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April 01, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-04-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 1, 1998

ale lid1tnuu i adg

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.
Narrow optIons
Living-learning programs need improvement

'It's a government of the Exxons, for the
General Motors and by the DuPonts.'
- Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, discussing the corruptness
of corporations Monday night at the Michigan Theater
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A s graduation approaches, many
University students will remember
the first-year experience as one of change
and exploration. Living with a vast array of
students provided an experience unlike any
other. But the University's residence halls
could soon become home to a number of
new living-learning programs that cluster
students according to academic interest.
The proposal would nearly double the num-
ber of living-learning communities, and
expand the programs to the majority of the
University's traditional residence halls. But
until the current problems are addressed,
the living-learning programs should not be
expanded further.
Most of the University's living-learn-
ing programs are academically and
socially restrictive. Students who take
part in the communities are required to
live in a certain residence hall and take
certain classes. Since they spend the
majority of their time with the same peo-
ple, living-learning communities result in
predetermined social groups; increasing
the number of these programs would only
make this problem worse. In addition,
students who wish to leave the communi-
ty still must remain in the residence hall
for the rest of the year, and spend their
first year at the University living with stu-
dents who are part of a specified and pos-
sibly narrow group. If more of the resi-
dence halls host living-learning commu-
nities, then even first-year students who
choose to not participate in the program
would be isolated among members of liv-
ing-learning communities.
The requirements of the living-learn-
ing programs also prevent students from
exploring the full range of academic
options that the University offers. The

core curriculum of most living-learning
programs is too narrow to allow students
to broaden their academic range. It is
important that students have the ability to
explore many different options while at
the University; increasing the number of
living-learning communities would close
important options to many students who
have not yet decided on a specific course
of study.
In addition to the restrictiveness of the
living-learning communities, many of the
existing programs are having difficulty
retaining students. Many, like the
Undergraduate Research Opportunity
Program or the Women in Science and
Engineering program have problems that
need to be solved. The University should
concentrate on fixing the existing living-
learning system before expanding it. The
communities need time to develop. For
instance, the Residential College, which
recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, is
a successful living-learning community
because it is well established and offers
students a wide range of academic
options. But the more recently established
communities have many social and logis-
tical flaws; increasing the number of pro-
grams would'be helpful to no one.
Living-learning communities restrict
students to a particular academic curricu-
lum and a particular social group when
taking advantage of diverse options
should be a vital part of University life.
Although some students may enjoy the
living-learning environment, increasing
the number of programs despite the fact
that the system is flawed will only create
more problems. More living-learning
communities does not mean more options
for students.


Organ donations should
For patients facing the painful wait for
organ transplants, a recent decision
by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human
Services Donna Shalala may offer new
hope. Last Thursday, the Clinton adminis-
tration ordered the private network that
distributes organs nationwide to be
revamped. The move's intent is to prevent
distribution problems that crop up due to
the demand and supply of different organs
in various regions. While the new system
would likely benefit thousands of patients
across the country, the administration
should let the medical community guide
the new distribution mechanism's devel-
Under the present method of organ dis-
tribution, the United States is divided into
63 local areas. Organs are first made
available to patients within the area in
which they are donated. If there. is no
need for the organ in that area, it is then
made available to anyone within the
area's region - of which there are 11
nationwide. Finally, if there is still no
need for the organ, it is offered to patients
at the national level.
As a result of this mechanism, gross
variances exist in the demand for organs
in adjacent locations. For example,
patients in San Francisco often wait two
to three years for a much-needed trans-
plant, but in nearby Sacramento, the wait-
ing period can be as short as a few
months. In addition, the system creates
the. opportunity for an unfair economic-
based advantage to ensue. Those who can
afford to relocate when dire medical con-

be distributed nationally
graphic location as great a factor as
health in determining whether or not a
patient will have an equal chance to sur-
vive - a serious problem that should be
Part of the plan is that the organization
that manages the current network - the
nonprofit United Network for Organ
Sharing - will develop the new system.
But Shalala has ultimate veto power over
the implementation of the new system. If,
after the five months the organization has
been given to create a new system, Shalala
dislikes it, she holds the power to dissap-
prove it - negating all of the network's
efforts. Politics should not play such a large
role in guiding medical policy - the gov-
ernment should accept the suggestions of
the network and the medical community
and not pretend to be wholly knowledge-
able when making such important deci-
The program's intent would also imple-
ment a universal system to determine who
has the greatest danger. Unlike the present
system where individual hospitals rank
patients' needs, this change would allow
equally sick people on opposite ends of the
country to have the same chance at getting
a needed transplant.
The number of patients waiting for
donations in the United States is staggering.
Under the current system, though, more
than 10 people per day die because they
cannot get the organ they need. The new
system has the potential to ease some of the
waiting and demand that plague patients in
need of organ donations - the Department

weaken its
worthy stance
I was barely able to fin-
ish reading the March 25
editorial "Well read" before
I proceeded to vomit all
over it. Seriously. Although
I wholeheartedly agree that
exposure to minority
authors is important, it is
unfortunate that this view
was propounded in an arti-
cle that can only be called a
piece of editorial garbage.
Ernest Hemingway, I'd like
to point out, did not write
"The Grapes of Wrath."
John Steinbeck is the
Not only does the editori-
al author not seem to have
read the works he or she is
critiquing, but he or she
apparently seems to have
trouble constructing a gram-
matically correct sentence
("But many student face
quite a different life."). I
would also like to object to
the Daily's presumption that
only students from inner
cities will "have a hard time
relating" to the protagonists
of novels like "A Farewell to
Arms." I find it difficult to
relate to an impotent, alco-
holic newspaperman and a
war veteran. Further, what
does it mean to relate to a
text anyway? In my experi-
ence, all it takes to read a
novel, poem or play is an
active imagination and intel-
lectual curiosity, and I'm sure
the Daily would not deny that
these attributes transcend
racial, cultural and economic
If a student cannot write
complete sentences, or does-
n't know Ernest Hemingway
from John Steinbeck, he or
she is certainly not, in my
opinion, "well read" and
should spend more time actu-
ally reading works of litera-
ture instead of worrying
about the canonicity of
minorityauthors whose posi-
tions in the literary canon are
by and large relatively secure
in the first place.
Hockey fans'
taunting is
'an art form'
I'd li ke to respond to
Carrie Lewis's letter
("Hockey fans' behavior
was horrible," 3/24/98) by
saying that while I appreci-
ate the fact that she has a
right to her own opinion, I

It's become a tradition,
not unlike what the media
refers to as the "Cameron
Crazies" of Duke basketball
fame. No one dares to
attack them for making
lewd comments toward
opposing teams, but instead,
they are alluded to as some
of the most passionate fans
in their field. Yost fans are
no different. They have sim-
ply raised taunting to an art
form, something that all
students can choose to par-
ticipate in like a well-orga-
nized support for the
Wolverine icers.
My response to you
Lewis is: How dare you
question the manner in
which fans support the
University. Michigan hock-
ey fans may never win any
congeniality awards, but by
the same token, ask any
member of the hockey team,
and they'll tell you that
there is no better advantage
than that which comes from
playing at "the Barn" with
the raucous support of fans.
So before youkgoattacking
the fans who make Yost
great, remember that all
sports have their good and
bad sides, and both sides of
the coin should be accepted
if the game is to be appreci-
rights belong
to everyone
Well it seems thatonce
again the students at the
University cannot see
beyond their own narrow-
minded concerns. I speak in
reference to Erika Alea and
Julie Wellnitz's letter, "Sex
offenders do not deserve a
second chance" (3/19/98),
in which the authors fail to
consider the consequences
of their opinions. Their
basic opinion is that if an
individual is convicted of
sexual assault, time served
should not be the end of
their punishment. They fur-
ther state that all sex
offenders should be branded
for life, and most horribly,
they state that "sex offend-
ers don't deserve the basic
human rights we believe in
here in the United States."
I will state categorically
that I agree that sexual
assault is a heinous crime.
But one cannot go around
removing peoples' rights. Our
society is based upon every
individual possessing certain
inalienable rights. If a prece-
dent of creating exceptions to
these rights is established,
then the next thing that hap-

until the one saying it is one
of those few.
Then again, no one read-
ing this will be one of those
few, right?
speech still
I am writing in light of a
disturbing article I read in the
March 25 Daily ("Candidate
accused of racism").
I am disturbed not so
much by Dale Winling's dis-
tasteful, immature and illog-
ical campaign poster, but
instead by what may turn
into an appalling case of
suppression of the most
basic of First Amendment
There was no threat
expressed or implied in
Winling's political state-
ments. So while Winling
appears insensitive to the
point of being undeniably
offensive to many, his con-
duct falls plainly in the bor-
ders of constitutional protec-
"Insensitive" is a charac-
terization that cansbe at times
applied to people across
every racial, ethnic, political,
sexually oriented ad reli-
gious spectrum that one cares
to examine. Unquestionably,
being offensive is protected
conduct in the United States.
Obviously, many students
quoted in the article are legit-
imately upset, but to answer
their calls for official sanc-
tioning is opening the doors
to divisive "witch hunters"
while it simultaneously gags
everyone. If the University
seeks to engage in the crimi-
nal or quasi-criminal prose-
cution of behavior such as
Winling's, I think the ene-
mies of equality and progress
have already won.
The notion of free speech
for all is a bitter pill to swal-
low, but nobody said justice
comes easily. The University
should not turn down the
path of suppression of
Pi's decimal
was wrong
The March 13 Daily
included an article, "Math
enthusiasts to celebrate Pi

Clowns to the
left of me, jokers
to the right
I had not been a columnist for more
than two weeks when I received this
letter, about which column I can't even
remember: "James, after reading a cou-.
ple of your columns, allow me make a
suggestion: stay in academia. Your opin-
ions are the worse v=______
type of socialist
tripe, palatable only
to lowest common
(which, unfortu-
nately, is typically
found at universi-
ties.) Gotta go.
God bless and all
Since then, this JAMES
letter has remained MILLER
my benchmarkafor t.,
civility and tact. ON TAP
The rest have been
worse. Join me, on a tour of the best of
my hate mail. (Note that errors in
spelling grammar, punctuation, logic
and manners are theirs, not mine.
Most of the letters I get are of the fol-
lowing variety: "I read your article think-
ing it was going to be a funny piece on
crisping. Instead I became more and more
offended as you blatently stereotyped sev-
eral groups. You mentioned that you wrote
it with the risk of perpetuating a few
stereotypes and incurringehate e-mail -
well doesn't that alone tell you that it
shouldn't be written. I am sick and tired of
opening up the Daily and reading idiotic
articles and letters!"
"wThis University should be a place
where anyone can break stereotypes.
Everyone should be able to do what they
want without being lumped into a
group. Your article has insulted the
intelligence, interests and life plans of
whole groups of people. Even worse, it
has publicaly contributed to the very.
thing that keeps this campus segregated:
- asinine stereotypes! I am all for free-
dom of the press, but please considr
how what you write affects others. The
pen is a powerful tool - why don't yop
use that power to help make this
University a better place for all."
Translation: "Boo hoo. You made fun
of someone or something that I like. I
think college should be like a great big
expensive summer camp for the emo-
tionally fragile. You should use your
tiny column in a college newspaper to
make everyone join hands and sing
Whoops! Time for my thorazine!"
These next gem was in the same let-
ter, in response to a column with a few
good-natured jabs at the School of
Natural Resources:
"While I found your column today
funny, I also found it about as dangerous
and insidious as the Nazi propaganda
machine. Not to boast or anything, buttI
have a professionally measured IQ of
162. (Yes, I can prove it)" Bet the
dames come a-runnin.
This next letter was written by an
Ohio State student who stumbled onto
my piece about pornographic scree
savers, while surfing the 'Net for the
real thing. Vintage Buckeye wit:
"You bitch ass mother fucker, I came.
to this site to find some sweet screen
savers, not the bull shit you had to write
which no one in the world gives a fuck
Few columns triggered as much sav.l
age e-mail as the "anti-techno" article.:

It was predictable, lots of cheerleading
for the "really cool, underground British
DJs." You know, the geniuses. This next:
letter speaks for all of them better than'I
ever could. Never has so little been said
so badly:
"You call techno soulless, and yet
have no problem listening to the pure
crap that is Led Zeppelin. Techno mus e
has a lot of soul and feeling: artists like
Tricky and Portishead have songs which
can wrench your gut with the power of
human feeling contained within them.
The only part of me that moves to a Zep
song is my legs, getting out of the room.
Believe me, the expieramental spirit of
Bird and Hendrix is much more present
in techno than it ever was in the bloated
and shitty arena rock of Led Zeppelin.
Hopefully, by millenium's end we will
end the forgetting process spawned by
punk and I will never have to here the
derivative and crappy "Stairway to
Heax en" again."
This next young lady is apparently
the Oscar Wilde of Long Island.
Observe how she eloquently defends the
"I invite you to come to New York se
that a whole bunch of us "spoiled brats"_
can kick the shit out of your fat ass, you
hick. That article was a disgrace to what.
I used to think was a reputable paper'
Find something else to bitch about other
than New Yorkers, like your fucking
boring life as a hick in the Midwest.

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