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January 27, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-27

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 27, 2003

OP/ED

aloe 3Atrbigau JflaiIv

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
'The most socially
beneficial development
in America in the
last three decades was
(a) Roe v. Wade, (b) the
University of Michigan
speech code or
(c) ESPN."
- George F. Will in a column in
yesterday's Washington Post lambasting
the University's admissions policies.
Will proposed that the University give
preferential treatment to conservatives.

SAM BUTLER ThE SOAPBOx

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PUET

No room for Israel in campus left
JOHANNA HANINK P'ARLANCE OF OUR TIMES

From conversations
tumbling through
cyberspace on the
antiwar-discuss listserver,
it looks like some of the
more influential leaders of
the campus' antiwar
movement are briskly
accelerating toward tying
the issue of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict into the iber-platform of
the local antiwar bloc.
Based on the tired (yet still nauseating)
epithets tossed around on that e-mail list --
"genocidal regime," for example - and Uni-
versity of Michigan freshman-year-level
common sense, it's a high-odds bet that the
side of the seamline the group will come
down in support of will not be Israeli. Soon
enough an anti-Israel agenda will be tied in
to the rest of their "anti-'s."
I have a friend at home who has always
complained about the "anti-people," the local
activists who have made the rounds from
labor rallies to animal "rights" demonstra-
tions, who have demanded freedom for
Mumia and that the IMF be shut down -
ignorantly protesting any (often independent-
ly legitimate) cause that the radical herd had
targeted for its next stampede. The "anti-peo-
ple" are intrinsically against.
The newest and biggest movement on this
campus was built in reaction to President
Bush's foreign policy, a sloppy foreign policy
of constant threat and little action. Some stu-
dents felt like they owed it to Michigan's lega-
cy to become involved, others to liberalism,
others to their own consciences -and many to
a combination of the three.
But the movement has defined itself in the
negative, as anti-war. This self-applied anti-
label - one which reveals the leaders' mistak-

en grasp activist rhetoric (have you ever seen
anyone who describes himself as anti-life or
anti-choice? Anti-Palestian or anti-Israeli? The
people who pick their "pros" have the rhetorical
advantage) - flavors the Ann Arboreal com-
munity soup more bitterly than would a "pro-
peace" group.
In a smaller iteration of that fractal that
seems to model political movements and
groups in general, the problem seems to lie not
so much with the masses but with the leaders.
At the University, the overlap of bad personali-
ties - who through their past actions (and in
one standout case, past writings) should have
earned the campus' collective stamp of no-
credibility long ago - has made for the present
messy atmosphere of a polarized left and an
isolating, exclusive movement.
It's sad for the prospects of the University's
positive activist legacy that a platform which
has the potential to be uniting and inclusive has
been left in the hands of the wrong people: the
kind of people more interested in posting pic-
tures of themselves talking to reporters on the
Internet and reveling in their own hate mail
than in bringing a community together.
On Oct. 7 of last year, I wrote that I might
be less cynical about the aims of the divest-
ment movement as it stood ,(a movement
which I argued was not really about divest-
ment) when the word "peace" appeared on
the conference's website. I thought I would
be less cynical, but I was wrong.
Within hours after that column appeared on
the Daily's website, the large-print words "For
Peace, For Justice" bannered across the confer-
ence's homepage. I received a few e-mails from
readers who r.also noticed the change, a change
that occurred after the Daily went to press.
My cynicism with the conference, with
its leaders, and unfairly.wjth the activist
community at this University only intensi-

fled. A mistake easily called proved to be
one also easily covered - artificially, with
cowardice and insincerity.
It should be of great concern to those stu-
dents who consider themselves the inheritors of
liberal values and liberal activism that a small
number of people in the upper echelon of liber-
al leadership are irreparably staining the move-
ments that have put the University in the
national spotlight over the last year with per-
sonal agendas, self-aggrandizing addictions,
hypocrisy and hatred. It should be of great con-
cern that someone in the leadership of the boy-
cott against the Daily has mentioned multiple
times, offhandedly, that "the black groups"
involved would do whatever he told them.
Thursday is the last day my name will appear
on the top of this page. Last night I expressed my
frustration about the anti-war movement to a
friend removed by three time zones from the
absurdity of campus activism as it stands.
"But you don't have to worry about this
more," he said. "You've graduated from this.
You're above it and they're irrelevant"
As for me, even though I've known it for
months, I came to a relieving realization in the
last week of my time as editorial page editor.
As much as the thoughtless and utterly disre-
spectful careless use of the word "genocide"
will still make me sad, as much as it will still
hurt me to see friends isolated from causes they
care about because of time wasted by others
and petty and inept political maneuvering, as
much as I will still love page 4 of The Michi-
gan Daily, I'm done with pretending that cer-
tain people and their actions deserve the
credibility of appearing in black and white.
And Without r servatidwr, Pmdpro-fhis
conclusion.

Johanna Haninkcan be reache4
atjhanink@umich.edu

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

AATU needs funding to
assist 'U' with housing
TO THE DAILY:
I want to applaud thecurrent Michigan
Student Assembly's recent efforts to
improve housing conditions for students in
Ann Arbor. But there are a few sides of this
issue that have been overlooked by the
Daily's recent coverage of the housing
efforts put forth by MSA. Most important
is the current strength of the Ann Arbor
Tenants Union, which has managed to
serve every single student who has request-
ed service since October.
Last summer, we were evicted from our
office in the Michigan Union by the Office
Space Allocation Committee. At about the
same time, administration decided not to
present to the University Board of Regents
the results of the ballot proposal in March
in which students elected to add $1 per
semester to their student fee to go to the
AATU for tenant services.
Despite these setbacks, the AATU has
only become stronger. We have a new
office in Trotter House (a fantastic facility)
and service students via e-mail, phone and
face-to-face counseling.
In the recent Daily article Housing task-
force created by MSA (01/24/03), the MSA
executives suggest that the AATU has
struggled in the past due to its obligation to
non-students and inconsistent membership.
That is not true.
Most of our struggles have come from
inconsistent funding from MSA and other
conflicts with the University (like being
evicted from our office in the Union).
While I hope that Student Legal Services
and the MSA taskforce will make great
strides for tenant services, students should
know that the AATU will be there, just like
we have for almost 40 years, to provide ser-
vices. The answer to the problem of student
counseling is simple: Just give the AATU
the money that students elected to give.
Why re-invent the wheel? With a proper
budget, the AATU can much more efficient-
ly and effectively reduce the perils of rent-
ing in Ann Arbor than any taskforce MSA
can create.
CHRISTOPHER SHEEHAN
Law student
AATUBoard President

tive events. I am really impressed by the
campus-wide recognition of our great
leader. However, one aspect about the way
that we celebrate this day at the University
bothers me. While students and faculty
have the choice to spend the day celebrat-
ing as they wish, the University does not
recognize this day as a holiday for staff.
With so many events underway that
day, and the campus so alive, I can under-
stand the University's desire to keep
offices open. However, when we celebrate
a man who gave his life for equality, there
is something wrong about declaring a holi-
day for some and a regular workday for
others. University staff should have the
same opportunity that I did to attend the
University's MLK Day events on MLK
Day or to celebrate the holiday with their
families.
AMY MORGAN-FOSTER
Rackham
Daily editorial misrepresented
RHA; student input was key
in residence hal smoking ban
TO THE DAILY:
While the Daily's editorial, Smoked out
(01/22/03), does raise some concerns that
were already addressed in our Residence
Halls Association meetings, we would like
to draw attention to some inaccuracies that
were raised.
This controversial decision was reached
after two years of deliberation and five dif-
ferent resolutions. A lot of thought was put
behind this issue, as well as a lot of student
input. Last year, our assembly consisted of
over 30 residents from the 17 residence
halls on campus. Representatives brought
input from their respective hall and multi-
cultural councils regarding the smoking
issue before it was even voted on. Contrary
to what the Daily believes, we considered
student input to be our highest concern.
RHA did address alternatives to going
smoke free. One solution sought to segre-
gate smokers onto one floor in one resi-
dence hall, while another idea called for the
gradual depletion of smoking rooms. Both
of these alternatives were included in reso-
lutions that did not pass. All things said
and done, the well-informed assembly

vate property of the students that live in
those rooms. The University would like to
prevent fires, not concentrate on putting
them out.
The Daily also said that the University
has "overstepped its bounds and infringgd
on the rights of its students." We would
like to remind the Daily that the University
does not require any student to live in the
residence halls - not even first-year stu-
dents. They may practice their right to
smoke in another place of residence. As far
as "standing outside in the bitter cold of
Michigan winter for even the little time it
takes to smoke a cigarette can be unbear-
able," we wonder if the Daily is consider-
ing the fact that students, smokers and
non-smokers alike, must bear that awful
Michigan winter to walk to class every day.
RHA was formed to lobby for the inter-
ests of student residents. Our collective
decision to support going smoke-free was
not a "colorful spin campaign" nor wasit
party politics. Should a resident feel that
his orhertvoice is nottbeing represented,
we invite that resident to come speak dur-
ing our constituents' time, where we take
comments very seriously.
TIM WINSLOW
RHA President
AMY KELLER
RHA Executive Vice President
Kressbach's cartoon slander
against American people'
To THE DAILY:
Karl Kressbach's cartoon Untied
Nation, (01/24/03) was a travesty. Is this
his picture of the American population?
That it is too fat, contented and lazy to do
anything? That there is no hope in getting
the American people to stand up and
oppose the imperialist policy of the Ameri-
can government?
Sadly, this is a conception - as wrong
as it is pessimistic - that is shared by
many University students. It demonstrates
an ignorance of the real economic and
social conditions faced by the majority of
the American population which are not as
all as Kressbach would have us believe.
The majority of the American popula-
tion is facing increasing economic hard-
shiil ianemnlniiment and1 nolitical

*I

THE BOONDOCKS

A.ARONM.cGR'LIIDER

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