David Betts on interracial
... Opinion, page 4
What baboons can teach us
about love ... Science, page 5
A different look at
... Arts, page 8
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
One-hundred-fifteen years ofeditorialfreedom
www.michiandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVI, No. 75 ®2006 The Michigan Daily
Association to hold event
about controversial depictions
of the Prophet Muhammad
By Nell Tambe
Daily Staff Reporter
The controversy over a series of car-
toons depicting the Prophet Muhammad
has reached the University.
The campus is divided over the 12 car-
toons, which have spurred violence in the
Islamic world. The cartoons, originally
published in Denmark last September,
caricature the Prophet Muhammad. In
one drawing, Muhammad's turban is a
bomb with a lit fuse. In another, Muham-
mad tells a long line of suicide bombers
at the gates of heaven that he is out of
virgins with which to reward them.
Many European newspapers recently
republished the cartoons as a show of
support for the Danish paper's right to
Some say that the newspapers had a
right to publish the cartoons, while oth-
ers say the cartoons are deeply offensive
to Muslims and should not have been
The Muslim Students Association
is holding a program that it hopes will
dispel stereotypes and achieve a higher
level of tolerance and understanding with
a presentation this Friday.
The program, which will be held in
the Pond Room of the Michigan Union
Friday at 7 p.m., will include a brief lec-
ture and discussion led by Shaykh Yousuf
Abdullah, a scholar of Islam, followed
by a showing of the PBS program "Leg-
acy of a Prophet," a documentary about
The group aims to provide a positive
spin on a negative event by educating
students about the legacy of the Prophet
Muhammad and how he has impacted the
lives of Muslims around the world, said
Sadaf Shaukat, a second-year master's
student in the School of Public Health,
who helped organize Friday's event.
Shaukat said MSA has been discussing
the issue since the cartoons were pub-
lished in Europe.
"(MSA) wanted to let the campus know
that we condemn any violent actions that
have occurred," Shaukat said.
University students have mixed opin-
ions about whether newspapers should
have published the cartoons.
LSA junior Erica Johnson said she
opposes the publication of the cartoons
because she thinks there is a difference
between the First Amendment and being
For example, Johnson said that even
though demonstrations of the Ku Klux
Klan are protected by free speech, they
are not necessarily in good taste.
LSA freshman Nikki Aken said she
finds it difficult to make a distinction
between what's appropriate and what's
"Where do you draw the line?" she said.
See CARTOONS, page 7
Ann Arbor attorney, unnamed
employee allege University did not
enforce agreement for secret society
to cease cultural appropriation
By Gabe Nelson
Daily Staff Reporter
Although Michigamua has recently sparked a
campus controversy, the University administration
remained relatively unaffected Ann Arbor lawyer
and University alum Christopher Bell filed a law-
suit against the University Board of Regents this
month over its handling of the society between
1989 and 2000.
Bell is accusing the University of failing to
enforce a 1989 agreement in which Michigamua
legally agreed to desist from using Native Ameri-
can references in its rituals.
"Michigamua has not been served with any
papers and therefore cannot comment on specific
details," Michigamua wrote in a statement to the
Daily yesterday. "However, as the organization has
honored its agreements from the past, we are confi-
dent that whatever is alleged is meritless. This has
all the feel of a further attempt at sensationalism
aimed at trying to misrepresent Michigamua."
University regents did not return phone calls
asking for comment.
The society's activities exploited Native Ameri-
can culture in a "demeaning, belittling and disre-
spectful" way, Bell wrote in his complaint.
His lawsuit rests on the accusation that Mich-
igamua appropriated Native American culture in
its rituals for more than 10 years after it signed the
The University severed its ties with the society
Whether Michigamua continued using Native
American culture after the agreement is still
When members of the Students of Color Coali-
tion took over Michigamua's meeting place in the
See LAWSUIT, page 7
GRAPHIC BY SARAH MOONEY
Once promising, Kolb's LGBT bills fizzle
'Definitely no indication'
three bills intended to defend
LGBT community will regain
momentum, representative says
By Justin Miller
Daily Staff Reporter
Momentum has faded on a trio of bills in
the state Legislature to protect the LGBT
State Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor)
introduced the three bills last June.
The first two bills would put "sexual ori-
entation and gender identity" on the list of
characteristics protected under the Michi-
gan Ethnic Intimidation Act.
The third bill would add an amendment
to include sexual orientation and gender
identity or expres-
sion to the Elliott-
Larsen Civil Rights
Act, which prevents
It looked like
Kolb's efforts were
paying off last July
when he gathered -
Republican cospon- Kolb
sors for his bills, but since then the situa-
tion has appeared steadily more dire.
At the time, Kolb felt confident state
Republicans would help the bills' chances
to reach a vote - but he has since lowered
"I have not given up hope, but right at
this moment there definitely is no indica-.
tion that it is going to get movement," Kolb
Matt Resch, spokesman for House Speak-
er Craig DeRoche (R-Novi), said there are
no current plans to address Kolb's bills in
Resch said the House is busy with this
year's budget and a high school curriculum
Kolb said he has asked for formal hear-
ings for the bills, but his requests have
Legislators shy away from supporting
LGBT-related legislation because it could
be unpopular with voters this election year,
Kolb introduced similar bills last year
when there were no elections, and they
also failed to get out of committees. That
legislation had no Republican cosponsors
and fewer Democratic cosponsors than the
LGBT advocacy groups have been sup-
portive of Kolb's bills over the past year,
but the Triangle Foundation of Michigan
- one of the state's leading advocacy
groups - has backed away from lobbying
See BILLS, page 7
Debate rages over wage raise initiative
DINING IN STYLE
Supporters of ballot intiative
to increase minimum wage say
it would help families, while
detractors say it would cost jobs
By Andrew Grossman
For the Daily
If a proposed ballot initiative passes, some
Michigan workers may have more money in their
pockets. Or they may be out of a job, depending
on who you're asking.
This was the central debate at a forum last night
This rate would be adjusted every six months
to keep pace with inflation.
Economics Prof. Frank Thompson, Mackinac
Center for Public Policy Communications Direc-
tor Chris Bachelder and John Freeman, director
of the Michigan Needs a Raise Coalition Cam-
paign, spoke at the forum.
After an introduction focusing on the econom-
ic background of the initiative from Thompson,
who voiced clear support for the wage increase,
Freeman and Bachelder dominated the debate.
"If you raise the wage rate for janitors, no jani-
tors will be laid off, but the janitors will be better
off," Thompson said. "Should we raise the mini-
raised, there is a post-raise study. There has been
no study that has proven that the sky has fallen,"
After the panelists laid out their positions,
organizers gave students time to ask questions.
One of the most passionate exchanges took
place in response to a question from Engineering
sophomore Jeffrey Hopper.
"Who is the government to decide what my
employer should pay me?" Hopper asked.
"Why should the government allow employers
to pay dirt wages, just because they can get away
with it?" Freeman responded. "The government's
role is to step in and provide some balance to the