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November 11, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-11

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a

OPINION

Friday, November 11, 1988

The Michigan Daily

r

Fraternity

complicit

in racist act

By UMASC, UCAR,
POWER, FSACC, IPASC,
AALSA, and Delro Harris
This article was written to clarify the
incident cited in the Daily article (11/2/88)
entitled "Policy Doesn't Include Greeks."
On October 7, 1988, six Asian Ameri-
can students were victims of racist remarks
at a Kappa Sigma fraternity party. While
on their way out, a man in the doorway
said, "Oh, look, the'chinks are leaving.
Ah-so," and proceeded to clasp his hands
together as he bowed.
When they asked for personal apologies,
the man told one of the brothers, "I didn't
do such a good thing," and hid himself in-
side the fraternity house. Members of
Kappa Sigma refused to look for him. The
students were told that the racist in ques-
tion was "a good friend of an uncle of
someone in the house" and that "it was
just a joke." One of the brothers explained
that the man who had made the comment
had expected the Asian Americans to laugh
with him.
This article is authored by University of
Michigan Asian Student Coalition
(UMASC), United Coalition Against
Racism (UCAR), People Organized for
Women, Equality, and Rights (POWER),
Free South Africa Coordinating Commit-
tee (FSA CC), Indian and Pakistani
A'nerican Students Council (IPASC),
Asian-Amerfican Law Students Associa-
tion (AALSA) and Delro Harris, a junior
in LSA.

The University of Michigan Asian Stu-
dent Coalition (UMASC) fails to see the
humor in this remark. Racist acts such as
the ones displayed on the night of October
7th are responsible for oppression of peo-
ple of color everywhere. By allowing such
acts to go unpunished and unchallenged,
members of Kappa Sigma were actively
participating in a racist act. By laughing at
such "jokes," as many Kappa Sigmas did,

vorable attention from the University
community.
UMASC member Susan Rhee, who was
a target of the racist remark, wrote a letter
to Kappa Sigma which detailed the inci-
dent and asked for a written apology from
the house. She and another UMASC
member hand-delivered the letter directly to
David Wigler, vice-president of the frater-
nity.

'Racist acts such as the ones displayed on the night of October
7th are responsible for oppression of people of color everywhere.
By allowing such acts to go unpunished and unchallenged,
members of Kappa Sigma were actively participating in a racist
act.'

have started."
First, UMASC strongly questions the
relevance of the offender's possible war
expesences. Wigler seemed to believe that
the possibility that this man tought in
Korea or Vietnam justified his racist act
against "a bunch of Asians."
Second, it was highly unlikely that a
fight would have broken out that night.
The offender had obviously fled the scene
to avoid confrontation. Wigler's statement
that "a fight might have started" was a
trumped-up excuse.
Third, Wigler implied that the house
was not responsible for comments made
by a non-brother, but stated that the
fraternity WOULD be responsible for a
fight started by that same non-brother.
Wigler evidently did not consider racism a
liability for the house. Wigler's state-
ments demonstrated that he found racism
acceptable under those circumstances.
When UMASC members were unsatis-
fied with the vice-president's comments
about protecting the offender, Wigler of-
fered his personal apology, saying, "I find
this kind of thing terrible.aI would never
do such a thing." Later, at a Kappa Sigma
meeting, Wigler was quoted as saying,
"[Susan Rhee] is oversensitive... she's
making a big deal out of nothing." David
Wigler's patronizing statement clearly ex-
emplifies his racist and sexist attitudes.
Also, as a representative of his house,
David Wigler is jeopardizing the reputa-
tion of Kappa Sigma fraternity. Wigler's
duplicity in making two speeches to two
different audiences clearly show that
Wigler's only concern was to protect
himself from liability.

In the weeks following, these events
occuned:
-In a note on the UMASC office door,
Wigler and president Ron Bauer claimed
that UMASC "did not exist" according to
MSA, Campus Info, and the Union. Yet
they were able to find UMASC's
Michigan Union office.
-In this note, Wigler placed the
responsibility for rectifying the situation
on UMASC members who were victims
of the racist act.
-Over the phone, Wigler accused
UMASC of "blackmail" and "defamation
of character."
-In a subsequent call, Ron Bauer
repeated these gross accusations and
revoked all previous verbal apologies. He
stated that he would have no further
contact with UMASC and hung up.
-In response to the November 3 Daily
article, other Kappa Sigma members
informed UMASC that this was the first
time they had heard the details of the
Kappa Sigma -- UMASC situation.
-On November 6, a Kappa Sigma
member met with UMASC and UCAR
members, explaining that Kappa Sigma
members opposed the actions of Wigler
and Bauer.
-On November 7, Wigler brought
UMASC's letter to a Minority Affairs
Committee meeting and stated, "legally,
you can't do anything to me... I can't
check people's morals at the door."
Wigler's and Bauer's racist actions are
completely reprehensible. UMASC and
UCAR demand that the fraternity of Kappa
Sigma denounce these racist acts.

a
I

they encouraged such behavior among
their peers and perpetuated harmful stereo-
types.
After the students explained that they
were members of UMASC, and that the
incident would be brought up at the next
meeting, there were several desperate ver-
bal attempts at apologies from a few
members of Kappa Sigma. However, the
students never received an apology from
the offender himself. If the members in
question had truly felt that what had hap-
pened was wrong, they would have looked
for the man and asked him to apologize,
instead of just appeasing the Asian
Americans to save the house from unfa-

After reading the letter, Wigler said, "I
don't understand what you want... this
man is not a brother of the house." They
replied that, in addition to a written apol-
ogy, UMASC wanted the members of the
house to realize that by not looking for
the man who made the comment, the
house was condoning his behavior. Wigler
then replied, "I can honestly tell you now
that I would not have forced the man to
apologize if I had been at the door my-
self... we have to avoid fights at all costs
because that could be a liability to the
house... what if this man fought in Viet-
nam or Korea? If we forced him to apolo-
gize to a bunch of Asians, a fight might

I

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W
Y
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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

11

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ii

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No.47

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.

Young and in prison

LAST MONTH, Tashikko McKaye
became the first juvenile offender to be
remanded to adult district court in
Washtenaw county. This denial of jus-
tice extends beyond the month McKaye
has been incarcerated without trial; it is
I national trend to punish young people
gather than rehabilitate them.
-The decision to use adult court comes
under new legislation which allows 15
aid 16-year-old offenders to be tried
and sentenced in adult court. This in-
&reases the already unacceptable num-
bers of youth in the prison system.
Implicit in sending McKaye to adult
cpurt on the seniousness of his offense
is an assumption of guilt on the part of
jhe accused. Juvenile offenders cannot
hiave committed an offence serious
gnough to merit consideration as an
$lult if they are innocent until proven
giilty.
~Unfortunately, the remand of McK-
Sye is not an isolated case. In the last
,nonth alone, Washtenaw county has
seen two seventeen year olds sent to
iult court where they face penalties
rrom 15 years to life imprisonment.
f4iese two juveniles - and another 15
year-old who is awaiting a waiver to
alult court --have been lodged in the
ipunty jail prior to their trial.
"' , . ar entnrn~-ifo -u,,nr Itt-1t 4.

the time and usually do not receive the
benefit of council. Juvenile court is
supposed to compensate for this by
being informal and paternal. Adult
court, on the other hand, views guilty
pleas as cheap and expedient convic-
tions rather than a rational lenient or
paternal punishment.
Holding juveniles completely re-
sponsible for their conduct and judging
them beyond hope for reform are both
cynical and cruel. Young people are
formative and the environment which
they are placed in determines who they
are and what they become. Incarcera-
tion teaches them to hate society and
trains them to be better criminals.
Already deprived of the right to vote,
to gain credit, to sign a lease, and to
hold a job without a permit - it is a
further betrayal of fairness to jail young
people who have no control over the
subsistence elements of their lives.
Young people are deprived of their
rights because society considers them
unable to conduct themselves
responsibly. The court should not hold
them responsible in some cases and not
in the broader context.
Race and class factors underlie juve-
nile detention in the same way they do
for adults. All of those "offenders"
under 18 who have been held in adult
lockups are non-white and the majority
come for the Ypsilanti area. In McK-
aye's case, he is still being held on a
$20,000 bond which he cannot pay.
Prison is not a place for 15 and 16
year-olds to learn socially acceptable
behavior; rather, it is in prison where
these young people become forever
damaged.
Those who go to prison for any rea-
son are more than twice as likely to re-
t-- A -r- a1,n - wrrt o thnp i

Solidarity
with
SALSA
To the Daily:
Commitment: n. The act of
committing; a giving in charge
or entrusting. A pledge to do
something. The state of being
bound emotionally and
intellectually to a course of ac-
tion.
Leadership: n. The position
or office of a leader. The
capacity or ability to lead.
Diversity: n. The fact or
quality of being distinct in
kind. Variety and multiformity.
When a university adminis-
tration commits itself to
changing leadership in a new
century, it cannot passively
publish inaccurate information
as evidence of its positive steps
toward diversity. For this rea-
son, the Hispanic Law Student
Association (HLSA) and the
Latin American and Native
American Medical Association
(LANAMA) stand in solidarity
with SALSA in their demand
for a recall of the report One
Year Later... A Commitment
to Leadership.
Diversity cannot be obtained
without recognizing the indi-
vidual entities first. Latinos,
Asians, American-Indians, and
Blacks deserve the equal respect
of the decision makers on
campus when considering the
opportunities which will be
made available. One Year Later
demonstrates the insensitivity
and aloofness of the
administration toward Latino
students by its neglect of accu-
racy. The report, compiled in
one week, failed to identify ap-
propriate student organizations
and department programming.
Latino student organizations
on campus vary from ethic
sub-group (Puerto Rican, Chi-
cano, Cuban and others) to
academic/professional interest.
We are not a homogeneous
group to be falsely described as
a single entity. The
departmental programming,
Latino Studies, still remains
on an "Ad-Hoc" status with the

qualities which make up their
diversity. We are the unknown
minority on campus.
LANAMA and HLSA see the
"continuum" of the University
of Michigan as inaction. One
year Later does not portray the
qualities of leadership nor
commitment. Rather, those
qualities come from an admin-
istration willing to verify facts
an make the campus a more
lively environment based upon
its awareness of the diverse
student population.
Because we refuse to accept
the role of the unseen and un-
heard minority, HLSA and
LANAMA stand with our her-
manas and hermanos of
SALSA in their demand for a
recall of the inaccurate report
and a re-release of true data
about the Latino population on
campus. Mediocrity subverts
the pursuit of diversity.
-HLSA and LANAMA
November 9
Help fight
famzine
To the Daily:
On Thursday November 17,
the World Hunger Education
and Action Committee,
WHEAC, is sponsoring a fast
for world hunger. This annual
campus-wide event encourages
members of the University of
Michigan community to sup-
port WHEAC in its plans to
raise money for Oxfam, a
world famine relief agency, and
local community programs to
feed the hungry of Ann Arbor.
Individuals participate by fore-
going dinner on this day and
donating the money that would
have otherwise been spent to
the cause of fighting world
hunger. Students have signed
agreements in their dormitories
to donate the value of their
meal to WHEAC.
By actually fasting for a day,
one can experience a very small
fraction of the anguish which
starving people of the world
feel every day. It sometimes
takes a bit of suffering to re-
mind oneself that there are en-
tire populations struggling to
vtav aie in Thid.A W .rld

political instability, govern-
ment corruption, and civil
strife aggravate development in
the Third World. Unfortunate
climatic conditions are intensi-
fied and perpetuated by the ab-
sence of an adequate
sociopolitical infrastructure.
As we can observe through
history, droughts do not in-
evitably end in widespread
starvation and death; many so-
cieties have a sufficient buffer-
ing capacity to survive climate
anomalies.
The myth that famine is
caused by a lack of food must
also be contested. The prob-
lem is not lacck of food, but
rather, a discrepancy in access
to food. Because of difficulties
in transporting food and sup-
plies, and because of the fre-
quency of sabotage in starving
nations, many people continue
to go hungry despite generous
food aid. Long term develop-
ment aid and plans for political
restructuring are necessary.
By donating to organizations
such as WHEAC, you can help
finance emergency and devel-
opment aid to those suffering
in Third World nations. - This
money will be applied to edu-
cational programs, early warn-
ing systems technology to de-
tect famine conditions, and will
also constitute political pres-
sure to various regimes to
change policies, all of which
can mitigate world hunger
abroad. We ask you to recog-
nize an assist those less fortu-
nate than yourself and join over
one million people who
participate in this annual fast
to fight world hunger.
During the week of Novem-
ber 14, there will be a number
of slide presentations,
speeches, and an international
feast. A benefit concert will be
held on Friday. Please follow
"The List"for times and loca-
tions.
-Liz Borock for
WHEAC
November 1
UHS is

nate, for example, that almost
all contraceptive methods place,
responsibility for their use on
women. It is also unfortunate
that comprehensive education
and counseling cannot be made
available on an individual basis
to every woman requesting
contraception from UHS. We
disagree, however, with other
assertions made about CEP. :
Women seeking prescription
contraceptives from UHS are
required to attend a lecture, but
they are by no means com-
pelled to participate in any dii-
cussion. Secondly, men are
welcome at the lectures and
encouraged to attend. To require
each woman who comes to a
lecture to bring a man, how-
ever, assumes that every
woman seeking contraception
is involved in a monogamous
relationship.
Evaluations of the program
written by those attending the
lectures do not indicate that the
lectures are "patronizing,
offensive, and minimally
effective"; they indicate that the
lectures are informative, help
them make decisions about the
contraceptive method(s) they
will use, and make them feel
comfortable with the topic of
birth control. Several partici-
pants have commented that
they are glad that the peer edu-
cation program is available,
because they wouldn't know
where else to get such com-
plete and frank information.
The CEP not only covers
every contraceptive method
currently available in the
United States, including absti-
nence, but also addresses such
topics as contraceptive deci-
sion-making, and educates par-
tic ipants on how to practice
Safer Sex. Given the current
status of the AIDS epidemic, it
would be negligent of UHS not
to provide this information to"E
students.
Finally, the CEP gives lec-
tures at dormitories, fraterni-
ties, and sororities; provides
information at orientations; and
uses male educators. Had the
Daily's staff been aware of
these facts, it could have
presented a more accurate and
balanced picture of the CEP.
-Karen Smith

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