The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 5, 1991 - Page 9.
Group acts up to ease
national AIDS crisis
Real thought police
work for University
by Todd Ochoa
The President of the United
States has condemned ACT UP for
using an "excess of free speech." A
member of the University Board of
Regents considers ACT UP mem-
bers to be among "the usual sus-
pects" in any campus unrest.
Clearly, we must be doing some-
ACT UP is AIDS Coalition To
drug is marketed at a 700 percent
profit). Why isn't the government
doing something about this?
The answer is because most peo-
ple with AIDS are members of his-
torically oppressed groups. Institu-
tional homophobia allowed over
25,000 people - most of them gay
men - to die before the federal
government did anything at all.,
Right now, the majority of new
The current for-profit health care system
cannot meet the needs of people with AIDS,
most of whom cannot afford treatment. Why
isn't the government doing something about
(*nleash Power. We are a nonparti-
san group of diverse individuals
united in anger and hope and com-
mitted to ending the AIDS crisis by
means of non-violent, direct action.
Because we understand that homo-
phobia, racism, and sexism are im-
portant factors in the historical
process by which AIDS has become
the health crisis that it is, we fight
Ahose forms of oppression as well as
fighting AIDS and AIDS-related
The number of Americans with
HIV (the virus associated with
AIDS) is at 1.5 million and grow-
ing. That number will continue to
grow until the government insti-
tutes comprehensive transmission
prevention and education programs.
The current for-profit health
Wire system cannot meet the needs of
people with AIDS, most of whom
cannot afford treatment (the only
federally-approved, anti-viral AIDS
AIDS cases are among people of
color, but the government only al-
locates 6 percent of its AIDS educa-
tion budget to "minority" commu-
nities. Women are the fastest-grow-
ing group of people with AIDS, but
the CDC continues to refuse to in-
vestigate the different ways that
AIDS is manifested in women.
ACT UP/Ann Arbor joins with
scores of ACT UP chapters nation-
wide to protest these and other
deadly policies; we also work to
create positive change and to fill the
gap left by governmental neglect.
We divide our energies between edu-
cation (check out our "dis-orienta-
tion" program this fall), protest,
and other forms of direct action.
Our ongoing projects include
fighting for more and better treat-
ment for people with AIDS at U-M
Hospital, establishing a needle ex-
change program for injection drug
users, and working in coalition with
The fall 1990 anti-deputization
rallies for student's rights have left
in their wake insight into the nefar-
ious actions and hypocrisy perpetu-
ated by the University administra-
tion against students on this cam-
pus. Lies, exaggerations and direct
appeals to fear were the tactics used
by the administration in order to
On October 10, 1990 I was ap-
prehended by University grounds
crew and Department of Public
Safety and Security (DPSS) officers.
My offense was having written, in
white chalk, the notorious slogan,
"No Guns, No Cops, No Code," on
one of the pillars of Haven Hall.
When I asked if fliers posted in
the same location constituted a sim-
ilar offense, the answer I received
was "Yes, if clean up costs are in-
curred." This brings up a valid ques-
tion: why haven't countless mem-
bers of campus groups such as the
Glee Club, ROTC, and every frater-
nity been likewise prosecuted?
The only plausible explanation
is that I was arrested for the dis-
senting, anti-administration lan-
guage and not the act of chalking.
These are real thought police in ac-
tion. The administration's malicious
nature in prosecuting me became ob-
vious when my case came to trial in
the middle of spring break. I was of-
fered a deal: pay clean up fees ($86
for a ten second spray down) and
court costs and, in return, the case
would be dropped. I refused the deal
and five minutes later the prosecu-
tion dropped the charges on the
grounds that I had been prosecuted
under the wrong statute.
The charges have now been re-
filed under a different statute which
allows them to avoid a double jeop-
ardy situation. Let there be no ques-
tion, the University is the com-
plainant in the case. I presently face
two separate charges of malicious
destruction. My defense filed a mo-
tion to dismiss on first amendment
grounds, saying that political speech
is protected by the Constitution.
For critics who have said my
freedom of speech ends when prop-
erty is destroyed, one must ffirs
question the validity of "destruc-
tion" when referring to chalk;
which is easily washed away. "'If
cost incurred in clean up" is used s
a definition of destruction, the-
selective, therefore illegal, nature
of my prosecution cannot be denied...
Clearly, the administration
wants a precedent, a legal justifica-
tion for the selective removal of atty
speech contrary to its policies. Sni-
dent groups on this campus face a
substantial threat to their right to
publicize their meetings and events
(exactly what I was doing). More-
over, since criminal cases are always
prosecuted by the state, the admin-
istration has to give the go ahead.
So I am instantly burdened with
legal and emotional costs while
University President James Duder-
stadt sits in his office free of charge,
a hopeful legal precedent soon in his
arsenal against student's rights. The
administration's own brand of p0-
litical correctness is now being per-
petuated by the state.
The spring commencement
speaker, George Bush, cried about
political correctness and joined con-
servatives cleverly invoking notions
of thought police who monitor stu-
dent's freedom of expression. This
appeal to fear is groundless as we
have yet to see the faculty take ac-
tion against a fellow member foi
being politically incorrect.
Ground crew members being di:
rected to selectively remove anti-
deputization posters because of tile
political statements they make, artd
DPSS officers apprehending studeii
rights activists are concrete proof
that thought police do exist on this
These police are a reality. Thiy .
work for Duderstadt and ensure that
certain topics are not talked about,
and are not presented on the custom-
ary sidewalks and pillars wherd
University students commonly an-
nounce their events and express
Ochoa is an LSA junior
ACT UP member Pattrice Maurer rallies a crowd at a recent Action for
Life rally on campus. ACT UP blames government apathy for the AIDS
crisis which the country is currently enduring. The group accuses the
government of being racist and homophobic in its actions.
other groups against Michigan Gov-
ernor John Engler's recent budget
As always, we continue to sup-
port the efforts of gay rights, anti-
racist, and feminist activities on
campus. We meet every Thursday at
7:30 p.m. in the Michigan Union
(ask at the CIC desk for room), and
we invite you to join us. Call Pat-
trice at 665-1797 or David at 662-
6282 for more info.
Every eight minutes, someone in
the U.S. dies of AIDS-related ill-
ness. Every one of those deaths is an
act of racist, sexist, homophobic vi-
olence. ACT UP is angry about this,
and you should be angry too. Don't
be silent; ACT UP for you life.
Maurer is a
member of ACT
Green hurt students by slashing
Ann Arbor Tenants Union funding
y Jen Rubin
I was at the Michigan Student Assembly meeting
on June 25, where MSA President Jamie Green pro-
posed his budget for the upcoming year. His hope is to
cut the student fee by 45 cents. But the Ann Arbor Ten-
ants Union (AATU) must absorb almost the whole
cut - slashing its budget by half.
Green clearly doesn't think that the AATU is giv-
ing students their money's worth. But how much
money are we talking about?
Green doesn't seem to think that the AATU is so
*ital. But as I'd like to demonstrate, he is wrong. Since
1969, the AATU's "non-vital" phone and counselling
services have been helping nearly 2,000 students each
The AATU also conducts workshops in most resi-
dence halls for first-time renters and holds periodic
campus-wide workshops. We provide organizing assis-
tance for tenants with building or complex-wide prob-
lems. We publish an informational newsletter of ten-
ant issues and distribute a tenants' rights handbook, a
subleasing handbook, and other informational publica-
ions. We are currently setting up a computer confer-
ence for students on the Michigan Terminal System
(MTS) and working with other campus offices to es-
tablish a fair housing center.
Students benefit not only from the organization's
direct services, but also from our efforts to pass and
defend pro-tenant state and local legislation. Regard-
less of whether students use AATU counseling ser-
vices, they benefit from our legislative and educational
work through better housing conditions, security de-
posit refunds, and a better understanding of how rental
Over the last decade, we have greatly strengthened
the housing code through such amendments as the 1985
"weatherization ordinance" and more recently, a
"privacy ordinance." These campaigns have resulted in
a higher quality of living for students.
An integral part of Green's proposal involves halv-
ing the current staff of two. But training and supervis-
ing the volunteers and work study students which keep
the AATU running is a full-time job in itself. So what
happens to the other services the AATU provides?
Simple. They disappear. That means no more dorm
workshops, no MTS conference, and a limit on the in-
formational handbooks we put out. It means severely
curtailing the hours of counseling we do, leaving as
many as 1,000 students without our services. I think
the question that needs to be asked, is why is the presi-
dent who campaigned around greater student services,
choosing to do this?
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