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January 28, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 28, 1998


420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 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 Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
dfinrmative steps
'U' should find solutions to negative atmosphere

'This report shows a shocking resolve to allow 'the only
highly selective university in the state' to
become a segregated institution.'
- Provost Nancy Cantor speaking to the press regarding the University's admis-
sions policies and the recent report on the use ofrace as a factor in admissions
- This cartoon originally ran in the Sept. 14, 1995 edition of the Daily.

D ue to the two lawsuits challenging the
University and the Law School's
admissions policies, debate about affirma-
tive action has been going strong for the
past few months. But one aspect of the con-
troversy, which has just recently come to
light, is the effect the lawsuits are having on
the University's minority students. Because
the lawsuits target the University's use of
race as a factor in admissions, some minori-
ties feel their place at the University is
being questioned.
The University needs to quickly address
this problem. While the lawsuits primarily
affect future students, current students may
feel the effects of the negative reactions
toward affirmative action throughout cam-
pus. Although the University has acted well
recently in addressing minority students'
concerns, it should continue to foster a pos-
itive atmosphere for minority students who
are facing unfair stigmas due to the race-
based debates on campus.
The main difficulty that minority stu-
dents face is the ignorant belief, held by
some, that they gained admittance to the
University only because of their minority
status. But admissions do not work that way
- race is only one of many factors that help
to determine whether or not a student is
admitted; it does not play the primary role
in admissions decisions. Nobody gets into
the University on the basis of race alone -
minority students must not be pressured to
justify their admission to others.
The University has been spending a
great deal of time and effort promoting the
future of diversity among the student body.
These efforts are completely justified - the
University community must continue to be
Who's I
Policy will not
To many, the Greek system represents
social opportunities and a chance to
make friends. Parties are often part of the
Greek system's socialization. A recent trend
among fraternities and sororities - both at
the local and national level - is to switch
frfom communal alcohol sources to requir-
ing that everyone bring their own drinks to
parties. Last week, all but one of the
Uiversity campus's fraternities signed the
nterfraternity Council's new "bring your
own beverage" policy, requiring that they
only sponsor parties without kegs and open
bats. While IFC has good intentions with
th- policy, it does not adequately address
the root of the underage drinking problems
and could prove ineffective.
Last December, nine sororities signed a
similar contract at the request of the
Panhellic Association. The association's
policy requires that when sororities hold
parties with other fraternities, they both
abide by the BYOB rule. IFC's policy does
not restrict the fraternities in this way, stat-
ing only that fraternities holding parties
will not supply alcohol.
Many fraternities are already required
by their national headquarters to adhere to
BYOB party policies. When fraternities
hand out flyers for open parties, they almost

invariably have "BYOB" stamped strategi-
cally in the corners. But these parties often
have a common alcohol source regardless
of the rule.
IFC's policy faces a similar problem.
Without an effective mechanism to punish
offending fraternities, the policy will not
have a significant impact. If fraternities that
violate the policy are extricated from Greek
social events or are threatened with some

Thou shalt not
covet thy



comprised of a diverse population. But it is
also necessary to address the situation that
minority students are facing today.
University President Lee Bollinger asked
the faculty and staff to think of possible
solutions to this growing concern among
minority students. This is the kind of step
that is necessary to make sure that the con-
troversy surrounding affirmative action
does not prove detrimental to students at the
University now.
Of course, this does not imply that
debate over affirmative action is harmful.
As long as debates try to educate those who
do not fully understand what affirmative
action is and how it works and the miscon-
ceptions and stereotypes are kept out, open
debate is a good thing. The University
should promote an open dialogue between
students to prevent negativity from dividing
It is not the debate itself that creates a
potentially hostile climate for some minori-
ty students - it is the misconceptions
regarding the University's admissions poli-
cies and the way affirmative action works.
More specifically, the negative climate felt
by minority students is based upon the com-
mon, yet completely false belief that every
minority student gained access to the
University only because of their race.
It is positive that the University is begin-
ning to take some steps to keep the anti-
affirmative action suits from forcing nega-
tive repercussions on minority students cur-
rently at the University. The University
should continue working to address minori-
ty issues to ensure that diversity works well
in the present, as well as making sure it con-
tinues in the future.
ddress problem
will later be mailed to national headquarters
has no binding effect on the fraternities. As
it stands, the policy is ineffective.
Even if fraternities do stop supplying
kegs, it will probably not have the desired
effect. Since the policy does not prohibit
minors from drinking outright, it is unlikely
that the number of people using alcohol will
decline significantly. Further, minors will
probably be able to find someone to buy
alcohol for them - negating any intent to
loosen underage drinking. The policy goes
only part of the way to affecting alcohol con-
sumption at fraternity parties. In order to
truly be effective, the ban would have to be
This policy is intended, in part, to relin-
quish blame from any fraternity should
something happen to a non-Greek member
at a fraternity-sponsored party. Situations
like this have happened in the past and
while IFC is determined to protect all local
chapters at the University from facing seri-
ous sanctions either from the University or
national headquarters, this policy is a Band-
Aid and not a cure. Underage drinking will
continue and non-members of the Greek
system will still attend fraternity parties.
IFC deserves recognition for pushing
this policy, however useless, on fraternities.

But instead of making this token gesture, it
should establish a stronger set of guidelines
that could actually effect change. The pre-
sent policy will not only cause minimal
changes in the number of underage drinkers
at fraternity parties, and without stricter
enforcement, it will likely not affect the
presence of kegs and other sources of alco-
hol. The policy is a step in the right direc-
tion, but it will take several more leaps

'editorial bias'
After reading the article
"Pro-life pioneer discusses
abortion," (1/23/98) regarding
Mildred Jefferson's speech, I
noticed that there has been no
Daily coverage of Marge
Piercy's visit to campus, nor of
the other events celebrating
the 25th anniversary of Roe v.
Wade (except a small mention
of last Thursday's rally).
Piercy, a University alumna,
award-winning poet and nov-
elist, is no more qualified in
her opinion than Miss
Jefferson but I suspect that a
great number of students
would have liked to have
known she was coming. Piercy
is admired by many students
on this campus, not simply for
her activism but for her sheer
genius. (Perhaps a mention in
last Thursday's "The
Calendar" would have been
I think the Daily has been
guilty of a gross oversight,
which could be interpreted as
editorial bias.
advertising is
Alpha Chi Sigma is a pro-
fessional coed chemical sci-
ences fraternity. In an effort to
increase attendance at our
events, we turned to the
Student Organization Resource
Center. After arriving, I was
told that all the prime Diag
boards had been raffled off the
previous day and my only
options were to hang a banner
in the trees and place flyers in
campus buses for a fee of $10.
The first time that I visited the
SORC, I was informed that
while the service of putting a
banner in the Diag was free, I
would have to pay for the
materials involved. This
seemed like a reasonable mat-
ter until I realized that they
demanded that I use special
banner material and weather-
resistant paints that were only
available through the SORC.
Seeking to save my orga-
nization money, I opted for
the SORC banner and sought
out my own paints, which
cost roughly $55.
Once painted, I brought
my banner and flyers into the
office and was informed for
the first time that I was
required to place special
metallic braces in the corners
($7.50), purchase special

placing these in the buses,
which came to roughly $30
- triple the original cost.
Finally, I asked if this banner
could be placed within some
proximity to the Chemistry
Building and I was flatly told
that it couldn't. I spent the
next half hour untanglng
rope and tying it onto the
banner while the employee
played Monopoly on the
office computer.
My irritation with this
event is two-fold. First: The
organization of the SORC is
perhaps the epitome of the
bureaucratic nightmare that is
the University. Not only were
hidden cost strategies imple-
mented but the staff was
incredibly unhelpful and
despite the ridiculous price
that I paid, I had to do half of
the work myself. My organi-
zation cannot afford to spend
$67.50 on a banner that no
chemistry student will see
because it is not near the
Under normal circum-
stances, I would chalk this up
to a learning experience and
implore my friends of the
ridiculous nature of the
SORC and advise them to
use any alternate organiza-
Alas, the SORC maintains
a monopoly on Diag board
space, tree banners and bus
signs, and I have no choice
but to submit to the extortive
practices of the SORC the
next time I need to advertise
effectively on this campus.
Coverage of
homeless was
Kudos to Reilly Brennan
and Jason Stoffer for their
Friday Focus,"Things fell
apart" (1/23/98). Their arti-
cle was one of the best writ-
ten and poignant that I have
ever read in the Daily. The
reporting was both balanced
and deep, and the quality of
detail was phenomenal. The
problem of homelessness is
something that many
University students, with
varying degrees of privi-
lege, either actively or pas-
sively ignore when encoun-
tered in the city of Ann
Arbor. I think that Brennan
and Stoffer have effectively
put real, human faces on the
huddled shapes that we
glanceat while walking past
Taco Bell.
i A Iivr r-+ra yo

schizophrenic when mental
examinations proved beyond
a shadow of a doubt that he
is mentally sound. Such
ridiculous misinformation
and bias should have no
place in real journalism.
Abortion is
not the only
During the days surrond-
ing the 25th anniversary of
Roe v. Wade, I have been part
of arguments about the sub-
ject of abortion. Personally, I
would have to declare myself
pro-choice because I hold no
right to make such a personal
decision for another person
- especially when it comes
to abortion. Since I am a
man, I could never encounter
the emotional and physical
stress that would accompany
a pregnancy or related abor-
tion. But, to say that, as a
man, I am unable to com-
ment is a fallacy. I think
abortion is wrong in most
cases and should be used as a
last resort in specific cases
- those being health threats
to the fetus or mother.
The most common erro-
neous theme that I found
through many of these argu-
ments was a quote similar to
this: "America has to have
legal abortions, because what
about all those people who
get raped, or all the times that
the mother might die, or the
baby could be born retarded
or stillborn?" This is where I
find the biggest problem with
the abortion debate today.
This tells us much about
the state of abortion in the
United States at this time. It is
an excuse to remain ignorant
about the status quo of today's
push for awareness about
pregnancy and abortions. It is
a problem much larger than
abortion. It is a halogen light
illuminating our general apa-
thy and lack of accountability
so prevalent in today's society.
There are other options to
having an abortion, such as
adoption and the various sup-
port and aid groups.
Personally, I know two sets
of couples that waited about
two years to adopt a baby.
Some of this time was due to
"red tape" butthe majority
was due to the lack of avail-
able babies and agencies.
People simply aren't exercis-
ing the alternative options that
are out there.
The next time readers are
in a discussion about abortion
with friends or even at a rally
somewhere on campus, and

neighbor's intern
f Watergate had a positive conse-
quence, it was to show that
Americans still have the capacity for
moral outrage. The mental image of
a trollish, hunchbacked Nixon run-
ning toward a waiting helicopter
with dozens of torch-wie din
extras behind him
is a beautiful
thing, and a good
lesson for all
those who have
come to follow.
Every once in a
while in a democ-
racy, it's a good
thing to have the
electorate rise up
and give the MILLER
realpolitik pimp- ;MILLER
smack to a truly MILLER
odious, elected ON TAP
official. The underlying message
being: "Don't jerk us around. We can
fix your behind double quick if we
want to. Watch yourself."
So you can imagine what a disap-
pointing week this has been for me.
Nobody wanted to play my reindeeW
games, except other journalists; and
believe me, other journalists usually
are no fun at all.
All of the "outrage" about the
alleged affair with former Wite
House intern Ms. Lewinsky is taking
place on the other side of the televi-
sion screen - in the studios, not the
living rooms.
I'll admit to a personal level of
guilt here, in that I didn't give th
"intern crisis" that much credence
until every network and news artery
jumped on the story as if it was
about a half-wit, morally degenerate
rich boy in a closed casket, ski poles
Pay attention, because this sort of
thing almost never happens. The news
media is right and the public is wrong.
It's a rarity, I know. I'm as shocked A
you are.
Our president is under very serious
suspicion of committing a premedi-
tated felony, that is to say it's possi-
ble that he perjured himself during
the Paula Jones deposition. In most
polls, the portion of people who
think he lied, or at least screwed
around, sometimes hovers near 70
The portion of people who belie*
that he should be impeached, even i
more conclusive evidence is discov-
ered, usually doesn't break 50 per-
There's an element of basic civics
here. Saying you don't think the
president should be impeached if
he's suspected of committing a
felony is like saying you don't
believe the sun is a ball of hot gases
or you don't believe beer is ma
with hops.
It's a question of definitions. The
Constitution tells us what is or is not
an impeachable offense, not a
damned opinion poll.
Oh, we're just all so jaded and
cool, aren't we? The president may
be a felon and an adulterer? Hmph,
so? Everybody does it. Like, I'm so
sure. Get with it, man. This is the
'90s or like, something. Get with th
irony, dude. It's not cool to have
spine and a conscience. It took the
entire national news media hitting us
for days on end with this story
before we finally said, "Hey, some-
thing important seems to be going on
here. Maybe I should drop my uber-

hipster, post-O.J. morality and real-
ize that there are some things that
are still wrong and guilty people
have to be tried and punished!"
Folks, all kidding and columni
hyperbole aside, if we lose the abili-
ty to be outraged that the president
may have committed a jailable
offense while in office, or at least the
desire to find the truth and mete out
just punishment if necessary, it's
The system has broken down
beyond repair. There's no point in
carrying on a democracy any more
without these things. We might 14
well start shopping around for
affordable juntas and working on our
Canadian visas.
Our government depends on our
officials being held as responsible
for their actions as the rest of us. The
worst part about all of this is that
they know we don't care. That's why
they win all the time. That's why
Nixon didn't go to jail, Charle
Keating wasn't hung by his o
entrails, and Reagan won't be buried
like the cruel, incompetent -old
butcher he was.
Because they know we don't care.
The president could spendtthe ast
10 minutes of the State of the Union

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