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March 03, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-03

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 3, 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

Dreams, even hoop
dreams, can be fleeting

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.

New blood

Housing director will
A fter an intensive search process that
began last year, the University recently
tapped William Zeller of Washington State
University as its new housing director. With
this sound choice, the University can begin to
meet some of the challenges facing the stu-
dent housing system.
Zellerhas accumulated an impressive record
at Washington State. He won praise for his
attention to student concerns and was effec-
tive in dealing with student organizations and
leadership training. Even more heartening about
his selection is the fact that the process was
open, with student input playing an integral
part. Students would be more comfortable
with Zeller knowing that they played a part in
selecting him.
The openness and student participation of
Zeller's selection should carry over into his
administration. Nobody can successfully run
the University housing system without con-
stant exposure to the facilities and input from
students. Zeller should spend time in the
residence halls and eat at the dining facilities.
He should maintain contact with residents
and be open to student concerns. Accessibil-
ity must be a priority as Zeller prepares to
mnake changes to the housing system.
N These changes are needed, if for no other
reason than the flight of students from Uni-
Eversity housing to off-campus accommoda-
rtions. The declining reapplication rate in
recent years demonstrates that something is
obviously wrong. Zeller needs to identify the

face tough challenges
problems with University housing ifhe wishes
to attract students to the system. Once again,
student input will be needed. Clearly, the
system is failing many students. Zeller will
need to determine how and address the prob-
One of the biggest issues that Zeller will
face is the University's stated desire to expand
its system of living/learning programs. These
offerings - which currently include the Resi-
dential College, the Pilot Program and the 21st
Century Program - design academic pro-
grams around specific residence halls. In theory,
this is a laudable effort to personalize the
University and integrate academics and extra-
curricular activities. However, it does not al-
ways work well in practice - there is a lack
of follow-through on ideas and a general lack
of student enthusiasm. Before the University
creates new living/learning programs, it needs
to evaluate existing ones. Expansion should
not be hasty. And given the questionable
performance of some of the programs, it may
well be prudent to strengthen the existing
programs before creating new ones.
The selection of Zeller as housing direc-
tor brings hope to a troubled area of the
University. He faces many challenges, from
accessibility and falling reapplication rates
to addressing the issue of living/learning
programs more constructively than the Uni-
versity has in recent years. His move to
Michigan should spur developments that ben-
efit students living in University housing.

W hen the documentary "Hoop
Dreams" recently was overlooked
for an Oscar nomination, several high-
profile movie critics were incensed. Joel
SiegelGene Siskel and Roger Ebert, among
others, said the film deserved not only Best
Documentary nomination but Best Picture
consideration as well.
But the controversy blew over in a few
days, largely because the average movie-
goer had not seen the film, would not see the
film, did not know anything about the film,
and besides, who cares? The Oscars are just
an awards ceremony anyway.
The controversy quickly disappeared,
affecting nobody.
"Hoop Dreams" follows two inner-city
Chicago kids from eighth grade through
college age, documenting their dreams of
basketball stardom and their goals of NBA
The film also looks at the boys' tough
times in a tough neighborhood. One of the
boys has a crack addict for a father, a man
who fades in and out of his son's life. The
other boy's parents can hardly afford the

bare necessities of life. They both have~
almost no money, few available role models
and little chance for success. All they have,
really, is basketball.
And so they play. Constantly. In the rain,
in the cold, in the heat, in the snow. They
would play at all hours of the day.
They would even play midnight basket-
ball, a proposal made in Washington last
year to help keep inner-city kids out of the
crack houses. Midnight basketball was a big
issue last summer, debated on television,
covered by the media, talked about by people
around the country. Before long, however,
people stopped talking about midnight bas-
ketball, largely because most Americans
would never play basketball at midnight,
and weren't going to be helped by the pro-
gram, and besides, who cares? It's just a
game. The controversy quickly disappeared.
But while senators and representatives
have moved on with their politics, "Hoop
Dreams" has been shown in theaters across
the country. This past Presidents' Day,
'Hoop Dreams" was shown in a theater on
Long Island, N.Y. The theater is part of a

multiplex in a mall in a mostly white upper-
class suburb of New York City.
Before the film started, two previews
were shown. Both were for lighthearted
action-comedies starring Black actors. Ap-
parently the previews were chosen with a
predominantly Black audience in mind. The
distributors of "Hoop Dreams" must have
decided the movie was just about basket-
ball. So of course only Blacks would want
to see Black kids play basketball. And
besides, who cares? It's just a game.
The previews had little effect on the
mostly white upper-class audience. The
people in the audience came to learn about
life in the inner city. They were given a
message: You are not supposed to care.
The thing is, in "Hoop Dreams," basket-
ball is not just-a game. Nobody in the film
sees it as just a game. The boys and their
families see it as their way out of the ghetto.
For them, there is no other way out.
But as far as most peopleare concerned,
basketball is just a game, and besides, who
cares about inner-city kids? They quickly
disappear, affecting nobody.











"It's not really
fair that half the
population can't
walk outside
after the sun
goes down."
- LSA sophomore Alison
Hanover, a member of
MSA's Women's Issues



Measuring up
Cost-benefit bill would harm environment


Misinformed letter maligns homosexuals

Ejarier this week, the U.S. House of Rep-
resentatives passed a bill that will radi-
cally transform the way our government en-
acts environmental, health and safety regula-
-tions. The risk assessment bill, part of the Con-
tract with America, raises important questions
about the nature of such regulations. Although
it is evident that some type of cost-benefit
analysis needs to be initiated for environmental
and public safety regulations, how this should
be done is a more difficult matter. This most
recent attempt is fatally flawed.
The risk assessment bill is both imprudent
and myopic. Although taxpayers cannot af-
ford to pay for endless regulations, it is very
difficult to apply cost-benefit analysis to
issues of health and safety. The cost of cer-
tain regulations can often be measured. How-
ever, it is very difficult to measure benefits.
How can one quantify the benefit of saving a
human life? Can dollar values be placed on
clean air and clean water? Allowing the de-
struction of the environment for the sake of
jobs and money is certainly shortsighted.
Many argue that these regulations will de-
stroy businesses. However, growing technol-
ogy will surely lead to the emergence of new,
less environmentally damaging industries.
Closely linked to the risk assessment bill,
'the private property bill is scheduled to come
to the House floor in the near future. This bill
would require federal government "to reim-
,burse private property owners for any de-
,Cline in private property value due to regula-
tions regarding endangered species, wetlands
water rights, and coastal zone management."
-imilar in spirit to the risk assessment bill,
this bill implies that government is at fault for
the environmental insults of industry and real
estate developers.

With a public consensus that government
has grown too large, cost-benefit analysis for
regulatory measures is not a bad idea. How-
ever, the risk assessment bill unwisely threat-
ens the future of our air, water and general
public safety. Ironically, this new system -
set up to keep a growing bureaucracy from
unduly burdening taxpayers and businesses
- is a bureaucratic nightmare. According to
the Congressional Budget Office, the new
bureaucratic apparatus needed to carry out
cost-benefit analysis of all environmental,
health and safety regulations would cost more
than $250 million annually.
In addition to the monstrous bureaucracy
this bill creates, it gives birth to a skewed
system ofjustice. The new peer-review panels
to be set up for evaluating costs and benefits
does not exclude any participants, regardless
of conflict of interest. This new system could
result in panels composed of those who would
benefit most from decreased regulation. By
not allowing federal agencies to bar certain
executives from panels, this bill harkens back
to the days before the Progressives increased
government's role to protect citizens from
the abuses of big business.
On a similar note, the risk assessment bill
threatens to eliminate 25 years of legislation
that protects individuals from environmental
and safety hazards caused by profit-minded
businesses. Not only does this bill endanger
legislation protecting citizens from smoke-
stack emission and nuclear dumpings, but it
also destroys the spirit of the last 90 years of
Progressive-inspired legislation. Industry's
motives are clear and sensible: Profits.
Government's purpose should be equally
clear: To protect the well-being of its citi-

To the Daily:
I was reading the Wednes-
day, March 1 edition of the
Daily, as was my wont, and I
noticed a curious letter in which
the author states that he is op-
posed to homosexual activity
("Congress, 'U' should not give
approval to homosexual activ-
ity"). I would infer that he is
opposed to homosexuality in
general, but I read further and
noticed that it was in fact the
Valentine's Day "Kiss-In" on
the Diag by which the author of
the letter to which I refer, one
John Yob, was so incensed. In
this letter he states that the
LGBPO and Queer Unity
Project should not be allowed to
stage such actions on the Diag,
or, I would assume, anywhere
in public. I was then to under-
stand that Mr. Yob felt sickened
to see such a display where "het-
erosexual students," (a socio-
logical group I assume Mr. Yob
has discovered to be well-de-
fined on the Ann Arbor campus
of the University), would have
to see it. (I assume he was actu-
ally speaking for himself and
perhaps some friends with
whom he may have had occa-
sion to discuss this issue.) He
called this event an injustice to
the heterosexual students and to
the prestigious institution he
believes the University of
Michigan to be.
Upon reflection, my first in-
clination was simply to remark,
"How awful that affectionate
expression makes this poor man
feel so badly." I personally have,
in my years as a student at the
University, seen many hetero-

else living under granite for the
last five years is that he was quite
incorrect in stating that gay and
bisexual men are responsible
- or at least bear the major
portion of responsibility - for
spreading AIDS which he,
claims, quite incorrectly, is the
leading killer of men ages 25-
44. Mr. Yob, one does not spread
AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome, the
major etiological agent of which
is the HIV or Human Immuno-
deficiency Virus. In point of
fact, Mr. Yob, one does not ac-
tually die of AIDS or HIV in-
fection but of secondary infec-
tions which take advantage of
the depressed state of the
patient's immune system. In fact
incidence of HIV infection in
gay and bisexual men has been
on a decline for the past two
years. The societal groups with
the highest and, I might add,
fastest growing incidence of
HIV infection are heterosexual
women and adolescent males.
I could of course continue
indefinitely, but as I am sure the
Daily has only limited space, I
will sum up with a few final
thoughts that Ihad while reading
Mr. Yob's somewhat less than
adequate analysis. First off, it
strikes me as odd how Mr. Yob
- believing the University of
Michigan to be a prestigious
school - could wish to have
President Duderstadt and the re-
gents ban such activities when in
fact they have just recently passed
the amendment to Bylaw 14.06
which guarantees the protection
of students, faculty and other
members of the University com-
munity from discrimination on

gan State have had this sort of
protection in place for years, as
well as the Law School and
School of Dentistry right here at
the University of Michigan. I
cannot help but wonder how
disillusioned Mr. Yob will be
when he realizes this is true.
Finally I would like to comment
on the "maleness" that Mr. Yob
seems to apply to matters of
homosexuality. No where in his
letter did I see him refer to les-
bian and bisexual women. Per-
haps because they are not expe-
riencing a current "prevalence
of HIV infection" that clearly
scares Mr. Yob. One can only
speculate as to where such a
gender-specific idea of sexual-
ity could originate.
If in fact Mr. Yob is as both-
ered by homo/bisexuality as he
claims I wish him luck in trying
to avoid having to look at those
who identify as such. While I
wish him luck, I do not believe
he will be successful because,
Mr. Yob, we are everywhere.
We are your friends, your pro-
fessors, your neighbors, your
police officers, your sales clerks,
your bankers, your doctors, your
nurses, your dentists, your ac-
countants, your dry cleaners,
your street cleaners, and we are
not going away. You see, Mr.
Yob, the injustice rests not in
the -fact that you must tolerate
that we exist, but that we must
endure your intolerance. We
have done so for years, and I
expect we will continue to do so
for some time, but what we will
not do is sit quietly and allow
inane, ill-informed opinions like
yours to continue to be spread in

To the Daily:
In response to John Yob's
Wednesday, March I letter r
garding the Diag Kiss-In, a few
important things need to be said.
The Kiss-In, while to Mr. Yob
and others, may have been "a
disgusting and demeaning dis-
- play," symbolized for some a
certain courage and openness
not always enjoyed by gay and
bisexual citizens.
These are freedoms that he@
erosexuals take for granted. The
idea, for those who just don't
understand, is that homosexu-
als deserve, and are guaranteed
constitutionally, the same rights
and liberties as straights.
This is not a difficult con-
cept to grasp. Yob's idea that
the University should "ban all
future activities like the 'Kis*
In"' is nothing more than advo-
cating outright discrimination
and denying members of the
gay community the right to live
in the same comfortable atmo-
sphere that heterosexuals do.
I agree 100 percent with
Yob that the University should
not, by any means, take to su
porting indecent exposure.
However, I am unaware of any
accepted definition of the term
"indecent exposure" that in-
cludes two people standing up,
fully clothed, and kissing and
embracing each other. Oh, and
let me say that I don't appreci-
ate Yob lumping all of us het-
erosexuals together and takio
the stance that a "gross injus-
tice" has been done to us by the
Kiss-In. I don't feel that way
about it, and most other ratio-
nally minded heterosexuals on

interim Ombudsman Jennifer Walters
Office of the Ombudsman

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