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July 09, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-07-09

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11 1

- ivocigan uaiy - ivionday, July 9, 2 i1
Edited and mana ed by JACQUELYN NIXON AUBREY HENRETTY
Students at t e g Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
4nierit o Michigo QI Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of th
S420 Maynard Street majority of the Dailys editorial board. All other articles, letters anc
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109 cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily

E

iti just over a month Left in the
summer term, many University
students are daunted by the
prospect of paying bills in the fall.
Heavier class loads will soon demand
that gainfully employed students slash
their summer work schedules to make
time for studying. In addition to cutting
down on students' income, fall term
also brings with it a plethora of new
expenses: More classes require more
textbooks, cheap summer sublets give
way to brutal Ann Arbor rent and the
heating bill once again becomes neces-
sary.
As if this didn't provide ample night-
mare material for the next two months,
students must also plan for a cost
increase completely out of their control,
an unpleasant surprise courtesy of the
State of Michigan: The annual tuition
increase.
Each year, public universities base
their tuition increases upon multiple
factors, including inflation, projected
spending for the next fiscal year and the
amount of funding expected from the
state. The Michigan Legislature is cur-

Legislature should allocate more funds to 'U'

rently volleying a budget plan that will
decide just that; the most recent version
passed by the Senate would grant a 4.7
percent funding increase from last year
while the version passed by the House
suggested an increase of a mere two
percent.
By September 30 - which marks
the end of the fiscal year - the two
houses will have to reconcile the bills.
While this year's budget may prove
especially difficult to draft, the Legisla-
ture should make funding public educa-
tion - including public universities -
a priority.
Members of the state Consensus
Revenue Estimating Conference in May
projected a general fund revenue of
about $9.27 billion, which is roughly
$223.9 million less than their January
projection. With a revision this large,

budget cuts are imminent. Republican
Gov. John Engler's administration has
already withdrawn support of its origi-
nally proposed baseline 1.5 percent
increase for all of Michigan's public
Universities, leaving any higher educa-
tion funding increase passed by the
Legislature under threat of veto. This
gubernatorial opposition is not surpris-
ing, considering Engler's track record in
dealings with public education. Engler's
early 2002 bud get proposals called for a
proportionally larger spending increase
for prisons and correctional facilities
than for education.
Also, the governor advocated giving
larger increases to smaller schools in
order to "close the funding gap," com-
pletely ignoring the fact that larger
schools face larger cost increases.
Many state institutions like the Uni-

versity have cautioned that without a
significant increase in state dollars this
year, they may have no choice but to
raise tuition by 10 percent or more.
Forhstudents who barely made it
through last year with the meager stu-
dent aid, work-study and federal loai.
programs offered, such an increase mai
mean the end of their academic careers.
Others will sacrifice grades so they can
work 40 hours a week to finance their
education.
This should not be so. Students
deserve more flexible loan options and
more realistic financial assistance. Pre-
paid tuition plans would also provide
relief from exorbitant yearly tuition
increases. The purpose of public univer-
sities should be to provide the best pos
sible education to students from a wid
variety of backgrounds - not only t
those who can afford to pay ridiculously
high tuition.
The Legislature must find a way to
make affordable public education acces-
sible to all and should not attempt to
balance the budget on the shoulders of
public university students.

Ur te t co e gacy
U.S. Senate must choose FBI director carefully

... ..

orn l oa d un al
''O'Connor noble to denounce death penalty

4

Former California U.S. Attorney and
Justice Department veteran Robert
Mueller may soon have several seri-
ous problems on his hands. As President
Bush's nominee to succeed current Feder-
al Bureau of Investigation director Louis
Freeh, Mueller stands poised to inherit the
FBI's tarnished image and the responsibil-
ity of polishing it. Before confirming him,
the U.S Senate should make sure he is up
to the challenge; Mueller's confirmation
hearings are the perfect time to find out
how he plans to address the many prob-
lems plaguing the FBI.
For example, the mishandling of evi-
dence: The most recent Bureau snafu
came in the form of 4,000 pages of evi-
dence not given to convicted Oklahoma
City federal building bomber Timothy
McVeigh's lawyers. Despite defense attor-
ney Robert Nigh's assertion that the FBI
was asked "on 16 prior occasions to pro-
duce every witness statement in connec-
tion with the bombing investigation," the
FBI insisted that the documents were not
intentionally withheld. Regardless of
whether or not the FBI meant to hide this
evidence, the act was suspicious; it left
many wondering how 4,000 pages of any-
thing could simply be overlooked.
Another questionable project recently
launched by the FBI was a proposed test-
run of its e-mail surveillance system. The
system, ferociously dubbed "Carnivore,"
would allow the FBI to access any e-mail
messages sent through participating inter-
net service providers and was denounced
as a blatant invasion of privacy by the
American Civil Liberties Union. Universi-
ty researchers - along with counterparts
at MIT and Dartmouth - turned down
the opportunity to participate in Carnivore
studies last year because, among other
reasons, the government reserved the
rights to edit researchers' reports
unchecked and to prevent any findings
from being released. This kind of secre-

tiveness coupled with a plan to peek into
the private lives of millions was unset-
tling; it did not paint a very citizen-friend-
ly picture of the FBI.
The FBI has also demonstrated an abil-
ity to be particularly unfriendly to minority
citizens. Recall the case of en Ho Lee,
the Taiwanese-born, naturalized American
nuclear physicist who served jail time on
charges of mishandling sensitive informa-
tion. After more than 20 years of service at
Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratories in New
Mexico, Lee was arrested under suspicion
of espionage, only to be released after
spending nine months in jail.
While top officials denied Lee's race
had anything to do with the allegations, it
should be noted that not one of the many
Caucasian people that had access to the
same "sensitive ' information was suspect-
ed of anything unsavory.
But unwarranted accusations against
innocent people do not mean that the
FBI's security is air-tight. Just months
ago, 25-year FBI veteran Robert Phillip
Hanssen was charged with giving classi-
fied documents to Russia and identify-
ing three double agents to the KGB, two
of whom were executed upon returning
to Moscow. According to Director
Freeh, Hanssen also interfered with the
investigation of U.S. diplomat Felix
Bloch, who was thought to have shared
secret information with the Soviets in
the 1980s.
It will be the responsibility of the new
FBI director to win back the approval of
the largely dubious public; addressing
these issues is a good place to begin. U.S.
citizens deserve a secure FBI that handles
evidence properly, doesn't pry into their
lives without probable cause and con-
demns the practice of racial profiling.
Before the Senate stamps Mueller with its
seal of approval, senators should ask him
what he would do about these pressing
problems.

oes anyone in this country support
the death penalty anymore. Certain-
ly not Supreme Court Justice Sandra
Day O Connor, who spoke against capital
unishment in her address to the Minnesota
Women Lawyers' association last week.
O'Connor, appointed to the bench by Presi-
dent Ronald Reagan in 1981, is a conserva-
tive, but her words in Minnesota mark a
departure from her traditional sentiments
regarding the death penalty. If a traditional-
ly conservative justice has finally acknowl-
edged the flaws in an archaic and inhumane
method of executing justice, perhaps it is
time for the rest of the nation will follow
her lead.
"You must breathe a big sigh of relief
every day (to live in a state without capital
punishment)," O'Connor told her audience.
She suggested that federal standards must
be set for legal representation in capital
cases. The Washington Post reports that in
Texas last year, those represented by court-
appointed counsel were 28 percent more
likely to be convicted than those who hired
private lawyers. Once convicted, those
unable to afford defense were 44 percent
more likely to receive the death penalty.
The death penalty, besides being a
source of controversy on moral grounds, is
racially and socio-economically discrimina-
tory. The statistics in Texas are typical of
what goes on throughout the country and
further support the unfortunate reality that
justice can be bought.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Com-
mittee, now chaired by Senator Patrick
Leahy (D-Vermont), held hearings on the
Innocence Protection Act. The bill, spon-
sored by Leahy as well as Susan Collins
(R-Maine) and Gordon Smith (R-Oregon),
would set standards for legal counsel in
capital cases, guarantee access to DNA evi-
dence and oppose executions of the mental-
ly retarded. -
The bill should be passed and the nation
should continue to re-examine the death

penalty, as Justice O'Connor is doing. The
federal government has only recently ended
a long moratorium on the death penalty,
includig the highly publicized execution of
Oklahoma City Federal Building bomber
Timothy Meigh. This resurgence has
been noticed and has had an effect on the
national conscience. In 1994, national poll
showed support for the death penalty at 8P
percent. Today that figure has dropped
below 65 percent. The number of death row
inmates exonerated in the last three decades
has been tremendous: Over 70 nationally,
including a dozen in Illinois alone.
Rightfully, these statistics are disturbing
to most Americans. They are beginning to
see that any justice system that is disenmi-
natory and woefully imprecise is not just.
One method to alleviate the potential
mistakes of state-sentenced execution is
DNA testing, which the Innocence Protec-
tion Act hopes to address. Unfortunately,
few states that have the death penalty also
allow for DNA testing in those capital
cases. O'Connor, a long-tune supporter of
state's rights, has rightfully drawn the line
here. It is bad enoug that people are being
wrongfully convicted, but the states' failure
to pass legislation that would help solve the
problem is negligent.
When the Court resumes from its sum-
mer recess, it will hear a case regarding th
execution of the mentally retarded. O'Con-
nor's recent comments indicate a shift clos-
er to the center for her, at least on this issue.
She is often considered a "swing" vote and
should ensure that the Court's ruling on this
case and others will protect the accused.
This ideological shift, coupled with the
passing of the Innocence Protection Act,
will hopefully signal the beginning of the
end of the death penaltyin this country.
If the citizens of this country wish to
support a justice system that is truly just,
they will listen to Justice O'Connor and
realize the serious flaws of the long-stand-
ing injustice that is the death penalty.

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