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October 18, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 18, 1995

UbIe fIlktjun Jailg

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI

Street
48109

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

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

r JORDAN STANCaL AST-DECH APPEAL
r MSA's new and worthwhile
endeavor:" student health care

Fnless otherwise notedy 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.
Syntax error
'U' shouldn't penalize modem users

Recently the University has begun charg-
ng students who dial in to its computer
system to access the Internet. Coming on the
heels of the expansion of Ethernet in the
residence halls, the fee is a troubling sign that
the University is reneging on its commitment
to provide computer access to all students.
Using a modem to access the University's
computing backbone entails dialing in to the
University's computer ports. The new charge
for dialing in is a flat $4.40 per month for up
to 40 hours of use. Extra hours will be as-
sessed based on different hourly rates, de-
pending on the time of day. The funds are
taken from students' UM Computing Envi-
ronment accounts. Each student is given
$11.40 a month, and costs are deducted for
services such as e-mail, printing and now
dial-in use.
In the past, the dial-in service has been
free and virtually limitless. This served stu-
dents well - anyone who wanted to access
the University's computers could do so using
a modem. Students in both residence halls
and off-campus housing took advantage of
the service.
Over the past two years, the University
has begun a praiseworthy commitment to
provide the residence halls with Ethernet, a
cable system that connects computers in the
residence hall rooms directly to the
University's network, rendering modems
unnecessary for some people.
However, the expansion ofEthernet brings
with it some problems. Like anything else at
the University, Ethernet costs money - and
that's where the trouble begins. The total cost
for Ethernet software and subscription can
run to about $100 a year, making it an unat-
tractive option formany students. Also, many
older computers require Ethernet connection

devices that raise the cost of the service
beyond the range of most students. Most
important, the system cannot be accessed by
students who do not live in residence halls.
While the new fee for dial-in access is not
exorbitant, it sends a message: Now that
Ethernet is here, dial-in services are being
downgraded, with new fees and time con-
straints. The University is allowing the old
system to fall by the wayside, and this raises
a troubling prospect: As new but expensive
technologies appear, the University will aban-
don students who rely on older-but cheaper
- systems. The University must commit to
providing workable computing technology
to all students, not only those with a strong
interest in computers and the money to pay
for that interest.
While the Ethernet system is good, it
should not displace the old system of dialing
in via modem -instead, the dial-in system
should be maintained and strengthened. As
the use of modems off campus grows, the
system will need to adapt. The University
must be prepared to commit resources to
improve the system. Despite the decline in
modem use in residence halls, there is a need
for new projects, such as the addition of new
ports and servers for dial-in use - even with
many students on Ethernet, modem users
still are plagued by busy signals and slow
service.
The University should remain a leader in
information technology, and it should con-
tinue to provide state-of-the-art services to
students. However, the University also must
ensure that the rush to new technologies does
not unfairly penalize students who rely on
older systems. Information technology at the
University must remain accessible and af-
fordable to all.

A lthough Bill Clinton couldn'tbring uni-
versal health insurance to his constitu-
ency, Flint Wainess remains undaunted.
Wainess, president of the Michigan Student
Assembly (to which everybody had better
start paying attention), has proposed a plan
that would result in health insurance cover-
age for every student and a tuition rebate for
some.
If approved by the University Board of
Regents, the plan would require every stu-
dent to demonstrate that he or she has ad-
equate coverage, and if not, to pay $500 per
year to join a University-wide HMO. If the
student already has adequate coverage, he or
she would not have to pay the entire Univer-
sity Health Service fee, which is currently
$96.50.
Besides the obvious benefit of providing
comprehensive health insurance - which
could be covered by financial aid - to
students who can't afford it now, the plan
could very well be the first money-saving
idea ever concocted at this leech-like Uni-
versity. There are two reasons for this. First,
some students would see their UHS fee
reduced or eliminated, while keeping the
private insurance they already have. Sec-
ond, because insurance companies charge
lower premiums to insure young people, it is
entirely possible that the cost of enrolling in
a special student HMO would be less than
the cost of the insurance most students now
have.
At this point, there are too many un-
knowns to endorse or condemn Wainess'

current proposal. One problem is that, for
the plan to work at all, a certain percentage
of students would have to enroll. This fact
limits the number of students who would be
able to waive the plan. In other words, it is
highly unlikely that everyone who wanted to
keep his or her own insurance and take the
UHS rebate would be able to do so. At any
rate, Wainess, who knows a great deal about
health-care policy, should be commended
for his efforts, which have brought MSA a
long way from the days when the assembly
sent a "fact-finding mission" to the West
Bank.
However, some students, who apparently
suffer from a dangerous strain of latentpopu-
lism, have already written letters to this
newspaper to complain about the cost of the
plan and their fear that it will limit their
choices. I suspect that some of my captious
contemporaries may be among those who
also complain that MSA "doesn't do any-
thing." Or maybe the mere thought of paying
$250 per term makes some students so dis-
traught that they can't read the whole news-
paper. They must be missing that part of the
article thatexplains that Wainess' plan might
actually save them money. As for choice,
Wainess says the plan he proposes would
allow students to see not only any doctor at
University Hospitals, but also their physi-
cians at home. That's hardly a constricting
setup.
At this point, process is of the essence.
No health plan can be implemented without
being approved by the regents. Their ap-

proval would probably be forthcoming if
students supported a ballot proposal for uni-
versal health care or if MSA endorsed a plan
first. Some have raised the concern that
MSA is a body uniquely unqualified to write
health care legislation. This doesn't have to
be true. There's no reason why MSA, with
student input and a critical reliance on expert
advice, can't develop a final plan whereby
all students would enjoy comprehensive
coverage. It may have been difficult to get
voters nationwide to sort through the details
of complicated health care plans, but it
shouldn't be too much to ask of University
students.
Apart from specific questions of policy,
the fact remains that there are students on
this campus who can't afford health insur-
ance and can't get any medical care outside
of UHS. It is scandalous, given the affluence
of most of the University's students, that
such inequality persists. Theodore Roosevelt,
who now probably couldn't get a Republi-
can nomination for dogcatcher, believed that
"it is... incumbent upon the man with whom
things have prospered to be in a certain sense
the keeper of his brother with whom life has
gone hard." Those of us with access to the
best health care money can buy would do
well to remember this. Whatever quarrel
anyone has with Wainess' health care pro-
posal as it now stands, students can surely
agree on the moral imperative of insuring
everyone in our community.
-- Jordan Stancil can be reached over
e-mail at rialto@umich.edu

JIM LASSER

SHARP AS TOAST
Tv5r AREN-T

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NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'Like some
helpless bug
caught in a
Roach Motel,
we have checked
into this story
but are unable
to check out.'
- columnist Jeff
Greenfield, on the O.J.
Simpson coverage

Healthy and gay
Same-sex couples deserve marriage, family

VIEWPOINT

_.
....................................... .
_ _

..........

Simpson case opened a Pandora's Box

Ann Arbor has a reputation of progres-
sive reforms designed to enhance the
living environment for all. Despite conserva-
tive trends across the state, the city remains a
leader in extending rights to all people re-
gardless of sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian
and bisexual residents are painfully aware
that Ann Arbor's ordinances are the excep-
tion to most laws rather than the rule.
Unlike most cities in America, Ann Arbor
outlaws discrimination based on sexual ori-
entation in housing and employment. Forty
states, including Michigan, do not include
"sexual orientation" in non-discrimination
laws. This omission allows employers to
discriminate against homosexuals -whether
real or perceived - at will and provides no
legal recourse for victims of intolerance or
prejudice.

just in select cities and states - deserve
protection of their equal rights as guaranteed
by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
No city or state law can remedy a unilateral
miscarriage of justice.
In addition, bigoted conservatives work-
ing overtime can frighten the public into
dismantling local ordinances on the state
level. Amendment 2 in Colorado, for ex-
ample, demonstrates the need for federal law
to explicitly enumerate that gays and lesbi-
ans are entitled to the same rights as everyone
else. Numerous Colorado cities had passed
local ordinances --similar to the one in Ann
Arbor - outlawing discriminatory policies
against homosexuals. One conservative
group, Colorado for Family Values, was de-
termined to kill the fledgling movement for
gay rights. The group suc-

Unless Congress passes
the Employment Non-Dis-
crimination Act (ENDA)
extending federal discrimi-
nation protections to include
sexual orientation - gay

Protecting
gay rightw

cessfully campaigned to
have the state constitution
disallow such an ordinance.
In a statewide vote, Amend-
ment 2 narrowly passed,
obliterating any protections

By Ephraim R. Gerstein
In speaking of the trial of
Orenthal James Simpson, I must
begin by confessing my ignorance
and arrogance. Ignorance because
I know less about it than I should.
Arrogance because I didn't really
care; that is, until a couple weeks
ago, after the events of this soci-
etal battle passed into history. I
never watched it and was out-
raged at the media coverage that
it received. O.J. Simpson was a
private citizen, after all, so why
ought I be any more concerned
with his guilt or innocence than I
would be with that of any other
suspected felon. People were dy-
ing in Rwanda.
I failed to realize the monu-
mental nature of this trial mainly
because I, like many other people,
didn't understand what it was
about. I thought it was about the
guiltorinnocenceofO.J. Simpson
- and nothing could be further
from the truth; at least not for the
rest of us. Rather, it asked us all
important questions that we will
have to address.
Gerstein is an LSA sopho-
more and a member of the
Daily editorial page staff
LETTERS
lTD Dialin
policy unfair
To the Daily:
The Dialin Group of the In-
formation Technology Division
has limited the amount of time
that can be spent online by any
o+- - r - +sr - - -.arm t 9tw m

Many institutions were on trial
in this case, the particulars not-
withstanding. Most important, the
American justice system will now
be forced to account for itself and
we for the racism that still per-
vadesit. After years of civil-rights
battles and cases such as the his-
toric Brown vs. Board of Educa-
tion to the violence following the
Rodney King trial, our civil insti-
tutions remain highly biased, or
at least they are perceived that
way. Race was a divisive issue
here, and anyone who doubts this
fact has only to look at opinion
polls showing blacks by and large
happy with the verdict, and whites
dismayed. This was perhaps the
first time in history that a black
man was able to use his money
and power to get through the sys-
tem, and we can't deny that guilty
or not, it is this that saved him.
For many black people, this is a
triumph, even if a guilty man had
to go free, a vindication for those
who feel that they were unfairly
punished by the system. It is a
stunning commentary on our law
enforcement apparatus and the
level of trust given to it by differ-
ent groups of society. It illus-
trates that everyone is not equal
before the law in America.

If the trial can be perceived as
a victory for blacks, it can be
equally perceived as a setback for
women. Evidence points to two
facts: O.J. Simpson may have
been a wife-beater, and he prob-
ably killed Nicole Brown
Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Whether or not this can be proven,
it is highly likely. If this is true,
acquitting him certainly did not
serve justice. The verdict gives
us an interesting dilemma because
while his acquittal may be the
indictment of our justice system,
it also sends a message that vio-
lence and sexism are permissible.
No matter how that jury decided,
a group of highly oppressed
people would have been set back
in their quest for equality.
I myself have been forced to
do a great deal of soul searching
about my role as journalist. What
is the role of the media in society?
What should we cover, and are
there places we shouldn't meddle
in? I find it remarkable that the
press was there to show us O.J.'s
blood-covered Bronco fleeing
down the highway, and discuss
Marcia Clark's custody battles
with her ex-husband, and the
fallings-out between O.J.'s law-
yers, and Sen. AlfonseD'Amato's

bigoted mimicry of Judge Lance
Ito. But the press dealt only with
the guilt or innocence of O.J., and
of course the personal dramas of
the people surrounding the case.
It never thought to address the
societal implications of the affair
until after the verdict of inno-
cence came forth. I think in this
regard the media missed the point,
and society was done a disservice
as a result. Can you imagine the
effect in Brown v. Board of Edu-
cation if rather than covering the
racist aspects of segregation, the
press covered Thurgood
Marshall's moustache? We'd
probably still have segregated
schools. This case provided in-
sights into important issues, and
as it passes into history, we may
now fail to see the point.
The trial of O.J. Simpson was
not a trial of a man who murdered
his wife. It was a trial of a society
that very often protects the guilty
while punishing the innocent, and
metes out justice differentially. It
is also the trial of a medium that
needs to reconsider its role and its
responsibilities. It is monumen-
tal not in the one question it at-
tempts to answer, but in those it
forces us all to ask. In this regard.
it was the case of the century.

men, lesbians and bisexuals will continue to
suffer legalized persecution. ENDA would
prohibit employers from hiring, firing, pro-
moting or giving compensation to an indi-
vidual on the basis of sexual orientation. It
does not entitle an individual to receive fa-
vorable treatment or "special rights." On the
contrary, ENDA would merely extend fair
employment practices - guaranteed by the
federal government on the basis of race,
religion, gender, national origin, age and
disability - to include sexual orientation.
The need for ENDA has never been more
obvious. City ordinances protecting the rights
-4V..,:r. 1snna. n . yava o s a77ct

for gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals in
the state of Colorado.
Currently, Colorado's amendment is be-
fore the U.S. Supreme Court to determine
whether prohibiting the existence of the ordi-
nances violates the equal protection clause of
the Constitution. A ruling against the state
would allow homosexual Coloradans to re-
claim their rights as human beings. But even
then, a local victory will not be enough.
Supporting ENDA regardless of the high
court's decision would alert Congress to the
reality that it is no longer acceptable to dis-
criminate against the lesbian, gay and bi-
ac..t- i 4:-tY -.. 'tc is ........, t....n..1 glen

can be spent on any one of these
things becomes very scant indeed.
This has started after most dormi-
tory rooms have become equipped
with Ethernet and so those people
living in dorms have unlimited
access to the net without having
to tie up their phone lines at all.
This has reduced the traffic for
ths Aei in cerviee The number

computing sites will not be full
all the time because everyone who
tries to dial in has run out of dial
in funds and has to check their e-
mail at a campus computing site.
I think this policy should be re-
vised so that more time is avail-
able on line to dial-in users. If
their total time online must be
limiteA then Tim hnnId he nme-

This seems to be the opinion
of everyone who cannot under-
stand DNA technology. If I can't
see it like a knife or smoking
gun, I don't believe it. Just be-
cause neither you, nor anyone.
on the Simpson jury understand
DNA does not mean it doesn't
exist. DNA evidence is admis-
sible in everv state in the coun-

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