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October 20, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-20

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 20, 2006

Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
413 E. HURON ST.


The official
history of Brown will
have to be rewritten,
entirely scrapped."
-Brown University Prof. Omer Bartov,
a member of a committee that docu-
mented that university's ties to slavery,
as reported yesterday by nytimes.com.

. . .

The politics of extremism

or those who missed it, Bill Keller,
the executive editor of The New York
Times, visited the University's law
school this past Monday. Keller came to
deliver the University Senate's 16th annual
Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture spon-
sored by the Academic and Intellectual
Freedom Fund. His lecture, titled "Editors
in Chains: Secrets, Security and the Press,"
focused on his experiences during the Bush
administration and particularly on the con-
troversy surrounding the Times's decision to
report on two highly classified government
programs. Despite the historical and aca-
demic significance of this lecture series, this
year's installment was scheduled during fall
study break in an auditorium that has proven
to have insufficient capacity in the past. In
order to reach out to students, faculty and
community members, the event's organizers
must put as much thought into logistics as
choice of speaker.
The Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture
on Academic and Intellectual Freedom
was established by the Senate Advisory
Committee on University Affairs in an
effort to make amends for the Universi-
ty's treatment of three professors in 1954.
During the height of the McCarthy era,
then-University president Harlan Hatcher
suspended three professors for their refus-
al to testify before the U.S. House Com-
mittee on Un-American Activities. Two
of them, including a tenured professor,
were eventually fired. More than 30 years
later, an effort arose to have the Univer-
sity rectify its past actions. The Ameri-
can Association of University Professors,
which had censured the University back in
1957 following the professors' dismissal,
urged the University Board of Regents to
take appropriate action. Though neither
the Regents nor University administra-
tors would take action, the Faculty Senate
Assembly took its own initiative to spon-
sor the annual lecture commemorating the
three professors - H. Chandler Davis,
Clement Markert and Mark Nickerson.

The notion of academic and intellec-
tual freedom is central to the type of
discourse that should occur at a univer-
sity. Such topics, however, don't always
fit cleanly into a particular student's cur-
riculum. In addition to honoring three
persecuted scholars, the lecture series
serves an important purpose by provid-
ing a forum for education and discourse
about freedom of the mind.
It is a shame, then, that although
Keller's talk was a worthy addition to the
series, its planning was less than perfect-
ly executed. Many students were unaware
of the event, which merited more solid
promotion. If students managed to catch
a glimpse at one of the few posters float-
ing around campus, chances are that they
were out of town for fall break anyway.
Perhaps Oct. 16 was the only day the
harried executive editor of the country's
most prominent newspaper could deign
to visit Ann Arbor, but such an oversight
in scheduling leaves the impression that
the faculty senate isn't much interested
in whether undergraduates can attend the
Davis, Markert, Nickerson Lecture.
It's perhaps just as well, however, that
comparatively few students were in the
crowd at the law school's Honigman
Auditorium. While that stately venue cer-
tainly lends speakers an aura of intellec-
tual gravitas, it's simply not big enough
for a prominent event. The tremendous
overflow crowds there for the intellectual
freedom lecture Noam Chomsky gave in
2004 should have been a clear sign to seek
a larger space.
Given the historical and academic sig-
nificance of the lecture, one would hope
that such logistical problems would be
avoided. The lecture offers an annual
opportunity to consider the state of aca-
demic and intellectual freedom. Students
have as much of an interest in academic
freedom as anyone in the University com-
munity - perhaps more, considering that
there are no tenured undergraduates -
and deserve consideration in the planning
for next year's lecture.

t was
the end
of June
in 2003. A
young Jared
Goldberg had
just emerged
a. at noon from
his two-hour
lecture on
the history of
medieval Europe lecture by Prof.
Rudi Lindner in the Chemistry
Building when he noticed com-
motion on the Diag. Our hero, not
afraid of any political speaker, no
matter how volatile, walked south
to the center of the Diag.
The U.S. Supreme Court had
just ruled on the University's
admissions policies - the reason
for all the hubbub. Our friendly
neighborhood rabble rouser -
yours truly - stood and watched
as Ward Connerly himself walked
up to the podium. Immediately, a
group of students approached the
left side and began shouting him
down. Connerly began to sputter
his propaganda on the discrimi-
natory practice of using racial
preferences. He even invited a
white woman to the podium who
went on to claim she had been dis-
criminated against in looking for
a job because, you guessed it, she
wasn't a minority. Boo-hoo.
The cops arrived and began to
keep the student protestors back
while Connerly and his guest
spoke. After they finished, the stu-
dent protestors dispersed across
the Diag. Some began to distribute
little leaflets describing who they
were. Thus was my first encounter
with By Any Means Necessary.
I remember the pamphlet they
gave me. Besides arguing for affir-
mative action, the pamphlet also
described an interesting conspira-
cy theory regarding Sept. 11. Some

might have found it crazy; I found
it anti-Semitic. But then, I tend to
find any conspiracy theory stating
that Jews were somehow behind
Sept. 11 a little bigoted. Flipping
to the back, my suspicions were
confirmed: The citation for that
particular theory attributed it to
none other than the friendly anti-
Semites at jewwatch.com.
Now, I don't think BAMN is
anti-Semitic. But it is extreme
enough that it's willingto distribute
anything as long as some part of it
conforms to the group's narrow
agenda. For BAMN acolytes who
may feel compelled to write a let-
ter in response to this column, keep
this in mind: I support affirmative
action. I just don't support you.
And I'm not the only one. Stu-
dents Supporting Affirmative
Action was formed precisely to
establish a voice to support affir-
mative action without supporting
BAMN. But attacking BAMN is
not my purpose here. BAMN is
radical and extreme and out there.
Its members don't form the base
of any mainstream political party.
Most people who support affir-
mative action wouldn't be caught
dead endorsing any of BAMN's
covert issues, mainly Trotskyite
But our political climate, even
here in "liberal" Ann Arbor, makes
BAMN out to be the rule rather
than the exception. Only groups on
the left side of the political spec-
trum are to be marginalized for
their extremism. Right-wingers and
conservatives are given free reign
and their extremists form the basis
of the party currently in power in
Washington. Case in point: Young.
Americans for Freedom.
The recent controversy over
YAF's "Catch an Illegal Immigrant
Day" should be news to no one. But
few, if any, know of YAF's other

stances. It's against most forms of
abortion, against any sort of mini-
mum wage and, especially during
the Cold War, had an irrational
paranoia about Communism.
But while our country ultimately
avoided direct confrontation with
Communist states, YAF continues
to take a confrontational attitude
toward anyone on the left side of
the political spectrum.
A recent documentary about
Barry Goldwater by his grand-
daughter on HBO made the out-
rageous claim that long after
Goldwater's heyday in Congress,
he would be considered a liberal.
A man who supported apartheid, a
buildup of nuclear arms, a confron-
tational policy toward the Soviet
Union and who was ambivalent
toward the Civil Rights Act of 1964
could hardly be considered "lib-
eral." What makes this claim so
outrageous is that it isn't that outra-
geous at all. With our current gov-
ernment leading a devastating and
unjust war in Iraq, reducing funding
for the National Institutes of Health
and restricting funding on stem-
cell research, giving tax cuts to the
wealthy while vital social programs
are losing money, Goldwater seems
fantastically moderate.
What does this have to do with
BAMN and YAF? Our president
and his puppets in Congress and
on the Supreme Court pursue some
of the most radically conservative
policies to date, yet BAMN is the
one targeted for extremism and
marginalization. It's time to call
a spade a spade. If the extremists
at BAMN should be ignored and
denied any political power, then
their political complements in
YAF and our government deserve
the same fate.
Goldberg can be reached
at jaredgo@umich.edu.


Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

Smokers should just
'go smoke outside'
I would recommend to John Stiglich
II (Thank you for smoking, 10/19/2006)
that he take an economics 101 class
before attempting to dabble in the dis-
mal science. Stiglich tries to compare
smoking bans to government regula-
tion of high-calorie foods. He seems to
miss the idea that smoking cigarettes
causes what economists would call a
negative externality. I don't want to
have to breathe the repulsive smoke
wafting through the air in a restaurant
simply because he decides to light one
up. I couldn't care less what he orders
for dinner. Go smoke outside.
Brenden Kretzschmar
LSA junior
MCRI about more than
race, harms women too
I was thrilled to finally see an article in
The Michigan Daily addressing the broad-
er scope of the Michigan Civil Rights Ini-
tiative - the ways in which it will affect
women (MCRI would also affect women,
10/19/2006). But my excitement soon
turned to aversion as I saw brilliant, well-
educated leaders like Kathy Rodgers and
Sue Kaufmann cited alongside a Universi-
ty undergraduate student, Ryan Fantuzzi.
While it is certainly disrespectful to com-
pare the eloquent, informed comments of
these two incredibly accomplished women
to a student co-chair of the Washtenaw
County MCRI, it is also evidence of a
much larger dilemma in this election. The
opponents of this proposal have reached
their conclusions based upon extensive
research, while its proponents - well, see
for yourself what they're rooting for.
Let's consider the possible side-effects
of the MCRI by looking beyond just admis-
sions (on which the proponent of MCRI
quoted in the article focused) and into a
less-familiar group that has long benefited
from affirmative action. Domestic vio-
lence shelters that cater to female victims,
summer camps for girls interested in the
sciences, reduced mammogram screen-
ings and our campus's very own Women
in Science and Engineering Program all
cater to a select group of people. Under the
MCRI, they could potentially lose fund-
ing, if not be completely eliminated. It is

unbelievable to think that so many citizens
in this democratic nation are promoting
such repressive politics.
And for the record, Fantuzzi, if the
MCRI passes, it has the potential to not
only damage but completely destroy out-
reach programs. I suggest reading any one
of Kaufmann's several published reports.
If you'd done your homework, like any
politically involved person such as your-
self should before making such bold
claims, you would realize that Proposal
2 would not promote your ever-praised
meritocracy. Rather it would critically
deepen the divide between the privileged
and the not-so-privileged in this already
unequal state.
By voting no on Proposal 2 this Novem-
ber we'll all be promoting the one thing on
which most of us can agree: equality.
Kylee Sunderlin
LSA senior
More lasting lease-
date solution needed
The Daily's editorial about lease dates
(Lease-date loophole, 10/18/2006) brings
up some great points about how to resolve
the current housing situation on campus.
As a former chair of the Michigan Student
Assembly's External Relations Commit-
tee and a member of the Student Relations
City Council Commission - which craft-
ed the lease-signing ordinance - I can
say that we all knew the legislation was
just the first step in balancing out the huge
advantages landlords have in negotiating
off-campus housing leases. They have
been doing this for years, and if they hap-
pen to own some prime property in one of
the heavily populated student areas, they
know they are going to find someone to
rent it, no matter how absurd their leasing
policy might be.
On the other hand we have students,
many of whom are making their first
foray into the real world. They hear a lot
of lies and mistruths and don't know what
to expect. No matter what legislation is
written up, landlords will always have the
advantage in this market unless students
are better informed. Education is the key.
But it is not just up to MSA. As a former
representative, I unfortunately know all
too well the reach of most MSA attempts
at putting on "educational events." A few
flyers get posted, some e-mail lists are
spammed and a group mostly consisting
of MSA reps and their friends sit around

the chambers and eat free pizza. Don't
get me wrong - I'm not criticizing MSA
members for this. Admittedly, I planned
a few of those events myself. I am asking
that we be realistic about the scope of a
body of 40 or 50 busy students with dif-
ferent agendas.
The only entity that can solve this prob-
lem in my mind is the University. The Uni-
versity should be pounding home the facts
about housing in Ann Arbor at freshman
orientation, during welcome week,Residen-
tial Advisor training - heck, even make
an announcement during a football game.
When the University puts its weight behind
something, great things can happen.
Mike Forster
Co-ops bring diverse
people together, are fun
Thank you for the Daily's article on
student co-ops in Ann Arbor (Students
opt out of co-ops, 10/18/2006). It high-
lighted nicely the money that students
can save by living in a co-op. I have
lived in two Inter-Cooperative Council
co-ops and can definitely speak to the
money I have saved over the past two
years. To me, however, co-ops are about
much more than simply affordability.
Yes, for $480 per month I live in an
amazing room, which I can paint or
change any way I want, and yes, that
$480 includes all of the food that we buy
collectively and dinner every night. And
yes, that $480 includes all of my utili-
ties, landscaping and maintenance of the
house, laundry, phone and Internet ser-
vices, new furniture, pop machines, fire
pits in the backyard, and so on.

But that $480 also allows me to
share skills with 20 other people and
learn from them. I have lived with
people from Austria, Germany, Korea,
Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Pakistan,
France and India, among others. I have
lived with heterosexuals, homosexu-
als, bisexuals, transsexuals and the
occasional asexual. I have lived with
Republicans, Democrats, indepen-
dents, communists, libertarians, anar-
chists, Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists,
Muslims, agnostics and atheists, veg-
etarians, vegans, omnivores and mili-
tant carnivores. My perceptions have
changed. My views have broadened.
That $480 allows me to become
independent. Instead of zapping ramen
noodles every night, I can cook a three-
course meal from scratch. Instead of
complaining about my lack of space, I
can install new shelves on my own. I've
even learned how to manage finances
and stick to a budget. People ask me if
it's worth it to live in a huge house with
20 people. Wouldn't it be nicer to live in
an apartment on my own? No, and it's
not just about the money. Co-ops offer a
life experience unlike any other and an
opportunity to continuously grow and
learn. Plus, it's simply a lot more fun
than living alone in an apartment!
Michelle O'Brien
LSA senior
University should
reconsider priorities
I recently visited campus and picked
up a copy of the Daily. I was pleased
to see that the paper is still examining
issues of campus life. When I enrolled

at University, women were not allowed
to enter the Michigan Union through
the front door. Men residing in the
dorms had to wear a coat and tie to
their evening meals.
My memories from my student
days at the University include study-
ing Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire" for a history course
and pondering the message from the
Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which is
engraved in stone at the top of Angell
Hall: "Religion, morality and knowl-
edge being necessary to good govern-
ment and the happiness of mankind,
schools and the means of education
shall forever be encouraged."
But the University taught us to
study hard, think about issues and to
ask questions. We learned to ques-
tion authority. Over time, questioning
caused changes, not only in campus
life, but in our nation. In that tradition,
I recently sent a question to University
President Mary Sue Coleman and to
the Regents.
The median income in the state of
Michigan has dropped from $52,323 to
$46,039, the Detroit Free Press reported
in August. From numbers in the min-
utes for the University Board of Regents
meeting in May 2006, it appears as if the
University will be erecting and leasing
83 luxury boxes at Michigan Stadium
for an average annual cost of at least
$50,000 each.
The question: Is it moral for a great
research university to promote a vehi-
cle by which wealthy patrons can spend
tens of thousands of dollars to watch a
spectacle several times a year at a coli-
seum in luxurious comfort?
John Kuenzel








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