WOLV censorship insults the viewers

To the Daily:

My name is Chris Fici, and I currently co-produce 3 Parking Spaces, a live comedy show that airs on WOLV-TV (Channel 70 in all residence halls) Thursday night at midnight. I”m writing hopefully on behalf of all of my fellow producers at WOLV, in the interest of our freedom of speech and expression against recent censorship attempts being forced upon WOLV.

University Housing, which is responsible for funding WOLV, has recently demanded that certain shows on WOLV “tone down” their content in order to follow a certain set of standards that the station has set. These standards can be found at http://www.wolv.org/Constitution.html.

In all honesty, some programs on WOLV don”t always follow these suggestions to the tee, but it has never caused the station any harm in the past. In essence, any “content which would offend contemporary community standards and lacks serious educational, artistic, or scientific value” is something that is very hard to define, and that should”t be defined by a single group like University Housing.

These same viewers are also free to contact WOLV and complain about what they are seeing, but so far, there has not been any mass attempt by members of the viewing public to complain and force changes in the content of certain shows on WOLV. We like to believe that the intelligence of our viewers should not be and is not insulted. If they do not like what they are seeing, they are free to either change the channel or complain.

So far, the programming at WOLV has been met with a very positive and supportive reception from the student community. It is the Housing Department, which does not make up the opinion of the student-viewing public, that dangles the threat of pulling funding for WOLV so certain programs can be censored to their liking, without taking into consideration the opinions of the viewing public and WOLV as a whole.

Hopefully, people can see beyond what may be a “cut and dry” issue of rules and standards to perceive a very real threat of unnecessary censorship for the people who work very hard to create the varied programming of WOLV. If you would like to express your opinions on this, please e-mail wolv@umich.edu or call (734) 763-8130.

Chris Fici

LSA Junior

Concept of smokers” rights oxymoronic

To the Daily:

I was disappointed to read (“RHA ban on smoking fails,” 1/25/02) that the Residence Hall Association had failed to pass a resolution which would have made all residence halls smoke-free. Second-hand smoke, which is detrimental to the health of everyone surrounding a smoker, is not the only reason why this ban should be passed. Smokers all too often leave disgusting cigarette butts throughout the halls and promote safety risks and destruction of property. A resident of South Quad myself, I have experienced a few too many fire alarms, some of which I am sure have been caused by smokers.

For those against the RHA resolution who feel that the banning of smoking is an infringement of rights, that is a ridiculous argument. I guess they seem to forget about the rights that others have for clean air in the places where we eat, study, and sleep. RHA members Jeff Souva and Anup Aurora should consider the infringement of rights that occurs when smoke fills the air of dormitory hallways and comes up through heating vents.

Since University Housing has the last word on such a subject, I believe they should also step into this matter. In their Residence Hall Re-Application brochures, they promote Residence Halls as “The Perfect Choice.” I, for one, am returning to the resident halls next year, and would like to see University Housing make the dorms a little more “perfect” by eliminating smoking.

Maybe it”s time “the leaders and the best” followed our fellow Big Ten schools and took responsibility for the rights and health of its students by banning smoking in all residence halls. Or, if it comes to it, put all of the smokers in one residence hall and let them destroy their lungs and health together without affecting those who have the desire and right to clean air. The Daily”s headline writers should not use inaccurate terms designed to appeal to ignorance and prejudice.

Jason Krol

LSA freshman

Transgendered bathrooms protect “freedom to urinate”

To the Daily:

I sat here at work this morning pondering databases, contemplating what flavor tea to drink, and perusing The Michigan Daily”s “Letters” section when I suddenly had to sprint to the (gender specific) bathroom across the hall to vomit.

This act of hurling was inspired by a 1/25/02 letter regarding gender-neutral bathrooms (“Transgender bathrooms make life “uncomfortable””). Are we so backwards as to deny people the fundamental right of relieving themselves? I know for a fact that several people have complained about being physically accosted or verbally abused in the bathroom simply because of who they are.

I”m hoping the author missed the point of creating these facilities and assumed that all bathrooms would become big, open, stall-less defecation chambers reminiscent of some ancient Mongolian hole-in-the-earth. Otherwise, he seems overly fearful of including one neutral bathroom in a high-traffic building where anyone can feel free to engage in a natural, necessary, involuntary process.

I think it”s not out of line to say that while the right to urination is not included in any law books, it”s safe to assume that such rights are guaranteed in the U.S.

In short, I encourage the young author to, like me, continue using the gender-specific restrooms that are already provided. No one is going to handcuff anybody else to a uni-sex toilet and force him or her to use it at gunpoint. Gender-specific restrooms will continue be readily available for people to use. But I truly hope that there is something less threatening available for my transgendered friends.

Evan Hansen

Alumnus

To the Daily:

The only agenda at work in the establishment of gender-neutral bathrooms is that of advancing the right of all community members even minority community members to a life free from harassment and bodily harm. Readers should recognize this sentiment in the Bill of Rights, as well as in the Division of Student Affairs” principle of “human dignity for each person.” Freedom to urinate and void one”s bowels without verbal slurs or physical attack is perhaps even more basic and essential than one”s right to free speech.

These bathrooms have nothing to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with the basic human rights that have been denied to transgendered people for far too long. There are students, lecturers, professors, deans, and staff on this campus who do not feel safe in gender-restricted bathrooms. Forget comfort this is an issue of safety. Community members have been physically assaulted for using bathrooms where they were perceived as not belonging. There is no movement to convert all bathrooms to gender-neutral, but having some bathrooms available even one per building goes a tremendous distance toward the University”s pledge of a safe and inclusive environment for all community members.

If readers are uncomfortable with a person of a different gender in the stall next to them, they might consider asking themselves why, especially since there are thousands of gender-segregated bathrooms available for general use. One might also consider educating one”s self as to the difference between gender and sexual orientation. Perhaps then readers will come to recognize the need for these bathrooms and the positive difference they”ve made in the lives of many.

Elias Kass

The letter writer is the president of the Queer Engineers Discourse

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