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October 25, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-25

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 25, 2004

OPINION

+ +U 420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, M148109
tothedaily@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 pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
'There 's no such
thing as a Clinton
Republican, at least
outside of a
schizophrenic clinic."
- Nelson Warfield, spokesman for Bob
Dole's 1996 presidential campaign, as
reported yesterday by Reuters.

SAM BUTLER L
'">-~ ° td I r' "
0 /3/l = '/V I/sIr.~
0~J L r

Thanks but no thanks
DANIEL ADAMS RSESHOES AND HAN:) R ENAIES

"I found this yellow jour-
nalism to be so short sighted
and biased that it can be
summed up as nothing other
than "ignorant." Adams
has the unique opportunity
to write for one of the most
respected student news-
papers in the country. He
should start writing like
it." - Mike Lieto, Letter
to therEditor (Adams misrepresented Sigma
Chi's record of charity, 9/30/03)
That little ditty was a small excerpt of
a letter that appeared last year on this
very page, blasting me for a column
I had written criticizing Sigma Chi and its
expulsion from the Greek system.
I've been with this paper for three years
now, and in that time, I've written several
very critical columns about the Greek system.
These columns, in turn, have been my most
consistent source of angry letters, both to the
editor and to my person, justifiably upset at my
criticism of something that many on this cam-
pus care a lot about.
This column, however, won't be an angry
public roasting of the Greek system - not
entirely, anyway.
First off, I wanted to thank people like Mike
Lieto, for taking the time to give me their feed-
back of my work.
Second, I wanted to thank the Greek system,
for making me look good and people like Mike
Lieto look very, very bad.
Now, the point here isn't to gloat - again,
at least not entirely. But, with the latest

Greek scandal gracing the front pages of last
Wednesday's Daily, who could blame me for
taking a moment to reflect on what have been
two terrible, embarrassing, disgraceful years
for the University's Greek system.
In the time that I've worked for this paper,
a hazing ritual at Sigma Chi led to a pledge
being hospitalized for kidney failure and the
fraternity being booted off campus.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Kappa Epsi-
lo were involved in a multi-person brawl last
February.
The Interfraternity Council and the Panhel-
lenic Association were embarrassed last year
when they sent one of their members to the
hospital with alcohol poisoning.
Now this latest crisis - allegations of a haz-
ing scandal implicating seven houses on campus,
the most shocking of which is a case in which
intoxicated sorority pledges were forcibly stripped
and put into a room with similarly intoxicated fra-
ternity pledges. One can only imagine what could
have happened next.
Unquestionably, my preference is that the
Greek system fix what's wrong with it. Unfor-
tunately, it has time and time again proven
unwilling or unable to do this. Last year, the
University proposed a number of changes
designed to, "adopt proactive practices to pre-
vent hazing." The Greek system opposed these
changes. This fall, the University announced
that it was dropping the proposal. None of the
changes have been adopted.
So, as my optimism that the Greek system will
right itself wanes, I'll settle for the smug sense of
satisfaction that comes at having my conclusions
confirmed time and time again. So, seriously guys,

thanks! Not only are you guys actively helping
me, one of your most ardent detractors, paint your
organization negatively in print, but you're mak-
ing your allies - those who have stuck their col-
lective necks out defending you - look like fools.
They wrote me. They called me out. Told me that
I am a jerk. That the Greek system was more than
just date rape and hazing scandals.
And boy, are you guys proving them wrong.
So given that you folks can't or won't help
out your most ardent supporters, I will. I'll
save them the trouble of writing me this time,
by pointing out the best of the dozens of excus-
es that I've received: "This goes on in every
dorm, on every college campus in the coun-
try." "The Greek system does a lot of good."
"We're working on these problems, and all you
do is criticize."
The answer to each is yes. Yes, all of the above
are absolutely true.
But charity and good intentions only get you so
far. They certainly don't excuse much, and they
do even less to account for the deafening silence
that inevitably follows any Greek scandal. Every
time it happens, everyone acts surprised, as if they
really didn't know this was going on. But ask any
Greek member in private, and they know. And if
not, they're the only ones who don't.
Last year, after the Sigma Chi incident broke,
then IFC President Branden Muhl said the fol-
lowing, " It's absolutely unfathomable what would
produce or provoke hazing such as this."
Now, one year and several scandals later,
are we still this confused?
Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu.

4

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Viewpoint leaves graduate
student 'flabbergasted'
TO THE DAILY:
As an engineering graduate student look-
ing to graduate in about a year, I'm starting to
know the frustrations of job searching. Fur-
ther, I think I can understand how frustrating it
could be for noncitizens to be turned down for
interview after interview because of their citi-
zenship status. However, we shouldn't let our
frustrations and bitterness drive us to make
unreasonable accusations as to why we don't
get certain jobs, which is what I feel Walid El-
Asmar did in his written viewpoint (Following
Through, 10/21/04).
I must say, when I read that piece, I was a lit-
tle ... flabbergasted. Beginning with his accu-
sation that a policy of preferential hiring of
U.S. citizens is unjust, El-Asmar moved right
into some passive-aggressive insults aimed at
the quality of the U.S. student body, and then
devolved into some erratic rant about how this
all leads to suicide bombings in Gaza. I think,
overall, the underlying message is that Walid
El-Asmar is pissed because no one will hire
him because they think he's a terrorist. I'll
make one concession and say that he might be
right about that. However, his broader argu-
ment that it is unjust for some U.S. companies
to require employees to have U.S. citizenships
is, I think, ridiculous. There are other merits to
look at besides technical skills, and I think a
U.S. citizenship is a real merit for many com-
panies. Here are a few reasons why:
For one, a significant number of these
employers are laboratories or contractors
that work on classified technology and have
to deal with issues of national security. Also,
even some non-contractors have to deal with
"export control" on some technologies. So,
it really isn't practical for them to hire non-
citizens because these noncitizens couldn't
work on these types of projects. Besides these
direct national security issues, there is also
the issue of accountability. There is a charac-
ter requirement to getting a U.S. citizenship,
and a lot of companies like to see that. Also,
if a person has gone through the trouble of
getting his citizenship, it demonstrates a com-
mitment to staying here, increasing the likeli-
hood that the prospective hiree will make a
permanent career of his or her new job and.
not run off with conmnanv secret to work in

the employers are "discriminating" against. I know
a few European students having the same troubles
finding themselves a job.
Trevor Strickler
Rackham
American companies
justified in requiring
employees to be citizens
TO THE DAILY:
While I appreciate the frustration of finding a
job in today's environment, I believe that Walid El-
Asmar overlooked two major factors in his recent
viewpoint (Following through, 10/21/04).
The first factor is simple, and hopefully not too
controversial. Many of the companies represented at
the career fair were either U.S. agencies (CIA, NSA,
NRC, etc.) or defense contractors (Northrop Grum-
man, General Dynamics, etc.) who require employ-
ees to obtain a security clearance.
Security clearances cannot be given to foreign
nationals, and so these types of companies do not
hire foreign nationals, as they cannot obtain the nec-
essary security clearances. I do not believe this is
discriminatory, it's just common sense that if you're
doing classified government work, you need to be a
U.S. citizen.
El-Asmar continues in his viewpoint to say that
"Any nationality-based policy ... is a form of dis-
crimination." He neglects to mention that in many
other countries around the world, foreigners are gen-
erally prohibited from seeking employment.
In Germany (and most European Union countries)
for example, non-EU citizens may not seek employ-
ment except under exceptional circumstances, and
even then may not be allowed to work permanently.
In Egypt, companies are restricted to the number of
foreigners they may employ. Engineering jobs are
leaving the United States and landing in countries
that won't even allow Americans to work. Is it so
wrong for U.S. companies to protect those jobs still
left and offer preferences to American citizens?
The United States still allows foreigners to work
within its borders, but this is a privilege and not a
right. I hope that we never are in a situation like Ger-
many, where due to high unemployment, foreigners
are mostly excluded from the job market. However,
America has neither the obligation nor the ability to
employ the world.
We allow foreigners to work here because we find
many benefits, both cultural and practical, but this is
not somethine that should he taken for granted .Is

has made monumental mistakes by discrimi-
nating against others. We pride ourselves in
being a land of justice, equality and freedom,
yet we consistently deny rights to individuals
based on race, religious beliefs, sex, ethnicity
and now sexuality.
Michigan law already denies homosexuals the
right to marry. However, Proposal 2 requests that
we add this denial of rights to our state constitu-
tion. If voters pass Proposal 2, however, they will
not simply re-affirm their stance against gay mar-
riage, but will also unintentionally do much more.
The proposal's language insists on the elimination
of legal recognition "similar" to marriage "for
any purpose." Therefore, voters will also elimi-
nate homosexuals' eligibility for civil unions and
more importantly, health insurance and other such
benefits from their employers. This unnecessary
removal of benefits would also deny those benefits
to the children of any homosexual couples.
Proposal 2 is not worth taking away the ben-
efits of even one child., No matter what stance
you take on homosexual marriage, every person
within Michigan should agree that all children are
entitled to health insurance and benefits. No child
should be left behind because of discrimination.
No child should be left behind because of unnec-
essary initiatives. No child should be left behind
for any purpose at any time. However, Proposal 2
would leave many children behind, simply to re-
affirm what is already illegal. Homosexuals do
not have the right to marry in Michigan. Proposal
2 is unnecessary and would hurt Michigan fami-
lies and children.
Proposal 2 is also a mistake because it asks
voters to rubber stamp discrimination in our
society. America has discriminated against many
groups throughout her history, most notably
against Native Americans, blacks and women.
Our nation has been faced with many choices,
and we always seem to make the wrong ones.
Generation after generation, Americans have
been forced to undo mistakes made against oth-.
ers. We still fight daily to guarantee equality to
blacksand even women in the workforce. Michi-
gan voters are now faced with another choice.
We may choose to yet again allow discrimina-
tion, adding it to our much-beloved constitu-
tion, or we can stand up against discrimination,
attempting to stop the epidemic that has spread
throughout America. We can be one of the first
states to say "NO!" and we must.
We must live up to Martin Luther King Jr.'s
words: "I have a dream that one dav this nation

Si

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