I was saddened and deeply disappointed — though not surprised — to read Sara Machi’s opinion column Monday regarding sexual assault. Though I find it a peculiar analogy to compare the victims of Sept. 11 with survivors of sexual assault, I was anxious to disregard the comparison and to hear someone’s thoughts on this topic. As a close friend of a male survivor of rape, and someone who has helped a friend cope with the dual stigma attached to his circumstances, I was expecting to read yet another article inundated with one-sided facts and sentiments about how tragic it is that women should have to live in fear of sexual assault. However, I was unbelievably relieved at Machi’s gender-inclusive language — at first. I thought it too good to be true to read Machi’s references to survivors as “they” instead of “she.” Throughout the article she made a noble attempt to encompass all survivors of sexual assault — male and female. My jaw dropped in silent applause when I read her words “we still have a long way to go to erase the stigma associated with sexual assault, particularly sexual assault against men.” For a brief moment, someone actually acknowledged publicly that women are not the only survivors of rape. Unfortunately, if not unexpectedly, the moment was all to brief. Machi earned my utmost respect until she concluded her thoughts with the narrow sentiment that rape’s “survivors are our sisters, our mothers, and our friends.” Sara, they are your brothers, husbands, and fathers, too. And unlike the victims of Sept. 11 or female survivors of sexual assault, they have no one to “share their pain with.” We cry alone.
Chris Myers, UW alumnus
In response to Jeff Patkin’s plea to let his poor legs have a rest on Saturdays by having the entire student section sit like a bunch of 80-year-olds, I say NO WAY. If you are a fan, than your excitement should not be able to be contained while sitting down. I know that Badger fans are better than the rest and won’t fall victim to a lazy plea that makes us no better than the snobs in Ann Arbor.
Dave Bierly, UW Madison senior
Minority leader Spencer Black is currently sponsoring a bill in the Wisconsin legislature that would tie financial aid increases to tuition increases. There are several reasons why this bill must pass.
Tuition has been steadily increasing for some time now. As the economy slows down, state tax revenues fall and state funding for education falls with it. These tuition increases are serious impediments to higher education for poor families. According to the American Council for Education, every $100 increase in tuition results in a 2.2 percent decline in enrollment for low-income families.
This bill would help to counteract this unfortunate outcome. It would require the Lawton Undergraduate Minority Retention Grant and the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant to increase at the same percentage rate as tuition from year to year.
Critics might contend that Representative Black’s measure deprives the legislature of the sort of fiscal flexibility required for a responsible budget. Although partly true, it is also a means of establishing priorities. During budget proceedings, it forces legislators to cut something other than financial aid.
Why must we confer such revered status on financial aid? In order to reconcile the harsh inequities of a capitalist system with the purposes of a free, democratic society, we must strive to create equal opportunity. Guaranteeing financial aid is the best way to further individual freedom in a capitalist economy. The principles of individual freedom and equal opportunity obligated Congress to create financial aid programs in the first place, and they now obligate them to pass Representative Black’s bill.
Sean Ingham, Legislative Affairs Committee, ASM
Over the last year, David Horowitz has placed two full-page advertisements in The Badger Herald and student newspapers across the country. Horowitz attempts to bait his opponents into a debate on his terms with advertisements that Herald Editor-in-Chief Alexander Conant calls inflammatory. In the face of Horowitz’s attacks, we hope to offer a reasoned response.
In his most recent advertisement, Horowitz offers a thinly veiled call to limit the civil liberties of anyone who is speaking in favor of a peaceful response to the events of Sept. 11.
In his advertisement, entitled “An Open Letter to the ‘Anti-War’ Movement,” Horowitz claims to “know, better than most, the importance of protecting freedom of speech and the right of citizens to dissent.” Despite this, the advertisement shows that it is the intent of Horowitz and his supporters to undermine our civil right to speak in favor of peace.
His claim that the anti-Vietnam War movement crossed “the line between dissent and treason” and his regret that the country was “too tolerant towards the treason of its enemies within” is a chilling reminder of the necessity to defend our civil liberties. Disagreeing with the government is not an act of treason against the United States; it is a fundamental part of our democracy.
By calling upon “patriotic Americans” to be “more vigilant in their defense of their country,” Horowitz ignores the fact that many of the greatest figures in American history stood up to voice their dissent against the government that represented them.
In fact, thousands of UW-Madison students found themselves in the ranks of Americans who opposed the Vietnam War. Certainly they were not committing treason. Whether or not we agree with today’s peace protesters is irrelevant; their right to express their views, a right we all share, is fundamental to our democracy.
As educators and scholars, we find it necessary to respond to Horowitz’s inaccurate historical claims. With baseless statements (e.g., “the hindsight of history has shown that our efforts in the 1960s to end the war in Vietnam had [the] practical effect … to prolong the war itself”), Horowitz demonstrates that his hindsight is based more on ignoring history than studying it. This argument overlooks the broader political and social context surrounding the Vietnam War, not to mention the role the U.S. government played in prolonging it. This skewed interpretation of history appears to be a pattern in Horowitz’s writing.
We were particularly offended by statements in the first ad placed in the Herald entitled “Ten Reasons Why Reparations Are Bad for Blacks — and Racist Too.” In this ad, he states, “If not for the anti-slavery attitudes and military power of white Englishmen and Americans, the slave trade would not have been brought to an end. If not for the sacrifices of white soldiers and a white American president who gave his life to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks in America would still be slaves.” This argument is based upon a distorted interpretation of the history of slavery and of this country. While the role of white political activists and military power in the ending of slavery may still be under debate, there can be no legitimate debate about who enslaved Africans and profited from the slave system.
We object to Horowitz’s lack of respect for the majority of the world’s people whose actions contribute to changing the course of history. It is not simply a few white people of conscience, either abolitionists or anti-war activists, who make history.
In the spirit of the free exchange of ideas that Horowitz claims to support, we urge students to take the opportunity to educate themselves about these important issues. To this end, we encourage the entire campus community to attend two events: the Madison Area Peace Coalition’s upcoming Teach-In (date and location to be announced) as well as the Distinguished Lecture by the nation’s foremost advocate of reparations, Randall Robinson, on Dec. 4.
*Departments and organizations listed for identification purposes only. Signers do not necessarily endorse the Madison Area Peace Coalition or any other organization.
Pamela Oliver, professor of sociology
Timothy Tyson, associate professor of Afro-American history
Jess Gilbert, professor of rural sociology
Anthony Michels, associate professor of history and Jewish studies
Francisco A. Scarano, professor of history
Harold Scheub, professor of African languages and literature
Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Professor, department of sociology
Marc Silberman, professor of german
Michael Apple, John Bascom professor of curriculum and instruction and educational policy studies
Sherry Reames, professor of English
Frank Emspak, professor, School for Workers — UW Extension
Nan Enstad, associate professor of history
Florencia Mallon, professor of history