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October 19, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 19, 1999

&be £iiigan &ailg

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

k& , Y

HE AT HER KANIINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAvID WALLACE
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.

At the polls
Students take an increased part in government

Academic writing
Eschew obftiscation. My I10th-grade
Eiglish teacher taught me that, and
boy. she didn't know academic writing very
w\ell. did she?
This piece of advice. which means "avoid
purposely making
something unclear:'J
comes back to me
almost every time I'
open a coursepack.
Invariably, these foul,
expensive little class-
room accessories
come crammed with
verbiage. Big, heavy,
Samsonite verbiage.
Were an editor to take
the equivalent of a
weed-whacker to one. David
he or she surely Wallace
would emerge with
perhaps as many as
three or four useful
pages of text.
(Attention! Before we go any further, I
would like to make a potentially grade-saving
caveat should any of my instructors or profes-
sors accidentally read this column. I do not
blame any one person for the overwrought
style of academic journals, nor do I harbor ill
will toward those choosing to use said infor-
mation. I read them and often take several
good ideas from them. This column, for one.)
Where was I? Oh yes, academic writings
make Tolstoy and Dickens look efficient. I
am in my fourth year of dealing with them
-- the writings, not Tolstoy and Dickens -
and I've found the obtuse style crosses dis-
ciplines from English to history to psychol-
ogy and beyond,
I do not dispute that most articles in a
coursepack contain valuable research. But
why someone uses 20 pages for a point that

never heard the phrase,
requires five. I don't know. When I open Roget nea
some of these articles and count the pages Increas
to read. I often think ofa quote attributed to "Dave,
Ambrose Bierce, whose humorous. sour found a w
writings make lemons wince. I've elimi
Bierce once remarked. "The covers of If the f
this book are too far apart." lective cri
Maybe my journalistic influence colors reason to
my view a little. After all, newspapers strive and lengt
for consummate clarity and slash excess code-brea
language. If we r
But one should remember that break- can put to
through articles published in academic jour- U Not
nals often end up summarized in 10-inches rule rewr:
of newspaper print. Somewhere between the veyed in,
lengthy academic style and a 10-inch sum- incorpora
mary lies a strong piece of writing with a the intere
subsequently larger audience. for the hi
I do not know how academic writing U The
began. Long ago, perhaps, a coffee-swilling enfor ced
intellectual remarked to his cohort, "I know Arti
big words. Do you know big words too?" that do n
And ever since, all of academia has been shall be s
writing articles until eventually, one lucky Aca
scholar will write the piece that no one can another a
understand, but that everyone agrees is ing reade
extremely important. And we will find it in frequentl
our coursepacks. authors
Other students express a more conspira- In sum
torial theory. They maintain the authors of importan
such pieces write longer to secure increased problemi
royalties. More pages equal more money. tion the
We've all heard the expression, "That's a Academi
50-cent word." Maybe we know where it remembe
came from. And with inflation, that 50-cent "Life is t
word could be a $5 word a few years down Perhap
the line. For example, a sociologist might now sayi
describe an area as "poor." But wait, that Or ma
word is at most a few pennies. Now, "impe- above fr
cunious," that's a buck and a half. is comm
The major drawback to academic writing as roomt
is the time you need to read it. I spend hours - D
wading through articles stocked with words

'simply said'
arly forgot about.
ing numbers of you might say.
forget about coursepacks. I've
Nay to cut the time spent on them.
nated reading them altogether!"
aculty has recovered from its col-
inge, 1I11 continue. This is a prime
edit academic writing for clarity
h. People shun reading requiring a
aker.
eally study academic writing, we
ogether the principles it follow s:
hing shall be simply said. (This
itten as: "All content possibly con-
an expedient manor shall instead
ate several additional wordings in
est of fulfilling acceptable norms
ghest level of research.)
use of passive voice gill be
at all times.
cles extending beyond 20 pages
ot put students to sleep by page 17
tricken from the academic world.
ademic writers must reference
author's academic writing, assum-
ers not only know the author, but
y dine and exchange gifts with the
family.
n, language should not bog down
t research. Exclusivity is a major
in the academic world, not to men-
time readers must contribute.
ia's writers would do well to
r Anatole France, who once said,
oo short, and Proust is too long."
ps you agree with me, and are right
ng to yourself, "Wow, that's cool."
gybe you're saying, "Egad, that is
vezing yet discernably below what
only thought of in the mainstream
temperature!"
David W/lace can he reached over
e-mail at davidm a uimich.cdii.
GH NB

4

It's not every day a fellow classmate gets to
pull some weight down at city hall, but
that may all soon change due to student par-
ticipation in local government. This year,
LSA senior Gabriel Quinnan and Rackham
student Charles Goodman are both cam-
paigning with the Libertarian Party for spots
on the city council, while LSA senior Jeff
Irwin is running for the Washtenaw County
Commissioner's Office under the Democratic
ticket. Student participation in local govern-
ment can be extremely beneficial to members
of the University community.
Student representation on the Ann Arbor
City Council provides a voice for students'
concerns that might otherwise go ignored.
Problems like high housing cost, which are of
greater concern to students who typically
have less money than working adults, could
be addressed with intense vigor and renewed
understanding. As adults, students have a
right to help set the moral and developmental
direction of their city. Student candidates
would possess the ability to do all this and
more if given a chance to serve. The
University and its students already affect Ann
Arbor in many non-governmental ways.
Student membership would further recognize
the city's connection to members of the
University and vice versa.
By running for public office, student can-
didates lead by example, promoting a level of
activism and public service rarely seen these
days. Even though two of the student hope-
fuls are running under a non-traditional third
party and therefore may not find the support
needed to win, they are making an effort to
participate in their community - an example
all students can learn from. .

This is not the first time students have
tried to take an active role in Ann Arbor's city
government. When 18-year-old citizens
became eligible to vote and received the right
to run for public office in 1972, a surge of
interest previously unseen occurred. Three
students were elected from the Human Rights
Party in the '70s and caused quite a disrup-
tion on the city council, prompting the coun-
cil to redraw the city's voting districts. No
new voting wards are occupied by a majority
of students and therefore decrease the likeli-
hood of a student being elected.
Candidates like this year's bring attention
to students' lack of representation in local
government even though they make up one
third of the voting population. As students vie
for seats, the activities spotlight the voting
wards' discriminatory nature. Ann Arbor's
charter calls for the five council wards to be
drawn in a pie-slice shape with its center in
downtown near the Diag, thus dividing the
student populations that live north, south, east
and west of central campus. Through being
elected or even just through running, students
can bring attention to the present situation
and hopefully take steps to correct it.
Student candidates need all the help they
can get. Even if a member of the University
community does not agree with a student's
political standpoint, he or she must under-
stand the -benefit of someone representing
students' concerns. Many issues, especially
those facing students, are non-partisan and
therefore do not concern a council mem-
ber's party affiliation. Students should fol-
low the lead of students like Quinnan,
Goodman and Irwin and take a role in local
government.

ixl

9

CHIP CULLEN

Daily gave 'false
impression' of
Penn state

- L(°* -

-j

After the trials
Ann Arbor should avoid future KKK visits

TO THE DAILY:
I laughed when I saw the headline "Penn
State faculty strike postponed." which
appeared on Oct. 14 as the lead Higher
Education article. I didn't laugh because I
harbored any anti-Penn State feelings.
Rather. I laughed because the strike really
has absolutely nothing to do with Penn
State.
True, the Pennsv ania State Systen f
Higher Education is threatening a strike.
But, Penn State University, a la The
Pennsylvania State University, has no ties to
this system. The system consists of 14
schools around Pennsylvania, such as
Bloomsburg University, Shippensburg
University and Vest Chester University. In
fact, the article originally appeared in the
West Chester Quad (with an accurate head-
line), not the Penn State Daily Collegian.
It's funny how "West Chester Universi"
was absent in front of "The Quad" in the
article's by-line, but lower on the page the
article from the "Columbia Daily
Spectator" was fully noted as such.
Also, it is a misnomer to identify
William Fulmer as "Penn State faculty
union president." as he has no ties to Penn
State.
If the Daily is trying to give a false
impression of Penn State to the Ann Arbor
area, it has succeeded. Because of the inac-
curate headline, I think readers got a blem-
ished view of Penn State, whether they read
the article or not. If that's the only way an
Ann Arbor publication can blemish Penn
State, I guess that's fine. Certainly the foot-
ball team from Ann Arbor will not be able
to blemish the team from the real "Penn
State" on the field later this season.
JASON NEISS
RACKHAM STUDENT

9.
s~
. I
" y '.~

do -8fH F060 044* 1 kC, to-tot-11

i

The weather on May 9, 1998 was sunny
and warm but Ann Arbor's atmosphere
was much more heated. The city ofAnn Arbor
had given the Ku Klux Klan license to hold a
rally in front of City Hail. Protecting the hate-
mongers were anti-riot police and numerous
yellow-clad volunteers to keep the peace.
Dwarfing their number were hundreds of pro-
testers from all over the Mid-West who had
come to make sure that the Klan members'
voices would be drowned out. Behind fences
and barricades, Klan members spewed their
rhetoric of hatred, inciting the anti-Klan pro-
testers to riot. Protesters threw stones and
glass bottles at police and destroyed the fence
protecting the hate-mongers. Police used pep-
per and tear gas on the crowd, making eight
arrests before the scene passed.
This incident has come back to the fore-
front in lieu of the ongoing trials for the anti-
racist protesters. Such is the legacy of the Ku
Klux Klan in Ann Arbor. Prosecuting these
protesters does little in preventing such a
debacle from occurring again. The Klan
members instigated the riot with their speech,
and the city bears some responsibility for not
preventing the violence.
The Ku Klux Klan obviously does not
deserve the treatment the city of Ann Arbor
gave it at the last rally - though the mem-
bers' rights mandate some of that treatment.
Since its founding shortly after the Civil War,
the KKK has been responsible for inciting and
organizing countless racist acts under the pre-
tense of furthering the cause of "white" peo-
ple. The Klan is responsible for thousands of
murders, burnings, lynchings, riots and other
heinous crimes against humanity. In its cur-
rent form, since its resurgence in the 1970s,

Such a group should not receive the
amenities the city of Ann Arbor provided for
its last visit. The steps to the Ann Arbor City
Hall are prime real-estate for activist rallies,
and the city was under no obligation to supply
the Klan with such a site. This only made the
Klan feel more welcome in Ann Arbor.
In the future, the city of Ann Arbor should
try to avoid being a battleground for white
supremacist groups seeking attention. The
Daily supported the Klan's right to free speech
on its prior two visits. While the Klan
demands the right to assemble under the First
Amendment, after two riots, the Klan's speech
has become the equivalent of yelling "fire" in
a crowded movie theater. The KKK's rhetoric
during such rallies causes violent reactions
from anti-racist demonstrators and threatens
minority citizens.
Other cities have found ways of resisting a
visit from the Klan. Last Friday, New York
City denied the KKK a permit based on an
obscure loitering law about wearing masks.
Ohio has been through two major cases on the
issue recently. Cincinnati police fought to can-
cel a KKK rally on the grounds that it spread
their enforcement too thin. In the same month,
Cleveland officials attempted to avert a Klan
rally because of the immense cost of ensuring
no riots occur.
The Daily does not promote violence as a
means of protesting racist groups. But it is
questionable for the city's judicial system to
prosecute anti-racists for inciting the riot when
the Klan's speech incited the crowd. The Daily
promotes free speech, but the First
Amendment does not give anyone the right to
express themselves through riot-inducing
actions. If Ann Arbor's officials wish to com-

Yet the University is clearly violating
this act. Racial preference in college admis-
sions is just as wrong today as it was when
Alabama Gov. George Wallace stood in the
schoolhouse door at the University of
Alabama. Wallace felt that, by any means
necessary, he had to defend these racist
policies. This notion that the end justifies
the means is a very dangerous one for any
organization or individual to take, no matter
how right they feel they are. I feel that the
only way to overcome racism is to eliminate
the concept of races all together, and think
of all of us as belonging to the human race.
Until we can eliminate this way of classify-
ing people into such groups, we will never
overcome the division and conflict that
these ridiculous classifications cause.
ERIC NYMAN
ENGINEERING JUNIOR
Gandhi's teachings
offer guidance in
wake of rally trials

Diag preachers give
inaccurate views
TO THE DAILY:S
Finally! As of 10/11/99 I finally found
something that I agree with in Jack Schillaci's
Column "Slam it to the Left: The diag
preachers are a nuisance. In fact, they can be
downright annoying. "But wait," you say,
"aren't you a Christian?" Well, uh, yes I am.
Call me a traitor to my faith, but I take
serious issue with some of the evangelists
on the Diag. I have heard some of them
speak and have argued with many of them
for misrepresenting the Bible and the mes-
sage of Christ. Just last week, one of them
told mydChristian friend that - by pursuing
his graduate degree in engineering - he
was serving two masters (God and the
University). I challenge this minister to pro-
duce Scripture to support such a ridiculous
claim! The book of Ecclesiastes expressly
states that "whatever your hand finds to do,
do with you might." Who is this person to
assume greater authority than the Scripture,
they claim to preach? Who are they to judge
my friend's motivation?
What worries me most about these
preachers is that they may be turning people
off to Christianity on this campus. Now I
don't know their hearts, but I do know that
I'm repelled by their angry sounding
shouts. I'm always upset by things done in
the name of Christianity that are such dis-
tortion of Scripture - shooting of abortion-
ists, the Crusades, the list could go on for
quite a while. But for a moment forget
about these things. Tune out the shouts of
the Diag preachers and ask yourself the
questions that really matter.
A good one to start with the the cliche
"WWJD?" Seriously, honestly - if Jesus
were to appear on our Diag, would he be
wearing a sandwich board and screaming at
people? Would he shoot an abortionist? Was
this type of behavior ever his approach? Now
- his love for people was what motivated..
him to act. And his manner was gentle. He
did preach on "heavy topics" that should be
considered when studying Scripture, but his
whole life was one of selflessness and love.
Even if you don't believe Christ was who
he said he was - can you really mock such a
man? So often his name is jeered at and used

U admissions
policies violate
civil rights
To THE DAILY:
As the National Day of Action in sup-
port of affirmative action nears, it is impor-
tant for us to reflect on affirmative action's
goals and impact on our society. Proponents
of affirmative action often mention that a
diverse student body is one of the most
important things that our University can
have to enhance our overall education, and I
completely agree. However, the definition
of "diversity" that seems to be used puzzles
me. Why is it that diversity automatically
means racial diversity'?
I have many friends who are of different
races and ethnic backgrounds, and I often
find myself to have more in common with
them than with friends of my own race.
Diversity comes from people's thoughts,
actions and beliefs, not from the color of

TO THE DAILY:
In honor of Gandhi's Day of Service, I
am writing to remind each of us of a potent
"alternative medicine" for healing our
world. This medicine is peace. In light of
the recent anti-KKK rally trials, I offer three
age-old suggestions:
1. Teach peace by example. Violent reac-
tions lend credence to messages that might
be more effectively disarmed by a strong,
peaceful presence, such as the circle who
gathered to protest last year's KKK rally
with a silent, powerful show of community.
2. Tell the truth. Let's be honest - a
handful of protesters are standing trial not
for confronting racism, but for their
allegedly violent mode of expression. We
must take great care not to "cry wolf" when
it comes to identifying racism, because
false claims such as "AAPD is on an anti-
racist witch hunt" only serve to dilute the
credibility of true reports of racism in our
midst. As for the legal action, as much as I
sympathize with the protesters' cause, to me
such action seems necessary, for once we
set a precedent of condoning violence "for a

i

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