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February 25, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-25

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 25, 1999

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Hang in there! Semesters toughest week is almost over

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

HEATHER KAMINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
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.

Student bodies

'U' takes part in eating disorder awareness

H ave you noticed that the week before a
vacation always tries to kill you?
Chances are you're going through the
most academically painful week of the
semester right now. And of course it's con-
veniently placed right
in front of spring
break.
Papers jump you
like attackers in a
Jackie Chan flick.
Just when you strike
the decisive blow on>
one, another lunges
from behind. And
unlike Jackie Chan
bad guys, sometimes
papers team up anda
hit you all at once. If David
you stop working for Wallace
even a moment, your E
papers are going to be
more overdue than. MaynaIrd St.
the next Peter Gabriel
album.
And let's not forget midterms - tests
determining a large chunk of one's final
grade given to people for whom sleep is but
a distant rumor.
I don't know anyone on campus not
going through this right now. Even people
you think are slackers show dedication. For
example, I live near people who never miss
a chance to party. People who celebrate un-
birthdays. And yet, this week I heard one of
them turn down a chance to drink free beer.
"I've got to work straight through until at
least 2 a.m., man. Two big papers." Come
on, this kid thinks beer is food and instead
he's doing work? What are the academical-
ly inclined students doing? Probably
NoDoz.
But you can tell it's a miserable time on

campus - no one's wearing a smile unless
they're like Lennie in "Of Mice and Men"
imagining the rabbits. It's all drab, rumpled
clothing and dirty baseball caps, which are
the quickest way for a person on little sleep
to comb his hair. I mean, a typical conver-
sation goes like this:
"Did you pass your test?"
"Like a kidney stone."
Ouch. I've been on both sides of this con-
versation and you probably have too. We're
plodding through the make-or-break week.
This is the time to play through pain,
because it determines the course for the rest
of the semester. Ace the tests, and the
remaining half is an alpine slope and you're
Hermann Maier. Perform poorly, and
you've got a long, hard climb back to C-
level.
But this is the worst way to do it. Our
own University procrastinates, filling one
week with a disproportionate percentage of
students' grades for the semester. Breaking
students down and wearing them out - can
one expect to accurately test students' abil-
ities this way? For starters, I'd wager stu-
dents perform better at the beginning of this
week than at the end.
Part of the problem is our professors.
Few of them recognize that students take
other courses. Admit it, if your English pro-
fessor saw your schedule he might say,
"Physics? Did Joyce need physics to write
his masterpieces?" And given the same for-
tune, your Physics professor might respond,
"Who needs English? I don't speak English
and I'm doing fine."
Ideally, more professors would take the
path that a minority of their colleagues
choose. Some professors and instructors
schedule midterms and due dates earlier or
later than the week before spring break,
while others understand student pressures

and give due dates some flexibility. Thanks
to these people, we can take a few breaths.
So why does spring break always fall
after this most grueling week? Well, I think
three philosophies play a part. There is of
course the compassionate philosophy. The
University understands the stress students
incur over the entire first half semester -
particularly during the midway point. A
break is necessary for student morale and
future performance.
The second I would term the didactic
philosophy. By depriving us of our lives
outside school for one week, the
University makes us more appreciative of
blocks of free time to spend with friends
and parents. Because the previous week
was so tough, the sweetness of spring
break is magnified. This crazy bastion of
education, always looking to teach us
something.
Finally, a philosophy of self-preservation
on the part of University administrators
results in spring break serving as the
proverbial light at the end of the mid-terms
tunnel. This policy of appeasement stems
from a fear that overworked students might
conclude to show the history and French
departments what Bastille Day was like in
1789. Take nothing for granted in dealing
with students running on caffeine and
desire.
Today, spring break lies on the peripher-
al of our vision. This past Sunday evening,
the tests and papers stood tall enough to
keep us from even viewing the goal. But
now we can see those trips to warm cli-
mates, those trips home and those trips to
the lovely couch in the living room waiting
for someone with nine days of relaxation
ahead.
- David Wallace can be reached over
e-mail at davidmw@umich.edu.

S everal University organizations are the
force behind a group of events commem-
orating National Eating Disorder Awareness
Week, which began this past Monday. Eating
disorders are a taboo topic in society, and this
is why it is so important to make information
and resources widely available, especially
since eating disorders are such a significant
problem on college campuses.
Organizers have held events all week to
help students examine issues of body image.
Through tomorrow, students can obtain a free
private eating issues assessment from the
University Psychological Clinic by calling
764-3471. Events earlier in the week included
a poetry reading and a film screening.
Society and media images - found every-
where from fashion magazines, movies and
MTV, not to mention standards created by cul-
tural and social norms, make it quite clear
how young adults are "supposed" to look.
Developing and maintaining a positive self-
image can be hard work. College students
seem to be particularly vulnerable to poor
body image that can lead to depression and
anxiety - or a full-blown eating disorder.
During college, students hold themselves up
to scrutiny, and some apply these skills to their
appearance and self esteem. According to
Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating
Disorders, Inc., 86 percent of people with an
eating disorder develop it before the age of 20.
Recognizing an eating disorder in one's
self or in others can be difficult. They are
stereotypically seen as a white, heterosexual,
upper middle-class women's issue. While 90

percent of people with anorexia or bulimia
are women, people of both sexes and every
race and economic background can potential-
ly develop eating problems. Looking thin
does not make one anorexic. Having a
"healthy" or "normal" body does not mean
someone could not develop an eating disor-
der. The line dividing "normal" eating pat-
terns and eating disorders is often blurry.
Many people, although not suffering from
clinically defined eating disorders, have
unhealthy eating and exercise patterns. These
damaging eating patterns can grow into a full
time obsession that leaks into all parts of the
individual's life - eating disorders wreck
self-confidence in areas unrelated to one's
body, such as academic performance.
The sooner an eating disorder is identified
and treated, the easier and faster the recovery
- and the smaller the potential for physical
and emotional damage. Treatment addresses
behavioral issues such as learning how to
regam healthy eating habits and how to feel
and respond to hunger again - along with
psychological issues such as understanding
and coping with the eating disorder.
Letting go of an eating disorder can be a
scary prospect; people may feel it is
ingrained in their day-to-day life and a
unique part of their identity. It takes a lot of
hard work to transform self-destructive
behaviors into healthy, self-affirming ones.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week's
events offer the opportunity to not only edu-
cate, but to spark discussions and develop
the ongoing awareness campaign.

Michigan is still
This is an open letter to all those out there
who have wondered, silently or aloud,
whether the University has lost its hold as one
of the finest and most powerful institutions in
this land. Those who think we're closer to
UCLA than to Stanford, those who wonder if
maybe they should have attended Wisconsin
instead and those who feel even slightly envi-
ous of the "students" in East Lansing, pay
attention. The University is still the strongest
combination of academics and athletics in the
country. Period.
First, let's hit academics. The "U.S. News
and World Report College Guide" is the unof-
ficial Bible of school rankings. It is the oldest
and the most recognized. But before you get
dismayed at the University's borderline top 25
ranking, look at the most important statistic:
academic reputation. Even U.S. News agrees
that it is the most important aspect, and your
future employers or grad schools won't argue.
Every other part of the ranking formula is
meaningless in terms of the value of a col-
lege's degree, and the formula favors private
schools over public ones, which are always
subject to higher acceptance rates and class
sizes. Berkeley's academic reputation is the
sixth best in the country, yet it is ranked 22nd
overall as the highest ranked public school. In
terms of academic reputation, only 12 schools
have a higher reputation than the University,
and only Berkeley's is higher among public

the leader in academics, athletics

schools. So where it truly matters, the
University is bonerline top 10, not top 25.
When U.S. News ranks graduate and
undergraduate programs individually, the
University's strength is even more apparent.
Almost every single program or department
is ranked in the top 15, with many in the top
five.
In the past 10 years, Michigan has national
championships in football, basketball, hockey
and swimming, with a ton of top five finishes
in nearly every other sport. We are ranked in
almost every varsity sport this year, with the
notable exception of basketball, which is an
oft-heard complaint these days. But remem-
ber this: in the past 10 years, our basketball
program has had seven 20-win seasons, 10
postseason invitations, four Great Eight
appearances, three Final Fours, three champi-
onship games and one national champi-
onship. We aren't even really a basketball
school, and yet schools like UMass, UConn
and Cincinnati that have only basketball can't
even rival our success. Football and hockey
are Michigan institutions, and with good rea-
son. We have won more football games than
any other school, and our recent national
championship validates our long-held stand-
ing as the best. It won't be our last. Our hock-
ey program has more national championships
than any other program, and two in the last
three years only strengthens that domination.
THOMAS KULJURGIS

As if all our athletic successes aren't
enough, we have been first and foremost in
other areas as well: more research money
flows through here than any other school; we
are consistently tops in college apparel sales;
we have the largest alumni group.
As you head out for spring break, whether
to the slopes or the beach, keep this in mind:
You attend the finest academic and athletic
school in the country. You'll run into Tar
Heels, Bruins, Cavaliers and Badgers who
may all claim the same, but the simple fact is
this: We own them. No university does as
many things and does them as superbly as
ours, and that's a fact. Pick up a college guide
and remind yourself of why you chose
Michigan. If you see your friends from the
Ivy League, remind them that you are getting
an equal education - minus some rampant
grade inflation and for less money.
Michigan is truly home to the leaders and
the best, and don't treat that as hype.
Note: To those of you who let Michigan
State have the home court advantage at
Crisler: be ashamed. The fact that State "stu-
dents" have more pride and support for their
team is disgusting. We have owned State in
every way for decades, and we should never
let our little sister forget it;
- This viewpoint was written by
LSA senior Matt Pizzedaz, who can be
reached over e-mailatpizz@umich.edu.
TE ,NTATIVEIY SPEAKING

0

Tech support
Year 2000 problem must be fixed

mlthough the big date is just 10 months
away, experts still have mixed opinions
as to how well the federal agencies have been
dealing with the now infamous year 2000
computer bug. Monday, Rep. Steven Horn
(R-Calif.) who heads the House subcommit-
tee on government management, informa-
tion and technology issued the federal agen-
cies he had been monitoring a "C+" on their
handling of the so-called Y2K problem.
Horn issues reports on the agencies' Y2K
prevention every quarter - last November
he gave them a "D."
Primarily older computers and software
could malfunction on Jan. 1, 2000 because
programmers only entered two numbers to
indicate years in order to save time and disk
space - the year 1994 would have been
entered in as "94" for example. The result
will be that when the year 2000 begins, some
computers may think that it is actually 1900.
Such a mistake could produce anything from
annoying miscalculations to complete sys-
tem crashes.
President Clinton has given most federal
agencies until March 31 to become year
2000 compliant. Horn agreed with John
Koskinen, chair of the president's Year 2000
Council, who said that about 90 percent of
the federal computer systems should be able
to meet the deadline but remained concerned
that some critical agencies, such as trans-
portation and defense will not be prepared by
Jan. 1.
Experts' conflicting assessments of the
federal government's preparedness for a
problem as large and immediate as the Y2K
bug is disconcerting. At this point, any gov-
ernment or institution that stands to suffer
Y2K related problems should be sparing no
expense to correct its problems. Many orga-
nizations only began to think about how to
prevent millennial woes recently, although
-..s~s tearaw... ...i.,. a ,lmn in .."..numn n nt*

the problem.
The procrastination of several state and
local governments is even more upsetting.
The administration of California Gov. Gray
Davis can give no clear picture of the state's
readiness against Y2K and only began
addressing the Y2K problem last week. A
report issued last week by state auditor Kurt
Sjoberg stated that only four of the 20 most
important computer systems for the state
were completely protected against Y2K.
Sjoberg's report also found that the
California Department of Water Resources
had no plans to even test the computer that
schedules water delivery, citing financial and
time constraints.
Sens. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) and
Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) warned that
the Y2K problem could be "one of the most
serious and potentially devastating events
this nation has ever encountered," in a report
scheduled for release this week. The doom-
sayers may be wrong, but the amount of
uncertainty surrounding the situation has
spawned other problems. The federal reserve
intends to print more cash in the event that
people will withdraw their savings en-masse
from banks in fear that financial records will
be lost on account of the problem.
The federal government's assurances of
Y2K compliance are far from comforting.
With so many qualified experts voicing such
strong concern over the problem, it is no time
for governments to worry about costs.
Governments at the federal, state and local
levels must work diligently to correct the
problem until the fears of a vast majority of
alarmists have been allayed. Even if opti-
mists are right, both the public and politi-
cians must be satisfied with Y2K prepared-
ness in order to avoid potential disasters like
millions rushing to close their bank
accounts. The government cannot afford to
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MSA should not
ignore parliamentary
procedures
To THE DAILY:
I still don't understand why everyone is
so scared of a group that calls itself "By
Any Means Necessary." Last Tuesday's
MSA meeting exemplifies several facets of
this concept.
As I understand it, certain conservative
elements of MSA ignored established rules
of parliamentary procedure in order to carry
out their agenda. Dave Burden proposed to
reconsider the resolution to support yester-
day's National Day of Action. If the resolu-
tion were to be reconsidered, the motion
should have been made the day of the vote
on the resolution, before it had been acted
upon, and by one of its original proponents
(not Burden). MSA President Trent
Thompson overrode objections to these
obvious violations by fiat.
The motion barely passed by simple
majority, only to have these same conserva-
tive elements decide retroactively that the
motion had actually been to rescind the res-
olution of support. This should have
required a two-thirds vote, which the
motion did not have. The result is a decision
that nobody is taking seriously.
The conservatives' actions and the suc-
cess of the motion may have been a reaction
to DAAP's recent success with certain reso-
lutions. The will of the student body was
co-opted, as if Burden and Thompson and
others had temporarily formed the Coalition
to Shaft the Defend Affirmative Action
Party Renresentatives tv Any Means

l ---
the liberal, and both are necessary in order als in the recent past regarding even
to show those of us in the mainstream what Washington. During the most recent p
it means to act on our convictions. dential scandal - where it was rev

nts in
presi-
ealed

GEOFFREY REAM
LSA SENIOR
Public officials
should be held to
ethical standards
To THE DAILY:
I want to applaud the editorial of Feb. 23
calling for an ethics code for government
officials ("An ethical plan"). I wholeheart-
edly agree that an ethics code that requires
officials to be responsible and ethical in

that the president lied at least to the nation,
if not to a federal grand jury - the Daily
continuously praised the president for fight-
ing off those who would hold him account-
able for his lack of integrity and character.
While the impeachment trial is over,
the issue of ethics and integrity in gov-
ernment pervades. I hope that this editor-
ial is an instance where the Daily has
maintained its integrity, instead of giving
in to the partisan politics of hypocrisy.
Ethics and integrity are universal princi-
ples, and if we do not require them of our
government officials - or our media -
how can we possibly require them among
ourselves?
Unethical officials may compromise our

I

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