Daily editorial on campus policing had many inaccuracies

To the Daily:

The Daily editorial concerning campus police jurisdiction (“Policing out of bounds,” 1/30/02) contained numerous inaccuracies. The Hope College police have jurisdiction off of the Hope College campus not because of an appeals court decision but because officers of the Hope College Public Safety Department have been deputized by the Ottawa County Sheriff. They therefore legally have jurisdiction throughout all of Ottawa County. The court decision only upheld authority that already existed.

The University of Michigan Department of Public Safety in contrast derives its police powers from Public Act 120 of 1990 passed by the Michigan Legislature. That act gives the governing boards of all public four year higher education institutions the power to deputize their own police officers. The Daily stated that DPS officers can enforce laws off campus.

The act, however, limits the jurisdiction of DPS officers to University owned or leased property and “any public right of way traversing or immediately contiguous to the property.” The University Board of Regents would only have the power to extend the jurisdiction off campus if another state law passed by the legislature allowed them to do so first.

DPS officers were briefly deputized by Washtenaw County Sheriff in 1990 and 1991 but only as a temporary measure until Public Act 120 was put into full effect. I am not writing this letter to either defend or criticize the deputization of campus police. Rather I am writing this to point out the shoddy journalistic practices of the Daily editorial board. A sound editorial writer would have done a minimal amount of research of the basic facts.

The real question that the Daily should be asking the regents concerning the University police is why the public safety department oversight committee created under Public Act 120 of 1990 has never been allowed to do any real work.

Brian S. Kight


Bathrooms are barrier to equality

To the Daily:

I wish to respond to the recent letters regarding transgender bathrooms. While the debate is focusing on “comfort” and “rights,” these complaints are misguided. The real issue at stake with gender-specific bathrooms is the glass ceiling.

Gender-specific bathrooms perpetuate the notion that there are differences between men and women so great that we must be segregated. Segregating our most basic functions along gender lines engrains in our minds the notion that men and women do “things” differently and are therefore better or worse suited to perform social roles. Those social roles often have nothing to do with toilet etiquette but they have been passed down through our Victorian society just as have gender-specific bathrooms.

Elias Kass” letter (“Transgendered bathrooms protect “freedom to urinate”” 01/28/02) touched the root of the problem: A perception of not belonging. When we perceive certain classes of individuals as not belonging in one arena, we carry those perceptions to other arenas. Thus, women not belonging in men”s bathrooms carries over to women not belonging in men”s places of work (and vice-versa, men are thereby perceived not to belong in the home, raising children).

I am not arguing that gender-specific bathrooms are a cause of other types of gender discrimination. Rather, they are a barrier to eliminating gender discrimination.

David H. Kaplan

Law Student

Painting Sparty shows “lack of class”

To the Daily:

To the Michigan fans who thought defacing public property was a good display of school spirit: As I was walking to class this morning I was greeted by the sight of Michigan State”s beloved Sparty statue covered from head to toe in maize and blue paint. Understanding that the rival basketball game was last night at the Breslin Center, I know why it happened, I just don”t agree with the reasoning.

Shouldn”t being a true fan consist of boosting your team to victory? I believe the words of your very own Athletic Director Bill Martin fit nicely for this situation, “When you cheer for the maize and blue, direct your efforts to the support of the team ” The statement was made about the atmosphere in Yost Arena, but I believe they apply to all of your sports programs both home and away. When you stop to think about it, what does defacing school property say about your team and yourselves, other than a lack of class?

Having said that, I know what”s coming next, “What about when Michigan State fans did it to our school?” The fact of the matter is that it wasn”t right when the tables were turned and the color of the paint was green. Someone has to be the bigger person here, step up and put a stop to it. Instead of acting childishly, let”s get some class and encourage our teams instead of destroying property that has nothing to do with the game.

Erin Bidinger

Michigan State University student

“Liberal” is not a term of disparagement

To the Daily:

I was reading the Daily yesterday and I came across a letter to the editor entitled “Hate crime laws, “bleeding-heart liberals” devalue life” (1/30/02). Reading it, I decided that while I wholeheartedly didn”t agree with the letter”s conclusions, I thought the writer had put some effort into it. Then I was confronted with the term “bleeding-heart liberals.”

To begin with, the writer is under the impression that he was calling someone a name, which is never a good way to convince them of your position. Secondly, I would like to take issue with the idea that this is a negative label. The term bleeding-heart has two possible meanings here the first being a plant of the genus Dicentra commonly found in flower gardens, the second being one who displays excessive concern or pity for others. I will assume that the second definition is. How it has become that to have concern for one”s fellow humanity can be used as a disparagement baffles my mind. One would think that an excessive concern would be preferable to the other extreme. I care about others and I”m actually quite proud of that fact.

As for liberal, I am once again bewildered at how this word became one of disparagement. This word means to be in favor of reform, supportive of individual freedom, free from prejudice, tolerant and generous. We should all be so. In modern political discourse, it is common to use liberal as if it were a bad word.

I am proud to be a liberal to denigrate me because of my political views is intolerant and inappropriate. The nature of liberalism is to seek progress, personally and societally. Liberalism is an expression of my desire to make the world a better place, and will not be taken as some sort of aspersion. Liberal isn”t a bad word.

Matt Randall

LSA junior

India does not see Kashmir as “last bastion” of secularity

To the Daily:

I commend Waj Syed for his three series article about Pakistan (“Home of the Pure,” 1/28/02, 1/29/02, 1/30/02. While I admire his objectivity and in depth reporting in the first two parts of the series, I am disappointed that when he discusses India-Pakistan relations he predictably slips into the India-bashing mode as soon as he mentions “Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India.”

Perhaps Syed is blissfully unaware that India has the second largest population of Muslims next only to Indonesia and definitely more than Pakistan. India has always been vehemently secular (it says so in the constitution), in marked contrast to Pakistan, which defines itself as an Islamic Republic. We do not see Kashmir as the “last bastion” of our secularity.

Syed then tries to soft peddle Pakistan”s involvement in the Kashmir militancy, with phrases like the violence could “probably be termed as terrorist” and Pakistan “probably provided finances, training to the militants.” Here”s a pop quiz in the highest altitude armed conflict on earth, with no indigenous infrastructure for manufacturing arms, where do the militants get their AK-47s and grenades from? Probably they drop from the heavens?

Amit Sawant

Engineering graduate student

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