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September 04, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-04

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 4, 1997__

Ql1tE igttn 34trtild

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'My term ends in 2000. I will not run anymore.'
-Russian President Boris Yeltsin, announcing his intent to step
aside when his term expires to make way for younger leadership

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 Dailv.
Lounge izards
Communication problems muddle housing


,., .. . ,,, '<

As the 1997-98 school year commences,
the University once again finds itself
unable to house the students it admitted. In
a last-ditch effort to fulfill its obligations,
Housing Division officials opted to cram
students into unsatisfactory living spaces
across campus. Some first-year students
will be quick to question the quality of their
new learning environment as the lucky ones
move into converted triples, and the
unlucky are forced - however temporarily
- to call transformed student lounges
The problem of dorm overpopulation
causes student agitation and decreases the
quality of living. The effect is intensified by
the persistence of the problem, which arose
this. year for the third consecutive
September and threatens to distinguish
itself as an annual occurrence.
The most convenient target of blame for
this problem falls on housing officials who
are responsible for providing students with
adequate living conditions. However,
admissions officials shoulder a great deal of
the responsibility. In each of the past three
years, the number of students admitted to
the University exceeded the amount of
housing space available. As a result, much
of the residence hall population resides in
cramped conditions. To counteract the prob-
lem, the two branches must work together to
uncover viable solutions - if the housing
authority states that the University has liv-
ing Space available to a certain number of
students, admissions should not ignore that
fact and proceed to invite a total that
exceeds the amount of physical space.
Every year, admissions elects to invite
more students than they expect will accept

- and during the last three years more stu-
dents have accepted those invitations than
officials assumed. As a result, students suf-
fer in the overcrowding crisis. Clearly, the
admissions office must re-examine its sta-
tistics and recognize that something is
amiss if the numbers have failed for several
consecutive years. Either the practice of
estimating the number of fall attendees
must be adjusted, or the University must
admit overflow students on the wait-list,
admitting them only when housing becomes
Two to four weeks after the beginning
of classes, the housing office has general-
ly settled the situation. However, spending
the first two weeks to a month of school is
unsettling and stressful to first-year stu-
dents, who are trying to cope with the
novelty of the University atmosphere and
succeed academically. Disrupting these
students' lives for their first several weeks
of college may take a toll on their success
and happiness both socially and academi-
Residence hall living at the University
does not come cheap. Over the course of the
school year, many students will protest the
quality of the accommodations the
University is obligated to provide based on
the money that students pay. Almost all par-
ties involved can agree that providing safe,
comfortable living is the University's job.
Whether or not the administration currently
provides adequate housing is the next ques-
tion. To ensure that first-year students do
receive adequate housing, the University
must immediately take steps to rectify the
communications gap that exists between
housing and the admissions office.


M issing'M'
This summer, the
University undertook an
immense construction project
in completely renovating the
Central Campus Diag. Now
that the project is finally
almost completed, it looks
fantastic. There is only one
problem, however. The 'M' is
Every time I now walk by
the Diag the first and last
thing I think about it is that
the "heart" of this University
is gone. This is a tragedy. The
University personnel in
charge of this operation
should have known that the
first thing the students would
want is for the M' to remain.
Not only that, but I have
no doubt that those graduates
in the Class of 1953 would
be disappointed to know that
the gift that they granted to
the University has been
The weirdest thing about
all this is that the 'M' was
taken to some place in
Minnesota to be repaired.
Now, it lies underneath all
the bricking in the center of
campus, but completely out
of sight of all passersby.
What a mistake.
This is something that the

University must reverse as
soon as possible. Until this
happens, U of M risks losing
alumni, parental and student
support for something that
could easily be changed. Not
only that, but the missing
M' will always loom over
the renovation project like a
It seems to me that the
drunk chauffeur driving the
car containing Diana caused
it to crash, not the photogra-
phers chasing behind. During
a chase, vehicles travel only
as fast as the lead car.
In this case, that speed
was an astonishing 121 miles
per hour in 30 mph, tight tun-
nel! It almost makes me won-
der if the driver intended to
commit suicide and take his
famous passengers with him.
The National Enquirer has
refused to buy photos of the
crash and urged all other
media outlets to do the same.
That's good, but we know just
how far the press has sunk

when it is the National
Enquirer lecturing the rest of
the press to take the high
Some photographer will
make a lot of money from
crash pictures, and so will the
magazine that eventually
publishes them, because for
all the clucking noises every-
one is making about how ter-
rible it would be for any such
photos to be published, they
would sneak a peek at them,
given the chance. We just
know not to admit it out loud.
Right now the photogra-
phers are making a conve-
nient scapegoat. But
paparazzi wouldn't have been
chasing the car if everyone
didn't want to see such pic-
This tragic death is of
course reminiscent of Elvis,
Marilyn, or James Dean. If
history is any guide, Diana
herself will rest in peace,
thank God, but public interest
in her will multiply tenfold.
Now there can be no more
new photographs of Diana
taken. Every single paparazzi
photo that exists has now
increased in value and will
eventually be published
somewhere, many no doubt
even in the many publications
of tribute that will shortly
sell out on newsstands.
Right alongside harsh
criticism of paparazzi, no

First-year status
new challenges
T ime heals all wounds, they
Take, for instance, senioritis.
After a year of development, seniori-
tis is rapidly cured in only two weeks
or so. Because as soon as seniors are
put in an envi-
ronment they've
never encoun-
tered, with peo-
ple they've never
met, all the
symptoms disap-
Being a first-
year student -
or first-year any-
thing, for that MEGAN
matter --is SCHIMPFI
never easy, espe- pR:CpRiMONS
cially at the
beginning. Whether it's starting col-.
lege, graduate school or a new job,
time moves on. And takes us with it,
The first year is a time when t
precocious stability of being a senior.
comes to a screeching halt in the face,
of insecurity. It is not a time most of
us would care to go through regular-.
But we do. About every four years,
we find ourselves at an orientation,-
tossed with a group of semi-familiae,
at-best faces into awkward introduc-
tions. We move from an environment
where everything was controllable
one where we are controlled. It doe
n't become easier with age or experi-
But as painful as it may be, starting
over is important.
Because stagnancy is the alternative.
In school, we have the enviable.
opportunity of starting over in some.
way every fall. Campus changes every
year, forcing us to readjust who we had
Walking to class without getting
lost isn't everything. Try to call your'
friends, now that they have new.
phone numbers. Try to find your way
to a store, now that you live in a di-,
ferent part of campus. Try to figure-
out what to do with allethe leftover.
stuff in the middle of the floor when
everything else has a place in your
new room.
Still, there's nothing quite like t
first year. Because while old-hand st-
dents adjust relatively quickly, first-
years have eight months of firsts. ,
Orientation has the amazing feature
of reducing everyone to a name,
hometown, previous school attended
and present address. Then you play
"Do You Know ...?" and see if you
can connect to Kevin Bacon, your
best friend from kindergarten or both.
Conversations buzz happily alo9
until everyone has told their story.
Then, silence. You shuffle. You des-
perately try to think of anything -
anything - to talk about. You stare at
your hands.
And you bring up the weather.
By the second day, this pattern
becomes irritating in its predictability
and superficiality. You realize how dif-
ficult it is to communicate with people
with whom you share interests, but no
experiences. How long it takes
explain something you're used to sim-
ply referring to. How inside jokes
aren't funny if you're the only one who
Essentially, we're forced to shed our
old images and roles and invent new

ones. All at once, we have to draw on
everything that shaped our personality,
and forget all of it. We have to be our-
selves, not our image.
It is difficult and painful and healtlh
all tumbled into one.
For a short time, all those walls that
build up during four years are gone.
Anyone can talk to everyone. No one
is a label because of something they
did or said. Because no one really
knows anyone else, everyone in the
group is an equal colleague who
brings something fascinating.
And so we can focus on people -
even if conversations aren't deep -
and try to know who they really a
before chalking them up as the guy
who sits in the front row or the per-
son who actually owns the Hanson
Being a first-year student means
you've lost your security blanket. It
means your friends are scattered. But
it comes with a clean slate, where you
start over and define yourself instead
of being defined.
The "must-be-a-first-year-student'.
utterance whispered by older students
actually comes with a hidden blessing.
Any mistakes, directions or questions
are simply chalked up to first-year
ignorance. So do the wrong thing at
the wrong time, get lost and ask silly
auestions without doing much more

ine for change
'Pay to Stay' to benefit rehab programs

U nder the terms of Macomb County's
unconventional Pay to Stay program,
the long arm of the law can extend its
reach to the wallets of inmates. Now in its
12tH year, the program requires prisoners
to pay for room and board during time
spent in jail. Though the program will not
likely act as a crime deterrent, it consti-
tutes a positive move toward easing tax-
payer burden. Moreover, it holds the
potential to fortify and establish auxiliary
correctional programs directed toward
education, employment, or a host of other
pertinent causes. For these reasons, other
counties should strongly consider adopting
the similar versions of the policy. In addi-
tion, legislators should investigate expand-
ing Pay to Stay beyond its current county
level to encompass state correctional facil-
One of the first counties to adopt an
inmate co-pay program after the Michigan
legislature allowed counties to bill prison-
ers for jail time served, Macomb County
has watched Pay to Stay grow steadily. Last
year, the program brought nearly $900,000
to Macomb County. While this revenue
hardly meets the cost of operating the coun-
ty jail system, it helps minimize the cost
passed on to taxpayers. Furthermore, tax-
payers delight in knowing that offenders
must reimburse the county for costs engen-
dered by their own crimes.
The bills that the Pay to Stay program
imposes vary according to the inmates'
financial status: The criminals pay only
what the county believes they can afford.
The nonrest nrisoners nay only $6 ner

Though the county currently uses the
funds generated by the program primarily
to defray the costs of operating its jails,
Macomb should explore the feasibility of
funneling part of the revenue into correc-
tional support programs that may indirectly
diminish criminal offenses. Possibilities
include augmenting educational funds.
Congressional Record reports reveal that
the rate of criminal offenses among those
with solid schooling falls far below that of
those with minimal education. By fortify-
ing educational systems, for example, the
county could decrease the rate of area
Given the success of Macomb County's
program, legislators should examine the
practicality of implementing the program
on a state level. If adapted to accommodate
the state prison system, the Pay to Stay pro-
gram - or a similar cousin - could draw
revenue into the Michigan correctional sys-
tem. The use of money for educational and
employment programs would prove even
more useful when administered to felons -
those who have committed serious crimes.
According to a Capitol Hill study, members
of this segment of the criminal population
who undertake educational programs or
find employment show a 15.7-percent drop
in the recidivism rate over a three-year peri-
od. A prisoner co-pay program at this tier of
the correctional system might prove benefi-
cial to curbing crime.
The success of Macomb County's pro-
gram has already led both Oakland and
Wayne county to adopt similar versions of
Pay to Stay. Perhans in time the program

Ann Arbor:A town like no other

Ann Arbor is an easy town
to take for granted.
After spending a few years
here, one becomes an expert
at moaning about everything
from obscene rents and astro-
nomical tution rates to the
condition of the streets and
the dearth of parking spaces.
And yet, we all return each
fall, drawn like lemmings to
the city.
The fact is, deep down, we
all love this place, and after a
summer in the real world, it's
a relief to return to our cozy
little pseudoreality:
® Where you can dress
and act any way you choose
since there's always someone
much weirder than you
around the corner.
® Where you can see 50
different movies a week,
(quite a relief after a summer
diet of Monkey and the
Bandit and Herbie Goes to
Monte Carlo) and most of
them at a cost of only $1.50.
* Where you can come
home from a tough day and
turn the stereo on just as loud
as you like without any com-

plaints from the elderly cou-
ple next door.
® Where you can always
expect to find someone to talk
to who is an expert in whatev-
er new subject in which
you've suddenly developed an
® Where you can join a
group or organization that
shares your values, whether
your goal is to burn the
Administration Building and
depose Robben Fleming or to
crusade for psychoanalytic
counseling for plants.
® Where you can wait in
line on Sunday mornings for
omelets at Steve's Lunch, and
you know they'll be better
than Mom used to make.
Where you can play
pinball until 3 a.m. and not be
Where you can smoke
and drink yourself into obliv-
ion and have no one to answer
to the next morning but your-
® Where you can sit in a
booth from your parents' era,
eating Drake's famed toasted
pecan rolls and sipping dar-

jeeling tea.
® Where a man named
Shakey Jake will sing you a
song if you buy a paper from
him and jeer and hiss at you if
you pass him by.
And where you can
watch top-ranked football and
basketball and hockey teams,
eat fragels from the Bagel
Factory, buy hardback books
at discount from Borders,
devour all-natural ice cream at
Mountain High, eat the best
crab you've ever tasted and
not pay an arm and a claw for
it at the appropirately named
Cracked Crab, where you can
buy every comic book ever
made at the Eye of
Aggamotto, and read one of
the nation's finest college
newspapers delivered to your
home each morning for a pal-
try $12 a year (sorry about
Gee, ain't it good to be
back home again?
This editorial was
originally published in the
Daily on Sept. 9, 1977.


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