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April 18, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-18

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 18, 1996

a1te £irbtgi n &Idg

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily
Pomp & circumstance
Students should set tone of graduation

'if they lose their e-mail privileges for a
day or two, that's too bad.'
- ITD Associate Director Laurie Burns, discussing the
possible consequences for sending unsolicited e-mail
I (
~i~l \\
(D NE WS1 Al' *f wIL L BE 4.A YiN' oFF1 e MY P/ f Dor
noW N5/Z/A#G Y ANoIHER zoooo .E'LL 8E HFAVINA4 UP SooN

magine getting up in front of 5,000 peers
and spectators in Michigan Stadium to
,give parting words of wisdom. This year's
student commencement speaker, Marian
Fiona Bouch, will do just that. She said of
her speech, "I ask people to consider what it
means to graduate at the U-M."
Many students complain each year about
the commencement speaker choices. The
University Board of Regents selected
Spelman College President Johnnetta Cole,
who is considered a black woman pioneer in
higher education, to speak at this year's
commencement ceremony. Apparently, the
student body would rather have President
Clinton, or even the Unabomber suspect,
who is a Michigan alum, to make the cere-
mony more interesting.
The graduating senior who is selected to
speak at the ceremony is closer to the stu-
dents than the commencement speaker.
Bouch was selected by a committee consist-
ing of two. students, two staff members and
one faculty member. The makeup of the
committee was problematic - there was
not enough student input. A committee to
decide what speech will mean most to stu-
dents should be made up entirely of stu-
Not only does the University need a stu-
dent commencement speaker committee -
it needs to define what it wants from a grad-

uation ceremony. What's more important:
the graduation speakers or the beach-ball
party on the field? Depending on the
answer, the choice of speaker could be very
different. Students must decide whether
they would prefer a campus leader, a ran-
dom - but enthusiastic - student, or a
moving speaker. If the answer is all of the
above, then they may need to conduct a
more thorough search for future speakers.
Former Michigan Student Assembly
President Flint Wainess said, "(The admin-
istration) select(s) speeches that essentially
say 'Go Blue' and are conformist, status
quo speeches." If that's what the students
want, so be it. But on such a memorable
day, they may want to hear something a lit-
tle more relevant to their lives, past and
future. Whatever students decide, it is
important that the commencement ceremo-
ny retain a student speaker. Commencement
is a ceremony for students; it's appropriate
to have at least a portion of the event led by
a student. Graduation marks a beginning
and an end. A student speaker needs to
reflect seniors' hard work and talent over
the past four years, as well as the crowds'
mixture of fear, excitement and nostalgia.
The only way to ensure this type of a
speaker at graduation is to have a diverse
student committee choose the speaker and
set the mood.

Farewell to
the Daily
Editors' note: This letter
was not initially run in its
entirety; it is being run again
to restore its original intent.
I have been an avid read-
er of the Daily for four years,
over which time it has
evolved from a big liberal
mass of pulp to, um, basical-
ly the same thing. At this
time, however, the Daily is
recovering from a political
attack that is being fueled by
multiple elements on this
campus. So I figured that, as
a final service to the Daily, I
could suggest a few ideas to
develop your integrity and
enhance your ability to
enlighten the student body:
1) 1 think Kate Epstein is
the best of your columnists
this year. She is unique in
that I can parse her columns
and usually find some decent
thought and information
among all the gobbledegook
(in this case, feminist
dogma). Monday's column
("Behind the migraine
myth") about migraines is an
excellent example.
For Epstein. I would rec-
ommend locking her in a
room with a stereo playing
Tammy Wynette's "Stand By

Your Man" over and over
again. Then maybe her evi-
dent sentiments would at
least soften a bit. (Sorry.)
Farewell, Daily.
A national
This is in response to
"Linguistic Diversity: Court
must strike English-only
amendment," (4/1/96). It is
essential for immigrant-built
nations to move carefully
when addressing issues sur-
rounding linguistics. In
Canada, we have traditionally
viewed our integration of
immigrant communities as
adding a new, distinctive
piece to our cultural "mosa-
Immigrants are encour-
aged to maintain their ethnic
identities and add them to the
national identity. They are
asked to learn one of two lan-
guages: English and French.
Canada's current national
unity crisis is centered
around two "founding
nations" (although our First
Nations people smile at this):
a French nation and an

English nation. Revisionists
believe the English imposed
this union on the French.
Hence, we have a movement
pushing for an independent
Quebec. The francophones
are not resisting assimilation.
If the United States chooses
to enshrine English as its
official language, then it
should be viewed as a desire
to have a common language.
Askingz citizens to speak
English does not have to
mean that they give up their
mother tongues. On the West
Coast of Canada, for exam-
ple, we have large communi-
ties of immigrants from vari-
ous Asian cultures. Our
schooling is done in English.
However, we have courses in
Chinese, Japanese and
Punjabi in a recognition of
the strong presence of these
languages in our society.
English as as second lan-
guage programs must be sup-
ported. Individual rights must
be preserved, especially in
the justice system. The rights
of communities to maintain a
local working language other
than English must be recog-
nized. Holding the rights of a
United States citizen should
not be predicated on fluency
in English.

A taxing amendment
Congress must protect its right to levy taxes

tips forfinding
an internship
as a ranger
Summer's almost here, and thet
means we get to trade our ho"
in Angell Hall for homes in cop
rooms in intern-
ships across the
country. Those of
us who got intern-
ships, anyway.
Although I've had
three internships,
I decided I wanted
to get paid this
year, and now I'm
looking into being
a park ranger in
Alaska. KATIE
Thereason: I've HUTCHINS
gotten 10 rejec-
tion letters and 20 "no" responses and
five correspondents that:say "we lost
your resume - send it again." But for
those lucky ones who will be taking
off to PSIP softball tournaments in
Washington, D.C., or working at so
hot-shot business firm. I thought I
offer a few tips I learned throughtmy
mistakes over the years:
Cover your ass, and take the
blame. I learned this during an intern-
ship in speechwriting a few summers
ago. I worked at the Department of
Health and Human Services. Another
intern and I were writing a memo to
the secretary. Both our names went on
the memo, and I neglected to realize
that it meant I was personally respo9
sible for everything in it.
When my boss called me into his
office to ask why the hell we wrote
such-and-such. I smiled prettily, trying
to think of some professional way to
defend it. All I could come up with
was, "Well, we had a long argument
about that point, and Kyu won."
He ripped me apart in a polite, but
biting lecture about office politics.
Always take the blame, even if iO
your fault.
I cried a lot that night, but I got over
it and have since learned that empo-
ers will respect .you much more if you
allow yourself to be chewed out.
Be nice to the other interns. I
learned this in the White House, where
I was surrounded by pompous Ivy
League nerds who thought they were
God's gift to Cabinet Affairs. Quite
appropriately humble they were, wh
the bosses came around, but they we
alittle snotty when dealing with me.
So I, of course, pulled out my stellar
qualification: I may not go to Harvard,
but I was a reporter and a production
editor for The Michigan Daily.
Needless to say, that didn't go over too
well, and made for quite an uncom-
fortable few months.l
Be professional. My White House
office was a pretty informal atmo
phere. We went to happy hour togeth-
er, and tossed balls back and forth with
our 23-year-old boss.
But that didn't mean we didn't have
to be professional. I learned this the
day we had little American flags from
some event, and we thought it would
be funny if I put my hair in a bun and
had two flags sticking out of it. Funny,
yes. Until Secretary Cisneros walked
Not only is this guy big and imp4
tant, but he's cute, too. So I jumped up
to shake his hand as I pulled flags out

of my hair. Not a good first impres-
Be honest. This goes a long way.
The day Jerry Garcia died, the whole
office was busy preparing briefing
packets for a cabinet meeting. My boss
walks in giving me three more assign-
mentsand 200 more copies toado
muttered something insulting as
was leaving (I can't print it here) and
he asked to see me in the hall.
I was in deep shit. I had few options,
so I told the truth: "Didn't you hear?
Jerry Garcia died." With this, I broke
down into a new flood of tears and the
assignments went to another intern.
The honesty thing also comes into
play when you're given too many
assignments to handle.Bosses love it
when you can admit you're no
H Be humble. I had this problem at
HHS. I had done a lot of research for
an op-ed on drug abuse, and the peo-
ple at the National Institute on Drug
Abuse (whom I fondly called the
"drug chicks") wanted to take a look.
They ripped it apart. I proceeded to
throw a fit, saying I was the one who
did the research and worked hard; t
drug chicks knew nothing aboutt
Thankfully, I was only quietly repri-
manded for this.
Get to know your boss, and follow
up with him after your internship's
over. I know too many former interns

On Monday, the U.S. House of
Representatives fell just 37 votes
short of the two-thirds majority needed for
:passing a Constitutional amendment. The
:proposal would require a two-thirds "super-
-najority" in Congress to pass all but the
,post menial tax increases. The amendment
-vould have made it virtually impossible for
congress to raise taxes. Although it was
wise for Congress to reject the amendment,
't is troubling that the vote was close - a
mnajority in the House supported the amend-
nent and it could be brought back again.
The amendment would strike a massive
blow to America's economic future, and it
constitutes a bold attack on the foundations
of the American system of government.
The proposal is based on the idea that
Iax hikes are undesirable - and thus should
"be made nearly impossible. History, howev-
er, lends little credence to this argument.
Without the ability to raise taxes, the United
States could never have ended the Great
Depression. Victory in the Cold War would
have been a pipe dream. Social Security and
Medicare would be novel proposals, and
nothing more.
Today, politicians would not be dis-
cussing plans for a balanced budget on
America's terms - they would instead be
dealing with a fiscal crisis of unprecedent-
ed proportions, since the current budget
deficit would be two to three times its pre-
sent size. The proposed amendment wisely
allows for exemptions during wartime.
However, America has often needs to meet
challenges with tax increases when at
Moreover, this amendment not only
would spell doom for the American econo-
my in the 21st century, it would do more to
undermine the basic premises of the gov-
ernment than any previous Constitutional

amendment. Perhaps the most important
privilege extended to Congress by Article I
of the Constitution is the right to "lay and
collect taxes." The framers of the
Constitution envisioned that the mainte-
nance of federal taxation would be subject
to majority rule, like almost all other con-
gressional business. A few extraordinary
congressional powers - such as presiden-
tial veto overrides and the power to
impeach - are limited by the need for
"super-majorities." However, the power to
tax is not an extraordinary power. It is, in
fact, the most basic congressional power. To
undermine it would be a fundamental blow
to America's system of government.
The proposed constitutional amendment
is clearly the result of political calculations
- the vote came on the federal tax return
deadline in an election year. Apologists for
the representatives who supported the
amendment call it a harmless election-year
gimmick. But a vote to amend the
Constitution is one of the most serious and
sacred votes that a member of Congress can
cast. It is repugnant that congressional
Republicans held this vote as a campaign
stunt - it was as if they were trying to
write their sound bites into the
If this amendment were adopted, the
results would be disastrous. If this Congress
does not want to raise taxes, it does not have
to raise taxes. However, it is arrogant for
today's Congress to ensure that future
Congresses cannot raise taxes either. The
amendment would undermine America's
economic future; it would constitute a pro-
found attack on the Constitution's design of
the federal government. The votes cast in
support of the amendment were brazen acts
of irresponsibility that the public should not
soon forget.

Black, white and gray: The future university

Garrison Keillor, in his
weekly radio broadcast from
Lake Wobegon, is fond of say-
ing that his is a community
where everybody is a little bit
above average. As the last
chapter of our undergraduate
lives at the University is writ-
ten, we realize that we too can
say this about ourcommunity.
It is a community that we have
been integrally involved in for
the last four years, first as edi-
torial page editors of the
Daily, and until this week as
presidentdand vice president
of the -Michigan Student
Assembly. We graduate com-
fortable that we have done
what we can to shape the past
and present University; butas
we sit down and try to assess
the future of our community,
we cannot help but be startled
by the weight of the chal-
lenges that lie ahead. It will
require being more than a lit-
tle above average to meet the
challenges of a generation.
The challenges of our gen-
eration are not exactly the
same as the challenges facing
this great university; but par-
allels abound, and our diagno-
sis of the status quo applies as
much to problems sprouting
inside of our ivory walls as it
does to those rooted in the
larger society. Along the way
to diagnosing these problems,

abstract target of institutional
racism, as the speech in our
classrooms is dumbed down
by thought police clamoring
to label all dissent "racist," as
those that disagree with the
politics of campus publica-
tions seek to counter them not
with speech but with petty
acts of theftbwe are pes-
simistic. Yet we are optimistic,
because we see those that
have been disenfranchised for
so long finally able to secure
the promise of higher learn-
ing; we see classrooms that
finally tell the story of a
diverse American history,
departments that teach sub-
jects as variegated as Jewish,
African American and
Chicano history. We are opti-
mistic because we recognize
that even the evils of political
correctness result, as George
Bush told University gradu-
ates at 1991 commencement
ceremonies, "from a laudable
desire to sweep away the
debris of racism and sexism
and hatred."
Challenge No. 2: The
Information Age. As automa-
tion continues to cause unem-
ployment and economic inse-
curity; as computers replace
community; as the dominant
form of communication
becomes the faceless, voice-
less e-mail, we are pes-
simistic. We are the "World-
Wide Web generation," but
will the human element be

available, transcending politi-
cal, social and geographic
boundaries. A wired nation,
where schools and libraries
allow the have-nots the same
opportunities as the haves,
where no entity - not the
University nor Congress -
has the capability to attempt.
to regulate our interactions.
Challenge No. 3: Liberal
arts curriculum. As our liberal
arts colleges within the
University increase the num-
ber of requirements with little
vision for what sort of educa-
tion these requirements
should provide in the aggre-
gate; as a broad liberal arts
education providing students
with the tools to function in a
multifaceted workplace is
replaced by a curriculum that
allows students to take only
narrow courses dealing with
their own ethnic, racial and
religious backgrounds; as the
University develops innova-
tive educational approaches
such as living/learning com-
munities but can think of no
better way to make them
accessible than to mandate
them, we are pessimistic.
But how can our optimism
not shine through as we see
first-year students finally able
to interact with professors in
small seminars, a University
that admirably refuses to fol-
low the nationwide trend
away from a core curriculum,
in search of a misplaced


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