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February 15, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-15

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OPINION

Page 4

Monday, February 15, 1988

The Michigan Daily

Ibr llidpqau 1 ai
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII, No. 94 420 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.

Wayne State deserves better

Inhumanities 101

THAT THE HUMANITIES should
stand against the forces of inhu-
manity is an obvious though seldom
spoken of notion. The English de-
partment last week took a small step
toward realizing this ideal when it
ratified a proposal requiring its ma-
jors to take one course in English
literature written by women or peo-
ple of color. The proposal is rea-
sonable, precedent-setting, and its
ratifiers deserve commendation.
In adopting this requirement, the
English department both acknowl-
edges and attempts to correct the
historical fact that the inhumane
forces of racism and sexism have
prevented many worthy pieces of
belles lettres from being ushered
into the traditional "canon," that
body or work historically recog-
nized as Great Literature.
The requirement is significant in
several other ways. The English
department is part of the academic
institution most responsible for the
transmission of cultural values. In
reading the works of writers who
themselves struggle outside the
white, male mainstream, students
may better understand the struggles
of non-white, non-male people
around them. And these struggles
tie beneath the most distressing in-
humanities of our society.
In diversifying an ethnocentric
curriculum, the requirement attacks
r Religiow
RECENTLY A GROUP calling
themselves the Coalition for
Democracy in Latin America
(CDLA) erected a small church on
the diag in support of religious
freedom in Nicaragua. While the
Daily strongly advocates freedom of
religion in Nicaragua and all of
Central America, the focus of the
CDLA's message is misdirected.
Any discussion of religious free-
dom in Nicaragua must also include
its neighbors El Salvador, Hon-
duras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala
as a model for comparison. When
this is done, treatment of the
Church by the Sandinistas is re-
markably fair and humane.
No one denies the Nicaraguan
government has had its share of
run-ins with the Catholic heirarchy,
but these relatively minor instances
pale in comparison to the systematic
persecution of the Church by the
governments of El Salvador,
Guatemala and Honduras.
As the Sandinista Front grew in
power during the 1970s, small
grassroots religious study groups
began to appear throughout the
Nicaraguan countryside. These co-
munidades de base (base, or grass-
roots communities) took on the
struggle of the poor through the
teachings of liberation theology and
the popular church was born. The
popular church emphasized Christ's
solidarity with the weak and his
teachings of social justice.
The popular church's support
among the poor translated into
broad opposition to the Somoza
dictatorship. In contrast, the tradi-

tional church, led by Archbishop
Miguel Cardenal Obando y Bravo
and his followers, continued to im-
plicitly support the dictatorship until
its imminent downfall.
Archbishop Obando has consis-
tently refused to speak out against
Contra atrocities, even after one
priest was killed and another seri-
ously wounded when their truck hit

institutional racism at a deep,
structural level. It encourages the
recruitment of women and minority
faculty qualified to teach such
courses. In contrast to the deafening
silence of other LSA departments to
the demands issued by UCAR, and
in contrast to the din of defensive
rhetoric, vague promises, and racist
remarks from members of the
University administration, the En-
glish department sounds a clear note
of meaningful response.
The sciences have a special re-
sponsibility. Racism and sexism
have been justified throughout his-
tory by a variety of "biological" ex-
planations, which have always been
proved false but which linger in the
minds of many. Future biologists
must be aware of these arguments.
Ironically, the single biology course
which addresses these issues is of-
fered to non-majors. Meanwhile,
scientists among us research the ef-
fects of chemical weapons designed
to maim people of color in the Third
World.
Hopefully, the English require-
ment is the first step in a long march
of institutional reforms. FAIR and
Concerned Faculty will soon pre-
sent their proposed multi-disci-
plinary course on race and gender to
the LSA Curriculum Committee.
Such proposals affirm the Univer-
sity's purpose: to foster humanity.
s Freedom
conflict [...] has included cases of
clear abuses, such as the expulsion
of ten foreign priests [most of
whom have since been allowed to
return]. There is not a policy of
anti-Semitism, nor are Christians--
Catholic or Protestant--persecuted
for their faith" (America's Watch
Report, July 1985)
*The Nicaraguan Government has
recently reopened the Catholic radio
station.
*Several Catholic priests and
church workers hold high positions
in the Nicaraguan government, in-
cluding Foreign Minister Miguel
D'Escoto Brockmann, Minister of
Culture Ernesto Cardenal, and
Minister of Education Fernando
Cardenal.
Contrast this to the situation in El
Salvador and Guatemala where the
systematic killing and deportation of
church workers is commonplace.
Raymond Bonner, former Central
America correspondent for the New
York Times wrote in 1984, "the fate
of the clergy who challenge the
Sandinistas has been far better than
that of their brethren in El Salvador,
where soldiers and death squads
have murdered at least sixteen
priests and nuns." Since that time
many more church workers have
fallen victim to the forces of
"democracy" in El Salvador.
The most widely known
Salvadoran atrocities occurred in
1980. In that year Salvadoran
Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero
was assassinated while saying
mass, and three American nuns and
a lay church worker were brutally

raped and murdered by a paramili-
tary death squad. The murder of
Archbishop Romero was recently
linked to Roberto D'Abuissan, a
close ally of President Jose
Napolean Duarte andshismilitary
leaders, but as yet no one has been
charged with any of the murders.
In Guatemala, as of 1985 about a
dozen priests, several Protestant

By Julie Facca
The following letter was originally sent
to the Michigan Student Assembly by
Facca, on behalf of the Wayne State
University Student Council:
In a recent press conference, The
University of Michigan's Dean Steiner
made several statements concerning the
quality of Wayne State University and its
students. According to Mr. Steiner, "Our
challenge is not to change this university
into another kind of institution where
minorities would naturally flock to in
much greater numbers. I need not remind
you that there are such universities such as
Wayne State and Howard Universities." He
also commented that the University of
Michigan has customarily sought out
Ph.Ds from predominantly white schools
like Harvard and Yale but will now begin
to "risk" recruiting from what he called
predominantly Black schools "like Wayne
State University or Howard University."
On behalf of The Wayne State Student
Council, we would like to know on what
criteria Mr. Steiner based his remarks. Not
only were his views racist and
unprofessional, but totally
unsubstantiated. It is apparent that Dean
Steiner is just unaware of the unlimited
resources Wayne State University offers to
all of its students regardless of race, color
or national origin.
Wayne State University is a
multifaceted graduate university and one of
the largest single-campus institutions in
the United States. Over 30 percent of all
degree-holding adults in the Detroit
Facca is a member of the Wayne State
University Student Council

Metropolitan Area are Wayne State
University Alumni. Located in the heart of
the Metropolitan Area, Wayne State is
able to make use of the city's vast social,
cultural, and scientific resources; these
resources not only enhance Wayne State
University's programs, but help to
enlighten the entire community.
As a nationally ranked university,
Wayne State is committed to provide high
quality educational programs in more than
six hundred fields of study, leading to
more than three hundred different degrees at
the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral
levels. Our Medical School is one of the
largest schools in the nation and our
clinical medicine program is one of the
most respected in the country.
Furthermore, our School of Nursing is
ranked sixth in the United States, which
coincidentally was the only school in
Michigan to be ranked! In addition, the
Chemistry Department allows students the
opportunity to learn from and work with
some of the country's most prestigious
chemistry professors. Our foreign
Language Department offers
comprehensive and encompassing pro-
grams. Here, even a beginner is taught by
professors rather than teaching assistants.
It is also important to note that Wayne
State University is the only university in
Michigan that offers a Ph.D in Modern
Language. Marketing is another area
Wayne State excels in, and our School of
Business is a highly respected college that
is ranked in the top forty in the nation. It
graduates hundreds of professional
business persons in the Metropolitan
Business Districts. Our Law School is in
the top twenty-five percent of all Law
Schools in the country. Furthermore,
Wayne State University's College of
Engineering is accredited by ABET
(Accreditation Board of Engineering and

Technology), the same association that
accredits "more superior" schools like U of
M.
We would also like to point out to Mr.
Steiner that intelligence is a function
controlled by the brain not by skin color.
At Wayne State a student can be assured
quality education. Through its teaching,
Wayne State University dedicates itself to
provide its students with the opportunity
to broaden their intellectual capacities in
order to benefit, not only themselves, but
society as well. The programs offered at
Wayne State University are carefully
designed to prepare students for a
successful entry into the professional
world. To think that this highly respected
and accredited university is a haven for
minorities to flock to is absurd.
The standards Wayne State University
has for its students are high and do not
change to accommodate anyone. Our
University Mission states: "Wayne State
University respects and protects the
personal and academic freedom of its
students, faculty, and academic staff. The
programs and activities of the University
are opened to all qualified individuals
regardless of race, religion, sex, or
national origin. The University seeks to
demonstrate, through all its programs and
activities, its appreciation of human
diversity and to maintain an atmosphere of
tolerance and mutual respect that will
nourish human liberty and democratic
citizenship." If our ratio of minorities is
higher than that of U of M's, it is because
minorities choose to come here. Our doors
are opened to all and we encourage people
of all races to further their education.
Education is a remarkable resource and a
priceless opportunity that should be given
to all. Choosing a university may be dif-
ficult, but those of us at Wayne State are
proud of our decision.

LETTERS:

Sodomy laws offensive and pointless

q

To the Daily:
I've just recently discovered
I've committed a felony. Well,
several over the years. Under
Michigan state law, I could go
to jail for five years for kiss-
ing my girlfriends in the
"wrong" place.
Uh, right. we were consent-
ing legal adults, no nasty beat-
ings or nuthin', just good clean
heterosexual fun. And now I'm
supposed to think about taking
a five year vacation in scenic
Jackson. Inside a small room.
Right.
No. That's not right. I mean
that's wrong, the law is wrong.

The law is obscene; not me,
not that much, not "five-years-
in-jail" much.
Let's look at this: Michigan
Penal Code, MCLA, Section
750.338b: "Gross indecency,
between male and female per-
sons: any male person who, in
public or in private, commits
or is a party to the commission
of any act of gross indecency
with a female person shall be
guilty of felony, punishable...
by imprisonment in the state
prison for not more than five
years..." And the same section
provides explicitly the same for
"female persons." (Other sec-

tions cover all the other com-
binations, with the same re-
sults promised.) What a legal
"gross indecency" is still gets
debated, but oral sex, even
consenually agreed to between
adults, has sent some people
on the "big vacation."
Example: a couple at a big
bonfire were cuddling for an
hour at a state campsite, and
after they went off together to
their tent, some righteous citi-
zens got the park ranger and,
really, they tore the tent open
and took pictures. The convic-
tion was upheld on appeal on
the grounds that the rangers had
"just grounds for suspecting a
felony was being committed."
Read and weep over People vs.
Livermore. (Tell the librarian
this and you'll get it: 9Mich.
App.47, 155NW#2d 711
1968.) 1-1//2 to 5 year vaca-
tions. Yeah, this was in 1968,
and they were two women
committing oral sex. (Anal
sex, for the record, is punish-
able for up to 20 YEARS
That'stanother crazy story.) All
this stuff is still' the law -
those convictions have never
been overturned.

Which gets back to me. Why
the heck am I concerned with
this? The laws aren't out to get
white heterosexuals, though
they could if you crossed
them. The simple answer: the
law ticks me off. The state
shouldn't be able to jump all
over me for how I choose to
jump around in bed when I'm
hurting no one. And under the
present law, they can. Another
answer: the state shouldn't be
able to jump all over anyone
else for the same reasons. Peo-
ple should be measured by their
character, not their style of
play with consenting legal
Others.
Let me put it in the spot-
lights: the truth of all that
"Excellence through Diversity"
stuff grows out of letting dif-
ferent colored lights play on
the common ground of our ex-
istence, so we can come to see
what is really there for all of
us; and only a diversity of per-
spectives will get us closer to
what is real, what is true, and
what is, well, Good.
* -Charlie VanBoven
February 10

4

I

Editorial insults minorities

To the Daily:
In the editorial "Don't Nar-
row Curriculum" (Michigan
Daily, Jan. 13th 1988) the
Daily criticized Secretary of
Education William Bennett's
model curriculum in the myth-
ical "James Madison High
School" as too tough for those
students who live in poverty
and do not go on to college. I
find this statement extremely
condescending and patronizing.
Many students in the poverty
stricken area are not only capa-
ble to read the Greek and Ro-
man classics, Dante, Dosto-
evsky, Zola, Mann, and Ibsen
but should be encouraged to do
so. Secretary Bennett's pro-
posal isran attempt to shift
away from the notion that
classes such as Pottery and
Home Economics can replace
four years of English, three
years of math, and three years
of science and still be equally
valuable to the student's
education.
The tone of the Daily's
editorial 's based on the false
premise that because the non-
college bound students from
areas of poverty cannot accept
the challenges of William
Bennett's proposed curriculum,
the model American high
school should make vocational
curriculum more of an integral
nnrt o~f itcr.nrn ,.nrrirnl nr

the" 'below average' students
do not need even more reasons
to drop out." It is my belief
many students drop out from a
lack of interest in performing
"busy work" assigned b y
teachers who are not interested
in teaching. Memorizing the
dates of American history does
not excite most students. Per-
haps William Bennett's pro-
posed course on the "Principles
of American Democracy and
the World" will spark fresh
discussions and challenge all
students to question the sys-
tem. Furthermore, the Greek
and Roman classics which the
Daily discarded as too tough for
non college-bound students, if
taught correctly, can invigorate
the minds and encourage once
non college-bound students to
go to college.
I don't buy the Daily's argu-
ment that condescends to the
poor and non college-bound
students. As I have stated, the
Daily's argument is
patronizing and robs the
students to an excellent
education. Essentially, what
Secretary Bennett has proposed
is a sweeping reform in public
education that aims at erasing
the malaise in the current
system.
As the Daily pointed out,
Secretary Bennett's proposal is

Racism remains undefined

To the Daily:
It appears that 17 years after
BAM we still cannot agree
about - what we mean by
racism. To me the word sug-
gests not some personal ugli-
ness or venom, nor even some
cognitive prejudice. It suggests
those times when some among
us insist on playing out an
obviously winning hand, dealt
from a stacked deck, while re-
ferring all protests to the im-
mutable rule book written by
the very people who stacked
the deck in the first place. The
Black Action Movement, from
this perspective, was a demand
for more than a new deal. It
was a demand for a new game,
with a new set of rules.w ,
Once again, there is an
opening in which to inquire
into the priority assigned to

multi-cultural. At the heart of
such a goal would be a
recognition that each segment
of this society, and ultimately
the world, is desperately needed
and must be included if a fully
human vision of education, and
its associated games and rules,
is ever to be created. Stopped
short of that fullness, the Uni-
versity seems destined to con-
tribute more to the stagnation
than to the liberation of this
diverse glove of ours.
-Richard D. Mann
Professor of Psychol-
ogy
January 18
New policy.?
To the Daily:
Perhaps the Regents should
consider amending the discrim-

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