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September 05, 1991 - Image 22

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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91

a ge 2-Tihe Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 5, 1991

Freedom:

Up in smoke?

T'ougher Pot Law
may be sin of
things to come
by Daniel Poux
Eighteen months ago, Ann Arbor voters stepped in
fiie'with the "Jst Say No" campaign sweeping the na-
tion and increased the fine for possession of small
quantities of marijuana from $5 - the legendary $5
Pot Law - to $25 for first offenses. Any unlucky
souls caught repeatedly with some of the leafy mate-
ridlon their person have had to pay up to $100 in fines,
and risk possible jail time.
Despite the city's crackdown on pot smokers, things
are pretty much business as usual around campus and
around town. The drug trade has not been driven under-
ground; anyone who wants pot can still find it. How-
ever, many would argue that the abolition of the pro-
gressive $5 fine -- which had stood as a beacon of hope
to the nation's stoners since 1972 - was not intended
toliave any effect on the drug trade in Ann Arbor.
Instead, as former Mayor Jerry Jernigan explained
when the law was under scrutiny, the city's miniscule
pot haw "was sending the wrong message," and needed
to be changed. Jernigan neglected to say who was get-
tlingihe wrong message, or how simply adjusting the
possession fires for inflation was going to send the
right message.
Because the decision was left up to Ann Arbor vot-
ers as a referendum on the annual ballot, Jernigan can-
not be held responsible for the change of the law. And
the local tokers whining about the end of an era have no
ne ,to blame but themselves for failing to mobilize
unregistered voters and allowing their political voices
to go unheard.
'ut what can we conclude about those voters whose
yoices were heard? Looking at the April 1, 1990 elec-
ion.in a broader context, it is difficult to discern what
Was'going on in the heads of the citizens that turned
dut at the polls that day.
On the same ballot, city voters approved a referen-
Ouir' declaring Ann Arbor a "zone of reproductive
freedom," and effectively decriminalized the practice
of iortion within the city limits. Concerned Ann Ar-
borites saw the storm over abortion rights gathering
str~ergth on the horizon, and took preemptive measures
toinsure that women will still have a full range of
faxrily planning alternatives - in short, guaranteeing

Ralliers seeking the legalization of marijuana voice their ideas at last year's Hash Bash. The annual event has
become a campus tradition.

pregnant women in Ann Arbor the right to choose.
However, the same people who declared Ann Arbor
a "zone of reproductive freedom" were, sadly, the peo-
ple who struck down the Pot Law that served as the
model for this progressive pro-choice stance.
Critics may object to the link between the serious
issue of abortion rights and the comparatively trivial
argument over the rights of pot smokers. But the cen-
tral issue is the same - both involve a person's basic
right to decide what to do with his or her own body.
Why were local voters so quick to stand up for the
rights of pregnant women while moving to crack down
on people who choose to ingest a plant that human be-
ings have been utilizing for a variety of reasons for
thousands of years?
The importance of the issue lies in more than just
getting high, as the White House, the Ann Arbor police
and those witty people that brought us the "fried egg"

commercials are quick to argue.
It concerns personal freedoms, freedoms which con-
tinue to evaporate in the 1990s.
All those aspiring civil libertarians in the class of
1995 - even those who don't smoke pot - should see
the danger behind the "War on Drugs" being fought
even in the streets of a Midwestern college town. Two
decades ago, Ann Arbor voters instituted the $5 Pot
Law to stand up against laws they felt were unfair and
unnecessarily restrictive to the free-thinking individ-
ual.
"A Joint is Not the Point," proclaimed the motto
of the 1991 Hash Bash. It's more than the cause-
cihlbre of a select minority of local retro-hippies; it's
the basis of a skirmish in the United States' ongoing
civil war over the rights of individuals.
Poux is an LSA senior and a Daily Opinion Editor.

New 'U' policy
makes sex pay
by Jonathan Chait
Last spring the University installed a new sexual
harassment policy which provides students with a fun
'n' easy way to get a 4.0 GPA without studying.
The old way to get a free 4.0 was if your roommate
committed suicide. According to rumor this policy is
still around, but in fact it was discontinued years ago.
What happened was, lots of guys named Butch who
spent the semester on the verge of becoming academi-
cally ineligible for football or wrestling were walk-
ing away with 4.Os because their 120 lb. roommates
were found with crushed skulls and poorly spelled
suicide notes stapled to their chest (Goodbye krool
wirld.)
Not that I am suggesting that many athletes are
stupid. I am especially not suggesting it about those
athletes who can bench press my entire family and
who have already picked out cement blocks with
which to crush my skull.
But the upshot is that the U trashed this policy,
and for many years we have had to actually study to
get the 4.0. But now this new sexual harassment pol-
icy gives us another opportunity. The policy says that
in the event of a sexual harassment complaint be-
tween a teacher and a student, "The University will
not look favorably upon a defense based on consent."
In other words, if you want to accuse your teacher
of sexual harassment, your teacher cannot use your
consent to sex as an excuse. This is completely true;
this is the actual policy of U of M.
So what you want to do is find a way to get in bed
with every TA or professor you can. (This may require
juggling your schedule to make sure that all your
teachers are of the appropriate sexual orientation.)
The problem is that you have very little experience in
seducing teachers, due to the fact that in high school
your teachers tended to weigh upwards of three hun-
dred pounds and have armpit sweat stains the size of
frisbees.
This is not the case with most'of your TAs. What
you want to do, then, is let them know that you're
available. Here is a list of ways, which I would like to
stress to my parents is NOT based on personal experi-
ence, to develop an intimate relationship with your
TA:
1) Attend every section. Ask thoughtful ques-
tions.
2) Go to office hours every week. Sit on your TA's
lap.
3) Dress to impress - leather, chains, whips, etc.
4) After they make particularly inspiring com-
ments in class, raise a cigarette lighter as if at a rock
concert and hurl your undergarments at them.
All of the above steps should effectively convey
the idea to your TA that you think they are "that spe-
cial someone." Eventually they will invite you to
their apartment for an in-depth tutoring session, one
thing will lead to another ...
O.K. It's now the end of the semester and you are
having affairs with every one of your, TAs but failing
all your classes. What you do now is visit your TAs
and explain that the sex has been really great and it's
nothing personal, but you want to file a claim with
the University for sexual harassment. Your TA will
realize that, despite the fact that you were an ex-
tremely willing participant, you will win the case be-
cause of the new policy. They will have no choice but
to offer you an A in return for your silence.
Now I know what you're thinking. You're think-
ing, "What if it's halfway through the semester, and
I'm failing all my classes and having sex with all my
TAs just like you said, and President Duderstadt sud-
denly realizes that his sexual harassment policy is
ridiculous, and decides to chuck the whole policy? I'll
be completely screwed, literally and figuratively."
What you would need to do, in such an instance, is
figure out a new way to persuade your TA to give you
an A. I would suggest using cement blocks.
Chail writes a humor column which appears regularly
in Weekend magazine.
B A Ptrcbr-MM
IL*Or M&r 7"UP ~oLJ
CAKatV:

ICI

0
0

Capitalize on college's freedom

by David Schwartz
Your parents have just pulled away from
the curb, heading home to Long Island, or
Detroit, or Peoria. They sputter down the
street in the Oldsmobile and disappear around
the corner, taking with them those stern
looks, strict rules, and that annoying 12:30
curfew that had impeded your social life since
10th grade.
You turn around and look up at the dorm as
you scurry back to your room, seeing more
than the chipped paint. There are no parents.
No intrusive teachers. Few rules.
Welcome to college. Welcome to freedom.
For most first-year students, Michigan is
their first real experience away from the
scrutiny of parents and teachers, their first
opportunity to do as they wish without some-
one reminding them incessantly, "You can't
do that."
The decisions new students face go beyond
the daily battle of whether to hit the snooze
button one more time or drag themselves out
of bed to get to that 9:00 lecture. The pressure
of being independent at college results from
more than classes and homework; the demands
for time come from student groups, fraterni-
ties or sororities, dorm life, an unfamiliar
roommate, the bar, and other distractions
seemingly assembled to test one's sanity.
Unfortunately, many students. come to
Ann Arbor having already determined what
they want to do with their years on campus.
Some have settled on a major or decided which
fraternity to join while still back home.
The academic stress at a high-caliber uni-
versity is considerable, and it is easy to ignore
many opportunities and focus instead on the
eye-popping salaries engineers or Wall Street
analysts pull down these days. Graduate
school (and the still-higher salaries of doctors
and lawyers) may present an even more com-

pelling option.
What no one mentions enough is that all of
this can be done without sacrificing every-
thing else thai comes with college life. Before
getting boxed in by a restrictive major, the
Greek system or the student newspaper, it's a
good idea to explore some of the other classes,
groups or activities that are so prevalent on
campus.
Many students may very well end up join-
ing a sorority and becoming a doctor just like
they planned. However, without taking the
time to look, they may pass over an organiza-
tion or career which suits them even better.
The college experience will be much richer
for students who take the time to explore all
their options: taking some classes not because
they count toward their major, but because
they sound interesting; ignoring their Spanish
homework so they can attend a meeting of a
group that they're curious about; going to par-
ties even though it's not the weekend.
Students who capitalize on these opportuni-
ties will enjoy their college years much more.
Eventually, everyone at the University
finds a niche. Some are involved in student
government, some are active in a Greek organi-
zation, some are leaders of a student group,
and some are simply students. The only way
for students to find the right niche is to sam-
ple more than one.
In the end, college is more than simply lec-
tures and homework. Living away from home,
trying new things, meeting different kinds of
people - these are important lessons that
can't be taught in Angell Hall.
Freedom is great to have, especially when
it's fresh. The biggest mistake is becoming
isolated quickly, because the freedom to make
choices lasts only as long as we let it.
Schwartz is a first-year law student and was
the 1990 Daily Opinion editor.

e

Signing in JLINIhK UUl S 1 uuav.
LSA first-year student Nicole Parisi writes her opinion on the Gulf War
on tan opinion board in South Quad. The war brought out strong feelings
on both sides of the issue from nearly all students.

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