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January 15, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-15

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 15, 1999

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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.
Day of opportunities
Students should attend MLK Day events

'Having minors would enhance education
and our liberal arts experience.'
- LSA Student Government rep. John Naheedy, on the idea of
implementing a major/minor program in the LSA curriculum
a o .
Ai 4

n 1983, while demonstrators marched
outside of Washington, D.C. to com-
memorate the 20-year anniversary of the
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I
have a dream" speech, a political battle
ensued within Congress over the formation
of a new holiday in the civil rights leader's
honor. While many representatives didn't
like the idea of another holiday, the
promise that MLK Day would encourage
charity helped ensure that by the third
Monday in January, the nation would
pause to celebrate one of its greatest per-
Today, many students on campus are
looking forward to a three-day weekend.
While there will be no classes Monday,
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not meant to
be a day off. As the country commemorates
King's endless devotion toward making our
society better, the University and many of
its organizations have put together an array
of publications, performances, events, lec-
tures and films on Monday. This is an ideal
opportunity to do something positive.
Students who believe in King's dream
should seize this chance and participate in
at least one of these activities.
There are many events students may
choose to attend in order to show their
support for civil rights on MLK Day.
Hearing poet Nikki Giovanni lecture on
the current state of the Civil Rights
Movement can be inspiring. Afterward,
students can partake in the MLK Day
March. The march is an annual event that
allows students to demonstrate their sup-
port for King's cause. Not everything cen-
ters around King, either. There is enter-
tainment from theater groups, such as
Mosaic, and various types of films. The
Museum of Natural History will offer stu-

dents a show in the planetarium called
"The People and Their Sky: African Sky
Tales." There will be dozens of events dis-
cussing topics from Urban Education to
Native American Mathematics. What
these activities all share is the same goal
- to get students thinking about King's
For members of this University, 1999
has extra significance in the importance of
continuing King's legacy. With the dark
cloud of the affirmative action lawsuit hov-
ering ominously over the University, wide-
spread attendance in these events will
demonstrate that this University supports
measures that continue King's work. As our
officials become weary of legal fees and
court dates, a large turnout in honor of King
could have a powerful impact.
While it may seem tempting to take a
three-day weekend, this Monday is the
wrong day to take off. Since its begin-
ning, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has
been more than a holiday. It is one day set
aside for Americans to focus on what they
have done and what still needs to be
accomplished. For many, it is an opportu-
nity to do some community service, from
volunteering at a soup kitchen to building
homes for homeless people. But for all,
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day to
think about what he stood for and for
what he continues to stand. Students must
also remember that it is a day to remem-
ber a particular man and a particular
method of getting things accomplished.
King put all his effort into obtaining civil
rights for all Americans. In honor of his
work, class will be canceled' on the third
Monday of January every year, and every-
one at the University should be helping to
keep his dream alive.

A fine line
Supreme Court to hear sexual harassment case

n upcoming months, many educators,
school districts and parents across the
nation will focus their attention on the
U.S. Supreme Court as it considers peer
sexual harassment in schools. This land-
mark case has been brought to the Court
by Aurelia Davis, after her daughter,
LaShonda, was subjected to repeated sex-
ual advances by a boy in her fifth-grade
class. Despite repeated complaints to
many school officials, no action was
taken and the sexual advances persisted.
This is the fifth sexual harassment case to
come before the high court in the last 15
months and could have implications that
affect schools nationwide.
According to the complaint, the girl
was subjected to repeated sexual
advances from a boy in her class, under-
standably creating a hostile classroom
environment. Although young children
sometimes fail to interact properly, this is
not an ordinary instance of childhood
teasing, In this particular case, the girl
complained many times to the school but
was repeatedly ignored.
The school in this case was simply
negligent in this matter and should be at
fault for ignoring Aurelia Davis's repeat-
ed complaints regarding her daughter
being sexually taunted in school. Other
than ignoring complaints, the school
failed to take any action toward resolving
this matter - not even to the extent of
simply separating the two children, who
were seated next to each other in class.
The school clearly could have taken cer-
tain actions that would have prevented
further problems.t
T,,, n n . d c _ _rr tt l, ;n Cuz

and prohibits schools that receive federal
funds from discriminating on the basis of
gender. This case will decide whether
schools receiving federal aid under Title
IX can be sued for failing to prevent sex-
ual harassment. Depending on the deci-
sion of the Supreme Court, the outcome
could have serious implications for
schools currently funded by the federal
The Supreme Court must tread care-
fully when it considers a ruling. If it rules
too broadly, and thereby sets a precedent
that attempts to standardize sexual
harassment, many schools receiving fed-
eral funding could respond with dracon-
ian measures that damage the ability of
students to interact with each other. Such
actions would threaten students' ability to
learn to socialize properly. As Justice
David Souter commented, "The concern
is there is no way to draw a line between
every act of teasing and a federal court
The Supreme Court should look at this
particular case on its individual merits, in
addition to future cases of a similar
nature. The outcome of this case should
not set a broad precedent that could affect
schools nationwide. Instead, the outcome
of this case should solely reflect the
nature and details presented and limit the
effects of what could subsequently occur
in schools across the nation.
The issue of sexual harassment in pri-
mary and secondary schools forms a line
that is difficult to define, but the repeated
complaints toward school officials in this
particular case clearly represent that
cna -- ..;c-rm , w han.;n ad

Flynt does
not 'control'
The editorial "Sad State
of Affairs" (1/14/99) address-
es the political circus we
have been suffering through
since August. While I do
agree with the premise of the
piece that it is a sad state, I
do not agree with the far-
fetched accusation that Larry
Flynt is "controlling D.C.
politics." If anything, he is
providing a public service.
Is Flynt in control here?
The Daily cites his hand in
Livingston's retirement and
his attacks on U.S. Rep. Bob
Barr (R-Ga.) as evidence.
This falls very short of prov-
ing domination. I think this
may define him as an "influ-
ence" but let's not get carried
away here. I know the media
has a flair for sensationalism.
Speaking of which, where
do the media fit into this little
affair? I do recall the news
coverage when the Clinton
scandal broke using titles like
"A Nation in Shock" and other
flavored distortions. Actually,
the rest of the world and I were
quite unshocked. We all knew
about Slick Willy's extravagant
taste in deflowering the help.
But, as Flynt aims to
demonstrate, Clinton isn't the
only Don Juan in high political
office. If the critics of Clinton
want to go on the attack, then
they should be subjected to the
same scrutiny. Let the critics
realize that they opened up a
screwy can of worms and that
hypocrisy will not be tolerated
by the public. Do not blame
Flynt for jumping into the
mess that was already there.
The media made the circus,
the politicians perform and
Flynt is making the whole
spectacle more interesting.
Dole helps
In reading the Daily's edi-
torial on Elizabeth Dole's
potential campaign for presi-
dency ("Stepping up,"
1/7/99), I was extremely
impressed. Past articles I have
read on this issue make a
mockery of the possibility of
a female candidate. I found
this piece to be most impartial
in its response to such a con-
troversial issue. Instead of
making Dole's candidacy
seem an unfeasible goal, spe-
cific qualities were included
to show why she makes a suit-
able candidate.
I also appreciated the edi-
torial's honesty. It addressed

ing it, myself included. It
made me realize that a
female preside'nt is possible
in our near future,
Winter is
hard on the
I am writing in response to
the article "Storms hard on
area homeless" printed in the
Jan. 8 edition of the Daily. I
found this article to be com-
passionate and understanding.
When the average University
student, or any college student
in the Midwest for that matter,
wakes up to a frosty winter
morning, the only thing on his
or her mind is the long walk to
the first class of the day. What
we fail to realize is that for the
homeless, this weather can be
a life-or-death situation. While
we worry about the snowy
drive back to our little dorms
or the mountains of baggage
piled at the Detroit Metro
Airport, there are people who
must sometimes live in sub-
zero temperatures for some
interval of time this winter.
Homelessness is an ongo-
ing problem, and we seldom '
think about it. January and
February are the two coldest
months of the year for most
of the United States, and this
is the exact time when we,
the fortunate, should care
about those who do not have
a hot meal in their stomachs
and a warm place to stay.
I commend the Daily's
reporting both for reminding
the forgetful populous of the
unending problem of home-
lessness and for giving some
much needed press to the local
shelters and churches that are
ceaselessly trying to care for
the homeless. Donating time
or money to a local shelter is
one thing we can do, but if that
is out of your realm, at least
think twice before you com-
plain about the walk to classes.
Daily is doing
'a fine job'
I'm writing to commend
the Daily on its recent cover-
age of campus events. The
articles have been fair and in-
depth, without sensationaliz-
ing the facts. Congratulations
on doing a fine job this

Davis' proposal to negate
Proposition 209 ("A new pro-
posal," 1/8/99). His proposal
circumvents the differences
in high school education
while still maintaining a cer-
tain level of academic merit.
I am also supportive of his
reduced emphasis on stan-
dardized tests, such as the
SAT, that are biased against
minority students. While the
proposal does not solve the
problem of the unequal edu-
cational standards in high
schools, it does go a long
way to resolve, at least tem-
porarily, the differences
between the two sides of the
debate regarding the use of
affirmative action in higher
education admissions.
are fun
The reason for this letter
is to comment on the U-
Move "Ultimate Water Work-
out" class.
As I was looking through
some of the extracurricular
activities available through
the University, my girlfriend
talked me into taking water
aerobics. Being the fun-lov-
ing guy that I am, I decided
to try it with her. Personally, I
thought I didn't need an aero-
bics class, especially a water
aerobics class.
So we went to the class,
and I was still skeptical the
entire time I was there. I real-
ly didn't see how water aero-
bics could help me. I was
soon surprised, as we started
to do the exercises in the
water, as to the workout I was
getting. It was really tough.
But at the same time, really
fun! I was having a blast.
There was music playing,
water splashing and girls in
bathing suits - what more
could you ask for? And I
soon learned the tricks to
water aerobics and why it is
becoming a popular method
of exercise. Besides the water
resistance and the physiologi-
cal benefits, the best aspect
to the exercises is that they're
done in water - and no one
can really see what you're
doing. So if you're not too
coordinated, like myself, you
can just jump around and
look like you're doing the
exercise correctly (and still
get a great workout.) I mean,
we all have laughed at the
person who trips over the
step or who doesn't know
how to do a jumping jack
during land aerobics.
I simply wanted to share
my water aerobic experience
and perhaps give a few exam-
ples of why it's a great way to

journalism has
sunk to new low
in Flynt reports
T here is a myth circulated in the
American public that the so-called
"media" love to cover stories about se
and politicians.
We don't. At least, not all of us.
I believe, and
certainly hope, that
a number of this
country's political
reporters, wirecor-
respondents and
national and city
desk editors would
rather cover a fiery
debate between
presidential con-
tenders than report LAURIE
on their steamy MAYK{
journal entries. And ss of
yet, political press _ Svo ~
coverage in recent
months has been dominated by details
of - or at least references to - adul-
terous affairs while the term "sexual
relations" has been defined about as
regularly as "line-item veto," and new
papers have resorted to running editor
notes warning parents and readers of,
graphic language.
And now, White House press corps
veterans are being scooped by, of all
people, Larry Flynt, the Hustler maga-
zine pornography king whohas the
money and the agenda to dig up the bed-
room secrets of the country's political
Sure, there are those in the Journalism
profession who hope for scandal and th
chance to bring down the fat catso
Capitol Hill, but the situation today is
more extreme than most of us could
ever have dreamed. Both the source and
the information - infidelities by for-
mer Speaker-designate Bob Livingston
and apparent adultery-related con
ments made by Rep. Bob Barr under
oath - are shocking and somewhat dis-
The truth is, many of us wish M
Flynt would take his dirty little secrets
and go home. Not because we're bitter
or disappointed about being scooped on
the GOP gossip, but because we're still
not sure why exactly were expected to ,
report sexual preferences in the sae
column as a candidate's back taxes.
This isn't journalism as we like to
define it. His is a style I certainly don't
wish to emulate, for his search for truth
includes no regard for common decen
and no consideration for the cons
quences of his actions.
While mainstream newspapers are
dutifully attending Flynt's press confer-
ences, probing the Republican leader-
ship and chasing the story that Flynt
created, Flynt himself is combing the
country for women and men who can
help him to embarrass Clinton's moral
critics. His ad in The Washington Post
drew a handful of responses by peopW
claiming to have had adulterous affairs
with members of Congress.
When Clinton's relationship withs
White House intern Monica Lewinsky
surfaced, citizens and commentators
recalled the playboy reputations of pre-
vious presidents, including the idealized
John F. Kennedy. The memoirs of past
presidents provide proof that being a
successful president does not require'
being a good husband, they argued.
So now that we know the subject'~
not moot or taboo, we're free to dig jus
as deep as we want and display our find-
ings for the world to see. And even if we
don't find anything, if someone else

does, we report that and happily
attribute the information. After all,
they're public figures and allegations
against them are fair game, right?
But years ago, such improprieties were
not spoken of, and they certainly weren't
printed. In their day, the intimate behavi*
of FDR, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and
others were considered private and sepa-
rate from their job as chief executive.
Their romantic relationships were the
domain of historians, not journalists.
It is difficult to point to one event or
year that changed our minds on this sub-
ject and made us privvy to our presi-
dent's bedroom antics. Perhaps we were
swayed by the sexual revolution of the
1960s when President Clinton's rowd'
generation convinced us that it was Q
to talk about sex. Perhaps when Gary
Hart challenged reporters to prove his
infidelity, he invited the American pub-
lic to peer through the windows of all
candidates after him.
We may have been more naive in the
days when we chose not to publish pho-
tographs of President Roosevelt in a
wheelchair or question Marilyn Monroe's
appearances at the White House, but
had a greater respect for the office of t
presidency and for the privacy of the man
who filled it. It is not a question, though,
of whether we have strayed from the
"right" way to go about our job; we have
changed our questions and our coverage
as our readers have demanded different


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