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January 28, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 28, 1994

be 3rIcrgutn tai1

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Tell me, who protects us from you?

Some time ago, Dr. Maureen Hart-
ford sent a letter out to students asking
them if they wanted to be part of a
"revolut ion."
They could do
this, she asserted,
by sending in rec-
ommended modi-°
fications to the
Statement of Stu-
dent Rights and
Responsibilities. I
thought that this w
was particularly
funny coming
from a woman who said that activism
was supposed to be "fun," and that
black students behaved like a "mob" in
an incident involving deputization in
which no property was destroyed, and
the only people hurt were students
clubbed by police. Perhaps its not her
with the problem I thought, maybe its
me. Thinking about it a little bit more,
I decided that it wasn't me and that
there was a problem with the policy, so
I thought about what I would most like
to see changed about the Statement
(which attempts to dictate student con-
duct both on and off campus).
I would like to see administrators
prosecuted under the policy.
Why? For a few reasons but in
particular because I believe that they
have more power over our lives and
therefore they have a greater responsi-
bility to make sure that they don't vio-
late our rights.
With this in mind, it seems to me
that the people students have the most
reason to fear are not other students,
but administration and faculty mem-
bers. Granted, students do commit a
vast majority of the crimes involving
violence and petty theft, but I think that
in the larger picture these events can

usually be handled pretty adeptly by
law enforcement agencies. However,
to my knowledge there is nothing that
protects us from the actions of admin-
istrators. During my stay here, the types
of harassment that I have seen admin-
istrators perform are far more severe in
scope than those performed by stu-
Administrators have financially
harassed students and students organi-
zations by tampering with financial aid
and SOAS accounts. Although I don't
know of any administrator physically
harassing students, I have seen them
authorize it. During the protest against
deputization (many students were
against deputization because they knew
that the hollow tip bullets the univer-
sity bought for their forces weren't for
administering tickets safely), two stu-
dents were brutalized by police and
then charged with trespassing on pri-
vate property. This was actually done
by administrators, who only dropped
the charges after the students agreed
not to file any charges against the uni-
versity. In most of the examples I am
giving you either Dr. Hartford or Eunice
Royster-Harper was somehow person-
ally involved. Say you want a... revo-
lution? As I am rereading this column
for errors I can see that this "sounds"
pretty conspiratorial in nature, but I am
not a conspiracy theorist and this infor-
mation doesn't come third hand. I have
also seen administrators attempt to en-
gage in a form of character assassina-
tion by libel and slander against stu-
dents. This is particularly troubling
because from what I know this is actu-
ally against the law (or maybe I've seen
too much Law and Order): further-
more we all know that there are various
ways that faculty members can harass,
or mentally assault students, without

getting so much as a slap on the wrist.
I know tenured professors with a long
list of sexual harassment claims filed
against them, who are still here, and
still teaching. In all of these instances
what do we have to protect us besides
word of mouth? Nothing. And although
word of mouth does give you the power
to evade the faculty members' class-
room or the administrators' office, it
doesn't give you the power to see that
justice is done if you have already been
adversely affected by them. I think to a
certain extent many students actually
believe that they have more to fear
from students, because they have more
friends that have been directly'affected
by them (friends that have been raped
for example, or beat down).
I am not belittling this claim; this
type of thing happens every day (to
paraphrase Slick Rick) and its conse-
quences are serious. However there is a
more pervasive element that affects us
all to a much greater extent. If we are to
seriously address not only the prob-
lems that we have here as students, but
the problems that we have as citizens
(will 100,000 more police prevent Sav-
ings and Loan scandals from occur-
ring?) we have to acknowledge this
KRS-One wrote arap entitled"Who
Protects Us From You?" dealing with
the police. "You were brought here to
protect us, but who protect us from
you?"Alan Moore also created acomic
book back in the late eighties called
Watchmen dealing with superheroes
and their more fascist side. In both
works a powerful theme is addressed.
If those who are given the power to
administrate justice are themselves
unjust, who protects us from them?
Who watches the Watchmen?

Goodbye, farewell, and amen


With any luck, this is the last
thing I will ever write for The
Michigan Daily.
For the past three-and-a-half
years, the Daily has been my life,
superseding classes, responsibilities,
and any vestiges of a social life I may
have had. So, in writing my
"farewell" column, I thought it fair to
write about the thing I'm most
qualified to write on - the Daily.
For all of its faults, and there are -
many, the Daily has survived for 103
years. This survival is no small feat,
in light of harsh criticism, financial
woes, and attempts by many people
inside and outside the University to
control or eliminate it. During those
103 years, the Daily has remained as
steadfast as Angell Hall, the
University Board of Regents, and
State Street.
Why has the Daily persevered? I
can think of no other answer than
that students like you and (formerly)
me show a tireless dedication to
making sure that the Daily comes out
the next day. Without fail, and albeit
with mixed results, it has.
But for me, the question of why
the Daily has persevered has always
been easier to answer than the
question of why the Daily gets so
much criticism from students. I've
always taken that criticism to heart,
whether or not I've responded to it.
So I guess you could say that the rest
of this column will be dedicated to

the community and reporting on
events that affect our readers. But our
other mission -just as important to
us as the first - is to provide an
educational experience through
journalism. In other words, Daily
staffers are here to write, and learn.
Though many of us thought we
knew everything when we first came
to the Daily, we didn't. I count
myself as one of those people. But,
though it took some time, I learned a
great deal through the Daily - more
than I ever did in all of my classes
combined. I learned about
journalism, yes, but even more about
dealing with other people, about the
consequences of my actions, and
about being responsible.
As valuable as that information is
to me now, it wasn't there when I
argued to run a story about a
prominent public figure the day
before he was up for re-election. It
wasn't there when I decided to run a
piece by a Holocaust revisionist. It
wasn't there when I decided to run a
week's worth of editorials calling for
the abolition of the Michigan Student
Assembly. And, though I'm not
saying that I was necessarily wrong
in making those decisions or that I
would have done anything
differently, I sure would have liked
to know then, what I know now.
The Daily is like anything else at
the University. Like a student writing
a paper, we work extremely hard to
put together a publication, one that
(I4 ra lP fo a i ll ri 1 .. n nr tran

has 16,500 copies of their term paper
printed up and distributed to the
So as I leave here, finally, I ask
you, the readers, to keep all of this in
mind. That is not to say that you
shouldn't ever criticize the Daily -
the Daily certainly never hastens to
criticize, and your criticism often
keeps us in line, helping us learn
from our successes and failures.
I had the privilege of working at
the Daily for my entire time at the
University, participating in the grand
experiment for what, in the scheme
of things, was a very short time. I
thank all of those who preceded me
and those who worked with me for
everything they've contributed to the.
Daily. I wish those who will follow
the best of luck.
It's all yours now.


Last Will and Testament:
President Duderstadt: A Hash Bash
The University Board of Regents:
Abolition of the state's open
meetings act.
Vice President Maureen Hartford:
A real law that says we have to
have a code.
Vice President Walt Harrison: An
unlisted phone number.
The Michigan Student Assembly:
A raison d'etre.
MSA President Craig Greenberg:
Daily editor for a day.
The Student Leader Board:

-~ r ~

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