Daily fails to recognize existing campus activism

To the Daily:
In response to Mara Gay’s column (Our flawed activism, 02/06/07), it is not campus activism that is flawed, but the closed-minded views of some at The Michigan Daily. For months now, the Daily has written regularly about the lack of student activism on such a historically active university. But when the protest is in conflict with it’s world-view, they label it as “weak,” “disaffected” and “devoid of critical thought and compassion.”

There is no lack of compassion on the part of the protesters, it is simply that the protests are directed toward a group the Daily favors. There is no lack of “critical thought,” rather the views of the protestors are misunderstood and misrepresented by those who refuse to even sit through a lecture that contains opposing ideas and hear what the other side has to say.

It wasn’t the Young Americans for Freedom who hindered the open exchange of ideas at last week’s lecture, it was their opponents who, like children plugging their ears in defiance, refused to open themselves up and participate in the exchange.

It seems that the Daily’s columnists are engaging in exactly what they accuse YAF of doing. They have chosen a side without hearing all of the arguments. They throw out blanket accusations and participate in petty name-calling . They can throw fiery darts from behind the curtain of free-speech protections while they simultaneously encourage others to suppress that same right.

Daily columnists speak with authority as if the only way to solve the world’s problems is they way they learned in Political Science 140. Perhaps it is time to reconsider what you’ve been taught. Perhaps it is time to experiment with other ideologies and problem-solving strategies. Perhaps it is time to rebel against the campus status quo. Or did that only apply to conservative ideas in the ’60s?

Nathan Zenero
LSA junior

Daily’s MSA criticism is knee-jerk and uninformed

To the Daily:
While I was not surprised to read the Daily editorial board’s rant against student government (Competition MIA at MSA, 02/06/2006), as an active member of the Michigan Student Assembly, it is time to speak out against this continuous trend of uninformed criticism.

The editorial board often claims that student government does nothing for students and is simply composed of resume-padding individuals, but it offers no clear evidence to back up this allegation. For instance, its only substantial argument against the current candidates of the Michigan Action Party is that these electoral hopefuls have only vague and “recycled” ideas like lowering textbook prices. This claim is an obvious demonstration of the Daily’s poor understanding of how this University works.

To make improvements like altering the registration brackets, getting textbook lists released earlier or pursuing any other project on this campus, it takes months and often years of hard work with the administration. These candidates care enough about issues like these to pick up where their predecessors left off, and this is how it works across all student governments at the University.

The Daily makes little effort to learn about the projects that student government members take on, let alone follow the progress of the few that they happen to hear about. Just because many of us on MSA, LSA-SG and other student governments feel that our time is better spent working on behalf of our fellow students rather than trumpeting successes full-time to the Daily does not mean we aren’t working hard. It just means that the Daily isn’t working hard enough to learn about all the good things we are doing for the students of this University.

Josh Kersey
The letter writer is an LSA senior and treasurer of the Michigan Student Assembly.

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