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April 07, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 7, 1995

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

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES NASH
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.
Faiing th stuents
LSA worong to limit pass/fail for languages

Up until now, students have had the choice
of taking their language classes pass/
fail. This option allows LSA students to
fulfill the fourth-term proficiency required
for a B.A. or B.S. degree without the pressure
of worrying about their grades. But this week,
in a misguided attempt to improve the quality
of language courses, the LSA faculty voted
almost unanimously to eliminate the pass/
fail option for courses that fulfill the fourth
semester of the language requirement. This
action flies directly in the face of common
sense and shows that the majority of LSA
faculty do not understand the problems that
beset language programs at the University.
The motivation for the change is not rooted
in myopia. It is an undeniable fact that many
language courses need significant improve-
ment. The problem with the faculty's pass/
fail solution is that it fails to take into account
the true nature of these flaws and address them
accordingly.
Supporters of the change place the blame
for the low quality of language courses on the
students. They assume that students taking a
course pass/fail are not motivated to do more
than the C- work necessary to pass the course.
Thus, the quality of the course declines be-
cause students don't care. This is true to an
extent, but language courses are of low qual-
ity for many reasons - not just student
participation. While the pass fail/option con-
tributes to the overall lack of motivation,
there are serious internal flaws within many
language courses that contribute a great deal
more. This new solution fails to address these
shortcomings - and until it does, the courses
will continue to be substandard. The only
thing eliminating pass/fail for the fourth term

will do is damage students' GPAs.
Above and beyond the LSA faculty's
misguided intentions, this action demon-
strates a lack of faculty respect for students.
LSA Dean Edie N. Goldenberg remarked
after the proceeding that there was over-
whelming support for the measure from the
faculty present. Perhaps - but she men-
tioned no overwhelming support from the
students. The fact is, students are in large
measure opposed to this change. It has been
made clear by LSA Student Government and
the student body in general that this is exactly
what students do not want. In passing this
proposal, the faculty ignored their wishes.
The resolution itself is also disrespectful
in that it treats college students like young
children. Some students are undoubtedly less
mature than others, especially in language
classes, but it is not the place of the faculty to
use academic discipline to stop it. The as-
sumption in college is that students take their
education seriously and care about the courses
they elect. If they do not -as is too often the
case in language courses - the University
must address it not by limiting student op-
tions but by looking at the courses them-
selves and attempting to make them more
desirable.
The LSA faculty's attempts to improve
language courses at the University are well-
intentioned. Many of the courses definitely
need upgrading. Before this can happen, how-
ever, the flaws need to be identified and
understood. As this proposal indicates, the
faculty is currently hiding behind quick-fix
solutions. LSA would be well served to re-
search this issue further before making sweep-
ing changes to the pass/fail option.

Hi
if t
It is almost that time of year when high
school seniors in the state of Michigan
and around the country, faced with decid-
ing their immediate future, must ask that
life-altering question: "beer or liquor"?
Since that question has such an obvi-
ous answer ("both"), these high school
seniors might eventually get around to
deciding where to go to college. And when
they do, there is one university that will
undoubtedly be at the top of everyone's
list, a true leader and the best.
But not everyone can get into Harvard,
and so some of these seniors will undoubt-
edly be left with the University of Michi-
gan on their lists. The decision of whether
or not to spend the next five or six years in
Ann Arbor will come down to a list of pros
and cons.
First, the pros. The University has a
lovely campus, completely with its own
set of trees, called an "arboretum," or
"place to get stoned among the insects."
The Law Quad is beautiful, a three-dimen-
sional postcard, and overall the campus is,
like many pictures, picturesque.
The University also has fine academ-
ics, or so say the people at U.S. News and
World Report, and they should know, be-
cause they have, on numerous occasions,
visited campus. Other evidence that the
University has fine academics: Many rec-
ognized smart people have graduated from

[AEL RosENBERG

here, such as James Earl Jones, Dan
Dierdorf and a whole bunch of astronauts
nobody can name.
Another strong point of the University
is the athletic department. Year after year,
Michigan absolutely dominates the nation
- in merchandise sales. OK, so national
championships are about as rare as text-
books that cost less than $427, but the
bottom line is that Michigan wins a whole
lot in almost every sport, and when it
comes to violating NCAA rules, the Wol-
verines rarely get caught.
So those are the pros, pretty much, the
reasons teens around the United States
would want to attend this here University.
Now for the cons. Ann Arbor is colder
than wind, a town where coffee freezes in
your hand. This wouldn't be a major prob-
lem except that you have to spend some of
your time outside, namely all of it.
Another problem is that the University
is larger than Chris Farley, causing stu-
dents to complain that they "feel like a
number here," as though people have So-
cial Security numbers instead of names.
This is only partly true. In fact, students
have a 10th digit added to their Social
Security number to form their student ID
number. In other words, SOCIAL SECU-
RITY NUMBERS ARE NOT SPECIFIC
ENOUGH FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF
MICHIGAN.

But let's say that some of these high
school seniors concentrate on the pros,
overlook the cons, and -. realizing that
they weren't accepted anywhere else
decide to come to Ann Arbor for college.
These students will spend weeks deciding
on majors, courses and professors. Frankly,
this is a waste of time, since in five years
they will all be flipping burgers some-
where.
What's important for the students is
where to live during their "freshman" (read:
clueless) year. The choices vary, but eacl4
student is destined for a certain dorm.
Simplyput, this is how it breaks down:
Those who don't sleep live in South
Quad. Those who don't talk live in
Couzens. Those who do talk, but say things
like "Shaw, I, like, totally know what you
mean. You know what I mean?" live in
Alice Lloyd. (Northwest Airlines now of-
fers direct flights from the loading dock at
Lloyd to Long Island.) Those who engi-
neer live on North Campus. Those who
don't like rats live in Stockwell, Mosher-
Jordan or West Quad. All others live in
Markley.
And so it is with the admissions pro-
cess, which comes to an end once again in
a few short weeks. High school seniors
will attend Michigan for different reasons.
As long as they pay their tuition, it
doesn't really matter. 4

RosEs Axe RF~n

gh school seniors decide
hey shouldjoin 'U'

I"

Jim LASER
b /

SHARP AS TOAST!

NotABIE QUOTABLE
"U-M did not come
out a winner and
Michigan State
University and
Western Michigan
University did
come out as
winners."
- State Rep. Mary Schroe
(D-Ann Arbor), on the
passage of the higher
education appropriations
budget in the state House

i "f
' .

Motor City breakdown
State budget proposals would hurt Detroit

- r
Goop Sylbc F 5T StxE!

WHAT "5 WROI~JbWirH
CRAJDPA? WHY 15 HE
cRYIN~c-,.... 0V1 o
GRANJ MA VPIE ?

NO, " W H
YANKEES
,'vs -
RLAS ED
R-imI

n the quest for a responsible state budget,
cultural programs are often the first to hit
the chopping block. In times of fiscal neces-
sity, when the cuts need to be made in the best
interest of the state, this is politically under-
standable. However, during times of pros-
perity in the state's economy, it is hard to
justify slashing funds for the Detroit Histori-
cal Museum, police department and Cobo
Hall, three programs vital to the fiscal and
cultural health of Detroit.
The cutting of $2.2 million in funds to the
police department clearly is misguided. One
would expect that this aspect of Gov. John
Engler's proposal will not make it past the
"get tough on crime" state Legislature. Cut-
ting the crime lab and patrol funds for events
such as parades and the Detroit Grand Prix
are, simply, stupid. The last thing that metro-
politan Detroit and the surrounding commu-
nities who rely on the crime lab are less
funding for patrols and enforcement.
The Detroit Historical Museums and Cobo
Hall are the less obvious misgivings about
Engler's proposed cuts. But as Detroit Mayor
Dennis Archer has noted, these programs
affect all of southeastern Michigan. Statis-
tics show that the four museums and houses
operated by the Historical Society bring more
than 156,000 visitors to the city from outside
the Detroit area each year. These are dollars
r flowing into the city, not out. Furthermore,
Cobo Hall, site of the North American Auto
Show and numerous state conventions, has
seen more than a 50-percent increase in con-
How TO CONTACT THEM

vention bookings since Archer took office.
With these events comes a windfall for down-
town Detroit hotels, restaurants and shop-
ping areas.
The past three years have already seen a
decrease of 44 percent in state allocations to
the Historical Society. If further cuts take
place, the museums will have to severely
reduce staff and hours. Inevitably, they will
start closing their doors permanently.
For the outstate lawmakers in the state
Legislature, this is not a problem. They fail to
see that depriving Detroit has implications
that affect the rest of the state. Quality of life
in the metropolitan area is important for the
economic health of Michigan. The less money
that is brought into the city's coffers, the
more money the state will have to provide to
prop up the city's already weak tax base.
Archer and many others in Detroit have
made many valid and successful attempts at
reversing the decline of the city. Engler and
state lawmakers cannot expect growth to
continue if Detroit officials' hands are tied
behind their backs financially. The cost ben-
efits of keeping venerable cultural institu-
tions and Cobo Hall open are clear. Cuts
aimed at the police department are patently
ludicrous.
State legislators must look at where Detroit
is going. If they choose to ignore the implica-
tions of these cuts, and slash programs to
finance Engler's politics, then they will start
the ball rolling that will force Detroit to return
to the dismal path of financial ruin.

LETTERS
Journalistic
ethics ignored
To the Daily:
What has happened to integ-
rity? What has happened to eth-
ics in journalism?
.An article appeared on the
front page of the Daily ("Base-
ball asst. coach leaves amid con-
flict, 3/21/95) concerning assis-
tant baseball coach Dan
O'Brien. The article quoted sev-
eral players and unnamed
sources about the issue of his
leaving the baseball program.
I know that your publication
is obligated to report news to the
student body. But issues were
raised in the article that have no'
place in any publication without
real facts to back them up. Many
are afforded the luxury of opin-
ion without addressing fact, but
not a newspaper because it is a
powerful outlet that influences
opinions. You can't just write
what some people say and not
give others an equal voice.
College players are often
thrust into the spotlight because
of the media and thus given an
undeserved position of author-
ity. What do they know? Not
much, only what they hear, and
locker-room talk often is a very
watered-down version of the
truth. But, your publication ob-
viously puts a lot of stock in
speculation.
Speculation occupies 75 per-
cent of the article. The article
says players observed visible
strain between coach Freehan
and coach O'Brien, yet never

ticle appear on the front page of
the Daily. The authors picked on
the immaturity of uninformed
athletes whose opinions stem
from rumor and hearsay. Sure
it's spicy. All controversy is. But
it has no place without letting the
head coach respond.
What can be done about this
tremendous breach of ethics?
Well, it is too late to undo much
of the damage. Other newspa-
pers have already picked up the
story and further raise specula-
tion about the dealings of the
baseball program. The Daily has
unknowingly tarnished its repu-
tation by raising issues without
providing both sides of the story.
It makes the University look bad,
it makes coach Freehan look
bad, and it makes the Daily look
more like a tabloid that a reli-
able source of information. The
bounds of editorial freedom
stretch only as far as the truth.
Matthew Hyde
LSA junior
Fans spoiled
To the Daily:
Michigan fans are spoiled. In
their columns on Monday ("For
unknown reasons, 'M' can't
shake curse," "Blue fans endure
year of tragedies," 4/3/95), Brett
Forrest and Paul Barger basi-
cally said that Michigan's ath-.
letic teams suffered through a
"year of tragedies." It is pitiful
that the opinion of the Daily's
sportswriters is also shared by
many of Michigan's students:
Unless our team wins the na-

in one big circle.
After I returned to Ann Ar-
bor from R.I., all I could hear
about was how Michigan
"choked" again. Michigan fans
have to wake up and rid them-
selves of their diapers and bibs.
We are not going to be national
champs in every sport, all the
time. Instead of focusing on the
successes of our teams, we only
remember the negatives.
What will you remember
about the Fab Five? One of the
most incredible basketball
classes ever recruited or failing
to win two national titles? What
about this year's hockey team?
Back-to-back CCHA titles, a 30-
win season and a final four berth
or hey, we choked again!
I will remember Sakala,
Sinclair, Sacka, Willis, Knuble,
Hogan and Loges together as
teammates forthe lasttime. I will
remember them like I remember
all the athletes who wore maize
and blue this year - as winners.
All that Brett Forrest can say
"... is that the Wolverines, while
providing inspirational moments,
will always ultimately disap-
point."
All that I can say to Brett
Forrest and the other fair-weather
fans is: Stay at home! Leave the
games to the real fans. Then the
only "tragedy" of next year will
be ifyourmommydoesn'tchange
your diaper!
Matthew McAskln
LSA junior
Faculty has no
cav in ti dtinn

choose its own professors."
A university administration
enjoys no such "right" and it
strikes me that this may be an-
other instance of widespread ig-
norance as to the roles of admin-
istrators and faculties in univer-
sities. (In another publication this
week, the Michigan Review, I
read the astoundingly ill-in-
formed statement that the facul
can choose to raise tuition when-
ever it pleases.)
At the University of Michi-
gan both professional appoint-
ments and increases in tuition are
made by the Board of Regents.
The faculty has a great deal to do
with such appointments, as it does
with curricular and academi
matters generally. It has nothi
to do with tuition increases (ex-
cept generally to deplore them);
these are the work of an adminig-
tration that keeps repeating that it
cannot raise tuition forever and
just as consistently raises tuition.
In a related news story, as to
the state Legislature's higher
education subcommittee'
move to cut University appr'
priations next year, Regent An-
drea Fischer Newman (R-Ann
Arbor) says it makes her won-
der who is representing us in
Lansing, and University flak
Walter Harrison warns darkly
that the only alternative to a
tuition raise would be firings. I
can with confidence assurere
ers of the Daily there will be a
tuition increase next year, what-
ever the outcome of state appro-
priations deliberations.-The rea-
son is that without increased

University Regent Nellie Varner
(D-Detroit)
771 East 8 Mile Rd., Suite 223
natit MI ASAY)(

University Regent Daniel Horning
(R-Grand Haven)
600 S. Beacon Blvd.
Grand Pmnidc MI AQA17

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