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November 12, 1987 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-12

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0

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, November 12, 1987

The Michigoui Di y

1

Edite ad btude ans a Uaiv ril
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Gay harassment is

Vol. XCVIII, No. 46

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Root for Gorbachev

THE ASPECT OF Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev's speech last
week which has received the most
attention was his condemnation of
Joseph Stalin. The meaning of what
he said has been widely debated as
to its implications for Soviet power
struggles. More important than the
soap operatic quality of such spec-
ulation, however, is the impact
Gorbachev's actions will have for
the Soviet people and for arms con-
trol.
Gorbachev's speech was neces-
sitated by attacks on the moderniza-
tion of Soviet society wrought by
his policy of glasnost.. Moscow
party leader Boris Yeltsin had ac-
cused Gorbachev of developing a
"cult of personality" around him-
self.
In attacking Stalin, Gorbachev
was acting in a manner reminiscent
of Nikita Khruschev, who began a
campaign of de-Stalinization with a
secret speech in 1956. Gorbachev
specifically found fault with the
brutal manner in which Stalin's
policy of collectivization was
administered. .
Like Khruschev, Gorbachev is
trying to reform Soviet society. Im-
portant aspects of his glasnost - or

openness - policy include allow-
ing more freedom of expression. A
dramatic example of the implemen-
tation of this policy is the decision
to allow the distribution of the novel
Dr. Zhivago nearly thirty years after
its initial publication.
Conflict in the Soviet power
structure has importance for the en-
tire world. If Gorbachev's grip on
the Soviet power structure loosens,
the chances for a successful summit
in Washington next month will dim.
In his speech, Gorbachev indi-
cated he would push for restrictions
on nuclear weapons which would
go beyond the ban on intermediate-
range nuclear weapons already ne-
gotiated. Gorbachev advocated re-
strictions on long-range nuclear
weapons and banning weapons in
space.
In addition, Gorbachev said that
he felt peaceful coexistence between
the United States and the Soviet
Union could be achieved.
Threats to Gorbachev's power
should be viewed -with concern.
Gorbachev's preeminent position
contributes to reform of Soviet so-
ciety and, more importantly, con-
tributes to processes helpful to
world peace.

By Linda Kurtz
A woman's door is urinated on because
she is a lesbian. A gay man wakes up one
morning and opens his door to almost step
into a plate of stuffing and luncheon meat
sculptured to look like a penis and two
testicles. On his board is scribbled, "Eat my
meat, big boy." A flyer in Markley
advertising the lesbian and gay male
specialist is defaced with comments like
"They are sick and abnormal" and "They
deserve no rights." Posters viciously
attacking homosexuals as being responsible
for the AIDS epidemic are taped to the doors
of the Dance Building.
Anti-gay harassment occurs on an
almost daily basis at the University of
Michigan - all of these incidents happened
within the last two weeks - yet this
institution is doing virtually nothing about
it. What do you do if someone atacks you,
physically or otherwise, because you are
gay? Is there anyone you can tell about it?
Is there any way you can document it? Have
you ever seen a "Tell Someone about Anti-
gay and Lesbian Harassment" poster? No,
you haven't, because they don't exist. "Tell
Someone about Racism" and "tell Someone
about Sexual Harassment" posters abound -
as they should. But anti-lesbian and gay
male harassment is just as prevalent and
needs as much attention.
Why are there no posters? Why do very
few people know that you can report anti-
gay harassment to the Affirmative Action
Office? Probably because the Office prefers
to act as if we don't exist. Last fall, a man
went to the Affirmative Action Office to ask
for information about gay male and lesbian
issues only to be told by one of the
secretaries, "I'm sorry. We don't deal with
your minority here."
"We don't deal with your
minority here." This from the office
charged with protecting minorities on
campus!
Last week, concerned about the high
incidence of anti-gay harassment on campus
Linda Kurtz is a LaGROC
member.

and concerned because very few people know
that this harassment can be reported, I went
to the Affirmative Action Office to ask Brian
Clapham, the Program Associate, what has
been done to publicize the fact that anti-gay
harassment can be reported. He told me that
a not too prominent note had been placed in
September's University Record and that a
letter had been sent to the various deans.
"What have you done about
publicizing it among the students?" I asked.
"After all, they form the majority of the
University population." that "Nothing," he
told me and asked me what I suggested they
might do. "I want you to write a letter to
the The Daily. It has a huge readership and
your going to reach the most people that
way." He told me he would have to take it
up with Virginia Nordby, the director of the
Affirmative Action Office. Given Nordby's
past track record in dealing with lesbian/gay
concerns, I thought it likely that nothing
would be done.
Since last spring, LaGROC
(Lesbian and Gay Rights on Campus) has
been attempting to get the Affirmative
Action Office and its director 'to address a
number of issues important to the lesbian
and gay male community at the University.
Most importantly, we have asked Nordby to
add sexual orientation to the Affirmative
Action Logo. This logo goes on all official
University documents and says that the
University does not discriminate on the basis
of sex, race, Vietnam-era veteran status, etc.
It is the prerogative of the Director to add
categories to this logo. We have also asked
her to publicize the Tell Someone about
Anti-Gay and Lesbian Harassment campaign,
to lend her support to getting sexual
orientation included in the University by-law
on non-discrimination,, and to appoint a
gay-identified person to the AIDS task force.
Last year, LaGROC met a numbei
of times with Nordby and the Vice-President
of Student Services, Henry Johnson. The
Affirmative Action Office did agree to two of
our demands: they sponsored an AIDS
Awareness Day this fall and appointed
lesbian and gay male specialists in all the
dorms (though few people know of their
existence). But they did not meet the most
important of our demands. Nordby told

nereasing
one of the LaGROC representatives - both
last year, while LaGROC was meeting with
her, and again this year when LaGROC
representatives were attempting to set up a
meeeting with her to discuss the demands the
Office has not met - that she was tired of
being harassed by "you people and your little
thing."
"Our little thing." Gay men and
lesbians are being beaten up on the streets,
vomited upon in restaurants, and mentally
abused. These are little things?! They are
not, but because Nordby refuses to recognize
our complaints as legitimate and apparently
refuses to believe that anti-gay harassment
is a continuing and horrible phenomenon;
nothing is being done.
Consequently, I was not surprised4
when Brian Clapham told me last Thursday
that the policy on all types of harassment
was being reviewed and that for this reason
Nordby did not want to write a letter to the
paper. My response to this was and is that
a policy concerning the reporting of all types
of harassment (including anti-gay
harassment) is now in place. The "Tell
Someone about Racism" and "Tell Someone
about Sexual Harassment" campaigns are
ongoing. What is so different about "our
minority?" What is controversial or
negative about informing the commmunity
that anti-gay harassment can be reported?
It should be the director of the
Affirmative Action Office writing this letter
about the Tell Someone about Anti-gay
Harassment campaign. But the Office
doesn't deal with "our minority" and so it is
one of us who must write this letter, not
only telling people about the Tell Someone
campaign, but also informing them of the
extent to which the Affirmative Action
Office is shirking its responsibility to the
gay community. Anyone who has been
discriminated against in any way because
they are gay should write a report of the
incident and file it (either anonymously or
openly) with the Affirmative Action Office,
2012 Fleming Administration Building or
the Lesbian and Gay Male Programs Office,
3200 Michigan Union. Do it! We must let
them know that we are out there and that we
are being hurt! They must protect us and
deal with our concerns!

Taking Thiokol to task

IN THE FRENZY to launch the Space
Shuttle Challenger in January,
1986, NASA chose to ignore the
dire warnings of Roger'Boisjoly, a
Morton Thiokol engineer. Had his
desperate pleas been heeded, the
seven astronauts might still be alive
today.
Last Wednesday, Mr. Boisjoly
came to the Chrysler Center o n
North Campus to recount the agony
of the launch and the trauma he
underwent in the months to follow.
Before the launch, NASA gave him
"'strict instructions" to keep quiet.
about booster rocket 0-rings which
'Boisjoly felt would fail in the cold
temperature of that January launch.
As is now known, the arrogance
and insensitivity of both t he
government and Morton Thiokol led
to the greatest space catastrophe the
world has ever seen.
Even after the disaster, the groups
responsible tried to suppress those
who wanted to promote the truth.
Morton Thiokol management repri-
manded Boisjoly and a colleague
for giving a Presidential com-
mission copies of the memos,
research and protests the engineers
had presented before the launch.
After the initial publicity, Boisjoly
was essentially demoted for his

courage in presenting the truth in a
controversial national tragedy.
In his talk here last week, Mr.
Boisjoly described the deep mental
anguish he underwent after the cal-
lous treatment by his superiors at
NASA. His lawsuits against his
former employers, and the smaller
suit against NASA deserve support.
While money paid to a s elf
described "whistleblower" won't
resuscitate the shuttle program or
bring back the astronauts, it will
compensate a principled man for the
hell he endured in presenting the
truth.
Mr. Boisjoly is to be commended
for having the courage to endure all
he has, and for voluntarily coming
to Ann Arbor to speak of the
travesty he witnessed. It is pitiful
how much NASA sacrificed in
submitting to outside pressures
calling for a timely launch. .
Where scientific decisions affect
the lives of many, there is a unique
responsibility for scientists to
uphold high ethical principles.
Some students at the University
have recently taken the initiative'to
organize a club promoting higher
ethics in sciences of all types. The
example of Morton Thiokol
demonstrates the obvious need for
such groups.

LETTERS-

How to write Daily editorials

0

To the Daily:
The editorial "Why Walk-
ways" (November 10) was
another fine example of "Daily
alchemy." I think that I have
discovered the Opinion staff's
recipe for putting out a quality
opinion such as that one:
1) observe an event (e.g.
construction of new walk-
ways).
2) add elements of the most
controversial issues from the
last month or so (e.g. student
overcrowding, busses, Night,
Owl, lighting, parking,
security, etc.).
3) toss in as many slanted
adjectives as possible (to make
the issue seem important).
4) Call it an "Opinion" and
try to pass it off as a
reasonable article.
Let's see how this works.
A new walkway on campus
+ Daily alchemy = "Extensive
excavation" by the University
who "persists in paving over
every grassy area" with "a
proliferation of walkways" of
"seemingly inexorable growth"
which will lead to "an endless
expanse of coarse cold cement."
After reading such an elo-
quent, provoking opinion, I
could not help but agree that
the construction of new walk-
ways was a serious subversion
of student concerns! It's a
good thing that the 'incident'
was so self-evidently impor-
tant; otherwise, the Opinion
staff would have had to use
many grasping adjectives (e.g.
"inexorable growth," "prolif-
eration," etc.) to force an issue
out of it.
Maybe I can shed some light
on this walkway issue. This
past summer-without vital
student input-the University
merged two departments. The
Office of Cement Services was

hundreds of students who fre-
quent those "coarse, cold" Grad
steps that they are having a
good time away from the grass.
The article implies that the
additional walkways were built
at the expense of new residence
hall construction. This is ab-
surd. To say that the two pro-
jects are mutually exclusive is
unbecoming an Opinion staff
which features at least one
economics graduate student.
The university can walk(way)
and chew gum at the same
time, even though some
staffers may find that feat diffi-
cult.
. To claim that a 112 percent
residence hall occupancy rate
(this year) immediately
necessitates housing expansion
is to misunderstand the issue.
Construction of new housing
is an expensive, long range
proposition; correcting admis-
sions acceptance figures to
bring them in accord with the
University's educational capac-
ity is immediate and effective.
If your roof is letting in too
much water for a bucket to
hold, you don't buy a bigger
bucket-you fix the roof!
To top everything off, the
notion of University
"subversion" is connected to
the article's remedial micro-
economics 'guns or butter' ar-
gument. I can just picture
those evil administrators now.
They sit in their cement tower
and attempt to divert the con-
cerns of overcrowded students
by building them sidewalks.
Nefarious tactic! Now that the
Opinion staff has educated me
on University budgeting tech-
niques, I can clearly see the

extent of this subversion.
Why just last term I tried to
CRISP into a class that was
completely closed. Even.
though all sections of the class
I wanted were filled, the Uni-
versity still printed more of
those glitzy, glossy-covered
Time Schedules. The money
used to print the schedules
should have been redirected to
get another professor and more
graduate assistants for my
class.
While I have tried to have a
little fun in making a point, I
hope that my point is clear.
The editorial "Why Walk-
Daily is
To the Daily:
It has been some time since
anyone has said, "the Daily
Sucks," so I would like to offer
my top ten reasons why the
Daily sucks:
1) everything it touches
turns blackish.
2) classifieds are to o
expensive.
3) not enough news to hold
all of Fido's messes.
4) three pages of sports -
gee, this is adequate.
5) can't always find one in
the bathroom when you
might need one, even if you
could see #1.
6) typos and other errors.

ways?" would have been a
witty piece of writing if it were
written tongue-in-cheek. But
the sad truth is that Daily read-
ers often have difficulty distin-
guishing Opinion Page satire
from its serious political
pieces. Informative, well ar-
gued, well written opinions
(from any point of the political
spectrum) are one of the great-
est features of our student pa-
per. "Why Walkways?" is an
embarrassment to the Daily
Opinion board.
-John C. Erickson
November 11
a farce
7.) lame Opinion editorials,
needs a "point/counter point"
and more subject diversity.
8) costs too much.
9) could use more campus
daily-life photos and
stories.
10) it never tears in the
direction you'd like it to. 4
Finally, I think the paper
ought to have a motto, that
way, ten years from now, we
could look back and recall: "I
am not a crook" -Richard
Nixon. "I am not a bimbo"-
Jessica Hahn, and "I am not a
farce"- Michigan Daily.
-Gerard Schmit
November 4

q
4

Save lives, donate blood

S INCE THIS YEAR'S FOOTBALL
game will most likely not affect the
Big Ten championship, the most im-
portant competition between Michigan
and Ohio State students this fall is the
Sixth Annual Michigan-Ohio State
Blood Drive contest. In the past, the
blood drive has been a hotly contested
championship with the Wolverines
winning three times, and the Buck-
eyes twice, including last year.
This year, Michigan can regain the
itle if 3,400 people donate a pint of
blood during the drive, which began
on Monday and will continue until
next Friday. Students can donate
blood at the larger dorms until the end
of this week and then next week in

the hospitals to save the lives of lit-
erally hundreds of people a week in
this area alone.
There should be no hesitation to
donate blood. Each apparatus is ster-
ile and.disposed of after one use, so
there is no way any disease, such as
AIDS, can be transmitted during a
blood donation. Donation itself takes
less than an hour.
Alpha Phi Omega, an national co-ed
service fraternity, is deserving of
commendations for helping the Red
Cross with the promotion, registra-
tion, and ushering of donors, as they
have for the past twenty years during
campus blood drives.
At this University there, are more.

4

The Daily welcomes letters from its
readers. Bringing in letters on personal
computer disk is the fastest way to publish
a letter in the Daily.

'Tl 'l1. 72 .....2..1 f.. "-,4 ,. . --------

A

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