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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-02

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8C - New Student Edition

. s. The Michigan Daily - michigarndaily.com


is for macabre
By Paul Tassi Daily Staff Reporter
Z < D
t L Y





Oct. 10, 2007-
Sure, Yale has produced a
record number of Supreme
Court justices, Princeton and
Harvard a multitude of senators
and governors.
But when I'm showing off, who
do I point to among the Universi-
ty's alumni? Besides Darth Vader
and O-Ren Ishii, the answer is Dr.
Death and the Unabomber.
That's right, there have been
a lot of crazy people who have
stepped on the "M" over the past
100 years or so.
This legacy of bloodshed is
mostly glossed over, as you won't
see anything renamed the Kevork-
ian School of Medicine anytime
soon, but the University has to
acknowledge its offspring none-


Oh Teddy, couldn't you have just
gone to MIT?
Perhaps the most notorious
character on the list, Ted Kaczyn-
ski, more commonly known as the
Unabomber, received a Ph.D. in
mathematics from the University
back in 1967.
A decade later, he began to soil
the names of eccentric loners in
the woods everywhere by mailing
bombs across the country for 15
He killed three people and
injured 23, leaving the world to
wonder why he couldn't have just
channeled his tormented bril-
liance into something more typi-
cal, like wearing tinfoil clothes or
having an unnatural affinity for

You might not have heard of the
man who assassinated President
James Garfield in 1881.
Although Guiteau didn't actu-
ally attend the University, he's
worth including because he lived
with his uncle, the mayor of Ann
Arbor, for a while and applied to
the University multiple times, only
to be rejected. A blatant plagiarist,
half-assed lawyer and all-around
insane person, Guiteau shot Gar-
field twice because he felt the
commander in chief hadn't prop-
erly recognized his contributions
to his campaign. Garfield died 11
weeks later as a result of the infec-
tions, that developed when the
doctors treated his wounds with
unwashed hands and unsterilized

Dr. Death, or as he probably
likes to think of himself, Dr. Angel
of Sweet Mercy and Relief, gradu-
ated from the University's Medical
School in 1952.
He began a practice so unusual
it was granted its own term, medi-
cide, in which he would physically
assist chronically ill patients with
their deaths.
At one point in 1998, he even
showed a lethal injection on "60
Minutes," daring his critics to
arrest him. They were more than
happy to oblige, and he was impris-
oned for second-degree homicide
up until June of this year.
Now released, Kevorkian plans
to move to Mexico, relax on the
beach and maybe open up a little
surf shop.

The first truly sensationalized
mass mediamurder, these two teens
killed a 14-year-old boy in what
became one of the most famous
crimes of the 1920s. Having read
far too much Dostoyevsky,-the two
brilliant men (Leopold spoke five
languages; Loeb was Michigan's
youngest graduate ever) thought
themselves Nietzschean supermen,
above the moral codes of man and
able to commit perfect crimes after
which they would feel no remorse.
Subsequently, the two broke down
immediately when questioned and
blamed each other for the killing,
not reali4iog the irony of the situ-
ation, because they apparently had
only read the firstuthree-quarters of
"Crime and Punishment."

The ultimate Diag protester,
Ayers attended the University In
the sixties.
But he wasn't content with
holding signs and handing out
pamphlets - he blew things up.
He bombed the Capitol build-
ing, the Pentagon and the State
He also killed two of his friends
and his girlfriend when a future
liberty-dispensing device explod-
ed in his hideout.
Posthumously, he preaches his
message of progressive education
through non-detonatingbooks and
a website, www.billayers.org.


Even a good university has its bad spots
By Brian Tengel I Daily Staff Reporter


Oct. 31, 2007-
Many of us like to imagine
the University as a beacon
of progress.
We see it as a place where ideas
are expounded and values debated.
We envision an institution devoted
to the education and advancement
of its students, a forum where diver-
sity and academic freedom reign.
We assume that whatever the
University does - whether it's
erecting new facilities or imposing
new rules and codes - is intended
to efficiently and productively serve
its community.
And when we fork over our tuition
dollars, even if we aren't under the
impression that the University is
an infallible bastion of progress,
we imagine that, at the very least,
it's not an impediment to it. Most of
the time, it doesn't disappoint - but
only most of the time.
Over the course of its 190-year
history, there. have been quite a
few instances where the University
failed to live upto itscreed of liberty
and equality. The following are just
a few events that you probably won't
hear Campus Day leaders describ-
ing to prospective freshmen and
their parents.
In the 1930s and '40s, campus
was teeming with political activ-
ity. Major world events - the Great
Depression,the NewDealandWorld
War II,to name a few - were fueling
a national debate in which students
were actively engaged. Radical stu-
dent groups abounded. Controver-
sial speakers frequented campus.
But while the students were making
good use of their youthful exuber-
ance and First Amendment rights,
it didn't mean administrators were
happy about it.
President Alexander Ruthven
was less than overjoyed.
In June 1935, Ruthven requested
that four students not return to the
University for the following aca-
demic year. He declared that their
"pervasive activities" were unac-
ceptable and obstructed the Univer-
sity's work.
In "The Making of The Univer-
sity of Michigan 1817-1992," some
of Ruthven's original statements
about the dismissals are downright

"Attendance at the University of
Michigan is a privilege and not a
right," Ruthven wrote in an annual
report fromthe fallof1935."Inorder
to safeguard its ideals of scholar-
ship, character, and personality the
University reserves the right, and
the student concedes to the Univer-
sity the right, to require withdrawal
of any student at any time for any
reason deemed sufficientto it."
In June 1940, Ruthven continued
his "purge"ofstudents. He informed
nine more that they would not be
readmitted in the fall on charges of
disruptingthe "University's work.",
Clearly, by today's standards, the
idea that the University might strip
you of your constitutional rights
in return for the right to attend
seems crass, but even at the time it
was shocking to hear the president
of a prestigious university refer to
freedom of the press and freedom
of speech as "sophistries" in a com-
mencement address.
High-handed dismissals were not
confined to the Ruthven administra-
tion, though. DuringPresident Har-
lan Hatcher's tenure, the University
Lecture Committee in 1952 tempo-
rarily prohibited two men, who
were allegedly affiliated with dis-
sident organizations, from speaking
on campus. According to an article
in The Michigan Daily on May 20,
1952, the committee was concerned
the two might promote overthrow-
ing the government.
Hatcher also ignited, protest in
May 1954 when he suspended three
faculty members who had been
ordered to appear before the House
Committee on Un-AmericanActivi-
ties. The faculty members were
called to testify by Michigan Con-
gressman Kit Clardy, who wanted
to investigate their alleged ties to
communist organizations. Hatcher
dismissed two of the members but
only reprimanded the third.
In September 1969, things got
particularly ugly. University Presi-
dent Robben Fleming, who had pre-
viously dealt with student activism
in a composed manner, lost it.
Students were demanding the
creation of a student-run bookstore
on campus, and they wouldn't take
no for an answer.
The University Board of Regents
agreed to finance the venture, but it
refused to cede control of the store
to the students. In response, Stu-

dents for a Democratic Society, a
radical activist group, barricaded
themselves inside the LSA Building.
Six hundred students protested
inside, while 1,000 people showed
their support by gathering outside.
The students had locked the doors.
Faced with a potentially hazardous
situation, Fleming ordered about
250 city and state policemen to
forcibly evacuate the building. The
result? One hundred and seven stu-
dents were arrested.
Afterward, Fleming remarked
that the mass arrests "let students
know that there were some things
we would not let them do."
The year 1967 was not a particu-
larly good one for University build-
ing projects. In addition to using
$2 million of students' tuition to
financea dubiously popular plan for
the Power Center which required
three times as much money as was
allotted for the construction, part of
the Intramural Sports Building ceil-
ing caved and then plummeted into
the pool area.
The collapse was caused by rain
and snow, which had damaged the
building's beam structure. This
frail infrastructure wasn't anything
new, though. The IM Building was
supposed to have been renovated
five years prior, but the University
couldn'tget its acttogether.Accord-
ing to a story in The Michigan Daily
on Sept. 15, 1967, "a frustrating
maze of bureaucratic red tape and
an administration that appears to
be deaf to the entire IM problem"
were hindering any progress on
the building. Luckily, there were no
casualties in the accident..
Perhaps two of the most memo-
rable building-related blunders have
occurred in the past decade. They're
fresh in our memories, and, there-
fore, all the more stinging.
In 1998, there was the "halo":
the gaudy yellow and white steel
band that lined the exterior bowl of
Michigan Stadium. Decorated with
University icons like the winged hel-
met and lyrics from "The Victors,"
the "halo" was met with immediate
disapproval from fans, who called it
tacky and defiantof the traditional
style of Michigan Stadium. Two
years later, the halo was removed
- at the cost of $100,000.
As far as fan disapproval goes,

though, the halo is no match for
the University's plan to add luxury
boxes to the stadium. The $226
million project, which includes the
boxes, wider aisles and more con-
cessions and restrooms, has drawn
the ire of many fans who say it will
separate the wealthy from the great.
unwashed in the rest of the stadi-
But there's more. The Univer-
sity is entangled in a lawsuit with
the Michigan- Paralyzed Veterans
of America, which charges that the
renovation plans aren't in compli-
ance with the Americans With Dis-
abilities Act of 1990. Last April the
group filed the suit, but the Univer-
sity nonetheless approved the final
component of the renovation plans
in June. In recent weeks, Athletic
Department officials have said the
University will continue with the
project - despite a trial date ten-
tatively set for September 2008. It
appears that the pleas of fans and
disabled veterans have so far fallen
on deaf ears.
Although the University admit-
ted the first black student before
slavery was abolished and was one
of the first major universities to
allow women to attend, its record of
promoting equality is mixed.
In 1969, a complaint was filed
with the U.S. Department of Health,
Education and Welfare accusing the
University of discriminating against
women. To help the department
with its investigation, some women
formed a group on campus to col-
lect more data on the University's
employment of women. The results
were discouraging.
According to the group's report,
the average woman's salary was
much lower than that of men in
every department; women were
disproportionately concentrated
in secretarial jobs; and they were
often dissuaded from pursuing
graduate degrees in particular dis-
After these findings were pub-
lished, the government demanded
that the University create an affir-
mative action program to ensure
that it was complying with federal
guidelines on hiring minorities and
One year later, there was another

stiroversexistinstitutionaltenden- create segregated off-campus stu-
cies. Prior to every home football dent housing for black women. The
game, the Athletic Department venture was thwarted by protest-
would host a dinner party for vis- ers, and the University's outlook on
iting press members and coaches. race continued to progress, though
Guests from the University includ- there were more hang-ups along
ed regents, vice presidents and the the way.
Daily's senior sports editors. In the 1940s and '50s, the Daily
That is, unless they were conducted investigations that
women. exposed a strainof racism plagu-
The departmentmaintained that ing the University. One story noted
because the "smokers" - as these that many talented and quali-
gatherings were known - were pri- fied black people were not able .to
vate parties, refusing to let women secure teaching positions .due to
attend didn't constitute discrimi- race. When asked why no black
nation. person had been offered a teach-
The Daily reported that William ing job, faculty members suggested
Mazer, president of the "M" Gradu- two reasons: concern about stu-
ate Club, said his club had unani- dents', responses and the widely
mously decided to bar women from held belief that higher-ups at the
attending. University would never sanction a
"We don't invite women fortlieir black person.
own protection," he said. "When At the beginning of fraternity
a group of men get together and rush week in 1954f evidence of rac-
drink, the language gets a bitrough. ism on campus abounded. Thirteen
Women should feel honored not to fraternities had constitutions con-
be invited." taining clauses that prevented peo-
Gaining equal treatment in the ple of specified races or religions
Athletic Department wasn't the from rushing. The Daily printed the
only challenge for female Univer- names of these fraternities. Alpha
sity students at the time, though. Tau Omega, for example, banned
The Michigan Union was original- blacks. Phi Delta Theta accepted
ly an all-male building, and though only white Christians. Lambda Chi
the construction of the Michigan Alpha prohibited Jews and non-
League in 1929 as a meeting place Caucasians.
for women was a marginal step Things improved only margin-
forward, women weren't allowed ally over the next few decades.
throughthe frontdoorofthe Union Throughout the 1970s, the Uni-
until 1956 - an inexcusably late versity was engaged in disckssion
date by any measure. with members of the Black Action
Also in the '50s, women had to Movement, who were fighting to
contend with curfews, dress codes get black enrollment up to 10 per-
and broad University oversight cent from 3 percent by 1973. That
into their personal lives. Then- didn'thappen, and BAM-organized
Dean of Women Deborah Bacon strikes ensued.
was ousted in 1961, largely because In the late '80s, the words of an
she had a habit of doling out harsh LSA sophomore indicated that, in
punishment if she detected inter- many ways, the situation for blacks
racial dating. To the University's on campus was still far from ideal.
credit, when she left, she was never On his radio show, the student
replaced. employed a number of sexist and
The University has a spotted' racist jokes, ostensibly to win over
record of promoting racial equal- his fans. Needless to say, it didn't
ity, too. Although a commitment to go over too well. The student was
diversity on campus is now argu- promptly fired.
ably one of the school's biggest The University still faces an
achievements, it wasn't always that uphillbattle with the issue of diver-
way. sity - especially given the passage
In the late 1920s under then- of Proposal 2 last November, which
University President C.O. Little - a effectively banned affirmative
life-long eugenicist - several cam- action. The University's response to .
pus institutions, like swimming this and other challenges truly will
pools, were segregated. In 1928, determine how close it will come to
the University actually sought to living up to its mighty ideals.




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