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July 26, 1999 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-07-26

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

4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 26, 1999

Edited and managed by Emily AcHENBAUM NICK WOOEILR
students at the 4ro Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan Arf
Unles nherw ise noned' un sn i e ditorials nellect the ni nwn"! o/t
420 Maynard Streetmaj of he Daili 5sdrialboardI. All other "ari tand
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 a 700115 dot17 eCessariv/ti'tiniof The ilian J~aulr.

W hile proof of their success has come
late, the students who protested the
University's involvement with manufac-
turers' unethical use of sweatshop labor
have shown that civil disobedience in Ann
Arbor can benefit someone on the other
side of the world.
Despite some foot dragging, the
University has made it clear that it under-
stands the need to establish high standards
for working conditions at sites where
goods associated with it are manufactured
and that it is committed to holding its
licensees to those standards. It is regret-
table the University did not fully demon-
strate its commitments earlier, but it has
come through on its promises and as long
as its efforts are sustained into the future,
woikers throughout the world will enefit.
Last week, Athletic Director Tom C(oss
sent a letter to the Unix ersity's ieyes
who produce apparel ard other goods
bearing University logos. The letter
informed manufacturers that their licens-

'U' letter shows commitment to workers' rights

ing agreements will require them to dis-
close all manufacturing sites by Jan. 1,
The move came more than four months
after University President Lee Bollinger
presented a Human Rights Policy state-
ment at the March Board of Regents
meeting. The statement announced,
amongoother things, the University's corn-
miment to establist ug an Anti-
Sweatshop Advisory ommitee. The
cumminre of students, f aculty and stafT
was Iler appointed in June
Somei apparel comp snies most nimably
Nike cisc already resondd to pubic
outrage and say they Irase implemmed
policv changes aimed at protecting work-
ers' rights. But the need for better regula-

Brthel sing estio
Brot-hel cloingraises tug uestions

I n a move that will sadden almost no
one, it was announced a little over two
weeks ago that the Mustang Ranch
brothel in Nevada will be shut down and
its properties turned over to the federal
While the majority of Americans will
understandably be more excited than
upset about this decision, they should
realize the important national issues that
contributed to the closing of the
Mustang Ranch. It is not upsetting that
the Mustang Ranch will be closed, but it
is a little disconcerting that the federal
government can impose its morality on
the states and take knee-jerk reactions
on taboo subjects like prostitution.
Technically, the Mustang Ranch will
not be shut down because it is a brothel.
In Nevada, prostitution is legal, and the
federal government has no right to step
in for moralistic reasons. That, of
course, is why the government went
after the bordello on corruption charges.
According to The New York Times,
"Federal prosecutors maintain that they
had to do something about the Mustang
Ranch flouting the law and giving hous-
es of prostitution a bad name."
It is entirely possible - even likely
- that owners and managers at the
Mustang Ranch were guilty of tax eva-
sion and corruption as alleged.
But it is also very hard to believe that
the federal government took the initia-
tive to bring suit against the brothel
because it was "giving houses of prosti-
tution a bad name." A more likely sce-
nario is that the federal government took
action against the Mustang Ranch, at
least in part, because it feels houses of
prostitution give Nevada a bad name.
That is not the federal governrent's

decision to make. While the closing of a
brothel may not be an issue that sparks
the nation's concern, it should at least be
noticed when the federal government
imposes its will on the states for blatant-
ly moralistic reasons.
The closing of the Mustang Ranch
also demonstrates the nation's reluc-
tance to even consider the possible
advantages to legalizing prostitution.
While there is little dispute that prostitu-
tion is appalling, there is also little dis-
pute that it still goes on, and very dan-
gerously. Obviously, outside of Nevada,
prostitutes are unregulated because
prostitution is illegal.
Disease among prostitutes is ram-
pant, as is abuse. In places like Nevada
and the Netherlands, where prostitution
is regulated, the practice has consistent-
ly proven itself to be far safer for both
prostitutes and their customers.
This is not to say that legalizing pros-
titution is the only solution. But prosti-
tution is a problem that needs to be
addressed. Often, taboo subjects like
prostitution are left undiscussed, simply
because people wish they would just go
away. Prostitution will continue, legal or
not. The federal government needs rec-
ognize this reality and look into ways to
make it as safe as possible.
In a situation like this, the issues need
to be detached from the principles.
Physical safety and the spread of disease
are issues that need to be discussed,
regardless of what context they come in.
While not pretty, prostitution occurs
across the globe, and here in the United
States it brings out the struggle between
the nation's values and its legal obliga-
tions and restraints. Hopefully, there can
be a balance between the two.

tion of sweatshops becomes quickly obvi-
ous upon even the most cursory overview
of reports by labor organizations and the
testimonials of workers themselves.
At the Formosa Textiles plant in El
Salvador, where some Nike products are
sewn. The National Labor Committee, a
New York-based human rights organiza-
tion has doc?;;mmuted ca s of physical
and serbal rbuse, burmiliatioi of workers,
unfair wages aid efforts to root out
potential nion orgrnizes. Workers there
had never heard "C Nike s (ode of
Conduct" that 5s,- supposed to ensure
that their workiig coruditions evere s i-
As the most popular institution iii the
sale of licensed goods around the world,
Programn increases
F or many upper-ncome students, it is
a virtual given that they will attend
college after high school. But for youths
who come from low-income families,
the lack of financial support and/or ade-
quate academic preparation are often
insurmountable barriers to a college
In trying to provide disadvantaged
students with a greater opportunity to
continue into higher education, the U.S
Department of Education has recently
given Central Michigan University an
$800,000 grant to establish an Upward
Bound site at Northern High School in
central Detroit.
The department's decision is com-
mendable, as it will help students who
have the potential to excel in collegiate
studies, but due to their environment,
would otherwise be unable to further
their education upon graduating from
high school.
Upward Bound, a 35 year old nation-
al program, aims to encourage disadvan-
taged students to continue into higher
education and increase the number who
enroll in and graduate from colleges and
universities. Very often students lack the
necessary confidence towards the possi-
bility of attending college.
The program provides the necessary
support for students to succeed academ-
ically. Students accepted into Upward
Bound at Northern High School will
receive daily tutoring on subjects such
as mathematics, composition and litera-
ture, and attend workshops on time man-
agement, test-taking and study skills.
In addition to the academic support,
another crucial element of this program
is the establishment of peer networks.
Each summer, students will visit CMU's


the University is in the unique position of
being able to force massive changes in the
licensed goods industry. Last spring other
universities caved in to the urgings of
Nike and the American Council on
Education to join alliances such as th
often-criticized Fair Labor Association,
the monitoring arm of the Apparel
Industry Partnership. The University
instead decided to listen to students and
demand that the industry set higher moni-
toring standards -- a move that will cer-
tainly lead to better working conditions
than an alliance with the FLA could have
Unfortunately, the prevailing opinion
in the deeloped world is that the hurmanc
treatment of workers by cor porations is *
"perk" rather than a necessity. While it
has been slow to do so, the Uniersaty has
chosen not only to demand liher moni-
toring standards for sweatshops, but it has
used the revenue its name genertes and
done so on its o r terms.
access to higher ed
campus in Mt. Pleasant for a six week
residential program. This will allow stu-
dents to gain a better grasp of the col-
lege environment.
The establishment of the Upward
Bound site in Northern High School
would benefit the types of students most
in need of aid. Inner-city areas tradition
ally lag behind suburban districts i
terms of education and financial
resources. This often prevents youths
from the inner city from competing on
the same level as their suburban coun-
Though the final details of the
Upward Bound site at Northern High
School are still currently being worked
out, the tentative plans call for extending
the program to benefit as many students
as possible.
The program has been a silent suc-
cess. In the past year alone, 21 such pro-
grams were running statewide. This
gives a good indication of the level of
attention that this program gives to dis-
advantaged students. It sheds light on
the level of success of the efforts that
have been put forth to get more disad-
vantaged students to attend a college or
Attending a college or university is
not be as easy as some individuals from
privileged background may think. Even
though higher education is perceived to
be part of the growing up process, there
are those who, due to their surroundings,
are unable to prepare for continuing
their education beyond high school.
To effectively combat the cycle of
poverty Upward Bound and similar pro
grams need to be developed or expanded
to provide more educational opportuni-
ties for disadvantaged students.

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