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September 12, 1994 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 12, 1994

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

Jessie Halladay
Editor in Chief
Samuel Goodstein
Flint Wainess

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.

The new smoking policy
Reason, for the most part, prevails in new policy

I m guaranteeing 12-0. We're going 12-0. No
losses.
-Injured Michigan wide receiver Walter Smith,
as quoted in today's SportsMonday
-.(4K A. 3CRE\' FA*-L i/MYA)
FAtIOPY SAOW'A
r
-cl de
'jne crZis of black leadership

A s the debate over the dangers of second-
hand smoke continues to spark contro-
versy, congressional leaders, the tobacco in-
dustry and now the University, are getting
involved. National attention to the issue of
secondhand smoke has prompted many uni-
versities to adopt policies restricting smoking.
Here at the University, a new policy has been
enacted which bans smoking in almost all
University-owned or leased buildings, all Uni-
versity vehicles and University housing facili-
ties -with the exception of specially desig-
nated rooms which must be requested. The
sale of tobacco products on campus also has
been banned.
This new policy, which went into effect
September 1, is less restrictive than an original
draft proposed last January, which banned
smoking within 50 feet of all University build-
ings. This misguided draft would have made it
extremely difficult to smoke anywhere on
campus, infringingupon the rights of smokers.
While the goals of protecting people from
secondhand smoke and discouraging smoking
are worthy, any policy should be sure not to
trample on the right of people to smoke. In
many places on campus, 50 feet from one
building was only 10 feet from another build-
ing, in effect prohibiting smoking all over
campus. The new policy will permit smoking,
restriction-free, outside University buildings
- excepting the Union and University Hospi-
tals.
While banning smoking inside the Union is
necessary to protect non-smokers from sec-
ondhand smoke, the 50-foot rule outside only
the Union is foolhardy. What is the difference

between smoking outside of Angell Hall and
the Union. Both are heavily populated build-
ings frequented by many students. This incon-
sistency makes little sense. It appears that the
University is initiating this provision just for
the sake of policy. However, the University,
with the input of students, is to be commended
for dropping the 50-foot ban.
The ban on the sale of tobacco products in
University owned or leased buildings is an-
other flaw in the policy. This ban will in no
way stop consumers from buying tobacco
products because they can easily be purchased
at other stores on campus. For this reason, the
ban on the sale of tobacco products represents
a petty attempt by the University to control the
lives of students-not a constructive attempt
to discourage smoking. If the University truly
wants to dissuade students from smoking,
education workshops and clinics that help
people withdraw can do the job.
Despite these flaws, the changes to the
original draft show that the University is will-
ing to change a flawed draft for the better.
Even with the inconsistencies, the elimination
of the 50-foot ban does show that the Univer-
sity has the commitment to make correct
decisions. Perhaps the University is learning
from its mistakes and trying to keep in touch
with an evolving campus.
This is the first in a five part edito-
rial series explaining changes in
various University policies that
occurred over the summer

'Obsession
with past futile~
- get over i
Why did it seem this summer that
every day wewere reliving some com-
memorative moment of our magnifi-
cent past?
On June 6, President Clinton pon-
tificated on the shores of Normandy,
resurrecting the glorious days when
soldiers died for a cause and onl*
traitors questioned the word of the
Commander in Chief. On the 50th
anniversary of the D-Day invasion,
he lay flowers on monuments, praised
war and thanked 9,000 dead for sav-
ing the world from evil.
Soon after, we would relive the
60s - reenacting through 25th anni-
versary celebrations every day of th
memorable summer that was 1969.
That was the year we walked on the
moon, lived the civil rights move-
ment and, of course, defined a gen-
eration through the concert to end all
concerts: Woodstock.
That was a media madhouse. News
reports described the drugs and danc-
ing in the mud as if it really were the
same event all over again. As if o
generation faced the same issues, at
the same time, but didn't mind paying
six times the price. They tried to cre-
ate - at a multi-million dollar profit
- an event for Generation X (or
whatever it is they're calling us now)
that we would remember as clearly as
they did Max Yasgur's farm. And,
according to a woman I worked wit
this summer, who made the trek u
there, Woodstock '94 very well may
have been something our generation
could have rallied around, had it had
a different name - had it been its
own event instead of one dressed in
nostalgia.

The Agenda for Women

fLast spring, University President James J.
Duderstadt announced a broad and expan-
sive plan to improve the status of women at the
University. This fall, he will have the opportu-
nity to demonstrate his level of commitment to
that plan.
Duderstadt'sAgendafor Women, unveiled
in April, addresses the success ofwomen at the
University as students, faculty and staff. It
outlines many proposals to be enacted over the
next few years, from restructuring the tenure
process to achieving gender equity in varsity
sports.
When the plan was announced, it was
greeted with much enthusiasm from people
throughout the University community.
Duderstadt was praised for coming up with
such a bold initiative, and for vowing to take
personal responsibility for the plan's success
or failure. This summer, his office demon-
strated its commitment to that pledge, meeting
with women's groups and gathering prelimi-
nary input. Administrators also began work on
the career development awards program, which
will recognize and financially reward women
who have made significant contributions to the
University. This is an extremely important
program, giving recognition to women who
are, because of their smaller numbers in high
University positions, often asked to play many
roles-serving as teachers, mentors, commit-
tee members and in other positions that make
demands on their time. The new program will
recognize these demands, and reward women
who give up extraordinary amounts of their
time to the University.
Another issue discussed this summer was
violence against women. The University is
looking for ways to expand education about
this issue, involving as many elements of the
campus as possible. Violence against women

By MANNING MARABLE
The recent firing of Ben
Chavis as executive director of
the NAACP culminated a cam-
paign of vilification which had
lasted for nearly nine months.
The NAACP's board voted
overwhelmingly to dismiss
Chavis, stating that he had failed
adequately to explain the use of
the organization's funds to settle
a threatened lawsuit by former
employee, Mary E. Stansel.
Abandoned by his principal
supporter, NAACP President
William Gibson, Chavis felt
bitterly betrayed. Within days,
he filed a lawsuit in the District
of Columbia Superior Court,
demanding his reinstatement as
executive director.
To the media, Chavis an-
grily blamed outside forces
which had manipulated the
board's vote, and described his
ouster as a "crucifixion." Earl
Shinhoster, the Association's
field secretary, was selected by
the board to replace Chavis tem-
porarily.
All of us are familiar with
the general outline of the politi-
cal "lynching" of Ben Chavis.
But in truth, the ouster of Chavis
as leader of the oldest civil rights
organization in America had
little to do with Mary Stansel,
or the fact that Chavis was no
wizard at financial manage-
ment. The real question at issue
is whether African-American
people have the right to select
their own leaders and make
them accountable to our con-
cerns and demands. Whospeaks
for black people in this coun-
try? And do we have the right to
develop strategies which ad-
dress our own concerns and
advocate programs which ad-
vance our interests? The debate
over Chavis represents a greater
dilemma, the crisis of black
leadership in America.
After the 1960s, the
NAACP and the civil rights
movement were confronted
with four basic challenges,
which they never fully under-
stood or overcame. First, the
economic crisis of America's
central cities created profound
problems for black leadership.
Jobs disappeared in the ghetto,
Dr. Marble is a professor at
Columbia university.

of acquaintance rape. One of the goals of the
Agenda is to make the University an attractive
and comfortable place for female students,
and the administration has done well to recog-
nize that prevention ofviolence against women
is key in achieving this goal.
However, while the action taken this sum-
mer was indeed praiseworthy, this fall will be
the real test of commitment to the Agenda, on
the part of both the administration and stu-
dents. The administration said this summer
that it is actively seeking student input on
many aspects of the plan. It must follow
through on this promise, and students, for
their part, must take the administration up on
its offer. The Agenda for Women affects not
only faculty, not only staff, not even only
female students. It affects every member of
the University community, male and female.
A campus whose culture was, in the
Duderstadt's words, "created by white men to
benefit white men," cannot attract top stu-
dents, nor can it lead its students into the 21st
century.
If students care about the status of women
at the University-or even about the status of
the University itself - now is the time to
show it. In order to foster this sort of activism;
Duderstadt could take a long-needed step
toward accessibility. One easy way: office
hours, a time during which women from
throughout the community would have ample
opportunity to relate their experiences.
We must participate in this broad initia-
tive, giving our input and helping to craft
plans that will improve the climate for female
students on campus.
Duderstadt has taken a bold step forward
with his Agenda for Women -it is now up to
us to ensure that the promises made on paper
turn into real benefits for the University com-

as thousands of plants and fac-
tories relocated to the suburbs
and the Sunbelt. Second, the
fiscal crisis of federal, state and
local governments reduced
funds for social programs.
Reaganism represented a war
against the cities, and African-
Americans and Latinos were
the chief victims of that war.
Civil rights organizations were
challenged to shift their ener-
gies from cooperating with the
Federal government to obtain
legal and political reforms, to
pressuring Congress and the
White House to reverse regres-
sive and repressive social pro-
grams. As Republican admin-
istrations increasingly relied on
expanding the prison system
as the primary means of social
control for the black commu-
nity, the NAACP and other
organizations were pushed by
blacks from all social classes
to become more militant and
aggressive. Yet under the lead-
ership of NAACP Executive
Director Benjamin Hooks, the
organization drifted without a
clear political or ideological
compass.
The third major challenge
was the growth of class divi-
sions within the African-
American community itself.
Since the late 1960s, the size of
the black middle class increased
by over four hundred percent.
Millions of African-Americans
moved from the inner cities to
the suburbs. Those who were
trapped in the worst neighbor-
hoods of the urban ghettoes
tended to be the poor, unem-
ployed, the homeless, young
women and children. In the
1980s, there was an explosion
of gang violence connected
with the economics of illegal
drugs in urban black commu-
nities. The NAACP made few
efforts to understand or address
the growing social crisis which
was experienced by the most
oppressed African-Americans.
Fourthly, there was the po-
litical and social impact of
Reaganism within the black
community. True, more than
ninety percent of all African-
Americans voted against
Reagan; nevertheless, like
other Americans, they were af-
fected by the administration's
agenda in many more subtle

ways. In the sixties, blacks be-
lieved overwhelmingly that
government was"on theirside."
The federal government was a
bulwark against racial segrega-
tion, at least in the Johnson
administration. But Reaganism
undercut blacks' attitudes to-
ward the role of the federal gov-
ernment, and also eroded the
belief in multiracial coalitions.
Considering that two thirds of
all whites voted for Reagan in
1984 -and that in the New
York mayoral election, thatsev-
enty-eight percent of white New
Yorkers cast ballots for Rudolph
Giuliani - it became difficult
to argue that multiracial coali-
tions were possible.
As white Americans moved
right, the political culture of
black America became fertile
terrain for the reactionary
agenda of conservative black
nationalism and the resurgence
of Louis Farrakhan. Black sup-
port for Farrakhan has less to
do with his odious anti-
Semitism or narrow and dog-
matic sexism, than his unique
ability to express the rage and
frustration of the urban
underclass. Thus African-
Americans may reject the big-
otry of the Nation of Islam, but
nevertheless feel that Farrakhan
expresses some important ideas
reflecting the mood of the com-
munity.
Ben Chavis implicitly un-
derstood all of this. Chavis had
been a political prisoner in
North Carolina for nearly five
years in the 1970s. I became
friends with Ben when we both
were leaders of the National
Black Independent Political
Party in the early 1980s. He had
been an early critic of what
became known as "environ-
mental racism," and won praise
as the director of the Commis-
sion of Racial Justice of the
United Church of Christ. Chavis
was an astute observer and par-
ticipant in social protest poli-
tics. He understood that organi-
zations like the NAACP had to
radically redefine their mission
in order to capture the support
of the post-civil rights genera-
tion. This was the fundamental
reason that Chavis inevitably
came under attack by the white
political establishment.

Also, this summer, reporters from
every national newspaper phoned the
now-elderly parents of Mary J
Kopechne to ask, 25 years later, what
they think about the accident at
Chappaquiddick that ended Sen. Ed-
ward Kennedy's chance at the Oval
Office. Kennedy issued a kindly state-
ment, but Mrs. Kophechne cried on.
the phone: "I can't do this," she said.
Her daughter died in an over-publi-
cized event in 1969 and every five
years since, she's had to give anniveA4
sary comments about what was likely
the most painful moment of her life.
I don't understand this obsession
with the past.
Why in the world would Clinton
- who is charged with focusing on'
the future and forging a positive soci-
ety today - make a nostalgic public
statement about how wonderful anc4
value-filled families were in the
1950s? Speaking before the National
Baptist Convention in New Orleans
Friday, Clinton entered the rhetorical
race to embrace "traditional" family
values. He said: "I know not
everybody's going to be in a stable,
traditional family like you see on one,
of those 1950 sitcoms, but we'd be
better off if more people were."
Better off? Shall we return to the
days when men aimed to be the two-
dimensional television characters who
brought home the bacon and proved
their manhood by pretending to be
free from emotion? Return to when
women doted on their husbands, and
hoped for them to be successful be-
cause we had no way of being "suc-
cessful" ourselves? Shall we go back
to when couples who hated one an-
other stayed married because there
was no alternative or got married be-
cause it seemed the only thing to do?
Well, I have news for both major
political parties: even if we should go
back - I know this is shocking new
evidence - we cannot.
It is nearly impossible today for
the average U.S. family tolive on one
income. Even if it was possible, no
young woman today is going to stand
for the notion that the opportunities
women have just begun to experience
ch~nddhPlA k rannum n th in t~~~rPC'of

NO

II

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