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March 20, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-20

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

ct r £ria rn IgJ

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.
Long-term savings
Lower loan rates could build the workforce

. ~, x aA.* .sE , / . ., I[-... ,.q . ..-
'This reflects badly on (the University) and It shows
that students here have very little respect for
freedom of speech. This is a grotesque parody
of what a civil debate should be.'
- LSA sophomore Andre Vrabel, commenting on the crowd's raucous
behavior at Wednesday's discussion led by Ward Connerly
--~ HirsME 7
ia4' q 0 /

O ne of the greatest concerns facing col-
lege-bound students is whether or not
they can afford their education. Tuition has
become extremely expensive and in order to
alleviate this huge burden, many students
utilize student loan programs set up by the
federal government. The financial assis-
tance these programs often have given stu-
dents the ability to pursue a higher educa-
tion. This week, the U.S. House of
Representatives debated the future of many
college-bound students who rely on student
loans. At issue was the amount of the stu-
dent-loan rate reduction in the Higher
Education Act. The rates for student loans,
unlike other loans' rates, are set by
Congress rather than the marketplace --
leading to hot debates between lending
companies and government officials.
Lending companies do not want to see the
rates of these loans drop because that would
result in smaller profit margins. But repre-
sentatives in favor of granting greater
access to higher education want to see loan

employer. Granting easier access to higher
education by reducing financial strain could
not only benefit those who receive it, but
also the individuals around them and the
market. Higher education has a positive
spillover effect for all of society.
On the other hand, legislators must be
careful when reducing these rates so that
lending companies do not bail out of the
loan programs. In essence, lawmakers must
walk a fine line between helping people
afford higher education and reducing rates
to a point where loan companies decide that
it is not financially beneficial to partici-
pate. Thomas Butts, the University's associ-
ate vice president for government relations,
says that two-thirds of all students who
attend Michigan state universities and
receive loans have direct loans that lenders
do not control. Lenders that decide to pull
out because of the reduced rates will proba-
bly not have a significant effect on students
who attend state schools, including the
University. But it is still a concern that rep-

~rates reduced. A compromise should be resentatives must keep in mind when dictat
Waiuk with the4financial needs of students ing the amount of loan-rate reduction by
ig mind. which the lending companies must abide.
2 The compromise that was reached last in an effort to keep lending companie
week in the House Committee on Education happy with the proposed low rates, the feder
qnd the Workforce would lower student- al government will use taxpayer money, in th
loan interest rates to 6.8 percent while they form of a subsidy, to offset some of thei
ate enrolled in school and to 7.4 percent losses. The government holds the arduou
after graduation. This compromise could be task of keeping all sides happy so that more
considered a victory for those who support students will have access to post-secondary
the ideas of higher education and its soci- education. If tax dollars must be used t
etal benefits. Lawmakers on both sides of achieve these goals, then the federal govern
the issue must realize that people who ment should allocate the money. The benefit
receive a higher education are beneficial to of education are hard to quantify, but a well
so6iety. For instance, the knowledge one educated workforce is something for which
gains at an institution of higher education all countries should strive. If passed, this
will be applied in future employment, there- reduction in student-loan rates will takea
fore benefiting all fellow employees and the small step toward achieving that goal.
Political medicine
Legislators should consult medical community


L ast week, the state House of
Representatives passed a bill that
would ban assisted suicide in Michigan if
signed by Gov. Engler. Passing by a margin
of 66 to 40, the bill entails criminal penal-
ties for anyone found helping to end the life
of another. Though the state Legislature has
displayed its disapproval of assisted suicide
through last week's vote, the final assess-
ment of the issue and its medical and ethi-
ca] implications should not come from
politicians - a group ignorant of the med-
icl causes that motivate the terminally ill to
seek help in ending their lives. Instead, the
nedical community - the group with the
niost comprehensive understanding of the
issue - should help decide the suitability
of assisted suicide for terminally ill individ-
: In the years since physician-assisted sui-
cide first sparked national debate, the issue
has been distorted by candidates for public
office using the issue to enhance their plat-
forms and by sensational media portrayals.
In'fact, just two weeks before the passage of
the bill, the story of a Southfield man who
sought help in ending his life caught nation-
al. attention. Typically, headlines failed to
emphasize that the man suffered from
incurable quadriplegia. Instead, they high-
lighted the fact that he was 21-years-old.
Such heart-wrenching treatments appeal
primarily to the emotions, diminishing the
influence of rationality upon decision-mak-
The medical profession, by contrast,
consists of men and women whose educa-
tion on the physiological bases of afflictions
Pnhs mt o namu+n cicc he nnnrnn-;

nally ill and severely debilitated patients
makes them far more qualified than politi-
cians to determine whether individuals'
motives in seeking aid in ending their lives
are valid. Neither emotional media portray-
als nor manipulative political campaigns
likely will distort their thorough first-hand
understanding of the issue.
The passage of the ban actually high-
lights the danger of leaving legislators to
decide this issue without medical input. The
bill effectively strips doctors of a provision
that enabled them to control patients' pain
with increased medication - even if that
medication expedites death. Legislators
eliminated the provision primarily to pre-
vent Jack Kevorkian, - a former doctor
who has helped more than 100 patients end
their lives - from further evading convic-
tion. In its haste to trample out the work of
Kevorkian, the Legislature has unnecessari-
ly affected the quality of health care for
Michigan residents. Had the state consulted
the medical community, the legislation
would have lent a sensitive ear to the needs
of the state's ill.
In approving the ban on assisted suicide,
state lawmakers erred by failing to consid-
er input from the best-educated group on
the issue - the medical profession. Before
depriving Michigan residents of jurisdic-
tion over one of the most intimate life deci-
sions, legislators should draw heavily on
medical expertise. As assisted suicide con-
tinually proves to be a controversial issue,
debate and legal change likely still loom
ahead. Future regulatory and legal change
must include the perspectives of the doc-
Snrc -h ao.nn-arcnffarA t1nfi reth,. nA

Daily ignored
the spirit of
'U' pep band
I am writing in response
to the Daily's Feb. 20 Friday
Focus, "What's wrong with
Crisler Arena?" One of the
comments was that "Superfan
shouldn't have to organize
every single cheer throughout
the game all by himself- an
active band could help."
Daily Sports Writer James
Goldstein has obviously
never even given half a
glance toward the pep band
during a game. The band
constitutes some of the most
enthusiastic fans at the stadi-
um - constantly out of their
chairs cheering the team on.
As far as starting cheers, the
Daily seems to have neglect-
ed the fact that the cheerlead-
ers do that. Both groups do
their best to be spirited, but it
is difficult with the lack of
participation from the crowd.
The Daily also comment-
ed that the band should be
more ihvolved like they are at
Yost. This is very difficult to
do since first, Yost is half the
size of Crisler and second,
the hockey band is more than
twice the size of the basket-
ball band. That would mean
that the band would have to
be four times as loud to make
the same amount of noise. As
it is, I have seen many mem-
bers come out of games with
close to no voice left. This is
not a fair expectation to have.
Next time, the Daily
should give it a little thought
before it puts down one of
the most spirited and
involved organizations at the
Choose a
Life is an interesting
thing. I read the Daily every
day and I usually read the let-
ters box. The letters often
discuss current issues, views
favoring affirmative action,
dismissing affirmative action,
regarding racial problems at
the University or discrimina-
tion based on sexual orienta-
tion. I will not say what is
right and what is wrong when
it comes to these issues. All
too often, there is no one
answer. But I will say one
thing. Although these issues
are an important part of
many people's life, I spend
very little time considering
them. I see how important
these issues are to people and
I laugh. All too often. stu-

they interact with. It makes
me sad. I am not trying to
save the world - I gave up
that pursuit a long time ago.
But I would like to remind
everyone that these issues
and these alter egos are
inhibiting and theysare blind-
ing. Sometimes, everyone
should take a step back and
look at everything from a dif-
ferent perspective. Stop and
smell the roses if you will,
and find out what it is that is
most important.
So next time a discussion
ensues about someone else's
beliefs, their fashion sense or
their lifestyle remember that
most people find it easier to
discuss other people's prob-
lems than their own. People
think that by solving others'
problems that are similar to
their own they have in effect
solved their own. This is not
true, it is merely another way
to avoid one's own problems.
I am reminded of the quote,
"If you want to save the
world, try saving yourself."
This may not be as heartless
a comment as it seems. After
all, how can you be happy
with anyone else if you can't
be happy with yourself?
Papke should
not deny
racism's role
In his Feb. 27 letter to
the editor, "'U' policies do
not solve underlying prob-
lems," Ronald Papke invites
the University community
to "begin the debate" on
affirmative action. Although
I am certain that such a
debate has already begun,
this letter takes him up on
his passionate, if belated,
invitation. While his letter
is a rich source for a much
lengthier response, I limit
this one to four of the
points Papke raises. First,
even Papke must concede
that he, like many of his fel-
low opponents of affirma-
tive action, overstated his
case against affirmative
action by alluding to an
illusory past. He finds it
ironic that affirmative
action has further
"polariz(ed) the campus
along racial lines" and
"built the walls between
races even higher."
Compared to when?
Certainly,.he cannot mean a
time prior to the Civil
Rights Movement. If anyone
needs any reminding, things
were worse back then.
Second, to Papke's confi-
dent declaration that "higher
education is not the place to
solve societal ills," I urge the
readers to ask themselves,
"whv not?" Whv should uni-

that supporters of affirmative
action advocate the "admis-
sion of a person who is not
academically qualified over
someone who is."
Fourth, rather than the
"tower(-ing of) academic
requirements for minorities,"
the real crux of the matter is
whether the United States
should acknowledge or deny
the profound role that racism
has played and continues to
play in the lives of people of
Statistics showing differ-
ences in the average SAT
scores, for example, seem to
provide feeble bases for
Papke's or anybody else's
moral outrage.
lecture was
poorly planned
I wanted to see Ward
Connerly's lecture, but I didn't
get to. Neither did more than
100 other hopefuls who were
mostly students. Polce officers
declared the room at capacity
and refused to openthe doors
so that the unfortunate crowd
could hear Connerly speak. A
few TV news teams were
allowed in, but no University
students or community mem-
bers were.
The Michigan League
Ballroom was an inexcusably
poor choice of venue for this
widely advertised event. I
cannot help but wonder
whose lousy sense of public-
event coordination is to
blame for the hopelessly
small venue. If it was a mem-
ber of some student group
having a first go at making
arrangements for a visiting
lecturer, then the asinine
space deficit can be
explained, though not
But if any University
agency or department had a
hand in relegating Connerly's
presentation to a room that
was obviously too small, then
there is a force at work far
more sinister than poor plan-
Even more disappointing
are reports that Connerly
was screamed at and taunt-
ed by some badly-behaved
students and faculty. I sup-
pose it's predictable -
though terribly sad - that
young students with
stronger voices than minds
would revert to grade-
school behavior. But cer-
tainly, the faculty has an
obligation to uphold the
dignity of this University -
they ought to be ashamed of
So much for the market-

You don't need
to relate0to art'
in order to
simply respect its
A rmericans flat out do not get art. We
don't care one iota for creativity
unless you can sell it; our ability to
appreciate art ends at the dollar signs.
Artists who live among us are outsiders.
We only take them
seriously if we '
think we can exploit
them or because of
a cultural bias that
tells us anyone with
that much weird
stuff floating
around in their head
could be brilliant
but most likely is4
criminally insane. PAUL
If you are study- SERILLA
ing any kind of art, S A
whattis the first WARFARM
question anyone
outside your discipline asks? "Oh, real-
ly, so what are you going to do with that,
teach?" We don't value creativity
enough to think that anyone would even
want to make a living at it.
I am certainly not above these preju-
dices. I am wary of many of the creative
people I know and interact with, and not
just when I can't fully comprehend their
work. Face it, you know people like this:
the painter, the poet, the actor, the com-
poser (complete with the Beethoven
mop-top.) If you are enrolled in LSA,
you completely understand the logic of
having the art and music schools on
North Campus, and if you are an engi-
neer, you're wondering what you did to
get stuck with allithese non-linear peo-
ple. Let me put it in equation form so
you engineers can understand it: mathe-
matical prowess + social ineptitude =
jealousy + disgust = put all the different
kids a couple of miles north with the
math geeks.
Part of the problem seems self-per-
petuating. If you grow up in a culture
that scoffs at the creative and labels
artists as "weird," who then is attracted
to being an artist? Sure, many are just
people enamored with their craft or the
history and study of it, but the rest are
those who crave the attention that being
different or a "nonconformist" can
bring. That, of course, helps keep the
community at an arm's length and little
I can't say that Americans treat artists
any differently than any other culture
does. Sure, we have this cosmopolitang
view of European sophistication, but for
all we know, it could be a big put on, a
little joke on those "new-world pigs
across the pond." Just because they have
been invading each other for centuries
to steal the other guy's precious master-
pieces and artifacts doesn't mean they
know how to truly appreciate art.
Maybe they were just bored. It could all
be just an elaborate joke that the whole
world is in on except us. It might also
explain why the French always point
and laugh at us.
Our collective inability to appreciate
art sometimes manifests itself in a more
direct manor. On Tuesday, the Dallas
Museum of Art discovered that three
paintings - at an estimated worth of
more than $20 million (got your atten-
tion, didn't I?) - had been vandalized
Mary Veron, a professor of art at
Southern Methodist University,
described the paintings to thel
Associated Press as "major, major
pieces of significant American art."
With that kind of lucid historical

description, you know we aren't talking
about "Dogs Playing Poker."
Some idiot(s) decided to express their
distaste for the paintings by scratching
them with their keys. The only analogy
I can think of is if you hated Lee
lacocca and went around keying every
K-Car in sight. Likewise, if you hate
1 9th-and 20th-Century American
painters like Frederick Church and
Edward Hopper, scratch the hell out of
their paintings.
It is this kind of moronic behavior that
pisses me off. Sure, it was probably some
maladjusted kid on a field trip trying to
show off, but I think it spells out some-
thing a little deeper about our country.
Americans are always justifying their dis-
like ofsomethingwiththeirinability to
relate to it. It makes sense - if you under-
stand something, you are more likely to
enjoy it or appreciate it, but that logic is
not iron-clad. Respect should never be
welded to the ability to relate; it's a scape-
goat, an easy way to not confront an issue
or really think about why you feel a cer-
tain way about it.
I am not just trying to justify the per-
tinacious ramblings of many so-called
art enthusiasts who like to spend their
weekends posing at galleries as intellec-
tuals. I, for example, am not particular-
ly well-versed in art history or criticism,
nor could I say that I even "get" a lot of
modern stuff.
I look at a naintino byJ ackson Polnack

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