4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 19, 1999
Uje AMidsigiu & iig
420 Maynard Street HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
Edited and managed by JEFFREY KOSSEFF
students at the DAVID WALLACE
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority offthe
Dailys editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
The Naked Mile -
There are certain time-honored traditions
that college students like to engage in.
Students at Wellesley College celebrate the
first Sunday of the school year with a multi-
cultural ceremony of song, music and dance.
Liquor and nudity don't mix
Students t at
by raising money for
scholarships and char-
ity. And students at
their sports teams' vic-
tories - and losses -
by drinking beer and
burning furniture. Not
to be outdone, we at
the University have
our own tradition -
The Naked Mile.
Our tradition began
about 13 years ago
when the crew and
Jus the begnning,
Admissions survey should Initiate dialogue
Since the University was first sued for its a series of panel discussions has already
admissions policies in the fall of 1997, been sponsored by various campus groups
affirmative action has been the focus of since the lawsuit against the University was
intense debates on campus and nationwide. first filed, many of these have been criti-
Both affirmative action proponents and cized for being slanted in favor of a partic-
opponents have claimed to represent the ular stance. Whether such allegations are
collective opinion of the student body as a true is irrelevant. If students suspect an
whole, but Friday's release of The Michigan event was biased or manipulative, it is like-
Daily's student survey marked the first ly they will distrust the information and
comprehensive scientific poll of University arguments presented and maintain their cur-
students' attitudes towards the University's rent opinions.
admissions policies. Perpetuating falsities and half-truths is
The survey, which was conducted in detrimental to the causes of both affirma-
conjunction with the Department of tive action proponents and foes. The
Communication Studies and the Institute validity of a position can be proven only
for Social Research, took a representative with arguments firmly grounded in fact.
sample of 87 percent of the student body. Activists must make a more satisfactory
Graduate and undergraduate students par- effort to raise the quality of debate on
ticipated in the poll. Almost 51 percent of issues surrounding race-based admissions
respondents said they object to the use of policies.
race as a factor in undergraduate admis- As an initial and cursory examination
sions, while about 41 percent supported its of student's opinions on race-based
use. The remainder of the participants was admissions policies, the recent survey
either unsure or refused to answer. should be regarded as the beginning
In addition to revealing student opin- rather than the end of the argument. With
ions on affirmative action, the survey also the amount of misinformation that is
exposed widespread ignorance in regard to obviously circulating campus, it would be
the admissions process. More than 48 per- grossly premature for groups or individu-
cent of respondents thought the University als that advocate ending affirmative
used racial quotas to determine whether action to claim final victory. Only when
candidates are accepted or rejected. an informed student body has heard sev-
Quotas have been illegal since they were eral qualified individuals argue for and
banned by the Supreme Court in the 1978 against affirmative action will a poll be
University of California Regents vs. Bakke able to draw an accurate portrait of stu-
decision. dents' ideological alignment. The issue of
The ignorance of nearly half of the sur- affirmative action at the University is far
vey respondents can, in part, be attributed from settled. This survey should be used
to the amount of rhetoric on both sides of as a starting point for dialogue on this
the affirmative action debate thus far. While controversial issue.
Too powerful a
Independent counsel law should be eliminated
of your choice and type in "Naked Mile").
There are the shady guys who try to reach
out and grope unsuspecting runners.
And there are the expert investigative
reporters from shows of "Hard Copy"caliber.
Needless to say, this event has evolved into
more than a student tradition. In this evolu-
tion, the event lost much of its innocence.
Then, of course, there's the problem of
alcohol. Somewhere early on in the evolution
of the event, someone discovered that it was
just about impossible to conceive of running
bare-assed through the Diag before 10,000
spectators unless he or she was stone-cold
drunk. While the liquor might make the expo-
sure a little more bearable, it presents prob-
lems of its own.
After all, everyone knows that all sensibili-
ty, street smarts and common sense evaporate
after downing a couple liters of Colt 45.
Now put these things together: A bunch of
sketchy old people and a bunch of drunken,
randy kids. You've got a guaranteed disaster.
Last year, several people were rushed to hos-
pitals in ambulances.
Dirty old men got into fights with angry
students who didn't want their packages on
tape. The Diag suffered $13,000 in damage.
And there were reportedly several instances of
But Ann Arbor is not alone in its shame.
Students at Princeton University this year held
what will likely be their final Nude Olympics.
This decision was reached after the school
faced many of the same problems that we
continue to face: property damage, injuries
and fighting. Plus, there were reports of four
men groping an unconscious woman and of
couples having sex out in plain view.
So, it's not just that Wolverines are especial-
ly randy and rowdy; it's that there's something
inherently lethal about the whole liquor/nudi-
ty/old-dirty-pervert mix. It's a great big safety
hazard. And despite all the valiant efforts taken
by DPS, MSA and various student organiza-
tions last year, disaster still struck. People were
still groped and fights still erupted.
So, does this all mean that we should end
the whole Naked Mile? Should we send all of
Larry Flynt's disciples packing and spend the
last day of classes curled up with Orgo books
and cell maps?
Well, maybe. Certainly if nothing improves,
we can't seriously consider continuing the
event. The safety costs outweigh the benefits.
To some, ending the Naked Mile is the best
solution. In fact, I just got a letter from the
almighty University President Lee Bollinger
the other day, begging me not to run the Naked
Mile (Don't worry, Lee. My mama raised me
better and besides, I cannot run a mile without
my lungs exploding). Actually, all seniors got
the letter. And in it, Bollinger urged us to seri-
ously consider the possible consequences
before we rub. Sounds fair enough.
So this year, before you toss your Fruit oo
the Looms to the wind and before you unleash
Victoria's secret, just remember to be smart.
This means it might be a good idea to lay
off the Colt 45.
This means keeping the tempers in check.
This means no walking around alone.
This means keeping your hands to yourself.
Remember: All the volunteers, DPS offi-
cers and free T-shirts in the world can't do a
thing to protect us unless we protect our-
selves. The whole student body is probably aW
little more educated on the dangers of the
event this year thanks to the Michigan Student
Assembly's pamphleteering, discussions on
the event and some great reporting. So, we've
got no excuse for a big riot this year.
If we don't all make the event safer, it'll be
gone sooner than we think.
- Scott Hunter can be reached over
e-mail at sehunter(aiumich.edu.
track teams decided to peel through the streets
of Ann Arbor stark naked. In subsequent
years, other students - jealous of the crew
team's newfound coolness - decided that on
the last day of classes they too would run
around campus naked. And a harmless stu-
dent tradition was born.
But somewhere along the way, things went
awry. When word got out that all of us teens
and 20-somethings were running across our
campus buck naked, shady people crept out of
the woodwork and thronged to campus for the
We're talking dirty old men with high-pow-
ered zoom lenses.
We're talking professional internet pornog-
raphers willing to sell pictures of your bare
bosom for people to download (by the way, if
you don't believe me, go to the search engine
Genocide in Kosovo resembles Holocaust
Rape camps, murder, genocide, ethnic
cleansing ... if these words don't trigger your
moral consciousness, we don't know what
will. Shocked and saddened are we to know
that there are people like the author of the
recent letter to the editor, "Peace with bombs
in Kosovo is a hard sell" (4/13/99) actually
supporting the genocidal maniac, Slobodan
Milosevic. For those wondering how
Milosevic can be compared to Nazi
Germany's leader, Adolf Hitler, ask the vic-
tims of the Jewish Holocaust.
Without doubt, Milosevic is the Hitler of
our times. The three-finger Serbian salute
resembles the Nazi salute. The world vowed it
would never allow the likes of the Holocaust to
occur again. Ever since grade school, we have
been reminded of this great tragedy, in the
hopes of learning a lesson from it. As we
approach the 21st Century, it is all too clear
that we have failed to learn such a history les-
son. No doubt, history is replaying itself
before our eyes. Precisely the same ethnic
cleansing and brutal repression that occurred
in Europe just a few decades ago was permit-
ted to recur in Bosnia and Croatia, and again
today, in Kosovo. Yesterday, the victims were
one religious group; today, it is another. Just a
few years ago in Bosnia, more than 250,000
innocent civilians were butchered, 50,000
women raped and at least two million refugees
were left stranded. Anyone familiar with the
Balkan region will know that Kosovo does not
equal Serbia. The Kosovar Albanians, being
the descendants of the ancient Illyrians, are an
indigenous population of the region, compris-
ing more than 90 percent of Kosovo. Indeed,
the conflict between the Serbs and Kosovars
has been brewing for years. In 1946, the Allied
powers forcibly incorporated Kosovo into
Serbia. Ever since 1990, when Milosevic ter-
minated autonomy (which was granted in
1974), the civil rights of Kosovar Albanians
have been systematically denied. Today, the
Kosovo Liberation Army seeks independence
for its people.
As participants of the rally in the Diag, our
one aim has been to call for an end to these
horrific crimes: where at least 100,000 young
Albanian men in Kosovo have already been
killed, where 700,000 refugees are starving to
death inside Kosovo, where children are
burned alive and where mutilations of human
The point here is not a matter of bombing
or not bombing. The point is that this vicious
and systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing
and massive forced exodus of Kosovars must
be stopped immediately. If you have peaceful
suggestions as to how to do this, name one that
will work. Milosevic's past actions have shown
that the term "peace" does not exist in his
vocabulary. We see only two solutions. Either
arm the Kosovars so they can defend them-
selves against Serbian aggression, or else fight*
a quick ground war and bring an end to this
humanitarian catastrophe before it is too late.
If anything, we are saddened by the fact
that so many students on this campus and
elsewhere choose to remain indifferent about
such a great tragedy. As we marched, hun-
dreds of students on the Diag chose to watch
idly, rather than join in. It was this same apa-
thy exhibited by people before WWII that
allowed the Holocaust to occur. As Martin
Luther King, Jr. stated, "The tragedy is not
the brutality of evil, but the silence of good
people." What has happened to our sense of
humanity? Remaining silent and inactive in
the face of such brutal and blatant violence
against our fellow human beings negates our
duty as civilized members of a world com-
- This viewpoint was written by
School of Public Health
students Umbrin Ateequi
and Jenny Babcock.
GRINDING THE NIB
One of the most infamous men of the
late '90s testified before the Senate
Governmental Affairs Committee last
Wednesday. Kenneth Starr told Congress he
does not think the independent counsel
statute, which expires June 30, should be
re-instituted. This only confirms the absur-
dity of such a law that should have been
eliminated long ago.
Starr told the committee the Justice
Department should be given the jurisdiction
currently held by his office. This would
restore the balance of power that was shifted
by the statute. The independent counsel is
essentially a fourth branch of government
that sits somewhere between the Executive
and Judicial branches. This disrupts the
framework of the Constitution that allows for
impeachment of high officials, a process that
is supposed to involve the Judicial and
Legislative branches. The checks and bal-
ances that are so important to the way our
government is formed are non-existent with
an independent counsel. Starr even said the
powers he exercised should be left "where
our laws and traditions place it, on the attor-
This fourth branch of government, with
little accountability, is too powerful. The
office was created after the Watergate scan-
dal that led to the resignation of President
Richard Nixon. Most of the initial investi-
gation was done by newspaper reporters,
without whom Nixon's criminal activities
would never have surfaced. But in the midst
of the public outrage surrounding the scan-
dal, too much power was granted to this
office. During the past two decades, the
independent counsel has evolved into a
bloated legal entity that has used, with
lessly invaded the president's private life.
Starr's five-year investigation began as
an investigation into the president's and
Hillary Rodham Clinton's real estate deals
in Whitewater, Ark. After spending $40 mil-
lion dollars, intimate details of the presi-
dent's private life had been exposed to the
national press, bringing about the second
impeachment in United States history.
The Constitution stipulates that
impeachment is to be used when an official
commits "high crimes and misdemeanors."
This is to protect the nation from a presi-
dent who abuses his or her power and poses
a threat to the well being of the country.
Starr made his case for impeachment alleg-
ing perjury by Clinton regarding his affair
with former White House intern Monica
Lewinsky. National security was not threat-
ened. But this did not matter to the inde-
This uncontrolled investigation in the
t end yielded a 435-page collection of dirty
stories and lurid details about Clinton's pri-
vate life. The impeachment brought about
by Starr's investigation produced a political
debacle defined by party lines. Everyone on
Capitol Hill knew the Senate Republicans
would not muster the two-thirds majority
required for removal from office. By the
time of the actual vote, they could not even
come up with a simple majority. In the end,
more than $40 million was wasted, and all
that was left to show for it was a lengthy
Starr is a glaring example of why his
office must be removed. His investigation
was misguided, uncontrolled and biased to
the point of being unethical. The indepen-
dent counsel law is unconstitutional and
To THE DAILY:
OK ... Doesn't anyone get the point?
The fact that Michigamua and Adara are co-
ed doesn't matter for squat! They still repre-
sent the petty, self-congratulatory views of
traditional elitism, which have traditionally
drawn lines between grou ps based on the
"high quality" of their "leadership and char-
'Gama, Adara and Vulcan are a net cost
to the campus. Basedron some arcane con-
tract with the University during the con-
struction of the Union, these organizations
get to control the fifth, sixth and seventh
floors of the Union - the Tower! How
many other organizations could use that
space for some good other than shouting
and playing drums Monday nights before
heading off to Rick's? The rationale for
their control of the Tower (based on the
words of a Michigamua alum who will
remain nameless, of course) is that the
members of the organization represent the
cream of the campus crop - that they are a
better class of people, in whom the
University should invest more resources -
after all, they're the campus "leaders."
I have no gripe with the secret societies'
members -they are good people, and indi-
vidually have done a lot for campus. I have
considered a number of their members
friends over my six years at the University.
But during that same time, I've seen their
little rituals and rites of indoctrination,
heard the drums and shouting echoing from
the Tower and gotten generally annoyed by
the overly defensive stance taken by mem-
bers when confronted with a contrary view
CiK, , QZ .
throughout college. Many of the people in
the Tower are members only because of
dynasties - one member of a campus orga-
nization "taps" another member of the same
organization and passes down the history
and love of Michigamua and Adara onto the
In the call for social justice, activists
should aim their shouts against structures
which fundamentally represent a split
between "the people" and "the leaders." All
three levels of the Tower are great places to
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Running the Naked
Mile has many
from participating in this year's celebra-
tions, very little focus has been put on the
other dangers of the Mile.
With increasing mainstream media cov-
erage of the Mile (CNN Headline New4
Channel 7, Channel 4), the number of non-
local spectators will continue to swell. What
this means to prospective runners has been
dealt with extensively, so I'll skip that. My
concern is that the attitude that many of the
additional "spectators" may bring with
them is that our campus is an open house
for a party. Don't get me wrong, it's one
heck of a party, but those not from our com-
munity may not have the same definition o
"celebration" that we do. My warning is
this: It is our responsibility to protect our
campus and community. That doesn't mean
stopping the Mile. That means preventing
situations that could easily get out of hand
and leave our campus in the same state as
Michigan State University's.