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January 26, 1995 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-26

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 26, 1995

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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 true test of maturity is not how old a person is but
how he reacts to the awakening in the midtown area in his
shorts.'
-Woody Allen
CMELOT REVISTD:
Rose Kennedy (1891-1995)
/196M' R4/t.V
-1
- -
((:7 )

Return to sender

MSA leaders acted wisely in rejecting 'bribe'

While the Michigan Student Assembly
has dealt with many unusual issues
over the years, on Tuesday night, the assembly
was forced to deal with possibly the weirdest
issue in its illustrious history. Someone mys-
terious sent MSA $796 along with detailed
instructions on how to spend it: Send two
additional students to a rather useless confer-
ence or return it to the mysterious money man.
In effect, someone with a spare $800 and
someone who cares greatly about MSA repre-
sentatives attending student government con-
ferences tried to bribe the assembly; and,
strangely, this issue is so paramount that the
donor must remain anonymous.
MSA's reaction to this bribe is commend-
able, if somewhat misguided. It acted properly
in emphatically refusing to use the money for
its donor's stated purpose and by forming a
committee to find the cash's place of origin,
especially in light of accusations and evidence
that the person responsible for sending the
money or with knowledge of its source is an
Assembly member. (However, the likelihood
of MSA sleuths finding the source seem slim.)
But, while it may seem morally correct to
return the money to the source by following
the detailed descriptions given in the letter,
MSA should not lower itself to the sender's
level by acknowledging and following the
demands in any way. Instead, MSA should
temporarily put the funds aside in a bank
account. If the mysterious sender desires to
publicly claim his or her cash, the great MSA
caper of 1995 will have been solved to
everyone's satisfaction. If the sender chooses
to remain in hiding, so be it: MSA can either
put the cash into its Budget Priorities Commit-
tee so all students can benefit from the gener-

ous donation, or it should not even put the
money in its treasury, but rather donate the
money to a worthy charity of its choice.
In confronting this unprecedented event,
President Julie Neenan and Vice President
Jacob Stern demonstrated leadership. Know-
ing about this letter for days, they educated
themselves of all the legal ramifications sur-
rounding such a bribe, attempted to discover
the source and consulted other assembly lead-
ers of all political persuasions to ensure a
unified MSA voice and an appropriate method
of solving this dilemma. It is likely that this
money was sent in an attempt to discredit the
ethics of Neenan and Stern. However, they
showed that neither they nor MSA can be
bought or influenced by a large sum of money.
While the allegations of the money coming
from an MSArepresentative are still unproven,
they must be pursued. If a member of MSA
attempted to anonymously influence his or her
own organization, that member should not
only be committed to a mental institution, but
also censured by MSA. The Assembly should
attempt to recall that member for breaching
the ethics of an elected official.
Why this cash was sent to MSA to fund a
seemingly unimportant trip may never be
known. But, because this attempted bribe likely
has political consequences, an effort must be
made to discover the source of the money.
Regardless of the outcome, MSA acted ethi-
cally in refusing to use the money for its stated
purposes.
MSA should continue acting responsibly
by not even acknowledging any of the de-
ranged sender's demands, and by using the
money to support student or other worthy
organizations.

Crying wolf, '90s style

To the Daily:
OK. So the police finally
named a suspect for the recent
rash of violent attacks. Maybe
relief is in order. But Ann Ar-
bor has had serial rapists in the
past, and will undoubtedly have
more in the future. My mother
lived in Stockwell as an under-
graduate student at Michigan,
and recalls a similar episode in
the 1960s when women fitting
a certain victim profile were
being attacked: They all had
long, dark hair, and they all
lived in dorms on the Hill. My
mother cut her hair and dyed it
blond.
Somehow, I don't feel re-
lieved. I still worry about mug-
gers, rapists, drunken frat boys
and the Ann Arbor police riot-
control squad. I worry every
time I hear a woman scream at
night in the Law Quad. I then
worry that I'm not worried
enough when I ignore the
screams and merely turn up the
volume on my TV.
I can't help but think of
Aesop's wolf-crying boy, and
wonder how it is that women
can get attacked on campus in
the daytime, but nobody sees a
thing. I'm afraid that if I ever
get in a position where I need to
scream for help, people will
just complain and turn up the

volume.
Last week, the University
Housing Division handed out
rape whistles to students living
in campus housing. While I
was pleased to see concern ac-
companied by concrete action,
I wondered how much of a
difference it could possibly
make. Sure enough, it was only
a matter of hours before te-
dium set in, the beer started
flowing and the discernible
sound of whistles could be
heard from people playing out-
side in the quadrangle.
I know others worry about
walking alone at night. I know
people were terrified when the
police had not yet named a
suspect for the recent attacks. I
wonder, however, if this fear
will ever be relieved when ev-
ery time a woman screams -
in play, without thought - we
become more numb to the
sound. There comes a point
when people must take respon-
sibility for their actions. I think
we should start with the scream-
ers and whistlers, who are an-
noying as well as dangerous.
Aesop was a smart guy. Shut
up and think about it ... but
mostly just shut up.
Jennifer Ouding
Second-year Law student

Big Brother visits N.J.

Megan's Law an affront
L ess than two months after its inception,
New Jersey's new sex-offender law,
dubbed "Megan's Law," has been challenged
in court. In direct violation of several constitu-
tional principles, Megan's Law provides noti-
fication to new communities into which sex
offenders enter after their release from prison.
Notification, including the name and address,
of previous sex offenders exists on several
levels: to police and law officials, to schools
and community groups and in the most ex-
treme cases, to entire communities. While the
goals of the law are laudable, in its current
form it presents basic civil rights violations.
Megan's Law is an extreme violation of due
process, circumventing the criminal justice
system to add punishment beyond the sen-
tence given in court.
This issue strikes at the very root of our
criminal justice system. First, our prison sys-
tem was designed to be rehabilitative. If the
system fails in that capacity, the shortcoming
should be addressed, not avoided. Megan's
Law raises the issue of how to deal with such
vexing problems. Prisons must shift their fo-
cus toward rehabilitating criminals: Sex of-
fenders might need even more psychiatric
attention than other prisoners. In addition,
truth-in-sentencing laws are a good step in the
direction of keeping criminals off our streets.
In any event, by passing Megan's Law,
policy makers conceded defeat, and shifted
their focus to constructing a second penal
system, one outside of the courts. And this was
all done without regard to the civil liberties of
citizens - and yes, criminals that have served

to civil liberties
Second, prisons were in large part con-
ceived as a form of punishment. It must be
assumed that once prisoners are released, they
have paid their debt to society. By alerting
communities to the presence of a sex offender,
society is effectively branding criminals with
a "scarlet letter," forcing them to pay for their
crimes long after their sentences are over.
Such a Draconian measure not only robs crimi-
nals of their right to a second chance, but also
exposes them to acts of vigilantism. In New
Jersey, several such acts have already taken
place. In one case, two men broke into a house
where a convicted sex offender was living; the
two men mistakenly administered a brutal
beating to the wrong man. The witch hunts that
such a notification system might precipitate
provoke concerns of anarchy.
No one disagrees that communities need
protection from sex offenders. And most agree
that the right of individuals and communities
to access criminal histories is of the highest
import. But the right to access information is
vastly different from the right to be given that
information.
If Megan's Law did go into full effect,
what would follow? Why notify communities
about previous sex offenders and not previous
murderers, thieves or drunk drivers? Such a
law sets a dangerous precedent for the blatant
violation of civil liberties in favor of the "com-
mon good." This law is a poor answer to an
important question. Quick-fix solutions such
as Megan's Law are not the answer to our
ailing criminal justice system. Instead, policy
makers must focus on the efficacy of our

Cartoon offends Catholics

more than a
smorgasbord
To the Daily:
To many, the significance
of Martin Luther King Day is to
realize the importance of such a
pillar in the community, and to
continue in his struggle. As an
advocate of civil - no, human
- rights, Dr. King devoted his
life to the eradication of injus-
tices that economically, politi-
cally, racially and socially op-
pressed people must endure.
As part of an effort to recog-
nize his work, various student
and University organizations
initiated programs and activi-
ties that accentuated the multi-
faceted dimensions of Dr.
King's crusade. One collabora-
tive effort in particular was that
of the Abeng Cultural Council
and East Quadrangle's dining
services. Resembling the col-
laboration of many other resi-
dence halls on campus, East
Quad's Dining Service ar-
ranged the menu with the help
of Abeng. The menu was put
together on the basis of what
the council considered appro-
priate in a celebration of Dr.
King's birthday.
Many people believe that
serving traditionally Black cui-
sine on this day is disrespectful
to Dr. King and his legacy. In
fact, defining Dr. King as a
Black leader-working for the
empowerment of the Black
community - has become po-
litically incorrect. We all know
that Dr. King had an inclusive
agenda, yet African Americans
should not be ashamed or em-
barrassed to embrace the holi-
day as they see fit. We - as
advisers to "minority" councils
- do not attempt to promote or
perpetuate the stereotypes sur-
rounding the diets of African
Americans. But Blacks should
not shamefully dismiss their
culture trying to wade in the
mainstream. If serving soul food
-adelicacy that Dr. Kinghim-
self enjoyed - is desired by
residents who have the initia-
tive to organize MLK Day, then
so be it. To those who want to
influence this celebration, a
comparable amount of orga-
nizing must be exerted.
Modern-day society has
successfully reinterpreted and
bastardized Dr. King's ideol-
ogy and what he represented.
The clamor of many students to
redefine Dr. King's mission,
and denounce any discussion
of his movement specifically
pertinent to Black people, is an
example ofsuch bastardization.
Yet another example is how
our modern-day efforts to con-
tinue his legacy are restricted to
what food best represents him.
Dr. King's mission must be
appropriately defined.
For students to exhaust their
efforts in securing a diverse
menu - of.what they feel Dr.

It's hockey time,
again, folks!
The scene: 7,000-plus pack Yost
Ice Arena. The artistry: the youthful
poetry and aura of Marty V. Turco4
The men of the hockey world were
pumped up Friday night, from A-
squared to Joe Louis to Madison
Square Garden - there was some-
thing in the air- in Turco's blood as
hockey came to town again and the
National Hockey League began its
abbreviated, frenzied race for the
Stanley Cup. In Yost, time and time
again the celebrated freshman goalie4
impressively asserted himself in his
crease, using his giant stick as a
weapon. He swatted, pushed and
manhandled BGSU brownshirts as
they attempted to skate through his
territory. Na ga do it. Not on my
watch. I'm Marty Turco and you're
not. Deal with that.
So, I decided to call up Marty boy4
and ask him, one,how puberty went,
and two, "What strange metallic ele-
mentwascoursing through your veins
Friday night that transformed your
usually stable psyche into a cognitive
cauldron of instrumental aggression?"
Said Turco: "It was nothing, really."
(What you have just read is a drama-
tization, a figment of my imagina-
tion, and all statements presented4
above as incontrovertible facts are
nothing more than the illusions of
this author, and this author alone.)
More than misogyny and freezing
rain were brewing at Fielding H.
Yost's memorial hockey ring this
weekend. Outside an unhappy Mother
Nature (or maybe it was Medusa)
reared her ugly head; inside, the
Michigan faithful were restless and
as outspokenly violent as ever. The
ref, deservedly, got some sleep and
went down on the ice in agony. Later,
he picked his butt and pulled out his
wedgy, as if to say, "Yeah, I'm all
right." Later, some pinhead made fun
of me and questioned my manhood
when after the first period I went
down to the friendly concessionaire4
and asked if I could buy some "Sour
Patch Kids" and a pop. And there's
more. The Beavis and Butt-Head im-
personators behind me continued their
vain collective attempt at humor,
while anothercollection of hormones
near my seat dumped their vassal of
liquor into Yost's finest Pepsi plastic
cups, game dates amiss. I like hockey
games because all or most of the fans
really follow the game, receive regu-
lar haircuts, know something about
the assembled rules of hockey, are
cognizant of what's happening on the
ice and unlike the goateed crowd at
basketball and football games, date
parties and other such gossip are not
discussed. The BGSU goalie is a
kitchen appliance, a "siv," the cor-
rupt, puny ref from Little Rock is a
"bastard" and any and all affiliated
with the University of Bowling Green
State are denounced, disparaged and
in no time at all have their manhood
vilified.
On the tele, as I switched to Timmy
Horton's NHL, I was forced to con-

front an unpleasant truth. However
much I liked to think that I was the
coach and GM of my beloved Sega
Hockey league New York Rangers
- I discovered on ESPN that night
that some imposter named "Colin
Campbell" was actually the coach of
my guys. But thank God real, live
hockey was resurrected on Friday,
'cause it was getting a little scary in
my Greenwood abode. My
housemates and I were playing so
much simulated-, computer-generated
hockey that I was beginning to lose
touch with reality, as my political
science reading took a back seat to
the task of defeating Detroit, putting
the defensive clamp on Yserman and
Federov, compiling more attack zone
minutes than my opponent and later,
getting whipped by our next-door
neighbors in a brutal ground engage-
ment of flying snowballs. The Wol-
verines, ranked No. 2 in the nation,
and a Mike Legg overtime goal (we
won 4-3) changed all of that and
_nk m f,. y _ indst dPP_

To the Daily:
(Re: a January Jim Lasser
cartoon.)
The point of the cartoon, as
any honest observer would
agree, is to insult Catholics.
Furthermore, it is ironic to read
the "Notable Quotable" state-
ment that appears above the
bigoted cartoon. It counsels
against stereotypes but, of
course, it counsels against ste-
reotyping Black men, not
Catholic priests.
I am familiar with the com-
mitment that the University of
Michigan has made to
multiculturalism and respect for
diversity. Since it is apparent
that there is a problem with
Catholic-bashing on your cam-
pus (I have evidence of other
such incidents), Iwould be most

interested in knowing whether
anti-Catholicism receives due
recognition in your
multicultural curricula. I would
also like to know whether sen-
sitivity training seminars are
available for those who offend
the sensibilities of persons on
the basis of race, ethnicity, re-
ligion and sexual orientation.
Please be advised that as
president of the nation's larg-
est Catholic civil rights organi-
zation, I am prepared to do
what is necessary to rid your
campus of the bigotry it pres-
ently entertains. I seek your
assistance in this effort.
William A. Donohue
President, Catholic League
for Religious and Civil
Rights

'Air-impaired' claim deflated

To the Daily:
As a student of this Univer-
sity for five years nothing has
so directly insulted me as a
letterpublished on Jan.20 ("The
IM building: tales of the air-
impaired"). Mr. Spence's atti-
tude formed by "pre-judging
someone without adequate rea-
son damages the basic frame-
work, multiculturalism, toler-
ance, and unity for which this
University stands andforwhich
so many have striven to achieve.
To have the audacity to say that
someone does not belong at
Mi;i n *l,,r. t nnnt

paired" should attend another
university. One "bad" player
does not cause an entire team
to be "blown out of the water"
(especially if the other team
members know how to play).
Certainly the editorial sec-
tion of a newspaper is worthy
of more important, insightful
and mature commentaries,
from intelligent people who
really want to make a state-
ment - so stop wasting our
time. Contemporary society
has so many racial, ethical and
social problems with which to
rdn nnr ,v-t n ;P ;,,;virdtn

I

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