Looking forward to inclusive Big House
To the Daily:
In his letter to the editor yesterday (Blame fans in wheelchairs for lower stadium capacity, 03/12/2008), Chris Vessels explicitly blamed people with physical disabilities and the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America for the University administration’s mismanagement of the Michigan Stadium renovations. As an able-bodied Michigan football fan, I was not only offended, but also embarrassed by his callous tirade.
I was particularly angered by the way Vessel held an “us-versus-them” mentality throughout his letter, implying that either the University or disabled fans must lose in order for the other group to accomplish its goals. The way in which he labeled the new accessible seating “the wheelchair section” and implied that disabled fans were “willing to sacrifice Michigan Stadium tradition in order to see games” was especially degrading and polarizing. To the extent that his letter was possibly an attempt at sarcasm, it was bigoted and in poor taste.
I, for one, look forward to watching next season’s Wolverines in a stadium with fans from all creeds, abilities and walks of life.
Daily’s troop death count disrespectful
To the Daily:
Five more U.S. soldiers died in Baghdad on Monday. To the Daily, this simply means that the “U.S. Deaths” box inches five bodies closer to 4,000 dead. To me, this box – squeezed as it is between Sudoku and some random advertisements – insults a man I respect very much. He was also killed in Baghdad over three years ago. Did it not occur to the Daily that there are students here who have served or will be serving overseas in support of our current military operations?
To these men and women, I suspect the number in that box represents the living, breathing fellow soldiers, sailors, pilots and Marines with whom they have risked or will be risking their lives. To others, it might represent a fallen mother, father, brother, sister or friend. I don’t mean to speak on behalf of anyone else, but I respectfully ask that the Daily either turn this casualty count into a tribute to all of the selfless American servicemen and women who have given their lives for their country or remove it.
Some love for campus bus drivers
To the Daily:
I would like to send a note of appreciation to those folks that University students see on a daily basis – the bus drivers. These men and women drive the same route, hour after hour, and graciously get us to our classes, dorms, apartments and jobs.
I especially want to thank the gentleman who drives the Northwood route on some afternoons. I chose to walk back to my apartment in Northwood V from North Campus Tuesday afternoon because it was such a beautiful day. As I neared the stoplight at Hubbard and Huron Parkway, the Northwood bus pulled up to the red light and the driver opened the door, even though it was not a stop on the route. Although I wanted to walk home, I was grateful to know that the driver cared enough to give me the option of hopping on the bus to ride the rest of the way. This is the same bus driver who I saw last week patiently giving directions to someone.
This is just one of the fine bus drivers employed by the University. I’m sure there are numerous other drivers who illustrate the same care while shuttling students around campus. So, thank you University bus drivers.
School of Information
Law School prof’s book misrepresented
To the Daily:
I read with great interest the Daily’s recent article about former Law School Prof. Peter Hammer’s discrimination case against the University (Former law prof claims anti-gay bias influenced tenure decision, 03/07/2008). I would like to comment on the information cited by Hammer’s attorney, Phillip Green, about why several Law School professors should have abstained from voting on Hammer’s tenure decision because of anti-gay bias.
Daily readers should be aware of the article’s misrepresentation of the book “Anatomy of Disgust,” which was incorrectly titled “Disgust” in the article. The book is being used by Green to make the claim that its author, Law School Prof. William Miller, was biased against Hammer because he is openly gay. The article’s brief representation of the book made me think that the Miller was writing diatribes about his personal views of what is disgusting, which included two men kissing as an example.
To understand the accusation better, I researched the book and discovered that my initial appraisal based on the Daily’s article was inaccurate. This book is a scholarly look at common views of disgust and how these views influence law and society. In addition, Miller cites numerous other examples of things viewed as disgusting with no relevance to gay people whatsoever. Knowing that such descriptions are given in a specific scholarly context to explain the role of disgust makes me reconsider the passage that Green cited from the book out of context. In the academy we are supposed to grasp and respectfully discuss concepts and beliefs that do not necessarily reflect our own.
While I don’t know Miller, I imagine that he is fully capable of using his examples without harboring or applying this to his professional life. I feel that Daily readers should be made aware of this so that they will not make premature conclusions (as I did) with the limited information provided by Green’s quote in the article.
A value bigger than our seating capacity
To the Daily:
I took issue with Chris Vessel’s letter to the editor yesterday, which responded to the Michigan Stadium accommodations for wheelchair users (Blame fans in wheelchairs for lower stadium capacity, 03/12/2008). Since when were people using wheelchairs any different from fans who walk to the stadium? What the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America did was ensure that those in wheelchairs and those with disabilities were afforded civil rights. It is ridiculous that there is an “expectation,” as Vessels argued, placed on those in need of greater accommodations because they would like to be guaranteed their civil rights.
I’ve been a season football ticket holder for the past four years. There aren’t even fans in the student section who meet up Vessel’s expectation of what it means to be a good fan: being decked out in maize and blue and cheering with deafening loudness. Just as these fans aren’t obligated to meet certain obligations and can enjoy the game without guilt, those in the wheelchair sections are equally deserving of these freedoms.
I would prefer to boast a Michigan tradition of upholding civil rights, rather than filling up seats. It’s not an honor to declare that we have the largest stadium of able-bodied people.