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September 25, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-25

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4A - The Michigan Daiy - Monday, September 25, 2000

CI tie kCir i Fttt JDa

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

EM
Ed

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion
the Dailys editorial board. All other articles, letters and c
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan L
''ROM T HE DAILY
dnts oscne ana
Students should ignore Diag e)

MIKE SPAHN
Editor in Chief
ILY ACHENBAUM
itorial Page Editor
n of the majority of
artoons do not
Daily.
xhibition

Warning: If you haven't already been to
the Diag today, don't go. And try to
avoid it tomorrow, too.
In a gross display of First Amendment
rights, the Center for Bioethical Reform, at
the request of the Chi
Alpha Christian Fel-
lowship and the cam-
pus Students for Life,
has brought its Geno-
cide Awareness Project
to Ann Arbor. The dis-
play, for those lucky
enough to have avoided
it, attempts to draw
correlations between
the Jewish Holocaust,
the lynchings of mem-
bers of the black com- Mike
munity and the current Spahn
climate surrounding
abortions in the United
States by placing pic- x=r<R)(l
tures of the three on
six-foot tall, 13-foot wide signs.
I guarantee that by the time this column is
strewn about lecture halls around campus, this
pro-life display will already be the talk of the
town. And that's exactly what they want.
Gregg Cunningham, director of the Center
for Bioethical Reform, told a reporter working
on a preview of the event that, "The real
power of this is that everybody gets to
debate."
LSA junior Andrew Shirvell, head of Stu-
dents for Life, echoed Cunnigham. "We want
to spark debate on the topic of abortion on
campus."
Laudable goal.
Disgusting tactic.
The trouble with this means of "sparking
debate" is that the word debate assumes intel-

Abortion activists display an intent to provoke, not debate,

ligent, logical discussion of an issue in an
attempt to prove a point.
There can be no intelligent, logical discus-
sion when GAP attempts to manipulate the
emotions of onlookers with inflammatory
photos and forced reactions.
And that doesn't even take into account
the fact that giving women the right to control
their own body cannot rightfully be compared
to the extermination of millions, an event that
shouldn't be compared to any other in docu-
mented history.
If the Students for Life want a debate, they
should call the Students for Choice and set up
a time. Each side can make their case and the
onlookers can make their decision. If the Stu-
dents for Life and the Christian Fellowship are
so convinced of their position, they shouldn't
need to resort to such tactics.
They should be able to take anyone on,
confident that no one will be able to see the
issue any other way after they present their
argument.
There's no question that if you believe a
fetus is a person at conception, abortion is the
single most abhorrent act imaginable. State
sponsored murder cannot be tolerated. And if
I believed that was true, I would probably
grope to find any possible means to change
the law that I could find.
But even this attempt is overboard.
While photos are certainly powerful in
attempts to convey a message, these are taste-
less.
Shirvell said yesterday that his group has
made plenty of attempts to get their message
across, adding that people just don't come to
their mass meetings, so maybe this would do
the trick.
Certainly mass meetings are not the best
form of expressing an opinion and gaining
supporters. And neither is this display. This is

meant to provoke, not convince.
The GAP Website includes a 12-page dis-
sertation on how these tactics can be justified
- quoting newspaper articles, statistics and
even Martin Luther King, Jr.
King is quoted, in his letter from a Birm-
ingham Jail, as saying that "Nonviolent direct
action seeks to create such a crisis and estab-
lish such a creative tension that a community
... is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to
so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be
ignored."
If GAP and other pro-life individuals want
to emulate King, they should lock arms and
participate in sit-ins and marches, just as King
supported. That would force the community
to confront the issue in a rational, intelligent
manor - not the in the emotional, knee-jerk
way that this exhibit will surely evoke.
There's no doubt that this display is legal
and the groups sponsoring it defiitely have the
right to express their beliefs in this manner.
What's so abhorrent about the display is not .;
that it exists, but rather that it intends to cause
such a stir. By placing the exhibit in the most
traveled part of campus, GAP precludes any
chance of a student missing the exhibit.
And the best means of protesting this dis-
play is to avoid it and not give organizers the
thrill of inflamed argument, or debate, in their
terms.
Shirvell said that debate needs to be
sparked, and this is one of the best ways to do
it, adding that the group debated the matter
extensively before deciding that GAP should
be invited to campus.
"If now is not the time, then when?" he
said.
This may be the time, but this is certainly
not the method.
-Mike Spahn can be reached via
e-mail at mspahn@umich.edu.

I ow desperate are the campus anti- determining when something that is bio-
choice groups? Evidently, very. Stu- logicallyhuman legally and morally
dents for Life and the Chi Alpha becomes a person. The claim that con-
Christian Fellowship have teamed up to ception is an equally good milestone
bring tasteless placards to the Diag. ignores all of the attributes of personhood
The display, called the "Genocide that give us reason to think that humans
Awareness Project,"juxtaposes images of as a species are special and unique.
genocide victims with pictures of aborted A common response to this argument
fetuses. Students for Life and the Chi is that it opens the way to legalizing
Alpha Christian Fellowship sponsored infanticide. After all, there can not be
the exhibition, which will be on display much of a difference between a fetus that
on today and Tuesda. is a day from being born and an infant
The purpose of the Genocide Aware- that has been alive for a day. But there is
ness Project is to draw an a difference: In the for-
analogy between real his- Abortion should mer case, a fetus co-
torical atrocities like the exists with a woman
Holocaust and the recent ot be compared inside of her and con-
enocide in Rwand nd sequentre uires her
legal abortions. Obvious- to the Holocaust to si cant change
1y, this is difficult since her lifesty e; this
there is no similarity impinges on her rigt
between the systematic destruction of to freedom. This is not the case witha
millions of living human beings and the newborn infant - it is an autonomous
legalization of a safe procedure that gives entity in the sense that it is not physically
women control over their bodies. The connected to a person who may not want
timing of the event is especially offensive it; an infant does not need to be killed to
since it trivializes the Holocaust only preserve anyone's rights.
days before Rosh Hashanah, one of the Regardless, abortion should not be
most important holidays on the Jewish compared to the Holocaust - a historical
calender. event that stands on its own and should
Noticeably absent from the display are not be mocked or slighted by compari-
the equally gruesome images of what son. Pro-lifers have a right to show their
happened during the incalculable num- obscene placards and students need to
bers of unsafe, back alley abortions that respect that right - but not the message.
occurred inthe pre-Roe v. Wade era. Throughout this ordeal, the most impor-
What the exhibition in the Diag actu- tant thung to remember is that the Geno-
ally reveals is a sad state of affairs for the cide Awareness Project thrives on
pro-life lobby. Rather than argue against attention. The best way for students to
abortion on rational ethical grounds, pro- show their displeasure with the display is
lifers have instead opted to appeal to peo- to ignore it when walking through the
ple's (manipulated) emotions. Diag or to avoid walking through the
Birth is only one milestone to use in Diag at all.
Defadlines too early
More time needed for Drop/Add, Pass/Fail

'We're essentially doing what Martin Luther King did
with his comparison of the brutalization of
blacks to the brutalization of Jews.'
-Gregg Cunningham, director of the Centerfor Bioethical Reform.

This Tuesday, a mere three weeks after
the beginning of the semester, stu-
dents have to decide whether they want
to modify their class schedule without
trnishing their transcript. This is not
enough time for students to adequately
assess their course load. The Uiversity
must push back the Drop/Add and
Pass/Fail deadlines so that students can
make fully informed decisions regarding
Three weeks is clearly not eniough
ime for students to gage their workload.
ome classes have not met more than
e times. Most classes haven't had any
miajor exams or assignments due. If they
iave, they almost certainly haven't had
those tests or papers graded yet. This fact
becomes especially important in larger
classes, where students may have their
assignments evaluated by a "grader" with
whom they haven't had any imteraction.
A student's workload is generally
4eflned by these major assignments. He
or she should not be expected to decide if
t1ey want to drop a class or take it on a
sass/fail basis without having an under-
standing of the true difficulty of the
course.
Allowin gstudents to have more time
iL deciding the status of their classes also

encourages them to expand their hori-
zons. Students would be more likely to
try difficult classes (including classes in
subject matters with which they aren't
familiar) if they know that they can wait
to see their first major grade, and modify
the course if it threatens their academac
record. By lessening the risk of taking
difficult courses, students would be
encouraged to challenge themselves and
seek out a well-rounded education. The
net result is that students lear more.
Some have expressed concern that the
Add deadline cannot be extended
because students cannot make up more
than three weeks of a course. While this
may be true, individual students are capa-
ble of making this decision on their own.
Additionally, this objection does not
apply to students wishing to drop a
course or elect it on a pass/ fail basis. At
the very least, the University could keep
the Add deadline the same while moving
the others back.
The University should listen to the
needs of its students and move the
Drop/Add and Pass/Fail deadlines later in
the year. Three weeks is just not enough
time for students to make decisions about
their academic future that will ultimately
affect the rest of their lives.

Chappelle's routine
was not tasteful'
To THE DAILY:
In response to Dave Chappelle's perfor-
mance on Sept. 21 and the Daily's Sept. 22
review ("Chappelle and Breuer light up
joints, Hill"), we would like to state the fol-
lowing: We went to the show. We went on
the pretense that the show's focus was mari-
juana, hence the title, "Completely Baked."
Jim Breur succeeded in entertaining us with
comedy about weed and being completely
baked. We couldn't stop laughing throughout
his routine. And then, Dave Chappelle.
His performance was less than desirable
and tasteful. As women we were offended. We
would have rather spent our $10 on a dime bag
than sit and listen to Chappelle talk about "titty
bars" and his opinions on oral sex. As women
at the University, we don't need to be reminded
of prejudices we encounter on a daily basis.
You didn't have to be a "feminist" to be insult-
ed and degraded by his performance. All you
had to be was an active listener.
We enjoy comedy. We love to laugh. But
sitting through a half an hour of pointless com-
mentary about Chappelle's Saturday nights was
vulgar enough to lose our respect for him as a
comedian. So thank you, Jim Breur. You were
genuinely comedic. But as for you Dave Chap-
pelle, your abrasive comedy was directed
towards gender-bashing, among other things.
So no Dave, we will not suck your c*ck (as
you put it). And itsis not because we're "femi-
nists," that issue is irrelevant here. It's because
you don't have the power you think you have.
The next time you want to give yourself plea-
sure, you have the power to do it yourself. If
you smoke with your right hand, do it with
your left. But leave us out of it.
KELU FRAME
LSA SOPHOMORE
LANNI LANTTO
LSA JUNIOR
Confederate flag
opponents need a
history lesson
TO THE DAILY:
The Daily's editorial staff needs a history
lesson on the Confederate flag ("Take it down"
9/21/00). The civil war was not fought over
slavery - most of the confederate soldiers did
not even own slaves. It was fought over state's
rights. President Lincoln did not issue the
Emancipation Proclamation because he felt
badly for the slaves in the south, but because he
needed the backing of the black population of
the United States at the time to increase his
potential number of draftees and voters. The
Confederate flag is not a symbol of slavery, but
is wrongly believed to be so by those who
refuse to learn about our nation's past. Further-
more, not every person who owns a confeder-
ate flag (this is actually not the Confederate
flag but one of many that was used by the con-
federacy during the war) is a proponent of
racism. To say, "more often than not, the allu-
sion to racism is the intended purpose of such a
display" in reference to displaying the Confed-
erate flag is both unfounded and untrue. I sug-
gest you take a class on American history and
stop listening to people who are ignorant to the
truth of the past. The confederate flag is not a
sister of the Nazi flag. And as long as the
Daily's complaining about racist flags, wasn't
the United States of America founded by slave
owners, racists and bigots? I don't hear you
complaining about any state capital flying the

Quandary of the
straight white male
TO THE DAILY:
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed
that the respondents to this whole Men's
Health issue have all been female? Hearing
them tell me that this campus is not anti-
male is about as reassuring as a 1950's (all-
white) Alabama school board assuring black
families that their schools are all pro-black.
They cite the number of male professors,
the emphasis on sports, etc. to make their
case for the continued "dominance" of male
goals on campus. What they don't cite is the
attitude inherent in their letters - an attitude
which perfectly supports the claims made in
the Men's Health article.
This attitude to which I refer creates (what I
like to call) the Quandary of the Straight White
Male. Let me explain: You see, virtually any
minority group who has a beef with society, the
"system," or life in general can state their
grievance and the world stops to take notice
(such is life in our present-day PC society).
However, if John Q. Whiteguy has a complaint
about the way things are going, he is told to
"stop crying" (as in Emily Achenbaum's col-
umn "Men's Health says boys cry at 'U.' Need
a tissue?" 9/18/00), and berated in letters for
not being able to "take it" ("U is pro woman,
not anti-male" Erin Hartl 9/14/00), or flat out
called names ("Frankenstein,", in "Campus is
not anti-male" Audrey Jackson 9/19/00").
If I (admittedly a Straight White Guy) were
to tell a black or gay victim of discrimination
to "quit crying and take it," I would be ostra-
cized off of the campus - if not chased. How-
ever, because white males (and yes, I
understand the article refers to males in gener-
al, but bear with me) are somehow viewed as
still being the "oppressors," it is all right to take
pot shots at us and assume that our success in
life is already pre-determined. Well, I've got
news for you: It is not.
To assume that white males, as a rule, have
it easier than everyone else is a a stereotype. I
hate to break it to you, but neither myself nor

American flag. Maybe we'd
about our past and show
who were fighting for theirj
ery, as you and many others

Ibe best off to learn
respect for people
rights, and not slav-
want to think.
FREDERICK DERY
LSA SENIOR

90 percent of the other white guys out there
have ever racially oppressed someone or done
their part to perpetuate any kind of glass ceil-
ing, and my success in life is far from assured.
Funny how the people who like to perpetuate
this stereotype tend to be the very same people
who protest loudly whenever someone tries to'-
perpetuate a stereotype against their ethnic,
gender, or other minority. If they try to redress
their own stereotype, they are redressing a
societal evil. If I try to redress one against me, I
am merely whining. And women complain
about a double standard ..-
Merely being liberal does not make you
as open minded as you might think.
JIM KNAPP
LSA SENIOR
Intersection raised
concerns not heard
TO THE DAILY:
I absolutely agree with Douglas Jewett's
Sept. 18th letter concerning the hazardous
intersection of Catherine and Glen Streets. I
have crossed there to the Glen Street Parking "
structure for 5 years and each time I cross I
feel I am taking my life in my hands, even in
perfect weather conditions. Because the con-:
cept of "yielding to pedestrians" is a com-
pletely foreign concept to most Michigan
drivers we, the pedestrians, "play chicken"
each day with cars who feel they've got the
green light, what are we doing in the cross-
walk?" Many people in our area have similar
stories of nearly being hit crossing that inter-
section.
Recently, there were some folks at the
intersection studying the situation. I was
glad to see them there and I spoke with one
of them and expressed my many concerns
about the design of the intersection - the=7
two turning lanes, the downhill slope, the
ineffectiveness of the Yield to Pedestrian
signs. "It's an accident waiting to happen." I
concluded. The fellow's comment was "use
the overpass."
We who work on the Medical Campus
are completely heartbroken our concerns.
were not heard before the tragic accident that
took the life of Janis Marchyok.
SARAH WIENER
GENERAL SURGERY

The real gas problem
Rampant troubles with SUV's

n response to high gas prices, Presi-
dent Clinton recently announced he
pans to release 30 million barrels of
crude oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve,
a 571-million-barrel stockpile created
during the energy crisis in the earl
1970s. There are man causes for hig
petroleum prices, but while the Organiza-
tion of Petroleum Exporting Countries
has not significantly c ange oil produc-
tion in recent months, petroleum demand
remains high in the United States. What
fuels this demand? Most petroleum
becomes gasoline, and plenty of it goes
into fuel-guzzling Sport Utility Vehicles.
Fuel economies for most SUV's
ranges from 10 to 20 miles per gallon,
compared to the Honda Civic s 38 m.p.g.
Not only does fuel inefficiency contribute
to high gas prices, but it also requires
SUV asto have large tanks, which can
cost more than $50 to fill in the largest
vehicles. From an ecological standpoint
SUV's are equally ridiculous, simultane-
ously contributing to global warming
though CO2 emissions and accelerating
the consumption of petroleum, a limited
natural resource. However, fuel economy
is only one of many reasons why SUVs
are oor choices for transportation.
Although advertised as safe and
rugged, studies have shown they are nei-
ther; instead indicating that while larger
cars are not significantly safer for their
passengers, they exponentially increase
the danger to passengers of other cars:
imagine a 7,200 pound Excursion col-
liding with a 1,986 pound Geo Metro.

Top-heavy SUV's are also notoriously
prone to rolling over on sharp curves. A
Jul 2000 study showed that many
SUV's incur costly bumper damage
even at speeds as slow as five m.p.h.,
because government regulations do not
re uire automakers to install bumpers
wit the same quality as those installed
on cars.
Part of the reason SUV's have poor
fuel efficiency is because of federal regu-
lations. Federal guidelines require
automakers to produce cars with an aver-
age fuel economy of 27.5 m.p.g., but
since SUV's are categorized as light
trucks for fuel efficiency purposes, they
must only average 20.7 m.p.g. While
President Clinton tightened the fuel econ-
omy for light trucks in 1993 and 1994,
the republican-controlled congress has
prevented the Transportation Department .
from tightening standards further. Ford
revealed in July that it plans to increase
the fuel efficiency in its UV's by 25 per-
cent over the next five years, clearly
admitting that the technology to do so is
currently available. Although Ford's self
regulation of the emissions and fuel
economy of its vehicles is encouraging,
government should consider regulations
accelerating these changes, and extend-
ing them across all makes and models.
Car buyers should think twice about
buying an SUV: they inflate gas prices,
contribute to global warming through
C02 emissions, are expensive to fuel and
repair, and are dangerous for everyone on
the road.

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