Unpopular speech the most important to defend

To the Daily:

It is a frightening thing when people demand that editorial cartoons should not be published if they are not humorous.

I find myself wondering whether Oren Goldenberg, who wrote criticizing Chip Cullen”s cartoon on the Israel/Palestine peace process (“Editorial cartoon “very offensive,”” 12/06/01), would demand that that Daily only print columns or editorials which everyone in the student body agrees with.

The purpose of an editorial cartoon, as with any other form of editorial, is not to cause the reader to laugh, but to convey the author”s opinion on an issue.

Demands that the media avoid commentary which someone might find offensive are demands which limit the freedom of the press. Unpopular speech is protected in the same manner as any other speech, and, indeed, it is the protection of unpopular speech which is important for the maintenance of liberty.

Richard Murphy

Engineering senior

Undeserving profit from affirmative action policies

To the Daily:

Sheer genius.

I”m not one to praise the Daily editorial staff often, if ever, but I must say that I am thoroughly impressed that Manish Raiji had the guts to stand up and say “affirmative action is broken” (“The liberal right turn,” 12/05/01).

Affirmative action can be a wonderful, wonderful tool if properly applied. But when it is used to give affluent minorities who attended affluent schools extra abilities to get into college, it is ignoring those who truly need the assistance affirmative action is intended to provide.

It is also implying that a minority student born and raised in Rochester Hills brings more cultural diversity than a non-minority student.

All students should desire an admissions policy that judged not by the color of the applicant”s skin, but by the quality of the applicant”s character.

I applaud Manish Raiji for having the guts to speak his mind, knowing that he would receive e-mails calling him a “racist.”

I believe that Raiji understands color blindness better than those who would call him such.

Nicholas Theis

LSA senior

Cincinnati: Dispatch from the road

To the Daily:

As I reflect upon my experience yesterday at the events surrounding the affirmative action trials in Cincinnati, I realize I lack the vocabulary to sincerely define what I have witnessed. It seems difficult to find the language to describe the beauty of young people learning: The pursuit of justice, the reconciliation of right and opportunity, and the negotiation of the personal and the political by attending a rally, a court proceeding, and a town hall meeting, we greeted history.

In a few hours time we became intimately acquainted with legal precedent, contemporary politics, and most poignantly, the history of struggle, the history of action.

And now I wonder, how a few young people so inspired to act in the name of equality acted so irresponsibly as to infringe upon the rights of those who oppose affirmative action.

However, I also wonder how we can translate this passion into constructive action to capture genuinely the profound energy of the day.

Leena Soman LSA senior The letter writer is an MSA Minority Affairs Commission co-chair.

Honors program suffers from lack of facilities

To the Daily:

We write as two members of the LSA Committee charged with “rethinking” the Honors Program to respond to the Daily”s 12/04/01 editorial, “Honors overhaul: Revamping Honors Program will take more than an espresso bar.” One of us is a third-year Honors student, and the other, a faculty member who has taught Honors courses and who chaired the Committee.

The LSA Honors Program has a proud history, and the Honors staff, faculty, and students do an excellent job with the resources they have available. But the reality is that there are simply not enough small, faculty-taught seminars for Honors students, not enough opportunities for advanced work with professors, and little in the way of special programs, events or public spaces designed to encourage informal intellectual discussion. The plan to renew the Honors program addresses these concerns in ways that have received overwhelmingly positive responses from the Honors students with whom we have spoken.

The Daily objects to plans to build facilities dedicated for Honors program use, such as seminar, study and meetings rooms and a commons area for students and faculty. Our discussions with students convince us that the lack of places where students and faculty can meet for informal conversation and study is one of the greatest needs the Honors Program faces.

The Honors Program is a “living-learning community,” like the Residential College or Lloyd Hall Scholars Program. Residential College students (residents or not) have privileged access to RC studios, music practice rooms, an auditorium and art gallery, and priority registration for RC classes. LHSP students have live-in faculty, dedicated classrooms and lounges, as well as priority access to programs that bring in artists and intellectuals to speak and present research. If you head on over to South Quad, the current home of the residential component of the Honors Program, you will find none of this.

Moreover, until last year, Honors Program advisers in Angell Hall worked in closet-sized cubicles and the Honors Program office was not even large enough to hold a seminar. The office has now moved to a larger space, but the situation for most Honors students hasn”t changed much. There are relatively few programs of any kind specifically offered for Honors students, no dedicated lounges or study areas in South Quad or anywhere else, no classrooms or other types of facilities in short, nothing that would suggest that the Honors Program is anything like the vibrant, active living-learning community many Honors students imagined they were entering when they chose to come to the University and participate in it.

Gwen Arnold

Stephen Darwall

Arnold is an LSA junior.

Darwall is a philosophy professor.

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