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October 19, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-19

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Page 4 -The Michigan Daily Centennial Edition- Friday, October 19, 1990
Wbe £idtigau &tiIy
Editor in Chief
- Opinion Editor


Associate Opinion Editor

One hundred years!
Some of those University issues just never die,

- -
A i
;I/ W II
4ae 4
Ah, life at The Mcia al

in many ways throughout the 100-year
history of the Daily. There have been
countless different editors, all with
their own styles and layouts. The size
of the Opinion section has increased
from two columns to an entire page,
and the masthead has slowly evolved
into a box with the names of the Editor
in Chief and Opinion Editor.
However, through all the changes,
there has been a certain continuity and
consistency which Daily readers could
,count on. Besides always being in the
center of controversy, there have been
issues throughout the past century that
have appeared repeatedly on the Opin-
ion Page. These are issues that never
The Greek system is one such issue.
It seems that the controversial prac-
tices of fraternities - more so than
sororities - have been juicy topics for
editorials at least once a year.
Hazing has a longer history on the
Opinion Page than most other issues,
ibecause it was at one time common
practice not only in fraternities, but was
a traditional ritual for all first-year stu-
In a November 1930 editorial, the
sOpinion Page spoke out on the practice
of hazing at Dartmouth College in New
Hampshire, which had just abolished
hazing of all incoming students.
The Daily disagreed with the new
policy at Dartmouth. It supported the
theory that the abolition of hazing
would evoke considerable objection
from the public at large, which believed
"any deviation from the customs of the
-1890s can be nothing but a softening
influence on the present day under-
The article concluded with a com-
promise between the position taken by
the Dartmouth student government and
k the stance of the general public. "The
cases of individual freshmen who need
the 'plaster of humiliation' will still be
treated summarily. But undergraduate
discipline will be intelligent instead of
indiscriminate. Tradition will be pre-
served but an extreme nuisance will be
In other words, the Opinion Page
actually supported the practice of haz-
This is a stance almost entirely op-
posite of the position taken by the
Opinion Page today - which has a
reputation for being completely against
pthe practice of hazing.
Society as well has changed its view
R of hazing. In fact, hazing has become
Ssuch a topic of national criticism that
t many fraternities themselves have now
eliminated not only the tradition of
'hazing, but the activity of "pledging"
A September 1989 editorial ad-
dressed the decision by Tau Kappa
Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau fraternities
to eradicate their pledge programs.
However, in being consistent with
the Daily's modern reputation of being
very critical of the Greek system, the
editorial looked at these decisions
skeptically. It commended the deci-
sions in passing, but then proceeded to
lambaste the membership policies of
fraternities at the University - another
cloud of controversy surrounding the
Greek system.
The article points to advertising slo-
gans for that year's fraternity rush such
as "membership has its privileges" or
"be a winner" as evidence of their ex-
clusive policies.
The concluding paragraph points to
;the "specific racist, sexist and classist

'history of fraternities" as making insti-
tutional reform impossible.
Another issue that appears fre-
;quently on the Opinion Page is that of
*the rising cost of a University educa-
For 30 years, this issue has been
battled by students, and the Daily has
consistently opposed increases in tu-
:ition. Although by 1973 the annual tu-

move farther away from the idyllic no-
tion of the pleasure of learning and its
availability to all."
The issue, although inflammatory,
did not appear again on the page until
the beginning of the next school year.
In a September editorial, the Daily
called for a student mobilization against
the tuition hike and suggested the pos-
sibility of a tuition strike. The article
explained such a reactionary measure
by illustrating that "the only way stu-
dents can challenge the arbitrary actions
the regents take is through such a
mass-based action."
Later that month, the proposed
mass-based action became a reality. On
Sep. 27, the Daily Opinion Page called
for a campus-wide tuition strike.,Citing
that "we have been ordered - not
asked - to bear the full weight of the
University's financial problems, and
this is an unjust order," the Opinion
Page called for a "student veto" of the
Although the strike had the support
of the Opinion Page, and approxi-
mately 100 students who turned out for
a protest at cashier lines in the LSA
Building, it was eventually for naught.
Just two months after the strike be-
gan, it was halted by "student apathy
combined with the University's refusal
to comment on the strike's effect."
However, even today, students and
the Daily complain and protest over
rising tuition costs. The 1990 New
Student Edition included a story that is
printed every year - the story of the
reported tuition hike for that year. The
1990 rise was more generous to stu-
dents, though, as it was only a rela-
tively modest 6.5 percent.
As the Daily enters its next century,
itdis likely the Opinion Page will con-
tinue to harp on the spiralling cost of
higher education.
A third issue that never seems to die
is a proposed code of student non-aca-
demic conduct. This has been a topic of
discussion at the University since
1973. During that year, the approval of
Regental Bylaw 7.02 created the Uni-
versity Council, which was established
in order to give students a hand in
forming a comprehensive code of stu-
dent behavior.
Over the years, this issue has been
opposed almost overwhelmingly by
students and faculty members, but has
been ardently supported by three dif-
ferent University presidents.
The latest in this line of "code-
happy" administrators is President
James Duderstadt. From the outset of
his service as president, Duderstadt has
made clear his desire for a code, and
has come closer to its implementation
than any other president.
In the spring of 1988, in response to
several racist incidents on campus, the
University instituted a policy on dis-
criminatory harassment. Although this
policy was supported by many anti-
racist activists, it was clearly a form of
non-academic regulation - a piece of
the code of non-academic conduct.
That summer, the Board of Regents
instituted a "five-part plan to restrict
political expression on campus," ac-
cording to a September, 1988 editorial.
The plan included guidelines on free
speech and protest, deputizing Uni-
versity security officers and suspend-
ing the regental bylaw that gave stu-
dents a voice in the establishment of
campus policies.
By September, the third of those
proposals was instituted and the others
were not far behind.

The University has, over the past
three years, instituted a policy on dis-
crimination and harassment, a Univer-
sity police force and a free speech and
protest policy.
The Opinion Page has continually
opposed these policies, as it has tradi-
tionally opposed any University regu-
lation of non-academic behavior, at
least in the last four decades.
President Duderstadt's success in
instituting a code lies in the wisdom

By Steve Knopper
Saying my first Daily editor made
"minor structural changes" to my stories
would be like saying Zilwaukee Bridge
workers made repairs by dabbing on a few
dots of Elmer's Glue. I stared blankly at
the Macintosh screen as the News editor
changed almost every word in my third-
ever Daily story during my first year at the
As my eyes wandered around the room,
I felt useless. Everybody seemed to be do-
ing something but me.
News reporters frantically called stu-
dents, administration and city officials for
comments on theirstories. Phones rang
constantly. Sports staffers silently typed
their reports from Iowa, Illinois or Min-
nesota while their editors pored over lay-
out pages. Occasionally a camerahclad
teenager would clamber up the stairs, hold-
ing up a black and white print and asking
if anyone knew where it belonged.
Naturally no one did.
I didn't know anyone. I had no idea
what was going on. That day, I decided I
wanted to be editor in chief and bring order
to the mayhem.
In the next four grueling years, I
painstakingly learned that the mayhem had
no cure. The Michigan Daily had virtually
no rules and big decisions could only be
made after a giant staff referendum or a 15-
hour town hall-like election in the senior
And as I sat in Crisler Arena last May
waiting for James Duderstadt to excuse my
participation on the Daily just enough to
confer my B.A. degree, I decided mayhem
is good. Daily mayhem is like no other
Knopper, who now works for the Rich-
mond News Leader in Richmond, Va.,
was a Daily staffer from 1986-1989. He
was Managing Editor in 1989, and before
that served as a copy assistant.

Decades ago, Tom Hayden and Arthur
Miller must have had the same feeling in
the pits of their innards that deadline was
approaching, and they had no copy ready
to fill the pages. They must have franti-
cally typed up Associated Press wire copy
while murmuring, "We'll never make it."
But they made it. Whether they begged
now retired paste-up fixture Lucius Doyle
to extend their deadlines "just this once,"
whether they managed to read and prepare a

Sometimes groups would organize pickets
saying we shouldn't have said God was
dead in an April Fool's Day editorial or we
shouldn't have run a rape survivor's ad-
dress in a police story or our editorials,
shouldn't have been so staunchly anti-I,
Perhaps that day, my first year, when I
sat planning how I would become the boss
of a place I knew absolutely nothing
about, I should have fled the smelly,
crowded, paper-strewn Student Publica-

Decades ago, Tom Hayden and Arthur Miller must
have had the same feeling in the pits of their innards
that deadline was approaching, and they had no copy.
ready to fill the pages.

complicated University policy change
analysis a reporter turned in 10 minutes
before deadline, whether theyrewrote a
new person's feature in five minutes that
ought to have been finished the week be-
fore, or whether they just slapped a "Daily
Classifieds Are OK By Me" ad somewhere
in the middle of the page, they made it.
As one of my managing editors told
me - several times - the paper will al-
ways come out.
It always has. During my four years,
we survived heated debate over gender-in-
clusive language (in other words, we say
"first-year student" instead of "freshman"
and so on); capitalizing the "B" in black
when referring .to African-American peo.
ple; if objectivity existed or was even
worth striving for; if editors could protest
publicly and if the Daily could quote them
as sources in news stories; and all sorts of
ethical issues with which real newspapers
have long since stopped bothering.
Sometimes we yelled. Sometimes
gangs of students would mob certain edi-
tors (like me) and DEMAND change.

tions Building and headed for the nearest
Theta Chi chapter.
If I had, maybe the Daily experience
wouldn't have grown to dominate my life.
I might not have stayed up until 4 a m.
the night before a test arguing with my
seven housemates - all Daily staffers, of
course - about a staff meeting that last,
until 2 a.m. I might have avoided beiri
protested ("Drop Knopper," proclaimed
one protest sign my junior year), losing
sleep the night before an M-desk meeting,
going home in tears or blowing off impor-
tant term papers in favor of another Daily
Now I'm a "real" reporter, and I've de-
cided the term papers weren't that impor-
tant. Nor was peace of mind.
Because I look around my curre*.
newsroom and I notice reality has squashed
many real reporters' dreams. They're con-
tent to earn a sufficient salary and raise a
family and go to bed every night in peace.
Not me. I'm still dreaming.
And dreams run amok at The Michigan
Daily. I hope it stays that way.

Activism is alive and well in Ann Arbor

By Jnnifr Va n Va ley

Students at the University of Michigan
are known nationwide for their historical
role in student activism on issues ranging
from the totalitarian administrative control
over students' lives to reproductive rights
and women's issues to Palestinian self-de-
One of the most famous movements at
the University's Ann arbor campus is the
Black Action Movement (BAM) strikes
that, occurred in the early 1970s during
which time BAM was demanding that this
university be accessible to all, and that at-
tention be paid to the shamefully small
presence of students and faculty of color
These strikes, ironically, in part pro-
voked an administrative response that we
are still battling today.
Although activism still enjoys a home
in Ann Arbor, there is a theory that is be-
ing pushed relentlessly by right-wing
groups that the time for activism has
come and gone, i.e. the '60s were it. By
this logic, groups such as the United
Coalition Against Racism (UCAR), the
AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-
UP), the Feminist Women's Union
(FWU), and other progressive groups on
campus are outdated and are in fact push-
ing a new form of oppression on our
"former" oppressors.
This argument is very compelling, and

banded the University Council, the only
'U' board on which students had a vote on
policies affecting student life.
This summer the regents approved the
deputization of campus "safety" officers,
even after a 70 percent majority of stu-
dents voted against such a measure in the
last MSA election. The Sexual Assault
Prevention and Awareness Center esti-
mates that no fewer rapes are occurring on
campus, but 80-90 percent of them are
date or acquaitance rapes.
The number of students of color at the
University is actually decreasing when the
retention rate for these students is consid-
ered, and just last month homophobic re-
marks were found written on chalkboards
in classrooms.
So to those who try to argue that the
problems are all gone, I think its clear
how ridiculous that assertion is. And to
those who argue that activism is dead, let's
again look at the current situation on
Since the beginning of the term, the
Students' Rights Commission of MSA
has been working in a movement to stop
armed cops on campus. There were over
200 people at their first rally, and they
have an organizing committee alone with
more than 30 people. The Palestine Soli-
darity Committee sent an MS A-supported
delegation to Palestine this summer and
solidified the sister-university relationship

problem is that many of the issues rema
the same. Yet we are just as committed to
fighting racism, heterosexism, sexism,
etc., as our predecessors were.
As we celebrate the 100th year of the
Michigan Daily, let's also celebrate the
history of activism and social awareness in
Ann Arbor, and let's especially celebrate
the better future to come from this histori-
cal committment.

University president
congratulates Daily
To the Daily:
On behalf of the entire University,
congratulations on the 100th Anniversary
of the Michigan Daily. We are proud of
your long tradition of journalistic auto-
omy and* achievement. Your frequen
groundbreaking stories, over these many
years have rivaled the efforts of major
news organizations. As a training ground
for nationally and internationally recog-
nized journalists, the independent Michi-
gan Daily has no peer.
Yours continues to be a lively and
valued student voice in University affairs.
We appreciate the importance of your
continued advocacy on behalf of students
as well as your concern for urgent social


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