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October 01, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 1, 1996

(Jbe £irbi~tgrn mat g

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

**nless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily 'seditorial board. All
,., other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily
Enjoy the silence
U should add sign lanuage to curriculum

'I'm 53 years old. I don't really want to go there
(Washington, D.C.), but somebody's got to do the job.'
- Republican US. Senate candidate Ronna Romney, explaining her motivation
for pursuing Democratic incumbent Sen. Carl Levins ' seat
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T he third most common language in the
b United States is American Sign
Language. For those across the nation and
around the world who cannot hear, sign lan-
guage is an essential method of speech. Yet
the University does not offer this funda-
mental communication form as part of its
language curriculum.
The University presently offers 33 lan-
guages for credit. An ambitious student
longing to fulfill the LSA language require-
ment, but who is not interested in this list,
must contact the Academic Standards
Board to propose alternatives to the offered
classes. The option only applies to students
who already have a high level of proficien-
cy within their chosen language and are
hoping to pass out of the University's lan-
guage requirement. Learning ASL from
scratch would not earn a student language
So why does the University only offer
certain specific languages for credit and
exclude others that seem too be much more
appropriate? The criteria is unclear, consid-
ering the variety of languages currently
offered. It is nearly impossible to objective-
ly determine whether one language is more
useful than another. The student body has a
definite desire to learn ASL, even though it
isn't currently offered for credit. Every
week, a class of students meets on their own
time to learn a critical communication
method in the not-for-credit signing course
held in East Quad.
Beyond student interest, the University
should contemplate the other benefits ASL
offers. Signing would add significant depth
to a language department that has been
severely restricted by language labs and
annoying audio cassettes. The driving pur-
pose of language is communication. The

language department thoroughly covers
spoken and written language from French to
Tagalog, but neglects a remarkable portion
of the world's population that cannot con-
verse through sound. If the University's
goal is to prepare students to succeed in a
diverse society and global workplace, then
it must not ignore those who don't speak the
language of the majority. Instead, the
University should embrace the opportunity
to offer a colorful communication form that
is not dead or based on romantic deriva-
Moreover, the University's main state
rival, Michigan State University, offers ASL
for credit - and does not even have a lan-
guage requirement for graduation. The phi-
losophy behind learning a second language,
as outlined by the 1996-97 University
Bulletin, is to allow "access to the cultural
and intellectual heritage of the world's non-
English speaking majority ..." Also, it gives
a "new and reflective understanding of the
structure and complexity of English itself."
The mission statement narrows the lan-
guage requirement immediately to speech
by assuming that communication is only an
oral activity. That belief is mistaken - ASL
is also a viable form of "speaking" that does
not involve actual mouth movement.
Furthermore, signing allows the exploration
of an innovative culture void of sounds that
is not often tapped for intellectual perspec-
tives. Finally, ASL enhances appreciation of
spoken English by allowing students to
experience a unique form of discourse
through discrete hand motions.
The University should give ASL the
credit it deserves as an essential form of
communication in the world today by offer-
ing it as a regular part of the language
department curriculum.

Cheap politics
AMass. candidates cap campaign spending

M assachusetts has always had compet-
itive Senate races. Two years ago,
Democrat Ted Kennedy edged out
Republican Mitt Romney in a close cam-
paign. Once again, the state's U.S. Senate
race is one of the tightest in the nation.
Republican Gov. William Weld is running
against the incumbent Democratic Sen.
John Kerry. Both men are nationally known
figures and personify the ideals of their
party. At first, the race promised to be
expensive, while both candidates jockeyed
for the lead. But, in an historic move, they
decided to put a voluntary cap on their cam-
paign spending - a wise move that other
candidates should replicate.
Both candidates are wealthy. Weld is a
millionaire. And Kerry, who married Heinz
Ketchup heir Theresa Heinz last year,
acquired $760 million through his mar-
riage. Considering the amount of financial
resources available to both candidates, it is
surprising that they would voluntarily limit
potential spending.
But they did. Early in the campaign,
Weld and Kerry hammered out a spending
cap for their senatorial race. The agreement
prevents each candidate from spending
more than $6.9 million on this race. Neither
man can spend more than $5 million on
advertising. Moreover, neither candidate is
allowed to spend "soft money" - funds
that independent organizations can spend
on their preferred candidate. Also, each
candidate is allowed to spend only
$500,000 of his own money.
The cap will allow candidates to focus

suming activities in any campaign. Since
there is a limit on the amount they can
spend for television advertising, both candi-
dates will be more inclined to appear on
local talk shows and participate in town
meetings. They will be encouraged to tour
the tour the state frequently and meet
directly with voters, instead of relying sole-
ly on television advertising. In short, the six
million residents of Massachusetts will
know more about the men and their ideas,
and will not be as inundated with propa-
gandized advertisements.
The spending cap should not be the
exception to campaigns but the norm. Other
candidates around the country should
impose such caps; as the Massachusetts
race has demonstrated, the caps encourage
substantive, honest debate of the issues,
without as much emphasis on the fund rais-
ing and advertising.
For many larger states, $6.9 million will
not allow the candidates to be competitive.
For example, California has three major
media markets. So, candidates in each state
should develop systems that will be fair,
considering the size of the state. A little cre-
ativity goes a long way.
With each election year, television
advertising gets nastier. Campaigns are
becoming more expensive because candi-
dates are relying more on advertising to
promote themselves, rather than speaking
directly to the voters. Spending limits only
enhance the quality of the campaign -
they shift the focus onto issues and voters'
concerns. More candidates should consider

nipples poses
health risk
Regarding your article
"Personal Taste: Students
flock to join ring-bearers"
(9/26/96): Thank you for dis-
cussing the risk of infections
and the importance of having
sterile technique used for the
However, you neglected to
discuss that there are some
areas that are more prone to
infections because of the nor-
mal germs in those areas.
Germs are constantly present
in the nose and mouth so the
risk of contamination and
infection are greater there.
Another concern is the
piercing of the nipples. In the
Breast Care Center we have
treated major infections
(abscesses) of the breast in
women who have had their
nipples pierced. It may take
several months for the infec-
tion to be cleared. It may
involve a lot of pain, surgery
and the loss of some of the
breast. During the process of
clearing the infection a sec-
tion (a few inches in length
and depth) of the breast may
need to be incised and then
packed daily to keep it open
during the many weeks and
months it takes to heal. A
gaping, smelly wound is not
pleasant to have.
The problem is that the
nipple ring pierces the lacta-
tion duct system of the
breast, thus permanently
opening up a whole section
of the breast, exposing it to
the potential of infection as
long as the ring and pierced
opening remain.
My recommendation is:
choose a safer part of your
body to have pierced.
PH.D., R.N.
Israel was
wrong to
open tunnel
As a Muslim student here
at the University, I am
shocked at the news about
the Israelis opening a tunnel
near one of the three most
holy shrines in Islam.
Not only does this indi-
cate the absolute lack of
respect the Israelis have for
Muslims all over the world
and what they consider
sacred, but this is also a
direct and flagrant violation
against the Palestinians, who
hav n a iht to the Anca nrn

I am enraged by this inci-
dent and I fully condemn it,
and I hope my feelings,
which are shared by millions
of Muslims on this globe, are
voiced in The Michigan
Letter misses
point on
Andrew Nagrant seems to
have forgotten what the con-
cept of self-defense is all
about ("Abortion degrades
morality," 9/27/96). His state-
ment, "A loving, expectant
mother should be willing to
literally give her life if it
means that her child sur-
vives," tramples all over the
idea that a person has the
right to live and defend them-
Thanks to President Bill
Clinton, the decision of
whether a woman faced with
this predicament lives or dies
remains for her to make, not
for the government to dictate.
policies help
Throughout this political
season, I have heard a lot
about who would do this and
who would do that to help
American families. I have
become convinced that help-
ing families takes a lot more
than talk, though. It takes
Many issues make Bill
Clinton the best choice for
president. Throughout his
term, Clinton has shown
compassion and understand-
ing on social issues. Clinton
fought for laws that would
help the American family.
Thanks to the Health Care
Security Act, a worker who
has been laid off can still
keep his health care cover-
age. The Family and Medical
Leave Act has ensured that a
mother or father can now stay
home to watch over their
newborn without worrying
about the security of their
jobs. A comprehensive child
immunization plan is one of
the president's accomplish-
ments that we are proudest
of. It is a disgrace that a law
of this type was never passed
Throughout his adminis-
tration, the president has kept
an unwavering eye on the sta-
ti n im' ,. fnmili 1 no14P

done this through improving
both the educational system
and the environmental pro-
gram. Clinton expanded
Head Start and Pell grants.
He has also inducted the
Student Loan Reform Act.
Environmentally, Clinton
has expanded community
right-to-know programs giv-
ing residents information
about toxic emissions. He has
also worked to strengthen the
Environmental Protection
Agency's hand against negli-
gent businesses.
When students vote in
November, they should con-
sider which candidate has
shown, through his work, that
he truly cares about
Americans and their families.
I believe that person is Bill
break' does
not exist
Due to the two recent
Jewish (holidays), Rosh
Hashanah and Yom Kippur,
the debate concerning
University recognition ot reli-
gious holidays has been
brought to the forefront. The
Daily, as well as many letters
to the editor, have brought up
the need for the University to
give Jewish, Muslim, Hindu
and other students of
"diverse" religions the oppor-
tunity to observe their reli-
gious holidays, without being
academically penalized.
I agree completely with a
student'stdesire to actively
practice their religion; how-
ever, it has been mentioned
many times, especially in the
recent letter to the editor
("Jackson's audience was not
diverse," 9/26/96), that
Christian students are favored
by being given a lengthy
"Christmas break" at the
expense of students of other
This is the most ridicu-
lous and absurd thing I have
ever heard of. How are
Christian students favored?
Sure, everyone gets a break
at the end of December, but
it's conveniently called
"semester break." The only
reason we get this time off is
because Christmas is no
longer considered a Christian
holiday. It has undergone
considerable secularization
and has been turned into a
festival of materialism.
If Catholic and other
Christian students are so,
favored, how come when
Good Friday and Easter*
Sunday come around, stu-
dents who want to go home
to commemorate and cele-
brate these holiest of

Tender is
the night
hen I sat to write this colum I
had my heart set on sharingimy
perspective on the recent clashes inthe
Middle East.sm
Fortunately for the reader, the ge-
tlemen who live in the apart~f
building next door have this irritai
habit of playing
loud music where-
in the key lyrics
seem to repeat
themselves. Now.
many great songs 4
have repetitious
lyrics, but the only
words on this
album they listen
to seem to be A E
"bum, titty, ass" SAMUELt
and a few words GooDSTEIN
that sound so
much like "porcupine" it is uncanny.
So you can imagine hearing "bu,
titfy, ass, ass, porcupine, bum, porcu-
pine ..." could make it difficult to con-
centrate on Benjamin Netanyahu and
Yassir Arafat. Regardless, my colu
being temporarily hung up, I deckW
to go for a Saturday-night walk.
One of the very fortunate aspects of
being a fifth-year student who lives
alone is that you quickly pick up on
many of the nuances of campus life
hitherto unexposed. One of these
nuances is that everybody walking
around town on Saturday night seems
to be going somewhere, with some-
body. Since I had nowhere to go and
no one to go there with, I decided to
something pathetically nostalgic and
sappy: I would walk past each of he
last three houses I have lived in on
campus. To make a long story short,
each and every house I have lived in
on campus was having a huge party
Saturday night! Well, I figured, at least
each of these lovely homes had, in the
recent past,a year to rest,a sort o
structural rejuvenation.
But this was hardly the highlight*
my stroll. If any of you, oh readers are
ever bored, just walk around Ann
Arbor on a relatively mild Saturday
night, and listen to the sounds of ...
well, just listen. My first encounter:
Poorly-goateed, baseball-hatted,
Doc-Marten wearing youngster: Uh,
do you know where AEPi is?
Me: Yes, as a matter of fact I do.
Take US-23 North to the Pierson Road
exit. Take a right off the exit and
until you hit Saginaw Street. Then t
a left. You will see it clearly on'your
right-hand side.
Aforementioned youngster: Thanks,
dude. (Turning to his friend): I bet he
didn't get in.
Only a few blocks after this unfortu-
nate experience, I saw three people
skipping down the street singing the
"Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth
Symphony. Now if this isn't 4
enough, try the fact that they were
dressed up as an Orthodox Rabbi, a
giant banana and Woody Allen. Maybe
the third guy just looked like Woody
Allen, but given the circumstances, I
assume it was a costume. Especially
given the fact that the third guy was a
female, I am quite sure it was a disguise.
At the end of the block I bumped into
one of my only friends on campus, hetself
dressed like a watch. "What is going on?"
I demanded. "Costume party." "Oh."
Feeling a bit ruffled from" the
evening, I asked my watch-friend to

walk me home. She agreed, but want-
ed to check her e-mail at the comput-
ing center, which is on the :way.
Despite my reservations about entir-
ing the computing center with a giant
watch, I was in no position to object.
Now, if any of you have ever beepin
the computing center very late
Saturday, you may understand.
alarm at the following (or you may be
the cause of my alarm at the follow-
ing): there were about 30 guys, spread
out evenly throughout the center, look-
ing at pornographic pictures on the
'Net. Each time the watch and I would
walk past, they would quickly click on
to either some video game with guns,
or the Oscar Wilde homepage. Now I
have seen guys sneaking a peek at bom-
puter-based nudity before, but they te
stand out late on a Saturday night.
Finally,- I dragged the watch but,
telling her I had to get home to write
this column. She said "Jesus, Sam, are
you going to write another boring col-
umn about politics?" It is one thing-to
be insulted, it is quite another to be
insulted by a drunken watch. "Well, I
guess so." I had, in fact, just been
thinking about my intro: "The geop-
litical balance of power in the Mid-
East is breaking down, creating an
unstable vacuum which erodes stabili-
ty, blurs traditional power rivalries and
could, eventually ..." Smack in the
middle of dreaming up this sentence,
she blurted out: "At least try to be

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