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October 31, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-31

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4- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 31, 1995

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI


Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless 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.
Universal tvaim oe v luesm
Code draft attempts to impose vague morals

V ice President for Student Affairs
Maureen A. Hartford says the new code
proposal "is a value-based statement and we
outline those values in there." On one count,
she is correct. The proposed Code of Student
Conduct is a value-based statement. But the
stated values of the introductory paragraphs
are not explained in the rest of the code.
Indeed, the primary failure ofthis draft, which
attempts to correct some of the most egre-
gious flaws of the interim Statement of Stu-
dent Rights and Responsibilities, is its vague-
ness. It does not effectively translate those
values into a set of laws.
The statement of values itself is, on the
whole, unobjectionable. It would be hard to
find many this campus who are not "dedi-
cated to maintaining a scholarly commu-
nity," promoting "intellectual inquiry through
vigorous discourse" or upholding "civility,
dignity, diversity, education, equality, free-
dom, honesty and safety." The problem lies
in the vague way these values are legislated.
In certain areas, especially under the viola-
tions section, the wording is loose enough to
allow for gross abuses by the administration.
Violation I exemplifies this concern: It
prohibits "obstructing or disrupting classes,
research projects, or other activities or pro-
grams of the University; or obstructing ac-
cess to University facilities, property, or pro-
grams." On the surface, this seems benign.
Students have the right to attend classes and
programs without being disrupted. But in its
failure to lay out exactly what is meant by a
"disruption," the code imperils the rights of
every student. Could wearing a hat in class be
considered a disruption? The wording fails to
clarify exactly what constitutes a violation,
leaving the door open for outrageous puni-

tive action on the part of an overzealous
Violation N presents another case ofprob-
lematic language: "Violating other Univer-
sity policies which specifically address the
behaviors of students within the University
community" is also open to interpretation.
This is a catch-all clause akin to the Ninth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which
grants rights to the people beyond those
explicitly outlined in the Constitution. How-
ever, where this lack of clarity in the Bill of
Rights works for the people, it is stacked
against them in this code. It allows the Uni-
versity to take action against students for a
host of unwritten offenses, and can be readily
manipulated to suit any agenda.
The section outlining sanctions is simi-
larly all-encompassing. It states that "in keep-
ing with the values stated in the Introduction,
sanctions are designed to promote the
University's educational mission." The list
itself seems sufficiently inclusive, ranging
from formal reprimand - equivalent to a
warning-to expulsion from the University.
Yet the code reserves the right to expand this
list: "Possible sanctions include, but are not
limited to" the punishments listed. Such
vagueness gives the University wide latitude
to impose any outlandish sanction it deems in
keeping with its "educational" values.
It is reasonable to assume that an institu-
tion of higher learning ought to have a clear
educational mission. But a value system
should not serve as the law. Unless the vague-
ness is written out of the new code, students
will be governed by a document that dictates
abstract values by freely interpreting what
constitutes "unacceptable" behavior for Uni-
versity students.

W hen my ex-boyfriend walke
party with his new girlfrien
I had to escape.
Matt had his arm around her
stood in the doorway with the ligi
off her colored hair, her heavy ma
her lace shirt. In a misguided atte
mature, I decided to be social and
immediately. So what if he ignore
half of our relationship and didn'
move in with me? After all, he
never move in with anyone.
The two wandered off to sit ina
people making conversation in t
room. Still attempting to be mature
the group, only to hear my forme
chosen one announce to the worn
her: "Well, I want something clos
pus, and he wants a place with
windows, and ..."
That'swhen I left. The bastardc
to move in with her.
I've been thinking about thisx
situation recently while listening
Morissette's great song "You Ought
"Every time you speak her name/
know how you told me you'd hold
you died.../But you're still alive," ?1
sings, and I always want to join in
screams, "Are you thinking of me
fuck her?"
Matt and I broke up more thanI
ago, but I still can't help seethin
think of that party. Breakups are e
nasty things, and the only way toE
all is to 1) fall in love with someon
2) talk about the different types of
and laugh it all off. This column
much to help you with the first,l
accomplish the second:
U The Busybody. "No," yours'
says one day, "I can't go out e
because I'm busy. No, I'm busy
too, and next Friday, and actually,
every weekend until the end of
you're substantially clueless or tru

Breakbt upAshard to do, but
d into the might not catch on for a while, but before a three-week vacation instead of
id, I knew you know what's hit you, you've been given good, and then realize that of cc
the boot. Bye-bye, relationship. overpacked because this isn't h
and she 0 The Murderous Rage. Other people more. Sayonara, hometown hone)
ht shining are more direct. After about your tenth The Affair. Getting cheated
keup and screaming fight over who gets to pick out the enough, but getting dumped for
mpt to be movie at the video store, things get serious. else is just about the worst feeli
not leave Small appliances go flying through the air world. "What does he have that
ed me for even faster than the numerous accusations you think to yourself. Get reven
t want to hurtling around the room. Before long, one everyone else in sight ("And eve
said he'd of you walks out, never to be seen again. In scratch my nails down someone el
yournext relationship, you'll be such awimp I hope you feel it," Morissette sin
a group of about picking out videos that you'll end up seen with someone much more
he living watching "Barney and his Big Happy Fam- than your ex. Or become more s
e, I joined ily" subtitled in Danish. Or ... actually, none of these isN
r honey's The Hanger-On. Blind dates, veiled revenge, which is why being dun
an beside threats and earnest appeals haven't worked: damn frustrating.
e to cam- your ex-boyfriend made the infamous late- We Just Figured Out We H
i a lot of night, lonely "I can't live without youplease, ing In Common. "You say we hav
please take me back" phone call, and now he in common /I said 'What about Br
was going shows up at your doorstep with flowers Tiffany's'?"' goes another song th
every other day. There's a little bit of the ing the airwaves these days, about,
miserable Hanger-On in all of us: even if you dumped claims his girlfriend shouldn't c
to Alanis the guy yourself, it's hard to imagine him because they both liked one mov
ta Know." going out with anyone else. You'd rather he times the first exciting rush ofmeet
Does she live like a monk the rest of his life, honoring one new and the niceness of b
me/Until your memory and lighting candles at the someone takes two or three year
Morissette shrine he keeps around your picture. off, and you wake up one day to rt
when she * The Perpetual Relationship. Everyone you're completely different peop
when you knows one of these couples, who breaks up, ing someone else (see "The Affai
and gets back together, and breaks up, ad helps: then it's just Lather, Rins(
two years infinitum. Either they really are meant to be and you start the whole cycle all o
tg when I together, or they both belong in the category U Let's Just Be Friends. This
motional, "Some people never learn." subtle line is so common it ha
get over it The I'm Leaving for College (or Grad abbreviation on the Internet: You
e else, and School) and We're Still Together, But We dumped, you get LJBF'd. Some p
breakups Can Date Other People. Any "sorta" breakup intend to continue being friends, b
won't do is bad news, but this one is instant trouble. often you end up avoiding each c
but it can The problem is that just about anyone in the gether. The key is not to go to
same town is preferable to your hometown parties. As for being mature an
weetheart honey 1,000 miles away. Some relation- small talk with the ex and the newI
n Friday ships are strong enough to survive separa- screw it: Running for your lifei
Saturday tion, but on average this one lasts about a better idea.
I'm busy semester - long enough for you to come
time." If home for Christmas, overpack because you - Jean Twenge can be reach
sting, you somehow don't realize you're only going on mail atjeant@unzich.edu.

home for
:urse you
ome any-
on is bad
ing in the
I don't?"
ge: screw
try time I
se's back/
gs). Or be
very good
rped is so
ave Noth-
ve nothing
reakfast at
'at's grac-
a guy who
dump him
ie. Some-
ting some-
eing with
rs to wear
ealize that
ple. Meet-
r," above)
e, Repeat,
ver again.
none too
s its own
don't get.
eople truly:
ut way too
other alto-
the same
d making
is a much
ed over e-


\ CE BS\ \E E
O oR E
A I \
;; \/

'You don't have
to be different
from everyone
else, you have to
know they are
just like you.
That is the
essence of
- Li Lu, a Chinese anti-
government activist,
addressing a crowd of
100 last weekend at the

One foot in the grave
GOP Medicare 'solutions' are bad medicine

As congressional Republicans struggle
to extract $350 billion from the budget
over the next seven years, the prognosis for
the current Medicare system is grave. The
system has lumbered forward, draining re-
sources and stirring generational tension by
providing more perks than it can afford. It
must be restructured - but unfortunately,
the recent attempts to retool the system are
short-term plans that will only widen the
disparity in care between the rich and the
Longevity, the elderly population and
hospital room rates -now
ranging from $500 to
$1,000 per day - are all EOICAR
increasing as costly life-
saving medications and.
procedures are developed. A
Within a few short years,
government funds will not First in a series
be enough to support the
costs of care. With this in
mind, congressional Republicans are offer-
ing "options." Under their plan, seniors can
either stay in the current system, opt for a
medical savings account or choose Medicare
Plus - an HMO-type plan.
To remain in the system, a senior must pay
an increasing premium - from $46.10 in
1995 to $87.60 in 2002--but its holes would
require them to purchase outside supplemen-
tal health-care plans. Another change would
require individuals earning more than
$100,000 or couples over $175,000 to pay
$278 per person for care. The price adjust-
ments would encourage the wealthy to aban-
don the current plan, force the poor to leave
it, place many doctors in the lurch and leave
hospitals dangling on the brink of closure,

tion, medical savings accounts would allow
seniors to gamble with their health plan.
Beneficiaries will be allotted $5,000 in 2002
to purchase high-deductible private insur-
ance plans that will cover only catastrophic
illness. Any excess funds will be deposited
into accounts that can be tapped to cover
routine medical bills, allowing upper-income
seniors to purchase better health care with
government money.
The advent ofthis special savings account
foretells the destruction of Medicare Plus.
By providing an exit for relatively healthy
recipients, the beneficiary
ppool in Medicare Plus will

Code proposal makes mockery of 'values'

r pifll

be poorer and more un-
healthy. Seniors will be
granted $6,700 to choose
a private insurance orga-
nization that will cover

hospitalization and doc-
tors fees, and premiums
will be upped to $81.60.
Hospital deductions and co-payments will
be eliminated'
Availability of complete care, however,
is questionable. Care management is fraught
with philosophical questions of cost contain-
ment vs. the Hippocratic oath. Furthermore,
the demands recipients will make on this new
system will mirror the inadequacies of the
present Medicare program. Recipients will
either suffer a significant decrease in ser-
vices or the system will be exhausted by
limited resources and will ultimately col-
The projected program is a short-sighted
attempt to salvage a sinking system. The plan
demonstrates a desire to cater to the wealthy.
To remedy the health care crunch fairly,

By David Cahill
Although I have represented
several students in University dis-
cipline cases in the 1994-95 aca-
demic year, my comments come
only from me and not on behalf of
any client.
The University is a govern-
ment agency, and therefore its
actions may notviolate the re-
quirements of either the U.S. or
Michigan constitutions. A private
university has substantially more
discretion in sanctioning students
than does a public university. The
drafters of the code appear to have
been unaware ofthe requirements
imposed on public universities
by these constitutions, and of the
safeguards the courts have re-
quired on behalfof those the gov-
ernment seeks to sanction. In the
case of the University, the sanc-
tions include the cancellation of
the educational contract between
the student and the University.
Under "Violations," the code
states: "Behaviors which may
contradict the essential values of
the University community include
[14 listed offenses]." Because the
structure "behaviors include" is
used, instead of "behaviors ...
are" or "behaviors ... are only,"
the University has apparently re-
served the power to sanction stu-
dents for behaviors which may
contradict the essential values,
but which are not among the 14
icts nAnr.a c. Ca , . .t him

they include. Thus, a student could
be charged with a behavior which
supposedly contradicts an essen-
tial value which is not one of the
14 listed offenses, and is not even
listed as an essential value!
But setting forth an all-inclu-
sive list will not solve the prob-
lem. While the meaning of the
values "education," "honesty"
and "safety" is reasonably clear
within a university setting, the
values "civility," "dignity," "di-
versity," "equality" and "free-
dom" are undefined and so vague
that no one can tell what they
mean with any certainty, or what
conductmight "contradict" them.
For example, suppose a white
student invites an African Ameri-
can student to dine with him, and
the African American student
declines because he would rather
eat with other African American
students. Has he contradicted the
essential value of diversity?
If one student has a nonvio-
lent argument with another stu-
dent, have they contradicted the
essential value of civility?
If a student says she does not
think that all persons have equal
abilities, has she contradicted the
essential value of equality?
Further, these latter "five val-
ues" are politically charged and
intertwined with constitutionally
protected ideas and opinions.
They appear to promote a "politi-
callv correct" liberal agenda about

duct. However, he found that
when the University attempted to
enter the political arena, it had
acted beyond its powers. He held
at 721 F Supp 863:
What the University could not
do ... was establish an anti-dis-
crimination policy which had
the effect of prohibiting certain
speech because it disagreed with
ideas or messages sought to be
conveyed (citing cases). As the
Supreme Court stated in West
Virginia State Board of Educa-
tion v. Barnette 319 U.S. 624,
642,63 S.Ct. 1178,1 187,87 L.Ed.
1628 (1943):
"If there is any star fixed in
our constitutional constellation,
it is that no official, high or petty,
can prescribe what shall be ortho-
dox in politics, nationalism, reli-
gion, or other matters of opinion
or force citizens to confess by
word or act their faith therein."
Judge Cohn found, inter alia,
that the word "threat" was fatally
unclear, and held at 721 F Supp
867: "Students of common un-
derstanding were necessarily
forced to guess at whether a com-
ment about a controversial issue
would later be found to be
sanctionable under the Policy.
The terms of the Policy were so
vague that its enforcement would
violate the due process clause."
Under the code, students
would be forced to confess faith
in the "values" which are matters

pletely eliminated from the code.
If they are not, then any pro-
ceeding under the code can and
should be met with a motion to
dismiss based on its facial uncon-
There are other problems with
the code aside from its fatally
flawed basic approach. Through-
out the code there are unconstitu-
tionally vague terms playingcriti-
cal roles. For example, the draft-
ers eliminated nearly all proe-
dural safeguards in the old state-
ment and merely said the code,
would not deprive students of"ap-
propriate" (and undefined) due-
process. The code says behavior
outside Ann Arbor is sanctionable
only ifthe behavior poses an "ob-
vious and serious threat or harm"
(all terms undefined) to the Uni-
versity community.
When we turn to the 14 listed
offenses, further work is needed.
The University may not pro-
hibit "failing to identify oneself
upon the request of a police or
security officer," which is the first
clause of (K). The U.S. Supreme
Court held many years ago that
the government lacked the au-
thority to require citizens to iden-
tify themselves to police.
Also, (L), "violating state or
federal law if such action has
serious impact on the University
community," has problems be-
yond the unconstitutionally vague
"serious impact." Is it contem-

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