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October 17, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 17, 1997

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

ll

JOSH WHITE
Editor in Chief
ERIN MARSH
Editorial Page Editor

" NOTABLE QUOTABLE,,
'We want the test to mean something ... it should mean
more than just a mark on a student's transcript.'
- State Rep. Kwame Kilpatrick (D-Detroit),
on the state's High School Proficiency Test

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily.' editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
FROM THE DAILY
Basketball daries
'U' mishandled distribution of report

PURPLE HERRING

E K

is first few years at the University
H boomed with success - Michigan
basketball coach Steve Fisher brought one
of the greatest college basketball teams ever
to two NCAA finals.
But that was then, and this is now. Last
week, University President Lee Bollinger
and Athletic Director Tom Goss released
Fisher from his eight-year tenure after a
University-sponsored investigation revealed
numerous minor NCAA infractions.
According to Fisher and Regent Daniel
Horning (R-Grand Haven), Bollinger
protnised to furnish them copies of the
inv stigation's report before it was distrib-
uted it to the media. Instead, The Ann Arbor
News and other media outlets obtained a
full copy before Fisher and the University
Board of Regents.
Bollinger refutes his part in the decision
by stating that he did not have control over
the coaching situation nor jurisdiction in
this matter. "I said repeatedly I would not
become involved in the employment of
coaches and I certainly mean that,"
ollinger said. Therefore, the athletic
department must solely rule on the practice
of hiring and firing coaches, which in turn,
mkes it a separate division of the
University. If Bollinger claims that he
removed himself from the equation, then he
erred when he promised Fisher and the
regents copies of the report before the pub-
lic release.
Aside from making promises for which
he had no intention of being responsible,
Bollinger's opting to exclude himself from
the matter neglected one of his fundamental
duties as University president. For example,
it was Bollinger's decision to hire Athletic
Director Tom Goss - if he so desired, he

could fire Goss along with numerous other
administrators, faculty and staff members.
It is Bollinger's duty to uphold the
University's image. In order to accomplish
this, he must be keen about every issue
affecting the campus community and every
facet of the University - especially the ath-
letic department and issues such as the bas-
ketball investigation.
By removing himself from athletic
department operations, Bollinger is setting
a dangerous precedent for his role in
University affairs. Michigan hails its athlet-
ic programs, placing them on the same level
as its strong academics. It is the president's
job to take responsibility for the entire
University, not just certain aspects that do
not cause him trouble.
Furthermore, the regents have had a his-
tory of tenuous relations with the athletic
department and its dealings. In 1995, athlet-
ic department officials sealed two major
deals without consulting or informing the
regents. Officials inked a $7 million deal
with Nike and bought out the remainder of
former Michigan football coach Gary
Moeller's contract - and the regents
learned about both after they were done
deals.
The president, athletic department offi-
cials and the board of regents must now go
forth to forge significantly better relations.
They must also share responsibility for the
University's most public spheres. Mutual
respect and a shared sense of accountability
will go far in presenting the University's
image as cohesive, united and proud. The
University's mishandling of the basketball
controversy should be admonished, as it
dangerously impedes the reliability and
efficacy of the University's administration.

MY~ DAD'S AN ALUM,-AN O A ES 0 0TA D -
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Full house
Rehabilitation programs quell overcrowding

steady increase in the number of
A inmates in the state's correctional facil-
ities in recent years has filled them to capac-
ity and forced the Michigan Department of
Corrections to convert recreation rooms to
cellsas state officials search for a long-term
solution. But the state's options are limited
- lawmakers are hesitant to increase an
already exorbitant correctional budget. This
creates something of a catch-22 for the law-
makers; their policy of tougher sentences
simply feeds the population growth in cor-
rectional facilities, increasing budgetary
needs. Finding alternative means of rehabil-
itation is imperative to mend the imperfect
corrections system and prepare offenders
fqr their return to society.
The implementation of "mandatory min-
imum" laws for drug offenders, or a stan-
dard sentence based solely on the quantity
of drugs in the criminal's possession, has
increased the number of inmates and
caused an enormous rise in corrections
expenditures. Seventy-one percent of the
United States' correctional facilities' popu-
lation are drug offenders who, on average,
spend more time in prison than those con-
victed of sexual abuse, assault and
naanslaughter. Most of these drug offenders
have no prior record and no history of vio-
lencee - yet the government spends
$22,000 annually to house each of these
non-violent criminals who would be better
served by a rehabilitation program. Gov.
John Engler has endorsed the use of
"mlandatory minimum" laws in order to
"get tough on crime" - belying the many
alternative methods of corrections avail-
A E-s

include intensive probation, drug rehabilita-
tion, community service, non-military boot
camps, "house arrest" supported employ-
ment and day treatment care. All of these
programs are less expensive than correc-
tional facilities and better prepare criminals
to return to society. As the facilities become
less and less "correctional" due to massive
overcrowding problems, it is important for
lawmakers to see the financial and rehabili-
tative benefits of alternatives to incarcera-
tion.
In one scenario, a first-time drug
offender could be sentenced to five years
in a correctional facility, costing the state a
total of $110,000. For the same amount,
that person could spend one year in a cor-
rectional facility, one year in residential
drug treatment and three years on super-
vised probation and out-patient drug treat-
ment - leaving $62,500 for other civic
investments by the state. According to the
U.S. Department of Justice, the great
majority of recidivism studies of federal
prison releases report that the amount of
time inmates serve in prison does not
increase or decrease the likelihood that
they will commit another crime. A reduc-
tion in sentence length and an increase in
the use of alternative means will not create
an unsafe society, but simply benefit both
the inmate and the citizen.
There needs to be an end to "mandatory
minimum" laws and a stronger focus on
rehabilitation as a means of correction.
Society spends too much money on an inef-
fective system that targets non-violent
criminals. Engler has to focus on the reha-
ltsanr o nfana..e..rnh. thn - mpr.&...

Money, not
racism,
drives large
corporations
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response
to Richard Hofer's letter
("'Real world' workplace
shows lack of diversity,"
10/9/97). Now I am no
expert, but I don't believe it
is true to say that racism is
present today because many
companies are made up of
and run by middle-aged
white men. Understand that I
am not denying that racism
exists in the workplace today,
only questioning the absolute
causality of this argument.
That they are middle-aged is
very relevant here, for could
not past racist privilege be
the explanation sometimes
(and not current corporate
racism)?
For example, in the past,
white men held every advan-
tage in education training and
experience (and this is true
today to some extent), so as a
result of these unfair privi-
leges, white males have per-
haps achieved more creden-
tials. Employers must choose
who will do the best job
based on credentials and
while this indirectly con-
dones past racist or sexist
privilege, it is not necessarily
present racism or sexism that
is the cause (I suppose this is
why many people support
affirmative action - they
believe it fights past racism).
Again, I am not saying that
company executives are not
racist, but the fact that they
are made up today of mainly
middle-aged white men does
not absolutely imply current
racism either.
Furthermore, to those
unfamiliar with corporations,
let me introduce you. First
and foremost, the only inter-
est of corporations is profit.
They have stockholders who
demand a good return, and
that is their reason for exis-
tence. With today's super-
competitive global market,
companies cannot afford to
award jobs to people on the
basis of anything other than
merit if they expect to stay in
business for the long haul. At
one time, companies could
afford to persist having racist
policies, but increasingly, I
think they realize that those
which stick with race or gen-
der privileges will certainly
be annihilated. The time of
reckoning is truly near for
companies which persist in
racist decadence, for no more
is every door closed to talent-
ed minorities. The corpora-
tion that will triumph will not
be that which is the whitest,
but that which has the most
qualified employees.
Now all this has been
somewhat theoretical and I
an undArtnfd if nenle

oppressed foreign workers
now do jobs that have been
taken away mainly from mid-
dle-aged white men, how
does anybody say the corpo-
rations favor the middle-aged
white man? Come on, they
don't give a damn about the
white man, the black man or
women of any race either.
They are corporations - it's
about the money.
JOHN LEHNING
ENGINEERING JUNIOR
Code hearing
was biased
against
accused man
TO THE DAILY:
It is troubling to me that a
woman with a history of
passing out drunk at a frat
house can up and decide she
wvas harassed and bring very
serious charges against
another person. She doesn't
sound like one who would be
able to accurately recount the
particular evening's events,
and seeing as how she was
told by the fraternity she was
not welcome there because of
her prior behavior, I fail to
understand why she was even
there. Based upon the reac-
tions of the two people
involved in this case, it would
seem that the Code of
Student Conduct is more eas-
ily implemented in favor of
females. This I find troubling
as well.
I also think that while frat
parties may not be a breeding
ground for sexual harassment
in general, they are definitely
a haven for flirting. While the
beer is flowing, the music
bumping, and the bodies
dancing, the line between
healthy flirting and sexual
harassment can become mud-
died to some.
TIM MAUN
ENGINEERING
FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
Swastikas
have different
meanings
TO THE DAILY:
As soon as I read the first
article about the swastika inci-
dent, I knew that many people
(including those who wrote
the letters to the editor) were
very confused. Please let me
clarify for everyone who still
think that the evil Nazi swasti-
ka has a "positive origin":
Take a closer look first -
they are different!
The Hindu or Buddhist
swastika is counterclock-
wise, stands on one of its
sides, and symbolizes the
turning and circulation of

someone say so makes me
sick.
HENRY CHOU
ENGINEERING SENIOR
Fisher did not
deserve to be
fired by Goss
TO THE DAILY:
I have been a Michigan
basketball fan since the Fab
Five era. To me, it's not
Michigan basketball without
Steve Fisher. Dealing with
fans expecting to win the
National Championship every
year was only one of the few
burdens Fisher had to bear
throughout his coaching
career here. The team was
too often seen as overrated
underachievers, but maybe
the fans were too idealistic
and overly expectant.
I look at it as a parallel to
the Red Wings.sWhen their
season wasn't looking up and
the team was packed with tal-
ent, the fans and the media
began their talks of the firing
of Scotty Bowman. Why?
Because-they wanted the
Stanley Cup. They expected
the Stanley Cup. Detroit
waited more than 50 years to
have their glory and they did
it under the coach everyone
wanted to fire. Couldn't
Michigan have waited?
I feel the University han-
dled the situation poorly. The
so-called "changes" that
"need to be made" should not
have been the firing of the
head coach - one who is
seen by the players as a
father figure and by most
people a good man. What
were Tom Goss's true inten-
tions in firing Fisher? Was it
for the best interest and
image of the University or
was it to flex his muscles as
the new athletic director?
The department is failing
to listen to the players who
have taken a tremendous blow.
They're saddened and con-
fused by the loss of their
leader whom some have
deemed their "second father"
and instead of giving them to
a loving uncle (assistant coach
Brian Dutcher), Goss is giving
them away to a complete
stranger - for the best inter-
est and to maintain the image
of the University, of course.
I am highly disappointed
and angered by the decision
by Goss and all those that
were involved. I am also
plaintive to see such a great
man treated so unfairly.
Another parallel may be to
Julius Caesar, a noble man
betrayed by his own people.
Caesar was a man of strong
ambition and good intentions
and he was a great soldier.
However, there were always
the conspirators whose mali-
cious intentions fared better
with the people and overtook
C'aecar in tie eI His yhot

'Homogeneous'
and other big
words that don 't
belong at the 'U"
There was a time in my life when I
would have cheered on the current
efforts to end America's 30-year
experiment with affirmative action.
few years back, I probably would have
been especially
encouraged by;
lawsuits like the
one filed in U.S
District Court this
eek against th
Of course there
was also a time
slightly earlier in
my life, where I
enjoyed eating the P PAUL
dirt of potted SERILLA
houseplants (hey,L
everyone deals AF
with adolescence
in their own way).
In both instances, I grw up and
learned valuable lessons. First, despite
being an excellent source of minerals,
dirt and the human digestive track ar
not simpatico. Second, despite the
mounds of suburban lore surrounding
the horrors of the mighty "double 'A,"'
middle-class white boys (even particu-
larly pale ones like myself) have some-
thing to gain from affirmative action.
Forstarters, let's get few things
straight:
It would be easy to charge out of the
box and label opponents of affirmative
action as un-cosmopolitan, racist, red
necked thugs who have no busines*
trying to write a complete sentence,
much less a bill or legal brief. But 1,
unlike several local militant factions,
do not choose that route and even if it
were true I think it does little for the
quality of debate.
It would also be easy to simply peg
the backlash against affirmative action
on frustrated honkies who, for the first
time in their lives, are encountering
political power that doesn't complete
belong to them (I think many minori-
ties would say, "Welcome to the club").
Certainly, for many whites the sud-
den confusion of discovering that race
is a factor that also affects them is part
of the story. I grew up in a predomi-
nately white suburb of Detroit and
when many whites I went to high
school with got letters of rejection
from colleges, they blamed it on affr-
mative action, discounting any ot
possibilities. As many of you can
probably guess, beyond the clean side-
walks and wel I-manicured lawns of the
suburban landscape lies a mountain of
anecdotal evidence that proves affir-
mative action is as wrong as mixing
stripes and plaids.
"Let's see, you got an 850 on your
SAT, you have a 1.9 GPA and you mis-
spelled .university' on your applica-
tion essay - damn those reverse-di
criminating, Ivy League snobs!"
However, discounting the obvious
impact of what happened to the
nephew of your best friend's cousin's
dog's dermatologist - chalking up
current anti-affirmative action senti-
ments to a few mildly frustrated teens
downplays the issue's seriousness.
The reason affirmative action is
under fire is basically because its oppo-
nents have a few basic misconceptions
the first of which is easy to rectify.
Many people have no idea what affir-
mative action really is. They think of it
in terms of quotas - a system that, for

example, would demand a certain per-
centage of African Americans, Asians,
Latinos, etc. However, since Bakke v.
Caliornia in 1978, quotas have been
eliminated from affirmative action.
Race is only one of many factors used
in college admissions - -as often a
that phrase is repeated, I still don't think
a lot of people understand it.
That is only heightened by the sec-
ond misconception: I don't think affir-
mative action opponents have a firm
grasp on what equality really means.
Their definition of equality isaincom-
plete, is not completely incongruent
with the Constitution, but it is one-
dimensional. Equality is not simply a
scenario that dsays equal SAT score
mean equal consideration for admis-
sion, because that doesn't account for
years of inequality that may have led
to the day the test was taken. It isn't
equal to say that institutionalized
racism doesn't matter or doesn't exist,
because it does.
Some opponents, like Prof. Carl
Cohen, say affirmative action has
served its course and is no longer a
viable option for achieving a divers
campus. Simply, racism still exists an
I think the good professor's time
would be better served trying to figure
a "better way" to address that cultural
reality. You need a plan to build before
you tear down.
Off campus, State Rep. David Jaye
(R-Macomb) even found time to call

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