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February 11, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 11, 1998

(ibe £idpbguu kWalg

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

LAURIE MAYK
Editor in Chief
JACK SCHILLACI
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailys editorial board.
All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
FROM THE DAILY
Freedom of infor ation
TRS should publish book lists to keep costs low

'The bottom line and basic requirement is that you
do not break the law and receive taxpayers'
dollars for a higher education.'
- State Sen. Loren Bennett (R-Canton), discussing the proposed
legislation to crack down on college-aged drug offenders
KAAMRAN HAFEEZ As sTH AP PEN
$0iVY g11UP In 'ME~t few IT POWN ?
* L EI
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Light it up, pass
it on, and shut
up already

A t the University, the "Big Three" are
not automakers but bookstores. The
outlets - Ulrich's, Michigan Book and
Supply and the Michigan Union
Bookstore - run the Textbook Reporting
Service, a program that University profes-
sors use to request textbooks for their
courses. Since TRS' list is only accessible
by these three bookstores, they are able to
monopolize much of the textbook market.
Without any competition, textbook stores
can raise their prices beyond reasonable
levels. In order to save students' money
and time, the University should take over
the service's functions and make the book
lists public.
Students constantly struggle to make
ends meet. Textbook prices just add to the
significant burden on thinning student
wallets. By making the list public, the ser-
vice will allow students to search beyond
the three main campus bookstores for
their textbooks. For example, many local
bookstores could stock the books current-
ly only available at the TRS outlets.
Bookstores would take little risk in order-
ing these books because store owners can
return unsold books without penalties.
Students would be able to comparison
shop between different vendors, giving
them the opportunity to get the best deals
possible.
In , addition, University professors
should be encouraged to submit their
requests to TRS within a reasonable time

0

period before the term begins. This would
grant students sufficient time to find their
books at hometown local bookstores that
may offer a discount.
Making TRS a University entity would
not prove inconvenient for professors.
There would be no added burden to the
professors, as their only concern would be
delivering textbook requests on time. In
addition, the minor problems changing
the service would create are negligible in
comparison to the possible benefits
reaped by students.
If the University had control of the ser-
vice, it would be the responsibility of
University administrators to make the list
public. Besides leaving campus to find
books, students could purchase books
through non-traditional outlets. Internet
bookstores could also provide significant
discounts on most books. It is even a pos-
sibility that online bookstores would set
up a Website specifically geared toward
the University.
The potential advantages of making
TRS information public are great. It is
difficult to say exactly how many students
would benefit if TRS were public, but it
would certainly provide competition and
allow students more flexibility in choos-
ing where to buy their books. Bookstores
should accept their part in reducing text-
book prices by either releasing TRS infor-
maiton or having the University assume
control of the service.

Cash crunch
Banks should not double charge for ATM usage

For many people, a quick stop at the
ATM to soothe their hungry wallets is
a part of a weekly routine. These transac-
tions seem harmless enough, but a number
of banks exploit ATMs' convenience and
assess a fee to anyone using a bank card
issued from a different institution. This
costly stipulation gouges consumers - the
state should step in and make such policies
illegal.
This fee is doubly unjust because it often
comes in addition to another fee the cus-
tomer likely pays to his or her own bank for
using a different institution's machine. In
this way, both banks dip into one transac-
tion - at the consumer's expense.
These double fees did not come into
existence until April 1996. The advent of
ATMs provided a welcome alternative to
the restrictions of traditional banking.
ATMs allow people to withdraw and
deposit money outside of normal business
hours. Furthermore, ATMs free people
from long lines they may encounter waiting
for a human teller.
ATMs go beyond simply being an
additional service offered by banks. They
are now a way of life for many people.
Many companies directly deposit their
employees' paychecks into their bank
accounts. The employees, in turn, take out
money through ATMs - never actually
spending time at a bank. Senior citizens
awaiting their social security checks,
often use the ATM to tide them over until
they arrive. In addition, consumers com-
monly do not carry the amount of money
required for large purchases. With an
ATM on nearly every corner, getting the
additional money out of one's account is

easy.
State Rep. John Freeman (D-Madison
Heights) recognizes the importance of
ATMs and the unjustness of double fees. He
recently introduced a bill in the state capitol
to outlaw the practice charging anyone
using a bank's machine with a card from a
competing bank. The rest of the state
Legislature should support Freeman and
pass the bill.
The government should take an active
role in the marketplace to protect con-
sumers when a situation is unfair.
Arguments that fees are necessary to
maintain the machines pale in light of the
fact that banks have taken in an addition-
al $1.9 billion since the fees' introduc-
tion. Clearly, ATMs are a cash cow for
banks. The only way the current system
will change is through government inter-
vention.
A final reason to abolish the practice
of double fees is to ensure the continua-
tion of fair competition. If double fees
continue to skim dollars off people's bank
accounts, consumers seeking to avoid the
second fee will choose to keep their
money in large banks that have a large
network of ATMs. Such an exodus to the
national banking chains would spell
doom for numerous small town banks and
credit unions.
Though they are businesses, banks ful-
fill a much-needed role in society. They
provide security and peace of mind for peo-
ple's finances. But they should not have
free reign to fine their customers twice for
withdrawing money in the simplest, most
convenient manner. The government should
step in and put an end to this practice.

Discrimination
is never
'corrective
legislation'
To THE DAILY:
After reading Isa Kasoga's
letter ("Conservative argu-
ments show fear," 2/5/98), I
confess that I have been
enlightened. Before, I was
naive in thinking that dis-
crimination against humans
being based solely on their
race is wrong. Now I see dif-
ferently. Apparently, if the
discrimination is against a
cultural minority, it is
"racism" but if the discrimi-
nation is against a white per-
son, then it is "corrective leg-
islation."
I will be the first to
admit that the white majority
in this country has histori-
cally been better off. But
placing the blame for histori-
cal travesties on the shoul-
ders of today's "privileged
simply to justify discriminat-
ing against them makes the
accuser guilty of the same
prejudice they are trying to
remedy. To say that that dis-
crimination is wrong when it
hurts a minority (classical
racism) but right when it
helps a minority (affirmative
action) is a blatant double
standard.
It is not corrective legisla-
tion; it is reverse discrimina-
tion. That's what affirmative
action is all about. The ends
do not justify the means.
Kasoga also attacks the
"majority's new-found fasci-
nation" with meritocracy.
Rather than praising such a
move toward full equality,
Kasoga berates it. Apparently,
Kasoga takes so much com-
fort in being able to label
people as "right-wingers" or
"white-privileged" that the
comfy little den of moral
indignity becomes unattrac-
tive to leave.
To that I say: Look no
further than one's own mirror
when searching for the cause
of continued racial divisive-
ness.
If one really wants equality,
then one must get down from
the moral high ground and
accept that opponents of affir-
mative action oppose it not
because it tries to remedy past
injustices, but because it does
so by creating present ones.
When everyone is willing
to work toward equality
instead of playing musical
chairs with social privileges,
come and talk.
JIM KNAPP
LSA SOPHOMORE
U.S. sanctions
punish the
'collective'
Irani nAnlA

oppression upon an entire
population.
So how is it that the
United States has "no quarrel
with the Iraqi people?" The
United States denied the
medical goods, food and
other necessities. These sanc-
tions have little effect on
Saddam he's not missing any
meals. What it comes down
to is that the United States is
enforcing collective punish-
ment, which is wrong by any
means.
One might rebut this
argument by saying that "it is
Saddam's fault that the sanc-
tions are there" And this is
true. But that does not excuse
what the U.S. government is
doing. Non-compliance on
Saddam's behalf does not
spell innocence for the
United States. It is the moral
equivalent of a bully punch-
ing a kid in the stomach for
not giving him his lunch
money. When the bully gets
called to the principal's
office, he'll say, "It's his fault
for not giving me the lunch
money." That is Brooks'
response.
The sanctions are meant
to punish a collective popula-
tion for the actions of a
leader they didn't even elect.
That is neither fair nor just.
There must be alternatives
to the sanctions, which have
been described as the most
intense of all time. If the sub-
stitution for sanctions is diplo-
matic bargaining, it should be
done. Just because Saddam is
wrong, it doesn't mean that the
United States is right.
WILLIAM YOUMANS
LSA SOPHOMORE
Daily needs
diversity and
equality
To THE DAILY:
I am happy to learn of jour-
nalists' concerns for diversity
in the media and of their
efforts to work towards more
"diverse staffs, diverse sources
and an atmosphere of inclu-
sion" ("Journalists draw crowd
at '," 2/3/98). I]feel that
equal and accurate news cover-
age of issues pertaining to all
peoples should continue to be
sought after, especially at such
a prestigious institution as the
University.
Unfortunately the Daily
falls short of this ideal and
instead perpetuates a climate
of white supremacy through
its poor coverage of minority
(non-white) issues and
events.
The "minority beat'
whose purpose is to increase
coverage of minority issues
and events on campus creates
a separate category for
"minority" students and
implies that issues of minori-
ties are different from those
of the main student body. If

include a large portion of stu-
dents in its main focus and
upholds this idea of white
centrality.
It seems that a publica-
tion which strives to repre-
sent all students would make
a more professional efort to
include the entire student
body equally. Minorities are
an active part of the
University, not a separate cat-
egory. I challenge the Daily,
as the prominent news source
on campus, to make minority
issues the responsibility of
every reporter and to develop
an effective strategy to recruit
a diverse and well-representa-
tive reporting staff.
JOE REILLY
SNRE SOPHOMORE
Student
regent needs
'U' support
TO THE DAILY:
Since the '60s, students
have quietly struggled for a
student member on the
University Board of Regents.
We have two chances in the
near future to finish - and
win - that 30-year fight.
Jim Riske's candidacy for
the regent deserves and needs
student support. To give stu-
dents a voice on the panel that
decides how tuition will be
spent, Riske will have to sur-
vive both the machinery of
the state Republican conven-
tion and a difficult statewide
election.
There is also an initiative
on March's Michigan Student
Assembly ballot that will ask
for student support in the
final stages of a drive to take
the student reagent issue of a
to the voters of the state of
Michigan. If approved the
statewide ballot question
would reserve a regent posi-
tion for a University student,
who would be elected by stu-
dents without pressures from
the statewide parties.
Riske is about to experi-
ence that pressure first hand.
In order to earn votes at the
Republican convention, he
will have to tell the state
party that he supports their
interests on the board. But
the state political parties
aren't interested in what is
best for students and neither
are the regents. They want
the University turned into a
more streamlined, profitable
business - they often forget,
in the words of President Lee
Bollinger, to "stay focused on
the academic interest of the
institution."
That interest is best rep-
resented by students.
University students need and
deserve a student regent.
Best of luck to Jim Riske. If
he can find a way to win and
stay loyal to the student

W e live in an unusually moral
age. As recently as 10 years
ago, there were still bad guys.
Commies, anti-Star Wars pinkos,
criminal-rights bleeding hearts and
Noriega sympathizers. There were
groups of people
that a guy could
feel secure in hat-
ing. People you
could build a good.,
old-fashioned
political smear
campaign against.
We don't have
these people any-
more. The only
Communists left in AMES
the world are in MILLER
North Korea, China M
(sort of) and Cuba, N iA
and these guys are
so far out of our weight class it offends
our national dignity to pick on them.
Call it bad playground etiquette.
Star Wars failed, abortion is ambigu-
ous, we're just now finding out that
Nancy Reagan may have lied to us.
Some drugs may not be that bad; theyl
actually help Grandpa's glaucoma
rather than make Johnny Footbali
Captain crash intoa tree and ruin his
perfect Tappa Kegga Bru collegiate
future.
What 'm driving at here is that we
don't have any more Snidely
Whiplashes in our popular imagination.
Or at least, we didn't.
Thank God for tobacco.
The great thing aboututobacco is tha
it has no real beneficial use. At least pot
may have a few medicinal applications.
But the legal weed is purely recreation-
al. It serves only recreational purposes.
And this makes it a favorite issue for
brainless, populist politicians and anal-
retentives.
There has been a huge ruckus about
Copenhagen chaw ads in particular.
Some people, the same people who
either become RAs or the kind of parg
ents that don't let their kids smile
until they're 15 years old, have sug-
gested, in a strangely pathological
manner, that putting tobacco ads in a
newspaper should result having the
Dean of Public Health hit you upside
the head with a bag full of nickels,
and other really serious frowny-face
sorts of things. This attack ignores
one basic fact about the tobacco
industry, namely ...
The stuff is legal. Hello! These ar
newspapers, with readers 18 years old
and up for the most part, and with this
X-rated status, it would seem only logi-
cal that they can advertise these prod-
ucts with impunity, because only 18-
year-olds are allowed to smoke. If you
want to ban the ads, just keep them
away from the wee tykes.
There is far too much equivocation
over this issue. The people who star
their feet and curse the scourge that is
smoking in that adorable, Ned Flanders
kind of way that some of you are doing
right now, are hamstringing themselves
in two ways.
First, they are making a distinction
between what is moral and what is legal.
If smoking is such a terrible pox on
humanity, then ban it. If it's that bad and
the rest of the country shares your tight-
wad, overzealous sense of invasive
health consciousness, then there shoul
be no problem.
Puritans, start your engines!
But to argue and kvetch about a legal
product makes you look either ineffec-
tual or cowardly. If it's so bad, why isn't
there a huge ground swell of support to
ban the filthy weed? Hmm?
Another reason the anti-smoking
forces are having problems is that, brace

yourself: Smoking is cool, kids. Alway
has been, always will be.
And it's not cool because it makes
you smell like Humphrey Bogart's gums
and shortens your lifespan. It's cool
because the people who don't want you
to do it are your parents, teachers, high
school counselor weenie types and folks
who won't let their kids have squirt
guns.
This is a fairly simple calculation.
Find all the geekiest authority figures
you can, have them come out against a1
activity in the dowdiest manner possi-
ble, and then step back and wonder why
teenagers flock to it.
"Timmy will never find his Christmas
presents. I hid them with my 'Juggs'
collection and my bourbon stash:'
This doesn't mean that the tactics of
the smoking industry are morally per-
missible by any stretch of the imagina-
tion. To market what is a potentially
hazardous product to kids not yet of1
enough to make a competent decision is
inexcusable. I also support high ciga-
rette taxes and very heavy punishments
on companies that break any of the rules
regarding the marketing and doctoring
of cigarettes.

LEE BOLUNGER
UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT
2078 FLEMING ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109-1340

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