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January 08, 1999 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-08

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 8, 1999

~Ije3idigrn uau

It's been two
weeks since I


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.
Publicize publcations
'U' should make textbook lists available

'I'm not mad about the snow, especially considering
I get an extra four days with my girlfriend.'
- LSA first-year student Paul Caiano, whose flight to Detroit
from New York was cancelled Tuesday night due to the snow
04 MrARd$.
----N* .6qg t."rk +

A t the beginning of every semester, in'
addition to the hassle of sorting out
a schedule, University students face the
problem of buying textbooks for their
classes. Currently, the sale of textbooks is
virtually monopolized by three book-
stores -- Ulrich's Bookstore, Michigan
Book & Supply, and the Michigan Union
Bookstore. Unless specified by the
department or the individual professor -
in which case the textbooks are sold
through smaller independent bookstores
such as Shaman Drum - these three
stores are the only outlets in Ann Arbor
where students can purchase textbooks.
The University should strive to make the
textbook lists public, thereby giving stu-
dents more options for shopping and per-
haps creating increased competition on
The three major bookstores hold a vir-
tual monopoly because they run the
Textbook Reporting Service. Professors
use this service when ordering books for
their classes each semester. The lack of
competition does not bode well for stu-
dents' financial concerns, as prices at the
three stores do not vary much. Instead of
allowing the bookstores to run the ser-
vice, the University should intercede and
gather the list itself. It should then make
the list accessible to all, perhaps by post-
ing the book list on the Web or in the
By making the book list public, stu-
dents would be able to plan ahead and
possibly purchase their textbooks during
inter-semester breaks. This offers many
advantages, including being able to avoid
the lengthy lines that appear at the three
major bookstores during the first weeks
of every semester. With a public list, stu-

dents could shop in areas close to their
home or explore Internet book dealers to
find the lowest prices. Also, some text-
books and coursepacks used at the
University are unavailable at the three
major bookstores at the beginning of the
semester. This can easily frustrate many
Another possible benefit of making the
lists public would be received by smaller
independent bookstores, which would be
on the same level playing field as the
three major bookstores on campus. There
is a good chance that many stores would
like to offer textbooks for sale as an addi-
tional source of revenue.
But until the University takes on such
a task, professors should take steps to
benefit their students. A good way would
be to include a section listing the required
textbooks within the course description
available through the courseguide, as
many professors do. This can give stu-
dents the early start they need to shop
Textbooks are expensive and students
should have more choice when purchas-
ing them. Making the list public would
allow for more competition among Ann
Arbor bookstores and could push the
price of the textbooks down - thereby
reducing the financial burden on stu-
The University should take on the
responsibility of compiling textbook lists
and making them public to benefit both
the student body and other bookstores in
Ann Arbor. Lower prices and greater
availability are primary concerns for
every student, and the University should
rework the current system to achieve
these goals.

Anew proposal
California suggests way to negate Prop 209

he predictions that California's
Proposition 209 would erode the
diverse student body on University of
California campuses have come true in the
past year. Since the proposition's imple-
mentation, the enrollment of black, Latino,
and Native American students collectively
dropped by 9.5 percent. But this past
Monday, Gov. Gray Davis announced a plan
that could negate Proposition 209. This
plan, subject to passage by the University of
California Board of Regents, should be
adopted in order to restore many prospec-
tive students' right to pursue quality higher
Davis' proposal calls for all students
graduating in the top 4 percent of their high
school class to automatically gain admis-
sion to a University of California campus.
This much more localized approach would
supplant the current system that requires
the admission of the top 12.5 percent of stu-
dents statewide. This current system gives
students from affluent school districts an
unfair advantage over lesser-privileged stu-
dents, traditionally those in urban and rural
In addition to changing admissions
requirements to a local scale, Davis' plan
aims to decrease the emphasis placed on
standardized tests, which are often biased
against minority students. Some emphasis
would be shifted to more student-friendly
examinations, such as the SAT2, which
allows students a degree of choice in terms
of tested content.
Detractors of Davis's proposal will no
doubt claim that such a plan could decrease
the academic prestige and the strength of
fi. n pTT n r.__s4-.,'of fa(N 1;nm _ r nine, pe 1.

being admitted will satisfy grade-point-
average and college preparatory class
requirements. Also, students will not neces-
sarily be admitted to every campus - like-
ly leaving UCLA and Berkley as the sys-
tem's most prestigious. But it is important
that those reviewing admissions to the
University of California's campuses should
do so thoroughly to ensure that all students
with the ability to thrive at the university
level be allowed to do so - and not be pun-
ished because their school districts were ill-
equipped to meet their educational needs.
A diverse campus plays a large part in
the development of well-rounded students.
Students need exposure to a multitude of
backgrounds to prepare them for an
increasingly global society. Students bene-
fit from experiencing the various and
unique ideas, philosophies and art that tie in
with different cultures and ethnicities.
The University of California Board of
Regents should support Davis' proposal
when it comes up for a vote in March.
This vote should be monitored closely
here at the University, given the class-
action lawsuit filed against it for the use
of affirmative action in admissions.
Should the University lose the lawsuit, a
similar system may work well to preserve
the University's diverse campus. And for
now, the future in California appears
promising - Davis himself has a seat on
the 26-person board, and he will be able
to appoint new members over the course
of his four-year term. But there is no rea-
son for this measure to stall. The regents
should support Davis and restore hope to
countless students currently trapped in
a chal.,i A ,nnncili _ n n M.u.. -r

Daily should
have covered
skating event
I was quite disappointed
when I discovered that the
Daily failed to cover the
University of Michigan
Figure Skating Club's holiday
skating exhibition.
The event was attended
by about 300 people, both
students and people from the
surrounding community, yet .
the Daily somehow missed
the show. I find this especial-
ly strange since the Daily
included the show in its usual
Thursday list of upcoming
Many students look to
this paper to find out about
events, and if such events
are omitted, how is the
Daily helping students?
Again, this is another exam-
ple of how the Daily seems
to feel that club sports are
unimportant and therefore
not worthy of newspaper
space. This is truly sad
because club sports need all
the advertisement and help
they can get. If the school
and the student body we
represent won't help us,
who will?
U.S. history
This letter is written in
response to a letter in the
Daily that said that supporters
of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a jour-
nalist currently on death row,
are simply allowing them-
selves to be lead around on a
leash of misinformation
("Abu-Jamal's supporters
spread propaganda," 1/6/99).
It saddens me that people who
are critical enough to caution
against being lead down the
wrong path by flash, pander-
ing and mass propaganda are,
themselves, so utterly oblivi-
ous to the leash around their
own necks.
George Washington,
Thomas Jefferson and proba-
bly the vast majority of this
country's "founding fathers"
lead the people to believe
that owning other human
beings as slaves was accept-
able behavior. The govern-
ment of the United States
lead the people into believ-
ing that Blacks represented
three-fifths of a person
(remember your American
history?). Ronald Reagan led
the people into believing he
knew nothing of Iran Contra.
George Bush led the people
into believing it's OK for the

Nearly a dozen California
police officers led a court-
room into believing that it
required a gazillion blows per
second to subdue Rodney
King - a single, drunk
motorist. The Detroit cops,
Walter Budzyn and Larry
Nevers, tried to lead the peo-
ple into believing that it was
in the course of procedure to
beat a man to death.
If you don't like where
you are being led - or if
you don't like who is leading
- you call it a leash. If you
agree with where you are
being taken - or you sup-
port the leadership - then
what do you call it? Just
because our society's sacred
institutions led us down a
given path does not make it
A recent social justice
convention highlighted
more than a dozen former
death row inmates whom
juries were led to believe
had committed crimes pun-
ishable by death but were
later released and exonerat-
ed after serving five-25
years in prison. Geronimo
Pratt, a former Black
Panther, was unable to lead
a jury into believing his
innocence. He spent nearly
a quarter of his life in
prison before he was exon-
I fear that some people
have problems being critical
of the institutions that have
fostered their lives up to
this point. When someone
questions those institutions,
they see it as propaganda.
But the propaganda of the
institutions - tht, testimony
of our trusted officials -
sometimes literally becomes
law or history.
I could recount case evi-
dence and flawed testimony
from prosecution witnesses,
but I will not. There is much
contradiction on both sides. It
all boils down to who you are
willing to follow, but I will
say this: It is an indisputable
fact that the officer who
stood and watched over Abu-
Jamal while he was in the
hospital stated unequivocally
that Abu-Jamal made no
comment. Both sides agree to
this. That officer later retract-
ed that statement, saying that
Abu-Jamal had given a com-
plete confession. The officer
stated that he had forgotten
Abu-Jamal's confession when
questioned about it earlier.
In a city plagued by alle-
gations of corruption that go
well beyond this case, if that
does not call for a new trial,
which is the primary point
supporters are asking for,
then what could?
The first step
to improving
the 'U' is

Daily's editorial that calls on
Gov. John Engler to respond
to the needs of higher educa-
tion with more than simple
When I was a student at
the University, the adminis-
tration favorably compared
with institutions such as the
University of Virginia and the
University of California at
Berkeley. Last year, Berkeley
rejected many applicants with
perfect 4.0 grade point aver-
ages and SAT scores in the
1500s. I haven't heard
Michigan mentioned recently
when such sobering statistics
are cited. A fairly recent (last
year, I believe) Daily sports
article seemed to echo this
when Michigan was said to
be on a par with UCLA.
What's next, UC-Davis?
Isn't it time to get the
University back on a track
where we can say more than
certain departments rank
highly" and start saying that
it is world class across the
board and able to attract the
most outstanding students? I
recognize that throwing
money at the school may not
be the only solution, but
surely cutting back below
inflation is not.
Campus and
During this past summer I
had the privilege or rowing
with the Michigan Rowing
Association. This is the club
that runs the University of
Michigan Men's Rowing
Club. The reason I am writ-
ing is to say how impressed I
was by the University and
how well the University
intersects with the city of
Ann Arbor. It is the example
that all large Universities
should live by.
While I realize that I only
lived in Ann Arbor for the
summer, I made a trip back
to see what life is like when
school is in session and I
must say that I am still
impressed. I attended the
University of Massachusetts,
and it was a much different
environment from Ann Arbor.
I can say without hesitation
that I somewhat miss living
in Ann Arbor and using the
Undergraduate Library and
Central Campus Recreation
Building. University students,
faculty and staff should be
very proud of how great the
city and University interact
- making Ann Arbor a truly
wonderful place to live and a
place I hope to return to at

lastfaced the
daily grind
F irst: I had a wonderful break. I
"just" went home. It was "just"
what I needed.
For someone who spent the summ
away from home, working 12-hour days
and then having to
prepare for the next
day, the allure of
two weeks of vaca-
tion, free of all offi-
cial responsibilities,
was absolutely -
It was the chance
- one of a dimin-
ishing number in
the foreseeable MEGAN
future - to worry SCHIMPF
about precious little 1> sett ri Et
and to drift away
from reality, if only for 15 short days.
I could set my own schedule: Go to
bed late and wake up (almost) sinfully
late. I could read novels for fun, text
I'd never be tested on or have to
explain. I could lounge around in fla
nel pants all day instead of having W
dress professionally or presentably. I
could write real letters with pen and
paper. I coulddwatch bad television for
hours - and we mean straight-to-
cable embarrassments and "Friends"
reruns ad nauseam.
We originally planned to spend New
Year's in Florida. The disappointment
when that changed faded, perhaps
because I became so busy that I forgot
to lust after warmth (in Decemb4
who knew?). When I actually had time
to turn around, I realized that I rel-
ished the chance to accomplish next to
Well, sort of. We baked Christmas
cookies, bought and returned presents,
decorated the tree, took moonlit walks,
watched the fire crackle while the wind
howled, and played in the snow with the
dog late one night. Family membe
came in from across the country, and
went to and threw parties. I spent about
eight hours wandering around one mall
for one day. I made some progress
unpacking and organizing in the new
And I could savor all these times
instead of checking them off on a list on
the way to do something else.
I got some good news, we got some
bad news. Days came, nights went.
Movies were rented, movies we*
returned. It was breakfast time, it was
dinnertime. The mail came. All these
everyday things happened, just as they
always do, and I could notice them as
I largely relinquished control of the
schedule to my parents, family and
friends - which is liberating, if not a
little frustrating and scary. I checked my
e-mail at most once a day, and some-
times not at all. I never opened a bo*
pertaining to school. I watched the foot-
ball team win on television this year,
instead of from the press box. Once
again, I spent New Year's Eve on the
couch, sick.
Reality floated around me, but never
settled anywhere close.
And so the days passed - far too fast
as always, but not nearly as rapidly as do
busy days. Coming back, I had whittled
away at my sleep debt instead of trying
to recover from jet lag. I had finalE
been able to take care of errands that
had been sitting around for months
(even doing one thing a day adds up).
And I was a little more ready to deal
with reality when I could avoid it no
I learned television is really only
avidly watchable for about two weeks

before its novelty wears away - at
least during two weeks of holiday pr
There are about five commercials in
existence, which seem to run over and
over again. And there are about 7,000
football teams that play in bowls
sponsored by Websites. Being able to
watch television news broadcasts is a
poor substitute for reading quality
I found that dressing up for parties
every now and then is a nice counterbal-
ance to all those sweatshirts and thic
socks. I found that I was still happy
have something to do, a little something
to know I'd accomplished at the end of
the day.
Andyit never had to be something
ground-breaking or stressful.
After Christmas, I made a list of
things to accomplish; I left having
completed about half. Boxes still sit in
my room, waiting to be unpacked and
organized. I had plenty of other thin
I had wanted to be done before
returned to Ann Arbor. For once, I am
actually at peace knowing they are
still waiting.
As vacation times dwindle and sum-
mers disappear, we cling very closely to
those last opportunities of true free



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