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September 16, 1999 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-16

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4n - The Michigan Daly - Thursday, September 16, 1999

4e £1rb9a Dig

Beware, ill effects of Kincaid decision could hurt 'U'

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

T he most important words in today's
paper. or any other day Daily. sit right
below the masthead on the front page -
"One hundred eight years of editorial free-

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.

It means that,
unlike many other
campus groups, we
are 100 percent self-
funded and student
run. We accept no
money from the
University and there-
fore are able to print
whatever we want
without the threat of
censorship or influ-
ence from University
The advantage of a
free press is obvious.
For us at the Daily,
editorial indepen-
dence is both a bless-

n *n
a upUort sminick's
Restaurant is unjustly punished


granted student papers the same First
Amendment rights as the professional
Sadly, though, a recent decision from the
6th Circuit Court of Appeals has made the
situation even more severe. In Kincaid v.
Gibson, the court upheld the censorship of
the student newspaper and confiscation of
yearbooks at Kentucky State University.
The ill effects of the decision threaten the
editorial independence and journalistic
integrity of college media in Kentucky,
Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
The Daily is fortunate to be immune to
the majority of potential censorship
because of our independent status, but we
still cannot ignore its significance.
It is very dangerous.
The court threatens not just campus
newspapers but all open expression on cam-
pus by basing the ruling on the U.S.
Supreme Court's 1988 decision in
Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier
In Hazelwood, the court ruled that high
school administrators have the right to cen-
sor school-sponsored publications for legit-
imate educational reasons.
Expanding this censorship power to uni-
versity officials is atrocious. Freedom of
speech and a marketplace of ideas is no bet-
ter justified anywhere than on a college
campus where great minds are intended to
meet and expand.
While the Daily and other independent
campus publications retain editorial con-
trol, this decision still could impact distrib-
ution rights on campus.
The University of Michigan, or any uni-
versity, could be given the authority to ban
distribution of any publication, including
one self-sponsored on campus property. An
administration that is unhappy with the con-
tent of a publication may need no more jus-

D ominick's, a popular restaurant and
bar near the Law Quad, cannot serve
alcohol until Sept. 23 due to a 1994
offense. Five years ago, a 21-year-old
purchased alcohol and gave it to a 20-
year-old friend. This event resulted in a
costly legal struggle and may cost the
establishment more than $20,000 in
pptential revenue during the 15-day sus-
pbnsion of its liquor license.
The restaurant is paying for the conse-
quences of violating a ridiculous law that
punishes businesses where minors drink,
even if the beverage has been purchased
legally by an "adult." Dominick's will
also face increasingly severe punishments
if this occurs again. Its five-year battle to
avoid paying for the actions of one cus-
tomer has wrought only a delay in the
application of the sentence and thousands
of dollars in legal fees.
Clearly, Dominick's is being punished
f6r an offense the managers could not
have prevented. No restaurant can police
all its customers to make sure a minor
dbes not take a sip of someone else's alco-
holic beverage. This restaurant also sells
f6od and cannot card every customer.
Worse, Dominick's stands to lose
nmoney during its peak season. The large-
ly outdoor restaurant closes for the winter
and cannot make up the losses it incurs
now at a later -date in the year. Instead,
this valuable member of the University
community will pay for the heavy

tification to knock distribution off campus
than for "educational reasons."
Although it seems unbelievable that the
University would ever attempt to kick the
Daily boxes out of Angell Hall or the MLB,
a court case like this gives college adminis-
trators free reign to do so.
But wait, it gets worse.
Like I said before, this ruling makes
everyone vulnerable, not just student jour-
Haze/wood has been used to justify the
termination of several high school teachers
whose lesson plans were disagreeable to
.school board officials.
In one notable case, Boring v. Buncombe
C'ountrv Board of Education, a North
Carolina court in 1997 upheld the transfer
of a drama teacher who allowed her class to
put on a play that dealt with controversial
social issues including runaways, sexuality
and child abuse.
Before producing the play, the teacher
had gotten permission from the performers'
parents, the school's administration and the
parents of the students in the audience, but
still the school board objected and ordered
that the teacher be moved to another school.
And the federal appellate court used
Hazelwood to justify it.
It seems hard to imagine this happening
in 1999 on the university level, but this
most recent legal action makes it possible.
Hopefully, the effects of the Kincaid
ruling will not be expanded to control
unpopular curriculum or inhibit academic
freedom like they have been on the high
school level,
Remember, though, university adminis-
trators now may have the legal right to sti-
fle contentious viewpoints.
- Heather Kamins can be reached over
e-mail at hbk@unuch.edu.

enforcement of alcohol-related laws in
the Ann Arbor area.
More recently, Ann Arbor has been the
site of witch hunts for businesses that
serve alcohol to minors. Since last fall's
death of University first-year student
Courtney Cantor - who had alcohol in
her system when she fell out of her resi-
dence hall window - the Ann Arbor
Police Department has stepped up its
enforcement of the state's antiquated 21-
plus liquor law. Fraternities and bars have
been the subjects of sting operations, the
amount of students being prosecuted for
minor in possession tickets has increased
We support reducing the legal drinking
age to 18. An 18-year-old can vote, drive,
purchase a gun and even be drafted, so
why should not they be allowed to drink?
The current legal drinking age does not
deter University students or anyone else
over the age of 18 from consuming alco-
hol. This law should be changed.
Students should continue to support
Dominick's during the alcohol ban. No
business should be victimized because of
the actions of its customers, and
Dominick's is no exception. It stands to
lose thousands of dollars due to the
overzealous nature of the Ann Arbor
Police Department. This is certainly far
from just. Dominick's deserves your busi-
ness, regardless of whether it can serve

ing and a responsibility. For the past 108
years, we have been able to speak out criti-
cally about University policies, civil rights
and student issues.
Editorial independence has given us a
voice on campus and hopefully also provid-
ed the entire student body a forum from
which to speak out.
But not all campuses are so lucky. In
fact, only about a dozen student papers
across the country can boast total inde-
The university administrators overseeing
these publications rarely attempt to control
the editorial content of the product, but
when they do the results are appalling and
the suppression of free speech is inexcus-
In the past, courts have traditionally


The Michigan Daily welcomes letters
from all of its readers. Letters from University
students, faculty, staff and administrators will
be given priority over others. All letters must
include the writer's name, phone number and
school year or University affiliation. The
Daily will not print any letter that cannot be
verified. Ad hominem attacks will not be tol-
Letters should be kept to approximately
300 words. The Michigan Daily reserves the
right .o edit for length, clarity and accuracy.
Longer "viewpoints" may be arranged with an
editor. Letters will be run according to order
received and the amount of space available,
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
daily.letters(c umich.edu or mailed to the
Daily at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be
reached at 763-2459 or by sending e-mail to
the above address. Letters e-mailed to the
Daily will be given prio'rity over those
dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
Postal Service.



Find the real cause
Violating rights won't stop school shootings


A s high school students across the
nation enter a new academic year,
they will notice some startling changes in
the appearance of their schools. Instead
pf new lockers and tables in the cafeteria,
nany students will, find metal detectors
and surveillance cameras following their
every step. Backpack searches, drug tests
nd dress codes are now considered in the
student's best interests. But these proce-
Jures cannot prove their effectiveness of
preventing violence. More importantly,
they create a dangerous side effect: the
violation of students' rights.
Most school administrators will tell
you the increase in school security is
solely to prevent a repeat of this year's
'gedy at Columbine High School. But
me schools are taking security mea-
res too far - creating an environment
fear rather than comfort and learning.
some schools, students must wear com-
Puterized identification badges at all
times. Video and audio surveillance may
become as typical in schools as bad cafe-
teria food.
Although school administrators are
honestly concerned with the safety of
their students, the new safety procedures
have raised many eyebrows concerning
students' rights.
The American Civil Liberties Union is
At the forefront of preserving students'
rights and liberties. The ACLU has fought
numerous cases in which the violation of
students' rights were overt. In Texas, a
group of students were suspended for
wearing black armbands in remembrance
of the Columbine tragedy.,Intended to
show compassion for others, their actions
were interpreted as a threat. The ACLU
fought for these students, citing violation

trators his wearing of the Star of David

was inappropriate. Administrators said.
that the symbol could be considered a
gang symbol. Later the school board
rescinded its position.
With all the excessive media attention
school violence has received, such knee-
jerk responses are expected. While all
students have the right to attend a safe
school, they also have .the right to their
personal freedom, which dress codes or
video surveillance infringe on.
It is clear that there are problems in
our schools today - school violence is
But taking away freedom of speech
and privacy is not the solution. This can
cause students to feel even more insecure
and isolated.
The true solution comes from tackling
the real problem - the social ostracism
many students experience in junior high
and high school. Teachers and administra-
tors must try to create a less divisive
social environment.
But until that is accomplished,
Congress must stand up to the National
Rifle Association and make it harder for
people to obtain guns. Without guns, the
Columbine massacre wouldn't have hap-
pened. Bullets - not Marilyn Manson -
caused this tragedy.
As our nation seeks to find proper
solutions to school violence, we can all
take steps toward building safer schools.
We should look out for our neighbors and
be pro-active in fighting senseless vio-
lence. The cause of school violence is
multi-faceted and not easily remedied.
Schools and communities need to work
together to improve safety - but schools
will not be safe environments if the stu-

First Amendment protection can't be selective

The viewpoint article "School prayer debate
arises in Texas" (9/14/99) suggests that allow-
ing prayers at school functions such as football
games and commencements represents a vic-
tory for "freedom of speech." This attitude is
mirrored by many advocates of school prayer.
The claim is that it is not about trying to force
religion on people, it is not about trying to use
schools to spread their religious beliefs, it is
simply about freedom of speech.
What caught my attention was when the
article quoted a school superintendent as say-
ing that students offering prayers before
games would be punished "as if they had
cursed," and the columnist's reaction that "that
is shameful in itself."
Just for a moment, let me ask seriously:
What is the difference? If I want my freedom
of speech upheld, I should have the right to
swear while speaking at commencement.
Why 1999 s(
By the Daily illini
University of Illinois
The newspaper headlines were more than
telling - The Chicago Tribune's front page
blared "Deal adds zest to CBS," calling CBS'
new owner, Viacom, "hip." The Christian
Science Monitor, on the other hand, ques-
tioned the CBS-Viacom merger with its "Is
bigger better?" headline, citing the concentra-
tion of media control. Reasons for the two dif-
ferent perspectives on the same story are
obvious: The Tribune is a major media con-
glomerate in and of itself, the Monitor is not.
Editorial bias aside, the fact remains: The
CBS-Viacom combo is the biggest media
merger ever. As soon as federal regulations
governing television station ownership were
relaxed, Viacom swiftly moved in, purchasing
CBS for $37 billion.

After all, it is my freedom of speech, isn't it?
"Well, that's different." What is different
about it? It is what I want to say, maybe I think
it is the clearest way of expressing myself.
"But it is offensive!" Praying can also offend
some people. Somehow, religious people
never seem to take seriously the idea that
prayers can really, honestly offend someone. I,
on the other hand, find it hard to believe that in
the end of the '90s, there are still people out
there who get in an uproar just because they
hear the f-word.
"But swearing is inappropriate at these
functions!" So is prayer, according to separa-
tion of church and state. ThiL is exactly the
issue: if your prayer suddenly becomes appro-
priate, in the name of freedom of speech, then
can't swearing be also be seen as appropriate,
in the name of the same cause?
Finally: "But prayer is about deeply held
eems more Iil
While Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone was
practically giddy at the press conference
announcing the merger, American consumers
should be anything but excited about the new
media giant. We live in a society that dictates
healthy competition and exchange in all mar-
kets, and the media market should be no
But in the last few decades, competition is
a word that has been all but drummed out of
media circles. Rather, the power to distribute
information to the masses has been slowly but.
surely slipping into the hands of the fortunate
and monied few.
It is a trend that does not bode well for the
future of media. Will the television-magazine
PrimeTime Live ever present a serious, inves-
tigative piece on the Walt Disney
Corporation? Probably not, considering that

beliefs, swearing is not!" Well, this is exactly
the point. In order to be taken seriously, advo-
cates of school prayer need to admit that there
is something more to their cause than simple
"freedom of speech.' The "freedom of
speech" ploy is used as a fall-back, because if
they start talking about the fact that they want
the right to use governmentally sponsored
events to tell the world about their personal
sacred beliefs, it starts to sound like EXACT-
LY what separation of church and state was
designed to guard against. And maybe it is.
But if those in favor of prayer at school
functions want to make any progress, they
have to identify exactly what it is that makes
it different from people who want the right to,
swear at school functions -- and why that dif-
ference deserves to be protected.
- This vievpoint was written by
Rackham student Greg Stevens.
ke 1984
Mickey and Co. own the talking heads at
ABC. From the evening news with Dan
Rather to, the latest Paramount Pictures
release to the MTV music awards, CBS-
Viacom will have a say. As varied as these
media sound, the values of the corporation
will undoubtedly bleed down into the rest of
1 the company. In addition, there is the very real 9
threat that Viacom's networks will become
mere vehicles for self-promotion for the rest
of the corporation's holdings.
Unfortunately, mergers among huge media
giants seem to be the wave of the future.
Hopefully, the listening, reading and viewing
public will not be drowned by this virtual
tsunami of homogenized information.
- This staff editorial was published
Tuesday in the Daily Illini, University of
Illinois s student newspaper9

Kincaid decision could affect nation

By the Cavalier Daily
University of Virginia
The rioid cAde of inmalistic ethics mav

Right now the ruling only encompasses the
sixth circuit, which includes Michigan, Ohio,
Kentucky and Tennessee. But the implications

There is a catch, however. A school only
has control over a publication if the publica-

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