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December 06, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-12-06

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 6, 2002

OP/ED

ollie atttigttn tjq

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 people who sent us
here are the international
community, the United
Nations. We're not serving
the U.S. We're not serving
the U.K. We're not serving
any individual nation."
- Demetrius Perricos, head of the U.N.
weapons inspection team that is angered
about U.S. criticisms of its work, as quoted
yesterday in the Times of London.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

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Pan out from Dean Lehman
DAVID HORN HORNOGRAPHY

spent my week
watching Law
' School Dean Jef-
frey Lehman do the
cable news circuit. I
channel surfed from
MSNBC to CNN
(then, when things
got redundant, to the
Food Network and
the ACC/Big Ten Challenge) then back to
MSNBC, taking in as much affirmative
action coverage as I could (as well as a few
minutes with the Naked Chef). I get this
very unique rush when I hear the Universi-
ty discussed by prominent figures on
national television. I think, "Yeah! Michi-
gan! I go there! And you there - in the
navy suit and goofy made-for-cable hair-
cut! Talk about my school more!" This
time around though, unlike last month's
coverage of the self-imposed athletic sanc-
tions, the attention Michigan is receiving is
exhilarating rather than numbing, esteem-
ing rather than embarrassing.
There is so much at stake in this trial -
not just for this school, but for higher edu-
cation in general; for the debate on race,
the ultimate issue of contention in this
country; for the Supreme Court, and its
speckled history on the matter of diversity
and inclusion. My fear, though, as I lis-
tened to Lehman match wits with cable's
best talking heads, is that people are
attaching too much weight to the decision

that the high court will hand down next
summer.
The debate over affirmative action is a
small part of a great and complex problem
in America. The affirmative action pro-
gram, at least in regard to education, was
never meant to be a permanent fix. Rather,
it was a temporary solution - a way to
actively diversify higher education until
the time came when active diversification
was no longer needed. Affirmative action
is a Band-Aid solution. It is a smart and so
far successful Band-Aid solution, but at
some point the bandage needs to come off
and the wound needs to heal.
While I have seesawed on the debate
over the years, something that leaves me
cautiously skeptical is the fear that affir-
mative action assuages the urgency of
addressing problems in primary and sec-
ondary education. If the numbers of
minority students at the University of
Michigan are satisfactory it is more diffi-
cult to rally popular concern over the qual-
ity of education for minority students
before they get here. The national atten-
tion that the affirmative action debate
receives needs to be redirected toward a
debate over primary and secondary educa-
tion, so that the program need not exist at
all. Diversity at the university level may
or may not be a compelling state interest. I
believe that it is, although I look forward
to a time when the state, via the Universi-
ty, does not need to go out of its way to

assure that it exists.
My fear, then, is if the Supreme Court
upholds the University's policy, that victo-
ry will be declared and ivory tower intel-
lectuals will rest easy in their confident
belief that underprivileged minorities are
being adequately served. If the Court does
rule in the University's favor then there is
a burden on educators, administrators and
lawmakers to resolutely address the prob-
lems that gave rise to affirmative action in
the first place.
If there is a silver living in the Supreme
Court ruling against the University, it is
that it will force the issue of addressing
some of those other fundamentally signifi-
cant societal problems.
This is big. Real big. But this summer,
when the ruling comes down, remember
that it does not end the debate on affirma-
tive action, and a ruling that upholds affir-
mative action does not mean that we can
turn our attention away from the most
important issue: searching for creative and
feasible ways to remedy public education
in urban and rural communities. The
national media and the national conscious-
ness will be transfixed on this trial and on
this University. But when the dust settles
in June, those cameras and that attention
need to stay focused - and redirected to
the community.
David Horn can be reached at
hornd@umich.edu.

0

VIEWPOINT
IASA strives to build community, preserve culture

BY THE BOARD OF THE INDIAN
AMERICAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION
The goal of the Indian American Student
Association (IASA) is, and always has been, to
create a close knit community among its mem-
bers. We seek to preserve and cherish our cul-
ture while forging ahead and evolving as a
community. The organization allows members
to become active in social, political,
cultural,and professional arenas. We face the
unique task of incorporating our Indian culture
and values with an ever-changing modem envi-
ronment. This task is by no means an easy one,
and IASA serves as a vehicle to meet every
challenge that Indian American students on this
campus face. We provide opportunities for stu-
dents to connect with each other, while build-
ing bridges with other student groups and the
University community. These avenues have
been at the disposal of the membership for the
last 18 years, and are at the heart of what IASA
hopes to accomplish.
The goals of IASA remain unchanged
despite the continually changing composition
of its membership. Without these steadfast
goals, the organization faces the possibility of
losing focus and continuity from year to year.
Oftentimes, certain segments of IASA's mem-
bership are taken to represent the entire Indian
American community. We would like to
emphasize that IASA and Indian Americans
are not interchangeable. Just as it is flawed to
identify any student group (i.e. the Black Stu-
dents Union, Filipino American Students Asso-
ciation, College Democrats) with the actions of
all of its members, it is equally unfair to identi-

fy IASA with the opinions and actions of all of
its members. Frankly, it is unfair to blame
IASA for problems seen in the Indian Ameri-
can community as a whole. The organization is
the product of the effort of those that dedicate
themselves to it, and any outside stereotypes
and actions of Indian Americans are irrelevant.
IASA does not speak for all Indian Ameri-
can students on this campus. Rather than acting
with the possibility of alienating certain seg-
ments of the membership, IASA errs on the side
of caution, leaving its members to speak for
themselves. Even though membership is pre-
dominantly Indian American, IASA is open to
the entire University community, which invites
a myriad of differing and, often times, conflict-
ing viewpoints. We recognize that the voice of
the organization is not necessarily representa-
tive of the voice of each member, and for this
reason, we exercise the utmost caution when
attaching IASA's name to controversial issues.,
Critics of this system are quick to perceive
IASA as being "passive" and only a "social
clique." While part of the organization's goal is
to create bonds between members, IASA does
involve itself in other avenues. Year after year,
our actions and events on this campus prove
that IASA is an active organization.
IASA's culture show, nationally acclaimed
as one of the largest student-run productions in
the country, puts Indian culture in the spotlight.
It provides a positive medium for students to
showcase their heritage and preserve their cul-
ture. One of the greatest achievements of this
event lies in the fact that even people not of
Indian descent choose to celebrate our culture
with us by taking part in the show and by
attending it year after year. This is the ultimate

goal of the cultural show: To share and cele-
brate our culture with anyone and everyone.
IASA seeks to create unity on this cam-
pus beyond the Indian American community.
We support the variety of student organiza-
tions that embrace their Indian culture and
we work with them in order to advance cer-
tain causes. The existence of other "Indian"
organizations on this campus is not a signal
of fragmentation, but rather speaks to the
rich diversity found in our culture and com-
munity. Our successful co-sponsored movie
night with the Indian Students Association
was an excellent step in building stronger
relations amongst Indian groups on this cam-
pus. The process of working together is a
long one, but with every group taking gen-
uine steps toward this goal, a strong commu-
nity can be created.
Any organization must be willing to accept
compliments and criticisms in the same man-
ner. It is the criticism that allows the organiza;
tion to better itself by pointing out the flaws in
the system that leaders often overlook. Those
who wish to see change must simply demon-
strate the initiative to lead by becoming a part
of the IASA board through election or appoint-
ment. These procedures are purely democratic
to ensure that the most qualified and dedicated
individuals hold leadership positions.
IASA is an environment for people to cre-
ate friendships and bonds that will last a life-
time. Above all, IASA is an organization that
holds the interests of its members at heart, and
strives to actively and wholeheartedly create a
genuine sense of community.
The Indian American Student Association Board
can be reached at iasa.board@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Enders' last column should
outrage those on both sides
of affirmative action
TO THE DAILY:
I was shocked to see such a poor column
as the one from David Enders which
appeared yesterday, "Going all the way."
Some people side with the University on
its admissions policies and others do not.
Everyone on both sides of the, issue should be
offended by David Enders' column in which
he states "anyone who's not wearing a white
hood and a bedsheet should probably
renounce their citizenship if the court decides

The thinking found in Enders' column
exemplifies all that is ugly and wrong in the
affirmative action debate. By viciously
attacking alternative viewpoints, affirmative
action proponents alienate the more moderate
potential supporters.
ERic DUEWEKE
LSA junior
Reader offers to fund Enders'
emigration after ruling
TO THE DAILY:
It's pretty hard to believe that Enders
couldn't find even one student on campus to

Most graduates do support
affirmative action; Daily ran
misleading article
TO THE DAILY:
Carmen Johnson's article, "Many grad
students do not support 'U' side in lawsuits"
is grossly misleading. 57.8 percent of Rack-
ham students support while 28.8 percent do
not support. 13.4 percent are undecided.
Johnson combines the 28.8 percent and the
13.4 percent when she claims, "Slightly
fewer than half the students polled do not
support the University's side in the under-
graduate and Law School cases." Johnson
Warn thn t.i findina ftizhii in r-.a

~tmm~nn. r unvesu aiuiut~u ~~vw

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