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February 20, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-02-20

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 20, 1998

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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 Daily.
Lecture woes

Mentor program could
F irst-year students who are nervous
about approaching professors or
Graduate Student Instructors for academ-
ic help may soon have another source for
answers. Last week, the Michigan Student
Assembly passed a resolution to establish
a lecture mentorship program. This pro-
gram would allow professors from large
introductory courses to select five juniors
or seniors to help students with certain
questions they feel uncomfortable asking
,aprofessor or GSI. While this program
may prove helpful to some first-year stu-
dents, it is important to make sure that if
implemented, it does not become a substi-
Aute for the development of a personal
student-teacher relationship with profes-
Many first-year students may feel
uncomfortable when first approaching a
professor for help in a course. Because
college is a new environment for these
students, asking for help can be somewhat
intimidating. The student mentors would
provide a less formal and more comfort-
able setting for discussing problems with
course material. It may be very helpful to
first-year students to have someone to
speak with who has already taken the
course and can discuss the class from a
student's perspective as well as give
,advice on which higher-level courses to
take after completing the introductory
course. And since professors and GSIs
hold limited office hours, student mentors
may be more readily available to answer
For this student mentorship program to
succeed, it is important that good criteria
for potential mentors is established.

help first-year students
Students should not simply be selected on
the basis of their grades, but also for their
ability to help fellow students and their
experience within the academic depart-
ments. With these criteria, students seek-
ing help could feel confident that they are
receiving the best advice. Furthermore,
student mentors could develop strong
professional relationships with profes-
sors, benefiting themselves and first-year
But it is important that the student
mentorship program does not become a
substitute for asking professors for help.
This danger is somewhat alleviated by the
fact that the proposed program is only
designed to help students in introductory-
level classes. But student mentors will
still need to stress the importance of seek-
ing a professor's help if there is a need for
it. This program should serve as a step-
ping stone for first-year students, not an
alternative to visiting office hours and
personally asking a professor or GSI for
help. After all, approaching professors
gets easier with time and going to office
hours signifies a student's interest in the
course - which could be beneficial to that
student's grade.
While it would be helpful to have stu-
dent mentors who can give an insider's
perspective on classes, they should also
refer first-year students to professors,
GSIs or academic services such as
English Composition Board. Students in
introductory courses will benefit from
having one of their peers as another
source of information while learning to
work with their instructors - a skill that
is vital to success at the University.

'If there is a strike, it will be substantial. Saddam
(Hussein) will need more than a Band-Aid.'
- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, discussing the possibility
of a strike against Iraq at Ohio State University yesterday

Pollution pressures
EPA should post pollution ratings on the Web

T he next time a company releases
harmful chemicals and pollutants
into the environment, it may end up fac-
ing the wrath of the World Wide Web. At
least that's the hope of the Environmental
Protection Agency as it institutes a new
practice of grading major industrial facil-
ities' pollution risks and posting them on
the Internet.
As early as next month, approximately
661 plants in various industries will be sub-
,feet to a new EPA grading plan. The EPA's
plan is to take data from six EPA and state
programs - which are currently scattered
and obscure - and make it coherent and
readily available to the public. The agency's
plan is designed to encourage a self-polic-
ing atmosphere.
But this plan has certain drawbacks.
Companies complained that the index used
the Sector Facility Indexing Project - is
highly inaccurate and fails to take into
account extenuating circumstances within
individual industries. They say that the
index lacks a common standard, defeating
the ranking's purpose. Furthermore, indi-
vidual state-level EPAs hold that the feder-
al government is overstepping its bounds by
pressuring them to revise their standards -
19 states have refused to cooperate with the
.;The agency's plan is clearly a step in
the right direction because it creates
awareness not only among individuals
directly affected by pollution but also
among the owners of the corporations
themselves. Often, industries are held
accountable only to the EPA, and penal-
ties usually constitute small fines for
excessive pollution or lax enforcement of
emisinn standards The mnnetarv nenal-

to deter excessive pollution. Most of the
cost is passed on to the consumer. But
once these activities are posted on the
Internet, the industries will have to face
the public - a group that is often far less
It is apparent that pollution affects the
environment adversely. But some con-
sumers don't realize the extent that pollu-
tion affects their individual communities.
Without the public awareness that could
arise from the EPA's proposal, industries
will continue to pollute.
But the new practice does need
improvement - the EPA should work
hard to create a common standard by
which all industries can be judged. The
SFIP measures the number of toxic chem-
icals an individual plant contains but does
not take into account how these chemicals
are handled. In Ohio, for example, an
SFIP evaluation claimed that an alu-
minum smelting plant that was leaking
cyanide into the local groundwater posed
only a fraction of the risk that a state-of-
the-art auto assembly plant did. Different
types of pollutants should not be mea-
sured on the same scale - once a com-
mon standard is developed, these incon-
sistencies can be remedied. Industries
should not be so quick to point out the
unfairness of the system without suggest-
ing specific corrective measures.
This policy will not punish industries
but will help them help themselves by using
non-punitive measures to raise pollution
awareness. Once industries realize exactly
how much they are affecting their sur-
rounding environment and population, they
could be more willing to institute corrective
meaures. The use of Internet rankings is a

weapons are
a threat to
the world
There seems to be a
great deal of confusion
about Iraq in discussions on
campus. Perhaps some peo-
ple don't recognize it, but
Saddam Hussein is not
making pesticide in those
chemical plants - he is
making some of the most
deadly weapons this world
has ever seen. Saddam has
proven time and time again
that he will be more than
willing to use such weapons
on human beings, whether
they be the enemy or his
own citizens.
Something has to be
done about this man before
a worldwide chemical and
biological holocaust ensues.
It is tragic that innocent
Iraqi citizens will most like-
ly die in an attack, but with-
out such an attack, count-
less more around the world
will perish.
Day of action
is a waste of
students' time
What will the National
Day of Action tell everyone
that hasn't already been said
one hundred times since the
lawsuits against the
University were filed? The
pro-affirmative action groups
have exhaustively presented
their arguments in the pages
of the Daily, at numerous
affirmative action-oriented
speeches and events, on
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
and on the dozens of flyers
littered around campus. I
don't even need to reiterate
the arguments because every-
one knows what they stand
The pro-affirmative
action faction has inundated
the University with its
rhetoric about the end of
diversity, resegregation of
higher education and the
rampant minority oppression
to such an extent that most
people can rattle off the argu-
ments like the English alpha-
Why then is the National
Day of Action necessary?
Do students need to spend
more time memorizing the
ABCs of the pro-affirmative
action groups? I think not.
I believe it was MSA Vice
President Olga Savic who
said it will be "a day for
alternative education." I com-
pletely agree. Have the Day
of Action but don't encour-

Students: I encourage
you to attend your classes
on Feb. 24. I ask you to
learn something interesting
and pertinent to their cho-
sen field of study. If they
feel the urge for some
"alternative education,"
attend the National Day of
Action events between or
after their regular courses.
Better yet, take one of the
many liberal arts classes
where alternative course
material is taught.
Let's not spend more of
students' precious (and
expensive) college education
memorizing the racist propa-
ganda spewed forth by the
affirmative action propo-
nents. Students get enough of
it just walking around cam-
Daily interview
with ordinary
I had trouble believing my
eyes as I read the Daily's
interview with the Houston
Rockets' Rudy Tomjanovich
("Tomjanovich," 2/16/98) and
saw that two of the six print-
ed questions were about
Michigan football. The open-
ing of the article was full of
information indicating that
"Rudy T" is a very interest-
ing man, but the actual inter-
view did nothing but disap-
The Daily alluded to the
fact that he coached three of
the top 50 players of all
time and has won two
National Basketball
Association championships,
but the questions asked in
the interview could have
been answered by any
University alumnus.
Landing interviews with
celebrities like Tomjanovich
and Jalen Rose through
University ties is great, but
who cares what they think
about the college football
coaches poll? The Daily
should ask questions that
actually incite newsworthy
answers. The interview that
ran was a waste of "Rudy
T"'s time.
Iraqi sanctions
are part of
the media's
I am not sure if I have
been following the same con-

have been manipulated by the
media to believe that these
sanctions were to keep him a
from continuing his power-
trip military assaults or from
using the same chemical war-
fare that was used on our
troops during the Gulf War. I
am eternally grateful for the
individuals who wrote the
Daily and informed readers
that the United Nations is
merely starving young chil-
dren to prove that they can.
Daily covered
Kiss-In with
accuracy and
'positive light'
I just wanted to write in
praise of the Daily's well-
written and comprehensive
article about Friday's Kiss-In.
It was accurate, well thought-
out and presented queer
issues in a very positive light.
Hopefully, it will help
open up the issues of gay
marriages and the prejudices
against queer expressions of
public affection on campus. I
thank the Daily for its infor-
mative article and overall
Hill cafeteria
is not for
'lazy' students
I would like to address the
letter written by Nikhil
Kumar ("New cafeteria
should be on South Campus,"
2/17/98) concerning the new
cafeteria that will be built on
the Hill. First of all, Kumar
needs to get the facts straight
before calling a large number
of students, including myself,
lazy for not wanting to walk
20 more yards.
The truth is that not all of
the students on the Hill did
agree to have this new cafete-
ria. The Housing Office gave
us two options to choose
from. One was that all of the
Hill cafeterias get remodeled,
which they need, but that
would raise tuition for every-
one (including Kumar). The
other option is to build the
big cafeteria that will not
cause a tuition increase (at
least that's what Housing
So students on the Hill
did not lobby for this cafete-
ria. Kumar said himself that
Fletcher Hall has 60 students.
I would be very surprised if
all 60 students would use a
cafeteria all of the time. A
cafeteria there would proba-

Things change,
but the suburba
bar band
remains the same
A couple of days ago, a fri"pd calle
me up and asked me if I would fil
in with his band for a gig it is playin
next week ("gig" is the clever lingo~tha
we in the "biz" use for what you ci
ians might call a
show). I haven't
played with a band
in quite a while, but
after practicing
with them, I am
sure it'll go fine.
The guys in the
group are cool, and
while I doubt you'll
be hearing them on
the radio anytime E A
soon, they have SE ILL
pretty good songs },1{,1,
and an entertaining ;NIAs
I'm not going to plug the band an
the show. Besides the ethical question
it might raise about using this forum fo
self-promotion, I also don't want thi
show to turn into dollar pitchers an
heckle-the-columnist-on-stage night
the Yada Yada Club (but please look
my upcoming book "Dave Barry Turn
47" at your local bookstore). But play
ing again did get me thinking abou
bands I played with when I was younge
and the whole culture of the suburba
rock band. Wherever you go in thi
country, on any given night you can fin
a bar with a band that for all intents an
purposes, is the same damn band that
playing in the same kind of bar in 10
other cities.
It is kind of funny because so
bands actually find success - grante
many are more concerned about m kin
good music but let's face it, being groc
star looks like a good gig. Persoriall
my skill as a musician is purely amteu
- I like to play, it's fun. I know hw t
tune my instrument and that's about th
extent of it. But there was a time back i
high school when I thought I might
able to get in a band that would be a
Then I played in a few bands, rok
out a couple of high school talent show
and battles of the bands, played a fe
parties, and then realized that every yea
some kid gets a guitar or drum set fo
Christmas. Getting that instrumen
makes you believe weird things; like a
any moment, one of the Rolling Stone
is going to die and Mick or Keith (I a
not sure about Mick, but Keith Richard
can definitely not be killed by m
means) are going to call you up
invite you to join the band.
What's even funnier is that there ar
only a few kinds of bands - and I don'
mean stylistically but in terms of thei
attitudes or to use a word that has way t
much literary weight for this context
"persona." Basically, you find anyone o
these bands at your local high school
The level of talent in college band
would seem to be higher until you r
ize that most of the musicians reaTI
haven't learned anything new since hig
school. They just grew their hair out o
got a piercing.
First, you have the intense har
rock/heavy metalgrunge band (depend
ing on which is in style at any give
nanosecond). Even if their songs are god
they could care less and they tend to ram
ble on in between songs about how the
want to "rock ya." Example, "Go
evening Lincoln High School, we
Festering Sore and we're going to 'rock

ya,"' the band then proceeds to play "Wa
Pigs," "Inna-Gada-Da-Vida" or "Ride th
Lightning"- only the strong survive.
You can always find a singer/song
writer, folky, Dylan-goes-electric-typ
band who can't decide if they want to b
Hootie and the Blowfish or actuall
save blowfish from our polluted oceans
They generally don't care about w
the audience thinks of their music
they sure as hell want to rock the vote.
Always lurking around some corne
is the band that knows one song anc
always plays a 45-minute version. The)
may call themselves a jam band, bui
when the only song they know is th
"Last Train to Clarksville," it become
pretty hard to stomach.
Then you have the party band that play
a lot of covers or pop-rock 'originals' an
generally has more success if the
singer is really hot. They also genera )
sound better to the intoxicated.
I even began to notice the roles withir
the band are pretty constant. I am a bas
player (in the loosest sense of the word
and I know this is always the most frus
trated member of the band. People actu
ally watch the singer and if they wrot
the words to the song, they get to feel al
deep making this melodic or poetic self
expression. In a rock band, the g4
player generally gets the melody sc
again, the audience is watching - espe
cially when the faces made during thei
guitar solos give an extreme sense o
impending vomit. The drummer, xvhil
hidden behind the set, gets to hit thing

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