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October 11, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 11, 1996

ZFIhz llitigan utg

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. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Wranging with rhetodc
MSA resolution could restrict speech

'Bill Clinton has made more strides In foreign policy
than Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and
George Bush all added up.'
- Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard, a Democrat,
discussing President Clintons foreign policy.

During the last few weeks, it's been
nearly impossible to avoid the chalked
messages on sidewalks across campus. The
College Republicans began the new form of
communication earlier this semester by
writing pro-Republican messages in chalk.
Then, last Sunday, the Queer Unity Project
undertook the same actions, spreading its
message of tolerance for the gay communi-
ty. However, the two groups clashed Sunday
evening, when some members of the
College Republicans distorted some of
QUP's messages.
The Michigan Student Assembly passed
a resolution Tuesday night, condemning
groups that spread anti-gay messages and
authorizing the assembly to charge groups
who participate in such activities under the
Central Student Judiciary. While the chalk-
ing incident has led to an uncomfortable sit-
uation for the groups involved, MSA has no
business threatening to punish student
groups who wish to exercise their freedom
of speech.
. Ryan LaLonde, QUP member and chair
of MSA's Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/
Transgendered task force proposed the res-
olution. The proposal does not mention any
group by name, nor does it specifically
allude to Sunday's chalking incident.
However, LaLonde has said that the resolu-
tion arose out of the clash between the two
The first part of MSA's resolution is not
necessarily objectionable. It states that the
assembly "strongly opposes anti-gay hate,
rhetoric, graffiti, discrimination or vio-
lence." In fact, it is important for the assem-
bly to assert such convictions as it works to
foster a tolerant environment for all
University students. However, the resolu-
tion also says that the assembly will work to
uphold "the sense of community and

respect among student organizations. This
should be without infringing upon the rights
of freedom of expression." Yet this clause
could limit some groups' freedom of
expression in an attempt to protect others'.
Moreover, the resolution includes a
threat, should such activities continue. It
says that the student organization "will be
brought in for a judicial review with CSJ.
With possible sanctions including: revoca-
tion of student funds or temporary/perma-
nent suspension of student group status."
CSJ is an independent judiciary body that
has the authority to take punitive action
against student groups.
While QUP members have the right to
be angry about the chalking incident, the
College Republicans are entitled to express
their speech in any way they choose.
Freedom of speech and expression is one of
the most basic tenets of American democra-
cy - MSA must take part in protecting it.
By threatening punitive action against such
groups, MSA is doing the opposite - it is
diminishing -free speech.
The clause will cause student groups to
think twice about exercising their protected
freedom of speech. While it could cut down
on the amount of hate messages that some
groups spread, it effectively threatens their
rights to express their messages. If any
group's speech is limited, then a precedent
would be set for further incidents - and
could set the University community on the
slippery slope to censorship.
While MSA and members of the
University community have the right to
voice their opposition to student groups that
spread messages of hate, they do not have
the right to try and limit such messages.
Instead, they should allow freedom to flour-
ish and let the marketplace of ideas weed
out hateful and ignorant rhetoric.

must deal with
other people's
always disregarded the snippy litt
messages inside the bathroom stal
at Angell Hall. Not only were some of
them completely revolting, but some
were sad reminders that racist and
homophobic attitudes still exist -
even in the minds
of a few morons
who like to write
on bathroom
I was obviously
naive in this
thinking. On a
politically correct
campus, it is easy r.
to forget about the :
bigots in ourKTI
midst, because
they're too afraid HUTCHINS
to voice their views in the open. They
write on bathroom walls. They tell
jokes to their bigoted friends whenno
one else is around. They talk behir
people's backs. They make nasty con-
ments to lesbians holding hands or to
peopleswho "appear" to be gay based
on dress or mannerisms.
But in class, they're all for tolerance.
They wait until late on a Sunday
night to voice their opinions in idiotic
alterations of pro-gay chalk messages.
doing nothing for this campus but
show it that it has a long way to go
before it's tolerant.
There are no anti-gay rallie
Nobody dares put down the demon-
strators at the annual Valentine's Day
Kiss-In - an admirable display-of
respect and love on the Diag when
gays and bisexuals can feel comfort-
able kissing in public, if only for a
Sometimes I think it might be easier
to know who the enemy is. In
Zimbabwe homosexuality is expl ici6
ly illegal and "un-African accordin
to the country's president. At least the
gays in Zimbabwe know where they
stand. There's a written policy to fight
against. Here, just as homosexuals and
bisexuals often have to hide in the
shadows, so do the homophobes. And
the invisibility of both groups makes it
difficult to address the issue. How can
you fight against an enemy who won't
even show its face? And with allies
who are afraid to show theirs?
College Republicans
should claim responsi-
bility for the hate

The renter's friend
AATU's Maurer leaves a legacy'of advocacy

T hroughout the past four years, the Ann
Arbor Tenants' Union has seen a vast
improvement in its structural and adminis-
trative organization. Pattrice Maurer,
AATU's coordinator for the past four years
and a Rackham student, has had a tremen-
dous impact on AATU's improved organiza-
tion and stature on campus. The entire
University community - and especially
students who rent in Ann Arbor - will
greatly miss Maurer's leadership.
AATU is a student organization that
helps University students settle disputes
with landlords at no cost. AATU helps to
inform students of their rights and responsi-
bilities in rental housing. With an estimated
40 percent of University students living in
local houses or apartments, AATU's service
is a valuable asset. Most students would be
ignorant of their rights without this service,
and students would be at the mercy of their
landlords. AATU works to ensure that land-
lords treat their renters with respect - and
that landlords follow tenant laws.
Maurer was a dedicated director who
never spared effort in fighting for renters.
One of her main legacies was working with
the Michigan Student Assembly to increase
its funding. In 1993, some MSA members
wanted to dramatically slash funding to
AATU - allegations of misappropriate
usage of funds surrounded the tenants'
union. The result of several audits revealed
no wrongdoing on the part of AATU; MSA
still allocated less money compared to pre-
vious years. After the 1993 incident,

lobbied for increased funds from the stu-
dent government.
Maurer was responsible for organizing
AATU's administration and making sure
that everything ran smoothly. AATU is now
in better shape than it was before she
became coordinator. She developed a
strong network of staff and placed an
emphasis on phone counseling with dis-
tressed tenants.
As director, Maurer often dealt with a
great deal of stress. Often, coordinators do
not last as long as four years. The coordina-
tor is faced with continual conflict - trying
to help students deal with feisty landlords is
not an easy job. By all accounts, Maurer
kept her cool under fire. Moreover, Maurer
went out of her way to meet many
University administrators and Ann Arbor
City Council members. Such initiative
helped the union develop better relations
with the community.
She continually fought against tenant
discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Maurer, who is a lesbian, withstood attacks
on her sexual orientation - but never caved
in or gave up. Her tough stance for equality
allowed groups who often go under-repre-
sented to have a right to live in rented hous-
ing, just like any other student at the
Filling Maurer's place at AATU will not
be easy. Her strength, determination and
ability to resolve conflicts will be hard to
match. Under her leadership, AATU
increased in strength, respect and reputa-

Opening the
tunnel will be
Justification for the recent
violence in Israel has been
unjustly and falsely blamed
upon Israel's opening of an
entrance to an archaeological
tunnel in the Old City of
Jerusalem. The tunnel passes
alongside the Western Wall in
the Jewish Quarter and termi-
nates with the newly opened
entrance 250 yards away
from the Al Aksa compound
in the Muslim Quarter.
Lies and fears were fabri-
cated that this tunnel "threat-
ens" Arab sovereignty over
their holy sites. Religious
holy sites in Jerusalem are
freely accessible to people of
all religions and creeds,
which is in sharp contrast to
pre-1967 conditions when
Israel did not have sovereign-
ty over all of Jerusalem.
This tunnel has been
excavated for the past 17
years by archaeologists and
tourists of all nationalities
have had access to the tunnel
in the past. I have visited
many archaeological sites in
Israel, including this particu-
lar tunnel, and tourism to
these places strengthens one's
appreciation for the histories,
cultures and religions of the
region. A more accessible
passage to the tunnel would
allow more tourists to fre-
quent the site and therefore
providing an economic boost
to all four quarters of the Old
City: Christian, Muslim,
Armenian and Jewish. The
tunnel does not, in any way,
pose a harm to Muslim holy
sites and violence cannot and
should not be attributed toa
this tourist effort.
Just as the United States
would never succumb or
yield to violence, so Israel
should not be expected to
close the entrance in light of
the recent events. Reality
shows that an opening of an
archaeological tunnel in the
Old City has been used as an
instrument of incitement and
a catalyst to spark violent
Palestinian protests, which
should not and will not fur-
ther any significant peace
A solution for
'U' parking
Recently I was wandering
the North Commuter Lot in
search of a parking space.
(No, I didn't find one -
there aren't any between 9
a.m. and noon, but I kept try-

where he's going? It's a 15-
minute walk to the edge of
campus (or a five-minute
skate for me.) I don't even
want to know how long that
would take on crutches.
There are buses available, but
the image of a guy on crutch-
es trying to get up slick bus
steps after waiting 20 min-
utes in the wind, snow and
rain isn't a pleasant one.
So here is my solution: If
somebody has a handicapped
permit, let them park on cam-
pus near the building where
they are going. You might
have noticed that those lots
are never full. Then eliminate
the handicapped spots in the
commuter lots. This would
help alleviate the severe park-
ing shortage there. Is anyone
in the parking division out
there listening? Let's have
some action on this.
Daily skews
funding facts
As a student newspaper,
the Daily has a responsibility
to ensure that it reports the
facts accurately when pub-
lishing an article. This is
especially important when
the Daily publishes an opin-
ion in its name, because this
opinion may have an influ-
ence on students who are
attempting to make an
informed opinion regarded a
certain issue.Writing opin-
ions before examining the
facts is nothing short of poor
journalism and a disservice
to the University community.
This was the case in the Oct.
8 edition in the Daily's opin-
ion titled "Dubious Dollars."
The opinion was predicat-
ed on two assumptions. The
first assumption was that the
ballot proposal to raise the
student fee $1.50 would go to
two student groups, Project
Serve and the Black
Volunteer Network. The sec-
ond assumption was that it
would be appropriate for these
two student groups to
approach the BPC for funding.
The Daily was misin-
formed on both accounts.
The ballot proposal actually
creates four funding cate-
gories. Besides allocating
money to Project Serve and
the Black Volunteer Network,
the proposal would establish
a community service grant
fund similar to the BPC and
it would establish a new
University scholarship fund.
Both of these funds would be
accessible to all students in
the University. Furthermore,
Project Serve isrnotha student
group but is part of a
University department, the
Office of Community
Service Learning and, as

Don't let Cain
leave SAPAC
I appreciate your refusal
in your editorial of Oct. 8
about Debi Cain leaving
SAPAC to let Cain go quietly
after last year's event
("Looking for a leader"). Her
dismissal of Janelle White -
a decision in which several
staff members who will con-
tinue with the center partici-
pated - compromised
SAPAC's already question-
able ability to serve people of
color and of sexual orienta-
tions other than straight.
It also cost the Peer
Educator program an accom-
plished, hard-working, com-
passionate leader. It is White
who was "competent" and
"inspiring." She might have
made it possible for SAPAC
to learn to serve the needs of
every member of the
University community. She
was specifically and actively
working toward that end.
Cain's violation of the
confidentiality of a survivor
of violence who had received
counseling at SAPAC (a vio-
lation I witnessed), compro-
mised SAPAC's ability to
serve anyone. When confi-
dentiality is not preserved by
such organizations, there is
no trust and no room to heal.
In failing to investigate such
serious allegations, SAPAC's
other staff members aped
some of the worst enemies of
the movement against sexual
violence - the people who
refuse to believe a survivor's
word against that of authority
I and many of my fellow
volunteers decided to break
with the organization at this
point. Staff membersrwho did
not follow our lead or
demand investigation are sus-
pect at best, and you were
right to advocate the intro-
duction of a leader from out-
side. Thank you for keeping
last winter's events on Cain's
record. Thank you for keep-
ing them on the record of
SAPAC and of the University
of which it is a part.
Loving ITD,
hating ITD
It is my pleasure to
announce the recipient of the
1996 Michigan Review "Bill
Clinton Award for Waffling
on the Issues." The winner
this year is none other than
the Daily, which, in a master
stroke of indecisive journal-
ism, published an editorial

College Republican President
Nicholas Kirk refuses to take respons
bility for the actions of his gri'
Sunday night. He flippantly refers to
his group's personal, degrading chalk
attacks as getting "a little rambunc-
tious." He attacks Queer Unity Project
- the group responsible for the
Coming Out Week chalkings -, as
"overblowing this."
It certainly isn't overblown. And the
College Republicans need to take
responsibility for their views and their
actions. But they need not be a scape
goat for the others who are intolera9
- but not vocal - on this campus.
The in-your-face tactics of the Queer
Unity Project were commendable.
Very few people walked around cam-
pus this week without considering the
plight of homosexuals and bisexuals in
this community. And everyone should
be honest with themselves about how
those messages made them feel. If
they were offended or uncomfortabg
they should acknowledge it - and
deal with it.
Anyone who is heterosexual - and
many who are not - has at least a few
residual feelings of heterosexism that
must be confronted and changed.
Because we still don'tahave to face
such feelings - not even when we're
public figures. The U.S. president and
Congress have shown us that with the
Defense of Marriage Act. So has Kirk.
And the general public isn't behind t
gay-rights movement - yet.
Coming Out Week has been a great
success on campus this week. While it
is a time for celebration - with posi-
tive events such as today's rally on the
Diag and last night's appearance by
Wilson Cruz of "My So-Called Life"
- it's also a time for opening our eyes.
What we saw this week isn't pretty.
But at least we have a better idea
who the bigots are and where thie
stand - even if they only come out at
It's time for amity and change across
the nation. Tonight's national rally -
sponsored by the Human Rights
t anaan- is exnecgted to draw2Uhun-.



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