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December 07, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-12-07

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 7, 1998

Ew Skihigu aillg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'Americans have an appalling habit of
voting on image and not on substance.'

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.

me res

Greek system should revamp alcohol policies

Last December, campus sororities
signed a tentative agreement to insti-
tute a bring-your-own-beverage policy on
Jan. 1, 1998. A month later, they were
joined in the policy by many fraternities.
But enforcing the policy turned out to be
more difficult than expected. Under the
BYOB policy, fraternity and sorority
members were to sign contracts before
and after every party and fill out agree-
ments claiming that they had kept to the
policy. One of the greatest problems with
the policy was that it lacked teeth -
houses that violated it faced little more
than a slap on the wrist. After a few
weeks, the power of the contracts and
agreements diminished.
The annoying paperwork tied to the
BYOB policy - and the legal complica-
tions of older Greek members buying for
younger members - masked what the pol-
icy's followers were trying to demonstrate:
personal responsibility.
Drinking has been a hot topic on college
campuses nationwide for several years. But
incidents that have occurred this semester
shoved issues such as underage drinking and
binge, drinking by college students into the
national media spotlight. In October, LSA
first-year student Courtney Cantor fell to her
death from her residence hall window after
she was seen drinking at a fraternity. Weeks
later, the Ann Arbor Police Department
cracked down on both fraternity and house
parties, issuing a total of 133 minor in pos-
session citations in two weekends. The
University established task forces on campus
- albeit before Cantor's death - to find a
way to decrease underage drinking.
The Greek community, which often tries
to dispel its reputation of heavy drinking,
also implemented a task force of its own. A
report will be submitted this Friday summa-
rizing its findings and recommendations for
measures of action that sororities and fra-

ternities should begin to take in order to
revise their current alcohol policy. The task
force has gathered information from a vari-
ety of sources, including local police offi-
cers, the University administration and
Greek systems at other universities. But the
task force will probably discover what other
research has found: Drinking is engrained
into the college social scene, and there is no
easy way to change that - especially since
students are not honestly interested in
changing their ways.
The University, along with others nation-
wide, is bewildered by what to do about abu-
sive drinking on campus. While some might
claim that there is no difference between off-
campus house parties and Greek social
events providing alcohol, the distinction lies
in that as an organized social institution on
campus, fraternities and sororities could face
greater social stigma and legal penalties for
providing alcohol to minors than their non-
organized counterparts. The Greek system
should step up its efforts to deter abusive
drinking with the issue of student safety as
the most important one at hand. Seriously
looking at its alcohol and party policies
should be the first step.
The BYOB policy could have a much
greater effect if the Interfraternity Council
and the Panhellic Association had some
sort of mechanism to make it enforceable.
Simply having fraternity and sorority pres-
idents sign such a document does little to
bind them to its dictates. If the BYOB pol-
icy did not accomplish its goals, something
needs to be changed. Educating students
about the personal risks of drinking may
encourage students to make adult decisions
for themselves. Further, establishing a sys-
tem whereby the Greek community can
penalize its own members for violating its
standards would help decrease the legal
and social ramifications the Greek system
currently faces.

- History Prof David Fitzpatrick speaking last
Friday on ethics and politics in the United States

T axi adh ecity
Tax cuts could help revitalize Detroit

In a bold and unlikely move by the
Michigan state Legislature this past
Thursday, the House passed a number of
revenue-sharing bills that would cut
Detroit's resident and non-resident income
tax rates by one-third over 10 years. To
make up for the loss of revenue resulting
from the tax cut, the state plans to redistrib-
ute state revenue-sharing funds to the city
of Detroit. Surprisingly, Republican Gov.
John Engler has teamed up with with
Democratic Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer
to lobby for this proposal, which is one of
many ways to ameliorate the inequities that
Detroit and its citizens have faced for years.
In the '50s and '60s, Detroit experienced
massive deindustrialization as major com-
panies like General Motors, Ford and
Chrysler moved their plants away from the
city to nearby suburbs like Flint, Dearborn
and to various states in the Sunbelt and the
South. Taxes and labor were less costly in
the new locations, making the move a
financially wise move.
As the jobs fled Detroit, so did thou-
sands of residents. After the 1967 riots in
Detroit, the emigration continued to the
suburbs. After years of well-off citizens
fleeing Detroit, the city's tax base was
diminished and the entire city was stigma-
tized as a center for crime and violence, as
it still is today.
This proposal is one of many steps need-
ed to reverse this trend of emigration,
reducing the negative stigmatization of
Detroit. With lower taxes, Michigan resi-
dents will find it more financially feasible

sands of abandoned houses ready for reno-
vation, which in many cases the city will
help fund, and newcomers to Detroit can
take advantage of lower taxes and inexpen-
sive housing. Equally important is the need
for economic opportunities for Detroit's
working class.
Lower taxes will attract butinesses back
to the city and some of the jobs that return
would be in manufacturing rather than in
the service sector. Detroit needs a whole lot
more than casinos to begin the process of
becoming a thriving city once again.
Federal empowerment zone status is anoth-
er way that the government is aiding the
ascendency of Detroit. For business execu-
tives who claim that the living-wage ordi-
nance, passed during the 1998 election, will
force them to leave Detroit to find cheaper
labor, lower taxes could serve as an incen-
tive to remain in Detroit.
While a redistribution of wealth within
the state will surely help the poorer com-
munities gain opportunities, many people,
including most Republicans in the state
Legislature, oppose this method of public
policy. Since the alleged defeat of
President Lyndon Johnson's War on
Poverty in the 1960s, Americans have been
increasingly wary to allow their taxes to
support redistributive policies that benefit
the poor.
But this tax proposal is an important
cooperative effort which the Republican
governor and Democrat-controlled House
can support. The Republican-controlled
state Senate also should go beyond partisan

U alumni
are poor
losers, 100
In response to not only
Jill Reeder's letter to the edi-
tor ("Alumni are dedicated
to 'M' football," 12/4/98)
but also to the many com-
plaints I have heard about
the behavior of fans at the
Ohio State University game
this year, I feel compelled to
add my two cents.
I have experienced first-
hand the exact behavior that
is being described as offen-
sive. Fans throwing things at
me, taunting, booing, scream-
ing profanities, even spitting
and (much to the delight of
the surrounding fans) pulling
repetitively on my earlobes. I
tolerated this behavior with
as much humor as I could
muster (except for the physi-
cal contact, which I ended
quickly with threats of ejec-
tion from the stadium).
In the two times I have
been at away games to watch
my alma mater play, both
myself and my wife have wit-
nessed this behavior. Much,
if not most of it, was from
alumni. Many of these people
were intoxicated, but most
disturbingly, many were
I completely understand
why true Michigan fans
should be so concerned about
this behavior. It is not only
offensive, it is also in direct
contrast to the entire spirit of
collegiate athletic competi-
tion. Behavior like this
should simply not be tolerat-
ed. Home-team fans need to
show respect for their visitors
for without them, the game
would not be happening.
They should allow them to
cheer when their team scores
and allow them to have some
personal dignity when and if
they loose. The last time I
went to a game, the final
score was definitely not in
my favor, and the fans were
quite willing to let me know
how gleeful they were by
hurling cups, spittle and any
other detritus they had handy
at my wife and I.
Oh, did I mention that all
of these events happened at
Michigan Stadium and that
my undergrad Alma Mater is
Penn State University?
Pot, kettle. You do the
Most GSIs
are not
First-year student Michael
Shafrir's letter ("GSIs need
more training," 12/3/9) was
harshly critical of graduate

GSIs are equally as bad
based on his one experience.
Just as there are good profes-
sors and bad professors, there
are good GSIs and bad GSIs.
It all boils down to who
wants to put in the effort nec-
essary to improve their teach-
ing skills.
Shafrir's claim that the
University does not provide
enough training may have
some merit. But from my
experience, many workshops
are provided (by the Center
for Research on Learning and
Teaching and others) to help
GSIs improve their teaching.
But it is up to individuals to
attend these workshops and
make the effort to incorpo-
rate what they learn there. In
any case, it is illogicalsto
blame GSIs if the University
provides inadequate training,
and it is unfair to blame the
University if GSIs don't take
advantage of available oppor-
I should also mention that
the amount of formal training
(in lecturing, creating assign-
ments and so on) a typical
professor has is no greater
than what GSIs have, so bas-
ing an argument about GSI
wages on this complaint is
Shafrir's comparison of a
GSI and a third-grade teacher
is a bad one. A third-grade
teacher has broad knowledge
of many subjects but hardly
needs a college degree to
understand them. What the
teacher does need is a college
degree to understand how
young children learn and the
best way to instruct them. A
college student is very differ-
ent from a third grader
because we assume they can
learn somewhat independent-
ly, however, they need an
instructor who has a much
more extensive background
in the subject they are learn-
ing, so that the instructor can*
help the student with tough
questions whose answers are
not readily apparent. We
would expect a third-grade
teacher to get a degree in
education, but not math, sci-
ence and English, and simi-
larly we expect a math pro-
fessor to get a degree in
math, but not education.
To sum up, GSIs should
not be penalized if the
University does not provide
enough training. The vast
majority of GSIs work hard
and make efforts to improve
their teaching skills, and they
need to make a decent living.
But extra training will not
guarantee that you get a good
GSI in every course. Getting
a good GSI, just like getting
a good professor, is the luck
of the draw (or CRISP).
should not
nairI nmica

the Michigan men's water-
polq team for the past four
yearp and served as one of
the captains this past sea-
son. In my four years we
have managed to accumu-
late three Big Ten titles and
two national championships.
Our accomplishments were
backed by hard work and
determination. Our chorus
of "The Victors" after each
accolade would truly rivalj
any group at the University
in spirit and pride. But I do
not feel that I work harder
than the other student ath-
letes on campus. I feel that
the athletes have a true
understanding for what it
takes to achieve in a sport
and I have received nothing
but praise from them.
Chavez seems to forget
the commitment that our
varsity athletes as well as
club sport athletes pay to
their sport. He forgets the
long hours all athletes put
in, off the field or out of the
pool, in order to represent
this University. He also for-
gets where the fine athletic
facilities which he claims to
have been "kicked out of"
come from. The waterpolo
team has always been
delighted to have the use of
such a fine Natatorium and
we take whatever time we
can to practice in one of the
best facilities in the country.
I would hope that Chavez
was merely trying to show
that he has the same passion
for his sport as do all the
other student athletes on
this campus, and he was not
trying to gain press to make
himself feel better.
Athletics have taught me
that your actions on the
playing field, if worthy of
praise, will be praised. To
expect praise from outside
sources, and demean others
in order to achieve it is self-
ish. I congratulate all the
student athletes in their
achievements and their
choice to represent the
University. I am glad I did
it, and would do it all over
again, simply for the feeling
of being the best at what I
do. Go Blue!
movie's plot
This is a thank you letter
to Film and Video Studies
professor Frank Beaver.
Thank you very much sir
for telling me exactly what
happens to Danny in the
movie "American History
X ("Film reviewer missed
key point,"12/3/8). It's not
like I really wanted to go
see the movie or anything.

How to succeed
on finals: an
method of success
F inal exam weeks are perhaps the
most stressful times in the life of
the college student. In fact, more ner-
vous breakdowns and suicides occur0
American college campuses during
finals than dur-
ing any other
week of the
year. I'm sure
that no one
who has lived
through a finals
week before
will have any
reason to deny . >~
this completely,'.X.
made-up fact. SCOTr
After toiling HUNTER
away all semes- 'Rot T I o,
ter, we find that . HI Slt
half of our
semester grades will be determined dur-
ing a two-hour wrestle with a Scantron
sheet somewhere in the dungeon of the
MLB. Normally this wouldn't cause us
so much stress, but college finals are
like high school finals, where gradW
were easily negotiable with some strate-
gic whining and an irate phone call from
a parent.
Nowadays, we must battle for our
success in the last weeks of each semes-
ter. And these days, our grades actually
mean something. Get an 'A' in a class
and employers and graduate school
recruiters will throng to your door to
offer you fabulous cash and prizes; get a
couple of 'F's and schools will rej
your application like it was from Dann
Needless to say, all of our hopes and
dreams rest heavily on those little
Scantron bubbles. And we can't afford
to let anything prevent us from succeed-
ing. That's why we abuse ourselves
when December and April roll around,
going for weeks without sleep and fuel-
ing ourselves solely on caffeine and
pizza slices from the In And Out. V
pack our short-term memories witli
facts, figures, molecules and theorems,
hoping to achieve academic excellence.
But it doesn't always work out for us.
This is because things like the role of
cAMP in second messenger pathways or
the model of cost minimization among
profit-maximizing firms in competitive
markets don't typically stick too well in
our young post-pubescent minds. And no
matter how hard we try, these facts evap
rate before we can transcribe them iW
blue books. But do not fret, finals have a
little-known loophole made just for such a
situation: the curve.
Forsthose of you unfamiliar with the
concept of curved classes, let me explain.
Many courses are very demanding of stu-
dents (for your convenience, these specif-
ic classes are listed in the courseguide
under the headings economics and chem-
istry). In fact, some courses are
demanding that no one - not even t
smartest students - have any chance
whatsoever of learning even 50 percent of
the material. So, in their infinite compas-
sion, professors "curve" exams in these
courses - which basically means that the
students who earn the highest scores get
'A's while the students who earn the low-
est scores get ridiculed by the students
with 'A's. This explains why engineers and
other academic beasts may get very excit-
ed after getting only 65 percent on
As a student who has been ridiculed
by the better half after an exam or two,
I have learned that it is not possible to

outlearn all of your peers every single
time you take an exam. No matter how
hard you study, someone will study
harder; no matter how well you know
your material, someone knows it better;
and no matter how smart you are, some-
body was just blessed with a bett
Punnett Square. Sometimes it's neces-
sary for us to look for alternative meth-
ods of breaking through that scholastic
glass ceiling.
If you can't rise to the mean, then
bring the mean down to you ... Thai's
right, friends, I'm talking about kickiig
the snot out of the smart people.
Don't fall victim to the reckless and
discourteous achievement of this
University's intellectual aristocracy,
take academic justice into your o4*
hands this semester. If your grade in a
class is threatened by a couple ofbrain-
acs in the front row of lecture, don't be
afraid to open up your emergency can of
No matter how smart these students are,
they will never be able to fill in those tiny
little Scantron bubbles from a full body
cast, let alone grip that No. 2 pencil. Just
think of the possibilities: No more la
nights in the UGLi, no fighting for seats
the Union - just a couple of minutes of
WCW-style brawling and your reams of
scoring 20 points above the mean will be
squarely within reach. Mustering the
courage to attack a brainiac might prove
difficult at first, but think of how youn
guilt and conscience will be forgotten


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