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December 08, 2003 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 8, 2003

OP/ED

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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
Did I expect
George Bush to fuck
it up as badly as he
did? I don't think
anybody did."
-Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry, in an interview with Rolling Stone on
President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq,
as reported Saturday by The New York Post.

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Affirmative action for conservatives shouldn't be necessary
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES

4

he affirmative
action cases
may have ended
this summer, but its
wake is still strong
both on campus and
off. On Dec. 2, the
Daily reported that the
University had mailed
1,400 acceptance let-
ters to potential incom-
ing freshman, as
opposed to 2,200 at the same time last
year. The U.S. Supreme Court decision has
meant that high school seniors are spend-
ing more time on their applications, which
require that applicants to the College of
Literature, Science and the Arts complete
two 250- and one 500-word essays. Race
and diversity aside, why it took a Supreme
Court ruling for the University to figure
out that number crunching does not a good
admissions decision make is mysterious,
but we can be glad that the new applica-
tion's thoughtful format tries to give those
students room to stand out whose stan-
dardized tests scores and "legacy"
(whether their parents are University
alumni) do not speak on their behalf.
But predictably, there are still more
conservative voices waiting in the wings
for whom the Supreme Court's compro-
mise wasn't good enough. A statewide bal-
lot proposal in Michigan, promoted by
University of California Regent Ward
Connerly, which aims to ban any form of
race-based college admissions decisions or
employee hiring practices, looms close on
the horizon. On Friday, the Detroit News
reported that "A broad coalition of busi-
ness, labor and social groups led by a
retired brigadier general [Gen. Michael
Rice] has emerged to fight [the proposal]."
On campus, the usual suspects are already
moving into high gear to do the same.
But there's one other drip from the

Supreme Court decision runoff that has only
caught people's attention in passing. This is
the question of how much the University is
willing to put its money where its mouth is
on the idea "diversity of viewpoint" - an
ultimate aim of affirmative action in its
admissions process, and one which is logical-
ly connected to race, ethnic, and socioeco-
nomic diversity.
On Nov. 14, the Daily ran an article,
"Lawmaker criticizes 'slanted view of reali-
ty' on 'U' campus," which quoted state Rep.
Leon Drolet (R-Clinton Twp.) as saying that
the University contradicts its goal of diver-
sity, which by its current policies is only
"skin-deep." "I hope the University will
stop treating people like pieces of skin,"
Drolet said, "but rather as minds." Knowing
people in admissions and having read the
new application, Drolet's remarks not only
come off as offensive and insensitive, but
also as incorrect.
But this kind of sentiment is out there, so
much so that back in September Mike Rosen
of the Rocky Mountain News recommended
that "The solution [to liberal bias in acade-
mia, specifically in the humanities and social
sciences] is to provide more competition in
the war of ideas by recruiting conservatives
who can speak with the same conviction for
the things in which they believe." Affirma-
tive action for conservatives? For this idea's
proponents, it seems, it's not all about a mer-
itocracy.
In a note "From the Desk of David
Horowitz" found at FrontPagemagazine.com,
Horowitz tells the story of an ROTC student
at Bowling Green who, long story short, was
failed in a class on the Vietnam War by "a
'60s leftist professor who regarded America
as an imperialist monster." There are a
healthy number of similar stories to be found
on the website, and my inclination is to
believe them. 4
The last thing we need, though, is a fight
for quotas for conservatives. If this is the case,

that a "conservative" viewpoint is both grossly
mis- and underrepresented at public universi-
ties, we haven't learned our lessons in sensitiv-
ity and tolerance from the whole affirmative
action debate. I don't consider myself a conser-
vative (even after three and a half years on a
campus where the "Left" could not be more
annoying), but I did feel uncomfortable when,
in an Italian class at Berkeley this summer, the
teacher went off on a 20-minute rant about the
evils of the United States, in Italian. I saw my
classmates try to voice their opinions, but it
was pretty difficult to do when the teacher
required that they respond to his political argu-
ments in a language they'd been studying for
six weeks.
The Right, instead of demanding the
installation of an institutional framework
for proportional representation of political
views amongst the faculty, should forget
cynicism for a moment and instead cam-
paign to educate the campus in sensitivity
to political diversity now that the word is
out about racial and ethnic diversity. The
last thing we need is bipolar smarminess,
where the left grins and tells the right, "so
you want quotas after all, eh?" and the right
responds, "if you like affirmative action so
much, make it comprehensive." What this
boils down to, to borrow from other campus
movements, is fewer "blue-outs" and more
"fast-a-thons."
So that's it, after two and a half years, my
last Daily column. In the words of Sappho, it's
been glukopikros. More sweetbitter than bitter-
sweet.
Thank you: Emily Achenbaum, Mike
Grass, Nick Woomer, Geoff Gagnon, Jon
Schwartz, Manish Raiji, Aubrey Henretty, Zac
Peskowitz, Jason Pesick and most importantly,
readers of The Michigan Daily. You are impossi-
ble, and that's great.

Hanink can be reached
atjhanink@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Column portrays members
of football team as friends,
students, neighbors
TO THE DAILY:
Too often at Michigan, we, the students
and other members of the University com-
munity, see the members of our football
team as remarkable athletes. While they
are this, they are not just this.
They are students, like most of us here
on campus, with exams to study for and
papers to write - not to mention the long,
daily practices, weight training and any
rehabilitation that they must endure as
well. They are also friends to many outside
of their teammates. Like everyone else,
they try to sneak in time with their buddies
as well.
We may realize these issues and may
occasionally get a glimpse of this in our
classes when we happen to see John
Navarre in a communications class or
Chris Perry studying in the Shapiro Under-
graduate Library or a group of the football
players as they walk across the Diag with
"nonfootball" people. But one issue that
we are not afforded the opportunity to
glimpse into is the family part of the play-
ers' lives.
Players talk of their parents being their
heroes and always pushing them to try
their best on and off the field. A never-
ending wall of support and tower of love is
the picture we are painted about the foot-
ball players' parents. Rarely do we hear
details of this or details of how the players
are often key members in their families as
well. They often give strong measures of
support back to their families and some-
times seem to be the main provider of sus-
tenance and care within the family.
This brings me to the sports column
recently written by Courtney Lewis on
junior linebacker Pierre Woods (Moving
mom in helps Woods handle heartache,

happy and fulfilled as possible. Love rules
in his house.
It also tells of the hardships he has over-
come in life, reminding us again that ath-
letes do not lead the perfect lives that some
stereotype them as having. Yes, not only do
they have exams, papers, friends and fami-
ly, they also have other real world issues to
deal with, such as death. We are then able
to add resolve, growth, and a willingness to
be helped to his list of qualities.
Lewis presents us with not only a
review of Woods's accomplishments on
the field but also of his triumphs off of it.
With articles of this nature, we, the com-
mon students, are able to see the human-
ness of Pierre Woods, and his fellow
teammate on our champion football team.
Their love of football rules in the Big
House for all to see, while their love of
life, knowledge, family and friends lives
out of the spotlight and scrutiny of
112,118 people.
HEATHER VOGT
Kinesiology sophomore
Article inaccurate, fails
to address the severity of
Bhopal disaster
TO THE DAILY:
As students involved in the campaign
for Justice for Bhopal, we are compelled to
correct dubious claims advanced in Stu-
dents protest Bhopal disaster on Dow execu-
tives' doorsteps (12/4/03). First, the 1989
out-of court settlement between Union
Carbide and the Indian government never
exempted Union Carbide from cleaning up
the contamination left by the pesticide
plant. The settlement only covered civil
awards to individual victims. The extent of
the contamination was not at the time
known and was first officially established
in 1990 through an independent study con-

be consumed.
International law, U.S. Law and Indian
law apply the polluter-pays principle bind-
ing Union Carbide to the liability and
require it to remediate the site. Dow
Chemical Co., as 100 percent owner of
Union Carbide, is legally bound by U.S.
merger law to take control of all of Car-
bide's assets and liabilities. Legally and
ethically, Dow's insistence that it did not
cause the accident and contamination are
contradicted by the fact that as purchaser
of the company, it is Union Carbide. It is
responsible for the deaths and disabilities
resulting from the mutagenic and carcino-
genic chemicals that the 20,000 Bhopalis
drink daily.
On its own website, Dow advances the
policy of "Responsible Care," which
promises "to work with others to resolve
problems associated with past handling
and disposal practices." It is currently
using our own School of Natural
Resources as an open advertisement for its
commitment to social and environmental
practices through a plaque that hangs in
the school's commons. There is now dis-
cussion of naming a Dow faculty chair in
the school. The University should demand
more from a company that is responsible
for the worst chemical industrial disaster
in history and not compel itself to plaster
Dow's name to positions that deceive the
public of its actions.
DAVE SOMERS
Rackham
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters
from all of its readers. Letters from Universi-
ty students, faculty, staff and administrators
will be given priority over others. Letters
should include the writer's name, college and
school year or other University affiliation.
The Daily will not print any letter contain-
ing statements that cannot be verified.
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