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January 16, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-16

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 16, 2004

OP/ED

4m 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 is a moral
coward."
- Former Vice President Al Gore, in a
speech criticizing President Bush's
environmental record, yesterday, at an
event sponsored by moveon.org, as
reported by Guardian Unlimited.

SAM BUTLER THE' SOAPBOX
- -

6

44

Trading spaces
SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA
ithin two
months of
my time
here at the University,
I made a life-altering
decision: to live in a
house with six other
people. As a freshman,
I naively signed at the
dotted line, sure that
my new residence
would deliver all the promises of late night
talks, movies and roommate bonding. It
was due to this optimism that I failed to
understand that landlords, especially those
in Ann Arbor, will do everything to screw
a tenant out of money and comfort.
My housemates and I should have come
to this conclusion soon after we moved into
our home because the carpet had not been
cleaned. Though some unseemliness is
expected during move in, there is an agree-
ment that the landlords professionally
clean the carpets. Because ours failed to do
so, one of my roommates stepped on a nail
and had to be taken to the hospital. - dur-
ing the first week.
Our troubles continued since we had no
furnace for two months. To ease our cold,
the landlords dropped off some space
heaters, which in turn blew out our elec-
tricity. It was around this time that the
landlord told its emergency line to stop
accepting phone calls from our residence.
Unfortunately, this was not a rare
occurrence. Recently, a friend's home was
ransacked and looted, which is common
during breaks. Though no claims have been
filed, it is with utmost coincidence that
soon after the landlords came for mainte-

a

XXWEAVING THE HANDBASKET

nance, the apartment was pillaged. Even
without that consideration, her landlord has
failed to perform because they have yet to
fix the window and lock through which
burglars did and can still enter.
The curse of no heat found me in a new
home with new a landlord, leaving us in
the cold once again this year. The fear of
theft is especially high in our new home
because the main doors of our apartment
building remained open for weeks on end.
Also, there is no adequate lighting, which
makes dodging the puke in the hallways,
left uncleaned from weeks ago - a formi-
dable task. The blame clearly lies with the
building manager, who, taking a cue from
his experiences as a Michigan Student
Assembly president, has done nothing to
improve the quality of the filthy building.
It is not just through maintenance that
landlords take advantage of students; it is in
the very leases themselves. To move in early,
a landlord often charges a prorated amount
for the extra days. However, though most
leases end mid-August, tenants have to pay a
full month's rent even when they are not per-
mitted to live there.
Until last April, students had an ally.
The Ann Arbor Tenants Union was a
group that fought for our rights, demand-
ing that landlords provide adequate infor-
mation about our rights and care for our
residences throughout our tenure. Due to
both the University Board of Regents'
refusal to increase tuition by $1 to support
MSA-funded programs and the MSA Bud-
get Priorities Committee's superfluous
allocation of funds, this program ended.
The BPC stealthily stopped funding AATU
between semesters, using trickery usually

reserved for Jimmy John's price hikes.
Now that this service is no longer
available, students are forced to turn to
either Student Legal Services or the Hous-
ing Information Office. Though both spe-
cialize in the service they provide, neither
can coordinate both legal and housing
aspects. Thus, we are left to live in homes
that are old (and not in that wow-look-at-
the-history-in-this-city way), poorly main-
tained (trust me, there are plenty of stories
like finding flies in showers and small
fires due to wiring) and over-priced.
Because we are transient residents in~is
city, we have very little say about the con-
ditions that are thrust upon us. For this
reason, landlords understand that they can
take full advantage of our situation, hiking
up prices on shoddy homes and ignoring
major problems.
It is embarrassing that while there was a
6.5 percent tuition hike this year, the
regents couldn't part with $1 per student
for programs like AATU. It is even more
disheartening that BPC could not save a
program that actually benefits most stu-
dents, instead of squandering funds on
groups that just host shows.
Daily, I trudge past the President's
House at 815 S. University Ave. and often
wonder how she would like living at my
home, which happens to be at another 815
South address. It is comical to consider
such an arrangement because she obvious-
ly cannot live in such squalor. So, the
question remains: If she can't live there,
then why should we?
Chirumamilla can be reached at
schiruma@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

4

Affirmative action may be
flawed, but no current
alternative exists
To THE DAILY:
I just have one thing to add to Nick
Owens' letter yesterday (High school
equality in rural areas, not race, indica-
tive of students' disadvantage, 01/15/04).
In response to his statement that white
people do live in Detroit, I cannot disagree
with him. But, with a closer inspection of
the actual statistics you will see that white
people only make up 19 percent of Detroit,
less than 100,000 residents. In fact, the
2001 census showed that metro Detroit is
the most segregated area in the country out
of the 100 largest metro areas. By resort-
ing to generalities, you can really make all
statistics say whatever you want them to.
Affirmative action is indeed a simplis-
tic solution, but it is currently the best
option. If there were no racism left in the
country and everybody had the same
resources while growing up, affirmative
action would be unbelievably racist and
untenable. However, if you knew that the
1990 census showed that the median
income for blacks was $29,740, while the
median income for non-Hispanic whites
was $46,305, you would have to come to
the conclusion that racism still exists. You
either reach this conclusion, or you deny
that barriers exist and that blacks are just
too lazy: Racism is the only conclusion.
Also, and I don't know if this has been
changed, but when I applied to the Univer-
sity, you got the same amount of points on
your application for having a poor socio-
economic background as for being an
under-represented minority. If this is still
the case, the argument for poor rural
schools is pointless, because it is already
being addressed.
BRIAN ALBUS
Engineeringjunior
Affirmative action violates
principles King fought for
TO THE DAILY:
I do not believe that years ago when

basic premise of affirmative action seeks
only to provide an opportunity for higher
education for all people, regardless of their
ethnic background, and by doing this to
decrease (dare I say, eliminate) discrimina-
tion, it is ironic that the very idea has
proved to be a source of discrimination
itself. However ridiculous the irony may
seem, it is very real and is widening the
already substantial gap between ethnic
groups.
Those who support affirmative action
suggest that it is necessary to give minori-
ties an opportunity for higher education
which the supporters feel they would oth-
erwise be deprived of. In reality, affirma-
tive action is simply another form of
discrimination. The likelihood of gaining
entrance into a university should not be
aided by an applicant's ethnic background.
The idea has been twisted and its benefit
removed, leaving the suggestion that
minorities are not "intelligent enough" to
be accepted to a university and would oth-
erwise be rejected based solely on their
academic careers. I am by no means sug-
gesting that this statement is true, that
every student feels this way or that even I
myself share this view; however, I am sug-
gesting that the idea is now out there and it
is due to affirmative action.
Being a member of a minority group
myself, I am torn between both arguments.
I do not feel that I deserve special treat-
ment because I was born into this heritage,
but I have felt discrimination firsthand and
I understand where the anger and willing-
ness to support this idea comes from.
Racism is real, it's out there, however,
many people do not recognize it as a prob-
lem in contemporary U.S. society. There is
no deeper emotional pain than to feel as
though you are not accepted, don't belong
or that you are simply not good enough
because of something you cannot control.
Except, my question to you is: Does affir-
mative action really succeed in remedying
this feeling? I would be lying if I said that
I have never had the sudden fear that I'm
here at this university not because of my
qualifications but because of my ethnicity.
I do not question whether I am an intelli-
gent person or not, nor the fact that I
deserve as much of an opportunity to suc-
ceed as others; however in the same
respect, I am hesitant to accept anything
that wronglv gives me more of an opportu-

Students should vote for
Clark in the caucuses
TO THE DAILY:
Students need to know that if they want
new leadership in the White House, they
need not wait until November to vote
against President Bush. They can start by
voting in their state's primary for retired
Gen. Wesley Clark.
Clark has come a long way in this campaign.
Most recently, he has received the endorsement
of writer Michael Moore, who believes that
Clark has the best chance of beating George W.
Bush in the November elections. However, this
is not the only reason to support Clark. The fact
is, Clark has plans that will appeal to indepen-
dent and swing voters, assuring a Democratic
victory in the fall. Unlike Howard Dean and
Dick Gephardt, Clark supports the middle-class
tax cut and would repeal Bush's upper-class tax
cut, which a majority of Americans agree with.
Clark is committed to keeping this country safe
without having to start war after endless war.
Clark has policies that will appeal to all Ameri-
cans.
Clark has served his country for his entire
adult life, and he's not about to stop now. I urge
students to vote for Clark during the primary so
we can ensure that he will be on the ballot come
this November.
DAVID GUZMAN
LSA junior
Wolverines for Clark
The word 'treason' must
not be used lightly
TO THE DAILY:
My first reaction to Chris Joseph's letter
(Cartoonist Daly guilty of 'treason,' igno-
rance, 01/14/04) was to tell him to "go back
to reading your damn Ann Coulter book!" But
no one deserves Ann Coulter. Instead I would
like to respond to him and in the process
hopefully inform those who still don't know
the meaning of the word "treason." Treason
does not mean "satirical political cartoon" in
any of the references that I checked. A person
commits an act of treason when he betrays his
country. Colin Daly hardly crossed the bound-
aries of disloyalty by creating a cartoon that
provided a commentary on the U.S. occupa-

i rY Y..,'_ . .. . '.A .a,'I.. 1..... .... _ J

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