Understanding other faiths: Romance not required
To the Daily:
I would like to express my disagreement with Shakira Smiler’s column Friday on interfaith dating (Guess who’s coming to dinner, 03/21/2008). Smiler questioned why refusing to date someone of a different faith is different than discriminating against someone based on race. The answer is simply that value systems and beliefs can transcend skin color, but that’s not necessarily true of religion.
Dating or marrying someone of another faith can lead to social isolation within your own community, a terrible situation for children and, according to some studies, higher divorce rates. While we all like a little variety in our dating lives, there are ways of learning and appreciating the values and convictions of others without becoming involved romantically.
Upholding the importance of ideological diversity
To the Daily:
The University and its students often take pride in campus diversity, freedom of speech and standing up for their beliefs. It seems to be a glaring hypocrisy, then, that at this same university students frequently seek to silence those with a dissenting point of view. I have to admit I was angry, though not surprised, when I read a student’s letter to the Daily about how Students For Life flyers were torn down from the Posting Wall (Trashing free speech at the Posting Wall, 03/17/2008). This was clearly viewpoint discrimination, and is not tolerated by the U.S. Constitution.
There are many examples of this across campus. Just the other day I was walking in Angell Hall and noticed that a flyer for a lecture by John Stossel was torn down and replaced by a “John Stossel Stinks” flyer. When I ran for student government in winter 2006 as part of the Conservative Party, my flyers and campaign posters were torn down and defaced daily in my own residence hall.
It is important that we realize that diversity entails not just the color of our skin, but also the diversity of our thoughts and our speech. The democratic process allows all individuals and organizations the right to peacefully assemble, not just those with which we agree.
I will not pretend that conservative views are always silenced, and that those of liberals never are. If you don’t agree with a group, speaker or event on campus, that is your right. You have the right to disagree. You even have the right to protest. You do not have the right to silence thought.
Article on University Village was inaccurate and unfair
To the Daily:
The article last week about the University Village development contained numerous inaccuracies (Plan for student high-rise tabled amid outcry from landlords, locals
, 03/19/2008). First, the project was not tabled because of landlord or public outcry. It was tabled so the Ann Arbor Planning Commission could review the site plan and recently submitted development documents.
Secondly, during public comment Daniel Ketelaar stated that the Planning Commission advised him in advance of the meeting that the project would be tabled. He also indicated that the project’s supporters would appear at the next Planning Commission meeting to speak in support of the development.
The article was not a balanced report of the proceedings. Instead, it was a sensationalized account that was not based in fact.
The letter writer is the spokeswoman for University Village-Ann Arbor LLC.