“Vagina Monologues” raises awareness

To the Daily:

It seems necessary to reply to Rob Shereda”s letter (“MSA was “petty and political,” not empowering” 1/25/01) not only because it represents a totally misinformed viewpoint, but also because it seems that Shereda gets a kick out of tearing down those who are actually out there trying to make a difference and someone needs to call him on that one. The aim of the “Vagina Monologues” as part of the 2001 College Initiative is to raise awareness about and to try to bring an end to violence against women. However, domestic violence is not the only kind of violence against women.

To say that SAFEhouse is the only organization that supports women who are victims of violence is to be exceedingly ignorant. What Shereda seems to be missing, however, is that there is no argument here. We all agree that SAFEhouse is an amazing organization and that is why it will receive half of the proceeds from the “Vagina Monologues.” We have chosen to donate to Planned Parenthood because it is anything but a “faceless” organization.

If you want to see the faces of Planned Parenthood simply look at the women of this university. If you think Planned Parenthood hasn”t touched the life of a woman you know then you”re fooling yourself.

As for the statement that Planned Parenthood forces “women to fork over large sums of cash” (Rob, did you happen to know that Planned Parenthood provides free medical services to women?) Yes, Planned Parenthood does provide abortions but it also provides contraceptives, HIV testing, sexually transmitted disease testing, pelvic exams pre-natal care, vasectomies, infertility care and tubal sterilizations (try visiting www.plannedparenthood.com to attempt to sound more intelligent next time).

The decision has been made to donate money to the “Ann Arbor women who really need it” all the women who need it, not just those affected by domestic violence. Shereda may have called the Michigan Student Assembly “petty and political,” but I see his letter as far more political than the actions of such MSA members as Communications Chair Matt Nolan, who was able to look past politics to see the greater issue.

Nolan has my greatest respect for standing up and supporting women while people like Sherada choose to mock him rather than display the same strength of character.

Karen Soules

LSA junior

The letter writer is the director of the Vagina Monologues.

Daily mislead readers about Code

To the Daily:

As director of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, I would like to respond to the Daily”s editorial (“Fight the Code,” 1/12/01).

Reasonable people may disagree about whether there should be a Code of Student Conduct.

However, given that there is a code in place that University students agreed to abide by, it”s important for all within our community to have factually correct information about it. Some of the facts in the Daily”s editorial are incorrect.

First, the conflict resolution procedures are readily available from OSCR they may be found in the University Policies Handbook for Students, and are accessible via the Internet at http://www.umich.edu/oscr/.

We invited the Daily to send representatives to our resolution board training session held on Jan. 13, a forum where its staff could ask questions about code procedures. I”m sorry that no one from the Daily staff chose to attend.

The editorial states that students “… are denied legal consultation for the Conflict Resolution procedure.”

In fact, students charged under the Code are permitted to consult with an attorney at any point during the conflict resolution process, including the disciplinary hearing.

You write “… the Code of Student Conduct considers itself competent in determining guilt and innocence in legal matters.” The Code is an educational tool designed to respond to specifically identified behavior that is inconsistent with the values of the University community. It is not designed to, nor does it, determine whether someone is innocent or guilty of violating civil or criminal laws.

The Daily also states that students are “… required to keep (themselves) free from rumors, speculations and contact with law enforcement officials …” The Code process is triggered only by a written complaint by a student, a member of the faculty or a staff member.

The Code was developed with student input. The amendment proposals submitted by the Michigan Student Assembly have been undergoing a careful review by the Student Relations Advisory Committee and University President Lee Bollinger.

We anticipate implementing any changes accepted by the president in the 2001-2002 academic year.

I encourage debate about the Code however, it”s very important that the debate be based on accurate facts.

Keith Elkin

Elkin is the director of the University”s Office of Student Conflict Resolution.

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