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May 06, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-05-06

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Monday, May 6, 2002 - The Michigan Daily - 5

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I Occupation unites all my attention in some capacity to
-f the situation in the Middle East.
who fight for social JACKE BRAY
and economic justice LSA sophomore
'Progressives' must
To THE DAILY: stand with the
Iwas disappointed in The sadwt h
Michigan Daily's editorial, "Not Palestinian people
so simple," (4/11/02) which
among other points commented
negatively on progressive To TH DAtLY:
activists heing vocal in the on- I am neither Jewish nor Arab yet
going debate around the current I stand against the illegal and violent
situation in the Middle East. The oppression of the Palestinian people.
editorial warns against linking The editorial printed last "Not so
issues such as sweatshop labor simple," (4/11/02) was an attempt to
with the military occupation of silence those who share my situation
the West Bank and the Gaza and myself. A call to stop broaden-
Strip. The fact of the matter is ing the movement to support Pales-
that economic imperialism, tinians in their just claim to
which I consider sweatshops to self-determination is unfair and
he, and the militarization and inconsistent with most movements
occupation of areas are integrally for self-determination and liberation,
linked. Both forms of occupation which have been most successful
are abhorrent and should he spo- when supported by a broad base of
ken out against, support. It is important and impera-
The question to he asked now tive that progressive individuals
is not why progressive activists apply their politics and beliefs to all
are speaking up shout Israel's situations.
human rights violations against By no means are the issues of
Palestinians. Instead, the question Israel and Palestine simple, but that
oaestis. w tehad taken us so does not mean that individuals
to ask is what has takens should remain silent. Progressive
long. For myself, it has simply people must make space to stand
heen my inahility to overcome for what is right all the time no mat-
pressure hy all to keep what are ter the complexity. Supporting an
sometimes shaky progressive end to the illegal occupation of the
alliances intact by not discussing West Bank and Gaza Strip does not
this compelling hut divisive issue make me anti-Semitic, anti-Israel or
coupled with what I have per- atroimspotr
ceived as intimidation on the part a terrorism supporter.
of po-Irae leder onthis cam- pcSupport for the Palestinian pe-
puof proia leades onu s n l does not enke me a supporter
pus to maintain this issue as one of Yasser Arafat or of suicide
thton te peolethee he bombers. I simply believe in
issue connected to their identity huaritsndjtceIheev
..human rights and justice. I believe
can speak on. Intimidation is in both the right of the Palestinian
ridiculous and I have enough faith people to self-determination and
in my colleagues to begin to be the necessity of a Jewish state. I
more vocal. make space in my actions to reflect
A progressive alliance is all of those beliefs. I charge peo-
important and I have enough ple to continue to stand up for
faith in those of us working for injustice regardless of the complex-
social justice everywhere to per- ity of the issue.
severe through divisive moments. MONIQUE LUSE
In fact, I believe that it will be LSAjunior
difficult to move forward while President LSA-SG
silencing differences among us.
We must begin our own open and LETTERS POLICY
honest dialogue that is based on
the same principles we do our
work with every day. The Michigan Daily wecomes let-
Idor otsand with I nor ters from all of its readers. Letters from
do not stand with Israelead- University students, faculty, staff and
do I stand with Palestinian lead- administrators will be given priority
ership. I support the struggle of over others. Letters must include the
Palestinians for self-determina- writer's name, phone number and
tion and an end to their status as school year or University affiliation.
an occupied people and of course The Daily will not print any letter that
their right to a state and I support cannot be verified. Ad hominem
Israelis' right to feel safe and attacks will not be tolerated.
Israel's right to remain a state. I Letters should be kept to approxi-
firmly believe that the long-term mately 300 words. The Michigan Daily
solution to horrid acts of terror- reserves the right to edit for length, clar-
ism does not come with increased ity and accuracy. Longer "viewpoints"
amounts of state executed blood- may be arranged with an editor. Letters
shed, humiliation of a people and will be run according to order received
the destruction of communities' and the amount of space available.
infrastructure. If I am not mistak- Letters should be sent over e-mail to
en the old proverb, "If you want Lttes@michigandaily.com or mailed to
peace work for justice," comes to wail to the Daily wit gi en pio tty
us straight out of the Bible. As a mie oteDiywl egvnpirt
peson ahtout has deted le s over those dropped off in person or sent
person who has dedicated my life yin the U.S. Postal Service.
to working for both peace and
justice I see no reason not to turn

Racism 101: RA's diversity indoctrination
KEVIN MCNEIL ANN ARBOR's RIGHT SIDE

A glaring exam-
ple of the
backward
logic surrounding the
University's commit-
ment to "diversity" is
miles from any
Cincinnati courthouse
and closer to home
than any of us would
care to admit. Fierce debates over the mer-
its of affirmative action have yet to move
beyond the University's admissions prac-
tices and focus on our own backyard.In
fact, the fire raging in a U.S. Court of
Appeals and likely to engulf the Supreme
Court, stoked by rhetoric-spewing
machines of the likes of the Coalition to
Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means
Necessary, have drawn our collective
attention away from the numerous wrongs
committed by a University administration
bent on evoking its diversity mandate well
beyond the admissionsprocess.
The reality is that the University, staid
and demure in its "defense" of race-based
admission, is closer in practice to the Trot-
skyite-apparatus of BAMN and its politi-
cal wing, the Defend Affirmative Action
Party. The University action arm reaches
closer to home than any BAMN activist
possibly could. Yes, the University's affir-
mative action attack-wing is no less than
University Housing.
When DAAP looks to get the affirmative
action word out it realizes that rallies, sit-ins
and leaflets may be in vogue, but that the real
opportunity lies with the wide-eyed fresh-

men in the residence halls. The University
realized this long before BAMN ever tookto
the residence halls. What better place to jus-
tify race-based admissions and hiring prac-
tices than in the one arena where 97 percent
of all undergraduates spend at least one
year? And who better to serve on the front
lines in this propaganda war than the resi-
dence advisors.
The RA hiring process is slanted
towards minorities from recruitment to
selection. A quota of slots are reserved for
minorities under the title of Minority Peer
Advisor - a position with aset of selection
criteria based entirely upon race. It is but
one method employed by University Hous-
ing to guarantee a certain quota minorities.
Furthermore, how many white males make
it through the process, much less are recruit-
ed to apply? A handful at best even though
the application process lacks race/sex/sexual
orientation/ancestry-based qualifiers as any
other legitimate employment process. Uni-
versity Housing utilizes an intensive day-
long interview process to screen out
non-minority applicants.
Residence advisors must elect a
semester long course, Psychology 405:
Social Psychology in Community Set-
tings, as part of their "community" train-
ing. For several hours a week, soon-to-be
RAs learn not a single tangible skill for
becoming an effective residence advisor.
Security guidelines and safety measures
are absent in this course and are even dis-
couraged from being discussed. Rather,
soon-to-be RAs work through several
modules with titles like "Difference and

Domination" and "Intergroup Conflict."
Required course readings range from the
bizarre to the overtly racist.
One entitled, "Uprooting Racism:
How White People Can Work For Racial
Justice," seeks to teach RA's how to edu-
cate "white people" (i.e. white students
and residents) to use their privileged,
oppressive history to benefit those they
"subjugate." Another reading, entitled
"Identity" teaches RAs that most students
(i.e. their white residents) are ina passive
stage of acceptance of society's inequities
and their structural advantages, but that
later stages involve redefining "white-
ness" in "non-racist" terms. The upshot
of the entire reading to RAs is that nearly
all of their white residents are inherently
racist - a position that is "correctable"
through various techniques at the heart of
the RA program.
The entire RA education program is
but a reflection of the backwards thinking
that the University is willing to promote in
an effort to achieve racial "diversity."
Using race asa factor in admissions is but
a small part of a grander University
scheme to advance an agenda more radical
than any rhetorical platform spewed forth
by BAMN. How deep does this ideology.
run? Time may only tell, but the Universi-
ty is well-prepared for a loss at the
Supreme Court - race continues to drive
the University and its effects run far deep-
er than the admissions office.
Kevin McNeil can be reached at
/ancneil@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
The University's troubled labor

By DAVID DEEG, ROBERT HOWSE, SCOrT
TRUDEAU AND JOE SEXAUER
The University Committee on Labor
Standards and Human Rights was estab-
lished three years ago with three goals:
To advise the University on issues sur-
rounding its licensing and supply con-
tracts, to evaluate systems of monitoring
factory conditions and to finalize the
University's code of conduct. Since its
creation, the committee has been a
bureaucratic barrier to positive change.
The committee is composed of three
students, three professors and four mem-
bers of the University administration.
Each member must apply for a position
and is then appointed by either the
administration or the Michigan Student
Assembly.
The committee at its inception was
charged with "advising the University
concerning policies and practices to
ensure that corporations engaged in the
manufacture of licensed goods bearing
the University of Michigan name and/or
logos are not engaged in unlawful or
unconscionable labor practices." One of
the committee's first projects was to
finalize the University's Code of Con-
duct.
The University's Code of Conduct
delineates acceptable and unacceptable
business practices to those companies
which use the Michigan name and logo.
After almost a year of drawn out meet-
ings, unproductive disagreements, and

pressure from the Michigan community,
the committee finalized a one-and-a
half-page Code of Conduct. Now, the
University has a strong Code, which it
should be proud of- but the tradition of
drawn out meetings and unproductive
disagreements continues.
The committee's first stumbling
block is an apparent lack of commitment
of some of its members to the stated goal
of that body, or at least serious ambiva-
lence. Some of those who sit on the
committee do not apparently support its
purpose, do not believe that strong codes
of conduct are a positive tool for bring-
ing about change, and are not dedicated
to the University's Code of Conduct.
The committee's second problem is
participation. Attendance and participa-
tion have been poor, to say the least.
Not once this year have more than eight
of the committee's ten members been
present; average attendance hovers near
six. This problem is frustratingly com-
pounded by the committee's lack of by-
laws. Without rules to set quorum,
procedure and record-keeping, chaos
reigns. Often, decisions made after
hours of in-meeting debate are under-
mined or altered in e-mail discussion -
a method of deliberation which is
confusing, unprofessional and by its
very nature, closed to the public.
It is understandable for a committee
chair to occasionally act alone, for the
sake of expediency, on issues on which
s/he believes the group to be decided.
The committee, however, has watched its

committee
chairman, Prof. Lawrence Root repeated-
ly violate common sense standards. In
one instance, Prof. Root actually admit-
ted to acting outside of the will of the
committee (by informing New Era Cap
Company of our potential actions and
hence delaying the process further), and
there is reason to believe his breach of
faith is part of an ongoing trend.
We have no wish to make an attack
on Prof. Root's character, but we do have
a responsibility to judge his actions, at
least within the context of the committee.
We steadfastly believe his behavior to be
incompatible with his position.
The University administration must
mend the three fatal flaws of its Commit-
tee on Labor Standards and Human
Rights. To do so, it should appoint to the
committee only those applicants who,
while possessing a diversity of view-
points, both support the University's
Code of Conduct and are committed to
developing and utilizing means to
enforce the code including active partici-
pation with transparent, democratic mon-
itoring organizations. In addition, the
administration should replace the chair-
man of the Committee, Prof. Root, with
someone committed to democratic and-
productive work towards the enforcement
of the University's Code of Conduct.
Dee is an RC ssior andmember
of UCLSHRIHowse is aformer
member of UCLSHR and
Law Prbfesso Trudeauis a
former membr ofUCLSHR and
Sexauer is a University alum.

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