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February 27, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-27

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 27, 1998

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


Gay rights should be part of police contract

'It's pretty much a slam-dunk case ... It's very
clearly a First Amendment violation and
it very well may be a matter of theft.'
- Attorney Mike Hiestand, on the theft of dozens of copies of The
Badger Herald, a student-run newspaper at the University of Wisconsin
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rI" he City of Ypsilanti and its school
board are at odds over the subject of
gay rights in a contract regarding police
patrols of school grounds. The controver-
sy first arose this past October when the
school board accepted the city's proposal
to allow police to patrol the city's schools.
But the school board eliminated the lan-
guage from the original proposal that
specifically prevented police officers
from discriminating against gays and les-
bians. The school board should approve a
contract banning discrimination based on
sexual orientation, per the city's request,
and give the police their long-overdue
The state of Michigan does not require
sexual orientation to be included within the
subject of anti-discrimination clauses.
Without the reinstatement of the anti-dis-
crimination clause, the city will not sign the
contract. Complicating the issue is a recent-
ly approved similar contract between the
Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department
and the school board that included specific
language banning discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation.
This conflict further illustrates the dis-
crimination gays and lesbians face on a
daily basis in a time when such discrimina-
tion should not be acceptable. The pathos of
the Constitution guarantees equal treatment
for all Americans -- when discrimination
abounds, the government's role should be to
take the necessary action to prevent peo-
ple's rights from being eclipsed. It is in this
role that Ypsilanti acts when it refuses any
contract that does not protect the rights of
homosexual Americans. The city deserves
credit for taking a stance that denies the

ability to discriminate against citizens --
many of whom pay taxes that support
Ypsilanti schools - based on sexual orien-
Police officers fill a vital role in society
by protecting citizens from those that seek
to harm others. Everyone must have equal
access to their services when they are in
need - solidifying the rights of a group
that society has historically discriminated
against is essential to any contract govern-
ing the actions of civil servants.
Also disturbing is the contradiction in
the school board's behavior. Voting for a
sheriff's department contract that protects
gay rights while omitting the same element
from the police department contract makes
little sense. Such actions call into question
the integrity and efficiency of the board as
a whole.
One other concern not to be forgotten is
the police officers themselves. This con-
tract, once the two sides reach an agree-
ment, will be retroactive to the 1996-97
school year. Police officers provide a very
important service to society and they
deserve to have the security a contract for
thcir services provides. The delay caused by
bickering over what should be a clear-cut
issue robs the police of a commitment they
Discrimination is a vulgar part of soci-
ety, but it is a part that cannot be ignored.
Neglecting to ensure the rights of those
who may be discriminated against is unac-
ceptable. The Ypsilanti school board
should follow the lead of its city govern-
ment and include specific language that
protects the rights of citizens regardless of
sexual orientation.

Board should an arena probably filledw
the same stone-faced, sea
help support alumni about whichra
wrote. They sat right acrd;
Gargoyle the aisle from us, in the s
tion that straddles center
M agazine court. Admittedly, the stu


Finance filibuster
Senators should discuss campaign finance reform

n modern politics, some industries and
interest groups have considerable influ-
ence on federal legislation through "soft
money" contributions. An attempt to bring
the McCain-Feingold Bill into the U.S.
Senate recently resulted in a Republican
filibuster. Yesterday, the bill's supporters
attempted to ressurect it from debate but
failed to garner the 60 votes necessary.
The proposal sought to reform senatorial
campaign financing. Since its conception,
the bill has drawn indignant criticism from
many Republican senators, although some
Senate Democrats have also rejected its
reforms. This bill does not offer a perfect
solution, but the Senate should reconsider
its stubborn rejection because this bill is a
good start for much-needed campaign
finance reform.
Last November, Sen. John McCain (R-
Ari,.) and Sen. Russell Feingold (D-
Wise.) tried to push their bill onto the
Senate floor for debate. The proposed
reforms are not particularly drastic -
especially considering the immensity of
the campaign spending problem. If enact-
ed, the bill would set up voluntary cam-
paign limits in senatorial elections.
Additionally, the bill would require 60
percent of campaign funding to come
fron individuals within the candidate's
home state. For complying with these
rules, candidates would earn free televi-
siofl advertising time and a 50-percent
discount on all additional advertisements
that air fewer than 60 days before the
election. These reforms aim at empower-
ing grassroots political activism.
Presently, without restrictions, special
interets frnm hnth inde and nitsde the

and excluding the voice of average citi-
zens from public debate.
The McCain-Feingold bill would
diminish the disproportionate influence
corporations, associations, unions and
individuals currently buy in issue-orient-
ed advertisements, which supposedly fur-
ther the specific goals of the ads' spon-
sors. Without any regulation whatsoever,
this loophole in the current election laws
allows for an unlimited amount of "soft
money" to pad political campaigns. It was
this part of the bill that guaranteed its
Conservative enemies claim the bill
unconstitutionally restricts expression.
Some Democrats who oppose the propos-
al hold that the paycheck protection
clause - which makes union contribu-
tions to senatorial campaigns from mem-
ber dues illegal - is unfair. Yesterday,
after the bill failed in a 51-48 vote,
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-
Miss.) quickly removed it from the
Senate floor.
Both sides of the political spectrum
ought to understand that no single piece
of legislative reform will eliminate all
unfair practices without making some
constituents unhappy. The claim that the
McCain-Feingold bill might restrict
expression deserves serious debate, but
refusing discussion on the bill will just
allow current practices to continue. This
bill would force candidates to rely on
community discussions and activism,
eliminating the overwhelming importance
of fund raising in politics. Senators ought
to change their approach to this problem
and hein nendin more nergv nn the

As an alumni of the
University and of Gargoyle
Magazine, I am greatly dis-
mayed by the recent news
that the magazine will no
longer be published through
the Board for Student
Publications. Gargoyle pro-
vided an opportunity for stu-
dents to supplement the
learning they received in the
classroom with hands-on
experience in writing,
designing and editing a mag-
Unfortunately, the board
does not seem to feel that the
University's primary respon-
sibility is providing students
with such an education. The
amount of money the
Gargoyle needs to operate is
very small when examined in
terms of the vast funds the
board has available.
I have spoken with cur-
rent staff members and they
have described the antago-
nism they have received from
the board in recent months.
The board has enacted poli-
cies that do not hinder other
student publications as they
do the Gargoyle. They have
been unsympathetic to the
great deal of energy and hard
work the staff has put into
trying to create a quality
magazine. There has been no
effort to really work with the
magazine to help construct
an efficient business staff. It
is unreasonable for editors
and writers to be expected to
handle the business side of
the magazine. I hope that
Joan Lowenstein and the
other board members will
reconsider their efforts and
realize the real benefits of
Gargoyle for the students at
the University. I hope that
students will express their
dismay at the loss of a cam-
pus tradition and the source
of the best comedy in Ann
Student fans
hurt Crisler
I read with great interest
about Crisler Arena's problems
("What's wrong with Crisler
Arena?" 2/20/98). Chris Farah
nailed it ("Fans in Crisler? Was
it a dream?" 2/20/98). The
problem is the fans. Not all the
fans, just the ones who are

seating assignments need to
change. Surrounding the floor
is a great idea. But only if
those students show the game
faces that can be seen at
Duke, Michigan State
University and the like will
Crisler become the place to
Ben Folds
Five concert
was 'sloppy
I am writing in regards
to the Daily's article about
the Ben Folds Five concert
on on Feb. 16 ("Ben Folds
Five grabs Cargo's crowd,"
2/18/98). Was the reviewer,
Gabe Fajuri, even there? I
was at the concert and was
so appalled by the perfor-
mance, the audience, the
commercialism and the
greed displayed by the band
that I left early.
Before I continue, allow
me to explain that I was a
huge fan of the group. I col-
lected their bootlegs,
records and paraphernalia,
and I have met the band
before, This show was my
fourth and will probably be
my last.
If Fajuri had any taste,
he would realize that what
makes the band so unique is
the way that they are dorks
who are both witty and
intelligent and laugh at the
world. They are not a band
that can be moshed to, nor
have I ever seen lighters at
their shows before.tThey
used to be in it for the
music, not for the bouncing
fans and the chanting
crowds (Fajuri failed to
mention that half of the
crowd had braces and were
there with their parents).
The entire evening was
full of sloppy performances,
and the band did not display
any of the virtuosity for
which it is known. The
piano could barely be heard,
and the fans seemed to be
more interested in jumping,
chanting and nodding their
heads than enjoying good
Incidentally, the opening
act was nowhere near folk.
It was ironic country pop
and was the highlight of the
evening. Robbie Fulks'
hilarious tunes, "She Took a
Lot of Pills and Died" and
"God Isn't Real," were
intelligent criticisms of

'U' policies
do not solve
One of affirmative action's
goals is to promote cultural
awareness by immersing us in
a diverse student population.
It is ironic that what affirma-
tive action has managed to do
is polarize the campus along
racial lines. It is also ironic
that our student population
(and the Daily) claim to be
tolerant. These "tolerant" peo-
ple who adhere to progressive
popular opinion do not toler-
ate any view that differs from
their own. Those with more
traditional and less progres-
sive values are labeled with
the current pop-culture buzz-
words and are discredited and
discarded along with the ideas
that they represent.
For example, if I oppose a
gay-rights initiative, I am
branded a homophobe.
Regardless of whether my
views had anything to do with
prejudice or with the greater
constitutional issue, I am dis-
credited. Similarly, if I oppose
affirmative action, in the eyes
of some people, I am a racist.
Let me state that I firmly
believe all people are equal. I
was raised to believe that we
are all called to recognize and
work past our prejudices and
treat people like human
beings. That said, I oppose the
affirmative action admissions
policies of the University. I
oppose them because they are
unjust. I oppose them because
they are deprecatory, and I
oppose them because they
have built the walls between
races even higher in their
attempt to knock them down.
I cannot support any policy
that allows admission of a
person whois not academical-
ly qualified over someone
who is. Higher education is
not the place to solve societal
ills. If urbanites are disadvan-
taged due to the deterioration
of their public schools (as the
affirmative action argument
contends), then solve the
problem at its source.
I cannot support a policy
that suggests that all people
are not equal. At the crux of
the affirmative action policies
is the belief that it is neces-
sary to lower academic
requirements for minorities or
not enough minorities would
be able to attend the
University to make up a
diverse campus. If I were in
the place of the people who
this directly affects, I would
be offended at the assump-
tion. I would be calling the
policy racist, not those who
are ideologically opposed to
We have a divisive issue
looming over us. The lines are
drawn; let's stop being intimi-

Some professors
can afford to
have tests right
before break
C hances are, if you are reading this
column right now, you are not a
happy camper. Let's face it, if you
could, you'd already be deeply-
involved in your spring break activity
(or lack there of).
But you aren't.
You are in MLB
Auditorium A,
1800 Chem, or if
the scheduling gods
really hate you, the
Perry Building. You
are still on campus,
and you are either a
being held hostagePAUL
against your will. SERILLA
While it is certainly s>-AA
within the discre- \V*\ MAR~~
tion of every pro-
fessor to give a test or make a paper or
project due on the last day of class
before break, it is less than good form.
There are many professors on campus
whose reputations alone allow them to
pretty much do what they want. Generally,
they are dedicated to their students above
and beyond what is expected. Their com-
mitment to undergraduate education, to
actually teaching, is never in question.
Generally, that dedication is accompanied
by a wealth of knowledge and teaching
skills that pull their students into the sub-
ject. They have an ability to make every
student feel like the lecture is being deliv-
ered to them personally.
They do more than teach or transfer
knowledge they exceed the bounds 4
of the purely academic. They create a
world where their knowledge matters -
where it lives, breathes and excites their
students as much as it does them.
Consequently, their students will do
anything they ask - including taking a
test on the Friday before spring break -
(pay attention to this last part) without
losing any respect for them.
I am sure many professors don't care
if their students respect them or like
them at all - and it's their loss. Sure,
maybe it cuts down on the paperwork
when all those graduate school
wannabes come crawling in begging for
the mighty letters of recommendation,
but then again, no one ever stops by
when they come back to visit campus,
do they? Maybe empty office hours pro-
vide plenty of quality time to catch up
on those stacks of journals or The New
York Times --but isn't it nice when stu-
dents just want to chat without whining
for a grade change?
The main thing is that respect can't be
coerced, at least not in an academic set-
ting. I can see why professors want to
get their students to utilize all of their
limited class time to the fullest. But
every once in a while, you get that pro-
fessor that wants to show you how tough
they are. They sit there, waiting quietly
for that day a few weeks into the semes-
ter when someone - generally the per-
son who has been planning an amazing
trip to a tropical locale - to expose the
"Excuse me, ahh, Professor Blah
Blah Blah, perhaps you didn't realize it,
but the second midterm is on the Friday
before spring break."
"Yes, so it is. It is indeed."
"Do you think it would be possible to
move it to Wednesday or even
"Are you going to Cancun or perhaps

"No, I'm planning on visiting my sick
grandmother. She lives in (cough)
Nassau (cough), and all that humidity
really flares up the old bursitis - its ter-
minal - so can we change the test?"
"No, it's impossible. Excuse me while
I laugh diabolically in the hallway."
I realize every professor isn't evil, but
seriously, I think that this often is the
only viable way our overly educated
Ph.D.-endowed faculty can figure out to
"pay the little snot-nosed bastards
back." All those years of higher educa-
tion, all those published papers, all that
research to get on the tenure track -
when do they have time to plot their
entire semester lesson plan on the
premise of screwing you with a horrible
test time?
Well, do you ever go to office hours?
Neither do I.
Perhaps the conspiracy doesn't stop
there. If it's big, it'll make the Nichols
brothers look like amateurish rednecks.
Ahh, scratch that - just get on the
phone with Moulder and Scully, they'll
El Nino. Supposedly, it comes around
every decade or so right? I remember
'88, don't you? Debbie Gibson, Lloyd
Benson, the episode of "Webster" where
he finds out Mame and George aren't his
real parents - I don't recall any of this
ElNifio stuff. I think I would recall a cer-
tain weather phenomenon that just hap-
pens to send natural disasters heaping

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