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October 17, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-17

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 17, 2002

OP/ED

aloe lCirbigatn ituiI

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
We never had
such cooperation in
everything as we have
with the current
administration."
- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
describing his government's relationship
with the Bush administration as quoted
yesterday by The Associated Press.

. ...

.

JENNIFER GREENE NN' CORNE

I

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Locking up the right people
BRENDA ABDELALL TH TOKEN Eam

t took nearly a
decade to find the
Unabomber, and the
only reason why he was
found was because his
sister called the FBI.
What about the anthrax
mailer? Still on the
loose. What about the
man who set off a
bomb at the Atlanta Olympics? Never
found. We now have the psychotic Belt-
way Sniper and we even know what van he
drives yet we still can't seem to figure out
where the hell he is. That is just ridiculous.
Law enforcement officials are sup-
posed to be making the streets safer for
everyone. They can boast an overflowing
prison population in attempts to make it
seem as if they have been sweeping crimi-
nals off of the streets. However, a quick
peek into any prison or local jail will
indeed prove that our streets are not any
safer now that these 'criminals' are behind
bars.
What the local Washtenaw County jail
boasts is drug addicts, individuals that hurt
themselves by drinking too much and who
pump their bodies full of drugs. Rehabilita-
tion programs are what these individuals
need, not a four-by-four cell. The with-
drawal symptoms that these individuals
will incur in jail will only lead them to
seek more drugs and alcohol the minute
they get out, thus never solving any sort of
problem.
Another look into the jail and you
will find a vast amount of poverty stricken
and mentally ill individuals. I blame the
mentally ill population on the recent
Engler administration. After slashing men-

tal health funding to the bare minimum,
our jails are overflowing with inmates who
have turned to drugs and alcohol to ease
their minds. Candidates are already hijack-
ing the sniper case and putting gun control
on their platforms. What they should put
on their platforms is some serious restruc-
turing of governmental funding for drug
rehabilitation and the poor through
improved social service agencies.
Indeed our system is set up to keep the
poor poor and the rich rich. Enron execs
with their Versace wearing lawyers will
get off with a minimum sentence, while the
poverty stricken cashier at Meijer who
stole food for her children will receive
some pro-bono lawyer she met five min-
utes before her trial and will receive a sen-
tence, leaving her children to suffer in
foster care. A little rich snob in one of my
classes had the nerve to say, "She stole,
she should get punished." Yes, I under-
stand that stealing is wrong, but we have to
look at why she stole. Why is she poor?
Why isn't she on welfare? Why is she in
the situation she is in?
Looking toward the reasons behind
why people do the things they do will
prove to be much more beneficial to soci- .
ety. I guarantee that by keeping that
woman behind bars, the problem will not
be remedied. Once she is out of jail, she
will have difficulty reintegrating into soci-
ety. She won't be able to rent an apartment
after having a criminal sentence; she will
have difficulty finding a job and she will
most likely not get her children back. This
will lead to more suffering for her, and she
will perhaps turn toward drugs to ease her
pain and towards stealing food to survive.
Her children will most likely continue their

life in poverty, and they will most likely
end up in the same situation as their moth-
er. Hence the poor stay poor and the rich
stay rich. This is because the root problem
is never remedied. Sending people to
prison and jail is a mere Band-Aid to soci-
ety's greater wounds.
It may be easy for government officials
to point the blame at gun control laws and
toward improper drug enforcement and
legislation. However, the finger should
really be pointed at ourselves. Locking
people up behind bars imay be a temporary
solution but real restorative change needs
to be made from within. Often times, this
particylar sector of society is ignored and a
blind-eye is turned. Restorative justice
needs to be implemented, and not retribu-
tive justice. Instead of punishing these
individuals, we should see what we can do
to help their situation and how to prevent
future problems from occurring. What our
government should invest in are the scores
of social service organizations. It is imper-
ative that these organizations receive the
financial support necessary to survive.
It really makes one wonder if the crimi-
nal justice system is doing society any
good, or if it only exacerbates and perpetu-
ates the current problems of society They
can easily arrest and detain individuals that
are poor on drugs or who have no evidence
against them. But, when it comes to seri-
ous threats, we just can't seem to find the
perpetrators. My suggestion to those that
live in the Washington area: Keep your
helmet and bulletproof vest on; this one
may take a while.
Brenda Abdelall can be reached at
babdelal@umich.edu.

The first 77 days
DAVID ENDERS WEiR SClENCE

it's customary to
wait 100 days to
- assess a presidency.
But since we've seen
lately on a national level
how far out of hand
things can get if you
don't criticize the peo-
ple in charge quickly
enough, I figured I'd weigh in now.
When Mary Sue Coleman became Univer-
sity President, she said her top priorities would
be fundraising and recruitment. That's good.
The University needs money. It needs to fill
the holes left by administrators and faculty
who bailed when Lee Bollinger left.
Thus far, Coleman has been true to her
word. Spots in both the administration and the
Life Sciences Initiative have been filled. She
jumped the gun on the issue of divestment from
Israel, but that was probably to assuage donors,
so it stays in line with her principles.
Besides fundraising and recruitment,
Coleman has thrown her support behind affir-
mative action and written long, long, long e-
mails no one reads. She supported having a
vigil on Sept. 11 and has energetically
affirmed her commitment to free speech.
It makes me wish she would take a real
stance.
Coleman has said a lot, but none of the
positions she has taken have been anything
other than exactly what they are supposed
to be. (She supports free speech? You don't
say. And I don't want to hear the argument
that her stance on divestment was coura-
geous. Courageous would have been not
saying anything and being called an anti-
Semite for it.) Overall, the first 77 days
have been rather boring. Couldn't she at
least have a fun run? A silly walk? Isn't
there some position in the LSI for which

Jocelyn Elders could be considered?
As a member of the Knight Commission on
Intercollegiate Athletics, she is well-versed in
the problems facing college athletics and the
NCAA. She has suggested the NBA's fledgling
developmental league begin accepting players
at age 17 instead of 20 (so players uninterested
in getting a degree wouldn't have to bother pre-
tending). She has the rare chance to raise such
questions as president of a school with one of
the largest, best-known, most commercially
successful athletic departments in the world.
There are issues Coleman tackled at Iowa
I'd prefer she didn't pursue at the University.
Coleman took over as Iowa's president in
1995, shortly after a fraternity pledge died
from alcohol poisoning. From that point, she
led a crusade to curb drinking on campus,
earning her the nickname "Chief Nanny"
from some observers. Her victories included
all Iowa fraternity houses going dry and pres-
suring a liquor store into not opening in a
neighborhood populated by students.
Maybe if she asks nicely, the boys at Sgt.
Pepper's or In-and-Out (it's so close to East
Quad you can crawl there in a drunken stupor)
will hit the road so their buildings can be occu-
pied by another Famous Famigs or head shop.
On the flip side, maybe Coleman can
resuscitate the Task Force on Alcohol and
Other Drugs, which studied the problems
of drug use and binge drinking on campus
and made recommendations to Vice Presi-
dent for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper
two years ago about how to deal with such
problems. To be fair, the University was
precluded from taking action on any rec-
ommendations by the task force because it
was (and still is) being used as a control
group in a study on drinking, in which
other schools were given money to put
into anti-drinking campaigns while the

University was given none. Meanwhile,
one student died from alcohol poisoning
and a number go to the hospital each
weekend after drinking.
I suppose I'll be happy if the stuff she says
starts sounding a little less like what she
thinks people want to hear. Example:
"When you are in my world, you realize
that people look to the (University) as a
trendsetter and that is exciting for me,"
Coleman has said. "I would not have left
Iowa for anywhere other than Michigan."
And Bollinger wouldn't have left
Michigan for anywhere but Columbia.
I sat down with Coleman yesterday and
asked her about most of these issues. She's
friendly and personable. But every answer was
patently the same: she's open to dialogue, she
wants to hear what people have to think, she's
excited about being here. But she seems reluc-
tant to put forth anything that might ruffle feath-
ers. She's an academic turned politician, which
may be the worst kind. When I asked her about
problems facing the NCAA, first she said the
top priority should be the well-being of the
players. She added that care should be taken to
make sure there players are focused on acade-
mics. And what have we learned? Nothing.
In the end, it might not matter. No one
will pay much attention to issues like these if
Coleman is forced to deal with the same
financial problems at Michigan she had at
Iowa. She was commended there for her abil-
ity to cut the budget (laying off faculty and
staff and increasing class size) and smile
through hefty tuition increases. So if the
state's impending budget deficit causes the
same sort of situation here, she'll be right at
home. Time to get back to fundraising.

01

David Enders canbe reached"at
denders@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dean of Students: Campus
acted maturely in response
to conference, protesters
To THE DAILY:
This nast weekelcnd- I ioinedIa nuimber

conversations that I heard in the League,
in the Union, on the Diag and elsewhere, I
also heard an extraordinary depth of
understanding about international issues. I
heard people debating strongly held beliefs
with civility and respect.
What I did not hear - nor did any of my
colleagues who were in attendance at all the

I am proud to be a part of this remark-
able community and to have seen firsthand
on Saturday and Sunday the kind of exam-
ple our students can set.
ED WILLIS
Dean of Students

with real change. 1

. I 4 # 1 47r. , .. v s . .4 v..1 4;+

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