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October 24, 1994 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 24, 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

'Concerns about illegal immigrants should not
give rise to a series of fundamentally flawed, con-
stitutionally questionable 'solutions' which are
not consonant with our history.'
- Jack Kemp and William Bennett, coming out against California's Prop. 187

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.

A danger not discussed
Most sexual assaults are acquaintance rapes

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Today marks the beginning of Sexual As-
sault Awareness Week. Its annual appear-
ance evokes special concern this year, in light
of the mood of fear Ann Arbor's serial rapist
has invoked on this campus. Sexual assault is
areal occurrence and must be dealt with-not
only because of the recent heightened public-
ity caused by the serial rapist, but because it is
a problem in our society that needs to be
tackled.
Although many may not realize it, most
sexual assaults are acquaintance rapes. The
attack is committed by someone the survivor
knows and sometimes trusts. The offender is
not always afar-off, unknown, crazed stranger
- a misfit of society. Rape can be committed
by someone familiar, a date oraperson thought
to be a friend. It is difficult for people to protect
themselves against perpetrators they do not
suspect.
Furthermore, it must be remembered that
rape happens every day. Yes, everyone should
be careful of the serial rapist, and the current
heightened awareness is necessary and good.
However, the concern should not end if and
when this criminal is caught. We should con-
stantly be on guard to protect ourselves from
sexual assault. That means knowing your sur-
roundings, walking in well-lit areas and stay-
ing alert, as well as other precautionary mea-
sures.
Aside from the emphasis on prevention, it
is essential to remember that sexual assault is
never the survivor's fault. Blaming the survi-
vor is a dangerous trend because it is an
attitude that permits such behavior to con-
tinue. Instead, it is necessary to respond with
urgency and outrage to societal factors which
encourage rape. We should be working against

all forms of violence - in addition, we must
tackle sexism. Any society which puts one sex
at a power disadvantage is a candidate for such
a dehumanizing crime as sexual assault.
Included in our struggle against sexual as-
sault must be support for survivors. Sexual
assault survivors must have open, accepting
forums to speak about their experiences. They
must be able to meet with and support each
other, and also be supported by the entire
community. While concurrently protecting the
rights of the accused, prosecuting sexual as-
sault offenders should be as simple as possible,
in order to avoid victimizing the survivors
more with an arduous and discouraging legal
tangle. The emphasis ought to be on empower-
ing survivors, not berating them after they have
been through the ordeal of sexual assault.
Attacking sexual assault comes in large part
through changing attitudes. But attitudes alonej
can only do so much. Coming up for discussion
next termin the state legislature is a campus bill
of rights for sexual assault survivors. This bill
is an important step toward sensitivity and
accommodation for survivors in the university
environment, and should be passed as quickly
as possible.
Closer to home, this week SAPAC will be
sponsoring many opportunities to become
aware of, and informed about, sexual assault.
Among them are a panel discussion, self-de-
fense workshops and films. Also, on Wednes-
day will be the annual sexual assault survivors'
speakout, which is a safe place for survivors to
hear stories similar to their own, and share their
stories if they choose to do so. Sexual Assault
Awareness Week is a definitive move toward
greater participation in the elimination of sexual
assault in our society.

M fly

SLS edit
needs to be
rethought
To the Daily:
Your Oct. 17 editorial, en-
titled "Reconfiguring SLS,"has
made some valid points, but is
wildly inaccurate on others. As
a current Board Member, I have
been a part of the continuing
struggle to restructure Student
Legal Services for the past year,
The need for change at SLS is
obvious, but this is where the
accuracy of your editorial ends.
The reasons you give fora reor-
ganization are inaccurate, and
the plan you advocate misses
the point of a reorganization.
To see the point of a reorga-
nization, one must look at why
the reorganization is necessary.
SLS is not running as efficiently
as it could, but this is not the
fault of the Board, as you incor-
rectly stated. Rather, SLS is not
operating at peak efficiency for
two reasons. First, under the
current set-up, SLS is affiliated
with MSA. In the past, this has
been the major source of most
of our problems. Ideally, SLS
as a legal service working for
the benefit of students, should
be apolitical. The affiliation
with MSA has made this al-
most impossible. With any
squabble, power struggle, or
debacle involving MSA, Stu-
dent Legal Services is invari-
ably caught up in the fray, and
this effects our operation. Each
new MSA election brings into
power new and different par-
ties, with new opinions and
views over the operation of the
service, and SLS finds itself
having to start from scratch with
whatever new group comes into
power. With this lack of conti-
nuity in MSA, the operation of
SLS is not as efficient as it
could be.
Second, SLS is not running
as well as it could because of
the inadequacy of the budget.
The 1994-95 budget is substan-
tially less this year than it was

last year. The budget is so woe-
fully inadequate that cuts have
been made in areas such as
travel (for legal conferences),
while other areas - such as
parking, work study and equip-
ment purchases - have been
reduced to zero. How are our
attorney's supposed to keep up
with the cutting edge of legal
theory when they are unable to
attend conferences and unable
to purchase new equipment?
Furthermore, the budget is so
inadequate that there is no in-
crease in compensation for any
of the attorneys or office staff
(not even an adjustment for
inflation). The salaries of SLS
attorneys are already much less
than half the state average for
attorneys (more like a third). I
have never had the privilege of
working with a more dedicated
group of people, but how can
we reasonably expect the best
from our attorney's when Uni-
versity janitors make more
money than they do? Instead of
complaining about the sup-
posed inadequacy of the Board,
maybe you should concentrate
on the real problems at SLS:
forcing it to take on an unnec-
essary and unwanted political
role and the lack of funding are
the real reasons SLS is not what
it could be.
The law school has yet to
show interest in taking on SLS,
this is true, but your plan to
simply revamp the Board fails
to address Student Legal
Service's deficiencies. Taking
SLS staff off the Board will not
remove the inevitable quarrels
with MSA, indeed, local attor-
neys and law school faculty
will have neither the patience
nor the time to put up with
MSA's problems. A new Board
will also have no better luck
working with the meager bud-
get. The point of this is the
following: without fixing the
inherent weaknesses of SLS, a
new Board will do no better
than the current one. As to the
lack of accountability on the
Board, this is simply hogwash.
SLS staff are a minority of the
Board, as such they must an-

Student Leader bored
SLB needs to publicize its activities

swer to representatives from
the law school, Student Ser-
vices and MSA, and I assure
you we do not take our jobs
lightly. ,1
On this note, I must take
special exception to your as-
sertion that student Board
Members suffer from high turn-
over, a lack of interest or a lack
of understanding. Not only is
this insulting to me and my
fellow student Board Members,
it's simply not true. The Stu-
dents of the Board are already
appointed to two year terms,
and two law school students
are already Board Members
(you said that this how it should
be). The student representa-
tives, with the exception of the
SLS Director, have the best
attendance record of any of the
three groups represented on the
Board. Since my appointment
to SLS last year, I have only
missed one Board meeting
(which took place during the
summer), and to the best of my
knowledge, the other student
members have never missed a
meeting. As for lack of under-
standing, I have been on the
Board for a year, my fellow
student reps have been mem-
bers for much longer than me;
you'll have to take my word
that after a year (or longer) of
experience and faithful atten-
dance, the students know what
is going on at SLS. As for lack
of interest, would I be writing
this letter if I didn't care?
Michael Rose
LSA Senior/SLS Board
Member
A 'sexist
dinosaur'? I
don't think so
To the Daily:
I would like to respond to
Devorah Adler's "Sexism in
the Greek Sexism" on behalf
of the Panhellenic Association.
Ms. Adler's attack on Terry
Landes, the IFC Advisor, was
both unwarranted and unde-
served. First, it is necessary to
point out that Terry's com-
ment concerning men's and
women's Rush was taken out
of context. Sorority Rush is
more structured, by our choice,
which inevitably decreases
competition. Fraternity Rush,
on the other hand, appears to
be more competitive due to the
lack of formality. Being afemi-
nist myself, I can assure all
women that Terry is far from
the "sexistdinosaur"Ms. Adler
unjustly concludes. Terry has
an acute sense of women's
concerns on this campus, and
has actively supported every
effort made by Panhellenic to

Bad legislators,
andfee streets
Every now and then some legis-
lator writes a bill so ridiculous and
obviously ineffective, I am unable
to believe our legislative branch
takes itself seriously.
Unfortunately, more often than
not, these are the bills that fly
through Congress faster than the
others and then become the center-
piece of some lame politicians re-
election campaign. This time,
they've outdone themselves.
When the Michigan legislature
enacted a law to expel gun-toting
students from school (beginning
Jan. 1), I thought it was a stupid
move. I mean, the very idea of kids
bringing guns to school is scary
and absolutely must be addressed.
But somehow it doesn't seem that
the best approach would be throw-
ing kids out of school, curtailing
any educational opportunities they
may otherwise have had and send-
ing them out into the streets where
they can use their guns all day
instead of wasting hours sitting in
class.
Michigan's law requires schools
to expel for one year students in
grades 6-12 who bring guns to
school and younger students for 90
days.
So I had laughed at the ineffec-
tiveness of our state legislature.
But now it has reached national
proportions.
President Clinton actually
signed a law last week that all but
forces every other state to enact the
same stupid legislation or else lose
Federal education funding. Now
there's a brilliant idea!Why should
we limit quick fix politics to just
one state when we have 50?
Clinton calls this his "zero-tol-
erance" policy, a phrase borrowed
from Reagan's drug war (an effec-
tive social policy, if I've ever seen
one).
"Zero tolerance is a common-
sense policy. Why does anybody
need a gun in school?" Clinton
said.
Now, I understand wanting to
remove kids from mainstream
schools who pose risk to other stu-
dents. That's common sense. But
wouldn't it make more sense to
create special programs, give these
kids extra attention, maybe find out
why they have a gun instead ofjust
kicking themout?Maybewe should
be providing funding for helping'
at-risk (oralready beyondrisk) kids,
rather than threatening to cut fund-
ing to states that are trying to get
past just externalizing problems.
We can't run a country just pro-
tecting the good and expelling the
bad. This legislation is another ex-
ample of very poor crime-fighting
attempts. We keep building more
prisons and raising the penalties for

crimes, but we don't seem to be
increasing anti-crime education or
opening opportunities for the most
disenfranchised - the folks who
often turn to crime as a last resort.
Policies like these will eventually
come back in our faces, unresolved
and intensified.
Crime will not, and cannot go
away until we start addressing the
crisis at its roots rather than just
plucking off the bad leaves and
sending them away.
And also, a message to
whoever's listening:
As for this rapist making Ann
Arbor what The Detroit News calls
a "city under siege," forget him. He
lives off our fear.
I don't need to remind any
woman that we're more at risk
with men we know then when we
are walking down the street at night.
I can't say this guy isn't a daunting

10

f

T wo years ago the Student Leader Board
(SLB) was created by a group of student
leaders who wanted a forum for exchanging
ideas and knowledge. SLB was formed so that
any student leader, not just the presidents of
large organizations, could improve their lead-
ership abilities and their organizations. But,
over the last two years, SLB has failed to
achieve these objectives of improving campus
leadership and it is beginning to appear as if it
never will. Unless quick action is taken, the
SLB might becomejust a piece of paper on file
in the MSA offices; such a loss would be
unfortunate.
It is very difficult to successfully lead or be
active in a campus student organization. Get-
ting other students motivated to participate in
organizational activities is tough and trying to
plan events in the face of this University's
huge bureaucracy is nearly impossible for
someone who has never done so before. Be-
cause of these inevitable obstacles, the SLB is
an organization which could help alleviate
these difficulties for many students.
Some activities which SLB has attempted
to coordinate, and should continue to do so,
include workshops given by more experi-
enced leaders on specific topics of interest to
student leaders, discussion sessions to ex-
change successful and unsuccessful experi-
ences as a student leader at the University and
introductions to University administrators who
work in areas that student leaders frequently
deal with. However, such activities can only
be successful if SLB meetings are well at-

tended by a large, diverse group of students -
holding meetings every other Sunday with
four participants is useless.
In order to awaken the SLB out of its
slumber, it must improve its publicity and
communication among student leaders and
plan frequent, quality programs. First, SLB
meetings must be publicized better than its
current method of e-mailing friends of current
SLB officers.
All student leaders must be made aware of
these meetings. When SLB held its first meet-
ings, all 600-plus student organizations were
formally invited to attend by sending any of its
members. The turnout at the first SLB meet-
ings was impressive. But, meeting attendance
quickly decreased as the participants realized
they could spend their Sunday afternoons more
productively - they did not need to get to-
gether every other week to talk about what
they would talk about in the future. While SLB
should not involve itself in politically charged
campus issues, it must make its meetings
exciting and meaningful by coordinating
planned activities in advance of the meeting. If
the meetings just continue to be "shoot the
shit" sessions, the sparse attendance will never
improve.
Promoting strong student leadership on
this campus is important. The SLB should
have a part in facilitating such improvements.
It would be a shame if the SLB did not awake
out of its slumber and begin, again, working to
improve campus leadership and facilitating
communication among student leaders.

4

Christie deserves respect

i-
i

To the Daily:
It became apparent to me
that this is another election
year, as I read the Daily on Oct.
20th and saw a letter to the
editor blasting fellow student
Mike Christie, who is running
for the 11th District
Washtenaw County Commis-
sion. The letter referred to
Mike's opponent as a true rep-
resentative of students.
However, since his election
two years ago, he has not been
on campus reaching out to his
constituents. Recently,he was
on campus campaigning for

To the Daily:
I was extremelydistressed
by the slanderous letter written
about Mike Christie in the Daily
(10/20/94). Mike has always
been clear and open about
where he stands on the issues.
It is his commitment to prin-
ciples and dedication to stu-
dents issues that has gained
him the respect of many stu-
dents leaders, both Republi-
cans and Democrats.
Mike Christie has a record
of fighting for students both on
campus and at the state level.
Mike's record includes the

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