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February 10, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 10, 1995

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Forgotten in the fray: Jake
Baker's hidden victim

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.
S Aai
Safety first
'U', city deserve praise for safet efforts

n these frigid weeks of winter, cold may be
the utmost concern for students traveling on
and around campus. But the University and the
student body cannot ignore the persistent con-
cern of campus safety.
Much progress has been made recently in
making campus safer. Safewalk has expanded
its hours, and new lights have been installed.
However, problems persist, including broken
lights and icy sidewalks. More work needs to
be done.
With its recentexpansionofhours, Safewalk
has become even more successful in meeting
the needs of the student body, and volunteers
should be commended for providing this im-
portant service. It is important now that stu-
dents meet the demand for volunteers that has
been created by the longer hours. Safewalk's
existence does not guarantee its success - it
needs to be adequately staffed. The student
body must be diligent in maintaining this im-
portant program.
Another safety concern on which progress
has been made is,campus lighting. Many new
lights have been put on University streets and
for this, the University deserves praise. Still, a
major problem exists: The lights are not al-
ways working. Maintanencemustbeimproved.
If a student leaves home for Central Campus at
night, he or she deserves the security of know-
ing that the lights will be on. Lights on campus
are not enough - they need to be reliable. A

hotline was recently established to report non-,
functioning lights, a good step toward better
maintenance and increased safety.
In addition, the Ann Arbor City Council
convened a task force last month on the issue
of improved safety in Ann Arbor. Comprised
of representatives from the University and the
city, the Commission on Increasing Safety for
Women is an example of a city-University
partnership needed to ensure safety for the
University population.
There are other issues of concern, as well.
The persistence of ice on the sidewalks is an
important one: Cold weather will always be a
source of discomfort, but it should not imperil
pedestrians. It is legally negligent to fail to
clear a sidewalk of ice. On the whole, the ice
and snow situation on campus is not too peril-
ous -- but just one patch of ice is enough to
cause a serious injury. And there is more than
one patch of ice.
Overall, excellent progress has been made
over the past few months in making campus
safer. Perhaps the apprehension of a suspect in
the serial rapist case has done more than any-
thing else to make students feel safer. Safewalk
has expanded. New lights have been installed.
Yet work remains to be done - the issue of
campus safety is one that will never disappear.
Students must work with the University and
the city to maintain their commitment to a safe

n what appears to be the first three-
car pileups on the new Information
Superhighway, the FBI recently arrested
University student Jake Baker for sadistic
comments Baker made on the Internet.
That's about all anyone can agree upon.
Among other things, Baker either wrote
a story using the name of another student
or he wrote a story about another student.
There's a huge difference in those words.
If Baker was merely using the name, as
he claims, then he is nothing more than a
sicko with a warped sense of humor. But if
the story was about the student herself,
and Baker was telling people stories about
him raping and torturing a classmate, that's
an entirely different matter. That's a cause
for serious concern.
Right now, it seems, nobody knows
what Baker was thinking. The story he
wrote was beyond vulgar, so disgusting
that the few printable parts don't even
represent how horrific the story is.
Is it obscenity? Is it harassment? Is it
just free speech?
These are the issues that have been
debated. They are interesting, these ques-
tions about Jake Baker's story.
But none of them involves the woman.
Imagine, for a moment, how she must
feel. She has to walk around campus know-
ing a classmate of hers fantasizes about

raping and torturing her -- or, at least, he
fantasizes about raping and torturing some-
one with her name. She must wonder who
else has seen the story, who else has vi-
sions of her being humiliated. She must
wonder what others think of her. Do they
see her as a person like any other? Or do
they see her only as a shadow of a woman,
hanging by her hair, beaten and helpless?
How many people know she is the woman
in the story?
She must think the unthinkable: There
may be more like Jake Baker out there.
Baker says his story is just that - a
story. He says he picked the woman's
name because he liked the woman's name.
Really? It's difficult to believe he just
happened to write a story about his inhu-
mane treatment - and ultimate murder -
of another woman, and just happened to
use the name of a woman who actually
Maybe Baker is telling the truth. Maybe
he is innocent. That's why we have a
justice system. He deserves a trial. But to
tuck everything he wrote under the um-
brella of free speech without serious in-
vestigation is not only irresponsible but
potentially deadly.
How would you feel if these things
were being said about you? Or your
mother? Or sister? Or girlfriend?

This is an awful situation, a sick game
in which everybody loses. Baker deserves
a chance to prove he had no malicious
intentions. There must be concern for his
First Amendment rights. He should be
treated fairly.
But the woman also has to be treated
fairly. She, by all accounts, has done noth-
ing wrong. Steps must be taken to ensure
that she is not in danger.
Those steps involve investigating Jake
There are those who point out that
three weeks passed between when Baker
published the story and his suspension
from the University. During those three
weeks, they say, he did not go near her,
proving that it was just a story, not a plot.
Three weeks.
So what? Since when did three weeks
become the statute of limitations on ha-
rassment? Does this prove that Baker is
definitely not dangerous?
The FBI arrested University student
Jake Baker yesterday because of com-
ments he posted on the Internet. You can
argue that the FBI violated Baker's First
Amendment rights. You can argue that
free speech is free speech, period.
But while you argue, keep your eye out
for a terrified young woman. The FBI may
have saved her life yesterday.



Some newly commissioned




a ii lii u..~t> ~

6r- ..--


Dressed for arrest
Gang ordinance violates free expression

\ N
~~/ -~ > 1,~

Hartford let me
read a part ... I
was absolutely
appalled and
disgusted after I
read the first two
pages. I had to
stop reading."
- MSA President Julie
Neenan, speaking of the
message posted by Jake
Baker on the Internet

re there any students who own a Dallas
Cowboys jacket, a Star of David, or per-
haps even - shocking as it may seem - a
Michigan baseball cap? If so, they should be
sure not to wear them around Harvard, Ill.
These items and others are considered "gang
symbols" by the authorities of this Midwestern
town. In fact, it is illegal "for any person within
the city to knowingly use, display or wear
colors, emblems orinsignia" that suggest "sym-
pathy toward" gangs. Wearing such items in
this town can be grounds for arrest, up to six
months in jail and a fine of up to $500. This
ordinance is a deplorable violation of the First
Unfortunately, these laws are not limited to
the town of Harvard. They are a threat to free
speech rights across the nation. Freedom of
expression? That's one of the cornerstones of
this country's democracy, right? Maybe so,
but that has not stopped officials of this town
and many others from completely ignoring it.
Notonly are such laws flagrantFirst Amend-
ment violations, but the basis for arrest under
them lies entirely under the discretion of a
city's police force. Indeed, one young man
recently was stopped for wearing a Star of
David given to him by his girlfriend. "They
wanted to bust me, but they let me go because
my girlfriend proved to them she was Jewish.
She told them about Passover." This story is
nearly unbelievable-but, unfortunately, true.
The law enforcement ofarural town in America
has been reduced to spot checks - given on
the basis of one's looks. Evidently, to step into
Harvard, Ill., is to relinquish one's civil rights.

Harvard's law is an alarming indicator of
the vigilante mentality that can grip communi-
ties who feel - rightly or wrongly - under
siege by gang violence. The presence of this
law anywhere in the United States is distress-
ing-there is an atmosphereof hysteriain this
country that all too often leads citizens to
ignore civil liberties in their efforts to ensure
order. Some of these fears arise from legiti-
mate concerns: There is too much crime in this
country - drugs and guns are problems that
cannot be ignored. Moreover, there is no doubt
that street gangs are a threat to the security of
this nation's citizens - gang warfare is de-
stroying the lives of many city youths and is
making people afraid to walk their streets.
It is in times like these when some of the
most dangerously repressive measures are
deemed acceptable. But is this country going
to allow anxiety to dictate all of its actions? In
attempting to protect its citizens, many Ameri-
can cities end up denying them their constitu-
tional rights. Has the First Amendment been
reduced to a relic - stirring and impressive,
but completely without weight?
This town ordinance is a direct and particu-
larly frightening attack upon the right to free
expression. The town of Harvard has, effec-
tively, dictated the clothing that its residents
may wear. Moreover, it may not stop there; in
time, additional forms of expression may be
threatened by different laws in other towns.
Freedom of speech is part of the foundation
upon which this nation was built. This country
must not run, at the first sign of trouble, from
all that it holds dear.



LSA-SG disputes candidate statements*

Review action
before judging
To the Daily:
In reference to the Feb. 7 ar-
ticle concerning LSA Student
Government ("Michigan Party
reaches for LSA"), the below-
signed Executive Board mem-
bers of the student government
wish to address its accusations
and the ignorance with which the
quotations were made.
We understand and appreci-
ate enthusiasm for bettering the
government, and we recognize
that there is always room for im-
provement. However, in order to
improve somthing it is impera-
tive to be aware of what has al-
ready and is currently being ac-
In the article a concern was
raised regarding the "unfulfilled
potential" of the government in
its failure to give students a say
on an academic level. The cur-
rent LSA Student Government
agrees that this is an important
issue, and in fact has numerous
programs in place to gather and
evaluate student concerns, sug-
gestions and opinions.
Over the past year we have
established a computer confer-
ence (ConferU LSASG) in order
to facilitate communication re-
garding concerns about the Col-
lege of LSA. The academic is-
sues of the pass/fail option, the
foreign language requirement,
ROE requirement and grade in-
flation have been discussed ex-

services, and offered an avenue
for the expression of concerns.
Not only has the current gov-
ernment made strides in our at-
tempt to reach out to students, we
have also re-established ties with
the adminstration through ap-
pointments and cooperation with
the LSA Curriculum Commit-
tee, the Joint Faculty-Student
Policy Committee and Academic
Judiciary. These committees now
work hand in hand with student
government in an attempt to ef-
fectively solve problems and ad-
dress concerns.
Our upcoming public forum
on the pass/fail issue, which will
take place Monday, Feb. 13, at 7
p.m. in the Kuenzel Room of the
Union is a direct effect of the
efforts we have made to hear
student voices. To further hear
student concerns, a survey will
be administered at the forum and
through Confer in order to gauge
students' opinions on the issue.
We are determined that the re-
sults of the survey and the con-
cerns presented at the forum will
be heard when the faculty votes
regarding the future of the pass/
fail opion.
Besides our effort to gather
student input and voice student
concerns, we as a government
hold ourselves 100 percent ac-
countable toourconstituents. The
hallmark of this accountablility
is our money-back guarantee. Not
only does this program make stu-
dents aware of our accomplish-
ments, it demonstrates our con-
stant desire for improvement.

To the Daily:
As a member of the LSA Stu-
dent Government I would like to
clear up some misconceptions
about the government that arose
in the recent "Michigan Party
reaches for LSA" article (2/7/
It was expressed by the Michi-
gan Party presidential candidate,
Rick Bernstein, that he and his
running mate, Steve Madhavan,
feel that student government is
something students should be
involved in. Iagree with this state-
ment; students should be involved
in the government representing
However, I believe Mr.
Bernstein overstepped his bounds
when he said, "Right now (LSA-
SG) nas not fulfilled its possibili-
ties. We need to make sure stu-
dents have more say." Anyone
who has read your publication
may have noticed the numerous
advertisements we have submit-
ted concerning the various ac-
tivities LSA-SG has and is work-
ing on this year.
Presently, LSA-SG is offer-
ing a money-back guarantee in
which students who feel we are
performing unsatisfactorily may
receive their LSA-SG fee back.
We have initiated a successful
LSA-SG e-mail conference on
the ConferU and have an LSA-
SG news group on Telnet, too.
We have been taking several steps

versity landscape: Diag boards,
bus advertisements, the LSA-SG
confer, etc. Following this forum
we will be distributing surveys to
students on this and other aca-
demic concerns.
In past years, LSA-SG has
had few solid ties with othercom-
mittees within the University.We
have now substantilly increased
our communication and coop-
eration with several committees,
including the Joint Faculty-Stu-
dent Committee, the LSA Aca-
demic Judiciary and the LSA
Curriculum Committee. We have
also continued to supply funds to
as many student groups as pos-
sible and will continue to do so in
the future.
The LSA-Student Govern-
ment has increased its member
status from 17 to a total of 21
members. This action was taken
to better represent the diversity
and vast number of students
within our college. We have sub-
mitted an advertisement to the
Black Student Monthly for those*
readers who are interested in ap-
pointment to the LSA-SG. We
have also passed new bylaws to
increase our own internal effi-
ciency and to solve unnecessary
bureaucratic conflicts.
Therefore, I feel that although
Bernstein and Madhavan have
the right to their opinions, they
should at least have current and*
correct information to base them
on. I have yet to see either of the
attend even one of our LSA-SG
general meetings. It surprised me
that they are so disappointed in a

U.S. Congress

Sen. Carl Levin (D)
459 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6221

Sen. Spence Abraham (R)
B40 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-4822

Rep. Lynn Rivers(D)
1116 Longworth House Office Building
Washington. D.C. 20515


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