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July 10, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-07-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 - The Michigan Daily =July 10, 1996

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

" AUEditor in Chief PAUL SERILLA
E Editorial Page Editors
Un/ess othetrwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the
majority oft'he Dailys editorial board. All other articles, letters and
cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Dailt

Winning the ..e
Women admitted to VMI and The Citadel
n a landmark ruling this month, the Supreme Court ordered the state-supported
Virginia Military Institute to admit women or become a private institution. The near-
unanimous decision ended years of media scrutiny and political commentary on what is
primarily a question of gender discrimination.
The VMI and The Citadel, the only other state-supported all-male college, have
waged court battle after court battle to preserve their right to exclude women from their
programs. Despite the fact that both schools are public institutions, they argued they did
not violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection guarantee and their unique all-male
programs were operated in the public's interest. Plainly, they were not.
The mission of the Virginia Military Institute was much more than subsidizing a sin-
gle-sex educational alternative. It was about promoting a cultural anachronism that has
long fallen by the wayside. VMI's - and The Citadel's - particular brand of single-sex
education was not about preserving a public interest, but preserving an institution that
is unquestionably sexist.
The fact that there was a separate program for women, The Virginia Women's Institute
for Leadership, alters the argument little. The separate institute at a nearby private women's
college raised uncomfortable parallels to the infamous and discredited "separate but equal"
clause. It has been proven that if access is not open to all, except on basis of merit, then
equality is an impossibility. The women's institute was not an acceptable alternative.
Despite the protests of staunch VMI supporters, all parties involved will benefit from
the court's ruling. VMI and The Citadel are essentially preparing men for careers in the
U.S. armed forces. But women are becoming exceedingly integrated in today's military
service - the likelihood that a VMI or Citadel grad will serve under female leadership
at some point is almost certain. The best way to prepare male cadets for this reality is to.
train them coeducationally. Furthermore, over twenty years of coeducation experience
at the three US service academies has proven that integration makes better institutions.
In her majority opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did leave open a small loop-
hole for public single-sex education. She made the distinction that in very specific cir-
cumstances, public single-sex education could be pursued to address "particular eco-
nomic disabilities" or to further "equal employment opportunity." But, she warned, such
programs require "exceedingly persuasive justification" to exclude members of one
gender. While this loophole may prove extremely troublesome to the judicial system in
the future, the court did not close the door entirely on further experimenting with pub-
lic single-sex education.
The VMI and The Citadel were not experiments in single-sex education, nor were
they serving at-risk segments of the population. The Supreme Court made the right deci-
sion - VMI was guilty of gender discrimination.

ruling? Affirmative
Supreme Court blasts affirmative action
The U.S. government's conservative stance on affirmative action culminated in a sig-
nificant Supreme Court decision last week. The court supported the appellate cir-
cuit court decision earlier this spring to declare race an invalid factor for admissions at
the University of Texas.
Cheryl Hopwood and three white males filed the complaint that spurred the Supreme
Court ruling. Hopwood and the others sued the University of Texas Law School, claim-
ing they were denied admission based on race - they complained they were passed up
because of a UT affirmative action program that gave preference to black and Latino/a
students. UT was supposedly prevented from practicing affirmative action admissions
policies because of an earlier appellate court ruling. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled that the public universities in the fifth district - schools in Texas
Louisiana and Mississippi - could no longer consider race a factor for admissions.
UT's student population - over 25 percent minorities - angrily protested the court's
decision. UT issued a statement that they would remain "firmly dedicated to the princi-
ple of equal educational opportunity for all citizens of Texas." The university appealed
the ruling, only to be denied review last week.
The issue hits home - the University has seen much debate over affirmative action
in recent months. Many are rightfully concerned that the tone of the government is unfa-
vorable for affirmative action preservation. Affirmative action is necessary for the
University's progress as an academic community. Despite governmental and judicial
attacks, University administrators stand firmly behind its hiring and admissions prac-@
tices - University Provost J. Bernard Machen said, "We believe our current policies are
consistent and legal with the law of the land until something else happens."
The "something else" may soon be forthcoming if the Supreme Court continues to
undermine public institutions' affirmative action efforts. The country must stop criti-
cizing these policies and allow the education system to progress. It is vital that the
University continue to support its hiring and admissions policies - the administration
must not allow the anti-affirmative action mentality to affect the University.
The Supreme Court set a dangerous precedent. Affirmative action programs are
being attacked at universities and colleges all over the country. The Republican
Congress is wreaking havoc on public institutions' attempts to equalize hiring and and
admissions practices. Affirmative action - on behalf of gender and racial minorities -@
helps the academic community promote inclusivity and fights the traditional bias in
favor of white, middle-class males. The Supreme Court's ruling flies in the face of
progress. It sets the tone for future attacks - and hints at the demise of affirmative
action. Such a result will exclude many deserving students and professors and will ulti-
mately degrade the public educational experience for all.


Clinton's higher ed
tax credit a positive
step for America
I would like to comment on your editorial
regarding Clinton's higher ed proposal
(Educational Access, 612/96). Because I work
at the U.S. Department of Education in
Washington, D.C., I probably have the best
grasp of this program. First, I would like to
point out that the $1,500 tax credit is only for
the first two years (not for the third) and in the
second year it is only offered if the student has
maintained at least a B average and stays off
The $10,000 tax deduction, on the other
hand, is offered no matter what year you are in
school (undergrad or grad). I agree with
Clinton in that all students should be able to go
to the 13th and 14th grades. It is necessary in
today's world. As for this being a campaign-
year gimmick, that is just false. Clinton pro-
posed the tax deduction in 1994, but it was
killed in the Republican Congress. The

President announced this now because issues
get more publicity during a campaign. Let's
remember that this proposal needs to get
through Congress first. If the President had
introduced the $1,500 tax credit into Congress,
it would have been killed like the $10,000
deduction All students should support this
because it gives the opportunity for everyone to
get a college degree (in a community college at
least) and fulfill the American dream of getting
a job and prospering.
SCOR will support
Matlock in
upcoming trial
The Students of Color of Rackham (SCOR)
Graduate Organization believe John Matlock,
Assistant Vice Provost and Director of the
Office of Academic and Multicultural

Initiatives, to be innocent of all charges of
alleged assault and he has our full support and
faith. We also believe the Department of Public
Safety, as those charged with the professional
duty of managing incidences of public safety at
the University of Michigan, has not acted in the
best interests of students, staff and faculty.
It is deplorable when any member of the
University community is treated as John
Matlock was. After entering an event on good
faith to help students, he was inappropriately
detained by DPS officers. Our concerns are
specific to the entire department since we
assume that training is uniform among DPS
employees. We are concerned that officers stat-
ed that because John Matlock wore a baseball
cap and jogging suit, they thought he was a stu-
dent, a statement which implies that if he had
been a student, the actions taken by DPS would
have been condoned. DPS has jeopardized its
trustworthiness further in the eyes of students of
color and other students who feel they have
been inappropriately treated on this campus,
and should examine its actions in regarding
people on this campus, considering we are in an
era when the memories of incidents surrounding
Rodney King, Mae Jemison and the Mexican
Nationals are still resonant.

As a manager of crisis and conflict, DPS
should have conducted itself in a more profes-
sional manner. We are appalled and disappoint-
ed at the legal predicament in which John
Matlock has been placed by its behavior.
Anti-Klan protesters
gave Ann Arbor
negative publicity
What an image Ann Arbor has made for
itself. We now see that the Klan is a more
benign and legitimate group than the popular
thoughts of Ann Arbor. As the Klan has now
moved itself from the point of aggressor to the
point of defender, perhaps we should give more
concern to their statements.

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