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October 01, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-01

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4A - Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solelytheviews of their authors.
L "
Learning the right way
Partnership between 'U' and Qatar University a win-win
D oha, Dubai, Kumasi - places that many students couldn't
locate on a map are becoming the hottest attractions for
their colleges. In an effort to cater to an increasingly global
world, universities big and small are rushing to get a foothold over-
seas. But there's a right way and a wrong way to bring American
higher education to foreign countries. To its credit, the University
has been doing it the right way, by promoting a true cultural and
intellectual exchange, not pressing its ideas on others. The Institute
for Social Research's partnership with Qatar University continues
that trend, and should serve as a model for other colleges to follow.

Bikinis are my favorite thing to wear."
-Macomb County Commissioner Carey Torrice, commenting on the scantily clad photos on her
campaign website during an interview Monday on the television program "Inside Edition."
Too soon.
H e'stalkingabout 9/11,"Isaid, accepted the Republican nomination scareusagain.There'snootherexpla-
slightly incredulous. The for president last month, the Repub- nation for the Republicans' decision
caffeine from my iced cof- lican National Convention opened its to expose us to a graphic recap of ter-
fee hadn't kicked primetime coverage with a "tribute." rorism over the past 40 years at their
in yet. Its purpose, Republicans said, was nominating convention.
My boyfriend to honor those who died in the 2001 Why is it acceptable for politi-
looked up from his attacks. cians to encourage such reverence
paper at the muted Instead, the film opened with the for a tragedy that even a liberal
television, watch- image of a blindfolded American like me can't take a joke - and then
ing as the captions surrounded by Middle Eastern men. applaud treating that tragedy like a
scrolled along the But it wasn't a scene from the recent campaign ad?
bottom of Comedy war against terrorism - it was from The answer, of course, is that it's
Central. "Yeah?" EMMARIE the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The not, but that doesn't seem to be dis-
"He's doing clip was followed closely by more couraging political fear mongering
stand-up." He H E footage of Middle Eastern men, who on either side. With our financial
seemednonplussed. brandished weapons as the narra- system in jeopardy, the campaigns
I pressed on. tor referred to an undefined "they" are already trying to shove the eco-
". mean, is that it? Seven years, and who, he said ominously, want to "kill nomic crisis under the bed and call it
it's OK to joke about it?" Americans."
"Seven years?" he repeated. "The Before long, the audience was
jokes started the year after." treated to disturbing images of the
Well, two years after - at least in North Tower of the World Trade Poor taste is
the case of this special, which came Center burning, the South Tower
out in 2003. As I continued to watch, being hit and finally both towers in the eye of the
I considered how I felt about it. My crumbling toward fleeing New York-
first instinct was disdain, despite the ers - footage that the media has long . beholder.
fact that the jokes weren't particular- since stopped showing, largely due to
ly distasteful. It seemed natural, even accusations from politicians that it
patriotic, to grow defensive at the was exploiting the tragedy. But, the
use of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as narrator reassured, this time "we'll the boogeyman. Last week, McCain
comedic fodder. have a president who knows how" to bowed out of his appearance on the
But how soon is too soon? The win the war against terrorism. "Late Show with David Letterman,"
United States is well into the healing As the tribute ended and the citing the, precarious state of the
process, and while Sept.11 might rep- lights came up, I had to fight to economy and saying that it "wasn't a
resent a change in the political and steady my stomach. All of my seem- night for comedy." I shudder now to
social climate to our parents' genera- ingly resolved emotions about Sept. think that he might have shared my
tion, it is our generation's reality - 11 flooded back so quickly that, for a gut reaction to that stand-up routine.
basically, the only environment we've brief instant, I thought I was having a If nothing else, we can't let our-
known. Seven years separated from panic attack. Meanwhile, Republican selves be manipulated again this
that scared 14-year-old, I thought delegates gave the display a standing election. It's easy to let our fears take
about what my gut reaction to that ovation. It hit me at that moment that over, especially when we're worried
comedian says about our culture. my response - to the comedian and about covering next year's tuition
We are the generation of "The the tribute - was exactly what they hike or graduating into a tanking
Daily Show." When things get ugly, had planned. economy. But the stakes are too high
we find the humor in the truth. Then, It's clear that the intention of the not to pay attention.
watching the audience laugh, I real- film was not to pay tribute to the vic-
ized what the real butt of the come- tims of the attacks, who got no more Emmarie Huetteman is an associate
dian's joke was: fear. air time than a seconds-long scan of editorial page editor. She canbe
On the evening that John McCain their makeshift memorials, but to reached at huetteme@umich.edu.
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must.
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.

The latest in a string of new partner-
ships, the ISR's program with Qatar
University is a five-year effort aimed at
helping Qatar University in Doha, Qatar
establish a Social and Economic Survey
Research Institute. Though the project is
funded entirely by Qatar University, both
sides stand to gain. Working with the
ISR, one of the best social research cen-
ters in the United States, Qatar University
hopes to build a world-class center of its
own. For the University of Michigan, the
effort could open another opportunity for
students to study overseas and will allow
researchers a chance to study an impor-
tant region.
This mutually beneficial partnership
is exactly how it should be. This isn't an
effort to plant American ideals in far-away
countries. Instead, this is a give and take
between two cultures and institutions
- exactly what makes international pro-
grams worth the time and money.
The same can't be said for many of the
international programs sprouting up all
over the world. For a bad example of glo-
balized education, look no further than
Education City, just outside of Doha. Edu-
cation City is home to several U.S. satellite
campuses, including branches of Cornell
University and Michigan State University.
Like domestic satellite campuses, many
of these universities come complete with
their flagship university's name, faculty
and governing philosophy. With name

recognition and a lot of money behind
them, these colleges have become very
But this model merely exports American
culture, crushing local universities. Inter-
national programs should be about shar-
ing information on both sides, not about
globalizing the American experience.
As a note of caution, in the rush to
move overseas, the University of Michi-
gan should keep in mind what it already
has back home. Flint may not sound as
exotic as Doha, but it is important that
the University not let its closer campuses
and programs get lost in the shuffle. The
University's satellite campuses in Flint
and Dearborn, as well as the new Semes-
ter in Detroit program, offer opportuni-
ties for diverse learning experiences that
benefit students. The University can't
let these opportunities slip through the
cracks because it is too busy looking across
Partnership programs should not be
about world domination. They should be
about increasing understanding and shar-
ing education, information, and technol-
ogy. They should be about improving ideas
and facilities that develop the standard
of living around the world - abroad and
here at home. ISR is an excellent example
of how to balance the University's inter-
ests with those of a foreign campus - an
example that other American universities
should duplicate.



Remember to register and vote

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty,
Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee,
Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Eileen Stahl, Jennifer Sussex, Radhika Upadhyaya,
Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young
JIM TOYears of qerlb a
fi83 ars of-ueer lier ation

In June 1969, the "Stonewall Riots" in
Greenwich Village, Manhattan sparked the
"Gay Liberation Movement" in the United
States, following the lead of such vocal activ-
ists as Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny.
The following spring, the Ann Arbor com-
munity built upon the legacy of the Civil
Rights and Women's Liberation Movements
by founding the Ann Arbor Gay Liberation
Like its predecessors, the Gay Libera-
tion Movement faced many challenges. But
when GLF struggled to obtain campus space
for a statewide gay conference, a University
of Michigan secretary offered a suggestion:
Request that the University create an office
to address issues related to sexual orienta-
tion. With the support of Women's Libera-
tion and Students for a Democratic Society,
GLF did just that.
In 1971, the.University took the great risk
of establishing such an office, providing
funding, for two quarter-time positions to
be filled by a lesbian and a gay man, as per
GLF's request that the office be staffed with
gender parity. Cynthia Gair and I were hired
as the office's co-coordinators - the "Les-
bian and Gay Male Advocates." Thus was
created the "Human Sexuality Office," the
first office in the United States - and likely
the world - to address the concerns of queer
students, faculty and staff in an institution
of higher learning.
In 1977, the co-coordinators' salaries were
increased from quarter-time to half-time at
the urging of local religious and spiritual
leaders. A decade later, the positions were
made full-time. In 1994, the University
administration reduced the two positions to
one, but positions for support staff and office
space have expanded over the years.
Progress gradually continued in the 1980s
as the office belatedly began supporting the
concerns of bisexual people and the Uni-
versity administration agreed to rename it
the "Lesbian-Gay Male Bisexual Programs
In 1984, University President Harold
Shapiro issued a "presidential policy" for-
bidding discrimination at the University
on the basis of sexual orientation. And in
1993, the University Board of Regents fol-
lowed Shapiro's example by amending its

non-discrimination policy to include sexual
orientation, responding to the 21-year com-
munity campaign for this change. The next
year the regents voted to provide domestic-
partner benefits to the same-sex domestic
partners of University employees and to
open campus housing to same-sex student
In 1997, the title and purview of the Lesbi-
an Gay Male Bisexual Programs Office were
expanded again to include transgender con-
cerns, and it became "the Office of Lesbian
Gay Bisexual and Transgender Affairs."
Last year, 36 years after the University
established the "Human Sexuality Office,"
the regents formally added gender identity
and gender expression to the non-discrim-
ination statement in the University bylaws.
And in March, the office change d its name
to the "Spectrum Center."
Since 1971, the University counseling
and medical services have become increas-
ingly supportive of our concerns. Courses
addressing issues of gender identity, gender
expression and sexual orientation have been
added to the academic curriculum.
But now it's time for Michigan and the
rest of the nation to catch up. State and fed-
eral non-discrimination policies and "hate
crime" legislation must, be amended to
include gender identity, gender expression
and sexual orientation. An anti-bullying
policy must be adopted and enforced in our
public schools. And same-sex marriage and
adoption rights must be supported by state
and federal legislation.
We must all come to understand the con-
nections among targets of discrimination,
whether they're oppressed based on sex and
gender, race, economic class, ability, reli-
gion or political belief.
I have been privileged to serve the Uni-
versity community in our struggle for lib-
eration since 1970. I am grateful for the
support of so many students, staff, faculty,
administrators and community members.
Together, we are moving into the sun.
Jim Toy isthe co-founder of the University's
Lesbian Gay Male Bisexual Programs Office, now
called The Spectrum Center. He recently retired
from his position as Diversity Coordinator at
the University's Office of Institutional Equity.

University of Michigan students
have the opportunity to make his-
tory this fall. By taking the simple
but critical step of casting a ballot,
you as college-age voters will stand
apart from your predecessors.
The facts are stark: Young
adults are less likely to vote than
older people. In the last presiden-
tial election, 65 percent of people
29 and younger turned out at the
polls, according to the American
National Election Studies, based at
the University's Institute for Social
Research. Contrast that turnout
with up to 85 percent of voters in
the 46-77 age range, and you can
see that our younger voices are not
being heard at the polls.
You can change that on Nov. 4.
I encourage all students to learn
about the candidates and issues,
make educated choices at the bal-
lot box, and then hold our elected
officials accountable. Each of us as
individuals can influence the issues
that affect all of us as a society.
Our campus has a rich history
of political engagement. Young
Republicans from across the coun-
try met here in 1892, joined by Pres-
ident William McKinley, to create
the National Republican College
League - today known as the Col-
lege Republicans. The first leader of
the organization, James Burke, was
a Michigan law student who would
go on to a congressional career.
Fast forward some 70 years,
and another University student
is inspiring left-leaning young
people with a manifesto known
as the Port Huron Statement. Tom
Hayden would co-found Students
for a Democratic Society, which
energized students nationwide in
1962 with its clarion call to partici-
patory democracy: "We are people
of this generation, bred in at least
modest comfort, housed now in
universities, looking uncomfort-
ably to the world we inherit."
The political views of Michi-
gan students have always run the
political gamut, and always will.
A survey of last year's incoming
freshmen showed 43 percent con-
sider themselves liberal or far left,
19 percent feel they are conserva-
tive or far right and 38 percent
describe themselves as middle of
the road when it comes to politics.
Your diverse beliefs and opinions
not only create a special dynamism
on our campus, they also enhance
the political discourse we need to
shape our country's future.
For many of our undergraduates,
this November presents the first

opportunity to vote. In addition to
selecting our next president, voters
of all ages will show their support
for U.S. senators and representa-
tives, local officials and ballot ini-
Each vote cast has the power to
shape the course of our commu-
nity, our nation and beyond.
The deadline for registering to
vote in Michigan is Monday, Oct. 6.
The Secretary of State will set up
a mobile branch on campus tomor-
row near the Michigan League.
October 6 is also the deadline for
Ohioans to register. Other states
have different deadlines: Illinois
residents have until Oct. 7, New

Yorkers have until Oct. 10, where
Massachusetts residents have an
Oct. 15 deadline and Californians
can register up to Oct. 20. To
learn more about how and when
to register, Rock the Vote (www.
rockthevote.com) is an excellent
Regardless of the political badge
we wear, we have an obligation
to be educated, engaged citizens
and to participate fully in the pro-
cess that is the foundation of our
Go Blue: Go vote.
Mary Sue Coleman is the president
of the University of Michigan.


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