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April 17, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-17

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 17, 2001

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On leaving Ann Arbor

SINCE 1890

. Editor in Chief
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.

eeing that seniors
refuse to acknowl-
edge the imminent
graduation, hushing any-
one who mentions it, it
feels strange to write on
the topic. More than that,
though, it's difficult to
write about graduating
from college because
I've found that grand conclusions escape
me at the end.
My sophomore year I was walking through
the Diag by myself in sunny April, filled with
love for college and Ann Arbor. I felt like writ-
ing it all down - my favorite places and
moments, sing praises to late nights at Pizza
House, sangria at Dominick's, my favorite pro-
fessors, welcome week, cheap kegs at house
parties. But I didn't, saving it for senior year
when I would be really emotional and full of
wisdom. Well, here I am. No epiphany.
I remember this from high school - fresh-
man and sophomore years we signed yearbooks
constantly, in class, at lunch, we would even
bring our books to the beach. By senior year,
we got lazy. I hardly have any signatures in my
last yearbook. There was nothing or, rather, too
much to say. And this year, with all the wam-
ings and online viewings, I have decided not to
run the Naked Mile. I almost ran it sophomore
year, and I should have. But I didn't, saving it
for senior year, the last, nude hurrah. But it
won't happen this way. I do not think the mean-
ing of one's college years hits one at the end.

The true appreciation comes during.
Perhaps while studying at Espresso Royale,
eavesdropping on talks of post-modem thought
or Jane Austen or existentialism. Or maybe the
meaning came while walking across campus
during a first, quiet snow, enormous flakes like
gossamers illuminated by the streetlamps.
Some of the meaning was with me on my
very first night in Ann Arbor, which was spent
with people I had just met at orientation. Evan
led us in the middle of the night through trees
down into a seeming abyss of nature called,
simply, the Arb, and told us a story of how
someone was murdered there years back. I held
on tightly to Catherine and Libby, my new
friends, as we descended into the forest dark-
ness. That's how freshman year was, holding
on to virtual strangers for support and friend-
ship, partying with them, sobbing to them about
a high school boyfriend whom they have seen
in hundreds of pictures, but whose last name
they do not know. Some of these friends stay -
Catherine lives in my house on Greenwood.
I thought the meaning would come at the
much-anticipated viewing sophomore year of
"The Big Chill." My friends declared, as many
Michigan friends have done before, that we
would be like the characters in the movie-we
would stay in touch forever and watch football
games together, singing "Hail to the Victors."
But the myth of "The Big Chill" is misleading.
The reality of making a huge, lasting, co-ed
group of friends is improbable. Because though
college does include a support system that you
party, study, live, scream, cry with, it is also a

time of autonomy. Through your major, your
job search, perhaps your abroad experience,
there is a constant search for self. Sometimes
the person you are when you graduate is not the
same person you were in the dorms, and that is
all right. It's a wonderful selfishness that may
not be allowed for later in life, when bosses, co-
workers, spouses, children come into play.
Forget a group of ten, I feel fortunate-0
graduate with a few friends whom I can really
talk to and really trust, regardless of the changes
we have undergone. I went out with these girls,
my housemates, on St. Patrick's Day. We were
inebriated by noon, dancing with green tongues
from the green pitchers at Touchdown's, which
happens to be the first bar I ever snuck into: The
song "Glory Days" played from the jukebox in
true reflective style, and I was reminded of the
time I heard that song at the same bar two years
prior, singing the lyrics with the same girls at
my old friends the Fiji boys.
And so it goes. We have been disregardisig
our upcoming graduation because if we seit
reminiscing, we won't stop. There is too imch.
So we will continue to ignore it, enjoying the
last weeks by frequenting the same places we
have for four years, pretending it was last year;
the year before, or just two weeks ago. Any-
thing to prevent the onset of the inevitable no;-
talgia we will feel for years to come.
This is Gina Hamadey's final columnor
The Michigan Daily. Give herfeedbac at
wwwmichigandaiy com/forum or
via e-mail atghamadey@umnich.edu.


AAPD, DPS presence
may spark 'melee'
Having read that the Ann Arbor Police
Department's promise to "make as many
arrests as are necessary to shut (the Naked
Mile) down" (Sgt. Michael Logghe, The
Michigan Daily, 4/16/01), I am now very
concerned for the safety of the runners and
spectators. I have seen what happens when
the AAPD, or DPS for that matter, try to stop
the inevitable. When I was a first-year stu-
dent, my father and I attended the Michigan
vs. Ohio State football game. When the
Wolverines won, 110,000 people tried to
rush the field, AAPD and DPS responded by
pepper spraying the crowd - not just those
rushing the field, the entire crowd. The
result was who knows how many injuries and
in the end, most of the spectators wound up
on the field anyway.
I fear a similar melee will occur today if
the AAPD makes good on their word to start
arresting runners. Nothing is more dangerous
than a police officer who cannot do what s/he
thinks is his or her job. The only way for
arrests to feasibly be made is if police offi-
cers start tackling runners or take other dras-
tic measures. Violence begets violence, boys
in blue. Mix that with a few hundred volun-
teers trying to protect the runners (God bless
'em), a few hundred naked runners, and a
few thousand drunken spectators and the mix
is explosive.
The Naked Mile is an innocent way for
overworked undergrads to blow off some
steam. Thanks to the volunteers and aware-
ness of the runners, no real harm would be
done to anyone if the cops simply stayed at
home. I would merrily partake in the event
this year, but I am too afraid. I'm not afraid
of having my picture on the internet, being
groped by spectators, or even of being arrest-
ed. I'm afraid of getting hurt by a fight gone
out of control or by an overzealous police
officer trying to "protect and serve" the com-
munity that, in this case, doesn't want him to.
LSA senior

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Bollinger must be
ashamed of his own
naked body
University President Lee Bollinger's latest
e-mail urging, posted last week en masse to
University seniors, and which articulates his
"growing concern" about the annual Naked
Mile, corroborates, finally, what we have per-
haps all worriedly suspected about our illustri-
ous university president: Bollinger is, clearly,
ashamed of his own nakedness.
Now let's not rush to hasty judgment or
get catty about this. Nudity is a sensitive
issue even in our profligate, anything-goes
postmodern milieu and we shouldn't neces-
sarily expect our president to prove immune
to the harsh and relentless duress of body
image woe. He's only a man you know and
just as susceptible to the implicit media-
reproach of bronzed and godlike MTV spring
breakers or cadaverously skinny supermodels
as any of us.
Underneath Bollinger's rhetorical veneer
of rationalism, respect for the law, compas-
sion for the University community and
peacekeeping savvy is the language of
shame, pure and simple. And I believe we are
all charged to help our president break free
from these society-scribed restrictions. Let's

not allow our beloved University's headman
to capitulate to the disillusion of diminished
self-worth and physical unworthiness th
plagues our image-obsessive culture.
Let's all urge Bollinger, instead, to cele-
brate his body and take unabashed pride in
his nudity. I, for one, hope to see him run-
ning in the Naked Mile tonight, for his own
sake, and my binoculars will be peeled.
Rackham student

BAMN cannot lead a new civil rights movement


A recent mass e-mail announcement for a
"national student/youth conference" to the Uni-
versity community was sent by the organiza-
tion "Defend Affirmative Action and
Integration and Struggle for Equality" or the
most recent title associated with the group
known as BAMN. The goals of this conference
include everything from overturning all the
recent court cases against affirmative action to
single-handedly taking on the Supreme Court
and building a "new, independent, national
civil rights movement." This is a monumental
task and clearly a full-time project, even by
university student standards. Just what is
BAMN trying to accomplish and for whom?
BAMN is a largely white socialist group seek-
ing a platform for its militant socialist agenda
by posturing a so-called "new movement to
achieve integration." The problem is, BAMN
seems to be creating more problems than it.is
solving on the issue of affirmative action.
History and facts seem to be lost in any dis-
cussion that BAMN raises about its "new lead-
ership role" in defending affirmative action or
civil rights issues. The civil rights movement

ordered integration was to help minorities
achieve access to better resources. The end
desired was equality, not integration. Integra-
tion became a means (tool) to achieve equality.
Not vice versa. As an end, integration without a
redistribution of resources (wealth, employ-
ment, education) is useless.
Even today, de facto "Jim Crow" outcomes
can be found in what are increasingly segregat-
ed urban and suburban areas. Even as BAMN
lauds its success in recruiting student support-
ers from inner-city schools such as Cass Tech,
it remains true that Cass and most inner city
Detroit schools are largely segregated and
largely black. BAMN has even been banned
from recruiting students in a majority of inner
city Detroit schools. So while BAMN laments
the lack of resources of segregated schools in
Detroit, its louder cry for integration leaves
these very segregated high schools out in the
cold in favor of integration in higher education.
BAMN's reliance on "fly by night" crusaders
such as Jesse Jackson, who is too busy building
a federally funded family enterprise, adds noth-
ing to an effective civil rights advocacy. On the
contrary, the NAACP (an organization deemed
"right wing" by BAMN) has long understood
that progress in civil rights on issues of race

tory are certainly doomed to repeat it. Militant
protest didn't begin with BAMN and history
will continue to credit Nat Turner and Malcolm
X with being more effective in the realm of
militancy than BAMN will ever be. BAMN's
tendency to dismiss anyone who disagrees with
its values as "right wing opponents" will never
build an effective movement to defend civil
rights or affirmative action.
Too often, an open discussion with opp.
nents of affirmative action reveals a deep lack
of information and understanding of what
affirmative action is and what it is meant to
accomplish. Lack of information and even
increased levels of bad information become
ready ammunition by opponents of affmna.
tive action due to the emotive and often offen-
sive directives taken by the BAMN
organization. The issue of affirmative action
is valuable to opponents and supporters in
environment where there is equal access
information on this controversial subject. An
effective defense of affirmative action is not
achieved by simply shouting down the objec-
tions of its opponents. Numerous protections
for consumers were initially met with vehe-
ment opposition by business until a combined
government and community education and

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