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September 13, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 13, 2006
EMILY BEAM
DONN M. FRESARD CHRISTOP E O JEFFREY BLOOMER
Editor in Chief CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK Mngn dtr
Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
413 E. HURON
ANN ARBOR, MI 48104
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

OPINION

The more things stay the same
EMILY BEAM

4
I
4

Fresh in your white tee
Public school dress codes limiting expression

Wearing a T-shirt sporting the
text of the First Amendment
printed over an American
flag isn't normally a punishable act.
However, this was not the case last
week in Lincoln Park, where adminis-
trators in the suburban Detroit school
district suspended three students for
their patriotic attire. The school's new
dress code forbids most clothing with
text or images - but curiously allows
apparel that contains the school mas-
cot or otherwise boosts school spirit.
School officials in Lincoln Park have
been the target of much criticism fol-
lowing last week's incident, with par-
ents and community members rightly
pouring scorn on a policy that sends a
disturbing message to students about
free expression.
The three Lincoln Park students, all
siblings, were among 200 other pupils
sent home from school last Wednesday
for violating the school district's new
dress code. After showing up to school
in their First Amendment T-shirts for
the second day in a row last Thursday,
the two brothers and sister were sus-
pended from their middle school.
Ironically, while Lincoln Park's
dress code bans apparel with pictures
or writing of any kind, students are
allowed to wear school-sponsored
clothing, such as T-shirts and sweat-
shirts sporting the school's mascot,
school name or logos of athletic teams
and extracurricular organizations.
Essentially, Lincoln Park administra-
tion permits pro-school speech, but,
nothing else.

Lincoln Park is not the only Metro
Detroit school system to employ such
an unfair policy. The Detroit and
Pontiac public school districts also
enforce strict clothing policies for
their students, banning items such as
headbands and denim jeans. Troubling
as such policies are for students' free
speech rights, Lincoln Park goes one
step further by selectively allowing
expression that school administrators
find convenient - an almost certainly
unconstitutional policy.
Such a paradoxical school dress
code only contributes to the confu-
sion and misunderstanding that so
many individuals, old and young
alike, experience in regard to our con-
stitutional freedoms. The posters and
textbooks outlining First Amendment
freedoms found in the desks and hung
on the walls of public schools are sar-
donically contradicted by the Lincoln
Park administration's policy. The First
Amendment represents one of the core
freedoms that Americans are guaran-
teed and is meant to be indisputable
-even in the realm of public schools.
Dress codes are often justified as nec-
essary to promote a positive learning
environment, but limiting students'
clothing options to plain or pro-school
attire only teaches students that
authority figures deserve the power
to determine the limits of public dis-
course. Children have the rest of their
lives to get excited about casual day,
but the lesson of free expression can't
be made up later.

ndrew
Poraz-
zois
45, but his
lungs are
decades older,
the result of
spending a
month inhal-
ing fire and
brimstone at
Ground Zero. He's not alone - thou-
sands of police officers, firefighters
and volunteers who helped out in
the days and weeks following Sept.
11, 2001 are experiencing the same
symptoms. Porazzo is now taking
array of medications, but he's
still unable to work.
We told that after Sept. 11,
"everything changed" and "no
one is the same." Certainly,
things have changed. Certainly,
Porazzo's life is radically dif-
ferent. For our part, we have
color-coded terror alerts and
war. And any conversation, any
concerns about detainee rights,
an increasingly powerful execu-
tive branch or ballooning budget
deficits, can be neatly ended
with the reminder that we're in
a post-Sept. 11 world. It could
happen again; just shut up and
trust your government.
When I went back home to
Livonia this weekend, however,
I was struck by how little things
had changed. Five years later,
Livonia's trees are taller. A few
daring homeowners repainted
their garages a different color.
Some driveways boast a bigger,
shinier sports utility vehicle.
(New York Times columnist
Thomas Friedman's dream that
energy conservation would be
Sept. 11's silver lining may not
come to pass).
The effects of Sept. 11 extend
across the country and across
the world, but Livonia, a non-

descript, six-mile-by-six-mile
patch of American suburbia, was
somehow skipped over. That's
not to say that residents weren't
devastated by the events five
years ago, that they didn't show
solidarity with the victims and
their families as best they could.
They were; they did. But after
the images of New York, Wash-
ington and Pennsylvania on the
front pages of local newspapers
were replaced with the annual
disaster that is the Detroit Lions,
Livonia moved on. There wasn't
much else residents could do.
The changes Sept. 11 has
brought - a three-year-long
invasion deteriorating into civil
war, an endless war against an
undefined enemy - don't, for
the most part, have much to do
with Livonia. On average, Livo-
nia residents don't serve in the
military; they tend to be a little
more insulated than much of the
state from the nation's economic
swings. In my high school, a
handful of students knew some-
one who knew someone killed in
the attacks. All they have to do
is turn off their television sets
and shy away from those pesky
airport security lines, and it's as
if Sept. 11 never happened.
The city seems part of a
different post-Sept. 11 world
because it is. Geographically
and socially isolated from the
direct burden of the attacks,
all that's reached the city is the
same polarized discourse that
divides the country into those
who back Bush and those who
are "weak on terror." If Livonia
has moved on, if it hasn't been
touched, it isn't the fault of resi-
dents. With the options they've
been given, what else are they
supposed to do?
No matter how removed we as
Americans may be, we will long

remember exactly where we
were when we saw planes crash
into the World Trade Center.
But remembering isn't enough
to settle our unease. We want to
do something more than listen
to politicians exploit the victims
to their own gain, more than
complacently hand over our pro-
tections against unreasonable
search and seizure (the Consti-
tution, Bush might argue, was
written in a pre-Sept. 11 world).
Short of growing terrorist-repel-
lent in our gardens (perhaps ter-
rorists, like vampires, are afraid
of garlic?), our options are lim-
ited. So our nation improvises.
Some pay tribute every anniver-
sary, gathering and reading the
names of victims. Some awk-
wardly throw around words like
"tragedy" and "unite," in hopes
they don't say the wrong thing
and come off as insensitive or a
terrorist-sympathizer. It appears
that Livonia simply moved on.
Five years have passed, and
we still feel the wounds of Sept.
11, 2001, some more acutely
than others. On Monday, the
nation remembered its loss. On
Tuesday, it went back to work.
But something still isn't right.
Like Porazzo, it doesn't seem
to be getting better and there's
little we can do about it. We are
helpless, surrounded by leaders
who stretch (or ignore) the Con-
stitution to satisfy their agendas
and only shrilly scream "Dan-
ger!" to distract us from our
skepticism.
Our nation doesn't have pieces
of the World Trade Center in our
lungs, but there's something else
lodged in us. We are told that if
we stay vigilant, it will pass. Is it
any wonder we feel helpless?
Beam can be reachedat
ebeam@umich.edu.

-

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
4 4 It may be some sort of retribution, or it may be fear
from certain individuals, or it just may be yet
another callous act toward wildlife."
-Michael Hornby, the executive director of Wildlife Warriors, an organization
created by the late Steve Irwin, commenting on the more than 10 stingrays killed of the
northern coast Australia in the past week, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.

College Republicans do not
endorse 'Fun with Guns,''Catch
an Illegal Immigrant Day'
TO THE DAILY:
The Michigan Daily's news article College Dems,
Republicans gear up for election season (09/12/2006)
insinuated that the University of Michigan College
Republicans were involved in planning or intended
to participate in two degrading and un-American
activities, "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" and
"Fun with Guns." This is blatantly false. The com-
ments were made by a volunteer of the College
Republicans National Committee, and her views
represent neither the opinions of the CRNC nor
the UMCR chapter. Such volunteers are sent out
to canvass for campaigns and help with events, not
to speak with the media. The Daily was irrespon-
sible in failing to quote anyone from the chapter
while suggesting the organization condones such
actions. The UMCR have never - and would never
- consider participating in such events; in fact,
the group finds them inappropriate and against
everything Republicans stand for. I apologize to
the campus community for any misunderstand-
ing, and I hope the Daily will have the integrity
to do the same.
Robert Scott
LSA senior
The letter writer is the chair of the
University of Michigan College Republicans.

Stopping terrorists should be
the nation's first concern
TO THE DAILY:
Lightning doesn't kill 3,000 people in just a couple
hours, as letter writer David DiMaggio wrote (Look-
ing at Sept. 11 through another lens, 09/12/2006). Ter-
rorists are out to kill us. They want to kill my family,
they want to kill you, they want to kill President Bush,
they want to kill John Kerry, they want to kill the Brit-
ish, they want to kill Americans and they want to kill
me. You may have heard of the plot to blow up planes
bound for the U.S. from London almost a month ago.
Well, my plane was one that was targeted - I was
flying back from a study abroad trip in England. If it
weren't for the Brits' use of spies, wiretapping and pro-
filing, I would not be alive today. Not only do I support
the Patriot Act, but I support Bush 100 percent - from
wiretapping to the wars America is currently involved
with. The terrorists are not about to stop, and neither
should we.
Matthew MacKinnon
Engineering junior

4

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY LOOK, IT MIGHT HAPPEN, IT MIGHT NOT,
OF A GLOBAL tInt FLU PANDEMIC? Tilt YOU CANT WALK AROUSD BEING StAtED
VIRUS IS EVEN MORE DEADtY TO YOUNG ALL THE TIME.
PEOPLE WITH HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEMSI
LIKE HELL I CANTI
' - w

JUST TELL ME IF YOU SEE ANY BIRt FLU
ZOMtIES, OK?

POINT-COUNTERPOINT: TO RUSH OR NOT TO RUSH?

Go Blue! Go Greek!

What's the rush?

BY JON KRASNOV
AND LAUREN KRAUS
In the classroom, students
diligently take notes in spiral
notebooks and three-ring bind-
ers embossed with the Univer-
sity seal. In between classes,
students cross the Diag with
"Michigan" embroidered on
their chests or a block "M"
marking their sleeve. For a
half-dozen Saturdays each
fall, nearly 110,000 students
and alumni pack Michigan
Stadium sporting maize and
blue attire. Clearly, the pride
exhibited by the Michigan
faithful extends far beyond
the University's academic
prestige.
Similarly, nearly 4,000
undergraduate Wolverines
proudly walk around campus
with Greek letters on hats,
shirts, sweatpants and in their
hearts. Just as the University
is more than an educational
institution, fraternities and
sororities are more than social
clubs. In the bonds of our
brotherhood and sisterhood,
our members find families
that last a lifetime. Our new
members grow from adoles-
cents to young leaders of great
character and great potential.
Amid their accolades, our

members cultivate the invalu-
able respect for achievement
with integrity. Hence, our
unwavering devotion to Greek
life parallels the passion of
Wolverines everywhere for
their alma mater.
Just as a Michigan Wolver-
ine would undoubtedly encour-
age a prospective student to
join the ranks of the maize
and blue, we believe most stu-
dents would enjoy and benefit
from membership in one of
our chapters. While critics say
that members who join dur-
ing their first semester do not
have ample time to explore
the University community,
we suggest that our fraterni-
ties and sororities serve to
facilitate the development of
campus leaders in all corners
of campus life. We are not
merely brothers and sisters:
We are varsity athletes. We
are student government repre-
sentatives. We are singers and
dancers. We represent some of
the campus's finest scholars.
We represent the leadership
in the University's most suc-
cessful endeavors, from Relay
for Life to Dance Marathon to
The Detroit Project.
Our University, for all its
greatness, certainly does not
hold the hands of its first-year

students. Perhaps our mem-
bers would not have become
leaders in these campus orga-
nizations had they not had
older members to guide them.
Greek life provides an imme-
diate comfort, support and
sense of belonging for new
students who may feel over-
whelmed. Our chapters serve
as a guiding hand in aiding
new members' efforts to pur-
sue their interests and goals.
We do not seek to inhibit first-
year students from exploring
the innumerable niches of our,
campus community; rather,
we better prepare them to
do so. Furthermore, Greeks'
membership in organiza-
tions throughout our Univer-
sity exemplifies community
involvement as a core Greek
ideal. We passionately and
actively encourage all students
to join our ranks because we
cannot imagine a better way to
be a Michigan Wolverine.
Krasnov is an LSA
senior and president of the
Interfraternity Council, and
Kraus is an LSA senior and
president of the Panhellenic
Association. They are
writing on behalf of the
Interfraternity Council and
the Panhellenic Association.

BY KIRSTY MCNAMARA
Herds of hopeful-looking
freshmen will wander somewhat
uncertainly from mansion to
mansion this week, signaling the
beginning of fall rush. Whether
students rush for the opportu-
nity to meet new people, for the
activities coordinated through
fraternities and sororities or for
the seemingly endless supply of
beer in red plastic cups, hun-
dreds flock to the Greek system
every fall. Although many sim-
ply want to experience soror-
ity and fraternity life, rush also
attracts a large population of
freshmen who are desperate to
find a community within a new,
overwhelming campus.
The decision to resort to Greek
life for lack of other options
could create a number of prob-
lems for freshmen who, though
simply seeking company, end up
in a whirlwind system that may
never offer the collegiate expe-
rience they deserve. Greek life
is a perfect fit for some people.
But freshmen are not equipped to
make the decision to rush, a deci-
sion that dramatically alters their
collegiate futures, within a week
of their arrival at the University.
Fall rush catches freshmen
at the peak of their vulnerabil-
ity, when they've just left home

and are still adjusting to a more
independent lifestyle. Generally,
freshmen simply want to make
friends, and rush is unarguably
an effective way of socializing.
However, after the mixer parties
die down and rushees receive
their bids, many may find that
they do not enjoy the actual life-
style of a Greek house.
In the haphazard confusion of
the beginning of college, fresh-
men may forget about the hun-
dreds of other student groups on
campus that could both cater to
their interests and allow them
to meet people. A winter, rather
than fall, rush would offer fresh-
men time to explore their own
specific interests and to grow
accustomed to their new sur-
roundings before making a dra-
matic and expensive decision.
A second-semester rush
would give students time to bet-
ter understand the time commit-
ment, reputation and drinking
culture of each Greek house. It
is simply unfair to ask students
to know, two weeks into their
freshmen year, which sorority
or fraternity best caters to their
individual personalities. Fur-
thermore, for lonely freshmen, it
may prove extremely difficult to
walk away from hazing, exces-
sive drinking or any other activ-
ity that, while uncomfortable,

may seem to lead toward friend-
ship and acceptance.
A vital part of adjusting to
life as a college student involves
learning how to approach class-
es, meet professors and budget
time. Because freshmen rush-
ees dedicate a large part of the
second week of their collegiate
careers to attending mixers,
they inevitably face the prob-
lem of falling behind early in
the semester. Most students
take pride in the University's
academic reputation, and sched-
uling rush so early in the semes-
ter seems counterproductive in
terms of allowing students to
gain confidence in their school-
work before making such a sig-
nificant time commitment.
The University is one of the
most advanced educational
institutions in America, and
its many student groups pride
themselves in living up to that
standard. Is it too provocative
to suggest that University fra-
ternities and sororities show the
progressive visionary leadership
to stall rush until the winter to
ensure that every student has the
opportunity to make a prudent
and timely decision?
McNamara is an LSA
junior and a member of the
Daily's editorial board.

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