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March 29, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-29

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 29, 2000

rd Street
r ih v Iditr i i

Moving sale: Everything must go - no offer refused!

4
'I

420 Mayna
Ann Arbor,

ALHN

adi y wLrs @um i du I.
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

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 of The Michigan Daily.

Efforts to cancel 'gay' class should stop

E very columnist in the nation does it, so
now, as the penultimate Exile on May-
nard St., I too will write a disposable column.
What is a disposable column you ask?
Don't you throw out the paper everyday?
Well, every columnist now and then dumps
unrelated but perhaps humorous and insight-
ful comments into a few inches of news print.
It's a cheap column,
but you're getting what
you paid for.k
Consider this one a
liquidation sale. Dur-
ing my run as a colum-
nist I've kept countless}.
ideas and jokes float-
ing around in my head
waiting for a column.
But with my imminent
departure, everything
must go at bargain Davld
basement prices. With-
out further ado ... Wallace
Take thirty to 70
percent off
What is longer: Maynard St,
the Oscars or waiting
for a contestant to give a final answer on
"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
Did you see the filmed tribute to Warren
Beatty as part of his receiving the Irving G.
Thalberg Memorial Award? Annette Bening
- his wife - began to say, "I'll never forget
the look on your face when you told me ..."
And I expected her to say something like "you
loved me after the birth of our first child." But
instead she said, "you won the Thalberg
Award." Am I alone here, or is that shallower
than the swimming pool at Mini-Me's house?
Why did the sound effects editing award
not go to the guy who mixed James Van Der
Beek in "Varsity Blues" saying, "I don't want
your life."
Undoubtedly, an early 1999 release date

caused the Academy to overlook "Baby
Geniuses."
$29 or two for $50
The Wolverine Party, disqualified from.
the recent MSA elections for tampering with
the vote, proves definitively that wolverines
are members of the weasel family.
Math and science: why God invented the
geek.
0 Phillips Magnavox uses the Beatles'
"Getting Better" in its television advertise-
ments. They seem to hope Beatles fans don't
remember the lyric says "It can't get no
worse."
Buy one, get one free
The cover of this month's "Glamour"
magazine reads, "What men think about your
orgasm face, guys compare notes." I'll just let
you write your own jokes.
Before you start laughing at me for read-
ing "Glamour" magazine, ladies, you should
know that I now know I now know how your
hair makes you look fat.
For the record, one respondent men-
tioned Linda Blair from The Exorcist.
For a limited time only
From the department of things I didn't
get to make fun of: Dean Martin. What do
you have to do to be known as the alcoholic
member of the Rat Pack? (Thanks to David
Spade for the inspiration).
From the same department: Remember
awhile back when TV's Gilligan, Bob Denver,
was arrested after having marijuana mailed to
his house? We should have suspected this
when he kept wearing the hat after the series
ended.
While supplies last
One day, I will have a late night talk
show. And like David Letterman, I will have
two attractive women escort me onstage to
open the show. Unfortunately, I will be on the
radio.
Here's what you do the next time you

stay up most of the night and are operating on.
five minutes of sleep. Go into Starbucks, and
when you give your order say wild-eyed, "I
need coffee. Strong coffee. Coffee you have to
snort off a mirror!" The feeling of the foot hit-
ting your backside as they kick you out should
wake you up.
After watching previews for "The
Skulls," I couldn't help but think the film's
original title must have been "Michigamua:
The Movie"
* Can Michael Douglas make just on4
movie in which he doesn't fight a woman?
Three for a dollar
I believe the statute of limitations on
being a Peter Gabriel fan has run out. For the
record, his last studio album, "Us," came out
on Sept. 29, 1992. Some things that happened
since Peter released that album:
The Florida Marlins came into existence
and later won a World Series.
M The entire Clinton presidency.
The entire run of "Friends."
Puerto Rico became the 51st state (OKO
that didn't happen, but I wanted to see if
you're paying attention).
Interesting trades considered
The April 3rd "ESPN: The Magazine"
quotes Anna Kournikova as saying, "In about
10 years, every woman tennis player will play
topless." So perhaps in 10 years people will
actually watch tennis.
To be a responsible drinker, you should
really wait until you have sorrows before yot
drown them in beer.
For every American who thinks the
national anthem ends with the words "Play
ball," Opening Day is today.
Free with purchase
Now that I've cleared nearly everything out,
I've got just enough for one more column. In
two weeks, right here, I'll vacate the stage.
- David Wallace can be reached via e-mail
at davidmw@umich.edu.

he English Department has recent-
ly found itself at the center of a
debate about academic freedom, gay
rights and the power held by the Uni-
versity Board of Regents. A controver-
sial course offering for the fall term
has drawn fire from conservative
groups such as the American Family
Association, as well as from certain
regents.
The class, which will be taught by
English Prof. David Halperin, has the
somewhat eye-opening title "How to be
Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initia-
tion and will address matters of gay
culture and identity.
AFA Director Gary Glenn contends
that the course attempts to recruit stu-
dents into the gay lifestyle and is lob-
bying to get the class cancelled - with
apparent support from some of the
regents. But to cancel the course would
be a violation of free speech and that
cannot be allowed to happen. The Uni-
versity should offer any course that
professors wish to teach and that stu-
dents wish to enroll in.
Besides, any course must be
approved by its department before
being added to the curriculum; in this
particular case, the class was approved
by the English Department after
extended discussions with other Eng-
lish professors and members of the
Undergraduate Studies Committee.
In addition, some of the regents
have been overstepping their bound-
aries in this case. Glenn has been in

contact with an unnamed regent who
has promised to ensure the class's can-
cellation and Regent Dan Horning (R-
Grand Haven) has also spoken out
against the course. But while Horning
is certainly entitled to his own opinion
on the class, the regents should not
have direct influence over what goes on
in the classroom. It is their job to over-
see what happens at the University, but
this does not mean they should be able
to censor what is taught here.
The AFA's main objection to the
course rests on a ridiculous stereotype:
That gay people "recruit" heterosexu-
als. Not only is this a ridiculous and
prejudiced viewpoint, but the AFA's
case comes primarily from speculation
based on the course's title. In this case,
they have little else to go on, as the
plan for the course is nowhere near
fully formed -- but even if it were,
there is nothing wrong with teaching
gay culture in a University classroom.
It will not be harmful to students, nor
will it cause them to change their sexu-
al orientation or adopt "high-risk"
behavior.
The furor over the "How to Be Gay"
course demonstrates that homophobia
is still alive and well even at the upper
echelons of the University. Despite
their personal feelings, neither the AFA
nor the regents should have any say in
what goes on in the classroom. It goes
against everything the University
stands for if its governing board pre-
vents people from learning.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

TENJa TIVELx SPEAKING i0

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xing Megann's laws
Pedophiles need treatment in prison

A common reaction to hearing of a
case of child molestation is to say
that such a thing is "sick." Sick.
Indeed, the professional mental health
community would concur. But the jus-
tice system's failure to adequately
address this assessment has led to a
number of troublesome and even tragic
results.
New Jersey's Megan's Law, as well
as the ordinances modeled after it, has
been a well-intended effort to respond
to these critical difficulties. However,
as recent developments in the imple-
mentation of the law have demonstrat-
ed, the Megan's Law concept suffers
from certain inescapable fundamental
flaws.
The statute referred to as Megan's
Law originated in New Jersey and is
named after a 7-year old girl who was
raped and murdered in 1994 by a repeat
sex offender who at the time was living
across the street. At present, all states
have some .version of Megan's Law,
which requires some format for publi-
cizing the whereabouts of convicted
sex offenders released from prison.
Recently, these sexual predator laws
have suffered a series of setbacks due
to challenges in the courts.
In New Jersey, people who want to
be notified that a sex offender has
moved into their neighborhood have to
pledge not to spread that information.
Pennsylvania's version of Megan's Law
has been repealed altogether. The new
wrinkle raises the question of whether
requiring notified parties' silence
infringes upon their First Amendment
liberties.
Another objection is that Megan's
Law undermines defendants' rights.
The law's faults arise from a conflict in
how the psychiatric profession views
these perpetrators and how the penal
system punishes the offenses.

At present, a sex offender is pun-
ished very much like any other crimi-
nal: They serve their sentence and are
released. The notion generally holds
that once a felon's term is completed,
their debt to society has been paid.
Branding these now free individuals for
life seems to entail a "scarlet letter'
mentality that doesn't jibe with Ameri-
can legal principles.
If the idea is that the term of incar-
ceration has somehow rehabilitated the
convict, the argument is laughable.
Recidivism rates for pedophiles are
notoriously high.
According to the American Psychi-
atric Association, the answer is simple
enough: These people are, as they are
commonly referred to, "sick."
Pedophilia is listed in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual (the guidebook
for mental health professionals) as a
mental disorder. Current methods of
punishment clearly do not deal with
this fact.
No one can fault parents for trying
to ensure that their neighborhoods are
kept safe for their children. Sexual
predator laws are honest attempts to
reconcile the contradictions inherent in
the justice system's approach to sex
offenders, one that is failing all parties
involved. While this is not a plea to
excuse child molesters for their behav-
ior, it seems to make plain sense to
allocate funds to comprehensively treat
pedophiles while they serve time in
prison.
A legal approach that attempts to
remedy their psychological dysfunction
would merely acknowledge accepted
medical realities. Such an outlook
would address the threat that sex
offenders pose after they are released,
and would eliminate the complications
that arise from Megan's Law and its
correlates.

Trucker stereotypes
were unwarranted
TO THE DAILY:
I was quite offended by Jeffrey Kosseffs
column in Monday's Daily ("Shakespeare and
calculus can't teach these lessons," 3/27/00).
Although I agree with his opinion on proper
student behavior, I do not approve of his gen-
eralization that words like "asswipe," "hell"
and "fucker" are common "trucker lingo."
I am not aware of how much contact
Kosseff has with real life truck drivers, but
growing up with my parents' small trucking
company allows me to say that not all blue-
collar truck drivers are dirty men with foul
mouths to match.
Making this generalization both hurts the
image and further declines the respect that
these under-appreciated people deserve.
Without the truck-driving work force, the
world's economy simply could not function.
The U.S. trucking industry alone gener-
ates more than $167 billion in revenues and
2.8 million jobs.
Maybe Kosseff should stop watching tele-
vision and movies to generate his stereotypes,
and should try to be more careful before pub-
lishing such hurtful cliches in future columns.
TRAVIS COSSAIRT
ENGINEERING JUNIOR
Wolverine Party
deserved ejection
TO THE DAILY:
The Wolverine Party has run an entirely
unethical campaign and the decision to eject
the Michigan Student Assembly candidates
from office is completely justified. Each and
every elected Wolverine no doubt benefited
from the coerced voting - students were
forced to vote straight' down the Wolverine
slate, thus benefiting every candidate. The
party must be responsible for the actions of
every single representative, as such, it is only
fair to remove them all from office.
Each member is responsible for the image
and the integrity of the entire group. Chip
Englander was appointed to be the Wolverine

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campaign manager under the assumption that
he did know all the rules - to hide behind
his freshman standing as justification for bla-
tant disregard for election rules is absurd. If I
were elected I would not feel very comfort-
able working with other representatives that
were tainted with controversy. How would I
know that s/he made it into LSA Student
Government based on individual merit?
Elected representatives of LSA-SG are given
voting rights - the power that decidesewhat
initiatives pass or fail and how much money
should be allocated to student groups. Such
power cannot be arbitrarily given nor should
it be given to those with questionable charac-
ter.
PAVANI GUNTUR
LSA SOPHOMORE
The Daily needs to
realign its priorities
TO THE DAILY:
I was reading your coverage on the
Michigan Student Assembly elections and I
felt that your coverage was seriously lacking.
Your article on Hideki Tsutumi's victory and
the disqualification of the Wolverine Party
left me wondering if the election was even
important. When the Daily gives as much or
more coverage to a movie review, advertise-
uld not enjoy priv
sity community and alumni/ae respond to a
club that called itself Michitorahs, sported
prayer shawls and yarmulkes in its campus
meeting area (designated as a "synagogue")
and pranced around with prayer beads while
adopting titles like "Head Rabbi," and the
like? What if a group called itself Michiblax,
donned Afro wigs, and called its club leader
"Martin Luther Coon"? What if groups
formed and took the same liberties - argu-
ing that this was First Amendment protected
speech - with the the cultures of India, Italy,
Ireland, China, Korea and so forth? We are
sure that such organizations, regardless of
how old their traditions were or how many
big donors they included, would find them-
selves denied University privileges and forced

ments, or a pow-wow as it does to student
elections, what else can I think?
It seems to me the Daily has no sense of
proportion or priority. As a campus paper,
your responsibility is to the campus and not
to your own writers, editors or advertisers. If
you focused more on the local issues that
matter to the student body, you might actually
fulfill these responsibilities.
DARRYL TAYLOR
RACKHAM STUDENT
Students can be
irresponsible
TO THE DAILY:
When reading Jeffrey Kosseff's column
("Shakespeare and calculus can't teach these
lessons," 3/27/00), I could not believe that
those were the words of a college student. In
case Kosseff has forgotten, college is a time
to have fun and do things that you will never
do again. I say spit if you want to spit, stop to
piss if you are too wasted to hold it in, curse,
puke in the morning, hook up with random
people, make an ass of yourself. Do whatever
you want to do. Who cares what people like
Kosseff think.
JOSH KAPLAN
LSA JUNIOR
fleged status
University is privileging through its granting
of space and courtesy to Michigamua,
speech that is offensive and also harmful to
the interests of diversity the University pub-
licly champions. While it expresses sympa-
thy for the discomfort and complaints of
Michigamua to its dedication to "humble
community service," the University is at the
same time refusing to honor, the ideas
advanced in the speaking voices of the
oppressed.
We urge the administration to declare a
moral commitment to end the provision of
University space to this or any semi-secret,
private group, especially one with a history of
callously insulting the Native American Indi-
an people and breaking legal agreements to

Pik
r

V EEw" -E UfE U EWUWE "E E'
The controversy over the semi-secret
student/alumni group called Michigamua
and the students protesting that organiza-
tion's cloaking of its identity and rituals in
American Indian garb is unfortunate. It is
pitting groups of students against one
another in a struggle that could have been
and should be settled quickly with the
wise intervention of the University's exec-
utive.
We, the executive board of the University
Association for Black Professionals, Faculty,
Administrators and Staff (ABPFAS), in sup-
port of the Student of Color Coalition urge
the University to act quickly in facilitating the
renaming of the Michigamua society. The
mere mention of "Michigamua" is represen-

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