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December 06, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-12-06

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A

4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 6, 2001

OP/ED

GThbe lskioan ]DZII1U

420 MAYNARD STREET
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
It is unthinkable
for this gentleman."
- Christopher Tennyson, a close
business associate offormer Sotheby's
chairman and University of Michigan
benefactor A. Alfred Taubman facing a
possible three-year prison sentence,
as quoted by The Times of London.
A New York court convictedTaubman
ofprice-fixing yesterday.

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6

Administrative incompetence is killing us
JOSH WICKERHAM THIS L 'It WORLD

0

ec. I was
World AIDS Day.
I had signed up for
a class on public protest art
dedicated to raising aware-
ness of the continuing
HIV/AIDS crisis and we
planned a panoply of
actions that day. My class
was interested in highlight-
ing the impact of AIDS on artists - one of the
hardest-hit demographics - by participating in
the Day Without Art, a day when public art of
all sorts is "disappeared" to evoke images of a
world where AIDS has run rampant. In our
research, we discovered that we're not far from
a world on par with this kind of devastation,
mostly because of administrative incompetence
on all levels.
The first level was here at the University.
For this, the 13th annual Day Without Art, we
were ambitious enough to think big and plan
well enough ahead to go through the hoops that
the University sets up for doing anything out of
the ordinary with their public sculptures. We
planned on covering three public works: The
famous Cube, that triple ton rotating thingam-
abob was to be tied down and immobilized; a
sculpture on North Campus was to be blocked
from view; and Daedalus, the mythic Greek god
in front of the Museum of Art, was to be
shrouded in a wall of white cloth with donated
Carnations pinned to it. To minimize the risk of
our obstructions being taken down, we sat, dia-
grams in hand and laid out plans for the Occu-
pational Safety and Health
Administration-trained, trip-hazard-weary
bureaucrats in the Fleming Administration
fortress. Dictate one: No more than three sculp-
tures may be covered up. "We don't want things
to get out of hand." Dictate two: "You can't
obstruct the plaza around the Cube. That's a
very high-traffic area." What they meant:
Administrators shouldn't have to walk an extra
10 feet out of their way on their way to lunch.
Dictate three: You must have the grounds crew
with you at all times so they can "help you."
For a moment after the administrative dance
began, we thought that perhaps we should have
just gone ahead with our plans sans support
from the powers that be. Nah, we thought.
They'll be reasonable. At least our project won't
be taken down. So Friday, the day before Dec. 1
came and we set up the installations. We roped
the Cube, as approved, and marked the small

unobtrusive area with big signs that read,
"STOP! Please do not spin the Cube. Dec. 1 is
the Day Without Art. We ask you to respect the
memory of those artists who have died of AIDS
and allow the cube to remain immobilized this
day." So I go to sleep Friday night somewhat
concerned that the sail-like fabric around
Daedalus will blow away, or that some hoodlum
will try to spin the Cube - because it would
have moved without much effort. To my sur-
prise, I found neither had happened on Saturday.
Instead, someone had "disappeared" our
ropes, signs and various effects from the Cube.
And the someones involved? None other than
our very own Department of Public Safety. Not
only did DPS remobilize the Cube because it
posed a "tripping hazard," but because they said
they had not been informed by the administra-
tion that the project had been approved. Stated
clearly enough was the purpose behind the
installation, which was printed on the signs they
threw away. Also clearly marked was our con-
tact information, which they did not use to try to
contact us. Not only was their indiscriminate
clean-up duty an affront to the memory of those
artists who have died of or are living with
AIDS, but something that calls for an apology to
the students at this University, whose money
was being spent to bring attention to the Day
Without Art and the immense challenges in
dealing with the AIDS pandemic. This crap
could have been avoided had DPS made a
phone call instead of taking matters into its own
hands.
Though I've the inkling to rage against the
inept public safety minions, the real faulty par-
ties are the tight-holed administrators in Flem-
ing who didn't make the right phone calls to
prevent this kind of bullshit. There we were,
playing by the rules and with no significant
results. It's as if to get anything done right
around here, we just have to abandon the rules,
especially when the AIDS crisis is as much a
threat to our global security as ever. Administra-
tive incompetence on the national level is to
blame for this problem. In Africa, for example,
where the AIDS crisis should be an integral part
of our foreign policy, Bush did his part by
blocking the manufacture of generic AIDS
drugs in international patent courts.
Effectively declaring corporate profits more
important than human life, Bush ignores the
long-term impact of the scourge of AIDS in
Africa. In countries like South Africa and
Swaziland, entire generations of teachers, busi-

nessmen, artists and farmers are being wiped
out. This destroys not only potential target audi-
ances for U.S. corporations (an argument I
despise) but unsettles the region by wiping out
an entire civilization.
The same goes in China and India, where
the governments there are only beginning to rec-
ognize the immensity of the AIDS problem. In
Eastern Europe, prostitution is spreading the
disease at ever-increasing rates. And even here
in the U.S., the elderly have one of the fastest-
growing rates of HIV infection, mostly because
of Viagra use. Their rate of infection is being
edged out only by married women - many in
the inner city - who, according to University
demographic studies, are infected by infidelitous
husbands who bring the danger home. In the
college demographic, people 25 or under are
being infected with AIDS at the rate of one per
hour and worldwide 300 people die from AIDS-
related complications every hour. And even
more startling is the fact that of the close to one
million infected with HIV in this country, one
third are unaware that they are carrying the
virus.
Calling AIDS one of his "top priorities" dur-
ing his campaign, President George W. Bush
has done his part by cutting the federal allot-
ment on AIDS spending. And though we're
fighting a war against terrorism, anthrax has
killed four and AIDS has already killed tens of
millions. Why was it OK for Bush to threaten to
take Bayer to court for the inflated price of its
anthrax drug Cipro while ignoring AIDS suffer-
ers in Africa? Are we intentionally allowing an
entire generation to be wiped out or do we just
not care? This is racism in practice. If we are to
beat this pandemic, we've got to stop treating
our inner cities like third world nations and our
third world counterparts like their lives are
expendable. Reappropriating budgets to cmbat
AIDS at a local level would be a start. Respond-
ing to the threat of AIDS at home and abroad
requires commitment to community-based edu-
cation. It's either this or we'll soon find our-
selves suffering the same human damages that
have become the norm in Africa. It took Presi-
dent Reagan eight years - until the end of his
terms-to even let the word "AIDS" pass his lips.
We cannot allow HIV/AIDS to slip our atten-
tion once again. In this case, ignorance really
does kill.

Y IN PASSING

401 (K)OULDN'T
It's hard not to gloat when a pompous,
exploitive and Texas-based energy conglom-
erate goes down in a ball of petrochemical
flames. Enron's stock plummeted from a high
of over $80 per share to its Monday close of
under a dollar. Unfortunately, you won't see
Enron chairman Kenneth Lay begging on
State Street. Instead it will be the company's
employees who suffer the consequences of
poor executive decisions.
The largest bankruptcy in history did not
happen by accident. Rather it was the result
of mismanagement and foolish expansion
policies. However, in an attempt to hide these.
weaknesses, Enron's executives misrepresent-
ed $586 million in debts and lied to creditors
in order to inflate stock value. Once it became
publicly apparent that Enron suffered from
critical financial problems, the stock col-
lapsed.
While Enron's corporate board sold off
their shares, employees saw their retirement
savings evaporate as they were prohibited
from divesting their 401(k) plans of Enron
shares. In light of these facts Enron's high
command should not escape reprieves. The
coming federal investigation should seriously
consider fining executives in order to recoup
worker's lost 401(k) plans. Enron's 21,000
employees deserve nothing less.
- Zac Peskowitz and Jess Piskor
U.S. MUST EVALUATE ITS BEST
STRATEGY FOR SECOND PHASE
Now that our military efforts have virtual-
ly ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan, our
government and public seems to believe that
the next logical course of action in this "war
against terrorism" is to remove Saddam Hus-
sein from power in Iraq. Whereas this may
prove a strategic move in the overall picture,
our government must carefully evaluate its
bset srteies.

Removing Hussein from power is a bene-
ficial move if our government can do so with-
out dramatically impacting the lives of the
Iraqi citizens. Our government should use
military intelligence to discover the most pro-
ficient and precise method of removing this
despot and should avoid all confrontation
with civilians. This is, after all, a battle with
terrorism, not with any particular state.
The worst-case scenario would be if our
government decides to deal with potential
threats in Iraq in the same way that it dealt
with potential threats in Afghanistan. It is not
possible to use wide-scale aerial and terrestri-
al military force without affecting the people
of that particular country. Doing so would
also disenfranchise and anger these citizens,
only adding to the anti-American sentiment
already predominant in Iraq. By imposing
ourselves upon their territory, we would ulti-
mately be adding to the terrorist's numbers,
throwing ourselves in a neverending battle
and intensifyingthe same reasons as to why
the U.S. is already disliked in that region.
Our government must also consider what
will happen if our military is successful in
overthrowing Hussein and how the Iraqi peo-
ple will react to such a change. The U.S. gov-
ernment has much to consider when planning
our next course of action. Ultimately, Hussein
should be removed from power, but his
removal should be done in a swift, precise,
and exact manner. It must be reiterated that
this war is with terrorists, terrorist groups and
governments that support terrorists; not with
any specific country. A full-scale war and
military effort will not work to this country's
benefit. One cannot remove a tumor with a
butcher's knife.
- Garrett Lee
In Passing views are those of individual
members of the Daily's editorial board,
and do not necessarily represent
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Josh Wickerham can be reached
via e-mailjwickerh@umich.edu.

0

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

*

Raiji unfairly turns
affirmative action into
black, white issue
To THE DAILY:
Once again I am baffled. I just don't get it
and I need the enlightenment of our omnipotent
white community. I pose this question: If the use
of race in admissions benefited whites (the
majority race) would you still be against it?
Affirmative action is not a black and white
issue as many people, including Manish Raiji
("The liberal right turn," 12/5/01) would lead
you to believe. The University is 26 percent
minority and only 7 percent of the enrollment is
black. Is this a false sense of diversity? Every
affirmative action law I have read has said
"under-represented minority" not "poor black
people." Native Americans, Hispanics, Africans,
Asians - all people of color are benefited by
affirmative action. The only thing that is miss-
ing is white, so I guess that makes it unlawful.
And what is the meaning of unlawful.
Is it the slaughter and genocide of millions of
Native Americans? Is it the kidnapping and
enslavement of millions of Africans? Is it the
enactment of legal segregation? Is it the system-
atic prosecution and execution of many innocent
Hispanics and Blacks?
Many people would like to forget that these
things ever happened in the United States but
they are as much a part of America today as they
ever were. People say that the only people that
benefit from affirmative action are the upper-
class blacks and other minorities, well let me
assure everyone that is highly untrue. And how
do you think some of those upper-class people
got to where they are today? Affirmative action
niwmnvnnth nnr t n i- n ity t . henk th

or lawful if your skin is not white. And now
white people have what'some of you see as an
"unlawful and unfair" pill to swallow. Well ask
some of your "diversified" student body how to
swallow it. We've been doing it for hundreds of
years. (Also let me personally apologize to Raiji
and his med school-bound friend. I am sorry if
your friend doesn't get into medical school. If it
would help, next time you can tell him to call
me. I'll introduce him to my family. I'll take
him to my family reunion in Mississippi.
There's tons of black folks there. That'll get him
in for sure.)
KENYA HUNTER
LSA sophomore
Raiji's column
deserves high praise
To THE DAILY:
I applaud Manish Raiji for his column ("The
liberal right turn" 12/5/01) examining the real
problem that affirmative action was created to
fix: A lack of opportunity in higher education
for those not up to the "upper-middle-class"
level of most students at the University. This
being a serious problem, there should be a pro-
gram to combat this, but blindly giving out
points based onethnicity is not the best way to
go about it. Instead, it is the simplest way; it's
easy for an admissions officer to give a few
points based simply on skin color. If they need-
ed to throw financial hardship and quality of
inner-city high schools into the mix, that would
be somewhat more difficult. God forbid that
those who design and implement our admissions
policies be faced with a little hardship of their
own, but if we have an affirmative admissions

to explain away openly racist admissions poli-
cies.
JOHN HARVEY
Engineering sophomore
Editorial cartoon
'very, offensive'
TO THE DAILY:
I would just like to let the Daily know that
I found Chip Cullen's editorial cartoon about
Israeli and Palestinian relations yesterday
very offensive. I don't find any humor in the
situation of a country that is being torn apart
by violence. I find no humor in the constant
loss of life due to this situation. I feel that if
innocent Americans were murdered daily,
your paper would not publish such cartoons
about devastating crisis in the United States.
There were no jokes being made three
months ago after America's tragedy, and I
don't think it is appropriate to mock the situa-
tions of other countries.
OREN GOLDENBERG
LSA freshman
Daily squelches.
Palestinian views
TO THE DAILY:
Can the Daily please be a little more bias
toward supporting Israel's position in regard
to the Palestinian-Israeli issue? Can you
please be more sure that we never read about
the Palestinian deaths in the West Bank,
Gaza, and in Israel? Can you nlease ensure

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