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March 14, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-14

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

strbt Twv

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

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.
Unfrendly skies
Students should watch out for travel scams

'It has been a difficult decision for me and
i have, with great reluctance, decided not
to seek a second term in office.,
- Irish President Mary Robinson, the first woman to be elected
president of Ireland, in a press conference on Wednesday
" MIG H T 8E RIGH T - t e e
- ~THi S ME -- --!-

Students must beware: They are prime
targets for unscrupulous businessper-
sons' exploitation, especially when it comes
to "bargain" travel packages. Last Friday,
more than 4,000 students traveling with the
Take-A-Break Travel agency were stranded
in Mazatlan, Mexico, after the Federal
Aviation Administration grounded the
agency's charter planes. This is not an iso-
lated incident and should serve as an exam-
ple. Many of the "bargain" packages direct-
ed at college students are profit-maximiz-
ing ventures - customer satisfaction and
safety are not priorities. Students must exer-
pise the utmost caution when investigating
the details of their travel package itiner-
Last Friday, the FAA grounded Take-A-
Break Travel agency's charter planes
because of a cracked windshield and 32
other significant safety violaticns. The
agency told students stranded in Mazatlan
that their return home would be on a
Northwest Airlines flight the following
After the agency informed travelers on
Saturday that the Northwest flight was can-
celed, students investigating the flight
found that it never existed. Apparently, the
agency misinformed the group to appease
many worried and angry travelers. By this
time, skeptical of the accuracy and credibil-
ity of Take-A-Break's information and abil-
ity to orchestrate their return home, student
travelers scrambled to book flights on their
own. The agency's incompetence forced
some students to spend an additional - and
unanticipated - $1,000. To prevent similar
situations, students should thoroughly
-nvestigate their chosen carriers and agen-
cies - particularly seemingly "too- good-

to-be-true" spring break travel packages.
Every year, thousands of flyers circulate
campus offering incredible prices on trips to
popular spring break locations. Vijay
Jayaraman, an LSA junior, among those
stranded in Mazatlan, warns, "When you
see a price too-good-to-be-true, it probably
is." He says students are used to taking trips
with their parents, which generally work out
well, but they should not make the mistake
of having the same level of trust in these
travel agents as they would in their parents.
It is true that "bargain" deals offer less
security than the travel to which most stu-
dents are accustomed. Before agreeing to
an offer, students should check the safety
record of the airline or charter they are fly-
ing and the conditions and ranking of their
hotel. It is a good idea to seek consumer ref-
erences from those travel agencies booking
Most important, students should pay for
all vacation costs and fees with a credit
card. Any reputable travel agent will accept
charge payments. Some credit card compa-
nies offer safety features, so that if cus-
tomers convince the company that a travel
agency treated them in an unethical and
deceptive manner, the transaction can be
voided. Similar recourse is not possible if
payment is made in cash or by check.
The Take-A-Break travel agency debacle
teaches students a valuable lesson - a
glossy brochure offering bargains does not
guarantee a hassle-free spring break. Take-
A-Break Travel should be disciplined, but
any punishment will not deter other travel
agencies from making similarly shady spring
break offers. Students should take note -
when it comes to spring break, it is better to
pay a little more and worry a lot less.

Danger behind bars
Harassment of female prisoners must end

O n Monday, the Justice Department
filed lawsuits against the states of
Arizona and Michigan, claiming that the
two states failed to protect female inmates
from rape and sexual assault from correc-
tional facility guards and staff members.
The Justice Department, which filed the
lawsuits in federal district courts in Phoenix
and Detroit, brought the cases under a 1980
civil rights law aimed at protecting the
rights of citizens housed in state and local
:government institutions - including cor-
rectional facilities. In 1994, the Justice
Department began investigating two
women's correctional facilities in Michigan
after allegations of sexual assault and mis-
conduct. It also received complaints about
three Arizona facilities early in 1995.
After its investigations, the Justice
Department contended that female inmates
at the Arizona Center for Women and at
state prisons in Alhambra, Perryville and
Tucson suffered instances of sexual assault,
sexual misconduct and unlawful invasions
of privacy.
Similarly, at Michigan's Scott and Crane
correctional centers, female inmates have
been subjected to the same violations.
Upon further investigation, the Justice
Department found inadequate medical and
mental health care as well. The allegations
pose a serious potential threat to human
rights - subsequent civil rights investiga-
tions and pending trials must proceed with
the utmost care.
While sexual assault is always a terrify-
ing, humiliating and belittling prospect,
female inmates are uniquely vulnerable.
Prison wards and emninvees occinv sienif-

duct - must end immediately. For state-run
prisons to violate basic principles of con-
duct is a travesty. The federal government
must not allow such heinous civil rights
infractions to remain unnoticed and unpun-
Both lawsuits seek court orders requir-
ing the states to protect female inmates
from rapes, sexual assaults and other sexu-
al contact by staff members. The Justice
Department is seeking court orders to
ensure that inmates and staff members do
not engage in sexual relations of any kind
and that female inmates are not viewed in a
prurient manner when showering, changing
clothes or using toilets.
The allegations are another stab at the
state-run correctional facilities, as it
becomes obvious that the institutions are in
dire need of supervision and improvements.
Officials of both Michigan and Arizona's
correctional facilities refused to allow
Justice Department investigators access to
the institutions, nor would they allow inter-
views with facility inmates or staff mem-
bers - a sure sign that problems exist just
below the surface.
The government must find a way to
improve the country's correctional facilities
and remedy the civil rights infractions that
occur on their premises. A correctional
facility should be a place where inmates
can begin the process to make them fit for
society - they should not feel threats of
violence or abuse at the hands of their pro-
The Justice Department should continue
to investigate state-run correctional facili-
ties to make necessarv improvements and

efforts are
Well, it seems as though
you've done it again. My let-
ter of a year ago seems to
have fallen on deaf ears as
once again you have belittled
the efforts of a champion and
four other All-Americans.
While I understand that track
and field is not a high-profile
sport compared to football,
baseball and hockey, that
does not make our accom-
plishments any less worthy of
praise. And yet Neil
Gardner's second national
championship finds itself
hidden on page eight, next to
a picture of an athlete that
graduated a year and a half
ago ("Gardner wins 55 hur-
dles at NCAAs," 3/10/97).
There is also no mention
of the fact that the distance
medley relay team earned
All-American honors with a
fourth place finish. Fourth in
the nation! If it were a foot-
ball, basketball or hockey
team accomplishment, it
would have found its way to
the front page. Instead, you
buried us in the Sports sec-
tion to make room for the
uninteresting stories of an
underachieving hoops team.
I would like to say "hats
off" to the hockey team with
their continued success, but
Gardner won a national
championship! Why is that
not worthy of winning
"Athlete of the Week?" You
are missing the point time
after time. Perhaps you
should spend more time
researching your stories
instead of coming up with
cheesy analogies that have
little or nothing to do with
our sport. You are not going
to win a Pulitzer Prize for an
article in the Daily, so at least
try to get your facts right.
There are stories here, but
you missed them by trying to
fancy them up. Our sport is
about dedication, determina-
tion and perseverance. All of
these things contributed to a
strong performance at the
NCAA Championships.
Write about that.
Congrats to
I'd first like to say "con-
gratulations" to the
University women's swim-
ming and diving team. You
ladies had a great regular
season and won yet another
QI n no nn i

Getting along
is a priority
I find the article on
extended applications for
minority and scholar students
very interesting ("Deadline
extended for 'U' applicants,"
3/10/97). 1 am not concerned
with the affirmative action
debate or whether students
are being discriminated
against or, as Nicholas Kirk
says, that students who fall in
the middle are disadvantaged.
The University holds its
system dear and there is no
change in the foreseeable
future. The University hails
itself not only as a top learn-
ing institution, but as one
with a diverse atmosphere as
well. This is all fine, for as a
student who would fall into
the category "white," I would
not like to attend a school
that looked only like myself.
The point I would like to
address is the meaningless-
ness of the school's diversity.
After being here for nearly
two years, I feel I have gained
a pretty good feel for the envi-
ronment of the University.
Living in Markley residence
hall last year was my first
taste of the segregated
University. I first noticed that
most students had roommates
of the same race or ethnicity
as themselves. Finding white
Jewish students together,
white Christian students
together, black students
together and Chinese students
together was the norm.
I had a roommate who
would be classified as Asian,
his parents being from India.
We got along fine, but he
seemed to hang more with
his Indian buddies and I with
my white Jewish buddies.
When we ate in the cafeteria,
the black students sat in their
own section, the Chinese in
theirs, and so on.
It seems that these racial
borders stay as the years go
on. Now, in a fraternity, I
have further separated myself
from others. There is nothing
wrong with these organiza-
tions - they bring people
together. Perhaps if the start
had been different, students

onship, Kleinbaum wrote
about the team's position,
saying "the Big Ten power-
house is ready to fall:' Now,
they have defied the predic-
tions and won the Big Ten as
they were preparing to do all
along. I know what kind of
quality swimmers this school
really has. So congratulations
again, ladies. And disregard
the ignorant few who choose
to misrepresent you to the
rest of this school - they
just don't know any better.



hurts peace
Israel's intention to estab-
lish Jewish settlements in
East Jerusalem is clear evi-
dence of a bow to political
pressures. Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is putting the
ongoing peace talks at risk
for the sake of blunting criti-.
cism among right-wing mem-
bers of the Israeli Parliament.
If a leader fails to take com-
plete authority and instead
yields to political pressures,
progress and peace will
remain unfulfilled visions.
It seems that for every
small step forward, there is
always an equal or greater
reactionary force to cripple
progress towards peace. Such
a reactionary stance on the
part of the masses is expect-
ed and frequently occurs.
However, for a political
leader to yield to such pres-
sures is a true disappointment
not only to those he repre-
sents, but also to those he is
working with and with whom
he has established a strong
and trusting rapport.
For him to turn around
and essentially "give away"
what the Palestinians had
claimed as the capital of their
hoped-for state is completely
antagonistic to whatever
progress has been made thus
far. His actions are a clear
slap in the face to both the
Palestinians and Arafat and
will lead only to increased
conflict among the Israelis
and Palestinians.
No student
tickets for
Judging by what the
Athletic Ticket Office has
told me, the University has
gotten screwed by NCAA
Hockey - so student season
ticket-holders (even the reli-
gious faithful) will, in turn,
get screwed. The Athletic
Ticket Office says that their
allotment of tickets for the
NCAA West Regionals will
be 200 and that the order of
eligibility for purchase of
tickets will be: players' fami-
lies (estimated to be 100 tick-
ets), the athletic department
(estimated to be 100 tickets),
Victors Club members and
then season ticket holders.
They expect the entire alloca-
tion to be consumed by the
first two groups. They do not
owp nvc .; ice

College spring
break memoies
Tn coming to the horrifying realiza-
Ition that last week was my last offi-
cial Spring Break (need I more incen-
tive for grad school?), I feel the need
to write a tribute to the adventures of
breaks past, present and future.
Some take the jaunt to a hot southern
locale that brings them back with both
sun and alcohol poisoning, in additio
to a fresh case of venereal disease, the
v i s it - a - fr i e n d
break, the job-hunt
break, or even the<>
alternative spring
break to a new ;
location in the
interest of helping"
underprivileged cmuntes u
since I've got the
column, I'm going ~ *
to tell you all about HEATHER
the glamorous GORDON
vacations that I WITH
have had. ME
For my first two
years of college, I hopped on the
cheapest Northwest direct back to
Beantown in order to sit on my sofa to
watch movies and not get tan. One
year, I actually watched so much TV
to conclude that since Hollywood i
obviously filled with all these Adonis-
like bohunks, there really must just be
a plethora of them in society and I-
the goddess that I am, don't you know
- should settle for no less than your
standard Mel Gibson-type astrophysi-
cist. Gladly, I've since snapped back to
reality. The perk was that my best
friend from high school had the same
break as me, so we could sit home
together. Or, rather, Tracie and I sat a4
our respective houses and chatted on
the phone for free as opposed to the
usual 12 cents per minute or whatever
we standardly have to pay to repeat the
same conversations we've been having
since we were 10. Last year, Tracie and
I happened to be studying abroad in
London, so our spring holiday became
reason to further explore the UK.
We spent two weeks (with another
friend of mine from the University
doing the standard Yank-with-a-back-
pack routine, staying in hostels and
meeting fellow travelers and friendly
locals. A certain one of us found
Inverness to be not only the home of
the Loch Ness monster, but also a real
hotbed of love, if you know what I
mean, which just goes to show that
sometimes you can go for the VD
without the sun poisoning. All that
highland air has a strange effect on th
libido, I guess. Like the Santa Ana
winds, but different. Perhaps the hor-
mones are triggered by the wind whip-
ping through the kilts of all those
Scotsmen going commando, but then
again, I'm no chemical analyst.
And finally this year: a. family ski
vacation to Colorado that centered
around my cousins' and my valiant
efforts to breathe some fun into Vail's
stale nightlife (what can one real4
expect of such a posh and shi-shi place
as that? The richies there are too busy
stroking their fur coats and sipping
their Chateau Rothschild to appreciate
a good disco night), being an obnox-
ious enough brat to make my loving
mother rescind her offer to let me
move home after graduation (no, Ma,
the cardboard box is terribly comfy
and there's some nice ventilation by
that subway grate, too), burning my
face in effigy of "The English Patient

on the sunny back bowls of the moun-
tain, and walking around in some gen-
erally goofy and uncomfortable
clothes. Fortunately, I had just enough
presence of mind to plan to go further
west to Seattle for the last leg of my
journey and visit my old roommate
Rachel, who gave me the most phe-
nomenal Cameron Crowe tour of the
city. I saw the mall where Lloy
Dobbler and Dianne Court had thei
first date. I rode the roller coaster
where Kyra Sedgewick was dumped
by her boyfriend. I walked around
the apartment complex where
"Singles" was filmed.
But my fearless tour guide Rachel
would not let the fun stop there. Our
little foray into Seattle nightlife
revealed a gothic bar featuring people
wearing more black than a panther at a
funeral. The lovely bartendress, upo
second glance, turned out to be a man
in spiky black lingerie drag. I got
stepped on by some darling gent who
was doing his best impression of
Tommy from The Who, and was mes-
merized by some AxI Rose wannabe
who was grooving with himself on
what appeared to be one sweet hero-
in/ecstacy party. Not to mention two
spastic Irish guys doing arhythmic
modern jazz which centered around
writhing around on the floor. And let's
not forget the obligatory couple who
were getting on each other in the back
("He's gonna pork her dad! Right there
at the table!") So after Rachel and I
were through frowning on the side-


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