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February 18, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 18, 1994

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

Editor in Chief

University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board.
All other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Fire, Fire!d
Incidents of false fire alarms in dorms must end

'Croatia Forced To Admit That Its Army Is In Bosnia'
-headline that appeared in the Feb. 16 edition of the
New York Times
f "A1
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en1 I~;
' mDlu

hile false fire alarms may seem like a
harmless break from the everyday
routine, they are a far too familiar nuisance
to students living in resident halls. There
have been 17 false fire alarms in the resident
halls during the 1993-94 school year. There
have been nights where as many as four
false fire alarms have been pulled in South
Quad, and the majority of these alarms oc-
cur after midnight while most students are
asleep. This is simply unbearable to those
who must live, day and night, in this most
onerous reality.
The sentiment of most residents is that any
alarm will be false. When these alarms sound
during the winter months, students are per-
turbed, for they are required to leave their
warm beds and trudge down flights of stairs to
congregate outside, wearing little more than
pajamas and flip-flops, in sub-zero tempera-
tures for 20 minutes or more. Students who
fail to evacuate face a $50 fine. There is little
worry of impending death; all see the (false)
fire alarms as nothing more than a hindrance
cruelly parting them from the bliss of sleep.
The inability of the University to provide
an alternative plan frustrates many. A DPS
officer, speaking on the condition of anonym-
ity, admits that University administrators have
been presented with proposals to curb the
incidences of pranksters pulling false alarms,
but they feel that the cost of implementing
these plans outweighs the legitimate com-
plaints of the responsible, law-abiding stu-
dents who lease their rooms and who cause no
trouble. One such proposal is to have DPS
officers and trainees monitor the fire alarm
boxes after midnight to deter pranksters.
The University could even start a work
study program hiring students to monitor
the alarms.
The second proposal is to place an
unwashable dye on the fire alarms. This would
cause a great number of potential trouble-

makers to think twice, as anyone - a fellow
resident, a professor or a stranger - could
view the stains on a culprit's fingers and
report it to DPS. Also, the simple installa-
tion of cameras around fire alarm sites would
challenge those few brave souls who now
risk being so easily identified - all in the
name of a few cheap thrills.
For some time now, University officials
have been launching a campaign to reinvigo-
rate the process and encourage reluctant stu-
dents to live in residence halls. They are
frustrated as they've lost over $400,000 in
revenue in the past year alone, as many stu-
dents have opted to live off campus.
Each year, more and more students realize
that living in residence halls is not advanta-
geous. False fire alarms are part of the reason.
No one would want to live in an apartment
building where pranksters pull fire alarms.
almost nightly, and the management acts as if
it doesn't care. This is exactly what's occur-
ring in University dorms. Residents, many of
whom pay "rent" prices higher than those
living in off-campus apartment buildings, are
forced to deal with troublesome and irratating
false alarms while the administrators, the
"management," refuses to address the prob-
lem - and at the same time, demanding
payment in full of students' room and board
Dealing with the problem of false fire
alarms won't necessarily be simple. How-
ever, it should not cost residences any extra
money. If the University can afford to give
thousands of dollars in raises to its adminis-
tration, then it can afford to pay for solutions
to the problem of false fire alarms. But for
the 'U,' which is cheaper, to pay money
now and have a better chance of keeping
more students in the residence halls, or to
continue to ignore the problem and stand by
helplessly as another $400,000 is lost next


Don't confuse inexperience and bias

To the Daily:
Mark Fletcher's letter (2/
14/94) was poorly thought
out. Fletcher claims the
Daily's coverage of Bay
Buchanan's Feb. 2 speech
was biased. He criticizes the
Daily reporter for describing
the audience as "largely
partisan." Fletcher asserts the
audience was not partisan
because "all were invited."
Fletcher forgets the College
Republicans' flyers, which
read "Liberals beware!" --
hardly invitations for all to
attend Buchanan's speech.
Perhaps those flyers
explain why so few people
spoke out against Buchanan's
ideas. Fletcher says "only
one" person challenged
Buchanan openly. Fletcher
fails to explain why only one
person from this supposedly
nonpartisan crowd (on a left-
leaning campus) challenged
Buchanan's conservative
ideas. Perhaps so few spoke
out because the crowd was
indeed "largely partisan,"
composed of conservatives
and not the liberals the
College Republicans told to
"beware!" Fletcher could
argue that more liberals didn't
speak because they found
Buchanan blindingly
convincing. He doesn't, and
Buchanan wasn't. I know, I

was there.
So was my brother, Frank.
Fletcher mocked the Daily for
quoting Frank, whom Fletcher
calls "a child." Frank is 14,
but as he told me over the
phone, "Just because I'm a
'child' doesn't mean I'm an
idiot, or that my opinion
doesn't count." In calling my
brother names, Fletcher
overlooks this concept: if a 14
year old can see the flaws in
Buchanan's ideas, then
perhaps Buchanan's ideas are
not so perfect.
"Perfect," I agree, does not
describe the Daily's coverage
of Buchanan's speech. The
reporter misnamed my brother
("Giancolla") and (according
to Frank) misquoted him.
These mistakes are excusable;
the reporter is a student and
was working under deadline
pressure. What's more
important is how the reporter
tried to balance Buchanan's
views with views that
opposed hers. Those opposing
views were few (that's
because the audience was
"largely partisan"), but the
reporter quoted conservatives
too. The worst one can say
about the reporter is that he's
inexperienced. That doesn't
mean he is biased.
LSA senior

Clinton strikes out

With both state and federal politicians
coming under increasing pressure to
solve the perceived epidemic of crime, the
"three strikes and your out" plan has risen in
popularity. The idea, supported by 80 per-
cent of Americans, refers to the proposed
measure that would mandate that once a
person has been convicted of three (violent)
felonies, the judge has no choice but to
sentence the person to life in prison without
parole. This is already on the books in the
state of Washington, is part of the president's
crime package, and is being considered in
various forms by 30 states - this could
conceivably affect the entire American judi-
cial system. Instead of being "tough but
smart," on crime , this law is not particularly
intelligent, and it is extremely counterpro-
ductive in the prevention of crime.
First, no one is suggesting that repeat
offenders not be sentenced to long, hard
time. People convicted of violent crimes
should go to jail and stay there until they are
no longer a threat to society. However, the
Lott Amendment is nothing but window dress-
ing by politicians to try and appear tough on
crime without actually doing anything about
The most obvious problem is that people
who commit crimes deemed violent, but not
necessarily dangerous - such as snatching
a purse and pushing the victim down - will
qualify in some proposed state versions. In
the state of Washington, where the law has
been on the books for two months, obvious
flaws are already evident. A 35-year old
man, who has been convicted of two felo-
nies is now facing his third, and a lifetime
sentence. For his first conviction, he pushed
his grandfather down and took $390; the
other, he robbed a pizza parlor of $100,
threatening the clerk with a concealed fin-
ger. His third offense was holding up a

cealed finger was a gun. While not a role
model citizen, this person does not deserve
life imprisonment. To do so is a strain on the
jail system, one that desperately needs room
for more serious offenders.
There are other defects as well. A sym-
pathetic jury in a minor felony trial, decid-
ing between two drastic alteratives, acquit-
tal or life in jail, may very easily acquit.
Even though the person should be convicted
and do time, there will be no flexibility,
under the three strikes proposal, to take
account of mitigating circumstances, previ-
ous record, or the amount of time between
each conviction.
Other factors are many. Once inmates
meet the age of 60, their capacity to do
violence decreases greatly, yet they will
remain in jail at a cost of $25,000 a year , per
inmate. As well, there are cases where people
being picked up by police have used vio-
lence to resist. With their third conviction
and life imprisonment looming, they felt
they had nothing to lose. Finally, people
facing a third conviction will almost cer-
tainly fight tooth and nail through the courts
to avoid the mandatory sentence, thus clog-
ging the already overburdened court sys-
People who have committed their third
violent crime are likely to receive long
sentences without this law anyway. If they
are not, then something is wrong with the
judicial system, something much more seri-
ous than any "three strikes" bill will solve.
In the words of former Deputy Attorney
General Philip Heymann, "This is simply a
bad deal ... Politics has overwhelmed serious
The politicians should come up with
better alternatives to solve crime and calm
an over anxious public, but not with propos-
als that are clearly cheap "fixes,' and short

Why I'm not seeking
To the Daily:
While I do look forward to
having a social life next year,
it is not the reason I am not
seeking re-election as MSA
I am not running for MSA
president because I have 100
percent confidence that Julie
Neenan, Jacob Stern and the
rest of the Michigan Party will
continue to improve MSA and
expand its leadership role on
campus. Therefore, I feel
comfortable pursuing some of
my other interests on campus,
knowing MSA will continue
to move forward under
Michigan Party leadership.
Also, with less time
committed to MSA, I will
actually be able to devote
some of my time to studying
for classes and the upcoming
Some of my goals for the
next year include placing a
student on the Board of
Regents and improving the
quantity and quality of
programming on this campus;
on such issues, I plan to
continue to work in
conjunction with MSA and
other student organizations.
Not being MSA president will
allow me to focus my energy
on such specific goals.
Being MSA president is a
great job; I would enjoy being
president for another year, but
there are just too many other
things I want to do before
graduating from the
LSA junior
B-Ball players
embarrass Michigan
To the Daily:
How depressing to see the
good name of Michigan in the
headlines with regard to the
five "role-model" athletes.
I'm embarrassed to wear my
Michigan shirt in public.
Are these guys so destitute
that they have to resort to
shoplifting? And why are they
drinking beer during the
basketball season anyway?
They don't deserve a lot of
compassion or leniency for
putting Michigan in such a
bad light.
Class of 1952
IFC extends apologies
to rape survivors
To the Daily:
It is with great sadness that
I see the words fraternity and
sexual assault together once
again on the front page of the
Daily. The Interfratemity
Council has spent a great deal
of time and energy over the
past few years trying to
educate our membership about
the issues of sexual assault

The seven
Recently, I was approached by
a number of people asking me to
write about relationships
Specifically, this "number" was
one: myself. Considering the fact
that most people are now tanning
themselves in some exotic locale,
you, the reader, will be fortunate
enough to share in the fruits of my
knowledge. So for the sake of
of you, sit back, relax and remembe
to spit out the seeds.
I can almost hear your question
from where I'm sitting. Ho
couldyou know the first thing abou
relationships? Well, smart-ass,
happen to know quite a bit abou
associations between the sexes
thank you. I read a lot of books. And
if you must know, I just happen to
involved in one as we speak. W
sort of.
You see, we are not allowed t
refer to it as being a "relationship.'
This would naturally imply: nou
1. The state or character of bein
related or interrelated. This is bad
as it places a "label" on things. I
case you didn't know, label i
French for "bad." This is rule numbe
one: do not label.
Your next question is so obvio
that I will ask it for you: wha
mental or physical deficiency doe
this girl have to be seeing me? Is sh
blind? Schizophrenic? Rule numbe
two: do not ask questions. I am th
columnist here. But since you asked
I will bend the rules a bit and tell you
There is absolutely nothing wron
with this woman (whom, for th
sake of this column, I will refer to
say, "Heather"). Not only is sh
intelligent, beautiful and funny
(relatively speaking), she also ha
cool posters hanging in her room
Unless, of course, you get her angry
Then she will not hesitate to stab you
with a sharp object. However, th
wounds are usually not very dee
and most heal within 2-3 weeks.
Rule number three: relationship
never occur when you expect the
to. No joke, but I met "Heather'
standing in line at the post office
Usually, one ends up meeting th
person of his/her dreams while
engaging in such activities as Wh
Can Fart the Loudest, or while
delivering a pizza wearing a gian
pepperoni for a hat. As a matter o
fact, let's make this rule numbe
four: a person must be doi
something downright degrading
order to meet one's mate.
University of Michigan stud
showed tha a person picking his/he
nose is more than five times as likely
to meet someone than a person actin
like Mickey Rourke. Go figure.
Rule number five: women ar
impossible to figure out. Actually
this is straight from the Bible: "An
God created women who, qui
frankly, are impossible to figure out.'
Men are simple: we want sex
Consider the following though
processes of a young couple
initiating a potential relationship:
Woman: Gee, that guy looks
kind, caring, and intelligent.

Maybe we could get together
and read Dostoyevsky.
Man: I want sex.
Women, being women, mus
necessarily over-analyze
everything in a relationship. It's i
their genes. Just the other day,
generously sent "Heather" a knife
which happened to have some bloo
on it. "What does this mean?," sh
asked accusingly. "Nothing," I tol
her. "I just thought you may like t
have a bloody knife." See what
Ever give your significant othe
Something Costly, like a car, onl
to be dumped seconds later? Sill
fool. You have failed to read rul
six: learn the signals in an
relationship. Just follow this handy
dandy guide, and you are on the
road to love:
If you receive a: It means:
Car Your





Ode to a dress code
There once was a fellow most foolish
who thought skirts and sweaters were schoolish
in pants we are flirts
but its too cold for skirtsg
this draconian measure is ghoulish
For Brian academics would better
if we all donned a skirt and a sweater
about the dress code
it is a load
guess what we think of your letter
There once was a man named Brian
whose clothes fetish there is no denyin'
my sweats turn him off
my jeans make him scoff
but a few good laughs he's supplyin'
Dear Brian your letter's a joke
you sound like a stuffy old bloke
America 's free
no damn skirts for me
my rights and liberties you choke
My knowledge comes from the head
but you speak of my clothing instead
I'd be just as smart
if I dressed like a tart
your letter just makes me see red
Apparently if we dressed nicely
our work would be done more concisely
we'd stick to the books
without getting looks
these are Brian's thoughts precisely
The new dress code is a must
slacks, collars and ties are quite just
I strongly agree
With Brian, vou see




Bloody knife

wants to run
you over.
Your lover
thinks you



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