Determination of students, student government led to positive changes to the Code

To the Daily:

Two years ago, when I served as Michigan Student Assembly president, we worked tirelessly to amend the Student Code of Conduct, one of our big points of contention being the lack of a clear standard of proof of guilt present in the code. The addition of the ‘clear and convincing’ standard to the statement should be seen as a large victory for students and a testament both to the determination of the Michigan Student Assembly from before my time through Sarah Boot”s administration last year as well as to University President Mary Sue Coleman”s good judgment in accepting the revisions.

Change can come through student government at the University if enough people bring the proper level of determination and resolve. This case goes in my memory bank along with our Central Campus Recreational Building hours extension and Fall Break victories as a moment that proves the occasional usefulness of student government.

Thanks to Coleman, Office of Student Conflict Resolution Director Keith Elkin and all who work thanklessly for positive change every day. You know who you are.

Matt Nolan

Law School

Former MSA president

Coleman nixed real change, marginalized students voices in fight for revisions to Code

To the Daily:

Yesterday”s article on the changes that have been made to the Student Code of Conduct, Revised student code clarifies rights (09/03/03), contains an important misstatement regarding a student”s right to a fair hearing. Contrary to what was reported, students do not have the right to legal representation. A statement was added to the Code clarifying that students may be assisted by an advisor who is also an attorney, but under no circumstances may that attorney represent the student.

The Students” Rights Commission proposed an amendment that would specifically have given students the right to be represented by an attorney during a hearing, given the serious disciplinary action students may face from the University or even civil authorities. This amendment, like many others, were rejected on the grounds that attorney representation would compromise the educational value of the proceedings. While a disciplinary proceeding can be educational, the idea that the disciplinary system exists primarily as an educational exercise is no more than a creative way to justify the limitation of the rights students are afforded during such proceedings.

With the exception of an important amendment that adds gender identity to the non-discrimination section of the Code, all amendments that would have further secured student rights in any meaningful way were rejected by President Mary Sue Coleman. All other amendments proposed by the Students” Rights Commission that the President approved were simple clarifications that merely codified established practices.
The Students” Rights Commission was actively involved in the amendment process and is grateful that we were given multiple opportunities to meet with the members of the University community responsible for deciding which changes to approve or reject. The final version of the Code is, however, a testament to the extent to which student voices have been marginalized. We lag far behind our peer institutions in affording students facing disciplinary actions the rights they deserve. The Code, in its current state, continues to be a sad reminder that the University is not the progressive institution it makes itself out to be.

I look forward to working with everyone involved in this year”s amendment cycle to make changes to the system that would ensure student concerns are more directly and substantively addressed in the future.

Andrew Block

LSA junior

Former Students” Rights Commission co-chair

Ari Paul”s “University fed trash” reveals why people “loathe flaming liberals”

To the Daily:

I”m glad that Ari Paul cares so much as to preach to freshmen about ‘how the world works’ (What the hell is a neocon, 09/03/03). He actually did a great job of that; he showed exactly why people loathe flaming liberals for their University-fed trash. What I find so amusing about his article is that it was essentially copied from this website, www.antiwar.com/justin/j061303.html.

Apparently, the ‘real world’ doesn”t consist of voicing your own opinions. I understand that Paul has some sort of agenda, but pinning the world”s problems on America”s support for Israel is kind of like blaming your neighbor for not lending you a bowl while he”s too busy preventing someone from drowning.
Supporting Israel is coherent with the U.S.”s foreign policy objectives. While the budget for defense is certainly a huge chunk of federal spending, it”s always been that way. It is because of people like California Gov. Gray Davis that programs for education and such do not exist.

I would suggest that Paul wake up and smell the coffee. The real world is waiting for him.

Brad Sugar

LSA junior

MSA Representative

Students on campus do not support divestment from Israel or other nations

To the Daily:

In response to yesterday”s letter by Fadi Kiblawi, Alumnus supports divestment from Israel (09/03/03), I have but one thing to say: Students actually on campus don”t support divesting from Israel. Kiblawi, supporters of Israel on this campus had almost missed you, but sure enough, as I opened yesterday”s Daily, there you were on page 4.

As most educated professors and academics on this campus and others would agree, divesting from a sovereign country is not the correct path to take. I would like to add that this is true especially concerning one that set up this inquiry and investigation for the particular reason of treating everyone under its government fairly.

It seems to me that the Israeli government is doing more for the plight of the Palestinian people than the corrupt Palestinian Authority is itself.

Daniel Aghion

LSA senior

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