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November 08, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-08

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 8, 1999

420 Maynard Street HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 - Editor in Chief
daily.letters@umich.edu
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 of the
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Bleeding hearts, bad politics and bullshit pragmatism."

Code red

Process violates students' rights

E very so often, the political methods
used by activists and policy pundits
from the left and right cross. Following
the lead of the liberal reform-minded liti-
gants like Jane Roe from the '50s, '60s
and '70s, the Center
for Individual
Rights has spear-
headed a drive to
make fundamental
changes in affirma-
tive action policy
through the use of
the last great
American pastime:
the lawsuit. Gerald'
Rosenberg notwith-
standing, conserva-
tive groups using the Jack
courts have begun to Schilladi
see success, due in S a
some part to the
massive number of the Left
court appointments
that Republican presidents have gotten to
make during the past 25 years.
But recently, another tool often associ-
ated with liberals has found its way into
the arsenal of conservatives. Where
would we be as a society that so enjoys
labeling people, especially political
groups, without the stereotype of the
bleeding-heart liberal? He who makes his
case by complaining about abstract
notions of equity and justice complete
with anecdotes about some poor, defense-
less victim of American largesse.
There are obviously a great number of
liberals that do not fit this stereotype. But
this little barb has long been a favorite
among the Republican arsenal and has
been applied universally to deride leftists
for using somewhat faulty arguments to

support their position. But in many ways,
conservatives are as much at fault.
Take for instance, the great time-wast-
ing issue of the burning of the American
flag. Sitting in the U.S. House gallery this
past summer, I witnessed a representative
on the right side of the aisle arguing in
favor of a constitutional amendment to
prohibit the desecration of the Stars and
Stripes to the 20-odd members that actu-
ally cared enough to show up for the
debate. Midway through his speech, the
man broke down and began crying about
how such expression violated everything
that he stood for as an American and a
veteran.
Wait, and I'm the bleeding heart? Oh
boo-hoo.
I mean no disrespect to him and have
no doubt that he was quite genuine in his
feelings, and I cannot even begin to imag-
ine what horrors he encountered as a sol-
dier. Further, I can empathize with his
love of American ideas and his contempt
for those who burn the flag. Though I
think it should be protected, I find it a
pointless means of expression that is used
more to fan the fires of dissent than actu-
ally say something. But our two opinions
are not what was at issue. What was at
issue is whether or not applying First
Amendment protection to flag burning
was a mistake that Congress should cor-
rect.
Evidently, he had assigned emotional
value to an object and let that overrule the
rational processes that a legislator should
use. Sigmund Freud would call it projec-
tion, but whatever it is, it confused and
maligned the debate that followed, demo-
nizing the proposal's detractors and mak-
ing the argument completely useless.
A similar aberration can be seen in the

debate surrounding gun control.
Following the Columbine shooting,
Republicans on the Hill were quick to
counter moves to regulate arms with
claims that gun possession was too hal-
lowed a right to be toyed with. It's a fun-
damental right, and it's in the Bill of
Rights, and we shouldn't overreact, and
Congress shouldn't do anything to tread
on that territory, etc., etc., etc.
This coming from the party that is all-
too-quick to cite its faithfulness to the so-
overused-that-it's-virtually-meaningless
doctrine of pragmatism.
"Those damned bleeding-heart liberals,
how dare they even consider banning the
sale of assault weapons at gun shows.
This is a constitutional issue here, and we
have to protect this inherent right that our
forefathers guaranteed us. Burning the
flag, on the other hand, now that's really
causing some damage."
Pragmatism at its finest, folks. If the logic
doesn't wash for you, remember: Bleeding
hearts only have to make sense to those that
will blindly follow them anyways.
Bleeding hearts, by virtue of their tem-
perament, almost invariably fail to make a
solid, compelling argument. But rather than
just being a stereotype that fits the donkeys,
it seems the elephants are just as likely to
qualify for a bleeding heart award.
Emotion will never find its way out of the
political arena, but the old, tired idea that
Democrats wrap themselves in abstractions
and warm fuzzies while Republicans stick
to the bottom line and cold, hard facts is
about as viable as Vanessa Williams's
career.
-- Jack Schillaci, who is not and
never will be a bleeding heart, can be
reached via e-mail at
jschilla@umich.edit.

In 1995, University students staged a protest
at the Fleming Administration Building and
marched to former University President James
Duderstadt's house to voice their disapproval
over the Code of Student Conduct. Once an
active student movement, apathy now shrouds
the fight for student rights. As the Office of
Student Conflict Resolution - the University
department that enforces the Code - begins
its search for a new director, the Code of
Student Conduct's plethora of glaring flaws
come to the forefront once again. We strongly
encourage University President Lee Bollinger
to abolish the Code.
The Code's philosophical foundation stems
from the University's attempt to raise students'
social standards higher than those of the crim-
inal justice system. In its opening paragraph,
the Code dictates the values the
Administration expects of students. These
include "civility, dignity and diversity" among
others, all of which are "dedicated to main-
taining a scholarly community." No list of val-
ues can encompass all beliefs and convictions
held by students. By assuming a defined set of
values, the University closes students to indi-
vidual values or those different from what the
Code advertise.
One is hard pressed to make an argument
against values such as "honesty" or "safety" in
the code. Yet forcing any set of values on stu-
dents hinders their growth into adulthood and
the development of their own philosophy.
Assuming students should be held to a higher
standard of conduct than the society they live
in separates and shelters the campus environ-
ment while promoting an air of elitism. The
University has no place enforcing social stan-
dards on students because it is a student's own
job to create their moral system.
Double jeopardy is an alarmingly unfair
aspect of the Code. Students can be brought up
for violations under the Code even if charges
are resolved within the legal system. Students
can commit a crime and fulfill punishment
required by the court system - and still face
disciplinary action from the University. This

The Code's
Many Flaws
Part one of a
two-part
series:
tdenExamining the
disciplinary
process.
practice is unjust because it punishes a student
twice for committing a single crime.
The Code oversteps its bounds by penaliz-
ing crimes committed outside the University
environment. Section L of the Violations por-
tion makes "Violating state or federal law if
such action has serious impact on the
University community" a violation under the
code. Yet the concept of "serious impact" is not
defined, which leads to punishment of misde-
meanor level behavior even when it occurs off-
campus.
Perhaps the most stunning infringement
upon students lies with the Code's lack of due
process. The University views the Code
process as administrative and not as judicial
and therefore is not required to give due
process rights the same way a court must. This
rips any right a student may have in a court of
law away and shifts power to the University.
Students are not allowed legal representation.
The burden of proof is shifted from prosecu-
tion to defendant, and students are not allowed
to appeal to precedent. Lack of precedent
allows decisions to be highly subjective and
based on a personal bias towards an individual
case. The dean of students and vice president
for student affairs have the authority to reverse
certain Code rulings. This concentrates too
much power in administrators' hands.
The Code of Student Conduct is a direct
attack on students' rights. Bollinger must seize
the power vested in him by the regents and putF
an end to the University's misuse of power.

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THOMAs KULJURGIS

.1 FTNTUVEL SEKNG

114E LATEST ELET(OM4 200x

FolS

ARE IN!

Held back
Link between poverty and education

Hazing isn't the
only way to build
character
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Branden
Sanz's Oct. 29 column "To haze or not to
haze?"
Sanz's basic argument is that the gov-
erning body of any private organization has
a duty to ensure that they only accept new
members of sufficient character and that
hazing builds such character. He writes that
hardship and adversity build character, and
that hazing creates "artificial hardship,"
thereby building character. As justification
for his position, he refers to the fact that
hazing takes place in the military.
The fundamental flaw in Sanz's argu-
ment is the mistaken premise that there is
only one type of character building. He
assumes that the character desired of a sol-
dier is the same character desired of a fra-
ternity member. Nothing could be further
from the truth. The function of hazing in the
military is to break down the individual per-
sonality and create a soldier who does not
question authority and whose purpose it is
to kill others without concern for the risk to
his own life. This is vastly different from the
function of a fraternity, which exists to
build men of deep intellect and high moral
virtue. The true fraternity man seeks to
uplift others, not to destroy. The true frater-
nity man learns to sacrifice his life, not on
the field of war, but in his daily efforts to
(serve his fellow man. The true fraternity
man also loses his own individuality, not to
ecome a fighting machine, but in the sense
hat his initiation marks a transformation
from one who is most concerned with his
own material desires to one who recognizes
the essential role he plays in improving
society. This type of character building does
not take place through hazing.
Society's common view of the function
of fraternities today is not the same as the
function that they were actually created to
serve. The transformation began in the '40s
when soldiers returning home from war
allowed their concept of "character build-
ing" (shared by Sanz) to become confused
with the type of character building which
should take place in a fraternity. As a result,
the fraternities began to see character build-
ing as something that must be accomplished
before the individual can be a member of
the group, rather than something that takes
place throughout a lifetime of membership
in the organization. The means to the end
(attaining membership) was confused with
the end itself (character-building) and led to
what is now the common but mistaken
notion that fraternities have little more to
offer than a four-year opportunity to belong
to a social group. The rituals of initiation,
which served to introduce ideals to the
member for his new life as a fraternity man,
were misunderstood to be "outdated" cere-
monies in those fraternities where this atti-
tude was dominant. As a result, the cere-
monies were replaced by hazing activities.
This only perpetuated the notion that the

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W hen people discuss the economy today,
the talk generally turns to how well
things are going - the stock market is boom-
ing and unemployment is down. But this opti-
mistic outlook does not see the millions of
Americans for whom life is not so good; the
rise in economic prosperity has not been
accompanied by a drop in rates of poverty.
Last week, the U. S. Census Bureau released a
report revealing that nearly one in five
American children live in poverty. In some
areas, such as the District of Columbia, the
figure is as high as one in three.
An analysis of these statistics shows the
states with the highest education spending per
student have the lowest rates of poverty. For
instance, Iowa, which has a high rate of
spending per students, has the sixth-lowest
percentage of residents who live in poverty.
This demonstrates just how important it is that
state governments increase funding to educa-
tion.
The link between education and reduction
of poverty is not difficult to determine. It has
become increasingly difficult to get a well-
paying job without a college education. But
many schools, especially in inner-city and
rural areas, lack the resources that will help
their students go on to attain a college degree.
Students in underprivileged areas will find it

ment to ensure all people have an equal
opportunity to improve their quality of life by
seeking a higher education.
In recent years, the state of Michigan has
faced spending cuts in the field of higher edu-
cation. Since taking office, Gov. John Engler
has reduced funding to the states' universities,
or proposed only minimal increases to educa-
tional funding - often way below the rate of
inflation - preferring to devote state funds to
the corrections system. Yet Michigan has the
16th highest percentage of children living in
poverty. This shows that Engler's priorities are
skewed - increasing funding to prisons does
nothing to solve the problem of poverty, and
does almost nothing to fight crime. On the
other hand, devoting state funds to improving
the quality of education in Michigan would
help to combat both problems. The state legis-
lature should increase funding to schools, not

r1E% g~ ovERAE

years before them, to devote themselves
wholly to the ideal of the "Brotherhood of
Man," a concept which is entirely inconsis-
tent with the mentality of a soldier of war. It
is these fraternities that will continue to
build better men who will have a positive
and uplifting influence upon mankind. Dark
night is always banished by the sun.
JOHN MONGOVI
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE,
PHI Mu ALPHA SINFONIA FRATERNITY
OF AMERICA INC.
Sloan concert was
disappointing
TO THE DAILY:
In response to Erin Podolsky's and Ken
Barr's claim in their Nov. 1 review ("Sloan's
sugartunes rock Pontiac show") thatthe
crowd at Clutch Cargo's "enjoyed every
moment of Sloan's exciting concert:" What
were you watching?
I have never been so disappointed with a
show, or band for that matter, as I was on
Friday night at Clutch. Stupefied/bored audi-
ence members stood and watched Sloan play
just about every song from their new album.
Released a month ago, most of the songs
were unfamiliar to all but the most die-hard of
fans. Sure, there was a "frenzied chorus" for
"Money City Maniacs," but that was.because
nearly two-thirds into the show everyone still
had full lungs of air and dormant heart-beats.
Miracle upon miracles, we finally knew
something. Even then, only Chris Murphy
looked like he wanted to be there. Patrick
Pentland and Jay Ferguson looked deader than
usual, even turning their backs to the audience
on more than one occasion.
I suggest you do your research in the
future, kids; maybe the assorted cursing and
yelling when the lights went up should have
been a clue. When a Sloan show ends and
I've still got time for the 10:30 p.m. show-
ing of "American Beauty," I am not being
delivered a maybe.

If Madonna hadn't dropped out of the
University, she would have probably risen to
the occasion.
Regarding role models, why do woment
"not have role models to emulate," as Kamins
believes? I consider my mother and grand-
mothers to be role models, in ways that tran-
scend the kind of narrow evaluation criteria
used by Kamins. When we evaluate success in
this way, we inherit a definition handed down
from our sexist foreparents. My grandmother
never played in the NCAA; however, I still look
up to her (and she wasn't even redshirted).
I recall a high school graduation speech
made by a friend. His mother was his hero@
plain and simple. His speech made plain her
role model status. To this day, I consider it one
of the most genuine and inspirational sights I
have ever seen. Models can be male or female,,
so can role models.
Also, there are a lot of young women who ,
will not end up with the privilege of attending-,
the University. These are the girls who don't
get called on three out of 10 times in junior
high math classes, the ones whose participa
tion in athletics is inhibited by their particular
eating disorder, often known as "vegetarian-,
ism." These are the women who need role
models. More specifically, they need roleo
models like Kamins, articulate females in col-
lege who can inspire them to aim for the stars.
There are large numbers of women in our
country (some less than an hour away from
Ann Arbor by car) who exist in a void where
women are not created equal to men. They've
never heard of glass ceilings, and unless
something is done to share some of what we
learn in Enlightenment 101, they probably
never will.
It's time that we realize that one does not
have to be a CEO, movie star or athlete to be
a role model. Kamins, as well as all those who
feel like there are no good role models out
there, would do well to appoint themselves.
MATTHEW MURPHY
LSA SENIO
Affirmative action

to already overcrowded prisons.
Even though the economy is strong, there
are still many people who have difficulty
affording life's essentials. This should not be
forgotten because of the current economic
prosperity. But the results of the Census
Bureau's report provide an insight into a pos-
sible solution. Education is a key factor in the
battle against poverty, and the government
should help by increasing educational fund-

RYAN MOLONEY supporters insincere;
LSA JUNIOR
Ta .n L IMn mifliLt

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I

10 THE DAILY:

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