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March 12, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-12

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4A - Monday, March 12, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 6

C 1C dt, a n at,6
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Locked out
Academic center must allow equal access to all students
The Stephen Ross Academic Center looks more like a high-
tech study utopia than a normal, stuffy library. Complete
with comfy couches, flat screen TVs, beautiful classrooms
and a computer lab, the $12 million facility on State Street next to
Yost Ice Arena allows student-athletes an exclusive place to study
without trekking to crowded libraries on Central Campus.

Those who want to go directly to hell, they
can follow capitalism."
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaking in Trinidad, Bolivia, as reported yesterday by the BBC.


For this pizza, it's all in the dough

But the study center and all its conve-
nient luxuries are off-limits to non-athletes.
While the athletic department claims the
policy is only selectively enforced, students
who don't play on University sports teams
often find themselves shut out of the build-
ing, especially during peak hours.
The athletic department needs to make
good on its promise to open the Ross Cen-
ter to all students, given the exclusionary
policy is unfair and possibly a violation of
NCAA guidelines that prohibit segregating
athletes from the student body in any way.
All students can benefit from spacious, high-
tech study facilities, even those of us who
were picked last for dodge ball in fifth grade.
Isolating student-athletes only fosters an
environment of unnecessary division and
elitism, while simultaneously leaving pure
academics out in the cold.
The Ross Academic Center faculty does
occasionally bend the athletes-only rule,
looking the other way when non-athletes
show up during off-hours. However, this
under-the-table gesture of good faith is
obviously insufficient.
In response to the call for a more open-
door policy, plans are in motion to officially
allow non-athletes into the center, except
during peak hours. The new system would
attempt to alleviate overcrowding by regu-
lating when non-athletes can enter the
premises.While this is a slight improvement,
the compromise is still exclusive of non-ath-
letes and doesn't do much to solve the over-
To build
In 1999, I was invited by a prominent gay
member of the society then known as Mich-
igamua to join it in the role of an advisor - an
"Honorary Angell." While the group already
supported diversity, members felt that they
would welcome an older advocate.
As a former University student and long-time
staff member, I was aware of Michigamu's
history and reputation. Was it appropriate for
me, a bi-racial gay man, to become a member
of the group? As an advisor, how could I effec-
tively support both Michigamu and the cam-
pus at large?
I grew up in a racist, sexist, anti-Catholic,
middle-class village in Ohio during World War
It. I heard the n-word every day. I am told (I
repressed the memory) that when I went to
school, I wore a cardboard sign that read, "I
am not a Jap." I became imbued with racism,
sexism, classism and religious bigotry. I had no
knowledge of sexual orientations other than
heterosexual, so my homophobia and biphobia
were latent.
As I grew older I realized that my childhood
experiences were out of step with my ethos. At
Denison University in 1947, I joined the Ameri-
can Commons Club, a fraternity open to male
college students of all races and ethnicities.
In 1957, I became music director at St.
Joseph's Episcopal Church in Detroit, the
first integrated Episcopal parish in the city.
I marched down Woodward Avenue in the
Detroit Civil Rights March of 1963, 100 yards
behind the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1970, I was on the Black Action Movement
picket line in front of Angell Hall. I became a
supporter of Women's Liberation. I lobbied for
the creation of the Women's Studies Program
at the University.
In 1970, I co-founded the Ann Arbor Gay
Liberation Front. When the group convinced
the University in 1971 to create a staff office
addressing the concerns of lesbian and gay
male students, we insisted that the office be
coordinated by a lesbian woman and a gay
man at equal salary and bureaucratic status.
I worked at the office from 1971 to 1994 as its
"Gay Male Advocate."
Yet while my actions may manifestly support
people of color and women, in my soul I harbor
the remnants of my sexist and racist upbring-
ing. I challenge these feelings daily. While I
believe that they have diminished in intensity,
I doubt that I can totally eradicate them from

crowding problem. Students are more likely
to need off-campus study facilities during
popular evening hours rather than during
these low-traffic afternoon hours.
The high volume of University students
attempting to infiltrate the center speaks
to a greater need for additional off-campus
study sites, preferably ones with the same
classy interior and high-tech perks as the
Ross Center. Instead of responding by clos-
ing its doors to the non-varsity community,
the University should invest in similar off-
campus sites that both appeal and are open
to all students.
With student housing being pushed
further and further south of campus, the
demand for more study centers on differ-
ent parts of campus is of serious concern.
More quality study facilities would serve the
many students who live far from the librar-
ies. Especially during the winter months,
students are understandably unwilling to
brave the icy unlit streets for 20 minutes to
make it to the University's limitedstudy sites
- which are typically overcrowded during
finals anyway.
The popularity of the Ross Center points
to an obvious need for more high-tech study
space off-campus. In the spirit of equality
and non-elitism - not to mention NCAA
regulations - the center must be opened to
non-athletes. But even that is only a start.
An open-door policy would end athlete iso-
lation but only provide a small band-aid for
the University's study space problem.
a bridge
my involuntary emotional memory bank.
Comparing my internal conflict to the exter-
nal and sometimes mischaracterized image of
Michigamua, I wondered what of value I could
bring to the group.
Like some of these students who are decades
my junior, I had learned that if I wished to help
effect social change in organizations, I could
accomplish more by working within such
groups rather than by criticizing them from
the outside.
So it was duringthe years that Iserved as the
gay male advocate in the University's Human
Sexuality Office, later titled the Lesbian Gay
Male Programs Office. So it is in the Episcopal
Diocese of Michigan, where, since 1970, I have
provided education and advocacy concerning
sexual orientation and more recently gender
identity and expression.
So it is as I currently serve on the Multicul-
tural and Gender Affairs Committee and the
Community Advisory Board of the University
School of Social Work.
Could I then as an Honorary Angell work
with Michigamua to help effect change within
that organization as well?
I accepted the invitation into membership.
In my association with these students, I have
been honored to work with a diverse cross-sec-
tion of campus leaders committed to renewing
the group - slowly, carefully and deliberately
transforming it into a diverse and transpar-
ent entity dedicated to serving the University.
The care these seniors have contributed each
year to understanding and supporting each
other, embracing the group's diversity and qui-
etly serving the University has supported and
inspired my own activism.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. built a bridge over
the troubled water of racism in this country to
advance his dream of equality and justice for all.
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford, a member
of Michigamua, built a bridge over the troubled
water of Watergate to help our nation heal.
The members of the former Michigamua are
building a bridge over the complex stream of
the group's necessarily imperfect history and
are moving the organization forward. I am
grateful for the opportunity to help build that
bridge and support that move as an honorary
member of the newly-named order of Angell.
Jim Toy is analum of the University's
School of Social Work.
Editorial Board

Emily Beam, Kevin
Bunkley, Amanda Burns,
Sam Butler, Ben Caleca,
Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay,
Jared Goldberg, Emmarie
Huetteman, Toby Mitch-
ell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David
Russell, Gavin Stern, John
Stiglich, Jennifer Sus-
sex, Neil Tambe, Radhika
Upadhyaya, Rachel
Wagner, Christopher

The air was exotic, perfumed
by scents of spice and corn.
Wooden boxes with fresh
fruits and vegetables greeted me,
and old Mexican tourist posters
hung over a wall
of stacked Tecate
cases. I couldn'tj
understand half of
the signs, but I did
make out the one j
advertising pinatas
for sale, something
unusual for most
grocery stores. SAM
Because I work BUTLER
nearby, I stopped at
the popular Honey
Bee market on my lunch break. It is
a popular neighborhood staple nes-
tled in the Detroit's vibrant Mexi-
cantown district. Looking forward
to some homemade Mexican food, I
purchased an enormous beef chimi-
chonga and a Faygo for the incredible
price of $3.
of course all three of those dollars
were American. I returned the change
to my pocket, indifferent to the few
Canadian dollars in my walletleftover
from a recent trip to Windsor.
While I filled my stomach out-
side, my eyes feasted on the sublime
enormity of the nearby Ambassador
Bridge, Detroit's international cross-
ing. Because of its proximity, many
places in Detroit accept Canadian
currency without too much of a ruck-
us. But it's an entirely different situa-
tion on our nation's southern border.
Pizza Patr6n, a Texas-based fran-
chise, has decided to accept Mexi-
can currency, making conservatives
as crazy as a couple of Mexican
jumping beans. Fueled by the usual
concern that hot tamales will soon
replace apple pie, this is the second
wave of criticism Pizza Patron has
endured. It first caught the attention
of Fox News last December when it
announced the program. The story
has resurged among network pun-

dits because Pizza Patr6n, bolstered
by the program's success, recently
decided to make it permanent.
Pizza Patron defends the program
by saying that a majority of its clien-
tele is Hispanic and that the program
simply caters to people who may rou-
tinely cross the border. This includes
pleasure-seeking college students
who might have leftover pesos, much
like my innocuous Canadian loonies.
Many franchises close to the Mex-
ican border accept pesos, but Pizza
Patr6n is especially subject to rot-
ten tomatoes because its program
extends as far north as Denver. Criti-
cism has manifested in the expected
allegations of anti-Americanism and
encouraging illegal immigration.
Some critics have even claimed the
program is racist by somehow imply-
ing that all Hispanics carry pesos.
Anti-American? Pizza Patron is a
credit to good ol' fashioned Ameri-
can ingenuity by taking advantage of
the market to give itself a competitive
edge. What's more American than
that? Sadly, the criticism of Pizza
Patron is rooted in something else
- good ol' American xenophobia.
The conservative stance on the
issue is paradoxical and untenable.
You can't salivate over international
free trade and then complainwhenthe
world's commodities infringe onyour
backyard barbeque of burgers and
ballpark franks. Americans have no
problem promoting cultural imperial-
ism, but as soon as something comes
from the other side, we get upset.
Where's that stiffupper lip our British
founding fathers once sported?
History teaches us that immigra-
tion comes in waves, and Americans
are silly to fight such overwhelming
trends. Our country is predicated on
the gradual acceptance and appro-
priation of immigrant cultures. One
need only to look at the excitement
over the approaching St. Patrick's
Day holidayto see an example of how
a once reviled ethnicity has joined


our national identity.
Being Irish is a point of pride
today - it's considered the "good"
kind of ethnicity. Being Latino is
not yet recognized as such. The
Hispanic-Irish dichotomy is exem-
plified by actor Martin Sheen who,
born to a Spanish father and Irish
mother, changed his given name
from Ramone Estevez to the bonny
sounding one he now holds.
Eating the stew of our melting
pot doesn't allow you to pick out the
ingredients you don't like. However
if American idealism and familiar
rhetoric about tired, poor and hud-
dled masses isn't your cup of tea,
then think of it this way - ignoring
immigrant consumers is simply bad
business sense.
What's wrong
with buying pizza
with pesos?
Like Pizza Patron, American busi-
nesses would be wise to embrace not
frown upon such emerging markets.
Immigration has been the corner-
stone of almost every economically
successful region in the country,
from New York City to San Francis-
co, to the recent emergence of Dallas
and Miami. In many of these places,
immigrants have become anchors of
the community and a major base for
the economy.
The cohesive immigrant commu-
nity of Detroit's Mexicantown is the
reasonwhythe areais one ofthemost
vibrant and financially stable parts of
the city today. American businesses
should capitalize on such cultural
diversity, and in the meantime, enjoy
really great tasting chimichongas.
Sam Butler can be reached
at butlers@umich.edu.

Commit to ending sexual violence

The dialogue initiated by Tuesday's
viewpoint by James Dickson (Don't be
afraid to challenge feminism, 03/06/07)
revealed widespread fictions surround-
ing sexual violence. What has been lost
in this rather abstract dialogue is the
individual who feels threatened in this
community or who has experienced
sexual violence. It is important to pri-
oritize the varied physical, emotional
and social harms of sexual violence.
Individuals may be physically
injured, contract sexually transmitted
diseases, develop eating disorders and
suffer from chronic fatigue. A survivor
of sexual assault may endure anger,
anxiety, low self-esteem, shame and
vulnerability. Some of the many social
effects of sexual violence include dif-
ficulty with intimacy, disruption in
sexual relations, loss of trust in self and
others as well as withdrawal.
Of the attitudes revealed by the ill-
informed claims made in Dickson's
viewpoint, the most dangerous were
those that foster false assumptions
like: sexual violence does not occur
in our communities, women often
falsely accuse men of sexual assault,
sexual violence is inevitable and sex-
ism is unrelated to sexual assault. As a
community of educated individuals, it
is vital that we acknowledge the sen-
sitivity of this issue and the damage
perpetuating myths about sexual vio-
lence can inflict on survivors of sexual
assault. Beyond the pain faced by the
individual, sexual violence is a gross
injustice that tears at the fabric of our
purportedly equal community.
The F-Word's Michigan Against
Sexual Violence campaign combats
the pervasive problem of sexual assault
against students at the University. The
impetus for our campaign is the chron-
ic underreporting of incidents, the lack
of education about the nature of sexual
assault and the dangerous myths sur-

rounding the complex issue of sexual
violence. The 100 students who con-
tacted the Sexual Assault Prevention
and Awareness Center for resources
and support from September 2005 to
August 2006 underscore the undeni-
able reality of sexual violence at the
University. This statistic, however,
does not address the underreported
nature of sexual violence. According
to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, only one in five rapes expe-
rienced by women are reported.
Underreporting is a result of multiple
factors, including fear of retribution,
an unsupportive legal system, a culture
that blames and shames victims of sexu-
al violence and victims' feelings of being
exposed by legal procedures. Some
important statistics cited by the CDC are
that 78 percent of victims are women, 80
percent of incidents are perpetrated by
acquaintances and that the vast major-
ity of sexual assaults against both men
and women are perpetrated by men.
The pervasiveness and nature of sexual
violence exposed by the statistics above
demonstrate we do not live in a society
where rape is reviled and where perpe-
trators are punished - atcleast not yet.
The Michigan Against Sexual Vio-
lence campaign has three parts: edu-
cation, prevention and awareness.
To educate the community and raise
awareness, we have been distributing
information about sexual violence and
resources for individuals who have
experienced sexual violence. Working
toward prevention, we have distrib-
uted cards with important contacts for
free rides home for students who may
feel unsafe and uncomfortable walk-
ing alone. These cards are a form of risk
reduction for sexualviolence that is per-
petrated by strangers, but they do not
help prevent acquaintance rape - the
most common type of sexual assault:
Since the inception of the campaign,

we have distributed hundreds of white
ribbons free of charge (contrary to
Dickson's claim) and will continie
to do so. The white ribbon is a pledge
never to commit, condone or remain
silent about sexual violence. The vii-
ibility of the white ribbon on coat jack-
ets and backpacks serves to remind
the individual and the communitythat
sexualviolence is an issue that we must
actively commit to end. This commit-
ment is not necessarily an easy one.
We cannoteliminate sexualviolence
without putting an end to the sexist
belief that consent is not essential far
sexual relations. The flyers Dickson
criticized attempt to encourage ques-
tioning sexist actions and attitudes
(including sexually exploitative con-
ments). The flyers provoke introspec-
tion not "thought-policing."
The feminismwhich Dickson claims
to have created a climate of fear, is the
same movement that made it possible
for women to obtain an education at
the University that pioneered the figIt
against domestic violence and sexual
harassment. It is the same movement
that provides essential services like
domestic violence shelters and repro-
ductive health centers. The climate Of
fear is not a result of feminism but of a
sexist environment in which women's
experiences of sexual violence are
often minimized or denied.
If our dialogue on sexual violente
is not driven by the understanding
that every human being deserves
equal respect, individuals will be
unable to live as free human beings.
Sexual violence is an injustice, and It
is the responsibility of every member
of this community who believes in
equality to stop it.
Kim Leung is an LSA sophomore.
Smita Walavalkar is an LSA senior. They
are writing on behalf of The F-Word.

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