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November 21, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 21, 1995

(!i~e Atkichgrt &Itu

I

JEAN TWENGE

THE ERASABLE PEN

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

Tnhbgs I'm thakfulfor Hand
turkeys and childhood memonies

Unless otherwise noted, unsignededitorials 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.
etting it right
Presidential search begins on positive note

ttempting to bury the ghosts of the past,
the University Board of Regents began
what promises to be a long and possibly
arduous process: picking the next University
president. The often factional board made an
effort to begin the process on a good foot by
selecting regents Nellie Varner (D-Detroit)
and Shirley McFee (R-Battle Creek) to co-
chair the committee on the search. Varner
and McFee have consistently been two of the
least politically motivated and least contro-
versial members of the board, a welcome fact
given the recently increasing political nature
ofthe board. Ifthe presidential search is to be
successful, the regents must put politics be-
hind them and uphold the spirit of a public
search process.
In convening the regents committee in
public, the board has at least in part realized
that conducting an open search is not debat-
able. When faced with a question that affects
so many, maximum community involvement
should be a prerequisite for choosing a presi-
dent.
However, the ghosts of 1988 still loom in
the shadows of the new search. McFee has
said the regents committee will likely estab-
lish subcommittees to perform unspecified
tasks to aid the main body in the search. The
regents have not said whether these yet-to-
be-created advisory committees will be open
to the public. In 1988, the regents held all
presidential search meetings behind closed
doors, presenting only one candidate - even-
tual President James J. Duderstadt - to the
public. In 1993 the Michigan Supreme Court
said the 1988 presidential search violated the
state Freedom of Information Act and Open
Meetings Act. To assure the regents' com-
mitment to follow the law, there must be an
immediate commitment to opening the sub-
committees to the public.
Unfortunately, the regents are showing
tendencies toward reverting to the secrecy of;

the past. When Duderstadt announced his
resignation in September, both he and the
regents told the community that their parting
was amicable and mutual. The private pic-
ture was much different. The regents warned
Duderstadt not to discuss the true reasons for
his unexpected departure, which apparently
resulted from a deep and intractable split
between the president and the board.
In addition, questions are now appearing
regarding the regents' intentions. George
Brewer, the chairman ofthe Senate Advisory
Committee on University Affairs, declared
that if the regents did not pick a president
from the field of academia, the "Senate As-
sembly is fully capable of a vote of 'no
confidence,' which would be a disaster for
you as well as for the administration."
While Brewer is justified in his desire for
a president with strong academic credentials
- it is seems impossible that the regents
could find a more qualified person in any
other area - his threats seem premature and
as of yet unjustified. This University needs
leaders who understand the community and
institution where they work, but there is no
reason to doubt that the regents are looking to
any fields of expertise other than academia.
Brewer has jumped the gun and while he and
SACUA have a valid point, they should not
have opened up discussion on this topic with
what appear to be idle threats.
Last week's actions by the Board of Re-
gents seem to set the tone for this search as
open and non-partisan. The community
should not be forced to resort to the paranoid
and overly defensive tactics exhibited by
SACUA's chairman. The regents have done
nothing so far in this search to lose the
confidence of their constituents. This com-
munity deserves a voice in the selection of
the person who likely will be setting its
course into the next century. Anything less
would be unacceptable.

When I was a kid, my favorite part of
Thanksgiving was making a turkey
out of my hand. You remember - you lie
your hand flat on the paper, draw around it
with a pencil, and viola! you have a turkey
with your thumb for its head and fingers for
feathers. I liked hand-turkeys because they
were the only thing remotely fun about the
holiday besides getting out of school. If you
didn't get recruited to help with the cooking
(yuck), one ofyour grandmothers was bound
to smother you inabear hug and tell you how
much you've grown (double yuck).
Well, this year I'm doing the cooking
and hosting my parents for Thanksgiving in
my apartment. This event only reinforces
my creeping suspicion that I might just have
become an adult (triple yuck).
Despite the haunting specter of cooked
turkeys and massive mounds of dishes, this
Thanksgiving I am actually thankful for
something: I am glad I'm no longer a kid.
Perhaps I'll think differently when I have
a mortgage, but right now, looking back at
childhood is anything but pleasant. In the
"Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary
Book," cartoonist Bill Watterson annotates
one of his Sunday panels with the telling
comment"I've never understood people who
remember childhood as an idyllic time."
That's quite a statement for one of our
decade's most skillful observers of child-
hood, and I agree with him. Growing up is a
delicate balance between freedom and re-
sponsibility, but right now I'll take worries
and responsibilities over being a kid any

day.
The reasons:
Other kids. Actually, if it hadn't been
for other kids, childhood might have been
tolerable. As it was, girls wouldn't play with
me because I wasn't part of their special
club, and boys wouldn't play with me be-
cause I was a girl. Most of the boys came
around in the end and let me play with them,
but the "in" group of girls (which stayed the
same from second grade to high school) was
guaranteed trouble. The game was humilia-
tion: If she doesn't wear a bra yet, make fun
of her; if she does, maintain either that l) she
doesn't really need to, or 2) she really does
need to. Both are a slow death injunior high
school.
No freedom. Beingakid usually means
having no money and very little free will.
Adulthood has its own unavoidable man-
dates, but at least you have some freedom in
choosing your job and your spouse (then
you'll feel even more guilty if you screw up,
but ah, well). After years of suffering in
school, going to forced football game pep
rallies, asking for hall passes, being the only
feminist in school and studying Texas his-
tory, I exercised my free will in a major way
by escaping to college in Chicago as soon as
was humanly possible.
School. These days,just the thought of
filling out a mimeographed worksheetmakes
me shiver. Although I had some very good
teachers growing upmany of them relied on
busywork to keep us quiet. The only class
without worksheets was gym, when, instead,

you'd change into a uniform that made you
look like a hippopotamus and get balls thrown
at you at 30 mph. At my school, this unique
form of torture was called dodgeball, and
somehow I always managed to get bonked in
the head within the first minute. Gym was
also torture for cartoonist Watterson: "High
on my list of adulthood pleasures is the fact
that nobody makes me wrestle sweaty guys
anymore," he says.
Unrequited love. Having a crush on
someone who doesn't even realize you exist
is the worst feeling in the world at 13 or 14.
The act of unrequited love can be turned into
a high art form at this age: Just how many
times can you write "I love Todd" before
your pen runs out? Getting older doesn't
necessarily mean that you'll have any more
success in matters, of love; in theory, how-
ever, you should begin to know better than to
fall for anyone who's never talked to you. In
theory.
The only time I ever wish I were a kid
again is Christmas. Opening the presents
under the tree, seeing what Santa left and
playing with new toys was all the joy the
world could possibly bring back then. I used
to say I knew I was growing up when my
parents could no longer give me the things I
wanted most in life. Now I think you've
become an adult when what makes you happy
is not the presents under the tree but the
people around it.
- Jean Twenge can be reached over
e-mail at jeant@umich.edii.

MATT WIMSATT

MOOKIE'S DILEMMA

\pisi
5" !
LETTER
~SAL
LETTERs

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'All I can say is
"Yes!"'
- House Budget Com-
mittee Chairman John
Kasich (R-Ohio), react-
ing to the end of the
federal budget standoff

Renter beware
It pays to know housing rights, obligations

Don't dis
Code's a
of civil ri
To the Daily:
Regarding

"miss
buse
ghts
Mr. Ian

In a report released last week, the
Off-Campus Housing Office has reaf-
firmed the popularity of off-campus housing.
The report states that occupation rates are
near capacity, despite rising rents. This seller's
market is significant for students exploring
off-campus housing, especially first-year stu-
dents and sophomores. One look in the clas-
sified ads reveals the scores of landlords
offering their services -but students should
be wary. Landlords in Ann Arbor take advan-
tage of unsuspecting students.
Many landlords in the city are honest and
fully comply with the rules and regulations
set down by city and state law. But it is
important to remember that, no matter how
friendly or honest a landlord appears, they
are in the realty business to make money.
Protecting oneself by learning the law will go
a long way to guarantee that the contract
signed with the landlord will be equitable.
Fortunately, there are many options stu-
dents can pursue to ensure that when they do
start looking for off-campus housing, they
will be fully aware of their rights and respon-
sibilities as tenants. The Ann Arbor Tenants
Union, located on the fourth floor of the
Michigan Union, and the University's Off-
Campus Housing Office, on the first floor of
the Student Activities Building, are just two
options. The AATU publishes a guide book-
let titled "How To Evict Your Landlord" that

neatly condenses almost everything a pro-
spective tenant needs to know. The Off-
Campus Housing Office has further informa-
tion on most of the popular landlords who
rent to students, and keeps files containing
complaints against landlords. Also, iftrouble
begins after the lease is signed, Student Le-
gal Services on the third floor of the Union-
which fortunately had funding restored in
last week's MSA vote - is a first step in
resolving a dispute.
Spreading the word when any student has
trouble with a particular landlord is also
important. If students do not make their griev-
ances known, future student tenants could
relive the same troubles. When a landlord
does something questionable -from slightly
shifty to outright illegal - chances are it is
not the first time it has happened. Both the
AATU and the Off-Campus Housing Office
will hear grievances against landlords.
It would be nice to think all landlords will
be completely honest - however, there are
numerous tenant-landlord disputes that end
up in court every year because of failed legal
obligations. Students can quite easily avoid
these situations by taking advantage of the
many private and University organizations
whose main goal is to help Ann Arbor and
University tenants. The purpose is to encour-
age not adversarial relationships with land-
lords, but ones that are open and informed.

Goldenberg's recent tirade of
apathy toward non-academic con-
duct codes at this University and
his challenge for anyone on cam-
pus to explain why anyone should
care about the University's at-
tempts to control student behav-
ior off-campus ("Code debate is
distracting," 11/16/95): 1 think it
is you who have some explaining
to do. Please enlighten those of us
who think that civil rights are
more important than moneysasato
why the University has the right
to usurp the U. S. Constitution.
Let's go back to the idea of "be-
having ourselves," shall we? Jake
Baker, having committed what I
and many others consider to be a
disgusting act, was excused from
this University for merely writ-
ing something. While what he
wrote could have been (and was)
perceived as a threat, Duderstadt
broke his own non-binding prom-
ise in removing him under Re-
gents' Bylaw 2.01.
A little background: When the
Statement of Student Rights and
Responsibilities was on the re-
gents' table, Duderstadt had to
assure them that he would not
invoke Bylaw 2.01 while the code
was in effect. Remember, Mr.
Goldenberg? Whoops, that was
before you were a student here.
Anyway, by removing Baker,
Duderstadt showed that he was
exempt from both his word and
the First Amendment-and more
powerful than Congress - in
handing down a judgement that
abridged freedom ofspeechwith-
out even so much as a trial in the
I . . _: o c ,fa ,c -rnno....n>rt n

something beyond federal, state,
and local laws to encourage them
to "behave" (whatever that
means) that really exemplifies
why there ought not to be a code.
In loco parentis? No thanks.
Yes, rising tuition costs should
be a concern to all students, but a
post-secondary education is not
guaranteed by the Constitution.
Besides, would Mom and Dad
charge you this much for an edu-
cation? I think not.
Warren Lapham
LSA senior
Code's effect
is very real
To the Daily:
Ian Goldenberg ("Code de-
bate is distracting," 11/16/95)
seems to be under several misap-
prehensions: First, he assumes
that in the face of a threat to our
financial well-being (e.g., rising
tuition costs), any concern for
less "tangible" issues (e.g.. con-
stitutional rights to freedom of
expression) is superfluous. It is
sad to note that at what I can only
assume is a relatively tender age,
Ian reveals himself to be a com-
plete materialist (the logical prod-
uct of the Reagan era, perhaps).
However, that should not lead
anyone to conclude that his shal-
low values represent those of the
majority of University students
and faculty.
Second, Ian assumes that the
Code will not impact students,
even indirectly. This assumption
appears to be based on no evi-
dence whatsoever, and in fact flies
directly in the face of recent events
both on this campus (e.g., the
Jake Baker case) and others (e.g.,
the Cornell e-mail cases, the U of
Pennsylvania "water buffalo" in-
cident). How Ian is able to deter-
t: inp ..i . 1ta lnr r fafr t nn-

the Code issue to distract stu-
dents from more pressing matters
("student's true concerns").
Again, there is no evidence pre-
sented to support this claim. More
strangely, it smacks of the kind of
conspiracy theorizing most often
associated with extremists from
my generation (I'm a rather an-
cient 45 years old). I seriously
doubt that the driving force be-
hind the lengthy struggle on the
part of the administration to get a
conduct code installed can be at-
tributedtoa 'smokescreen' strat-
egy. And if Ian's contention that
the Code impacts noone is cor-
rect, why would the administra-
tion be so foolish as to try to
distract the student body with it?
No, I'm afraid that Ian is be-
ing, for want of a better term,
sophomoric. Perhaps a little more
experience at this university will
help show him the error of his
ways. Fortunately, there are
plenty of us who are not blind to
the desire to suppress speech held
by a few influential individuals at
this institution.
Michael Paul Goldenberg
Rackham student
New code an
improvement
To the Daily:
As a direct result of the ex-
hausting hours we dedicated to
working on behalf of students,
the new Code of Student Con-
duct:
Allows students to have an
attorney present at all stages of
the hearing process
Allows only students, fac-
ulty and staff to bring charges
(underthe old code any individual
could bring charges against a stu-
dent)
Opens up the records (with
nnmerAric nto tI e ,dnts'

student panels (student panelists
used to be chosen "randomly" by
the Registrar; now they'll be se-
lected by your elected represen-
tatives).
We're disappointed that the
Board of Regents saw fit to adopt
a non-academic code of conduct
for students; but we're equally
disappointed with those that sim-
ply sit back and throw stones, not
concerning themselves with the
process of making tough choices
in order to better the lives of stu-
dents on this campus.
Flint J. Walness
MSA president
LSA senior
Sam Goodstein
MSA vice president
School of Public Policy
Race-based
programs
important
To the Daily:
I found Avi Ebenstein's.
thoughts on affirmative action
("Affirmative action: Death of
meritocracy," 1/ 16/95) to be in-
credibly naive and simplistic. It's
always amazing to see the view-.
point that a few decades of an
attempt to equalize racial oppor
tunities is enough to make up for
hundreds of years of official and
social oppression. His ideas to
make our world a "meritocracy"
are based in fantasy and delusion
- he even admits that "... many
racist whites are in a position of
authority," but his solution is to
defend "standards of equality as
well as we can." He is perfectly
willing to get rid of a system to
help fight prejudice, but offers no
alternative way of fighting the
racist attitudes firmly rooted in

HOW TO CONTACT THEM
Ann Arbor Tenants Union
Pattrice Maurer, director
A:tAA Mir'hio;n Ininn

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