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October 14, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-14

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 14, 1999

lya Sidigau &iilg
aynard Street -. __ ~ *'>HEATHE

Brooklyn art debate stench seeps beyond the museum

420 M

R KAMiINS

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

Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

A ge old question -- What is art and
what crosses the boundaries into
indecency ? It's a debate so controversial
and ambiguous that even the U.S.
Supreme Court skirted the issue of decid-

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority ofthe
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

ing what passes
beyond the blurry
line of "decent"
artistic ambition
into pornography.
The justices'
reigning stance:
They'll know it
when they see it.
Fine. And fine, the
government has no
obligation to fund
art. But everyone
agrees government
officials have no
right to censor
expression and free
thought, even if
they find it dis-
agreeable.

Top of the world
Prize shows scientific excellence of 'U'

Heather
Kamins
"N''

museum its S7 million city subsidy, send-
ing both sides to the courtroom to decide.
No, the government does not have to fund
the museum, but to take away funding
based on the content of a specific exhibit
clearly is censorship and a serious blow to
the Constitution.
Is Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin
Mary," an African-style depiction of the
most painted woman in history, surround-
ed by elephant dung and magazine
cutouts of genitalia, a work of art or a col-
lage of trash?
I'm not sure. I haven't seen it. But it
sure has succeeded in achieving one aim
of art - forcing the audience to consider
what, if anything, makes it art.
Much of 20th Century art has aban-
doned the notion of skill or technique in
favor of a deeper thought, asking the
viewer to question the nature of art, the
role of the institution (the museum, the
patron, the government) in determining
what can be defined as art and how essen-
tial is the relationship between the artist
and the work of art.
Guiliani has succeeded in helping Ofili
reach this aim.
Just as shocking as the work may be to
the sensitive viewver, it is disturbing that
we must continue to have a debate on
whether the government can censor with
the removal of funds based on content.
It is even more disturbing. though, that
a politician would seek out such a debate
and take the pro-censorship position, to
gain political favor.
It scares me because it means Guiliani
believes that he sway votes by trampling
First Amendment rights.
That means he believes the majority of
his voters support the suppression of free
speech and free expression in the case

that viewvs, opinions or paintings offend
their sensibilities or moral and religious
standards,
As a history of art major and fervent
supporter of the arts. I find this scary, but
I think the deeper implications of the
issue are much more dangerous.
If the government is allowed to with-
hold public funding to that which offends
or bruises the moral fabric of the nation
then who know when the state's House
and Senate appropriations committees o@
higher education, which allocates money
to the University each year. could decide
to cut funding because a class on human
sexuality or a philosophy professor with
controversial views is "offensive."
What if federal research funding to the
University is one day denied because a
scientist's study does not fit into the ten-
ants of an accepted religion?
It is a slippery slope that could allow
some misled legislators to slide into yon
classroom and pounce on your academiW
freedom.
Do you want politicians, even the ones
you vote for. creating your college cur-
riculumf? I don't.
Do you xant to risk stifling scientific
research just to protect to the govern-
ment's authority in pulling funding to a
painting that one finds dirty or disgust-
ing ? I hope not.
Guiliani wants to make the Brooklyv
Museum of Art exhibit a political issue _
one side fighting for artistic freedom,
another claiming immunity from funding
offensive works.
Perhaps Guiliani has stepped into
more than just a debate about elephant
feces.
- Heather Kamins can he reached
over e-mail at hbk(a umich. edit.
GR.NDING THE i

he Nobel Prize for physics was award-
ed this week to University Prof. emer-
itus Martinus Veltman, marking the first
time a University professor has been so
honored. Veltman and his colleague,
Gerardus 't Hooft, were recognized for their
work on theoretical machinery for predict-
ing the properties of sub-atomic particles.
Veltman's award demonstrates the high
quality of University faculty and the impor-
tance of research being done here to the
global scientific community.
Although it should be well know by
now, this achievement helps solidify the
University's reputation as a world class
research institution, making recent attacks
on the University's state and federal funding
all the more troubling.
The Michigan House of
Representatives, with the support of Gov.
Engler, made large cuts to the growth of the
University's funding in the last appropria-
tions cycle and only after a difficult fight in
the State Senate was much of the funding
restored. Questions were raised about why
the University required so much more
research funding. than Michigan's other
public universities, showing startling indif-
ference on the part of some lawmakers to
the significance of work being done here
and the importance of University research
to this state. They did not realize that in
addition to making important contributions,
to science, having one of the world's finest
research universities in the state attracts
numerous high tech and medical jobs to the
area and benefits the economy.
The University has not been singled out
in that manner on the national level, but
Congress seems poised to make broad
reductions to federal funding of research at
all universities and to all other scientific
research as well. These indefensible budget

cuts, coming at a time of unprecedented fis-
cal health for the government, are being
made in an effort to stay within federal bud-
get caps imposed in 1997. But Congress has
been circumventing the caps by declaring
billions of dollars in various programs as
emergency spending, thereby moving them
off budget. Unfortunately, no one has both-
ered to employ such budgetary gimmicks
on behalf of scientific research.
These attacks on science funding have
been a recurring event in Washington for
the past several years and are utterly inex-
plicable. Politicians love nothing more than
singing the praises of this country's current
economic success and the high tech indus-
tries that have fueled it. That so many of
them then turn around and try to slash the
funding of the research that created many of
those high tech industries is a disgrace.
Congressional leaders claim their
planned 12.5-percent cut in research fund-
ing is necessary to keep the budget bal-
anced. They are failing to realize that what
keeps the budget balanced is the strength of
the economy and that the relatively small
amount the government spends on scientif-
ic research is one of the most effective ways
of maintaining economic health, to say
nothing of medical health.
This year, Congress has found the
molhey to send many times what it spends
on research to member's districts in the
form of pork projects, lavish upon the mili-
tary every frivolity they could dream of and
raise their own pay. If they wish to have the
money to fund such luxuries in the future,
attacking the tiny portion of the budget
allocated for scientific research is a big
mistake. For the University - and the
United States - to continue to generate
Nobel laureates, research funding must be a
top priority.

The current controversy surrounding
the "Sensation: Young British Artists
From the Saatchi Collection" exhibit at
the Brooklyn Museum of Art has received
very vocal criticism from conservative
groups and excessive political attention
because of an over-exposed Senate race
in New York.
Discussion of First Amendment rights
is always important and should be
encouraged, but the misguided motives
driving this debate have done little good
besides probably tripling the number of
visitors to this museum.
After the exhibit elicited objection and
picketers from some influential groups,
including the Catholic League, New York
City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani denied the

CHIP CULLEN

The intolerant society
Campus must challenge homophobia

Letters made
assumptions about
affirmative action
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to two letters
that appeared in the Oct. I11 Daily. Mike
Dauber's "SAT is accurate method for com-
paring students" and Dustin Lee's
"Affirmative Action Detrimental to U."
Dauber. I am relieved that you are an
Engineering senior and wish you the most
lucrative career upon your graduation. I also
pray that you never dream of a profession in
politics, social reform or education because
you lack something very important called
vision. This is the ability to imagine and
take action in creating something better.
While l may not agree with the "Strive for
Equality",article which you are beseeching.
I certainly disagree with your belief that "it
is time we put a stop to this fairy tale world
that some people wish to create and wel-
come everyone to reality." I'm glad that this
country isn't founded on fairy tales like
freedom of religion and speech.
And its unfortunate that you believe "the
system isn't always fair. That's the way it is".
But .1 am glad that people like Mother
Theresa. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin
Luther King Jr. were naive enough to
believe otherwise As for Lee, I plead with
you to stop assuming.
Why do you assume that "since its
inception. affirmative action has done
nothing but detrimentally affect the
University?" What makes you qualified to
make such a statement: is it your curved
grade in economics. or perhaps your
degree in sociology or is it the fact that.
as a sophomore. you know the effects
affirmative action has had on those that
have graduated? Why do you assume that
"many of the students you and I attend
class with everyday are only here because
they took spots away from more qualified
applicants?" You must work in admissions
and were able to compare and gather sta-
tistics on the students that were and were
not admitted based on affirmative action.
because this an extremely inflammatory
statement to make purely on speculation
without evidence.
I am neither advocating nor denying the
affirmative action policy; I am gaining an

T he campus should use National
Coming Out Week as a chance to
educate each other and prevent mindless
discrimination. The University's office of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Affairs put together a comprehensive pro-
gram of events to allow LGBT people,
family members, friends and allies to
share in their pride. This week's events
happen to coincide with the one-year
anniversary of the brutal torture and mur-
der of a gay college student at the
University of Wyoming, Matthew
Shepard, and the start of the jury trial in
Wyoming of one of the defendants in that
murder. And given an anti-homosexual
incident that occurred on campus last
week, education is more important than
ever.
Because LGBT issues have been heav-
ily publicized recently, people who are
opposed to LGBT lifestyles, are often
heard being very vocal against the com-
munity.
It is part of a healthy society for citi-
zens to be able to express their views, but
when those words become actions that
hurt others, it cannot be tolerated.
The hate that occurred a year ago in
Wyoming exists at the University. With
the publicity of "Coming Out Week," a
hateful person or group of people placed
anti-homosexual propaganda in Alice
Lloyd Residence Hall. This is not just a
national issue - homophobia can even
be seen on a seemingly tolerant college

campus.
While we may not agree with every-
one at the University, this is our home
and our community. It's sad when your
neighbors are fearful because of what
others may think about them. Instead o:
being destructive through ignorance,
educate yourself. Find out about those
who are different from you rather than
hating them. An open dialogue can only
be created if persons from both sides o:
the issue agree to come together to dis-
cuss it. Use the University's vast educa-
tional resources to learn more about an
issue.
This week's "Coming Out" activities
have been successful, said Frederi(
Dennis, the director of the office o:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendei
Affairs. More than 100 people attended
Monday's rally on the Diag, and Tuesday's
presentation on "What's Morally Wrong
with Homosexuality" was both entertain;
ing and thought provoking. Tonight, the
"Coming Out Week" activities come to an
end with a free Drag Show in the
Vanderburg Room of the Michigar
League at 8 p.m.. This is an event that
affirms other people's expression of iden-
tity in an enjoyable and sometime humor-
ous event which all are welcome tc
attend. Outside of the University, there
are fewer opportunities for intergroup
education. If we all take advantage of
them, we can try to prevent future hateful
acts.

education that many will never experience,
and for that I am extremely grateful. I am
urging the necessary use for vision and sen-
sitivity: when arguing over an issue as triv-
ial as why Michigan is better than State, it is
acceptable to throw out snappy unsupported
comments: "The Spartans are just dumb.
that's it"
But when discussing an issue as
intense and explosive as this one, where
personal issues of race and intelligence
lay at the foundation and historical scars
still remain, it is of dire importance that
we exercise respect and poise in every
single comment we make. This is the
true mark of an intellectually diverse
unixversity.
JONATHAN Liu
LSA SOPHOMORE
Rivalry trash talk
makes Spartans
hypocrites
TO THE DAILY:
This letter is in response to the com-
pletely ridiculous letters written by
Michigan State students about this whole
rivalry situation.
I am personally tired of reading these
letters about how Michigan students are

hypocrites for complaining and how we
don't have school spirit because we don't
guard our campus from Spartan attacks.
It has to be easy for these Michigan State
people to ask "Can't you take a litti
joke?" when our campus is the one th.
suffers the most damage. I say this
because it becomes a little bit difficult to
"attack" the beloved "Sparty" statue
when the East Lansing Police guard it.
That's right, myself and a few friends
stopped by this pathetic landmark last
Friday night only to find a police van
with it's headlights shining on "Sparty."
Now, I'm all for rivalry and trash-talk: it
makes things interesting. But are Michigan
State students that helpless that they cai@
fend for themselves? It's no wonder they
like the rivalry so much - they have the
police on their side. Nobody in Ann Arbor
would alloxefor such a ridiculous waste of
tax dollars. Maybe that's why it was so easy
to vandalize the Diag, we didn't have the
police guarding it!
If the Spartans are gonna "talk the
talk" they better stand up for themselves
and tell the police to go look for the pe
pie who keep lighting things on fire. An
one more thing - Michigan State played
well Saturday, but a loss to State once
every five years isn't that hard to deal
with. See you next year and the year after
that and the year after that. GO BLUE!
JASON CUMBERS
ENGINEERING SENIOR

Loans can carry expensive consequences

By The Daily Universe
Brigham Young University
A college education guides students to suc-
cessful futures - and often leaves them
locked in the bondage of debt. Those who
consider loans as a means to college degrees
have much to contemplate.
College students nationwide are spiraling
into more debt than ever before. Student loans
totaling more than S37 billion were distrib-
uted to college students in 1998-1999 - an
18 percent increase since 1981. That places
millions of students in the United States with-
in the clutches of creditors.

Office has is the students who get into too
much debt. Some students don't even seem
concerned they are in debt and may not realize
how difficult it is to pay back loans, Olsen said.
Others succumb to the temptation of having an
instant sum of money to spend and end up pur-
suing a more extravagant lifestyle.
For those students who have serious prob-
lems with debt (or just want help planning
repayments), accredited financial counselors
are available to help. This is a free service,
and one that students with loans should take
advantage of
The rising cost of college tuition nation-

- a generous increase for a four-year educa-
tional investment.
Not only is education beneficial to each
student, it bolsters the national economy as
well. An estimated 30 percent of the growth in
national income this century has resulted
from increased education. Students who le*
more and earn more are likely to save more,
pay more taxes and put less strain on the
economy.
Students who seek financial support in
their quest for college degrees owe it to them-
selves to contemplate the consequences of
debt and the benefits of education. While stu-

I

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