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April 13, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-13

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 13, 1999

UIIe~itz £iittu~ilg

'U' activist groups -the New Greek System

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

A t the University, a great many traditions
abound. We've got a history of activism.
Back in the heyday, you couldn't walk across
campus without tripping over a group of peo-
ple protesting increases in tuition, the

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.

Vietnam War or some-
thing equally pivotal.
Similarly, the
University's Greek
system has been a
long-standing tradi-
tion in Ann Arbor.
Some of the houses on
this campus have been
around for, well, prob-
ably just about forever.
Both traditions
continue to this very
day. One can hardly
walk around campus
without overhearing
some unshaven,
warm-up-pants-wear-
ing, dingy-white-cap-
donning Abercrombie
saying "Yo, what up

ULcing ie
'U' needs life science funding be competitive

Jack
Schillaci
Siam It t
the Left
& Fitch afficionado
kid?" to one of his

For the sake of space, I won't talk about
the impoverishment of political and social
discourse.
But I will say that these two grand tradi-
tions have a lot in common. In fact, many of
the relatively young activist groups may very
well become the New Greek System.
Take, for instance, the dress codes. The
Greek code, as briefly outlined above, offers-
a restricting array of expensive brand names.
The activist's clothing, if the photo displayed
in the recent edition of Time Magazine is any
indication, is something roughly equivalent
to a (very) dressed down version of the
Greek system. Like the hangover outfit col-
lected from the bottom of the dirty clothes
pile, these outfits usually remind one of for-
mer MTV VJ Kennedy, who is renowned the
world over for her absolutely no-time-invest-
ed style. My guess is that there's a great mar-
ket to be had out there for oversized, poorly
made clothes and stylists who can give hair
that chic never-been-combed look.
And just like it's hard to find a Tri Delt
who isn't wearing platforms, one can rarely
find the activist-type who isn't wearing
Birkenstocks, especially if it's the dead of
winter and there's every reason not to wear
Birkenstocks.
And look at the lingo. Sorority sisters
enjoy putting the word "like" into a lot of
sentences, and hyperactive activists like
putting the words "demands," "justice,"
"scab" and "oppression" in their
Indeed, the similarities don' end at the
individual level. Walking out onto the Diag
during the Feminist Fair evoked images of
Greek Week. A dunk tank, bean bag toss and
tables about different organizations. Can
anyone spell Jello Jump? And in keeping
with the similarities, the Feminist Fair even
crowned a Ms. Feminism. Awhile earlier, the
Greek community anointed one of the Sig

Eps Mr. Greek Week.
The big similarities, however, will come
in the fall. As is the case every year, the fall
will bring droves of freshman hell-bent on
finding their niche at the University. Like
every other year, many said freshmen will
pack into Greek mass meeting. But the fra-
ternities and sororities will have new compe-
tition as the New Greek System begin their
rush.
Just think of the potential rush activities.
Rather than going from house to house, eat-
ing relatively well-prepared food and talking
to current fraternity and sorority members,
activist initiates can hang out eating tofu and
veggie burgers while talking about the sexu-
al politics of meat (whatever that is). To
determine which group they want to join,
would-be members meet with each and
decide which one of them most excites their
sense of righteous indignation.
The bid system, needless to say, will not
be used because it's not very egalitarian.
For initiation, activist members will not
wear pins, but will instead don 15 slogan
buttons, among them one stating "No Free
Press or News wanted here." Rather than a
formal, members will dress up in their best
non-sweatshop, non-wool clothing, pile into
a bus, and go somewhere to yell at elected
representatives.
And finally, the week that weighs so
heavily in so many initiates' minds will come
- hell week. Rather than hours of hazing
and sleep deprivation, activists-to-be will
have to spend oh, I don't know, 51 hours
camping out in an administrator's office.
Watch out, Greeks, you've got competi-
tion. The New Greek System is on the way,
and believe me, there's no way to keep them
quiet.
-Jack Schillaci can be reached over
e-mail atjschilla@umich.edu.

T he possibility of improving the
University in the field of life sci-
ences could finally become a reality. Ever
since taking office, University President
Lee Bollinger has pushed for a life sci-
ence center at the University.
Life sciences are not only an important
part of liberal arts education but an area of
research where the University is currently
lacking. Bollinger will most likely present a
proposal to the University Board of Regents
next month. He needs to ensure that the pro-
posal for the center be presented as soon as
possible in order to benefit students and
allow the University to become the leading
research institution in the nation.
The University has .a solid reputation
for its strong engineering and business
programs, which rank highly compared to
other universities. Yet it has lagged
behind in the field of life science - the
University currently ranks 21 st nationally.
The center would help the University
attract top researchers in their respective
fields - important since the University
lost many high level geneticists in the
early '90s to rival research centers.
A life science center provides a great
opportunity for Bollinger to take advan-
tage of the situation and transform the
University into one of the leaders in the
field of life science. Such a move will
further enhance the reputation of the
University.
The proposed life sciences center is
expected to have its own curriculum and
faculty appointments. This will benefit
students in addition to the University. The
center will allow undergraduate students

to learn from leading faculty members of
their respective fields. More importantly,
it will allow undergraduate students to
have the opportunity of participating in
interdisciplinary programs.
Undergraduate students will not only
be limited to a single field, but have the
opportunity to explore different disci-
plines; such as social sciences, humani-
ties, law, business, physics and biology.
Furthermore, the proposed life science
center will bridge the gap between under-
graduate and graduate levels. Therefore it
will allow undergraduates to gain an
understanding of different disciplines
before committing to the field in which
they wish to concentrate.
The life science center is still in the
planning stages and the source of
prospective funding is being debated -
the Life Science Center will cost the
University at least $200 million. Part of
the funding is expected to come from the
state of Michigan, through the recent
tobacco settlement. Gov. John Engler
should approve using tobacco funding for
the life science center.
Not only does this center benefit the
University, it is expected that the facilities
would be shared with Wayne State and
Michigan State University. This will ben-
efit the entire state. The University's life
sciences have long lagged behind the
nation - otherwise, the University is
arguably the top research institution in the
nation. It is time for the University to step
up its program to benefit the students.
The University needs to increase its depth
in of life sciences.

brothers or a Bebe-clad, nasal, three-inch-
heel-wearing mascara believer clicking her
tongue.
Similarly, it's hard to walk through the
Diag without someone protesting something
or other. Be it BAMN or some other incred-
ibly charming group chanting in unison, it's
essentially the same thing. It's like listening
to a bad reading of an even worse script:
"Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! We want to protect
(insert defenseless group here) from the
oppression of (insert oppressors here). We
must stop the (racist, sexist, exploitative,
totalitarian) system that dominates American
(society, government, media). We won't stop
until our demands are met!" Like a psychot-
ic version of Mad Libs.

0'

THOMAS KuLJuRGIs

TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

The Rev. Jesse
Jackson is not
anti-semitic

Unequal aid
Minorities lack equal Medicaid coverage

A recent article in The New York Times
points to a national disparity in
Medicaid availability. According to the
Times, 34 percent of the 31 million Hispanic
people living in the United States have no
health insurance. And while the situation
grows increasingly worse for Hispanic
Americans, other ethnic groups are left sim-
ilarly uncovered. According to the article, 22
percent of blacks and 12 percent of non-
Hispanic whites lack health insurance as
well. Overall, the numbers equate to 43 mil-
lion people in the nation without health
insurance, up from 31 million a decade ago.
These statistics point to a lack of national
health care which affects all groups - and
something needs to be done to change this in
the future.
While citizens are often quick to point
to the government when a problem arises,
Medicaid is a complex program that
inhibits blame from being placed on any
one actor. Two weeks ago, President
Clinton signed into law a bill which would
prohibit the eviction of nursing home resi-
dents simply because they rely on
Medicaid to pay their bills. This bill comes
after a $48 billion dollar, 10-year program
enacted two years ago to extend govern-
ment health care to all poor children.
According to The Detroit News, Vice
President Al Gore promised that the
administration will seek further legislation
to "help ensure that funds designed to help
our nation's elderly, poor and disabled are
not siphoned away by con artists and the
unscrupulous."
But with the positive measures taken by
the federal government to assure national

fact that as part of welfare reforms from
three years ago, legal immigrants must wait
five years before obtaining national health
insurance.
And the problem is not only in other
states across the nation - it is right here at
home, too. According to the Detroit Free
Press, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital-Oakland
cut its Medicaid membership nearly in half,
which will result in 3,400 of the organiza-
tion's Medicaid members having to find
new doctors. Similarly, the Free Press
reported that the Detroit Medial Center, the
Henry Ford and the St. John Health
Systems - three of metro Detroit's largest
health care providers - each posted multi-
million dollar losses last year due in part to
lower expected Medicaid reimbursements
from the state.
In order for the government to stop waf-
fling and support Medicaid wholehearted-
ly, the public needs to support universal
care as well. And while many point to the
negative aspects of universal health care,
Medicaid has many social and economic
advantages. Consider the fact that the
emergency room care usually given to
patients who lack health care is more
expensive than the care they would receive
under a health care plan. And by allowing
people to treat problems early rather than
waiting until emergency room care is
needed, Medicaid helps improve people's
quality of life.
Lack of funding for Medicaid is a
problem that affects us all, not just the
poor or the sick. While the government
has taken some positive steps toward sup-
porting Medicaid, full public support is

TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Jeffrey
Kosseff's Apr. 12 viewpoint criticizing the
Rev. Jesse Jackson, and stating that he does
not fit the standards necessary to serve as a
diversity leader due to an offhand comment
that he made in 1983.
Jackson is not an anti-semite. He is a
leader who works each and every day at
healing divisions within our society. Like
many others, he has fallen prey to the
media, who are always looking to topple
successful people, particularly when those
people are black. Like his predecessor and
mentor, Martin Luther King Jr., he not only
wants to bring people together, but is quick
to give credit to those who also further the
cause.
Yes, in a private conversation in 1983,
Jackson did call Jews "Hymies," and did
refer to New York City as "Hymietown."
While this is unacceptable, it was a private
conversation and he gave a tear-filled apolo-
gy. He constantly recognizes the large role
that Jews played in the Civil Rights
Movement.
To this day, he stresses the belief that it
is imperative that Jews and blacks work
together, citing a common tradition of
oppression and social activism. Like most
humans have done, Jackson made a nega-
tive remark on one occasion in private. I'm
sure that we have all said something bad
about a friend or relative when under
extreme stress or anger, and it was presum-
ably under these circumstances that
Jackson made his comment.
That comment has haunted him in the
Jewish community for 16 years, even though
his words and actions have shown that it was
a fluke, and that he truly respects the Jewish
people'as his friend and his brother.
It is now in our hands to heal the breech.
In recent times, black-Jewish relationships
have faltered, and it is our responsibility as
Jews to accept Jackson's apology. In doing
so, individuals and society at large have a
great deal to gain and nothing to lose.
Jackson is a friend to the Jewish people.
TODD MICHAELS
LSA SENIOR
An open letter to
the Rev. Jesse
Jackson
TO THE DAILY:
I attended the speech given by the Rev.
Jesse Jackson last Friday at Hill
Auditorium in which he spoke in defense
of the University's policy of affirmative
action in admissions. Jackson made the
analogy of football and life, where if white
players must run only eight yards for a
first down, and blacks 12, there would
never be any equality. He went further to

policies and, most importantly, slanting the
playing field against non-minority appli-
cants? When equally qualified and talented
individuals cannot fairly compete for the
same spot, but rather are hampered or
advanced by their race, we cannot hope for
the racial neutrality and equality which was
hoped for by the reverend. He has stated
that University admissions are not solely
about grades.
Neither, however, are admissions solely
about race. Until this mindset has been
changed, how can we reasonably expect any
sort of racial harmony in our University
community? .JASON BOURNE
LSA JUNIOR
'Peace with bombs'
in Kosovo is a
'hard sell'
To THE DAILY:
I was shocked and saddened to see many of
my fellow classmates recently hold a "Pro-
Bombing" rally on the Diag. I know it's not the
'60s, but aren't rallies supposed to condemn
war? Apparently not in the minds of one group
of students.
The events taking place in Yugoslavia
are' an issue few students know much
about. I can't blame them for not taking a
greater interest; after all, our generation
is isolationist. With no fears of being
drafted and with the world's strongest
military, we have become desensitized to
terms such as "air strikes." In fact, with
this president's fascination with force,
such actions have become second nature.
What worries Mme, however, is that those
who have apparently taken an interest,
such as those at the rally, seem so misin-
formed.
First of all, Kosovo is a province of
Yugoslavia, specifically, Serbia. It is com-
monly considered the cradle of Serb
nationhood. Furthermore, most Serbian
Orthodox churches and monasteries are
located in the region for that reason. Thus,
the constant reference to Albanians as
"Kosovars" is problematic. Anyone famil-
iar with Yugoslavia knows that Kosovo

are basically acting as their air force.
The allegations of genocide and the
comparisons to the Nazi-German leader,
Adolf Hitler, are unwarranted. Hitler was
on the offensive throughout Europe; Serb
leader Slobodon Milosevic has lost five
provinces in 10 years and has never
intended to move beyond his own coun-
try's borders, but to maintain them.
Furthermore, the grim fact is thattif
Milosevic wanted to eliminate the
Albanian civilian population, he could
have done so by now.
Instead, as NATO sources report, Serb
soldiers go knocking on doors, forcing
people from there homes at gunpoint.
Unfortunately for Serb civilians, cruise
missiles don't offer such options. The
assumptions being made by many, such as
those on the Diag, is that the side NATO
and the United States have chosen is the
correct one. This may not be true.
Ironically, many of the protesters were
the same faces demonstrating against U.S.
attacks on Iraq. Similar cries are being
made by Serbs, yet they're falling upon
deaf ears. In fact, these protesters are call-
ing for more bombs. I understand and
respect the strong sense of support for
their Islamic brethren, but at the expense
of other innocent civilians? Does a right to
life and protection from unjustified air
attacks not apply to Yugoslav civilians?
Where's the logic?
NATO has violated both the United
Nations' and its own charter by attacking a
sovereign nation rather than acting solely
as a peacekeeper. It is now campaigning to
justify taking sides in a civil war and drop-
ping bombs on a country that was its ally.
Clinton, in a futile attempt to "sell" this
idea, had the nerve to give a "heart-felt"
speech to the Serbian people urging them
to take no offense to the ensuing NATO
attacks. He then had Secretary of State
Madeline Albright read a similar letter to
Serbs in their native language. If this isn't
pulling out all the stops, I don't know
what is.
But then again, we've seen this before.
Prior to again attacking Iraq during the
Impeachment trials, Clinton claimed to
schedule bombing out of respect around
the holy month of Ramadan. To my fellow
classmates, particularly those that gath-
ered in the Diag, I ask you to be better

T t4 1S SvGKS, tG.
LETAS GO EN*
( SOME NMCAT.
.-©.J

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