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March 31, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-31

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 31, 1999

LA, , II
wAktcb aq m at(till

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

Editor in Chief
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.


I'm not wearing
April Fool's Day is easily one of our
most underappreciated holidays.
First, there really isn't any merchandis-
ing to go with it. There's no phony senti-
mentalizing, no awkward lunches like
bosses' or secre-
taries' day. There's
no tremendous out-
lay of cash like
Valentine's, and to a f
lesser extent
Sweetest Day.
No one has to buy
anyone an April
Fool's Day card.
Intriguing notion
"Dear dad, you
mean so much to James
me, I just wanted to Miller
tell you that when Il
wrecked your car,
the police found the O#Tap
heroin I was selling,
and I told them it was yours. Only kid-
ding! April Fool's! Dad? Dad?"
Nor are there any decorations that go
along with the day itself. Which is nice
because it gives the holiday industry a
chance to take the week off before charg-
ing into the bunny rabbitlchocolate/ death
of Christ on the cross Easter extravagan-
But the real reason that April Fool's
Day is a great holiday is because it's just
like diplomatic immunity for the mean-
spirited and childish. For example:
My freshman year, my roommate, a
sadist, arranged to have the most beauti-
ful girl on our hall come into our room
when he wasn't around and flirt with me.
Heavily. Something short of a lap dance.

any pants ... April Fool's


Anyway, she left before any virtues were
sullied. He comes into the room a few
minutes later and asks why I'm so flus-
tered. I tell him the story as his smile
widens and when I ask him why, he just'
smiled and said "Um, April Fool's!"
I chased him across half of East Quad
with a nightstick. He slept in another
room for two days. But the point is that if
he had done that on any other day, I could
have killed him, and rightfully so. That's
the magic of AFD.
Secondly, I had this friend Marc who
when we lived in East Quad would always
leave things in my room. For days. Shoes,
jackets, books, papers, backpacks and
just leave them their forever, cluttering up
the already cluttered room and irritating
my roommate and 1.
So, on the magical day, we got him out
his room using a confederate. In his
absence, we took apart his bed and desk
and moved them into my room. We took
his posters, appliances and anything that
was on the floor. We stuffed his clothes
into the closet and closed the door. We
even swept his half. The only thing left in
there was his laptop with a scrolling mes-
sage that read "Marc, I think you left
something in our room."
On any other day, we would have been
arrested. What a terrific license this is.
Professors are, of course, a tempting
target. This is very challenging though.
There's very little that we do that they
have to take seriously. Say you have a
paper due that day. Turning in five pages
of his tax return is funny. He will look at
and say: "Hmm, oh those kids and their
shenanigans. Ellen, flunk him please.
And get me DPS on the phone." No net
effect here.

Water polo, soccer promoted to varsity status

GSIs are a bit easier to monkey with
because they have to have more and clos-
er contact with students. This is a start.
Discussion sections, already known to be
hotbeds of misbehavior, can erupt on
April Fool's Day. Have everyone respond
to different names. Swear there is no mis-
take. Look at the confused GSI like
they've suddenly developed massive
retardation. Snicker.
1t'8 better to have the people in greater
positions of power to attempt the prank,
as they have actual leverage.
Professors: Walk into class and start
the lecture with, "Okay, everyone turn in
your papers and we'll get started with the
rest of class." Ignore the whines of
protest. Make an altered syllabus to prove
that you're right. Be prepared for tears,
especially if you have pre-med students in
your class.
El Presidents: You sir, have a unique
position. It could be awesome. Send a
mass e-mail to all the EECS and
Engineering students saying that starting
fall semester, all virgins will be asked to
leave the University permanently. Stress
that it is in compliance with a new state
law and there's nothing you can do about
Start a bar fight at Rick's. Threaten to
expel all the Kinesiology students who
can't spell "Kinesiology." Announce that
graduation speaker Kofi Annan will be
replaced by Kathy Lee Gifford, and be
sure to include "If we all give her a warm
round of applause, she might just treat us
with a song!"
These are only a few suggestions. This
could be huge.
- James Miller can be reached over
e-mail at jamespm@umich.edu.


T he University has a rich tradition of
highly popular and successful varsity
athletics. Athletics have been one of the
University's strengths and will be further
strengthened next year, when men's soccer
and women's water polo receive varsity sta-
tus - a decision made last week by the
Board in Control of Intercollegiate
Athletics. The Board should be commended
for making this decision because it will
allow both of these sports the opportunity to
further develop their respective programs.
This decision also is beneficial to club
sports, which deserve recognition and the
opportunity to receive the benefits of being
a varsity sport, including scholarships,
expense-paid trips and equipment.
Both men's soccer and women's water
polo are two competitive club sports pro-
grams. Men's soccer has been incredibly
successful, winning numerous club national
championships and tournaments in the past
two years in addition to achieving a grow-
ing fan base and following within the
University community. This decision will
allow the program to build on its current
success as a club team and compete at the
highest level in collegiate athletics. Soccer
is the world's most popular sport - 4,000
youth in Ann Arbor alone play on organized
teams. Granting men's soccer varsity status
reflects upon the University's support for
the team - a decision that men's soccer
has been vying for since 1989.
Although it is not as popular as men's
soccer, women's water polo is nevertheless
currently ranked No. 14 in the country,
ahead of 27 varsity programs. For the past
decade, the team has been one of the top 10
teams in the country. The sport is not short
on success, but it lacks the necessary
resources to continue building on this.
Receiving varsity status will enable neces-

sary changes to take place that will further
develop the program and increase the popu-
larity of this sport.
Athletes participating in these two sports
previously have had to pay to compete in a
club sport. With varsity status, the
University will provide the necessary fund-
ing to run these programs - and in a more
professional manner. This move will open
up greater opportunities for students to
obtain athletic scholarships, which are only
open to athletes who are competing in
Division I sports. It will also allow the
opportunity to boost their programs by pro-
viding scholarships to potential athletes.
In addition to men's soccer and women's
water polo, women's lacrosse and women's
ice hockey were also considered by the
board but not selected. These two sports
should not give up their pursuit to receive
varsity status.
Club sports members have long been
paying their dues to compete. It is espe-
cially difficult for these clubs to run suc-
cessfully with limited funding. Funding
for University athletics is clearly based on
a sport's popularity and ability to generate
revenue - football will always receive
more funding than varsity soccer, no mat-
ter how many championships the latter
may win. Clearly, the Department of
Athletics is not short on cash - especial-
ly now that the price of season football
tickets for alumni were recently dramati-
cally increased. While that increase
seemed unnecessary and unfair to stu-
dents, some of the increase's revenue will
be used to fund the two new varsity teams.
Promoting athletes who play less well-
known sports opens up both athletic and
educational opportunities to a group of
students that might otherwise go unno-


GlaIs ceiling
Academia is still male dominated

A recent study conducted by the
Massachusetts Institute of
Technology found that gender discrimina-
tion is still prevalent among that universi-
ty's faculty, particularly in the fields of
mathematics and science. The report
shows that not only is the ratio of male to
female faculty greatly out of proportion
(in the science department male faculty
outnumber women 235 to 31), but women
in the faculty are far behind in salary,
teaching assignments, committee mem-
bership, awards and tenure. At a time
when women should be given treatment
equal to men, it is disquieting - though
not entirely surprising - that such dis-
crepancies continue to exist.
The results of the MIT study demon-
strate that academia, particularly math
and science, is still a male-dominated
field. Many of the women interviewed for
the study admitted to feeling marginal-
ized. Given the relative numbers of male
and female faculty members, combined
with the lack of women in top positions
among the staff, this is hardly a surprise.
And MIT is certainly not alone in show-
ing such a disparity; women have tradi-
tionally been underrepresented in math
and science. In fact, the University of
Michigan has never had a female depart-
ment head in any natural science-related
department. And the dearth of women in
the field, is surely not because they are
less qualified. Discrimination is still alive
anti mr .ati g nmathinoF unst he dune to

One of the more positive outcomes of
the MIT review is that some administra-
tors are now taking steps to amend the
inequalities revealed by the study. The
dean of MIT's School of Science, who has
championed the cause of women faculty
members for several years, has been aid-
ing the committee that conducted the
study in seeking ways to alleviate the
problem. While discrimination will not
go away overnight, this is clearly a step in
the right direction.
Because sexism is clearly still present
in the academic community, other univer-
sities should devote some of their
resources to conduct studies similar to the
one at MIT. Barring that, they might also
bring in observers from outside the uni-
versity to examine differences in salaries,
number of tenured professors and other
areas that currently show a disparity
between men and women. After all, gen-
der discrimination is not always blatant,
and a study of its manifestations on cam-
pus could ultimately prove to be helpful.
As MIT is doing, faculty and administra-
tors could begin taking steps toward elim-
inating the discrimination.
The University of Michigan should
follow MIT's lead in conducting a com-
prehensive study of women's salaries and
appointments in all academic depart-
ments, and specifically in the natural sci-
ences. As a leader in research with many
academic programs of similar quality as
MTT's denartments the University should

United States
should learn from
recent history
I remember as a boy asking my father
with tears in my eyes, "Why did this hap-
pen'?" as I viewed grainy footage of bull-
dozers pushing skeletons loosely covered
with skin into a pit at Belsen. My only
comfort at that time was the psychologi-
cal protection offered by the poor techni-
cal quality of the film of the day and the
grotesque distortions of the corpses.
Distortions that somehow, in some
way, made these victims seem something
other than men and women, children and
My father answered; he explained that
people did not know that such horrible
things were happening until it was too
late. Dad went on to explain that a horri-
ble war was being fought, and until the
Nazi enemy was nearly defeated there
was nothing anybody could have done for
the millions who died; starving in ghettos,
machine gunned in the fields and forests
of Russia, gassed in the death factories of
As a boy I was happy with this expla-
nation. I learned that Jews now had their
own state, and that a United Nations led
by America had been formed that they
and others would protect the world from
any further genocide against Poles,
Russians, Gypsies, Koreans, homosexu-
als, the mentally deficient, Jehovah's
Witnesses or little boys.
America is strong, her people basical-
ly decent and moral, our armed forces are
the strongest and most adept the world
has ever seen. Our allies are powerful, our
legitimate and credible adversaries few
and militarily weak.
I can read CNN on my desktop com-
Peace negotiator Fehmi Agani, news-
paper editor Baton Haxhiu and dozens of
other prominent intellectuals have now
been arrested and executed.
Hundreds of villagers have been
reportedly massacred and thousands are
missing or shipped to concentration
camps. Fully one quarter of the popula-
tion of Kosovo reportedly are now
refugees fleeing the Serbian murderers
that roam their land
Kosovo is a little place, but how many
bodies will it take before the United
States and her Allies will act in a mean-
ingful way to stop genocide? Troops must
be deployed now, before the only thing
they will be able to do is digitally film
bulldozers shoving dirt over graves filled
with Albanian men and women, children
and fathers.
If not, what am I to tell my son?
Running for MSA
requires support of
manV friends

and trust duringan election.
You find out who is willing to take
risks for you and be there for you.
Therefore, I want to shift the spotlight
to those who stood behind me, supported
me and practically ran for MSA with me:
Brian, David, Rory, Micah, Kym, Ankim
and friends99. Regardless of the results, I
will never forget your kindness and the
dedication you showed me.
Sanz did not
consider lives of
Branden.Sanz's recent column,
"Ignorance, naivete and plain old stupid-
ity - the 'U,'" (3/29/99) takes a hard-
nosed and uncompromising view of
activists on campus. Unfortunately, it is
full of unsupported sweeping generaliza-
tions, contradictions and paints a roman-
ticized portrait of the world he claims
others to be naive towards.
In claiming that activists are such due
to "a combination of an overactive mind,
lack of common sense, assurance of ones
own moral propriety and a total lack of
exposure to the real world," he spares no
room for exceptions or exemptions as if
there is a standard rule of what an
activist's life experiences are. I can
assure all that he does not have the
knowledge or insight to substantiate this
statement even though most University
students are expected to support claims
they make - for some reason, hyperac-
tive columnists think they are granted
He goes through the various grim
realities that he thinks activists are blind
to, but are just chapters in his vast book
of understanding.
Arrogantly, he describes the plight of
many domestic people then uses that fact
to delegitimize activists who are disgust-
ed with the sweatshop conditions
employed by U.S. corporations.
Then, he makes the case for the
United States' role as the world's police-

Sanz really believes that it should be and
is "the strongest that survives." But, that
is only because his mom doesn't work at
a sweatshop.
The irony in his naivete is that he
thinks he is actually more deserving than
the child whose village is being bombed
by U.S. airplanes at night.
Well, guess what? He isn't. Sanz did
nothing to land himself in the position
that gave him the opportunity and the
resources to become a University stu-
dent. e just as easily could have been
born in Bangladesh, where his fingers
would be used to assemble soccer balls
instead of typing on word processors.
It is a waste for him to use the reali-
ties of the world as reasons why activists
are stupid. Looking at the changes in
these realities (for example, apartheid in
South Africa) initiated at the campus
level, it becomes clear that this Darwinist
approach is just as naive as the phony
picture Sanz paints! In the end, I would
appreciate it if Sanz attacks the actual
issues and not the proponents of them.
After all, Sanz, a college student who is
using his own logic, would therefore have
no idea about the real world to even sup-
port his claims about its brutality (of
which a sober and level-headed approach
would reveal is not as simple as Sanz pro-
poses). See, his logic causes real prob-

Acv' . mjdt
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A j6-6



Letter was not
meant to offend
student groups
I would like to apologize to all those
who 1 offended with my letter on student
activism ("Student activism is getting out of
hand," 3126/99).
The intent of the letter was to be funny,
not to be a criticism of those groups who
attempt to change the university for the better.
After rereading the letter during publica-
tion, however, I realized that criticism was
exactly what the letter was.
While I do find the actions of some

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