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November 26, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-26

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 26, 1997

cIiE rijgzu 49 aiI

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

X 6'
.:: r '.:4Pn
N< ti

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of/the Daily ' editorial hoard. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Mad science
Police should not retain DNA records

'I was in section 34, about five rows up from the field.
I saw the whole thing. I was embarrassed to say
that Michigan was my school.'
- Dave, a 1992 University alumnus who did not want his fdl name used,
criticizing the police response to fans after Michigan 's victory on Saturday.
t ov, AL-.. o-V 1CvNt)Ap

hree years ago, Blair Shelton, like more
T than 160 other black Ann Arbor resi-
dents, submitted a DNA sample during the
city's search for a serial rapist. During the
year, police stopped him nine times because
he fit the rapist's very loose description -
that of a black male. What started as a witch-
hunt turned into a civil lawsuit filed against
the Michigan State Police for violating the
suspects' civil rights. More than two years
after Shelton brought the case to the
Washtenaw County Circuit Court, the
Michigan State Supreme Court ruled that
police officials must release the DNA.
records - providing the innocent men with
justice that is long overdue.
Hysteria took over the city of Ann Arbor
in 1994. A serial rapist was on the loose and
to facilitate his apprehension, city police
requested DNA submissions from many
men to clear their name. The American jus-
tice system's backbone is that accused per-
sons are innocent until proven guilty. The
city's actions violated that dictum, requiring
the men to prove that they were not guilty
when there was no reason to believe that
they were.
In a court trial, it is very difficult to com-
pel a defendant to submit DNA. Because it
is such an invasion of privacy, prosecutors
often find it next to impossible to get a court
order. If the state stockpiles the DNA
records of innocent men, it violates their
right to privacy and gives potential prosecu-
tors an unfair advantage should they be
brought to court. Director of Forensics for
the Michigan State Police Richard Lowthian
went so far as to call the contested files
"business records." But DNA records are

much more than a typical financial record
- they contain very personal information
that needs protection.
In April 1995, Shelton sued law enforce-
ment officials for violating his civil rights.
He also requested that the state release his
DNA records. Earvin Mitchell was the only
man convicted for the rapes - the rest of
the men who contributed DNA samples are
no longer under suspicion. Hence, they
should have their samples returned to them
to prevent their potential adverse use in the
After the Washtenaw County Court ruled
in favor of Shelton, the state police appealed
to the state Supreme Court. The Supreme
Court justices upheld the circuit court's
decision and ordered the police to release all
DNA records of innocent persons. Justice
for more than 160 men was a long time in
coming - the court did the right thing. The
state police should quickly comply with the
ruling and destroy or return all DNA
The ruling marks an important victory
for the right to privacy. If the state could
stockpile DNA information like it does
other records, it could put many people at a
severe disadvantage in possible litigation. To
protect residents' civil liberties it is vital that
such records not be kept. Beyond being
harassed and submitting to a DNA sample,
Shelton also lost his job because of the
search for the serial rapist. It is about time
that the state stop their continued harass-
ment and surrender the DNA records.
Citizens must have the right to keep such
private information away from governmen-
tal collection.

Full of hot air
Critics should understand air bags' benefits

n recent months, there has been some-
thing akin to frenzy over air bags. Last
week, reversing its previous decision that
mandated air bag production in all new
cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration allowed car owners access
to an "on-off switch" that controls air bag
usage. This decision followed the release of
research blaming air bags in the deaths of
45 children since 1993. But, overlooked
were the unsafe habits of the adult drivers
involved in these cases. Most of these air
bag deaths resulted from not wearing seat
belts or from careless driving, not from an
air cushion embedded within a dashboard.
Personal safety is the responsibility of all
drivers, not the job of air bags.
According to a survey, six million peo-
ple would like to disconnect their air bags,
proof positive of the spreading belief that a
technology meant to save is instead
deployed with such violent force that it
becomes lethal. Since 1990, the air bag has
been fingered as the killer of 87 people in
the United States, including 49 children.
Perpetuating this fear, the public only hears
such tragic cases and places no blame on
the driver or the adult responsible for the
child's safety.
Instead, blame is placed solely upon the
air bag. Barely noted is that in more than
two-thirds of the cases - involving 23
adults and 37 children - the victim either
wasn't secured to a seat at all or was
secured improperly. Wearing a seat belt is
the law in every state nationwide except
one. If the victims had been secured, odds
are that many would be alive today.
Restraints would have kept them at a safe
distance from the air bag.
The majority of air bag deaths occurred

blanket good manufacturers claimed, but
instead, had the power to kill under certain
conditions. Moreover, parents are still
strapping toddlers to the front seat in rear-
facing safety seats - leaving their heads
dangerously close to the air-bag compart-
ment - long after the NHTSA said all
children younger than 13 should be in a
rear seat, the safest place in a vehicle.
Once again, personal safety and respon-
sibility is overlooked. Society is quick to
blame new technology instead of careless
parents and drivers. Over the years, air
bags have saved the lives of nearly 1,900
people who were not wearing seat belts at
the time of an accident. This is 21 times the
number of people whom air bags have
killed. It also has saved the lives of 700
people who were wearing seat belts,
because not even a seat belt is sufficient in
some crashes.
Last week, the NHTSA said it would
allow people to turn off a bag if, for exam-
ple, they are so short they wind up sitting
dangerously close to the air bag or if their
vehicle has no back seat and a child must
ride up front. But, many people who do not
meet these conditions will deactivate their
air bag anyway, simply because they are
afraid. Sadly, some of those who deactivate
will die because they won't wear a seat belt
or, even if they do, will be in a crash in
which the air bag would have made the dif-
The evidence suggests a better chance
of survival with an air bag than without. As
long as children ride in the back seat and
seat belts are fastened, they will probably
not be harmed by air bags. Parents and dri-
vers need to take responsibility. Society
must stop blaming the air bag and instead

'U' diversity
need change
The Michigan Mandate
has advocated diversity as its
underlying premise. It has
operated much in the same
way as the most traditional
approach for increasing diver-
sity. This approach adopts a
mathematical formula and
focuses on increasing the
quantity of the racial compo-
nents, rather than taking a
more quality-oriented
The University campus is
viewedhas diverse. There
exists, however, a seious
problem: the quality of the
relationship among the
diverse groups. This campus
is very segregated. Not only
are many students not open to
other cultures, there is also
discernible tension and ani-
The degraded quality of
the relationships is partially a
by-product of a common
assumption that all people are
the same and have the same
needs. The truth is that differ-
ent groups are quite different
and have distinct needs and
expectations. The traditional
approach toward diversity is
the expectation that minority
groups should compromise
their unique values, confon
to the behavioral framework
set by the majority and domi-
nant group and assimilate in
the big melting pot.
The Michigan Mandate
thus far has simply thrown
some colored marbles into the
jar, while providing less effec-
tive mechanisms to ease the
ever-increasing tension and
the current all-encompassing
racism by all groups against
the others. The quality of the
relationships could be aug-
mented not only through
cross-cultural education and
communication, but also
through increasing respect and
recognition for other cultures.
This can happen by providing
mechanisms to teach about
why people are different, why
they exhibit different behav-
iors and what these behaviors
This kind of education
would be stimulating and
thought-provoking. And it has
a greater potential to change
one's opinion and level of
respect for differences. The
University administration
should have the integrity to
re-evaluate the merit of the
Michigan Mandate and create
an emergency task force to
study the emotionally charged
issue of diversity in an unbi-
ased fashion.
II'chni i

Campus Family Health
If any student on North
Campus gets sick, he or she
must either travel to Central
Campus for uncharged service
at UHS, or pay out of pocket
to use NCFHS. Furthermore,
the University is unwilling to
ensure NCFHS is properly
funded. In essence, the
University has established a
system that discourages all
students from using NCFHS.
Students must be allowed to
use the University health ser-
vice clinic that is most conve-
nient at the time service is
Why should students be
limited in choice or access
when it comes to healthcare?
What student is limited in
their choice or access when it
comes to recreational facility
usage or the bell tower they
hear chime? Health care
access must be handled the
same way. President Bollinger
and Provost Nancy Cantor
should allocate University
general funds towards the
expansion of University
Health Services.
Miller has not
yet entered
Once again, James Miller
proves how much wiser
and/or perceptive he is than
the rest of us "dorks" by
enlightening us as to the error
of our collective fashion ways
("U' students just a shave,
haircut away from adulthood"
11/19/97). 1 know he has his
own column and can write
about whatever he desires, but
there has to be something bet-
ter he can do than use it as a
place to spout out gross gen-
eralizations and ridiculous
stereotypes, all in the name of
making himself look witty
and oh-so-clever.
I thought James got all of
this out of his system last
spring when he took the "your
music sucks and you look
ridiculous" approach to ravers
and fans of electronic music
in general, when he decided to
criticize a genre of music and
a group of people he knew
nothing about. Well, once
again James has decided to
don the jacket of Daily fash-
ion and lifestyle critic, this
time taking his closed-mind-
ed, why-don't-you-conform-
already viewpoint and direct-
ing it at those of us who he
deems have inferior tastes.
Apparently, since he
believes my baggy pants look
"heinous" (reason enough to
go on wearing them), I guess I
should grow up and dress like
an adult. Thanks, but no

In addition, there is noth-
ing particularly mature or
'adult" about the statement,
,'you look like somebody's
retarded, middle-agedspinster
aunt." Making fun of the men-
tally ill was humorous up until
about the seventh grade, and
certainly shouldn't come from
one who is busy telling every-
body else to grow up. In short,
it is not wardrobe choice, but
attitude, that makes people
"look like 12-year-olds"
If you really want people
to think you've entered into
adulthood, James, forget about
how others dress and focus on
your own attitude. And in the
meantime, stop being conde-
scending to people who are
way more interesting than you.
Police actions
mar victory
After reading the Daily
articles on police tactics after
the game this Saturday, I am
compelled to write with my
own personal experiences. As
an "early rusher,' I was quick,
smart and lucky enough to
avoid the police. But I wit-
nessed many others who were
not so lucky.
Let's not fool ourselves -
the police were present for
one reason. The University
was concerned with its own
liability in the case of any
injuries. However, anyone
with an iota of common sense
must have known that there
was no way of preventing
thousands of students from
rushing, not even with 10
times the police presence that
was at the game. A better way
to handle the problem would
have been to make an official
statement against rushing,
then utilize law enforcement
personnel in the true interest
of student safety (i.e. helping
those who may have fallen,
preventing a true riot, etc.).
Instead, police were sent
out to subdue us with riot gear
and pepper spray. When they
made the realization that they
could not possibly do any
good, they settled on a new
strategy - pulling one stu-
dent away at a time, beating
him or her, then releasing that
person back into the crowd.
Athletic Director Tom Goss
said, "Our direction was to
keep the kids safe" Is one
somehow "safer" in a crowd
once they have been blinded?
How could they even leave the
field in such a condition? I
came across several people
who could not even see a foot
ahead of them through the
tears. Thank goodness for their
concerned friends who helped
them through the rest of the

A not-so-PC
Winter '98
SNRE 286. The History of Dirt.
What is dirt? How do we interpret
various kinds of dirt? What does dirt
mean in a multicultural world? What is
the best kind to grow your weed in,
In this course we will examine the
way that dirt
shapes our con-
sciousness as a
society and the
way we look at the
world. Grades will
consist of three
short paragraphs
and a series of
journal entries
detailing how your
own perceptions JAMES
of dirt have been MILLER
changed by the MILLE
course. OTAP
S t u d e n t s
enrolled in The History of Dirt are
encouraged to take
SNRE/Hydrodynamics 287,The
History of Mud, next semester.
Women's Studies 427. Boo,
Borders and the Bible. In this course
we will examine issues of racism clas
sism, lookism. sexism and heterosex-
ism in the "Holy" Bible. Why were
there no wimmin of color in the
Garden of Eden'? Was it necessary to
construct Eve out of Adam's rib when
a more suitable, vegetarian alternative
could have been found? Were there
alternative, vaginal shapes for the
Tower of Babel'? Was Mary Magd~n
forced into prostitution by the u
ing social programs of Jerusalem?
"Bible" has five letters. "Penis" has
five letters. Coincidence? We think
Prerequisites: Smugness 210 and
Ani DeFranco 117.
Musicology 311. Stravinsky,
Tchaikovsky and Tesh. If record sales
and VHI awards are a good indicator
of a musician's talent, then John h
is one of the greatest pianist/wt-
posers of the 20th century.
We will study how inferior pieces
like "Rite of Spring" led to such
groundbreaking works of classical
music like "Avalon" and "Live at Red
Rocks." We will also look at how Tesh
himself has made his way into our
national consciousness by appearing
on both tote bags and acid-washed
denim shirts.
Musicology 202. The Straight ie
in Musical Theater. One-credit mini-
course. Meets for 15 minutes every
two weeks.
English 315. Writing letters to the
editor. We all know it's fun being out-
raged and indignant for most of our
waking minutes. In this course, you
will learn how to share your anger
with the obviously unenlightened stu-
dent body. Techniques studied: cj-
parison of trivial annoyances to i
Germany, anyone who disagrees with
you is evil and my narrow orthodoxy is
better than your narrow orthodoxy.
Whether you're a guilty white liberal
or a greedy, corpulent, suburban larva,
we can help.
English 279. H-ow to Ruin
Literature. In the dark ages of scholar-
ship and literary theory, people read
books for enjoyment and rewarding
personal experiences. In this co',
we will learn to castrate art and b<d-
geon it with pseudo-science and irrel-
evant class, gender and race issues.
Authors to be destroyed include
Joyce (a white male), D.H. Lawrence

(sexist objectifier of women), Joseph
Conrad (racist) and Charles Dickens
(classist and elitist). Remember, noth-
ing is to be evaluated in the context in
which it was written. Therefore, Dante
was a racist. If this kind of thin 1
excites you (or doesn't make you
this class is for you.
Business 445. Worship the Geek.
Bill Gates is the richest and, therefore,
most perfect and admirable person in
the world. We will study aspects of his
life and philosophy, as well as reading
some of his most seminal works-("If
You Can Get Away With It, It's Okay,"
"Perverting The Concept of the Free
Market So You Can Have Anokr
Layer of Gold Put on Your Bathr4
Business Ethics 101. Do you
believe the pursuit of wealth is a holy
mission, and therefore above all moral
considerations? Have you ever felt the
only thing holding you back from a
truly successful career in business is
your pesky conscience? Does the
thought of firing 12,000 workers-and
raising your own salary several mien
dollars give you an erection?
In this course we will learn that cap-
italism excuses anything and every-
thing in the pursuit of personal riches.
You will learn how to defend - tax
breaks and subsidies and complair
that the federal government is killing
your ability to earn a living.



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