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May 25, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1994-05-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 - The Michigan Daily -- Wednesday, May 25, 1994
Guinier questions U.S.
representation in gov't

By Wayne Alejandro Wolbert
FOR THE DAILY
Lani Guinier addressed an eager
and attentive overflowing crowd of
more than 400 people at Rackham
Amphitheater last night, discussing
the nature of democracy in theUnited
States.
Guinier received national acclaim
late last spring as a result of her ap-
pointment - or, as she cynically re-
marked, her "dis-appointment"-- to
the assistant attorney general position
in the Justice Department's Civil
Rights Division. She also is author of
"The Tyranny of the Majority: Fun-
damental Fairness in Representative
Democracy," and a law professor at
the University of Pennsylvania.
Shefocusedonconceptssurround-
ing cumulative voting and "majority
tyranny" in political representation.
"We have a tremendous commit-
ment as a country to democratic ide-
als ... (yet) we have been raised on a
contradiction." She explained the
workings of democracy in the United
States by saying, "If you've got the
most votes you got all the power. If
you don't, you got nothing.
"How can this be a democracy?
How can we believe majority vote is
functioning as a democracy?"
Guinier said that if the majority
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rules with its own interest in mind,
instead ofon behalfofeveryone, "You
have majority tyranny."
Cumulative voting - where the
voter has multiple votes to distribute
accordingly - "allows a cohesive
minority to act strategically to ex-
press their preference by placing all
their votes on one candidate." She
stressed, "It does not mean the minor-
ity rules, but the minority gets a turn."
Guinier questioned democratic
procedures, instead initiated a debate
on thestateofourdemocracy."Rather
than being a premier democracy we
are a failing democracy."
She reminded the audience of the
remarkably high voter turnoutin South
Africa as an example of an even more
advanced system of representative
democracy, where a political party
needed as little as 5 percent of the vote
to gain representation.
In comparison, "We give whoever
gets elected all the power... (exclud-
ing) other thoughts from debate,"
whereas cumulative voting "invites
diversity, invites debate and provides
an opening for other political parties
to emerge."
"People should have the opportu-
nity to vote for and elect people who
advocate their interests.... Democratic
representation is a right that not only
Blacks should have, but women and
gays and environmentalists, and even
Republicans," she said.

Summer
MSA *
lobbies in
Lansing
* After pulling out @
from MCC, MSA
officers spend
summer lobbying
By Michelle Lee Thompson
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
In April, the Michigan Studen
Assembly pulled out of the Michigai
Collegiate Coalition, a student lobby
ing organization in Lansing. a
To fill this void over the summr,
the assembly passed a resolution re
quiring MSA executive officers an
members of the External Relation
Committee (ERC) to lobby in Lan
sing three times a week through Jul
for issues concerning University stu
dents.
The first week of spring classe
MSA delegates started their t
weekly trips to the state capital
conducting research on bills befor
the state Legislature.
Jacob Stern, MSA vice president
said he was slightly disappointed wit
the receptiveness of some of the leg
islators they met.
"I think there's always going to b
a stigma because we're students anm
we're hampered by our age group,
Stern said after returning fromj
Wednesday's trip.
Assembly members researche
many bills, including one that woul
awardtheUniversityandotherschool:
the profits from special license plate
with the schools' names and logos
The bill is catching some criticisn
from the transportation department
which claims that it will lose mone'
on the deal.
ERC chair Andrew Wright 5
the three bills that interest the assem
bly most are those relating to univer
sity presidential searches, tuition in
creases and income tax deduction
for room and board scholarships.
Stern said the ERC lobbyists ar
also concerned with state budget ap
propriations to the University - se
at $280 million this year.
MSA is also gathering infor
tion on the campus sexual asss
information act and its 11 bills.
The bill has passed in the stat
House, but the Senate is questionin
its constitutionality.
Wright said most of the work tha
Stern, President Julie Neenan, Aca
demic Issues chair Michael Christi
and he are doing is limited to gather
ing information and researching tle
issues at hand. 4
Stern said this summer MSA wil
concentrate highly on the offices an
staff of Lansing policymakers an
began making contacts last week.

Lani Guinier addresses a crowd at Rackham Amphitheater last night.

LSA considers student honor statement

By Michelle Lee Thompson
DAILY STAFF REPORTER
"I have neither given nor received
aid on this examination nor have I
concealed any violation of the Honor
Code."
Most LSA students have never
seen this statement, although it must
be written and signed by students in
every class in the College of Engi-
neering.
But according to the recommen-
dation from the LSA Joint Faculty-
Student Policy Committee on the fu-
ture of the Academic Judiciary, LSA
students may be asked by their pro-
fessors to sign a similar statement.
"It's not an honor code. It's not a
requirement. It's another idea. We
want to raise awareness," said David
Schoem, LSA assistant dean for un-
dergraduate education and chair of
the policy committee.
"Thecommitteefeltthatgivenour
size and lack of history that we would
be more successful with this ap-
proach," he said.
The latest draft, which will be
proposed to a faculty meeting in Oc-
tober or November, contains three
key recommendations: increase edu-
cation, clarify and define academic
integrity issues, and streamline the
judiciary structure and process.

Although an honor code may never
be established in LSA, faculty will
receive several examples of state-
ments that they may require their stu-
dents to sign on examinations and
collaborative work. "It's not a central
part of therecommendation," Schoem
said.
Sarah May, an LSA sophomore
who was one of LSA Student
Government's five delegates to the
committee, said, "I don't think estab-
lishing an honor code is necessary.
The important thing is to make people
more aware of the issue."
Schoem said incoming students
may be asked to signa "Commitment
to Academic Integrity" statement as
partof the admissions process as soon
as next fall, and that a pamphlet titled
"Standards of Academic Integrity"
may be compiled.
Other recommendations include
discussion of academic integrity is-
sues at Orientation, distributing one-
page synopses of the "Standards"
booklet at large-enrollment introduc-
tory courses and at concentration dec-
laration appointments, and the publi-
cation of related statistics.
The committee was spurned by a
report from the Journal of College
Development that 40 to 90 percent of
nationwide college and University

students have admitted to some form
of cheating.
"It said to us that there's a problem
here. We're not sure if it fits U-M, but
there was widespread agreement that
we're not seeing everything that hap-
pens," Schoem said.
Schoem expressed concern that
many cases of cheating are never
brought to thejudiciary, but are settled
between the student and instructor.
"If it were easier, people would be
more likely to bring cases forward,"
Schoem said. Only about 40 to 50
cases are brought to thejudiciary each
year.
The committee recommendedcre-
ating a "case investigator" position,
and assigning someone - possibly
Gene Nisson, assistant dean for aca-
demic affairs - to determine sanc-
tions. Broadening student represen-
tation was another goal of the Judi-
ciary.
During the 1993-94 academic year,
five students served on the committee
and two on the Judiciary board. Both
numbers were matched by an equal
number of faculty members in the
groups.
"We were allowed to voice any
concerns we had and we were as well-
received as anyone else who spoke,"
May said.

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