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February 15, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-15

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 15, 1995

1Iw £irbiwgun &dilg

I

DAvinD WAuRowsi

STANDING ON THE

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

' 4

-MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES NASH
Editorial Page Editors

The people vs. Jake Baker:
eavesdropping on the trial

+ :4

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 numbers me
Rape statistics fail to show true picture

L ast month, the Chronicle of Higher Edu-
cation released a study on campus crime,
showing an overall increase in college crime
across the nation. The University's Depart-
ment of Public Safety (DPS) followed up this
study by releasing murder, robbery, rape and
other numbers for the Ann Arbor campus. An
important thing to note in this set of statistics is
the number of rapes: Six. This number is
nonsense. The fact that it was in the University
report not only reflects the problems our soci-
ety has in dealing with rape - it exacerbates
those problems as well.
Nobody who studies the issue of rape ar-
gues with the contention that rape is massively
underreported. Many survivors of sexual as-
sault fear the social consequences of coming
forward at all - including being ostracized,
blamed, and having their sexuality put on
display. And only a fraction of those who do
come forward are willing to involve the legal
authorities. In January of 1995 alone, 15 stu-
dents reported sexual assaults to the
University's Sexual Assault Prevention and
Awareness Center (SAPAC). Of these, only
three were reported to a law enforcement
agency. And the SAPAC numbers still do not
account for the sizeable fraction of rapes that
are never reported at all.
Unfortunately, the DPS report does not
include these concerns. Thus, the community
must educate itself about the magnitude of the
sexual assault problem. Organizations such as
SAPAC are indispensable in filling this role.
People cannot rely on legal authorities to edu-
cate the community on the issue of rape, since
so few rapes ever show up on a police blotter.

The question also arises as to why rape
survivors so seldomofficially report the crimes.
The underreporting of sexual assault is a uni-
versal phenomenon, but six rapes in a year in
a university town is a stunningly low statistic
- college settings are especially vulnerable to
the problem of acquaintance rape. Police,
and the legal system, should reevaluate their
methods for handling sexual assault cases. It
must be made easier for women to come
forward.
Statistics such as those contained in the
AAPD report exacerbate the problem of
sexual assault, as such rosy reports can lull
people into a false sense of security. Nobody
should have to live glancing over their shoul-
ders. Still, people should not come to believe
that the world is a perfectly safe place in
which precautions need not be taken, when
that is obviously not true.
People who have experienced rape feel
isolated in a world of glossed-over crime sta-
tistics. If society does not acknowledge the
prevalence of rape, how can it deal with the
problem? Effective community action will be
forestalled, safety precautions will be disre-
garded and survivors will feel even more alone
- and thus will be even less likely to report
their situations to authorities.
The issue of the University's rape statistics
is more than a politically correct complaint.
The number demonstrates the vast
underreporting of rape. And the release of tiny
numbers such as those contained in the report
lull society into complacency on the rape is-
sue. We must acknowledge the magnitude of
the problem we face.

A ll rise in this U.S. District court as the
honorable Judge Bernard Friedman
presides over the federal pre-trial hearing
for Mr. Jake Baker. You may be seated.
The defense calls its first witness, Your
Honor: Jake Baker.
[Baker takes the stand and the defense
begins questioning.]
Now let me see if I have this right, Mr.
Baker. You wrote a story?
"Yes."
And it was a very sick story.
"Yes, I suppose it was pretty sick."
No question it is sick. Why did you write
it, Mr. Baker?
"Why did I write it? Well, everybody
writes these sex stories on alt.sex.stories.
This is the purpose of the news conference.
I thought it was neat.y
Neat? You went beyond sexual fantasy
and described inhumane acts of violence
and murder. It was putrid.
"Yes, sir."
But that is not the point of this hearing.
You are charged not with being disgusting,
but rather with communicating a threat to
ensure injury. The point is whether you
intended to threaten "Jane Doe." Did you
intend to inflict injury of any kind, Mr.
Baker?
"No, sir. I did not."
Then why did you write it?
"I told you, sir. It was a fantasy story. I
get caught up in these creative images. I'm
sorry now that I wrote it because I didn't
want to hurt anybody. I didn't think this was
wrong.
"It was a story like any trash novel you
might read. I only liked her name. I hardly
even know her, sir."
But do you realize that most people are
appalled and frightened by what you wrote,
Mr. Baker?
"With all due respect, it was not in-
tended for these people, sir."

True. And there seems to be a lot of
similarstories on alt.sex.stories thatusersof
the news conference read. Mr. Baker, you
write lots of stories?
"Yes."
You've been writing them since you
were ...
"Five."
Five. And your mother is a ...
"Creative writing instructor."
I see. So you do creative things.
"I guess you could say that."
How would you say that your story
differs from others posted on the
alt.sex.stories news conference?
"I would say it doesn't."
But you used somebody's last name.
"Yes, that's true. I used somebody's last
name."
Why?
"It is a sexual pun."
Would you consider this name usage a
part of your creativity?
"I would."
It is downright disgusting more than it is
creative. But that is not the point. The
point is ...
"... whether I intended a threat."
Correct. At least you understand this.
You are telling me, then, that your story
is not about the woman in your Japanese
class, but simply uses her name because you
thought it was a sexual pun?
"That is correct."
And for that you are charged with a
federal crime, suspended from your univer-
sity, arrested by the FBI and jailed without
bond.
"That is what I understand, sir."
Murderers, rapists and cocaine dealers
have been jailed with bond. Yet without a
verdict of guilty, you, a college computer
junkie, are held captive because of some-
thing you wrote. I hope for the prosecution's
sake that they have more on you, Jake.

Presently, I honestly don't think they have
a case.
Mr. Baker, do you consider yourself a
threat to anybody?
"Sir?"
His Honor Bernard Friedman and the
FBI say you are dangerous. Yet psychologi-
cal experts and your friends say you aren't.
Are you a threat, Mr. Baker?
"I can't see that being possiblesir."
Neither can anybody else.
Strike that from the record.
Removed, Your Honor.
But you sent e-mail messages to an
Arthur Gundo in Ontario saying you would
like to act out these fantasies. As I under-
stand, this is the crux of the prosecution's
evidence. Don't these messages indicate
that you are a threat?
"They were still fantasies."
But you said you wanted to act them out.
"These messages are written quickly.
Had I written them in a journal or published
a book, nobody would have accused me of
anything. I don't even know the guy in
Ontario; if I wanted to do something illegal,
why would I tell him?"
For the record, may it be known that
Baker's e-mail messages must be linked to
his story of "Jane Doe" to prove any guilt.
The threat must be aimed at a specific
person.
It is so noted.
To be found guilty, you had to intend a
threat. Do you think that "Jane Doe" would
have ever read this story had the man in
Moscow never found out from his friend's
16-year-old daughter that you wrote it?
"No, I do not."
She would not, then, have taken it as a
threat, nor would you have intended it as a
threat.
"That is correct, sir."
Thank you.
The defense rests, Your Honor.

0

9

Jim, LASSER

SHARP As TOAST
T)O N'T C0%E T TTO3o C L , E... .
OR HE'LL FANTAS1Z C
A$OIJT yoV.

New surgeon general?
Clinton should stand by Foster nomination

Ever since Jocelyn Elders was fired from
the position of U.S. surgeon general late
last year, the Clinton administration has been
searching for a replacement: Someone not so
outspoken, someone who could easily be con-
firmed in the new, more conservative political
climate. Last month, Dr. Henry Fosterof Nash-
ville was nominated by President Clinton, and
for a short while, it seemed he was the person
to give Clinton the easy political victory he
needs.
Initially, Foster seemed like an ideal candi-
date. The founder of Nashville's "I Have a
Future" program, which stresses abstinence
from premarital sex as the key to a successful
future, Foster was named as one of President
George Bush's "1,000 Points of Light." This
strong indication of nonpartisan appeal was
backed up by early Republican support for his
candidacy. However, the atmosphere changed
when the fact that Foster had performed abor-
tions came to light. Anti-choice groups were
suddenly up in arms, claiming that this fact
alone was enough to keep Foster from being an
effective surgeon general.
On the contrary, this revelation should in no
way disqualify Foster from the position. Abor-
tion is, and has been for more than two decades,
a legal act. Furthermore, for an obstetrician
and gynecologist like Foster, it is a part of the
job to provide abortions, if necessary. Most of
Foster's abortions were in cases of rape, incest
or when the mother's life was in danger -
situations where many conservatives might at
least acknowledge a woman's choice to have
an abortion. However, even if this were not the
case, Foster's actions should not disqualify
him. To discount a candidate for performing a
HOw TO CONTACT THEM

legal procedure as part of his profession is
shortsighted, intolerant and without rational
basis.
A real cause for concern might be the
conflicting accounts - and subsequent ad-
missions by Foster - of exactly how many
abortions he performed. At the time of the
nomination, Congress was told of only one
abortion. A few days later, the figure was
changedto"fewerthanadozen." On Nightline
last week, Foster raised the number to 39, and
now, numbers like 700 are being tossed about.
If the physician has deliberately misled the
president and Congress, then this is cause for
question. On the other hand, if the changing
numbers result from sloppy background checks
by Clinton aides, the president must fight for
his nominee. Past fiascoes, such as the cases
of Lani Guinier and Zoe Baird, should have
taught the Clinton administration lessons
about researching potential nominees before
exposing them to the intense scrutiny of
Congress and the media. They should also
have taught the president something about
standing by his nominations. The president's
spinelessness in the past - pulling back one
nomination after another due to objections
from the public - cannot be repeated in this
case. Abandoning Foster now would only be
another blow to Clinton's prestige, one he
can ill afford.
Assuming Foster's nomination does reach
the Senate, rejecting his confirmation over a
handful of abortions would be ridiculous. The
focus of Foster's nomination should remain
squarely upon the work he has done with
teenage pregnancy and public health, rather
than being hung up over a handful of acts that

\"
Jake Baker.
DANGER!

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,

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"One life can't be
tallied up against
another, pain
can't be tallied
against pain...
human suffering
can't be tallied
on a human
scale."
-German President
Roman Herzog,
commemorating the 50th
anniversary of the WWII
bombing of Dresden

I

4

0

I

LETTERS

A new take on
Project Smile
To the Daily:
Here at the University of
Michigan, we have spent years
cultivating a finely honed ascetic
of misery. Only by harmoniously
aligning our psychic energies
with the mind-numbing bitter
cold, grim scenery, and perpetu-
ally gray skies of Ann Arbor are
we able to achieve our full po-
tential as scholars, athletes and
campus leaders. Random smil-
ing and unrestrained goofiness
simply do not uphold this sa-
cred heritage. While "shiny
happy people" are perfectly ap-
propriate at Disneyland, they
have no place at this esteemed
university.
To combat the rising tide of
jovial feeling before it gets out of
hand, a group of alarmed stu-
dents have created Project
SCOWL (Students Concerned
with Overtly Winsome Lunatics).
We are pleased to announce a
series of events for the new year.
Our first undertaking will be a
succession of " rumnv days."

ridicule anyone who tries to make
idle chitchat with us. Through
these activities, we will reclaim
the university from the depths of
cheerfulness.
Let us embrace our brutish
wolverine heritage and commune
with the purifying powers of
crankiness that have sustained
the University for 150 years.
Adam Berinsky
Rackham student
Tracy Pattison
LSA senior
Nick Winter
Rackham student
Communication
chair ignores
student needs
To the Daily:
Barely 30 students attended
the meeting given by the Com-
munication Department
Wednesday evening, Feb. 8. At
the meeting, the department's
Interim chair, John Chamberlain,
led a question and answer ses-
sion about the future of the de-
nartment which is currently in

speeding up. No longer do we
have to write a report, send it
overseas, wait for it to arrive
two weeks later with instruc-
tions to rewrite, only to send it
off again and wait. With all of
that extra time spent waiting,
I'm sure all workers did was
theorize about how to speed up
the communication process.
But now we don't have to
wait. We have access to e-mail
and fax machines that will send
proposals, reports, and plans
across the world in minutes. And,
if something can't be sent via
fiber optics, then FedEx it. It'll
be there in 24 hours.
With the development of the
information superhighway, com-
munication has never been faster.
Therefore students who plan on
obtaining a job and being suc-
cessful after graduation need to
learn to write, and write well.
What good are my critical
thoughts if I can't put hand to
keyboard and create an effective
memo to my boss? But, Cham-
berlain said on Wednesday that
the development of basic job
skills is not taught in other liberal
arts disciplines. and therefore

was because since the announce-
ment of the restructuring of the
department, students have been
trying to communicate that we
don't approve of the new cur-
riculum. But then again, we don't
really expect you to listen be-
cause you're too busy theoriz-
ing.
Tracey Frimmer
LSA junior
LSA-SG
candidate
responds to
criticism
To the Daily:
It seems as if LSA-SG repre-
sentative Sara A. Deringer has a
problem with students "over-
stepping (their) bounds" by
holding our student government
accountable ("Candidates un-
informed," 2/10/95). I urge all
LSA students to overstep their
bounds by voting in the upcom-
ing LSA-SG elections.
LikeMs. Deringer,Iwas "per-
sonally offended" by her lack of
lrncua.ca A a :.v.. t ta

University Regent Andrea Fischer
Miller, Canfield, Paddick & Stone
StA II w ffrcAn Cn qiit '9C.;0

University Regent Dan Homing
600 S. Beacon Blvd.
rrn,4 Wnan AM 1A017

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