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August 12, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-08-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 12, 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.

"I want people to say that Michigan is a
better, more distinguished place for me having
been here. That we are more humane and are
taking better care of our undergraduate and
graduate students."
- University President Mary Sue
Coleman to the Detroit Free Press.
There is a two-tiered justice system at
the University. University employees
reserve the established rights of the
U.S. judicial system in their disputes with
the University. Students, however, do not
receive this treatment.
Disputes between students and the
University are resolved under a different
set of rules. The Statement of Student
Rights and Responsibilities, formerly
known as the Code of Student Conduct,
governs students' legal dealings with the
University. The Code has gone through a
series of permutations and name changes,
but its fundamental dimension has yet to
change. The denial of judicial rights that is
at the center of the document has not been

The University's shame
Act now or forever hold no rights

amended or reformed.
Among the more unfortunate aspects of
the Code, the resolution process stands out
as particularly egregious. Students cannot
have legal counsel speak on their behalf and
hearsay evidence is admissible in the kan-
garoo court's proceedings. The University
administration has justified these regula-
tions as tools to improve students' educa-
tion and encourage their personal develop-
ment. To allow its students to be unfairly
exposed to the possibility of suspension or
expulsion and justifying it as in the best
interests of the students is unconscionable.
Every other academic year, the Code
is eligible to undergo a series of revi-
sions. This process, which involves the
joint work of the Michigan Student
Assembly, the Executive Officers of the

University and the Senate Advisory
Committee on University Affairs, culmi-
nates in a presidential decision to accept
or deny the various changes. The last time
this process was undertaken during the
2000-2001 school year, weak executive
leadership and internal turmoil prevented
MSA from effectively challenging the
administration. Former President
Bollinger conceded to 85 percent of the
proposed changes. In reality, these
changes consisted of grammatical and
verbal revisions that kept intact most of
the Code's disconcerting provisions.
For the first time in the history of the
Code, the University has a new president
with no previous connections to the
University. While past presidents have
been content to let the status quo reign,

Coleman is uniquely positioned to imple-
ment the far-reaching changes that will
give students the rights at the University
that they possess in civil society. The next
academic year could prove to be a water-
shed moment in the history of student
rights at the University - if students active-
ly assert their opposition to the Code.
The Code was once the prime concern
of student activists across campus.
Massive rallies in opposition to the docu-
ment were frequent through the late '80s
and into the '90s. But that spirit vanished
as students left Ann Arbor and the Code
became entrenched into the fabric of stu-
dent life. This apathy must be rejected.
Students need to once again pressure the
president and her administration to
destroy the Code.
President Coleman's vision of a more
humane University is an inspiring goal.
The first and most obvious step in what
will necessarily be an extended process is
to eliminate the Code. It is time to restore
humanity to the academy.

A cautionary tale
Athletic Department must remember Martin's legacy

Banned Michigan basketball booster
Eddie L. Martin will soon appear
before U.S. District Judge Robert
Cleland to receive his sentence for money
laundering and gambling charges. In
return for a lenient sentence, Martin has
agreed to disclose the details of his money
laundering scheme and the names of those
involved in this operation. The Athletic
Department is following the proceedings
with cautious optimism.
The repercussions of Martin's
actions have already been felt Thed
within the basketball program. forget
Years of weak recruiting classes leg
and a team in disarray at the end impro
of former coach Brian Ellerbe's st
tenure were a few of the manifes-
tations of Martin's shadow. These were
some of the more apparent problems in the
program, but the entire culture surround-
ing the basketball program has suffered as
a result of Martin.
The desire to forget Martin's legacy of
impropriety is strong. The National
Collegiate Athletic Association is current-
ly investigating the basketball program
and the possibility of sanctions is alive.
The next several months may be trying for
the Athletic Department. Even if sanctions
are not imposed, the national publicity that
Martin generates will only add to the stig-
ma that is attaching itself to Michigan bas-
ketball and the University.
Despite the inclination to rapidly move
beyond the Martin scandal, the Athletic
Department and the University should use
this opportunity to ponder the repercus-
sions of their past actions. While the
extent of the University's involvement in
the affair is still unclear, it is readily appar-

ent that the Athletic Department failed to
insulate its players from Martin's influ-
ence. The Martin saga should not be
quickly forgotten, like most collegiate ath-
letic scandals, but should instead serve as
an example of how probity can lapse when
winning becomes the fundamental goal of
the department.
Athletic Director Bill Martin has over-
hauled the Athletic Department and it is
unimaginable that a scandal of similar
magnitude could again
desire to descend upon Ann Arbor, but
Martin's there are still lessons to be
Eacy of learned from the past.
apriety is Preventing future violations
rong. is a complicated task that will
require a new philosophy for
the department. The Athletic Department
needs to recommit itself to the values of
the student-athlete. Athletes can no longer
be exploited for their talents and be
allowed to leave the University with a sub-
standard education. Athletes' misdeeds can
no longer be tolerated with ineffectual
rebuffs. The Athletic Department can no
longer be imagined as a sovereign entity
and effective faculty oversight must be
The days of the Fab Five were one of
the high-water marks in the history of
Michigan athletics, but their accomplish-
ments were not achieved without corrup-
tion. In a university where athletics are
granted a privileged position, it is crucial
that this experience is remembered to tem-
per future excesses.
Coach Tommy Amaker has already
made great strides in returning Michigan
to a level of national prominence. The
basketball-program will eventually recov-

Smoke and mirrors
Ballot proposal would hurt Michigan students
pponents of the Nov. 4 ballot proposal four-year university in this decade because of
to amend the Michigan Constitution rising tuition and limited scholarship options.
gained some much-needed publicity Taking funding away from a successful, large-
last week when state Sen. John "Joe" Schwarz scale scholarship program, especially during
(R-Battle Creek) took over as chair of People uncertain economic times, only compoundsthis
Protecting Kids and the Constitution, an orga- crisis. Although far from perfect, the scholar-
nization that is fighting the initiative. The ballot ship program is a critical part of Michigan's
proposal would shift Michigan's tobacco settle- higher education system.
ment money from the Michigan Merit Proponents of the amendment argue that it
Scholarship program to a coalition of health is logical to spend tobacco settlement money on
care interests for use in smoking prevention and preventing smoking. Under the proposal,
health care. Schwarz's presence should help though, there is no guarantee that all the money
bring the media spotlight to a con- will actually be used for tobacco
tentious and important issue that It is unfortunate prevention and without another
could have serious consequences that crucial constitutional amendment, it will
for Michigan students. interests like be impossible to redistribute the
It is unfortunate that crucial health care and money if programs prove ineffec-
interests like health care and educa- education must tive at any juncture during the
tion must battle for funding. Both battle for funding. fund's 25-year life.
sectors receive inadequate funding The $300-$380 million annual
and support from the state and both are wholly payout would be divided between 11 differeit
justified in their demands for more money. That programs, with no specific mandate for how
is why it is imperative that Michigan votersrec- the money should be spent. Among the bene-
ognize that the proposal is not simply a cut and ficiaries of the proposal is the Tobacco-Free
dry vote for improved health care and that the Futures Fund, Inc., which would receive
amendment will do more harm than good. approximately $50 million annually.
The Michigan Merit Scholarship program Operating outside of the jurisdiction of the
has awarded 140,000 scholarships of $2,500 to Michigan Freedom of Information Act, the
Michigan high school students over the past corporation would not be held accountable or
three years. Another 50,000 students are penalized for misuse of funds, failure to act in
expected to receive the grant in the coming the public's best interest or simply running an
year. The value of this money cannot be under- inefficient operation.
stated. Most importantly, it can be the differ- After close examination, it is clear that
ence between attending a community college Michigan's tobacco settlement money would be
and not attending school at all. It can also help better used in a proven program that helps tens
bridge the financial divide between a commu- of thousands of Michigan students attend col-
nity college and a four-year university and help lege. Tobacco prevention and health care is cer-
ease the heavy financial burden student loans. tainly a worthy cause. However, a constitution-
A study released in June by the Advisory al amendment that locks in funding with little or
Committee on Student Financial Assistance no public oversight for 25 years and drains cru-
warns that over 4 million high school students cial state scholarship funding is a poor way to
across the country will not be able to attend a combat the problem.






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