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September 26, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-26

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 26, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

We want to make it
more exciting and
creative and make
everyone happy."
- Raphael Ghermezian, on the Mall of
America, which a recent court ruling
awarded to his family, as reported by
The New Yok Times.



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Leaders and best

spent the first two
years of my time
' here at the Univer-
,> sity in West Quad.
Each morning, I went
to breakfast, ate and
went to class. As good
as those dorm pancakes
were, the highlight of
my morning was
always the mandatory walk past Sigma Chi
after I got out the door. Flush up against the
Union and part of West Quad, the Sigma
Chi fraternity never failed to find new and
exciting ways to make me want to boot my
food back up. Sure the garbage in the back
of the house always smelled like Natural
Light/rotting flesh, but personal touches like
shooting out the streetlights or tossing glass
onto the sidewalks really made that stretch
of campus special for me. Memories.
So you can only imagine my disappointment
when I found that the Interfratemity Council cut
all ties with Sigma Chi. Apparently on Sept. 14,
a Kinesiology junior was admitted to the Uni-
versity Hospital after members of Sigma Chi
forced him and his pledge class to perform
strenuous exercise while being denied access to
adequate food and water. This caused the stu-
dent's kidneys to fail. Letters today, leaders
tomorrow, right guys?
Not missing a beat, IFC President Bran-
den Muhl responded to the incident, "It's
absolutely unfathomable what would produce
or provoke hazing such as this." A good
question. What would produce behavior like
this? If patterns of behavior can in some way
be attributed to a root cause, then follow me

now, as we take a little trip cross country,
and visit several of the other illustrious
Sigma Chi houses.
The Sigma Chi chapter at Duke University
has drawn national attention recently after a
"Viva Mexico" theme party earlier this month
included invitations in the form of expired
green cards. The icing on the cake was the fra-
ternity brothers at the door dressed up like
border patrol, sparking outrage and protest
among the school's Latino community.
Or out west, where the University of Wash-
ington chapter has racked up an impressive
record over the past decade, garnering every-
thing from warnings, to reprimands, to an even-
tual $1000 fine by its own IFC in 1998. More
recently, it has been named in two different law-
suits alleging sexual assault. In one, a 22-year
old woman claims she was drugged and raped
in the bushes in front of the frat.
According to Sigma Chi's "Standard Oper-
ating Procedures" guidebook, pledging is
designed to be "the development of leadership
skills through ... activities which promote
mutual trust and respect." So in January, after
reading this guidebook thoroughly I'm sure,
brothers at the Arizona University chapter
decided these skills would best be instilled by
allegedly locking pledges in a walk-in freezer,
then forcing them to eat their own vomit.
Perhaps Sigma Chi is too easy of a target?
OK, lets expand this and include other well
publicized incidents back in Ann Arbor. Like in
December of 1999 when a pledge of the local
chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi was shot in the
groin with a BB gun? Or four days later when
two Delta Sigma Phi fraternity members were
allegedly found duct taped in Mary Markley

Residence Hall? Later in the year at the same
frat, a 17-year-old had to be taken to the hospi-
tal for alcohol poisoning. Or at Zeta Beta Tau
in March of 2000, when a hazing incident left a
pledge with chemical burns from a bleach-
based cleaning agent.
To give credit where credit is due, I should
not forget to mention that in most of these
cases the fraternities and individuals responsi-
ble were dealt with admirably by national
chapters, the IFC, the University or a combina-
tion of the three. But now, the question must
be asked: How much power do these organiza-
tions really have to monitor and discourage
hazing, date rape and underage drinking in the
Greek system? Can the IFC really make Greek
life safe? Most importantly, how many times
can the Greek system possibly be expected to
apologize for events that are far too common-
place to be isolated?
I don't envy Branden Muhl. He seems to
know the right thing to do, and is genuine about
his intentions to see it done. However, right
about now, he should be coming to the realiza-
tion that his position and his organization, the
IFC, appear (and may very well actually be)
helpless to control the kids that inhabit its mem-
ber houses. So when Muhl says, "We feel very
sorry about this incident and what happened to
the man and his family ... I will do everything
in my power to make sure this does not happen
again," what exactly is he apologizing for?
Sorry, it happened again? Sorry, I couldn't stop
it? Sorry, I'll try harder next time?
I'm sure you will. I'm sure you will.
Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu.




Article damages view of
volunteerism; students lazy,
hold wrong views on service
I had not yet I put down yesterday's
Daily with the article, The ties that don't
bind: schedule-friendly volunteering
(09/25/03) before I made my way to the
computer to try and address some of the
fundamental mistakes the author made in
talking about service as well as curb some
of the potential effects the article and the
type of thinking therein may have on
prospective volunteers.
I took issue not with the author or the spe-
cific work of the organizations mentioned. I
feel greater student involvement in service as
well as the organizations that work on stu-
dents' behalf are vital. What angered me was
the tone of the writing and the words that
were used to convey a dangerous ideology.
The title made me read closely but what fol-
lowed pushed me over the edge.
The article did more to damage the image
of students doing service work than any that I
can recall. It portrayed us as whining, self-
centered, uncompromising brats more inter-
ested in cell phones and sports (the Daily's
cover page articles for the day) than in the
interests of others. While this may be true for
many, it is not for all. Those students that ded-
icate the bulk of their college experience to
service-learning activities and have others'
interests in their hearts are closer to success
and truth than those students that seek oppor-
tunities that "fit their needs and schedules."
When will students - and Daily reporters
- realize that service is not something to be
trifled with, to be done intermittently as
catharsis for when exams and our social lives
have us down, when we feel bad for others
who don't have the luxury of driving a Land
Rover to class? This attitude toward service is
self-centered, destructive to any positive work
other students are doing but most importantly,
dismissive of the people and situations that
are in the direst need for someone sincere in
their aim and dedicated to positive change.
The most important aspect of service,
says Jonathan Gleicher, head of the Detroit
Project, is "that no matter their level of
involvement, (students) are making a differ-
ence." Is it? Considering this thinking
comes from an organization that "requires
no official time commitment at all" in order

time. Until students and student groups
make this leap in logic and alter their pro-
grams for the better, many will be deluding
themselves as well as alienating themselves
from meaningful community interaction and
social change. Perhaps a good way to instill
some of these tenets of service in students
would be to challenge them to something
greater, both in terms of sustained involve-
ment and self-sacrifice. Articles like this
serve only to perpetuate the type of lazy and
idealistic dreaming students know now as
LSA senior
AAPD breaking up parties
-has 'grave effects' on
I am, more or less, a law-abiding citizen,
and I have always considered myself to be of
the idealistic, police-respecting school of
thought. However, in the Ann Arbor Police
Department's attempt to crack down on stu-
dent drinking this year, I think they have done
themselves and our community more harm
than help. You probably weren't at Lindenfest
a couple of weeks ago, because there were
only about 100 students scattered around the
entire block when three cop cars rolled up,
gave a noise violation to every single house
on the street and shone a flashlight in my
eyes, yelling at me to "get off the porch!"
Since I am 21 and I don't live on Linden, I
didn't have much to worry about, but I
watched as they stormed through the house
uninvited and started passing out minors in
possession like they were dealing a deck of
cards. The cops were there trying to break up
a party that wasn't even a party at all. Despite
all the times I defended the police to my
peers, reminding them that the police were
just doing their jobs, I decided then and there
that the cops were out to ruin our fun. By
roaming the student dorms like hall monitors,
handing out noise violations by the dozen,
stealing the taps off kegs and breaking up par-
ties that are barely parties at all, the cops are
instilling in us, the rising generation, a grow-
ing animosity, disrespect and distrust in the
police force of our nation.
While risking sounding dramatic, I think
this will have grave effects on our democracy.
Trust in the government is a fundamental ele-

receive any respect at all from the students
and restore some of the lost trust in authority,
they need to listen to their own vision state-
ment and figure out how to handle a campus
of 30,000 students more constructively.
LSA senior
Students' excuses lame,
MSA makes voter reg-
istration easy
Although I agree with the editorial on mak-
ing voter registration easier, (Voting easy; should
be easier, 09/25/03) it supports the same lame
excuses that students have been using for years.
The editorial states "most students don't want to
deal with all the hassle of the registration
process all over again for the new city in which
they now reside." While I completely under-
stand the busy schedules of students, it takes
less than five minutes to fill out a registration
form, and the Voice Your Vote Commission of
the Michigan Student Assembly has been at the
Diag every Wednesday afternoon to provide
these forms. We will also be in the basement of
the Michigan Union this Monday from 12-3
p.m. to provide forms, and send them to the city
clerk for you. It is incredibly easy.
LSA sophomore
Homeless not dangerous,
should be treated as people
It's not uncommon to be disgusted by
some of the letters sent to the Daily but Thurs-
day's letter from Leslie Rott, DPS, AAPD
need to protect students from the homeless
(09/25/03) was particularly disturbing. Leslie,
just a suggestion, maybe you should think
about treating "the homeless people" like fel-
low human beings and not like trash that you
unfortunately have to encounter, then they
may not seem so scary. It's just sad that some-
one who is apparently college educated could
harbor such ridiculous prejudices towards
those less fortunate than herself. People live
on the streets for many different reasons but
by no means does this make them anymore
likely to hit, stab or shoot you than say your
average college graduate. Violence is unfortu-




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