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May 20, 1988 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1988-05-20

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The Michigan Vaily

Page 6

Friday, May 20, 1988

The Michigan Daily I

Republicans threaten free expression

Council are threatening the open
nature of our community and the
rights of citizens to freedom of ex-
pression by proposing ordinances
which would ban postering and re-
strict skateboarding.
The Republicans are trying to
justify the skateboard restrictions
by saying they will prevent
destruction of city property. Even if
one accepts the rather bizarre con-
cept of gangs of kids on skateboards
ramming into benches and running
over flower beds, a new law to pre-
vent such behavior would be redun-
dant. Laws against the destruction

of property are already on the
books; the city merely needs to en-
sure more effective enforcement of
existing laws.
The real impetus for the proposal
of the law was pressure from the
Midtown Group, an association of
downtown businesses which has
traditionally supported the Repub-
licans. The Midtown Group be-
lieves the skateboarders interfere
with and pose a danger to its pa-
trons. The "designated location"
from which skateboarding is to be
banned is where the Midtown
Group's businesses are centered.
There is an obvious disparity in

the political and economic influence
of an organized association of mer-
chants and that of a bunch of kids
who like to skateboard. While the
merchants have the right to wield
their influence as they see fit, it is
the responsibility of City Council
members to consider the rights and
interests of the whole community,
not just those of the factions for
which it is politically expedient to
do so.
It is not the job of City Council
to make the town more aestheti-
cally pleasing in the eyes of the
Midtown Group. This is what the
proposed postering ban would do, at
the expense of the rights and inter-
ests of Ann Arbor's residents.
While no concerned citizen par-
ticularly enjoys the town being lit-
tered with signs that are never re-
moved, trying to solve the problem
by instituting a city-wide ban on
postering demonstrates a thought-
lessness and disregard of the First
Amendment right to freedom of ex-
pression. A more practical and ben-
eficial way of solving the problem
of "sign pollution" would be, as in
the case of skateboards, to better
enforce the existing postering law,
which requires anyone who putsup
a sign to take down five outdated
Postering serves a variety of pur-
poses for individuals and organiza-
tions: to publicize garage sales, the

loss of an animal, the appearance of
a speaker, the occurrence of politi-
cal, religious and artistic events,
and a range of other activities.
Postering is a valuable forum for
public debate. It is especially,
though by no means exclusively,
used by individuals and groups who
cannot afford to advertise in news-
papers or other media. A ban on
postering would therefore discrimi-
nate against the economically dis-
advantaged factions of our commu-
nity. To stifle such an effective,
inexpensive, and commonly used
mode of expression would greatly

detract form the Ann Arbor com-
In their haste to satisfy the
whims of the business community,
the Republican members of City
Council are ignoring the interests
of the rest of the city.
Ann Arbor should not be con-
trolled by an economically and po-
litically influential minority of
business interests. Residents
should write or call City Council
members and attend the public
hearing on the ordinances which
will be held on June 13 at City

UP Tts ' -WN. lilHy
NO -

Unsigned editorials represent the majority views of the Daily's
Editorial Board. Cartoons and signed editorials do not
necessarily reflect the Daily's opinion.
Bennett's reaction to diverse teaching:
Whiteness 101

William Bennett displayed charac-
teristic insensitivity recently to the
struggle for human equality and ed-
ucational diversification when he
criticized Stanford University's
progressive change in curriculum.
Stanford is replacing its "classic
literature" course, which consisted
of fifteen "classics" authored by
white males, with one which will
also include works by ethnic mi-
norities, women, and people of
color. The new course, called Cul-
ture, Ideas, and Values (CIV),
should avoid much of the racism
and sexism of the previous litera-
ture course.
Bennett spoke out strongly
against this reform on the grounds
that including the works of non-
white, non-male authors will
"trivialize" Stanford's academic en-
deavors. Bennett implies that the
CIV course is an affront to main-
stream Western civilization; he
evidently believes anything else is
inferior. His sentiments embody the
pervasive ethnocentricity of this
society; this myopic viewpoint is
precisely what Stanford is attempt-
ing to recognize and reform by ex-
posing students to various cultures
and their struggles.

ThP Uiercity Enylish r-

111 n11Vesll y g~J L1p
ment has already taken a commend-
able and necessary step forward; it
has added a concentration require-
ment of one course in cultural
traditions of women, minority eth-
nic groups and people of color.
Members of this department have
also been working to integrate
multi-cultural materials into exist-
ing courses. Both of these progres-
sive steps set an example the rest of
the University would do well to
Only through Secretary Bennett's
warped perspective could attempts
at expanding a student's viewpoint
"trivialize" Western culture. On the
contrary, people have a responsi-
bility to become more informed
about - and tolerant of - other
societies and their cultures. Ben-
nett's hypocrisy stands as an obsta-
cle to this goal.
The ultimate goal of any univer-
sity is to cultivate minds and to
generate knowledge. In order to cre-
ate an open society with the highest
knowledge and potential, one must
look beyond her or his culture to
understand and appreciate all groups
of people. The Secretary of Educa-
tion's criticism undermines this
concept of a university.

Beth Reed is SACUA's new chair:
SACUA's new direction

BETH REED SHOULD be congratu-
lated on her appointment as the first
woman chair of the faculty Senate
Advisory Committee for University
Affairs (SACUA). Hopefully, she
will provide new direction to
SACUA, and help to change its
somewhat skewed priorities.
Reed teaches in the School of
Social Work and the Women's
Studies Department. She specializes
in the study of gender roles and re-
lated issues. Reed is a strong advo-
cate for the rights of women and
homosexuals, and has been active
in the fight against racism.
There is much work to be done in
SACUA. Earlier this year, SACUA
issued a negative response to a
February 26 anti-CIA demonstra-
tion which occurred on campus. At
this protest, students had first
chanted and banged on file cabinets
and then occupied the interview
room, forcing the cancellation of
the remaining interviews.

SACUA's response was that the
protesters had "gone too far," and
had interfered with the rights of
other students. It did not address the
question of whether the CIA should
be given the privilege to use Uni-
versity facilities for recruitment.
This privilege should not be ex-
tended to any organization which
commits acts of terrorism, breaks
international law, or discriminates
on the basis of sexual orientation
- all in a day's work for the CIA.
It is also difficult to understand
why SACUA felt the student's
protest against the CIA was to be
condemned. Instead, the protesters
should have been commended for
protesting in a non-violent manner;
any form of non-violent protest is
SACUA's misguided response to
this protest raises questions as to
what its priorities have been.
SACUA should address the

activities undertaken on this cam-
pus which infringe on the rights of
others outside of this campus,
rather than the narrow focus it took
when criticizing the anti-CIA
The question of rights should be
raised regarding military research.
This violates not only the right to a
peaceful future, but also the rights
of people of color in the Third
World against whom most of the
weapons - biological and chemical
- are used.
Reed has the opportunity to lead
SACUA in a direction which will
further the interests of humanity,
both on campus and beyond. Issues
such as increasing diversity of fac-
ulty and students, increasing the
quality of education, and con-
fronting those issues which detract
from the quality of the University
should be addressed. Her new post
is a welcome change in leadership.


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