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May 21, 1997 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-05-21

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4 - Th e Michigan'Daily - Wednesday, May21,1997
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH JACK SCHILLACI
students at the + + +E Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
t University of Michigan
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials refect the opinion f
420 Maynard Street majority othe Dailys editorial board. All other artieles. letters at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 cartoons eo not necessarily reect the opinion of The Michigan Daily

L ast week, the Illinois State Legislature
voted overwhelmingly to grant students
a full voice on the University of Illinois
Board of Trustees. If signed into law by
Gov. Jim Edgar, one of the three current stu-
dent advisory votes will assume all powers
granted to non-student trustees - a huge
step for promoting student concerns.
Around the Big Ten, other students may
look to the Illinois example with hope -
perhaps student regents on their school's
governing body may be upgraded to full-
voting status. But the University's students
still wait for any official position on the
University Board of Regents. The
University should match its peers' commit-
ment to student concerns by working to
establish a student regent.
As of now, students' only representative
to the regents is the Michigan Student
Assembly president. While the representa-
tive makes biannnual presentations to the
regents, the students has no voting power
and no official position - during meet-
ings, the representative does not even have

Bound to listen
'U' and state should follow Illinois' lead

a seat at the regents' table. As a result, the
student population has little influence over
administrative decisions that effect them.
More student input and control into policy
decisions is necessary to ensure that stu-
dent concerns are met.
The process involved in gaining an offi-
cial voice is arduous and expensive. Due to
a state constitutional restriction declaring
such a student position a conflict of inter-
est, an amendment to the state constitution
is necessary to create a student regent. The
amendment process can occur two ways:
The first option depends entirely on state
voters: Supporters of the amendment must
gain enough signatures to place the amend-
ment on a ballot. The alternate route to the
ballot goes through Lansing: Both houses
of the state legislature must pass the pro-

posed amendment by a two-thirds majority
to send it to Michigan's electorate. State
voters must approve the amendment in
either case.
The legislative route nearly paid off last
year. A bill proposing a student regent
came close to introduction in the state
House of Representatives, before its pro-
posed sponsor backed out. After, MSA's
Student Regent Task Force began exploring
the idea of a voter petition drive to try to
place the question on the 1998 ballot.
However, the effort's estimated cost lies
around $500,000. A ballot proposal asking
for $11 per student to help defray this cost
failed during last spring's MSA elections.
As a result, the task force refocused toward
the legislative route.
Options short of a voting student regent

do exist. The regents can create an ex-off
cio position for a student representative
This move does not require state approva
The task force is now lobbying the stat
legislature to issue a resolution urging th
creation of an ex-officio position by
regents.
However, while an ex-officio membe
is certainly preferable to no official voice
it is not enough - students would sti
lack a binding vote in policy decision
The student population will not achiev
equal footing in administrative matter
until one of their own is granted full votin
privileges. The regents are elected i
statewide elections - few live in An
Arbor and none take part in the day-to;
activities which define the Unive rW
Furthermore, none feel the effects of the;
own policies. Having a student voice at th
table allows a concerned and connecte
viewpoint to enter the proceeding
Students can only benefit from the add
tion of their perspective to the board gov
erning the University.

Parking pinch
'U' should improve student parking
E ach day in the crowded city of Ann a University education - thus, the acces-
Arbor, students, faculty and city resi- sibility of University facilities should be
dents engage in the struggle to capture the of high priority to administrators.
ever elusive legal parking space. Reliable, affordable parking is fundamen-
According to the University Parking tal to achieving this access.
Services, there are 16,407 total spots The University should look into all
available on the University's campuses. viable options. One the administration
Although this may appear to be a large overlooked is the lot on the corner of Hill
number, most Ann Arbor inhabitants and State streets, formerly occupied by the
would willfully attest to the numerous Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house. At the
problems faced by city drivers. The city- present time, the University plans to con-
wide parking nightmare is now coming to vert it to a parking lot that students would
a head as the regents realize that many not have access to during the day - ignor-
new University buildings will not be uti- ing students' parking needs when they are
lized because parking cannot be found in greatest. The University should not block
the buildings' area. Regent Andrea Fischer student access to University resources by
Newman (R-Ann Arbor) stated that a limiting use of parking facilities.
recent nursing conference was taken off When confronting the parking predica-
campus because parking was too scarce. ment, it is essential that city and
The University Board of Regents are res- University representatives work together.
urrecting the issue by demanding that The growing problem reaches across cam-
University Planner Frederick Mayer pus to the downtown Ann Arbor area.
address it. The regents should ensure that Tension between city residents and stu-
parking problems be resolved to help stu- dents is slowly intensifying due to prob-
dents access the education for which they lems like parking. A joint effort would
pay. clearly proclaim that the difficulties
Students' cries for additional parking plaguing the city are pertinent to all who
spaces derive from more than a mere case dwell in the area - not just the city's per-
of petty discontent. As students continue manent residents. Adding parking near
to move out of crowded residence halls to campus would also facilitate city resi-
local apartments, they encounter the prob- dents' use of commercial areas surround-
lem of finding dependable transportation ing campus. If the parking issue is not
to and from campus. With current Ann addressed by the community as a whole,
Arbor parking conditions, driving to class- an unfortunate case of finger-pointing
es can be a risky proposition if students could ensue.
wish to remain punctual. As University officials continue to
Recent University efforts to expand authorize new construction projects, they
parking are generally geared toward must prioritize the issue of student parking.
University faculty. Although faculty park- Expanding parking would improve student
ing is important, student need for similar life and enhance the Ann Arbor communi-
treatment must not be ignored. Many stu- ty as a whole -- the University should act
dents make significant sacrifices to obtain to expand availability immediately.

Partial I
Feinstein's bill offers
n Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled that women may seek abortion
before the fetus becomes viable and that
post-viability abortions may be restricted
by legislation. The debate over what
defines viability and what restrictions leg-
islators should make on post-viability
abortions is controversial and saw heavy
debate on the U.S. Senate's floor last
week. Two Democrats' proposals failed
because opponents viewed them as too
lenient and having too many loopholes
that would allow late-term abortions to
take place. Amidst the heavy politicking
surrounding the issue, Sen. Dianne
Feinstein's (D-California) bill was the
most lenient measure presented. Like-
minded legislation should pass to ensure
that women maintain control of their own
bodies.
Feinstein's bill would prevent late-term
abortions unless the physical or mental
health of the mother was threatened. In
Sen. Tom Daschle's (D-South Dakota)
proposal physical health problems were
exclusively protected. A bill sponsored by
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)
already passed through the U.S. House -
it awaits action in the Senate. Santorum's
bill would specifically ban partial-birth
abortions.
Women's right to choose what is best
for themselves deserves protection.
Ideally, legislators should not restrict this
right. However, of the three congressional
bills, Feinstein's offers women the most
options. Its opponents stated that allowing
mental trauma to be grounds for post-via-
bility abortion creates too great a loop-
hole. The emotional and psychological
consequences of having a child can great-
ly affect a woman - Feinstein's legisla-

solution
women most options
tion would provide a flexible framework t(
give women the most control over thei
own bodies.
Abortion is an emotionally-charge(
issue - sometimes getting in the way o
clear thinking and prudent judgmets
Legislators allowed party-line politi
to prevent passage of legislation ta
would help protect women's rights th
most. The vote for Feinstein's bill show
strong party division - only tw
Republicans voted for it while 53 dissent
ed. Creating policies that are in women',
best interest should be all legislators' goa
- they should not allow party affiliation
to come before proper decisions.
President Bill Clinton suppc<
Feinstein's and Daschle's bills u
promised to veto Santorum's bill, which i
likely to pass in the Senate. The bill's sup
porters said they may try to override th
president's veto before next year':
midterm election to capitalize on politica
pressure that may force members o
Congress into voting for the override
Such tactics are underhanded attempts t(
get bad legislation through and threater
women's right to control their own bo ' s
The only type of restriction that le a
tors may place on abortion under Roe v
Wade is the time after the child is viabl
outside the mother's womb. The three con,
gressional bills would decrease a woman'
right to decide what is best for her health
Feinstein's bill offers the best solution tC
the legislators' desire to regulate post-via.
bility abortions while providing enougl
loopholes to allow women to mainair
control of their own body. Conis!
should pass legislation similar t(
Feinstein's to ensure women's right tC
choose is not infringed upon.

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