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October 09, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-09

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 9, 1997

UNe idNJtAFilg Ift

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailys editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Washed away

'Yes- (the Red Cross) has kept silent with regard to
the Holocaust, and I would say that this is the heart of
the moral failure.'
-George Willemin, archive director for the Geneva-based
International Committee of the Red Cross

'U' should leave
O n Monday, National Coming Out
Week kicked off amidst a sea of con-
troversy. Members of the University's
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered
community spent four hours chalking and
posting flyers on Sunday night. Much of
their work went for naught - with the
University grounds paint crew removing
most of the chalked statements by noon the
next day. The reasons and motives for the
removal are, at this time, purely speculative.
However, chalking on public grounds
results in no permanent damage, and is an
extension of first amendment rights. The
University, in removing the chalkings,
repressed individuals using a valid form of
expression. Moreover, it stifled attempts to
reach out to students who might otherwise
go uninformed about National Coming Out
week and its series of events.
A press release from Ozell Hayes,
MSA's LGBT commission chair, claims the
Department of Public Safety ordered the
University grounds paint crew to use graffi-
ti removal equipment to erase the chalkings.
Hayes said the University's actions "were
homophobic in nature, and constitute dis-
crimination based on sexual orientation."
Other LGBT community members won-
dered why their chalkings were removed
immediately, while those of College
Republicans and Michigan Student
Assembly candidates often seem to remain
for weeks. The University must find out
why the removal orders were given, and
thoroughly investigate whether the accusa-
tions, which Hayes and others set forth,
have a factual foundation.
An equally important issue in this debate
4ti e University's disregard for freedom of
speech. QUP concentrated a large number
of their chalkings in the Diag, the West
Engineering Arch and around the Cube.

chalkings alone
Students hold rallies, seek charitable contri-
butions and espouse religious beliefs in
these areas. Chalking differs only in form
from these other types of expression. The
University must not erase student chalkings
on state-owned, public land - for aesthetic
or other purposes.
In addition, an unknown "'party took
down and tore to shreds two Diag bulletin
boards advertising Coming Out Week.
Whether Hayes' accusations are true, both
the chalking and the boards' removal send a
discouraging message to the University's
LGBT community. National Coming Out
Week aims to encourage students to reveal
their sexuality, and tries to provide them a
comfortable environment in which to do so.
Discrimination against the gaycommunity
is all too common - and the week's events
are meant partly to reassure individuals
pondering "coming out" that Ann Arbor's
gay and straight communities are support-
Removing the chalk, whether done for
discriminatory reasons or otherwise, is
more than just an incomprehensible viola-
tion of first amendment rights. When com-
bined with the other vandalous acts, it may
give the impression that the University is
not as tolerant an environment as it must be.
It implies that certain people on campus do
not want gay community members to
"come out of the closet," and openly take
pride in their sexuality. Such an attitude is
all too prevalent nationally - the long path
to erasing homophobia should begin in Ann
Straight and gay University students,
faculty and staff can help quell the mixed
messages this week's events have sent by
coming out to support the National Coming
Out Day rally Friday, Oct. 10, at noon, on
the Diag.

Closed session
Bill may close loopholes in OMA

ast year, during the search for a new
University president, the Presidential
Search Advisory Committee was sued by
a, bevy of local newspapers, demanding
that the search be opened to the public.
These publications cited Michigan's
Freedom of Information Act and the Open
Meeting Act to open up the search
process. By the time the courts made a
ruling, the search was already down to the
final five candidates.
Earlier this week, State Rep. Harold
Vorhees (D-Wyoming) proposed legislature
to clarify the OMA. It will clearly define
that once a presidential search at a public
institution reaches a certain point, it must
be open to the public. Although the current
version of the OMA states that interviews
of the final five candidates must be open to
the public, recent cases have spurned a fur-
ther review of the OMA.
When Northern Michigan University
concluded its search for a new president in
April, its Board of Trustees held some of
the interviews with the final five candidates
in private. The board claimed that the
closed-door interviews were protected by
the OMA. After a challenge by the Detroit
Free Press, the courts ruled in the newspa-
per's, favor and ordered NMU to recoup the
legal fees.
Vorhees' bill would prevent public insti-
tutions from claiming OMA loopholes in
the future. It clearly defines that all inter-
views for the final five candidates of presi-
dential searches at public institutions must
ILo nra. * +1.. a i n This , rvr11 rnrA. man+n nu


confusion and possible legal action that, in
the end, costs taxpayers money that could
remain with the schools. The proposed bill
may also offset amendments to the OMA
made in January, that made it easier to hide
earlier stages of presidential searches from
the public.
Last year, when the University
searched for a president, it did so behind
closed doors, prompting an outcry from
students, lawmakers and their con-
stituents. Already, preliminary stages of
searches at public institutions are closed,
and records of the search advisory com-
mittee are exempt from the Freedom of
Information Act until the selection of five
finalists. These rules make a mockery of
selecting the leader of the top public uni-
versity in the state, virtually shutting out
those who matter the most - the students
and taxpayers who support public col-
leges and universities.
The impending clarification of the
OMA is a step in the right direction to
keep the students and the public at large
aware of all impending searches.,They
have the right to know the exact process of
choosing the leadership of a public uni-
versity. The Freedom of Information Act
holds legislators and the Board of Regents
responsible for their actions by making
sure their business is kept on public
record. Secret searches deny the commu-
nity participation. Open searches foster
trust. It preserves the long-standing stan-
.dard of democracy on which the nation
hancac' *fc ninrl 1at

Q UP invites
U' to come
out to the
Diag Friday
Queer Unity Project, All
Us, and the MSA LGBT
Commission invite the entire
campus and community to
join us in celebrating
National Coming Out Day on
Oct. 10, 1997. by attending
our 5th Annual National
Coming Out Week Rally.
National Coming Out Week
is a time of celebration and
awareness during which les-
bians, gay men, bisexuals.
transgender people and het-
erosexuals unite in pursuit of
a world in which everyone
can feel free to be who they
In light of the recent
atmosphere of hate on cam-
pus, we specifically encour-
age heterosexual students.
staff faculty and administra-
tors turn out in large numbers
to demonstrate support for
equality by "coming out" as
allies to the LGBT communi-
ty. Please join us at our rally
this Friday, Oct. 10, at noon
on the Diag. See you there!
'Real world'
shows lack
of diversity
I am writing to comment
on David Jordan's letter
("Affirmative action is no
longer useful"' 106/97).
Jordan has missed the prover-
bial "nail on the head" and
instead smashed his thumb.
He states, "No longer are the
corporations and educational
institutions of America run
almost exclusively by mid-
dle-aged conservative white
males ... Today there are
enough enlightened individu-
als to ensure that everyone
has a fair chance."
I'll try to shed some light
on the fallacies in these state-
Since Jordan is a first-
year enginee, he probably
has not had the benefit of
working in industry for a
"big, Fortune 500 equal
opportunity employer." I have
had three internships at dif-
ferent companies, and I can
report who is in charge:
white, middle-aged males.
All of my bosses have been
white, all of their bosses were
white, and guess who ran the
whole company? A white
middle-aged male. Guess
who I worked with? White

country is no longer "run
almost exclusively" by white
males. But they do speak
from real world experience,
something Jordan seems to
be lacking. Although I'm not
a proponent of affirmative
action (the irony of it all!),
naive statements like Jordan's
are not going to get anyone
anywhere. I suppose I am
writing because I think there
are a lot of white males that
seem to believe Jordan's
I think people get these
ideas of a colorblind world
by spending to much time in
school and not enough time
in the real world. Thirty years
of social progress do not
wash away thousands of
years of standard practice.
Anyone that believes that
should go get a job and see
for themselves whats really
going on out there in the real
I was excited to be one of
the participants of the
Scream-In on the Diag, orga-
nized by Mentality and
Project Serve in support of
awareness of mental illness. I
was pictured on the front
page of The Michigan Daily
(10/7/97) and would like to
call attention to a mental dis-
order that was not mentioned
in the accompanying article.
This disorder, autism, affects
my younger brother.
Autism is a tragic, devas-
tating, neurological disorder
first discovered 50 years
ago. It is often mistaken as a
rare disorder and is more
common than believed.
occurring in 10-15 of every
10,000 individuals. It is the
third most common develop-
mental disability. Autism
affects fine motor, growth
motor, language, commu-
nicative, emotional, cogni-
tive and behavioral skills. It
is estimated that there are
nearly 400,000 people in the
United States with some
form of autism.
Autism affects people
throughout the world of
every racial, ethnic and
socioeconomic background.
Few disorders are as devastat-
ing to a child and his or her
family. Although normal in
appearance, autistic people
seem withdrawn, within their
own world and are unable to
speak and communicate nor-
mally, relate to others, learn
or understand the infinite
nuances of human interac-

I stepped over the puddles
on the Diag left by the
University's high-pressure
water hoses, used to erase
National Coming Out Week
chalkings Monday morning.
At first, I thought maybe one
or two messages had been
offensive orhnegative. But on
my way to the bus stop I
noticed that they had all been
erased. The chalkings encour-
aging timid students to tell
their friends that they are gay
were ordered removed from
campus by a public universi-
When I asked my friends
who were there for the chalk-
ing, they told me that Queer
Unity Project made a clear,
strict announcement of the
University's policy for legal
campus chalking: No chalk-
ing on brick, non-offensive,
and so forth. QUP made a
point of following the rules
to the letter. The University
has no justification for taking
a troop of workers from their
regular duties and ordering
them to blast away the gay-
supportive messages.
If the Muslim Students
Association or a Jewish
group chalked the campus
with messages telling kids
that it's safe to admit you are
Jewish here and then had the
University order those mes-
sages high-pressure sprayed
away, the University would
certainly come under intense
legal scrutiny.
Think about the point of
National Coming Out Week.
"It's okay to tell your friends
you're gay. They won't stop
talking to you - they won't
hate you. Nobody will hurt
you. You don't have to hide
it." Last year, the College
Republicans defaced the
chalkings and in so doing
relayed the opposite message
to students.hThis year, the
University has quietly done
the same thing; the
University of Michigan, a
public institution, has ordered
messages ofiencouragement
for curious, intimidated and
all-too-easily-hidden students
removed from campus.
These kids are your
friends. They have unfulfill-
ing opposite-sex relation-
ships. They are afraid to tell
you that they aren't grossed
out by same-sex kissing like
you are. They internalize
what you say about how fags
are all swishy, effeminate
weaklings. They think things
are wrong with them. And
they need the encouragement
of the gay community to help
them feel less alone.

Athletes are not
the only students
who struggle
with schedules
A thletic Director Tom Goss listed
graduating student athletes with
marketable degrees as one of his prio
ities at Monday's meeting of the
Senate Advisory Committee on
Affairs. But as
part of his
emphasis on the
student halfof I
"student ath-
lete," Goss said
athletes may
need special
from the faculty
as to class MEGAN
scheduling and SCH Ntpp
a c a d e mi c PRESCRIPTIONS
He said many student athletes are
restricted to the Division of
Kinesiology because their athletic
schedules are too unforgiving to pur-
sue a degree in other schools at th
Applaud Goss for serving as an
advocate for his athletes. Applaud him
for seeing student athletes, who have,
more obligations at the University than
practices and competition. Applaud
him, as an athletic director, for recog-
nizing that there is more to life than
sports, and that only a small fractionof
student athletes, even at Michigan,
will have professional athletic careers
And yet, jeer him for considerin
athletes to be special students.
Student athletes should not feel as if
they must get a Kinesiology degree.
Students, both in Kinesiology and out,
ridicule it for having an easy curricu-
lum with no practical purpose. Student
athletes should be able - and encour-
aged - to pursue a degree in any sub-
ject they choose.
But they should not have priority
over other students because of it.
Between practices, team meetings,
conditioning workouts, competitions
and travel, student athletes have a lim-
ited window for classes, studying and
socializing. It is understandable that
they might need classes at different,
times or assignment extensions every
now and then.
In that respect, professors should be
understanding. Not overly lenient, but
Just as they should for other studen
with scheduling conflicts.
If only we had an advocate like Goss
for student parents, who shuffle child
care, quality time and classes. If only
students who financially must have
jobs had someone asking SACUA for
understanding. If only overachievers
could request help from the faculty,
about attending classes and doin
assignments on time.
Almost every student on campus has
a scheduling conflict. Because of this,
some students take early-morning or
night sections. Some classes are simt-.
ply impossible because of meetings,
jobs or family time.
All these students juggle their oblig-
ations with creativity and an occasion-
al shoulder shrug. They prioritize
some commitments above others.
They cope with restrictions bea
the benefits easily outweigh eas
But when Goss goes before SACUA,
does he ask for consideration of these
students? No. Instead, he mentions

schools such as the University of
California at Los Angeles, where stu-
dent athletes have priority over other
students for class registration.
Keep in mindrthat student athletes
are receiving free tuition, includin}
books, extra tutoring if necessary, tai
lored academic advising, special study
sessions and access to study table. Not
to mention the benefits they derive.
frombeingon a team and competing
at the level Michigan provides.
They should not also get CRISP pri-
ority before other students who are
working just as hard - sometimes
harder - to cope with scheduling.
Professors should be understandi'
of all their students' time restriction
They should not feel pressure to make
special exceptions for student ath
Student athletes knew when they
signed letters of intent that their
schedules would be distinct from
non-athletes - just asin high
school. They knew they'd be required
to take - and pass - classes. The
national graduation rate for Divisio
I athletes is increasing, meaninl
more student athletes are successful-
ly balancing sports and academics.
Every year athletes at the University
achieve high levels of performance in
schools other than Kinesiology, and
go on to prestigious jobs and gradu-
ate schools.

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