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August 04, 2003 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-08-04

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 4, 2003
letters@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
SSTUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
SINCE 1890 necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
his summer, a series of events ranging were, then marriages that religious leaders
from a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Sep ar te ne lua r ig t disapprove of, such as interfaith marriages,
privacy rights, to the legalization of gay would be called civil unions as well. As with
marriage next door in Canada, to increased *. abortion, interfaith marriages and adultery,
infiltration of gays in the media have put the Gays deserve the right to man y legality should not be determined by reli-
issue of gay rights in the political forefront - gious leaders' moral beliefs. It defies even
and have forced Americans to take a serious gressive Americans are realizing that whatev- the process. The bigotry and closed minded- traditional religious logic that two strangers
look at how this country treats gays. Many er the cause, being gay is not a sin. ness apparent in the responses to legalizing can go to Las Vegas, get drunk and get mar-
conservatives are ina panic as they watch the In a series of upsetting displays over the gay marriage is appalling. The state of ried in the span of minutes because they are
country increasingly accept gays. The time past few weeks, the Republican Party has Vermont legalized civil unions between gays straight, while two homosexuals who are in a
has come to challenge these outdated notions once again abandoned its tradition of inclu- that offer the same rights under the law as loving relationship are unable to do the same.
and to join the growing number of Americans siveness championed by President Lincoln marriage, which include equal tax treatment In their tired desperation to prevent gays
in support of gay marriage. and decided to maintain support among its and the ability to make medical decisions for from joining an institution that conservatives
Gays already occupy important posts in base by lashing out against this progress. In loved ones. Excluding the label "marriage "is typically champion, religious conservatives
entertainment and media. The popularity of response to the Supreme Court ruling uphold- simply another example of the concept of have employed the argument always used
"Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the ing the privacy rights of gays, U.S. Senate separate but equal. when no logical reasoning can be found: the
Straight Guy" shows the growing acceptance Majority Leader Bill Frist stated his desire to Enabling two men or women to wed has slippery slope argument. They claim that gay
of homosexuality in American culture. Shows pass a constitutional amendment denouncing no adverse effect on straight people. marriage would open the door to bestiality
like these would have been unfathomable just gay marriage, and President Bush seemingly Marriage is a union between two people to and marriage between an adult and a child. A
a short time ago, but open-mindedness has dropped the compassionate modifier to his signify their love and commitment to one clear distinction exists between gay love and
led to increased tolerance and acceptance of conservatism by opposing gay marriage and another. Excluding gays from marriage sim- love with a child or an animal, and the blur-
the gay lifestyle. Scientists are beginning to equal rights for gays. The Pope has made his ply because it does not fit into the traditional ring of this line must be called by its true
realize that being gay is not a choice, but it is and the Catholic Church's position on the religious belief of what is right shows an name, bigotry. Gay marriage has been illegal
determined by a combination of genetic and matter extremely clear by not only denounc- inability to separate church and state. in this country for too long and thus is a
environmental factors. At the same time, pro- ing gay marriage, but also homosexuality in Marriage is not a religious institution. If it wrong long overdue to be righted.

PATRIOT Act flawed, should be challenged

Tuition G-force
State must prevent tuition from continuing to take off


The American Civil Liberties Union,
along with six other civil liberties
and social services organizations,
chose Detroit a few days ago as one of the
two cities in which to challenge the consti-
tutionality of the USA PATRIOT Act. This
is a positive step in the fight to take back
basic civil liberties stolen away in the
frightened haze following the first harrow-
ing attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.
Unless this lawsuit is successful or legisla-
tors realize the Orwellian nature of the
PATRIOT Act, it will serve as a stain on
U.S. democracy. Since its inception, the
act has not only allowed the FBI powers
that blatantly violate the Bill of Rights, but
those new capabilities have also been
unfairly directed against Muslim and Arab
Americans in a manner that shows the
unaccountability of those actions. This
lawsuit is desperately needed.
The lawsuit is directed specifically at
the record-seizure provision of the act,
which librarians, of all people, first
assailed. This provision allows the FBI to
request of librarians information regarding
the reading interests of patrons. At the
same time, the librarian would be barred
from informing that patron of the investi-
gation, giving the provision the distinct
characteristic of violating both the First
and Fourth Amendments simultaneously. A
different provision also allows the FBI to
obtain court orders without probable cause
that the person in question has something
to do with terrorism or a foreign govern-
ment. Another provision originally allowed
FBI agents the "sneak-and-peak" option,
which would have granted the ability to
investigate a person's house or business
without ever telling them. The U.S. House,
however, recently voted 309-118 to remove

funding from agencies that partake in this,
which is a positive development.
The organizations' choice to file suit in
Detroit was particularly poignant because
Michigan, with its large Arab population,
is at the center of counter-terrorism
efforts by the FBI and therefore has been
subjected to some of the worst treatment
under the PATRIOT Act. A total of 50
field agents have been assigned to the
Detroit area. Their techniques to stop ter-
ror, however, have led many in the Arab
population to distrust them. If the United
States has any hope of stopping actual ter-
rorists, the help of Arabs and Muslims
who do not ascribe to radical philosophy,
yet are active members in their communi-
ty and speak a variety of languages, is
essential. An example of the U.S. govern-
ment hurting Muslim goodwill can be
seen in the case of Rabih Haddad. Haddad
was recently incarcerated for 18 months
without ever being formally charged of a
connection with terrorism before finally
being deported on a visa violation.
Although the public is not familiar with
the proceedings of this special-interest
immigration closed court and cannot be
sure of his guilt or innocence, it is unac-
ceptable for anyone to be held in legal
limbo for such a prolonged period of time.
Of the 661 cases of this type, absolutely
no one was charged with terrorism.
It is a cruel irony that the "PATRIOT"
Act would violate our nation's founding
identity of freedom. At this point in time,
143 communities in 27 states have some-
how expressed criticism of it, and mem-
bers of both political parties have started
to show skepticism. This lawsuit should
act as a lightning rod around which people
can rally to show their dissatisfaction.

n recent years, University students have
had a roller coaster of a time with tuition.
The problem with this roller coaster is
that it always goes up and never comes
down. In fact, the only variable is how fast
the roller coaster is going to go up ina given
academic year. As stressful as this is, the
University is not the only institution with
this problem. Other institutions, however,
have tried to counter this dizzying effect in
some very creative ways. University offi-
cials should take note of these strategies and
try to implement them here.
Over the past few years, tuition has
increased tremendously, with another 6.5
percent increase coming for the 2003-
2004 calendar year. Last year's increase of
7.9 percent put a tremendous burden on
students and their families. With statistics
like these, students and their parents are
left to wonder if there is any way to curb
these increases. Because of tuition
increases each year, college has become an
investment for which it is difficult for
many families to be able to assess how to
pay. This problem is one that the state of
Illinois has recently attempted to address.
Under a bill that Illinois Gov. Rod
Blagojevich (D) recently signed into law,
the tuition rates for students will be con-
sistent for four consecutive years - or
five years for some specialized fields -
upon matriculation at a particular institu-
tion. The overall goal is to give parents and
students a way to budget their money with
respect to academics. Knowing how much
money will be necessary to spend on
tuition each year can certainly have its
benefits. Western Illinois University
adopted this policy in 1999 and has had
success in doing so. Following their lead,
the whole state has moved to lock in

tuition rates in this fashion.
This policy does have some fairly obvi-
ous downsides to it. One problem is related
to the state budget. If there are drastic budget
cuts at the state level for higher education, it
may be impossible to keep tuition at a con-
sistent level for four years. This is of partic-
ular importance for people in the state of
Michigan, where the governor and state
Legislature have had to undertake cuts in
funding for higher education in order to avert
budget shortfalls. If the state of Michigan
were to adopt such a policy, it may have to be
tempered. Still, it is important to note that
Western Illinois University has had success
with this policy and better planning on the
part of the state and the University would
make it feasible here as well.
The state should enact such a policy not
only to help students and their families to be
able to afford a college education, but also
to encourage more students to go straight
through four years of college instead of tak-
ing a year off for financial reasons. It will
also enable students who never enroll in a
four year institution because of the high cost
more likely to attend such a school.
As a result of state budget cuts and fed-
eral aid reformulations, controlling tuition
must be a priority for the state and its uni-
versities. Despite campaign pledges from
political candidates, including those run-
ning for the University Board of Regents,
officials have been unable to stabilize
large tuition increases. A combination of
prudent financial planning on the part of
the University, including dampening
splurges during good times and avoiding
massive cutbacks during bad economic
times, and a policy such as that signed into
law in nearby Illinois, would go a long
way toward helping Michigan's students.





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