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March 31, 2003 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 31, 2003

OP/ED

RicA 4dga1,d~

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

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

LOUIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
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
He's very
kind to Christians."
- The Rev. Jacob Yasso, on Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein, who donated hundreds of
thousands of dollars to his Detroit church and
received a key to the city over two decades
ago, as quoted by The Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER CAI~z-sc SOAPBO-.X
bckof - Wre. bo S
Lsi/ t

After trial, campus will need to reevaluate
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE 01 OUR TIMES

onight at 8 p.m.,
the Michigan
Student Assem-
bly's caravan convoy
V will be leaving for
Washington, toting bus-
loads of University stu-
dents eager to exact
their share of history.
They're heading east to
be present for Supreme Court arguments
in the University's affirmative action case.
I'm not going; end-of-semester papers
and projects aren't letting me. But the
court will be releasing audio tapes of
tomorrow's arguments (a move unprece-
dented, except for after Bush v. Gore),
which I plan to hear. After three years at
the University, I'm still fascinated by this
case - and a little tired of it, too. I've
never known a University of Michigan
that wasn't fighting in the courtroom for
its admission policies.
But while I've faded out from Univer-
sity civic life and lost the pulse of the ins
and outs of trial groupies (I used to be
one), I still feel that the lawsuits have
been enough of a part of my time in Ann
Arbor to allow me to stake my own claim
in them. I think I have a right - and a lot
of people here do - to tell a lot of this
story, years from now, in the first person.
In February of 2001, as a second-semester
freshman, I skipped school one day and
heard the eminent African-American his-
torian John Hope Franklin tell the most
absorbing and intense stories I have ever
heard firsthand about race in this country.
In the time since I sat in the Detroit
courthouse that day, the timbre of campus
emotional reaction to these lawsuits has
changed dramatically. Not long after my
experience in Detroit, during my freshman

March and April months here, my friends
and I would spend hours eagerly connect-
ing the Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action and Integration and Fight for
Equality By Any Means Necessary and its
fearless (now graduated) leader to Trot-
skyite movements and international bank
accounts. The lawsuits were, to us, a cam-
pus politics game. But now, only two
years later, The New York Times is run-
ning full page Op/Ed spreads on the case.
The most respected politicians, organiza-
tions, businesses and minds in this country
have filed briefs and shared opinions.
So now it's here. This week, the case
will be out of the hands of the intellectual
and PR machines grinding out the constant
analysis and commentary. After the deci-
sion is announced in June, this campus
will be a very different place. The antici-
pation of the close of this trial has been
like the anticipation of a graduation:
We're counting down the days, but we're
not quite sure what to do after it's over. In
September we'll come back to an even
more irrelevant Defend Affirmative
Action Party and a feisty campus with one
less issue to keep it occupied.
But if we've learned anything from
these lawsuits (and we should have
learned a lot), it's that whatever we're
doing at the University hasn't closed the
gap. The University is still making argu-
ments that diversity is good for every-
body, but diversity doesn't happen when
two different colored people sit in the
same room or live in the same hall. It only
happens when they talk.
Former University president Lee
Bollinger once wrote, "Diversity is not mere-
ly a desirable addition to a well-run educa-
tion. It is as essential as the study of the
Middle Ages, of international politics and of

Shakespeare ... It broadens the mind and the
intellect - essential goals of education."
In a Saturday New York Times Op/Ed
piece, though, Stanley Rothman discussed
the results of a study he conducted in an
attempt to verify the University's basic
"diversity is good" assumption. He found,
using anonymous surveys, that in
"diverse" educational environments, stu-
dents, faculty and administrators all regis-
ter "increased dissatisfaction with the
quality of education.",
What's become clear over the last few
years - and it's taken a long and difficult
trial for us to figure this very obvious
point out - is that affirmative action, as
it's practiced or even imagined, is a half-
baked effort. It might be putting students
in the seats, but the diversity we're getting
out from different-colored people isn't
close, for most of us, to the kind that
Bollinger envisions.
When the trial's over, if all goes well,
the University will have some time and
resources to spend on phase follow-
through - a phase that has to work if we
want to convince ourselves that the princi-
pal argument for affirmative action isn't
overly romantic and naive.
While many groups have filed amicus
briefs on behalf of the University, there's
been growing discussion over the opinions
of the individuals behind those groups -
most feel uncomfortable with affirmative
action. If we win this case, we'll have
activist effort to spare. It would most wise-
ly be invested in closing the-gap between
what most of us say about affirmative
action and what most of us think.

101

Hanink can be reached
atjhanink@umich.edi:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Panhanders have no right to
soliCit in 'U buildings
TO THE DAILY:
I was checking e-mail in the Fishbowl today
when I noticed a large man wandering the room,
a bag of plastic bottles in his hand, checking
through wasteboxes. I did not think much of it
until I noticed him approaching multiple people
at random. Mostly I saw people shaking their
heads at him and him moving on, but a few peo-
ple actually reached into their pockets to give
him change. When he approached a set of com-
puters near me I overheard him asking for
change and then offering to sell drugs. I became
quite bothered at this point and motioned for the
staff to ask him to leave, yet he left before any
confrontation was necessary. I then saw him
through the glass windows as he walked down
the hallway. He approached more people and

received more change. I felt less bothered by
him and more bothered by those who so willing-
ly gave him change. Giving him money would
only ensure that he would remain prowling the
room, bothering more people with his panhan-
dling. Surely, on the street you can respond to
panhandling however you wish, but when in the
Fishbowl, please be considerate of the context
and those around you, and do not humor such
behavior. A person who is willing to ask ran-
dom people for money, as good-hearted as he
might be, obviously has some problems, might
be dangerous, and has no purpose in the Fish-
bowl in the first place, especially when he is
offering drugs.
You might say I'm very uptight and para-
noid, but I've seen enough occasions when peo-
ple, especially college students, yearn to give
sketchy people the benefit of the doubt and
regret it later. When in a University building,
people should put aside whatever principled or
politicized notions they might have regarding

the "down and trodden" (this particular man
appeared quite healthy in fact) and should not
respond to panhandlers.
STEVE DANNEMILLER
LSA junior
0* YOU WANT TO GEV
VENOMOUS E-MAILS FROM
PEOPLE YOU HAVE NEVER MET?
APPLY TO BE A DAILY cOLUM
THIS SUMMER OR NEXT FALL.
POTENTIAL SUMMER COLUMNISTS
E-MAIL JZPESICK@UMICH.EDA
FOR A FALL OLUMN, E-MAIL
OPINION@MICHIGANALY.M.

0
0

VIEWPOINT
Campus politics needs to avoid extremism

BY YUUA DERNOVsKY, Avi JAcoBsoN
AND RACHEL RoTH
In the past three weeks, the University has
become a hotbed of political activism. In addi-
tion to the omnipresent representatives of
Defend Affirmative Action Party and the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and
Integration and Fight for Equality By Any
Means Necessary, the overzealous student
activists got another excuse to stand in the
middle of the Diag and harass the University
community: the impending and now occurring
war in Iraq. Last Thursday, hundreds of high
school students, imitating to detail the hippie
protests of the 1970s, stomped around the
Diag, hoping to convince the world that war is
bad because "Bush is stupid." Across from
them stood several members of Young Ameri-
cans for Freedom, hoping that their chant "U-
S-A" will convince the world that war is good.
The majority just stood around and laughed.
It is crystal clear that this campus
became increasingly polarized in the past
few weeks. A more radical rhetoric became
part of everyday life, especially evident on
the pages of The Michigan Daily. Affirma-
tive action, war, budget all find a place in

promote further education about Israel and the
Middle East on this campus.
Sadly enough, however, in the past week,
the mainstream pro-Israel community has
been grossly misrepresented through the pub-
lication of campustruth.org ads in the Daily.
These ads, which try to represent the conflict
as that between good and evil, do a great dis-
service to the pro-Israel cause on this campus.
Through oversimplification of a nuanced and
deeply complex conflict, these ads only fur-
ther polarize the discussion on the Middle
East on this campus and intensify emotions
between the two sides of the debate. The
Daily decided to pull these ads after much
negative feedback from the University com-
munity. Michigan Student Zionists President
Rick Dorfman's explosive reaction to this
decision on Monday only further highlighted
what is wrong in the divisive and explosive
debate on the Middle East. As leaders of the
mainstream pro-Israel student groups on this
campus, we recognize that it is important to
recognize that the Daily has a right to deter-
mine its own editorial position. As a private
publication, it can choose not to publish opin-
ions that are offensive, divisive, and counter-
productive, such as these ads.
Being a pro-Israel activist is extremely dif-

and is further indication of the vile hatred of
America that exists within the Palestinian
community" (Daily business staffs decision to
suspend ads is censorship, 03/26/03) and outright
reject this as a position of the pro-Israel com-
munity. Like the SAFE divestment confer-
ence, which was rejectionist and
uncompromising with regards to the dialogue
on the Middle East, this type of language is
not an acceptable method of political advocacy
and should not be tolerated in the future.
This is both ineffective as a tool of educa-
tion and detrimental to the pro-Israel move-
ment because the campus student body does
not identify with irrational, extreme views.
The pro-Israel community now faces a
variety of complex problems on this campus,
including a divisiveness on the issue of war
and a possibility of intensifying anti-Semitic
sentiment, evident in the recent physical
assault on a Jewish student in Ann Arbor.
Now the immediate goal of the pro-Israel
community is to understand its role and direc-
tion with regard to the war in Iraq, as it seems
to be the pervading issue on campus.
Moreover, it is important that the entire
campus community does not fall prey to
the extremist rhetoric that often finds its
place in times of crisis. The best way to

0

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