Former President Duderstadt clarifies comments on ‘U’ affirmative action policy

To the Daily:

I would like to clarify some remarks attributed to me in a story in Tuesday’s Daily (Duderstadt criticizes current diversity plan, 02/04/03).

Although I would like to see the day when we do not need to consider race in order to enroll a diverse study body, I do not believe that day has arrived. The University’s use of race as one factor in admissions is still essential to achieving diversity. The current admissions systems for the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and the Law School were modeled after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bakke decision, and I firmly believe they are fair and legal under the Constitution.

Over the years, the University has continued to evaluate its admissions processes and to adjust them as necessary. But some essential features have remained the same: the consideration of each student as a whole person and all the qualities that students would bring to our campus. That process has resulted year after year in an outstanding group of students being admitted to the University. While I suggested in my interview that large schools like the University should make additional investments in their admissions and outreach activities, this will certainly not replace the need to continue to include race as one element in admissions if we are to achieve our diversity objectives.

As I noted to the Daily reporter, this conclusion seems confirmed by the experience of Texas and California, where percentage admissions plans do not appear successful in attaining adequate minority enrollments in selective institutions. Furthermore, I do not believe that such percentage plans would work in Michigan, a state with quite different demographics and K-12 educational systems.

The achievement of diversity requires many efforts beyond admissions policy, including outreach to schools with substantial minority enrollments, strong financial aid programs, academic support programs and a campus culture that understands how important diversity is to the achievement of academic excellence. We had considerable success in such efforts during the early 1990s, and I am confident that our current staff is making every effort to conduct similar programs today.

But we can always do more. That is one reason why I worked so hard during my presidency to develop the Michigan Mandate. We must keep the doors of our campus open to students of all races and ethnicities, and not lose ground in creating the kind of diverse academic environment that has made the University great.

James J. Duderstadt

University president emeritus

Pizza House brawl proves ‘U’ athletes possess ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ cards

To the Daily:

Let me run a scenario by you. A group of guys in a local restaurant get into a late night altercation that spills into local street, resulting in damaging of property and authorities being called. Upon arrival of authorities, pepper spray needed to break up the altercation resulting in numerous arrests. Right? Well, unless you’re a proud member or alumnus of the good ole Maize and Blue football team (A2 brawl sends Pittsburgh Steeler to ER, 02/04/03), in which case these rules do not apply.

Is anyone else getting sick of the double standard that has been increasingly evident in recent years that we pay to our athletes? Why weren’t people arrested for their actions? And please do not waste our time by saying the “city attorney’s office could issue warrants for the individuals” involved in this squabble. It was the responding officers’ job to retain order and make arrests. So let me get this straight, Ann Arbor police officers do not have the power to take people in to custody for disorderly conduct, destruction of property, and various assaults? Does the community as a whole really think it is doing these football players a service by letting them walk away from this incident without any repercussions for their actions? What is to happen years from now when their playing days are a distant memory, and they believe they can get away with behaving like this in a normal society out of the “lime light?”

I cannot claim that I was there or know the extent of the fight, but it was obviously serious enough to warrant the use of force to contain. To allow certain individuals to return back into the restaurant to get a glass of milk, this absolutely amused me to no end. Did they give them cookies, too, for exemplary behavior? Then to let them drive home … boy, I hope at the very least that the officers administered a breathalyzer test for the driver before he got behind the wheel. After a fight at 2:30 a.m., it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the possibility of alcohol being involved. What other group of people is allowed this much flexibility for their actions? I’ll give you a hint: Be able to run, block or throw, and it’s your Get Out of Jail Free card.

Daniel White

Physics Department Staff

Reader offers to douse burning effigies of Daily editors

To the Daily:

I heartily applaud the Daily’s willingness to quote an anonymous female Pizza House employee as having remarked that “… some guys started getting confrontational and posturing in that macho-guy kind of way” (A2 brawl sends Pittsburgh Steeler to ER, 02/04/03). In the interest of evenhandedness, I hope and trust that the Daily will, on some future occasion, make reference to a group of women “giggling, preening and obsessing about their weight in that adorable and typically feminine way.”

If and when the Daily does, I shall personally be standing by with a bucket of water with which to douse the smoking remains when your effigies are burned in the Diag.

Aaron Franklin

LSA senior

Litvak’s lecture, suggestions deny Palestinian rights

To the Daily:

In his lecture Monday night, Prof. Meir Litvak offered a number of solutions in which peace could be achieved in Israel/Palestine (Tel Aviv prof discusses fate of Israel, 02/04/03). Disturbingly, all of his suggestions denigrate the Palestinians, denying them the benefit of natural human rights and equality to their, in effect, Israeli masters.

Among them, he suggests building an Apartheid wall, separating the Palestinians from Israelis, and their homeland. This would continue the Israeli trend of religious exclusion and deny millions of Palestinians their natural right to return to their homes. Another solution he offers is to “continue the present situation and wait for a miracle.” The present situation is one in which Israel is illegally and brutally enforcing a military dictatorship over 3.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and subjecting another 1 million to institutionalized racism while they tokenize simply their presence as fifth-class citizens to claim righteousness.

What Israel’s apologists must someday come to terms with is that the only way true peace can be achieved is through justice and equality. Palestinians must be granted their natural rights to return to their homes, and live in true, equal coexistence with Israel’s Jewish citizens. Political power cannot be contingent, as it currently is, on membership in the ruling ethno-religious subgroup. As students at the University, our tuition dollars are indirectly funding this racist system of Apartheid, and through pressuring our administration to divest, we will initiate the international pressure needed to topple it.

Fadi Kiblawi

LSA senior

Chair, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality

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