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December 01, 1998 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 1, 1998

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

'We only pray the Impressive response
we have seen so far from the U of M
and Ann Arbor community will continue.'
- Public Health graduate student Cyrus Boquin, one of many
University students helping the survivors of Hurricane Mitch
THOMAS KULJURGIS TENATIVELY SPEAKING

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
FROM THE DAILY
Dhairst-yaOnrtingued
ECB changes first-year writing policy

A fter reaching a decision during this
past summer, the English
Composition Board has publicly
announced its decision to stop requiring
incoming LSA students to submit writing
portfolios. Instead, each first-year student
will make a self-assessment of their writ-
ing ability to determine their English
classes. This decision will affect incom-
ing transfer students next semester as well
as all future incoming students. The port-
folios provided for a sound, objective
evaluation of a student's writing ability,
and the portfolios' discontinuation leaves
a less effective system in place.
The ECB decided to change this policy
to divert the amount of time and energy
currently spent reviewing portfolios. The
funding previously used in the process of
evaluating portfolios will be shuffled into
the Sweetland Writing Center. The center,
which currently offers courses and one-
on-one tutoring for improving students'
writing skills, will likely undergo a great
deal of development with the increased
money.
In addition, some ECB officials
expressed hope that a new self-election
program could be used to destigmatize
practicums. Under the current system,
approximately 10 percent of students are
placed into practicums - as opposed to
the overwhelming majority of students
placed into an introductory composition
course - leading students to see
practicums as remedial courses. English
lecturer George Cooper said he believes
that practicums will be more successful
once people elect to take them rather than
be assigned into them.
Currently, after having submitted the

writing portfolio, incoming students are
assigned to one of three placements. Most
students are placed into a writing
practicum or introductory composition
course, while a small portion of first-year
students receive an exemption from this
particular requirement from the ECB.
Under the new policy, all incoming
LSA students would be required to make
a self-assessment of their writing ability,
after which students will decide for them-
selves the appropriate placement. All stu-
dents will now be required to take an
introductory composition class.
The main problem with the new sys-
tem is that students will no longer be able
to get out of a class they do not need.
Although only eight percent of students
are usually granted this exemption, it is
not fair to deny this small group that
chance.
Not every student needs to take an
introductory composition course. Those
students whose writing skills are suffi-
ciently refined upon entry to the
University may be held up by an intro-
ductory course when they could be
expanding their writing skills in a more
advanced class.
The old system provided students with
two views of their writing: The ECB's
evaluation and their own review of their
writing ability. But starting next semester,
unless students specifically request help
from the ECB, they will only have their
own opinions to rely on.
The soon-to-be scrapped system did an
adequate job of helping students find
their proper placement. The new system,
aside from saving money, will not return
the same benefits for students.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Bad credit
Credit hours should reflect workload

For some first-year students, taking 18
credits in a semester is certainly a full
load, but not unthinkable. Many University
students feel a sense of accomplishment
when they accumulate enough credits to
receive junior standing half way through
their sophomore year. Requiring just 55
credits, becoming a junior is not all that
hard, especially since many University stu-
dents enter their first year with Advanced
Placement credits to boot. The vast majori-
ty of 100- and 200-level introductory class-
es are worth four credits. Many upper-level
classes - which require more extensive
time and effort than their counterparts -
are worth only three credits. The current
credit system works against the goals of
upper-level students to graduate on time.
LSA, which enrolls the majority of
undergraduate students, requires at least
120 credits to graduate, and some schools
require more. Students may actually need
more than four semesters to finish their
junior and senior years. It also works
against students' pocketbooks - once
receiving junior status, the cost of tuition
goes up.
When students begin taking classes at
the 300 level and above, they are usually
worth fewer credits but require much more
work than introductory courses. The system
of assigning credit hours to classes is irreg-
ular at best. In theory, credit hours are sup-
posed to reflect the number of hours the stu-
dent will be spending in lectures or discus-
sions every week. Most introductory class-
es have a twice-weekly, hour-long lecture
with one or two discussion sections every
week, adding up to four classroom hours.
But simply because a class meets frequent-
lv does not make it strenuous. The correla-

classes that meet frequently is weak.
Students, regardless of credit load, are not
burning the midnight oil during a lecture.
Most effort put into a class takes place out
of the classroom - at home or at a library.
For example, Sociology 100 is a four-
credit class that many first-year students
take, receives four credits, whereas most
300-level and all 400-level sociology class-
es are worth only three credits. The differ-
ence of a single credit may not sound sig-
nificant, but during one's time at the
University, many students find out how
unrepresentative the credit hour assignment
is. Some juniors and seniors have a difficult
time maintaining the 12 credits required to
be a full-time student. Students want to
keep their GPAs high, but taking five or
more upper-level classes to maintain a load
of around 15 credits is not only unfair, but
practically academic suicide. The newly
elected members of the LSA-SG Academic
Affairs committee should take on revamp-
ing the credit hour assignment process as
one of their goals this year.
A student's first year is generally a tran,
sition from high school. But junior and
senior years are when students are looking
at graduate schools and career options.
Grades count, and upper-level classes are
strenuous and tend to reflect their serious-
ness. The reading requirements for some
upper-level classes rival the workload of
graduate-level courses.
Credit-wise, most upper-level classes are
of less worth than introductory courses. But
since they are usually the most crucial
classes in a student's education, they should
reflect the actual work involved. The num-
ber of hours each class meets per week
should not be the sole factor used to deter-

Club sports
deserve
attention
To THE DAILY:
So, the men's soccer club
won their second straight
national championship.
Unfortunately, most of the
University community will
never find out this informa-
tion, as this important event
was printed in a box that was
smaller than most advertise-
ments among five articles on
an overrated football team that
was crushed by Ohio State,
three articles on football teams
from other schools and a box
detailing how poorly the sports
staff and a former quarterback
can pick the winningteams
from this past weekend. Am I
the only one who can see the
discrepancy in this?
As the president of a club
sport on campus - fencing
- I have to deal with prob-
lems that arise for club sports
in general. Unlike our multi-
million dollar, Nike-brandish-
ing varsity sports, most of the
club sports on campus are
funded primarily by their
own members who show a
far deeper commitment to
their sport than other, more
respected athletes.
I, like other members of
my club,provide my own
equipment and furnish myself
and other people transporta-
tion to do battle with the
same schools that varsity ath-
letes face. In fact, in fencing,
most of the teams we face are
still varsity, thus making our
job in representing the
University even more diffi-
cult.
Club sports have more
problems to dealawith as
well, such as what to do
when we're preparing for a
meet and find that we've
been kicked out of our prac-
tice space by other, more
"important" teams.
The fact of the matter is,
many club sports are the
University's sole representa-
tion among other Big Ten
schools who have not demot-
ed that sport to club status,
and we do just as much, if
not more than, our varsity
counterparts. The Daily
needs to recognize the fact
that there are many other
sports at the University than
the ones Nike says that
count, and should give fair
coverage.
Way to go, men's soccer.
Two national championships
in a row is quite an achieve-
ment; and for those who can
count, that's one more than a
certain other team.
BJ. CHAVEZ
LSA SOPHOMORE
Daily missed
coverage
of ral Iv

yet to write an article.
Our beloved paper found
the space to publish an
absolutely fascinating article
(sarcastic tone should be
noted) on the history of our
school colors, yet they have
yet to do any reporting of the
rally or much other campus
activism. As far as I'm con-
cerned, this is not acceptable.
Not so long ago, the Daily
ran an editorial condemning
hate crimes against LGBT
people and supporting anti-
hate crime legislation pend-
ing in the state government.
This seemed promising. It
seemed as if the Daily was
becoming a place for valu-
able discussion of pertinent
social issues. But the lack of
coverage of the rally tests my
faith in this paper.
It seemed for a moment
that the Daily was going to
put it's money where it's
mouth was. That not only
would it write lofty editorials
condemning hate crime, but
that the Daily would actually
note the student body's reac-
tion to this burning issue.
Instead, the Daily ran an arti-
cle on the history of maize
and blue. How telling.
BENJAMIN FIFE
SCHOOL OF ART
Columnist
stereotyped
gun owners
TO THE DAILY:
At first, it was refreshing to
read Scott Hunter's column
("The real reason for American
gun violence," 11/16/98). He
put the responsibility where it
belongs - with criminals who
use gunsand not the people
who make them.
The recent spat of city
lawsuits against gun manu-
facturers is as ridiculous as it
would be to sue beer or
liquor companies in reaction
to student deaths caused by
alcohol overdose.
But after stressing the
need for putting responsibili-
ty in the right place, Hunter
does something unexpected:
He accuses gun owners of
being psychotics or at least
being in some wayrabnormal.
He acknowledges that there
are legitimate reasons for
owning firearms, "perfectly
respectable purposes like
hunting, where you pursue a
helpless unarmed bunny rab-
bit through the woods and
pop a cap in his ass for fun'
This was an unnecessary
and out-of-place swipe in
what was otherwise a well-
written piece. It attacks not
only the sport of hunting but
also the people who engage
in it, an activity that normal
members of many civiliza-
tions have found pleasurable
for millennia.
Hunter, in his fervor for
generalization, also neglects the
fact that there are several other

Alumni need
to be more
active
To THE DAILY:
What is up with University
alumni? I have gone to every
home football game this year
and am, to say the least, peev-
ed at our lazy, indifferent, mar-
ried-to-their-seat, apathetic
alumni.
Though I hate Ohio State,
loathe their fans and cringe
when I look at that dump
called the horseshoe (better
referred to as horse manure), I
cannot help but notice the spir-
it, the uncontrolled insanity
and devotion of the Buckeye
fans. In fact, I could not even
tell which section in the stadi-
um was the student section.
When I peered across the sta-
dium, I saw all the fans stand-
ing even between plays and at
timeouts. When I glanced to
either side of me, there was a
sea of red fans standing and
energetic. They made so much
noise that when our band
played "The Victors" at half-
time they were drowned out by
the Buckeye boos. What is
going on here?
At the Big House - with
20,000 more fans - we can't
even drown out the flutes of
the opposing bands. Why?
Because the only fans really
into the games are the stu-
dents. The hapless alumni sit
there on their fat cushions
wondering with what else to
shower Tom Goss.
And what is going through
the Athletic Department's
head? Can someone explain
this to me? Now that I am
officially broke from the
hockey season ticket prices, I
would like Goss to pay my
hospital bills after I up-
chucked every Saturday look-
ing at the outside of Michigan
Stadium. Furthermore, when
are the real fans going to get
the front-row seats at the foot-
ball game? The department
should make the students' sec-
tions of the Big House general
seating so the fans that want
to be in the front can show up
early and get those seats.
And why is it that every
time an opposing school visits
Michigan Stadium, they get so
many seats? I think I could
have counted the Michigan
fans at the Ohio State game on
one hand. Now I do not blame
the students because frankly, it
is not a cheap proposition to
go down to OSU and buy a
ticket. This is where the alumni
come in once again. Where are
they? "There are 375,000 alum-
ni. It seemed to me there were
about five at the game.
Make some noise, alumni!
Get off your fannies and cheer
for your school! I am sick and
tired of the alumni showing up
late, kicking real fans out of
their precious seats and sitting
throughout the game.I am
tired of the alumni-oriented

Imrpeachment at:.
the '. apamdy
(Scene: The Regents' Room in the
Fleming Administration Building. Around
the center table sit ee Bllinger Cal'l
Cohen. Tom Goss, Nancy Cantor; Dean
Baker and the regents. Both sides of the
room are filled with gawking spectators.)
N arrator: Much grief plagues the
University of Michigan campus. It
2001. Prof. Carl Cohen was appointed by
the Faculty Senate to
investigate President
Lee Bollinger's
alleged misuse of
University funds to
purchase large quan-
tities of Adidas run-
ning shoes in viola-
tion of the Athletic
Department's con-
tract with Nike.
After an unsuc-
cessful investigation SCHILLACI
of the Nikegate scan-I_. I
dal, Cohen brought
his investigation in
several other directions before finally
focusing in on the president's alleged liet
the November 1999 regents' meeting >n
claiming that he did not use hairspray.
After a lengthy, multi-million dollar inves
tigation, Cohen has requested this special*
meeting of the regents to call for his
removal. Dean Baker, who was re-elected
by a narrow margin in 2000, chairs the
board for this special hearing.
Baker: OK, let's begin. I would like to
thank Mr. Cohen. Please make your open-
ing statement.
Cohen: I would like to thank the regents
and inform them that I am aware of the
gravity of this situation. I became
involved in the present controversy after
bottle ofAqua Net hairspray was found on
the second floor of Mr. Bollinger's resi-
dence at 813 South University Ave.
The evidence suggests that the~
President committed offenses that would
warrant termination. Among these offens-,
es, the President lied to the regents in
November 1999 when he stated that he
did not and at no time had used hairspray.
Cantor: I ask the chair for a point of
order. Hello, Regent Baker, I seek a ruliriq
of the chair. Why exactly are we, as the
administrators and regents, wasting our
time with this nonsense? This testimony
does not seem at all germane to our fune-
tion: to run the University of Michigan.
Baker: Well, uh, I overrule the Provost's
ruling and instruct Mr. Cohen to continue.
Cohen: Thank you. Though our evi-
dence has now cleared Bollinger of
involvement of the Nikegate fiasco, there
remains much evidence that he is not f
for his position. In sum, as an independen
counsel, er, investigator duly appointed by
the Faculty Senate, I submit that Lee
Bollinger should be relieved of his duties
as President of the University.
Baker: We will now move to question-
ing by Regent David Brandon.
Brandon: Well, Mr. Cohen, we are all
very impressed by your work, your dedi-
cation to the University and the depth of
information you have provided for
(Points at the 1,000-page volume sitting
on the table before him.)
I will be brief. I just wanted to kn
whether the allegations made by soe
administrators that you have leaked some
of this information to the media were true
Cohen: I can assure you, sir, that the
are not. Such allegations are a commol
ploy used by criminals, er, administrators;
under investigation. It violates the tenets
of basic human decency.
Brandon: I have one more question. 4
it or is it not true, Mr. Cohen, that you are
a truly wonderful person?
Cohen: Indeed, I am. (He smiles, a
glassy look coming over his eyes.)

Brandon: I am through, Regent Baker.
Baker: It is now the President's turn to
question the witness. Mr. Bollinger, you
have one minute and 45 seconds.
Goss: Mr. Baker, I must object. That is
clearly insufficient.
Baker: Well, uh, I disagree..
Bollinger Mr. Cohen, is it or is it nqt
true that you are demon spawn from hell?
Cohen (laughingly): Oh come now,
Lee, lets not get caddy.
Bollinger: Is it true that you expanded
your investigation because of my staunch
support of affirmative action and tlhat
whole reading room mess a few years.
Cohen (jumping to. his feet): That's npt
true and you know that it's not true. I have
conducted a fair investigation and I hav
delved to the heart of the issue and ... 1
Regent Kathy White: Mr. Baker, can we
call to order?
Baker: Order! I have a question for the
President. Is it not true that you testified a#
the Senatorial confirmation hearings of
Robert Bork just to hurt my feelings?
(The spectators begin to talk loudly
among themselves.)-
Cantor: Regent Baker, that is complete-
ly irrelevant! That was before he was e
President! I request that we resume
scheduled. I would like to take this oppor-
tunity to submit that Mr. Cohen has him,
self lied to us today when he said
Baker: I think we should go into execu-
tive session.
Cantor What, why?

i

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