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March 31, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-31

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 31, 2003

OPINION.

R '& 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANARBOR, MI 48109
nion.michigandaily.comr
tot hedaily@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
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
It's just crazy.
We haven't been
involved in politics
since Morris the Cat
ran for president in
1988."
- H.J Heinz company spokeswoman
Debbie Foster, referring to
Presidential candidate John Kerry's
marriage to Teresa Heinz Kerry,
as reported yesterday by Reuters.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

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Liberals behaving badly
DANIEL ADAMS SPITTING INTO THE WIND

he activist group
commonly referred
to as BAMN has
developed quite a reputa-
tion for itself on campus.
Despised by the Right and
ostracized by the main-
stream Left, BAMN is
clearly a group that has
alienated itself from the
majority of the student body.
Its platform isn't the problem. In fact,
many students, as well as most University
administrators, support its key positions on
affirmative action and race-based admissions
policies. The problem is its tactics. Its mem-
bers are loud, obnoxious and clearly aren't
interested in dialogue. Often, individuals
with a different point of view are just shouted
down, or worse, called racist. Simply put,
BAMN is just offensive.
Groups like BAMN illustrate clearly the
consequences of advocating for the right
issues, in entirely the wrong way. The issues
lose an otherwise important voice, and people
ignore an otherwise important point of view.
When I heard that there was a new stu-
dent group on campus, Student Voices in
Action, I was excited. In response to the
proposed cuts to several key student servic-
es, SVA coordinated large student protests
on the Diag and outside the Fleming Admin-
istration Building. Shockingly, they had a
coherent message. They oppose the changes to
the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness
Center. They oppose funding cuts to the Office
of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Affairs. They want Trotter House to finally get
the funding to renovate. They demand
increased student representation at the admin-
istrative level. Check, check and check. To top
it off, they have a great slogan: "Royster cut
student services and all I got was this lousy T-
shirt." I was so excited, my little liberal heart
started going pitter-patter.
Then they broke it in two.
After meeting with several of their
organizers, I realized that some of their
other assertions range from the highly
debatable to the completely outrageous.
They claim the University isn't committed
to diversity, despite a multi-year, multi-
million dollar defense of its race-con-
scious admission policies. They want the
University to give students more than a say
in the administrative process, with veto
power, yes, veto power, over decisions
regarding student affairs.
Then, they took this questionable wish list
and went on the offensive - and did it as
offensively as possible. They demanded a
meeting with University President Mary Sue
Coleman at the Trotter House, at you guessed
it, 12 o'clock - high noon. Coleman came
as requested to meet with the activists.
Apparently, the conversation went something*
like this:
SVA: We demand these things.
Coleman: Well, that's a complica ...
SVA: We demand yes or no answers.
Coleman: I wish you'd let me answ ...
SVA: Yes or no.
Funny, not a damn thing came out of the
meeting.

SVA member Clair Morrissey had this to
say regarding the event: "It's important to
engage in the kind of dialogue we did today. I
would have hoped the administrators were
more open to listening."
Listening? They interrupted and shouted
their demands over the president of a major
university who had amicably agreed to meet
with their group. Dialogue? If that is SVA's
definition of dialogue, they're in worse trouble
than I thought.
It's true that the University has been
stalling on these issues for years. It is under-
standable that many in SVA are frustrated
that it's taken so long to get heard by the Uni-
versity. But that only makes the events that
occurred on Monday all the more tragic -
that provided with the long-awaited opportu-
nity to discuss and advocate for their issues,
they instead chose the tactics of desperate
and frustrated men and women. That's just
not how you get things done - that's how
you get marginalized and ignored. It sounds
to me as if SVA, like so many other contem-
porary student movements, just doesn't have
the patience to barter with the administration.
Now Fleming, justifiably offended by their
tactics, probably won't listen to them. Sum-
mer will come. SVA will probably die, and
along with them, any momentum that could
have been carried into the fall.
The student body will get screwed.
And all we'll have to show for it will be the
lousy T-shirts.

4
I

Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu.

Not in their backyard
ARI PAUL FOUGHT THE LAW
magine having the only that, but representatives of the house Anti Arbor Tenants Union, the only housing
police come to your went out of their way to attend a meeting resource students could take advantage of.
house because you with police officials, Crockett and a repre- Affordable housing is simply becoming
had a handful of kids on sentative of the Inter-Cooperative Council more and more inaccessible to students. It
the front porch enjoying at the dispute resolution center near the is those that want to raise property values
rare, pleasant evening Courthouse to hammer out compromises who keep granny flats, small apartments
weather. Imagine your with the neighborhood. rented out in the basement or the back of a
house being banned But despite the efforts to appease single-family home, illegal in the city.
from having parties, Rausen, nothing seems to be good enough. Because these units are typically rented to
when you've been hav- Even the co-op's treasured public garden is students in more modest financial situa-
ing similar parties for last several decades a point of contention. Some have speculat- tions, the intransigence of associations
without your neighbors raising a peep. ed that the pressure for the co-op to reform working to increase property values is just
Imagine having a neighbor circulate a peti- is an attempt to raise property values in making our "Athens of the Midwest" that
tion seeking to place you as a public nui- the area. much more economically exclusive.
sance for living the way you have for years This is only an extreme case of the big- And this is all happening while subur-
and years. ger threats student housing is facing. ban sprawl is quite literally strangling the
This is the state that the Michigan "I think it's fair to say that (the OFWA) city from the outside and high demand for
Cooperative House on North State Street is represents a very specific point of view downtown housing due to a lack of Univer-
in. Since last year, the co-op has received that's not necessarily hostile to all students sity housing helps the landlords keep the
11 noise violations, called in by a handful or renters but definitely favors homeown- rents up. While the University's new hous-
of local homeowners, one of whom is a ers," said Julia Lipman, an Engineering ing director, Carole Henry, says she is eager
part of the Old Fourth Ward Association. graduate student and a resident of the Old to develop new residence halls, it may be
And this is definitely something new. Fourth Ward neighborhood. too little, too late, as the University has let
Christine Crockett, chair of the OFWA, Lipman, who is involved with the city's the housing crisis climax at a point when
said, "I have lived in this neighborhood for Cool Cities task force said, "neighborhood the budget is severally crippled.
24 years, and until quite recently I have associations in general should have less Fellow students, our way of life is in
never had a problem with the co-ops." power - if city government is really con- danger. Our financial ability to maintain a
While the OFWA has been generally cerned with making Ann Arbor cool and campus-area community is in the
conciliatory, one activist in particular, holding on to that 20 to 34 demographic, crosshairs of the suburban resistance to the
David Rausen, a graduate student and they should balance the viewpoints of one institution that puts this town on the
OFWA homeowner, has been the bane of groups like (the OFWA) with those of stu- map. They want to take our student culture
Michigan House's existence. He has been dents and younger residents, who don't away and impose their way onto us. And
known to personally make sure that the generally have that kind of organization." they want to make sure we pay through the
house is cited even for the most minor Why don't we have this kind of organiza- nose just to have a place to sleep at night.
civil infraction, said Andrea Hunwick, the tion? For one, because the city wards are ger- So this is Ann Arbor. Tolerant, liberal
co-op's president, which has impeded the rymandered so that students can't have a Ann Arbor.
house's ability to operate. unified voice that would be represented on
"We want to cooperate, we want to have the City Council. Furthermore, the Michigan Paul can be reached
a good relationship," Hunwick said. Not Student Assembly effectively dissolved the at aspaul@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I

SAE, Greek system
unfairly targeted in article
To THE DAILY:
I don't know what the Daily's problem is with
my organization, but I think it is high time for an
apology. I had an exchange with the Daily over the
misreporting about Sigma Alpha Epsilon's
involvement in the Delta Kappa Epsilon situation a
month ago and how your lies nearly cost us our
fraternity and our place to live. The Daily didn't
pause to get the facts, and you reported way too
fact i,-.nn xnn -Aa ih1 0 hP0A1n (Alhnmp l

tion. The Daily has always been keen on disparag-
ing the Greek system in its pages with false head-
lines that often have no factual backing. I think
you need to put a stop to your campaign to unjust-
ly ruin SAE's reputation. I quote Dustin Nelson
when he said your next headline should read, "113
years of editorial freedom fails in attempt to end
115 years of brotherhood."
DREw BEEsm
LSA junior
The letter writer is a former president of
SigmaAlpha Epsilon
Editor's note:According to today's Daily article,
while the alleged victim now maintains that the sexual

drawn to the conclusion that the interests of many
of the social frats are simply incongruous with
those of the University. Even if evidence shows
consent on the behalf of the woman, the testimony
of the friend is indicative of the institutionalized
victimization occurring at social frats, and not only
of women. From the BB gun incident several years
ago to the fairly recent kidney failure due to over-
exhaustion, pledges are forced through a bizarre
and dangerous boot camp in which their individu-
ality is stripped for the sake of "brotherhood." This,
for one, is completely antithetical to the ideals of
the American college experience, in which youth is
given the chance for self-expression and realization
of its individuality through study, art, sports, etc.

-$,L3 . fi-l (.4,4Li

a

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