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February 06, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-06

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4A - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

7Jbe 4Miidiigan &U3at
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

I've never minded the role of the underdog."
- Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, speaking to supporters
in Phoenix, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
Looking presidential




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 public editor, PaulH. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouragedto contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
sA slipery slope
Proposed limits on student papers threaten free speech
The University says it supports the free exchange of ideas.
It says it wants students to be exposed to diverse view-
points. But the College of Literature, Science and the Arts
is another story. The LSA Facilities and Operations Office recent-
ly revealed plans to restrict when, where and how student orga-
nizations and publications distribute their materials. Shamelessly
disguised as a harmless effort to reduce litter and promote safety,
this policy would really be an act of unconstitutional suppression
of free speech, compromising the autonomy of student publica-
tions and offering another example of the University's bad habit
of disregarding students.

n Sept. 26, 1960, then-Vice
President Richard Nixon
and then-U.S. Senator John
F. Kennedy faced
off in the first tele-
vised presiden-
tial debate. When
asked who had won
the debate, televi-
sion viewers over-
whelmingly chose
Kennedy, who
appeared youth-
ful, confident and EMMARIE
attractive, while HUETTEMAN
radio listeners-
declared Nixon the
winner in a close contest. But how
could the same event be judged in
such different ways? It soon became
clear that the difference between a
Kennedy victory and a Nixon victory
was the sweat dripping down the vice
president's pale face.
It wasn't that Nixon was nervous.
Historians attribute his excessive per-
spiration to hot studio lights, alack of
makeup and the knee surgery he had
recently undergone. However, excus-
es meant little to television viewers,
and Kennedy went on to win the presi-
dency by a small margin. America just
didn't want a sweaty president.
Since that first debate, the prolif-
eration of visual media has neces-
sitated that candidates present a
ubiquitously presidential image. In
a cliche sense, that means being a
commanding speaker, wearing a tai-
lored suit and kissing a generation
of confused babies. There are a few
forgivable variables - specifically,
speaking with a mildly stigmatized
accent or following a marginalized
Christian creed - that voters will
overlook on a case-by-case basis, but
those who don't fit the mold generally
don't make the cut.
Sometime in the past four years,
though, that image changed, espe-

cially for the Democrats. Suddenly,
being multiracial is presidential.
Being female is presidential. But
being a white male? That's so 2004.
It is that shift that has shaped the
dialogue of the presidential race. In
2004, the media encouraged bicker-
ing about whether military service or
the avoidance of military service was
more presidential. Today, the media
encourages bickering about wheth-
er being misty-eyed or dry-eyed is
more presidential, a debate that has
drowned out the more traditional
debates like whether Mitt Romney's
Mormonism is a forgivable variable.
When John Edwards removed
himself from the race last week, he
told his supporters that he needed to
withdraw so that "history can blaze
its path." His departure ensured that
the Democrats would have the his-
toric nomination of their dreams, but
the punch line is that the media, the
Democrats and even Edwards him-
self have been setting him up for this
sacrifice for months. Regardless of
his strong platform and keen ability
to steer the discussion, Edwards is
a little passe, if only because he's a
white male.
And throughout this primary sea-
son, that is precisely the image from
which the Democrats have distanced
themselves in order to be the party
of change, through and through. The
CNN/YouTube Democratic debate
in July featured Hillary Clinton and
Barack Obama center-stage, flanked
by white men who were already fad-
ing in comparison to these frontrun-
ners. By the CNN Democratic debate
in South Carolinaon Jan. 21, Edwards
was the only white man left.
Despite looking quite presidential
in his suit and tie, Edwards couldn't
match the growing advantage of his
opponents. Obama sported a distin-
guished hint of gray hair at his tem-
ples to complement his Iowa victory.

Even Clinton donned a suit, look-
ing very presidential after her win
in New Hampshire. The Democrats
could hardly have been happier. In
the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. Day, Clinton observed, "What bet-
ter way to celebrate the legacy of Dr.
King than to look at this stage right
here tonight?"
With voters anxious to express
their discontent with the past eight
years, a Democratic preoccupation
with change is only natural. Four 4
years ago, the Democratic Party
offered up John Kerry as its alter-
native; voters declined. This time
around, Democrats have found felic-
ity in two qualified candidates who
believe in change and also happen to
look the part.
This election, John
Edwards is the
sacrificial lamb
And that's what matters this time
around. If the Democratic Party
wants to take back the White House,
it needs to be seen as the party of
change without a shade of doubt. So
while Edwards proved a pioneer in
shaping its platform on issues like
health care and poverty, the Demo-
crats were understandably unwilling
to take a chance on a candidate who
looks like more of the same - espe-
cially considering that the new-
school presidential candidate is still
a commanding speaker in a tailored
suit with plenty of babies to kiss.
Emmarie Huetteman is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at huetteme@umich.edu.

The product of two years of planning,
the proposed policy would place unwar-
ranted limitations on the content and dis-
tribution of student pamphlets, fliers and
publications. To circulate publications in
an LSA building, on racks with limited
spaces, student groups would have to be
overseen by the Board for Student Publi-
cations or registered with by the Michigan
Student Assembly. Even with this initial
restriction, material must meet a laundry
list of requirements like complying with
the University's advertising and content
policies. In addition, student organiza-
tions would only be allowed to distribute
materials from Sept. 15 to Apr. 14, forbid-
ding the circulation of publications like
the Daily in LSA buildings during the
spring and summer semesters and push-
ing the first fall semester publication date
back two weeks.r
The LSA Facilities and Operations Office
contends that these extensive restric-
tions are necessary to cut down on litter,
thus lowering the probability of slipping
on loose papers in its buildings. It argues
that the overproduction of student fli-
ers and publications is to blame for this
safety hazard. But rather than address-
ing the problem with logical solutions like
increased janitorial efforts, looking for
solutions along with the student groups
supposedly to blame or installing more
recycling bins, LSA is seeking to cut off
the source of the litter - and the student
body's constitutional right to free speech
and a free press.
A few papers scattered across Angell
Hall aren't reason enough to curtail rights
that have taken decades to solidify, even
here at the University where students have
historically fought with the administra-
tion to guarantee their editorial control. A
little mess is a small price to pay for our
right to free speech..
The hollow justification LSA adminis-
trators are offering for this intrusion into
students' freedom is that LSA buildings
aren't "public" because they aren't open to
the public around the clock. Therefore, the
University's commitment to free speech
and the U.S. Constitution are able to be
trampled on. But obviously, LSA adminis-
trators don't often visit their ownbuildings
after 5 p.m. If they did, they would know
that they are popular common areas at all
hours of the day and night - exactly what
is required to be considered "public."

The proposed policy is anything but con-
tent-neutral, as the administration claims.
By restrictingthe number of slots on display
racks and giving an immense amount of
regulatory power to MSA and the Board for
Student Publications, LSA's policy is severe-
ly restrictive for papers outside the main-
stream or without established audiences.
Of course, the LSA policy won't stop at
directly regulating the content in student
papers. The LSA prohibition of alcohol
and drug-related content would apply to
advertisements in student publications,
which could prove detrimental to some
papers' revenue. Because publications
like the Daily are financially dependent
on advertising, restrictions on advertising
might as well be restrictions on content. It
is also unclear how the policy would affect
materials that are not produced by stu-
dents like the Metro Times and the Ann
Arbor News. These publications, which
offer students valuable information about
local events, could potentially be kept of
the racks.
Most importantly, this policy would
hurt students. Ousted from their prime
real estate in LSA buildings, student pub-
lications would likely have to discontinue
circulating during the spring and summer
semesters. LSA administrators must have
forgotten that news doesn't stop for the
summer. Consider this last summer when
the University raised tuition, got the final
green light to desecrate Michigan Stadium
with skyboxes and signed a multimillion-
dollar apparel contract with Adidas. The
University shouldn't get a free pass to act
without the oversight these publications
Sure, the LSA policy is supposedly still
in drafting stages. But LSA administrators
can't take back the two years they consid-
ered these proposed restrictions without
ever having the common sense to ask for
input from the major student groups that
will be affected by the policy. It is appall-
ing that the only way this university's two
main student publications, the Michigan
Review and the Daily, were able to find out
about this policy was when they reported
on it. Unfortunately, it's emblematic of
how the University does business now.
In an effort to be environmental friend-
ly, the LSA Facilities and Operations Office
should do itself one favor: Toss this policy
into a recycling bin. But don't leave it on
the ground because someone might trip.

Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels,
Arikia Millikan, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, lmran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha,
Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.

RHA president has
left assembly reeling

These claims ar
resent the facts
On an almos
permits fuel, fo
enter Gaza. If Is

TO THE DAILY: of anything, it
As a president of a council in a of Gazans ahea
residence hall here on campus, I am own citizens.
appalled by the actions of Andrew trucks carrying
Eastman, the Residence Hall-Asso- to enter Gaza
ciation president who is being least one occasi
charged with indecent exposure. Israeli Security
Obviously the incident in question an attempt to
is unacceptable for someone who is nitrate, which
supposed to uphold the laws of the rockets, under
residence hall, but what is worse is Also, in countl
what Eastman has done to the RHA the border cros
assembly. movement of g
Leaders are people who motivate and Gaza have b
their followers to stand and lead tars and Qassar
with them, not behind them. After Credible for(
reading many pages of RHA minutes, like the World
I have come to understand that the on Jan 3 have
five RHA executive board members abuse of human
who have recently quit did not resign Over the past fe
strictly because of this one incident, other groups h
but because of his lack of interest in of rockets at Isr
what they had to say and what RHA At the same tii
really stands for. In the end, not that patients w
one of the members who resigned tals due to a la
seemed to support Eastman. that starving ct
The saddest part of this whole
fiasco is that Eastman has hardly
flinched in light of it all. Shouldn't
a leader feel the least bit remorse- ROSE JAFFE
ful for losing his closest people? If
I were to lose my board, my coun-
cil wouldn't be able to function.
The members of my board lead the
organization just as much as I do.
An executive board is a team, not a
And what about RHA?Where will
the organization go from here? After
the outrage about the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly, then-president Zack
Yost had the decency to step down
and save MSA some credibility. Will
RHA ever be able to be taken seri-
ously again?

re false and misrep-
on the ground.
t daily basis, Israel
aod and medicine to
srael can be accused
is putting the lives
d of the lives of its
Israel permitted
g essential supplies
even though on at
ion according to the
y Agency there was
smuggle potassium
is used to propel
the guise of sugar.
ess other instances
sings that allow the
oods between Israel
been shelled by mor-
m rockets.
eign media outlets
Tribune in an article
documented such
nitarian aid to Gaza.
w weeks Hamas and
ave fired hundreds
aeli civilian targets.
me, Hamas claimed
ere dying in hospi-
ck of electricity and
hildren were on the

verge of death due to lack of food,
blaming the problems on Israel. Yet
some reports on the ground show
that food supplies remain adequate,
as sources told The Jerusalem Post
in article on Jan. 22.
The most recent humanitarian
crisis was cynically engineered by
Hamas in order to promote hatred
of the Israeli people and to rally the
support of Gaza's populationbehind
Hamas. As long as the Hamas gov-
ernment prefers to smuggle rockets
and explosives into Gaza to be fired
at Israeli citizens instead of invest-
iog in the needs of the people, peace
will remain a distant dream. Peace
can only be achieved through tol-
erance and sincere humanitarian
action. Tactics of blaming the vic-
tim merely prolong the conflict.
I hope that the next time anyone
claims the media is biased in favor
Israel, that person will take a more
objective and fair look at the facts
on the ground
Ari Siegel
Business junior
The letter writer is an advisorfor Israel


Uploading lazy activism

Last week, a group of students, myself
included, organized the Maize Out March
to demonstrate to the University's adminis-
tration that students sincerely want an on-
campus graduation. In a sense, the effort was
successful - graduation is now going to be
held on campus. But on top of that, the march
had a secondary goal: To prove that our gen-
eration of student activism is not relegated to
just Internet crusades, but can translate sen-
timent into real-life demonstrations.
Leading up to the march, the event's
Facebook page listed 230 confirmed attend-
ees, with about 350 more saying they would
"maybe" attend. But in reality, 20 people
showed up for the march. I would like to
blame poor organization, or the fact that the
Daily ran a front-page story on the same day
announcing that graduation would be held
on campus for the march's poor attendance.
However, that's probably not the case.
Interactive social networking makes self-
expressioneasy,to the pointthatthe ease itself
is its flaw. In the case of the graduation debate,
a student may feel disappointed about having
to graduate off-campus but simultaneously
realize that an off-campus commencement
could be the most practical solution. At the
same time, this student may receive e-mails
from peers begging for other students to send
e-mails to administrators and demonstrate

how angry students feel. Because sending
an e-mail or clicking "attend" on a Facebook
event is effortless, it's worth the student's
time to protest from the comfort of the com-
puter. If he or she weighs the option of voic-
ing discontent at the expense of missing class
to stand outside, the student may decide that
expressing disappointment over graduation is
not worth risking a participation grade.
This is exactly what plagues Facebook
communication. Can sending an e-mail or
joining a Facebook group equal the sincer-
ity of using valuable time to participate in a
demonstration? Probably not. But consider
it in more personal terms. How does writ-
ing "happy birthday" on a friend's Facebook
wall, for example, compare to a customary
phone call?
Although Internet organization might
be the grassroots forum of the future, the
behavior of the Facebook generation has not
caught up with our pre-Internet expectations
of human behavior. The poor expression of
student dissent against commencement is
a perfect of example of this disconnect. For
this to change, we must put our money where
our mouse is.
Mike Eber is an SA senior and a member
of the Daily's editorial board. He was one of the
chief organizers of the Maize Out March.

Ali McKenna
LSA sophomore
The letter writer is the co-chair of Couzens
HallActive Multi Ethnic Organization
Letter gets reality
of Gaza wrong
In a letter to the editor last week,
Hena Ashraf claimed that "Gaza is
under siege by Israel" and that the
American media is biased in favor
of Israel because it does not report
the "large-scale humanitarian
crisis" in Gaza (Coverage of Gaza
vigil shows Daily bias, 01/29/2008).




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