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April 11, 2002 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-11

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 11, 2002


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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.

I just hope this
makes a difference, but
I don't see how it will."
- Hussan Mahmoud, a 28-year-old graduate
engineering student from Egypt and one
of about 75 students at a University of
Minnesota, pro-Palestine rally, as
quoted by the Associated Press yesterday.


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The Naked Mile: A tradition worth preserving

am a junior and have
every intention of run-
.A.Lning in the Naked Mile
next year. It is not only as
cool a tradition as exists on
any college campus in this
country, but it is (I was sur-
prised to find) the Michigan
tradition for which the
school is best known.
My friends back East don't know or care
about Hash Bash and they've never heard of
Yost Ice Arena. They do ask me about the
Naked Mile, though, and in recent years I have
been forced to admit that the event is not all
it's cracked up to be. Over my three years here
the Naked Mile has become an increasingly
greater hassle for all parties involved. But it
shouldn't be. The whole thing began years ago
with pretty innocent intentions.
I read the editorial that ran on this page
(No Thank 'U, 4/9/02) regarding the Univer-
sity's anti-Mile propaganda and then read and
re-read interim President White's email that
discouraged seniors from participating in the
run. My conclusion is that there is plenty of
nastiness surrounding the event, to be sure, but
students should not let that spoil the fun.
The Naked Mile is really a college stu-
dent's last chance to behave like a college
student. Without letting the sap ooze from

my keyboard, it's a sort of last hurrah before
adulthood takes complete hold of us. It's old-
fashioned college debauchery at its finest and
the University would do well to loosen its tie
and direct its energy toward discouraging
those not affiliated with the school from par-
ticipating. Don't arrest students for indecent
exposure; arrest the pervs with the video
cameras and bullwhips.
At five in the morning, any morning, you
can turn on your television and find about a
half dozen infomercials for the "Girls Gone
Wild" video and DVD. Why anyone would
get the DVD I do not know. The people who
buy that crap are the same lonely miscreants
who are out on the Diag with bullwhips and
they need to get a life. There's a way to pro-
tect students by keeping those types off the
streets of Ann Arbor next week - B. Joe and
the boys need to spend their time and energy
figuring out how.
The hypocrisy of the University's regu-
lation, besides letting the law come down
on the wrong people, is that if they were
really concerned with girls getting
"groped" they would do away once and for
all with the Greek system. I suppose the
Greek problem exists everywhere, while
the Naked Mile draws negative attention to
the school via both local and national
media. The University seems to be willing

to look the other way on "groping" as long
as its behind the closed doors of fraternity
houses and not on State Street.
Between the Naked Mile and Hash Bash
(which is taken a bit too seriously by parties
on both sides), the University and the city
seem prepared to squeeze every morsel of
fun out of the tasty treats of the University.
The administration ought to realize that part
of the appeal of the University for under-
grads (especially out of state undergrads)
are these traditions and the spirit that
accompanies them.
Without events like Hash Bash and the
Mile, the University becomes just another
midwestern state school with some quality
graduate programs and loses part of its
defining character.
If they want to make it safe, make it safe
for the naked 22 year olds who want to cap a
pretty grueling four years with a symbolic
romp through their former campus. DPS and
the AAPD should be arresting the right people
next week to remove any element of danger
from what was once a harmless tradition and
hopefully this year or sometime in the future,
that element of innocent fun will return to the
Naked Mile and the University.
David Horn can be reached
at hornd@umich.edu.


New Era President responds to campus criticism

Every day, students at the University of
Michigan are challenged to think critically
about their course work and to challenge their
professors by providing dissenting views on a
myriad of subjects. In that spirit I would like
to challenge the students at the University to
take the same critical approach to a recent
editorial published about New Era Cap Com-
pany (Cut the contract, 4/8/02).
That editorial accused New Era, which
makes some of the baseball caps sold at the
University's stores, of being a "union-
buster" and "abusing workers' rights." As
president of New Era, I feel you should
know the whole story so that you can make
up your own minds.
I will tell you that New Era is most defi-
nitely not abusing workers' rights, that we are
not a "union buster" and that we provide
good jobs with good pay in a clean and
healthy environment. But allow me to support
those statements with some evidence, some-
thing completely lacking from the editorial.
New Era is widely recognized as one of
the most innovative companies in the
apparel industry, having spent more than $1
million over the past three years designing
and building equipment that reduces the

amount of repetition inherent in sewing
tasks. We have put this equipment in all of
our facilities. Furthermore, we take our
workers' health seriously. We have a com-
prehensive health and safety program in
place at all facilities where workers are
included in the decision-making process.
As for wages and benefits, we pay our
workers some of the highest wages in the
apparel industry and far more than workers
make overseas. We also offer a comprehen-
sive benefit package including, high quality
health insurance and an employer-matched
401(K) program. Make no mistake, sewing
ball caps is a tough job that requires skill and
good eye/hand coordination.
There are always things that can - and
should - be done to make the job more
comfortable and safer. New Era has made
considerable progress in this area and we
have invited the Worker Rights' Consor-
tium- to our facility in an effort to have a
constructive dialogue. We are also the very
last company to make 90 percent of the caps
we sell in the United States, the last major
cap maker able to label the vast majority of
its merchandise "made-in-America."
New Era is also being struck by one of
its unions - the Communications Workers
of America - over wage issues. As for the

label of "union-busters," New Era has had
more than 35 negotiating sessions with the
CWA, with another one scheduled next
week. We have been represented by unions
for over 30 years. In fact, we recently
signed a contract with our other union in
Buffalo, which has not respected the CWA
picket line. We fully believe in the bargain-
ing process and for our employees to
choose who they want to represent them.
We have demonstrated our commitment
to finding a settlement to the strike at the bar-
gaining table. Unfortunately, the union has
chosen a different path through a campaign of
untruths, misinformation and exaggerations
that has made its way into reports, press
releases and newspapers.
New Era has opened its doors to the Fair
Labor Association, allowing their indepen-
dent auditors into our facilities to satisfy
themselves that we have good working condi-
tions. Can we do things better? You bet we
can. Are there areas for improvement? What
business can't improve? We will constantly
strive to make things better. But we will not
stand by and let others mislabel this company
for what it is not.

Koch is the President of
New Era Cap Company.

French anti-Semitism is a sign of the times

A new monster is taking hold in Europe.
The depth of its grasp is far beyond the con-
ception of any modern liberal society, yet its
fundamental platform echoes hatred of the
past. Without reason and without understand-
ing, this hate has begun to spread like a
plague. Anti-Semitism: Blind hatred, is thriv-
ing in France and slowly seeping into other
European countries.
For over two weeks now, French citizens
have been watching as hatred has taken hold
of communities, forcing many to feel uncom-
fortable in the country they have called home
for generations. French Jews have been evict-
ed from their houses of worship as terrorists
burned a synagogue to the ground in Mar-
seilles. More than two dozen other attacks on
synagogues preceded this act of terrorism.
This abhorrent lack of respect, not only for
people and their religious icons, but also for
the religion itself clashes with essential demo-
cratic values. While French citizens are privi-
leged to enjoy religious freedom, it is this very
freedom that is under attack by a blind hatred
based solely on ethnic identity. Through the

pate in activities. French Jewish civilians are
now continuously in fear and cautious after a
gunman chased and assaulted a Jewish couple.
Grocery shopping has recently become dan-
gerous as Jewish butcher shops have also
become targets of this hate. In addition to
these horrific acts, Jewish cemeteries in a
number of French communities have recently
been defaced. Swastikas and other hateful
symbols can be found in many of the cemeter-
ies that were not completely destroyed
through these savage acts.
France is not the only home to this
vicious breed of hate. Brussels, Belgium
saw a synagogue fire-bombed and Helsinki,
Finland has watched this hatred take shape
in bomb threats on Jewish synagogues,
schools and elderly homes. According to
National Public Radio, this wave of anti-
Semitism has also engulfed Italy. Through
editorial comments, political cartoons and
statements made in the Vatican Daily, this
blind hatred is continuously spreading. As
Henrik Broder, a reporter for the German
weekly newspaper Der Spiegel stated, "an
old demon is showing its ugly head again."
This rise in anti-Semitism and the realiza-

today Jerusalem, tomorrow Paris." This new-
found fear has driven some French Jews to
take refuge in Israel, one of the few countries
allowing their immigration.
The French government reports that cul-
prits of these anti-Semitic acts are supporters
of the Palestinian cause in the Middle East.
While France is home to both the largest
Muslim and Jewish communities in Europe,
peaceful coexistence was a comforting reali-
ty until recent weeks.
French. Arabs have recently become frus-
trated by some of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's actions. This anger has been trans-
formed into irrational hate. Despite efforts by
the Palestinian representative in Paris urging
French Arabs not to "translate their hatred for
the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon into
hatred of Jews of France," anti-Semitic acts in
France have only increased.
While French Arabs and other supporters
of the Palestinian cause continue their hatred
and encourage the spread of anti-Semitism,
the French Socialist Prime Minister Lionel
Jospin offers them a challenge. As Jospin told
CNN on April 7: "If we want to talk about
peace in the Middle East, we have to show


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