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September 05, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 5, 2006

OPINIO]

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cl;hJew
t 1i E ID M(du

DONN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
EMILYBEAM JEFFREY BLOOMER
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK ManagEn EdOOMR
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

Binge ticketing
AAPD fines won't curb drinking

As August fades into Septem-
ber and students return to Ann
Arbor for the beginning of the
fall semester, the neighborhoods sur-
rounding campus spring to life with
festivities. Some students quietly mourn
the end of summer; others liven up their
remaining evenings with a little alco-
hol.
Though college has been synonymous
with drinking forever - or at least since
our forefathers filmed "Animal House"
-the Ann Arbor Police Department is
determined to keep students on a tight
leash. Over the course of Welcome
Week, the AAPD handed out more than
a hundred tickets for minor in posses-
sion, open intoxication and other alco-
hol-related violations. As one officer
on "party patrol" told The Ann Arbor
News over the weekend, "We call it our
own freshman orientation." Students,
however, seem unlikely to learn any
meaningful lessons from this misguid-
ed policy.
Ostensibly, the party patrols aim to
protect students by curbing drinking.
Indeed, curbing student drinking has
been a goal for temperance activists
and puritans in Ann Arbor since the
University's founding. For decades,
sales of liquor by the glass were forbid-
den east of Division Street, the better to
keep strong spirits from student bodies.
But given the impossible task of enforc-
ing strict temperance on a college cam-
pus, the AAPD may be making student
drinking more hazardous. Fear of cita-

tion may do little to lessen drinking, but
could stop worried friends from seek-
ing the medical attention their vomiting
comrades need.
The officers' enthusiasm for ticketing
underage drinkers is effective at little
more than raising extra money for the
force and teaching students to distrust
the police. From a general public safety
perspective, the inordinate amount of
attention given by the AAPD to target
the student population is a waste of lim-
ited resources. As the Ann Arbor News
reported in June, violent crime increased
35 percent from 2004 to 2005. Many
of the crimes reported occurred in the
various student neighborhoods, the
same neighborhoods where the "party
patrol" is often preoccupied with keep-
ing students from carrying red cups of
alcohol. If the police are too busy catch-
ing such students instead of apprehend-
ing drunk drivers and violent assailants,
this strains the entire department.
A police presence in student neigh-
borhoods is not inherently negative.
Quite the contrary: It would better serve
Ann Arbor - and students - if police
would focus their energies on keeping
an eye out for the person who has drunk
too much and may need medical atten-
tion, or the individual wishing to cause
harm to others. Vigorous enforcement of
drinking laws might help fill the city's
coffers, but it is doubtful whether the
AAPD's peculiar form of freshman ori-
entation does much to encourage incom-
ing students to drink responsibly.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
I have no fear of losing my life. If I have to save
a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake,
mate, I Will save it.
- Steve Irwin, a.k.a. the Crocodile Hunter, as reported by The Sydney
Morning Herald in a tribute to him. Irwin was killed Monday morning after
being attacked by a stingray while shooting a TV show in northern Australia.
Iron and apath
TOBY MITCHELL
had effecthasbeen a precipitousincrease when no-one believes in them. The
been in American fear, and it created the liberals and conservatives may be
hang- single greatest haven for terrorism deluded or outright wrong, but at
ing around on Earthby invading Iraq to prevent least they can be bothered to care.
the tiny terror. The president himself was Nowhere is it worse than at the
Buddhist the subject of a multimillion-dollar IronicUniversity: Sarcasticmockery
temple in PR campaign intended to make an masquerades as sophisticated intel-
my home- Ivy League scion of privilege out to lectual critique, strong belief is dis-
town when be the exact sort of sincere, straight- trusted as a prelude to sanctimony,
Melissa shooting regular Joe who would and there's no self-indulgence that
showed up. never spend millions of dollars on can't be passed off as a self-aware
Seeing life and death play out in a PR campaign. It would all be a parody of self-indulgence. Students
front of her on the operating table masterful piece of political satire if are not the main culprits: "Reason"
must have cut through any impulse it weren't an Orwellian nightmare. is undermined by postmodernist
to crack wise or play at being jaded, Maybe Bush's main legacy will be professors eager to supplant it with
because she was without guile. the addition of a fourth equation to Theory, and "tolerance" is politi-
She launched herself into religious Orwell's triumvirate: War is Peace, cally correct code for the tribute
practice with an earnestness I had Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is owed my own political-cultural
avoided, and next to her bright sin- Strength, Hypocrisy is Sincerity. identity by all others. University
cerity, I felt shown up. My irony and Even our great buildings have speech codes encourage irony: If
cynicism were no mark of worldly become ironic: The skyscraper set we can claimeverything we say was
sophistication, but only a cover for to replace the World Trade Center intended as a joke, we can back out
a child too self-centered and full of sits a crystalline tower atop a fea- of anything that offends hypersensi-
fear to risk conviction. tureless two-hundred-foot tall con- tive classmates armed with punitive
We live in an age of irony. We crete base. Built to prevent truck university policies.
love to watch famous people fall bombings, this blank block support- While we may thereby evade the
from grace and ordinary people ing an armored pinnacle serves bet- judgment of our peers, we will not
debase themselves on television: ter as a symbol of the cynical view escape the judgment of history. In
They confirm our suspicion that Americans have of our own country this period of national and interna-
there's no virtue that doesn't mask - hardened against outsiders and tional crises, we would do better to
a selfish motive. Who can fault our inaccessible to anyone not already remember that guileless sincerity
suspicions? The last period of ideal- at the top. The name of the project: that laid my own posturing bare at
ism in America, the '60s, became "Freedom Tower." I suppose "the Temple, that simple force of truth
a mockery of itself through the Empire State" was already taken. before which the mighty tremble
hypocrisy of its devotees - how The greatest enemy of free- and cynicism curls in on itself like
many baby boomers spoke "love dom is not terrorist-sympathizing a worm in sunlight. That sincer-
and peace" while their actions liberals, nor even neo-imperialist ity is our own voice, telling us that
screamed "indiscriminate sex and conservatives, but rather the pre- we shall not pass this way again,
heavy sedation"? maturely jaded Gen-X or Millenial reminding us that every moment is
The moral failures of that genera- whose cynical disaffection with a yesterday responsible to a memory
tion helped set the stage for the cru- government precludes any politi- of tomorrow.
elest joke yet: the Ironic Presidency. cal involvement whatsoever. The
The Bush Administration fights a United States and its democracy Mitchell can be reached
"War on Terror" whose primary are, above all, ideals, and ideals die at tojami@umich.edu.
VIEWPOINT
What MSA needs

4

4

I

KATIE GARLINGHOUSE .HosE; AR;EsT

BY TIM HULL
Like many other students at the Uni-
versity,I usedto feelthatthe Michigan
Student Assembly was a complete
joke. Most of what I saw coming from
MSA was internal mismanagement
and resolutions taking stances on polit-
ical issues. Last winter, I decided that
it was time to do something about this
situation. I applied (and was selected)
for an appointed position as an MSA
representative.
Upon my appointment, I began to
see things a bit differently. MSA does
in fact do a lot more than just pass
resolutions - it provides funding
for many student groups and works
on various student-driven projects
through committees and commis-
sions that open membership to all
students. Despite the fact that MSA is
not as useless as it may seem, how-
ever, it is evident that it still has a lot
of work to do in order to become rel-
evant to the student body at large.
First of all, MSA needs to focus
on what the student body cares about.
MSA, asa whole, tends to place far too
much importance on small pet proj-
ects that benefit only a select few and
on making political statements about
divisive issues. While these actions
may garner votes from a few student
groups, they don't accomplish much
beyond alienating those in disagree-
ment. Instead of worrying about
these types of issues, MSA should
spend more time on those that actu-
ally matter to the majority of students

- the rising cost of tuition, campus
safety issues, bus schedules, campus
dining options, class registration and
degree requirements. While MSA
itself may not be able to do anything
on these issues directly, it can be an
effective vehicle for communicating
student concerns to the University
administration and local government
- if it sets aside the politics and puts
real student issues first.
However, in order to be able to
understand student concerns, MSA
needs to be more accessible to
the student body. MSA has made
inroads in this regard by opening
its committees and commissions to
all students, but there are still many
areas in which it is not accessible. For
instance, students currently have no
effective way to communicate with
MSA. While MSA currently allots a
portion of each of its general meet-
ings for community concerns, this
only allows students to briefly state
their concerns to MSA. In order to
truly represent students, MSA must
do much more. It needs to allow for
more outside input and participa-
tion. Requiring all MSA business to
undergo committee or commission
scrutiny or allowing more non-repre-
sentatives to participate in meetings
would help immensely, as would
actively seeking out ways to foster
communication with the general stu-
dent body. Otherwise, MSA will be
forever trapped in the bubble of its
own existence and will never be able
to truly understand studentconcerns.

Currently, I believe that none of
the existing MSA parties really serve
to further the interests of students.
WhileIdidrunwiththeStudentCon-
servative Party in the last election, I
now feel that it - like the other par-
ties - is not the answer. The main
issue that I see with the SCP, as well
as the Michigan Progressive Party
and the Defend Affirmative Action
Party,isin howsuch parties politicize
student government. While SCP and
MPP certainly had good ideas, the
underlying politics behind the labels
"progressive" and "conservative"
overshadow them. This polarization
divides students at a time when we
should focus not on the issues that
divide us, but rather those that unite
us. Furthermore, they indicate an
orientation with a certain political
ideology - something I feel MSA
should avoid at all costs. That is
not to say that Students 4 Michigan
is the answer - despite having the
right idea of focusing on "action, not
ideology" the party must develop a
cohesive plan in order to make MSA
more in touch with the student body.
The past election was definitely a
learning experience for me - I
made some campaign decisions that
I regret and I definitely didn't deserve
to win this time around. However, I
still plan to run again and do what I
can to help MSA become more rel-
evant to the studentbody at large.
Hull is a LSA senior and a
former MSA representative.

I

I

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Send all letters to the editor to
tothedaily@michigandailycom.

Students: 'You suck' chant
only shows you, well, suck
TO THE DAILY:
Upon returning to the Big House the past
few years, I've noticed a disturbing change in
the student section. After third down stops on
defense, students chant "You suck" to the oppos-
ing team. This chant is counterintuitive, imply-
ing that the reason a first down was not gained is
the offense's incompetence rather than the skill
of our defense. Wouldn't it be more appropriate
to applaud our defensive players for using their
strength, speed, intelligence and determination
to rise to the occasion? I challenge the Universi-
ty's students to replace the "You suck" chant by
the end of the 2006 football season with some-
thing more representative of their creativity and
our football team's ability.
Michael Salmonowicz
Alumnus '01

Judicial activism has no role in
Michigan politics
TO THE DAILY:
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is official-
ly on the ballot. Finally, the last frivolous lawsuit
against MCRI by the radical communist organiza-
tion BAMN was decided in MCRI's favor. Though
MCRI won its case - as it should have, consider-
ing BAMN had no evidence - U.S. District Judge
Arthur Tarnow made outrageous claims against
MCRI in his lengthy written decision. His deci-
sion is among the worst examples of judicial activ-
ism. Turnow, a member of the NAACP, is clearly
attempting to legislate from the bench. Every voter
had the opportunity to read the language when sign-
ing the petition. When this initiative is passed, it will
prohibit state and local government from discrimi-
nating against or granting preferential treatment to
any individual or group based on race, sex, color,
ethnicity or national origin in the areas of public

employment, public contracting and public educa-
tion. Luckily, "We the Judges" or "We the Politi-
cians" did not found this country; "We the People"
did. And that is why on November 7, as a member of
"We the People," I will proudly vote yes on MCRI.
Ryan Fantuzzi
LSA junior
The letter writer is a
Washtenaw County Co-Chairfor MCRI.
University benefactors should
not spend money on stadium
To THE DAILY:
I was disappointed to learn that the University is
spending a quarter of a billion dollars to upgrade the sta-
dium. It seems as though the direct benefactors of this
investment will be sportscasters and fat-cats, not under-
graduate students.
An appreciable number of alumni and future stu-
dents visit Ann Arbor on fall weekends. I imagine that

quite a few of them would want to witness an athletic
event in the stadium. Since Michigan prides itself on
being a world-class university and there is a significant
international student population in Ann Arbor, I won-
der if the athletic department would consider nurturing
a soccer team?
Could they find adequate collegiate or interna-
tional competition? Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa
are not that far away. Could the public relations staff
of the athletic department entice 40,000 people to
attend a soccer match on football away-game week-
end? Would spectators be willing to fork out $15 for
a match versus $50 for a football game? Would this
event even puta small dent in the seemingly endless
requests for Michigan home football tickets?
My feeling is that wealthy benefactors of the
University's athletic department could better invest
their gifts with scholarship grants to students bat-
tling the high cost of living in Ann Arbor or toward
medical research at the hospital.
Roger Robert
Alumnus '70

4

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