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May 14, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-05-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 14, 2001
Ues at thg E'tor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
Unvriy fM nI II Q Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion ofa
420 Maynard Street majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and
40 Arbor, MI 48109 cartoons not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily

Usually, the biggest danger in open-
ing an unknown e-mail is exposing
your computer to a virus; most
people aren't expecting to find threats of
real-life violence. At least, Penn State
Black Student Caucus President La
Keisha Wolf certainly wasn't expecting to.
Since 1999, Wolf has received four
such e-mail death threats; many other
black Penn State students and athletes
have also been the victims of threstening
racist e-mails. In response to the lack of
precautionary action by Penn State's
administration, a sit-in was staged; the stu-
dent union building was filled with any-
where from 300 to 500 students - most
of them black - from April 24 to May 3.
Penn State's administration responded
by strengthening the African-American
Studies program, putting $1 million
toward an African-American Studies
Research Center and giving more influ-
ence to the vice provost for educational
equity. When the protesters were still not


Racial tensions at Penn State warning to 'U'

satisfied, the administration gave more
autonomy to the African-American Stud-
ies Department and gave the vice provost
even more oversight authority.
The actions of Penn State's administra-
tion were superficial at best; they did not
attempt to communicate with the protes-
tors so that a mutual agreement could be
reached. While it's good that they allocat-
ed more money to ethnic studies and
afforded more power to minority represen-
tatives, these actions alone do nothing to
ease racial tensions on their campus.
Penn State is projecting itself into a
more culturally focused required curricu-
lum of race and ethnicity. But the sit-in
occurred as a response to the racial ten-
sion on campus and is representative of

the administration's failure to consult and
include students -- particularly black stu-
dents - in decisions that impact their
lives. Perhaps if there was better commu-
nication between the administration and
the students, they would not feel the need
to be so disruptive.
Because diversity and racial tensions
are prominent issues here at the Universi-
ty, it is important that the administration
and students communicate effectively to
avoid the same types of problems that
plague Penn State. As an axis for the affir-
mative action debate and expanding diver-
sity, it is important that University groups
are heard and opinions are voiced, espe-
cially to the administration.
While threats are not as common at the

University, the conflicts that do arise fro
racial tensions are stressful and expresse
publicly like those at Penn State. Fo
example, the Students of Color Coalitio
staged a sit-in at the Tower last year
show their distaste for Michigauma's c
lection of Native American artifacts
Issues of injustice need to be addressed a
soon as possible, before argument
become explosive. Disagreement
between the Black Student Union and th
Coalition to defend affirmative action B
Any Means Necessary on how t
approach the issue of affirmative actio
caused a scuffle following a rally fo
affirmative action on MLK day this ye'
even with both groups claiming to wa
what is best for minority students, differ-
ences in methodology caused patience on
both sides to wear thin. Careful communi-
cation between students and the adminis-
tration is absolutely necessary to avoid
dangerous situations like the events at
Penn State.

Save tbe world
Bush admin. should advocate conservation

ir th power outages in California
and gas prices approaching $2 a
gallon, energy is a buzzword
across the Nation. The Bush administration
will soon release its plans concerning power
use in America; its main feeling is that we
are in an energy supply crisis when in actual-
ity we are in an excessive use crisis. Accord-
ing to Dick Cheney, "The answer lies in
more oil production, more refineries, and an
increase in new power plants." This proposed
solution is shortsighted, illogical and serves
only to line the pockets of wealthy power
conglomerates from whom our own leaders
are not far removed.
Two conflicting reports have been issued
from the Department of Energy in the past
year. One report touted by the Bush camp
states that energy demand requires that we
build at least 1,300 new power plants in the
next 20 years. This report, advocates coal
power and was used as justification for the
withdrawal from the Kyoto Accords on
Global Warming. However, another report
from the DOE compiled by scientists from
five national laboratories that calls for the
implementation of conservation measures is
being swept under the carpet. The study
proves that over 600 of these new plants
would be unnecessary if a few efficiency
standards were upheld. A Clinton adminis-
tration bill requiring more efficient washing
machines and air conditioners - if imple-
mented - would eliminate the need for 180
plants alone. Unfortunately this bill is
already under attack from Bush and is
unlikely to be enacted.
The national worry over energy is being
used by Bush as a justification for more

drilling, especially in our national parks such
as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; this
refuge is expected to produce at most
600,000 barrels of oil a day by 2010. This
amount pales in comparison to the amount
that can be saved with conservation. Accord-
ing to the New York Times, if the miles per
gallon of all light trucks and SUV's were
increased by 10 mpg it would save 1.5 mil-
lion barrels a day by 2010. Further develop-
ment of fuel-efficient cars has been hindered
in Bush's budget that just squeaked through
Congress. The budget calls for a 30 percent
decrease in its funding of a government-auto
industry partnership that researches hybrid
cars that get over 50 mpg. The budget also
halves funding for solar and wind power,
while at the same time the administration
hints at lowering pollution regulations on
coal power plants.
Together, these measures form a national
energy policy that focuses on increasing sup-
ply of fossil fuels. Increasing fuel consump-
tion means increasing pollution in a country
that already accounts for 25 percent of all
greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing fuel
consumption means more drilling, more
power plants, more oil refineries and more
incentives to consume. We as a nation need
to look toward efficiency and conservation
as a large part of the solution. Clean power
alternatives do exist and more are around the
corner if only the leadership is present to
promote it.
The ruling conservatives are not interest-
ed in conservation; their actions prove once
again that they value that which is most prof-
itable for big corporations over that which
benefits all people.

Stop the bombs
Naval training m Puerto Rico unsafe and unfa
T he U.S. Navy has recently resumed rate in Vieques has risen to 26 percent more
military training exercises on the than it has in the rest of Puerto Rico. How-
small Puerto Rican island of ever, the U.S. Navy has decided to discount
Vieques. Two years after the death of a resi- this evidence as analyses continue. In doing
dent resulted in the stoppage of military so, the Navy is degrading the value of
activity on the island, a court order is allow- human life on Vieques. Even if the stud'
ing the bombings to continue. The health prove incorrect, the Navy is obliged to take
risks, ecological damage and economic all precautions in protecting human life and
strains caused by the military presence and should wait for outcome of the latest stud-
the will of the people dictate that the U.S. ies. However, regardless of the results of the
Navy should leave Vieques and find a safer studies, the primary concern of the govern-
place to train. ment should be of the will of the people.
There are 10,000 inhabitants on the The small island supports hundreds of
island, most of whom are against the mili- species of plants and animals, many of
tary training. Civilian protests have lead to which are killed instantly upon the dire*
over 1,000 arrests and over 100 in the past impact of the bombs during target practice.
week alone. The government of Puerto Furthermore, the bombings and military
Rico, supporting the anti-military demands maneuvers result in high contamination of
of a wide popular movement, has taken an the environment due to toxic residues. In
official stance against the bombing of past studies, the Environmental Protection
Vieques by the U.S. Navy; they passed a Agency has discovered high levels of pollu-
sound regulation law in hopes that it would tants and toxins in the air and soil due to the
deter the military training. The will of the bombings.
people is clear and continued bombing of As a result of the governmental expro-
the island means the imposition of force priation of the most fertile land of Vieque
against the desires of the indigenous popu- the economy is staguant. The unemplo
lation. This is inconsistent with the princi- ment rate hovers around 50 percent; the
ples of democracy, in which the will of the only viable industry is fishing. However,
people is supposed to take precedence. even this is hindered by the naval presence,
Bombing the island constitutes a military as the ships scare away much of the sea life
aggression and may result in a lack of credi- as well as destroy many fishing nets.
bility towards the U.S. government both in In the past, the military presence in
the international community as well as on Vieques has resulted in the death of civil-
U.S. soil. ians. Also, there is much evidence indicat
Studies have indicated that the bombings ing a health risk to the civilian populatiop
in Vieques constitute a health risk to the surrounding the military sites. In addition,
civilians living near the site. Studies carried the economy of the area is suffering. Most
out by the Puerto Rico department of health importantly, the will of the people is clear.
indicate that from 1985 to 1989, the cancer Let Vieques live.

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