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March 30, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-30

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 30, 2005

OPINION

Te uwa

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN-ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Hell no.
- U.N. Secretary General Kofi
Annan, when asked at a press
conference whether he will resign over
the oil-for-food scandal, as reported
yesterday by The Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER RECCLED SOAP13X.
Do you think
having a big-time commencement No, of course I wasn't going
speaker is im portant ? not. to go anyw ay. _91 A,

Three reasons not to despise GEO
JORDAN SCHRADER PRT' HURONS ATMENTF
n T h u r s d a y our papers are not the proletariat. And when they share his benefits. That's it. No requirement that
afternoon, I tried make a big ruckus every three years at contract the two people be married or meet any qualifica-
to explain to some time about their plight, threatening to bring the tions as partners.
of my roommates why they University to a halt if they don't get their way, it Advocates of gay rights can cheer this plan
shouldn't cross the picket can alienate some undergraduates who question because it puts same-sex and opposite-sex rela-
lines that graduate student their dubious complaints. tionships on the same level. And conservatives
instructors had formed out- So I'd like to focus on the positive aspects of will note that the plan removes their biggest com-
side University buildings. GEO, and some reasons to support the union - plaint about same-sex benefits: that they give
The reasons to stay away even if you question its scare tactics and its claims "special treatment" to gay couples, discriminating
from class that day seemed of being oppressed. Here are three things to con- against unmarried heterosexual partners. If this
so obvious to me that I had trouble even articulat- sider about GSIs: innovative solution spreads, it could end all ratio-
ing them: Crossing a picket line is something that "Whatever you did not do for one of the least nal objections to same-sex benefits.
is just not done. I think I began learning that les- of these, you did not do for me." A culture of respect
son around the time my mother was pushing me in Apologies for quoting Jesus in defense of GEO. In its 30-year history, GEO has forced the Uni-
a stroller along a teachers' union picket line. But the union has consistently looked out for the versity to take GSIs seriously and consider what
I tried to explain to my friends that respecting a least of its members. It has made the most mar- would happen if these instructors, the foundation of
picket line means respecting the unions that created ginal groups, which would be easiest to cast aside, undergraduate education, stopped working. More
the middle class and stood up to corporate America the centerpiece of its campaigns. importantly, decades of GEO action have created a
on behalf of the common man. I told them that if The union stood behind parents in 2002, per- campus culture of fairness that is now bearing fruit,
they saw unions as corrupt rackets, meddling in the suading the administration to nearly double child prompting other groups to unionize and demand
free market and exploiting their benevolent employ- care subsidies and investigate the availability of redress of their own grievances. Some of those
ers, it was only because the people who run this child care on campus. grievances are much more significant than GEO's.
country have promoted that image. This year, it is looking out for its transgender Until inspiration from GEO led them to union-
And then my opponents pulled out their members. GEO has already persuaded the Univr- ize, lecturers had no idea year to year whether they
trump card. sity to add anti-discrimination clauses concerning would be working. The University could drop
All well and good, my roommates said, but "gender identity." And while I'm skeptical about them at a whim. Last year these instructors won
GSIs are still a bunch of whiny slackers who have GEO's demand for health care benefits that cover greater job security and increased wages. Now the
their entire education paid for and still complain sex-change operations, it does reflect a deep con- clerical workers at the University, fearing the axe
about not making enough in salary and benefits. cern by the union for the rights of the minority. of budget cuts, are trying to unionize.
It's hard to defend against that kind of A win-win situation for couples As long as GEO'sdemandsmaintainamodicum
argument. The Graduate Employees' Organi- Another GEO demand that may end up being of common sense, the group also fosters a culture
zation just doesn't have a platform that's easy too impractical and expensive to gain any traction of respect for unions among the undergraduates
to rally behind. is the "designated beneficiary." But if the admin- who watch it battle the University. Which is why
While some students take out enormous loans istration does agree to some version of this plan, I wish these GSIs were more cautious. They are
and work a full-time job to make ends meet while it could have positive repercussions beyond the helping to mold the opinions of undergraduates
attending graduate school, a typical GSI has he University. It could go a long way toward making about workers' rights. It would be too bad if they
full tuition bill paid and also earns about $20 an a compromise in the culture wars. went on strike based on exaggerated complaints
hour. He receives health and dental benefits for GEO understandably doubts that same-sex ben- and ended up souring impressionable young stu-
himself and his dependents, along with a stipend efits will survive the legal fight over the meaning dents on the whole labor movement.
to cover some day care costs. of Proposal 2, which banned gay unions in Michi-
The people who awkwardly lead our discus- gan. So the GSIs want to expand benefits. Under Schrader can be reached at
sion sections and write illegible comments on the GEO plan, one adult chooses another adult to jtschrad@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
V.] not a top die inU 1 ofconservative had been signed to speak, there torical fact is that the manifesto's creation resulted
would be an outcry that liberals were being dis- from a collective process involving the entirety of
7Ul COnlflwrlc criminated against. Students for a Democratic Society. While Hayden
The truth is I would be proud if anyone agreed was the chief stylist (chair of the "styles" com-
To THE DAY: to speak when I graduate next year, but I won't be mittee), the ideas presented in the document were
I was taught that attending graduation was to surprised if no one comes. After all, who wants contributed by a wide range of members over a six-
feel pride at all one accomplished in his years at to deal with a bunch of spoiled children who do month period. The true power of the Port Huron
school. Upon reading the article Speaker Choice nothing but whine and throw tantrums without all Statement lies in its collective, continual author-
Irks Students (03/29/2005), I was horrified but not the facts? ship. A living document, it is meant to evolve ove
surprised. I always knew this school was filled I support any decision Brown makes, and the time based on society's experiences.
with superficial and childish, spoiled adolescents, graduating class can stare at the hole it dug for itself Given the changes that have taken place since
but I am embarrassed that it is so blatant now. and future graduates. Thank you for allowing your the time of its creation, it seems appropriate - and
I suggest that this year's speaker, John Seely immaturity to show and hurt the rest of us. necessary - that the radicals, progressives and
Brown, should not show up and let the graduat- Keesha Pulse active members of our generation initiate a multi-
ing class of 2005 realize why no "large name" LSA junior faceted, collective process to identify unifying
could be found to speak. The truth is, no one principles and create our own dialogue with society.
wants to come speak at the University! The New Port J We must define ourselves outside of the assump-
immaturity is too overwhelming, and at the rate . tions and limitations created by mass media, the
it is progressing, we will be lucky to have any needMe to (1 aW SS 1UL()S iSSueS government and society at large, and within ou
speaker come next year. The graduating class is own ideological and moral perspectives. A new
too superficial to realize it's not how popular the To THE DAILY: collective statement is needed to express the con-
speaker is, it's what he has to say. He isn't sign- The 40th Anniversary Teach-In was a great cerns we have regarding the world we have inher-
ing autographs; he is being inspirational. success, and the Daily's article about the event ited. Through the collective effort to create such a
I read that people were suggesting Secretary (Hayden, other activists convene for teach-in, manifesto, we will not only increase the sense of
of State Condoleezza Rice as a speaker, but they 03/24/2005) describes the night well. However, community among each other, but may also con-
need to realize that no conservative will speak I wanted to make clear a point regarding Tom tribute to larger social movements of our times.
here. They are booed every time they approach Hayden and the Port Huron Statement. While the Connect the dots ...
campus, so why should they free up time to come Daily credits Hayden with the authorship of the Adam White
here and be humiliated? I will also bet that if a document, this is not the case. The social, his- LSA junior
VIEWPOINT
Combating the 'refugee threat'

M

0

BY EMILY BEAM
Vive La Casa, a refugee shelter in Buffalo,
N.Y., was once packed with hopeful individuals
and families seeking a new life. This organiza-
tion works with asylum-seekers who are heading
from the United States into Canada and provides
them with food, shelter and legal assistance. Since
January, however, the building has stood nearly
silent due to the recent enactment of the Safe Third
Country Agreement, which has made it much more
difficult for refugees to enter Canada from the
United States. While thousands of refugees made
appointments to enter Canada in the month prior

the second country will be exempt. Americans
can sleep better at night knowing that the refugee
"threat" is under control. Preventing refugees that
land in the United States from applying in Canada
would have a minimal impact on national security.
It hurts asylum-seekers because it is far easier to
obtain visas and airfare to the United States, but
Canada employs a much more fair and inclusive
immigration policy. While maintaining this pat-
tern of refugee exchange between the U.S.-Cana-
dian border is hardly a long-term solution, it is the
only way for refugees to cope with the current sys-
tem. Canada approved this agreement under pres-
sure to tighten its immigration policy and with the

ings. Living conditions at these detention centers
are bleak - only one center out of 19 was found to
treat detained refugees any differently than crimi-
nals, and the report gave numerous accounts of
physical and mental abuse at these facilities.
There are many valid ways to combat the
threat of terrorism. Instead of wasting time
and money on the fruitless endeavors to protect
Americans from the refugee "threat," the federal
government must take action to improve border
security in a way that neither infringes on Amer-
icans' civil liberties, nor prevents refugees from
receiving a fair evaluation of their claims. The
government can improve security by centraliz-

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