The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 18, 2000, Image 1

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Do It Yourself
Local group strives to maintain
Lincoln’s arts scene.
A&E, PAGE 10
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Singing Praise
Decades after his death, King still
makes an impact.
partner plans
NU board refuses decision
without Legislature’s blessing
By Dane Stickney
Senior editor
In mid-December, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that
gay couples should be given the same benefits as married cou
ples, and some UNL faculty members are hoping NU warms up
to the idea.
George Wolf, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln English pro
fessor, has been trying to get the university system to implement
benefits for partners of gay faculty and staff members.
“The Vermont case could help,” he said. “But it seems like
we’re just running into a brick wall.”
Currently, the NU system offers benefits only to married
partners, but no U.S. state recognizes gay marriages.
Wolf said he hopes NU will be progressive and offer benefits
to gay domestic partners.
“With all the talk of diversity on this campus, this would be
a good opportunity for the university to be progressive,” he said.
’“We could potentially lose good faculty members because the
university doesn’t offer them competitive benefits.”
Two years ago, the UNL faculty senate voiced its support for
domestic partner benefits and made a formal proposal to the uni
versity-wide Fringe Benefits Committee.
The committee, which consists of representatives from all
four NU campuses, voted against the proposal and tabled the
motion, said Agnes Adams, the committee’s chairwoman.
“(Committee members) said they couldn’t support insurance
coverage to same-sex partners because the state didn’t support
it, Adams said.
The committee could approve the proposal without state
endorsement, but Adams said the members of the committee
seemed set in their ways.
“Members have tried to bring up the proposal for discus
sion,” Adams said. “But it’s moot because no one wants to dis
cuss it.”
Adams said defining the term “domestic partner” has been a
Three of UNL’s 11 peer institutions have implemented
domestic partner benefits.
The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the
University of Minnesota offer partner benefits to gay employ
Please see BENEFITS on 6
Josh Wolte/DN
DEPREE HICKMAN, 8, watches a musical performance in the East Legislative Chamber of the State Capitol, where a youth
rally was held to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
MIX rally spotlights young people
By Margaret Behm
Staff writer
A youth rally Monday brought
together people of all ages and colors to
celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The East Legislative Chambers of
the State Capitol were packed with peo
ple who listened to speakers tell what
Martin Luther King Jr. Day meant to
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a
reminder to continue to live out King’s
message, said Shaima Nassir, a Lincoln
High School student.
“This day is to remind you of that
dream,” said Nassir, “to stand for what it
is and make it true.”King’s speeches and
* life taught Nassir that she was bom with
rights, without someone deciding
whether to give them to her, she said.
“This man opened my eyes that free
dom and equality are rights that I have,”
Nassir said, “and are not given to me by
Nancy Cherng, a student at Lux
Middle School, understands what it feels
like to be different, but she wants each
person to realize everyone is alike.
“At one time or another, we have all
known what it’s like to be different,” said
Cherng. “If we are to achieve Dr. King’s
dream, we have to realize that despite our
principle differences, we are all the
Scott Lopez of Lux Middle School
offered the advice that teaching good
ethics is the key to achieving the dream.
“We can help achieve Dr. King’s
dream through education,” said Lopez,
” At one time or
another, we have
all known what it’s
like to be different.”
Nancy Cherag
Lux Middle School student
“and teaching that good morals is top
Dr. King’s dream cannot be real until
people make it real within themselves,
Chemg said.
Please see RALLY on 3
— ELECTION 2000 —
GOP hopefuls criticize
Bush in Iowa debate
By Brian Carlson
Staff writer
JOHNSTON, Iowa - Republican presidential
hopefuls took swipes at Texas Gov. George W.
Bush in a debate here Saturday, hoping to chip
away at the front-runner’s lead in the final days
" before die Iowa caucuses.
Scheduled for Jan. 24, the Iowa caucuses pro
vide the first contest of die 2000 presidential pri
mary season.
Saturday’s hour-and-a-half debate, sponsored
by die Des Moines Register and held at die Iowa
Public Television studios in this Des Moines sub
urb, featured a spirited discussion of tax policy.
According to most Iowa polls, Bush holds at
least a two-to-one lead over billionaire magazine
publisher Steve Forbes, his closest challenger in
Arizona Sen. John McCain, Bush’s leading
rival nationally, has spent almost no time cam
paigning in Iowa, focusing his resources on New
Hampshire, South Carolina and other early pri
mary states. . .
The other three candidates participating in the
debate - forma* Reagan administration official
Gary Bauer, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and former
U.N. ambassador Alan Keyes-have received sin
gle-digit support inmost polls.
Bush, anticipating attacks on his tax proposal,
was ready with a preemptive strike at McCain.
Bush criticized McCain’s proposed taxation
of employer-paid benefits. This would force
working people to pay taxes on transportation,
meals and continuing education, he said, a plan
that “in essence raises taxes on working people by
Please see REPUBLICANS on 7
Gore, Bradley examine
race issues in debate
By Brian Carlson
Staff writer
DES MOINES, Iowa- In a state where pres
idential debates often focus on wheat prices or
ethanol subsidies, Bill Bradley and A1 Gore took
on a different set of issues Monday night: race.
In a debate at Des Moines’ North High
School, one week before Iowa’s first-in-the
nation presidential caucus Jan. 24, the
Democratic presidential contenders discussed
the nation’s racial issues. The debate, held on
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was organized by the
Brown-Black Presidential Forum.
Gore, the vice president, and Bradley, a for
mer three-term senator from New Jersey, showed
little disagreement about the importance of racial
issues or their general approach for addressing
them. But each candidate sought to demonstrate
fr to
thathis specific plans could more effectively pro
mote racial reconciliation.
For example, Gore said Bradley’s health-care
plan, which would scrap Medicaid in favor of a
new health-care system, would hurt poor minori
“One way not to get there is to eliminate
Medicaid and replace it with an inadequate $150
voucher,” he said.
Bradley said the monthly $150 figure is a
weighted average based on health-care costs in
each state. He said his plan would improve on die
current system, covering the 40 percent of poor
Americans who do not receive Medicaid - many
of whom are minorities.
“Under my plan, their health care coverage
. would be mainstreamed, and no more stigma
Please see DEMOCRATS on 6