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December 10, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-10

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4- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 10, 1996

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'Tom Hayden sort of represents exactly what
(the University of) Michigan was at one time -
a place where activism was the norm.'
- MSA Vice President Probir Mehta,
discussing University alum Tom Hayden s legacy

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Inviting dangers
''must act on RHA suggestions soon

I r N E jE lz FAILS. F-vtKy

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- -H1- SAME


ME~ wo*)wTs

wo months ago, the Residence Halls
Association created a Security Task
Force to survey the status of campus securi-
ty in response to a rash of sexual assaults
that occurred earlier in the semester. Last
week, it reported its findings. In response to
the report, RHA unanimously voted to
establish the Board on Security - giving it
the responsibility to continue studying the
ongoing problem of campus crime. The
board is another hindrance in a series of
delays that must stop if RHA plans to take
1ction on the important issue of campus
safety. The University can take several
pUnediate steps to increase safety in the
=idence halls - further delay is foolish.
"Despite suggestions from many assorted
campus safety task forces, some University
idence hall doors are still propped open,
darn entrances remain unlocked most of
day and security measures like ID card
Wipes are still more common at residence
11 computing sites than they are at dorms'
16t doors.
"he task force's report included sugges-
qs, divided into three categories. Among
e ideas are more campus phones and blue
emergency phones, increased lighting
biund dorm areas, more ID card scanners
3building entrances and landscape mainte-
jance to avoid overgrown shrubbery -
4Nch could harbor criminals in hiding.
The report's recommendations and
endorsements are not insightful or new -
tie same ideas have been around for
Jionths. These suggestions were present
vo months ago - evidence that the task
Srce formation was a waste of time and
energy. The suggestions themselves were
C-poor, but restating the same ideas with-
out taking action brings campus no closer to
RHA's efforts to find solutions to safety

problems were admirable - but the long
delay has marred its attempts. A task force
report does nothing tangible to solve the
problem. Now is the time for action - not
more indecision and hesitation. RHA
President Randy Juip told The Michigan
Daily that he is "incredibly proud of the
work the task force has done." Considering
that the task force failed to produce any
unique suggestions and did not include a
definitive plan of action, his pride is
As the report said, the problem of cam-
pus security is "ongoing." However, RHA
could take steps now to help the situation
and continue searching for more solutions
at the same time. In addition to implement-
ing the suggestions mentioned in the report,
RHA should take a cue from some of suc-
cessful safety programs at other universi-
A program at New York City's Columbia
University, for example, established many
"safe havens" at local businesses where stu-
dents in danger can seek safety. The pro-
gram could work well at the University,
especially considering the heavy nighttime
foot traffic on State Street and South
University Avenue.
At Michigan State University, most
dorms and classroom buildings require an
ID card swipe to prevent unauthorized
entry. The University could expand its cur-
rent ID-entry program - creating places
for students to find refuge in the middle of
RHA had eight weeks to find the answer
to a very important question. Instead of act-
ing on its ideas, RHA and the University sit
stagnant. Juip must lead RHA forward -
and prod the University - to solve the
problem by putting to use its ideas and

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ANDtley HD S c3eEpJ FI~

Wedding bells
Hawaii court wisely allows gay marriage

G ay couples across America breathed a
sigh of relief last week as a Hawaii
circuit court ruled that the Aloha state can-
not deny marriage licenses to same-sex
couples. Although the ruling only affects
Hawaii, every other state in the union is
watching the legal battle. The state will
most likely appeal the decision; the case
could eventually end up in the U. S.
Supreme Court. Regardless of future
appeals, the circuit court decision was right
- gay and lesbian couples should be
allowed to marry in any state at any time.
The government should uphold this right.
the Hawaii case dates back to 1991
when two gay men and two lesbian couples
sued the state, which was denying them the
right to marry. The case worked its way up
to the Hawaii Supreme Court in 1993; the
court ruled that the denial of marriage
licenses was tantamount to gender discrim-
ination, which the state forbids under
Hawaii's constitutional Equal Rights
Amendment. The state supreme court sent
the case back to the lower court to give the
state a chance to justify the discrimination.
However, last week's circuit court ruling
proved otherwise.
While some of the arguments in the case
are specific to Hawaii, the larger issue is of
national importance. Once distilled, the
issue involves the government's role in
same-sex marriage. The government should
not have the right to ban same-sex mar-
riages. Gays and lesbians have the freedom
to marry; denying this freedom to homo-
sexual couples is discrimination. The gov-

Many opponents of same-sex marriage
- usually conservative Republicans -
offer many reasons why same-sex marriage
should be illegal. First, they claim that
same-sex partners wish to marry simply to
get any economic benefits that come with
legal marriage. For example, many corpora-
tions and government agencies give spous-
es health care benefits. However, the vows
of marriage are more sacred than pure eco-
nomic benefits; ironically, such rhetoric
merely cheapens the purpose of marriage
and serves no purpose but to stigmatize
innocent individuals.
Moreover, opponents claim they are try-
ing to uphold moral standards; they believe
that the lifestyle of same-sex couples is
aberrant and improper behavior. However,
they are missing the point: Allowing two
people in love to marry each other --
despite their sexual preference - actually
reinforces the institution of marriage. In
America, the divorce rate has skyrocketed
to nearly 50 percent. Denying the right to
marry will never curb the spiraling divorce
rate. Allowing gay marriages will further
the goals of the institution of marriage.
Hawaii's decision comes just months
after Congress passed and President
Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage
Act, a piece of legislation that says the fed-
eral government will not recognize same-
sex marriage and that states do not have to
recognize gay marriages that occurred in
other states. In light of DOMA, Hawaii's
decision to allow same-sex marriages is
crucial. It is important for judges and legis-

Red Cross'
blood policy
is correct
In my original letter, I
was inappropriately conde-
scending ("LaLonde is too
risky as blood donor,
12/2/96). A friend suggested
that it came across with a
"holier than thou" attitude,
which I did not intend, and,
for that, I apologize. But the
point of the letter still stands.
The Red Cross does not
allow homosexuals to give
blood. In the same way, it
does not allow numerous
other groups of people who
may have been exposed to
AIDS to donate blood.
Behavior has consequences.
One of those consequences,
in the case of sexual activity,
is potential exposure to the
AIDS virus, and, therefore,
being disqualified from giv-
ing blood, for a sufficient
period of time to determine
absolutely that the virus is
not present.
I have asked a friend in
the medical community to
write his own letter respond-
ing to the medical implica-
tions more directly, so I'll
leave further comment to
him. And I won't even
approach the ridiculous idea
that condoms offer adequate
protection against AIDS. But
I feel compelled to answer
one of the points brought up
in last Wednesday's letters
(Blood donation a 'Riske'
business," 12/4/96).
The argument that 1, or
the implication that everyone
poses a risk is simply not
true. As hard as it may be for
some to believe, most of my
friends and I can say with
confidence that we pose
absolutely no risk to the
blood supply or to a future
partner. We have made a sim-
ple decision, to abstain from
being sexually involved until
marriage. And when married,
to remain faithful to that
partner until death. Is it easy?
No, we are all human. But
medically, practically and
morally it is the right deci-
sion. And it is one in which I
would invite all the students
on this campus to join.
Buses lack
crisis tools
As a passenger on the
University's transportation
system, I feel obligated to
inform the public of a serious
safety concern.
As some people may or
may not know, the doors to
the University buses are con-

Hopefully, the transporta-
tion department can do some-
thing about this.
Riske, Daily
are indecent
I am writing to express
my anger and disappointment
with Jim Riske's letter
("LaLonde is too risky as
blood donor," 12/2/96). I find
it very frustrating to be con-
stantly reminded of the fact
that I live in a society where
bigotry and ignorance are so
prevalent. I wonder if there
will ever be a time when peo-
ple like Jim can look past
their ignorance and accept
people for who they are. But
whether or not this time ever
comes, you can rest assured
that the gay community will
still continue to prosper.
It disappoints me to real-
ize that I go to a university
where such issues as homo-
sexuality and homophobia
are still being debated over
when there are so many other
issues that we need to be
working to overcome.
Furthermore, I find it upset-
ting and offensive that the
Daily would publish such
garbage, supporting and even
encouraging this type of
ignorance and hatred. The
letter by Riske was nothing
short of gay bashing, just in
written form. Why does soci-
ety let homophobia build a
barrier between itself and a
community that contributes
so much to society?
Everyone could learn a lot
from the gay community. It
wasn't Ryan LaLonde that
Riske was attacking and
seeking to hurt - it was the
entire gay community and all
of its allies.
And to Jim, despite the
fact that you made assump-
tions about my friend Ryan,
you also enlightened the
University on the fact that
you have no idea what it
means to be at high risk.
Simply being gay does not
put one at high risk of con-
tracting HIV and other
STD's. As Cory Fryling stat-
ed so eloquently in his letter
("Not all gay men will get
HIV AIDS," 11/1996),it is
unprotected sexual activity
that puts one in the high risk
category, the kind of sexual
activity that one engages in
regardless of his or her sexu-
al orientation. Obviously,
either you didn't read the
Daily that day, or you didn't
get the message.
So, heterosexuals can get
HIV and AIDS and many
already do have these dis-
eases. It is people like you,
Riske, that threaten the
nation's blood supply,
because you think that you

HIV is contracted, not just
because you don't know the
meaning of high risk, not just
because you have no com-
punction about writing such
garbage, and not just because
you disrespected so many
gays, lesbians, bisexuals and
transgendered individuals on
this campus. No, I am hurt
most by the fact that the
University is doing nothing
to stop this type of thing
from happening again.
That letter, that hate mail,
was not just directed to one
individual, but to every mem-
ber of the gay community.
And it was distributed to
everyone on campus who
patronizes the Daily. That
hurt. But hopefully, you
Riske, and the Daily, will
allow this chain of ignorance
to end with this letter.
Growing up in a heterosexist
society, attending both pri-
vate and public schools, has
given me the opportunity to
learn more than enough
about heterosexuality and the
heterosexual community.
Maybe nowit's time for
Riske and the Daily to learn
something about the gay
Plan will help
As a student member of
the Curriculum 2000 com-
mittee, I would like to
respond to Andrea Tawil's let-
ter on Dec. 5 ("Curriculum
2000 will not speed gradua-
tion"). Curriculum 2000 is
more than combining some
computing courses and sub-
stituting an English require-
ment. It is the first reorgani-
zation of the Engineering
Undergraduate Curriculum in
more than 30 years.
The final report recom-
mends sweeping changes in
the method and content of the
curriculum. A main pillar of
Curriculum 2000 is the 4-4-8
class schedule where a student
will take four four-credit
classes in eight terms.
Departments are now required
to redesign their entire cur-
riculum to fit this model.
Another pillar of the
Curriculum 2000 plan is the
Simultaneous Undergraduate
Graduate Studies Program,
which allows Engineering
undergraduates to use up to
nine credits of their courses
to count for graduate school
enabling a student to get both
a graduate and undergraduate
degree in five years instead
of the current six. I invite
anyone to read the report of
the committee on the web at
http//www.engin. umich.
nic_2000. As a student mem-

Who will be ou*
leader in 2000?
C heck your watches. The 2000
New Hampshire primary is only a
bit over three years away. The cam:.
paign begins soon after the 1998 elec-
tion - only two years away. Fund rais-
ing begins even sooner. While the
Republican field appears wide oe ,
the Democrats are
already falling into
place: Al Gore vs.
Dick Gephardt is
sure to be the big
s h o wd own.
Remember, these
two faced off in the
1988 primary and
did not, shall we
say, get on very
While handicap- SAMUEL
ping a race that is GOODSTEIN
more than three
years away is usually a tall task, this
matchup is already fairly predictable.
Here is the early scoop: Gore is already
trying to seal up the primary. He hopes
to unite the two major groups that
impact Democratic primaries, call them
traditional Democrats and new
Democrats, to build a coalition stron
enough to squash any Gephardt effort
Gore certainly has a few advantages
that make him the early favorite. For
one, he is the vice president, and as
such, his only job is to smile when
things go well and hide in his office
when things go poorly. The vice presi-
dent gets a lot of press (almost never
bad) and has almost unparalleled name
recognition. Two, as vice president he
has unbelievable fund raising power -
on any day of the week, the vice presi-
dent can out-raise the minority leader
of the House in funds. Three, Gore has
the advantage of unlimited access to the
White House - as the primary nears,
he will show up at Rose Garden ceri.6
monies more and more. Finally, Gore
has almost nothing to do until the elec-
tion. Besides reinventing government a
few more times, his eyes are on 2000-
and he is getting ready.
Gephardt, on the other hand, does
not have the institutional advantages
that his rival enjoys. Not only does he
have to worry about running for the
House again in 1998, he has to play'
third fiddle in Congress behind Newt
and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) - and often
even Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). His:
opportunities to get on the news are
not nearly as commonplace as Gore's,
and as minority leader his unenviab
job is to oppose everything that a more
conciliatory Republican Party will
offer - rest assured that the GOP will
not serve up their electoral hopes on a,
platter like they did in the 104th
Congress. Finally, Gephardt is more
likely to irritate members of his party
as minority leader than Gore is as vice
president - and primary time is when
people come to cash in their favors.
All is not lost for the University La#
School graduate. Throughout the sum-
mer, Gephardt crisscrossed the country
campaigning for his Democratic col-
leagues. At nearly every stop, Gephardt
surely made it clear to the candidate
that he was doing them a favor that one
day could be repaid -namely, support
in that state's primary. While Gore
stumped for candidates as well,
Gephardt may have the upper hand. As
minority leader, he gets to dole o
committee assignments for Hou
Democrats - to the loyalists go the
spoils. Gephardt will use whatever

power he has in Congress - including
committee assignments - to recruit
supporters. In addition, he will try to
differentiate House Democrats from an
administration that will often anger tra-
ditional Democrats in their willingness
to compromise with Newt and Co.
Tradition, after all, is what this ra
is all about. Gephardt represents tradi-
tional Democrats - unions will be his
strongest base of support - and will
try to contrast himself with a Clinton
administration that has moved further
right than the Nixon administration.
While this strategy may not appeal to
general-election voters, candidates
who represent core elements of a
party's constituency, as Gephardt does,
do very well in New Hampshire and
Iowa. Tradition, however, is changii
- and Gore is ready to capitalize on
this. Bill Clinton demonstrated that the
Democrat most resembling a New
Deal liberal need not be a lock for the
nomination. This fact has become
institutionalized in the rising power of
the Super Tuesday primaries - as
Southern Democrats get more say in
the nomination process, people like Al
Gore thrive. Dick Gephardt may be;
competitive in Iowa, New Hampshire
and maybe even Michigan - but how
far do you think he will get in the
South? So Gephardt's union support
will carry him through a few of the
early states, but Gore's organization
and Southern-moderate ties will carry

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