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October 19, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-19

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 19, 2005

OPINION

be Lkbigan iail

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
If I had a dollar
for every time Mr.
Kilpatrick parsed the
truth ... we'd have a
surplus of $300 million."
- Detroit mayoral candidate Freman
Hendrix speaking Monday at the second
mayoral debate, as reported yesterday
by the Detroit Free Press.

MICHELLE BIEN THE BEAN ARCHIVS

I

I'M $
HOT.

GRO2S S !
0

I ..

40

No Child Left Behind
JEFF CRAVENS JAY H A\WK B ES

m his summer
ISworked for
a therapeutic
program for emotion-
ally and behavior-
ally challenged youth.
During staff training,
the director of the
program told us: No
child is beyond the
care of Wediko.
Boys and girls, ages
7 to 18, converged on a lakeside camp in New
Hampshire for a six-week program. All Wed-
iko children have difficulties coping with the
daily demands of their lives. Most have emo-
tional or psychological problems and are aca-
demically behind their peers. Many are violent
or withdrawn. Some have been thrown out
of schools or foster homes. Others have been
hospitalized or jailed. There is a common
tendency to abandon these youngsters, but
the consequences of doing so are devastating.
Therefore, no matter how many times a child
at Wediko ran away, acted out violently or told
us to "go fuck ourselves," we didn't give up.
There were no throw-away kids.
What if America shared this ideal? Accord-
ing to a report released by Amnesty Interna-
tional and Human Rights Watch on Oct. 12,
"There are at least 2,225 child offenders serv-
ing life without parole (LWOP) sentences in
U.S. prisons for crimes committed before they
were age 18. ... Outside of the United States,
there are only about 12 young offenders cur-
rently serving life sentences with no possibil-
ity of parole."
We've labeled these children irredeemable;
unforgivable and unworthy of freedom for the

rest of their lives - before they could vote or
buy cigarettes. The pattern of throwing kids
away doesn't stop there. Since the '90s, the
number of schools embracing zero-tolerance
policies - which kick out kids who probably
need to stay in school the most - has dra-
matically increased. In two recent cases in
Michigan, prosecutors have used anti-terror-
ism laws to convict teens that had threatened
violence. We seem to be looking for more
ways to condemn kids, to give them a one-
way ticket to prison.
What if you decide to work with these kids
instead of punishing them - what do you
do first? During training, I learned about the
hierarchy of needs, which says that a person
must attain basic human needs like food and
shelter before they can work on emotional
and psychological needs. Following this prin-
ciple, we made sure every child at Wediko
had more than enough to eat and drink and
that they had adequate clothing and hygiene
products and that they felt safe. If these basic
needs were not met, we could not expect them
to talk about their feelings and begin working
on their problems.
You have to help children understand the
thoughts and feelings behind their actions
before you can develop appropriate alterna-
tives and coping strategies. My supervisor told
us that a disruptive behavior is not the problem
but that child's personal solution. For example,
a boy may feel threatened in large groups of
people - his problem - so he runs away
when surrounded by people - his solution.
By simply telling him to stop running away or
punishing him, you will at best only temporar-
ily get him to stop running away. You haven't
addressed his underlying anxiety in large

groups. Only by attacking the real problem
- by unveiling thoughts and feelings - can
a child find lasting solutions.
This approach - perhaps because I've never
taken a college psychology class - was revo-
lutionary to me. What if, instead of throwing
kids out of school and giving them long sen-
tences, we tried to understand the underlying
causes of their behaviors? What if we did the
same for adult criminals? A former guard at a
Michigan prison told me - a statement echo-
ing other guards and ex-offenders I've spoken
to - that there is no rehabilitation in U.S.
prisons. Lacking mental treatment resources,
social programs and other nonprison alterna-
tives, we rely on long sentences in warehouses
that harden criminals. It's no wonder we have
a two-thirds recidivism rate. Crime is often the
solution for problems - psychological, per-
sonal and societal - of the individual offend-
ers. When we start looking at these problems,
including economic disparities and the lack of
basic needs, we may find the finger pointed
back in our own faces.
In this brief column, I have touched on only
a few elements of the Wediko model. I have not
talked about the individualized class work, the
family and group therapy and the wide range of
activities. I have not described the major success
stories that I witnessed, nor have I described the
mini triumphs: foraging for wild blue berries,
jumping out of a canoe for the first time, catching
your first fish. After witnessing these victories
and seeing the joy in a child's face, you realize
that they are worth all the care in the world. They
cannot be thrown away.

0

Cravens can be reached at
jjcrave @umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
An open letter from the Coke-Campaign Coalition

0I

BY THE COKE-CAMPAIGN COALITION
To the University Administration:
You created the Dispute Review Board to
ensure that the corporations with which the
University does business adhere to basic ethi-
cal business and labor practices as framed in
the Vendor Code of Conduct. A complaint was
filed against The Coca-Cola Company, and
after many months, the board found "convinc-
ing evidence of a lack of compliance with the
VCC" regarding Coke's human rights abuses
in Colombia and environmental degradation in
India. The DRB set a firm deadline of Sept. 30
for Coke to agree in writing to a comprehen-
sive, independent, third-party investigation.
On Sept. 30, you received a letter from
Coca-Cola mere hours before the deadline.
The letter came, but the agreement was miss-
ing. Nowhere in this letter did Coke expressly
agree to cooperate with an independent inves-
tigation. Instead, Coke sent a carefully crafted
response stating, " ... (W)e proposed that
a working group be made up of a number of
administrators, faculty and students to look
at the feasibility of conducting a third party
assessment of current conditions in Colombia
and India." This statement does not pronounce
agreement to any sort of investigation. Rather,
it creates a legal loophole through which Coke
could reject cooperation. Additionally, the
DRB has made it clear that it expects an inves-
tigation of the allegations against Coke. Coke
refers to an "assessment," which indicates that
the company still refuses to acknowledge the

severity of the allegations or any culpability.
The letter also included several pages
of misleading statements and outright lies
regarding the supposed improvements made
in the affected communities in India and
Colombia and the company's "coopera-
tion" with the working group outlining an
investigation. First, none of the claims of
improvement have been verified in any way
by the people in India or Colombia. Second,
instead of acting in good faith and agreeing
to a standard of transparency, Coca-Cola has
instead attempted to stall and undermine
the progress of the investigation by insist-
ing on attempting to "edit" the terms of the
investigation in ways that would effectively
destroy its validity, including the unreason-
able demands that only present conditions
be assessed and that findings not be used by
litigants in an ongoing lawsuit against Coca-
Cola. Given that the lawsuit concerns the
murder of one of the Colombian workers, it
is disturbing that Coke would preemptively
seek to conceal the results of the investiga-
tion. These demands have stalled the process
of drafting the methodology for the investi-
gation, giving Coke further excuse to delay
the investigative process.
In prior meetings, you had promised the stu-
dent coalition would be notified immediately
upon receipt of Coke's letter. Though this letter
was received on Sept. 30, when students called
the office of Peggy Norgren, the University's
associate vice president for finance, on that day,
we were told that no letter had been received.

We found out from a Daily reporter several days
later, after Norgren was phoned at her home.
Furthermore, the letter itself was purposely
withheld from students until an even later date.'
The student campaign is dismayed by the
University administration's continued dishon-
esty and evasiveness in dealings with us. We
began this campaign with faith that we could
effectively work together. However, after almost
a year of meetings, commissions, e-mails and
letters, after playing by your rules, no mat-
ter how convincing our arguments are, your
responses have been unacceptable. It seems that
you are more inclined to listen to corporate dou-
blespeak than to the concerns of your students.
The administration is failing to enforce its own
Vendor Code of Conduct, and in the process, is
complicit with Coca-Cola's crimes.
Your DRB found these actions by Coke in
violation of the VCC. The DRB set a deadline
for Coke to agree to an investigation by Sept. 30.
Coke missed this deadline. We call on Execu-
tive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer
Timothy Slottow, Norgren and the University
administration to act now. We demand that the
contract be cut before Nov. 1. If you do not take
action, this campaign will be escalated.
This letter was delivered to University
President Mary Sue Coleman, Associate
Vice-President for Finance Peggy Norgren
and Executive Vice President and Chief Finan-
cial Officer Timothy Slottow on Oct. 14. The
Coke-Campaign Coalition wishes to make it
available to the wider campus community.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Shortened library hours
take the 'study' out of
Fall Study Break
To THE DAILY:
Oct. 17 and 18 are given to us as "Fall Study
Break," meant for us to, well, study. One would
assume that a very practical place to study is
at our glorious University libraries. However,
during our "study break," we are unable to use

call this vacation "Fall Break?"
Kurt Beyerchen
LSA senior
Armed with yellow pom-
pons, student section helped
Wolverines to victory

just like the team. The lackluster participation
in the maize-out was made up for by the daz-
zling displaying of thousands of yellow pom-
pons. Cheers that are usually only done in small
pockets were done by the whole section. People
shouted down the Penn State offense throughout
the entire game, and in perhaps the biggest dif-
ference from earlier games, did not quiet down
after Penn State made a first down, but rather got
louder and louder as Penn State moved closer to

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns,
John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg,
Eric Jackson, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Will Kerridge, t

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