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July 22, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-07-22

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 22, 2002
letters@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
SINCE 1890 necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

With a strained budget and a state
Legislature unwilling to increase
its appropriation to the
University, the University Board of
Regents approved a 7.9 percent tuition
increase Thursday. The increased tuition
will account for approximately $52 mil-
lion in additional revenue for the
University. Although the percentage
increase over last fiscal year's tuition is
both the second lowest in the state and the
Big Ten, the dollar increase is still hefty.
Out-of-state, upper-division LSA students
will have $920 more charged to their bills
per academic term and Michigan residents
will have an extra $310 burden.
The state Legislature bears the prima-
ry responsibility for the tuition hikes.
Irresponsible fiscal policies have helped
create a state-wide budget crisis that has
affected public services throughout the
state. Particularly troubling is the
Legislature's stubborn refusal to recog-
nize the importance of higher education
for the state's economy and future.

Tuition tribulations
Univesity's tuition increases must be curbed

Michigan universities provide education-
al opportunities, high-paying profession-
al jobs and funnel federal research dollars
into the state. More importantly, higher
education represents the most effective
means to escape from poverty. The
increases in tuition will prevent many
low-income students from enrolling at the
University and other institutions across
the state. It is crucial that the University
and campuses across the state do not
become prohibitively expensive.
While students should recognize that
the University was faced with a precarious
situation and the 7.9 percent increase is
not as large as it could have been, the
University must do more to keep its bud-
get reasonable. The University has slashed
bloated portions of the budget, but finan-

cial excesses still persist. On May 23 sev-
eral regents flew in a private Falcon 50 air-
craft to Iowa City to interview incoming
University President Mary Sue Coleman,
The flight, in a Domino's Pizza corporate
jet, cost the University over $5,000.
During the month of May, the presidential
search racked up over $20,000 in fees for
private flights. University Board of
Regents Chair Laurence Deitch (D-
Bingham Farms) glibly justified the
expenses to The Detroit News: "If others
think it's too much money spent, I'm not
apologetic. Flying on a private jet is great.
It takes the hassles out of flying."
Although the cost of the chartered
flights is miniscule in comparison to the
$1.05 billion University budget, it points
to a troubling culture where convenience

and executive perks are emphasized over
students' tuition. The money saved if the
University had mandated commercial
flights could have been applied more
effectively within the University.
Students, whose financial commitments
to the University are often greater than
$30,000 per year, deserve better.
The University will always be depen-
dent on the state Legislature for a sizable
portion of its budget, but it must do
more to ensure that tuition is manage-
able for its students. The steady tuition
increases over the past several years
have left students burdening more loans
after they graduate and prevented some
from continuing their education at the
The frivolous expenses that the regents
are so keen on enjoying are inappropriate
when the state is suffering through this
economic crisis. More members of the
University must sacrifice to keep tuition
low and guarantee that the educational
offerings of the University do not suffer.


Districting gets red light
Detroit should support the spirit of DCC proposal
ast Wednesday, the Michigan them occasionally during the day. Under a
Supreme Court struck down a ballot ward system, councilpersons would be
question that would have allowed closer to and more familiar with the par-
Detroit residents to decide if their city ticular problems of Detroit's neighbor-
council members should be elected based hoods and residents would have specific
on districts. The proposal, which representatives to hold accountable. In a
Republican Gov. John Engler sued to get city as large as Detroit, direct representa-
on the ballot, was rejected because it failed tion is essential to dealing with the
to garner the constitutionally mandated numerous problems that plague Detroit's
2/3 majority vote in the state House. poorer neighborhoods.
In typical Engler fashion though, the Still, the Supreme Court ruling is the
path the bill took to the Aug. 6 ballot proper decision since the state-mandated
involved subverting home rule to addition to the ballot was in
force the issue on Detroit. This A ward system fact unconstitutional. The set-
action comes on the heels of would divide the back, though, is actually
Engler's state takeover of the city into even promising because it asserts
Detroit Public School system and districts and Detroit's right to direct its own
his attempts to do the same to require each city government policies and injects
Inkster schools and the cities of council member to much-needed optimism into
Hamtramck and Flint. reside in the residents who feel the State
But while the court's ruling district they reserves the right to run willy-
represents a victory for Detroit represent. nilly over their sovereignty.
over Engler's state-takeover cru- Engler's clumsy attempt to
sade, it should not obscure the reality that rush the initiative to ballot has another
the way Detroiters elect their city council upside. The Court handed down its ruling
needs to be reformed. after the ballots had already been printed,
Presently elected at-large, city council so the question will remain on election day
members may live anywhere they please even though the results won't count. This
within the city limits, which means ought to translate into added publicity for
Detroit's more affluent neighborhoods are a ward system that is already beginning to
home for most of the council members attract media attention.
while its poorer areas are often left with- Other than an act of the city council,
out any sort of direct representation. the only other undisputed mechanism for
A ward system would divide the city placing the question back on the ballot is
into even districts and require each city through a citizen's petition. But collect-
council member to reside in the district ing enough signatures to get to ballot can
they represent. This would drastically be a difficult task. Detroit officials,
increase the accountability and awareness including Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and
of a city council that is notorious for residents should seize this opportunity to
ducking local issues. Living in and around propose similar legislation while this
neighborhoods with no streetlights is important issue remains fresh in the pub-
quite a bit different than passing through lie's mind.

More drug shenanigans
Dangerous MDMA bill speeding through Senate
H aving moved through the Senate The bill's language also leaves the legis-
Judiciary Committee with alarming lation open for interpretation by aggressive
speed, a bipartisan bill that would judges and enforcement officers who could
provide harsh penalties for organizers of potentially attempt to apply it to important
events where there is drug use sits ready for events like political rallies. Used in this way,
final approval at any time on the Senate the legislation would endow the federal gov-
consent calendar. Sponsored by Sens. Dick ernment with expansive powers to break up
Durbin (D-Ill.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and prosecute people involved in such legit-
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy imate activities as protesting marijuana leg-
(D-Vt.), the Reducing Americans' islation or a host of other causes. The absur-
Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002 seeks dity of the bill manifests itself in the simple
to expand the existing federal fact that the logic of the RAVE
crack house statute. Perhaps the Act would mandate severe
The RAVE Act would make most troubling penalties for the federal govern-
concert promoters, club owners aspect of the ment, which is unable to prevent
and proprietors of other enter- bill is the drug use from occurring in its
tainment venues face a threat to civil prisons.
$250,000 fine if there is any liberties. Perhaps the most troubling
drug use on their premises. aspect of the bill is the threats
While it is clearly impossible for busi- to civil liberties. Ravers are being target-
nesspeople to be responsible for the ed specifically because of unsubstantiated
actions of every one of their customers, assumptions about their music, parties
these senators are intent on dismantling and culture. However, the threat to civil
the freedom to assemble under the guise 'liberties extends beyond the electronic
of an anti-drug stance. music community. All public or private
The bill attempts to combat the problem meetings will be made vulnerable to
of MDMA abuse with repressive legisla- unjust police intrusion.
tion. The bill's purpose is ostensibly to keep If legitimate concert and rave promot-
promoters from hosting raves for the pur- ers, especially smaller-scale indepen-
pose of selling drugs or providing a place to dents, can be prosecuted under the law for
take them. But the bill is riddled with hosting raves, there is a considerable
assumptions that open up the many legiti- chance that the unique culture they repre-
mate dance promoters and club owners to sent will disappear.
prosecution even if only one person is found The RAVE Act once again illustrates that
using illegal substances at their parties. most federal lawmakers do not understand
Generalizations like, "raves have become the drug use they seek to curb. Certainly
little more than a way to exploit American MDMA use is a genuine problem among
youth" and "the trafficking and use of 'club many youths. But raves and parties are not
drugs' ... is deeply embedded in the rave the impetus for MDMA use. Shutting down 4
culture" prevent the legislators from recog- regulated and legitimate raves or parties will
nizing the vast majority of club-goers are only cause drug use to move into other,
not using illicit drugs. more dangerous venues.

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