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March 09, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-09

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 9, 1998

he £irbiguu 1ailg

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 Dailys editorial hoard.
All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Ftl house
'U' must address problems in residence halls

t's cear that there's been an increase in '97.'
- Darieunne Dennis, a spokesperson for Phillip Morris Management Corp., on
the amnout (rfmoney the tobacco industry has been donating to politicians
t' FkLY Sa rV

,z 1 7 J1..

L ast month, the University Board of
Regents approved the rate of increase for
residence halls and non-traditional housing
for the '98-'99 academic year. The rate of
increase is formulated to account for the
University's calculated inflation rate (typically
around 3 percent) and to cover the contractual
costs of the upcoming year, such as utilities,
maintenance and food service. The regents
voted unanimously on a 2.7-percent increase,
lower than last year's 4-percent hike.
The increase falls below average in com-
parison to those of schools across the coun-
try for the next school year, but the
University remains at the top of the Big Ten
for overall housing cost. The agreement on
the change came after months of discussion
and includes several points that Housing
officials want to improve.
One of these points concerns the issue of
room size. Anyone who had an overflow triple
during their first year remembers the chal-
lenge of cramming three people's junk into a
room comparable in size to a jail cell. With
applications for the incoming class on the rise
every year, these sardine-like living quarters
have become more numerous and common-
place. But according to University Housing,
the University plans to eliminate these triples
completely within the next two years.
Whether or not this will mean plans for a new
residence hall on campus or stricter regula-
tions for upperclassmen housing in upcoming
years has yet to be determined, but recogniz-
ing and attacking the bad living situation that
overflow triples cause is definitely a step in
the right direction.
First-year nostalgia may bring back rec-
ollections of many students camping out
during the opening week of school in resi-
dence hall lounges. This raises concerns
among many students about room availabil-

ity - an inconvenient and frustrating situa-
tion. If Housing officials are to solve the
problem of overcrowded dorm conditions
and eliminate the use of overflow triples,
they must first ensure that the number of
students admitted and placed in assigned
residence halls is in check.
While this relatively small increase for
housing costs and the intent to improve room
conditions and respond to housing concerns
should be applauded, there are still issues that
University Housing needs to address. A por-
tion of the money paid as "housing fees" goes
to specific programs available in the residence
hall communities. While this is a way for
those programs to receive the necessary fund-
ing, they do so by yanking even more money
from the wallets of many students who will
never have access to the programs. It is hard-
ly fair to make every student living in
University housing fund these programs when
only a fraction are involved with them.
Already, the money extracted from students
for housing costs at the University surpasses
that of most other schools. By eliminating the
extra amount going toward the programs and
using other sources for their funding,
University Housing could take a significant
chunk out of housing costs and be more in line
with other universities' housing fees.
University Housing appears to finally be
considering the concerns brought up by stu-
dents considering conditions in residence
halls. A small fee increase is refreshing but
officials should try to attack other issues
that could further bring the cost of living on
campus at the University down. Just to have
a decrease in the percentage of housing cost
increase for one year is not enough. The
University's cost for housing is still well
above average and steps should be taken to
bring it down.


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njustice upheld
Court was wrong to support Megan's Law

T he pursuit of happiness is one of the
foundations of American civil liber-
ties. Megan's Law - a New Jersey statute
enacted in 1995 - requires that sexual
offenders released from correctional facili-
ties notify communities in which they live
of their former status. Since its inception,
36 other states have followed suit by creat-
ing similar "community notification" laws.
While children and parents deserve the
peace of mind that they are safe, these laws
should not be allowed to trample. over the
rights of convicted criminals that have paid
their debt to society.
A group of New Jersey sex offenders
whose crimes were committed before the
law was enacted recently brought suit
against the state. They claimed that the law
implemented a second punishment for their
crimes, thus violating the double-jeopardy
and ex-post.facto protections provided by
the Constitution. Last month, the U.S.
Supreme Court rejected these claims and
upheld Megan's Law.
Parents should have the right to know
that their children are safe from sex offend-
ers. But how far does that right extend when
it threatens another's right to lead a produc-
tive life? The backbone of American civil
liberties is that every citizen must have the
opportunity to achieve their potential and
better themselves. But if a law prevents
someone from being able to get work or
improve themselves, it impinges on those
Proponents of the laws say that too
often, sex offenders finish serving their
terms and have not been adequately rehabil-

the communities that such former criminals
move into from what could happen. But the
laws unfairly impose sanctions on those
who will not repeat their crimes. Further, if
correctional facilities do not adequately
rehabilitate inmates, additional educational
and counseling programs should be offered.
If correctional facilities serve simply as a
place to house those convicted of crimes for
a period of time, they will not adequately
prepare inmates for a return to society.
The laws work by informing the entire
community in which the former criminal
lives of his or her past indiscretions. As a
result, they often face ostracism and unfair
treatment. They often find it difficult, if not
impossible, to secure employment, severely
hampering their ability to become produc-
tive members of society. In its effort to keep
neighborhoods safe, the community notifi-
cation laws place a burdensome stigma on
many former criminals who wish to move
on with their lives, annulling any efforts
they make to help themselves.
In lieu of the court's decision, the
remaining 13 states that do not presently
have such a law in place may rush to enact
one since the constitutionality of the issue is
no longer in question. Such action would be
a mistake since these types of laws are dou-
bly punitive to those convicted of crimes.
The court has set a bad precedent in uphold-
ing this law; under the decision's guise,
laws that implement similar post-release
policies could be enacted against people
convicted of other crimes, such as drug pos-
session and robbery. It could be possible
that a single, minor bad act could ruin the

Day of action
students in
While sitting in class on
Feb. 24, the "day of action," I
was following my political
conscience against affirma-
tive action. Myself, alont
with many fellow students,
sat in class making our own
strong statement by not leav-
ing despite our professor's
urging to leave and rally to
defend affirmative action.
Because of the always-lib-
erally tinted Michigan Daily,
we were all well aware of the
day of action and chose to
make our statement, insanely
enough, by staying in class.
Remember, that's why we're
here after all, To rally is ine,
but to pound on our doors in
Angell Hall and scream deaf-
ening chants while we were
attempting to learn is quite
another. It sure as hell didn't
make me want to join the
other side.
My whole problem with
these defenders of racist
practices is their forceful
interruption of my class.
Follow your conscience,
make your statement, I urge
you, but don't force it upon
me interrupting my educa-
Getting rid of affirmative
action at the University'
would in no wa resgreate
as some think Why should
the University lowr ts stan-
dards for some and not for
others? Affirmative action is
undeniably the use of sex and
race as qualifying factors for
jobs, education, etc.
Affirmative action is sexism
and racism at its finest. I can
hardly believe in this dyand
age that people could defend
such an un-politically correct
Soldiers must
think about
their actions
The rationale behind Josh
White's column
"'Babykillers?' The men and
women in uniform deserve
better" (2/24/97) horrifies me.
In attempting to justify poten-
tial military action he says,
"the military does not make
policy decisions, they follow
orders. The arn does not act
on feelings or emotion, they
act on directives without occa-
sion or prejudice ... all of this
with a sincere love for the
country and the will to do
what the country feels is best

might be that U of M ROTC
members will not participate
in the bombing of Iraq and it
might be that they have never
participated in anything that
has hurt anyone. But some
members of the military have
killed innocent people and
they should be held account-
able. Standard lines such as
"they were just following
orders" or "they did it for our
country" just won't cut it.
Finally, the idea that the
military acts for ordinary peo-
ple of this country contradicts
any serious scholarship on
U.S. foreign policy. Academics
such as Noam Chomsky have
gone to great lengths to docu-
ment the hypocrisy and evils
of the "American way." I sug-
gest that White starts with
Chomsky's "Deterring
Running a
entails more
than writing
As a former editor of
Gargoyle Magazine and cur-
rent member of the Board for
Student Publications, I would
like to respond to the letter
on the publication's status
("Board should support
Gargoyle Magazine,"
Student publications have
been, and continue to be, an
excellent opprtunity for
hands-on, real-world experi-
ence in operating a publica-
tion. But a publication con-
sists of more than simply
getting one's name in print.
For the experience to have
relevance, it should promote
continuity, and this requires
fiscal responsibility. That is
why both the editor in chief
and business manager of
each of the board's publica-
tions are ex-officio members
of the board. The appointed
members (volunteers from
the community and publica-
tion alumni) then have the
responsibility to monitor the
budgets and finances and
provide assistance when
During the 1996-1997
school year, the Gargoyle
published several times -
but generated minimal offset-
ting revenue. The business
half of the experience (plan-
ning, marketing and sales)
was not happening. The
board created a study group
in August to help with ideas
and some minimum guide-
lines that would let the maga-
zine continue publishing
while making progress on the
business side. The board was-
n't looking for profits -just
effort and growth. This

requested a promise of fund-
ing for a full year - with no
strings attached and minimal
accountability. When the
Board - based on its bylaws
as well as logic - denied the
request, the staff leaders
Gargoyle alumni (an
active and particularly entre-
preneurial group) and the
board are very anxious for
the Gargoyle to publish and
succeed. With that in mind,
the board - with the help of
The Michigan Daily and the
Michiganensian - will be
recruiting students for the
editor and business manager
positions with the intention
of resurrecting the 89-year
Gargoyle tradition of satire,
humor and innovative mar-
keting. Admittedly, the 89
years have been of an on-
and-off nature, but that's part
of the tradition and the charm
of the Gargoyle. As surfers of
my generation (before
www cor) might say, survival
is an art.
Daily missed
events on
'U' campus
Congratulations to all of
the participantsiand audience
members at the "Monsters of
A Cappella" charity concert
at Rackham on Feb. 21.
More than 1,100 people
attended, raising thousands of
dollars for the Ann Arbor
Shelter Association. The five
groups that performed gave
energetic and entertaining
performances. The event (the
8th annual) was a huge suc-
Another recent event the
Daily missed was The
Midwest Regionals of the
National Championship of
Collegiate A Cappella were
on Jan. 31. More than 1,000
fans came to the Michigan
Theatre for a high-energy
evening of entertainment.
Two Michigan groups,
"Amazin' Blue" and "The
Harmonettes," advanced to
the semifinals (of which
there are six in the country).
The fact that this letter is
all the coverage that such
well-attended, on-campus
events will receive is pathetic
and shameful. The Daily
can't compete with profes-
sional newspapers, and it
shouldn't try. What the Daily
can do is cover events of
interest to students at the
University. More than one
thousand of us appear to be
interested in college a cappel-
1l Fnr nmnars o irnes_

Bee Gees and
Q-Bert: back by
popular demand
F or the moment, we'll ignore the
F glaring fact that "Rapper's Delight,"
currently performed in "The Wedding
Singer"'s most notable scene, originally
came out in 1979 - problematicA
because its inclusion in the Adam
Sander comedy is intended to evoke
memories of anoth -_______
er, later decade.
young Americans
have spent more
than $50 million on
the movie thus far;
after "Titanic," it is
the most popular
motion picture at
your local multi-
plex. And its suc- JOSHUA
cess marks the con- RICH
tinuing trend of 'lA
'70s and '80s nos- Pl If
talgia invading the
mainstream culture of the '90s - a
topic featured in this week's issue of
Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Each decade, it seems, has its general
defining theme. For the '20s, it is prohi.*
bition; the '30s: the Great Depression;
the '40s: World War II and the start of
the nuclear age: the '50s: the festering
Cold War; the '60s: the Vietnam War,
protests and counterculture youths.
These decades aren't just a bunch of
years, but entities in and of themselves
- the "Roaring Twenties," the "Me
Decade" and so on.
The current "Melrose Place" popula-
tion, however, isn't far enough removed
from the '70s and '80s - the years ofo
its youth - for it to appropriately ascer-
tai what those decades were really all
about. They stick out in our minds not
as eras marked by political issues but as
melting pots of various pop-culture
media. After all, when we were in ele-
mentary school and junior high,
Michael Jackson and Indiana Jones
were much more important to us than
Oliver North and Ed Meese. Such non-
political events just occurred in the past,
in our youth, and that's good enough for
us to yearn for them.
Thus, we accept "The Wedding
Singer'"s inaccurate insistence that The
Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight"
was still popular in the mid-1980s, even
though we had moved on to The Fat
Boys and LL Cool J by then.
We are the major consumers in
America: the prized 18-34 demographic
group that determines which TV shows
succeed or what leisure items become
trendy. We can't personally recall years
before 1970, so pop-culture marketers
give us what we all can relate to (and we
do love hearing Nena pipe away in
German every time we hear her!).
Still, works like "The Wedding
Singer" are little more than picture
books filled with snippets of totally rad
"one-hit wonders" and crazy fashions
that simply remind us of who we once
were and how incredibly odd thin
leather neckties and Cyndi Lauper all
seem now. Much like "Grease" and
"Happy Days" before them, such films
recreate the popular culture of the '80s,
while giving mere passing glances to
AIDS and all that obnoxious political
bad stuff that also dominated the
decade. To get a real smell of times past,
filmmakers must go further, but few do.
An exception is the recent cinematic
phenomenon "Boogie Nights," in which!
writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson
manages to truly envelop us in the
decades he depicts. H-e doesn't just play

songs like "Sister Christian," he gets us
to sing along with them as we once did.
And in doing so, he makes us see just
how scary and silly the '70s and '80s
really were. When the protagonist is just
a quiet, lonely kid waiting to be discov-
ered, he surrounds himself with poster
of '70s icons -Al Pacino, Cheryl Tiegs
- and stares passionately in the mirror
as he practices karate kicks he probably
caught in a Bruce Lee film or on an
episode of "Kung Fu" That was us.
When a character plays his 'Awesome
Mix Tape #6," we remember when we
used to buy 10 whole albums on cas-
sette so that we could listen to 10 songs
without waiting for Casey Kasem to
play them on the weekly Top 40 count-
down. That was us.
Nowadays, of course, we have video-
tapes and cable TV, handy '70s intro-
ductions that, surprisingly, have not
threatened our thirst for our youth. We
"remember" movies like "Fast Times at
Ridgemont High" because they have
never left contemporary culture; they
have always been available in the neigh-
borhood Blockbuster or on Cinemax.
Somehow, though, we have managed..
to move on, and our longing for years
and styles past has increased over time.
Maybe that's why we still love the
young incarnations of the Nicolas
(Coppola) Cages, John (Cougar)
Mellencamps or Deborah (Debbie)
r. - -- I-wrn a c t- l un-amr

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