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February 27, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-27

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4- The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 27, 1995
bzE Cirirt&i

JAMES R. CHo

BENEATH THE PALMPSEST

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

I I

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

Agenda for Women heads
down the wrong path

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.
Renew d'ping the Union
Fix it- but don't privatize it

H oping to inject some fresh life into
campus student centers, the University
Board of Regents recently approved a $26.5
million renovation plan for the Michigan
Union, North Campus Commons, the Michi-
gan League and University Health Services.
While the board routinely rubber-stamps
administration requests for construction fund-
ing, this most recent proposal came with a
twist: Instead of subtracting the money from
the University's general fund, the construc-
tion will be paid for with a per-student sur-
charge. The regents' decision to charge each
student $35 to fix the Union and other build-
ings was a timely move dictated by the need
to improve student organizations' office space
and by the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), federal legislation that mandates pro-
viding equal services to people with disabili-
ties. But the regents must be cautioned not to
bankroll every building upgrade on the backs
of students.
At their February meeting, the regents
increased the University's infrastructure fee
to $185 - up $35. The increase was ear-
marked for improvements to the student cen-
ters and UHS, money well-spent as long as it
stays there. These buildings are crucial to
student life - imagine a campus without
student organization offices, fast food res-
taurants and banking centers. But these build-
ings are not perfect. While the University has
prevented them from falling into disrepair, it
has not brought them up to the standards of
the ADA, passed in 1990..
This is no time for the University to drag
its feet on ADA. The regents have wisely
avoided that, allocating about two-thirds of
the money for upgrades to make the facilities

more accessible to people with disabilities.
In this singular instance, the University is
correct in lumping the construction costs
with the line item on tuition bills. The re-
gents' vote, however, should not set a prece-
dent for the University to bill students for
repairs. Could the regents charge students to
install new carpeting in the Fleming Build-
ing? Conceivably - but they should not.
Republican Regents Deane Baker and
Andrea Fischer Newman of Ann Arbor voted
against the plan to fix the Union, Commons,
League and UHS with a student surcharge.
They correctly recognized the dangers inher-
ent in taxing students for individual con-
struction projects - but failed to recognize
this as a special case. Baker and Newman
should strongly resist any further University
scheme to indiscriminately impose construc-
tion fees on students.
More disturbing was Newman's sugges-
tion --voiced in passing at the regents'
meeting - that the Union be privatized. The
Union has been a student center for all of its
90 years, not a miniaturized strip mall cater-
ing to corporate profits. Private owners would
not be sympathetic to underfunded student
groups who want to maintain their Union
offices - why not put a bookstore there?
The regents should be commended for
upgrading the University's student centers.
Although the fiscal source for the construc-
tion raises important questions, in this case
the end justifies the means. Even Baker and
Newman - while opposing the project -
express valid concerns. Accessible and well-
maintained buildings have always been stu-
dent desires; it is heartening to see the regents
share those hopes.

Last spring, President James J.
Duderstadt kicked off his Michigan
Agenda for Women, a bold initiative to
improve the climate for women at the Uni-
versity. In town meetings with faculty, staff
and students, Duderstadt has been soliciting
advice and vigorously pushing the agenda.
Never during his tenure as president has
Duderstadt been so visible on campus.
With the initiative, Duderstadt seeks to
create a climate at the University that fosters
the success of women faculty, students and
staff and achieves full representation, par-
ticipation and success of women faculty in
the academic life and leadership of the Uni-
versity. The president hopes to reach gender
parity in the participation and representa-
tion of women at the University by 2000.
He recently told a group of resident
advisers that fewer than 9 percent of the
senior faculty are women and that women
are underrepresented in leadership posi-
tions at the University. The administration
is offering incentives to departments to hire
women, in particular women of color, and
strong disincentives if they don't, he said.
"Simply opening doors is not enough,"
Duderstadt declared.
But for the past decade, scientists have
been telling us that differences exist be-
tween the sexes and that the sexes do indeed

excel in different areas. Are we ready for the
reality that some fields and areas of study
will continue to be dominated by men, oth-
ers dominated by women?
Studies show a substantial male advan-
tage in visual-spatial abilities and higher
mathematical reasoning. In the fields of
engineering and other occupations that re-
quire spatial ability, is it wrong for men to
participate in higher numbers than women?
Should men be punished?
Adding to the wealth of scientific evi-
dence, last week a team of researchers from
Yale reported in the journal Nature that
brains of men and women are in fact bio-
logically different. So what's new? Scien-
tists have shown that differences in emo-
tional expression, behavior and spatial rea-
soning ability between the sexes result from
differences in the brains of men and women.
Science aside, we seem entrenched in
the general premise that sexual differences
are insignificant and that male and female
brains essentially function along the same
wavelength. We're fearful that stressing the
differences would mean facing the wrath of
ardent feminists. The denial of these differ-
ences is a remnant of the '70s feminist
movement: Sentiment at the time espoused
views that sexual equality hinged upon dis-
missing these sexual differences.

But the coupling of sexual differences,
where differences abound - to race -
where, contrary to what some people be-
lieve, differences have not been proven -
has sparked ongoing controversy and may
prove shortsighted. Take the underrep-
resentation of women in certain fields of
study -an issue the agenda for women has
targeted as a problem. Some would say
this is due to systematic oppression and
discrimination. But never has anyone sug-
gested that this may result from the free will
of women who simply may not be attracted
to the same activities as men.
The reality of the situation is the agenda
places intense pressure on department heads
to hire women for openings, lest-they face
intense pressure by the provost's office if
recruitment goals are not met. How do you
measure the success of the agenda without
annual press conferences extolling the nu-
merical improvements of the program?
Recommendation: Open all the doors,
yes, and let men and women compete on the
same, level playing field wherever they so
desire. In all fairness the University should
make promotions based on merit without
imposing sexual quotas or affirmative ac-
tion programs. Of course, defending such
a policy is difficult considering many of
the coveted jobs are held by white men.

Jim LASSER SHAP AS TOAST
The Times They Are a Changin'..-
s _ ..V19951
v ;
1992
'g Ri1 L b/N '}qw
~CH E CHNYA

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"Every time we
need to raise
money we seem
to go back to the
students. I'm not
going to sit here
for eight years
and vote for
increases."
- Regent Andrea
Fischer Newman (R-Ann
Arbor), voting against a
fee increase for up-
grades to University
student centers

I*

Supreme injustice
High court should strike down anti-gay act

n what should be the final round in
Colorado's fight against gay rights, the
Supreme Court agreed last week to decide
whether an amendment to the state's consti-
tution forbidding special legal protection for
homosexuals is constitutional. The law -
known as Amendment 2- was approved by
Colorado voters in 1992, but has been ruled
unconstitutional in the state's courts and has
been barred from taking effect. The Supreme
Court should uphold the lower court rulings
and invalidate this law for good.
Amendment 2 bars all state and local
governments from enforcing policies that
forbid discrimination based on sexual orien-
tation. It singles out gays, lesbians and bi-
sexuals for persecution, denying them pro-
tections granted other minority groups. In
effect, it states that this group is not entitled
to a basic human right: freedom from dis-
crimination.
Proponents of Amendment 2 claim that
protections against discrimination create
"new" rights for homosexuals, rights that go
beyond the concept of equal protection under
the law. This notion is misguided at best,
blatantly bigoted at worst. Policies forbid-
ding discrimination based on sexual orienta-
tion - including those in Ann Arbor and at
the University -- are a long-needed step
toward civil rights for gays, lesbians and
bisexuals. They do not create new rights -
on the contrary, they simply protect those
basic rights that have historically been de-
nied individuals based on their sexual prefer-
ence.

In addition to the homophobia inherent in
Amendment 2, such statutes are objection-
able because they target a specific minority
group for denial of rights. If today homo-
sexuals are singled out, who will be next?
African Americans? Muslims? People with
disabilities? Discrimination against any of
these groups is unacceptable, and laws pro-
tecting these groups are badly needed in the
struggle for equal protection. If Amendment
2 is judged constitutional, what is to stop
voters from passing other laws aimed at other
groups? The possibilities are frightening.
Despite the rhetoric about "new rights,"
most support for Amendment 2-- as well as
for similar measures in other states - is
grounded in simple bigotry, as clear as the
racial bigotry so prevalent in the United
States in the past. While in recent years
racism has, if not been eliminated, at least
been made less acceptable, homophobia and
discrimination against homosexuals are still
all too familiar in this country. Civil rights
for gays and lesbians still have not been
achieved, and Amendment 2 represents a
giant step backward in that fight.
The last time the Supreme Court ruled in
a gay rights case was in 1986, when a 5-4
ruling decreed that states may outlaw private
homosexual acts between consenting adults.
With the new justices appointed in the inter-
val, the high court should take a less restric-
tive view of gay rights. Lower courts have
already tossed out Amendment 2 as a viola-
tion of the idea of equal protection. The
Supreme Court must do the same.

LETTERS
GOP crime bill
not an affront
to civil liberty
To the Daily:
Jordan Stancil seems to again
be whining about how unfair life
is for Democrats, in his column
of Feb. 16. Basically, his won-
derful rebuttal of the Republican
crime bill dwindled down to pa-
thetic name calling: We're geeks
because we oppose criminals. Is
Jordan actually an LSA junior or
a third-grader? Sticks and Stones,
I guess. However, the facts are
more important. The Republican
Crime Bill does revise the exclu-
sionary rule, but to suggest that
the only judge of "bad faith"
would be the officer seems to
neglect the idea of a court of law.
While a policeman might act in
bad faith and say it is good, the
judge will determine this cop's
credibility, not merely the po-
liceman himself.
Stancil refers to a 1914 court
ruling, but neglects to discuss the
Supreme Court's 1984ruling that
directly modified the exclusion-
ary rule to include evidence ob-
tained in good faith with a war-
rant later considered to be in-
valid. Where is Stancil's criti-
cism of this ruling? This impor-
tant ruling more than 12 years
ago did not bring down justice in
America (which is the reason
Stancil omitted its reference).
So why would our new modifi-
cation do so when it is less dras-
tic than the Supreme Court's
1984 modification? If it is legal
to allow evidence obtained un-
der an invalid warrant, is it a

that to the face of a husband
whose wife was murdered yet
the criminal got off free due to
one ofStancil's"protections"(i.e.
technicalities). I wonder if he
could say it to the face of a rape
victim whose attacker is released
because of a such a technicality.
It is so easy for him to sit back
and ignore the victims while at
the same time feel proud of his
defense of liberal ideas ofjustice.
We put the victim on trial and set
the criminal free? That seems to
be Jordan Stancil's view of jus-
tice. Well, it isn't mine and that
is why my party is trying to stop
these technicalities with our
Crime Bill. That's being tough
on crime, since Stancil obvi-
ously needs a definition of the
idea like most liberals truly do.
Mark Fletcher
President, U-M College
Republicans
LSA junior
'Kill MSA' a
Daily position
To the Daily:
Regarding "Finding irony in
the MSA campaign," (Daily, 2/
17/95) in which Michigan Party
MSA presidential and vice
presidential candidates Flint
Wainess and Sam Goodstein are
accused of being responsible for
a series of "Kill MSA" editori-
als in the Daily during Novem-
ber of 1993, I would like to
clarify thaf situation.
While Wainess and
Goodstein were members of the
editorial board, I was the edito-
rial page editor of the Daily at
the time. The Daily's then-

liberty to say, they obviously
aren't now.
I was proud to work with
both Wainess and Goodstein
during their time at the Daily.
They were capable leaders and,
judging from my experience
with them, would make an ex-
cellent president and vice presi-
dent of MSA.
Andrew Levy
LSA '93
Gays still face
intolerance
"Together we kiss in safety.
Apart we kiss in fear. Straight
couples feel safe displaying af-
fection. Same-sex couples do
not. Queers who kiss on the
street face verbal assault, beat-
ing, and even death. We kiss
here today to celebrate our right
to express affection for those
we love" (Queer Unity Project,
1995).
On Feb. 14 a group of gays,
lesbians and bisexuals along
with their allies converged on
the Diag at the University. The
awesome sight of at least 100
people being free to be who
they were without fear, was
empowering. This utopia lasted
only an hour. Media covered
the event. One would ask why.
The reason is, because even to-
day, society finds same-gender
love taboo, unthinkable and
even unacceptable.
Today my friend relayed a
story to me about how, when
picking up the Daily in MLB,
he overheard a woman with
middle-length hair and a yellow
jacket say (when seeing the pic-
ture of my friends Matt and Mike

article published in the Daily.
In response to this, I feel
responsible to write in order to
illustrate how intolerance is still
with us. Our utopia of the Kiss-
In has gone. What would I have
said if this woman was next to
me? I don't know, maybe noth-
ing. On the other hand I may
have pointed out the compul-
sory heterosexuality which sur
rounds us in everyday life;
through television, by walking
on the street, in our classes, and
especially on Valentines Day.
We, as gay, lesbian or bisexual,
have a right to express our af-
fection as much as any straight
person. The problem is, we are
targets of hate and violence if
we take that risk, (like the gay
basing of weeks ago that took
place near Espresso Royale on
State Street). We at the Kiss-in
heard these stories of hate, we
hear them almost every day.
However, we were empowered
through our numbers and our
chance to unify. Visibility IS
the answer. We won't go back
to our closets and shut the door
behind us. Visibility, education
and dialogue are the key.
To that woman and to the
people out there who made such
comments today (about the pic-
ture and the article), just look
around you and see how your
straightness is affirmed. Watch
how you can hold hands, kiss in
public and end up on any televi-
sion screen. Think of the
strength it must take us to move
forward and to create justice for
our people.
It is time for a change. We
aren't in the 1890s anymore,
we're in the 1990s Thines are

HOw TO CONTACT THEM
University Housing Division
1500 Student Activities Building
Alan Levy, associate director
70-40

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