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February 04, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-04

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 4, 2000

(bt £irig&zilg

A few words of advice: Avoid plaving the 'Blame Game'

V ~ l ~ C3

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
EMILY ACHENBAUM
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 offThe Michigan Daily.

InewetIion och
Title IX needs revision for success

hat is it with blame? Whenever
something goes terribly wrong,
people don't feel satisfied unless some
sort of blame is placed. Instead of look-
ing to the deeper problem behind things,
we are all so quick
to point the finger.
Why? To get the
blame off ourselves,
off anything that we
may be associated
with. When too
many people point.
the finger, a sort of 33.
mob mentalityx
forms, and whatever
is being blamed is
labeled as bad or
wrong. A chain Erin
reaction starts; now McQuinn
all things resem-
bling the blamed are.
at fault. It's a dirty w i e Wi ldsn
little circle that only
ends in everyone being hurt. "The Blame
Game" is not just a show on MTV. The
blame game is what ends relationships,
friendships and fraternities.
But why shouldn't we have the right to
blame, if we believe we didn't do it? Well
I suppose it all boils down to what you're
trying to accomplish. If you want frustra-
tion and broken ties. blame away. But
what are you really accomplishing?
Absolutely nothing. To point the finger is

a selfish act.
Instead of using our time to accuse and
bitch about how the blamed wronged
us/the University/society, etc., we should
step back and look at the larger problem
that is at hand. What went wrong here,
and how can we fix it? Not, "who's fault
is this?!"
Applied to relationships and friend-
ships, this means that instead of focusing
on who started the fight, question why
the hell you're fighting with the person
you supposedly care about. The second
the blame is placed, they're on the defen-
sive. Nothing will get accomplished
when someone feels threatened and com-
pelled to defend their actions.
No one ever believes themselves to be
wrong. It's a lost cause to try and make
someone accept the blame. So blaming is
a selfish act. The only conceivable rea-
son to blame is so one can say, "Here, see
- I didn't do it! I am not responsible!
It's totally them, not me." Pointing the
finger relieves the blamer of any prior
felt guilt.
The Greek systeni is a prime example
of the evils of blaming. Whenever some-
one drinks too much, it has to be the fault
of the provider, not the consumer. Since
the domino effect of bad publicity has
already begun for fraternities and sorori-
ties, the University community is all too
quick to follow the trend and point the
finger. It is a basic human need to have a

tangible thing to blame. People don't set-
tle so well when events happen and are
left with no cause. It's a modern day
witch-hunt - someone has to take the
fall. It is so convenient to label the Greek;
system as the only source of underagA
drinking. It's a nice little package when
social problem can be pinned on one3
organization. When stuff happens, the
public demands the guilt be placed so
they can have something to discuss an*
bash.
And here comes the domino effect.
After a really crummy relationship, the
entire male/female gender becomes evil.
After one friend turns out to be a back-
stabber, you suspect all future friends to
do the same thing. One fraternity gets a
bad rep and suddenly the entire Greek
system is full of dangers to society.
Notice the trend? It's our nasty friend
called blame.
Just once, try looking to the deepe$
structural problems behind things. Initial
anger is natural, but try to see past it to
discover the truth. Don't fall victim to
the "domino-effect" mentality. Blame,
while it may feel terribly liberating, does
jack in the long run. What can we do as a
society to solve problems that are hap-
pening not just across the street, but
across the nation? Work to solve instead
of searching to blame.
-Erin McOuinn can be reached via
e-mail at emcquinn@umich.edu.
TEi.NTAfTl VELY: SPAKJ(I

Title IX, the statute which has provid-
ed academic and athletic opportuni-
ties for women, is coming under fire this
weekend at a symposium held at the
University. The spirit of Title IX, as well
as much of what it has actually accom-
plished, is indisputably positive. It does
for women and athletics what affirmative
action does for minorities and University
admission -- it levels the playing field.
During the past 25 years, the University
has made great strides in providing equal
athletic opportunity to women. But Title
IX is not perfect - the implementation
of the policy has lots of room for.
improvement to keep Title IX from hurt-'
ing others while it tries to help women.
While Title IX has been overwhelmingly
positive, the University needs to keep
striving to meet the ultimate goal of com-
plete gender equality on and off the ath-
letic field. 7
The complications with Title IX stem ;
from the three-part test to determine
whether a university is compliant with the
law. The first part of this test states that
sports opportunities must be "substantial-
ly proportionate" to the full-time under-
graduate enrollment. This means that ifi
the University has an undergraduate pop-4
ulation that is 50 percent male, then the
number of athletes at the University1
should also be 50 percent male. The
University is working towards this goal,1
but this is not the only criterion judgingi
their success in enforcing Title IX.
Title IX's compliance test involvesi
mandating that universities must continue4

to expand the underrepresented athletic
programs. These programs involve many
women's sports, especially those that do
not generate a lot of profit. But if the
University is not able to meet this require-
ment (due to revenue problems, this is
usually difficult to do), it can uphold an
alternative requisite involving the "inter-
ests"of the "underrepresented sex" (in our
case, women). The obvious problem with
this part of the law is its ambiguity. The
"interests" of underrepresented programs
can be broadly defined. The University
must continue to make a serious effort to
enhance the welfare of women's sports
across campus.
According to Title IX, if the
University's underrepresented sex has
been accommodated, then the school is
compliant with legislation. This is a diffi-
cult issue, since the interests of the under-
represented sex are not readily attainable;
also, the University may not consider the
interests if they are compliant with the
"expansion" platform of the Title IX com-
pliance test.
The University should take steps that
would take the difficulty out of these
issues, steps that would make the issue
cut and dry. Michigan should survey the
underrepresented sex to make sure that
their policies are meeting the interests of
women, as it should be a priority regard-
less of Title IX compliance. Once the
interests are defined, they can be met;
once they are met, our university can
more easily refer to itself as a proponent
of equality.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

Dead wrong
Death penalty should be eliminated

Sanz' column
missed the point
TO THE DAILY:
So the headline on Brandon Sanz' col-
umn is "Even idiots have First Amendment
rights" (2/1/00). Sure enough, right below it
is a picture of the hammerhead. How ironic.
Sanz' column defending Rocker's
"right" to be a racist, make slanderous
comments about anyone he wishes and
ultimately be an idiot is all wrong. He
points to the classic whining response
that sports figures are not accountable as
role models, and if they are it's our own
fault for respecting them so much.
Well my friend, you are wrong.
Wrong, as usual, and on so many levels.
First of all, everyone is responsible for
tolerance. Although we have the right to
speak offensively, we still should not. If
someone is a racist, age-ist, supremacist,
or any other type of unwarranted hate
monger, their words are viciously harmful
at worst, and worthless at best. Yes,
Congress shall pass no law restricting their
right to speech, but we don't have to waste
our time reading their poisonous words of
hate they can only get away with saying
because "they have free speech, man."
Second, I don't care what you think,
celebrities such as baseball stars are held to
higher moral standards than regular joes.
How many times did you hear your elemen-
tary school principle throw out something
over the PA like, "Now children, you are
representing the school, so be on your best
behavior...?" Even the University's student
code attempts to justify itself with clauses
reminding us that our actions reflect on the
school itself. This goes infinitely so for
national personalities such as World Series
contenders. They simply cannot reflect such
ignorance and hatred on the rest of the
country this way and go unscolded.
Sanz, if you want a medal for being the
only dumbass standing up for Rocker, that's
fine. But if you truly believe that his com-
ments have any place in our society, then you
need to take a good long look at yourself and
realize that you are contributing negatively to
the world around you, just as our knife-
tongued hero Rocker did before he apolo-
gized. Maybe it's time you do the same.
JESSE MILLER
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT

KR~nzQow
T~ hlic~Ai& V h.'L

M4

1 '

fi

plp4S -LO5s iAS JUST A LITTLE
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Former Supreme Court Justice William
Brennan once said, "perhaps the bleak-
est fact of all is that the death penalty is
imposed not only in a freakish and discrim-
inatory manner, but also in some cases upon
defendants who are actually innocent."
Illinois Gov. George Ryan apparently, albeit
temporarily, agreed. On Monday, he placed
an indefinite moratorium on executions in
that state until a special commission could
. reveal why Illinois sentences so many inno-
cent citizens to death. While the move to
stop executions was a step in the right direc-
tion, the eventual move should be the com-
plete elimination of the death penalty on a
national level.
Illinois alone provides a great example
of why, even if the death penalty was not
deplorable in principle, it certainly is in
practice. Since the death penalty was rein-
stated in 1977, 13 prisoners in Illinois
alone have had their convictions over-
turned. That number is higher than the
amount of prisoners executed in that state
over the same time period. Last year
Anthony Porter came within a mere two
days of execution before journalism stu-
dents at Northwestern University were
able to get him released. The last straw
occurred this January when Chicago
police officer Steve Manning was released
after he was sentenced to die on the word
of a jailhouse informant.
The problem goes far beyond the bor-
ders of Illinois. Since 1971, 85 people who
have been sentenced to death have been
exonerated across the nation. Those are just
the people who made it out alive.

the type of mistake we can afford to make,
let alone allow innocent people to make for
us. A sentence of life in prison can be lifted,
death cannot.
It might be comforting to believe that the
system is effective at weeding out the inno-
cent from the guilty because of the high
number of innocent people released from
death row. But this is not the case. Recent
cases in which innocent prisoners were
released from death row appear to be acci-
dents rather than triumphs of justice. An
episode of "60 Minutes" helped clear
Clarence Brandley. Judges did not free
Anthony Porter, journalism students did.
Inevitably some inmates were not so lucky.
We will never really know how many inno-
cent people have been killed as a result of
our ignorance. We must make sure that such
horrendous accidents never occur again.
Not only is the death penalty given to a
surprisingly large amount of innocent peo-
ple, it is also disproportionately applied to
those who are guilty. Several studies done
across the country demonstrate that minori-
ties are far more likely to be sentenced to
death than white offenders for the same
crime. Given the death penalty's racist
nature, it is not surprising that it took the
release of Steve Manning, a white prisoner,
for Illinois to reexamine its killing policies.
The death penalty should be eliminated.
While Gov. Ryan should be commended for
putting a temporary stay on capital punish-
ment in the state of Illinois, he ignores the
fundamental flaws with the death penalty.
The ultimate conclusion must be its com-
plete elimination. Besides being adminis-
tered incrrctly it is a form of cruel and

0

Column
incorrectly
interpreted issue
TO THE DAILY:
Branden Sanz's column "Even idiots
have First Amendment rights" (2/1/00)
makes a simple and unfortunately com-
mon error. The First Amendment protects
us from government censorship and
interference of personal expression, it
does not relieve us of personal responsi-
bility for our expressions.
All the negative reactions have been
from citizens exercising their freedom of
speech to disagree with Rocker. We
haven't seen a government official
attempting to imprison, fine or censor
Rocker,bbecause his comments are pro-
tected by the First Amendment. What
Rocker is learning is that everyone is
responsible for what he or she says and
the more people who can hear your com-
ments the deeper your responsibility.
If you don't believe that you are
responsible for your comments, next time
you go to work say something similar to
Rocker's comments to a coworker or your
boss. I'll be willing to bet that your
employer will be unamused.
In closing I saw an interview of Will
Smith once, where he voiced the opinion
that anyone in the public spotlight has the
responsibility to attempt standard

for their actions

s

English and be a role model. I could4O
agree more with his sentiments.cud
ADAM MULLER
UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS
Underage drinkers
are responsible

I

TO THE DAILY:
In response to the Daily's article on
Delta Sig "Delta Sig may face charges for
party" (2/2/00) and the girls who got
alcohol poisoning, why is the fraternity
being blamed? The girls who drank were
underage. They broke the law. Why not
write a story on the stupidity of the tv
girls, one of whom is still in high school
who nearly drank themselves to death?
Title the story "Two immature girls ille-
gally drink, yet fraternity charged with
wrongdoing," because that is what hap-
pened. No matter where the alcohol cane
from, or where it was consumed, the girls
chose to drink it. Instead of portraying
them as victims of the fraternity, why not
hold the girls responsible for their ow.
actions?
MICHAEL SALMONOWICZ
LSA JUNIOR

Students should participate in
C urt Levey of the Center for women. It aims, in a case now pending
Individual Rights will be speaking at before the Supreme Court, to bar women
the Law School Friday, Feb. 4, on Title IX from bringing civil action against men
and sex equality in collegiate sports. This who have raped them. It defends sexual
is an opportunity for all pro-affirmative harassment as "free speech." Meanwhile,
action forces on campus to come together it seeks the dismantling of minority
in defense of affirmative action and race scholarships and the resegregation of K-
and sex equality. 12 public schools. CIR's assault on Title
The affirmative action movement at the IX is part and parcel of its attack on affir-
University has provided leadership to the mative action.
nation's campuses and has gained wide- We have more power than CIR. It is
spread respect. Because our movement well financed, but it is small. It has been
has demonstrated political clarity and unable to inspire any social movement in
untiring activism in response to CIR's its image - in no small measure because
anti-affirmative action lawsuits, a new its most virulent supporters harbor a
spirit has awakened in all those who debilitating, racist fear of black people.
hunger for the promise of equality. The CIR's visit to campus gives the affirma-
50,000-person, integrated march against tive action movement an opportunity to
the South Carolina confederate state flag, declare that Michigan hospitality does not
---A +U ; ; . V F 1 ..:~.a f' - ink 1. 1 chl..i'-. *,- ('d 'C ' ,-c r pntni cm anti .x

CIR protest
old, biological-determinist prejudices
about what is in women's "nature." If la
of opportunity and encouragement do
not limit women's athletic participation,
then innate urges must.
Since Title IX's inception, women's
participation in sports has grown by leaps
and bounds. This can be explained by the
social progress achieved by the civil
rights and women's movements and by the
changes they effected in social and legal
attitudes translated into opportunities for
women. Growth in female athletic "int*
est levels" certainly did not occur as the
result of impressive, spontaneous changes
in women's biological constitution, nor
did it happen independently of these
social advances. In sum, CIR's arrival on
campus is a great chance for the pro-
affirmativem action movement to flex its

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