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February 12, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-12

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 12, 2001

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daily. letters(,umich.edu

If only Jed Bartlett were the real president ...


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

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

t about 11:30 a.m.
last Wednesday, a
gunman showed
up at the White House
looking for our new leader,
presumably wanting to tell
W. a thing or two.
The Secret Service
did its job, taking the
gunman out, without any
injuries to bystanders or the president.
Such actions, especially in a nation that
we generally consider to be safe, are
always, horrible, deplorable and jarring.
Throw partisanship and Florida out the
window - nobody wants the president hurt
(at least I hope not).
Dealing with people like Robert W.
Pickett, the former IRS employee who
showed up at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with
a gun, is a central issue in government
today - people with mental illness aren't
being treated correctly, and getting a gun is
simply too easy.
But as I read the reports that trickled in
over the wire in the early afternoon last
week, something caught my eye. First, it
was just that the president was never in
danger. But then, I read this:
"President Bush was reported safe in his
residence, exercising, at the time. Vice Presi-
dent Dick Cheney was working in his office."

Why was the President of the United
States, in only his first month in office, taking
an afternoon siesta and a jaunt on the tread-
Now, I'm no president, but I've
watched a fair amount of "The West
Wing" and I know that exercising mid-
morning on a weekday isn't the best way
to improve health care for impoverished
children, nor deal with gun safety and
mental illness.
Jed Bartlett, TV's president, once
thought of taking a break to go have a
romp with his wife after quite a dry spell,
but even that was foiled by some worldly
matter. Does W. really have the time for
these breaks? Again, I'm no president, but
it seems there are some pressing issues he's
not addressing.
Again, back to Bartlett. He's constantly
whirring between situation room meetings,
talks with congressional leaders and heads of
state, and you rarely see him pumping iron
on a weekday. And sure, presidents have
been known to take a break for 18 holes or
an occasional jog, but this seems excessive.
Where was G.W. early in the day on
Election Day when he received word things
weren't going well for him? Working out.
Where did we see him over and over -
when he wasn't at his posh Crawford
ranch, that is - during the Florida deba-

cle? Working out.
And where is he nearly moments into his
term, as a new leader is elected in Israel, cam-
paign finance reform sits tabled for another
month, the economy dips and gunmen are
charging the White House?
You guessed it. Working out.
Who are this guy's main advisers - the
people everyone said would truly lead this*
administration? We've seen Powell, Rums-
feld and Card all getting work done. But
W. - he must be turning to Bally, GNC..
and Gold of Gold's Gym to help out on the
main crisis of the day.
I'm not saying don't take a break or don't
work out. But the nation's problems don't take
a break so you can check your heart rate.
But then it hit me: We really did elect
Dick Cheney to run this country, and W. to
be the face of the nation. And I got scared.
Cheney was working in his office.*
Doing the work of the people, presumably.
The work some people claim we elected
George Bush to do.
Only four more years - I just keep
repeating that to myself when I awake in a
cold sweat at night.
Mike Spahn's column runs every other
Monday. Give him feedback at
www. michigandaily.com/forum/*
or via e-mail at mspahn@unich.edu.

"1 wouldn't want to work for e-business
because they would pay me In stock options, and
stock options don't pay for dinner'
- LSA senior Marvin Benninghoff last Thursday on the future
of e-business in the United States.

One year after Tower
occupation, 'U' has
not addressed issues
One year ago a group of students began
an occupation of the Michigan Union tower
which was able to accomplish what prior
years of minority student complaints about
University discrimination had not: Exposing
the University's role in funding and support-
ing organizations which heavily contributed
to racism on campus and inequities in fund-
ing programs for minority students. Addi-
tionally, the occupation revealed the
'callousness that Michigamua, an historically
solely white male, so-called "honor society"
used in continuing a tradition of engaging in
rituals using artifacts from Native American
After a strenuous and courageous occupa-
tion of the Tower Society space by the Stu-
dents of Color Coalition, negotiations
resulted that led to the closing of the Tower
space in the Michigan Union and efforts to
closely monitor guidelines for allocation of
space for student organizations. A 14-point
petition contained many suggestions to
improve opportunities for minority students
and faculty that have yet to be addressed by
the University administration,
There is an eerie familiarity of the urgency
of the Student of Color Coalition's actions
with past actions by minority groups at the
University for equal trdatment. Black students
have led three Black Action Movements over
the past 30 years at the University. It is a
painful reminder that blacks and students of
color have to rely on unpleasant and con-
frontational events to obtain a response to rea-
sonable requests such as improvement in
curriculum for students of color, recruitment
and tenure for faculty of color and respect for
the contributions of students and faculty of
color on the University campus. So, despite
efforts tc "dehumanize" the Students of Color
Coalition, such as addressing them as "thugs,"
and despite the relative dismissal of SCC con-

c+c o
\ \
\; y

11 t

U Ur
*Eg lo

Ann Arbor life imitates Bambi

cerns by University President Lee Bollinger,
the changes that SCC demands for minority
student and faculty still go' unmet. White stu-
dents who occupy buildings and make
demands for changes in University policy
receive no such characterizations.
Why is this so?
It is time for the 14-point petition submit-
ted to the University administration on strate-
gies to improve the quality of life for students
of color programs on campus to be given seri-
ous review by University administration and
the University Board of Regents who are
elected to represent all students, regardless of
their race, athletic ability, or economic status.
Now is the time for the administration
and regents to demonstrate to the campus that
they have a genuine concern about improving
the quality of life for students of color and
reducing intolerance for racial and economic

discrimination against minorities at the Uni-
versity. Show minority students and faculty
that you are prepared to offer a report to the
University community that shows progress
on the concerns expressed by the SCC in*
their 14-point petition of nearly one year ago.
SCC didn't occupy the tower just because
they had time on their hands.

Evolution of Code shows how 'U' disregards students

Five years ago, the Code of Student Conduct
was the hot activist issue on campus (and
arguably still would be, were it not for BAMN-
led racial preferences hysteria). The recent histo-
ry of the Code starts in the late '80s. The
University developed a Policy on Discrimina-
tion and Discriminatory Harassment of Students
in the University Environment that is widely
considered one of the most infamous University
"speech codes." It was successfully challenged
in court by a biopsychology graduate student
who realized that if he taught certain theories in
his class, he could be sanctioned for "victimiz-
ing" or "harassing" his students.
Ironically, the judge began his scathing
decision against the University in Doe v. Uni-
versity of Michigan with a quote from then-
Law School Dean Lee Bollinger's book "The
Tolerant Society."
After this decision, the University drafted an
Interim Speech Code that was scarcely better.
The University has subsequently been forced to
stop implementing speech codes. Nonetheless,
the push for speech codes and for codes of non-
academic conduct are somewhat interrelated.
One early draft of a predecessor to the Code
from 1992, for example, was characterized by
the University general counsel as having "wisps
of a hate speech code."
A draft of a Statement of Student Rights

There were three reviews: by the Office for Stu-
dent Conflict Resolution, by MSA and an exter-
nal review. The results were synthesized by a
committee without student members and present-
ed to the Regents over the summer. No student
saw the report in its entirety until November
1999; I was one of the first as a member of the
OSCR director search committee.
These reviews did lead to a big improve-
ment: A procedure for amending the Code.
Thus, last winter, MSA had its first opportunity
to suggest amendments to the Code since 1995!
I served on MSA from 1997-2000, and can
vouch that MSA
does many idiot- Neady a year later,
ic things. But answer. And I for on
our Code
amendments The accepted amei
weren't among minor and sem
them. With sub- substantively Im
stantial input
from several other representatives, the assembly
hammered out a set of solid proposals. Nearly a
year later, we have Bollinger's answer. And I
for one am disappointed. The accepted amend-.
ments are mostly minor or semantic and do not
substantively improve the Code.
MSA proposed many reasonable changes
that were rejected. These include: adding ref-
erences to other relevant policies in the Code
so students could go look at them; specifying
the Code pertains to "non-academic" behav-
ior (protocols for academic offenses, like


ment and not prosecuted due to lack of evi-
dence. I've heard administrators rant ad naur
seum that forcing students through both legal*
and code proceedings is not "double jeop-
ardy" in the conventional sense. They're
right. It is nonetheless unfair and unnecessary
and is perhaps our most misunderstood rec-
ommendation involved the Code's scope.
Our proposal made off-campus behavior
sanctionable only if it posed a threat to any mem-
ber of the University community. This change
was not designed to stop the University from
making off-campus safe. What we had in mind
were minor
we have Bollinger's offenses -
D am disappointed. minor in posses-
sion of alcohol
Iments are mostly citations specifi-
itic and do not cally - that
irove the Code. occur off-cam-
pus that the city
deals with. The whole city of Ann Arbor barrier
to Code jurisdiction is arbitrary and nonsensical.
SRAC and Bollinger both misunderstood, x
our amendment. We had minimal opportunity
for dialogue with SRAC and none with*
Bollinger. Bollinger's terse, almost patronizing
rationale for rejecting our amendment, "Behav-
ior which occurs either in or outside of Ann
Arbor may nonetheless impact the University
Community." pretty much indicates how seri-
ously MSA was taken throughout the process.
And SRAC only accepts proposed C6de

:r. 1..'-

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