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October 16, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-16

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 16, 1997

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'We want a variety of students representing diverse
areas. We have always felt that race was important.'
- University Director of Undergraduate Admissions Ted Spencer

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailv :s editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Under attack

Reprehensible lawsuit hits 'U'

he debate over affirmative action in
America now shifts its focus to Ann
Arbor and the University. Tuesday, the
Center for Individual Rights, based in
Washington D.C., filed a class-action law-
suit against the University, claiming that the
admissions policies are unfairly biased in
favor of minorities. Also named in the suit is
current University President Lee Bollinger
and his predecessor, James Duderstadt.
For the past few weeks, four Michigan
legislatures, led by state Rep. David Jaye
(R-Macomb), who happens to be running
for a vacant state Senate seat in the upcom-
ing November election, have been drum-
ming up support through rallies. After much
postulating and consultation with the CIR
-the same law firm that handled last-
yea's Hopwood case in the Texas-
Mississippi-Louisiana district - the first
step of Jaye's plan to eliminate affirmative
action went into practice.
The University of Michigan has been a
longtime supporter of affirmative action
and now must defend its practice in the
upcoming courtroom battle. The University
currently uses affirmative action policies in
accordance with the 1978 Supreme Court
Bakke ruling. In that decision, the court
ruled that although affirmative action may
among many factors in hiring and admis-
sions decisions.
This lawsuit aims to set a precedent --
posing a serious threat to affirmative action
as we know it. The potential ruling may
change current hiring policies in govern-
ment jobs, awarding of contracts, as well as
admissions to higher education. Also riding
on the result of the lawsuit is the future of
race relations in America. In a time when
relations are tense, and a presidential dia-
logue is underway, the possible reversal of

affirmative action may wedge a deeper
divide. The anti-affirmative action faction,
mainly Jaye, has used the aged argument
pitting whites against minorities, which
equals race-baiting in order to gain atten-
tion for a political campaign.
Diversity is one of the reasons why the
University remains one of the most desir-
able higher education institutions in the
country. It was under Duderstadt's 1988
Michigan Mandate plan that the University
first made substantial progress toward the
goal of diversifying campus. Duderstadt's
Michigan Mandate has increased minority
representation in the past 10 years, from
12.7 percent at the Mandate's inception to
its current level of 25 percent. While the
Mandate has shown progress, the
University's work is not done in the sphere
of minority recruitment and retainment.
Getting rid of the Mandate and other
affirmative action policies would be disas-
trous. Eliminating affirmative action would
seriously jeopardize future enrollment of
minority students. A comparison can be
made to the University of California sys-
tem, where a race-blind policy commenced
this year. None of the 14 minority students
accepted to Berkeley law school this year
have enrolled. Similarly, at the University of
Texas, the Hopwood case reduced minority
enrollment to a mere handful and has raised
serious concerns among students and facul-
ty whether the trend will continue to the
Over the next year, Ann Arbor will be
the hotbed of one of the hottest topics in the
American political spectrum. Affirmative
action debates have brought out many emo-
tions from both sides of the spectrum. The
University must ensure that diversity is
maintained in spite of this onslaught.

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In the dark

Engler leaves welfare
W elfare reform continues to be a sub-
ject of much public debate and a ral-
lying point for Gov. John Engler. While the
governor continues to assert that he is
deeply involved in streamlining his version
of welfare reform, he is failing to take a
leadership role that helps more people get
off welfare and stay off.a
Welfare goes far beyond receiving a
check; however, few people are aware of
this, especially the people who need the
program's many other services. For exam-
pld a person on welfare is eligible for a
$100 check as a reward for getting a job,
followed by another check after 30 days of
employment. More important, a person also
may receive up to $500 for work clothes
and up to $600 for repairing or procuring a
To :Engler's credit, some of these bene-
fits began just this year. However, Engler
provided a mind-boggling counterpoint by
line-item-vetoing funds that would accom-
modate another 150 welfare caseworkers in
the state. The caseworkers are the lifeline
for every welfare recipient; they make each
recipient aware of his or her options and
help. welfare recipients organize their lives.
Fewer caseworkers mean that welfare
recipients have fewer opportunities to meet
with the men and women who are the navi-
gators charting the course back to financial
independence. This only alienates some of
society's most benevolent workers, and
leaves those most needy for information in
the dark about various aides available. With
the mere flick of a pen, Engler could have
made the lives of many people on welfare

recipients in the lurch
The governor also shirks his leadership
by not educating caseworkers and recipients
about the many facets of welfare. The
changes occurring this year have received
very little publicity; therefore, those seek-
ing help do not know what to ask for and
those helping them do not have the neces-
sary information. The governor should
communicate these benefits throughout the
People must know about programs that
can help them buy clothes or secure trans-
portation. Social norms make it difficult to
succeed professionally with a shoddy
appearance and a lack of personal trans-
portation. Interviewees are usually at a dis-
advantage if they cannot "sell themselves"
to employers as a tidy package. The para-
dox for welfare recipients lies in the fact
that people cannot maintain a car or buy
clothes without a job, and they cannot get a
job without transportation or the "right
clothes." Professional dress and transporta-
tion cost a lot of money, especially to those
without. Furthermore, without transporta-
tion, a person is severely limited in job-
Unemployment correlates with a num-
ber of social ills: domestic violence, theft,
drug abuse, suicide. The idea of people get-
ting "fat on welfare" is largely a myth. The
truth is that people have a sense of person-
al dignity, and being able to support oneself
is key to this dignity. Governor Engler must
lead the way in providing the support peo-
ple need to restore themselves when they
are wavering. He has the power, but he

On Monday, Sept. 29,
Rep. David Jaye (R-
Macomb) and three other
right-wing politicians held
the first public event of their
effort to destroy affirmative
action at the University of
Michigan and throughout the
The Coalition to Defend
Affirmative Action By Any
Means Necessary protested
this effort. After just a few
minutes of peaceful, loud
protest by anti-racists, the
police began to make arrests
without giving any warning
and without ordering people
to sit down or leave the hall.
The police grabbed a young
black woman by the throat
and punched a young white
woman in the jaw. The police
sprayed so much pepper
spray that the whole hall had
to be cleared - causing a
much more substantial dis-
ruption than anything BAMN
had done. The resulting four
arrests - ostensibly for "dis-
orderly conduct" - included
a lawyer who was attempting
to show her legal identifica-
tion to the police.
The civil rights movement
of the 1950s and 1960s also
saw police deal blows to
peaceful demonstrations. In
1960, peaceful "disruptions"
of segregated lunchcounters
were met with fists.
The opponents of affirma-
tive action are organizing.
They are attacking the whole
concept that our society can
and should aspire to be based
on equality. They accept and
take for granted the pervasive
inequality and discrimination
that exist in education,
employment and other
spheres of life. They desire
an end to any and every real
effort to address and change
that inequality. They are the
proponents of resegregation.
The struggles that swept
the nation in the '50s and
'60s forced the American
government at every level to
adopt the set of policies
known as affirmative action.
As a result, for the first time
in American history, signifi-
cant numbers of black and
Latino people, along with
increasing numbers of other
minorities, working class
people and women, gained
access to historically segre-
gated, elitist schools, univer-
sities, jobs and other institu-
tions. Incomplete progress
was made.
Inequality still pervades
American society. Despite its
supposed illegality, separate,
unequal education is every-
where. Inequality of
resources in primary educa-
tion is stark and vast. Racist
segregation and inequality

The elimination of affir-
mative action under the pres-
sure of a political and legal
campaign by wealthy, power-
ful, right-wing politicians and
corporations would be a his-
toric setback to the struggle
for a society based on equali-
ty. We need a strong move-
ment to defeat an enemy as
influential and wealthy asathe
forces of resegregation who
are campaigning to end affir-
mative action. BAMN is
fighting to build that move-
Benefits of
must come
at a cost
Yet another Columbus
Day, and yet another group
of angry students informing
the world that they are
enraged at the colonial wars
of evil imperialism waged
against the innocent native
peoples of the Americas.
Right off the bat let me state
that I totally agree with what
they are saying, and the way
they portray what happened.
I disagree on only one minor
point - I am glad that
events occurred the way they
Now I know that this will
instantly brand me as evil in
the eyes of the student body,
but on the counter token, at
least I am being honest. I
enjoy living in the United
States, and enjoy the eco-
nomic wealth this nation has
to offer its citizens, from its
cars to its personal stereos. I
like being able to eat good,
cheap, plentiful food, anytime
I please, from any corner of
the United States.
I am glad that I do not
have to live in a mud buttand
work from dawn to dusk to
raise the bare necessities of
life; I like my bare necessi-
ties wrapped in plastic and
in the grocery store for my
convenience. Without the
resources that were taken
from the indigenous Native
Americans, none of this
would be possible and who
knows what my standard of
living would be instead. So
quite frankly, I am selfish
and admit it openly, but I
love being able to live off
the fat of the land that was
stolen through the evil crime
of aggressive war.
If you really want to
move away from the awful
crime of taking advantage of
stolen native land, its very
simple. Give up all manufac-
tured goods and foodstuffs
npnduced in the United

P rogress
expected in
adoption law
I learned about the adop-
tion editorial ("Home sweet
home," 9/30/97) through my
colleagues back in Ann
Arbor, and brought it up here
in Washington where the
adoption and foster care work
is well underway.
Congratulations on a fine
piece. I certainly share the
views expressed there. It
will be quite a challenge to
bring some meaningful pro-
posals out of all this - but
President Clinton is provid-
ing some important leader-
ship and I think it can be
Nice job.
The Dalai
Lama is not
a llama
In his review of the film
"Seven Years in Tibet,"
Joshua Pederson refers sever-
al times to the spiritual and
political leader of Tibet as the
"Dalai Llama."
A llama is a large, hairy,
camel-like animal. The Dalai
Lama is not. (Unless the
movie really is about the
"Dalai Llama" in which case
I no longer want to see it,
and I would question
Pederson's rating of 3 1/2
The very least the Daily
and Pederson could do is to
verify the spelling of the
name of a Nobel laureate and
one of the most respected
figures in the world, out of
respect for both Tibet's strug-
gle for independence and the
many Buddhists at the
'U' looked for
an excuse to
fire Fisher
I think the University has
been looking for an excuse to
fire Fisher, because the past
few seasons have not been as
successful as the earlier
Fisher years. When this
report gave them half a rea-
son to call his integrity into

To witness the
darker side of
human nature,
go play in trafc
s a student of psychology, it is my
goal to be an acute observer of
people; to recognize the intricacie
and nuances that mark our cognit'
processes. behavioral quirks and inter-
personal relation-
ships. People are
strange and won-
derful creatures,
and to be able to
understand them
is, I believe,
among the great-
est accomplish-
ments one can
achieve. So I like
to watch people ERIN
- their manner- MARSH
isms, their deci- THINKING
sions, their reac- O
tions, their rela-
tional tactics,
Sit at a cafe on the corner of any
four-way stop in Ann Arbor and I
think you'll agree with my conlusio
When it comes to getting around th
fair hamlet, forget cognitive processes,
forget behavioral quirks and forget the
intricacies of interpersonal relation-
ships - people are nuts.
They zip around Ann Arbor on
rollerblades, bikes and other mini-
wheeled contraptions. They drive cars
that cost enough to feed a small cou-
try. And I'm~not sure, but I've heard
rumors that they still walk. Getting all
of these travelers to work together is
task that defies the greatest peace
making organization. Ring up the U.N.
and call out the guard, because we've
got a small-scale war here.
A scenario: l've taken 30 minutes out
of myrlatest stress overload to sit on a
corner, drink a cup of coffee and watch
the cars. This corner is a four-way stop,
meaning (for those who need remind-
ing - and it seems there are several)
that the first car to reach the inter
tion has the right of way. It's the basic
first-come, first-serve idea. It's also a
good idea to stop. That's what the little.
red hexagonal signs mean.
Anyway, as I watch, the cars are hav-
ing some problems. It seems the drive's
have regressed to the third-grade lunch
line, when getting ahead of the person
in front of you is the only goal worth
pursuing. (And for those who might
suggest that the cause of the proble
are those "Michigan drivers" wh
"don't know how to drive" etc., etc., ad
nauseum, the out-of-state plates in this
scene far outnumbered the in-state
ones.) People are honking and swerving
and yelling at each other, just because
no one understands the concept of a
traffic law. Fine.
Then factor inthe pedestrians and
bikers and rollerbladers and all hell.
has broken loose. Walkers nonchalan
ly trot out in front of big hunks of stee
and motor that could squash them like
bugs. Rollerbladers cut by the walkers,
in front of the cars, Tevas in hand .
Bikers swerve past the walkers, cutting
off the rollerbladers, in front of the
cars, in the intersection that Jack built.
Basically, no one in this picture is
more than two seconds away from
I think all those Mountain Dew com-
mercials and No Fear T-shirts hav4
gone to our heads. Ann Arbor is not a
drag strip or a racetrack or even the
New Jersey Turnpike. Those places -
fine, drive like an animal. But is it too

much to ask for some decency on the
roads here?
Of course, it is a two-way street
(though in Ann Arbor, you can never
be sure ... ). All those pedestrians and
bikers and bladers have to watc
where they're going, too. Here's a hin
When you walk or bike out in front of
some car, the driver is going to get
really peeved. Here's another hint,
back to the third grade again: Don't
take up with a bully (i.e., Mr. Car,)
who's bigger than you. He's gonna
Several times a year, I receive letters
from full-time residents of Ann Arbor
complaining about pedestrians. We
don't really think about those full-timj
residents much, except possibly tc,
acknowledge that theytare the folks
who pay the astronomical property
taxes to compensate for the land upon
which our beloved University sits.
They already don't like us. So, what,
we try to sweeten the relationship by
darting out in front of their cars?
There's a reason they all hang out on
Main Street, away from us - we are a
collective pain in the tuchus.
I can sympathize with both sides.
There are few things more frustrating
than driving to an appointment or
work during class-changing time. You
could sit at a four-way stop for literal-
ly five minutes while students stream
in front of your car. Meanwhile, 85
cars that reached other corners of the


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