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January 06, 2000 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-06

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January 6, 2000

Today: Cloudy. High 36. Low:
Tomorrow: Cloudy. High 31.


One hundred nine years of editorialfreedom

.. . . .. .... ..... ... .... ....

By Yaeli Kohen
Daily Staff Reporter
Washtenaw Community College stu-
dent Saousan Kiwan received an apolo-
gy from the college for being told recit-
ing a short prayer before giving an oral
presentation in class last semester was
In the Islamic culture it is customary
for observers to say a short prayer
before many daily activities, said
Council for American Islamic
Relations Research Director Mohamed
Nimer. The prayer uttered before the
presentation was "In the name of God,
most merciful, most gracious."
Kiwan said that as a student in
Damascus, Syria, she said the prayer
whenever the occasion called for it and
*ntinued the custom when she arrived
in the United States.
The instructor, Margo Czinski, told
Kiwan after class that praying before
the presentation was inappropriate in
an American classroom, Nimer said,
adding that Kiwan was not comfortable
with the idea of not saying the prayer.
Before Kiwan made a second pre-
sentation, Czinski explained in a letter
at if Kiwan said the prayer before the
sentation she would be asked to sit
down. After receiving the letter, Kiwan
withdrew from the class, WCC
President Larry Whitworth said.
"The instructor had acted in good
faith," Whitworth said, adding that it
was merely a misunderstanding of the
constitutional idea of separation of
church and state.
But others feel that the situation is
more a matter of intolerance.
Some people have attitudes against
Stain religions" and don't have open
minds, Kiwan said.
"It's representative of the general cli-
mate toward in the U.S.,' said LSA
senior Will Youmans, president of the
Arab American Anti-Discrimination
Committee. "If she was a Christian the
teacher wouldn't ban it.''
Whitworth said that the teacher was
working in the best interest in the class,
*king efforts to not bring religion into
the classroom. But as soon as he heard
about the situation, Whitworth said that
he came to the conclusion that Kiwan
was not in violation of the separation.
'It is my interpretation that (separa-
tion of church and state) does not apply
to personal invocation or prayer,"
Whitworth said.
The prayer was for Kiwan's own per-
sonal benefit, Nimer said, adding that
Czinski assumed that Kiwan was trying
roselytize to the class.
Kiwan received a phone call from
Whitworth apologizing for the situation
and offering her the opportunity to
complete the course by completing two
more required presentations. Kiwan
accepted the offer.
"I'm thankful that I received" the
apology, Kiwan said, adding that she
agreed to finish the class because "he
jderstands my view."
W'The larger issue is religious accom-
modation," Nimer said, adding that it is
"a larger problem to all religions not
only Muslims."

- Daily Staff Reporter Josie Gingrich
contributed to this report.

Suit filed against 10ft


By Caitlin Nish
Daily Staff Reporter
Questioning the safety of his daughter's residence
hall loft, George Cantor filed a lawsuit against Peter
Johnston, who built the loft from which Cantor's
daughter Courtney allegedly fell in October 1998.
Cantor died from injuries sustained after falling
from her sixth-floor Mary Markley Residence Hall
The new suit, filed Dec. 7, follows a previous
suit filed in September by Cantor against the
University for failing "to use due care and caution
in providing and maintaining a reasonably safe and
fit building for students."
The original suit claims the University is guilty of
having faulty windows that open too wide. The law-
suit has not yet gone to trial.

The second lawsuit states that Johnston "failed to
use due care and caution in the design, construction,
installation and sale of the loft beds" and "failed to
properly and adequately warn Courtney Cantor
about the existence of hazardous, dangerous and/or
unsafe conditions created by the loft bed."
Johnston is not believed to be associated with any
professional loft building company.
Jeff Rebitzke, an employee of the seasonal loft
building company AAA Loft Express, said he
believes it is almost impossible Cantor's death
resulted from the loft.
"The way we build lofts, they sit so that it would
be difficult for someone to fall off and out the win-
dow. There is a space of about one foot between
where the loft and window are. Also, the person's
head would be perpendicular to the window,"

Business "certainly will suffer if the lawsuit
makes it through, but I don't think that (the
lawsuit) will."
- Scott R undell
Co-owner of A AA Loft Express

Rebitzke said.
Cantor declined to comment on the case.
"My attorney has advised me not to comment
on anything surrounding the case. We are in litiga-
tion right now," Cantor said.
AAA Loft Express is one of several loft compa-
nies registered with the University. Scott Rundell,

co-owner of Ann Arbor Loft Company, which is
also registered with the University, said that his
business could be affected' if Cantor is successful
with his suit.
"It certainly will suffer if the lawsuit makes it
through, but I don't think that (the lawsuit) will,"
See CANTOR, Page 2

Profs. to help
plan memonal

By Jeannie Baumann
Daily Staff Reporter
Two University professors will join the
group selecting the design for the Martin
Luther King Jr.
National Memorial'
in Washington D.C.,
which will stand
among other
national monu-
ments on the tidalh
basin adjacent to f
the National Mall.
Arch itecture
Prof. James
Chaffers and Jon Chaffers
Lockard, a professor in the School of Art
and Design and Center for Afro-
American and African Studies, will serve

on an international jury of assessors with
architects and designers from across the
country -and from China and India. The
jury will select the design at an interna-
tional competition and conference sched-
uled to take place in May.
"It's an honor being associated with
(King) and his deeds. He was a very
approachable person." Chaffers said.
"Outstanding leadership with humanity
- this is what he had."
University alum Ed Jackson, design
committee chair for the MLK Jr.
National Memorial Foundation, said he
choose Chaffers and Lockard based on
their personal and professional merits.
"These were two individuals that I
felt could capture the spirit of what the
See MEMORIAL, Page 2

Lights out

A broken window in the Alpha Epsilon PI fraternity house remains boarded up yesterday after it was vandalized
during the winter break. The house is uninhabitable and residents have found alternative housing.
Vandalism fo sAEP
-memlbers firo-m house

By Jeremy W. Peters
Daily Staff Reporter
The University chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi has again
encountered misfortune - except this time it is on the
opposite end of the law as the victims of vandalism that
has left the fraternity house uninhabitable.
According to University spokesperson Julie Peterson,
the house was severely damaged during the early morn-
ing hours of Dec. 23.
"Over 40 windows were broken and most residents of
the house have now found alternate housing on an indi-
vidual basis," Peterson said.
The damage occurred after residents of the house had
left for the winter break and was discovered by a con-
tractor doing work on the house. As of yesterday, the lawn
was littered with broken glass and other debris.
Neither the Ann Arbor Police Department, who
responded to the call, nor AEPi members could be
reached for comment yesterday.
The AEPi national chapter, who owns the house locat-
ed at 1620 Cambridge Road, decided that it was not fit to
house fraternity members.

Interfraternity Council Adviser John Mountz said van-
dalism to vacant fraternity houses has occurred in the
"Two summers ago, three or four houses were vandal-
ized," Mountz said. He added that he did not remember
which houses were damaged or who was involved.
AEPi national chapter officials are scheduled to visit
Ann Arbor today and plan to continue interviewing
chapter members about the alleged hazing incident in
which a pledge was shot in the groin with a BB gun last
Though officials at AEPi could not be reached for
comment yesterday, Peterson said the purpose of their
visit to Ann Arbor is to continue interviewing members
and decide if the chapter will be allowed to remain on
campus and if so, under what conditions.
The fraternity's national chapter suspended the frater-
nity until it could begin its investigation after winter
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster
Harper said she was appalled by both the alleged hazing

Holiday Lighting Service employee Tom Hey removes lights from trees along
Maynard Street yesterday.

Cindy McCain holds
teleconference with 'U'

Judge refuses to toss
out Alvarez charges

Candidate's wi
By Hanna LoPatin
Daily Staff Reporter
If her husband is elected as the 43rd
fsi dent of the United States, Cindy
jcCain says "my first priority will always
be my children."
Cindy McCain, wife of presidential can-
didate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), stayed
true to this statement when she canceled her
scheduled appearance at the Michigan
Union vesterdav to stav at home with her

ife cancels visit
Yesterday's visit to the University, along
with two others to Battle Creek and
Birmingham, Mich., was canceled at a cru-
cial time for the McCain campaign. With
the Michigan Republican primary only six
weeks away and a debate on Monday night
at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
the state is going to be the McCains' chief
focus after the New Hampshire primary on
Feb. 1.
Most Michigan Republicans. including

By David Enders
Daily Staff Reporter
The trial of Robin Alvarez, the Ann Arbor
woman charged with inciting a riot during a May
1998 Ku Klux Klan rally con-
tinued yesterday, as the
defense presented a slew of
witnesses on Alvarez's behalf.
The trial did not begin
until Washtenaw County
Circuit Judge Donald
Shelton presented his deci-
sion to proceed with the
trial. At the end of court'

Judge Shelton "expressed real concerns about the
prosecution's case, but he said essentially that he
would let the jury decide," Massie said.
"They have no case against Robin," Massie
At the finish of yesterday's hearing, Alvarez said,
"My case has not been dropped because I am a target
of the city.
"The mayor of the city, is putting pressure on a lot
of important people to make sure I get put in jail for
10 years," she said.
The allegations against Alvarez, a 46-year-old
divorced mother of two, are centered on police tes-
timony that her chants of "Take down the fence" at

LSA Junior Will Rubens speaks to Cindy
McCain yesterday during a teleconference In
the Parker Room of the Michigan Union.

"We're not trying to get our message to
the elected officials, we're trying to get our


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