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November 18, 1998 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 18, 1998

UI~ it4Wun juid~g

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

'Minors are unable to handle the
responsibility of drinking.'
- State Rep. Judith Scmnton (R-Brighton), discussing a
bill she introduced to the state House of Representatives
DAVID MENG JANKOWSKI'S WORLD
. i T h 0

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
Vote Students' Party
Students should vote in MSA elections

A s the end of the semester rapidly
approaches, students have more to
think about than final exams - namely who
they want to represent them on the Michigan
Student Assembly. For one and a half years,
the Students' Party has led MSA and set
achievable goals to improve student life.
Now, the Students' Party must realize some
of these ideas. Several parties and indepen-
dent candidates are on the ballot today and
tomorrow, and students should make an
effort to turn out in large numbers.
The New Frontier Party has a six-issue
platform that it wishes to push on MSA. Of
particular importance to the New Frontier
Party is the elimination of MSA funding to
political groups. This is a troublesome pro-
posal, as one of MSA's most important
duties is to allocate money to student
groups. Adding political restrictions could
seriously harm many valuable student orga-
nizations. The New Frontier Party also
seeks to privatize the dorm meal plan, break
the residence hall telephone monopoly, add
two-ply toilet paper to all University build-
ings and reform the Code of Student
Conduct. But the New Frontier Party seems
somewhat uninformed about MSA, as it
wants to "reverse the MSA's decision last
year to cancel the printing of course
guides." MSA had nothing to do with
putting an end to printed course guides and
is working to restore them.
Also on the ballot is the Defend
Affirmative Action Party. The party has
several lofty goals, which include stopping
tuition increases, expanding grants and
loans and actively fighting against discrim-
ination. The DAAP values student activism
and seeks to create a large-scale student
movement on campus. Another intriguing
proposal is to establish consistent and com-

petent academic advising for students dur-
ing their entire academic careers. This plat-
form is strong and full of good ideas, but
the DAAP runs the risk of becoming a one-
issue party in MSA. The assembly must
play many roles an it has limitations that
make many of the party's goals unrealistic.
The Students' Party platform consists of
achievable goals meant to make campus bet-
ter. Under the leadership of this party, MSA
is now close to establishing a student-run
coursepack store and has trimmed the inter-
nal budget, making more money available to
student organizations. Further, the assembly
is now working with LSA administrators to
make hard copies of the Courseguide avail-
able to students. In addition, the Party spear-
headed efforts to make a student regent pos-
sible. While some of the more misguided
ones have stalled at the University Board of
Regents table, the assembly should continue
to work on this goal.
In the past two years, much of the assem-
bly's partisanship has given way. The
Michigan Party - which dominated the
assembly for two years - is not even run-
ning candidates in this election.
Independent candidates are an important
part of the assembly, and many are running
for election today and tomorrow. Among
them is Josh Trapani, an incumbent repre-
sentative from Rackham. His experience
and his ability to serve as a link between
MSA and the Rackham Student
Government, for which he is also running,
would make MSA a more representative of
graduate students.
Student representatives are only as strong
and legitimate as the entire student body
allows. The assembly can do little without
the support of the students. Vote Students'
Party for MSA.

4040

LEAe T\ THE EDITOR
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Online trouble
Online Courseguide creates many problems

t is intoned so frequently it has become a
cliche: Technology is everywhere.
Computers now shoulder enormous varieties
of responsibilities all over the world and the
U.niversity is no exception. Last year, the
Office of Student Academic Affairs added
one more item to the ever-increasing list of
information provided online - the LSA
Courseguide. As the current semester draws
to a close, students will be swamped with
finals, term papers and other academic pro-
jects. In addition to increasing workloads, stu-
dents must decide what classes they are going
to take in the next term. For years, LSA course
descriptions have been published in bound
catalogues distributed throughout University
buildings. But this book has been replaced by
an extensive online network that requires stu-
dents to spend large amounts of time and
patience pointing and clicking their way
through a maze of class descriptions and
search engines.
While there is nothing wrong with putting
the Courseguide online - there are several
advantages like up-to-the-minute information
as well as allowing students studying abroad
the chance to find classes from around the
world - there is no good reason why the
course guide cannot be printed in hardcopy
and posted online. It is estimated that the pub-
lication of the guide would cost $11,000 this
year - hardly a prohibitive sum for the
University. The Office of Academic Affairs's
top priority should be to make the course
selection process - already a formidable one
given the large number of classes - as
amenable to students as possible. While there
may be a popular belief that anything involv-
ing a computer is more convenient, that is not
the case with the Courseguide.

designed the online catalogue, said that one of
the reasons for the switch from paper to sili-
con was the fact that approximately three
quarters of students now own personal com-
puters. But Wallin did not have a figure for
how many of those computers can access the
Internet. The fact is that large numbers of stu-
dents rely on the Campus Computing Sites for
their online needs. At the end of the semester,
most of these sites are thrown into a feverish
pitch of confusion and hysteria. If students are
interested in exploring classes in a wide range
of departments (and the University has such
extensive and diverse course offerings, that
every student should), they must spend enor-
mous amounts of time on computers that are
already in high demand.
Further, many students prefer to have a
hard copy of the course guide so that they
can read it on their own time. Most students
CRISP from their own phones and if a class
is filled, it is important to have the
Courseguide handy to flip through in pur-
suit of alternate choices. The elimination of
the book forces students to allot blocks of
time to find a computer, log on and search.
With a personal copy of the Courseguide,
students were able to look for classes when
the fancy struck them and quickly compare
the benefits of one class to another without
being at the mercy of a capricious comput-
er in the process of downloading a web
page. Books do not crash or become slower
the way computers - especially when
thousands of students are logged on at once
- have a tendency to do.
The Office of Academic Affairs should
follow the example set by the Registrar's
Office (which publishes the time schedule)
and provide online as well as published

DAAP will
improve MSA
TO THE DAILY:
The attack on affirmative
action coincides with other
attacks on access to higher
education. Contributing to
the narrowing of opportuni-
ties in higher education for
working and middle class
students of all races is tuition
increases. At the University
and at colleges and universi-
ties nationwide, the cost of
tuition has increased at a rate
substantially above the gener-
al inflation rate.
As part of the Michigan
Student Assembly, the
Defend Affirmative Action
Party members will organize
action to stop tuition increas-
es. As leaders in the move-
ment that is now growing in
response to the attack on
affirmative action, we would
do our best to bring the full
force and influence of the
movement to bear against
tuition increases.
As part of MSA, DAAP
candidates will organize action
to defend and expand grants
and financial aid for all stu-
dents who need them. Further,
grants and financial aid money
should be made available at
least a week before classes
begin. The whole financial aid
system should be expanded
and streamlined.
As part of MSA, we will
not limit ourselves to simply
passing resolutions nor
would we accept MSA's self-
imposed limitation as a body
that simply passes resolu-
tions. MSA should be a body
that represents and fights for
students interests. Doing that
requires not just passing res-
olutions and taking positions,
but organizing action.
ERIKA DOWDELL
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
'It only takes
one weak
moment'
TO THE DAILY:V
My name is Rose
Giacherio. My son, Chris, died
on Sept. 15 from a drug over-
dose.
When I think of drug over-
doses, I think of dark alleys,
needles and slimy characters.
That's the stuff of which
movies are made. Reality is
different. Chris was a
University sophomore. He
looked very much like other
students. If you saw him walk-
ing down South University, he
would blend right in with his
oversized T-shirt, baggy pants,
tennis shoes and New York
Yankees cap. He always had a
smile on his face because he
felt life was good. He loved
his new job, he looked forward
to some of his classes (not all
of them), and he loved his new

college students.
Unfortunately, drinking leads
to weak moments, a dimin-
ished sense of reality and an
increased sense of beinginde-
structible. So in a weak
moment, Chris made a deci-
sion that cost him his life.
We could blame it on the
fraternity since they made the
liquor available. We could
blame it on the two boys who
were with Chris that night and
encouraged his drug use. But
when we come right down to
it, it was Chris who made the
decision to use the drug. He
did not make the decision to
die. In that he had no choice.
If you knew Chris, think of
him fondly as that smiling,
humorous and caring young
man. If you didn't, know him,
think of him as a young man
who, in a weak moment, made
a decision that cut his life
short. When you think of this
incident, decide for yourself
whether or not you are brave
enough to stay sober. If you
can enjoy these wonderful col-
lege days with a clear mind
and be able to make wise deci-
sions that will enhance your
life, not take it away from you.
As for myself, I have 19
years of memories to cherish,
but they are no substitute for
having Chris here. I will
remember the Legos, "Star
Wars," his sagging pants, his
long sideburns and more.
Don't leave your family with
only memories. Drinking leads
to death and taking other
drugs. It can happen to any-
one. It only takes one weak
moment.
ROSE GIACHERIO
ANN ARBOR RESIDENT
'Moronic
legislation'
should not
become law
TO THE DAILY:
I have to question Judith
Scranton's motives behind
her new bill ("Lawmakers
may create new drinking
sanctions," 11/1798). Is she
actually concerned about
underage drinkers or does
she just want to torment col-
lege students? You'll find it's
the latter after reading this
letter.
First, the age group tar-
geted by this new bill is peo-
ple 18 to 20 years old. That
should be the first obvious
sign that she is an age-based
discriminator. Does she
assume 16- and 17-year-olds
don't drink?
Second, Scranton's solu-
tion to drinking is to revoke
driver's licenses. But most
MIP ticket recipients aren't
driving, they're walking from
party to party. What about
the kids who don't even have
drivers licenses? They do
exist Scranton. What will be
their punishment? Is she
eniny tn h thm frm nn -

we can at least ignore her
moronic legislation.
JESSE MILLER
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
AAPD efforts
will not stop
drinking
To THE DAILY:
I am writing in response
to the recent articles about
the Ann Arbor Police
Department's efforts to
crack down on underage
drinking. I find it very irre-
sponsible of the AAPD to
start taking action now.
they should be ashamed of
themselves for waitingfor a
girl to die before they start-
ed caring. In the wake of
tragedy they feel they need
to make up for the incom-
petence they have demon-
strated in the past. The
police department has pre-
viously turned the other
cheek to underage drinking
and they now believe that a
series of party busts will
boost their image.
Unfortunately they will
never be able to put a dent
in the number of students
who regularly drink. If the
police had started breaking
up parties back in
September, Courtney
Cantor probably stil would
have died. No amount of
student deaths or MIPs will
change weekend rituals at
University. How many of
Cantor's friends do you
think have stopped drinking
because of her death?
I would surmise that
none of them have, so the
police can keep raiding par-
ties, but they will only find
that their efforts have done
little to quell underage
drinking.
JEREMY PETERS
LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT
MSA is a
'worthless
group of
losers'
To THE DAILY:
In observing proceedings
of the Michigan Student
Assembly the last three
years, I have come to the
conclusion that this "student
government" is actually a
worthless group of losers
who enjoy puffing them-
selves up in order to feel bet-
ter about themselves.
Misguided resolutions, use-
less fees and idiotic elections
have all become the hallmark
of MSA. In criticizing the
"secret societies" on campus,
the student body has neglect-
ed to name MSA, a group
devoted solely to perpetuat-
ing its own existence as a

Thats how it
happens living
life by the drop
T he Ann Arbor Police Department
has been very busy over the past
two weeks. Four fraternities and sev-
eral more private house parties have
all been whipped into a headlock by
the long arm of the law. In the wake of
Courtney Cantor's death, the alcohow
consumption oflthe
University student
population has
been an extremely
popular topic.
Specifically,
given that under-
age drinking was
at least tangential-
ly involved with
Cantor's death, the
theory states that
the local constabu- ILLER
lary needs to beginM ER
making sure that ON TAP,
minors are not N AP
drinking and those of us who are of
age are not providing them with
drinks. With this done, there will be
no more alcohol-related accidents and
no more overdoses, as with Bradley
McCue, two weeks ago at Michiga
State.
It's not going to happen. It won't
help.
The recent anti-alcohol crusade is
understandable, if not reasonable or
effective. After all, alcohol does pre-
sent a danger to people who can't han-
dle it responsibly. Administrators are
charged with our safety, sort of, and
parents would like to see us in as safe
an environment as possible, so they're
not the ones getting "The Phone Call
in the middle of the night.W
Think about the animal we're hunt-
ing here. The University is a conglom-
eration of more than 30,000 people,-
between the ages of 18 and 25. Most
of us live on our own, and a good por
tion of us are over 21. Our houses sid
apartments are flanked by bars and
liquor stores and our daytime occupa-
tions have such stress and strang
hours thatvdrinking to excess can fit*
bit more comfortably in our lives.
Punishment will not remove the
desire. Beat a child and he gets mean
and smart, not well-behaved. Part of
the desire comes from being raised o(.
a steady diet of images that promote
drinking as fun and cool, from Dean
Martin to Vince Vaughn.
Drinking is fun and cool. The most
dangerous place in the world to be is
between me and pitcher of beer on
Thursday night. Having drinks wit
your friends and telling jokes in an
obnoxious tone of voice is fun.
Gin and tonics and summer are as
close together as lamb and mint jelly.
The adult, finger-wagging, badge-
wearing, Code-writing set comes out
and condemns alcohol as bad for i
few days when there are bereavied
and/or nervous parents, then nothing.
And we are left with our own empirO
cal observations, to wit: Hey, this is #
kinda fun.
We have a problem with college stu-
dents and alcohol because everyone
acknowledges that booze is pretty
tame stuff until somebody dies and we
get religion for a week or two and rail
about temperance like a bunch of
Pentecostals.
The real and' lasting tragedy of
Courtney Cantor's death (for us that
is, not her family) is that most of t
steps taken by Authority Figures and

all of the macho, prick-waving on the
part of the Ann Arbor Police
Department won't prevent a similar
accident. Either we have a dry campus
or we abolish the drinking age and
teach children to respect and enjoy
alcohol from an early age, like the
occasionallycivilized'Europeansdo.
When a student dies in circum
stances like Cantor's the first questiar
is "What are we going to do about it?"
Answer: Nothing that will work.
College students are more iexperi-
enced at living than adults, and we
have access to things that can hurt us
like liquor, cars and genitalia (at this
point, the author sings: "These are a
few of my favorite things.') People are
going to continue to screw up, get
pregnant or die. Barring the two wild-
ly unrealistic solutions I've suggeste
nothing else will prevent it.
A particularly sad side effect to this
is that'it changes where we place the
blame for drinking-related accidents.
Remember how they pistol-whipped
the hapless Phi Delts for hosting the
party at which Cantor received her
drinks? Where was the similar oppro-
brium for the Chi Omega sorority,
which Cantor had recently joined? It
was after their "carry in" ceremon
The gentlemen were flagellated for
providing the alcohol, but the ladies
weren't even talked to harshly about
making sure their pledges kept their
noses out of the sauce. In fact, from
the alarming lack of blame placed on
Chi Omega, you'd think the University

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