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March 22, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-22

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4A -_The Michigan Daily - Monday, Marh 22, 1999

clirtrbtMatt BtfoI

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 WAJ LACE
Editorial Page'Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
Daily's editorialboard. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

LessIAL is more

A studenti's value
ssues are not always as cut and dry as
they first seem. There are many angles,
hues and perspectives to every matter and
we must consider all of them to make
effective yet fair rules and guidelines.
Just ask the
Philadelphia federal
judge who earlier
this month tossed .
out the National
Collegiate Athletic
Association's three-
year-old policy on
academic standards.{
Judge Ronald
Buckwalter's deci-
sion effectively pro-
hibits the NCAA " . .
from enforcing Scott
Proposition 16, a Hunter
code established in Roll Through
1996 that establishes the Soul
minimum requisite
scores on college
entrance exams for all college athletes.
The rationale behind the judge's ruling
stems from the NCAA's own findings that
the standardized test rule appreciably hurt
the chances of African Americans vying
for spots on sports teams, because - I'll
just say it- black athletes on average
earn lower scores on the SAT and ACT
than their counterparts.,
In the wake of his decision, there has
been a national backlash from all corners
of the country. Athletically challenged
students like us are angry, claiming that
it's already way too easy for athletes to
get into college in the first place and that
guidelines be more stringent - not more
lax. Some colleges are defiant, resolving
to ignore any slackening of the terms of
Proposition 16. Editorial writers and

cannot be judged
columnists, their pens ablaze with anger,
are also insisting that the minimum score
must stand so that college athletes will
have a fighting chance of graduating -
not to mention succeeding in the real
world once professional teams reject
them.
But many of these people have altogeth-
r missed -- or ignored ,- the point of
Buckwalter's ruling. He does not claim
that entrance guidelines are just too strict.
In fact, we all know that just about anyone
in college - white, black or plaid -
scored an 820 out of 1600 on the SAT.
Certainly, students who did not earn this
score would do better to spend the bulk of
their time fortifying their academic skills
- not their athletic ones.
Buckwalter does not claim that there
should be no requirements for college
athletes. No rational person can argue
that all people can survive through four
years of college - especially when
immersed in a demanding collegiate ath-
letic program.
What the judge is claiming - and this is
key - is that the rule differentially affects
the athletes who are conten ers for spots
in college. He did not tear the rule down
because it is wrong in principle, but
because he believes it forecloses opportu-
nities to a segment of applicants.
There is really no denying that stan-
dardized tests are biased. Not only along
cultural lines, but also along gender and
socioeconomic lines as well. That is why
certain groups typically score lower than
others.
Do you honestly believe that the average
girl is dumber than the average boy? Do you
honestly believe that the average poor per-
son is inherently stupider than the average
aristocrat? And do you honestly believe the

by one test
average minority is more obtuse than the
average white student?
There must be some mechanism in
place to make these rifts vanish so that all
athletes will have an equal shot at earning
a spot on a college sports team. And until
this mechanism falls into place, the sys-
tem probably cannot be deemed fair.
After all, sonie research has found that
groups who score lower on the SAT wind
up with excellent GPAs. As long as the
SAT measures a student's ability only
moderately well, the NCAA should oblig-
ate itself to try to accommodate for the
tests' weaknesses.
The NCAA now has a chance to redraft
guidelines that will be fair to everyone.
This does not mean that guidelines should
be more relaxed. (In fact, I personally
think the bar is set a little too low
already.) But this does mean that the
association should not measure athletes
on a scale that basically reflects how
familiar a student is to prevailing majori-
ty culture.
Perhaps, a new set of guidelines could
reflect high school GPA, an instructor's
assessment of the student's ability or
some other factor that better assesses stu-
dents' true aptitude. So, instead of com-
plaining that Judge Buckwalter is now
making it too easy for black athletes to
get into college, perhaps we should look
at his true point - that certain applicants
are differentially affected. Maybe then
the NCAA could get down to the real
business of making the playing field level
for all athletes.
Hmmmm ... Where have we heard all
this before?
- Scott Hunter can be reached over
e-mail at sehunter@umich.edu.

No-ads policy preserves 'U' tradition

S eeing the word "sale" in a storefront
window stimulates human temptation
to at least take a closer look at the mer-
chandise. With the words "for free," for-
get it; the sales products often go in a
matter of minutes. Yet sometimes free
merchandise has a catch that sacrifices
principles. When recently faced with 'the
dilemma of whether or not to accept a
donation of electronic equipment for
Michigan Stadium that included score-
board advertising, the University wisely
turned down the offer. StadiaNet pro-
posed a new Sony JumboTron system for
the football stadium, which would in turn
grant the company advertising rights dur-
ing games and thus force the University
to break with tradition. Ultimately the
Athletic Department voted against
accepting the new equipment, because of
the long-standing ban on advertising
within Michigan Stadium.
Rather than taint University athletics by
bringing marketing into Michigan Stadium,
the University spent approximately $7.6
million to purchase the JumboTron screens.
The buy required consent from StadiaNet
due to a deal between the Oklahoma based
company and Sony. Paying the fee main-
tains the purity of sports on the college level
and keeps fans' eyes focused on the game.
In contrast to the University, the other 12
national college campuses where StadiaNet
has installed electronic equipment all
entered a marketing partnership with the
supplier. Receiving the equipment at no
monetary charge nonetheless puts a cost on
the game. Oklahoma State, one of the uni-
versities now affiliated with StadiaNet,
found that the JumboTron's advertising dis-

turbs the college games. Commercial spots
spanning 30-seconds in length and com-
plete with sound deter spectators from
game announcements and action. Players'
skills should be celebrated for on the field
heroics rather than combining fame with
fortune from the media.
Prohibiting advertising in Michigan
Stadium bears no effect on the costs students
pay to attend the University. Athletic funds
remain separate from University tuition fees
so complying with the proposed StadiaNet
deal would only compromise integrity, not
University student and research funds. The
Athletic Department spent almost $14 mil-
lion on enhancements of Michigan Stadium
this year, all financed by independent
resources. The nearly eight million dollars in
departmental funds went into electronic ren-
ovations - the new video scoreboards at the
north and south ends of the stadium, a
revamped Bose sound system and a new tele-
vision production center at Crisler Arena.
The Athletic Department additionally
installed various television monitors sur-
rounding the stadium walkway so spectators
do not miss the game while at the food stands
or by the restrooms. All the stadium elec-
tronic modifications have improved the
experience for the spectator and sustained
University pride.
After raising Michigan Stadium's official
seating capacity to 107,501 this year - mak-
ing it the largest college-owned facility in the
country - all these changes will be appreci-
ated by both competitors and the faithful
Maize-and-Blue fans. The Athletic
Department's no-ads policy inside Michigan
Stadium helps maintain the University's
focus on tradition.

0

Some history lessons are worth attending

By Jeffrey Kosseff
Daily Editorial Page Editor
I am Jewish, but only by birth. I am not
religious; I've only been to temple for my
friends' bar and bat mitzvahs. Being agnostic
has distanced me from much of the Jewish cul-
ture. I've never known what it was like to go to
the kosher deli regularly or eat .
meat and dairy products on sep- CONPE
arate plates. I've been to some
Passover seders, but most of the E
time I didn't know what they Thuarsd
were saying (I was always asked > Iin N
to read the four questions in leCture by
English.) To my grandmother's
dismay, I never had a bar mitz-
vah, complete with a band, ;.::.
dance floor and a lot of presents
in $18 multiples. There is, how-
ever, one strong connection 1
have to Jewish culture. Like mil-
lions of Jews (and non-Jews), Berpy
many of my ancestors were
killed in the Holocaust.
I have heard many survivors speak of the
horrors inflicted upon themselves and others
during the early '40s, but I just cannot visu-
alize it. It is impossible to understand some-
thing so horrific without having experienced
it. It makes me feel sickeningly fortunate to
live in a free country at a time when I don't
fear having my life taken away from me. I
don't fear having all normalcy snatched out

of my hands and placed into the hands of
beasts. I don't fear seeing my loved ones
murdered in front of me by the government.
I don't fear losing my house, my car, my
worldly possessions, my job and my life
because a hateful person has taken control of
my country's government. We live in a civi-

RENMMO
E3OCAUS
whermases

lized society now, right?
Unfortunately, civiliza-
tion does not always save
people from hatred. While
the Internet was not around
in the '40s, there were many
signs of civilization, such as
the automobile, radio and
airplanes. Some U.S. politi-
cians who are still in office
today wereabeginning their
careers at that time. The
'40s is not such a distant,
unimaginable time period.
Civilization will not prevent
mass deaths from occurring.
Look at Bosnia. Look at
Rwanda. Look at Iraq,
of people are dying from

The key to preventing human rights viola-.
tions from occurring in the future is education.
I hear everyone say that we must not forget the
Holocaust so it doesn't happen again. It is hap-
pening again. It has always been happening.
Innocent people are dying due to political turO
moil. People in Bosnia are being killed due to
their race and religion. This may seem distant
to us in our cozy country, but deadly human
oppression is common in many parts of the
world. Education on the Holocaust is more
necessary than ever, especially when our own
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has been
affiliated with the Council of Conservative
Citizens, which published an article about the
Holocaust stating that "the Jews' motto is
never forget, and never forgive.' One can'.
agree with the way they've turned spite intW .
welfare billions for themselves." When anti-
semitism reaches the upper echelons of power,
we know there are still many people who need
education.
The University's Hillel chapter, for the
twentieth year, has taken two weeks to educate
the campus on the Holocaust. The organizers
realize that Holocaust survivors' stories must
live on.Through memorials, lectures and meet-
ings with survivors, members of the University
community will are given a wonderful oppor-
tunity to remember what happened. Look at
what happens when we forget.
- Jeffiey Kosseff'can be reached
over e-mail atjkossef@umich.edu.
GRINDING THE NIB

Wrong direction
State should not increase marijuana penalties

hunger caused by U.S. trade sanctions.
While these are not as widespread as the
Holocaust, is there really a way to measure
tragedy? And is there any guarantee that
they will not become as large, or larger, than
the Holocaust. I guess we have to become
more civilized.

This past week, a committee in the
state Senate voted unanimously to
bring a bill revising Ann Arbor and East
Lansing marijuana penalties to debate
before the full Senate. Support for the bill,
which will raise the current $25 fine to up
to $100 and 90 days in jail, was garnered
after the committee viewed photographs of
diseased lungs, testimony from drug coun-
selors and a videotape of a teenager under
the influence of marijuana. The Senate
should use its time more wisely and focus
on other issues. t
A recent study by the Institute of
Medicine, a branch of the National
Academy of Sciences, concluded that
marijuana has medical value for pain
relief and reducing nausea in cancer and
AIDS patients. It also reduces eye pres-
sure for glaucoma patients. Furthermore,
.the study found that marijuana is not a
gateway drug that leads to the use of
harder drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Given these new findings, the state

in the Detroit Free Press finds that from
1991-96, minimum sentences for nonas-
saultive crimes increased an average of 8.4
months, minimum sentences for assaultive
crimes increased 6.4 months and sentences
for drug crimes increased by 4.4 months.
The increase in assaultive crimes
should be much greater than the less dan-
gerous drug and nonassaultive criminals,
who are being locked up for similar
lengths of time. The crime rate has been
decreasing in Michigan during the past
few years, but state prisons and jails can-
not continue to house dangerous criminals
if they are overflowing with low-level drug
offenders.
The state Senate's actions are also ques-
tionable because they do not represent the
opinions of a majority of East Lansing and
Ann Arbor citizens. In a representative
government, the representatives in
Congress are meant to express the opin-
ions of their constituents, and there has
been no public outcry in East Lansing or
Ann Arbor for stricter marijuana penalties.
Without any mandate from Ann Arbor and
East Lansing residents, the Senate should
hesitate to pass any marijuana restriction
laws.
In response to the Senate's action, The
Ann Arbor News quoted Ann Arbor
Mayor Ingrid Sheldon as saying "The cit-
izens of Ann Arbor made a conscious
decision to have a lesser penalty because
they would rather spend the time on edu-
cation and prevention." Instead of
increasing the existing marijuana fines,
the state Senate should promote a more
effective method of drug regulation -

CHIP CULLEN

MSA should do
more to serve
student body
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to take this opportunity to
tell the University community why I am the
best candidate for the Michigan Student
Assembly.
In order to run "and make a difference,"
you have to be dissatisfied with the current
state of student government.
I feel that right now MSA is a joke. The
people who are currently are on it and those
who are running are nothing more than
either radicals who represent their own
views or elitist politicos who need some-
thing to look good on their resume.
I am different. I'm running to shake up
MSA. No longer will I just sit by and com-
plain about the stupidity of MSA.
I am going to do something about it. I
would never let incredulous MSA motions
like sanctions on Iraq ever pass without a
fight.-
I'm not going to make any hollow
promises like cutting tuition or having a
student regent. Instead, I give a platform of
reality.
I would like to fund a student's bike air
pump. This will enable students and facul-
ty with bikes to fill their tires when they are
flat. Currently, there is only one place to go
on campus, and that is a private bike shop.
I would like to come up with ideas to
ease the biker/pedestrian/automobile con-

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Senate should instead focus on other
alternatives to curb drug use.
Rather than raising the existing fines,
the Senate should focus on increasing
drug education and prevention programs.
Increasing the fines will only serve to put
more low-level drug offenders in jail.
This does not solve the problem of drug
use; it only temporarily stops it. By
increasing drug education and prevention
programs, the state Senate would mitigate
the number of drug offenders appearing
in the first place.
The new bill is also a sign that
Michigan is sending the wrong people to

Candidates always talk about cutting
tuition. How about cutting MSA fees?
Let's start with the source that we can
actually control.
If you agree with any of the above, or
would like a legitimate change in the pas-
sive, static form of MSA, than I am your
candidate. I would appreciate your vote.
Thanks, and have a nice day!
DAVID TAUB
LSA JUNIOR
Daily letters are as
predictable as Mad:

extremely offended by (any news story, *
previous letter, campus event or any other
damned thing).
Having grown up in (trendy, upscale,
upper-class suburb), I am intimately
aware of the plight of (another group).
(Other person who holds an opposing
view) is obviously a
(racist/sexist/bigot/etc.), and is, in fact, a
member of a vast (racist/sexist/bigot/etc.)
conspiracy, making (him/her) worse than
(Hitler/Stalin/Lucifer).
If we don't (drive out/silence/decapi-
tate) these people, our society will crum-
ble back into (the Dark Ages/rubble/the
Reagan years).
All hail the (fawning, sycophantic
adjective) Jessica Curtin!

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