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February 07, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 7, 1994

:tE Atkig u

'Truly black history Is an unfinished work.'
-Derrick Bell
giving the University's keynote speech last week for Black History Month

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

JESSIE HALLADAY
Editor in Chief
SAM GooDSTEN
FJTr WAESS
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board.
All other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Students deserve a voice
Another Code amendment hearing must be scheduled

ThNYA
caw4

r

C LrCY
L ... =JST F14mDIT!
PLE

The Statement of Student "Rights" and
Responsibilities (SSRR) will not be
amended through the input of students - at
least not through the broad range of input an
open amendment meeting allows - this
month.
Because the meeting to amend the SSRR
failed to attract the necessary 26 student
panelists, the student judiciary panel is pow-
erless to compel the Board of Regents to
vote on any SSRR amendments at their next
meeting. Conceivably, any regent could take
the initiative and propose amendments to
the Code. But while there are a melange of
necessary amendments to the Code - many
of which have been proposed by MSA -
the danger is that if the regents begin pro-
posing their own amendments, instead of
student amendments, the SSRR will only
get more intrusive. The way to amend the
Code is through the student panelists. An-
other amendment meeting must be sched-
uled.
The SSRR is potentially the most power-
ful document on this campus. Students de-
serve input into its content, and have proven,
through the 50 or so who attended the meet-
ing and the 1,000 who signed petitions sup-
porting amendments, that they are inter-
ested in participating in the formulation of
this policy. In fact, there is no way of know-
ing how many students would have attended
the original meeting, which was postponed
due to bad weather. By scheduling another
meeting for the second week of March, and
selecting the date soon, the administration
could give adequate advance warning and
allow students to participate, as fully as the
amendment process allows, in the formula-
tion of the Code.
The SSRR is supposed to be, in part, a
statement of student rights. Another amend-
ment meeting would be a key step in ensur-

ing that it remains as such. Students and
groups must be given ample opportunity to
have their concerns about this policy heard.
Ideally, a second meeting would attract
enough of the student panelists, who are,
arguably, the most important people in-
volved in this process. As the students who
have been involved with the implementa-
tion of this Code, they are the most powerful
representatives the student body has in this
matter. At the last amendment meeting, the
student panelists that did show up proved
their knowledge of and their interest in the
Code.
If given ample opportunity, the rest of
the student panelists must show up if an-
other meeting is scheduled; the student body
is counting on them. Perhaps, if a second
meeting were held, organizations such as
the Senate Advisory Committee for Univer-
sity Affairs (SACUA), which has been dis-
cussing amendments to the SSRR in com-
mittees, will also recognize their responsi-
bility in the matter, and offer much-needed
changes to the Code.
Most importantly, however, holding an-
other meeting would allow the amendments
which were previously offered to be dis-
cussed by a full quorum of student panelists.
These amendments could then be submitted
to the regents with the assurance that the
regents would be voting on student amend-
ments.
Another amendment meeting for the sec-
ond week of March -if it is scheduled soon
- will give all parties involved enough
time to plan to attend. Because the SSRR
has such far-reaching effects, all members
of the University community deserve a voice
in its formulation. The SSRR is a policy
intended to govern the University commu-
nity; that community deserves the fullest
voice in shaping this policy that is possible.

-..

I _________________________________________________________________

Farrakhann'sfsapology'
Black organizations correctly rebuke Nation of Islam

W e live in a world still teeming with
hateful stereotypes. But these stereo-
types don't always come from the far right.
Late last November, Khalid Abdul
Muhammad, a senior aide to Nation of Islam
leader Louis Farrakhan, spoke before a crowd
of several dozen at Kean College in New
Jersey. Muhammad's speech was charged
with slurs against whites, Catholics, homo-
sexuals and "Uncle Tom" Blacks. But his
pet project was anti-Semitic slander.
In his three-hourlong speech, Muhammad
justified the Nazi Holocaust and, among other
things, said that Jews were the "blood suckers
of the Black nation." His speech shocked
many, but it shouldn't have. Muhammad does,
after all, work under Farrakhan, a man who a
decade ago called Judaism a "gutter reli-
gion." (Farrakhan does, however, deny be-
ing racist or an anti-Semite.)
For over two months, Farrakhan refused
to apologize for Muhammad's words. This
led Representative Kweisi Mfume, chair-
man of the Congressional Black Caucus
(CBC), to condemn and distance the CBC
from the Nation of Islam, and he wasn't
alone. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, executive di-
rector of the NAACP, Dr. William Gray III,
president of the United Negro College Fund,
and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have all con-
demned the hate speech which, in the words
of Jackson, is "racist, anti-Semitic, divisive,
untrue and chilling."
After months of pressure, which intensi-
fied after Muhammad made a second anti-
Semitic speech in New York, Farrakhan fi-
nally decided last Thursday to demote his
senior aide, calling the speech "mean-spir-
ited" and "repugnant." Still, Farrakhan dog-
gedly defended the "truths" of Muhammad's

of continuing to promote anti-Semitic lies
while concurrently trying to save face with
Black politicians.
But this issue is not quite as clear cut as
many in the media have made it out to be.
Surely, the CBC doesn't need to be working
with an organization that not only doesn't
represent the opinions of most Black Ameri-
cans, but also alienates many of the groups
and individuals that are fighting for racial
equality. However, organizations typically
resort to hate speech for two reasons: igno-
rance and hopelessness. Most of Farrakhan
and Muhammad's comments fall under the
first category -they make sweeping gener-
alizations based on complex and often mean-
ingless statistics.
But it should be noted that a burgeoning
Black underclass is still a sad reality in this
country. And it is a reality that seems, at a
simple glance, to be the fault of a dispropor-
tionately white and homogeneous political
class. Therefore, it should not be a shock
that some Black organizations turn to
scapegoating and blame politics. Time and
time again, people have tried to rationalize
their suffering by blaming others.
Nevertheless, the problems of the world
will never be solved by pointing fingers and
scapegoating. The CBC is forging a relation-
ship with an administration far more friendly
to its concerns than the two previous ones.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is selling his self-help
message in Black neighborhoods all across
the country. And the NAACP is helping the
Black community to make incredible new
economic gains. The politics of hate and
fear can only drag us backwards. The CBC
and other Black leaders have made the cor-
rect move by distancing themselves from

Tori great in 'Saved by
the Bell'
To the Daly:
I am writing in response
to the letter written by Joel
Shapiro and Eric Sklar,
which appeared on Tuesday,
Feb. 1 ("No perfect world
without 'Saved by the
Bell"'. While I agree with
most of what was said,
especially the fact that it
definitely would not be a
perfect world without "Saved
by the Bell," I must strongly
disagree with the statement
that "the Tori episodes kind
of sucked."
With such classic shows
as when Lisa bets Tori that
she wouldn't be able to
survive a date with Screech,
or the one where the boys
and girls have a series of
competitions to see who gets
money for sports - I just
don't see how anyone can
not like the Tori episodes.
Granted, we don't get to
enjoy the stylings of Kelly
and Jesse, but there are
plenty of episodes to see
those two. Give Tori a break,
she had it hard enough
transferring to Bayside, let
alone being ridiculed and
belittled by you two. I think
that the Tori episodes
generally stand above those
with Kelly and Jesse, and
without her it just wouldn't
be as much fun to watch any
of the happenings at Bayside
High.
TODD CONKLIN
Engineering junior
Possible smoking
policy 'shortsighted
and dangerous'
To the Daly:
I am greatly concerned by
the talk of tougher anti-
smoking measures. While I
applaud the University's
efforts to create a healthier
environment in which less
people would be affected by
secondhand smoke, I think the
"50-feet away from a
University building" policy
is shortsighted and
dangerous. Under this
condition, smokers who live
in residence halls in either
substance-free rooms or with
someone who insists that
they smoke elsewhere,
would have to wander
significantly from their
building. Take, for instance,
a female resident in Markley
who needs a cigarette during
her nightly studies. She
would be forced to go over
to the Arb, or to an unlit
parking lot/structure by
herself in the dark hours of
Ann Arbor. I do not think
anyone can refute the very
real dangers of this situation.

Zl y a T nrn r arsnr n :r

NRA not pro-gun
violence
To the Daily:
I'm writing to address the
grossly wrong cartoon
printed Jan. 27, 1994. For
those who didn't see it, the
cartoon featured a gun
control activist and an NRA
member playing tug-o-war
connected to a trigger that
had gun violence written on
it. This cartoon clearly gives
the impression that the NRA
is pro-gun violence. Wrong!
Let's clear away the myths
that the people hear about the
NRA. The National Rifle
Association does not
promote the use of guns in
acts of violence. It lobbies in
Congress to protect your
right to keep and bear arms.
If anything, we should label
them pro-Constitution. The
Daily should stop making
non-liberal groups look like
the enemy. The NRA was
created to protect
Constitutional rights. It is not
a gun wielding group of
psychopaths! It is a gun safety
conscience group of men and
women, of all races, cultures
and creeds protecting the
ideas on which this great
nation was founded. If only
all people were as patriotic.
DARIN W. KASSE
Engineering junior
Daily needs funnier
cartoonist
To the Daily:
We are writing this letter
to voice our disgust with
your "cartoonist" Jim Lasser.
He is not funny, his drawings
are not that good and most of
the time he doesn't even
make any DANG sense. We
also tend to find his
ATTEMPT at political and
social humor to be very
thoughtless and offensive,
not to mention JUST PLAIN
LAME! Is Lasser the only
one who applied for the job?
Or is he a relative of some
faculty member? If not, we
see no reason for the Daily to
keep him on the staff. Most
people we know, ourselves
included, agree with
Gargoyle magazine's parody
of Lasser's "humor." We are
so sick and tired of opening
up the Daily and having to
look at such utter nonsense.
A university of such a large
size, we're sure, could find a
better, more politically and
socially meaningful, and flat
out funnier artist.
UNNAEA MELCAREK
ALYSSE JORDAN
LSA sophomores
Commencement is a
celebration of life
To the Daily:
I am writing in response

not the place for such a grim
(Dr. Death) subject, but I
believe that Jack Kevorkian
is too controversial a topic at
the present time. Let's not
turn Commencement into a
spectacle for the media or a
political event. As a
graduating senior, I would
like to enjoy it for what it
should be, a positive outlook
on what lies ahead. I believe
that the dignity of the death
of those who are suffering is
an important issue that must
be faced. However, Spring
Commencement is neither
the time nor the place for it.
Tamara, perhaps by the time
you are readyto graduate,
society will have come to an
understanding of the dignity
that Dr. Kevorkian espouses.
Until then, let's keep
Commencement in the proper
perspective, a celebration of
life.
AMY KL DARiAN
L SAsenior
'The Piano'
commentary is
inappropriate
To the Daly:
Regarding Alexandra
Twin's "We want respect,
not a lousy year" (2/3/94), I
certainly do not agree with
Jon Altshul's assertion that
"The Piano" was "only liked
by pretentious people who
claim to understand it."
However, I can find no other
satisfactory explanation
behind the universal acclaim
which has greeted this
simplistic Harlequin
romance, elevated to Great
Art Parable by the arrival of
the Symbolic Piano, which
seems to symbolize
everything, and ultimately,
nothing. With "The Piano,"
Jane Campion fulfills none of
the promise she showed with
original, challenging films
like "Sweetie" and "An
Angel at My Table." I cannot
agree with Twin when she
intimates that to be
underwhelmed by "The
Piano" is to be "just plain
ignorant," and also
antifeminist. Indeed, it is
difficult for me to see how a
film which advocates the
sexual harassment and
seduction of an unwilling
woman can be classified as
"feminist," unless one
assumes that a film directed
by a woman is automatically
feminist. The latter assertion
to my way of thinking, is the
one which is "just plain
ignorant." Finally, regarding
the pretentiousness of those
who claim to like "The
Piano," when asked what
exactly these fans like about
the film, their answers are
universally vague, something
to the effect of, "Well, it was

Revoluion:
the new
political
trend
Quietly, the 1993-94
Revolution of the Rich Nations
has begun. "Revolution" is a
strong word, to be sure. Few
bullets have been fired, and it is
still unclear what'new'policies
will follow. But three of the seven
richest developed countries -
Japan, Italy and Canada-have
seen the same pattern of events.
Ruling parties, long in power, have
been decimated. In Canada, the
most extreme example, the
Progressive Conservatives were
reduced from a majority to just
two seats in Parliament. Three
more "G7" countries-Germany,
France and Britain - are heading
in this direction, in varying
degrees, as their ruling parties slide
precipitously in the polls.
Even the United States has
been affected by these trends.
Neither the Republicans nor the
Democrats have been destroyed,
but this is only because of the
American non-parliamentary
system and weak political parties
The American system allows a
radical statement by the voters to
have a less-than-radical end result.
Nonetheless, the Democrats re-
captured the White House, a
strange political neophyte won 19
percent of the vote, new
Congresspeople of both parties
flooded Washington and a stream
of reform legislation began.
This "GT' Revolution has been
"quiet," garnering significantly
less media attention then, say,
Tonya Harding. This is because.
the revolution has taken place
completely within the framework
of democracy (Harding's cronies,
by contrast, used more
"newsworthy" tactics). Indeed, a
main theme has been increasing
such democracy. The same parties
and people ruled all of these
countries for most of the 1980s;
throwing them out reasserts the
democratic ideal. Italy and Japan
are reconfiguring their electoral
systems and the other five "G7"
nations are seeing more
accountability and fresher ideas
gain in priority. Recession is
another factor; it is causing
headaches in most of the
developed world (except for the
United States). Given the stability
of "Western" democracy,
economic distress is the biggest
single threat to an equilibrium of
power. In addition, local
conditions, like scandals and
personality clashes, have
contributed to the upheaval.
But nonetof this explains why
the collapse in ruling party
position has been so extreme and
so sudden. Six of the "GT' have

either seen, or are expecting to
see, their ruling parties go from
domination to fighting for
existence. Something more is at
workhere. That "something more"
is the New World Order, brought
by the purported death of
Communism and baptized in
blood in the Gulf War. Parties all
along the spectrum have had to
adjust. The right has lost a crucial
rallying point - distrust of the
"marauding East". The left (for
some paradoxical reason equating
Leninism with the Western
welfare state) has rethought its
social welfare ideology. And
everyone has had to pay more
attention to domestic issues, by
default. In other words, "fear and
transfer payments"-are not enough
to keep voters in line and parties
in power anymore.
When the Cold War ended, no
one rejoiced nearly as much as
George Bush did. The citizens of
the "G7" reacted instead by
awakening, as if from a dream..
They saw that the old rules did not
hold anymore, that their old
leaders were ineffective and that

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