An Informal Guide to Students'
Complaints and Concerns
You have waited in the
extremely long CRISP line in
Angell Hall for several hours.
Upon finally reaching the front
of the line, prospective schedule
in hand, you find that the section
of Psych 172 or ME 101 that you
absolutely had to get into is closed.
Dejected, sweaty and hungry,
you walk back to your residence
hall, eagerly anticipating a cold
shower, a hot meal, and a soft bed.
Walking down hallways, you
can't help but notice how the
paint on the walls in the
classrooms is peeling away like
You finally arrive at home,
throw off your clothes, and head
to the bathroom, only to find the
floor flooded with toilet water.
Okay, scrap the shower - you'll
settle for a heaping plate of dinner
in the cafeteria. Running down
the stairs, you are accosted by a
concerned citizen who insists that
you boycott poisonous Peruvian
table peppers. You politely
decline the proferred literature,
desperate to get to the cafeteria.
You finally make it downstairs,
but the time you wasted dealing
with the pepper activist has made
you miss the last call for dinner.
Thoroughly depressed, you resign
yourself to sleep on an empty
stomach - which can become
Laying in bed, staring at the
water pipes running through
your room, you can only laugh to
yourself as you notice a neat
yellow decal on one of the pipes, a
decal that seems to sum up your
feelings about the entire day:
The above situation is
extreme, a caricature of a
student's day at the University.
In an effort to determine how
such negative images of the
University arise, Weekend has
made an attempt to seek the
insights of many students who,
for one reason or another, have a
complaint about the way things
Everyone surveyed said he or
she feels very positively about the
University; however, after
thinking a bit, each was able to
come up with at least one
complaint or pet peeve. This was
their chance to level these
criticisms at the University and,
in doing so, perhaps bring about
an eventual solution.
Trouble at the Top
Authority is a perennial target
of student criticism at the
University. Every year seems to
have its share of protests, sit-ins,
and rallies, with the University
administration often coming
under fire for failing to address
students' concerns to their
"The administration has
absolutely no clue about the needs
and the wants of students and
doesn't care. Students, faculty,
and administration are separate
entities," said LSA junior Carmen
"There's a lack of
students and higher
administration," echoed LSA
junior Jason Kallen.
These students are concerned
by what they perceive as an
aloofness on the part of top
President James Duderstadt.
"I haven't seen (Duderstadt) in
four years except on stage. It
fosters an 'us' versus 'them'
mentality. It sets up the idea of a
confrontation because it's such a
procedure to have an audience
with him," said LSA senior Jenny
LSA senior Susan Kane was
slightly more disenchanted with
Regent Baker in particular: "I
can't believe Deane Baker is such
an obvious asshole with no
respect for people's humanity and
he's still a respected man with
In addition to critical views of
dissatisfaction with what one
student termed the "red tape B.S."
of the University's bureaucracy
is prevalent among most students.
"Being a number doesn't
bother me. That's one of the
reasons I came here, but the
bureacracy bothers me because
nobody knows where you are
supposed to go," Oviedo said.
Indeed, students complained
that they are passed back and
forth more than Alsace-Lorraine
"They make you go around in
circles. Different offices send you
on a wild goose chase. They pass
the buck, but they pass you. You
are the buck," said LSA senior
Chung's comments were
echoed by LSA senior Darcy
Lear, who said, "Offices within
the University don't
communicate. They send us back
and forth between two offices."
For some, that would be a good
experience. Students frequently
"have to go to 10 offices to get one
thing done," said LSA senior
There are also those who are
confounded by administration
policies that appear to have
negligible practical value and do
little more than annoy those
whom they are intended to help.
"You need ID to get into the
Union on weekends, even just to
use the bathroom," Oviedo said.
Where's the Prof?
While some students expressed
annoyance with "behavioral"
involved in research" was a
So, too, was the opinion that
TAs have too large a role in the
educational process. "I'm paying
upper-level, out-of-state tuition
and I get stuck with Teaching
Assistants," said LSA senior
"TAs, after bitching and
moaning last year, don't seem to
give a damn.... They should care
more about their students,
especially out-of-state students,"
"Non-concentrators get a space
and you get closed out of a class
you need to graduate."
W. Charles Penoza III, an
LSA sophomore, sees an injustice
in the University's policy for
crediting or not crediting students
who took Advanced Placement
courses in high school. "I would
revamp the AP credit system,"
Penoza said. "Good, bright
students are coming out of the
good high schools in Michigan,
and they're not going to want to
come here. They take all of these
expensive tests, and the
University decides, rather
arbitrarily, whether or not to give
them credit - well into their
progress here at the U. They
should reward an Econ. major for
taking the Econ. AP test and
doing well on it, not take $60
away from them and give them
nothing. Bloody travesty."
One of the most consistent
gripes about the University is the
cost of being a student. Living in
a residence hall, paying tuition,
buying books - all of these
require that ever-so-elusive green
resource we call cash. Because of
the relative scarcity of money,
students at the University take a
great deal of interest in how their
tuition and "room and board"
dollars are spent.
"They suck every bit of
money out of you. They have
raised tuition for out-of-state
students in the last three years. It
takes them forever to complete
construction. How long have
they been working outside East
Engineering? Maybe that's why
they take so much money," said
LSA senior Amy Czarnecki.
"Everything costs too much.
Housing costs too much, books
cost too much, tuition costs too
much, food, coursepacks,
supplies..." said Antworth.
"I would stop dribbling away
precious resources into special-
interest student groups. I would
pay for teachers. I would pay for
education, not to enlighten the
state of Michigan with whatever
political ideology the University
happens to adopt at the given
moment," Penoza said.
Far from escaping criticism,
residence halls were favorite
topics of complaint for most
"There are plates, silverware,
bowls in the toilets. Something
about dorm living arouses the
animal in people," said LSA
junior Vangie Holmes.
"The food sucks, and I'm
paying lots and lots of money for
it. If I switch to nine or zero
meals, I lose even more," said
Nursing sophomore Carleen
In addition to the complaints
about the quality of the residence
halls and those who live in them,
campus and dormitory
bathrooms received a great deal of
flack for being too scarce or
messy, or both.
Bathroom flooding is among
the most common problems in
dormitory bathrooms - along
with empty toilet paper
dispensers on football Saturdays
and missing shower curtains.
"One of my major problems with
the University, is that the drain
in my bathroom is the highest
point on the floor, so a puddle has
to get about eight inches deep
around the edges before any of it
starts to drain away. The only
method of dispersing the water is
sitting and watching it
evaporate," Penoza said.
"Women's bathrooms are
really scarce on North campus.
Especially in the Cooley building.
I don't even know if there's one in
it," said Engineering junior Kate
"The bathroom in the
basement of Angell Hall is so
nasty," said Oviedo, "and I hate
the white porcelain water
fountains that don't get cold."
Sometimes entire buildings can
be nasty, according to one
student. "611 Church smells like
urine, faeces and smoke. I raise
funds through that building
(Michigan Telefund). I deserve
The University's library
system, generally believed to be
among the nation's finest,
received a lot of criticism - and it
wasn't just for trivial things,
such as the inability of the
Undergraduate Library to put
USA Today on the racks until the
late afternoon even though it is in
newspaper boxes all over campus
by 6 a.m.
The major cause of complaint
was that our libraries have a
nasty habit of closing every
"There aren't any 24-hour
libraries," Landau said. "It seems
unfair that there is nowhere to
study late at night. I go to the
library until 2 a.m. and Amer's
until 3 a.m."
"The closing announcements
in the libraries scare me to death,"
added Oviedo. "If they were open
all night, they wouldn't need to
LSA junior Sileem Ahmad has
noticed a pattern: "The copy
machines are always broken."
This might help to explain
Maws' shocking claim that,
instead of making photocopies,
many students "just tear pages
out, especially this time of year."
Students surveyed sometimes
took aim at specific institutions.
"The Law Library is
discriminatory. I cannot enter it
more than once a semester,"
Holmes said. "The Grad library
was built for rats. It just adds to
the grief of writing a paper to
walk like a rat through the
Kane took exception to what
she sees as cruelly high late fees.
"The regulations at the reserve
room of the UGLi are a bummer
- they are such hard asses. You
would think they would realize if
you can't afford to buy the
books, you probably can't afford
their fines," she said.
Cats and Dogs
Almost every student who
took part in this survey seemed to
have something to say about
another segment of the campus
population. And it wasn't always
"Shoot the Greeks. Shoot the
feminists. Just line them all up
and shoot them," said an LSA
junior who prefers to remain
anonymous because her
boyfriend is in a fraternity and
among her friends there are many
"I don't like people on crusades
who dedicate their lives to issues
that are silly. I hate the hippies,"
said LSA Senior James Roble III.
Oviedo is especially bothered
by two groups: "people who wear
black turtlenecks and talk with
angst in Espresso Royale," and
"people who raise their hand and
ask a question just to show how
much they know."
Christy Marshuetz, an RC
junior, observed that "there are
too many conservatives." Not
conservatives said the same about
"A lot of people in the co-ops
automatically look down on
people in the Greek system, but I
find co-ops to be just another
form of fraternities or sororites,"
said one LSA student who asked
not to be named.
"You have to worry about
offending someone every time you
say something, not as open an
atmosphere9 you would expect.
Especially in the dorms. There is a
standard approach to certain
issues that they push. If you are
not on their side, your views are
stifled," Ahmad said.
"The literature that we read is
ridiculous," said first-year
Engineering student Dan Shea.
"In English 125, the books that
we read is literature that isn't
well known. There isn't any
Shakespeare or Chaucer. It's
basically just liberal rabble-
"Everyone here has such an
exaggerated sense of their
to bidentified. Oth
Our Daily Dose
of Criticism de
We at the Daily were shocked
to receive criticism. Not. w
"The Daily is so obnoxiously w
liberal. They show their personal U
feelings too much in issues. If rc
they do something conservative, H]
they do something assholish like
the Holocaust ad which no one in T
their right minds wants to read tM
anyway. They don't publish any
good conservative arguments,- to
This East Quad bathroom on the third floor of Cooley is known to have flood
the drain is above the rest of the floor. The machine in the photograph was
A typical scene in East Engineering: peeling paint giving off the fumes of
general decay. Said LSA junior Carmen Oviedo, "East Engineering. Oh, my
God. That building is hot. It's a piece of shit."
controls such as the Union ID
policy, many more stated that
they have serious concerns about
the University's system for
delivering the education students
Those who are concerned with
the quality of education at
Michigan focused on the large
enrollment in certain courses, the
widespread use of Teaching
Assistants, and the
inaccessibility of some professors.
Chung's perception that
"professors don't want to deal
with you because they are too
said LSA senior Tony Maws.
Some of the participants in
this survey mentioned that there
is not enough individual attention
given to each student - from
professors or from TAs.
"Undergraduates are not
treated with enough respect. We
pay all this money and are shoved
into 400-person lectures," said
LSA senior Gianna Antworth.
Oviedo believes that the
current system for registration
sometimes prevents students
from being accepted into courses
they must take. "Concentrators
should get priority," she said.
importance," Kane said. "People
actually make regular
comparisons to Harvard and
Brown as if our situations were
even remotely similar. I mean,
When's the next showing of
D.W. Griffith's Intolerance?
Representing roughly one-
fifth of the the student
population, it was probably
inevitable that fraternities and
sororities would come under fire.
"The aim is to culturally
enrich us and the first thing
people do when they come here is
to cling to something that is the
same as they are. The Greek
system is a perfect example of
something which divides us," said
You think that's harsh? You .
don't know harsh. Read on.
"Greeks must die. They are
irresponsible. And Joint House is
a breeding ground for disease,"
said an LSA junior who asked not
anything worth debating - like
welfare," Czarnecki said.
"The Daily makes my fingers
black and it gets smeared on my
face. I don't like the inserts either,
like the Girbaud ads that get all
over the floor," added Oviedo.
One can only conclude that
these views are those of an
extremely tiny campus minority.
And then come a myriad of
complaints that deal with almost
every other aspect of campus.
Except MSA. Surprisingly, no ,
one had any complaints about
Here, in no particular order,
are the remaining 10 bad things
"People stand up through the
whole football game." - Oviedo
"Too many guys are sexually
repressed because they spend too
much time studying." -
"Smelling other people's farts
in lecture. I've been subjected to
by Lisa Bean, Matthew
Pulliam, and Gil Renberg
November 22, 1991
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