SVA calls students to unite, hold admin. accountable

To the Daily:

In response to Monday’s editorial (Taking on
Fleming
, 03/29/04), Student Voices in Action would like to
clarify several points. The Daily’s assertion that a decline
in student of color recruitment, admittance and enrollment is
“highly speculative” is similarly contentious. The
numbers released by the University’s administration indicate
a serious problem with our recruitment methods. Further, the
University has cut student services designed to educate the student
body and create a safe space for marginalized communities. Public
perception of a truly diverse campus climate is contingent upon the
University’s commitment to these services.

Additionally, the Daily finds the idea of creating a student
oversight committee with veto power as part of the Division of
Student Affairs “laughable.” However, students pay an
exorbitantly high price to attend the University with little agency
in determining where these funds are allocated. Silencing our
voices precludes the expectation of student participation in civic
life. Students must actively reclaim their role in the
decision-making process and demand an institutionalized mechanism
through which to make sure said ill-informed, devastating
administrative action and inaction does not occur in the
future.

SVA fully comprehends the complexity of the issues at hand. With
respect to financial concerns and facts, the administration could
help us by responding to our multiple Freedom of Information Act
requests filed to obtain statements of the University’s
budgets for the upcoming year. However, the University has stalled
and refused to provide the requested information for six months to
date.

This noncompliance is indicative of a long history of the
administration’s consistent disregard for student needs.
These issues affect the entire student body as an exemplification
of the University’s usage of student tuition without real
student input. The only way to increase University accountability
and secure the student voice is to come together in solidarity and
support. We call on the student body to recognize this and raise
its voices in demanding that the University listens.

Student Voices in Action

 

Adams wrong; SVA’s demands met with hot air

To the Daily:

I find it ironic that Dan Adams feels it necessary to accuse
myself and my colleagues in Student Voices in Action of behaving
badly when he fails to live up to even the most minimal standards
of journalistic integrity (Liberals behaving badly,
03/31/04). The accusations he makes are based on hearsay and
secondhand information, as he has never seen the demands drafted by
SVA, nor did he attend the meeting between SVA and University
President Mary Sue Coleman on Monday, March 29.

As someone who was actually in attendance and who has actually
seen the demands, I would like to clarify a few points. Most
importantly, this meeting was never intended to be a discussion.
Coleman was asked, and agreed to, publicly respond to the demands
presented to her by SVA on March 25. The moderators of
Monday’s meeting attempted to systematically go through the
demands in order for Coleman to have the opportunity to respond to
each of them individually. The demands were met with either
wishy-washy noncommitments or patronizing replies, such as being
told that “a little taskforce” could be created to look
into issues as grave as the drop in underrepresented minority group
admissions rates.

Finally, Adams’s implication that institutionally
marginalized groups within our University and American society have
this status because of their impatience and inability to
communicate with persons in positions of power is offensive, as
well as sexist, racist and heterosexist. I would hope that someone
who prides himself on possessing a “liberal” heart
would take time to gain a more robust understanding of the issues
of power and privilege.

Clair Morrissey

LSA senior

SVA member

 

Daily misrepresents Greeks, should research stories

To the Daily:

Your recent reporting of the alleged rape incident at Sigma
Alpha Epsilon was not only insensitive, it also lacked journalistic
integrity (Alleged rape under investigation, 03/29/04 and
Woman denies rape at SAE house, 03/31/04). The hasty fashion
in which the alleged events were reported have caused negative
perceptions about the Greek system to unjustifiably persist. Sadly,
your insistence on attacking the Greek system at any possible
opportunity has led to a situation in which a group of roughly 100
upstanding men (the brothers of SAE) is now looked at with
suspicion of wrongdoing. If you think that writing a retraction
makes up for your error, you are sorely mistaken. This is an
unsettling and unsatisfactory trend for your publication. I hope
that in the future the Daily takes more care to ensure that a
mistake of this magnitude does not occur again. Unfortunately,
instances of sexual assault are all too frequent on this campus.
Even more unfortunately, the insistence of your publication to
discredit the Greek system whenever possible made a sensitive and
private issue into a public disaster. You should consider doing
thorough research before you subject a very large university
community to erroneous charges.

Russ Garber

LSA sophomore

President, Alpha Epsilon Pi

 

Daily skews view of rape victims with false
accusations

To the Daily:

Your reporting on the recent alleged rapes in the area has been
socially irresponsible, perpetuating the myth that women often lie
about rape (Alleged rape under investigation, 03/29/04 and
Woman denies rape at SAE house, 03/31/04). I refer to the
recent Sigma Alpha Epsilon articles and the article about the woman
on Washtenaw Community College’s campus who retracted her
accusation of rape several weeks ago.

It is important that Daily readers and staff know that scholars
and activists believe rape is largely under-reported rather than
over-reported. Among other reasons, women often keep their
experiences of sexual assault to themselves because they’re
afraid people will accuse them of lying.

The power of this myth is so great that it silences women. It
would be much more socially responsible to the Ann Arbor community
if the Daily let readers know that although these recent
accusations of rape seem to be unfounded, that, in general, many
more rapes go unreported and rape continues to be a serious danger
for women in our society.

Anna Vitale

Alum

 

Pow Wow coverage needs clarification

To the Daily:

As members of the University “Dance for Mother
Earth” Pow Wow committee, we would like to thank you for
printing the articles on the Pow Wow and its budget cuts (Budget
troubles burden celebration; Dance for unity
, 03/29/04). We
commend the Daily for taking the time to cover the event and the
truth surrounding the budget issue.

We would also like to clarify a few points made in the
Daily’s article covering the event. First and foremost, there
were more than 10,000 spectators and participants, not 1,000 as was
stated in the caption. Secondly, the Pow Wow did not start with a
grass dance; it began with the Grand Entry in which all dancers
entered the arena and danced through five songs.

Furthermore, we would like to clarify protocol around
terminology and the taking of pictures in the Native community.
What is referred to as “garb” in the article is known
as “regalia.” Also the “ring of eagle
feathers” is known as a “bustle” and is not
strapped around the waist but on the backs of some male dancers.
Additionally, when a dancer is wearing regalia, especially eagle
feathers, permission should be granted by the dancer before
photographing them. His name and tribal affiliation should also be
printed with the picture. The name of the dancer shown in the
article is Neil Wolfgang of the Seneca tribe of New York.

Thank you again for the front page articles acknowledging the
importance and significance of this event to the University and
Native communities. We appreciate your help in creating more
visibility and awareness of Native events on campus.

Matthew Stehney

LSA sophomore

Alyx Cadotte

Nickole Fox

LSA seniors

The letter writers are co-chairs of the Native American
Student Association

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