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January 29, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-29

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 29, 1998

Ulie £dtigan &iilg

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

JOSH WHITE
Editor in Chief
ERIN MARSH
Editorial Page Editor

i NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'The admissions policy is more complicated than just
affirmative action. There needs to be more discussion
about it ... before we actually put it on the ballot.'
-Michigan Student Assembly Rep. Joe Bernstein, on the resolution to put
a question about affirmative action on the MSA winter election ballot
PURPLE HERRING LNV E NENCE

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily & editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
FROM THE DAILY
Incomplete state

Faculty should develop,
While talk of diversity and affirma-
tive action procedures are present
in many aspects of student life at the
University, the faculty and staff also
acknowledge the importance of such
issues. The University's Senate Assembly,
the faculty's governing body, continued its
support for a diverse campus by passing
the third in a series of diversity state-
ments. The statement is part of a piece-
meal process; its objective is to develop a
series of statements that represent the fac-
ulty's views. While a statement from the
faculty, especially regarding such a perti-
nent issue as diversity, is important to the
University, an even stronger commitment
is needed.
The faculty senate passed the first of
the statements in May 1996. This resolu-
tion simply stated that the University must
be open to "all qualified persons." The
next statement on diversity passed shortly
after the lawsuit was filed against the
University challenging the use of race in
admissions processes. This resolution
endorsed the need for a diverse faculty
and student body to help create a better
educational environment. This is where
the faculty's governing body had a perfect
window of opportunity to address the
issue of affirmative action at the
University. Yet it chose to continue to pass
resolutions that made no references to
affirmative action nor stated expectations
for the University.
It is important for the University's fac-
ulty to address issues that affect campus.
They should make students aware of their
feelings toward University policies. But a
piece-meal process providing statement

stronger diversity stance
after statement while offering no commit-
ment by the faculty or recommendations
to the University is not enough. While the
faculty has made it clear that they support
a diverse campus, they have completely
ignored the complex issue of affirmative
action. How is the University to maintain
a rich, diverse campus without specific
recommendations as to how to achieve
this? The Senate Assembly needs to devel-
op a statement addressing these specific
issues.
University President Lee Bollinger
recently asked the University's faculty for
possible solutions to minority student con-
cerns, particularly regarding the negative
effects of the lawsuits on the campus envi-
ronment. Once again, the faculty has a
window of opportunity to provide the
University with a strong, unified stance in
support of affirmative action. While the
next diversity statement is expected to
include recommendations for maintaining
a diverse campus, it is not expected to be
released until next year.
The senate should develop an all-
inclusive statement. The diversity state-
ments are a step in the right direction, but
they are not enough. A completely unified
resolution, passed by the University's fac-
ulty in support of affirmative action as a
means to achieve campus diversity, could
provide the necessary momentum toward
an acceptance of the importance of edu-
cational diversity. The student body
should encourage the faculty to make this
bold step. To ensure a future diverse edu-
cational environment at the University,
the groundwork needs to be established
now.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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reen card
State needs better environmental reporting
ast week, the state House of Without an accurate view of the environ-
J Representatives unanimously passed a ment's most pressing concerns, our legis-
I that would create a comprehensive lators face a great disadvantage when
vironmental report program to efficiently making decisions about environmental
count for the millions of dollars the state funding. Such a large sum of money
propriates for environmental projects. demands that state officials keep good
e state Senate should follow suit and cre- records. With the proposed report, law-
an accessible format for reporting envi- makers will have a great resource to them
umental data. that will allow them to make more
The state collects a great deal of infor- informed decisions.
tion regarding the environment, but it Aside from greater efficiency, the state
ks a unified means to report the find- has further motivation to reform its environ-
s. For a legislator or private citizen to mental policies. The federal government has
ain a definitive picture of the state's its own environmental report card. With a
ironmental status, he or she must wade comprehensive report, the state will be better
ough many different reports and piece able to address problem areas and enhance
;ether the information themselves. its rating by the federal government. In order
eking an official standard, the current for the state to be prominent in the environ-
tem can cause a great deal of wasted mental arena, the state must ensure that ade-
ie and money. The environment is far too quate information is available to those trying
portant an issue to allow this inefficient to preserve the state's resources.
tem to continue. Finally, the bill has symbolic impor-
The bill ensures that the state produces a tance. It signals that the environment
gle, all-inclusive report. Through this once again is a key topic in the state's
ort, state residents can track individual capital. For years, other issues overshad-
ironmental projects as well as their fund- owed the issue of preserving natural
sources. Under the state's former resources. Laws allowing businesses to
partment of Natural Resources, environ- police their own pollution, combined with
nt reports were inadequate. lowered standards for these businesses to

I

Sen. Jaye's
remarks were
'out of touch'
TO THE DAILY:
If state Sen. David Jaye
thinks he is in touch with the
life and mindset of students
on this campus, he is radical-
ly misinformed. On Jan. 25,
on a program named "In
Depth: Detroit" on Channel
62, Jaye said that if students
want to find diversity, they
should "go to a restaurant or
an ethnic fair" He went on to
say that "college is meant
only for the purpose of
readying people for the work-
place." Where does Jaye get
his information? From the
handful of white students
who he interviews to get their
views on the "discriminating
policies" at U of M? Or is it
from the students filing the
lawsuit against the
University? Incidentally, they
never attended the University
and therefore have no idea as
to what students actually
want or think.
It seems that Jaye does
not realize that college is a
place where we all grow
intellectually and socially (at
least I know I have). U of M
is a place that we can all be
proud of in that respect. 'm
not white. But if I were, one
of my goals in coming to
Ann Arbor would be for me
to grow intellectually and
socially. If this was truly my
goal, I definitely wouldn't
want to be surrounded by
people who are like me
socially, economically and
intellectually. That's why
diversity works.
And despite all the "cor-
ruption" that Jaye and the
two plaintiffs believe is
going on here, we still main-
tain one of the highest acad-
emic reputations in the
country. Jaye's views do not
only misrepresent student
life here at the University
(and many other universities
too, I believe), but it is
frightening to think that he
and his followers may get
their way.
Think of this: Could it be
possible that these students
didn't get in because the
admissions officers decided
that their attendancewouldn't
lead to further the intellectual
community that we hope to
foster here? If anything good
comes from this suit being
brought against the
University (aside from the
University winning), it may
be this: Jaye and his misled,
prejudiced beliefs get ousted
from public office.
AMER ZAHR
LSA SENIOR
Titn;in AI,,.,

"Spiceworld") being made in
Hollywood these days. But
the criticisms he levels at
"Titanic" are both unfair and
confusing.
Rich complains that the
movie reaches a "climax that
is not only inevitable but
already mapped out to the
audience." Of course it's
inevitable. The ship sinks -
that's why we've heard of
Titanic and not her sister
ship, the Olympic. Does Rich
also feel slighted by "Tora,
Tora, Tora'?" ("Oh man, I just
knew the Japanese were
going to end up bombing
Pearl Harbor.")
He is also bothered by the
scenes that show the band
playing on deck - "We
repeatedly see the cliche," he
whines. This is not cliche -
it is what actually happened
(at least according to some
accounts). Should director
James Cameron fail to
include scenes with historical
truth merely because they
might be seen as "clichd?"
Where does that stop? Is the
fact that the ship didn't have
enough lifeboats also a
cliche?
Furthermore, the voice-
over that says to the audi-
ence, "This was the last time
Titanic ever saw the sun," is
not "Cameron's way of get-
ting us to be fuzzy and senti-
mental" Instead, it is an
effective device to put the
audience on notice that the
"inevitable" climax has
begun. Would Rich have pre-
ferred those annoying time
and date stamps that seem so
prevalent in movies and tele-
vision these days? ("April
14th: The Day Before the Ice
Came"). Finally, there is
Rich's assertion that the audi-
ence never has the chance to
feel "real emotion." Was he
out getting popcorn when the
lifeboat pushed its way
through the sea of frozen
bodies? Or when the elderly
couple waits in their cabin
for the oncoming water?
Which movie was he watch-
ing'?
There are plenty of bad
movies being made. Titanic,
however, is not one of them.
JOSHUA TURNER
LAW SCHOOL
Stripper ads
are offensive
to women
TO THE DAILY:
I. was amused to read of
the indignation the editorial
staff of the Daily feels about
having its operations support-
ed by the tobacco industry
("A division within,"
1/26/98). After all, the Daily
regularly runs advertisements
for local strip clubs - an

future. And who knows?
Maybe the business staff can
be convinced that the welfare
of its female readership takes
precedence over the health of
its advertising budget.
JEFF SNYDER
RACKHAM
'U' should
re-evauate
Michigan
Mandate
TO THE DAILY:
The Michigan Mandate
has advocated diversity as its
underlying premise. It has
operated much in the same
way as most traditional
approaches for increasing
diversity. This approach
adopts a mathematical for-
mula and focuses on increas-
ing the quantity of the racial
components rather than tak-
ing a more qualitative
approach. Hence, the
University campus is viewed
as diverse.
But there exists a serious
problem: the quality of the
relationship among the
diverse groups. This campus
is very segregated. Not only
are many students are not
open to other cultures, there
is discernible tension and
animosity. The degraded
quality of the relationships
is partially a by-product of a
common assumption that all
people are the same and
have the same needs. The
truth is that different groups
are quite different and have
distinct needs and expecta-
tions. The traditional
approach toward diversity is
the expectation that minority
groups should compromise
their unique values, conform
to the behavioral framework
set by the majority and dom-
inant group, and assimilate
in the big melting pot.
The Michigan Mandate
has simply thrown some col-
ored marbles into the jar
while providing ineffective
mechanisms to ease the ever-
increasing tension and the
current all-encompassing
racism by all groups against
the others. The quality of the
relationships could be aug-
mented not only through
cross-cultural educationhand
communication but also
through increasing respect
and recognition for other cul-
tures. This can happen by
providing mechanisms to
teach about why people are
different, why they exhibit
different behaviors, and what
these behaviors symbolize.
This kind of education
would be stimulating and
thought-provoking. And it
has a greater potential to

Semiformals:
One step away
from adulthood
I f the Prom is kids trying to dress
like grown-ups, then semiformals
are grown-ups trying to act like they're
going to the Prom.
Perhaps it's a regression to the days
when there were funny-looking
clothes in a box inthe basement that
came with the
excuse to talk ,
and walk in asE
way you'd never
dare outside the
house.
Now, the
dress-up clothes
actually fit -
OK, they fit in
most places -
and make-up is MGAN
correctly SMEGAN.
applied. In short, PR SCIPFN
it's no longer a PRESCRIaPdIOferN
game.
Except it is. Semiformals give us the
chance to pretend, just for a while, that
really high heels, short black dresses
and suits are real life. Wearing these
clothes in a glittering room creates
glamour impossible with even the
dressiest regular weekend "party
clothes,"
Styled hair and clothes from the
back of the closet call for a different
attitude for the evening (notice it's an
evening, not just a night). Grown-up
manners come more naturally when
you look like a grown-up. It's natural
to sit up straight and ask for things at
the table to be passed to you with the
proper "please" and "thank you."
Conversation topics should have
some grave importance instead ofjust
what happened today. Smile and say
all the right things - suddenly
Wthey'repright there on the tip of your
tongue.
This new reality allows you to adopt
a new character - a formal one, a
carefree one, a flirty one - one deter-
mined to make that night different
than the Monday-through-Friday you.
Knowing that the purpose of the night
is not to talk about work, school or
everyday life keeps things in the realm
of watching what character people
choose.
Almost anyone can pull off formal
attire for one night - leaving every-
one at a new and relatively equal
ground. What will that do to conver-
sation? Who tells the best jokes?.
What surprises will there be? How
long will it take before conversation
slows?
The entertainment possibilities are
endless - and just from people-
watching people you see everyday.
Add an open bar and things really get
interesting.
Who knew an outfit cae with such
an attitude and a posture?
The novelty alone is beautiful.
A semiformal, which is the codeI
word for "women have to wear formas
dresses but men don't have to get
tuxes" is a rare commodity in college.
It becomes an Event.
Ah, but the process of getting there
is less than glamorous. It may take a
village to raise a child, but it takes Ilk
dorm hall, an entire house and your
closest 25 friends to get ready.
There's the dress - either borrow
one (from all those friends) or buy one
for less than $30, hopefully. Add in
earrings, a bracelet, shoes,aand some
hair and make-up advice and you're
ready to start. Getting ready for a class

is about search and throw on; prepar-
ing for a semiformal is a Process, with
a logical order not to be disrupted or
rushed.
All this work brings with it a pecu-
liar set of social conventions. For once,
everyone comments on what everyone
else is wearing - good or bad. Notice
all the effort - assuming you can rec-
ognize someone with their hair up,
down or even just combed.
No one ever said beauty was pain-
less. Tight here, loose there, empha-
size this, cover that. Between sucking
in, sticking out, teetering on heels and
squeezing into tight shoes, formal
wear should come with aspirin.
Because all the tricks work in the end,
and that's the point.
Gradually, personalities revert to a
velveted reality because dancing
can't coverecharacter. It's the same
music, whether you're wearing jeans
or satin.
Eventually the facade falls; hair
comes down, jackets and shoes come
off, and ties loosen. A few barriers of
proper social convention - as wear-
ing such attire would dictate - dis-
appear as well. Topics of grave
importance? Boring - more interest-
ing to gossip and critique in a whis-
per. The manners stick around, most-
ly, but posture? Nope - gone with
that pain and mid-evening exhaus

0

I

1:

Under the current system, gathering
information regarding the environment
requires a great deal of research - deterring
some individuals from taking an active role
in preserving the state's natural resources.
With a single report that clearly shows areas
in need of improvement, people may feel
encouraged to organize an effort to help pro-
tect the environment. The report the bill pro-
poses would be an invaluable tool for envi-

meet, have damaged environmentalists'
cause. This bill should be the starting
point for more legislation that specifical-
ly helps to preserve the state's vast natur-
al resources.
The preservation of the environment
should be a nonpartisan issue. Michigan
residents often take the environment that
surrounds them for granted a fact that made
possible due to the efforts of those preserv-

,I

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