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November 26, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-11-26

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I

4A - Monday, November 26, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C I '* diitcga n 43atl
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
" 420 Msynsrd Sn.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu
KARL STAMPFL IMRAN SYED JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
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.
The Daily's publiceditor, Paul H. Johnson,acts assthe readers' representative andtakes acriticallookat
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
FR M HE Df
Justice for all
Why does the 'U' need a law to force it to be inclusive?
J tisn't fun to root for the federal government against the
University of Michigan. There has to be something patent-
ly wrong and unfair with the world for a situation to arise
where such a thing would even be conceivable - and there is.
The University continues to discriminate against handicapped
fans at Michigan Stadium and expects its many critics to simply
shut up about it. The U.S. Justice Department must do all it can
to force the University's hand and ensure proper accommodation

The whole world is coming to tell Palestinians
and Israelis, 'We are standing shoulder to
shoulder with you.' This is significant."
- Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator, on the peace conference this week at Andrews Air
Force Base in Maryland, which will include Palestinians, Israelis, Americans and
negotiators from several Arab states, as reported yesterday at CNN.com.
Guns are for liberals, too

0

I fbthere is one issue that alien-
ates me from my liberal coun-
terparts, it's gun rights. So when
the Supreme Court -
decidedlastweekto
hear its first Second
Amendment case v
since the 1930s,
and as the College
Libertarians raffled
off a gun voucher, I A
felt a bit alienated
from other liberals. MIKE
This experience EBER
has forced me to
re-evaluate what it
truly means to be a liberal.
I attribute my liberal leanings to
my upbringing in a politically liberal
home. Because of the ideology of my
parents and older sister, I get plenty
of heat for my beliefs about gun own-
ership. When I turned 21, my mother
asked me if t was excited to finally
drink legally on campus. I respond-
ed that I could really care less about
joining my peers in the teeming,
sweaty mess people call Rick's. For
me, turning 21 was really exciting
because I gained the right to carry
a concealed weapon in the state of
Michigan. I was met with the usual
emotional response - comments that
I was "sick" and would never be wel-
come in my mother's house if I chose
to buya gun.
As I wonder what led me to be the
black sheep of my liberal family, I
remember my middle-school social
studies teacher, Mr. Jankowski. Mr. J,
as we called him, sported a glass eye
and a passion for civil liberties. I now
realize Mr. J educated our class indi-
rectly in the political philosophy of
John Locke. While teaching lessons
on the Bill of Rights, he would explain
that this perceived necessity to bear

arms is not only for self-defense butis
also essential to preserve a democratic
society. If a government does not fear
an armed populace, then that govern-
ment is not truly democratic, because
it does not need to respect the elector-
ate's authority.
Through our lessons, we learned
that a democratic and civilian-con-
trolled military is never to be taken
for granted, which necessitates civil-
ian armament. Gun ownership rights
are, in fact, the first rights restricted
when a democratic society turns for
the worst. Weimar Germany was a
free society that treated Jews better
than most other places in Europe.
Then Adolph Hitler came to power.
As The New York Times reported
in 1938, after Kristallnacht, Hitler
declared an edict "forbidding Jews
to possess any weapons whatever and
imposing a penalty of twenty years
confinement in a concentration camp
upon every Jew found in possession
of a weapon."
Consider our presidential election
in 2000. Blatantly ignoring the will of
Florida voters, the U.S. Supreme Court
handed victory to Bush on a tech-
nicality. Liberals agreed that there
was nothing more to do in appeal,
but according to Locke, if a govern-
ment is guilty of systematic abuse of
its power, then citizens have a right
install legitimate rule. Instead, liber-
als stood by willingly after the ruling,
acting as if they had just lost a close
football game.
We may not need a compelling rea-
son to own a firearm other than the
fact that an armed populace is neces-
sary for the security of a free state.
Anti-Patriot Act liberals should real-
ize that if they cannot trust the gov-
ernment to respect the privacy of their
phone calls or to grant proper due pro-

cess, then they should probably not
also assume the government can be
trusted not to disarm its citizens in
the name of public safety.
My liberal friends love to cite
instances like the Virginia Tech
shooting and violent crime statistics
as emotional appeals to restrict gun
rights. I have heard that guns are
more lethal than knives and make
society more dangerous rather than
promoting general safety. I definitely
concede this fact: In the best of all
worlds, nobody would need to ensure
for his or her own defense. Similarly,
in this utopia, we would not need to
Guns aren't ideal,
but reality is
never ideal.
bother with the constraints of due
processes because the government
would always be righteous.
Like Ben Franklin and all other
liberals, I would not give up essential
liberty to purchase a little temporary
safety. Weighing public safety against
the liberty. of gun ownership and
establishing militia follow in the same
vein. Many Americans scoff at the
necessity of modern day minutemen,
and I hope they will not be needed in
our lifetime. However, preserving the
Second Amendment is like having a
good insurance policy: You may hate
makingthe monthly payments,but you
sure are glad you did when an inferno
consumes your house.
Mike Eber can be reached
at mieber@umich.edu.

0I

at the Big House for all people.
The controversy surrounding the Univer-
sity's renovations of Michigan Stadium is
by now well known. The University Board
of Regents approved earlier this year a ren-
ovation plan that would add luxury boxes
to the stadium. Fans have expressed out-
rage at the proposal, but while the luxury
boxes are controversial, providing proper
accommodation at the Big House for fans
in wheelchairs is not up for debate: It abso-
lutely must be done. Yes, there are laws
mandating that disabled people be properly
accommodated, but the University should
not need such laws to do what is right.
Confoundingly, the University has repeat-
edly refused to do all it can to accommodate
fans in wheelchairs. It refused to comply
with the Americans with Disabilities Act
of 1990 - which requires one percent of
seats to be handicap-accessible - through
a delusional game of semantics that pegs
significant changes to the bowl of the sta-
dium as "repairs" rather than "renovations."
The ADA calls for more than 1,000 wheel--
chair-accessible seats at the stadium: There
are currently only about 90, and even after
the University's latest round of concessions
under pressure from the Michigan para-
lyzed Veterans of America and the federal
government, the luxury box plan would only
add about 500 more accessible seats.
Beyond that, the U.S. Department of Edu-
cation released last month a list of largely
unaddressed grievances filed by fans at
the Big House. The Department of Edu-
cation has repeatedly asked for thorough

information on the changes to the stadium
that the University routinely makes in the
off-season, yet the University has been
largely unresponsive. Only under threat
of a revocation of federal research grants
last month did the University finally take
the Education Department seriously. Even
then, it responded with only a half-hearted,
abstract letter that may as well have been
an automated response.
Despite this brash noncompliance and
outright discrimination, University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman and her spokes-
people are still trying to minimize and
brush aside this situation as a misunder-
standing. We repeatedly hear them say
that the stadium is fully accessible for fans
in wheelchairs: Is that to say that the fans
whose complaints are cited by the Educa-
tion Department are liars? What about
those fans who constantly write to this and
other publications expressing concern over
the lack of accessibility at the stadium? Are
they all just part of a crazy conspiracy? Or
could it be that there are real problems that
the University is ignoring?
Now, the Justice Department has joined
the MPVA in its lawsuit against the Univer-
sity. With some firepower and some real
consequences on the table, perhaps the
University can finally be forced to do what
is right. Regardless, the damage to the Uni-
versity's reputation as an institution that
values diversity, fairness and equality has
already been done. That may be President
Coleman's most lasting legacy.

*

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Stadium must venues throughout the country. nificance for Michigan athletics,
is especially disappointing to me. I
accommodate al fans Doug Cooper think and hope that as a university
SAlumcommunity we can do better.

STUDENTS ALLIED FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY
The fight for academic freedom

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality
applauds the University of Michigan Press
for deciding to maintain its contractual
arrangement with Pluto Press. Unfortunate-
ly, open academic debate is not valued by all.
The external push against the press by
some pro-Israel organizations began with
Pluto's publication and the University Press's
distribution of Bard College Prof. Joel Kov-
el's book, "Overcoming Zionism: Creating a
Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine."
Though the book proposes a vision for peace,
some have unfairly attacked it for the sug-
gestion that Israelis and Palestinians should
be treated as equal citizens in a state for both
peoples. Kovel will be speaking about his
experience in this struggle for open academ-
ic debate tonight at 8 p.m. in the 4th floor
amphitheater of Rackham Auditorium.
Critical academic debate, which is needed
now more than ever, is threatened because
institutional supporters of Israel cannot tol-
erate views critical of Israel's policies and
practices. This is antithetical to the mission
of the University and its press, which seeks to
offer "books that contribute to public under-
standing and dialogue about contemporary
political, social, and cultural issues."
The principles of academic freedom have
become increasingly difficult to uphold of
late. Nobel Peace Prize-winning former
U.S. president Jimmy Carter, leading politi-
cal science scholars John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt as well as Desmond Tutu, the
anti-Apartheid legend who also won the
Nobel Peace Prize, among others, face base-
less accusations of anti-Semitism and bitter
criticism and censure for taking positions
critical of Israel.
For too long, pro-Israel activists have
accused those who recognize Palestinian
suffering and question Israel's system of dis-
crimination of "hate speech" or anti-Semi-
tism. The goal is clear: to make criticism
of Israel's policies taboo. Nothing could be
worse in the academic arena than taboos,
especially with regard to important politi-
cal conflicts and issues central to American
foreign policy.
In light of the controversy surrounding
Kovel's book, three members of the Uni-
versity Board of Regents - Andrea Fischer
Newman (R-Ann Arbor), Laurence Deitch
(D-Bingham Farms) and Andrew Richner
(R-Grosse Pointe Park) - wrote a letter to
the University Press calling on it to drop all
distribution deals with non-University affili-

ated publishers. Such an irresponsible action
is appalling. The letter indicates that dam-
age to the University's reputation should be
the primary criterion for a decision. Howev-
er, the regents must be careful not to ignore
the true mission of the University in favor of
business and public relations.
The decision by the University Press to
maintain its contract with Pluto Press is an
important one given all the pressure it has
faced. It bolsters the principle of open debate
against those who oppose it and seek to pres-
ent Israel as a state beyond critique. The lat-
est offensive by those unwilling to stand by
the University Press's decision should be
discarded as counterproductive to the Uni-
versity's mission and the responsibilities of
the press.
Several pro-Israel organizations - The
Anti-Defamation League, Zionist Organiza-
tion of America and B'nai B'rith Internation-
al - spoke at a recent regents meeting and
urged the board to take action against the
University's partnership with Pluto Press,
They did not cite directly from Kovel's book,
and there is no proof they had even read it.
Instead, the groups critical of the Uni-
versity Press focused on the specter of anti-
Semitism. For example, the ADL's regional
director cited her organization's study on
anti-Semitic attitudes in America. Yet she
did not even try to show how Kovel's book is
anti-Semitic.
To be sure, anti-Semitism is a problem
- as all prejudice is. However, it is being
used to broadly attack a book and a publisher
who clearly stand for equality. Kovel's book
proposes a vision of peace in Israel/Pal-
estine in which Jews and Palestinians are
equal. Deeming those sentiments hateful is
as disingenuous as calling Nelson Mandela
or Martin Luther King, Jr. anti-White bigots
for daring to demand equality in oppressive
societies.
Because the statements and letters in the
pressure campaign do not substantiate the
claim of anti-Semitism with actual analy-
sis, it is safe to conclude that this is a politi-
cally motivated campaign aimed at shielding
Israel from criticism. The Board of Regents
should protect the academic organs of this
institution from baseless, political attacks.
Otherwise, academic freedom loses.
Kamal Abuarquob is an LSA senior. Ryah
Aqel is an LSA sophomore. They are members
of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.

TO TH E DAILY.:
Reflecting upon his tenure as Homophol
head football coach at the Univer-
sity of Michigan, Lloyd Carr con- abound an
cluded his recent farewell press
conference with the observations TO THE DAILY:
that you "win with integrity" and
"the character of this institution I am writingI
will be defined by the way this pro- gust and dismay
gram is run." some fans at t
Sadly, the University is losing the State game las
present contest over the number of the game repres
handicap seats available in Michi- ing event and th
gan Stadium - losing in terms of school spirit, iti
negative public relations and los- most prejudice
ing in terms of character and integ- event I have exp.
rity. As an alumnus, I have been years at the Univ
privileged to attend many home When the gao
games in the past four years with inflatable penise
two family members who require around the stu
handicap-accessible seating: my penis read, "Tre
mother, Helen Douglass Cooper, Onthe popular M
who graduated from the University MGoBlog.com,c
in 1938 and was an editor at The ments indicated
Michigan Daily, and James Kent be willing to pe
Cooper, who graduated from the acts with Michig
University in 1968 and is the father cation is that bei
of two recent University graduates. worstinsult Mic
Through their eyes, I have seen the use to disparageI
joy and excitement of feelingvalued Referring to p
and included as "part of the largest as homosexual
crowd watching football anywhere insult deployed
in America." feminine or a f
However, with only 90 of107,000- as something to
plus seats available to those with behind me at th
wheelchairs, the Big House is woe- shouted "OSUi
fully lacking in accommodations course, therea
for fans in wheelchairs. The moral "Buck the Fucks
imperative is to at least meet the forcing the noti
minimum one percent requirement ination is the ap
of the Americans with Disabilities to achievement c
Act of 1990. One percent translates This homoph
to a few more than 1,000 seats, and is sadly not unit
the University is currently offering lar sporting eve
a few hundred less than that. It is who are seen:
my sincere hope that the University to their full pc
will expand its accessible seating so "sissies." Oppos
that many more families with dis- are routinely m
abled members will feel welcome at "fags" and "gay:
Michigan Stadium and other public lar instance, gi
WYMAN KHUU

Katherine Gallagher
bid, sexism Rackham

nong fans
to express my dis-
y at the behavior of
he Michigan-Ohio
t Saturday. While
ents a great sport-
ie annual zenith of
is also perhaps the
d and hate-filled
erienced in my four
versity.
ie began, two large
es began bouncing
dent section. One
ssel loves penises."
tichigan sportsblog,
one student's com-
that Tressel would
erform homosexual
gan fans. The impli-
ing called gay is the
higan students could
the OSU coach.
layers and coaches
was not the only
by students. Being
emale is also seen
avoid. The woman
he game repeatedly
is a cunt!" And, of
are the ubiquitous
eyes" T-shirts, rein-
on that sexual dom-
:propriate corollary
on the field.
obia and misogyny
que to this particu-
ent. Often, athletes
as not performing
tential are labeled
ing teams and fans
aligned as "cunts,"
s." But this particu-
ven its special sig-

Daily fails to do its
partfor awareness
TO THE DAILY:
Transgender Day of Remem-
brance was Nov. 20. A huge portion
of the student body had no idea. I
was hoping that this year's Day of
Remembrance could be more visible
on campus, with all the Awareness
Week events that were planned lead-
ing up to it, sponsored by organiza-
tions like the University's Office of
LGBT Affairs and Theta Nu Xi.
The lack of coverage sends a clear
message: The group's struggles are
just not important enough. This all
might seem a little harsh, but on a
campus supposedly dedicated to
diversity, I expected that the Daily
would at least run a short article
about the Awareness Week events or
the significance of the day.
As a member of a group on campus
that is nearly entirely silenced, I find
the lack of coverage and awareness
pretty disheartening. Everyone sees
bias against the transgender com-
munity in the media. But this isn't a
case of bias: This is a case of choos-
ing to ignore the problem. Many
members of our campus community,
even some of those very dedicated
to social justice, don't know much
about the transgender identity.
Transgender Day of Remem-
brance has come and passed for
another year. We have mourned
our dead, and now it is time to start
looking forward. For me, the first
step is to ask as many people as pos-
sible why they weren't aware.
Cayden Mak
LSAjunior
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra,
Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca,
Jon Cohen, Milly Dick, Mike Eber,
Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman,
Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels,
Kate Peabody, Robert Soave,
Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Matt Trecha, Radhika Upadhyaya,
Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner,
Patrick Zabawa

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