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November 17, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-17

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OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, November 17, 1987

The Michigan Daily

0'ie 5icI'igau BE:atlU
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Shapiro responds to racism

4

Vol. XCVIII, No. 49

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. MI 48109

si 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.
SIsrae infringes on rights
:1-,AST WEEK, MONA Rishmawi and This is not the only instance of Is-
Mazen Qubty charged the Israeli gov- raeli oppression of Palestinians in the
rnment of inhumane treatment of occupied terrritories. The Arabs living
Nlestinians in the West Bank and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are
a6za Strip ("Lawyers accuse Israelis not offered Israeli citizenship, and
f mistreating Arabs," Daily, therefore cannot receive welfare and
-:r112/87). Both Rishmawi and Qubty unemployment benefits. In addition,
:e Arab lawyers who defend Pales- the government maintains strict con-
tihians in the occupied territories. trol over agriculture. Palestinians who
,Their accusations raise serious ques- cannot prove their land belongs to
tions about the Israeli policy in these them have had it seized.
territories. In the West Bank, Israeli Jews
The Israeli government has shown control a vast majority of the water
little concern for the rights of Pales-
tinians in the occupied territories. The supply, though they form a minority
recent Landau Commision report on of the population. T he Arabs cannot
Israel's secret service, the Shin-Beth, remedy this situation because they are
found that for the last 16 years the not allowed to dig new wells without
Shin-Beth has repeatedly lied in Is- specific government approval. The
raeli military courts. According to the scarcity of water in the dry climate of
,recommendation in the report, the the Middle East severely hampers the
'arnoderate use of force" is a perfectly Palestinians' ability to successfully
acceptable method of interrogating grow crops even when afforded the
arrested Palestinians and should be opportunity.
tolerated by the courts. However, the There is no excuse for the Israeli
Landau Commision found that the government's treatment of Palestini-
Shin-Beth actually used torture when ans in the occupied territories. Even
Attempting to elicit confessions. This though the majority of insurgencies
'Is an example of the outrageous hu- against the government originate in
'an rights violations committed by the West Bank or Gaza Strip, there is
the Israeli government in their military no justificaton for Israel's blatant dis-
rule of the Palestinians. crimination.

By Harold T. Shapiro
Although I am generally reluctant to
respond to editorials I consider misleading
and/or misinformed, I am dismayed and
disappointed enough by The Michigan
Daily's November 9th editorial, "Shapiro's
Power Grab," to have decided that I must
reply, lest some members of the University
community accept those assertions as an
accurate depiction of the University's
response to the problems of racism that
continue to plague our society and
community.
Any modicum of attention to recent
activities or published reports to the
University community indicates that w e
have indeed made a serious and sustained
commitment to fighting racism in all its
forms and to building a more diverse
University community. We have mounted
several new initiatives and have reinvigorated
various existing programs to address better
the problems faced by minority students,
faculty, and staff at The University o f
Michigan.
These efforts include:
- The creation of the position of Vice
Provost for Minority Affairs and the
appointment to it of Charles Moody, a
distinguished educator and scholar on the
status of minority students. As V ice
Provost, Dr. Moody has assumed leadership
for our efforts to increase the the recruitment
and retention of minority students and
faculty, and he is working vigorously with
students, staff, faculty and Deans to develop
plans and programs in this regard.
-The allocation of an additional $1 million
to provide increased financial aid and better
support for other programs designed to
increase minority recruitment and retention.
-The commitment to create a Financial
Aid Appeals Board to review problems
related to financial aid awards. As a
preliminary step, we have enlisted the
Harold T. Shapiro is the P'resident of The
University of Michigan
Wasserman

leadership and assistance of Deans and other
appropriate University officials to ensure
that academic units and financial aid offices
throughout the campus have established
appeal procedures and communicate them
clearly to students. The Financial Aid
Appeals Board will supplement the efforts of
the Ombudsman's Office and will function
with due regard for the need to protect
student privacy.
-The development by the Housing
Division, in coordination with the
Orientation Program, of a series of programs
for first-year students that will address issues
of racism, sexism, and the nature and
'I believe, however, that the
University community should
adopt its own procedures,
which would of course be fully
consistent with constitutional
rights, to ensure an
environment hospitable to all.'
--Harold T. Shapiro
resources of the University.
-The establishment of a special task force
to develop a program on multi-culturalism,
diversity, and racism for all incoming
students. A pilot version of this program
will be introduced next semester, and a
refined version of it incorporated into next
summer's Orientation Program.
-The implementation of a new process for
reporting and handling incidents of racial
harassment. This program has been widely
publicized through the "Tell Someone About
Racism" posters around campus.
-The participation, over the summer and
early fall, of the Executive Officers, Deans,
senior administrators, and faculty leaders in a
series of discussions and exercises designed
to uncover prejudicial attitudes and analyze
how these attitudes affect behavior and'
decision-making. Students and faculty in'

several schools have participated jointly in
similar retreats, and student residence hall
leaders also have been involved in such
activities.
An initial report on the status of our
efforts regrading the Six-Point Plan we
adopted last spring was carried in the
September 14, 1987 issue of The University
Record. An updated report on these
commitments and other, related initiatives
will be published this week in a special
issue of The University Record. I encourage
The Michigan Daily to bring these reports to
the attention of its readers.
Even as we recommit ourselves to the
struggle against racism and to efforts to
enhance the diversity of the University, we
are simultaneously asking what ought to be
our response to those who undermine our
efforts with intolerable racist words or deeds.
Some believe we ought to leave these
matters to the civil authorities. I believe,
however, that the University community
should adopt its own procedures, which
would of course be fully consistent with
constitutional rights, to ensure an
environment hospitable to all. Efforts to this
end are currently in progress and will, I
hope, be brought to. resolution in the
coming semesters. In my view, the
University community should be eager and
proud to adopt higher and more demanding
standards that may be reflected in the
community at large. As the Reverend
Charles Adams so aptly and eloquently stated
at last December's Commencement,
"Members of the University community are
charged to go into all places as leaders not
laggards, voices not whispers, headlights,
not taillights."
The University, like the society around us,
faces significant challenges to achieve
fundamental and enduring improvements in
the status of minorities. Constructive,
informed, responsible, and sensitive
leadership and involvement are required at all
levels, and I hope The Michigan Daily will,
in the future, assess.more accurately and join
more actively efforts to realize our shared
vision of a University where all are
welcomed, valued, and respected.

Pursell ignores district

REPRESENTATIVE CARL Pursell (R-
'Plymouth), whose congressional dis-
trict includes Ann Arbor, has refused
once again to take a stand against
proposed aid to the Contras in
Nicaragua. Pursell's behavior in re-
gard to this issue is m o r a l ly
reprehensible, and it has revealed his
utter contempt for the views of his
constituents.
In the last couple of months Pursell
has received more than a thousand
letters opposing renewed aid to the
Contras in any form. These letters
have come not only from Ann Arbor,
whose opposition to U.S. interven-
tion in Central America is well
known, but from the rest of the dis-
trict as well. Hundreds of letters have
poured in to his office from conser-
vative Republican strongholds like
Plymouth and Livonia, as well as
from more diverse populations such
as the city of Jackson.
Pursell's public response has been
to attribute this massive support for
peace in Central America as the work
of "national organizations." While it
is true that Neighbor to Neighbor, a
national group which opposes U.S.
policy in Central America, has been
organizing in this district, they did not
manufacture these letters. The letters
were written by real people who ex-
pressed their opposition to Reagan's
policy of support for the Contras.
And the people who did most of the
organizing were local unpaid volun,.
teers, many from religious and com-
munity organizations.
To imply that his constituents are

not responsible for their own opin-
ions displays a deplorable lack of re-
spect for the people of this district on
the part of an elected public official.
Furthermore, Pursell's repeated fail-
ure to take a stand on this issue is a
clear case of moral cowardice. Even if
he were to go against the wishes of
the majority and defend his views, he
would be more worthy of the respect
that he so contemptuously denies- his
constituents.
Pursell knows that the opposition to
his votes for aid to the Contras has
grown steadily in the last three years.
There have been more than 200 ar-
rests at his office for non-violent civil
disobedience, and in the 1986 con-
gressional election, this issue of aid to
the Contras was decisive in making it
his Pursell's toughest race in a
decade.
As a result of this political fallout,
Pursell tried to "moderate" his image.
When the Arias plan was first put
forth last April, he supported it. But
after it was signed by the presidents
of five Central American countries, he
suddenly became very quiet about it.
This follows closely the Reagan ad-
ministration's pattern of gross
hypocrisy with regard to Contadora
and other efforts at negotiated solu-
tions: support any peace proposal .un-
til Nicaragua agrees to it. Then do
your best to scuttle it and try to blame
the Sandinistas in the process.
Pursell is pushing his luck by as-
suming that his constituents are so
easily manipulated. Next November,
his luck may run out.

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LB TERS:

Schlussel
To the Daily: Neander
In response to Debbie like to
Schlussel's moronic diatribe could y
(Daily, '11/13/87) against Lib- on such
erals, Democrats, and anyone guess t
who differs with her narrow, this que

follows

GOP

rthal viewpoint, I would
ask the Daily, 'How
ou waste so much space
h a crock of shit?" I
he obvious answer to
estion is that the Daily

'Hair' omits key song

To the Daily:
Although we enjoyed the re-
cent UAC/Musket production
of HAIR, we were disappointed
by an omission from the pro-
gram.
HAIR is a musical in which
social taboos of the late 1960s
are examined by a "tribe" of
hippies living in Central Park
(or, in the case of this produc-
tion, the diag). Issues such as
Vietnam, drug use, sexual
permissiveness, conservativism
in U.S. politics, homosexual-
ity, University policy, and
Kacism were all addressed in the
performance. The show, as
written, is intended to shock
the audience into reexamining
its attitudes.
This production included
profanity, a cast member wip-
ing his genitals with t h e
American Flag, pantomimed
acts of sexual intercourse,
sodomy, fellatio, male and fe-
male homosexuality, partial
and full nudity, blatant criti-
cism of Ron and Nancy Rea-
gan, simulated drug use, and
the smoking of a substance

slurs which have been hurled at
him. He lists these explicitly.
The song is intended to show
the ridiculousness of such
terms, and its tone is com-
pletely positive. However, this
production .chose not to include
the song.
There was no explanation
for this omission; although,
the song appears in the pro-
gram. It would appear that the
song was, at the last minute,
removed, in order not to cause
offense. We find this decision
questionable. By omitting the
piece, a great deal of impact
was removed from the play's
examination of racism, and the
wrong message was sent to the
audience -- that of avoiding is-
sues, rather than confronting
them.
Since the song is well
known, its absence was glar-
ing, and implied an unwilling-
ness, to fully follow through
with the intentions of the cre-
ators. The racial slurs in
"Colored Spade" serve to ex-
pose the vile ignorance of
racial predjudice, not to support
bigotted views. If the play was

wants to show what kind of a
dreamworld these Young Col-
lege Republican Conservative
Americans for Freedom(?) are
living in. Ms. Schlussel's
"analysis" of Mr. Finkel's
article (Daily, 10/30/87) is
nc hing more than a thinly
disguised attack on left-of-cen-
ter and Democratic concerns
and an apologetic discourse on
the failed policies of Ronald
Reagan's Republican adminis-
tration.
I was particularly amused by
the comments, "one of the best
presidents this country has ever
seen," and speaking of the Re-
publican party as "the party of
the future," etc. What a laugh!
In reality Ronald Reagan is one
of the most ineffective presi-
dents this country has ever
seen. He hasrdoubled the na-
tional debt, brought this coun-
try very close to war in the
Middle East and Central Amer-
ica, has severely damaged.
United States credibility with
the Iran-Contra scandal, and
still refuses to take charge and

blindly
exert effective leadership in the
midst of the current stock mar-
ket crisis. This list could go on
and on. All this has occurred
with the blessing and support
of conservatives and the Re-
publican party. I tend to agree
with Berke (Bloom County)
Breathed's appraisal, at least he
had the guts to put in print
what many patriotic Americans
feel, namely "Reagan sucks!"
Since you are so concerned
with morality, Ms. Schlussel,
and think the University of
Michigan is a bastion of im-
mortality, why don't you
transfer all of your credits to
Pat Robertson's university?
Furthermore, I don't think the
University advocates sexual
promiscuity, and I don't under-
stand how you equate alterna-
tive lifestyles such as femi-
nism, Marxism, and homosex-
uality with being immoral. As
an American and a freethinker,
I believe intolerance to such
alternatives is immoral.
-Luis A. Vazquez
November 13

Why read the Daily?

?fr ';iY:£,i h:r" " : ~ m m": i y tr n ' r :: n

To the Daily:
Okay, perhaps Gerard Schmit
is right ("Daily is a farce,"
Daily, 11/12/87). Maybe the
Daily is a farce. But really,
there are some good things
about the Daily, so I hereby
offer up my own top ten list:

5) The Daily provides some-
thing to complain about be-
sides classes
6) "Off the Wall" in the
Weekend magazine which could
substitute for the Daily's
editorials
7) The periodic fashion arti-

The Daily welcomes letters from its
readers. Brinzin2 in letters on versonal

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