‘U’ and SCOTUS need to stand up for diversity

To the Daily:

Though the NBC television special on the University’s affirmative action cases was adequate, it focused only on blacks (and whites), even though Latina/os (now the country’s largest minority) and Native Americans are also affirmative action recipients.

But some University figures were even worse than NBC. Prof. Carl Cohen said there were better race relations back when there were fewer blacks in college. (Maybe more blacks calling him “sir?”) Really! How many blacks would agree? And when has Cohen called for the rescinding of University alumnus admissions privileges, which go massively to whites? When some of us last year publicly called for the University to consider appointing the first minority (or woman) permanent president in its history, where was “desegregationist” Cohen? Or does he luxuriate in a white male status quo?

And as for the University administration, especially after choosing white male Terrence McDonald to be LSA dean, the University will owe us, and the United States, a very serious explanation if they don’t choose a woman or underrepresented minority to be the new Law School dean, seeing how well-qualified the two women, and one minority, candidates are. If we can’t truly practice diversity, why should the U.S. Supreme Court believe anything we say? Must we create the impression that we’re afraid to appoint a talented, outspoken figure like Randall Kennedy, the black Harvard Law School professor? Fear, like mindlessness, is not a viable option.

Justice Lewis Powell was anything but mindless; his brilliant “diversity, but not quotas” Regents of the University of California v. Bakke pro-affirmative action decision is his monument and should rest undisturbed. (One prays, hard, that Justice O’Connor – or any Justice – does not try to become chief justice by selling out Powell, Bakke and the United States in order to curry White House favor.) And we would best honor Powell’s greatness by integrating the University hierarchy further, and now. “Justice delayed is justice denied.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

David Boyle


Real reform needed in Palestinian leadership

To the Daily:

As someone who cares deeply about the Middle East and hopes to see a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I find it alarming that there hasn’t been any commotion regarding the recent “reforms” in the Palestinian Authority. Specifically the fact that these forced reforms, which were enacted to promote democracy and end corruption in the Palestinian Authority, have for the most part done nothing to change the situation.

I agree with the point made by many that Yassir Arafat’s rule has been largely undemocratic and plagued with corruption. I also agree that a Palestinian prime minister and new cabinet were needed in order to alleviate these problems. However, the selection of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister was a major mistake. Abbas is known all over the occupied territories as one of the most corrupt members of the Palestinian Authority, who has even used his position in government to give businesses owned by himself and his friends monopolies in industries such as gasoline importation. This would be the equivalent of Enron heading a commission to end corporate corruption in the United States. To make matters worse, Abbas holds very little popular support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (4 percent according to a recent CNN report).

It is also disturbing to constantly see the media describe Abbas as “Washington’s guy” or “Tel Aviv’s guy,” but never as Hebron, Ramallah or Jerusalem’s guy. The Israeli government has constantly talked of the need for a democratic Palestinian leadership, but has never once mentioned having an open election amongst the Palestinian people to decide who should be the Palestinian prime minister. The current undemocratic nature of the Palestinian Authority isn’t being cited by Israel in order to correct the problem and help the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state, but rather to discredit and hurt the Palestinian cause. For the sake of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, it is vital to have a Palestinian government that is elected by and accountable to the Palestinian people before any other.

Mohammed Elghoul

LSA junior

Vice Chair, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality

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