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March 12, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 12, 1999

(IE Ā£itligtn &ilQ

What seems like far away is now closer to home

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Ml 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.

Major improvement
LSA faculty approves minor programs

SOMEWHERE ON THE OCEAN OFF
CUBA - Even though we were closer
to home than to Europe, the waiters sat
three other people at the table my mother
and I were sharing for
high tea on the last
day of our spring
break cruise.
Before long, the
man - a tour guide;
from Sweden leading
58 people on the trip
of a lifetime - was
asking me about the
review book I had left
sitting on the table. A
pleasant conversa- Megan
tionalist, he works in Schlmpf
a field related to mine Prescriptions
- taking doctors
who have spent years learning medicine
and teaching them how to be leaders. We
began talking about medical education, a
topic I had wanted to leave at home. And
soon, he was talking of his wife, the editor
in chief of the magazine sponsoring his
tour. Her decisions were yet another topic
we'd hoped to leave at home, across the
oceans.
I spent last week on a boat in the middle
of the ocean (and occasionally at ports of
call), but I have never felt so tied to home
on such a remote vacation.
True, we were largely able to escape real-
ity. I blissfully missed every word of
Monica and Barbara. We didn't see a news-
paper all week. We left answering
machines, cellular phones and pagers at
home. We deflected Michigan State fans
who wanted to act superior.
Instead, we climbed up a waterfall in the
middle of a jungle and snorkeled down to
coral reefs amid deep blue waters. We tast-

ed the salt water and felt warm sun rays. We
listened to a piano man in a nighttime bar
and ate (and ate) foods we could never jus-
tify at home. We let time slip by without
doing anything concrete. We could spend
quiet afternoons reading and watching the
water go by or move amid the bustle of a
pool party. We saw Cuba as an outline on
the horizon, not a political entity.
We tried to forget all the stresses and
tasks we'd left, and all that would be wait-
ing when we returned.
But due to an awfully real development at
home and the persistence of our travel agent,
we learned that telegrams cross bodies of
water and e-mail is accessible even if land is
not - albeit as long as the satellite is up.
We learned that thoughts of home haunt
you when you are most powerless - or
even reluctant - to act on them.
As technology and the effects of world
events bring all the world to a common
backyard, far away becomes a little more
like home. It's harder to lose yourself in a
vacation when remote islands feel and even
look a little like home.
We watched drinking games in the
Bahamas while knowing that the same
activity, if filmed inside a fraternity house,
would lead on the I1 p.m. news. I could
only sit in the sun for minutes before
visions of melanoma settled in. CNN was
almost always available on our stateroom
television.
We heard rumors of snow at home. We
waited in a harbor as people with medical
emergencies left for care in Miami, their
vacations abruptly over.
We met the ship's doctor. The coral reefs
are named for the visible Burger King, the
shopping is much like malls at home but
cheaper, and sometimes things aren't as
pristine and idyllic as you imagined from

the brochures.
But the water's clear blue, the skies have
only one puffy white cloud (that never flur-
ries flakes), the sunsets are as brilliantly
colored as the fish that swim two feet in
front of you and there are still small trea-
sures to be found and photographed or
brought home. There are vibrant flowers
and unique aromas. The natural scenery and
parts of the man-made atmosphere are
authentic.
The real world still went on with its busi-
ness last week - people went to work, stu-
dents went to class and studied, and history
moved forward another week.
We just missed it.
And the pictures - of reefs and jungles
and authentic Mexican restaurants - cer-
tainly show a world light years away from a
Michigan March. We learned about locales
we had only heard about before, now able to
speak from personal experience and wit-
ness about them. We ate Baked Alaska, lob-
ster and caviar. We tried snorkeling in the
ocean over shipwrecks and some of the pre-
mier reefs in the world. Things became as
beautifully simple as describing the fish we
saw, and as demanding as a two-and-a-half-
mile swim through the wind-blown ocean.
The Spanish our classroom-trained ears
heard was real and rapid.
The world had its ways of sidling in, still,
whether it was our Swedish tea companions
or news from home. It was impossible to
completely leave school at school or wor-
ries at home.
We can now get farther away than many
previous generations could - but never far
enough. As our scope of the world has
grown, its practical size has shrunken. Now
more than ever, it's a small world after all.
- Megan Schimpf can be reached over
e-mail at mschimpf@umich.edu.

01

E very passing day at the University
generates endless choices for stu-
dents. Beyond what people to befriend,
what extracurricular activities to pursue
and even what courses to take, there
remains the underlying question: Why
bother, where do all the options lead?
What lies ahead after. all the scholarly
planning and grueling hours at the library?
Irn the race to complete requirements for
what seems the "best-fitting" major, sig-
nificant desires may be forgotten or over-
looked. But students now will experience
less pressure while experimenting with
academic endeavors. On Monday the fac-
ulty of the College of Literature, Science
and the Arts voted unanimously to allow a
minor program. Students previously con-
fined to study just one area of interest or
double major will soon be able to broaden
horizons through choosing another con-
centration as a minor.
Encompassing minors into the
University LSA curriculum offers new
possibilities to students while facilitating
on-time graduation. Rather than struggling
to double major, students may opt to take
classes in various subjects and elect to
minor in something that strikes interest. A
minor essentially requires about half the
credits needed for a concentration. Minors
fill in the huge gap between selecting one
concentration compared with completing
two. The majority of today's universities
allow minors; thus this change keeps the
University up to par with competing
pupils. The minor program prompts
University students to try out different
marketable fields.

The meeting between the LSA Student
Government and faculty members left it to
each department to develop individual cur-
riculums for minors. But departments may
choose not to implement any new program
and, furthermore, no deadline stands for
when they have to make the decision.
Dates should be set by the LSA Student
Government for the departments so that
students can take advantage of the changes
soon. Members on the curriculum commit-
tee stated that if the departments work out
the details thoroughly by the semester's
end, then current students at the University
may choose minors as early as the upcom-
ing fall semester. The curriculum commit-
tee approves the proposals of each depart-
ment before minors may be incorporated
into a field of study. But with no set dead-
lines this process may waste time.
Minor programs may attract new appli-
cants to the University who would like a
concentration outside of their major but
wish to avoid a double major. In addition,
students with minors under their belts may
have more to offer potential employers. j
The decision to tackle a liberal arts
education lends itself to numerous choic-
es - possibilities likely to be neglected-
without a minor program. Departments
not offering minors limit learning by giv-
ing little room in one concentration or
create stress by giving too much work to
fully undertake double majors. Double
majors should no longer stand as the only
option beyond one field of study. A minor
program at the University can facilitate
students in the quest to make the right
choices.

Contract settlement is in everyone's best interest

We, the students of the College of
Literature, Science and the Arts, are
threatened with a drastically negative
impact upon the instructional envi-
ronment of the University of
Michigan. In this regard, we affirm
the central role played by Graduate
Student Instructors in this instruc-
tional environment and the legitimacy
of those GSIs to bargain collectively.
We further affirm that any strike of
GSIs will significantly disrupt both
the organization and the instruction
of most undergraduate classes.
Specifically, we are discouraged by
the stalled contract negotiations,
which threaten to injure the contrac-
tual relationship between students
and this University.

Therefore, the students of the
College of Literature, Science and the
Arts implore the University to protect
and to further advance the quality of
undergraduate education.
Accordingly, students of this college
encourage the University to grant rea-
sonable concessions to the GEG that
will construct a framework, within
the University budget, to meet the
demands of a living wage. Such con-
cessions should include wage
increases that exceed inflation and
that will continue to address the long-
term aims of graduate students.
Furthermore, the LSA students ask
that the University cement in this new
contract earlier agreements concern-
ing the compensation involved with
CHIP CULLEN

international GSI training.
While the student body recognizes
the University's duty to control costs
and manage resources and the GEO's
responsibility to bargain on behalf of
its members, the students of this col-
lege depend most vitally on instruc-
tion and the daily organization. of our
classes. Therefore, in order to ensure
their commitment to undergraduate
teaching and to prevent the increas-
ingly regular bargaining disputes, we
ask that a timely compromise be
instituted between the University bar-
gaining team and the GEO.
- This viewpoint was submitted
by LSA junior Jeff Irwin
on behalf offthe LSA
Student Government.
GRINDING THE NIB

Time out
Congressional term limits do not solve problems

I n 1994, the Republicans captured both
houses of Congress under the leadership of
Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and the party platform
outlined in the Contract with America. The
Contract with America was part of a plan to
bring back the "citizen legislator" and guar-
antee a vote on congressional term limits. But
with the 2000 elections rapidly approaching,
many of the Republicans who promised to
term limit themselves in 1994 are considering
running again. Whether or not these
Republicans seek re-election, the larger issue
of congressional term limits remains unre-
solved. And despite some advantages to term
limits, the American democracy will benefit if
term limits are not adopted in the future.
From the days of the Constitutional
Convention to the present day, term limits
have always been a salient issue in politics.
The adoption of the 22nd Amendment lim-
iting presidents to two full terms in office
led many to insist that Congressmembers
should be similarly limited. Others argued
that term limits legislation would guarantee
new faces and new ideas in Washington.
Instead of career politicians, the legislative
branch would be occupied by true "citizen
legislators." But despite these arguments,
the overall effect of congressional term lim-
its would be negative.
In Congress, seniority is often power. It
may take a representative or senator over ten
years to rise to a position in Congress that
profoundly influences legislation. Imposing
term limits would end congressional careers
before a representative had a chance to make
a difference.
Furthermore, while those who argue in
favor of term limits insist that it will bring new
ideas to the federal government, the actual
.A&t wmiln he nnthinn of the nrt Rv ser-

ing congressmen out of office just as they
would be gaining the knowledge and congres-
sional know-how necessary to introduce new
ideas, term limits would shift power to the
hands of congressional staffers, interest
groups, lobbyists and members of the bureau-
cracy. These political actors have agendas
more rigid than most Congressmembers, and
with their newfound power, ideas would not
change, but stay the same.
Also, instead of favoring "citizen legisla-
tors" by removing career politicians from
office, term limits would attract the upper
class to Congress in disproportionate num-
bers. By favoring those citizens who can
afford to take a few years off from their jobs,
term limits would attract doctors, lawyers and
independent business executives to public
office. But middle- and lower-class workers
would be less likely to run, fearing a difficult
return to the workforce after their mandatory
terms had expired. Instead of a government
representing the general population's best
interest, the result would be a congress
attuned to the issues that confront the wealthy.
In addition to these drawbacks, it cannot
be overlooked that term limits are essentially
undemocratic. By taking the power of choice
away from the voter, the integrity of the
democracy would be compromised. Instead,
as the case is without term limits, a majority
of voters supporting a congressman should be
able to keep him in office as long as they see
fit.
Term limits have their advantages.
Incumbents are wildly successful in American
politics, and new faces may do some good.
But to enforce term limits by law is undemo-
cratic. Term limits should continue to be
enforced the old-fashioned way -- by the

Groesbeck will be
'dearly missed'
To THE DAILY:
The recent murder-suicide of Natasha
Quereshi and Chris Groesbeck have
brought the University yet another tragic
loss. While many students have been honor-
ing the memory of Quereshi, I feel it neces-
sary to speak about my former coworker,
Chris Groesbeck. Chris worked in the din-
ing room at the Executive Residence in the
Executive Education Center. His kind, gen-
tle personality allowed his co-workers to
warm to him and to enjoy his positive atti-
tude. At the time of his death, he was no
longer working at the EEC but was surely
onto better and brighter endeavors.
The news of his death has greatly sad-
dened those at the Executive Residence who
had the opportunity to work with and know
him. Although the events of his personal life
may have been somewhat different from what
we may have known, he will be dearly missed.
GAYLE GIFFIN
LSA SENIOR
Faculty should
support GEO
efforts
To THE DAILY:
I write in support of the graduate stu-
dents' and Graduate Employees
Organization's walk-out, of all underpaid
and under-appreciated members of the aca-
demic community, of all teachers who make
up the ever-increasing ranks of the academ-
ic lumpenproletariat.
The University administration, particu-
larly Provost Nancy Cantor, is fond of mak-
ing comparisons between salaries and bene-
fits of University GSIs and GSIs at other Big
Ten institutions. C'mon, Nancy, we all know
that the only comparisons that really matter
are those with "peer institutions.' When we
compare stats at the University of Michigan
to those at the University of California at
Q2 A,, . xy 0r ..-aA th i niy.r+., n

,49, op
ii

lines? And is this the sort of tactic we
should be teaching our students?
If the University is so concerned with
undergraduate education, as they constantly
claim in their press releases, then why not
pay a living wage to the people who actual-
ly teach the undergraduates? Why are so
many courses at the University taught by
non-permanentafaculty? I fear that if the
University continues down the path of treat-
ing its teachers unfairly, its once honored
reputation as one of the best and most pres-
tigious public institutions in the country
will be but a faint and distant memory.
MEG GALLUCCI
UNIVERSITY FACULTY
GSIs must turn out
in large numbers
for strike vote
TO THE DAILY:
GEO is considering a strike concerning its
current contract negotiations with the
University, but none of the issues involved
approaches the level of seriousness necessary
to justify this action. In my opinion, there has
been only one year in recent memory when a
strike was justified - the year when the
I iniveit unilaterallv tried in mnve everyone

strike. On Sunday evening, GEO will conduct
a vote to decide on future job action. To make
the right decision, the GEO leadership needs a
vote that accurately reflects GSIs' sentiments.
It is the responsibility of all GSis to vote so
that an unjustified or unsupported job action
is not authorized.
DAVID MARSHALL
RACKHAM
Labor activists have
much to consider
TO THE DAILY:
The ongoing efforts by student labor
activists to improve labor standards is
extremely noble, but utopian. Let me stress
that if it were feasible, I would be elated to
improve the plight of workers who have to
deal with miserable conditions. However, I
urge student activists to examine the prob-
lem in greater depth and consider the possi-
ble repercussions.
What is the cost of such a change?
Increasing the wages of workers may
induce companies to lay-off many of the
workers. What prevents the companies from
mechanizing the process and reducing the
number of employed laborers? If children
were prevented from working, would the
cstudent ativists hableo in cnmnennate the

I

ainnrnval of the votine nzihlic.

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