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September 08, 1998 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Ilctfaky -
it part of
the routine
4ou are the music, while the music
lasts."
-T.S. Eliot from "The Dry
Savages," 1941
s you step through the threshold
of yourdorm room, you may
A' eel as though, you finally have
arrived. You may see coming to the
University as an opportunity to set
yourself free of parental encroach-
ment, a means to find your true call-
in life, or a place to find intellectu-
imulation.
And you will probably be confused
as hell about where you're going, what
you're doing, and who you're becom-
ing. Or you may think that you have it
all figured out. Either way, the next
four of years of your life could be the
most exciting and frightening of your
life. Or they could royally suck,
Before I go on, let me clear some
egs up. In this column, I will not
babble on about
how much fun
you'll have
singing "The
Victors" at
Saturday football
games, I will not
try to tell you
JACK about the joys of
SCHILLACI drinking beer out
Slam it of a keg of Ice
*the left House at your
- first four-way at
Theta Delta
Kappa Zeta Phi (or some other,
equally unpronounceable name), I
won't wax nostalgic about all the
great fun to be had people watching
oh the Diag in the spring, and I won't
make any vile misuses of the 'U' con-
structions.
The University is what you make of
Some of your fellow freshmen (no,
you're not "first-year students," you're
freshmen, FRESHMEN!!!) will find
themselves sick of this place after a
semester or a year and bail at the
speed of sound. Others will stick
around for far too long, becoming vol-
untary or involuntary members of the
classes of 2003 or 2004.
But no matter how long you are here,
you will no doubt find yourself awash
i opportunities to enjoy new experi-
s, meet new people, and all of those
other things that will not doubt cut your
future therapy bills. These opportunities
will start the second you step foot on
campus and continue until well after
you stand in the pouring rain at
Michigan Stadium in four years' time.
As the quote above indicates, your
chance at grabbing these opportunities
will be fleeting and come only once.
#llege is a once-in-a-lifetime oppor-
tunity. For most students, it's the first
time to set their own schedules, lead
their own lives, and set out to figure
out what is going on without someone
else trying to stuff something down
your throat.
Not that there won't be plenty of
people trying to push their own agen-
da on you. MSA will preach the
gospel of student government, BAMN
will tell you to build a grassroots
,8vement for some reason, the
ZIlege Republicans will tell you
about the insufferable climate for con-
servatives on this campus, etc.... Like

spending a day at the Mall of
America, everyone has something to
sell you - twice in my first year here,
guys in stuffy little suits came up to
me to try and tell me about the Bible
and how I could save myself. It's your
b to sort through the mountain of
p that you'll be presented and find
what is best for you.
The music, so to speak, is what you
will find yourself living in for the next
four years, as long as you make the
effort to hear it. A few of things are
common to everyone's experience in
Ann Arbor: Arguing about "pop" ver-
sus "soda," fighting with your room-
mates about trivial things, fighting
with them about not-so-trivial things,
and discussing the merits of your dorm
feteria's interpretation of chicken pot
pie. But you will also experience
things that no one else will. And this is
what will make you become a different
person, possibly even a better person.
After four years here, you will find
that some of the things that once made
sense aren't really logical anymore.
Your parents, friends and family may
find that you have become something
would never expect: An atheist, a
mocrat, a smoker, or - God forbid
- a lawyer. Let their ripples of shock
slide off you - what they might view
as a sudden change took time for you.
Do yourself a favor, don't pretend to
know exactly what is going on all of
the time. Everyone around you
.-- -+ v11.o h ak not a mhia.

(Ij Moto=~~ &adg

NEW STUDENT EDITION

r

. l\ f r t ' \ l

S CTIDN

pAffi riiativeyi~i,;r

By Peter Romer-Friedman
Editorial Page Staff Writer
Imagine a university where everyone looks
exactly alike. No people of color - a homoge-
nous body of students who have little to
exchange about different cultures through peer
contact. If anti-affirmative action advocates have
their way, this is precisely what the University of
Michigan could become.
Last fall, the University found itself under siege
by a right-wing attempt to resegregate higher edu-
cation. The Center for Individual Rights, a
Washington, D.C.-based firm, filed two lawsuits
against the University for employing racially dis-
criminatory admissions practices. The CIR claims
that both the College of Literature, Science and
the Arts and the Law School have accepted under-
qualified minorities over white students.
The nation is now at a critical point in history
as the 20th century draws to a close. Will it aban-
don substantial gains in race relations stemming
from the civil rights movement or will it defend
social policies like affirmative action that have
allowed minorities and women to attain impor-
tant positions in higher education, government
and corporate America?
Unfortunately, in 1998, the former ideology is
starting to prevail. Although prestigious public
universities in the states of Michigan, California
and Texas have crafted their student bodies to
reflect the melting pot we call America, their
efforts are now being trampled by conservatives
who believe blindly that racism and inequality do
not exist. Under the guise of ideas such as meri-
tocracy and words like "equal opportunity" and
"racial preferences," state Sen. David Jaye (R-
Macomb) and state Rep. Deborah Whyman (R-
Canton) are spearheading an effort to make
Michigan into the Mississippi of the early 1960s,
where segregation was the norm and opportunity
was scarce for minorities.
Jaye, who recently won a seat in the state
Senate on a single-issue campaign - eliminat-
ing affirmative action - denounced the
University for achieving racial diversity by
means of affirmative action and helped organize
the two lawsuits against the University. Jaye
believes that the University should not take into
account the color of one's skin, but rather it
should put emphasis on the Scholastic Aptitude
Test, which studies have shown to be biased
against women and minorities, and a poor pre-
dictor of success in college. Jaye wants the
University to ignore 300 years of slavery,
decades of segregation under Jim Crow, under-
funded schools for poor and minority communi-

vital o
Pr-ogram of admis~
on ads minority
ties and discrimination in the workplace through cially on the
the "good old boys network." He says that the students mu
University violates the U.S. Constitution when it exactly what
adds points to the application of minority stu- Klux Klan s
dents. But in most cases, don't minorities start decided to "
out will far fewer points than white males like sary" by ass
Sen. Jaye? Has he stopped to think about how and police o
minorities feel when he tells them that they don't and bottles.
belong at the University of Michigan, that they group said1
only got in under the guise of "racial prefer- rights mover
ences?" Probably not. enemies.
Whyman is another white, middle-aged legis- But what
lator who is hoping to shut out minorities from the Civil Ri
higher education. Over the past six months, tancy. The R
Whyman has collected signatures to put an ini- us to turn1
tiative on the ballot in November that, if passed, came aroun
would end affirmative action in Michigan and at down at Ker
the University. University students and faculty anyone. The
must vote against Whyman's initiative and hate, and pc
defend the University's commitment to diversity. the universi
Just as when the University accepted its first same vein, t
black student in 1868 when the practice was today's stud
uncommon, administrators are still at the fore- Supreme C
front of promoting student heterogeneity, defend- tive action.
ing the Michigan Mandate - a policy initiated University's
by former University President James Duderstadt precedent o
that has doubled minority representation since tion since V
the late 1980s. In his first full year as University
president, Lee Bollinger, a First Amendment
scholar, has become a national spokesperson for
affirmative action. He has exhibited diligence,
integrity and intelligence, declining the use of
pro bono counsel for the two lawsuits and keep-
ing the student body informed on the University's
ideology.
While many cynics believe that the era of stu-
dent activism is pushing up daisies, University
students are launching the same type of move-
ments that occurred in the '60s and '70s. In late
February, more than 500 students boycotted
classes and midterms to participate in the first
National Day of Action. Eighteen student groups
sponsored the day's events, including the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any
Means Necessary. A massive rally on the Diag, a
march and a three hour sit-in in the Fishbowl
drew national news coverage, as did similar
events in Berkeley, Calif.
About a month later, more than 600 students
showed up to blast University of California
Regent Ward Connerly, who organized the vote
that banned affirmative action in 1995 in the
University of California system. Above: Who
In most cases, students have peacefully dis- become hea
played the power of their voices. Their words one exampi
have been eloquent and ideas noteworthy, espe- topic. Abov

...
~io t
e N tona tydf n f e 4 i t tetMicigaqhasemerged as
us no4 esDrf tQ mihtan&V' Jjtih is~gpter for ativ etin debate, several
a red oM tfi "a other are expate ng sinkiar attacks on
ttezp x4rb7o rty,Vnive e"ty e hluher 0n. In 1995, the
smash the nyny me s4e s~ Unive it ,f Cali ia system Board of Regents
aulting peacekeepers, Klan mrie ,Y V td ' d tive action. CIR won an
officers with a barrage of rocks, keys 4pgrt9ttdecn ,19 96, Hopwod v Texas.
Leaders of the "smash the Klan" bantirnig> : ' off ative action at the
that they were continuing the civil uve' o N$iseool.
ment in a militant attack against their In j teniipe. ti dire effects of losing
affirmiaive Texas has implemented a poli-
these groups must understand is that cy that allows the top1 Gpercent of all high school
ghts Movement was not about mili- seniors to attend any public university in the state.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told The CIR has also filed a lawsuit against the
the other cheek. Even Malcolm X University of Washington. Washington state vot-
d to pacifism. The four students shot ers will have the chance to vote on initiative 200
nt State in 1968 were not out to hurt - placed on the state's ballot similar to
y favored butter over guns, love over Proposition 209 in California - this fall.
eace over war. The government and While New York's public colleges and
ities received their message. In the Universities have produced dozens of politicians,
he Supreme Court hears the voices of poets, actors and leaders of this century, city offi-
dents and it will inevitably be the cials are boarding up higher education from minor-
urt that decides the fate of affirma- ity students. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the
It may even be one of the two Board of Trustees terminated remedial education
lawsuits that becomes the first major this summer - effectively denying minorities and
n affirmative action in higher educa- immigrants access to higher education, a necessary
978, tool for social climbing in today's society.

FILE PHOTO
an it comes to affirmative action debates and the lawsuits before the University, students
ated in their views. This sign "Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary" is just
le of the numerous protests that took place on the University campus this past year on the
e left: A protester during the Ku Klux Klan rally in May attempts to avoid tear gas.

Students
should wait to
gro Greek
By Sarah Lockyer
Editorial Page Associate Editor
The University is notorious for the many divisions of
which it is composed - Greek or independent, athlete or
academic, LSA or Engineering, out-of-state or in-state - the
list goes on and on. Perhaps due to the sheer size of the stu-
dent body or perhaps because of the highly independent and
self-motivated students the University attracts, it is next to
impossible to cross these stereotypical boundaries. But even
more disturbing is the fact that many first-year students fall
into, or even willingly join, one of the pre-determined sets of
students as early as their first few months at school. Nowhere
is this more evident than during the Greek System's Fall
Rush.
This multi-week period for prospective Greeks heightens
the need for new students to fit in and fit in quickly. Rush is
held at the end of September - relatively early in the acad-
emic year - and can have a huge impact on a student's entire
collegiate experience. Within a little over two months at the
University, a student who rushes and receives a bid can
acquire a group of friends, a predetermined party schedule,
and in some cases, a place to live for the following year. But
what rushing so early fails to acknowledge is the possibility
of missed opportunities. First-year students often fail to look
nnnn their erh, Arcinns with thes <me nverall analvsis.

Code skirts law, tries
to replace parents

By Jack Schillaci
Daily Editorial Page Editor
Though you probably do not know it,
you may have violated a University poli-
cy already. During Orientation or the first
week of classes, you may have headed
out to the nearest frat house to drink out
of a freshly tapped keg of cheap beer.
That, according to the University Board
of Regents, is
not kosher with For years,
the University's
"academic com- gave prote
munity." .
Y o u r existence
Orientation
leader probably Code.
did not bring
this up, but somewhere in the mountain
of mail you got this past summer from
the University was a copy of the Code
of Student Conduct. Like most other
junk mail, you probably tossed it and
rightly so. The Code is the botched and
misguided legacy of years of adminis-
trative hassling in students' lives, but no
one in the Fleming Administration
Building has figured it out yet.
Once upon a time, University stu-
dents all lived in dorms. They had cur-
fews, the sexes couldn't mingle in

tion felt that it had the obligation to take
the place of students' parents, and it did
so for decades without much resistance.
But then again, the Michigan Union
used to be for men only, with women
regaled to the likes of the League. But
changing times brought changing poli-
cies. Out with the old, in with the new.
But administrators do not see it that

students
psted the
of the
the University's

way. The regents,
despite what former
President James
Duderstadt might
claim, still have a
death grip on the age-
old in loco parentis
doctrine, feeling that
they must help guide
youngsters through

their formative years of adulthood.
Nine years ago, the regents created
what is the now-defunct Statement of
Student Rights and Responsibilities to
set "high standards" for the University's
"academic community." Language like
this just makes you feel like you stand
head and shoulders above the rest of the
country, doesn't it? But the University
has used this document to screw stu-
dents over time and.again.
The statement was just an interim

I

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