Monday, June 8, 1998 - The Micngan Daily -
Proposal prohibiting affirmative action debated
By Erin Holmes
The recent proposals in the U.S.
Congress advocating banning affir-
mative action across the nation have
triggered a variety of mixed
responses, proving that the debates
Ter racial preferences and opportu-
ty is far from over.
In May, Rep. Frank Riggs (R-CA)
offered an amendment - Iouse
Amendment 612 - to the Bigher
Education Act that included prohibit-
ing affirmative action in admissions
for any institution of higher education
that receives federal funding.
Riggs' suggested amendment was
similar to Bill HR 3330, which
offered similar action and was also
ered by Riggs in March.
If the amendment had been
approved, affirmative action in
admissions at the University would
have become illegal.
In the wake of the amendment's
negative vote (171-249), legislators
at the state level said the amendment
would most likely have had mixed
effects on students and state
"Above all, I think this would be
good for students," said Rep. Harold
Vorhees (R-Wyoming Township).
Vorhees said it is important to
address affirmative action from a
financial-need perspective and not
eliminate it all together.
"You shouldn't give extra points
to entering students because of
race," Vorhees said. "But we need to
take care of students who come from
lesser socio-economic levels."
Vorhees said the offered amend-
ment to the Higher Education Act,
which would have meant that any
student receiving federal funds for
affirmative action reasons would be
breaking a national law, is "like the
NFL or NBA."
"No one team picks the cream of
the crop," Vorhees said. "They have
a draft. That's what we need to do in
universities. We need to give some
opportunities but also have other
Vorhees said he hoped the pro-
posed amendment would spark more
"It's a big interest of mine,"
Vorhees said. "I hope 'here are good
debates on the issue."
The recently proposed anti-affir-
mative action amendment is not
unique. Similar aims at dispelling
affirmative-action based aid at pub-
lic universities in Michigan have
also been discussed recently in
"Issues like this have always been
a plank in the Republican platform,"
said Rep. Lingg Brewer (D-Holt),
who referred to the on-going
debates over the subject at the
University's Law School. "I think
it's probably even less of a contro-
Brewer said he doesn't believe a
bill or amendment completely pro-
hibiting affirmative action would
ever pass the National House.
"Something like this has a very
chilling effect on minority recruit-
ment and admissions," Brewer said.
"But it's something Republicans
want to do."
Some say Riggs' proposed anti-
affirmative action amendment is a
very serious issue.
"I think (a bil like this) has a fair
chance," said Rep. James Agee (D-
Muskegon). "If you put it to a vote of
the people, it could go either way."
Agee added that if an anti-affirma-
tive action bill was passed in both the
House and Senate, it probably will not
make it past Clinton's desk.
Agee said the problem he sees in
the discarded amendment is three-
fold: there is still a need for affir-
mative action, there is no better
solution and people consider affir-
mative action to be a negative issue.
"You pass a bill to change some-
thing if there is no longer a need for
the law," Agee said. "I don't think
it's true to say we don't need affir-
mative action anymore, and the peo-
ple presenting the legislation don't
even offer another solution to the
Agee added that he problem of
affirmative action is largely one of
"I think it should be called 'affir-
mative opportunity,"' Agee said,
adding that universities do not use it
as a chance to raise unqualified peo-
ple to a higher level.
Agee said many universities
across the nation give preference to
athletes, musicians and children of
alumni without causing debate or
"This is a great political issues
because most people don't under-
stand it," Agee said.
State legislators agreed the
amendment to the Act stood a good
chance of eventually going to vote
and even being passed, because of
its rather vague platform and the
variety of issues involved.
"This idea is something we need
to be very concerned with," Agee
students bike across America
By Dante Mastrd
Daily 'StF Reporr
Most bicycles on campus don't see
much ofAmerica, but at least two will be
pedaling farther than the Modern
Language Building and North Campus.
University Medical School students
Aaron Zima and Jeff Martus departed
Wednesday for a three-month bike tour
that begins in Seattle and ends in New
"The point in the beginning was to see
the country," Zima said. "We decided to
use our liee summer to bike in the west."
But an idea that began as a summer
bike trip evolved into a large-scale effort
to maisc money for the Michigan Chapter
of th'Multiple Sclerosis SocietyC
Martus said he is more than fnamiiar
with the disease's life-altering effects.
"The disease has affected my family in
a large way" Martus said. Martus said
his grandfather died from MS in 1958,
and his aunt was diagnosed in 1981.
"Michigan has one of the highest
rates of MS in thenited States, with
over 15,000 affected individuals,"
Martus said. While Martus and Zima
have spent weeks planning the trip, the
pair said they have not been physically
preparing for the long bike ride.
"We haven't trained, but we're in
decent shape," Zima said, adding that
the actual experience will be beneficial.
"Our trIniing will happen in the first
two weeks" The entire trip will be
about 4,000 miles.
Zima said they do get to take breaks.
"We will be camping along the
way" Zima said. "We've got all of the
gear on the bikes'
The pair said they would have a cel-
lular phone to reach people in case of
Although Martus and Zima bought
the bikes and all the gear themselves,
they will not be compensated.
"All of the proceeds will go direct-
ly to the MS Society" Martus said.
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Graduate Library Angell/Mason (2 nites)
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