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March 26, 1993 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-26

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Friday, March 26,1993

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420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

JOSH DUBOW
Editor in Chief
ERIN LIzA EINHORN
OpinionEditor

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, signed articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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MURDER BY NUMBERS

Quantitative reasoningj
W HO CAN FORGET sitting inthoseseem-
irgly endless orientation sessions,
mind wandering as immensely com-
plicated pie charts and graphs attempt to explain
the unexplainable - the distribution require-
znentsystem atthe University? By the time most
of us fulfill the myriad requirements, our social
security checks are arriving in the mail.
But instead ofreorganizing the already exist-
ing requirements, the University has asked the
LSA faculty to vote at their April meeting on a
proposalto institute anew Quantitative Reason-
ing Requirement (QRR). While a QRR would
be extremely rewarding to LSA students, it
should only be implemented as a part of the
already existing natural science requirement.
LSA Associate Dean Michael Martin has
made a compelling argument for the QRR. "In
general, what studies show is that in college,
students actually get worse in quantitative or
computation skills, or they remain the same,"
Martin said. Moreover, "There are a number of
students who avoid math classes. That is a very
self-defeating, unhelpful attitude."
A QRR would include classes ranging from
economics to women's studies and would be
beneficial to all. But the fact remains that simply
adding another requirement would provide an
unnecessary burden on an already hard-pressed
student body.
Therefore, the University needs to organize
the distribution system better in lieu of adding

needs more forethought
new distributions.
Currently, students are offered three distribu-
tion patterns to choose from. The one that is
selected by a vast majority of LSA students is
called a Pattern I distribution plan. This plan
requires students toelect atotal of30 credits, with
aminimum ofnine from eachof three disciplines
- natural sciences, social sciences, and humani-
ties. The three remaining credits can come from
any of the three disciplines, or can be filled by
electing a course dubbed "not excluded."
We suggest that the current Race or Ethnicity
(ROE) requirement and the proposed QRR be
folded into the current distribution categories.
For instance, the college would mandate that at
least three ofthe required Natural Science credits
be elected from a list of quantitative reasoning
courses. Likewise, three of the required Humani-
ties credits would have to be elected from a list of
ROE courses.
Under this proposal, students would still be
exposed to the breadth of knowledge that distri-
bution requirements exist for, while avoiding an
increase in the total credits students must elect.
The idea of a QRR is not flawed in and of
itself. However, imposing such requirements
without regard to the big picture helps no one.
Recent history has shown us that these require-
ments get tacked on without regard for existing
distributions -without significant forethought.
Suchdecisions riskmaking what is agood ideain
theory fail in execution.

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Learn about Ramadan, crush stereotypes

By Muzammil Ahmed
Medical Student
The approximately six million Muslims
in the United States observed the Muslim
holy month of Ramadan by fasting from
dawn to sunset from Feb. 22/23 to March
24/25. Very few people know this. How-
ever, most people do know that Muslim
fundamentalists might have blown up the
World Trade Center.
The current publicity regarding Islamic
fundamentalism has distorted the more ba-
sic principles of the Islamic faith. Without
understanding major Islamic events, such
as Ramadan, the vicious cycle of stereotyp-
ing and misunderstanding of Muslims will
continue. This brief article will attempt to
explain some of the principles behind
Ramadan in order to eradicate some of the
misconceptions about Islam.
The primary source of Islamic laws are
the Holy Qur'an and the sayings of the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
According to the Qur'an, "Fasting is pre-
scribed to [Muslims] as it was to those
before [the Muslims] in order that [they]
may learn self-discipline." (Qur'an 2:183).
Muslims believe "self-discipline" is part of
a broader Islamic scheme to ensure justice
and equity in this world. With self-disci-
pline, Muslims develop the strength neces-
sary to successfully implement their ideas
into reality.
The Arabic word for fasting, siyam,
means to leave something or to avoid it.
Therefore, Islamic fasting is a form of wor-
ship where men and women willingly give

up their legitimate needs of eating, drink-
ing, and maintaining sexual relations dur-
ing the daylight hours every day for an
entire month. Islamic fasting is not merely
limited to food and water: it also requires
one to abstain from evil actions. Regarding
fasting, the Prophet said, "The one who
does not leave evil actions, only gets thirst
and hunger from his/her fasting." There-
fore, when Muslims fast, they are to act
piously according to their faith.
In the process of fasting, Muslims also
gain a deeper spirituality. Almost every
moment of fasting, one is constantly re-
minded of the commitment she or he has
given towards their Creator. The gnawing
hunger and thirst emphasizes the sacrifice
one is making and is tangible evidence of
one's love for one's God (Allah). Further-

lis facing starvation -- there is an over,-
whelming need for donations in the form of
money and time.
Of course, there are many Muslims un-
able to fast: the sick, the pregnant, 'the
travelers and so on. These people are re'
quired to feed one poor person for each day
of fastnotkept. For healthy men and women,
however, fasting is required, and is one of
the five basic pillars of Islam. Fasting,
though, is certainly not unique to Islam.
Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon,
them), both Prophets of Islam also, fasted
regularly.'Today, many Christians and Jews
still observe various forms of fasting. Simi- b
larly, Hindus and many other eastern faiths,.
have certain days set aside for fasting.
The basics of fasting are quite straight.-
forward. The four other pillars of Islam

SHUTTING OUT STUDENTS

'The current publicity regarding Islamic fundamental-
ism has distorted the more basic principles of the
Islamic faith.'

Case illustrmtes threats to student housing,

rights

OUNG STUDENTS KNOWtoo well the sting-
ing cruelty of age discrimination. Par-
ents, school administrators, and the rest
of society frequently remind us that we are "too
young" to engage in certain activities. Some-
timesthisdiscriminationis justified;many times,
however, it is not. Anti-age discrimination re-
quirements are one example of how local, state
and federal laws protect- ratherthanpersecute
- young people.
A 21-year-old University student recently
came face-to-face with this kind of discrimi-
nation. In 1992, the student contacted Russell
Anderson Apartments in Ypsilanti Township
for rental information. She was told that the
complex did not lease to students. She later
applied for a room in person, but was not even
given an application. Sensing discrimination,
she contacted the Fair Housing Center of
Washtenaw County for help.
The center sent students to the complex to
apply for a room. All of the younger students
were turned down. A 50-year-old law student,
however, received a room at the complex
without any problem. This was a blatant case
of age discrimination, and the student has
filed a lawsuit against the complex manage-
ment as a result.
This student took the right steps to protect
her rights. Although laws do not protect stu-
dents against discrimination on the basis of
their status as students, they do protect all

people - students or not - against age dis-
crimination. While other housing organiza-
tions like the U-M Housing Division and the
Ann Arbor Housing Bureau deal with housing
codes and tenant-landlord disputes, the Fair
Housing Center concentrates on these types of
civil rights violations. The center also has die
unique power to "test" alleged violators, as it
did in this case by sending students posing as
renters.
Fortunately, students in Ann Arbor are pro-
tected against discrimination on the basis of
student status. Ann Arbor's Human Rights
Ordinance prohibits discrimination "because
of race, color, religion, national origin, sex,
age, condition of pregnancy, marital status,
physical limitations, source of income, family
responsibilities, educational association or
sexual orientation." "Educational association"
is defined as "the fact of being enrolled or not
enrolled at any educational institution." Ann
Arbor's Human Rights Department is respon-
sible for investigating violations of this law,
providing a valuable resource for students who
feel their rights have been violated.
By the time we turn 18, society has told us
too many times what we can and cannot do
because we are "too young." But as the case in
Ypsilanti illustrates, youth should never be
grounds for discrimination - and students
should refuse to tolerate such unfair treatment
any longer.

more, special prayer services are held in the
evening, in addition to the regular five daily
prayers required of all Muslims.
Fasting serves another important func-
tion: it allows Muslims to develop empathy
for the less fortunate who are hungry and
poor. The act of charity, another basic pillar
of Islam, becomes important during this
time. It should not be surprising, then, that
Muslims demonstrate increased awareness
about the plight of the oppressed people
around the world at this time. This year in
particular - with Bosnians facing ethnic
cleansing, Palestinians facing exile, Soma-

(declaration of faith, praying, charity andy
pilgrimage) are also j ust as straightforward..
It is therefore inexcusable that, forexample,
the New York Times can write an editorial
entitled "New Jersey's Mysterious Mus-
lime' (3/11193). There really should be
nothing mysterious about Islam and Mus-
lims. The perpetuation of stereotypes about
Muslims is a result of a lack of knowledge
about Muslim beliefs. By understanding
some basic Islamic concepts the appropri-
ate respect can be generated between Ameri-
cans and the millions of Muslims that live
amongst them.

'Impact' deserves praise for performance
To the Daily: And maybe it did have possibly s
After attending two of another underlying theme, but sensitive 1
Impact Dance's perfor- it was a subtle one. We were Zimmer n
mances we were appalled to surprised to read such harsh dealing wi
read Jody Frank's review criticism for a performance by having to
"MTV meets Star Search in a group of non-dance majors. behind sta
'Impact"' (3/8/93). Her This troupe consists of a changing.
response to the dance diverse group of people that every tin
"Journey Through Hell" was share a love for dance. In our stage as F
an attempt to be an art opinion Jody Frank missed the article. TI
connoisseur. She says that point of the performance all misleadin
"There were moments of together -- entertainment. believe th
good movement, but it was Maybe Jody Frank was give the v
mostly melodramatic and too just having a personal problem theme.
overtly thematic - a little on the evening of the perfor- Let's E
subtlety would have been mance, because we fail to see where cre
nice." the sexist theme that suppos- troupe wo
Who ever said that art in edly "the night was pervaded a fun, ene
any form had to be subtle to by." They wer

she was being overly
to his routine. Joel
made one comment
vith his misfortune of
be on stage while
age the women were
;. He did not say this
ne he came back on
?rank states in the
herefore, we find it
ag and a little hard to
iat one remark would
whole night a sexist
give some credit
edit is due. This
orked hard to present
ergetic performance.
ren't looking for 41/
id an interview with
:ahon but it sounds
Frank was. In our
because the perfor-
as well organized and
t was there, the
goal of entertainment
hed.
Lori Shiels
Jill Wallace
LSA sophomores

NO MORE PENCILS...
District closing symptomatic of larger problem

be enjoyed? She continued
with more criticism regarding
the Gershwin piece. The
dance had a simple theme of
two girls fighting for the
same guy. No the theme was
not a profound one, but is
that the point of dancing?
Since when does every piece
of art have to have another
deeper meaning?

The costumes were
"exploitative" if you consider
the traditional ensemble of
leotards and tights exploit-
ative. There were costume
changes that lent variety and
expression to the dances, but
they were nothing that would
not be seen while walking on
campus. And if Frank had a
problem with the comedian

2 stars an(
Ed McMa
like Jody
opinion, b
mance wa
the talent
utlimate g
was reach

Reporter
forgets Islam
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to
the article, "Sexuality and the
Supreme Being".(3/5/93). In
this full page article about
religion and homosexuality
she interviews various
ministers, reverends. and
rabbis; however, in research-
ing the Islamic view point she
cannot seem to find one Imam
to quote. I am not doubting
Kamran Bajwa's or Deana
Solaiman's knowledge of
Islam; rather, I am concerned
with the fact that she did not ,
give an authoritative Islamic
view of the subject. Islam is {
too complex to summarize in
three paragraphs and should
not be used to fulfill a
minority response requirement
in any article.
Shehnaz Khan
LSA junior
Women must
seek cure
To the Daily
I wholeheartedly agree
with Wendy Shanker's
perspective ("Sexual Indepen
dente has Consequences" 3/
11/93) that women must take
a greater responsibility for x
their own safety.
However, here is my
11i0f l Y1[.1/"tiiJ " 1T 11^11 "At O lit

WITH COFFERS EMPTY and with local
citizens refusing to provide necessary
funds, public schools in Kalkaska, a
poor, rural community in northern Michigan,
closed this week. The district's refusal to oper-
ate with reduced services until the end of the
school year has sparked new discussion with
regard to public school funding in this state..
Hopefully, the national attention this story has
gained will bring thefunding debate into sharper
focus by highlighting the plight of depressed,
isolated rural districts.
Problems in Kalkaska arose near the begin-
ning of this school year when voters turned
down a millage proposal that would have given
the district funding to continue operating at
normal levels. The school could have continued

old ones, the board must ask voters in the district
to approve the levying of new taxes. This amounts
to running a school system by referendum and
puts schools in a unique position. Citizens are
never asked to vote on the construction of a new
prison or repairs for the state capitol. Money for
those projects is appropriated by elected repre-
sentatives.
In a school district, the analogous body of
representatives is the school board. Yet if an
elementary school, for example, becomes dan-
gerously overcrowded, the board cannot raise the
money to build a new school without approval
from voters.
This method has contributed greatly to educa-
tion inequality. Wealthy districts in affluent sub-
urbs have voters with a relatively high level of

Daily promotes
To the Daily:
You on the Daily should
be proud that you try to dispel
stereotypes. You try to judge
people by their character, and
not by their gender, color of
skin, religion, or sexual
orientation.
You did, however,
promote stereotypes of the

stereotypes of Greek system
perpetuate Greek stereotypes. women are not
I am pledging a house that is nity. Personall,
,i not "beer-stinking, dilapi- for nothing les
dated," but a clean beautiful What happy
1 house that I take pride in. At author was hoi
the parties, the brothers aren't deserves or sb(
a bunch of "drunk people," through that, b
who are "stoned" and all Greeks for j
"tripping"; they are dancing perpetuate ster
and having a good time. system that pr(
r_ W__ rinrinrhniticac f

Dt in the frater-
Uy, I would stand
,SS.
pened to the
)nible. No one
could be put
but don't blame
r it, and don't
-reoqpes of a
rovides excellent,
fir manor

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