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July 14, 1993 - Image 4

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1993-07-14

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4- The M~chigan DaiySumner Wee14 -Wednesday, Jul 14, 1993

Lhe itigan 1 ill
JOPINN [I

EDITOR IN CHIEF
Hope Calati
OPINION EDITORS
Sam Goodstein
Flint Wainess

Unsigned editorials present the opinion of a
majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other
cartoons, signed articles and letters do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of the Daily.

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
76-DAILY
Edited and Managed by
Students at the
University of Michigan

a

n ssummer'sadministrative"surprise"comes
tithe form of an alcohol policy that aims to
curb off-campus drinking at University spon-
sored events (i.e. fraternity and co-op parties).
Becausethepolicyisstillbeing draftedwecannot
pick it apart clause-by-clause (although we will
surely be able to upon its release), however it is
safe to assume that it will be another oppressive
policy that will infringe upon our rights - all
under the guise of being a document designed to
help us. If those people hiding behind the tiny
windows of the Fleming building truly want to
help us, they will leave us alone and let the
members of the Ann Arbor Police Department,
and their trusty friends at DPS, worry about our
drinking problems.
Thedrafting ofthispolicy isactually anything
but a surprise. In fact, it is part of anational trend
where universities are increasingly reverting to
the in loco parentis theory, which delegates
university administrations the power to act as
guardians on behalf of their students. Deputized
police forces, speech codes, behavior codes and
now alcohol codes all exemplify attitudes of
current university administrators nation-wide.

Alcohol policy
Yet another example of oppressive in loco parentis

Michiganishardly the soleschooladopting these
restrictive measures. Administrators claim that
federal laws mandate that they adopt such poli-
cies - and there are indeed such laws - how-
ever these laws tend to serve as agreen lights for
administrators to adopt whatever restrictive poli-
cies they so choose, above and beyond what the
law callsfor,andthendefend the policies with the
claim that they are legally bound to adopt them.
Student activists in the 1960s vehemently
fought against the doctrine of in loco parentis,
procuring newrights forstudents that were previ-
ously unthinkable. However it appears that we
may be heading for a retun to the dark ages
where administrators watch over us like our
parents.
Beyond our concerns about the growing na-
tional trend for administrators to play the role of

parents, there are immediate questions concern-
ing our impending alcohol policy. Consumption
of alcohol is currently included in the Statement
of Student "Rights"and Responsibilities(Code),
and it appears that the two policies may unneces-
sarily overlap. The federal law concerning alco-
hol consumption stipulates that university stu-
dents must be made aware of the health hazards
associated with drug and alcohol use, state and
local drug laws, and counseling available to stu-
dents. The Code appears to more than meet these
requirements, except it does not outline health
hazards associated with alcohol use. However it
would be easy enough to include this in the Code
without drafting an entirely new policy.
It is rather unclear why the University has
decided to create this policy -although if Vice-
President for Student Affairs Maureen Hartford

and her crew did not come up with a new policy
every so-often, what else would they do? It is
especially disconcerting that they plantoregulate
off-campus alcohol consumption - again, the
policy is not completed so nothing is set in stone,
but it is becoming increasingly clear what the
policy will entail. In order for the University to
have any reason to restrict off-campus drinking,
it should at least demonstrate exactly how it will
impact the academic environment. So far, no
cogent argument has been presented as to how
drinking at aco-oporfratemity party is detrimen-
tal to the academic environment.
Nevertheless, the administration will con-
tinue to claim that they are legally bound to adopt
these procedures. As we fall further and further
into in loco parentis, there is no telling where it
will end. The manner with which the policy will
be enforced is still unclear. It is feasible that a
Kangaroo-court system similar to the one used to
enforce the Code will be adopted. Or possibly it
will be enforced by little blue people who run
around Ann Arbor looking for open beer bottles,
or maybe students will just ignore it.

4

The numbers game
University should change treatment of minorities

Te University advertises itself as a diverse,
I multicultural entity and promises an educa-
tion that gives students exposure to a student
body comprised of people from all walks of life.
TheUniversityupholds the Michigan Mandateas
the major step toward amulticultural University.
TheUniversity doesnotliveupto these promises.
While the University has done alaudable job
in increasing enrollment in the four recognized
minority categories - African American, His-
panic/Latino,Native American and Asian Ameri-
can - the University seems to be comfortable
with this diversity of appearances.
The University calls for a diverse student
body to "build a model of a pluralistic, multicul-
tural community for our nation," but delivers a
student body similar in socio-economic status.
For instance, Asian Americans are considered
"overrepresented" on this campus because the
percentage of Asian American students isgreater
than the percentage of Asian Americans in the
state. But within this relatively large group of
students,portionsof the Asian American popula-
tion are not represented. Southeast Asians and
Pacific Island students are not represented pro-
portionally to students of Chinese and Japanese
ancestry. Populations such as the Hmong chil-
dren in central Detroit, who often live in poverty
and do not have easy access to higher education,
get squeezed out of admissions because the ad-
missions process sees them in the same light as
more affluent Asian American students.
The University should not rest on its success
in recruiting Asian American students. The Uni-
versity should begin recruitment on the basis of
area of origin and economic status to secure a
complex diversity which goes beyond definable
groups.
The University faces the temptation to add
minority studentstoitsenrollmentnumbers with-
out looking closely to see if there isatdiversity of

origin and economic status within the groups.
The University must achieve its target numbers
forNative American, African Americanand His-
panic/Latino students. But if the University is in
search of true multiculturalism, it must not rest
once the target percentages of enrollment have
been achieved.
The University projects that it will enroll
numbers of African American, Hispanic/Latino
and Native American students roughly propor-
tionate to that of Michigan's population by 1996.
This will only be achieved through rigorous
recruitmentthatmustincludereaching outtonew
areas, looking for African American students
outside of Detroit, recruiting Native American
students from a variety of tribal origins and
promoting aUniversity of Michigan education to
Puerto Rican andMexicanhigh school students.
The University already has spaces on the
admissions application that allows students, if
they wish, to identify their ethnic group in more
detail than the four groups identified as target
groups.'This is a small, but important statement
that the University is capable of looking beyond
four target groups when striving toward diver-
sity. The University mustnow recruit within the
underrepresented subgroups by taking its lead
froniminority student groups such as the United
Asian American Organizations which tells
Hmonng children about the possibility and ne-
cessity of a college education.
The University must strive for adiversity that
is more than a label. Although the University is
moving toward ethnic diversity, it does not have
economicdiversity. The University must look at
the composition of the pool of minority students
comprised by itsrecruitmenteffortsandaskitself
if the students within each minority group are
diverse in their regions of origin and economic
status.In this way only can itspromise to current
and incoming students be fulfilled.

Television violence
Labeling violent shows targets wrong audience
It has been said that the fabric of politics is for the most part, from stable families, graced
woven in compromise. The most recent ex- withboth theinterest andthetime tomonitor their
ampleof thisis the agreementreached this month children's viewing. On the other hand, the chil-
concerning television violence. Several "watch- dren most at risk for committing violent acts, the
dog groups,"claiming that violence on television ones whose homes are often more violent than
is a major contributor to violence in our society, their televisions, will not be helped by the labels.
have been pressuring Congress torequiremanda- These children often come from homes run by a
tory programratingsor,preferably,toban violent single, working parent. And, because of the out-
programs from prime-time television. Fearing rageous costs of decent child carein this country,
this kind of legislative control, the networks the child generally is home alone. Therefore, no
suggested a compromise: They agreed to volun- parentorguardian is presenttoevensee the labels
tarilyplace"warning labels"ontheirmostviolent in the households that the labeling is designed to
programs, cautioning parents of "violence that reach.
may not be suitable for younger viewers." Thedanger in this agreementis that people on
Is this voluntary labeling a form of censor- all sides feelthat they havereally donesomething
ship? No. Will it make legislators and anti-vio- good. They will congratulate themselves that
lence groups feel that they have accomplished progress has truly been made in the effort to
something?Yes.Willit,ultimatelydoany good? reduce violence in our society - while outside
Probably not their doors, the real problems rage on unabated.
Someareobjecting tothisagreementonFirst- At its heart, this agreement is nothing but a
Amendment grounds, claiming that any refer- convenient excuse to avoid the real issues. If
ence to the content of a television program vio- legislators, networks,and"advocates"were truly
lates the networks' right to free speech. This is concerned about curbing violence, they would
ridiculous. Our main argument against censor- work for effective gun control laws, so that the
ship is that itis not the government'sresponsibil- primary instruments of brutality would no longer
ity to decide what is and is not appropriate for be available on every street corner. They would
children to see (or hear or read). The parents, we put more attention in to inner-city schools, teach-
argue, have that responsibility. Yet, with the vast ing children that true power does not have to
amount and variety of programming availableon come from one's fists, but rather from one's
television, judging each separate program is not mind. They would try to find a meaningful cure
always an easy job. When networks themselves for poverty, rather than letting the cycle of hope-
label their shows, they are assisting parents with lessness grow worse with each passing genera-
the task, suggesting merely that aparticular show tion.
is one parents might want to examinemore care- It is much easier to deal with the fictional
fully. This is a far cry from banning programs or world of television. It is more comforting to
relegating them to the abyss of late-night view- pretend that placing warning labels on violent
ing. The present compromise merely helps par- programs will suddenly make everything okay.
ents to make more informed decisions. This most recent agreement is not worth object-
Unfortunately, this agreement is little more ing to - it does no harm, and it makes many
than aband-aid for the problemofviolenceinour legislators and lobbyists feel better. Yet we must
society. Even assuming one accepts the premise constantly remind ourselves that it is not a true
that television violence affects children's behav- solution. Until we confront the real problems
ior,thisagreementstillservicesthewrong people. plaguing society, the violence will continue un-
The parents who are clamoring for labeling are , checked. No label has the power to take it away.

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