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February 14, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-14

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4 -The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 14, 1997

be Stiuilg

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'I have to confess that it has crossed my mind that you
could not be a Republican and a Christian.'
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, addressing the National Prayer Breakfast

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.
Cutting red tape
E-mail assistance lends students a hand



Thanks to an innovative advice and
guidance program, problem resolution
at the University is becoming easier than
ever. Last November, the University initiat-
ed ASSIST-ME@umich.edu, an e-mail
address affording students direct access to
the University ombuds and the Dean of
Students. The service, said Ombuds
Jennifer Walters, was established in
response to students, faculty and staff who
felt that the Dean of Students' Office need-
ed to be more visible as a place to get help
with student problems. In establishing
ASSIST-ME, the University has taken an
effective step toward helping students cir-
cumvent the bureaucracy inherent in large
Through the e-mail program, the Dean
of Students and the ombuds seek to offer
one-stop shopping for assistance. Rather
than searching blindly through the
University's maze of red tape for help, stu-
dents may make first contact with ASSIST-
ME for directions as to how to most effi-
ciently resolve their concerns. If necessary,
Walters may work on students' behalf by
making inquiries or by taking a student's
concern directly to a faculty member or
administrator. Such a service will undoubt-
edly prove helpful in promptly resolving
concerns that require interdepartmental
communications - connections that often
prove difficult to make.
ASSIST-ME also proves advantageous
in that it affords students tremendous priva-
cy. Walters reports that she has "the highest
level of confidentiality of anyone on cam-
pus." As e-mail lacks the security of other
forms of communication, Walters hopes

that contacts subsequent to the initial e-mail
exchange will take place in person or by
The high level of privacy of this opera-
tion will make students less reluctant to
address sensitive problems, such as finan-
cial aid issues, Code of Student Conduct
violations and housing troubles. Through
this program, the University has revealed a
commitment to making problem solving
less complicated. The program is particular-
ly helpful because e-mail has become a sta-
ple of University life; ASSIST-ME will
make the ombuds' and Dean of Students'
services significantly more accessible.
Because problem resolution often proves
a dilemma in itself, the new service will
greatly diminish the difficulty students have
in finding answers and will make students
more at ease when concerns do arise.
Demonstrating a dedication to bringing res-
olution services closer to students, Walters
reports that ASSIST-ME plans to expand
staffing as necessary to accommodate a
high volume of inquiries and to execute its
goals of "fair treatment of all parties in a
dispute (and of) prompt resolution of prob-
The University has recognized that stu-
dents often become entangled in red tape
and need easy access to student advocates.
By affording students confidentiality and
accessibility in problem resolution, the Dean
of Students and the ombuds are helping to
make University bureaucracy less intimidat-
ing. Other large institutions should investi-
gate establishing similar programs to make
student problem-solving more efficient and
to make university life less daunting.

!N ^ t
# '
+ ,


F // -,tom m '%% vi/ I -1


Tipping the scales
Amendment unnecessary to get the job done

n a rare display of bipartisan unity,
President Clinton and legislative leaders
met Tuesday and agreed to focus the new
Congress on balancing the budget.
However, unity displayed at the meeting
quickly melted under the heat of the pro-
posed balanced budget amendment, now in
Congress. The proposed amendment would
require the federal budget to be balanced by
2002, or two years after ratification by the
states. Almost all congressional
Republicans support the amendment,
claiming that it would provide the neces-
sary discipline to reduce government
spending. President Clinton clearly stated
in his inaugural address that he is strenu-
ously opposed to adding this constitutional
amendment, saying that is unnecessary.
Clinton has correctly observed that law-
makers could simply agree to balance the
budget among themselves without risking
the hazards of a constitutional requirement.
It is only through compromise -not coerc-
ing Congress into penning a constitutional
amendment - that the country can control
deficit spending.
Section I of the amendment would
require the president to submit a "proposed
budget for the United States government for
each fiscal year in which total outlays do
not exceed total receipts" to Congress. This
is where the problems begin. The amend-
ment simply announces a result, without
any indication as to how to achieve the
The reactionary style of lawmaking
could prove dangerous. In a time of reces-
sion, a balanced budget might necessitate
violent cuts into the very social programs
that might keep individuals from falling
below the poverty line. Moreover, if the

ernment to infuse money into the economy,
offsetting the balance with a spending sur-
plus. Considering that the Senate rejected a
proposal from Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)
to wave the amendment in times of eco-
nomic distress, it is inconceivable that the
government could avoid a more serious
economic depression.
Congress has yet to vote on the amend-
ment - Republican majority leaders of the
House still stalled on Monday. Republican
leaders hope the postponed vote will allow
the Senate to ratify the amendment first,
giving the proposal momentum to get
through the House. While debate on the
Senate floor has begun, the outcome there
is by no means solid and senators have not
scheduled a vote.
The Republican leaders' decision indi-
cates that the amendment's adoption is in
serious doubt. Democratic support for the
amendment is weak. They must take anoth-
er stab stopping the proposal before it gets
to the point of state ratification.
Congress has not proved it can get by the
petty differences and politicking that have
prevented them - so far - from balancing
the budget. As the federal shutdowns in
1995 demonstrated, arguments over a bal-
anced budget amendment only crystallize
partisan differences. The struggle shows the
nation that economic ideology cannot over-
ride the country's economic well-being. The
budgetary process must remain flexible to
insure economic security in recessionary
A balanced budget should be a national
goal, but so far it has only proven to be an
effective campaign slogan. A balanced bud-
get amendment is unnecessary - its many
pitfalls cannot outweigh the benefits of

Days help
find solutions
I do not understand how
someone could say that
because diversity is already
being promoted by one
group, that is enough to
assume that it is being tack-
led well enough. Diversity is
something that needs to be
discussed all the time. It does
not matter at what time.
Every day of the year is a
celebration for one group or
the other. Why is it that,
despite attempting to further
the issue of diversity, many
have said that Diversity Days
is a victim of "bad timing?"
When would be a better
time? When no group is
being celebrated?
The whole idea of diversi-
ty is understanding and
growth - a yearlong effort,
not just something that can
be handled in a week.
Diversity Days may fall dur-
ing African American history
month and Chicano History
Week, but that does not make
it a less important event.
Whether people agree on the
aim or direction of Diversity
Days, that is another ques-
For me, working as a part
of Diversity Days and also
being a student of color, I
find it outrageous that I have
to address the limitations of
discussing diversity rather
than being glad that it is
being discussed so openly
throughout the campus
through so many different
In addition, the truth of
the matter is that during the
year, individual groups are so
committed and involved in
their own causes that when
everything issattempted to be
put together such as during
Diversity Days, it is not pos-
sible for the groups to get
involved, as they already
have their own agendas set
for the year. Diversity Days
was an attempt to bring the
campus together at one time
rather than addressing one
issue at the time of their cele-
bration. That will always go
on during the year, as every
year could be considered
Diversity Year.
Diversity Days gives a
brief overview of what this
campus has to offer, not what
some campus students select
diversity to mean. The week
can become as big as groups
want it to become. Perhaps
the biggest problem with
Diversity Days is not the tim-
ing, but rather the underlying
vision of the week. Many
who I have spoken to see this
as another PC step at the
University. Let me remind
you, this was a student vision
and student motivated. Yes,
we can argue back and forth

than go behind each other
and simply think what we
want to, promoting more
stereotypes and categories
rather than breaking them.
It's crazy that 1 have written
about discussing the problem
rather than writing something
about diversity and bringing
together the University: the
solutions - and that is what
really matter.
should be
Well, there's no denying it.
I'm one of those angry white
males you keep hearing
about. And why shouldn't I
be? According to the article
"Low minority applications
raise concerns (2/11/97)," if I
had checked the African
American box on my applica-
tion, I would have received
personal letters and phone
calls from the admissions
office. Why'? Because I would
have helped prevent that hor-
rible 16- to 17-percent drop
in LSA applications! I would
have helped fill a quota! I
don't think I would want to
attend a university that
accepted me because of the
color of my skin.
I grew up in a fairly
homogeneous community
and am enjoying the diversity
that comes with a worldly
campus like the University's.
But it should not be forced.
We are supposed to be the
"leaders and best" not "sensi-
tive and diverse" If the
University wants to help
maintain diversification,
which it should, it should be
here in Ann Arbor, with cur-
rently enrolled students.
Bernard Machen said, "If,
in fact, we end up with a
smaller pool of applicants,
we're just going to have to
double our efforts to make
this as diverse a place as pos-
sible." You don't make efforts
towards diversity, you
embrace diversity. The
admissions office should take
the applications, pick the best
ones, and then find out what
color skin everyone has.
What if they were going
the other way? What if the
numbers were different?
What if they were looking at
a drop in white applications
and felt like they really had
to get more white males?
You know, just to keep the
averages correct. The policy
is the same, just with differ-
ent ramifications.
I think that the ethnicity.
portion of the application_
should be made anonymous
and sent in separately. Then
the admissions office could
continue to track the numbers

Oscars snub
In regards to the article
"The Academy announces
award nominees (2/12/97),"
you are wrong about there
being no "injustices." This
year, however, they aresnot as
visible as the Travolta snub
due to the size of the movies.
While the Supporting
Actor category is probably
the strongest category this
year the "glaring omissions"
go beyond miscarriages of
justice. First and foremost,
Tony Shalhoub ("Big
Night"), Derik Jacobi
("Hamlet") and Paul
Scoffield ("The Crucible")
got shafted; Shalhoub should
not only have been nominat-
ed. he should have won.
While William H. Macy gave
a strong performance in
"Fargo," his performance was
paled by all other nominees
- especially Cuba Gooding
Jr., Armin Mueller-Stahl and
Edward Norton - and cer-
tainly was not Oscar-worthy.
Another huge snub came
in the fact Tom Cruise was
nominated over Kenneth
Branagh ("Hamlet") - who
should definitely feel cheated
not only for Lead Actor, but
also for Director and Best*
Picture. Cruise's vehicle,
"Jerry Maguire," certainly
should not have been among
the top nominees, taking
space not only away from
"Hamlet" but "Lone Star,"
"Big Night," "The People Vs.
Larry Flynt" and
"Trainspotting." By omitting
such films as the above men-
tioned, the Academy has cre-
ated stronger Screenplay cat-
egories than the Best Picture
"Lone Star," one of the
two best pictures of the year,
was totally ignored except for
the bone the Academy threw
it by nominating its superior
screenplay. Elizabeth Pena
should be particularly upset
for having her superb perfor-
mance (may I say the best
performance of the year)
ignored. Other omissions that
standout are Courtney Love's
snub ("The People vs. Larry
Flynt"), the terrible miscar-
riage of justice against John
Sayles ("Lone Star"), Andre
Braugher and Charles Dutton
being overlooked for "Get on
the Bus," and the non-recog-
nition of Woody Allen
("Everyone Says I Love
That being said, there
were also some great surpris-
es: "Secrets and Lies" and
Mike Leigh for Best Picture
and Director, respectively;
Milos Forman for Director;
both Brenda Blethyn and
Marianne Jean-Baptiste for
- ---4-4T :- 11 .FDL

Lies, lies, lies;
television pain#
an unrealistic,
rosy picture
L ike Willy Loman to the American
Dream, so is Heather to television
(just a little crumb for you Arthur
Miller freaks out there). More con-
cretely, at this sage age of 21, 1 h
become thorough-
ly disillusioned
with the politics of
the tube. ; 4
And I do not
think I am alone.
My problem,
like most, started
so long ago when x
I, a wee lass no
more than knee- ....:.....
high to a HEATH
grasshopper, GORDON
began in earnest Rim
my study of life as WITH
filtered through
my friend and yours, the tele.
I have mentioned before that I grew
up in a small, overprotective commu-
nity with limited access to the city and
thus not a very satisfying example of
what I perceived to be the real wo
As an only child in aneighborhod
with a complete dearth of other chil-
dren to play with, my only usual
options (aside from driving my mother
insane) were to watch TV or go out-
side and create an extensive group of
imaginary friends, which is highly sus-
pect in a child of oh, say, 12. Since it is
rather difficult to play hide-and-go-
seek with invisible teammates (they
always forget to seek and you wind u
crouched behind a bush for 144
hours), I chose the former of those two
And everything seemed to come
along quite smoothly, until one day it
dawned on me: the stuff they show on
television, it's not real. Now, I know
people go about saying that all the
time and I thought 1 understood what
they meant.
1 mean, of course I didn't bel
that aliens of"V" really were invaX
the earth or that people can bounce
back to life after being smacked with a
1,000-pound anvil like they do in car-
toons. But there seems to be a signifi-
cant amount of stuff that has slipped
through the cracks. My first inklings
came in high school, when my older
and more ricosuave friend Daverat
UMass used me as a subject for a
questionnaire about how media has
affected our self-perceptions
whatnot. Within minutes, I became tie
sole subject for his entire paper.
We discovered that I really felt pres-
sured to blossom into the plastic-
breasted, bleached-blonde, hairless
gymnasts that so many of my male
friends drooled over in those high
years of glam-rock videos. It is amaz-
ing that I did not wind up in therapy
(ah, but there is time yet, lass) a I
swear to you that there is a part of
who honestly believed that somewhere
in this universe, that hardbodies from
the hooterfest that certain unnamed
cable stations become afterhours
(Skinimax, anyone?) were the norm to
which we should aspire.
I have since come to the conclusion
that although men do enjoy their
Sports Illustrated swimsuit models
with fat-free thighs and sassy pouts,
for most, those women are just fant
and they do not require such pe -
tion of their real-life mates.
Years later, in a discussion in my

infamous Church Street apartment
with my three roommates, I had anoth-
er flooring realization: Not only has
TV filled me with unrealistic physical
ideals, but with impossible life goals
as well.
Because you know what? Dr. Frasier
Crane cannot afford to live in
rockin'apartment intthe heart of
Seattle with all his European decor
and designer duds on the salary of a
radio DJ and shrink. And let us not
even broach the subject of that trendy
and grand pad that our favorite
"Friends" inhabit on their unem-
ployed-actor, fashion-industry-lackey
I did not understand why high school
was not populated with those h
keggers and fast cars that John Hug
promised me in all his brat-pack
movies. And although I have a room-
mate from John Hughes' home town
who testifies that life there is like that,
I think that for the vast majority of us,
life in general is not such a showy pro-
The grim truth is that the hot guy
will not be sitting and waiting for us
on top of the glass table with our bi
day cake at the end of our sister's
ding, like in "SixteenCandes," -no
matter how much we want him to be.
Because TV is not art depicting life in
a slightly aggrandized fashion to fit a
plot; it is wish fulfillment. Just like we
want to see the nretty, comnuter-doc-



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