Offensive phrase not reported by student

To the Daily:

I am writing in response to a crime note on Tuesday about the offensive words on the dry-erase board in the Mary Markley Residence Hall (Crime Notes, 01/08/2008). I am writing to correct the statement that the student whose door the words were written on complained. I am that student, and neither my roommate nor I reported anything. I am against the censoring of our freedom of speech and expression in most cases, including when speech is offensive.

Our freedom to speak and write should not be suppressed simply because something that is said is offensive. To do this sets a precedent that could open the floodgates on censorship because the definition of what is offensive is subjective and weak.

Furthermore, the written insult was a joke to my roommate from one of our hometown friends, not meant to be threatening in any way. If both my roommate and I were fine with it, why should we have been forced to erase it, let alone make our entire hall have a meeting with the Minority Peer Advisor? I doubt that if a person had a lawn sign that offended a neighbor they would be forced to remove it.

I suppose the situation is different because we are living in a dorm. But to make special restrictions on our Constitutional right to free speech because we are students is a scenario that harkens back to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Tinker v Des Moines, where the high court sided with students’ First Amendment rights.

Though I hope nobody was offended by what was on my dry-erase board, I don’t support the strict regulation of what was written even if someone was offended. I just cannot bring myself to agree to such a denial of personal liberty.

James Janisse, LSA freshman

Michigan deserves a bigger say in primary

To the Daily:

I am appalled by the drama surrounding Michigan’s decision to move its primary to Jan. 15. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Michigan is America’s eighth most populous state, with just under 10 million people in 2000 and surely more than 10 million people now. Michigan deserves to have a say in deciding the presidential nominees, and the most effective way to do so is to hold an early primary.

In most elections, the candidates who win the first several state contests wind up being the Democratic and Republican nominees in the general election. Nonetheless, when Michigan dared to challenge Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s supremacy in choosing these candidates, a supremacy which has been blindly accepted by most other states, the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee swiftly moved to strip Michigan of all its Democratic delegates and half of its Republican ones. Also, most of the major Democratic candidates announced that they would not be campaigning in this state for fear of angering the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The egos of the just over 4 million voters in New Hampshire and Iowa clearly mean more to the candidates than the opinions of Michigan’s 10 million residents. No matter who you vote for in Michigan’s primaries next week, the exclusion of Michigan’s delegates from the national conventions means that our votes do not count.

The blatant injustice of this year’s election controversy should outrage Michiganders because we have no input whatsoever in choosing our own presidential nominees. The glories of American democracy extolled by both parties seem not to apply north of the Ohio border.

Vikram Raghunathan, LSA sophomore

Students should vote on policies, not race

To the Daily:

In the Daily’s article Tuesday previewing Michigan’s primary next week (With limited field, students make choice, 01/08/2008), a student implied that she would vote for the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton because she, as a black female, identifies more with her race and not her sex. It is appalling that this person is voting for America’s president based solely on the candidates’ physical characteristics. Instead, maybe this student should be focusing on where the candidates stand on America’s strategy in Iraq or their views on abortion, rather than whether they wear a bra.

Unfortunately for America, this student’s decision-making process seems quite similar to that of the majority of American voters.

Evan Rosen, Engineering freshman

For change, vote Paul

To the Daily:

Do you trust politicians who say one thing and do another? What about ones who swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution but vote against it, who change positions depending on polls, choose words carefully to not offend either side of an issue, become rich in office or favor wars but charge the bills to the next generation?

Only one politician I know doesn’t fit any of the above categories: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.

If you are concerned about the next generation, you should consider, support and vote for Paul for president in 2008.

Francis Rost, Onalaska, Wisc.

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