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April 22, 1997 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-22

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16 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 22, 1997



ROTC protects
nation's freedom
This is in response to Ajit
Thavarajah's story, "Student wants
ROTC out of Arb" (4/11/97).
4pparently graduate student Ronald
fIolzhacker doesn't feel that the
University's ROTC unit merits the use
of the Arboretum. It seems that
Holzhacker was startled during a
Spring jog by a woman in camouflage
Ptilities and boots carrying a
machine gun.' The Daily reported
that he became angry when he
pbserved the rest of the ROTC unit
training in the Arb.
First of all, what Holzhacker
bbserved was a rubber rifle. More
importantly, I think it is time that
HIolzhacker and others who share his
v'iew take a moment and think about
what these young men and women are
doing. It is because of these students
4nd people like them that he and oth-
trs are able to act freely and safely in
this country. Half an hour spent
watching CNN instead of the nature
channel could illustrate a few places
Avhere people wish they could jog
Through a park. While football and
basketball players have million dollar
+omplexes to train in, the ROTC does
If the price of freedom comes at
the cost of a double take while jog-
ging through the woods, Holzhacker
;should consider himself a lucky man.
vMany others would.
Ignorance shrouds
affirmative action
I always try to refrain from enter-
ig into debates that deal with highly
controversial issues such as affirma-
tive action, but in cases where my
opponents are obviously misinformed
about what it is they are arguing, I
feel compelled to respond. I have
realized that there are a number of
individuals on this campus and in this
country as a whole, who do not
understand affirmative action, it's pur-
pose, nor the methods in which it is
This fact alone is enough to disap-
point me, bringing me to the realiza-
tion that I live on a campus that is not
onlyignorant to minority issues, but
insensitive to them as well. Those
.pople who know anything about

affirmative action know it's advan-
tages and possible disadvantages. The
purpose of this letter is, rather, to say
that I see affirmative action dying
soon all over the country because of
the misunderstanding and ignorance
surrounding its purpose.
I don't know what process Chris
Metinko used to choose who he
would interview for his article
("Proposal would 'hide' college appli-
cants names," 4/10/97), but I would
have appreciated more educated
responses from students on such a
serious issue, not the comments of ill-
informed first-year students who are
obviously clueless when it comes to
minority issues. I would really like to
know what school accepts students
solely on the basis of race without
regard to academics.
Even more important, I would like
to know what school will give me "a
free ride for just being a minority,"
because if such a place exists, then I
need to be there so that I can save
myself the thousands of dollars I had
to borrow in order to attend this uni-
versity. I am offended that people
actually believe or even think that!1
am here simply because of the color
of my skin. I am just as capable of
success as anyone else at the
University, if not even more so, and
the fact that I am black has nothing to
do with that. The fact that I work my
butt off, sometimes even twice as
hard, has everything to do with it.
What Ms. Shaw, Mr. Freidman,
and a lot of other people seem not to
understand is that academics is
always a factor in admissions poli-
cies. Universities may accept a cer-
tain amount of students from a cer-
tain minority group, but those stu-
dents still have to meet the same
requirements that every other student
must meet.
Minority students are accepted
into universities because they have
high GPAs, high test scores, past co-
curricular involvement in high
school. Ask any minority student on
campus what his/her high school
GPA was. Inquire about his/her test
scores. I guarantee you that most of
the minorities here came from the
very top of their classes. They are
here because they deserve to be here,
because of their academic excellence,
not because of their skin color.
Affirmative action just makes sure
that universities seek out and recog-
nize these outstanding students and
give them the opportunity they right-
ly deserve. I have yet to encounter
someone who was rejected from a
university because of an affirmative
action policy. I can't even understand
how one would determine that as the
cause of rejection. From what I

understand, if a student is not accept-
ed, then it is due to their failure to
meet the requirements. Oftentimes,
students just want to use affirmative
action as an excuse for their own
The Daily really upset me with
their coverage of such an important
topic. I don't want to call it racist,
because I don't believe that racism is
the problem. Its coverage on this topic
just makes it seem that way. This arti-
cle just showcases the ignorance and
insensitivity on this campus when it
comes to minority issues, as well as
the unwillingness to expand knowl-
edge on important topics such as
affirmative action.
It is my sincere hope that in the
future, the Daily will find more quali-
fied reporters to cover important
issues, especially if the article is going
to be on the front page of the newspa-
per. I hope the Daily seeks out accu-
rate information on minority issues
and seeks the opinions of informed
students. It is also my hope that this
letter serves as an example of the
strong need for the University to
devote more time and effort into edu-
cating itself on minority issues,
because if the only reason I am here is
to help diversify the University com-
munity, then maybe I need to go to
another university.
'U' should attract
influential speaker
While the vast majority of my
experiences here as a student at the
University have been positive, I am
currently a very, very disappointed,
graduating LSA senior. I am disap-
pointed because, as a top university in
the world, we should have a universal-
ly recognizable, fascinating leader
speak as our guest (in addition to the
University president) at our com-
mencement. S/he should be someone
who has influenced society greatly
and would like to influence us, as
graduates, through their commence-
ment speech.
President Bollinger is a fine,
upstanding "community" leader who
will surely give a great speech, but
he, as president, traditionally speaks
in addition to our guest speaker.
President Bollinger, since his inaugu-
ration, is a member of our communi-
ty, not an outside guest. He should
speak at our commencement with a
special guest ... this is also tradition

(not just a newly inaugurated presi-
dent speaking solo in his/her first year
of office).
The class of 1997 has funnelled
hundreds of millions of dollars (at
least) into the University for tuition -
we can certainly atord a pivotal, influ-
ential and entertaining guest speaker. I
am disappointed that our University
does not respect its students enough to
treat us to a speech from an honorable,
non-university affiliated, guest speak-
er. After all, we are leaving the
University to try and make an influ-
ence on society outside the University,
we should be spoken to from someone
outside the University in addition to
the president.
While it may be said that it is tra-
ditional for the president to give the
keynote to commencement speech
during his first year in office, since
s/he would speak anyhow, this tradi-
tion sounds like a disappointing effort
at a cop-out for getting a nationally or
internationally respected speaker.
Let's not forget about the tradition
that says that our top-quality
University gives the best of every-
thing to its students. Aren't we sup-
posed to be the "leaders and best?"
This tradition, which our esteemed
University touts, would lead me to
think that we could and should attract
special leaders as guest speakers to
deliver our keynote addresses. What
do you think?
What about Hillary Rodham
Clinton, President Clinton, Vice
President Gore, Donna Shalala, Lloyd
Bentsen, Richard Gephardt, Phil
Gramm, Colin Powell, or former
President Bush? What about all of our
other current and former top govern-
ment officials and leaders? How
about international leaders? What
about alumni such as Arthur Miller
and James Earl Jones? Of course, I
could list thousands more. On May 3,
the entire commencement audience at
Michigan Stadium will be wondering
where the above people are and why
they aren't complementing the fine
speaking of President Bollinger.
I, and most other graduates, are as
disappointed as we've ever been in
the University's decision to have
President Bollinger speak alone.
Most, if not all of the students in the
class of 1997 wanted and still want a
universally (not University) recog-
nized leader to deliver our keynote
address. Once again, the University
bureaucracy automatically wins over
students' opinions. Hmm, isn't this
bureaucracy that Bollinger said he
opposed when he spoke about listen-
ing to student opinions more and
moving the administration closer to
the students the other week? Or was
that just another bureaucratic ploy by

the administration to associate with
I guess some things about our
University never change. When the
class of '97 leaves this May 3, one
thing that we'll remember most about
our college experience is the
University's dominant, overpowering
bureaucracy that remains insensitive
to its students' wishes and concerns.
What a shame to end a mostly enjoy-
able college career on such an amaz-
ingly sour note.
Arb should enforce
rules for use
I welcome the letter by Larry
Ammerman and his concerns for vari-
ous activities occurring in Nichols
Arboretum and their potential to inflict
harm on this sensitive space ("Dogs,
bikes do more harm to Arb," 4/18/97).
In my public comments to the
University Board of Regents on April
17, 1 stated that the Director of the
Arboretum, Prof. Harry Morton, has
raised additional management prob-
lems with the Arb. I hope that all
concerned will agree that there
should be a single set of rules which
all individuals and groups respect to
protect the Arb. This is the position
that MSA took last week in their res-
olutions related to the Arb. Arb staff,
as well as biologists and botanists,
are concerned about adverse use of
the Arb. I understand Professor
Morton's belief that controlling the
behaviors of individuals in the Arb is
a daunting task. Establishing and
enforcing rules for University groups
who use the Arb on an on-going basis
should be easier.
I am grateful for ROTC concerns
for other users of the Arb and their
concerns for the preservation of the
plant specimens and natural features
of the Arb.
Daily unfairly
represents the
Greek system
The Daily has denigrated, disre-
spected and misrepresented the

University's Greek system far to '
many times. I think the least you can
do is get the names right. Accord ilg
to the Daily ("Best of Ann Arbor,"
417/97), not only were IFC electI !
held at "Alpha Zeta Delta:' this sup-
posed sorority was also voted "st
sorority to party with." Funny, I don't
know where these votes came frft,
seeing as there is no such sororityw,;
this or any other campus in the Lit ,
Hello? Do you not think to check,
these things out before you printthou-
sands of copies? For a newspaperthat
is supposed to know about what is
happening on campus, you are pretty
damn clueless.,,.d-
But the cluelessness only begins
with the misnaming - the real issue
here is much more serious. Since4his
mythical illusion of a sorority "Alpha
Zeta Delta" does not exist, how the
hell can you say that they have "tig*
shirts and bare midriffs?" As a me.
ber of what I believe to be the inte47
ed sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, I found,
this absolutelj unnecessary, offensive
and appalling. , .,
It's ironic that a campus who ,
votes SAPAC as the best organization
can also hold this stereotype for a
large group of women in the Greek
system. You obviously know
absolutely nothing about the Greek
system, so you have no right to assert
these opinions.
And by the way, why does the,
campus have to vote on best hous",'to
party with?" Why can't it be soe
thing like "most charitable" or even.
just "best house?" There is a lot more
to Greek life than partying, not tha.
you would know or care.
I would just like to say, that if you
cannot properly represent the Greek*
system in the Daily, I and many others
would prefer you leave us out com--
pletely. Like other groups on this
campus, we are constantly battling
against negative stereotypes. But
unlike those other groups, the Daily
has decided on joining in with that
belittling and slandering, rather *xan,
promoting open-mindedness toward
Greek organizations.
By the way, Phi Gamma Delta
goes by FIJI, not FIGI. Either get
your facts straight, or do not publicize
the Greek system. We have a hard
enough time breaking stereotypes, we
don't need the student newspaper
against us.
LUCha sacrificed
respect when it.
crashed recepti
In the April 4 Daily, there was a
large headline blaring out the words
of a presidential reception being
"crashed" by a student group, namely,
LUCha ("Student group crashes
Bollinger reception," 4/4/97).
The members of LUCha deserv
to do better than that. If they trdTy
have a complaint with this Univesity,
than they have every right to express
that gripe. Unfortunately, however,
they decided that what they hadto
say was more important than what
other students on this campus had to
For this reason, it was their dee

sion to come off like a group of stu3
dents who did nothing but whine until
they were pandered to. But they are:
better than that.
As much as anyone else, LUCha
has a right to take part in the forma
tion of policy on this campus. They
know how that can be done without
having to crash a meeting. This is a
truly unfortunate fiasco for a group
which represents a significant part of
this University.°
One of the things I truly love
about the University is its level of
diversity. I: never had the opportuinty
to know so many different kinds of
people until I came here. If thett is
any place, in all my life, where1V
have seen an obligation of respect:
for each individual, it has been at
this University. I believe that
President Bollinger was chosen
recently to lead this institution; in
part because he also believes in this
respect for the individual. He is gen-
uinely interested in what the stu-
dents want, and he is willing to lis-
ten and help.
My greatest concern is that a le$
imate group has given itself a bad
name. I hope that they can think
clearer the next time they decide'to;
take action on an issue.
This University does care abodt
the needs of the students, and thereis

Ill - 111

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