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January 25, 1999 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-25

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 25, 1999

UIIWe S1id 4i g~n 1)4f g

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.
Good clean fun
SANE offers students alcohol-free activities

'A decision to convict holds the potential to destabilize
the office of the President forever.'
-former Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark), in closing
statements of the White House Defense team case
HOi TH E i4411 QAN W;ATHM r £ohs WoRW.
tA' N

n contrast to some of the University's
draconian efforts to combat student
binge drinking, one student group, Students
Active in Non-alcoholic Events, is taking a
more enlightened approach. Last weekend,
SANE held its first alcohol-free event at the
Ann Arbor Climbing Gym. Students who
participated pledged not to drink for the
entire evening; in return, they were allowed
to take advantage of the SANE group dis-
count. SANE's alcohol-free activities are
proof that there are better ways to change
attitudes toward drinking than recent force-
ful attempts.
Hopefully, proactive student groups
like SANE, whose aim is to change the
drinking culture at the University, will
show some in the University administra-
tion how ineffective and unnecessary
strong-arm tactics are. Last month, the
Office of Student Conflict Resolution
reacted to the Ann Arbor Police
Department's crackdown on underage
drinking by sending 133 students who
received alcohol violations letters stating
that they had violated the student Code of
Conduct. The letters also threatened that
any subsequent violation would result in
charges brought up under the Code.
Punishments for violating the Code can
include sanctions as severe as expulsion.
The spirit behind SANE is an
admirable one. The efforts of SANE and
other groups are proof that apathy has not
smothered the University's famous
activist tradition and any low-cost attempt
to diversify the options available to stu-
dents during the weekend is a welcome
one. Cynics may be inclined to dismiss
SANE members as naive optimists, but
the records of similar groups at other
large universities are impressive. While
Di n

the initial turnout at non-alcoholic events
sponsored by Penn State University was
quite low, the events currently attract
about 3,000 students.
The SANE approach to combating student
binge drinking deserves praise as well.
Drinking is an ingrained aspect of college life
that cannot be overcome by police sting oper-
ations or mailed threats from the University.
The only truly effective response to the drink-
ing culture at American universities is to
directly address the culture itself by proving to
students that alcohol and an enjoyable evening
do not go exclusively hand in hand.
Fortunately, some in the administration
have expressed interest in expanding the
University's own role in encouraging alter-
natives to drinking - Director of Housing
Bill Zeller, who is a member of the
University's Binge Drinking Task Force, has
expressed interest in providing students in
residence halls with transportation to
SANE events.
Something positive must come out of
last semester's raids by the Ann Arbor
Police Department and the University's
intrusive attempt to scare students into not
drinking. Hopefully, the University and the
AAPD will see the merits of the far more
effective and focused philosophy behind
SANE's alcohol-free events. Students who
are in the process of becoming independent
adults are unlikely to receive orders from
the University administration very well,
especially efforts to forcefully alter student
If the University truly wants to change
students' attitudes towards drinking, it
needs to collaborate with groups likeSANE
to offer students alternatives to drinking
without being pushy. Student culture can
only be changed from the bottom.

Military policy on gays must be amended

W ith all the issues that were raised by
President Clinton in his State of the
Union Address and by the Republican
response last Tuesday, one too often over-
looked issue was not mentioned. This past
Friday, the Air Force released its figures of
how many service people were discharged
last year for being gay - an amazing 414.
This number represents a more than 30 per-
cent increase over the previous year's fig-
ure, which was 309 people. Last year's fig-
ure was also the highest yearly total since
the Pentagon's policy changed from full dis-
closure of sexual orientation to the "don't
ask, don't tell" policy in 1994. During the
first year of this supposed positive change,
180 service people were discharged. The
figures are staggering, and they are due to a
policy that has forced gay service people
into a life of seclusion and intimidation.
During the presidential campaign of
1992, Bill Clinton promised the gay com-
munity that he would change the discrim-
inatory status quo policy of disclosure.
Until candidate Clinton vowed to do
something about this unjust military poli-
cy, no politician had raised the issue to
such a level of national importance. After
his election, Clinton made the treatment
of gays in the military one of his first
political endeavors. Faced with intense
opposition in Congress, and a desire not
to lose his election momentum, Clinton
compromised with the approval of the
"don't ask, don't tell" policy. The time
has come for the government to change
the military's policy to allow all, servi-
cepeople equal opportunity to serve their
country. The gay rights movement has
been successful in raising awareness in

housing and health care. Further, a num-
ber of localities, among them Ann Arbor,
have passed ordinances granting gays and
lesbians legal protection from discrimina-
tion. The treatment of gays in the military,
however, in the past two decades, for all
intents and purposes has been a failure. A
serviceperson should be discharged for
criminal conduct or failing to perform his
or her duties, not because of his or her
sexual orientation. This has nothing to do
with a serviceperson's ability to discharge
his .or her duty. Just because a soldier is
gay does not mean that he or she is
unqualified to be in the military.
The policymakers, particularly the pres-
ident, in this country have the ability and
the opportunity to end discrimination in the
military. It is hypocritical of the United
States to urge other countries such asChina
to treat their citizens better by allowing
freedom of speech and religion while it
does not extend equal rights to all members
of its society.
The United States endorses an intolerant
policy that does not allow people to live the
life they choose without fear of being
thrown out of their workplace. This policy
must be amended, and the only way to
achieve this just outcome is for voters to put
pressure on politicians. This means deem-
ing the issue important and as one of sever-
al criteria used in deciding which candidate
to vote for.
If this policy is ever going to be changed,
it will not be because of some individual
effort by a politician, but because of a gen-
eral sentiment among the population that
service people should be judged on their
military abilities, not their sexual orienta-

U drinking
blown out of
Jeff Eldridge's Jan. 21 col-
umn "Fear and loathing in the
streets of Ann Arbor" was pos-
sibly the best article the Daily
will ever see grace its pages.
The University community is
overreacting to the highly tout-
ed wave of college drinking
deaths over the past few years.
I wish that University offi-
cials would take a look at the
front page of the Jan. 20
Detroit Free Press. At the bot-
tom of the page, below all of
the riff-raff about Slick Willy,
you can read the headline
"College-age drinking is down
although publicity is up." In
1979, there were nearly three
times the number of alcohol
related deaths on college cam-
puses as there were in 1996.
This fact alone should tell col-
lege officials all over the coun-
try that students are becoming
more aware of the dangers of
binge drinking and are curbing
those activities.
All of the hype in the world
is not going to drive students
away from drinking, but grow-
ing common sense and senses
of responsibility will. The
overzealous ;90s press is once
again blowing a small issue
out of proportion.
Another point Eldridge
states is that the University is
not even a party school. Ann
Arbor as a whole is much
more tame than about 90 per-
cent of other campuses around
the country and this is not
because of the level of intelli-
gence of its students. The sim-
ple fact is that the Universitys
students are more laid back
about drinking. Students here
know how to have a good time
without liquor.
Another high-ranking acad-
emic school, Williams College
in Williamstown, Mass., is the
polar opposite of the
University. Williamstown is a
drinking town with a college
problem. How do I know this,
you ask? I have several friends
who have attended this school
and every time I visited
Williams during my high
school years, every party had a
keg present. The College
allows its of-age students to
register kegs for parties in their
dorm rooms. The problem is
so bad that the school's Rugby
Club made the New York
Times for their infamous booz-
ing, and no one even died.
In conclusion, the
University and the AAPD
should not be crucifying
University students, in particu-
lar the Phi Delta Theta
Fraternity. The University is
being hypocritical in doing
this. Just take a walk down to
the Michigan Union
Bookstore. It seems to me as if
the University sold the rights
for their name to be printed on
shot glasses and beer steins.
What kind of message is this
sending to University students?

Daily on its extensive coverage
of the 26th Anniversary of Roe
u Wade. The Daily ran an edi-
torial on Friday, Jan. 22 sup-
porting the Roe v Wade deci-
sion, and also included two
articles during that week -
one on the anniversary itself
and another covering the panel
discussion on the vanishing
right to abortion that was held
last Wednesday night.
While I commend the
Daily for its coverage and its
pro-choice stance, I would like
to remind everyone that
activism in the pro-choice
movement is necessary every-
day, and not just on Jan. 22.
The Roe v. Wade deci-
sion had been undermined
in the past 26 years by pro-
life legislation and violent
acts against pro-choice sup-
porters, doctors and clinics.
This is not the time for apa-
thy, and we can no longer
believe that the Roe deci-
sion is indestructible.
I urge all pro-choice sup-
porters to join me in making
our voices heard. We an no
longer stand silent while our
reproductive rights are being
stolen away from us.
Jordan gave
much to the
Once again, a Daily writer
has decided to focus on the
negative aspect of a situation.
For what reason I do not know.
To say that Michael Jordan
was "socially irresponsible" is
absurd ("Jordan left a legacy
of legends, stories and social
irresponsibility," 11/21/99).
Too often in this society, we
focus on the good things peo-
ple didn't do. But what about
the bad things that they stayed
away from. True, Jordan did
not actively participate in pro-
moting his race (whether that
is his job or not is very ques-
tionable), but he was not like
many other athletes. He did
not have a drug problem or
drinking problem. He did not
have six children out of wed-
lock like many other NBA
players. Instead, he was a
proud family man.
He was not spoiled and got
along with his teamates. He
was not afraid to take control
when he had to and showed
excellent leadership. He never
denied that he was not a role
model. And he is involved in
many charitable organizations
aside from his own.
Jordan showed what a lot
of hard work and determina-
tion could do. Let us remem-
ber thatshe was at one time cut
from his high school team. Did
he give up, no he kept at it and
became truly great.
In conclusion, as a huge
Tn_2_ Co Tfi li n:.a nciv

Film reviews
do not help
I was sitting in my 9 a.m.
lecture this morning reading
the Daily and realized some-
thing. The paper that I have
been reading for the past three
or so years had just become
more than a way to pass the
limbo period of five minutes
before class starts. It had
become an assault on my
views of movies. In other
words, the Daily's movie critics
can't critique. They have near-
ly prevented me from seeing
movies that are both highly
entertaining and leave a smile
on my face long after I leave
the theater.
The reason that I enjoy
these shows is the simple fact
that I am a normal, target-audi-
ence member for whom these
movies are made. I have never
had any film classes and don't
intend to. I do not enjoy
movies at The Michigan
Theater and never will. I don't
see "Pulp Fiction" as a master-
piece or Quentin Tarantino as a
saint. I go to see movies like
"Patch Adams;"'"Rush Hour"
and "At First Sight," and I
enjoy them. I don't take the
film strip, look at each individ-
ual frame, and then wonder if
an abnormal proliferation of
cracks on a sidewalk that I saw
symbolizes the many divisions
of society. So I ask you, the
Daily Film Staff, please look
through the eyes of the "deaf
and dumb" viewers before
making your rating.
Otherwise, your reviews
could be labeled "blind" just
as easily.
Self-pity does
not help
I could not help but laugh
aloud, but then spit with dis-
taste upon reading Richard
Eckert's letter to the editor
today condemning Bryan
Lark's benign, if misguided,
language in his review of the
movie "At First Sight"
("Language was offensive to
deaf community," 1/22/99).
Mr. Eckert, please shut
the hell up. I hope you do not
speak for Ann Arbor's deaf
community, for such wide-
spread self-pity would surely
keep a capable population
markedly underprivileged
and scorned. As a minority, I
have always believed that
.identity and achievement are
about self-respect. It is not
the comment that some half-
wit reporter types as an after-
thought that will keep us
from contributing equally in

Keep your hands
to yourself and *
other lessons
from school
ittle kids like to tease one anoth-
er. In fact, just about every child
goes through a phase when nothing
gives him or her more pleasure than
the chance to emotionally scar a class*
mate. This is espe-
cially true when
the targeted class-
mate is of the.<
opposite sex. Any
girl who blos-
somed a little early
- or any testos-
you that this sex-
based teasing isSCOT
pretty common- HUNTER
place in this R. T nRt-
nation's gradet..So.
That is why the U.S. Supreme Court
has a couple of difficult decisions to
make in the coming months: When are
kids just teasing, and when are they
sexually harassing one another? And
can public schools be sued if they fai
to stop such threatening conduct from
These questions stem from a law-
suit brought before the high court two
weeks ago, as the mother of LaShonda
Davis sought redress from a Georgia
school district that failed to stop a
male classmate from sexually harass-
ing her daughter in 1993 when both
students were in the fifth grade.
At the time of the incidents,
LaShonda repeatedly complained t
her teacher and principal that over a
period of six months the classmate
had grabbed her breasts and crotch,
simulated having sex with her and
threatened several times to actually
penetrate her.
School officials did nothing and the
students continued sitting next to one
another in class. But when
LaShonda's mother filed criminal
charges,the boy pled guilty to sexua@
battery and faced punitive measures.
Davis's current case against the
school district rests on Title IX of the
Education Amendments of 1972,
which bans sexual discrimination in
any educational institution that
receives federal money. Her lawyers
contend that if a school takes no steps
to strike down a barrier to a student's
education, then it is discriminating
against that student.
Lawyers for the Georgia school dis-
trict insist that, because the law has no
specific provision for student-to-student
harassment, it cannot be held liable.
They also claim that holding districts
liable in such instances will be unfair
because such behavior is commonplace
in schools.
But in a system where districts are
compelled by law to provide all students
with equal access to education, school@
are legally and morally obligated to take
action against severe instances of
harassment or else they will create an
environment that makes equal education
If the court rules to support the
Monroe County school district in its
decision to look the other way, then all
U.S. school districts will have legal
justification to overlook sexual
harassment-even when it becomes as
serious as the sexual battery that char;
acterizes the Davis case.
That legal precedent already holds

companies liable for ignoring sexual
harassment complaints makes absurd
the claim that school districts should
have legal justification to shut its eyes
to similar claims.
If anything, legal protection is
more necessary for a population of
people who haven't yet developed the .
cognitive or emotional maturity tO
handle such intimidation and threats.
If companies must act, then schools
must act also - though schools may
have to scrutinize claims a little more
The goal of a decision requiring
school officials to intervene in
instances of sexual harassment would
not be to hold eight-year-olds to the
same standards that prevail in
American workplaces. Such an effort
would be unrealistic - especially i*
the face of findings by the University
in 1996 that 68 percent of girls and 39
percent of boys in eighth to 11th grade
have been touched, grabbed or
pinched in a sexual manner.
But forcing schools to intervene
when severe sexual harassment arises-
will show students and their parents
that districts don't condone the behav-
ior. When the Georgia district ignore
LaShonda's complaints, it sent exactl
the opposite message. That is why
both the Clinton administration and
the National Education Association,
America's largest teachers union,
have sided with Davis. The call for
schools to take action does not mean

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