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December 09, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-09

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4 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 9, 1997

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

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Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailys editorial board. All
olther articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
U'English class shares talents with inmates

'The imperative is to do what we promise, rather than to
promise what we cannot do.'
- Vice President Al Gore, in an address at the enironmental
conference in Kyoto, Japan; the United States has been criticized
for its he.sitation to support stricter emissions standards
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WN ,ayE "s, a re
2Dor 8F A T 4 E R A N D LET A DgR U NK E .

niversity students' commendable
efforts to participate in their. commu-
nity have come under fire by one who
should be supporting them. State Rep.
David Jaye (R-Macomb) has recently criti-
cized the University's English 319, Theater
and Social Change, as an "outrageous
waste" of tax dollars. Students enrolled in
the. course visit correctional facilities and
juyenile detention facilities every week to
teach drama to inmates. According to Jaye,
this program is not only a "waste of money"
but a threat to students' safety. But Jaye's
criticisms are way off the mark - this pro-
gram is a way to enrich students' University
education and help rehabilitate inmates
through artistic expression.
The primary goal of the correctional facil-
ity system should be to prepare inmates for
reinvolvement in society. Educational pro-
grams and instruction in the arts is a fine way
to do this. Not only does it provide the inmates
with a positive way to spend prison time, it
can help make them more enriched members
of the society they will eventually rejoin. Prof.
Buzz Alexander, who teaches the Theater and
Social Change course, says that prisoners who
attend these seminars do so because they are
interested in personal growth. Indeed, the
study of drama can be an important part of
rehabilitation, because of its focus on emo-
tions, and understanding the emotions of oth-
ers. It also gives these residents a chance to
voice their own opinions and ideas, and pro-
motes creative thought in a context that tradi-
tionally prohibits expression.
The course is also beneficial to the stu-
dent$; who learn about themselves and oth-
ers through teaching these inmates, and are
alldwed to see the human face of prison life.

By electing English 319, students made a
conscious choice to become involved in an
aspect of the community with which they
might not have been familiar. That is one of
the many purposes of a University educa-
tion; these students are enriching their edu-
cation and devoting their tuition dollars to a
classroom that is unlike any other they'll
encounter during their time here.
Jaye's argument that the program is unsafe
for students is also unfounded. Although
some of the inmates at the seminars have
been incarcerated for violent crimes,
Alexander says that they are grateful for this
service and are actually protective of the stu-
dents. In addition, the Department of
Corrections provides security for the volun-
Programs like English 319 are an excel-
lent idea that should be more widely imple-
mented throughout the prison system.
Education is the key to making inmates
more productive members of society; it is
certainly beneficial to all involved, and not
at all a "waste of money." If there are more
positive activities available to prisoners it
will go a long way toward rehabilitation.
The arts are a vital part of a productive,
positive life. Those involved in English 319
are helping to bring some of its powerful
effect to inmates. Jaye's vocal condemnation
of the program is shameful and inappropri-
ate for a state representative. Instead of crit-
icizing students who unselfishly give of
their time and talents, Jaye should commend
them for their contributions. People like the
students enrolled in English 319 will begin
to change the way we look at correctional
facilities and their greater purpose in society
- an idea that Jaye is far from grasping.

State Starting new
StteHouse looks to protect abused children

H ne should be a place associated with
safety and comfort. Parents should be
expected to nurture and provide for their
children. Yet for thousands of children in
Michigan - and many, many more across
the country - parents are not caretakers,
bvit the perpetrators of abuse. When chil-
dren are victims of abuse at the hands of
theirparents, they lose the valuable sense of
seeurity that home and family should pro-
Last Thursday, the state House unani-
mously passed bills that would immediately
reduce abusive parents' rights. The 10-bill
package would allow Family Independence
Agency investigators to petition a court to
remove children from the home if they have
"reasonable cause to believe" abuse is
occuring. As the laws currently stands, a
"preponderance of the evidence" must indi-
cate abuse is occurring before children can
>e removed. The bills now move to the
Senate, because of some minor changes
made by the House, and if approved, will go
to Gov. John Engler. The Senate should
approve these important bills and Engler
must sign them into law to make our state a
safer place for children.
As the laws currently stand, FIA investi-
gators often cannot quickly remove a child
from their home. Because of the necessity
for a "preponderance of evidence," children
are often left in homes where their well-
being and even their lives are endangered.
The proposed bills are commendable
because they decrease the level of proof
needed to remove children, thus decreasing
the amount of time children must live with
the abuse. Once abuse is suspected, the
child should be removed from the situation
-until the suspicion can either be con-
: :..~ . I - I_ a .. t,. ,... ,. ..

But FIA investigators must cautiously
use the new powers the House bill would
provide. A "reasonable cause to believe"
cannot be taken lightly, for while it is
important to remove children from abusive
parents, it is also traumatic to a child to sep-
arate him or her from the only home he or
she has ever known.
In the process of considering the welfare
of abused children, the state must focus on
making foster homes safe and compassion-
ate environments. When FIA investigators
remove abused children from hurtful
homes, there must be a safe haven for them.
Currently, the foster care system operates
under stressful conditions. With too few
caseworkers and heavy caseloads, the foster
care system often does not get the attention
it needs. State legislators must address this
situation when they consider the new child
abuse bills.
It is doubly damaging to take a child
from one abusive home and place him or
her in another abusive home. The state must
provide more money to support foster
homes. While the vast majority of foster
parents are warm-hearted individuals who
have generously opened their homes to
children in need, caregivers for high-risk
children must be carefully investigated.
If abuse is occurring at home, the child's
well being must be taken into consideration
and they must be quickly removed from the
situation. When placed into the hands of
foster care, the state should make the tran-
sition as smooth as possible. They must also
assure that the foster home will be a safe
place for the child to grow and overcome
the pain of an already scarred life. The new
bills must be passed and signed into law so
Michigan's children have a chance to live

Grad schools
should secede
from MSA
On March 13, 1997. the
graduate schools looked to
secede from MSA and use
its portion of student gov-
ernment fees (around
$70,00) for its students
only. MSA and the general
student body objected to
this. They claimed working
together was in the best
interest of all students. They
claimed that our unity was
our strength and goals that
we shared.
What a pile of garbage! If
this is the case, why wasn't
the medical school MSA rep-
resentative listed in the
Daily's election results'?
Some have said it was
because MSA did not provide
this information to the Daily.
So, why isn't the medical
school representative listed
with all the other representa-
tives on the MSA Webpage'?
It has been suggested this is
because the total vote counts
are not available yet.
Neither excuse is accept-
able. The votes for a medical
school representative did not
exceed 50 in number. The
majority of these votes were
cast online because med stu-
dents do not have the time to
leave the medical school to
write a ballot.
The truth is that MSA has
no interest in the medical
school students or their
needs, and why should they?
The medical school only has
one representative. If the
votes for the medical school
representative have not been
verified by the election com-
mission, then the results of
the other 18 representatives
should not have been report-
ed. Instead, all other MSA
representatives have been
publicly declared on the front
page of the Daily and the
MSA Webpage while the
medical school representative
has been quietly notified by
MSA is clearly an under-
focused assembly. It is time
for MSA to acknowledge its
shortcomings with graduate
students and allow us to han-
dle our own affairs, political
and financial. Give us control
and give us our fees. Why
should graduate school gov-
ernments have to obtain
approval for use of graduate
student fees from an under-
graduate-focused organiza-
tion? Graduate school stu-
dents should be allowed to
secede from the MSA
gestapo if they choose to do

duction, trade and stockpiling
of landmines, which kill or
maim an estimated 26,000
civilians each year. We find it
disgraceful that the United
States government is in direct
opposition to the will of the
Noble Peace Prize-winning,
grassroots movement of the
International Campaign to
Ban Landmines.
President Clinton and the
Joint Chiefs of Staff have
said that banning these
devices would jeopardize the
lives of U.S. soldiers. Tfhis
argument has several flaws.
It is estimated that one-third
of all U.S. casualties in the
Gulf War and in Vietnam
were due to landmines. It is
no surprise that the strongest
group supporting the ban in
the U.S. is the Vietnam
Veterans of America
Furthermore, several
retired U.S. generals, includ-
ing Norman Schwarzkopf,
have endorsed the ban. The
real reason for the refusal to
sign the treaty is the fear of
how much influence a grass-
roots organization can have
over military matters.
Fortunately, the United
States can still sign the treaty
after the international com-
munity leaves Ottawa, but the
president will not sign unless
he knows we want him to.
Let us have a say in the deci-
sion making here in Ann
Members of the
International Campaignato
Ban Landmines issued a
challenge to us. During their
visit to the Diag on Nov. 13,
one of them revealed the
horror he felt upon learning
that in landmine-infested
countries markets now sup-
ply single shoes for maimed
landmine victims. He asked
us to take advantage of our
football and basketball
teams' national press cover-
age and raise a shoe during
the national anthem in mem-
ory of landmine victims and
in support of the ban.
Let us meet this chal-
lenge, but let us do more.
When we raise a shoe, let us
hold a hand over our hearts
in memory of the maimed
and murdered United States
soldiers and aspire to fulfill
our country's highest ideals.
'U' should
not impose
I am writing in response
to a letter to the editor by
Debbie Kolben ("'U' should
end cnntract with Nike"

logical and reasonable man-
ner by using "proper" lan-
Regardless, in my opin-
ion, her reasons for terminat-
ing Nike's contract are very
premature. She states it her-
self- Nike operates under
the most fundamental princi-
ples of our capitalistic econo-
my. At the fundamental level,
it is indeed true that "all that
Nike cares about is profit."
She also states that Nike
workers are "exploited, over-
worked and underpaid." The
important question we must
ask here is, by whose stan-
Working for more than 40
hours a week for any less
than $5.25 per hour is cer-
tainly "overworked and
underpaid" by the American
legal standards. Don't get me
wrong - I am not for having
people work ridiculous hours
and being paid very little.
However, under the standards
of the nations where Nike
factories are, such practice is
apparently not illegal. Who
are we to invade these coun-
tries and judge them by our
In addition, before we
concern ourselves with labor
practices and standards in
different countries, we ought
to look at ourselves in the
mirror. We need to realize
that there are similar prob-
lems in much closer proximi-
ty. Minimum wage is certain-
ly not sufficient for a
"decent" living in this coun-
Nike "returning" some of
its profit to the workers is
highly unlikely to happen.
Nike, if forced to abandon its
current situation, will seek
the next cheapest labor
before raising the wages it
pays workers or reducing the
hours they work.
Even if Nike agrees to
raise the wages or reduce the
hours, there could be undesir-
able and unpredictable effects
on the market by imposing
such "artificial" changes.
Perhaps some workers will be
laid off. An extremely high
profit margin enjoyed by
Nike does not exempt it from
being part of the market and
the economy. Simple redistri-
bution of its profit will have
some effects, perhaps some
undesirable ones, on the
overall economy.
Even those companies
that support "human rights
and fair labor practices" do
so partially because they real-
ize such support can be used
to advertise themselves. Even
"human rights and fair labor
practice"-friendly companies
are in the market to make
profit. Nike and other com-
panies are corporations out to
make profit in the economy,
not humane missionaries.
I am not supporting what
I would consider to be horri-
ble working conditions of
Nike emlovees. However.

Take advantage
of the time we
have left; there
isn't a lot of it
hile registering for classes for
next semester, a grand realiza-
tion hit me, and I don't think that I was
really ready fr it. All at once. i
flash, there were true signs that
whole ride is com-
ing to a screeching
end, and it seems
as if the days keep
goingsby at break-
neck speed. '
College. which
for some will con-
tinue after gradua-
tion in tiheform of
law school, ned-
ical school or JOSH
other graduate WHITE
programs, is jMI c,
almost over for me GuN
and the entire ".
senior class. The days that older mem-
bers of our families merely dream
about and that many people call "the
best of our lives" are almost numbered
- the inevitable "lasts" are becom
more frequent and more forebding
For now, the "lasts" are not so sig-
nificant. Registering for class is cer-
tainly nothing that will be sorely
missed, but I imagine come this time
next year, it will seem strangely absent
from our lives. The idea of a "last"
home football game isn't so daunting
because of course there will be more.
As there will be more times to walk
through Ann Arbor at night - but
none of these experiences will be n
ly as powerful once the title of stud
is removed.
Soon, after our last Winter Break (I
hear that in the real world such things
are almost laughable, but I don't know
if I'm so eager to find out), we will
return forgour last first class of a
semester. And then there will be the
last "welcome back" parties, the last
walk through the lightly falling snow,
the last snowball fight, the last sn.
Before we know it, there will be the
last midterms, the last Spring Break,
the last drunken bashes, the last alt-
nighter and then the wild panic whep
we all realize thaththe important lasts
are being left for the very end. There
will be the last warm day on the Diag,
the last long talk with your roommate
or housemate, the last Friday after-
I saw it all happen to friends
year, it was as if they entered this
crazed world of living fr every
moment;thecamera comes out and
even the last slice of Backroom pizza
or dozen Spot's Wings becomes a
Kodak moment - there was a frantic
need to relive everything that had been
good for the past four years and a fren-
zy to fit all of the loose ends together
while taking care of doing all
things that they had wanted to do.
college. .
While I certainly don't want to
become what they were, there is soe-
thing inside that tells me there maybe
no better way. There is a creeping anx-
iety that maybe what we have all done
over the past 3 12 years was not
enough, thatsour efforts should have
been greater and that our experiences
should have been more diverse. Maybe
we shouldn't have put off t1
Sociology paper until the last minute
and maybe we should have gone to th
bar that Tuesday night.
Maybe we should have done more

community service or taken advantage
of the natural beauty that Michigan
affords. Maybe sitting around and eat;
ing nachos while muttering obsceni.
ties at the TV was a waste of time, or
maybe we should have done it m
It is this second-guessing that scares
me a whole hell of a lot. I don't want
to look back at the "best four years of
my life" and have any regrets.
As of today, I can honestly say thai
the regretsare few and far betweenf
they are there at all. But there are still
a lot of things that I want to do and see
and feel before this is all over, and
luckily, I have about four months to
cram it all in.
I feel like my friends who graduateJ
last year didn't step back to realize
they were leaving until they were its
essencealready gone. We have t;ime
we can make sure to take care of the
loose ends and be sure to make time
for our friends.
Looking at it realistically, we
seniors have one-eighth of our cle
giate career left. That's a lot of t1mn
and a lot of memories waiting to
pen. Before everything becomes a
"last" and before experience
become missed opportunities, step
back and think about the one or tw4
things you would still like to do on
this campus.
And for the rest of the students here
- the juniors, sophomores and espe

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