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March 17, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 17, 1994

'The irbign&i#
420 Maynard JEssu HEALADAY
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
Edited and managed Sri GooosmN
by students at the FuNr WANEss
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a najority of the Daily's editorial board.
All other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
MSA: where's the beef?
Presidential debates leave out important issues

'Racism is a serious charge, and I believe that anyone
making such a charge should either document the charge
or withdraw it.'
-Provost Gilhbert . Wlhitaker .Jr., in response to a letter accusing a
phlarmocology professor of racism

Id

The debate for MSA presidential candi-
dates led to some interesting discussions
this past Tuesday night. Beginning on calm
terms, candidates supplied various responses
to questions about the plurality of parties
running this year, the Diag policy, and the
code. But the next question - which asked
candidates how they would accomplish the
wholly necessary task of increasing student
participation - caused heated debate. In
response to this question, Saura Sahu, can-
didate for the DO party, initiated discussion
about the need for a more representative and
diverse student assembly. Certainly the call
for better representation is a valid outcry,
however, the way in which the issue was
discussed was inappropriate and flawed in
its logic.
Sahu criticized the current MSA board,
saying that their almost all white population
made them unapproachable and inaccessible
to the student body, using the analogy that
their unrepresentative board was like "wear-
ing an evil mask." At this point, Sahu began
listing the type of diversity on his committee,
explaining in detail that it consists of an
"African American", a "Hispanic," and other
"major minorities." This spawned responses
from other candidates, in efforts to include
themselves in Sahu's plea for diversity. De-
von Bodoh of the Students Party pointed out,
"my vice president is an African American,"
and Benjamin Bolger added that he had a
"handicapped person" on his board.
Bogged down in jumbled rhetoric about
diversity, it seems Sahu and other candi-
dates have lost sight about what it truly
means to be representative and to be an
effective student assembly. Representation
is not about including one token minority.
And it is not about listing every "diverse"
member of the population.
Inherent in making lists of specific people
comes the risk of leaving out people. While
candidates tried to show us how "inclusive"
they were, what became most apparent was
those groups that they were forgetting. What
about Asians, Puerto Ricans, Native Ameri-
cans, and so on down the list of the forgotten?
And, most importantly, numerical represen-

tation is not proof of ideology, or platform, or
principle.
Of course, diversity is extremely impor-
tant. And we must commend Sahu for intro-
ducing this idea into the debate as well as
making it a major focus of his platform.,
Unfortunately, what began as an important
topic ended up grounded in poor word choice
and impaired arguments, taking time away
from discussion about important issues like
AATU and MCC that were barely touched
on. We cannot forget that - first and fore-
most - board members should be voted in
based on quality and merit. Moreover, the
current MSA system is not founded on ap-
pointment or on discriminating selection pro-
cedures. Rather, who runs is determined by
who takes initiative. Parties need to be con-
scious in its choosing of candidates, and we
encourage parties to go out in to the commu-
nity and recruit minority candidates. Yet,
what - and who - the party represents is
more important than any "bean counting"
can possibly be.
Rather than trying to prove representation
by concentrating on the skin color of each
board member, we need, instead, to focus on
what types of things MSA can do to help
minority needs beyond the walls of the MSA
office. MSA is only one organization, but it
has the power and the resources to help many
other diverse associations. MSA's mission
should be to provide equal access to all groups
of people, granting funding and support to
student organizations ranging from the
LGMBPO to the BSU.
In a University with such a strong empha-
sis on diversity, and at a time in which so
many pressing issues face MSA, it is ridicu-
lous to ground our arguments and spend our
time in cluttered rhetoric that really says
nothing about true representation. The number
of questions answered by candidates during
the debate can be counted on one hand; many
of the questions answered lacked real
substance.
MSA remains at a crossroads; it can either
move forward and embrace the issues, or it
can continue in the same vein of the "where's
the beef' debate of 1994.

.
tC

+ttL'(

'Give Lasser a break'
To the Daily:
I am writing in response
to Joseph Harpe's unfair
criticism of Daily cartoonist
Jim Lasser. I find his
argument at best as funny as
Lasser's own cartoons. After
discovering that Mr.
Lasser's defender, Mr. Ravi
Madan, lives on the same
hall as Lasser, "lo and
behold," this sly detective
immediately assumes that he
and Mr. Lasser are either
one, best of pals, or two,
Lasser put him up to it. Did
Mr. Harpe ever consider that
Mr. Madan genuinely likes
Lasser's work? Figure this
one out, Detective Harpe: I
have never met Mr. Lasser, I
live in Markley, yet I enjoy
his work. Mr. Harpe also
condemns Lasser for being
monotonous. I can recall
Lasser's talented hand
touching upon a wide
variety of issues from
campus, to national, to
international subjects. Not
only do I find his cartoons
witty and clever, but often
downright funny. I have
some simple advice for Mr.
Harpe and others who seem
so offended by Lasser's
cartoons. If it bothers you so
much, don't read it. We

wouldn't want you to lose any
more sleep over something
when you can simply look the
other way. Besides, is it
possible that the Daily knew
what it was doing when it
hired Mr. Lasser, that he does
indeed have talent, and that
the majority of people enjoy
his cartoons? No one's
perfect. Give Lasser a break.
JASON OSTROM
LSA first-year student
Administrator
evaluations will be
made public
To the Daily:
You are in error when you
say that the results of the
long-overdue faculty
evaluation of administrators
will not be available to the
public. While specific
procedural matters remain to
he threshed out by the
University Senate, the present
plan calls for these results to
be distributed to faculty of the
units involved - such as
LSA, etc.
The greatest oddity in all
this fanfare is that the
evaluation plan has been
resisted strenuously by certain
segments of the faculty. It is
obvious why administrators
might resist, but the reasons
why faculty are backing off
are mysterious. Various

reasons are given. 1) Those
faculty eager to climb into the
topmost branches of the
corporate tree are not keen
about accountability for rotten
performance. 2) Some express
fear that administrators will
become vindictive if the
professoriate dares to question
the way the University is run.
3) Others cite apathy; saying
that even if certain
administrators are repudiated,
nothing will happen because it
is in the nature of corporate
elites to ignore criticism from
below.
In view of the recent orgy
of salary increases which
administrators of this
university have paid
themselves - in the manner
of irresponsible legislators -
it is necessary to create some
braking mechanism from
inside which could dramatize
to those in power on the
outside - regents, taxpayers,
donors - that there are
unmistakable whiffs that the
academic air is becoming
noticeably rancid. Evaluation
of bureaucracy is a small step
in the right direction. Is it
really so onerous or
outrageous? After all, the
faculty has been routinely
evaluated by students for
nearly twenty years.
CECIL EBY
Professor of English

Living in
the ghetto
At the age of fourteen, I left
the inner city for the final time. In
the years since, I'd forgotten many
dilemmas of ghetto life.
In the past few months,
however, I have begun to
remember this part of my life I'd
left behind. I have been
reintroduced to the inner city, and
one fact remains evident.
Ghetto life is very, very bad.
Most comprehend enough
about the inner city to know they
don't want to live there. But, the
cloud of gloom which hangs over
the slums is so great, few, if any,
"outsiders" can comprehend its
magnitude.
My recollections of ghetto life
have resurfaced in my work with
Detroit students who attend the
primarily Black, and very inner
city, Murray-Wright High School.
I am a volunteer with the Student
Educational Enrichment Program
(StEPP), a University student
group which tutors these students.
The math I have taught these
people can never compare with
the personal memories they have
forced me to remember and
rethink-memories I would have
been more than happy to forget
forever.
The students of Murray-
Wright are smart. Many have
specific goals for their futures,
and they hope to attend the
University.
But, the weight of societal
opposition to their dreams, both
deliberate and unintentional, is so
great, many are forced to snuff the
flames of hope, which burn so
brightly inside them, simply to
survive from day to day. Crime,
drugs and violence, teen
pregnancy, racism, classism and
other forms of discrimination,
abject poverty and an educational
system, contemptible at best,
interweave intricately to form a
maze of distress and misery many
can't escape.
As one student said, "I wish I
could go to (the University), but
I'm not wanted there."
When most high school
students visit the University, they
come to see an institution of higher
learning which will aid them in
getting high-paying jobs. When
students such as those who attend
Murray-Wright visit the
University, they come to view a
haven - their only escape from
the degrading and disheartening
realm of the ghetto.
The plight of the Murray-
Wright students isn't unique.
Rather, it is a reflection of what's
occurring in housing projects
throughout the country. If students
aren't accepted by some college
- any college - away from the
projects they've inhabited their
entire lives, probability dictates
that they will die a decaying death
on the drug-infested, garbage-
strewn streets of their
neighborhoods, many of which

aren'tfit for dogs, let alone human
habitation. The ghetto is a virus
which infests and destroys the
souls of its inhabitants, killing
them long before physical death
takes them, many at a young age.
In many ways, ghetto
inhabitants are no less
handicapped than those with
physical and psychological
disabilities in that many of the
limitations afforded them are not
existent, but are rather created by
society. The unfairness of ghetto
life is without question. I had
nearly forgotten what life in the
projects was like. Now, I
remember-boy do I remember.
Ghettos are the homes (if you
can call a cockroach-infested,
crime-ridden place where one
constantly worries about
becoming the next drive-by victim
a"home") ofsecond-class citizens
whose country would rather forget
their existence hoping they and
their stories will simply die off in
th cam c'rn nc'arv t hr h tihpv l~

01

China: markets or people?

Gun control won't stop crime

re Clinton administration loves to talk
tough when it comes to foreign relations.
Generally, the administration's foreign policy
rhetoric has been consistent with the ideals of
basic human rights and freedoms. But when
push comes to shove, from Haiti to the former
Yugoslavia, the administration has shown a
frightening willingness to run away from its
principles. In the wake of Secretary of State
Warren Christopher's weekend meeting with
Chinese diplomats, which ended in stalemate,
it is troubling to think that this trend could
continue.
The heart of the U.S.-China contention
lies in the question of whether or not the
administration will continue the quid pro quo
by renewing China's Most Favored Nation
(MFN) status. Candidate Clinton clearly
stated that forced sterilization, suppression of
political speech and slave labor in China is not
only unacceptable, but that it endangers U.S.
relations there. And once in office, he re-
peated his intention to make MFN status
contingent upon China conforming to inter-
national norms of human rights. Finally, it
seemed a U.S. president was going to draw a
line in the sand for the basic principles of
human dignity.
For its part, China seemed malleable
enough. Its move toward free markets was
coupled with promises to end its most bla-
tant acts of political repression. But with
Tiananmen square dissidents beginning to
once again speak out against injustice and
brutalization, the Chinese promises folded.
One of China's most infamous dissidents
was thrown back in jail, and during the
weekend meeting with Secretary Christo-

administration as trying to impose Americar
values in the Far East.
The administration now has only one choice:
it must explicitly state what progress is ex-
pected of the Chinese if they are to be ensured
MFN renewal. If the Chinese do not meet these
goals, MFN must be revoked.
Of course, no one wants to lose access te
the rapidly expanding markets in China. Some
argue that repression will only end when
capitalism flourishes. In other words, the
argument goes, censuring China now will
only open up the floodgate to more domestic
delinquency.
But this plays right into the hands of those
in China who want the status quo to continue.
Currently, Chinese leaders have the best ol
both worlds. China is quickly becoming an
economic powerhouse, and the West is only
too happy to do business there. At the same
time, the Chinese government can continue
to ignore the most base standards of human
rights and decency.
The Chinese have much to lose by drasti-
cally reducing trade relations with the United
States - a huge trade surplus that amounts to
$20 billion hard currency, to name one. More-
over, demanding an end to the inhumane
treatment of Chinese citizens is not an at-
tempt to Westernize China. Instead, it is
merely the demand that internationally es-
tablished standards of human rights are
followed in the new China.
The Clinton administration has a historic
opportunity to stand up for human rights. The
administration stood firm with Japan, and it
must do so in a different situation with China.
If the forces of the dollar sign win out, the

To the Daily:
Your March 7
editorial, "Statistics that
Kill" was a twisted
attempt to justify to your
readers the need for
taking firearms from the
American people. You
cite the figures given by
Handgun Control Inc.
(HCI) and the Center to
Prevent Handgun
Violence and make the
conclusion that the only
solution to the problem,
"will come when those
guns that are specifically
designed to kill human
beings are removed from
our society altogether."
Could you please
specifically define guns
"specifically designed to
kill human beings" and
those that are not? I doubt
if you can. That's
because it is a phrase
often used by anti-gun
zealots such as the HCI.
It's a false distinction
used to try and ease the
fears of many gun owners
by giving them the
impression that their guns
are not the ones in
question. In this way,
whenever some insane
hate-monger goes on a
shooting tirade, whatever
the weapon they use can

you should listen to one of
their group's founders, Sara
Brady. Brady has stated on
more than one occasion
that the ultimate goal of
the HCI is the total
outlawing of the ownership
of firearms by the
American people. As they
have shown, anti-gun
forces do not care about
your right to property, or
your fundamental right to
self-preservation. They do
not care if you are faced
with a knife-wielding thug
in your home one night,
unable to prevent him from
taking your life. Often,
anti-gunner's response to
such an argument is, "Call
the police. They're here to
protect you!" Yes, they
are.
But many minutes will
elapse before they can
arrive, and by then they
may only be able to try and
piece together the crime
scene and try to find your
killer. Anti-gunners don't
ever mention this, do they?
Arm yourself, retreat to a
safe room, call the police,
defend yourself if attacked,
and live.
Outside America's
urban areas are millions of
responsible gun owners
who have grown up with

owning firearms. The
National Rifle Association
(NRA) draws it's three
million-plus members form
the pool of honest,
hardworking Americans,
who are sick of the
stupidity of the anti-gun
media and politicians. You
attempted to cast a shadow
of insensitivity upon the
NRA by bringing up its
criticism of closing gun
stores during the L.A. riots.
It turns out that the owners
of these stores were told to
leave by city officials.
When they voiced concern
about their stores possibly
being looted and the guns
being used by the rioters
against police, they were
told by the city that the
National Guard would
protect their property.
Upon the owners leaving,
several stores were broken
into, and hundreds of
unregistered firearms made
it into the hands of local
gang members. This is the
logic of anti-gun policies.
If you want to stop the
violence in the cities of
America, try bringing jobs,
education and a future to
those who live there.
Severely punish all those
who commit violent
crimes. Guns are a

S

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