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April 11, 2001 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-11

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

L71 be £ibion grn iu

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily. letters~umich. edu

I'm sorry Ms. Albright, I am for Real
AMER G. ZAHR THE PROGRESSIVE PEN

" , -

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
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

I heard a news story
the other week that
horrified me. Our
University has hired for-
mer Secretary of State
rMadeleine Albright for a
two-year stint at our busi-
ness school. She is hop-
ing, she says, to bring
together her experience
working with economically emerging Third
World democracies and her experiences in
human rights to help the William Davidson
Institute, a branch of the School of Business
Administration dedicated to helping such
countries form economic policy. She is here
to give us her experience on human rights.
Human rights. Let me say it again. Human
rights. And the scariest part is that I am not
joking.
What is our university thinking? Does not
our president understand that hiring someone
who has such an abysmal history, especially
in the realm of foreign policy and human
rights, will do nothing more than hurt our
own reputation as an internationally respect-
ed university?
Some of you may have no idea what I am
talking about. And it is just this ignorance
that the University administration is probably
depending on when they decide to hire some-
one like Albright. First of all, it is important
to note why our university hired her. Most
probably, they thought it would bring some
sort of stature, create valuable connections
for the University, and so on. Most of all, I'm
sure many administrators thought it would

pretty cool to say we have a former secretary
of state working for the University as a "dis-
tinguished scholar." But some important ele-
ments of Albright's recent past must be
revealed in order for the University commu-
nity to completely understand what kind of
person we are allowing to represent us on the
world scene.
We are talking about a woman who told
Colin Powell, who felt that the U.S. should
not commit military forces to Bosnia until
there was a clear political objective: "What's
the point of having this superb military that
you're always talking about if we can't use
it?" Powell remarked in his book, My Ameri-
can Journey, "I thought I would have an
aneurysm ... American G.I.s were not toy
soldiers to be moved around on some sort of
global game board." We are talking about a
woman who, on May 12, 1996 on 60 Min-
utes, engaged in the following exchange with
Leslie Stahl. Stahl, speaking of U.S. sanc-
tions against Iraq, asked "We have heard that
a half million children have died. I mean,
that's more children than died in Hiroshima.
And - and you know, is the price worth it?"
Our future faculty member replied, with no
hesitation, "The price - we think the price is
worth it." We are talking about a woman who
stated publicly that it is not "good idea" to
link trade issues with human rights issues
(Washington Post, March 1, 1999). Are you
kidding me? We are talking about a woman
who, while giving an interview on the Today
Show on NBC on February 19, 1998, stated,
in relation to Iraq, "if we have to use force, it
is because we are America! We are the indis-

pensable nation. We stand tall, and we see
further into the future." We are talking about
a woman who, when asked if it is not hypo-
critical to punish Burma for human rights
violations while refraining from sanctions on
China for similar actions, stated in The
Washington Post of April 23, 1997, "We
have consistent principles and flexible tac- 0
tics." And she's serious. We are talking about
a woman who basically had no productive
role in the premiere foreign policy issue of
the Clinton administration, the Middle East
"peace process," because of her history in
treating Arab nations, and her seeming
unwillingness to admit her Jewish heritage
until after news agencies broke it following
her confirmation as secretary of state.
Who is our administration trying to kid?
There have been, and will continue to be, out-
cries and protests against this hiring of some-
one who has taken no action against countries
like China and Israel for the human right vio-
lations of their leaders, while punishing and
making an example of the Iraqi population, of
whom over 1.2 million have died due to an
American sanction regime, for the human
rights violations of their leaders. And now this
woman, who has always held political expedi-
ency higher than human rights, who sacrificed
international law and human rights in order to
further "American interests," is going to be an
icon of our University. It should most proba-
bly make you very sick.

I

Amer G. Zahr's column runs every
other Wednesday. Give him feedback
at www.michigandaily.com/forum or via
e-mail at zahragdumich.edu.
i'

.

Be careful in taking
editorial positions
TO THE DAILY:
When the Daily stakes out a position, it is
critical that it accept the responsibility of con-
sidering the consequences of that position. A
case in point is the editorial calling for the ban-
ning of depleted uranium weapons ("Irresponsi-
ble weapons," 4/5/01), a position which itself
may have great merit.
Depleted uranium is used because its great
density - among the highest of any material in
nature - makes it extraordinarily effective for
punching through armor. By calling for its abo-
lition - a potentially justified action - the
Daily is implicitly calling for one of three polit-
ically unpopular alternatives; some combination
of an increase in military research and develop-
ment targeted at developing an environmentally
friendlier alternative (like energy or particle
beam weapons), increased military spending to
replace depleted uranium with more expensive
existing alternatives (like more armor-piercing
missiles) or acceptance of higher American
casualties in combat from use of less effective
means of attacking armor, i.e. more of your
roommates and neighbors buried in foreign soil
to avoid collateral environmental damage.
Any of these stances are liable to anger
much of the Daily's readership. They are, how-
ever, the full spectrum of the unavoidable,
although undiscussed, direct possible conse-
quences of the position advocated by the Daily.
It is the responsibility of the Daily, on this and
other controversial issues, to be honest enough
to acknowledge the results of what it calls for

IVA
II

14 PF

D,41l14NOT Sor .
o Ve i bar
FOR ,' I.-

CI., C..A

a

- all the results of what they call for - and
accept the responsibility for them. That is the
required burden of taking a public stand, espe-
cially as an editorial and journalistic enterprise.
JEFF HUO
Medical School
Athletes deserve
earlier registration
To THE DAILY:
In response to the Daily's April 9 editorial,
"Prime CRISP times?" I am in disagreement
with the opinion that stated giving athletes bet-
ter registration times is unfair. Athletes must
abide by a strict, rigorous time schedule that
may only allow for a specific block of time dur-
ing the day for classes. While it is true that the

rest of the student body must coordinate their
schedules around extra-curricular activities and
work, most of us do not have to coordinate our
schedule with other teammates' schedules,
coaches schedules, game schedules, travel time
and facility availability.
I am not a varsity athlete, but I recognize the
hard work and time management skills that ath-
letes must have in order to represent the Univer-
sity proudly on the athletic field and perform 0
well in the classroom. I don't think making a
small adjustment in an athlete's registration
time is insulting, unfair or dramatically decreas-
es the chance of a non-athlete getting into a
class he or she wants to. If the University com-
munity wants to continue to support our athletes
on the field and court, we must also support
them in the classroom.
SARA ANDERSON
LSA junior

I- - 1 11 --- 11 - --", , ., " - -- - --

UNMASKING THE CODE
VIEWS ON THE RYA HUGHES CoE :.:,.
For more information on the Code of Student Conduct,
visit www.michigandaily.com/code
Drop the charges against Ryan Hughes

Unpopular speech should not
be countered with violence

VIEWPOINT

VIEWPOINT
On April 3, the University Office of Stu-
dent Conflict Resolution hauled Ryan Hugh-
es, an LSA junior and an openly bisexual
political activist, into a kangaroo court pro-
ceeding. Hughes' case is being adjudicated
under the Student Code of Conduct. Hughes
is charged with vandalism and assault by the
Department of Public Safety. These charges
are completely unfounded, politically moti-
vated, and a gross violation of Hughes' First
Amendment rights. These charges must be
dropped now. .
Hughes is accused of vandalism and
assault for allegedly spray-painting the picket
sign and the face of a far right-wing anti-gay
bigot who openly advocates the assault and
murder of lesbians and gay men. The picket
sign, which was allegedly spray-painted and
is the only physical evidence of the alleged
vandalism, was destroyed by DPS even
though they knew that Code charges were
pending against Hughes. The anti-gay bigot
told the police that he was not spray-painted
in the face. Despite the urgings of the police,

the Kiss-in were confronted by a group of
anti-gay violence mongers. The anti-gay big-
ots had traveled from Kansas to Ann Arbor to
harass and threaten lesbians and gay men at
the University in order to intimidate all les-
bians and gay men from being openly out.
The kiss-in participants who assembled on
the diag tried to get the anti-gay crusaders to
stop harassing them primarily by chanting 'at
them. Someone tried unsuccessfully to graffi-
ti with spray paint one of the anti-gay crusad-
er's signs. The anti-gay bigots were
completely unfazed. They continued to taunt
and threaten the lesbian and gay participants
in the kiss-in. The free speech rights of the
anti-gay bigots were never limited or threat-
ened.
Hughes and the other lesbian/gay protest-
ers and their supporters had every right to
protect their demonstration and their persons
from assault. DPS did not lift a finger to pro-
tect the lesbian/gay demonstration. Instead,
they arrested Hughes and then charged him
under the Code of Student Conduct. Appar-
ently, DPS and the University administration
believe that right wing advocates of genocide
against lesbians and gay men are welcome on

tion's unconscionable prosecution of Hugh
is to put a welcome sign out at the Universi
for all violence-mongering groups. This po
cy says to those who would maim, bash, a
murder: You are welcome here, the Univer
ty administration will bend over backwards
be on your side.
The Code is devoid of all fundamental d
process rights, from the right to legal couns
to the right to exclude hearsay evidence
the right to obtain a jury trial, and despite t
veneer of student and faculty participatio
the Code accords a maximum imbalance
power in the administration's favor. Throug
out Hughes' case, the administration ori
agents have played the role of complainar
prosecutor, victim, judge, jury and executio
er in tandem. The administration claims ind
pendence from the charges, yet its DPS is t
complainant. The administration claims n
to be prosecuting Hughes, yet it has broug
the charges against him. The administrati
claims not to have judged Hughes, yet it
his accuser. The administration offers its
as adjudicator in its case against Hughes a
reserves the right to determine the sanction.
The Code is meant to confuse, scare a

On April 3, Ryan Hughes, charged for
vandalism and assault during the Feb. 16,
2001 "Kiss-In" on the Diag, entered the
first phase of disciplinary hearings under
es the University's Student Code of Con-
ty duct.
li- The Office of Student Conflict and
nd Resolution alleges that Hughes spray-
si- painted the sign of a member of the West-
to boro Baptist Church who was protesting
the rally and Kiss-In, activities that were
ue the final events of Queer Visibility Week.
sel However, the Student Code of Con-
to duct, which this summer will uselessly be
he renamed the Statement of Student Rights
n, and Responsibilities, by no means allows
of for a fair hearing.
h- Under the Code, hearsay is admissible
its and attorneys are not allowed to speak on
nt; behalf of the "accused" (according to the
n- transcript of Hughes' meeting, Keith Elkin,
le- OSCR director, has said that there are no
he "defendants" in Code hearings).
ot There is no assurance that student pan-
;ht elists will be unbiased and accused stu-
on dents face the possibility of facing
is OSCR's own brand of "double jeopardy":
elf Students who have been acquitted of the
nd same charges in criminal or civil court
still may be sanctioned under the Code.
nd There is no question that the Code, in its

antees the right to free speech. While the
message of the protesters at the Kiss-In is
inhuman and despicable, their peaceful
protest was perfectly constitutional and
deserves to be protected.
Unpopular speech, though often offen-
sive, bigoted and in general poor taste, is
still free speech. The Constitution's guar-
antee of free speech to the American peo-
ple is imperative to a society that is built
upon peaceful dialogue. While it is easy to
argue that the protesters of the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Associa-
tion events did not set out with the intent of
creating a forum for the exchange of ideas
and opinions, because they remained
peaceful they had a right to protest as
equally as the Kiss-In supporters had a
right to rally.
Violence is an inexcusable and an ille-
gal reaction to someone else's exercise of
his or her right to free speech. Whoever
spray-painted the sign of a protester
attempted to deny a group, albeit a bigoted
group, of the same rights that guaranteed
supporters of the LGBT community the.
ability to peacefully assemble and express
an opinion.
It is unfortunate that groups such as the
Westboro Baptist Church masquerade
under the guise of religion to offend, intim-
idate and dehumanize other people; it is
unfortunate that groups with the specific
mission to make personal attacks and cause

A

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