Attacks on SAFE unwarranted; students express solidarity

To the Daily:

Over the past year, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality has had to endure a vicious smear campaign by some pro-Israel groups on campus. This began with hack attacks on SAFE members’ e-mail addresses and continues today with the disingenuous actions of the Conference on the Holocaust organizers (Allowing SAFE to read victims’ names disrespectful, 03/14/03).

This latest incident has crossed the line, as accusing SAFE of promoting Holocaust denial is not only serious and insensitive, but extremely damaging to the reputation of this dedicated organization. This accusation, as the conference organizers know, is patently false, intentionally deceptive and serves one purpose.

While SAFE dedicates itself to opening discourse on the Arab-Israeli conflict by bringing in world-renowned academics and activists to address the pertinent issue at hand, some pro-Israeli forces resort to character assassinations and smear campaigns, avoiding more often than not discussion on the conflict, to stifle this discourse.

We stand in full solidarity with SAFE, particularly in these times when they are targeted with dishonest and dirty tactics by some pro-Israel groups who desire only to silence, rather than address, the voices of truth on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Coalition of Arab Students

Muslim Students Association

University chapter of the Arab- American Anti-Discrimination Committee

‘Cause and correlation’ must be applied critically; ISR study accurate

To the Daily:

We wanted to reply very briefly to Dan Coughlin’s recent letter to the Daily (Daily headline confuses cause and correlation of TV violence and aggressive, 03/13/03) concerning the conclusion that media violence stimulates aggression, published by University researchers at the Institute for Social Research, in a recent issue of the Journal of Developmental Psychology. Coughlin repeats the point that is taught in every elementary statistics course that correlation does not imply causation. This is a good rule of thumb to remember, but it is misleading when applied uncritically to 15-year longitudinal studies like the one in question. While only randomized experimental trials can provide strong simple tests of causation, with modern sophisticated mathematical modeling one can evaluate quite well the relative plausibility of rival causal hypotheses using longitudinal data of the kind collected in this particular study.

In fact, the analyses in the published article eliminate all of the rival hypotheses Coughlin suggests as plausible alternatives to explain the obtained 15-year data. For example, as Coughlin hypothesizes, children “not properly reared” do indeed watch more TV and indeed are more aggressive, but the analyses in the article show that these relations cannot account for the 15-year relations between TV violence viewing in childhood and adult aggression. Particularly, when the results of this study are coupled with the results of many previous short-term randomized trials and the emerging psychological theory of observational learning, the most plausible conclusion by far is that repeated observation of violence (in real life or in the mass media) during childhood increases the chances that children will behave more aggressively later when they are adults.

L. Rowell Huesmann

University professor and Senior Research Scientist, ISR

Paul Boxer

Research Associate, ISR

Daily continues its habit of slanted affirmative action coverage

To the Daily:

I have been deeply disappointed in the Daily’s one-sided coverage of the affirmative action debate on campus. Speakers and articles in support of affirmative action have graced the front page daily, while coverage for anti-affirmative action activists remains illusive. For instance, Thursday’s front page included a story in support of the University’s admission policies (Socioeconomic factors used in ‘U’ admissions garner strong support, 03/13/03). Wednesday, there was the article about Students Supporting Affirmative Action and MSA sponsoring buses to Washington, (Busing to D.C. will cost MSA $12,000, 03/12/03) and the day before that there was coverage of the “Angry White Man” supporting affirmative action (‘Angry white man speaks in favor of affirmative action, 03/11/03). My question to the Daily is: Where is the opposite side of the debate?

Last week, over 60 members of College Republicans filled a classroom in Mason Hall to hear Prof. Paul Moreno from Hillsdale College speak in opposition to the University’s affirmative action policies. The next day, I scanned the front page for coverage and found nothing. In fact, there was absolutely no coverage at all of Moreno’s speech. The Daily is failing in its efforts to keep the students informed and educated about the affirmative action debate by providing biased coverage to groups that support the University’s efforts. Good journalism provides unbiased reporting, and hopefully in the future, the Daily will explore such practices.

Stephen MacGuidwin

LSA junior

College Republicans secretary

Res halls’ electronic locks unecessary, too costly

To the Daily:

I understand that there was a rise in home invasions and peeping toms in the University’s residence halls. The University has taken numerous steps to address this issue, including 24 hours a day locked front doors and the installation of security cameras at the entrances of the buildings. These are appropriate steps to combat the rise in criminal activity because they monitors all residents’ rooms. I now learn that my room is going to be equipped with a new, automatic-locking, electronic lock that uses both a key card and pin number to further combat home invasions.

Students must be held – at least somewhat – responsible for their own belongings. There is nothing wrong with monitoring the entrances and exits to the building, but the room itself should be the occupant’s responsibility. If the student wishes to step out for a quick run to the bathroom without his keys, he should be able to do so. Now inconvenience is not a high price to pay for added security, but the University is facing a huge financial crisis, and should be looking for areas to cut costs. Therefore, I find it very wasteful for the University to replace perfectly good locks before it assesses whether or not the first steps taken adequately reduce the problems being addressed. I already attend the most expensive public university in the nation, I don’t want the administration adding unnecessary costs and expenses to my bill. I don’t mind having to go let my friends in from the outside doors, but there is a limit to the amount I am willing to pay for the privilege of attending even a university as prestigious as Michigan.

Patrick McIntyre

LSA senior

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