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April 01, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 1, 1997

(1he Lidtiggn Dailg

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.
Hash cash.,M.

'On-the-street police strength is not effective when the
majority of women are killed in an individual's home.'
- New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg
7-0 DAYL1,6r' 3A v6 5?
9 /

U' unfairly burdens
A 26-year tradition of social activism
should make the University community
proud. Instead, University administrators
want to slap a $1,500 price tag on it - possi-
bly forcing plans for events at this year's Hash
Bash to go up in smoke. The University
claimed that clean-up costs for the event are
high enough to justify the outrageous deposit.
Instead of choking students' First
Amendment rights, the University should
allow the event to take place without burden-
ing student groups with an exorbitant deposit.
Hash Bash is an annual event designed
to "promote decriminalization of marijuana
violations," said Ed Tayter, president of
HEMP A2, the student group organizing this
year's event. The group had $600 ready to
match last year's required deposit for the
use of the Diag. The University claimed that
in previous years, clean-up bills totaled
around $3,000 and decided to increase this
year's deposit to $1,500. The administration
should not present large surprise fees to
stop evepts like Hash Bash from taking
Student groups have many funding prob-
lems that often prevent them from executing
their plans. By charging such a large
amount to use the Diag, the University con-
tributes to student groups' financial prob-
lems. While fundraising at the event can
help, the University's insistence that HEMP
A2 make a large deposit beforehand could
prevent some of the group's plans. Budget-
strapped student groups, like HEMP A2, do
not have sufficient resources to absorb such
outlandish fees.
Groups must already provide deposits
and fees for electric hookups and equip-
ment. The University should not charge

students with deposit
HEMP A2 excessive fees for the use of pub-
lic commons like the Diag, nor should it
impose large clean-up deposits because of
projected messes. The University does not
require other groups to pay clean-up
deposits for demonstrations and activities.
HEMP A2, like dozens of other student
groups that use University property for
gatherings, should be immune from such
ridiculous policies. Other festivals and
University events like home football games
require considerable post-event clean-up
but do not require debilitating deposits. The
University's clean-up policy should be fair
to all groups - regardless of what kind of
event they stage.
At the heart of the administration's prob-
lem lies the fear that Hash Bash contributes
to a poor reputation. Public relations are
important to recruit students and faculty -
but the administration should place the
event in perspective and concentrate its
efforts where they can do some good.
Respecting students' right to peaceably
assemble could go a long way in maintain-
ing ties with the student population, thereby
helping the University's climate of student-
administration relations.
After a quarter of a century, Hash Bash
is an established tradition at the University,
whether the administration likes it or not. It
fosters an environment that allows peaceful
activism and an open dialogue about a con-
troversial topic. With speakers scheduled to
discuss the ramifications of marijuana
legalization, the event promises to be more
than just an excuse to light up a joint. The
University should not make weak stabs at
students' right to assemble by pricing
activism beyond their means.

HSPE does not measure students' abilities

This year, when school administrators
across Michigan distribute standard-
ized assessment tests to high school juniors,
they may find that no one is there to take
them. It appears that Michigan students and
their parents are following a national trend
against standardized testing - and for
good reason. The state's standardized tests
harm students more than help them.
In February 1996, the Michigan Board
of Education replaced the Michigan
Educational Assessment Program with the
High School Proficiency Exam - an
intense, 11 1/2-hour, standardized, achieve-
ment-testing marathon. However, many
Michigan students have opted out of taking
the test through a clause in the legislation
that allows parents to exempt their children
from the exam. Parents and students are
voicing concerns that the HSPE is a "high-
risk, low-yield" test. When 100,000 high
school juniors took the first HSPE in a trial
run, only one-third were declared "profi-
cient" in writing and science, 40 percent in
reading and 50 percent in math. Students'
unusually poor scores may explain why, in
several districts, when exam time came last
year, more than half of the students didn't
show up for the exam.
Standardized achievement tests serve lit-
tle of the purpose for which educators design
them. While the Michigan Board of
Education uses test results to determine
whether students have earned "state
endorsed" diplomas, the HSPE actually has
little effect on students' high school careers.
Neither high standardized test scores, nor
"state endorsed" diplomas necessarily indi-
cate good students. Ironically, many of last

lar involvement and an aptitude for learning
- both inside and outside the classroom.
HSPE scores prove very little about stu-
dents' abilities, their aptitude for learning,
or chance for future academic success.
Even the test's writers admit that grades on
new tests will remain low until students
learn how to take them and teachers learn
how to "coach" students for the test. At the
very least, then, the exam is biased against
students who happen to take the exam dur-
ing the first years of its existence. In the
future, good test scores may only reflect
students' test-taking ability and teachers'
coaching - which only detracts from the
time they should use to teach concepts that
can promote students' actual success.
While some may argue that the state
uses the HSPE as a way to weed out schools
or school districts performing below par,
exam performance is not an accurate mea-
sure of districts' success. Several school
districts with a tradition of academic excel-
lence have been shocked with below-aver-
age scores on the HSPE.
Gov. John Engler recently passed legis-
lation that would let him declare a school
district "educationally bankrupt," which
would give him the authority to appoint cer-
tain school district officials if too few stu-
dents pass the exam. Engler's plan uses a
poor evaluative tool as an excuse to allow
gubernatorial appointments in public
school systems. Michigan's educational
system has suffered enough under Engler's
attacks; it must not fall prey to further acts
of partisanship.
The Michigan Board of Education must
take steps to revise standardized tests. As

birds' beauty
Leave it to the self-
absorbed, hyperactive ant
colony at the University to
completely overlook the
beauty of the crow phenome-
non and see it only as a
"menace" ("Messy birds
murder for 'U' students,"
3/14/97. Yes, I realize the
rush from the ever-important
point A to the oh-so-urgent
point B is only hindered by
the dodging of bird shit, but
perhaps if these students took
one second to stop and con-
template the intensity of the
moment when the sky turns
that brilliant twilight blue and
the wings of the crows and
the branches of Ann Arbor's
gorgeous elderly trees are
profiled against the sky,
they'd findthe crows a bless-
ing and not a curse.
I suppose I'm not sur-
prised that the establishment
should find it fitting to rid
the campus of the "inconve-
nience" of the ever-intrusive
force of nature, but I can't
help feel sadlthat so many
people can't open their eyes
wide enough to take in the
sights and sounds and, yes,
shit that is the very essence
of the beauty of life.
'U' still proud
of its men's
hockey team
Hail to the Wolverines! I
just finished watching the
University hockey team in
the NCAA hockey semifinal
game on tape. I was studying
for an exam that kept me
from Milwaukee.
While I am obviously dis-
appointed in the outcome of
the game, I am by no means
disappointed with Michigan's
team. Morrison, Botterill,
Madden, Sloan, Luhning,
Schock, Legg, Bubba and
Clarke, all of you are still the
leadersand best. Best wishes
to our seniors. Go Blue!
should not
mind wait
i f4nnd vmA u-~inircA t,4

By your rationale, would a
diagram describing a hys-
terectomy then be considered
Uninformed consent bla-
tantly violates more than one
of the civil liberties that the
Daily claims to champion.
The Daily would have stu-
dents believe that this 24-
hour waiting period would
psychologically damage
women who wished to under-
go an abortion procedure and
were forced to wait a day.
However, this damage
pales in comparison to the
psychological damage experi-
enced by a woman who
quickly underwent the proce-
dure and afterwards changed
her mind. This sort of thing
happens more frequently than
we care to admit.
Furthermore, the Daily
would have students believe
that an extra day's wait could
burden women by forcing
them to use an extra day of
medical leave from work.
However, the fact is that
many other invasive medical
procedures require more than
one visit to the physician. In
the view that an abortion ter-
minates a human life, one
sick day is an insignificant
sacrifice in comparison.
Finally, the Daily states
that the 24-hour waiting peri-
od "encourages panic, guilt
and last-minute anxiety" I
certainly feel reassured that
the Daily is able to tell me
what each individual woman
in our state is thinking and
feeling. The fact of the matter
is that women should always
be able to give informed con-
sent for all medical proce-
dures, especially abortion,
since it is a controversial pro-
cedure with long-term social
and moral consequences. If,
as the Daily implies, all
women who request abortions
have considered the "social,
political, financial or person-
al" reasons for having the
procedure, a 24-hour waiting
period should not be an
inconvenience. Instead, it may
provide women with a little
extra time to consider the
risks, benefits and alterna-
tives to abortion after having
received responsible informa-
tion regarding the procedure
from their physician.
Fund MSA
like any other
student group
According to the MSA
election results, about 15 per-
cent of the student body cares
about MSA at all. Here's a
suggestion on how to gain
respect: Give it all away and

have been doing for four
years) MSA reps will be
forced to produce something
of monetary value in order to
take their trips and buy their
planners. Hold a concert, run
a credit card drive, flyer for
publicity companies (MSA
reps are good at flyering),
win national competitions, do
a sponsored talk-a-thon, or
do anything other than sit and
spend money on yourselves.
If MSA truly needs an
office staff, let BPC judge
the perceived campus impact
of that staff. If it's just a perk,
and not something that the
campus really needs, then cut
it from the budget. Few stu-
dent groups have secretaries,
and fewer still have their
salary paid by mandatory stu-
dent fees. With two hours of
work per week per represen-
tative at the MSA front desk,
there would be at least an
additional $30,000 available
for student group funding.
(As an added bonus, the per-
son at the MSA front desk
might intermittently know
something about where, who
and what was going on in the
office, far superior to the cur-
rent secretarial staff.)
There is no other student
group on campus with an
automaticannual income of
$200,000. That MSA does
nothing to support itself with
this kind of gift from the stu-
dent body is inexcusable.
That MSA would demand
more money from the student
body without first fixing the
egregious waste in its own
budget is insulting. That the
15 percent of the student
body who voted would gave
it to you is incomprehensible
and embarrassing.
Please, make MSA some-
thing other than an embar-
rassment to the student body.
Stop moving
and removing
campus trees
Apparently, the burgeon-
ing University grounds-keep-
ing crew has nothing to do so
they are making things up.
On Thursday, they cut
down the tree that stood
between the Chemistry build-
ing and the Dana Building at
the entrance to the Diag. This
tree caused a problem
because it was in the way of
the sidewalk. This was my
favorite tree precisely
because it was in the way. It
stood in defiance of our
straight concrete sidewalks
that cut through everything.
Poetic description, I real-
ize, is not a reason for leav-
ing a tree in its place. But
..L. ,..-: A....0 T_ -..,

Mozart, fortuitj
and the things
that will not be
ATENAS, Costa Rica - In 1791,
Mozart's last year, a man in a black
cloak knocked on the door of the
world's greatest composer. The
cloaked man's charge to Mozart:"
write a requiem. Mozart, who at th
point in his turbulent life was not only
starved for cash
but was losing his
health, accepted .
the work.
Unfortunately, the
mysterious nature
of the cloaked
man put Mozart in
quite a frenzy; due
in part to his dete-
riorating health
and his high anxi-$AMUEL
ety, Mozart con- GOODSTEIN
vinced himself GRAND
that the cloaked AIL USION
man had come to
commission Mozart to write a requiem
for his own funeral.
In fact, the cloaked man had not
come to commission a requiem fo
Mozart's funeral - although th
event itself was just around the corner.
Quite the contrary, he had come to
have Mozart write a requiem for his
deceased wife's funeral. He was
dressed in black to hide his personage
so that he could later claim that he
himselfhhad written the requiem to
honor his wife. A simple deal: The
cloaked man gets Mozart to write a
requiem, this stranger claims the
requiem as his own and the poorsarti
gets paid. Seems like a win-win situa-
tion for all.
As history would have it, Mozart
himself died before he could complete
the requiem. Because his wife needed
the cash after Mozart passed away, she
asked one of his colleagues to finish
the piece - thus, one of the world's
greatest pieces of music was commis-
sioned by a sneak who was pretending
to be a great composer, was started
Mozart and finished by a long-forgot-
ten composer. To add to the absurdity,
almost 200 years later, somebody
decided to make a film about Mozart
and wrongly claimed that Saliere -a
contemporary of Mozart's - had him-
self commissioned the requiem to
scare, and ultimately kill, Mozart.
What I find so intriguing about the
creation of this requiem is the fact that
a brilliant work of art is the product
a confluence of a series of unconne
ed improbable events. Had the cloaked
stranger not tried to hide his identity,
which shook Mozart, would the
requiem be the same? What if Mozart
had lived and finished the requiein
himself? What if he didn't need the
In "The Unbearable Lightness of
Being," Milan Kundera wrote that the
love affair between Tomas and Tere
was an affair of "fortuities." Had
series of unlikely (or at least less than
likely) events not occurred, Tomas and
Tereza would never have met and fall-
en in love. These fortuities can be as
random as a missed train or a lost key,
and the point is not only that they
occur but that they are impossible to
predict. Tomas and Tereza were in love
only because a few random events
happened exactly the way they did.
Kundera understood that so many*
the events, relationships and moments
in our lives that have true meaning are
the result of such fortuities. Be it

Mozart's requiem, the birth of a nation
or the most meaningful relationship in
one's life - all can be the result of
grand fortuities.
I write this from the porch of a cozy
bed and breakfast inn that is carved
into the mountains overlooking S
Jose. (Fortuity certainlybroughtnW
here!) Another guest at this beautiful
home is a pensionado, or a retiree.
After living and working in the United
States for decades, he retired to Costa
Rica. He cannot speak a word of
Spanish and - in his own words -
"gets by just fine with his thoughts and
memories:' While we sat and watched
San Jose fall asleep, the pensionado
turned to me - a person whom he met
that day and, now that I have left, w
never see again - and said with a sad
chuckle: "You know, I always wonder
what might have been. I wonder, if I
had a better break early on, if things
might have worked out anyway."
Which brings us back to Mozart and
these questions: What of the things
that are not? What of the events that
never happen, the relationships that
never develop and the moments that
never materialize? Surely, there a
countless such non-events - good,
bad and irrelevant - that elude us
because random things didn't play out
the right way. Maybe the pensionado
never got his "better break" and things
didn't turn out the way he hoped; of

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