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November 09, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-09

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 9, 2001

OP/ED

0

J e £irbtigtun 3uilg

420 MAYNARD STREtT
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Uhum..
I don't
understand."
- Teen pop icon Britney Spears at a Toronto
news conference Monday, when asked ifWshe
supp orted the US. military cam ai in
Ahanistan, as quoted in Wednesday's
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune.

EEIY YEAR, Mss,
CAMPAINIS T M~W
WEE~emt' VASS~.
SUT IT ST1ILL. suck's.

IF TIIEX ?AssED A PSOLortot4
COO4r~M G NOOXINCAt4?OS,

/1
'1
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=
%-
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t
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l r
: :. _

0
-

Pointing a finger at the hand that feeds me
STEVEN KYRITZ YES, THAT IS SARCASM

0

id it happen? I
don't know. I real-
ly don't. I'm not a
policeman, a lawyer or a
witness, so I just don't
know. And you probably
don't either. I'm speaking,
of course, about last week's
allegations of sexual assault
at a fraternity party. I've
heard the gossip that it definitely happened, and
I've heard the gossip that it definitely didn't,
and all I can say for sure is that I don't know.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not accusing anyone
of being either a liar or a rapist. I'm simply
echoing our justice system's creed of "innocent
until proven guilty."
To listen to the campus buzz, however, the
general consensus would have to be that a con-
viction is just around the corner. Considering
the dearth of evidence for either side presented
in the news, it leads me to one conclusion: Once
again, local news outlets are feigning objectivity
while continuing to bash fraternities.
The most disturbing part of it is that
they've gotten sneakier about it. No longer are
reporters making baseless accusations about
fraternities. Instead, they make constant refer-
ence to wholly unrelated hazing cases from the
past, framing the story as yet another fraternity
gone bad.
The problem isn't just that this sort of cov-
erage is unfair to fraternities. An accusation of
rape is not simply a Greek issue. It's a much
broader issue, a societal problem of sexual vio-
lence that is unfortunately prevalent on college
campuses. The local news, however, creates

the impression that the alleged rapes were iso-
lated incidents within the much more serious
problem of fraternity transgressions.
If you don't believe me, collect all the arti-
cles you can find about this story and highlight
everything that is actually about sexual assault
and the alleged attacks. Now, in a different
color highlight all the information about the
involved fraternity and sorority that adds
absolutely nothing to the original sexual assault
story. Staggeringly slanted towards worthless
frat-talk, isn't it?
The worst part about this is that it actually
serves to trivialize the horrible alleged crime by
focusing attention on the fraternity instead. Not
only that, but local news outlets have squan-
dered an opportunity to help make the commu-
nity safer. Think about how the articles would
have differed if the focus had been placed on
sexual assault instead of fraternities. Instead of
just providing fodder for tasteless jokes and
"clever" nicknames for the fraternity, the news
could have inspired actual dialogue about rape
and sexual assault prevention.
For God's sake, two girls were allegedly
raped and all people seem to be concerned
about is whether the sorority paid for alcohol or
if the party was registered. Where the hell are
everybody's priorities? Is everybody so
obsessed with screwing the Greek system that
they've lost sight of what's really important?
It may seem like I'm making a big deal out
of nothing, but I assure you it is significant. To
really see why, look at what the effects of these
accusations would be if hypothetically, they
prove to be false. By turning the story into a
"frat thing," all that people will have done is

drag a fraternity through the mud and create a
generally bad taste for the Greek system.
On the other hand, if this incident was
placed in the larger context of sexual assault,
the news could have helped to generate aware-
ness about a very important.(and still under-dis-
cussed) topic. In that way, there are benefits
regardless of the outcome of the charges and
nobody's reputation is done undue harm. Fra-
ternity bashing gets old quickly; alerting people
about the dangers of sexual assault doesn't.
As I said earlier, I don't know to what
degree these allegations of sexual assault are
true. What I do know is that the portrayal of the
story in the local news outlets has been shame-
ful. Instead of placing the focus on the problem
of sexual assault, journalists have chosen to
take cheap shots at fraternities. For a while, I
was starting to think it was hopeless. Fortunate-
ly, things aren't quite that dire. Yesterday's
Daily included a front-page article alerting stu-
dents to the potential dangers that may exist at
college parties.
In an ideal world, the campus would
change its way of thinking to get more in line
with this article. Everybody would remember
that in America, people (and fraternities) are
innocent until proven guilty. People would
stop looking to the Greek system for scape-
goats and would start looking for wider soci-
etal causes and solutions of the sexual assault
problem. But then again, I guess not. After all,
an ideal world woudn't have a sexual assault

problem.

9

Steven Kyritz can be reached
via e-mail at skyritz@umich.edu.

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

r

VIEWPOINT
KKK costumes sad, stupid, shocking

Israelis, Palestinians
should not take
'cheap shots'
TO THE DAILY:
Every morning, I look forward to what
seemingly has become a hostile debate between
Palestinians and Zionists on campus. Often,
both sides feel that their "point" must be
expressed in harsh and cruel terms. Some
responses have even been submitted embarass-
ingly late, just to compose a perfect refutation
to the argument that preceded it; Wael Hak-
meh's viewpoint praising Hamas terrorism
("Discussing diplomatic hypocrisy hypocriti-
cally," 10/22/01) was in response to an view-
point almost a month old,
I was, however, pleasantly surprised to read
Paul Saba and As'ad Tarsin's viewpoint that
openly denounced terrorism ("Discrimination
in the 21st Century," 11/08/01). If only Yaasir
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority could be
as kind and open in their views regarding ter-
rorism, maybe these debates would be unneces-
sary.
The message that should be learned from
their viewpoint, however, is clear: While free-
dom of speech is a precious privilege, the con-
cept of pluralism is even dearer to us in
America. We must acknowledge the practice of
every religion in a kind and appropriate man-
ner, and not denounce others in public forum.
What cannot be acceptable, however, are
the parting shots and unfair generalizations that
both Hakmeh and Saba/Tarsin make. These
cheap shots do nothing to further the otherwise
scholarly evidence presented in their materials.
A proposal to those who participate in this
forum we call free speech in the Daily: Keep
the personalized arguments private. We would
fare much better without them.
BRAD SUGAR
LSA freshman
Islam 'obviously'
does not prohibit
war during Ramadan
TO THE DAILY:
Waj Syed's opinion piece ("Sensitive
insensitivity," 11/7/01) fails to show why
bombing Afghanistan during Ramadan is
wrong or "insensitive" towards the reli-
gion/culture of Islam. He calls the argu-

To THE DAILY:
In a recent letter
("When has GEO ever
cared about students?"
(11/02/01), alumnus
David Taub proposed
that graduate student
instructors do not con-
tribute to undergradu-
ate education and the
University community
as a whole. Such
assertions are prob-
lematic on numerous
levels.
First, global net-
works are expanding to profoundly shape
the world in which we live and work. It is
ludicrous to propose that this globalization
would not affect the classroom as well. It
is disheartening to see members of the
community at a top educational institution
such as the University epitomizes Ameri-
can arrogance and isolationism.
Second, it is an undeniable fact that in
a university of 40,000, there is not and will
never be an adequate number of professors
on staff to instruct all courses. Taub claims
nothing to be lost in canceling discussion
sections, in which case he was not engag-
ing in true learning or intellectual develop-
ment. There does not exist a student
capable of fully exploring all concepts that
are briefly, and often superficially,
addressed in lecture. GSI led discussion
sections serve as the first step in enabling
students to digest and explore concepts,'

BY THE STAFF OF THE TECHNICIAN
Come Halloween time, it's always fun
to see who's got the best costume and
who's got the most intricate costume. Well,
members of Delta Sigma Phi and Beta
Theta Pi fraternities at Auburn University
took the cake for the stupidest and most
discriminatory costumes.
The university has temporarily suspend-
ed the social privileges of the two fraterni-
ties for their members dressing in Ku Klux
Klan robes and donning black faces at par-
ties on Oct. 25 and Oct. 27; however, this
is not where the stupidity stops. The robe-
sportingstudentssdecided to post pictures
from the parties on the Internet.
One picture shows a student with a
black face and a noose around his neck.
This was the stupidest move of all, but, for-
tunately, the one that will likely be used to
punish them.
According to the Auburn University
News, the university is making the best of
this sad situation, punishing the fraternities
and using this opportunity to explore these

GSIs integral to University
learning experience

touchy issues. "I am determined that this
dreadful moment should serve as a positive
opportunity for Auburn University to reaf-
firm its position on issues of diversity and
discrimination and to embody that position
in loud and clear public statements of poli-
cy," Auburn University President William
Walker said.
Advocating this form of harassment on
your own time and in your own home is not
illegal, but is deplorable. When a universi-
ty-sanctioned organization takes on such
views, however, the issue comes in conflict
with nearly every university's code of con-
duct or ethics.
These unsuspecting party-goers were
stupid to dress as Klansmen in the first
place; they were even stupider to post their
discrimination on the Internet. Auburn now
must handle a moronic situation with the
utmost sensitivity.
The Technician is the student newspaper
at North Carolina State University.
The photos of the party can be viewed at
http://www. tolerance. org/news/article hate jsp?id=319.

FILE PHOTO
which would otherwise be forgotten with
the rushed scrawl on any given page of
lecture notes. Lastly, the University com-
munity is meant to engender academic
development: In a community consisting
of nearly half graduate students, it is igno-
rant to claim that graduate students do not
make daily contributions to intellectual
and personal development.
Certainly, University students must be
guaranteed the presence of the most quali-
fied instructor in ever classroom. Howev-
er, claims tantamount to University
students being shortchanged by virtue of
GSI presence in the classroom demon-
strate extreme degrees of arrogance and
shallowness.
RACHEL TRONSTEIN
LSAjunior
The letter writer is the president
of the LSA Student Government.

ly hypocritical. I fail to understand Syed's
logic.
The U.S., or Donald Rumsfeld for that
matter, are not ethnocentric or insensitive.
Rather, Syed and fellow extreme leftists like
himself are anti-American and unclear in
their thinking. But no one should be sur-
prised by this, since the Daily op-ed Section
has become indistinguishable from the
Maoist publication MIM Notes.
FRANK GIANCOLA
LSA senior
Yesterdaiv's front

times I take for granted some of the amazing
art and architecture we have on this campus,
and how we should all stop to appreciate it
more often. Thanks for the moment of insight.
AMANDA ATHERTON
LSA senior
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
of its readers, Letters from University students,
faculty, staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters must include the
writer's name, phone number and school year or

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