To the Daily:

‘U’ should practice the tolerance it preaches

As a proud alum of the University, a former Michigan athlete (varsity hockey, 1995-98), a military veteran and an aspiring military doctor, I have become increasingly concerned by the University’s position regarding Michigan Stadium’s inaccessibility for disabled veterans: The belief that the stadium need not comply with the Americans With Disability Act’s requirements because the project constitutes repairs and not renovations.

The University strives to maintain its position as the leader and the best in all that it undertakes. These endeavors have always included offering top-notch academic and research programs, fielding national championship caliber athletic teams and being an institution where all people, no matter their background, feel welcome. Historically, the University has also been a societal leader in accommodating people that are disadvantaged.

Thus, I find the University’s position regarding the claims made by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America about compliance with the ADA particularly troubling. A place that deems itself a leader in advancing the ideal that all people are equal and deserve equal opportunities should not shield itself with an attenuated and debatable legal position.

As much as University President Mary Sue Coleman vowed to do after the passage of Michigan’s race-based affirmative action ban, the University should attempt to interpret the law to maintain its tradition of inclusion and tolerance. It is inconsistent for the University’s values to cling to the narrowest interpretation of an ambiguous statute to defend its position.

The MPVA is not asking for special treatment: The group is only requesting that this great University comply with the law. The men and women of the MPVA have made countless sacrifices for this country, and they should not have to beg a state university to comply with a law that so many people have fought to pass and protect.

We all must realize that there is a growing generation of veterans in need of the protection afforded by the ADA. For these reasons I ask that my alma mater follows the very values and traditions it instilled in me – those of tolerance and understanding. By complying with the ADA, the University will again solidify Michigan Stadium’s place as the greatest stadium in the country.

Greg Malicke


Viewpoint attests to ever-persistent racism

I would like to thank the Daily for printing Ilana Weaver’s viewpoint last week (Racism lives in Ann Arbor, 11/16/2007). Weaver’s viewpoint was effective in discussing how racism exists at our university, and how it goes unchallenged. As students at a university that frequently cites diversity as a key issue, we must do our part to abolish racism and get rid of the ignorance that underlies it.

Hena Ashraf

LSA senior

Daily’s criticism of gun giveaway was misguided

If the Daily’s editorial board is so well-informed about the Second Amendment and concludes that gun ownership is a collective right (Misfire, 11/15/2007), perhaps it can explain why the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently ruled that the Second Amendment is an individual right (District of Columbia v. Heller). The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not to hear an appeal to the ruling.

Anyone who bothered to read the writings of the founding fathers would know that private gun ownership was what the Constitution intended. And if that isn’t enough, I suggest that the editorial board spend a little time reading the Michigan state constitution, especially Article I, Section 6, which states: “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.”

The only fault the editorial board should find with the College Libertarians is that the voucher the group offered isn’t enough to buy a high-quality firearm.

Douglas Wright

University staff

Definition of democracy not as obvious as it seems

Nathan Stano’s impassioned defense of the voice of the people in his letter to the editor last week (Daily’s mistrust of voters is appalling, 11/16/2007) overlooked some points. Arguing against the Daily editorial board’s commentary on representative democracy, Stano’s argument rested on a familiar etymological argument concerning the true meaning of democracy as a Greek word: rule of the people.

Stano claimed that the Daily was unfairly impugning the good reason and intelligence of the voters of this state by urging an end to right-wing campaigns that seek to circumvent the legislative process by placing hot-button issues on the ballot for a direct vote. He said that the people are well-educated enough on all of the issues and should be trusted to vote on them. But would Stano support such direct democracy in all of its forms, including the denial of Swiss citizenship to the adopted children in that country, the Japanese Exclusion Act and the election of Adolph Hitler? Do these all correctly represent the spirit of democracy?

Modern democracies tend to not only protect certain values, but extend them, in accordance with the Jeffersonian notion that the state should protect the right of the people to pursue happiness.

Perhaps Stano needs to learn some other Greek-derived words: demagoguery and tyranny.

John Thiels


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