Saturday, February 22, 2003I was interested to see that among the demands made by the organizers of the March 5 Student Strike Against the War was the request that the U-M "Declare that the campus will not host the newly proposed Army Biotechnology Center." And restore a clause prohibiting University weapons research, something the University did in response to student protest in the late 1960s.
According to the Army's website, the biotechnology center would mostly conduct research in technologies that would help protect U.S. troops, and would mean at least $37 million for the host University. (The center begs the question: are the biological agents they want to protect tropps from those of terrorists or the U.S.'s own stockpile?) The University plans to submit a proposal to establish the center here, which must be appealing in light of financial pressures from the state. The good news: the University hasn't submitted their proposal yet - student activists will have until the Army's April 7 deadline to stop U-M from applying.
Speaking of those budget cuts, the Ann Arbor News finally ran a story about the U-M's plans to cut. Unique to their list: restricting University-provided cell phones.
Posted by Rob at 2:52 PM
Friday, February 21, 2003University Party member and MSA member Paul Scott wrote me an email defending the "U-Party" against my criticisms. In it, he writes:
"I want to be clear that even though we are against passing resolutions which
have the ability to divide this University on controversial and non-campus
issues, we by no means are going to ignore them. Although our group will be
devoted towards accomplishing tangible things that are possible inside the
scope of student government, it should be known that there is a distinct
dichotomy between an organization that plans to ignore the issues of the day,
and one that strives to promote education and dialogue between differing
ideologies and the rest of campus."
Maybe it's just me, but I just can't understand how the University Party claims to embrace action while eschewing taking any position on what they term "non-campus" issues. Promoting education and dialogue is great, but it's just not the same as lobbying for increased student input in the administration, lowering tuition, and working to reduce Ann Arbor rent. What would the U-Party propose: holding a debate between wealthy students whose parents are landlords, and students who want to crack down on corporate slum lords like Varsity Management? I hope students realize that taking a position and taking action are inextricably linked, and if MSA ever decides they can't take a point of view they have voluntarily turned themselves to a powerless student council relegated to irrelevance.
Posted by Rob at 11:25 AM Yesterday, I was told in a meeting with Michigan Daily editor-in-chief Louie Meizlish that three recent posts to this website constituted 'Daily-bashing,' something prohibitied under the newspaper's bylaws. As you may know, I was fired by previous editor-in-chief Jon Schwartz after I disagreed with him on a private email list. (He was threatening to sue Anti-War Action! after the Daily had printed a libelous editorial about them.) Mr. Meizlish demanded I remove the posts or I would be barred from attending Daily editorial board meetings, which are technically public meetings held in a University-owned building. He didn't believe that many newspapers have columnists who criticize the newspaper's content for a living. Not only do more than 40 newspapers have 'ombudsmen,' the local Free Press is among them, something the Daily editors would know if they read their subscription more carefully.
In other news, the Daily finally reported about the University's decision to fuel their busses with low-sulfer diesel, something the University Record printed on Monday. They also printed a story about an insider trading allegation at the U-M business school.
Budget issues dominated the Regents' meeting yesterday, and the Daily reported the administration is planning $55 million in budget cuts in a story that doesn't make the front page on their website. The Detroit News is more alarmist, their headline reads: "U-M braces for $42 million in cuts: Shortfall next year may lead to layoffs and bigger classes" I think circumstantial evidence suggests class sizes have already increased due to budget cuts.
Posted by Rob at 10:59 AM
Thursday, February 20, 2003University of South Florida and U-M Conference on Palestine participant Sami al-Arian has been arrested by federal agents on charges of supporting "terror." Here's a BBC News piece summarizing his history. I'll be discussing the al-Arian case tonight on WCBN (88.3 FM) at 6:00 PM with Christian Knudson on our radio show Focus on the Issues. We'll be joined by campus Palestinian activist Fadi Kiblawi, who helped organize last semester's conference which featured Mr. al-Arian.
Posted by Rob at 4:31 PM The 'University Party,' I mentioned in a post below had a viewpoint in today's Daily. Their introduction seems a watered down version of Blue Party and Paul Scott idology, (if those could be watered down) with such bold innovative statements like this: "We are the University Party, a new political group dedicated to restoring credibility and effectiveness to the Michigan Student Assembly and other similar governing bodies." Given the cyclical nature of MSA political parties, this one sounds no different than its predecessors.
I think the gist of the piece is this: "We understand that MSA has little bearing on non-campus issues and that resolutions pertaining to such matters are unnecessary. All these resolutions do is divide the campus into numerous factions and threaten to split an educational union that should strive to perfect tolerance and understanding." I wonder: are student rights, tenant issues, relations with Ann Arbor city government and police (think parking tickets, litter taxes), affirmative action, and the environment 'non-campus issues'? We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose.
The Daily also reports in a story today about a reported rape that occured on Valentine's Day. Incredibly, the article weights the pros and cons of reporting rape: "There are many legal and emotional factors students should consider when deciding whether to file a report with police about a rape or sexual assault, Cichy said." I suspect the director of SAPAC didn't intend to come across this wishy-washy. I also wonder: if the rape was reported on Monday in the DPS media log, why did it take the Daily so long to run a story?
Also in DPS's media log this week:
2/17/2003 12:51:59 PM Assault, non-aggravated (cad # 30480307)
BURSLEY HALL -- 1931 DUFFIELD
A caller reported that she was in a fight with her boyfriend. Unit responded and arrested a subject for domestic assault. The subject was lodged in jail. Report filed.
Incident Report #03-000893
The Ann Arbor News ran a curious story today about the Law School's ACLU chapter co-chair resigning over affirmative action. Why is this news?
Posted by Rob at 2:12 PM
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Well, it appears MSA has indeed voted to support the University's affirmative action lawsuits after a tortured meeting last night. The Michigan Student Assembly is the only governing body I know of that has trouble taking a point of view. Fortunately, more responsible minds prevailed over the likes of Mr. Wilson who believes "MSA has no right to try to take a stand for something no one has talked to students about." But then again, if he ran the show they would eliminate half their commissions (Women's Issues, LGBT, Environmental Issues) by chalking them up as 'special rights.'
The Daily's article missed the debate about the Ann Arbor Tenant's Union (something the right wing ideologues from College Republicans and YAF also struggle to understand) and I believe they've been officially de-funded by the student government , no matter that an attorney from student legal services showed up to last night's meeting to tell them they shouldn't force his office to take up tenents' issues. (That's the MSA exec's plan) Here's the AATU's letter to MSA I posted last week.
Also in the Daily's letters page: a former student slams the newspaper's "arts" section. Suprisingly enough, this was also a complaint of the boycotters, whom the Daily (Old and new editors) has refused to meet with.
The Ann Arbor News ran a suspiciously flattering article about the Michigan Review's bake sale yesterday. The article failed to note that the bake sale was not like the University's affirmative action policy, which takes into account many more factors than race - something the Daily's editorial correctly observes.
All the inflated numbers aside, the Supreme Court will recieve around 60 amicus briefs in the admissions lawsuits - and perhaps more since the deadline has been extended one day due to D.C. weather.
Posted by Rob at 11:27 AM
Tuesday, February 18, 2003James Justin Wilson has posted a comment about the Daily's take on the flyer ban approved by MSA on the Review's blog. Let the partisan sniping begin! In it, he claims the Students First majority heard the newly formed University Party was planning on making abolishing flyering their platform and passed the ban to pre-empt them. While abolishing flyering seems a worthy platform plank, I sincerely hope they've got other ideas.
Here's the real story: Mr. Wilson is so upset because the new party needs every edge it can it. It's not a secret that Students First is mostly progressive students who have recruited a few conservatives to spin a "balanced" slate. As I understand it, the U-Party is no different, only in reverse: it's a combination of the Paul Scott machine, the ruins of the Blue party, and disgruntled conservatives trying yet again to create the illusion of populism wherby they can sit around and horde student fee money and strangle any life left in MSA. Ah, election season.
Posted by Rob at 2:34 AM I have just converted the Goodspeed Update into a weblog format, as you probably have noticed. Please send me your comments: rob at goodspeedupdate.com.
Posted by Rob at 2:24 AM DEADLINE PASSES FOR AMICUS BRIEFS IN ADMISSIONS CASES
AANEWS: "Friends, foes of U-M Policy line up for court"
UM PR: "Lawmakers, major corporations file briefs supporting U-M"
POST 9-11 SHIFT?
According to a university press release posted today, polling of the freshman class suggests they are more interested in raising families, and less interested in money.
Also in the news, President Coleman moved into 815 South University ... the University Record ran a photo of her new desk, and according to the Daily story, the U cut back the amount of work to save money. (Although I seem to remember the Regents approving the same amount cited in this article last August - the Daily's error, perhaps?
It looks like the University's lobbying on capital hill has paid off, according to this story, banner-towing planes will be banned from large stadium for one year. This week's Record is full of little tidbits: the Law school dean search committee has been named, and the Law Quad attacker was sentenced to 9.5 to 20 years. Finally, the University quietly switched their bus fleet to low-sulfer fuel, something the AATA has only done with a few busses (with daisies on the side to boot).
Posted by Rob at 1:48 AM