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March 18, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-18

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 18, 2002



Gtbe l irbiguu flg


SINCE 1890

'Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

Lives could have
been saved had they not
been stopped by members
of the Commission for
Promotion of Virtue and
Prevention of Vice."
- The Saudi Gazette's conclusion re 15 girls
who died in a school fire last Monday. Police
from the named Commission refused to let
the girls out of the building because they
were not wearing the "correct Islamic
dress. "As reported by the BBC.

.._...." OF. "NUCULPW W1AVOQ~S.



The crisis of Muslim leadership

Tt has been fashionable
since Sept. 11 to ques-
tion the moves and
motives of Muslim-Ameri-
can leaders and organiza-
tions. Most commentators
have resorted to criticizing
Muslim-Americans for not
condemning terrorism
enough, accusing organiza-
tions of having terrorist ties and advocating the
profiling of individuals and organizations. These
criticisms are mostly empty, unsubstantiated
and motivated by both ignorance and outright
This column is not that type of critique.
This is, rather, my own take on how most
Muslim-American leaders around this country
have acted in their own interests rather than
carrying out the will of the greater Muslim
community (I am not including Arab-Ameri-
can organizations in my critique because the
leading one, the American-Arab Anti-Discrim-
ination Committee, has conducted itself very
effectively, I believe).
Sadly, most Muslim-American organizations
have found it beneficial to support the president
in just about every move he has made. Most
organizations and leaders support the "war on
terror" almost unconditionally. They have invit-
ed President George W. Bush to speak at their
galas and at a recent Republican Party event in
Toledo, Ohio. A Muslim speaker there found it
fit to announce that "George W. Bush has vision
and is a modern day Abraham Lincoln."
Ask all those bearded men getting stopped
in airports whether our president has vision. Ask
those Muslim women who are having their
scarves pulled at whether they feel that Bush is
their emancipator. Or ask the more than 1,000
men still incarcerated without charge, including

Ann Arbor's own Rabih Haddad, whether they
see Bush as a visionary.
Our leaders have sold us out. I believe most
of them are more concerned about getting invit-
ed to White House dinners than they are about
expressing the real concerns and troubles that
are so prevalent in the Muslim community.
Muslim leaders are parading from one event to
another trying to convince our community that
supporting Bush in his fight against terrorism is
a necessity if we are to advance politically in this
country. They are dead wrong. Unfortunately,
they are doing us much more harm than good.
All that will come from their tactics is a belief in
the federal government that as long as you fulfill
the personal desires of a few select Muslim lead-
ers, you don't need to address the real underly-
ing concerns of the community at large.
This behavior on the part of our leaders only
encourages some of the ridiculous oppositions
being forwarded by our president, like his
famous remark of "you're either with us or with
the terrorists." Our own Muslim leaders have
not been man enough (unfortunately, they are
almost all men) to explain to our president and
his associates that we are neither with him nor
the terrorists and that we neither support our
government's policies abroad nor the policies of
Osama bin Laden and his ilk.
On this campus, things are a bit better,
although there are some individuals in our Mus-
lim Student Association who share the belief
that we have to keep our mouths shut on "con-
troversial" issues. I truly hope that none of these
individuals become our future leaders, either on
this campus or elsewhere, until they realize the
errors of their ways and how much they are in
fact hurting our community in the long run.
Many of these future doctors, lawyers, engi-
neers and successful businessmen will find
themselves, by virtue of their wealth and famil-

ial ties, brought into the inner circles of Muslim
leadership in this country. I hope they can
remove themselves from thinking the most
important thing in life is what they wore to the
annual Eid dinner last week and instead think of
what they can do to make their community
come out of the current crisis it is in.
Muslims, of course, need to be involved in
important issues that affect them, Iraq and
Palestine among them. Some members of our
community have visions of "Islamicizing" every
issue, going as far as to say that Muslims need
not be involved in issues involving any type of
nationality. I believe those who espouse this
type of thinking are grossly misled. Muslim
leaders need to be involved, but they must hon-
estly represent our community's views. It is not
OK for Muslim leaders to tell the president we
support him in his wars, because we do not. It is
not OK to say we need to weather the racial pro-'
filing, because we need to weather no such
thing. It is not OK to stray from controversial
issues amid worries of ticking off the adminis-
tration, for we are surely not defined by our
acquiescence to Bush and everything that
revolves around him. Rather, we are defined by
how we act in times when our positions might
be unpopular, for it most often those positions
that are most worth fighting for.
Those of you who are more concerned
about getting a Ramadan card signed "W"
than you are for standing up with principle
and honestly representing the views of Mus-
lims in this country, I am talking to you. You
might end up having dinner with the presi-
dent one day, but if you keep the current
course, you will be eating that meal at the
expense of the rest of our community.
Amer G. Zahr can be reached at




Interim provost responds to
Daily's coverage of AAUP
grievance policy
In a recent viewpoint (Faculty grievance pro-
cedure 'stacked deck,' 3/14/02), representatives of
the American Association of University Profes-
sors criticized the University's grievance
process. I write to add some additional facts and
perspectives to the discussion.
The current grievance procedures for Uni-
versity faculty were developed as a joint effort
between SACUA and the Provost's Office.
These recommended procedures were approved
by Senate Assembly on May 18, 1998 and were
subsequently adopted by the schools and col-
leges with only minor unit-specific changes. A
tenured member of the faculty, who is appointed
annually by SACUA, monitors the process.
Since 1998, faculty members have filed 15
grievances. In all of those cases, the Grievance
Review Board, which is made up of a panel of

three faculty members, either found the issue
not covered by the grievance policy or found
against the faculty member on the issue or
issues raised.
The AAUP representatives choose to inter-
pret this recent history as indicative of an unfair
system. They argue that the system is flawed
because the GRB has only advisory power to
the dean. This criticism might support a call for
review of the current policy if there were
instances in which the dean did not accept the
recommendation of the GRB. Instead, the GRB
itself has each time substantially rejected the
grievant's claim.
The AAUP viewpoint also suggests that
the faculty peers who comprise the GRB feel
inhibited from recommending in favor of the
grievant because of fear of reprisals by the
dean. However, the minutes of the SACUA
meeting on Feb. 11, 2002, (which were
approved on March 4, 2002, but unfortunate-
ly are not yet available on the SACUA web-
site) show otherwise. One member of
SACUA pointed out that in the two cases in
which he served on Grievance Review

Boards, he personally did not feel pressured
by the administration. Another-member of
SACUA said that he has chaired two GRBs,
and that he was given freedom to conduct the
Even when a grievance is denied, the school
or college or central administration often takes
remedial action. There have been a number of
recent examples in which specific adjustments
were made by the dean or provost to assist the
faculty member in response to the recommenda-
tions of the GRB.
Finally, the AAUP editorial failed to men-
tion that many faculty complaints are brought to
the University's informal conflict resolution
process, allowing resolution of conflicts without
employing the formal grievance process at all.
During calendar year 2001, the Mediation Ser-
vices for Faculty and Staff office assisted 55
faculty members in 33 separate cases. The for-
mal grievance process is but one of many ways
in which faculty can seek to resolve conflicts.
Courant is the University's interim provost.


A call to end the Daily's negative bias against BAMN

The Michigan Daily has perpetrated a trend
of negative coverage about The Coalition to
Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Nec-
essary since September 2001. This egregious
policy has ranged in substance from outright
untruth, to half-truth and innuendo; in form, it
has ranged from phony "expose pieces," to
"news pieces" to signed regular columns, to
signed viewpoints, to prominently featured let-
ters, to unsigned official editorial proclamations.
No other political group in memory has been
subjected to this kind of political treatment from
the Daily. Yet judged by any objective stan-
dards, BAMN's real accomplishments and con-
tributions have been greater than those of any
other political organization at the University.
Furthermore, while preferring not to give credit
to BAMN, the Daily itself has actually supported
the overwhelming majority of BAMN's posi-
tions and most of its actual initiatives.
At the heart of the Daily's ill-conceived,
malicious policy toward BAMN and the new

That BAMN has fought side by side with
the University administration in the courtroom
and mobilized many thousands of University
students and students around the country in ral-
lies and marches since the lawsuits were filed
in the fall of 1997 are facts sufficient of them-
selves to disprove the Daily editors' central
Ironically, despite the recent trend of nega-
tive coverage by the Daily editors, many of our
efforts over the years have been editorially
endorsed by the Daily. From our original effort
to secure student intervenors' status in the Uni-
versity of Michigan Law School case along
with the National Association for the Advance-
ment of Colored People and the American Civil
Liberties Union in the undergraduate case, to
the boycott of the Michigan Union in protest of
discriminatory policy toward black and Latino
social events to the recent editorial opposing
the use of the SAT in college admissions.
We have organized in coalition with many
of the establishment civil rights leaders and the
organizations they represent; we have received
support from several elected officials including
Congressional Reps. John Conyers and Carrie

talked of his organization's commitment to its
ongoing coalition with BAMN.
The unfounded criticism that our "divisive
rhetoric" has alienated moderate supporters
crashes headlong into these facts, which are
themselves only the tip of the iceberg of the
support which we have organized and coa-
lesced into a growing struggle to defend affir-
mative action. In reality, it is The Michigan
Daily's divisive rhetoric and the rhetoric of
BAMN's other demagogic opponents that has
represented an attempt largely in vain to divide
the new civil rights movement, by attempting to
divide the supporters of affirmative action from
their most dedicated and effective leadership.
In his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail,"
Martin Luther King talked about the opposition
to the movement of people "who prefer a nega-
tive peace which is the absence of tension to a
positive peace which is the presence of justice;
who constantly say, 'I agree with you in the
goal you seek, but I can't agree with your meth-
ods of direct action."' Over the past year, the
Daily editors have been such people.
As for BAMN's "radicalism," it consists

rlim_ -- T% - - - -- - --- - _.



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