100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

April 12, 2000 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 12, 2000

ob l Itrbgan &zil

End of Exile: Into the arms of my zealous followers

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 of The Michigan Daily.

Draconian anti-rioting law targets students

It has been more than a year since the
riots at Michigan State University, but
the state government has not finished
overreacting. Let all college students be
warned: The government is not going to
take their "nonsense" any longer. But the
real "nonsense" is Public Act 51 of 2000,
an ill-conceived law that will target stu-
dents and promote a faulty approach to
crime and punishment.
The new statute, recently signed into
law, provides for an additional penalty
for those convicted of involvement with
rioting, unlawful assembly or civil disor-
der on or near a public college campus.
Beyond current measures, offenders will
be banned from entering any public com-
munity college, college or university
campus for up to two years.
Rioting is clearly unacceptable. Public
safety demands some maintenance of
order. But this is a non-issue since rioting
is already illegal. The authorities have
proven themselves all too willing to
enforce current laws and have in fact
been somewhat overzealous in doing so.
What PA 51 does do is make the punish-
ment unequal to the crime. If a lawbreak-
er has already been sanctioned by fines
or incarceration, there is no good
advanced by depriving them of an educa-
tion as well.
There is another deplorable aspect to
this bill in its malevolent attitude towards
students. Since it only applies to unrest
within 2,500 feet of a campus, students
are being singled out. Is rioting in a resi-
dential neighborhood or commercial area
somehow preferable? Sen. Loren Bennett
(R - Canton), the bill's sponsor, wants to
"let people know that our society won't
tolerate such hooliganism." It is certainly
farfetched to imply that there is some
kind of lenience towards student unrest
and such a decidedly anti-student, anti-
youth attitude has no place in lawmaking

to begin with.
Real questions exist as to whether
P.A. 51 can be extended to penalize
campus activism or civil disobedience.
In addition to rioting, the act addresses
"unlawful assembly or civil disorder."
More importantly, a conviction is only
necessary for "any offense that the court
determines was directly related" to
unlawful unrest. From the Civil Rights
Movement to Vietnam War era protests,
the voice of students on important
issues and their willingness to go to jail
for their views, has been a powerful
statement of democratic values in a free
society. Recent episodes at the Universi-
ty, such the advocacy of the Worker
Rights Consortium by the Students
Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality, have clearly demonstrated the
effectiveness that students can have in
favor of worthy causes by challenging
the status quo. The true crime in this
instance would be if such activism were
hindered or otherwise discouraged to
combat "hooliganism."
The logic behind this measure
exposes the misguided approach of the
penal system. As usual, the preference
is for a punitive approach over efforts
at rehabilitation. The idea that denying
someone an education will in some
way make them a more productive
member of society is ridiculous. Since
the ban only applies to public colleges,
P.A. 51 also singles out poorer stu-
dents; wealthy offenders will maintain
the option of transferring to a private
institution.
The rioting that occurred at Michigan
State was deplorable, but that is precisely
why rioting is against the law. P.A. 51
does not address any public need and is
fraught with adverse implications. As
such, it simply a plain waste of the gov-
ernment's time and the taxpayer's money.

T here are many ways to go out. Check this
one; you're gonna like it.
If you've read the Daily columnists for a
significant period of time, you know there are
two ways people leave. Most write a nostalgic,
weepy good-bye thanking everyone. The sec-
ond group pretends it's not the last column at
all - they write as
they always do and
then disappear like
child actors nearing
puberty. Tempting as
each format is, I
refuse to succumb. ,y.
Instead, I make my
summation.
Ladies and gentle-
men of the jury, I
present you with the
case for my column.
There are a few David
things you should Wallace
know b'efore making
your final considera-
tion. I've written 35 May'n..d..°
columns for this
paper. I didn't plan to
end on such a milestone number, but that's
about the only thing I left to chance. I
approached my column professionally and I
want you to know the effort I put forth.
To learn how to write a column, I read the
best. Mitch Albom, Russell Baker, Dave
Barry, Jim Murray and Mike Royko own the
trade. They have a combined five Pulitzer
Prizes, which is five more than me. All of
these writers taught me about language, style
and execution. They also imply that I'll never
be as good as them, but I think they're just
insecure.
So, thinking about trying out for this spot?
Want to know what I think about writing a col-
umn? Trying to decide what Exile on Maynard
St. was all about? All right then, listen up.
For one, you've got to have a good name.
"Exile on Maynard St."referenced the Rolling

Stones and the Daily staff's work ethic. I like
it, but there's no end to the number of good
names. If I filled in for a colleague, I would
have used "Utility Infielder." And if my col-
umn's outlook were a tad more warped, then it
would have been "Mashing Feces on the
Padded Wall."
But more important than a name, a column
needs a consistent voice. My voice is in my
word choice, my phrasings, my sense of
humor and my perspective towards life.
Regardless of the subject, these four defined
me in every column.
Don't mistake consistency for staleness,
though. I treated my column as experimental
to the end. I wrote about hard news - Elian
Gonzalez and Tom Goss, for example - but I
also had a conversation with October and per-
sonified Hallmark Cards, Inc. I even blamed
last spring's riots in East Lansing on Sparty.
Hey, this is a college newspaper, and you're
supposed to experiment in college. Isn't that
what you were saying at Hash Bash a week
and a half ago?
Rhetorical questions bring me to another
point. A column should sound conversational,
not essay-like. It's a trap for columnists at
every level, but if your columns and term
papers sound the same, you're either writing
bad columns or bad term papers.
So I avoided the "essay column." I also
never wrote the "a funny thing happened to
me and my friend last Thursday column," a
pernicious piece of tedium common on pages
all across America. Every one of these
columns should end, "I guess you had to be
there."
Furthermore, I never exploited my column
to try to get a date, though I probably should
have. You don't get to abuse a power like this
everyday. I should have thought of this earlier.
Oh well, it wouldn't have been appropriate
on the editorial page. Page four is ground zero
for politics.
If you read my column regularly, you prob-
ably noticed I hate politics. Democrats,

Republicans, Libertarians, Greens - yuck.
This doesn't mean I'm uninformed; on the
contrary, I hate them precisely because I'm
informed. But don't mistake me for an anar-
chist; I simply don't believe we've had a polit-
ical figure to look up to during my lifetime.
This year's presidential candidates take the
cliche. I'm not saying Bush and Gore are stu-
pid, but if you put them on Celebrity Jeop-
ardy! and let them play as a team, they'll still
come in third behind Dharma and Greg and
Donny and Marie.
Let me exhale the bad and breathe in the
good for a second. OK, now I'll wrap this up.
My guiding principle, as I wrote in my
first column, is that neither you nor I are
much smarter than one another; conse-
quently, I never needed to tell you what to
think.
My column sought to entertain you and
provoke thought. If I took up a spare five min-
utes of your time in the Fishbowl, or was your
companion at a solitary lunch, I'm pretty
happy with that.
I really have nothing more to say, so I rest
my case.
Now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I
have but one request. This might be the last
column I'll write at any level,'so I want the
final verdict. Please send me an e-mail at
davidmwCapumich.edu letting me know what
you thought of the column. If you don't
know me or if you know me well, tell me
what you thought. If you loved it, I want to
know. If you hated it, go ahead and hammer
me. If you read Exile on Maynard St. regu-
larly, occasionally or just this one time, tell
me what you think. I'm giving the final
word to you; I never played it safe, so
there's no reason to start now. I'll consider
this column a success if I get enough e-mail
to crash my computer.
With that, I yield the spotlight.
- David Wallace can be reached via e-mail
at davidmw@umich.edu. He thanks his family,
friends and editors for their help and support.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

GET TO SEE6 MT IME CA1S
ULft" Lt~. icE'...

Stop legal murder
Moratorium on executions is a good start

n the last year or so, one of the most
I eye-opening news stories has been
that regarding the death penalty in Illi-
nois. In January, Illinois Gov. George
Ryan declared that capital punishment
would be suspended there due to the
number of death row inmates revealed
to have been wrongfully convicted.
One of those inmates would not have
been discovered at all were it not for
the efforts of a group of students from
Northwestern University.
Cases such as these show serious
flaws in the administration of the death
penalty - which is why three of the
men who were recently released after
erroneous death sentences have been
lobbying for a federal moratorium on
executions. The bill they support calls
for a seven-year suspension of the
penalty as well as access to DNA test-
ing for death-row inmates. But while
suspending capital punishment is a
good idea, it would be even better to
abolish it altogether.
The example of Illinois, where 13
people have been released from death
row since 1987, shows that the death
penalty can be (and often is) adminis-
tered wrongly and even recklessly. If a
group of journalism students can prove
the innocence of a condemned prisoner,
why can't the police and the justice
system do the same?
The permanency of the death penalty
makes the call to put a stay on execu-
tions all the more urgent. It is not likely
that the only people that could have ben-
efited from DNA evidence are those
death row prisoners whose convictions

have been overturned recently. Given
that condemned prisoners have been
released at a rate of about one a year in
Illinois, it is highly unlikely that the state
has never executed an innocent person.
While a person erroneously sentenced to
life imprisonment can be released, some-
one who has been executed wrongfully
can never be compensated.
The possibility of error is not the
only flaw in the death penalty. There is
a great deal of inequality in sentencing.
black and Hispanic men have been sen-
tenced to death disproportionately to
white men for crimes of similar magni-
tude. Those of a lower socioeconomic
status are also far more likely' to be
sentenced to death. The government
should not continue to implement such
a ridiculously biased practice - it is
both ironic and alarming that a system
intended to deliver justice should be so
frequently racist or classist.
Finally, the government should not
be allowed to retain the death penalty
because, in carrying out an execution,
it is committing the same crime for
which it claims to be delivering justice.
It is wrong for an individual to commit
murder, but that does not make it right
when a state does the same.
Congress should listen to the call for
a seven-year moratorium on capital
punishment, but ultimately the suspen-
sion does not go far enough. The death
penalty is morally wrong, poorly
administered and offers absolutely no
margin for error in sentencing. For
these reasons, it should not only be
suspended but abolished.

Daycare, housing
are not rights
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Jennifer Mon-
ahan's letter ("'U' needs to provide better ser-
vices for women," 4/5/00). In her letter, she
stated that, "the University does not protect
the necessary rights of housing, health care
and daycare for its students." What troubles
me is that housing, healthcare and daycare
are nothrights! Since the United States and the
State of Michigan are capitalist and not
socialist, every individual should be expected
to support themselves and their own families
through the opportunities available to them
because of capitalism.
The government, and therefore the Uni-
versity, should have no part in providing
housing, healthcare or daycare to its students
beyond affordable dormitories. If one cannot
afford to attend the University while rearing
children, then they should have thought about
that before having kids. Children are miracles
and should not be brought into this world by
those who cannot fulfill every aspect of par-
enthood, including financial responsibility. If
the government is expected to pick up par-
ents' slack, ultimately everyone will pay for
these children through taxes. And that, my
friends, is the beginning of socialism.
CHRISTINE BELL
UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS
Women should not
have to fear rape
To THE DAILY:
In response to David Goodman's view-
point ("Victims need to take steps to prevent
sexual assault" 4/10/00), 1 argue that most
women already do take numerous precau-
tions in their lives in attempts to keep them-
selves safe, from not walking alone at night,
not dressing in certain ways, not going to the
bathroom alone in public places, not consum-
ing alcohol and drugs, not riding in elevators
alone with men and just staying home a lot. It
is not the "victim/survivor's behavior," as
Goodman suggests, that determines whether
an assault will occur, but solely the behavior
of the perpetrator. No one wants or asks to be
violated and there is no "behavior" that justi-
fies assault.
Goodman writes about the dangers of
absolving the "victim/survivor" of responsi-
bility and separating the person from the
behavior, as she will then not learn her les-
son, and "not feel responsible for the conse-
quence of (her) actions." I argue that the
converse is the real danger, that is, absolving
perpetrators of their responsibility, exempli-
fied by statements like, "boys will be boys"
and "she was asking for it." You needn't
worry about the "victim/survivor" skipping
off scot-free, as she will doubtless be blamed
by a myriad of people, including and espe-
cially herself, though the assault was not her
fault. She will feel the consequences of that
action for the rest of her life. It is the perpe-
trators who require reminders of their culpa-

e

c °

9
1Apoir
' :r5tips3t
4d
va:%^.

herd." I take issue with this analogy, as I
believe women are stronger and more capable
than they are being given credit for, but also
because it is illustrative of the paternalistic
and condescending tone of Goodman's piece.
After this statement, he goes on to write a
ridiculous laundry list of do's and dont's for
women who want to keep themselves safe,
instructing women to "look before crossing
the street. Wear reflective clothing when bicy-
cling at night. Take an umbrella when the
forecast calls for rain. Don't walk alone
through unlit alleys until 3 a.m. on Saturday
nights." Goodman, I don't know whether you
believe that women are so low on the intellec-
tual scale that they are not bright enough to
protect themselves, or whether you just can-
not understand what it is like to be a woman
in a dangerous world. In either case, what I
want to explain is that women already live in
an extremely restrictive world, with so many
places and activities off-limits because we
worry about being victimized. In addition,
because of the abhorrent nature of phenome-
na like date and acquaintance rape, many
women actually trust the men who wind up
violating them in the worst ways.
As a consequence, we spend days and
nights wondering how to make ourselves,
"less of a target." Should we stay home?
Never go out on dates? Never go out to clubs
or bars, and never drink or wear anything
"provocative," for fear of "provoking" men to
violence and rape? We women are already
working overtime, as "eternal vigilance" has
proven quite exhausting. We're doing our part
and more. Now it's time for the silent men to
start speaking up, telling their friends that it is
not acceptable to keep pushing if she says,
"no," or if she's too drunk to say anything. To
not laugh and encourage their frat brother as
he unbuttons his pants and jeers at the women
passing by on the Take Back the Night march
(which really happened). To lead by example-
positive example, that is.
As a survivor of sexual assault on this
campus, I have to disagree with Goodman. I
didn't "ask" to be assaulted and I will not
accept blame. I wasn't scantily clad, drunk or
walking alone at night and I resent the insinu-
ation that if I had been, my assault might
seem more excusable or justifiable. I was
walking to class on well-populated South
University Street at noon on a bright, sunny
spring day. And that didn't stop him. It's time

Voting bill PA 118
is undemocratic
To THE DAILY:
In response to Engineering sophomore
Joseph Oravec's letter to the Daily ("Stop your
whining, voting is easy," 4/6/2000) in support
of Michigan Public Act 118, I must strongly
disagree with his narrow point of view.
First and foremost, PA 118, which requires
voters to be registered at the address listed on
the driver's license, undeniably puts obstacles
in the way of college students who wish to
vote. This is illegal, just like poll !axes and
voting registration tests administered to black
voters in the south until the '60s were illegal.
Oravec uses similar arguments to those of the
segregationists when, in his letter, he states
that it is "lazy" not to jump over hurdles in
order to attempt to exercise your basic civic
duty. Changing ones driver's license address
requires obtaining a new drivers license every
year (assuming that college students change
their place of residence yearly) an obstacle not
demanded of other voters.
Second, the laws of the cities in which
they live affect students. By and large, col-
lege students live in the cities in which they
attend college for eight months or more of
the year a clear majority of the 12-month
calendar year. While their college address
may not be legally considered their "per-
manent address," it clearly is for all practi-
cal purposes. Furthermore, by Oravec's
rationale, anyone who is expected to live in
any city for four years or less should not be
allowed to vote there, because they're not
part of the "permanent community." That is
unconstitutional and illogical.
Finally, I am disheartened to see that
you think that groups like the ACLU are
out to "destroy college communities."
Groups like the ACLU and the Student
Rights Commission of the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly build college communities
by including the voices of students in the
greater community and exist to fight for
their rights and your rights guaranteed by
the Constitution of the United States of
America - rights that people try to take
away from you and me each and every day.
Unless we as students are vigilant, we
might very well have them snatched from

)

aI NO$ SEIA .JA S DIL
T T-ju g s I N NS e m r o w 'M 'M E ?
i E.SpTtt,.

0

0

" ark's t ii &A o3U

r

,.1n, ,...r...um.,j

[l

liIl I 111111U 1A

Back to Top

© 2022 Regents of the University of Michigan