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July 12, 1995 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1995-07-12

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4 -The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, July 12, 1995
420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Editor in Chief JOEL F. KNUTSON
Editorial Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of the Daily's editorial board.


eMichigan footballteam's defenseneeds
serious help, and that does not mean the
linebackers and cornerbacks. The issue now
resides high into the offices of Weidenbach
Hall, into the secret realm of the leaders of the
University's athletic department.
In the wake of former Michigan football
coach Gary Moeller's resignation, there has
been much talk of integrity, leadership and
responsibility. Many asked how a man who
drank excessively in public could tell his
players not to indulge in alcohol. Many won-
dered how a man who embarrassed himself
and his school could demand discipline from
his troops. However, no one asked how an
athletic department could run a University
program without telling the student body and
the public the whole truth about its operation.
In May, Sports Illustrated ran Moeller's
picture on its cover as part of a story about
delinquent coaches. The headline read, "Lead-
ers of Men?" He seemingly answered that ques-
tion when he stepped down as head football
coach, saying nothing and accepting his fate.
How could he lead his team after what he had
done?LloydCarrtookoverbutdidn'tmove into
the head coach's office right away.
Perhaps he knew what he would be getting
into. The Wolverines' head coach must face

Secrets and shame
Athletic Department hurts its reputation

an athletic administration that feeds off of its
own image. Coaches are expected to bleed
maize and blue, but such loyalty is not re-
turned in the face of controversy - when
Michigan's proud image is threatened.
Moeller made a mistake and essentially had
little choice but to leave the Athletic Depart-
ment. The problem does not lie in his leave, but
in the way it was handled. If Athletic Director
Joe Roberson felt that Moeller's drunken inci-
dent at a Southfield restaurant warranted his
release, he should have said so. Instead, he fed
the public words of support for Moeller. "Gary
will always be a part of the Michigan family,"
hesaid. But, quietly-alone athiscourthearing
- Moeller faded into Michigan history.
However, behind the scenes, there was a
disorganized, turbulent effort to make the
situation go away. Roberson granted Moeller

resigned-worth nearly $400,000. The regents
were not consulted, nor was the Board in Con-
trol of Intercollegiate Athletics. Roberson, with
University attorneys, acted alone and then said
that such a resolution was common.
A buyout is common for a person who was
fired. According to documents faxed to the
University by Moeller's attorney, he fit into
this category. The letter stated that Moeller
did resign, but that it did not change his legal
position that it "was not voluntary." In other
words, the letter holds that Moeller was forced
to resign. Does that indicate integrity? Lead-
ership? Responsibility? Unfortunately, for
Michigan, absolutely not - because it hid
behind vague comments and denials, rather
than straightening out the truth.
However, Moeller's attorney Deborah
Gorden stated in response to the publicized
letter that Moeller did resign. As tough as it

may be to swallow, the facts still point to
voluntary resignation - until Moeller him-
self says differently.
Having integrity does not refer to those free
of mistakes; it refers to those who react to them
in a positive way. The department did not ac
with integrity when they handled Moeller's
problems. Instead, they hid behind a maize and
blue facade and pretended to make a smooth
transition by naming Lloyd Carr head coach. By
not releasing the letter -it didnot tell thewhole
truth to the students and the public, and for that
the department should be chastised.
Integrity would have been admitting that
Moeller would have to pay dearly for his
mistake. It could have meant firing him- then
making him an example of how not to act, whit
praising him for his years of service.
Leadership would have been naming Carr
headcoachimmediately andannouncing thathe
would have the job throughout the 1995 season.
It would have meant showing confidence in a
coach later tagged as a "Michigan man."
Responsibility wouldhave beendealing with
matters directly, immediately and up front.
However, the University did not act with
these values in mind. It remained secretive i4
the interests of damage control, and tarnished
the Wolverines' reputation in the process.

The right to dissent
Efforts to outlaw flag burning a disgrace

Healing bitter wounds
Clinton re-establishes relations with Vietnam

T he heated issue of flag burning is
slipping through a Republican-controlled
Congress, and may quietly become the first
modificationto the First Amendment in its 200-
year history. Sadly, the movement to ban flag
burning is nothing but a colossal waste of time,
especially when pressure to balance the budget
is at a feverish pitch.
The U.S. House of Representatives ap-
proved a constitutional amendment that would
allow Congress and the states to outlaw the
desecration of the flag. The amendment is, at
best, a feel-good measure that does nothing to
improve themoralfabric ofthe nation. It willset
a terrifying precedent of using the Constitution
to silence critics. If the Senate fails to step up
and kill the amendment, it will be sent to the
states, requiring the approval of 38 state legis-
latures for ratification.
This amendment will be a test oflegislators'
courage to stand up to useless politicking. For
lack of substance, rival candidates may use a
vote against the amendment as fodder for cam-
paign dreck. Given voter preference for style
over substance, it may be easy for candidates to
paint a legislator as "unpatriotic" rather than a
defender of free speech.
Predictably, the Republican-dominated
House's only agenda is to pass every single
piece of legislature they were unable to force
through in previous years. There were only
three such reported flag burning incidents dur-
ing allof 1993-thatis ample proof that itisnot
necessary to legislate devotion to the flag. Fur-
thermore, the attempt to do so is not only
ludicrous, but also will create the same effect
censorship always has: Everyone will want to

go out and burn a flag. This issue is so shallow
and so worthless that not even the "Contract
with America" dealt with flag burning, as it has
nothing to do with economics or the social
fabric of the country.
Ironically, many of the amendment's sup-
porters are those who were the quickest to
defend militias and right-wingers who espouse
hate and violence on the radio after Oklahoma
City. To them, advocating violence against the
institution they seek to protect is OK, but those
few who would burn a flag rather than shoot a
federal agent should be outlawed. Passing an
amendment against flag-burning is no more
acceptable than passing an amendment prohib-
iting the airing of fadio host James "Bo" Gritz.
This amendment is a black-and-white issue:
free speech. It has nothing to do with desecra-
tion. Regardless of how abhorrent the idea of
flag burning may be to some, the right to do so
is protected by the First Amendment of the
Constitution. Inherent in the proposed amend-
ment is the idea that burning flag is so great an
insult to the nation that prohibiting the act is
worthwhile, even to the point of repressing our
rights to free speech. The amendment contra-
dicts itself by nature, destroying everything this
country standsforbyprotecting apiece ofcloth.
The government cannot prohibit an idea
from being expressed just because it is unac-
ceptable to society. To silence some of these
voices under the guise of protecting the flag is a
cowardly maneuver.
America's flag is a symbol of liberty and
freedom. To restrict the right of dissent is a far
more disrespectful act than the act of flag
desecration itself.

It has been over 22 bitter years since the
last American troops left Saigon. The Viet-
nam War has been a scar on the psyche of the
American public and military ever since. The
50,000 American lives lost in the battles in
Southeast Asia will never be replaced.
Yet, the past five years has produced great
progress between the United States and Viet-
namin establishing diplomatic relations aimed
at easing the pains the war left on both coun-
tries. As the Vietnamese government has co-
operated in the location and returning of U.S.
MIA/POW remains, the economic embar-
goes on Vietnam have been lifted and a huge
new market is emerging for American busi-
ness. Clinton's decision to normalize rela-
tions marks the beginning of a new era.
Establishing full diplomatic ties with Viet-
nam is a move that has broad-based support in
Congress and American businesses. This sup-
port ensures that the long festering wounds
between the United States and Vietnam can
begin to heal. Although many veterans are
understandably disturbed by the recent deci-
sion, the move by Clinton is in the best inter-
est of both the U.S. and all of Southeast Asia.
Vietnam represents a colossal opportunity
for American business. Construction firms
can begin to build highways, ports and air-
ports for a country with no current infrastruc-
ture. Telecommunications systems will have
a new market with more than 20 million
people as potential buyers. Ailing companies
like Boeing and General Electric may be able
to save jobs at home by producing airplanes
and hydroelectric plants for use throughout
southeast Asia - a move that will offset some

of the losses from defense plant cuts.
Beyond economic benefits, opening u4s
trade with Vietnam will put an end to the
bitter destruction of the country that the United
States devastated for over 10 years. Unlike
Germany and Japan, the U.S. Government
had made it difficult, if not impossible, for
Vietnam to develop itself and prosper after
the war with embargoes and hostile relations.
As America moves closer to the 21st
century, those responsible for the war itself
such as former Secretary of Defense Robe
S. McNamara are owning up to its crimes.
The United States got involved in a war it had
no business being in, and too many sons of
poorer and middle class Americans were sent
to die for a cause that stood for nothing but the
willful destruction and annihilation of North
Vietnam. That over 1 million Vietnamese
were killed in the war during bombing raids
and warfare should serve as testimony to the
moral obligation that the U.S. provide a chance
for the country to improve itself through tradci
Bob Dornan (R-Calif.) criticize the naturaliza-
tion ofrelationsunder the "Enemy"rationaliza-
tion. They are hiding behind the MIA/POW
flag, notrealizingtheprospectofreturningmore
bodies, if in fact there are any left to be found,
will only increase with full diplomatic ties.
Clinton's decision may serve to create in
one swift move what two decades of warfare
failed to do: establish a freer Vietnam. AS
trade increases, the Vietnamese people will
begin to see the benefits of a free economic
system and a free society. Dollars will work to
this end far better than bullets ever did.

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