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December 03, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-03

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday. December 3, 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

'What they're doing is a step ahead of where our
Greek community may be going next semester.'
- Inmerfraterniv Council President Bradley Holtman, on the sanction of the
University chapter of the Theta Chi fraternitv and the work of an IFC task force

Jack Kevorkian
and the '60


of death


Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Dailys editorial board.
All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.


'U' should give back to the community

.1J I ON ?ASO" ,
?9o1LE Srla. LOVE 1HIM.

O nce again, student organizations are
proving that the spirit of community
service is alive and well in Ann Arbor. For
three years running, one of these organiza-
tions, Students Establishing Educational
Dreams, has been hosting campus days for
elementary school students in Detroit.
Classroom Partnerships, another branch of
the SEED program, helps various campus
groups travel to the elementary schools
themselves and teach lessons to students.
When the students visit the University,
they are paired up with a University stu-
dent and spend the day in mock classes
and touring the campus. Yesterday, a
group of faculty and students traveled to a
Detroit elementary school to work on hol-
iday crafts under the Classroom
Partnerships program. Tomorrow, the
Indian American Student Association will
go to a fifth-grade class to teach the stu-
dents about Indian culture and traditional
SEED also works in collaboration with
Project SFERVE, the organization that
sponsors Alternative Spring Break and
SERVE week. Both programs are coordi-
nated through the Office of Community
Service and Learning, which also houses
the America Reads and AmeriCorps pro-
Time and again, whether through count-
less research partnerships with other insti-
tutions, or continuing its lawsuit to main-
tain affirmative action admissions poli-
cies, the University has fulfilled its obliga-
tion to the improvement of higher educa-
tion. Community outreach programs such
as those associated with the OCSL, howev-
er, are vital to attaining the University's
more modest obligation to give back to the
community. Not only is community

involvement the right thing to do for an
institution with a budget as robust as the
University's, but as a practical matter, the
University is a public institution that relies
heavily on public funds and whose regents
are elected by the residents of Michigan.
For the sake of its own financial well
being, it is imperative that the University
remains visible and active in the communi-
ties of Michigan voters.
Although everyone agrees that
University-sponsored community service
programs such as SEED and America
Reads are good, some fail to see the vital
role such programs play in the fulfillment
of the University's ultimate mission.
Community service initiatives are all too
often looked upon as nice but ultimately
superfluous and disposable perks. While the
effort to terminate funding for the
University's community service efforts is
currently relatively insignificant, SEED and
other similarly minded efforts could likely
be the first to see their budgets slashed
should the University receive fewer funds
from either the state or some other impor-
tant benefactor in the future.
The results of community service pro-
grams such as SEED ought to be com-
pelling enough for the University to make a
strong commitment to continue funding of
the OCSL. Due to its size and resources, the
University has obligations that extend
beyond academic spheres. The surrounding
community stands to reap significant bene-
fits from the experience of students and fac-
Additionally, as a practical matter, it is
simply good policy for the University to
give back to the voters who elect its regents.
It should not be forgotten that selflessness
is often reciprocal.


. --
- .

Nw neeout
New tack needed in fight against youth smoking

O ne of the most troubling problems fac-
ing the medical community and social
scientists in the United States is teen smok-
ing. Economists, psychologists and doctors
cannot come to a definitive conclusion on
how to combat the rising number of young
smokers. Well-publicized information
about the adverse effects of smoking, from
lung cancer to heart disease, does not seem
to be deterring people from picking up the
habit at an early age. The portion of high
school seniors who reported smoking a cig-
arette in the past 30 days has gone from 27
percent in 1992 to 37 percent in 1997. In
addition, smoking is on the rise at universi-
ties throughout the nation, with an increase
in the smoking rate among college students
from 22 to 29 percent over the past four
years. These statistics are troubling and call
the current methods used by the govern-
ment and anti-smoking organizations to
combat teen smoking into question. Perhaps
a different tack is necessary.
The federal and state governments do
not think so. With millions of dollars com-
ing in from tobacco settlements, public
health officials plan to mount an extensive
advertising campaign over the next five
years. The government will not be travelling
down a new path with this strategy - in
stead, they are using one that has proven
expensive and possibly ineffective.
Officials need to do more than tell people
not to smoke in cheesy television ads and
highway billboards. Young people find
smoking intriguing because of the mys-
tique, appearance and controversial nature
surrounding it.
Education needs to be the focus of a seri-
ous campaign to curb youth smoking. An

intense Drug Awareness Resistance
Education program used to combat drug
abuse by youths, needs to reach kids in
every school throughout the country. A
large portion of the tobacco settlement
should be used for educational purposes
that will help change the way kids, and soci-
ety as a whole, view smoking.
Possible alternative solutions could be an
increase in the enforcement of existing laws
that prevent people under the age of 18 from
buying tobacco products. These enforcement
efforts should not target kids, though, since
doing so would simply heighten the degree
of notoriety that smoking has. Stores and
vendors who sell the cigarettes should be the
targets of such a campaign.
The tobacco bill that was pushed by U.S.
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and died
this past year in the Senate should be revis-
ited. At a bare minimum, the tobacco tax
included in the defeated bill must be put
into effect. Economists testifying before
Congress this year empirically showed how
young people - in contrast to adults - are
more sensitive to changes in tobacco price
and will be much less likely to purchase
cigarettes if the price is higher. Previous
attempts to combat the problem of teen
smoking have had limited effect, evidenced
by the still growing rate of teen smokers. If
teen smoking rates are going to be reduced
by an effective government campaign, it has
to involve education and enforcement.
Teaching kids about why smoking is bad as
opposed to telling them not to smoke, pros-
ecuting vendors who sell illegally to under-
age kids, and hiking up the price of ciga-
rettes may not immediately solve the prob-
lem - but it could offer better results than

ECB changes
have not been
approved yet
"ECB halts use of port fo-
lios" (11/30/98) contains mis-
information that I fear will
excite student confusion. Let
me clarify the situation.
Students admitted Fall 1998
and earlier have been required
to submit a portfolio for wit-
ing assessment. Students
admitted Fall 1999 will not be
required to submit a portfolio,
though they will be assessed.
The precise nature of that
assessment will not be deter-
mined until the LSA faculty
votes on a set of proposed
changes in the Faculty Code
(the vote is scheduled for Feb.
1999). We are proposing the
changes because portfolio
assessment is not workin as
effectively as we had hoped it
Recent research in writing
assessment demonstrates the
widespread success of student
self-assessment. We plan to
adopt this model for students
entering Fp1l 1999 - we will
pilot it next term. The new
model recognizes that a valu-
able part of students' education
is learning to make good
choices about writing courses.
Students will have consider-
able guidance in making this
choice. I am confident that our
efforts will improve the quality
of undergraduate education by
helping students recognize
their skills and readiness to
begin writing in a university
'Grease' Was
for families
I was very disappointed
when I read the Daily's
review of the play "Grease"
performed here at the
University during the week-
end of Nov. 20 ("Classic '50s
'Grease' bops and bams
along," 11/23/98).
1 am sure that "Grease" has
done just fine the way it was
made for years and has been
produced and reproduced at
colleges, high schools and
actors guilds across the coun-
try. Was it really necessary for
the show we saw here to be
made with so much additional
foul language and behavior? I
think the play had enough sex-
ual innuendoes without those
added in this production, and
the foul language doesn't add
to the entertainment value, so

adult comments and gestures
tactful enough to still be
amusing, but yet not apparent
to children too young to
understand. This was not the
case here, and that's too bad,
because seeing "Grease" here
could have been a great expe-
rience for many families.
Gis need
more training
I am writing in regard to
the ongoing contract negotia-
tions between the University
and the graduate student
instructors. I agree whole-
heartedly with whatever pro-
posal the University supports.
My reasoning is as follows:
The other day, while sitting
in my Math 11 5 class, taught
entirely by a GSI, we were
introduced to a woman
described as a "consultant to
the math department." After
our GSI left the room, we
were allowed to voice what
we thought were the strengths
and weaknesses of the
course. I felt, and told the
consultant so, that my GSI in
particular is grossly under-
prepared, undertrained and
unable to teach this math
class. I was not questioning
her mathematical abilities, I
was only wondering about
her capacity as a teacher. The
consultant told me that it is a
big problem because all first-
year graduate students in the
math department (I am not
sure if this is a University
policy), are required to teach
a class. I then asked about
my GSI's level of training.
The consultant said that all
GSIs are given a one-week
training course. One
week?!?!?! At what
University are we studying, I
asked. I was told that a lot of
other places give their GSIs
even less training. This,
unfortunately, is no justifica-
tion for the shocking lack of
training my GSis are receiv-
My parents are paying
out-of-state tuition. It is cost-
ing them a lot of money. My
third-grade teacher had to be
certified to teach, a process
that took a lot longer than
one week. If the GSIs want a
drastic pay increase, they
need to justify it with an
equal level of commitment to
the students at the University
and need to examine the level
of teaching ability of the peo-
ple they are putting into my
Film reviewer
missed key

exception. I wonder, however,
if he saw a different conclu-
sion to the film than 1. One
of Lark's mild reservations
about this otherwise powerful
study of the "culture of hate"
in America was that "Derek's
saving of Danny is somehow
too quick and pretty to be
believable." When 1 saw the
film, young Danny wasn't
saved at all, but, rather, vio-
lently gunned down at a uri-
nal in an apparent act of
revenge against older brother
Derek. It was one of the most
shocking endings I've seen in
a film in a long time; and
when Derek cradles his dead
brother in his armssand cries,
the film enters the realm of
consequential tragedy. This
powerful denouement was
somehow missed by Lark.
number made
the Daily look
According to the Daily's
story "Research spending hits
high," (11/24/98) my adviser
accounts for more than 20
percent of all research expen-
ditures on this campus. With a
"record-breaking $4.5 mil-
lion" in research expenditures,
who needs support from the
tax payers? In fact with this
whopping amount, why do
students pay tuition, why can't
we pay the undergrads, and
(gasp) give the Graduate
Employees Organization folks
a raise? On the serious side,
the Daily needs to check its
big stories better.
I assume that the author
meant $4.5 billion, but the
Daily just looks bad when the
editors let this kind of stuff
U.S., U.N.
should lift
Iraqi sanctions
Each month, according to
United Nations estimates,
more than 5,000 Iraqi chil-
dren die from malnutrition
and disease directly related to
the sanctions imposed against
their country.
No child should suffer and
die because of a political dis-
pute. Our nation, and the
United Nations, must end
these sanctions and immediate-
ly work for a non-violent solu-
tion to the unresolved issues
with the Iraqi government. I
am concerned that this human-
itarian disaster continues

Afew years ago. a video series called
"Faces of Death" became a quiet,
straight-to-video hit in my hometown.
The tapes feature titillating deaths*
caught on videotape - executions, sud-
den falls and the like.
They were packaged
in boxes to appeal to
horror-movie fans. I
never rented any of
the "Faces of Death"
tapes, but during my
first two years of
high school, they
infrequently sur-
faced in conversa-
tion. JEFF
The idea of these ELDRIDGE
tapes disturbed me. S A
It still disturbs me. I
grew up fascinated
with "Goodfellas," "Full Metal Jacket"
and "The Godfather" movies, but for the
streams of violence in those films, it was
always obvious that they were the results
of production. There was a moral mes-
sage behind them. And if they did offer
a hint of gruesome excitement, the vio-
lence was clearly fiction.
"Faces of Death" and the mail-order
legacies it spawned lack this barrier. They
mix actual footage with recreation, doing
so with the intent of entertainment.
Someone slipped, then died; someone else
packaged it as excitement, then profited.
Enter Jack Kevorkian. Eleven days
ago, America's most prolific proponent
of casual killing surfaced on "60
Minutes," with an agenda, a threat and
his own face of death.
Kevorkian's already-famous footage
is excruciating. It features several sec-
onds of the good doctor questioning
Thomas Youk, a Waterford Township
man in the final stages of Lou Gehrig's
disease. Kevorkian prodded him about
whether or not he wanted to die. Youk,
visibly suffering, had little doubt in his
mind, but ultimately decided to delay his
death a few days.
From there, cut to Kevorkian adminis-
tering Youk's death, injecting him with
potassium chloride and muscle relaxers,
camera ticking as his subect's body
shuts down, Kevorkian finally informing
us that the heart had stopped.
One thing is certain: The episode isn't
titillating. It was clinical, cold and
frightening. Kevorkian wanted to reach
an audience, and he succeeded.
Meanwhile, "60 Minutes" garnered
its best ratings of the season so far, a dis-
tinction that may ultimately do this ven-
erabletelevision institution moresharm
than good. The gem of the network news
industry, "60 Minutes" has long stood
apart from its more sensational competi-
tors. After this story, the show appears
every bit as hungry and shameless as its
A CBS press release insists the pro-0
gram "performed a valuable public ser-
CBS is wrong. I don't know if it's
deluding themselves or if they're just
being manipulative, but there was no
public service involved.
Kevorkian provided killing as a pub-
licity stunt. CBS news took the bait.
Kevorkian expressed hopes that the
incident will spark national discussion
over euthanasia. What it sounds like
instead is a game of chicken between
the doctor and his nemeses in law
"They must charge me, because if
they do not, that means they don't think
it was a crime. .. Either they go or I go,"
Kevorkian said. "If I'm acquitted, they
go, because they know they'll never con-
vict me. If I'm convicted, I will starve to
death in prison, so I will go."
Does this sound like an important
debate? Does it sound like a valuable*
public service?
People promoting debate don't threat-

en slow death if their cause is not accept-
ed by the legal system. This is not a man
concerned with deciding an issue on log-
ical grounds. And he has made it very
difficult to differentiate the cause from
its messenger.
The "60 Minutes" debacle provided
us a bullying, attention-seeking outburst
from a man whose crusade is under fire.
After all, Kevorkian lives just up the
freeway. Last month, voters in the state
turned down Proposal B, which would
have legalized physician-assisted sui-
cide. Less than three .weeks before
Youk's Sept. 17 death, state lawmakers
passed a law making assisted suicide a
felony punishable by up to five years in
Public opinion on assisted suicide -
as well as euthanasia -isn't necessarily
running against Kevorkian, but for the*
time being, his cause is pinned in a cor-
ner. The spectacle he launched on "60
Minutes" may be a literal, horrible shot
in the arm to his cause. If nothing else,
we've learned that televised death draws
public attention.
Between car commercials, NFL


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