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January 15, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-15

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 15, 1998

Ulbe £iiggn ?&il

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

Editor in Chief
ERIN MARSH
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily 5 editorial board.Al/I
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion ofThe Michigan Daily.
FROM THE DAILY
Remember the dream
Students should participate in MLK Day events

NOTABLE QUOTABLE,
'Right now, the Board of Regents (is) basically clueless
about what students want and what they need.'
--Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Trent Thompson, on
the assembly s resolution to lobby for a student regent
PURPLE HERRING NA
_f- - - , , ,
f4 i
_ 8
4 -apI
.. THEN To THeiR SUKP -fl5ETH EY REALZED ThCY WERE 04 LoNEER
IN oZ. 'DoRoTH AND ER R1540 'HAn ! Ej iWt o 'Iie LANAD
oF THE GIANT PHALLUS, KEEPER OF ALL USED ROLLEK COA5re, PARTS.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

his weekend, a man who once had a
dream may smile from heaven. The
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked
tirelessly to emancipate and'educate all
people who experienced discrimination.
Through the work of this great man,
progress ensued but his dream has yet to
reach its full potential. Prejudice, hatred
and ignorance still exist. But King
inspired many and his work is consistent-
ly carried out - by some - everyday.
This weekend, everyone has the opportu-
nity to realize his dream, expand their
horizons and help further work for civil
rights. The 1998 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. Symposium provides this oppor-
tunity. Through the hard work of many at
the University, this year's symposium
promises a wide variety of lectures, work-
shops, panels and performances. Titled
"Why We Can't Wait," the symposium
deserves the full participation and support
of the University community.
The 11th anniversary of the
University's designated time of celebra-
tion and reflection on the life and work of
King begins today. Yet in recent years,
significant setbacks to the goals King
embodied have been seen in the realm of
academia. Educational opportunities have
been taken away from some through the
Hopwood decision, Proposition 209 and
the University of California Board of
Regents' decision to end the use of affir-
mative in admissions decisions. The
University itself faces two lawsuits that
aim to end its use of affirmative action
and eventually change the face of campus
diversity. At a time when multicultural-
ism, affirmative action and race-based

privilege are the buzzwords of higher
education, the symposium, while symbol-
izing a reminder that much work remains
also provides the University community
with many opportunities to explore these
complex issues.
King's message of equality should
continue - the symposium offers the
opportunity for students to take part in
continuing that message. The entire
University community should partake in
the many educational events offered by
the symposium. Shared experiences cre-
ate environments of exchange, debate and
understanding. The Office of the Provost
for Academic and Multicultural
Initiatives deserves recognition for
putting together such an excellent com-
munity event.
A complete listing of the symposium's
events can be found at
http://www. umich. edu/-oapama/mlk98.
Topics covered by the symposium's
events range from diversity in medical
schools to tributes to Rosa Parks to dis-
cussions of affirmative action. Whether
listening to a lecture given by Dr. Keith
Black, a nationally recognized neurosur-
geon and alumnus of the University, who
will be speaking about the need for a
diverse medical community, or attending
a tribute to King through songs per-
formed by the Boys Choir of Harlem, the
entire University community should use
this weekend as it was intended - to
learn, appreciate and understand the
many cultures and people at the
University and across the country. And in
keeping with the spirit of the symposium,
this is why we can't wait.

Didn't tell
Navy investigation violated right to privacy

L ast November, the Navy discharged
Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy
R. McVeigh (no relation to the convicted
Oklahoma City bomber) because of his
sexual orientation. The Navy obtained his
personal information from an America
Online profile page - on which McVeigh
identified himself only as "Tim."
According to Navy transcripts, an investi-
gator allegedly obtained McVeigh's name
by calling an America Online representa-
tive after reading his profile, which listed
"gay" under the heading "marital status."
McVeigh's dismissal is currently on hold
pending an inquiry into the Navy's inves-
tigation.
Navy officials say that the profile was
a statement of McVeigh's sexuality and
therefore was in violation of the Armed
Forces' "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This
rule allows the military to discharge
members who openly admit to being gay
or lessbian but forbids them from making
any inquiries about sexual orientation.
But the Navy's actions in McVeigh's case
clearly violate this policy; calling
America Online to inquire about the pro-
file effectively constitutes an active
inquiry into McVeigh's sexual orienta-
tion.
The Navy's actions. here are a serious
violation of privacy. Since McVeigh's
user profile was anonymous and did not
include his full name or occupation, it
does not amount to a declaration that he
is gay, nor is it grounds for the Navy to
investigate. In addition, the America
Online employee who confirmed the pro-
file sheet did not ask for a court order or
warrant- which is reouired under the

policies on the release of information. It
is not clear if the Navy investigator iden-
tified himself as such to the employee
who disclosed the information. America
Online officials would not comment on
the case, nor would they say whether an
employee provided McVeigh's full name.
In McVeigh's case, the Navy found out
about his sexual orientation because of an
investigation into his private communica-
tions. If his dismissal is allowed to stand, it
could set a dangerous precedent; other
investigators could potentially operate in
this manner, given the Navy's apparent suc-
cess in obtaining personal information
without a court order.
In addition to the fact that the Navy is
using an unwarranted inquiry as the basis
of McVeigh's dismissal, the "don't ask,
don't tell" policy is ineffective and
unnecessary. It allows the military to dis-
criminate against gays and lesbians if
they do not remain silent about their sex-
ual orientation. While some military lead-
ers fear that allowing gays and lesbians
into the military will reduce morale, all
officers are bound by fraternization poli-
cies. Gays and 'lesbians should not be
forced to remain in the closet because of
a military regulation - they should have
the right to express themselves without
fear of punishment.
A private communication should not
constitute disclosure under the "don't ask,
don't tell" policy, especially when person-
al information is uncovered without any
apparent reason for inquiry. The Navy
violated McVeigh's right to privacy as
well as military policy - therefore, its
invetigation based nn an anonvmons ner-

Affi rmative
action is nt
reverse
discrimination
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response
to the commonly made argu-
ment that affirmative action
is reverse racism and sexism.
This misguided belief pre-
sumes that were it not for
affirmative action, racism
and sexism - the kind with
which many people are quite
familiar - there would no
longer be problems in
American society. Those who
made this claim often have
absolutely no statistical evi-
dence to support it. The truth
is that women and minorities
still remain underrepresented
in many sectors and continue
to earn less pay than do white
males for comparable work,
despite the many gains made
through affirmative action.
When 95 percent of top cor-
porate managerial positions
go to white males, how can
anyone claim that resources
are justly distributed or that
racism and sexism are no
longer problems?
Frankly, I find this partic-
ular argument against affir-
mative action to be offensive
and completely nonsensical.
Affirmative action has been a
response to the effects of
racism and sexism and not a
cause of them. Those who
have struggled to support the
policy have done so with the
long-term goal of lessening
inequalities, racism and sex-
ism. Labeling these people as
"racist" because theysupport
"preferences" is either pure
manipulation or pure igno-
rance. According to one law
professor, this is commensu-
rate to saying that "killing for
self-defense is morally the
same as killing for money,
because it's killing either
way."
Affirmative action oppo-
nents may have several points
worthy of discussion, but they
have some nerve to appropri-
ate civil rights language and
label the policy and its propo-
nents in such a way. If they
evidently feel so passionately
about wanting to live in a
"color-blind" society, choos-
ing to attack one particular
social policy is quite an inef-
fective means to address their
concerns. I would love to see
them volunteer for some of
the many community pro-
grams that promote race rela-
tions. Surely these programs
could use their enthusiasm for
racial harmony and a color-
blind society.
FAREEN PARVEZ
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
'Postal' review

on my computer. The graphics
were smooth and beautiful.
And despite what Smith
believes, "Postal" was not
meant to be a parody of the
U.S. Postal Service. There is
not a single postal worker in
the game. In this day and age,
"going postal" is slang for
going crazy. Losing it. It's not
Ripcord Production's fault
that so many postal workers
have lost it and just started
shooting raindom people.
The main character in this
game has truly gone crazy.
He believes that the world is
out to get him, and he has to
get the world first. That is
your job - to help him. It's
fun to play the villain! And to
show how crazy this main
character is aid win the
game.you have to shoot
yourself in the head.
In this world of countless
"Doom" clones, Ripcord
Productions has come along
and done something different.
And for that, Smith insults
them, saying they have "failed
miserably." The first version
of "Doom" wasn't perfect,
and "Doom" has become a
complete success. This is a
new genre in computer games
- a third-person view in
which there are dangers in all
directions. And with time it
will improve. Smith also for-
got to mention that it was the
most popular game download_
on the World Wide Web for
many weeks. "Postal"
deserved at least three stars.
MATTHEW SCHWARTZ
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
Did the 'U'
lobby for the
Heisman?
To THE DAILY:
Given all of the controver-
sy surrounding the Heisman
award this year, I think there
is one statistic that perhaps
has been overlooked: the lob-
bying dollars spent per
school on behalf of their can-
didates. I remember back to
1980 when, for the Hugh
Greene Heisman candidacy
campaign, the University of
Pittsburgh sent out thousands
of posters, highlight videos
and information packets, and
retained public relations ser-
vices and the like at a cost
well into six figures. It is my
understanding that this year
the University of Tennessee
hqd been engaged since the
beginning of the season (if
not sooner) in a major cam-
paign on Peyton Manning's
behalf to promote his candi-
dacy for the Heisman (the
low road, if you will), while
the University's Athletic
Department had explicitly
made no such effort to pro-
mote Charles Woodson (the
high road). Does anyone

schools embarrassing) inves-
tigative reporting?
BILL MARSH
UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS
'U' admissions
are biased
against poor
students
To THE DAILY:
I'm sure we all agree that
affirmative action's purpose is
to help minorities who receive
substandard educational
opportunities. This is a great
idea, but what hard-core affir-
mative action nuts like the
Coalition to Defend
Affirmative Action By Any
Means Necessary don't real-
ize is that not all whites go to
rich schools in Beverly Hills
where thousands of dollars are
put into student resources and
exceptional teachers. I'm the
perfect example of this. I am
white and I went to a poor,
hick school in southwest
Michigan. Our school's track
was in such poor shape that it
was condemned because we
didn't have the money to keep
it up. We don't have the nice
tennis courts and indoor pools
that most schools do. And just
like all the other surrounding
small schools, aboutaone per-
cent of the students are
minorities.
We were left in the dark so
badly that I had never even
heard of Advanced Placement
tests prior to being a student
here at U of M. I barely made
it into U of M and I don't
mean to sound conceited, but I
am doing better in school than
a lot of people I know who
received more than a four-
point advantage over me on
their ACT scores. I didn't get
the same educational opportu-
nities, and just like minorities,
my placement tests reflect that.
But not all minorities went
to lower-class schools. There
are many upper- and middle-
class minorities (especially
here at U of M) who have
been offered the same chances
as white students. And since I
believe in equal treatment for
everyone, I feel that we need
affirmative action - but it
has to change because minori-
ties that have the same oppor-
tunities as whites get special
treatment while white students
like myself get completely
screwed over.
This is my solution: I
believe that schools should be
given a spending per student
rating; say from one to five
with five being the poorest.
Schools know how much
income they get per year.
Divide that by the number of
students and include this rat-
ing on the student's academic
transcript and there you have
it - let the colleges figure

Well-laidplans
often come
crashing down
to your benefit
C all it the triumph of the disorga
nized.
In the grand history of the best-laid
plans dictum, things tend to go exj
the way they're not supposed to. J
when you least
expect it.
This truism
became even
more clear this
week when sev-
eral of my
friends decided
they had failed.
Each found
themselves try-
ing to cope in a MEGA? r
position they SCHIMPI
neverbdreamed R S RIPTON
possible. While
nothing is impossible to overcome
each also had certain standard expec
tations for where they'd be at this stag
in the game.
Not so much anymore.
Most people fall into one oft
planning-ahead categories: those
see the future clearer than a crysta
ball and those who haven't any inklin
what will happen. And neither want
to get labeled as the other.
Funny thing is, both eventuall:
tumble into one as we discover tha
life has atway of taking the long wa
or the other way. Sometimes thosi
who take it as it comes profit in thi
end. Remember those people wh
swore their college choice was 4
fect, or their major was perecto
their job choice was perfect' Go fin
them now. A majority are probabl
somewhere else doing somethin
else.
As disconcerting as it feels. anytlin~
can go awry.
So planwall you want -- at som
point, it's going to collapse and you'
find yourself writing a letter of resig
nation, working when you wante
be sleeping, planning a wedding or
divorce, wading through red tape
explaining your misguided actions to
loved one or transferring to a nev
school or city, all the time wonderin
what happened.
Simple - plans change. Peoph
change. Goals change.
Surprise.
Recruiting visits and interview tour
make everyday life look glamor
Maybe it's a paycheck and no ho
work. Maybe it's a new lifestyle. It
easy and exhilarating to daydrean
about how green thehgrass is
Sometimes it really is all this.
Other times, though, nothing devel
ops how it was supposed to. Ideal:
come crashing down in the face o
reality. And we blame ourselves ami
the frustration and the dead ends
Planning was supposed to ensure
didn't happen. That's what everyon<
promised.
It's when illusions and dreams seen
destroyed that it is easiest to questioi
yourself and every decision tha
brought you to the point where yot
now sit, angry at the world.
Yet this is when it's time to look fo
perspective; to look back on experi
ence and look ahead to what's next
Failure has a sardonically subtle va
of confounding and teaching at o
Decipher the lesson, and failure lose
the battle of wills.

It's time to do a little soul searching
and decide what are important an
what's just details. Take a chance o
fall back on an old standard. By learn
ing new things and meeting new peo
ple, we discover new factors that swa
the emotional vote and find new direc
tions that never existed. Things hapg
that can't be predicted, controlle
changed
That's when life gets interesting.
Give up on what was supposed t<
happen, and the potential is boundless
If what you thought you wanted reall
wasn't anythingyou thought, you ge
the lucky chance to pick somethin
new and try again. Lose a little securi
ty, a little innocence. Gain a little free
dom, a little wisdom. Find what yo.
want now, instead of when you
the plan.
This, theoretically, is why we're get
ting a liberal arts degree with educa
tional diversity from classes and peo
ple to activitiesand opportunities. Th
chance that we will have the sate
career throughout our lives is shrink-
ing, so preparation is more than a lux-
ury. Change is supposed to come easi-
er with more options.
It's like they say in driver's train*
Drive defensively.
Life, as almost everyone knows
isn't perfect. Simply registering fo6
classes teaches this lesson - a Bette
CRISP date doesn't assure a bettei
schedule, and neither does an accep

i

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