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March 25, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-25

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 25, 2005


I Ahiiu&zI

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


It's not the
opposition that
has seized power,
it's the people
who have taken
power. "
- Kyrgyzstan opposition activist,
Ulan Shambetov, praising the fall of
the 15-year Akayev regime in the for-
mer Soviet republic, as reported yes-
terday by The Associated Press.

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Greek 101

f your only exposure
to frat guys has been
the Daily's coverage
of hazing violations, the
movie "Animal House,"
a beer pong game on
football Saturday or the
womanizing, meat-eat-
ing roommate that peed
on you freshman year, it's
time you heard a new perspective.
Chances are you've met a frat guy and didn't
even know it. When I worked at Shaman Drum
during book rush last fall, my co-workers played
a game called "pick out the frat guy." Amused, I
asked them what they thought I looked like. They
took one look at my shaggy hair and asked, "You
smoke a lot of weed?"
The truth is, Greeks are everywhere. They're
in your band and your a cappella group. They
volunteered for both Kerry and Bush last
November. They're leaders in Dance Marathon,
Detroit Project and K-grams. They represent
a variety of ethnic and cultural organizations.
They even write for the Daily.
When I came to the University freshman
year, I didn't know this. I had the same miscon-
ceptions that most people have about Greeks. In
high school, my friends and I used to talk shit
on the guys who had graduated and joined fra-
ternities at the college in our town. Then during
Rush freshman year, a guy from my dorm asked
if I wanted to check out some frats, and I said
what the hell. I ended up hitting it off with the
guys at Sigma Epsilon, and two and a half years

later I'm still active in the house.
I think most Greeks would agree that the rea-
son they joined a house is less important than
the reason they stuck with it. I enjoy partying as
much as anyone, but the reasons I give my time to
my fraternity have nothing to do with alcohol or
girls. More than anything I value the friendships
and the support we provide each other, whether
that involves intramurals, volunteering, music or
studying. At Dance Marathon last weekend, nine
other brothers and I danced to support pediat-
ric rehabilitation, and almost 30 of our brothers
showed up at some point to cheer us on. At ten
Sunday morning, when I didn't know if I could
stay awake any longer, one of my brothers sug-
gested we get some fresh air and then play basket-
ball. Afterward, I was fine for the remaining six
hours. That is the kind of brotherhood I value the
most, the stuff that rarely gets public attention.
Unfortunately, if you picked up a Daily last year,
you'd find reports of hazing violations. In these situ-
ations, the stupid things a few individuals do speak
for the whole Greek community. Serious cases
of hazing in which people get sick or injured are
unacceptable, but standards for hazing have grown
too broad. The Greek hazing policy forbids situa-
tions which cause "embarrassment," "humiliation"
or "ridicule" of an individual or group. Under this
definition, nearly every organization on campus is
guilty. Under this definition, I was hazed at Dance
Marathon last weekend. For dropping my name
tag, I had to get on stage and sing the Pepto Bismo
song about indigestion, stomach pain and diarrhea.
Other people had to sing "I'm a Little Teapot" or
dance the "Macarena." I see no problem with this

treatment, but hazing should not be viewed as a
Greek specific problem.
I'm not trying to disregard hazing: Serious
cases do occur and should be cracked down on.
I commend the Interfraternity Council Hazing
Task Force for stepping up their efforts. IFC
Vice President of Social Responsibility, Dustin
Schmuldt said, "We've expanded our hazing
task force, and we've put Greek advisors in
Markley and Alice Lloyd ... We'll never total-
ly eliminate hazing, but we're doing a lot - as
much as we can to combat it."
Measures to reduce hazing, along with the new
social policy, should be welcome improvements to
the Greek community. Whenever someone gets
hurt, be it a pledge or someone who got drunk at
a party, the liability falls on the fraternity mem-
bers' backs. The new bring your own beer rule for
parties will now put the legal and financial burden
on partygoers. Fraternities have always had sober
monitors at parties, but the new rules have solidi-
fied this system. Most Greeks have mixed emotions
about having closed parties. I'm concerned this
change will sharpen the divide between Greeks
and the rest of the campus. Schmuldt suggested
positive ramifications for Rush: "Not only will our
numbers be just as good or better, but we'll be get-
ting higher-quality guys because fraternities won't
base Rush on parties." Many people think that the
Greek system has been getting screwed over with
the new social policy, but I think it is going to foster
a stronger, more value-based Greek system.

Cravens can be reached at


Prox~d 2 deeiwed statesi
c him, wit u de
The true implications of last year's Proposal
2 ballet initiative are only starting to become
apparent. Last week, Michigan Attorney
General Mike Cox issued an opinion on the
amendment announcing that state and local
agencies can no longer negotiate to provide
heath care and other same-sex domestic part-
ner benefits to their employees. The American
Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced
Monday morning that it had filed a lawsuit
on behalf of National Pride at Work and 21
same-sex couples whose health care benefits
may be in jeopardy of termination. Several of
the plaintiffs are University employees.
Before Proposal 2 was passed, many propo-
nents insisted that it would only deny same-
sex couples the right to marry and would not
infringe on their same-sex benefits. In fact,
directly after the election, polls showed that
the majority of Michigan citizens supported
some form of recognition for same-sex cou-
ples. However, it is now obvious that Proposal
2's intent was much more far reaching than
the voters were led to believe.
If the attorney general's stance prevails,
not only will members of the University's
faculty and staff be harmed, but so will the
students of this institution. Public agencies
will no longer have the advantage of negotiat-
ing with individuals to provide equally com-
petitive incentives as private industries will.
Some of the most accomplished and talented
persons will be drawn away from the public
sector because the private industry will have
the upper hand in compensation.
In addition, several of the plaintiffs in this
lawsuit rely upon same-sex benefits in order
to provide adequate care for their children or
foster children. Without same-sex health part-
ner benefits, these children, some of whom
need 24-hour assistance, would be thrown
back into the family services program with
both parents being forced to work full time.
The citizens of the state of Michigan have
been deceived and lied to with regard to the
true impact of Proposal 2. It is now out of our
hands - we can only hope that our courts
uphold the rights and liberties afforded to us
under our constitution.
Peter A. Dietrich

than any other kind of instructor. If these posi-
tions were meant to provide graduate students
with experience at teaching, it's not clear why
people who have no wish to teach in the future
are compelled to do so in some departments.
For example, psychology graduate students
are required to teach for a minimum of four
semesters during their graduate career.
Why would departments require its graduate
students to teach, whether or not they want to?
Because if graduate students were not teach-
ing, the University would have to hire other
people to do their jobs, and would anyone from
outside the University agree to teach for eight
months for under $14,000?
In response to other aspects of Nolan's rheto-
ric, let me briefly discuss differences between
graduate programs and undergraduate educa-
tion. Departments with graduate programs
spend money to recruit applicants to come to
the University. Why? Not because they want
more tuition money or cheap labor, but because
they want the best scholars in their respective
disciplines to help maintain the reputation of
this great university. Graduate students in many
departments are funded through fellowships,
teaching, grants or by other means in order to
make it possible for them to remain here and
contribute to the intellectual milieu. Nolan may
just as easily have chosen to complain that pro-
fessors shouldn't be paid salaries, because fac-
ulty are allowed the privilege of offices, research
funds, Gold parking tags and free tuition for
family members, while Law students and under-
graduates continue to pay to study here.
Another difference between undergraduate
and graduate education is that graduate students
do not take classes throughout their graduate
careers. Most take courses for only the first
two years of their program, but continue to
pay tuition for the privilege of being allowed
to associate with the University's best scholars.
Many graduate students have their tuition "paid
for," some through teaching, as Nolan pointed
out, and others by the means I mentioned above.
"Paid for" is in quotation marks because the
process is actually called a "tuition waver," a
paper transfer of fictive "dollars."
Professional programs differ from other grad-
uate programs in that there is rarely funding in
the ways I've described. Students in professional
programs take courses throughout their time here
and can expect to earn large salaries in return for
their education (Well, except for social workers!).
Graduate students from academic programs are
not guaranteed the kind of income that dentists,
Ar-nrcn nei .vac. innarc tvniollntl akeNolan

reading the letters to the editor, I came across
one that stood out drastically - "Nadine Naber
called the Israeli people 'systematic killers of
children'. "
Let me first state that Naber, a professor,
critiqued Israeli "state policies" as opposed to
the "Israeli people." She said that a great deal
of evidence exists on the ways that the Israeli
military has systematically killed Palestinian
children, demolished Palestinian homes and
targeted pregnant women at checkpoints.
She made this point as part of a larger point
that if we have reason to question whether the
Israeli military upholds international human
rights principles, then we should support a
resolution that calls for an investigation of
funds the University invests in the Israeli
military. Her message was that the resolution
was about academic freedom and the right to
know whether the corporations in which our
university invests its money uphold interna-
tional human rights principals.
This attack on Naber shows clear disregard
for academic honesty. Or Shotan vilifies her
by misquoting her and taking her words out of
context as a strategy for silencing her call for
human rights and academic freedom (Campus
climate troubling accepts ignorance, prejudice,
03/21/2005). By vilifying Naber, he erased the
highly inflammatory and racist words of anoth-
er professor who spoke against the resolution.
We do not have to look far to find reports
put out by Israeli and international human
rights organization for evidence on the fact
that 25 percent of all Palestinians killed by
the Israeli military are children, most of them
by a shot to the head or neck - shots clearly
aiming to kill.
The claims against the resolution were
centered around the idea that it was aim-
ing only to vilify Israel, a country that is
in violation of more than 70 U.N. resolu-
tions and countless human rights laws. We
scrutinize and criticize the American gov-
ernment, the Saudi government, the Cuban
government and the government of virtually
every other country in the world. Why, then,
can we not scrutinize in any way the Israeli
government - a recipient of billions of dol-
lars in U.S. aid per year - without being
accused of spreading propaganda or being
Rama A. Sahi
LSA junior


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