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April 16, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-16

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 16, 1997

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
:'o 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. A ll
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Preventative efforts
Programs address the wrong problem

Most of you are going to go on to MDs,
Ph.D.s, MBAs. I think you re going to
find that that s not going to be enough.
- Biology lecturer and Golden Apple winner
Eric Mann, in his "ideal last lecture " Monday night
ToQrFj .
3 -;a

T his year, young people in Ann Arbor
reported heavier drug use starting at an
earlier age than national averages. The reac-
tion of the Ann Arbor public schools is
clear: The statistics are frightening, they are
intolerable, and immediate measures must
be taken to ensure that it will not continue.
The district has developed an attack plan to
counter the high numbers of teen drug
users, but it continues to ignore the root of
the problem.
Last Wednesday, at the Ann Arbor Board
of Education meeting, administrators and
r staff members outlined a new prevention
program. Next year, the elementary sub-
stance abuse prevention curriculum will
expand to include new activities, videos and
,,other materials to help younger children
better understand the message: Don't do
drugs. Instead of revamping programs for
older children, existing programs will be
slightly modified and extended to include
third-grade students.
While the board deserves recognition for
its efforts, these efforts alone will not solve
the problems at hand. Simply enlisting
younger children in the fight against tobac-
co, alcohol and other substances will not
solve the raging drug problem Ann Arbor
faces. It will not dramatically decrease the
61.4 percent of 12th graders who have
Tcported using drugs in their lifetime, nor
- ill it decrease the 6 percent of high school
Feniors who said they smoke marijuana
Starting drug education at a younger age
-futile if the message itself is ineffective.
-The rhetoric that surrounds substance abuse
his getting stale. In order to more effectively
address the issue of substance abuse in Ann

Arbor, the material should be revised.
Scare tactics have been a staple of drug
education programs since the "Reefer
Madness" days of the 1960s. Children have
shown that they tend to experiment whether
educators tell them to "just say no" or
politicians tell them "just don't do it."
Substance abuse education must follow stu-
dents into this decade. Ann Arbor public
schools must communicate on a level at
which their students will respond.
Next month, 60 seventh and eighth
graders will visit third-grade classrooms to
talk about alcohol, tobacco and other sub-
stances. Peer education is a powerful tool.
Children need role models, they need men-
tors and they need support in their choice
not to use drugs.
Additional efforts to design more pro-
ductive education could include forums
aimed at increasing parental involvement.
Workshops for both parents and children
could promote effective communication
about substance abuse issues and the peer
concerns that frequently accompany chil-
dren's introduction to substances. Open
communication lines and parental support
in the homes could facilitate administrators'
and teachers' efforts to offer secondary sup-
Rather than changing the grade in which
drug education begins, the board should
explore the reasons for Ann Arbor students'
early start to drug abuse. The only way to
honestly address the problem is to delve
into students' social and environmental con-
texts. Adopting another cookie-cutter drug
prevention program is not likely to change
the context that makes kids prone to use

fa NBAmi proges
5tNEA cuts strike many levels of communities
s the people of Detroit strive to rebuild large part in a community's identity. When
their community, Congress has citizens are able to feel a common bond of

knocked back their efforts with a budget cut
to the National Endowment for the Arts. In
1996, Congress cut the NEA's budget by 40
percent. Subsequently, federal aid for the
arts in Michigan will drop 37 percent, com-
pared to 1995 funding levels. Attempts to
rebuild once-prosperous cities - like
Detroit - will suffer as a result of these
cuts. The federal government's pursuit of a
balanced budget must not sacrifice the arts
along the way.
Although the Republican-lead Congress
cut the NEA's budget, a cut in the state of
Michigan is uncalled for. Although some
areas of the country outshine others in sup-
,port for arts programs, the United States
pales in comparison with many other coun-
tries in their allocations to the arts. Many
European countries appreciate the arts
industry's value to the community and sup-
ply the necessary financial support.
The cultural health of the United States
suffers a loss when cuts are made to the
NEA. As one of the wealthier countries in
the world, the United States should re-eval-
uate current budget expenditures. Other
areas of the budget - such as the federal
government's ever-present bureaucracy -
could stand to take a cut for the arts.
Michigan alone has lost 40 of its 49 NEA
grants. These cuts hurt large groups - like
regional symphony orchestras and theatre
troupes - and individual writers, actors and
musicians. Not only will these budget cuts
harm groups and individual artists, but the
community as a whole will suffer.
The metropolitan Detroit area will be
one of the hardest hit. In order for cities like

pride in at least one area of their communi-
ty, the community as a whole becomes
stronger. Successful arts programs - sup-
porting efforts like those that made possible
the newly opened Museum of African
American History - could help unify
Detroit and perhaps attract more people to
the city.
To build a basis for economic growth,
cities should promote strong community
values. The comparison may be made to
thriving metropolises such as New York,
Chicago and even Los Angeles. Each of
these cities have strong arts programs that
showcase the community's diverse talent
and expression. In addition to providing
cultural stability, the arts attract visitors,
thus providing strong economic benefits.
The NEA budget cuts affect many levels
of the nation, state and even local universi-
ties. For example, the University's
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Program stands to lose substantial funds. -
UROP depends on federal grants for a por-
tion of its funding and as a result of NEA
cuts, the program will have to either cut
programs or find alternate methods of fund-
ing. Not only do cuts in the arts hinder the
progress of metropolitan communities, they
will also hit home for University students.
Congress should re-instate funding to
the NEA in next year's budget. When legis-
lators present a list of needs and find a lim-
ited supply of funding, the arts industry has
become dispensable. Congress must con-
sider all of the levels that will be affected as
a result of the 1996 budget cuts. This should
be an opportunity for Congress to learn

Farewell to
'witty' Lasser
As Jim Lasser's tenure
with the Daily winds down,
it's time to thank the man
whose cartoons have made
the paper worth reading.
Lasser's editorial cartoons are
elegant, witty, and oftentimes
probing, as he has addressed
both campuswide and world-
wide issues with intelligence
and clarity.
Lasser has also never
shied from controversy while
on staff, even as "activists"
accuse him of multiple -isms
and various insensitivities
(it's an editorial cartoon,
Although I don't always
agree with Lasser's views, I
do respect his courage in pre-
senting his ideas to thousands
of his peers on a daily basis,
while never taking himself
too seriously. His insight will
undoubtedly take him far in
life, and I encourage him to
keep his mind and pencil
sharp while writing for a
greater audience.
Thank you, Lasser, for the
laughs each morning.
'U' should
keep LSA
There were several ques-
tionable points in the Daily's
editorial "Language lessons"
You advocated eliminat-
ing our foreign language
requirement, not just chang-
ing it to be more palatable.
Apparently the University is
"missing the point" in not
seeing the basic uselessness
of knowing a foreign lan-
guage, the knowledge along
with which a student inher-
ently takes on some of the
foreign culture.
Now, cheesy as it may
seem to say that taking a for-
eign language "broadens a
student's horizons," neverthe-
less learning French,
Spanish, Ojibwa, or any other
of the many tongues offered
here, does just that. It's being
closed-minded not to see and
take the opportunity to appre-
ciate something from outside
the U.S.A. Who's missing the
I found another idea
rather puzzling. About the
disallowing of taking the
final semester pass/fail, you
say this "places a burden on

be able to screw around and
do just enough to get a C-,
thus accomplishing nothing
save for a graduation require-
ment. This is a cop-out.
Finally you wrote,
"spending hours memorizing
flash cards does little to
boost one's cultural aware-
ness.' Learning a language
doesn't have to become and
shouldn't be just memorizing
flash cards. There's so much
more to be gleaned, as I have
realized through my study of
French and Spanish here at
the University. Sincere effort
in a language course reaps
great benefits, thus everyone
should put the greatest possi-
ble effort into this "burden-
some" requirement, just as
one would do with any other
mandatory University course.
Response to
protest was
I would first like to start
off by stating that I am a
Puerto Rican, but not a mem-
ber of Latinas y Latinos
Unidos for Change. I have
not been particularly active in
the previous Latino-centered
protests about grape farming
and whatnot.
Yet I find myself very
shocked at the negative or
weak response LUCha is
receiving from the student
body, the Daily and, more
important, University
President Lee Bollinger and
his out-of-touch administra-
First, LUCha interrupted
a social event! Doesn't this
school have a long history of
groups protesting and shut-
ting down or interfering with
educational events? Didn't
the GSI union cause havoc
on our testing schedules just
a short time ago? How many
"sit-ins" have student groups
orchestrated in the past?
Don't most students and their
parents look back fondly on
these examples of activism?
So why are students and oth-
ers on campus bitching about
the LUCha demonstration at
a social event?
No classes were disturbed,
no academic scheduling was
hindered. I guess the sad
truth is that students would
rather have a demonstration
that interrupts classes than
have their posh little recep-
tion with campus administra-
tors interrupted.
Next, Bollinger is starting
to smell a little bit too much
like Duderstadt! There is
obviously something wrong
if the Latino/a organizations
can not get the same funding
guarantees as the $35,000 the
Black Student Union is guar-

leftovers from the Duderstadt
Finally, I do not begrudge
the benefits and services
other minority groups
receive. Though I am not a
member of LUCha, I am sure
they do not want to see any
minority groups lose the ben-
efits for which they have
fought so strongly. It just
makes me sick to hear people
talk about "sympathy" being
offered. No minority group
has ever succeeded on this
campus or in this country
because of sympathy! While
not being a member of
LUCha, I am sure I can say
that what they want is action,
not sympathy. The student
groups on campus have what
they have because of action,
not sympathy. So, Bollinger
and his mob can keep their
kind words, their sympathy,
their lip service and any other
useless displays. What is
needed is action and real
Greek events
are worthy of
front page
I would like to point out a
double standard perpetuated
by The Michigan Daily.
Throughout my four years at
this University, I have seen a
number of articles on the
front page that were reporting
alleged wrongdoing at frater-
nity houses. What I have
failed to see is an objective
approach to the Greek system
as a whole. A majority of the
coverage is yellow journalism
which strengthens the stereo-
type that the Greek system is
a bunch of hazing, beer-
drinking, sex-crazed individ-
uals with sub-par GPAs. I
would like to contradict this
image with some positive
Over the past week and a
half, the entire Greek com-
munity came together for its
largest annual event: Greek
Week. During this 10-day
period, the Greek community
donated more than 2,000
canned goods, gave 400 pints
of blood, performed more
than1,500 hours of communi-
ty service and raised more
than $50,000 for various
charitable organizations.
Although such an event
seems worthy of a front page
story, the only mention of it
was a picture on the third
page of some students
singing at Hill Auditorium.
There was no mention of the
great charitable contributions.
Rather than wasting time
reporting about alleged
events, it would be nice to

Take the damned
parchment anaO
run for your life
A pril is my least favorite month.
Aprilis the Month of the Senior.
Early spring is when graduating
seniors start to freak out and get very
loud and whiny about everything in
general. They poke their cute Ittle
heads out of the back door of Ric
finish their
Rolling Rock,
comb the vomit
out of their hair
and crawl to their
advisor's office.
Whenever babyA
boomers go
through some kind
of life-altering
they feel the need
to make it intoua MILAW
goddamned cul- 1.IR R
tural movement MILLER ON
and assume that
the rest of the country gives hag a
dead rat's ass about their 401(k) plans,
pattern baldness, prostate cancer and
menopause issues. The entire staff of
Newsweek starts having impotence
problems at roughly the same time
I get to see half a magazine devoteo
how the "official" middle age got
moved back to say, 60. Right. But I
Now the seniors have the same dis-
ease. "I'm graduating. I guess this
means now I have to be an adult."
Now you have to be an adult? What
is this I've been doing for two years?
Playing with myself? What do you call
living on your own, 18-hour days a
job, full class load and a large pal@
of extra-curricular activities?
"Oh, that's easy. Why? Well,
because. That's why. Now go back-and
sit at the kiddie table and I don't want
to hear a peep out of you until after
grace is said. You're so cute."
Implied in this notion of "graduation
=adulthood" is the assumption that
college is easy. That this is something
that parents do to humor their stu '
half-cocked progeny until they%
ready for the great somber task of
being the assistant managing coordi-
nating vice president in charge of
sales, marketing and community plan-
ning; which everyone knows is really
the Lord's work.
Try this: The next time an "adult"
pats you on the head and tells you it's
"cute" that you think your college
adventures are maybe, just maybe, a
little bit like the real world, ask the
they'd like to be a little, knucklehead-
ed cat of 19 or 20. "Hey Dad, I just
wrote a 15-page research paper on the
New Deal. What did you do today?
Oh, a meeting. Well, I'm sure that was
tough, too"
Who says graduating is a sign of
adulthood? Look at the people you
know who are graduating. From sktill-
bong fraternity guy to dunder-heat d
NWROC ("The world sucks -
picket the Daily! Darn, I still feel bad
that I was born white and middle-
class. Let's try something else.")
activist nitwit to cookie-cutter sorori-
ty -girl (I'm not worried about that
one, they're not reading this,' they're
doing the crossword), there are dozens
and dozens of graduates who -are
about as ready for the outside world as
Hostility purged. Let's continue.
I have a friend graduating tEs
semester who is also getting married.

Now that's adulthood. Marriage,
despite what our parents' generation
has demonstrated, is a real, permanent
commitment. ("Well, son, it's just not
working out with me and your mother.
This is your new mom - I met her at
a windsurfer outlet.") A bachelor's
degree won't make you pick ups the
kids from soccer practice, run to
store for ice creame at 4 a.m., take ito
Emma Thompson movies or pretend
you like its friends.
Another thingnIcan do without are
the incredibly false, sentimental remi-
niscences about the halcyon college
days. These are usually the people who
complained non-stop about their evil
roommate/housemate, class load,
a-two-way-but-well-whatever, b ,
TA and everything else a person co
run into on this campus in four years
of being a disorganized nimrod. As
soon as they geta whiff of parchment
they turn into an Oscar winner. They
get goosy and blubbery about every-
thing, having the gall to wax poetic
about ... oh, let's see, what's most
common? Their last beer at the filthy,
meathead watering hole of their
choice; the last paper they are stay
up all night to write in the Fishbowlr
the last time the bearded guys in front
of Red Hot Lovers grubbed quarters
from them.
If you think these are the best years
of your life, you are in for a dismally
disappointing life. College students

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