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January 09, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-09

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4A -Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com *

L71 CMidC 4P 0a n alh
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

We are seeing poll numbers in Michigan
that defy reason."
-Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, commenting on polls that
suggest he may win the Michigan primary, as reported yesterday on nytimes.com.

0

KARL STAMPFL
EDITOR IN CHIEF

IMRAN SYED
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

JEFFREY BLOOMER
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 public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to ontact the public editor
with questions andcomments. He canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
Winning isn't everything
U' must prove it doesn't discriminate, in and out of court
Diversity matters at the University. University President
Mary Sue Coleman declared this after the passage of
Proposal 2 in 2006, and now that assertion is its own link
on the University website - ironically right under the link for the
Big House renovation project. But as more lawsuits assert that the
University has discriminated against disabled football fans, gay
law school professors and, most recently, female health system
employees, it seems more concerned with finessing its arguments
than with addressing the underlying concerns. If the University
wants to retain its bragging rights as a defender of diversity, then
it needs to prove that it can back up its words with action.

Board of the year

L ast year might have been
remembered as a year of mir-
acles, in which those who lost
everything from
"American Idol"
to the presidency
found themselves
with Oscars and
Nobel Prizes in
hand. But with the
announcement of
TIME's Person
of the Year last EMMARIE
month, it's clearH
that the media has
other ideas about
the legacy of 2007.
When TIME named Vladimir
Putin as its 2007 Person of the Year,
many were quick to condemn its
choice, citing the Russian president's
tyrannical tendencies in stifling
political opposition. Anticipating this
response, the magazine clarified that
the distinction "is not and never has
been an honor," acknowledging that
Putin is "not a boy scout" but did
bring stability to his country. And
let's be honest: TIME picked Joseph
Stalin twice. This isn't about honor.
It's about influence.
Conveniently enough, that philoso-
phy is a startlingly appropriate way
to judge the University's own 2007
legacy. With MSA President Zack
Yost's Facebook scandal still fresh in
our minds, it was a year that could
be easily characterized by influential
people doing not-so-honorable things.
As such, choosing just one University
Person of the Year was too difficult
- so I cheated and chose eight.
My pick for the University of Mich-
igan's 2007 Person(s) of the Year is ...
the University Board of Regents.
When 2007 began, the board had
just approved the design for North
Quad, having rejected the previous
plan because it wasn't aesthetically
pleasing enough. University President
Mary Sue Coleman - who should be
acknowledged here as the ninth regent

due to her ex-officio membership
- praised the new design, calling it
"more Michigan... more who we are."
If University construction projects
were being approved based on how
"Michigan" they were, then appar-
ently it was also very "Michigan" to
support the controversial addition
of luxury skyboxes to the Big House.
By June, the Board of Regents was
ready to approve the final renova-
tions, but apparently it didn't want to
bother with a pesky thing like oppo-
sition anymore. Much like the treat-
ment a naysayer might receive under
TIME's man Putin, the opposition
was silenced. A request from a Save
the Big House spokesman to address
the regents was denied, while renova-
tion supporters were invited to speak
before the speakers' list even became
available. The last vote went 6-2 in
favor of the skyboxes.
Meanwhile, a larger threat to
"who we are" than a bad dorm design
loomed, as the Michigan Paralyzed
Veterans of America demanded that
the University comply with the Amer-
icans with Disabilities Act of 1990 in
its renovations or face a lawsuit. The
University got served with the suit in
April, and the Board of Regents' mid-
summer approval of the renovations
without adequate accommodations
for the disabled became an affront not
just to those who oppose skyboxes but
also to those who use wheelchairs. It
didn't matter that the University was
seemingly abandoning its commit-
ment to diversity with the Board of
Regents leadingthe exodus.
Then there was the 7.4 percent
tuition hike it approved in July. Tak-
ing the less-creative approach, the
Board of Regents opted to pass the
consequences of the state's fail-
ings down to the students. In their
defense, the regents tried to cushion
the blow with an increase in finan-
cial aid, as well as acknowledged that
its assumptions about state funding
could be proven wrong - which they

were. Under those circumstances,
said Regent Martin Taylor (D-Grosse
Pointe Farms), "It's really incumbent
of the regents to revisit this issue."
They haven't yet.
According to TIME, Putin brought
Russia stability in 2007. So what did
the Board of Regents bring us?
By a smaller margin than the Big
House renovations vote (but a mar-
gin nonetheless), it brought us a long-
awaited change to the University's
non-discrimination clause: the addi-
tion of gender identity and expression.
It took four years of pressure and had
to be tried out in asterisks and foot-
notes before it became an official part
of the clause, but the regents finally
approved its addition in September.
The Board of
Regents is no boy
scout, either.
True, it's a small victory. It hardly
negates a year dominated by dis-
appointments, and it sure took the
regents long enough. But to an eter-
nal optimist, it looks something like
hope. This one step forward could be
a glimpse of what's to come if we keep
pressuring the regents to live up to
our standards. For more than a year,
the University has spouted platitudes
while the Board of Regents, among
others, has disregarded them. But
with the ADA lawsuit and a couple
other potential discrimination suits
warming up in the wings, maybe the
University will soonbe forced to prove
its values again.
Maybe this year the regents will
bringus accountability.
Emmarie Huetteman is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at huetteme@umich.edu.

0

The latest example of the University's
apparent hypocrisy was revealed last month
in a lawsuit filed by 30 women employed
by the University Hospital and University
Health Service. The women, who are nurse
practitioners and physician assistants, say
they have been paid less than their male
counterparts who perform the same tasks, a
violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
Although University Hospital spokesman
Drew Jarvis asserted in a statement that
the pay discrepancies in question have been
"carefully studied" and are not unequal,
gender salary studies have shown discrep-
ancies based on gender at the University and
in society at large. In 2005, the University's
Office ofthe Provost conducted a study in the
Medical School and found that, even when
controlling for factors like rank and years of
education: "Men's average salaries are con-
sistently higher than those of women."
If the University were truly committed to
diversity and equality, it would take pains-
taking steps to investigate and rectify the
situation, despite the lawsuit. Should the
problem lead to litigation and the University
feels justified in its actions, it should fight to
prove its case, which shouldn't be hard if it
is being true to its word. Unfortunately this
doesn't seem to be the case.
In the past few years, there have been two
prominent examples showing that the Uni-
versity is more interested in winning first
and upholding its values second. When for-
mer law Professor Peter Hammer sued for
being denied tenure, claiming members of

a committee discriminated against him for
being openly gay, the University went on the
wrong defensive. In response to Hammer's
accusations, the Office of General Counsel
at first tried to argue that the University's
non-discrimination policy on sexual prefer-
ence is more of a guideline than a legal obli-
gation. The University eventually reversed
its position and is now arguing that it simply
didn't discriminate - just a couple tries too
late, though.
In the lawsuit about the construction
at Michigan Stadium, the University has
been confronted by the U.S. Department of
Education, sued by the Michigan Paralyzed
Veterans of America for violating the Amer-
icans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and cas-
tigated by the U.S. Department of Justice,
yet it is still clinging onto its argument that
the Big House "repairs" don't require ADA
compliance.
For the University, these court cases
should be principled fights to defend its val-
ues, not attempts to squirm out of legal con-
sequences. More importantly, the principled
fight shouldn't stay in the halls of the court-
house. If the increasing number of these
high-profile lawsuits is any indication, pre-
venting discrimination has become an issue
worthy of a more drastic response from the
University like a special commission.
It's not enough for the University to claim
it is a diverse and tolerant institution, con-
cerned with equal rights for its employees
and supporters. It must act like one too.
Lawyers shouldn't stand in its way.

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.
COURTNEY PAQUETTE
A call to teachers

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Gun bans fall to end violent should focus his efforts on the root cause,
not the instrument.
crime in cities

TO THE DAILY:
First, let me make it clear that I'm
not saying this in a mean way, but Craig
Root showed his youth and ignorance in
his viewpoint last week about gun vio-
lence (Something not to be thankful for,
01/03/2008) - ignorance of the Constitu-
tion, for one.
The ruling by the circuit court in March
2007 concerned the constitutionality of the
District of Columbia's handgun ban. The
circuit court ruled that the ban violates Dis-
trict of Columbia citizens' Second Amend-
ment rights. Beyond this constitutionality
question, to put an even finer point on it, the
ban hasn't worked. Despite having the ban
since 1975, Washington D.C. consistently
ranks as one of the most violent places in
America. Although the city blames neigh-
boring states for letting guns in, this logic
suggests that those neighboring states
should have even more violence, right? Yet
this is not true.
If Root cared to do some research, he
would see that gun bans consistently fail;
they keep the law abiding disarmed while
criminals ignore the law and find ways to
get guns anyway. It's not about guns; it's
about drugs. Wild, rampant National Rifle
Association members and those nasty folks
with concealed carry permits aren't caus-
ing inner-city violence. Gangs and drug
dealers, which are usually one in the same,
are causing it.
Everything in life has a cost and a bene-
fit. We tolerate kitchen knives in our homes
because, even though they can be popular
weapons, they're also used most of the time
for non-violent purposes. Although cars
kill, we tolerate them because their trans-
portation value to us outweighs the poten-
tial danger. The same is true of guns. They
are used far more often to stop a violent
attack than to commit one. The bottom line
is that guns save far more lives than they
take. If a person is suicidal and doesn't have
a gun at hand, that person could simply
use something else. We can't ban rope and
extension cords.
So while I empathize with Root's con-
cerns about inner-city violence and violence
in general, I respectfully suggest that he
become better informed on the true cause of
the gun violence he has been witnessing. He

Stu Chisholm
Roseville, Mich.
Huckabee earned Iowa win
with help ofFairTax
TO THE DAILY:
Articles in many Michigan newspapers
lately have overplayed Mike Huckabee's
support from Christian conservatives and
downplayed the support Huckabee has gar-
nered from his advocacy of the FairTax, a
progressive national retail sales tax. It was
Huckabee's promotion of the FairTax that
first gained him sufficient support in Iowa to
make him a viable candidate who others felt
wasn't a waste of a vote. This strong support
from FairTax advocates continued to grow
and eventually contributed significantly to
his dark-horse victory in the Iowa caucuses.
As Huckabee spoke to the voters about the
FairTax and how it would place America on
a level playing field with foreign competi-
tors for the first time in generations, they
saw him as the candidate to bring about this
needed change. Huckabee's appearance on
the Jay Leno show just before the Iowa cau-
cuses confirms this. On the show the Fair-
Tax was a significant part of the discussion.
The fact that the FairTax is serious legis-
lation is evidenced by the 72 co-sponsors the
FairTax Act now has in the U.S. Congress.
Three other candidates still in the presiden-
tial primary race, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul
and Mike Gravel, also support the FairTax.
In Michigan, the Michigan FairTax Associa-
tion is planning to place a Michigan FairTax
proposal on the November ballot and is
gaining support in the state House of Repre-
sentatives.
Also, by taxing businesses instead of tax-
ing the products directly, the American tax
system is deceptive. This places American-
produced products at a competitive disad-
vantage against foreign-produced products.
Mike Huckabee has recognized the prob-
lem of our broken tax system and the public
has is recognizing him partly because of his
advocacy of the FairTax solution.
Roger Buchholtz
The letterwriter is the director ofMichigan FairTax
Association.

What if your special-needs child their students b
was being bullied so severely that one another whi
your only option was to pull him or to discuss respei
her out of public schools and begin a the year and ma
home schooling program? thing less is ur
Unfortunately, this is not a "what ers must point
if" hypothetical but a recent reality behaviors and gi
for one Washtenaw County family. address them w
After a wonderful experience with have consequent
a local public middle school, where show disrespect
the school administrators and teach- accustomed to
ers were caring and helpful and the inside the class
students were respectful, their son's less likely to b
early high school experience was outside of the cle
so hurtful that his mother felt it But, preventi
was best for him to stop attending the classroom d
school. He was the target of bullying continue to be a
because of a disability that affects through the hal
his ability to regulate his emotions and recess. They
and communicate effectively in themselves with
social situations. He has been diag- ing and look for
nosed with Asperger's syndrome. ria and other p
Aware of his condition, a group make it clear to
of fellow classmates physically and ing is not accept
verbally harassed the boy on a reg- Finally, it is it
ular basis, usually until a physical ers reflect on th
confrontation emerged or he had an vital that stude
embarrassing emotional breakdown. ers treating all
While this is perhaps an extreme special needs
case, it speaks to a more insidious students, fairly
problem that exists in all of Washt-
enaw County's public schools: a lack
of tolerance and respect for others,
especially for those with disabilities. ROSE JAFFE
According to Children's Issues, a
national survey found that one in 16
students reported being bullied dur-
ing a single school term. This means
that most classrooms include at least
one bullied student.As a result,these -
victimized children will grow up to
have lower self-esteem and high-
er levels of depression than other
adults. Bullying can also result in
school absences, behavior problems
and poor academic performance. oa
For students with special needs, the
effects are often more severe.
Sadly, many of us only stare or
ignore bullying. By choosing not to
step in and stop it, we are essential-
ly enabling and perpetuating the
problem. By allowing it to continue, Q 1
we are sending the message that
bullying is acceptable. This must
stop. A key place to start address-
ing and preventing bullying is in
the classroom. Teachers have an
incredible influence on children.
To foster tolerance and respect,
it is essential that teachers take
advantage of their position to dem-
onstrate these values.
One way teachers can reduce bul-
lying is to make their classrooms a
safe and comfortable place for all
students. They should demand that

e respectful towards
le inclass. Theyneed
ct at the beginning of
ke it clear that any-
nacceptable. Teach-
t out disrespectful
estures. They should
hen they occur and
ces for students who
. If children become
being respectful
:room, they will be
ully other students
sassroom.
on does not stop at
door. Teachers must
ware when walking
ls and during lunch
y need to familiarize
h the signs of bully-
them in the cafete-
laces. They need to
students that bully-
able anywhere.
mportant that teach-
eir own biases. It is
nts see their teach-
students, including
and marginalized
and equally. Instead

of ignoring the fact that Johnny-
with-ADHD is being left out by his
group members, teachers should
intervene and remind the class that
all members need to participate
equally. They should make a point
to include the students with special
needs in all class discussions. Doing
so will show the class that teachers
value everyone's opinions equally,
and the class will too.
While demonstrating and pro-
moting tolerance and respect in
the classroom are by no means the
complete answer to the bullying
problem, they are an important first
step. Bullying disrupts learning for
all students, including the bullies
themselves and those who witness
it, so it is in everyone's best interest
to work together to stop it. There is
no excuse for the continued abuse
that the children in Washentaw
County's schools experience every
day. School needs to be a safe place
where young people can focus on
learning, not their safety.
Courtney Paquette is a graduate
student in the School of Social Work.

6

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