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April 06, 1995 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-06

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 6, 1995 - 5

LEm~rRs

*Outgoing LSA-SG
officers deserve
commendation
To the Daily:
On behalf of all LSA students I
would like to thank outgoing LSA-
Student Government President Ryan
Boeskool and Vice President Sherry
Martens for all they have done for
LSA students. When Ryan and Sherry
ran for office, they were indepen-
dents. They won because of their fo-
cus on issues and dedication to stu-
dents, not because a party pulled them
through. From the start, .Ryan and
Sherry worked hard to transform a
government which was in shambles
and experiencing a real leadership
crisis into what is now easily the most
respected and effective student gov-
ernment on campus.
While their counterparts on MSA
were bickering and garnering head-
lines, the LSA government quietly
passed reforms which help all stu-
dents. From the money-back guaran-
tee for unsatisfied students, to the
LSA Computer Conference and News
Group, to the Public Issues Forum on
Pass/Fail and the upcoming ROE fo-
rum, the LSA government got things
done. Because many LSA students
were not aware of everything their
government could do for them, the
Outreach Program was started where
representatives made weekly presen-
tations to different student organiza-
tions. This greatly increased funding
requests and interest in what the gov-
ernment was doing. Perhaps the great-
est tribute to Ryan and Sherry's hard
work in making the LSA Government
legitimate and well respected again is
that around twice as many students
voted in the recent LSA elections. In
a time when all we hear about is
student apathy, Ryan and Sherry made
people care again. Unfortunately, the
new LSA President and Vice Presi-
dent have never been to a meeting in
their lives, and therefore have never
had a chance to see Ryan and Sherry
in action. Hopefully, the new admin-
istration will be quick learners and
carry on the programs the outgoing
government started. Ryan and Sherry
left big shoes to fill, and as an LSA
S student, I thank them for that.
Charlie Spies
LSA senior
Environmental
activism needed
in campus life
*To the Daily:
j I am writing to express my concern
over what seems to be a very sensitive
issue: apathy concerning the environ-
ment. As a member of the Rain Forest
Action Movement, I represented the
coalition of activists that was on the
Diag on Wednesday, March 22, dem-
onstrating/publicizing against our Re-
publican Congress members' "Con-
tract With America." Despite newspa-
per and even television coverage, most
passersby ignored our petitions to
House SpeakerNewtGingrich to hurry

on their way to class. Yes, it's under-
standable that not everyone agrees with
the petition, butwhatis important is the
nature of the petition, which is de-
signed as an "Environmental Bill of
Rights", rather than an outright con-
gressionalmandate.Thefivemaingoals
of the petition aim to "Prevent Pollu-
tion", "Preserve America's naturalheri-
tage", "End the give-aways of public
assets [intending to discourage oil and

energy company subsidies]", "Con-
serve America's natural resources",
and "Get the Big Money out of poli-
tics". What is wrong with the ideals of
Protecting and Preserving? The cur-
rent House of Representatives has
proven that when we, as voters, choose
not to preserve and protect, we disin-
tegrate and destroy our resources. As
part of a group of concerned environ-
mental activists on campus, I urge
students to get, and remain, involved
with the environmental movement.
Environmentalism does not have to
be a faction or side;it can be a lifestyle.
Sarah DeFlon
SNRE senior
Gender-based
discrimination
still exists in U.S.
To the Daily:
I am curious about the egalitarian
utopia from which Randall Juip wrote
the letter that appeared in the Daily on
March 17 ("Sexism by any other name
is still sexism"), in which he disputed
Sandy Eriksen's critique of a column
written by James R. Cho. Unfortu-
nately, I'm afraid it only exists in his
mind, and his simplistic interpreta-
tion of sexism only exposes his fail-
ure to recognize the complexity of
gender politics in this country.
Even while he claims he has "never
oppressed a woman," there are sev-
eral occasions in his letter in which he
perpetuates notions historically used
to subordinate them. He claims Ms.
Eriksen's argument "demonstrates her
lack of reason." The idea that woman
are emotional, irrational beings dates
back to Plato, and has been used to
invalidate women's intellectual abili-
ties ever since. He also assumes that
"women and men are fundamentally
different," and "men are better than
women at some things, and women
are better than men at some things."
Although, outside of reproductive
differentiation, this statement is ge-
netically indefensible, it has been used
to explain why women are generally
nurses, secretaries and teachers while
men are doctors, executives and sci-
entists. Distancing himself from the
role of oppressor is not as simple as
making a declaration of such, because,
as the feminist scholar Marilyn French
once stated, "All men profit from the
exploitation of women. Whether they
want to or not. Whether they're con-
scious or not." By occupying a posi-
tion of privilege in our society, and
reinforcing the ideas that have cre-
ated and justified this position, Mr.
Juip participates in and perpetuates
the oppression of women.
Furthermore, he seems to think
that preferential hiring policies are
intended to function as "retribution"
for "some sort of vague, historical
injustice." He even admits that "men
have been hired on the basis of sex for
years," but he claims that any attempt
to counteract this through policies
favoring the employment of women
results in "the same type of oppres-
sion" being "reversed onto men."

Obviously, Mr. Juip does not under-
stand the meaning of the word "op-
pression," as it is impossible for the
oppressed to simultaneously subju-
gate their oppressors. But perhaps
sexism was eradicated in that utopia
he thinks he inhabits, although for
those of us living outside that warm,
fuzzy world, systematic discrimina-
tion against women didn't magically
disappear with the right to vote or the
rise of Women's Lib.
The unfortunate truth is that the
"level playing field" of which Mr.
Juip speaks with such fondness does
not currently exist in this country.
Preferential hiring policies are in-
tended to counteract the social, psy-
chological and economic sexism
women face in the workplace right
now, with the expectation that some-
day our male-dominated society will
indeed act on the idea that "ability ...
should be the determining factor" in
deciding "the best person for the job."
In the meantime, I suggest that Mr.
Juip acknowledge the real discrimi-
nation that occurs in this country, and
realize that he is not its victim, be-
cause fighting against policies that
promote the employment of women
simply ensures that the imaginary
egalitarian utopia that he inhabits will
never exist for the rest of us. Unless,
beyond all his protests to the contrary,
that suits him just fine.
Sheri Trudeau
RC senior
Project Smile
a waste of
money, energy
To the Daily:
We are writing in response to the
week-long "Friendly Days" sponsored
by Project Smile. We believe the week
was a disappointing display of activ-
ism that is contrary to the critical
thinking skills most students are work-
ing toward. Instead of analyzing why
it is students are not friendly towards
one another, Project Smile attempted
to bribe students into friendliness with
games and free food. It would be nice
if people were friendlier to one an-
other, but genuine friendliness does
not come from free food and games, it
comes from respect. In order to ac-
complish this, issues such as sexism
and racism must be dealt with. On
Friday when a student attempted to
voice these questions by chalking on
the Diag, she was rudely asked to stop
and what she wrote was erased by
students from Project Smile. It's a
shame that 60 students with a vision
and potential to make change on this
campus decided to spend their week
giving out free bagels. It's a shame
that these students spent the week
smiling at everyone, telling everyone
to be happy, to not worry, that every-
thing is great rather than dealing with
some real issues.
The week represents more than
free food and smiley faces. It repre-
sents an effort on the part of the Uni-
versity administration to throw money
at anything that makes the University

seem perfect. The administration
jumped at this opportunity to fund a
project that covers up the realities of
this campus and the issues students
deal with every day. The inequality of
the system is magnified when certain
student groups can snap their fingers
and receive funding to hand out smiley
stickers for a week. Most student
groups that are actually working to-
ward social change receive similar
amounts of funding for the entire year.
We have written this letter be-
cause we feel it is important to criti-
cally analyze motives and sources of
funding behind student actions. If we
are more aware of student organiza-
tions and their goals, then hopefully
we can prevent our tuition dollars
from being spent on smiley stickers.
Julie Lubeck
RC junior
Payal Parekh
LSA senior
Join effort to
reduce waste
at the Union
To the Daily:
In the coming weeks a proposal
will be introduced to reduce waste in
the MUG, the food court in the Michi-
gan Union. It proposes that the cur-
rent bag per order, whether eat in or
eat out, be replaced with a tray system
for those customers eating in. We feel
that the current policies of the eateries
that serve food in the Union is waste-
ful and does not provide an environ-
mentally friendly image for the Uni-
versity. As part of the proposal a large
industrial dishwasher would need to
be purchased for all the restaurants to
use. This dishwasher would hope-
fully be purchased by the University.
A petition has been drawn up and
in approximately 2 weeks over a thou-
sand signatures have been collected
by the five group members. We feel
that this represents a sincere concern
by the students of this University's
environmental practices and should
be considered seriously. If you wish
to give your support to this cause and
have not signed a petition please write
Andrew Fishburn at 405 E. Jefferson
Apt. #7, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 or
send e-mail to fishburn@umich.edu.
Andrew Fishburn
LSA junior

Students should utilize bus systems

To the Daily:
We encourage students to take ad-
vantage of the excellent public trans-
portation available on campus, namely
the University buses and the AATA.
For many students, we believe, taking
the bus to Meijer's or to North Campus
is hardly considered.
We do not believe, however, that
this lack of action is due to selfishness
or disregard for the environment.
Frankly, for many of us, ignorance
plays the major role. Information re-
garding bus schedules, routes, and
fees is often buried in a student hand-
book or displayed poorly at bus stops.
It is the case that the difference be-
tween choosing one option over the
other can boil down to which one is
more familiar to the student.
For this reason, we have contacted
AATA and the University to make
user-friendly information readily avail-
able to students. Realizing that stu-
dents living in dorms are without per-
sonal transportation, we requested

AATA to provide dorm residents with
literature detailing The Ride's ser-
vices. You can help, too, by getting in
touch with AATA and the University
and suggesting that their services
would be better utilized if students
were in the know.
The advantages of public trans-
portation need little explanation. Hy-
drocarbon, carbon monoxide, and ni-
trogen oxide emissions from short-
distance trips would be reduced (these
contribute to the greenhouse effect and
acid rain); parking worries would be
alleviated; and safety and reliability
would be heightened, notcompromised.
Public transportation in Ann Arbor is
certainly a viable option, and we need
to learn how to take advantage of it.

Rick Bernstein
LSA junior
Mark Blumberg
David Miller
Joe Shereda
LSA seniors

..

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