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December 04, 1997 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-04

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 4, 1997


High court will hear same-sex cases

V Supreme Court justices decided
yesterday that same-sex
harassment may violate federal law
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court justices,
amid a lively argument yesterday, had no trouble
agreeing on one point: Same-sex harassment on the
job may sometimes violate the federal anti-discrimi-
nation law.
At one point, Chief Justice William Rehnquist com-
mented that the court would surely reverse a U.S.
appeals court in New Orleans which said a man's sex-
ual harassment of another man can "never" violate the
"I don't see how we can possibly sustain that rul-
ing," said Rehnquist.
"I think we have to say they're wrong," added
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
"A Jew could discriminate against a Jew. An
African American against an African American An
Italian against an Italian," said Justice Stephen Breyer.
"Why isn't it possible that a homosexual ... could dis-
But, despite the apparent harmony, the justices
sounded uncertain, and indeed divided, on whether to

say that some, most or all same-sex harassment is ille-
The outcome in the case of Joseph Oncale vs.
Sundowner Cffshore Services could have a broad
impact in the American workplace.
In 1986, the Supreme Court extended the federal
anti-bias law to include not just discriminatory hiring
and firing, but on-the-job sexual harassment.
Now, the justices must decide whether the same law
makes it illegal for a male supervisor to harass anoth-
er man, or a woman another woman.
As is their wont, the members of the court envi-
sioned dozens of permutations of that question, and
they peppered the three attorneys with a rapid-fire
series of examples.
Some wanted to know if it matters whether the
harasser is gay. Gay rights groups urged the court to
focus on conduct, not the sexual orientation of the
people involved.
Others wanted to know if the law forbids workplace
bullying and harassment by men that stops short of
sexual advances.
"What if it is just hazing'? He says, 'You're a jerk, a
fat slob!"' asked Justice Antonin Scalia.
No, the lawyers replied. The prohibited conduct
must be "explicitly sex-based," replied Deputy U.S.

Solicitor General Erwin Kneedler.
Several justices asked about the "equ
tunity harasser." In the past, the courtI
claim of discrimination requires eviden
employee was treated differently becau
sex or race.
"Suppose you have an employer who had
tunate habit of patting every single employ
or female - on the fanny every day," O'C
"How do you prove discrimination in thatc
A lawyer representing Oncale, a Louisia
ger who quit his job because of gross sexu
ment, suggested all the employees could cla
suffered discrimination.
Rehnquist and other justices disagreed.
"Just hazing by itself doesn't make out a
said. "You still have to show different
because of their sex, don't you?"
That could be a tough task "in an all-
force," commented Justice Ruth Bader Gin
Oncale worked briefly with a handful of
on an offshore oil drilling platform but qu
supervisor and two other men grabbed h
groin, made vulgar comments and threaten
him in the shower.

Prospective Teacher Education Meeting
Wednesday, December 8, 1997
6:00 p.m.
Schorling Auditorium
Room 1202 School of Education Building
Call 764-7563 for more information.

Continued from Page 1A
make real inroads into cultural rela-
"I think that Michigan is a diverse
campus in that there are students from
all sorts of backgrounds," said LSA
senior Vasu Divi. "But it seems that this
diversity merely allows people to gath-
er with people of the same background
and segregate themselves from the rest
of the University community."
In order to promote diversity and
help students become aware of issues
the University offers seminars, a variety
of events and other services. Students
in LSA must fufill a Race and Ethnicity
requirement, which was instated in
1991, and an orientation exercise that
attempts to stop racism at the start and
begin four years of cultural awareness.
But many students find the require-
ments disappointingly inadequate and
unhelpful. Spigner said her experiences
at orientation left a lot to be desired.
"Freshman year is where they need to
really address this problem," Spigner
said. "They could definitely do more at
Mogbo said though organizers of the
orientation excersise had good inten-
tions, the end results were poor.
"At orientation, there was an exercise
where everyone was put into different
groups, but because no one took it seri-
ously, it didn't even work," she said.
"The facilitators can't take this lightly.
Just having an activity that tries to

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address the problem is not
you really have to work at it.
Ann Hower, director of th
New Student Programs that
first-year student orientation
facilitated group discussion is
tant step in welcoming incomi
"I can see students having
reaction to the activity, b
knowing exactly what they
about it makes it difficult t
Hower said. "We believe
important to have a portion
tion address diversity o
because this is what Mich
about. We want to introduce
diversity and prepare the s
this diverse university."
And while the majority of si
they favor a socially diverse c
don't feel it comes easily. Ma
who advocate this position are
accused by members of their
group as being a traitor to thei
native culture.
LSA junior Kristine Pat
she is frequently questi
harassed by members of her
the relationships she forms
from other cultural backgro
"A lot of my friends think
that I don't date a lot of guys
same race as me, but it doe
me," Patnugot said. "The
think that it's wrong to be wit
that is not the same race as
Spigner said she gets
response from members of
background when she choos
functions and events sponso
pie of other races.
"When I sit with a divers
friends, I get stares from pe
race," Spigner said, "They
straying away, and they'll ask
are you selling out?'
"So even though it's good
pie interact, some people n
you're trying to stray away.
make everyone happy,"'she
Divi said the term "divers
in an incorrect manner and
ings deeper than those of de
and social practices. He sa
ders whether diversity on c
ever change.
"I don't think that div
any value in itself," Div
think what makes divers'
tant is the way we use it.
on a campus should be us
people aware of ideas, i
backgrounds that theyi
never associated with in
Having a segregated stu
does nothing to promote t
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Clinton hosts national race discussion
al oppor-
has said a AKRON, Ohio - From the moment he launched a national initiative on race n
ce that the June, President Clinton has said he wanted to foster a dialogue on the sensitive su-
ise of her ject.
Yesterday, following months of criticism that the initiative is off to a slow
the unfor- and unsatisfying start, he got at least part of what he sought: a town-hall
c -- male style meeting at the University of Akron, with participants holding forth,
onnor said. politely, on such social hot-buttons as affirmative action and school intega-
case?" she tion.
The president, true to form, conducted himself like a talk--show host, exhort-
ana oil rig- ing participants to reveal their true feelings before a nationally televised audience.
ual harass- In one unusual exchange, he bore down on Abigail Thernstrom, a scholarly
im to have opponent of affirmative action: "Abigail, do you favor the United States Armny
abolishing the affirmative action program that produced Colin Powell? Yes or ric'?
Yes or no?"
claim," he "I do not think that it is racial preferences that made Colin Powell ..." she
treatment responded.
An animated Clinton cut her off. "He thinks he was helped by it, he said.
male work Thernstrom resumed that "the overwhelming majority of Americans went
sburg. American citizens to be treated as individuals"
other men
it after his
him in the Reno d 1994 were made from the White Hodse
ned to rape , private quarters, not the president's
independant counsel offices. "This places the calls outsi&
the scope ... of (federal election law)
WASHINGTON - Attorney which applies only to solicitations fpr
enough - General Janet Reno declined Tuesday hard-money contributions occurr
to seek an independent counsel investi- within the federal workplace," s
e Office of gation of telephone fund raising by wrote.
coordinates President Clinton and Vice President Al
, said the Gore, saying their actions were outside Students return to
an impor- the scope of federal election law. cia "'O
ng students. Under strong pressures for months lss after shootiig,.
a negative from all sides, Reno said, "The deci-
ut without sion was mine and it was based on the WEST PADUCAH, Ky. -A day after
don't like facts and the law, not pressure, politics three students were shot to death at ide
o address," or any other factor." end of a prayer meeting, their classmates
it's very Republicans criticized her decision returned to the same halls Tuesdayto
of orienta- as wrong and perhaps affected by loy- mourn, lay flowers and silently pray agi
n campus alty to the White House. Democrats Even though the memories and the
igan is all called it correct and courageous. pain of the rampage were still fresh,
the idea of She also rejected a special prosecutor Heath High School Principal Bill Borid
tudents for to investigate former Energy Secretary said it was important to go back to
Hazel O'Leary, concluding that O'Leary classes to show "we can't let dne
tudents said was unaware that a contribution to one of mixed-up person destroy our society.."
ampus, they her favorite charities may have been "If someone believes in anarchy atd
ny students solicited in return for her meeting we let that anarchy control us, then he is
sometimes Chinese business executives. in control of us," Bond said. "I dn't
own ethnic in her explanation, Reno said believe in letting someone control me, so
r respective Clinton's fund-raising calls in October we will go about our business."
nugot said
oned and °
race due to AROUND THE WORL
with those
it's wrong
that are the . . is everybody. We are the superpower."
sn't bother 125 nations sign Williams shared the podium at the cer-
y seem to land m ine ban emony with Annan and Canadian Pritle
h someone Minister Jean Chretien. Canada- whi
you" OTTAWA - Goaded into action by a was the first nation to sign yesterday -
a negative global grassroots alliance, 125 nations played a pivotal role in persuading other
her ethnic began signing a treaty yesterday to ban nations to form an unprecedented alliane
es to attend anti-personnel land mines, a treaty the with non - -governmental agencies in
red by peo- United States has refused to endorse. pushing for a ban.
As mine v~ictims in wheelchairs and
e group of jubilant ~activists looked o, Kofi S. Korea, IM F sign
ople of my Annan, the secretary-general of the
think I'm United Nations, praised the treaty as "a $55B bailout accord
k me, 'Why historic victory for the weak and vul-
nerable of the world." SEOUL, South Korea - So
to see peo- Also attending the ceremonies were Korea struggled through a week,
night think observers from major holdout nations - painful haggling to strike a deal with
It's hard to such as the United States -which now the International Monetary Fund fora
said. face increased pressure to support the treaty. record $55 billion bailout of its
ity" is used When activists began campaigning for foundering economy.
has mean- such a ban seven years ago, some people Now comes the hard part. And it
mographics felt this achievement was out of reach. could last for years.
id he won- Those who didn't were filled with ela- In agreeing to the loan yesterday,
ampus will tion yesterday. South Korea pledged to rein in its own
"Here we have 125 governments rec- economic growth and that of the pow-

'ersity has ognizing that the tide of history has erful conglomerates that have fuel~d
i said. "I changed," said Jody Williams, who the nation's rise from rags to riches
ity impor- shared this year's Nobel Peace Prize with three short decades.
Diversity her anti - landmine coalition. "It's a new
ed to make definition of superpower. It is not one, it - Compiled from Daily wire reports.
ssues and
may have
the past.
dent body
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EDITORS: Jeff Eldridge, Laurie Mayk, Anupama Reddy, Will Weissert.
STAFF: Janet Adamy. Reilly Brennan, David Bricker, Gerard CohenVrignaud, Rachel Edelman, Margene Eriksen, Megan Exley, Alero Fregegp,
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al STAFF: Kristin Arola, Ellen Friedman, Lea Frost, Eric Hochstadt, Scott Hunter, Jason Korb, Yuki Kuniyuki, David Lai, Sarah Lockyer, James
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n-going Kevin Rosefield, Tracy Sandler, Richard Shin, Mark Snyder, Nita Sivastava, Dan Stillman, Uma Subramanian, Jacob Wheeler.
ARTS Bryan Lark, Jennifer Potiaki, Editors
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ar-code STAFF: Matthew. Barrett, Colin Bartos, Sarah Beldo, Carolyn Burtt, Neal C. Carruth, Anitha Chalam, Brian Cohen, Gabe Fajuri, Chris Felax,
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to solve PHOTO Sara Stilhuan, Ed
roblernsg. ASSISTANT EDITORS: Margaret Myers. Warren Zinnr0
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ssuesSTAFF: Marqunia iliev Elizabeth Lucas
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ased ,E TMM es

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