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October 17, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-17

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 17, 1996

tie 3liI~igtan tIlg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited arid 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.
MSA defends affirmative action

'The factors that created affirmative action still exist
today. 1 think it would be a shame for the University ...
to support overhauling affirmative action.'
- LSA junior Afshin Jadidnouri

t Tuesday night's Michigan Student
Assembly meeting, Engineering Rep.
David Burden proposed a bill that would
abolish affirmative action in Michigan
Student Assembly policy. The resolution
would have committed MSA to oppose any
University - or state - programs that use
race as a factor in admission, recruitment
and financial aid. MSA overwhelmingly
'voted down the measure - 4 wise move
that will work to protect racial equality and
diversity at the University.
The student body can only benefit from
MSi's support of affirmative action poli-
cies, which promote diversity on campus to
improve students' education at the
University. Burden's proposal would have
opened the door for all affirmative action
policies and guidelines to be phased out at
the. University - making campus less
diverse ana contributing to a decline in the
quality of education.
The state Legislature is considering a
vote to end affirmative action, a bill similar
to Burden's resolution. Lawmakers who
ftior the bill undoubtedly would have
p6inted to the University, if MSA's resolu-
ti01 -had passed, as an example of student
disfavor with affirmative action policies.
]v oting down the resolution, MSA will
n 6t- be able to add fuel to the conservative
irioVement to disband affirmative action
policies. The University must not stand as
a5. example for anti-affirmative action leg-
i ation.
R Not only did MSA vote down the bill -
t~i assembly used this opportunity to shout
support of affirmative action. After the
G;et I.

controversial resolution was voted down,
the assembly passed a proposal that would
bind MSA to the spirit of affirmative action
when passing future legislation. The pro-
posal also called for MSA to make an effort
to aid underprivileged and underrepresent-
ed groups on campus. Although the details
were sparse, the message is important and it
serves to reassure the student body that its
elected representatives will work to pro-
mote justice and equality.
For the affirmative action supporters, it
was a night defined by using democracy to
enact their beliefs. One hundred and fifty
people - a significant turnout relative to
MSA's usually sparse audience - gathered
at the MSA meeting to voice their opinions
and argue against Burden's proposal. A pos-
itive feeling emerged from collective sup-
port for affirmative action - supporters
voiced their beliefs and hopes that one day
affirmative action will no longer be neces-
sary at the University.
Burden's eagerness to imitate
California's universities in affirmative
action policy would be laughable - but it's
too important an issue for mirth. Neither the
students nor the administrators will tolerate
such a policy. When the University of
California system began implementing its
"colorblind" policy, regents made strong
statements against the policy and its moti-
vations. And the meeting's turnout shows
the students' stance.
MSA's defeat of the proposal is com-
mendable - as is the extra step to propose
and pass another resolution defending affir-
mative action.


Collect deposit for non
T he Michigan Legislature may soon
'give state residents 10 reasons not to
tgrow juice cans into the garbage. If the
Michigan United Conservation Clubs' lob-
bying efforts persuade the Legislature to
iialude beverages other than soda and beer
in its bottle return program, consumers can

expect a 10-cent increase in the price of
threir favorite noncarbonated beverages cou-
fled with a 10-cent incentive for recycling
the containers. Although lawmakers have
rot yet debated a specific bill, the Michigan
United Conservation Clubs' proposed
<xpansion of the state's recycling program
would prove beneficial - it would promote
tvironmental awareness and support recy-
cling efforts.
According to a 1996 government study,
a.S. consumption of fruit juices and drinks
tpjed 14 gallons per capita in the 1990s,
ad has attained more than 11 percent of
thenonalcoholic beverage market. This sta-
tiitk -shows that exclusion of these bever-
ges from the current return program has
&4wed a large amount of recyclable mate-
I to go to waste, contributing significant-
Vto the I0 million tons of garbage the bev-
qtie industry generates annually.
iAlthough curbside recycling programs
available for some of these containers
pt included in Michigan's bottle-deposit
pgram, these programs are considerably
lp efficient than those that provide a
ancial incentive. In 1993, the
gressional Record reported that in their
ryear existence, deposit programs have

carbonated beverages
gained between 72 and 98 percent efficien-
cy, while "the best curbside programs cap-
ture less than 70 percent of the targeted
material - in many cases, substantially
less." These numbers indicate the fact that
many people are apathetic toward environ-
mental causes and would not recycle for the
environmental benefit; financial reward
motivates them to take action. Evidently,
the inclusion of noncarbonated beverage
containers in the state bottle return system
would provide an efficient means of
increasing recycling and, therefore, benefit-
ing the environment.
Opponents of the idea argue that the
inclusion of noncarbonated beverages in the
deposit program may have a negative finan-
cial impact upon the manufacturers. They
claim that the 10-cent price increase would
discourage customers from purchasing
these drinks. However, the modesty of the
increase is not likely to discourage many
from continued use of these products, espe-
cially when customers realize that they can
recoup their losses easily. Even if the price
boost does diminish the market of these
products, the proposal's environmental ben-
efits would far outweigh the small shrink in
market share.
The inclusion of noncarbonated bever-
ages in Michigan's bottle-deposit program
would motivate residents to recycle without
diminishing the popularity of these drinks.
The Legislature should enact the Michigan
United Conservation Clubs' proposal to
enlarge the scope of the current program.

Groups are
not NW ROC
On Oct. 1, Ann Arbor
Anti-Racist Action and the
Free Mumia Coalition held a
public forum on campus
dealing with issues of strate-
gy in the fight against the Ku
Klux Klan and other fascists.
The story on the forum that
appeared the next day in the
Daily ("NWROC offshoots
holds first meeting," 10/2/9)
completelydistorted and fal-
sified the histories of the
sponsoring organizations and
the political discussion that
took place at the forum.
Your headline inaccurate-
ly describes Anti-Racist
Action as an "NWROC off-
shoot." Ann Arbor ARA is a
newly formed local chapter
that is part of the 40-plus
chapter-strong Anti-Racist
Action Network, a federation
of militant, anti-fascist chap-
ters and affiliated groups that
operates nationwide.
Neither the local chapter of
ARA, nor ARA-Net as a
whole, has ever been affiliat-
ed with the Detroit-based
National Women's Rights
Organizing Coalition, an
organization long associated
with the sectarian politics of
the Revolutionary Workers
League. To describe us as
either an NWROC - "off-
shoot" or "spinoff" - as
your article does is complete-
ly false.
The local chapter of Anti-
Racist Action did come from
the core of activists who
formed the broad-based anti-
fascist coalition, Ann Arbor
Organizing Against the Klan.
A2 OAK was a united front
of more than a dozen campus
and community groups that
organized a same-time/same-
place demonstration against
the Klan in Ann Arbor on
June 22. NWROC organized
against the Klan separately.
While political differ-
ences exist between 'different
anti-fascist groups like ARA
and NWROC, ARA does, as
a matter of principle, oppose
the city's attempt to bill
NWROC and target them or
any other anti-racist for
repression. In fact, that may
have been the only mention
of NWROC at the forum.
How that could have gotten
twisted into a false descrip-
tion of us as an NWROC
"spin-off" is anyone's guess.
In addition to those
errors, it appears that sum-
maries or paraphrasing of
various statements of mine
concerning ARA's tactics
were haphazardly strung
together, made into an ideo-
logical and verbal gobbledy-
gook, and attributed to me as
direct quotes.

the Daily would exercise
more wisdom and higher pro-
fessional practices in future
articles of a political nature.
Task force
deserves a
In response to the Daily
editorial, "Safety First,"
(10/15/96) I must say that I
am concerned with the haste
that it pushes for. RHA task
force a waste of time? While
I am indeed very concerned
for the safety of my friends
and others in the dorms, I
also believe in doing some-
thing right the first time.
While it means well, it seems
that with almost everything
this University does, there
turns out to be significant
flaws or deficiencies. That's
both money and time down
the drain. While the editorial
does have its points, there are
several things I do not agree
with. First, though it doesn't
say this explicitly, the editori-
al seems to imply that this
ambush of sexual assaults is
something new to campus. I
cannot believe that. The deal
is that more people are
reporting them. Also, let's not
forget that only one of these
sexual assaults occurred
inside a residence hall. Lock
the doors and add all the
electronic gizmos you want,
but what will that do to help
a victim outside the building?
Second, the article pushes
for some immediate changes
to be made that add to the
inconvenience more than they
add to safety. Twenty-four
hour lock-downs and electric
card readers only provide for
hassle (and in the case of the
card readers, a waste of
money). Anyone who wants
to get into the building will
get in, regardless of the time
of day. Try it if you already
haven't - just go wait out-
side South Quad and see if
someone who lives there
actually refuses to open the
door for you, if it's not
already propped open.
Why does the RHA task
force need time to approve
what can be done now? The
limited funds that we get to
take care of such problems
do not need to be wasted on
tactics that will not aid the
situation. The task force will
look at how security is being
handled, and more important-
ly, take the time to thorough-
ly explore how it can be done
more effectively.

First, Kirk writes that the
rich "grow the economy" by
purchasing "stocks, bonds
and other instruments."
Economics 102 states other-
wise - economic growth is a
lot more complicated. The
economy grows when any
factor that contributes to
GDP expands. Investment, in
the economic sense, refers to
new money spent on equip-
ment, not financial vehicles.
While "investing" in the
common usage does wonders
for a private portfolio, it is
not the primary factor in eco-
nomic growth. Technology,
education and increased pro-
ductivity cause economic
Second, the 1993 tax cut
was not the largest in history,
no matter what Kirk claims.
Kirk believes that adjusting
the dollar amount of the
increase "for inflation is non-
sense." What? The annual
rate of inflation in America is
not enormous, but at 2 to 4
percent, it does make an
impact over a period of three
years, especially when dis-
cussing numbers in the mil-
lions of dollars.:
Third, Kirk's letter alleges
that "tax cuts help everyone,
not just the wealthiest." This
poorly-articulated expression
of blind faith in trickle-down
economics only serves to
prove its author's ignorance
of economic reality. In theo-
ry, an across-the-board tax
cut will help everyone over
time. Our tax structure is
uneven; the Dole tax plan
will benefit the richest parts
of our society.
Deloitte and Touche
recently analyzed what would
happen to Dole's own taxes
under his plan. Dole's
$650,000 income for 1995
would have been taxed
$29,000 less. President
Clinton would have benefited
from a $15,000 tax reduction,
too. But the poorest 20 per-
cent of American families
would face a $25 tax
increase, according to
Citizens for Tax Justice.
Fourth, and this is a small
quibble, Kirk says that most
wealthy people get there
through hard work.
Disregarding the distinction
between "wealth" and
"income" for a moment,
allow me to correct his
assumption. While there are
many individuals who amass
fortunes through work and
perseverance, most of today's
wealthy people inherited their
money. True, many of these
rich people spend their time
running their parents' compa-
nies or managing their par-
ents' fortunes, but they had
an advantage. It is a lot easier
to earn interest from an exist-
ing fortune than to generate
the fortune in the first place.
Finally, Kirk implies that
those who are not rich have
an "utter hate for those who

action revisited
Two evenings ago, the Michigan
Student Assembly was called
upon to vote on a proposal that mirrors
the sentiment of many of our current
lawmakers in Washington.
Proposed by Engineering Rep.
David Burden, the MSA Civil Rights
initiative, if
passed, would
have discouraged
the support of
affirmative action
measures by the
Although the
bill was ultimately
defeated, it is
important that
issues such as this
are brought to the MPATANISHI
forefront for dis- TAYARI
cussion, rather
than left to fester and eventually grow
into resentment for many.
Accordingly, I wish to specifically'
address the issues brought by Douglas
Friedman, another MSA representa-
tive and supporter of Burden's Civil
Rights Initiative, who explained his
opposition to affirmative action
through an e-mail letter.
To begin, it is important to under-
stand that current affirmative action
efforts are a continuation of national
efforts to remedy subjugation of racial
and ethnic minorities and of women.
This is not to punish any race or gen-
der for past wrongdoings, but instead
helps make the playing field level,
even for presept discrimination.
Alternately, Friedman supports his
opposition to affirmative action by
suggesting that after controlling eco-
nomic factors, "the retention rate of
minority students will approximately
equal that of white students, perhaps
even exceed it," without affirmative
In response, I only point to statistics
that show that even with affirmative
action, the disparity among races is
growing worse. Through availability
of student aid programs and aggres-
sive recruitment and retention pro-
grams. the college-going rate for
blacks and whites who graduated from
high school was about equal in 1977.
Since then, however, the proportion of
black high school graduates enrolled
in college is now 25 percent less than
Additionally, Friedman suggests that
affirmative action causes people to
think of others "not as individuals, but
instead as members of some group,"
and continues to say that since his kids
are half Hispanic, affirmative action.
encourages them to hate him for
oppressing them.
I would disagree with both of these
assertions. Affirmative action 'is not
the factor that causes people to be seen
as groups - American society does
this by continuing race and gender dis-
crimination. Affirmative action recog-
nizes and confronts this. I find it
unfortunate that the University student
chooses to affiliate affirmative action
with hate, rather than equality, in
Finally, Friedman concludespby
imposing the question: "What hap-
pened to the dream that people would
be judged by the content of their char-
acter rather than the color of their
The Fair Employment Council of
Greater Washington can explain what

happened to the "dream" quite clearly
in a series of recent tests done between
1990 and 1992.
This dream didn't exist when a black
male tester asked about an ad for a
sales position at a Maryland car deal-
ership and was told that the way to
enter the business would be to start by
washing cars. Alternately, his white
counterpart, with identical credentials,
was immediately interviewed for a
sales job.
An even clearer explanation of what
happened to this "dream" is when
another Maryland company advertised
for a receptionist; when a black tester
applied for the position, she was inter-
viewed but heard nothing further.
When an identically qualified white
tester was interviewed, the employer
offered her a better position that paid
more than the receptionist job and pro-
vided tuition assistance. Follow-up
calls by the black tester elicited no
response even though the white tester
refused the offer.
Even beyond these distinctions
between ethnic minorities and whites
are those between men and women -
an aspect of affirmative action that
Friedman neglected to address. For
this distinction, I only point to a well-
known study of the graduating classes
of the .University's own Law School
from 1972-75 that revealed significant





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