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February 16, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-16

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 16, 2006

OPINION

cbe MIirbigan it i

STEPHEN BUSCH. N RAPER

LETTERS
TO THE EDITOR

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DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

ASHLEY DINGES
Managing Editor

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Door-locking campaign not
the way to prevent crime

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

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

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VIEWPOINT
Sweat-free campaign needed

BY ARIA EVERTS, ART REYES
AND RYAN BATES
Every article of clothing that bears the Uni-
versity logo was made in a sweatshop. This
means the worker who produced your sweatshirt
is probably in an exploitative situation. Perhaps
she has to take birth control and perform sexual
favors to keep her job. Or maybe his passport was
taken upon arriving at a new country to work,
and now he's trapped in the factory with no out-
side contacts. Management in sweatshops will
verbally, physically and sexually abuse workers.
They will fire the brave leaders who try to stand
up to this injustice, thus preventing any kind of
union that workers might try to organize. On top
of all these abuses, workers may make pennies
an hour during 14-hour shifts.
The University knows that its apparel has
always been made in these conditions, and it has
taken some steps to change this fact. In 2001,
the University accepted the Code of Conduct for
University of Michigan Licensees after Students
Organizing for Labor and Economic Equal-
ity put the pressure on administration. Among
other things, SOLE conducted a 53-hour sit-in
at the office of then-University President Lee
Bollinger. The code specifies that everything
bearing the University logo must be made in
sweat-free conditions. The University also
joined the Worker's Rights Consortium, a body
that monitors factories that create University
apparel.
However, these choices have shortcomings.
Just writing out standards and "monitoring" fac-
tories does little for the workers in this type of
industry. Clothing brands do not own the textile
factories that produce our clothes. Brands like
Nike or Adidas take bids from many different
factories and hire the one that costs the least. But
if workers in a factory appeal for better working
conditions, the brand can simply "cut and run,"
and move its business elsewhere. Workers fear
that their requests for better conditions and fair
pay will cause brands to abandon the factory,
shutting it down.
Instead of this "race to the bottom," SOLE
and other student groups across the country
would like to see a "race to the top." If the
University accepts the Sweat-Free Campus

campaign, brands will need to buy from a list
of factories that have been certified by an inde-
pendent worker's rights body and are continu-
ally monitored. Factories that want access to
the lucrative university market will be forced to
compete through higher labor standards, mak-
ing it a lot harder for brands to cut and run. As
a final trump card, workers can opt to be taken
off the list if they feel, after a mediation pro-
cess, that their rights are being ignored. This
puts the workers' well-being in their own hands
- exactly where it should be.
Will this make a difference for consumers?
Doubling a sweatshop worker's wage would
add another 14 cents to the average garment, so
students will definitely not need a second job to
express their school pride. However, the Sweat-
Free Campaign will mean giving hope and real
power to the hundreds of thousands of garment
workers who face oppression every day. There-
fore, it's not surprising that students have already
passed this proposal at other campuses, such as
Georgetown University, the University of Wiscon-
sin at Madison and others. Hopefully our Univer-
sity will take this step before more workers lose
their lives in the struggle for labor equality.
Finally, it's important to recognize. the impact
the mere idea of the campaign has had. David
Alvarado, a Guatemalan union organizer,
expressed his appreciation in a letter, saying:
"Know that you have been in the thoughts of
many here in Guatemala. With the only two gar-
ment unions in Guatemala, we have spent much
time talking about the campaign that you have
launched. There are pictures of your protests in
September hanging on union bulletin board at
the Cima and Choi factories and they are, liter-
ally, a beacon of hope for hundreds of workers
who are trying to organize and being met with
heavy repression."
But don't take it from us. SOLE will be host-
ing Sweatshop Workers Speak Out today, at 7:30
p.m. in the Michigan Union's Pendleton Room.
Workers from Thailand, Indonesia and Kenya
have come to tell us exactly why the fight to end
sweatshop labor is real, vital and necessary.
Everts is an LSA freshman, Reyes is an
LSA sophomore and Bates is an RC senior.
All are members of SOLE.

To THE DAILY:
I'd like to comment on yesterday's article
String of thefts stings Ann Arbor (02/15/2006).
Being a senior, this year I have heard more
stories of assaults and break-ins than any other
year. You can't leave for winter break without
wondering if your house is going to be broken
into, walking late at night by yourself can be
dangerous, and belongings in the grad library
have to be constantly watched. It's good to see
that with a 13.5-percent increase in burglaries
since 2004, police "have launched a campaign
encouraging people to lock their doors."
A campaign to lock our doors? I can pic-
ture a group of tired cops sitting at a table all
through the night in front of a chalkboard,
eating Chinese food and smoking cigarettes,
trying to come up with ideas. As the sun
comes up, one of them gazes at the front door
and thinks, "My God. That's it. The lock!"
Keep up the good work, fellas. But that
situations like this keep getting worse is why
people in red states (and Michigan) are pro-
Second Amendment.
Maybe instead of putting money into a
"hate-crime crisis hotline," the University
could press to put lights up in off-campus
neighborhoods. Or how about training police
better to find areas that are prone to crime, or
hiring more cops?
Well, at least if I'm ever assaulted or
robbed, I have a place to call if my feelings
are hurt.
Chris Queenin
LSA senior
SCUM Manifesto not
actuallformens extinction
TO THE DAILY
In her column Betty Friedan's dead but
feminism isn't, (02/15/2006), Emily Beam
mischaracterizes the intent of Valerie
Solanas's "SCUM Manifesto." The piece's
virulent content was not intended to provide
guidelines for an actual call to action.
Rather, it challenged women satisfied
with the aims and gains of the mainstream
feminist movement and spurred intellectual
reflection more generally.
Indeed, in a Jul. 25, 1977 interview
with the Village Voice, Solanas reified the
ironic intent of her Society for Cutting Up
Men: "It's hypothetical. No, hypothetical is
the wrong word. It's just a literary device.
There's no organization called SCUM....
I mean, I thought of it as a state of mind.
In other words, women who think a certain
way are in SCUM. Men who think a certain
way are in the men's auxiliary of SCUM."
As to the specific meaning of "SCUM",
the phrase "Society for Cutting Up Men"
never appears in the text of the manifesto,
and some feminists (plausibly) posit that the
acronym was never meant to signify any-
thing other than "scum."
Although Beam's characterization serves
her rhetorical purposes, the "SCUM Mani-
festo" was, and always will be, an ironic text
meant to exaggerate grievances and amplify
potential solutions for the sake of provoca-
tion.
Caroline Hogan
LSA sophomore
Online book lists not too
much for students to ask
To THE DAILY:
I absolutely agree with yesterday's edito-
rial, Freakonomics (02/15/2006). This past
semester, I made several attempts to find out
what books I would need after registering
for classes in December. I attempted to con-
tact the professor, as well as Shaman Drum,
neither of whom could give me a complete
list. One of my books was priced at $80 at
Shaman Drum, the cover price was $70 and
I found a new copy on Amazon.com for $44.
I even searched the University library for
the latest edition of the book so I wouldn't

fall behind in my class once the school year
started - the library had an earlier edition,
but not the one I needed - while I waited
for my Amazon order to come in.
If I had the information well ahead of
time, this wouldn't have been a problem.
Online orders can arrive early, but that
would require high shipping charges, a price
I'm reluctant to pay. I definitely think that
professors should post their book lists on
a University website, such as C-Tools - it
would be an extremely helpful. They have
to provide their book list to stores well in
advance, so this wouldn't be too much extra
work.
Fatema Haque
LSA freshman
Abstinence the only sure
way to prevent pregnancy
TO THE DAILY:
Yesterday's editorial Pro-life and pro-
choice (02/15/2006) stated that birth control
k the' "c~r-inu' most effec~tivep wavnton revent

01

*I

VIEWPOINT
The vagina judgment

BY SASHAI ALVAREZ AND PIERCE BECKHAM
What is the purpose of this year's "The Vagina
Monologues"? Some say it is to be controver-
sial (e.g., practicing reverse racism), original or
creative. Others argue it is to react to the white
oppressive and patriarchal system in which we
live. However, if you ask the directors and produc-
ers - Lauren Whitehead, Molly Raynor, Kelly
Sheard and Jillian Steinhauer - they will tell you
that it is to focus on the voices of women of color
- voices that have been silenced.
Women of color have been centralized in this
year's show in order to address an issue that has
been overlooked for far too long. The marginaliza-
tion, tokenization and decentralization of women
of color has both isolated and alienated them from
important women's issues. This is especially true
on campus, where women of color have historically
had little to no participation in the larger women's
movement and its organizations. The polarization
that exists at the University when it comes to wom-
en's issues is real but avoided.
This year it was the directors' decision to draw
attention to this divide by attracting women of
color. They chose to do so by expressly inviting
women of color and asking them to "wake up."
They directly encouraged women of color to join
the movement and be a part of a production that
needed their voices.
Although the intentions of the directors and
producers were to encourage women of color, it
concurrently discouraged many other women.
The lack of communication and incomplete media
accounts created an environment that was con-
sidered hostile and controversial to many. Unfor-
tunately, the wrong message - that not every
woman was welcomed - was sent. This percep-
tion is incorrect and against the values and pur-

versity community struggle to fully grasp its sig-
nificance. The 2003 affirmative action cases made
clear that racial distinctions must be for a compel-
ling state interest and be narrowly tailored. We
now know that race can be used as one of many
factors - in other words, when you view race as
part of the whole person. Beyond this, it is up to
each person and organization to figure out what
this all means.
V-Day this year took on a challenge: How to
walk the line between artistic expression and
nondiscrimination. To include voices without
silencing others and falling prey to discrimina-
tion is a rare achievement. The complaint filed
with the Central Student Judiciary (Law student
files complaint against 'Vagina,' 02/10/2006)
questioned if the methods V-Day used slipped
along the way, in order to make sure that future
efforts unambiguously reached their goals.
Ultimately, we faced not a violation of rights
but a lack of awareness and sensitivity of how
decisions impact this campus.
Each one of us is a member of the larger Uni-
versity community. Every student group faces
challenges. We must acknowledge that we are all
learning as we go along. We must be sensitive to
each other's goals and understand their under-
lying intentions. We cannot sit complacently as
events take place. We must take risks and chal-
lenge what the world assumes is correct.
"The Vagina Monologues" took this oppor-
tunity to address a faulty script, the lack of
inclusion in the fight against violence and the
assumptions we take for granted. Those involved
accept criticism and critiques and are genuinely
looking for a way to do their work better. Dif-
ferent, sometimes impassioned viewpoints can
clash. Through collaboration we can achieve
more.
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