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September 06, 1991 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-06

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Page 4--The Michigan Daily- Friday, September 6, 1991

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

ANDREW K. GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
STEPHEN HENDERSON
Opinion Editor

111-11

a . ; , : ,

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
f - All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
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Distribution credits
University should offer students more academic leeway

IWEALY, 1THE 5VPREN[COAET / pwSNLLYj 1'M IOWYM6
5wRA.DOUMrt CIL RICt
i~xlpR

'A ttempting to offer students a broad, liberal
education is certainly a goal worthy of en-
couragement and support. The University of
Michigan, in its attempt to offer such a quality
education, created the distribution credit guide-
lines that all undergraduates are required to follow.
On the surface, a system that demands a certain
number of credits from each of the broad fields of
study would seem to expose students to a variety of
topics "in a way that enables each student to
achieve breadth of understanding in several fields
of study and depth in one or two" (from the 1991-
92 LS&A Bulletin).
And when students arrive at the University,
they expect to be able to explore their personal
interests while receiving a liberal and vocational
education.
Our distribution system, however, does not
allow such exploration. Suppose a physics concen-
trator wishes to practice and improve his or her
skills as a creative writer, or an electrical engineer
harbors a particular fascination with U.S. history.
Underthe current system, students can only choose
from the most basic classes offered in other con-
centrations to fulfill distribution credits.
After pre-requisites, concentration require-
ments, and these basic distribution classes, little or
no room remains for satisfying personal academic

curiosity.
The hypothetical physics student would be dis-
couraged from pursuing his extra-professional ar-
tistic goals. The electrical engineer could not sat-
isfactorily quench his or her desire to learn more
about U.S. history. What should be a part of any
undergraduate experience - the students' explo-
ration of their personal academic interests - is
sadly left neglected in either case.
This can be changed forthe betterin any number
of ways. Advanced placement credit could be used
for distribution. The University could permit stu-
dents to obtain minor concentrations, as other
schools do. Or the distribution credit requirements
could be halved, leaving 15 or more credits to be
filled as the student sees fit. Whatever system is
used, the number of classes that do not satisfy
distribution requirements should be reduced.
The goal of reform is not to allow the scientist
to avoid the humanities courses, nor to allow the
artists to avoid the science classes. It is simply to
offer greater latitude for the scientist who loves to
paint or the artist who loves biology.
Ensuring that students' academic interests are
fulfilled should be as high apriority as guaranteeing
the abstract idea of a broad, liberal education. The
University is obligated, in this instance, to recog-
nize the wants of its student population.

I "l-"

WIetlands
Bush's proposal courts environmental disaster

f he gets his way, George Bush- who continu-
ally promised to preserve the nation's wetlands
during his 1988 campaign - will destroy 30
million acres' worth of the little that remains. The
ecological consequences of such a move would be
catastrophic.
The 150 million acres of wetlands still leftin the
United States have been dubbed "America's
fainforest." Home to numerous endangered species
of animal and plant life, their destruction could
eradicate entire ecosystems that depend upon the
muck and peat-based soils which make wetlands
unique.
Bush's current proposal would revise standards
set by his own administration in 1989 to protect
huge swaths of land that were being bulldozed into
oblivion.
In Illinois, for example - where the State
Department of Conservation has made an initial
estimate of what the new proposal would mean -
preliminary field work suggests that 608,000 of the
state's 932,000 currently protected acres will be
thrown open to development. Much of that land is
wooded bottom land that is home to 40 percent of
the endangered bird species which migrate through
the state.

The prognosis elsewhere is similarly dire. Bot-
tomlands in the Mississippi Delta, 500,000 pri-
vately-owned acres in Florida's Everglades, and
between 400,000 and 800,000 acres in Maryland
would no longer be protected. Wetlands through-
out the Midwest- including Michigan, which has
lost 71 percent of the wetlands that once made the
state a unique ecological haven - would also be
destroyed.
Preserving what Bush - in a stunning display
of scientific ignorance -has referred to as "small'
puddles" is not only important because our natural
resources serve as a playground for millions of
people.
Destroying wetlands would also eliminate
countless plant species which could potentially
contribute to still unknown cures or relief for
human diseases from cancer to the common cold.
There is still time to save the wetlands. Bush's
initiative provides for public comment time from
now until October. Ann Arbor's environmental
groups -- including the Ecology Center, the
Rainforest Action Movement, and the local chap-
ter of the Sierra Club - must contribute to a
national campaign allowing Bush to read our lips:
"Save the wetlands."

MSA seeks
fiscal reform
To the Daily:
The University Board of
Regents approved a $6.27
mandatory student fee for the
Michigan Student Assembly
(MSA) on July 19. This
amount, proposed by the MSA
executive officers, represents a
7.4 percent decrease in last
year's $6.77 fee.
My party, the Conservative
Coalition, ran on a platform of
pursuing fiscal responsibility
for MSA, a goal most students
know has not been achieved in
the past. Previous administra-
tions had put MSA in debt by
$80,000 and squandered
student funds on fact-finding
missions to Israel and Central
America.
We came into office to find
that MSA kept no financial
records at its office. This
budget proposal is going to
change things at MSA. It is
designed to provide students
with the same services at a
lower cost, with more account-
ability and less frivolity.
The part of the proposal
that has caused the most
controversy is the suggestion
that we decrease the Ann
Arbor Tenants' Union
(AATU) budget by 50 percent,
or roughly $24,000.
Last year's budget pro-
vided AATU with funding for
six times the amount of work
hours the organization claimed
to be billing. Our proposal
suggests funding four times as
much. If the proposal passes,
the AATU will have to make

some decisions about how to
spend its money. It may not be
able to afford to publish a
newsletter with anti-war
poems and information about
how to get involved in the
"Recall Engler" campaign. Or,
the AATU staff may not be
able to give itself a 10 percent
raise, as it did last April.
MSA will certainly insist
that the organization not
operate without a working
board of directors,'which it
has nothad for years.
In short, the AATU must
become fiscally responsible
and stick to providing a
student service, not a political
platform.
Perhaps the most important
aspect of the budget proposal
is the hiring of an MSA
accountant who would keep
the books for MSA, Student
Legal Services (SLS) and the
AATU. Such a movewould
ensure that these organizations
remain fiscally sound and
responsible. It would also take
a huge burden off these
organizations so they could
concentrate fully on providing
students with the very best
service.
This proposed budget is an
important step on the way to
legitimacy for MSA. After a
disastrous year, MSA is
beginning to gain credibility
with both the University
administration and the student
body. We have a long way to
go, but this budget helps send
us on our way.
James Green
MSA President
LSA senior

The Daily encour-
ages responses from
its readers. Letters
should be 150 words
or less and include
the author's name,
year in school and
phone number. They
can be mailed to.
The Michigan Daily, *
420 Maynard, Ann
Arbor 48109. Or
they can be sent via
MTS to: The Michi-
gan Daily Letters to
the Editor. The Daily
does not alter the
content of letters, but
reserves the right to
edit for style and
space consider-
ations. If you have
questions or com-
ments, you should
call Stephen
Henderson at 764-
0552.
.......t.d...
Dalyimet4 he
........,...ii mrOw t:i fl ::::....::.

Where to party?
U-Club, Nectarine are both making it harder

T he recent transformation of the Nectarine
Ballroom effectively removes one of the last
clubs or bars in Ann Arbor permitting under-21
patrons. For the first time in memory, students are
returning to a campus largely devoid of collective
places to dance and frolic. Nonetheless - and as
those "in the know" will attest - students are still
going to party.
Clashing with growing calls to regulate frater-
nities - and especially their legendary drinking
sessions -changes at the Nectarine and elsewhere
practically compel Greek organizations to supply
most of the campus' recreational needs. This, in
turn, increases the possibility that these already
image-tarred organizations will either condone or
inadvertently host illegal activities. It also grants
them extreme power to dictate the nature of the
University's social life.
There are potential alternatives to this party
vacuum. The University Club, which has been
horribly mismanaged for years, could actually be a
nice place. But instead of demonstrating the imagi-
nation necessary to make it one, the University has

barred all alcohol from the site.
Much like the management at the Nectarine, the
University apparently feels that the solution to
underage drinking is either to bar 18 to 20-year
olds or, alternately, bar booze.
While these represent easier solutions, they
also represent lazier ones. Surely a University
managing a one half billion dollar endowment,
25,000 employees, and 38,000 students can devise
a system that will simultaneously serve alcohol
and serve it legally.
If this is too much for the University to handle,
perhaps they could sell the U-Club to a private
firm. The University has relinquished control of
various food services in the Michigan Union to
private firms; if necessary, they could do the same
thing with the U-Club.
The bottom line is not who runs such a facility,
but making sure that it runs in a way that will serve
all students, whatever their age. The alternative
could be worse than the proposed cure: more
illegal drinking, practiced under less supervision,
yielding potentially disastrous results.

' y:T~'a ''"${}::$,.'r";:$;'?2r. 'y}"". r V. SS,:Q^':
.'J. ~ te A l. Ar 3"" rr~ 'J.

Better seats, bigger headache.V

by David Lane
The Michigan Athletic
Department wants to raise student
enthusiasm at its basketball
games, so Interim Athletic
Director Jack Weidenbach and
men's basketball coach Steve
Fisher have moved student season
ticket holders to behind the team
benches.
Congratulations, the Athletic
Department has finally taken a
step to benefit the students and to
increase fan spirit at basketball
games.
Too bad they didn't stop there.
The rest of the new basketball
season ticket policy shows the
athletic department's total lack of
consideration toward those
students who are loyal Michigan
basketball fans. It creates more
hassles for the students than we

past.
Instead of the usual week-long
sign-up period for students
interested in buying season
tickets, students are now given
one day in which to register for
tickets.
The one day devoted to
registration starts at midnight,
Monday moming, Oct. 14.
Students who want to be guaran-

admission seats? Most students
barely get to football games on
time.
If it is freezing cold outside, or
better yet, if it is snowing,
students can no longer go straight
into Crisler Arena. Now they will
have to wait in lines outside,
braving the elements. Many
students will stay at home.
"Midnight Madness" on Oct.

Only half of the students will be given seats
in the blue section behind the team benches;
the other half will have their regular seats in
the gold section behind the basket.

Nuts and Bolts
IFIRST DAY BACK...

by Judd Winick
IMAtLE a0J
m Fr iAN 1V..4 r:NAME4

I ~ $914

cy STS GCk
YC1 I . C ~

teed one of the 4,000 seats
available to students must show

14, the non-transferable voucher
cards, and the thought of waiting
in the fra-n'.n nalA to a t ntn

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