To the Daily:

Hull represents true spirit of student gov’t

I do not wish to focus this letter on the Facebook group demeaning Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Tim Hull, and neither do I want to devote this space to the absolutely despicable political moves on display at Tuesday’s MSA meeting (Pres. draws fire for Facebook group, 11/28/2007). Instead, I would like to send a message directly to Hull: I hope that this situation empowers you to do even more to change our university.

I do not know Tim personally, but I did sit next to him in a class last semester. Most people are intimidated to speak up in 80-person lectures, but Tim was not. Whenever the professor would ask a question, Tim’s hand was sure to be in the air – and I’m not sure he ever got a question wrong.

I also saw Tim on the Diag in the freezing cold for about a week in April, handing out quarter sheets and asking people to vote for him in the MSA election. He didn’t have some frivolous student government party ensuring a victory for him: He did it by himself with hard work, and he succeeded.

Legendary football coach Bo Schembechler famously said, “Those who stay will be champions.” I cannot help but think of Tim standing out on the Diag, embodying those immortal words – a Michigan man, through and through.

Jeremy Borovitz
Public Policy junior

MSA leaders fail to live up to University values

It is reprehensible, shocking and disappointing that any University student, especially one elected to serve as a leader for the entire University student community, does not exemplify through conduct and language the values of the University. These include critical priorities, as stated by University President Mary Sue Coleman, of sustaining and enhancing diversity and developing a campus climate that provides a sense of belonging to every individual in our community.

The MSA leaders involved in the egregious behavior reported yesterday in the Daily (Pres. Draws fire for Facebook group, 11/28/2007) bring shame and embarrassment to the University and have demonstrated values and mindsets antithetical to what this University stands for.

Marjorie Horton
The letter writer is assistant dean for undergraduate education for LSA.

Increased gun ownership threatens campus life

There have been a number of ridiculous pro-gun viewpoints expressed in the Daily this year, but Mike Eber’s column is particularly absurd (Guns are for liberals, too, 11/26/2007). Eber writes, “We may not need a compelling reason to own a firearm other than the fact that an armed populace is necessary for the security of a free state. If a government does not fear an armed populace, then that government is not truly democratic, because it does not need to respect the electorate’s authority.”

This is a ridiculous claim. So what are you going to do if you disagree with legislation, Mike, take your militia to Lansing or Washington and make government respect your “authority”? Should Democrats have stormed the Supreme Court with guns blazing following the 2000 presidential election? The government should fear the electorate because the electorate holds the ability to remove officials from office by voting, not violence.

Eber writes that the Virginia Tech shooting and violent crime statistics are “emotional appeals to restrict gun rights.” No, they are evidence that gun laws need to change. The Virginia Tech shooting was committed with weapons purchased legally by the gunman. The weapons for the Columbine shooting were legally purchased by a friend of the shooters.

A letter in the Daily last week (Firearm bans make campus less safe, 11/19/2007) from the president of the University chapter of the College Libertarians made the case that if there were more guns available to students on campus, they could have thwarted the Virginia Tech shooter. This is ridiculous. First, it would require students to carry concealed, loaded weapons to class. Second, an individual would need precision aim and a steady hand to take down the gunman. Errant bullets could end up hitting other innocent students. Third, what if multiple students came rushing to the rescue with handguns ready? How would they know who was the malicious gunman and who was a good Samaritan?

Quite simply, without legally purchased guns, such events would not have happened. Many will surely point to the black market, but many of these black market guns were originally purchased legally and have been sold and resold. Either way, how many readers actually know where to buy a black market gun? It’s a lot easier to find a gun store than it is to find some illegal gun dealer.

Finally, we do not need rogue students protecting the public safety. Drawing from my own understanding of Locke, individuals subscribe to government in order to escape the state of nature. Government is meant to protect its citizens’ life, liberty and estate. Hence, the government police force exists. We adhere to a social contract, according to Locke, in which we sacrifice certain rights in order to enjoy certain benefits. The proof is out there in violent crime statistics and the school shootings across America that we are less safe with widespread gun ownership. Owning a gun is not an “essential liberty” or an inalienable right in today’s society, and it is certainly not an effective instrument to ensure that government “respects the electorate’s authority.”

Zachary Robock
LSA senior

Founding fathers would not infringe on gun rights

In a paper where the views on the editorial page are often more puzzling than the Sudoku, I was delighted to read Mike Eber’s column Monday (Guns are for liberals, too, 11/26/2007). However, I was very disappointed to read the responses from Clement Lee (Guns make for a more dangerous society, 11/27/2007) and Jeffrey Harding (Gun advocates make mistaken interpretations, 11/27/2007), and hope that these don’t represent the view of the majority.

Every human being should be concerned with the protection of human rights. Human rights – the only type of true rights – are not given to us by the state, but are natural rights that exist from birth. When the Bill of Rights was penned, the founders knew that the temptation of the state, or a misguided majority, to infringe upon an individual’s human rights would be great. We should consider the full implications of weakening any of our protected rights before we relinquish them.

How can we secure our rights to life, liberty and property with no physical means to do so? Without that, the other nine amendments are just hollow words.

Chris Felesky
University contractor

University’s compromise empty and offensive

To the Daily:

As an alum of LSA and current faculty member in the Medical School, I am offended by the University’s extreme efforts to dance around the stadium’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. I am shocked that the “compromise” offered by the University adds only 592 accessible seats by 2010 – a little shy of half of the accessible seats required by the ADA.

I am a physician who specializes in treating people with disabilities, and I know that the health care system, private industry and government too frequently neglect this group of people. The letter from the University to the Department of Education dated Nov. 19, 2007 stated: “The University’s commitment to the accessibility of Michigan Stadium is longstanding and unwavering.” Nothing could be further from the truth: This is just an empty statement and the University is doing nothing to back it up. I am disappointed that the University is trying to bypass the law rather than get on the forefront of accommodating all people.

Percival Pangilinan
Faculty

Modern fairy tale follows traditional gender roles

Like most college-aged kids, I grew up watching Disney VHS tapes until they broke, singing all the songs and pretending I was a princess. But when I read Blake Goble’s review of “Enchanted” (A fairy tale you can’t hate, 11/26/2007), I was confused by his interpretation of the film’s messages.

Goble seems to think that this Disney fairy tale has successfully removed traditional gender roles but maintained its fantastic dignity and youthful appeal. He states that Amy Adams’s character is “a progressive female lead,” but how does the ability to talk to animals make her progressive? Furthermore, does a difference in animals (Snow White’s squirrels, bluebirds and bunnies vs. Giselle’s “rats, flies, cockroaches and pigeons”) matter when the activity is the same?

Giselle is cleaning, and she does it all in pastel dresses. And what about the fact that Giselle can’t become Queen unless she’s betrothed? This little detail actually states that a good woman such as Giselle can’t have power unless she’s attached to a man. Comparatively, the only single woman in power is the evil Queen Narissa. She may do bad things, but there is an unconscious connection made between her relationship status, or lack thereof, and actions.

My younger female cousin saw the film this weekend and afterward she couldn’t stop talking about the singing and dancing. When you’re 9, it’s impossible not to notice the effects: Everything in a movie is meant to have a visual or auditory impact.

Instead of discouraging people from seeing this movie, I want to stress the importance of questioning societal norms if one is capable of doing so. My 9-year-old cousin is unable to interrogate the movie. Goble, as a college student should be able to do so. He seems to think that “(wielding) a sword, (losing) her glass slippers and (rescuing) her true love” effectively erases gender roles that are presented in much more subtle ways that he may not have even noticed.

Lauren Walbridge
LSA junior

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