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February 19, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-19

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Page 4--The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, February 19, 1991
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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editors

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.

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Brown case should be decided
L ast week, in an unprecedented decision, Brown
University expelled student Douglas Hann for
violating Brown's student code of non-academic
conduct. The code - instituted during the fall of
1989 - prohibits the subjection of a person or
group of people to inappropriate, abusive, threat-
ening or demeaning action based on race, religion,
gender, handicap, ethnicity, national origin or sexual
Hann is charged with shouting several offensive
statements in a dormitory courtyard last October.
After a student told him to be quiet, Hann responded
with several more offensive statements directed at
the individual. Hann's actions should be condemned
and he should be censured, but Brown University
should not be his judge, jury and executioner. His
case should be heard in a federal courtroom, not in
the office of the University president.
Supreme Court decisions have drawn a fine line
concerning the difference between free speech and
"fighting words." Fighting words are defined as
comments that-by their very utterance- are the
verbal equivalent of a punch in the nose.
According to the Supreme Court, "fighting
words" are not constitutionally protected under the

in court, not on campus
First Amendment, and it is not the punishability of
Hann's actions that deserves criticism. But, if
Hann is indeed guilty of harassment, the federal
government-not Brown University -should be
the punisher in this case.
Brown University has no jurisdiction or author-
ity to prosecute transgressions of the law. Brown's
potential responsibilities end in reporting an al-
leged criminal activity to the proper authorities. In
making decisions involving "fighting words," the
Supreme Court never authorized such judicial
privileges to Brown or any other university. Brown
has decided to act as the judge and jury, and is
committing a crime as repugnant as Hann's.
Hann's Constitutional right to a fair and speedy
trial has been replaced by a conviction and pun-
ishment handed down by a body with no judicial
authority. Brown's decision - however correct it
may be in principle - is invalid. If the university
administration truly respects the laws they are
trying to enforce, they would reinstate Hann and
hand the case over to the proper judicial authori-
ties. Such a decision will justly determine Hann's
fate and will prevent a second crime: the subver-
sion of federal jurisdiction and Hann's right to due

Unwanted actilvists

RWL's disregard for democracy,
/'"n Feb. 11, a majority of the Students Against
U.S. Intervention in the Middle East (SAUSI)
anti-war group voted to ban the Revolutionary
Workers' League (RWL) from future meetings,
pointing to the RWL's disregard for group process.
SAUSI - composed of factions covering the
entire anti-war political spectrum - did not expel
the RWL because of its extremist doctrine. Indeed,
many SAUSI members support some of the RWL's
arguments and ideologies. Instead, the RWL was
banned because of its constant subversion of and
antagonism toward the democratic process.
During the past decade, the RWL - a self-
styled radical communist organization - has dis-
rupted and dismembered many campus activist
groups. The RWL's verbal abuse and disruptive
behavior has derailed many campus activists
groups, including the Latin American Solidarity
Committee (LASC), the United Coalition Against
:Racism (UCAR), the Coalition to Defend Abor-
tion Rights (CDAR) and the AIDS Coalition to
Unleash Power (ACT-UP).
It has been difficult enough for these different
progressive groups to consolidate their efforts on
campus. The disruptive antics of the RWL do
'nothing to strengthen the disjointed anti-war
movement. The RWL's attempt to hijack campus

justifies expulsion from SAUSI
groups like SAUSI in order to promote its own
agenda is unacceptable, and campus groups should
be careful in the future to prevent the RWL from
splintering their movements.
By-constantly speaking out of turn and harass-
ing other SAUSI members, a small number of
RWL members created an unpleasant and intimi-
dating atmosphere for the rest of the student ac-
tivists. The constant disruption discouraged many
potential anti-war activists, who were irritated
with the way that the RWL's disregard for majority
opinion thwarted SAUSI's progress.
This is not an issue of political agendas; it is an
issue of respect for others' opinions. SAUSI tol-
erated the RWL's outbursts for several weeks, in
the interest of group democracy and respect. But
the RWL members' disrespect for the opinions of
the SAUSI majority left the anti-war leaders no
other choice than to expel the entire RWL. Re-
gardlessof a group's political ideals, no organization
has the right to disrupt the focus and direction of
the anti-war movement. The SAUSI membership
was justified in its expulsion of the RWL, and this
should serve as a warning to RWL members to
respect the opinions of others in the pursuit of its
revolutionary agenda.

Brown's policy is
To the Daily:
I am writing to address the
incident last week in which
Brown University expelled one of
its students for making racist
remarks. I do not condone the
ignorance and hate that generated
these statements, but this nation-
wide "politically correct" move-
ment to curb insensitive com-
ments by subordinating the First
Amendment to the equal protec-
tion clause is a travesty of
Thus, the fact that the student
was yelling his beliefs in the
courtyard changes his statements
from opinion, which is protected,
to a one-man racist riot against
the listeners. Do not be fooled
into thinking that these restricting
tendencies will be so easily
The refusal of the various anti-
war campus groups to allow the
RWL and the Support Our
Soldiers (SOS) movement to
speak at meetings is symptomatic
of the urge among PC leaders to
ignore opinions that contradict
their own, and this destroys the
basis of "liberal education."
The main fallacy of these
attempts to set codes of "non-
academic" behavior and manda-
tory racism classes is that they
will not create a better world;
instead, they will create a world
of liberal automatons. The human
urge to question, to contradict the
world and its traditions, and to
reject simple answers in favor of
more complicated and unsolvable
paradoxes will be gone. This
army of "liberal" soldiers truly
loves Big Brother.
James Mulvenon
LSA junior
Conduct policies
will go all the way
To the Daily:
It is interesting that the
members of the AIDS Coalition to
Unleash Power (ACT-UP) are
upset because their meetings were
infiltrated and disrupted by a
group trying to impose its own
And the Lesbian and Gay
Rights Organizing Committee
(LaGROC) is upset because its
members were called racist or
sexist merely because they

TAs respond to Regent Nielsen's threats

To the Daily:
GEO, the Graduate Employees
Organization, is the labor union
that represents teaching and staff
assistants at the University of
Michigan. We in GEO were
disturbed by a suggestion made
by University Regent Neal


sity President Duderstadt did not
support Nielsen's motion. But it is
very unfortunate that someone
like Nielsen, who apparently does
not understand or agree with the
fundamental ideals of the Univer-
sity, is on the Board of Regents in
the first place. GEO respects free
speech, openness of information,
and tolerance. We do not respect
autocrats who do not support the
essential mission of this Univer-
Christopher Roberson
GEO President
To the Daily:
So Regent Nielsen wants to be
treated with the respect due his
station as a regent of the Univer-
sity, and I, as a TA next term,
should grant him that respect as I
would to an employer in the
private sector. I was always
taught, however, that respect was
something that had to be earned,
not merely accorded because of
position. Given the regents' own
recent behavior of late, I doubt
many of them should have earned
my respect.
The recent student "disrup-
tions" of the regents' meetings
reflect the growing dissatisfaction
of some students. What is sad is
that the regents apparently don't
want to take the time to under-
stand what is causing this
dissatisfaction, to help find
solutions or to hear the genuine
pain some students are express-
ing. Were they to do this, they
might gain some of my respect
The only reason many workers
in the private sector "respect"
bosses who do a bad job is to
keep from getting fired. I have a
Union, and I can't be fired
arbitrarily. As long as my
"bosses" -- the regents and
President Duderstadt - continue
to do the miserable job they have
done thus far, I will withhold,
vocally and demonstrably, my
respect for them.
Charles Sullivan
Rackham graduate student


Nielsen at the last meeting of the
Board of Regents. A number of
students, some of whom were
teaching assistants, disrupted the
public comments section of that
meeting. Regent Nielsen was
quoted as saying after the meeting
that teaching assistants who
participate in such protests are
showing "disrespect" for the
Regents and that they should be
GEO objects very strongly to
Regent Nielsen's remarks. It is
obvious that the threat of being
fired will have a chilling effect on
the rights of teaching assistants to
moral and political expression.
Although GEO has no position on
the tactics used at the regents'
meeting, we do not believe that
employers may legitimately fire
their employees for expressing
themselves on important political
It is mildly heartening to see
that the other regents and Univer-



ROUJIP Racists have rights too

It's ironic that the two most recent demonstrations of
hatred on campus weren't even addressed at last month's
convocation on racism. Last month, the University Gay/
Lesbian/Bisexual Community received a telephone
threat. And last weekend, students objected to a Nazi
flag hung in adormresident's window. TheUniversity's
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer, Pat
Mullen, wants the flag taken down permanently. While
it is understandable that officials like Mullen would
prefer people not be subjected to symbols of hatred and
racism, insisting that the flag be removed is brushing
deeper issues under the rug; in some ways this is worse
than the act itself.
Nobody but the most seething of racists could morally
defend hanging a symbol of Nazism - with all that
implies - anywhere, much less in a window for all to

see. And this is especially true now, at a time when hate-
motivated attacks against Jews, lesbians, bisexuals,
gays and people of color are all on the rise.
As disgusting as symbols like the Nazi flag are, there
are compelling First Amendment reasons for allowing
them to be displayed. Only by defending the most
offensive forms of speech can all forms of speech -
however unpopular - truly be preserved.
But there are also other reasons to allow the flag to
be displayed. Students at the "liberal" University should
no longer be allowed to pretend that such hatred doesn't
exist here. Removing the symbols of hatred does not
remove the hatred that inspires people to embrace them,
then or now.
Feb. 7, 1991, Minnesota Daily
University of Minnesota

disagreed with members of a
different organization.
Last year, many students were
demanding the University install a
code restricting racist and sexist
speech. This year, the same

students are protesting against a
code of non-academic behavior.
Am I the only student on this
campus who sees the irony in
these things?
Doug Shaw
Rackham graduate student

RWL, AAC respond to expulsion from SAUSI

The Daily encourages responses from its readers. Letters should be 150
words or less and include the author's name, year in school, and phone
number. They can be mailed to The Michigan Daily, 420 Maynard, Ann
Arbor, 48109, or they can be sent via MTS to "The Michigan Daily." The
Daily reserves the right to edit letters for style and space.

by Paul Carmouche
While U.S. imperialism is
murdering tens of thousands of
Iraqi civilians and soldiers, the
leadership of Students Against
U.S. Intervention (SAUSI) is
failing to act.
SAUSI's leadership is
ambivalent about the war's
outcome and is tactically timid.
The leadership covers its coward-
ice by lies, red-baiting, and now
the political expulsion of the
Revolutionary Workers' League
(RWL) and the Anti-Imperialist
Action Caucus (AIAC) at the
SAUSI general meeting Feb. 4.
In contrast, the AIAC is not
ambivalent about the war's
outcome. We openly call for a
victory for Iraq and a defeat of
U.S. imperialism around the
world. Our political objectives are
to shut down the U.S. war
machine, including the Univer-
sity, with mass militant action.

promote Democratic Party politics
and favor a military draft and
economic warfare against Iraq in
the form of sanctions and naval
blockades designed to starve the
Iraqi people. Much of the leader-
ship of SAUSI, along with the
two major national coalitions,
differ with the government only
on when or how the war should be
They try to hide their contra-
dictions by calling for "peace,"

supporters of the AIAC and the
RWL have had to loudly protest
and cry "foul" when this kind of
bureaucratic dictatorship has
operated. If the meetings were run
democratically this would not
have had to happen. However,
some activists do not have the
right to speak, make proposals,
and have these proposals dis-
cussed and voted on.
The SAUSI bureaucrats'
dishonest "expulsion" of the


The SAUSI pro-imperialist leadership refuses
to build a broad-based movement on campus
with actions like real mass building occupa-
tions and a student strike.

Nuts and Bolts

By Judd Winick
- -

v2RK A%4Y~tpy Fo )-tHAr T


but the AIAC knows that there
can never be "peace" under

AIAC and the RWL stems from

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