in the educational system, there will be a
tuition increase this summer. However, with
this substantial increase in the tuition, the re-
gents are planning to use the $50 infrastructure
fee and an additional amountof tuition dollars to
pay for servicing the bond issue.
For the past six years, the University admin-
istration has tried to get the state legislature's
joint Subcommittee on Capital Outlay projects
to approve various projects. In the words of an
administrationaide,"Wecan'twaitanylonger."
But in the midst of this recession, why is it

Administration should seek sources other than
students for funding infrastructure renovations

imperativetocompletetherenovationsimmedi-
ately? In short, the administration and the re-
gents have acted precipitously, placing expedi-
ency ahead of fiscal responsibility in finishing
these renovations.
The administration argues that the state will
fund a portion of the costs when the subcommit-
tee meets this fall to determine both the specific
projects to fund and the percentage of state
funding. However, this is not guaranteed: since
the state has deemed the University infrastruc-
ture requests as nonessential for six years, it is
likely that it will continue to do so. Even if the
state does decide to fund the renovations, it will
only contribute between 25 and 75 percent.
Theremainderof the funding,approximately
between Sl6and S47million, will be paid by the
University -most of the costs will be borne by

students in the form of higher tuition. In addi-
tion, the regents will set tuition based on the
assumption that the state will not fund the reno-
vation projects. That means tuition increases
will reflect the full increase.
These additional infrastructure costs call to
question how to hold the line on tuition in-
creases.During the last decade, when tuition has
increased faster than inflation, increases in ad-
ministration salaries has outpaced both by more
than half. At the same time, the administration's
size has increased, while the number of under-
graduate teachers has remained constant.
When looking for ways to fund the new
renovations, the regents should begin by cutting
the administration's budget. Private sources
should also be considered. Like the Herbert
Dow Chemistry Building, East Engineering

could one day carry the name of someone who
makes a major contribution for its renovation.
Private industries that uses the laboratories for
research should also contribute.
At next month's regents' meeting, the bud-
get and tuition increases will be set for the
coming year. The reality is that every time the
Universityneedsmoney,theadministrationlooks
to the students pockets. Last year's $50 infra-
structure fee is a prime example. This time, it
will be even more clandestine - through bud-
getary wizardry that masks the real impact of
this renovation on the expected tuition increase.
Rather than waiting to negotiate with the state
for funding, the administration will again shake
down the students.
Thispatterncannot continue inastate racked
by a recession. The latest unemployment figures
show Michigan's unemployment rate at 10 per-
cent andstill rising. A constructive effort to hold
down tuition increases must be made - at this
point it is clear that the administration and the
regents are making no effort at all.

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Will tent city pack up? Correct the system

Time is running out for Salvation City protesters
as county fails to heed message of desperation

Correctional system must finally address its failure
to provide women safe and dignified treatment

For the past month, the Homeless Action
Committee(HAC)and the Homeless Union
have collaborated to create the "Salvation City
for the Poor People's Park" in order to increase
the community's awareness of the problems
confronting the homeless population. Last Fri-
day at6:00 p.m. the one-month permit granting
the activists the legal right to protest expired
after officials refused to renew it. The rally that
followed the was acry for help against agovern-
ment that has turned a deaf ear.
Foroveronemonth,protesterswho"camped
out" in eight to 10 tents expressed their outrage
with the failure of the local and federal govern-
ments' to commit resources toward solving the
homeless problem both here and nationwide.
Despite the political nature of the protest, the
Washtenaw County government has treated
SalvationCityas anuisance.Furthermore,county
officialshave belittled the protesters by sending
social-service workers to Salvation City to ad-
vise the occupants of the services the county
provides the homeless.
Rhonda Sweet, a member of the Homeless
Union who emceed the 5:00 p.m. rally before
the permit expired, expressed the sentiments of
the protesters in discussing homelessness as "a
problemwith the system." At the protest, repre-
sentatives from other tent cities across Michi-
gan, including Detroit, Lansing, and Flint, were
on hand to discuss the growing impact of the
tent-city protests across the state. They were
joined by local activists and candidates for pub-
lie office. Salvation City workers were clad in.
colorfulT-shirts,bearing thephrase, "Salvation
City, April 15-?"Therallycogentlydiscussed
poverty, homelessness, voting, recalling Gov.
Engler, and govemment spending at the federal,
state, and county level. Drivers expressed their
support for the rally by "honking for
homelessness." It should have been obvious to
anyone present that this was a political protest.
However, over the weekend the Washtenaw

County administrator instructed the county's LastnightIheardthe screaming/Loud voices
legal counsel to file suit against the Salvation behind the wall/Another sleepless nightfor me!
City protesters for creating "a health hazard." It won't do no good to call the police/Always
The county insists that it is necessary to get a cotne late if they come at all...
camping permit to continue to reside in the park.
Armed with the legal code, the town is likely to For many women in prison, the words of
use its reinforced authority to remove protesters Tracy Chapman's "Behind the Wall"arenot
from the park. This is a blatant attempt by the just song lyrics but a very real part of their life
county to deny the fact that Salvation City is a story. And for some, the story does not end with
political protest and not simply a temporary domestic violence, but added abuse from a
shelter. The county is more interested in pros- justice system that is supposed to protect all
ecuting the homeless than making fundamental citizens. The police often ignore complaints
changes in its policy toward homelessness. from women who are battered by their husbands
Protesters noted that the city of Ann Arbor or boyfriends, and yet these same police officers
recently approved annually appropriating are quick to arrest those women who finally lash
$159,004 for an animal shelter but only $64,550 out at their tormentors.
for a human shelter, while another $4 million The correctional system has consistently
was recently set aside for new sidewalks in the overlooked the needs of women in prison. Ac-
downtown area. The speakers also attacked the cording to a 1989 U.S. government report, the
federal government for continuing to spend number of women in prison has increased at a
billions of dollars on defense while reducing faster rate than men every year since 1981,
funding to the department of Housing and Ur- however women only compose 5 percent of the
ban Development. These and other statistics total prison population. Female convicts are
illustrate the government's lackadaisical atti- often denied quality educational and vocational
tude toward a problem that affects thousands of support due to their lower numbers. The dearth
Americans and yet is consistently placed at the of women's prisons causes many women pris-
bottom of the political agenda. oners, only 11 percent of whom were convicted
Itis obvious that Salvation City will soon be of violent crimes, to be sent to higher security
wipedoffthemapbyAnn Arbor andWashtenaw correctional facilities than their crimes warrant.
County's politicians. These scattered tents on a The justice system seems unable or unwilling to
smallpiece of land have given homeless people handle women prisoners fairly.
a chance to voice their opposition to a govern- Correctional facilities must be more atten-
ment and a country that has forgotten them. tive totheneeds ofmothersin prison. According
Once the supposed "eyesore"is gone, it is likely to a 1983 study, 75 percent of female inmates
that the problems of the homeless community were 25- to 34-year-old single mothers who
will once again fade out of sight. wereunemployedatthetimetheywerecommit-
This Friday, there will be another rally at ted. Nearly 75 percent of imprisoned mothers
5:00 p.m. at the corner of Main and Ann streets lived with their children before being incarcer-
-perhaps the final protest against the county's ated and 62 percent had never been separated
inexorable move to shut down Salvation City. from theirkids. In punishing the mother,society
Conscientious citizens who arc angered by the punishes the innocent child, who is traumatized
authorities' callous disregard for the homeless and often adversely affected emotionally and
shouldattend thisrallyand voice theirconcems. scholastically. Due to the small number of

women's correctionalfacilities, fewer than half
of imprisoned mothers are near enough to their
children to receive regular visits. The prevailing
view is that amother who is a convict should not
be allowed to influence the development of her
child; this opinion, however, is as heartless as it
is narrow-minded.More must be done to enable
the children of prisoners to visit their mothers.
Upon entering correctional facilities, most
women inmates are subjected by male guards to
shocking indignitiesand violationsoftheirrights.
Theyhavenochoice butto withstandtheirlewd
and disgusting advances, which often happen
while the guards supervise the women as they
shower. At such times, some guards take full
advantage of their right to "search" prisoners;
other guards, going further than sexual assault,
actually rape the inmates.
We must not allow such denigrating and
undeserved conditions to continue. Prisoners
shouldcure social ills in a civilized way; prisons
should not be zoos in which guards can act like
animals. Most members of the public are bliss-
fully unaware of the unwarranted traumas that
women prisoners are forced to suffer. More
demonstrations like last week's Mother's Day
rally at the Scott Regional Correctional Facility
in Plymouth Township are needed to draw at-
tentiontothehorribleconditions facedby women
prisoners. Pubic outcrymay cause some desper-
ately-needed changes to take place.
If women arekeptin coedcorrectionalfacili-
ties, then provisions must be made to preclude
harassment frommale prisonersor guards.Male
guards must treat the women prisoners with
sensitivity,whilefemaleguardsshouldbepicked
to supervise inmates when they are in the show-
ers and vulnerable. In addition, the other states
should seek to emulate the California statute
which mandates that a women's correction fa-
cility must have a woman warden. It is time to
ensure that society stop abandoning its citizens
once they land in jail.

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