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October 28, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-28

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, Octobe


cft iEiutn Ttil g

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


Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

I'm not going to say what I'm going to do to help
people, I'm just going to do it.'
- LSA junior Christina Branson, who participated in
Philadelphia n Million Woman March this weekend

ote~. )her sisf' noeuid fnigned editorials ireflect the' opinlion of ithe mnajority of the' Daily ,v editorial hoaJrd. All
other't (licles5, letters and cartoonlsdo fnot necessarily reflec~t the opinlion f Tfhe Michigan Daily

Sig Eps return too
nly three years ago, tragedy struck the
University campus. A Sigma Phi
psilon pledge, in an alleged hazing inci-
:dent, drank himself to the verge of death.
:'ecently, on Louisiana State and MIT's
cainpuses, pledges were not so lucky -two
students died after binge-drinking episodes,
aiid the shock waves reverberated nation-
Wide. Just last week, Sig Eps announced
:1ans to come back to campus as a trans-
4ormed, alcohol-free house. While their
-intentions may be worthwhile, their return
: eemns premature. The Sig Eps episode is
too fresh in the minds of the University
community, and while steps have been
taken to prevent such incidents from occur-
ring in the future, there is still much to be
Details of the Sig Eps tragedy remain
sketchy. Before a Saturday football game,
some fraternity members allegedly forced
pledges to drink an excessive number of
shots of hard alcohol. As a result of the
binge drinking, one pledge fell out of con-
sciousness and lapsed into a coma. After a
tense period of campus-wide concern and
reflection, the student eventually recovered
all his physical and mental capabilities.
'Sirnce that time, the Interfraternity Council
'has taken several commendable steps to help
prevent similar tragedies from occurring.
Organizers stress that the new Sig Eps
chapter will be a different kind of fraternity.
There will be no group initiation process,
and rush will take place year-round. Pledges
will be able to move through the pledge
process at their own pace, and alcohol will
constitute no part of the pledge process.
While these ideas seem like a model for fra-
ternities campus-wide, Sig Eps should have
'deflyed their return another year.
The members of at least one initiated Sig

g ack
soon after incident
Eps pledge classes remain on campus; such
a quick return may indicate the failure to
grasp the full meaning of that day three
years ago. Former Sig Eps President Scott
Sandler called the closing "a very disap-
pointing time and unfortunate for me and
the other members." But "very disappoint-
ing" does not convey an understanding of
the incident's severity.
The University's remaining Sig Eps
members bear at least part of the responsi-
bility for the events that occurred.
Following the incident, the national Sig Eps
office beat IFC's enforcement officers to
the punch, by giving up their campus char-
ter. Perhaps it would have been wise for IFC
to step in anyway, to prohibit Sig Eps'
return before a full four years had passed. A
fresh start for Sig Eps will be difficult while
its older members remain on campus.
Sig Eps is returning to a Greek system
that is drastically different from that of
three years ago. Almost immediately after
the Sig Eps incident, IFC banned kegs from
fraternities. The policy at parties is now
BYOB, and IFC has sanctioned several
houses for violating this rule. IFC is work-
ing closely with houses to eliminate pledge
hazing. Establishing a bond with the mem-
bers of a house is important - but hazing is
not necessary to achieve this sense of
attachment. Thanks to public pressure and
the IFC's diligence, hazing is not as preva-
lent as it once was, and efforts to eliminate
hazing should continue.
Across the board, houses have been per-
suaded to re-evaluate priorities, and are
being held to a higher degree of account-
ability. IFC has been the engine for this
remarkable change, and must continue to
ensure that fraternities are bound by both
brotherhood and responsibility.



REAF- 3f-kWHEt'j
1E Just~ Got

K ~3


CPS needs additional support to help children

Tast Friday, Michigan Auditor General
L Thomas H. McTavish released a report
cancluding, among other concerns, that
nearly one in four of all children in danger-
ous family situations are not removed from
those situations. Other major problems
were that investigations did not always
begin within 24 hours of the initial com-
plaint, and investigators failed to conduct
thorough investigations in nearly 20 percent
of cases.
The state of Michigan's Children's
Protective Services are not performing at an
acceptable level. Because this agency has
such an important function - namely
investigating cases of child abuse and
removing children from dangerous situa-
tions - every effort must be made to
increase the agency's efficiency to the high-
est possible degree.
A major obstacle in the way of greater
efficiency is the absence of uniform guide-
lines that govern what exactly constitutes
abuse or neglect. This leaves too much pres-
sure on caseworkers. These government
employees perform extremely emotional
jobs; often having to remove children from
their familiar surroundings. Overworked
caseworkers, carrying heavy caseloads and
working without firm guidelines to estab-
lish abuse and neglect, can make mistakes.
When 25 percent of abused children slip
through the cracks of the system that is
meant to protect them, changes are in order.
Currently, CPS employs 624 workers
and costs the state $48 million per year to
run. This is clearly not enough when 25 per-

removed from danger are not being helped.
Consider the difficulty of the caseworker's
job: each of these people must evaluate sit-
uations to determine if children are truly
being abused, and they must take these chil-
dren into custody if they are being abused.
These workers sometimes put themselves at
risk dealing with hostile parents not willing
to let their children be taken. Also, these
workers must be very careful when investi-
gating a complaint; it is not unthinkable that
accusations may play a role in messy
divorce proceedings or hostile separations.
Dealing with irate parents and terrified
children is a trauma in itself; caseworkers
need all the assistance they can get when
tackling these tough cases.
To speed up this process and alleviate
workers' heavy caseloads, more workers are
needed. This should be McTavish's next
concern: to determine how many more
workers are needed to dramatically increase
this agency's effectiveness. Once deter-
mined, the state of Michigan should appro-
priate the necessary funding to elevate the
agency's number of employees. This is a
simple nonpartisan issue; Democrats and
Republicans alike can agree that child abuse
is an unacceptable atrocity that deserves the
state's best preventative efforts.
Children often end up the members of
society with the least amount of protection
for their rights. Because of this, the state
must make sure that they are protected from
those who would abuse them. The state's
child protection laws and hardworking CPS
caseworkers are frequently an abused

falls prey
to politics
I would just like to ensure
that the student body has a
clear picture about the
University's actions toward
campus childcare needs and
the facts involved. Around
two years ago, an MSA
childcare task force was
formed and headed by Fiona
Rose to determine how best
to address the childcare
needs of students. This was
definitely an admirable pub-
lic display of political cor-
rectness. Unfortunately,
Rose's task force did not per-
form any kind of real investi-
gation! If Rose had done her
job, she would have spent
more time on North Campus
with those non-traditional
students who need childcare.
This was not the case.
Instead, Rose placed a call to
Family Housing Residents'
Council only to ask what our
feelings were on the issue of
childcare. The council major-
ity was ecstatic that the MSA
might be interested in getting
involved and suggested a
meeting to discuss the coun-
cil's previous in-depth
research into this topic.
Unfortunately, like Rose's
investigation, there was no
I would like to provide
some of the lost facts. When
last reported, around 1,500
parent-students need adequate
childcare. For infant-care,
costs are around $200 per
week. Financially speaking, a
fee increase of $4 per semester
at the minimum would have
been required, a fact that Rose
was made very much aware of
during her telephone call.
Unfortunately, for the purpose
of political appearance and
posturing, an unrealistic and
90 percent inadequate fee
increase of $1 per semester
was put on the ballot. I con-
tacted Fiona by e-mail to
question her proposal. She
said a realistic proposal might
"scare too many people off"
and that she needed a child-
care proposal on the ballot.
Now, Rose has successful-
ly achieved her political
objectives with MSA. But
childcare still remains a prob-
lem at the University of
Michigan. With the departure
of Rose coupled with the
recent arrival of President
Bollinger, Mike Nagrant and
Olga Savic, I hope the issue
of childcare and the increased
student fees will finally be
fully examined. If students
are forced to pay a childcare
fee, let's make sure it is not a
fee based on someone's politi-
cal agenda. No student should
pay a fee based on one indi-
vidual's uneducated opinions.

meaning of the swastika, and
James Miller's column titled
"Taking a stand for the
swoosh (10/22/97). What I
want to suggest is that the
University of Michigan's $7
million dollar contract with
Nike comes at a price.
Anand Parekhs' letter
("Swastika is a symbol of
truth,"' 10/24/97) made the
astute observation that sym-
bols possess the meanings
that cultures assign them.
This explains why a swastika
has different meanings
depending on how it is rotat-
ed. Placed in a clockwise
(left handed) rotation it is a
symbol of death, but rotated
in the opposite direction
(right handed) it is a symbol
of life. Although to many, the
rotation doesn't matter. It is a
symbol more commonly
associated with Nazi
Germany, rather than with
Judaism, Hinduism, or
What does a swastika and
Nike have in common? The
swoosh is the symbol that
Nike uses to market its athlet-
ic-apparel. Itsassociation with
athletes such as Michael'
Jordan and athletic programs
such as the University of
Michigan's has come to sym-
bolize competitive excellence.
The meaning of the swoosh,
however, is changing.
"48 Hours" on CBS
recently documented cases of
abuse, illegal payment and
inhumane working conditions
in Vietnamese Nikenfactories.
Employees are often young
women and children that are
paid below the Vietnamese
minimum wage and are sexu-
ally abused by their supervi-
sors. Nike claims to be
investing in the countries it
uses to produce its products,
but this is not the fact. Nike
continually shifts production
of its shoes to the country
with the lowest wages;
Vietnam and China now have
the contracts that South
Korea and Taiwan once had.
At the turn of the century,
the swastika did not have the
meaning it connotes today.
Twenty years from now the
swoosh may not symbolize
excellence on the court or on
the gridiron, but out-sourcing
of jobs and exploitation of
labor. Can the University
afford such an association?
action has
many faces
As an African American
on this campus, I must say
that I am very irritated and
very tired of the attacks being
thrown at affirmative action
by ignorant students and even
less astute alumni (vo know

the African American student
body could experience a vio-
lent backlash. Let's not do
this. Let's put the trueface of
affirmative action on the
cover of the Daily.
It's time to stand up to
those who would have the
University turned back into
an all-male, all-white country
club, where minorities are
working in the kitchen
instead of attending classes.
It's time for all the other
groups on this campus who
benefit from affirmative
action to stand up like men
and women and put them-
selves on the line as you, the
decision makers at the Daily,
have so carelessly done by
putting only black faces on
your covers when you talk
about affirmative action. It's
time to stop using the African
American student body as a
scapegoat for this issue,
while others hide in the shad-
ows of this struggle for the
sake of "fitting in" on cam-
Lawsuit based
on racism
The current lawsuit
against the University of
Michigan is based solely on
racism and a pervasive belief
in "white privilege." This
may seem quite an indict-
ment, but it is the only viable
answer when the facts are
considered. From the lan-
guage of those bringing the
lawsuit, one would think that
GPA, test scores and race
were the only criteria in col-
lege admissions. This obvi-
ously is not the case. When
considering an applicant for
admission, such factors as
underrepresented geographi-
cal region, underrepresented
minority, high school attend-
ed and economic status all
influence an applicant's
chances of admission.
My personal favorite is
legacy. Essentially, legacy is
the way universities, including
this one, are able to receive
generous alumni donations by
rproviding privilege to those
who already enjoy privilege.
Sure, Michigan is not as bad
as Notre Dame, where a quota
of 25 percent is set aside for
legacy applicants. Michigan is
"only" guilty of giving all
legacy applicants in-state
admission status, significantly
increasing the likelihood that
they will be admitted. It can
be assumed that in-state lega-
cy applicants receive some
other advantage to aid their
cause. Is this fair?
It is fashionable to
denounce affirmative action, to
cry about race being a factor in
admissions; however, there is
no public discontent over lega-
cv Could this be because most

School spirit
arises in both
strange and
familiar lands
A s Thomas Jefferson is quoted (t
la ppears on many a U.S. passport)
there is nothing so inspiring as seeing
an American flag on the embassy i
foreign country. Alluding to the prie
and esteem that
seeing such a
patriotic symbol
evokes. Jfferson
had a wonderful
point: sometimes
it takes distance to e ry
appreciate what
you have right at bi
Three years ago, is
I arrived on this JOSH
campus knowing WHITE
little more than a JUMhNG
handful of people rTHE (UN
and with no con-
cept of Michigai, the University or
anything that goes along with it.
Before my first football game in
Michigan Stadium (ironically against
Boston College, whose stadium i
mere half mile from my home) IeM
no real interest in football, no real
enthusiasm for collegiate sports and
no tangible feeling for the school.
Standing with 106,000 Michigan fans
changed all that as I am sure it has
done for count less others.
Since then, the 'M' has been a pow-
erful symbol that seems to pervade my
everyday existence. There is rarely a
place on campus where the sM' is
visible or Michigan is not a prevad k
theme. On a campus where most stu-
dents are proud to wear maize and
blue and are not shy about blazing
their support for the Wolverines, the
spirit that underlies such symbolism
can get lost because it is so common-
I think most people would be hard
pressed to find a school in this country
with so much self-enthusiasm r
walking onto most campuses it isha
to find many students with their colors
showing or their pride for their school
out in the open. While wearing school
clothing is often a freshman trademark
elsewhere, at Michigan it seems as if
we wear more as we age -just look at
alumni when they return to campus.
What I fear is that people don't notice
It seems as if people want to con-
stantly criticize Michiganr thns fori
having enough spirit. Letters pour in
about the poor crowd response at bas-
ketball games or the weak alumni sup-
port at football games, people gripe
about quiet venues and lack of rowdi-
ness. Yet all those people to whom
these complaints refer are wearing
maize and blue, are showing up for the
games (and most likely have been for
the past 20 years or they wouldn't have
tickets in the first place) and c
about the outcome. We are spoiled
because we see sellout games each
week and because we expect champi-
onships - unlike most college crowds
that are pleased with mediocre atten-
dance and a few wins each season.
Underlying this criticism is also a
deep love for Michigan, or the criti-
cism wouldn't come in the first place.
So it is to be admired that people care
enough to try to spur on their fell'
Michigan supporters, but chastisi
the maize and blue faithful for not
being rambunctious is unfair.
One of the most heartwarming

scenes of this, my senior year, was
watching the final minutes of this
weekend's football game against
Michigan State. The crowd of close to
80,000 had filtered out, save for the
thousands of Michigan fans scattered
about the stadium, there to witness t
final play of this legendary rivalry. Th
game was over long before, but those
fans stayed to sing "The Victors" just
one more time and to wave their flags
and display their pride.
Seeing Michigan flags flying over
The Mall in Washington D.C. on the
Fourth of July was also one of those
moments. For an instant, you can tell
that the person who has launched it
knows the feeling that you kno
about this school. The yellow 'M' on
blue background is simple yet
poignant, it is soft-spoken yet louder
than anything else could be. The pride
one feels when seeing a car with the
University of Michigan sticker in the
rear window when driving cross coun-
try should be the same feeling that
comes with watching a game on tele-
vision when hundreds of miles away
or when spotting a Michigan hat whil
walking across the Diag.
We are proud of this school and we
are proud of what it stands for, it is just
that it may take some distance to
notice it. Any Michigan fan who wit-
nessed Charles Woodson's marvelous,
leaping interception this weekend,
either on television or in person, had to

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