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January 25, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-25

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 25, 1991
e £kiian &tiIy
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Editor in Chief

Opinion Editor

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Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other cartoons,
signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
Frcomri thile [)a i. y
Stifling discourse is dangerous; so is the backlash

CART C&LEAN*k, .> IT 4UI(Ai~
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Newsweek magazine had these
glaring words streaking across its
cover last month, no doubt prompting
its readers io instinctively identify with
the McCarthyist red-baitiig of the
1950s. Then, anyone termed a "Com-
munist" was ostracized and summarily
dismissed from jobs or universities.
Now, the Thought Police are back,
only this time the threat comes from
the left and not the right. The similari-
ties between intellectual control in the
'50s and the '90s are striking, espe-
cially in their effect on college cam-
puses. Silencing unfriendly discourse,
even if it is hurtful to some members
of the community, limits debate and
serves only to mask people's true be-
The threat to intellectual integrity
and educational opportunity becomes
clear when professors are fired for ex-
pressing "incorrect" opinions or stu-
dents are expelled for "inappropriate"
speech. The University of Michigan
has occasionally drifted to the brink of
such thought control, evidenced in its
unconstitutional anti-discrimination
policy; other colleges around the coun-
try have gone even farther.
The so-called Politically Correct
movement (or PC for short) has been
highlighted recently in the press, both
by magazines and widely-read news-
papers like the Wall Street Journal.
While these articles and editorials have
been helpful in uncovering threats to
free speech, they have also created a
backlash against people who are striv-
ing to create diverse campuses where a
wide variety of students feel welcome.
Tqm Bray, the editorial director of
The Detroit News, wrote earlier this
month that the University of Michigan
administration has fallen prey to the PC
advocates. He cited a memo sent to
some faculty members that suggested
they substitute "gay men and lesbians"
for "homosexuals," and further sug-
gested they use "sexual orientation"
instead of "sexual preference." These
are requests that activists on campus

have been making for some time.
Bray concluded that the Michigan
memo was comparable to the abuses
perpetrated by other colleges, as cited
by Newsweek. But he ignored one criti-
cally important fact: whereas some
other colleges have punished students
or faculty for expressing their opinions,
the University has only suggested
ways to make the community more
tolerant of a wider group of people.
There is clearly a difference between
suggesting less offensive language and
sanctioning people who ignore the
suggestions. Colleges and universities
that disregard constitutional values and
expel students or faculty for exercising
their right to free speech, no matter
how objectionable, should indeed be
criticized; but universities that seek to
make their communities more acces-
sible by improving the atmosphere on
campus should be lauded, not lam-
The sudden explosion of media at-
tention surrounding PC - its tactics
and agenda - has given way to a con-
servative backlash that is potentially as
dangerous as the indoctrination itself.
People who seek to limit their opposi-
tion by removing it from their midst
should be roundly condemned; the
causes PC espouses, however, should
not fall into this circle of condemna-
Goals of societal tolerance and ac-
ceptance have become, in the minds of
many people, intermingled with cen-
sorship and intolerance. Conservatives
have used the fervor surrounding PC to
discredit more than the Thought Police
- they've tried to undermine efforts
to establish rights for minorities in our
Those who want to silence others -
including, at various times, the Uni-
versity, groups like the United Coali-
tion Against Racism, and even the
Daily - should be criticized for pro-
moting these tactics. But that criticism
should not be extended to worthwhile
goals, and we should all be cautioned
to separate important aims from ill-
advised methods.


Duderstadt: 'U' should foster debate about war
By James J. Duderstadt moral strength and the values of the Because this is an educational com-,

The effects of the war in the Gulf are
reverberating throughout the University
of Michigan community. I think we all
feel anxious and concerned about our
nation's role in this war and in the
world. Some of our students, faculty,
and staff are serving in the military, and
many have friends and loved ones in the
conflict. They fear for their safety, even
as they take pride in their service to
their country.
Some support this war as the only
means to enduring peace, while others
oppose this war or all wars out of
equally deeply held conviction. Many of
us feel uneasy that the burden of this
war is being borne disproportionately by
others, while we on campus are granted
the privileges of uninterrupted study.
Some of our Arab, Arab-American,
Palestinian, and Muslim students and
colleagues are fearful and have already
felt the stings of unreasoning prejudice
and harassment. Our Israeli and Jewish
students are also anguished and appre-
hensive, and in some cases, those
whose relatives and friends are serving
in the Middle East have been subjected
to harassment at a time when we should
all be giving them compassionate sup-
Clearly, this is a time when the
Duderstadt is the University president.

_a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ., __ _ __ .

University of Michigan are being tested,
a time when it is especially important
for all of us to band together and show
the world that we are a learning and car-
ing community - a community which
is tolerant of the views of all its mem-
bers, even as we debate and discuss our
views openly and honestly; a diverse
community where each idea may be

munity, it is particularly important for.
the University to foster discussion.
among those with varying opinions.
about the War in the Gulf. Provost-,
Gilbert Whitaker has urged the deans of.
all schools and colleges to encourage,:
opportunities for discussion within their,,
individual units, and some programs are
already underway.

We cannot tolerate harassment of individual members""
of this University community; nor can we tolerate the,
suppression of debate and dissent.

criticized, but each individual is valued
and respected.
Above all, we cannot tolerate ha-
rassment of individual members of this
University community; nor can we tol-
erate the suppression of debate and dis-
sent. To quote from the Fundamental
Tenets of Membership in the University
Community, which was adopted by the
Senate Assembly in June, 1990:
"We respect the autonomy of each per-
son's conscience in matters of convic-
tion, religious faith, and political belief...
All members of the University have the
right to express their own views and hear
the views of others expressed, but they
must also take responsibility for accord-
ing the same rights to others."

I hope we will set a high standard of,
mutual respect in the coming weeks,,
even though that may be difficult when
emotions are strong. But it would be a-
bitter wrong to oppose violence with vi-
olence or to interfere with the rights of:
others in the name of freedom.
Let me urge every member of the
campus community to continue to clanr--
ify and express his or her views aboit
U.S. policy in the Gulf, but to do so
without recourse to attacks on the mo-,
tives or values of those who hold oppos-
ing views. And let me urge the membets
of this community to band together and
derive solace from each other in this
time of worry, anguish, and uncertainty.


Student-soldier writes before

Sexual harassment
Poli-Sci department policy has progressive ideas

ment" mean many things to different
people. Because of the societal ambi-
guities in its definition, many men may
be unknowingly (and criminally) ha-
rassing women, while many women,
reluctant to cause additional tensions,
fail to report incidences of intimidation.
By initiating new guidelines that con-
centrate on education and victim treat-
ment instead of punishment, the Uni-
versity's Political Science department
has taken an admirable and positive
step in dealing with this problem.
Department Chair Arlene Saxon-
house described the new policy as a
simple clarification. The policy in-
cludes a definition of sexual harass-
ment, protection for the complainant,
lists of coudseling services and com-
plaint procedures, along with the phone
numbers of both male and female de-
partment members.
A paragraph informing all students
about the existence of the policy will be
included in all syllabi in all political sci-
ence classes. These provisions make it
easy for students and staff concerned
about sexual harassment to have their

responsibility to the University.
But because the power to try a de-
fendant belongs only to local, state and
federal courts, the University lacks the
authority to properly test an alleged
offender's innocence. Instead, Uni-
versity resources should be focused on
supporting the victims and advising
them of their legal rights and options.
This would prevent the University
from deciding harassment cases it may
be ill-equipped to judge.
The Political Science harassment
policy is similar to the University's
general policy, only better. The depart-
ment has shown through its new
guidelines that it can offer as much as
the University's general policy, without
straying into controversial legal actions.
Clearly, the University needs to take
additional steps to clarify the judicial
process concerning charges of harass-
ment. Members of the University
community should be aware of the
conditions under which the University
will determine guilt or innocence and
penalize alleged offenders. The current
University-wide policy does not
achieve this.

By Trevor Moeller
The night before last on the
telephone, my life changed. As my dad
read the words, "by presidential
executive order you are ordered to
active duty," I felt relief. Relieved that I
would no longer have to spend sleepless
nights in bed wondering if I was going to
be called to duty in the Persian Gulf.
At least now I knew. I am not in the
reserves nor did I sign any special con-
tracts nor do I receive any special pay. I
am only on a list that can be used in the
event of war.
Six months ago, I completed a four-
year tour with the United States Army.
When I came to the University of
Michigan this fall, I heard the war
drums beating and my only wish was to
finish the fall term. I feel grateful that I
am half a sophomore now but yesterday
I had to disenroll from my classes and
start packing. President Bush didn't pull
me out of school just for the heck of it.
He did it because General Colin Powell
told him that I was needed again, .and
because America needed me. I'm not
upset at all. I am a patriot and fully
support President Bush and his
Like many students, I have seen the
anti-war rallies on campus held by the
group Students Against United States In-
tervention in the Middle East (SAUSI).
Moeller is an LSA first-year student and a
sergeant in the U.S. Army. He is a gunner
on an MlAl Abrams tank.

President Bush didn't pull me out of school just for the
heck of it. He did it because General Colin Powell told
him that I was needed again, and because America
needed me. I'm not upset at all. I am a patriot and fully
support President Bush and his administration.

When I first tried to speak to SAUSI
members student to student, I was re-
buffed. I tried to explain to them that af-
ter being a soldier for four years, I have
an idea how soldiers think and
especially how soldiers feel about anti-
war rallies. I was not taken seriously -
as SAUSI members were convinced
they knew all about soldiers and how
soldiers felt.

shipping out?
I'm proud that several students had
the courage to form a group on campus
that voices a second opinion. The group,
Support Our Soldiers (SOS), is politi-,
cally neutral on the war and its main
motto is simply "to support the so-'
diers." How brilliant! SOS isn't pro-wr,
or anti-war. Who could have. a problem
with that except the Revolutionary
Workers' League?

Well, today I speak to SAUSI mem-
bers as American soldier to student. I
declare that SAUSI hasn't the slightest
clue as to how soldiers think and I guar-
antee that they take anti-war rallies
personally. It hurts them severely to see
Americans rallying against them. This is
evident in personal letters from soldiers
in my old unit. They ask me, "Why are
people demonstrating against us?" They
conjure up pictures of coming home and
being spat on by the same people who
hold the anti-war rallies.
The leaders of SAUSI can falsely
claim that they support the soldiers, but
as a soldier I am telling you, I don't
want your kind of support.

As my last few hours on campus tick
away, I issue a plea to all Wolverines. a
Please, please, please, do not support
anti-war rallies and if possible, wear a
yellow ribbon on your coat or backpack.
When you see the ROTC students in'.
their uniforms, shake their hand and say,
"Thank you for being in ROTC."
And lastly, to the students who tore
down "the wall," thank you. If 100
SAUSI members are mad at you there g
are 500,000 Desert Storm soldiers that
love you.
This letter is likely to generate re-
sponses from the "I hate America"
groups, but remember: you are replying
to an American Soldier whom you sup-
posedly support.
areas which have benefited society.
In an idealistic world, military re-
search would be unnecessary and every- p
one would live together in neace. We.

Research saves lives
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to the series

are a great asset to the Aerospace Engi-
neering Department and the University
of Michigan.
Second, I would like to address the

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