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September 16, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-16

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 16, 1996

olIe £idhgrn &g

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily s editorial board.
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.



Making room

'All of that would be bad enough,
but it is just the beginning.'
- Candace Gingrich, spokesperson for the Human Rights
Campaign and sister of House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.),
quantifying the amount of anti-gay activity in
Congress in a statement May 16

Rearranging the 'U'
T he University has made a promise to
its students to provide an environment
conducive to learning and expanding hori-
zons. The Division of Student Affairs' task
force's recommended way to do this is to
restructure completely residence hall life to
facilitate living-learning communities.
The basis for the living-learning pro-
grams is a responsibility that the University
has always felt it must fulfill. In loco par-
entis, despite denial by University officials,
is alive and well-- and incarnate in the liv-
ing-learning programs. The doctrine
promises that the University will take the
place of students' parents. Students do not
need an extra set of parents - they need the
freedom to grow and to learn to live inde-
The living-learning programs task force
report has promised to expand the six cur-
rent programs to I1 by 1998. The report
also calls for major restructuring in the pre-
sent residence hall system. These proposed
changes include the redesignation of Betsey
Barbour and Helen Newberry halls as co-
ed. Students have mixed opinions on the
Barbour-Newberry change. Some residents
of the dorms would like to keep the cozy,
quiet environment. Other students feel sin-
gle-sex residence halls are unnecessary.
However, the University may make them
both coed, or designate one all-male and
one all-female.
A more troubling change will affect the
hill dorms. The task force plans to build a
new dining center for the combined use of
Mosher-Jordan, Alice Lloyd, Couzens and
Stockwell - although Mary Markley will
retain its dining area. Alan Levy, director of
Housing public affairs, has promised that
the new facility will be more in-tune with

for iving-learning
"1996, not 1976." More likely, students will
find the new "modern" facility is not worth
the trade-off of having to leave home to eat.
A consolidated dining hall sounds more like
a zoo than a kitchen. Comfort and food
quality will not be enhanced by quantity.
The new dining center would free up
space in the dorms to support the expanded
living-learning programs. The extra space
would help bring the classroom closer to
Having classes nearby works in the
Residential College, where students specif-
ically apply to a small-school environment.
But the rest of the University thrives on its
size, giving students a home separate from
their work day.
Another of the task force's ideas is to
build a new residence hall. The "Lounge
Lizards" - students displaced into the
Bursley Hall commons area as a result of
Housing's miscalculation - as well as the
large first-year class sizes of this year and
last, are evidence that a new hall is neces-
sary. However, the living-learning programs
have claimed this new facility so it may not
be able to be of full use to students.
Randall Juip, president of the Residence
Halls Association and member of the ta k
force, told The Michigan Daily that "liing-
learning communities are the next big trend
in undergraduate education." While this
may be true,'they do limit the exposure of
first-year students by trying to cut the huge
University into smaller, more manageable
pieces. The "leaders and the best" do not
need to follow the latest trend.
The money expended on these proects
could find better uses, such as expandig
efforts for student diversity, rather than lim-
iting them.

Holy disunion

Senate undercuts
O nce upon a time, the definition of
marriage was not in question. In fact,
marriage was an accepted norm - among
opposite-sex couples. But today, with a
soaring divorce rate and a push for legal-
ized same-sex marriage, Congress is
attempting to narrow the definition to the
width of a coffee straw.
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted in favor
of the Defense of Marriage Act - a bill
that effectively bans same-sex marriages.+
The act stipulates that legal unions are
between one man and one woman, prevent-
ing both polygamy and gay marriage.
Individual states could recognize same-sex
marriage, but at the state-to-state and feder-
al levels, same-sex marriage would not;
The Senate also voted down the;
Employment Non-Discrimination Act by a+
one-vote margin. The act would have out-
lawed job discrimination on the basis of+
sexual orientation. Although other kinds of
job discrimination are illegal already,
Republicans refuse to give up this last cor-;
ner. Taken together, both bills send a mes-l
sage of intolerance. The law should protect
the fundamental freedom to choose mar-
riage partners. Allowing same-sex mar-
riages does not undercut the institution of;
marriage; in fact, it bolsters the sanctity of
the American family. By allowing people to
marry their partner of choice, the family1
unit will be strengthened. Marriages based
on careful choices are less likely to end in
divorce. To limit this freedom is to legislate
morality - which makes for ridiculous
public policies.1

gay rights twice
of himself - he's back to his old tricks and
it smells like an election year. Once agaim,
by supporting the Defense of Marriage A td
he is co-opting a Republican issue.
Conservatives will not be able to use same-
sex marriages as a wedge. Although Clinton
often lets public-opinion polls dominate his
course of action, this is one instance where
he should put principle over politi's nd
decency over intolerance. Moreo er,
Clinton is wasting his time on an issu' that
will not make or break his election.
While some opponents of same-sex mar-
riages are genuinely opposed and not just
exploiting the issue for political gain, it is
disheartening to see any senator vote
against the anti-discrimination act. The bill
would guarantee civil rights for gay males
and lesbians - it does not grant them spe-
cial privileges, but puts them on an equal
playing field with other Americans. The
concept is not difficult: Individuals should
not be discriminated against for any reason,
including sexual orientation. A p'rson's
sexual preferences has nothing to do with
his or her job performance and will not
adversely affect the work environment. In
fact, such diversity could enhance the
workplace and help to create a more open
and tolerant society.
Both bills have pushed back the nation's
gains on civil rights. Lesbian, gay and
bisexual Americans are entitled to the same
freedoms as every American. Congress
should bring the non-discrimnination act up
for another cast of the die - one Democrat
committed to voting for the bill was n t
present for the roll-call vote. But Clinton s

Art Fair: A
time of joy
I am writing in response
to (the column) "Art Fair: A
time of woe for al" (9/6/96).
While I saw this theme
expressed in another opinion
column earlier this summer, I
did not respond since the
readers had experienced the
fair for themselves so they
were not limited in informa-
tion. However, I felt I should
respond to this one since I do
not want students not here
over the summer to be sub-
ject to ,lennifer Harvey's neg-
ative influence.
In my opinion, the Art
Fair was better than ever this
year in terms of the quality
and diversity of the art-
which included a booth for
School of Art students. I also
think it gives a much needed
boost for the local economy
during the summer when
most students are gone.
Thus, there is a need for a
new inlux of consumers of
excessive, wasteful luxuries
during the summer - like
elephant ears and Michigan
Memorabilia Crap. Knowing
how hard it is to get a job in
Ann Arbor's annual depres-
sion. I can appreciate the
crowds who come to buy,
bu. buy°
Anyway, all I really want
to say is that Art Fair was not
,a time of woe" for me - I
even bought a print from a
local artist. Imagine that!
'here was art at the art
W hat's the
rush?' edit
lacks proper
The Michigan Daily does
not want first-year students
to rush.
Why? Because it is too
costly or because there are
better organizations?
For a student newspaper
claiming to be objective, it is
most alarming how frequent-
ly the Daily attacks the Greek
community ("What's the
rush?" 9 10%96).
The Greek community
contributes a variety of
diverse activities to the stu-
dent experience.
These activities step
beyond "social involvement"
and focus on fostering a
commitment to the pursuit of
knowledge, building strong
friendships, developing lead-
ership skills and assisting the

Indeed, we are proud of
our achievements. We are not
preaching a superiority to
non-Greeks. We are content
in meeting our own goals and
hope that students yearning
to partake in a diverse experi-
ence will join us.
The initial costs of pledg-
ing should be a point of con-
sideration; however, most
organizations require a few
or donation for the expenses
of their activities. It is no die
ty. The opportunity of living
in a sorority or fraternity
affords a better value, and in
the long run, students save
money on the cost of living..
There are indeed many
great organizations that first-
year stdents have the oppor-
tunity to join and the Greek
community recognizes and
encourages outside involve-
Countless members par-
take in sports, and hold sig-
nificant positions of leader-
ship across the campus.
Participation outside the
Greek community adds to the
diversity of the student expe-
rience and it's implicit in our
Furthermore, while rush
may occur each semester, the
opportunity to rush each
chapter will not always be
A student may have to
wait until the following year
to participate in the full rush
process. While we do not
believe that this is bad, we
merely wish to clarify the
true options.
Ultimately, it is a personal
choice, and some first-year
students may wish to wait. To
say that it is better to wait is
a condescending statement to
any student.
If the Daily wants to pro-
tect student interests, it ought
not be selective in which
interests it chooses to protect.
Turning the
tables on
special rights
Given: It is, by federal
standards, illegal to fire an
employee or kick a tenant out
of an apartment simply
because that person is a con-
servative Christian.
It is. by federal standards,
perfectly legal to fire some-
one or kick a tenant out of an
apartment simply because
that person is gay.
By federal standards, it is
illegal to deny a straight cou-
ple's request for marriage,
k,, it is"r= . wJ lt

Greek life
I am writing in regard to
your Sept. 10 editorial on
Greek rush ("What's the
As an active member of
the Greek system, I would
like to resolve the numerous
misconceptions of fraternities
and sororities for you and
your readers. Your editorial
expressed concern about the
time commitment required by
houses. In fact, members of
my house are actively
inolved in many other stu-
dent organizations, ranging
From cheerleading and
wrestling to the University
Mentorship Program and The
Michigan Daily.
Concerns were also
expressed about the effect
that the Greek system has on
students' academic perfor-
Members of the Greek
system consistently have a
higher average CPA than the
average student not in a
house. On an even more
interesting note, first-year
students in a fraternity or
sorority also have higher
GPAs than non-Greek first-
year students.
The latter is likely due to
the fact that first-year stu-
dents in houses are able to
seek the guidance and advice
of older members so as to
avoid common first-year pit-
falls. There are few organiza-
tions on campus that allow
first-year students to interact
as extensively with upper-
From a financial stand-
point, most, if not all, houses
offer payment plans to mem-
bers who have problems pay-
ing right away. Also, one can-
not underestimate the bene-
fits of the eight-month lease
of fraternities and sororities
and the money it saves.
Every house on campus
takes part in activities that
help support philanthropic
The Greek system realizes
that vast resources are at its
disposal and is more than
happy to use them to help the
community. The Greek sys-
tem also helps make this
campus seem less intimidat-
ing to new students by intro-
ducing them to many people.
Rush is an important chance
for all students to explore
their options and find a
house where they feel com-
We are fortunate here at
the University to have such a
diverse group of houses so
many people can find a
house that is right for them. I
realize that like your opinion,
mine is somewhat biased, but

Co ILMrYHlsr 4
Defending the
M ay God forgive me. I am about
to air the family skeletons.
You see, on one side of my family we
have some conservative Christians.
And on the other side, some of my rel
atives are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Some ae atheists, some are
Catholic, some are
liberal, some are
Ohio State fans (a
moment of silence
for those who
have been dis-
owned). Some live
in the woods and
meditate and eat 4 >
berries. Some are
aging hippies;
some are aging
yuppies. Some are ADRIENNE
going nowhere JANNEY'
and some are just
plain nuts.
But I love them all.
(Oh no. She's one of tlose annoying
chicks who's gonna write some har-
mony column. Let's get out of her
now, guys.)
Nope. Wasn't even thinking about it.
And they're certainly not the harmo-
ny model.
I told my dad once that I voted for
Clinton in '92. He forgave me.
So I don't defend gay rights during
our Thanksgiving p licy fights, in
hopes that no one will mention the
future status of my soul.
Somehow, I grew tp to be a free-
thinking individual.
(So you're a Christian lesbian?)
Actually, I am neither. Thank you for
(Then get to the point.)
I would, if you 'would just STOP
So I was going o discuss here in
print what doesn't et said at the din-
ner table.
But it gets plenty f play in Congresi
these days.
Oit Tuesday, the jSenate approved a
bill intended to preyent same-sex mar-
riages, the Defens of Marriage Act.
The Senate then dfeated a bill to pre-
vent job discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation, the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act.
If DOMA propnents had their way,
we'd run all thole deviants out of our
country so that w could go back to the
good old days hen the rough an
tough men handled the nasty politics
while the anIs of their homes
(demurely) cooked them dinner. How
do you divide marriage into sex roles
if both spousesJ re the same sex?
Sen. James J ' rds (R-Vt.) believes
that the fate q each bill "genuinely
reflects the pul ic's feelings."
Au contraire!, Mr. Jeffords. A recent
Mellman Grogp poll revealed the utte4
insignificanceif a bill like DOMA to
most Americ~gs. A whopping 73 per-
cent polled fel Americans face more
important issp'es, and many view the
bill as political gaming. Only 17 per-
cent feel thati.Support or opposition of
such a bill if a compelling reason on
which to basl a vote for a candidate.
To put that in perspective, Medicare
weighs in a 54 percent who would
base a vote on it.
Nobody a ed me. Mayb I won't1
vote for Clinton again in '96. Our fear-
less leader iidicated he would sign the
bill, reminding us that he has always

opposed same-sex marriage.
Sorry, Mr's President, I was too busy
listening to ou defend gays in the mil-
itary to fi re out that you were a
spineless, t o-faced bigot.
And I di n't notice Billy crying in
his beer over the defeat of ENDA
which he claims to favor.
As for Clinton's beloved public (he
feels our pain), while 37 percent feel
they couljd support a bill such as
DOMA, the opposition is not far
behind at'0 percent. And 34 percent
are simply undecided. I don't know
where Jeffords gets his information,
but 39 percent thought such a bill
(whether they would support it or not),
was unnecessary. Again, 30 percent
were unsbre.
Ah, numbers. And all the numbers
prove is that Americans have not bro-
ken the barrier on this particular issue
yet. Our, legislation finally reflects
some progress on sexism and racism
- but leterosexism is as flaming as
racism vIas in the Lincoln years, when
a Negrd was only a percentage of a
real person.
Real people do real things - they
hold down jobs, they get married, they
have children. They eat breakfast.
And real people deserve to stand
under the umbrella of American free-
doms and protections.
"Defense of Marriage Act?" But I
have never had to defend my right to





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