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February 24, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 24, 1999

clhie tigain Bailg
420 Maynard Street HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
daily. letters@umich.edu E

A few words on financial independence

Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editorial Page Editors

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.
Anielw day
Day of Action works for equality
he struggle to defend affirmative action importance of affirmative action.
takes center stage today, both on cam- For the last few years, affirmative action
pus and nationwide, during the National Day has been under siege at campuses nation-
of Action. Many groups on campus will wide. The class action lawsuit filed against
organize events to publicize the necessity of the University last fall is only the closest
affirmative action and to educate the general example. The University of California at
public on this highly controversial topic. Berkeley and the University of Texas have
Today's events include several lectures and both experienced significant drops in
forums, and a rally on the Diag. The main minority enrollment since California and
goal is to defeat the ballot initiative proposed Texas abolished affirmative action. In
by state Sen. David Jaye (R-Macomb) and 1997, the University of Texas Law School
former University of California regent Ward enrolled only four black students in a class
Connerly. This initiative, which resembles of 400. This trend has surfaced at most
California's Proposition 209, would elimi- prestigious universities in places where
nate affirmative action in the state of affirmative action has been dismantled. If
Michigan if it were approved in the Jaye's ballot initiative is successful, it is
November 2000 election. This must not be very possible that the same thing will hap-
allowed to happen - University students pen in Michigan. That must not be allowed
should take advantage of the opportunity to to happen.
take a stand in favor of affirmative action. Affirmative action is the most effective
This year's National Day of Action has way to ensure a diverse campus. Diversity is
eliminated the troubling aspects of last year's a key part of the educational experience,
event. Last February, the University's propo- because it allows students to encounter peo-
nents of affirmative action advocated skip- ple of vastly different backgrounds. This
ping class as well as organizing a sit-in in the teaches students lessons that cannot be
Fishbowl. While public shows of support for taught in the classroom and that students
affirmative action are important and neces- may not have learned in a more homoge-
sary,. class strikes and sit-ins create conflict neous community. Not only would it deny
with the University administration, which is many minorities a chance to attend a top-
a strong supporter of the cause. As it is doing level university, but abolishing affirmative
this year, the Day of Action should focus op action would deny all students a crucial part
educating students on the importance of of higher education.
diversity, and supporting the University's The National Day of Action is a chance
effort to uphold its policy. to demonstrate support for diversity on
A feature of this year's event is that facul- campus. The organizers of the Day of
ty members have been encouraged to teach Action have made a commendable effort to
their classes today on affirmative action or a stand up for affirmative action and teach
related topic. Other events include a rally people why it is necessary. Students should
and march on the Diag at noon, and later this try to attend today's events and show their
evening there will be several talks on the support for affirmative action.
T. free texts

L ots of us are broke. Granted, there are
different kinds of broke. There's the
adorable little kind of broke. This means
that you don't have enough money to do
what you want all the time (it doesn't
have to be that
extravagant) but
you're not going to
starve or sell your
blood to pay the y
This kind of bro-
keness is fairly com-
mon on college cam-
puses. Many of us
are supported in
some way by our
parents and/or have
financial aid coming James
in so that our ends Miller
But I always felt,
and still feel, a slight Tap
sense of shame
about the parental support. After all, I'm
21 years old. It's not old, but it's old
enough. It's old enough to feel a bit
sheepish about still being on my parents
insurance. It's old enough to feel like a
weenie when bumming rides off my par-
ents and friends.
It seems like the gestation period for an
American adult has been extended over
the last few decades. It used to be that
men by the age of 21 or 22 were adults
essentially. They had wives and families
and jobs that could provide them with a
car or two, a house; maybe a little car-
pentry shop in the basement, perhaps a
bass boat.
Then the bottom fell out of that. First,

everyone went to college. Postwar pros-
perity and the G.I. Bill, among other
things, propelled huge segments of the
population through the ranks of higher
education. So the standard bar got raised.
Suddenly being middle class involved
going to college.
Not too long after that, certain captains
of industry and corporate types decided
that paying people decent, living wages
because it's the right thing to do was
quaint and they weren't going to do it any
more. Jobs with decent wages for high
school graduates or people in the middle
of college disappeared. College graduates
who were already employed saw their
salaries shrink next to inflation while the
tasseled loafer set got another layer of
gold on their golf clubs.
What does this have to do with us? I'm
glad you asked.
Think about your job history and job
prospects. (Engineers, scientists and busi-
ness types can't play this game. Sorry.)
Think about why you're broke, strapped
or otherwise concerned with money. It
used to be that just by working over the
summers and a little bit during the year
(maybe a loan or two here and there) a
person could pay their own way through
This is no longer true. College tuition
is far too high for a person to pay them-
selves and still take classes. For those
who actually do it, they know that if it is
possible, it's nothing you do for fun.
Why is it too high? I'm not really sure.
I have a few theories. Try this one -
we're here to get an education. But how
much of our tuition goes to things that are
not only non-academic but silly?

Do you think Maureen Hartford has to
clip coupons? How much does the
University spend on a Code of Student
Conduct that is totally redundant and
unnecessary? All of us contributing our
thousands of dollars every term are prob-
ably buying- more middle management
and people who say "paradigm" a lot
rather than professors, GSIs and tools of
our education.
So I've digressed. Here's the deal
though. It used to be that people matured
faster in the days of our parents and
grandparents. I don't see that happening
now, in our time.
I'm still on my parents insurance
because I can't afford my own. I bum
rides off people because even though I
have enough savings to buy a car (an
anomaly) the insurance, gas, ,mainte-
nance and parking costs would probably
wipe me out. Why would it wipe me out?
Me, the scion of upper middle class par-
ents? Because I take classes full time and
work only a few hours a week. I take
classes because a semi-prosperous life
seems to require it. So the classes I take
to ultimately make a living keep me
strapped while I take them, so I can grad-
Then I graduate and either intern and
shlep for little or no money, as I am not an
engineer, business man or computer sci-
entist. Or I can incur more debt and enroll
in graduate school, where I run the risk of
being just as unemployed, but with a larg-
er tab.
It's a strange world. Can one of you
guys give me a lift to Meijer?
- James Miller can be reached over
e-mail atjamespm@umich.edu.


An open letter
Dear Professor,
Today is a National Day of Action to
Defend Affirmative Action. Dozens of
campuses across the country, including the
University of Michigan, will be holding
events on this day to defend affirmative
action and to educate our campuses and
the country on the importance and necessi-
ty of affirmative action programs. On this
day, we are asking that you teach your
tlasses on affirmative action or a related
The advent of affirmative action pro-
grams meant an opening up of the doors of
higher education and of elite professions
to black and other minority young people
and to women of all races. The outcome of
the fight over the future of affirmative
action will determine whether we continue
to make progress in combating inequality
in society, or whether the country as a
whole takes a step back toward greater
segregation and inequality. With the loss of
affirmative action in California and in

to University professors

Texas, it has become clear that the absence
of affirmative action means the resegrega-
tion of higher education and the shutting
out of talented black and other minority
The University of California at
Berkeley admitted drastically fewer
minorities in 1998, the year the state first
implemented its ban on affirmative action.
Black, Latino and Native American
freshman enrollment dropped by 65 per-
cent, 58 percent and 61 percent respective-
ly from fall '97 to fall '98. Eight hundred
black and Latino students with 4.0 GPAs
were denied admission to Berkeley.
Without affirmative action, the UC San
Diego School of Medicine did not admit a
single black applicant last year.
After affirmative action was overturned
in Texas, the number of black students
admitted to UT Law School dropped from
65 to 11. Only four black students enrolled
in a class of 400.
As University students and professors,

we cannot stand idly by while this question
is decided. Too often the University is an
"ivory tower" where classroom discussion
has little relationship to what is happening
in the outside world. Please take advantage
of the National Day of Action today as an
opportunity to bridge this gap. Students
must be given a chance to reflect on this
important issue and to determine where
they stand in this historic fight.
If necessary, we would be happy to pro-
vide general background materials on
affirmative action. Please e-mail us at
daap@umich.edu and let us know what
you are planning for the day. Other events
planned include a march and rally at noon
on the Diag and several teach-ins and
forums presented by professors and stu-
dent organizations. Full itineraries are
-- This viewpoint was written by
MSA Rackham Rep. Jessica Curtin.
She can be reached over e-mail at


New bill proposes tax exemption for textbooks
A recently proposed bill in the forego this tax on textbooks and let the
Michigan Legislature could create revenue generated from sales tax be com-
reduced prices for textbooks - an issue pensated by economic growth in the long
that faces every student at the beginning run.
of the semester. Currently, the state's six While the legislators consider this bill,
percent sales tax applies to all textbooks. they must also carefully consider what
But under Senate Bill 289, recently pro- constitutes a textbook. This needs to be
posed by Sen. Leon Stille (R-Spring clearly defined to avoid any possible gray
Lake), textbooks required for college areas. For example, many University
classes would be exempt from the sales classes use books available in any
tax. Although this bill is still only in its Borders or Barnes & Noble. The state will
preliminary stages, the legislature, never- need to determine a policy to account for
theless, should speed up the process and such books without opening the door for
ensure that this bill passes to reduce the widespread abuse.
ever-increasing costs that face college Similar bills have often been proposed
students. in recent years and subsequently been
Every year, students attending the passed by the House. But each time such
University are faced with increased costs. bills have failed in the Senate Finance
In addition to purchasing textbooks for Committee - the step before reaching
classes, students must provide for living the full Senate - due to partisanship in
expenses and tuition - costs which seem the Legislature. But this year, the bill is
to increase annually. As a result, this puts partly sponsored by Republicans and
extra pressure on students, who already should have a higher chance of passing.
have to cope with the pressures of class- The legislature should take advantage of
es. By exempting the sales tax from text- this bipartisanship by speeding up the
books, students would enjoy a small but process and passing the bill.
significant savings. The bill is still in the preliminary
One of the main concerns that several stages of the legislative process. While
state representatives have expressed is this bill waits to be addressed in the
that this exemption would reduce an Senate, and it is not expected to be in
important source of revenue for the effect for the fall semester, students
school aid fund, which is mainly generat- should nevertheless voice their support
ed from the sales tax. But the state is for this bill. Strong support should focus
already losing tax revenue on textbooks attention on the bill and encourage legis-
through sales over the internet. An lators to pass it. Textbooks continue to
exemption should not drastically affect become more expensive each semester
school funding in a state able to budget and it is time for the state to temper this
$85 million more on prisons than on trend for the benefit of students. Passing
schools. Given Michigan's currently Senate Bill 289 will not dramatically
booming economy, the legislature should slash costs, but every little bit helps.
Lgpg R
I Imu f

Second Amendment
protects freedom
In response to Brent Accurso's letter
regarding the Second Amendment ("Second
Amendment has been sevbrely misinterpret-
ed," 2/22/99), I would like to point out that
the Founding Fathers intended the colonial
militias to serve as a bulwark against poten-
tial tyranny by the new federal government.
An armed people, it was reasoned, was a
free people. This insight lies at the heart of
our 200-year old democracy.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
are very much alive and well.

ti r: A:0b5434 ov l your v ett.,L, I'a...i
" ,eiec 15L pvi...' , I*
4A~tIV on wi "S 1?a r- 4%*t wh cb

U.S. should support
Kurds, not Turkey
The apprehension of Abdullah Ocalan by
Turkish authorities has brought the Kurds to
the forefront of international news once again.
The Kurds living in Turkey are a repressed
minority that are not allowed to teach, speak,
or broadcast in their native language, Kurdish.
One would think that our government would
condemn the Turkish government for these
repressive policies. But when Ocalan was
apprehended, U.S. officials were "pleased"
with the apprehension of this "terrorist."
United States warplanes are currently
flying over Northem Iraq patrolling the no-
fly zone. The reason for the establishment
of this no-fly zone: To protect the Kurds in
Northern Iraq from the Saddam Hussein
and the Iraqi government in Baghdad. But
since the arrest of Ocalan, Turkish forces
have gone into Northern Iraq and bombed
Kurdish strongholds. The United States-has
not objected to these actions.
Ocalan fought for autonomy for the
Kurdish people, the most numerous state-
less people in the world. The repression that
the Kurds face at the hand of the Turkish
government is far worse than what the
American colonists faced at the hands of
the British. But our government brands
Ocalan a terrorist for fighting against the
Turkish government. I don't think anyone

would call our founding fathers terrorists
for fighting the British. Our great nation
was founded upon self-determination. The
Turkish government has a long history of
repression of minorities. One and a half
million Armenians died at the hands of the
Ottoman Turkish government between 1915
and 1918, a fact that the Turkish govern-
ment continues to deny. It is the responsi-
bility of the United States government to
end this hypocritical policy which protects
Kurds from the Iraqi government but not
from the Turkish one. The United States
needs to stand up to Turkey and demand
better for the Kurdish people. History has
taught us the cost of silence.

their most recent newsletter.
I believe that societies that once were as
respected as Tau Beta Pi should have higher
standards in their organization. To allow
such nonsense with such deplorable taste
and manner in their publications is a dis-
credit to the association, to the College of
Engineering and to the University. Thank
you. I'll get off my soapbox now.
Football ticket price
increase is 'absurd'

It is utterly absurd for Athletic Director
T BetaTom Goss to raise prices of Michigan foot-
Tau B a Piball tickets. The sheer grandeur of Michigan
newsletter showed Stadium should be evident that the Athletic
Department is making with plenty of money.
poor taste It is an asinine defense that the
Department needs the money to cover the
cost of renovations and expansion of the
To THE DAILY: stadium. But if that is truly the case, should
I have always envisioned engineering not the University bring the price of tickets
honor societies as a gaggle of geeks trying back down in a few years? After two years,
to network their careers by performing surely the raise in ticket prices will have
community service. I have also regarded the covered the building costs.
organizations as professional and honor- If Goss wants to raise the ticket prices, he
able. Nonetheless, recently Tau Beta Pi should commit to lowering them in the future.
decided to cheapen the images of such soci- JEF GOFF
eties by instigating a series of written
insults against a fellow honor society in UNIVERSITY ALUMNUS


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