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November 13, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 13, 1995

1

(Thle ICxcl 'tg ut at7iv

JULiuE BECKER

ON THE RECORD

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
university of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

Thie next 'U' leader She should
be more than another emptysuzit

.nkss otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Mi Ic ahigan for MSA
Party is richest with ideas, ambition

L eaders of the Michigan Party want to
frame this week's election of Michigan
Student Assembly representatives as a mid-
term progress report on their accomplish-
mients. In truth, the election is about much
more than that. The Michigan Party candi-
dates should not ride the coattails of Presi-
dent Flint Wainess and Vice President Sam
Goodstein, but deserve to win on their own
merits. The party, while burdened by a top-
heavy mentality, is by far the most dynamic
force in the student government.
Five parties are fielding candidates in this
week's election. Two of them - the Truth &
Equal Action Party and the United People's
Coalition - can be dismissed quickly. The
TEA Party, in slating candidates for presi-
dent and vice president last spring, presented
itself as the party of the first-year student.
TEA leaders and current candidates David
Valazzi and Micah Frankel
are older but politically not
much wiser than they were
then. They pledge to listen
to all students before tak-
ing action, a noble ideal
that. fails to substitute for
their lack of knowledge on
campus issues. The UPC suffers from a simi-
lardeficitofperspective: Its platform is based
solely on minority representation and cul-
tural awareness. These issues are important,
but represent only one part of what MSA can
and should accomplish.
The Wolverine Party returns to the MSA
ballot with a set of nuts-and-bolts issues
similar to the ones it proposed last spring. But
while the Wolverine Party ran proven stu-
dent leaders for president and vice president
in the spring, only one current Wolverine
Party candidate stands out. Andy Schor, the
assembly's federal lobbyist, has worked tire-
lessly lobbying lawmakers to preserve stu-
dent financial aid. He has cooperated with
members of other parties to present a united
front on this vital issue. He deserves to be
elected to the assembly.
The Wolverine Party as a whole, how-
ever, presents itself as an opposition alliance,
listing its e-mail address as "fixmsa." An
emergent political force with many construc-
tive ideas, the Wolverine Party is more effec-
tive setting and reaching specific goals than
if would be overhauling the entire assembly.
The Students' Party, currently the sec-
ond-biggest faction on MSA, is fielding the
largest group of candidates. Unlike the Wol-
verine Party, the Students' Party has posi-
itined itself comfortably as MSA's opposi-
tiori party. It has never had to lead MSA, a
fact evidenced by its dearth of ideas and
hidebound party structure. Lacking a leader,
Students' Party members say they reach all
decisions by consensus and lead by mobiliz-
ingfthe student body. Pressed on his party's
biggest goal in the year ahead, LSA Rep.
Jonathan Freeman answered "getting people
dut to vote (in MSA elections) and getting
people to believe in their student govern-
meni." A worthy goal, but not a platform. In
fact, the petty bickering of some Students'
Party members has done more to harm that
goal than further it.
The Michigan Party, by contrast, has most
forcefully articulated a platform of general

principles and defined objectives. Its fall
position statement is the most comprehen-
sive of any party's. Since its founding in
1993, it has been the most effective party to
lead the assembly in recent memory. Under
Michigan Party leadership, the assembly has
won a non-voting representative to the Uni-

versity Board of Regents. At the urging of
MSA and other constituents, the regents voted
to scrap the old code of non-academic con-
duct. The party leaders' budget proposal
passed MSA virtually unscathed. Wainess
played a major role in forming a health-care
proposal for students. Less tangibly, MSA
has reaped immeasurable advances in its
public image, which has helped the student
government lobby on students' behalf.
Of the Michigan Party's hodgepodge of
candidates, two merit special recognition.
Fiona Rose, who defected from the Students'
Party this fall, very effectively heads MSA's
External Relations Commission. Like the
Wolverine Party's Schor, she has lobbied
lawmakers extensively on student aid. Al-
though only a sophomore, Rose has earned
the respect of colleagues through her intelli-
gence and devotion to the job. James Liggins
Jr. has taken a leadership
role as an advocate for
multiculturalism and mi-
nority interests, backing his
/ words with action. His po-
sitions have reflected a
genuine concern for his
constituents, not a blind de-
votion to the party.
The rest of the Michigan Party slate
abounds with new blood, hinting at enthusi-
asm mixed with inexperience. It is question-
able whether Michigan Party representatives
will reach their potential. The party platform
reflects a tendency to rest on its leaders'
laurels. For the most part, the achievements
of the past year owe to the efforts of Wainess
and Goodstein. Although their maverick lead-
ership has split the assembly internally, it has
enhanced MSA's stature. Michigan Party
members have quarreled publicly with
Wainess over his eagerness to compromise
with University administrators over the lan-
guage of the proposed Code of Student Con-
duct. Wainess has played fast and loose with
the assembly's weekly meetings, going so
far as to cancel meetings over 10-minute
delays in convening them. As a result, truly
important MSA business gets done behind
closed doors.
Wainess and Goodstein - outsiders el-
evated to the party's top posts - have es-
tranged themselves from much of the
assembly's rank and file, including members
of their own party. Their heavy-handed lead-
ership, while troubling, is not wholly incon-
sistent with Michigan Party tradition. Party
leaders - from President Craig Greenberg
and Vice President Brian Kight in 1993 to
Wainess and Goodstein today - have been
zealous to the point of overbearing.
But they have accomplished much. With
the Students' Party unfocused and the Wol-
verine Party politically immature, the Michi-
gan Party is most capable of leading MSA.
However, its slate has holes and should not
be elected in its entirety. The Wolverine
Party's Schor deserves a seat, as does Susan
Ratcliffe, a Music junior running as an inde-
pendent. Ratcliffe has been particularly re-
sponsive to her constituents, many of them
North Campus residents who have been cut
off from MSA. She has been a vigorous
campaigner for campus safety, an issue of
particular urgency on North Campus.

Michigan Party candidates should neither
inherit the accomplishments nor be judged
on the faults of their leaders. Evaluated on
their own qualities, the Michigan Party can-
didates are not overwhelming favorites, but
they are best prepared to keep moving the
assembly forward.

n 1988, students at Gallaudet University,
the world's only liberal arts college for
deaf people, rose up in a massive protest
when their board of trustees selected a hear-
ing person to be the university's next presi-
dent. The students shut down the campus,
demanding that the new president resign and
the board choose a deaf candidate instead.
They were successful: Within a week, the
trustees capitulated and selected the
university's first deaf leader.
That same year, James J. Duderstadt be-
gan his term as president of the University of
Michigan. And now, as the University Board
of Regents prepares to choose his successor,
the Gallaudet events of 1988 keep coming to
my mind. The regents plan to hold a series of
forums on campus, to gather input on what
people would like to see in the next Univer-
sity president. For me, the answer is easy.
I want the new president to be a woman.
People will attack me for this. I am a
feminazi, they will say. I support quotas,
they will say. I don't want the most qualified
person, they will say.
Of course I do. There are essential quali-
ties in a University president that have noth-
ing to do with gender. And if it came down
to, say, a man who supported student rights
and a woman who showed the potential to be
a dictator, that wouldn't be a very difficult
choice.
But there are also important attributes
that have everything to do with gender. It
isn't about the day-to-day operations of the
president's office; speaking, fund-raising

and delegating are mostly gender-neutral
activities. It isn't even about agenda-setting.
There are women who feel little or no re-
sponsibility to the advancement of other
females, while current President James J.
Duderstadt, with his 18-month-old Agenda
for Women, has done better in that depart-
ment than any of his predecessors.
It is about symbols. Historians of the
Gallaudet protest marvel at its successful
mobilization on such a seemingly mundane
issue: "On a daily basis," writes one pair of
authors, "it makes little difference to stu-
dents who the university president is." The
reason the protest gained so much support,
they argue, was its symbolic value: an end to
hearing people's oppression of the deaf.
It's a little different here at the Univer-
sity. Only half the students are women, and
I would hesitate to call myself "oppressed."
I wouldn't hesitate to say that watching the
parade of men stand up to speak for me and
my school can get a little frustrating. It says
quite a bit that one of the nation's premier
universities, one whose undergraduate popu-
lation is just under 50 percent female, cur-
rently has only one woman serving as an
executive officer. You can watch Vice Presi-
dent for Student Affairs Maureen A. Hart-
ford during regents meetings, sitting among
the other vice presidents' suit-and-tie lineup.
You wonder if she feels different.
It is about role models. There is a profes-
sor here whose classes my female friends
and I all have taken at some point, and we all
look up to her - not simply as a good

teacher, but as a woman who represents
what we might like to be someday. In her
office hours, I once asked this professor to
tell me how she'd gotten to where she was,
and what it was like to be a female in
academia. She was generous with both her
information and her time - a precious com-
modity among female professors. They are
notoriously overburdened with commit-
ments, precisely because so many female
students seek them out as mentors.
Having a female president would not
change that, nor would it put an end to the
boys'-club mentality that pervades some -
not all, but some - of University life. It
would, however, be yet another symbol that
women are a force at the University, that the
glass ceiling can be cracked after all.
The traditional argument against affir-
mative action claims that it favors women
and minorities at the expense of qualified
white male candidates. The fault in this logic
comes with the phrase "at the expense of."
Affirmative action is not about victimizing
qualified candidates; it is about choosing
among them. Finding a female University-
president would not require seeking out a
capable person from a pool of women. It
would mean selecting a woman from a pool
of capable applicants.
She's out there, this symbol, this role
model, this next University president. She.
can't be too hard to find. All we have to do'
is look for her.
- Julie Becker can be reached over e-
mail atjhb@umich.edu.

3

JIM LASSER
'HAT1 fEfaND$ ME!
THE BEATlhEĀ§ ARE
GETVENC HAEK
ThC-'ETHEK, t.

HARPAS TOAST
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NOTABLE QUOTABLE
I am eager to
work at a
more thoughtful
pace, with
fewer artistic
compromises.'
- Calvin and Hobbes
creator Bill Watterson,
who will retire Dec. 31

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VIEWPOINT
Turn around - the code is watching you

By Patience Atkin
Very few people, it seems,
know what the University's code
of non-academic conduct is.
Of those people, the number
who care is even smaller. They
only hear rumors of code debates
between MSA candidates, or of
an occasional protest on the Diag.
Students may see an article in a
campus publication, but they skim
it, dismissing it as just another
code piece.
There are reasons why these
debates take place, why these
pieces are written. They are rea-
sons that every student on cam-
pus should know, because the
current Statement of Student
Rights and Responsibilities does
affect every student. These rea-
sons stem from fundamental flaws
in the structure and administra-
tion of the code.
In its current form, the
code's power extends 30 miles
off campus. If a student does
something in Ypsilanti, Whitmore
Lake or even the parking lot of
Metro Airport that is punishable
under the code, that student can
be suspended or brought before
the judicial adviser.
The University's Orwellian
approach to governing students'
actions is frightening. Students
say that when they agreed to come
to the University, they didn't
Atkin is an RCjunior and a
member of the Daily editorial
page staff

agree to have the University moni-
tor their social lives. As a matter
of fact, under the code, that is
exactly what they agreed to.
It is also ironic that a univer-
sity that prides itself on teaching
responsibility to its students is
concerning itself with the activi-
ties of students 30 miles off cam-
pus. It might even be humorous if
it weren't happening here.
The procedures for investi-
gating the charges and trying a
student charged under the code
are unfair. The accused student is
not allowed to call witnesses to
testify on his or her behalf, but the
person who brought the charge
against the student may call as
many witnesses as is deemed ap-
propriate by the judicial adviser.
Neither party may be represented
by an attorney. A student may be
advised, quietly, throughout the
proceedings by an attorney, but
the attorney may not speak in
"court."
When two of the most funda-
mental rights allowed in the court
system - the right to an attorney
and the right to call witnesses in
your behalf - are denied by a
university during "judicial" pro-
ceedings, the fairness and valid-
ity of the proceedings are neces-
sarily called into question. The
danger of a legally inexperienced
student being falsely sanctioned
is far too great.
Ā® The possibilities of using
the code for purposes other than
maintaining a safe campus are

infinite. Student A doesn't like
Teaching Assistant X, so A
charges X with sexual harassment
under the code. X cannot call
witnesses on his behalf. X can
appeal the judicial board's deci-
sion, but if the appeal fails, X is
out of luck. A second appeal can
only be made if the civil or crimi-
nal court acquits X on the same
charges - except there isn't
enough evidence to even bring
civil or criminal charges against
X. This case would most likely be
thrown out of a U.S. court, but the
University prefers to opt for a
system based on the British courts,
placing the burden of proof on the
accused instead of the accusing
party.
U There is only one person in
charge of most of the hearing
process. The judicial adviser is
responsible for conducting the
preliminary investigation, inter-
viewing both parties and wit-
nesses, deciding whether to pro-
ceed with a hearing, and training
the students and faculty on the
judicial board in matters of due
process.
Giving one person, however
well-intentioned he or she may
be, responsibility for many of the
fundamentals of a student's case
is unsettling at best. Seldom at
the University is one person alone
entrusted with so many decisions
affecting students - in fact, the
bureaucracy at the University is
legendary. It would be to the
University's credit to establish a

Judicial Advisory Board to handle
code procedures. When the sub-
ject at hand is the future of a
student, one person's involve-
ment is not sufficient.
Many students will argue that
the code does not affect their daily
lives, and that there are too many
other things to worry about. Those
students are right - it doesn't,
and there are.
The reason students should be
aware of the flaws of the code is
because the code could affect their
lives. Its flawed procedures could
result in a student's suspension or
expulsion. This alone should scare
students out of their apathy.
The code is asridiculous at-
tempt to govern students. It in-
fringes on the civil liberties of
students, and it does not provide
an adequate means of conducting
investigations or hearings.
Student debates on issues of
objective morality, civil liberties
and responsibility of governing
bodies occur every day in politi-
cal science and philosophy
classes. They apply lofty prin-
ciples to abstract ideas, which
mean very little until they can be
applied to an actual situation.
Now students face such a situ-
ation. To treat the code as some-
body else's problem or merely an
academic concern ignores the
very real danger it presents. Stu-
dents must educate themselves
on the principles of the code and
be aware of the revisions that are
occurring every week.

How TO CONTACT THEM
U Iniyareitu Dvaeindan* It l I flfdarctadt

LETTERS
Blacks must help themselves

WHAT'S AFFECTING 'U' THIS WEEK

To the Daily:

In the 4 same way Koreans,

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