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January 14, 1999 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-01-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 14, 1999

cbe 3ib4igun gaillg

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

'Tobacco is not allowed inside buildings on this
campus, yet we make money off it.'
- MSA Rep. Vikram Sarma, in support of a resolution calling
for the University to divest its shares of tobacco company stocks
Kl C9

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.
Athlete gambling damages the 'U"s image

L ike it or not, the University's repre-
sentatives to the general public are
not world-renowhed professors or even its
many alumni. When most people think of
the University, images of Rose Bowl vic-
tories and a crowded Michigan Stadium
come to mind. The startling results of the
Athletic Department's recent gambling
study are upsetting, not because fears of
rampant gambling among athletes have
been confirmed, but because the ensuing
negative publicity has the potential to
damage the entire University.
As a public entity whose governing
body is elected by Michigan residents, the
University is far more vulnerable to public
opinion than many other institutions of
higher learning. Perhaps more importantly
alumni may decide to decrease or simply
not give monetary gifts to their alma mater
in the wake of a pessimistic media blitz.
Fundraising is especially vital to the
University; the recent three-year
Campaign for Michigan raised almost $2
In some ways, the athletes' poor reputa-
tion is not altogether undeserved. The most
upsetting fact revealed in the report is that
more than five percent of male student ath-
letes willingly admitted to providing inside
information on games for the purposes of
gambling, betting on a game in which they
participated or accepting money for poor
performance in a game. While the ethical
and psychological impacts of gambling in
and of itself are debatable, placing bets on
games in which one has direct involvement
- or accepting bribes in return for a sub-
standard effort - is completely inexcus-
The report concluded that 72 percent
of the student athletes who responded to

the study admitted to gambling in some
way since entering college, with those
who gambled through bookmakers
putting an average of $225 on the line
Student athletes must understand their
unique roles as University representatives
before most of the world. They do not
have to live up to superhuman standards,
but they should certainly feel an obliga-
tion to the University community to con-
duct themselves just as any other impor-
tant representative of the University is
expected to do.
No one is asking athletes to sign away
their rights, not sign petitions or shy away
from expressing controversial views.
Gambling is illegal, and it is hardly too
much to ask those who play a vital role in
molding the public's perception of the
University to abstain from involving them-
selves in illegal activity - especially ille-
gal activity that is directly related to games
in which they play.
Having established that gambling
among student athletes is a problem, the
Athletic Department should take an
active role in discouraging gambling by
dealing with athletes who bet on or
accept money for their respective teams'
games severely.
One of the main consequences of the
University having a first-class athletic
program is that athletics have come to
define most of the world's perception of
it. As such, athletes are obligated to
ensure their behavior does not reflect
poorly on the University. Athletes need to
make a better effort to act in accordance
with the law to ensure the perpetuation of
the public's favorable impression of the



\'- R


DPS officers
should not
ticket cars in
the snow
In light of the recent weath-
er, I would like to say that I am
very comforted with the
knowledge that Department of
Public Safety officers have the
time to write "not a designated
parking space" tickets.
This occurred in a
University parking lot cov-
ered with inches of fresh
unplowed and unsalted snow.
Nevermind the piles of
snow several feet high pre-
venting people from parking
in the "designated" spaces.
Perhaps, in their spare
time, these officers can
assist students and staff by
shoveling the snow out of
the lots so that the "desig-
nated" parking spaces will
be more clearly defined.
U "s snow
removal has
been 'amazing'
In the Daily on Jan. 12, the
paper claims the snow removal
service by both the city of Ann
Arbor and the University has
been poor this year ("Pick up
the Slack"). While it's hard to
argue for the city in this case,
the University has done an
amazing job of clearing the
snow to make sure commuters
can get to cleared parking lots
and students can walk between
buildings, at least based on the
removal that I have seen on
North Campus.
On Monday, Jan. 4, after
the big storm hit, I had to
spend an hour shoveling my
car out before getting onto the
roads, then an additional 45
minutes to travel what normal-

ly takes only 10 to get past the
poorly cleared Huron
Parkway. I figured that the
Glacier Way lot would have
been a complete shutdown, but
to my surprise, almost all of
the snow had been cleared to
make more than sufficient
parking in this lot. In addition,
the trail leading from the cor-
ner of the lot to the EECS
building was cleared suffi-
ciently to make the walk easy
instead of the pain of walking
through a foot of snow.
Even on Jan. 13, I noticed
that most of the roads and
sidewalks on North Campus
were cleared of snow and only
wet. On the other hand, Huron
Parkway still remains danger-
ous. I can imagine the trouble
Central Campus must be going
through, as most of the roads
are not a priority for basic
University functions and thus
are not serviced by them.
Instead responsibility falls onto
the shoulders of the city's
removal crews. If anything,
fingers should be pointed to
the city for lack of preparation
and not the University.
And, as an aside, one of the
complaints in the editorial was
that "only narrow walks have
been shoveled, and even those
are slippery' To give some
credit to the University, a foot
of snow fell on Jan. 2 and
another foot accumulated over
the following 10 days. With
limited removal equipment,
priorities have to be assigned
to major pedestrian paths first.
But even if it is a narrow walk
between the snowbanks, this is
at least some sign that the
University is trying to keep up
with the task. It is certainly
much better than their last win-
ter storm.
'U' is also to
blame for
As a University and Phi

Delt alumnus, I have paid
close attention to the news
stories in the Da'ily concern-
ing the Courtney Cantor
tragedy. I feel that the stories
that have appeared in the
Daily have failed to address
some critical issues concern-
ing Cantor's death. These
omissions are not surprising
considering that the Daily has
shown an anti-Greek bias for
years and doesn't seem too
intent on changing it.
The paper seems fixated
on the fact that Cantor was
underage and therefore
incriminates the fraternity for
supplying her with alcohol.
What is not focused on is the
fact that this tragedy proba-
bly would have occurred if
Cantor had been 21 years
old. It seems convenient for
the University that the focus
has shifted from the safety of
the residence halls to the fra-
ternity members supplying
alcohol to a minor. The issue
of poor design of the win-
dows at Mary Markley resi-
dence hall seems to have
been swept under the rug.
The Daily also fails to
look at the overarching prob-
lem of college drinking. It is
not as if drinking just arrived
on campuses in the last 10
years. College and drinking
have been tied together since
well before "Animal House"
hit the screens.
Tragedies like Cantor's
could occur at a house party,
tailgate, bar - the list goes
on. Only when students begin
to drink more responsibly
will the tragedies on college
campuses become a faded
The University should
take a hard look at college
life in general instead of
going on a witch hunt at fra-
ternity houses. Even if there
were no Greek system, the
party would just move some-
where else. Another tragedy
will occur unless the core of
the problem is addressed.

approaches: A !
AImost every day brings a cata-
strophic new vision for the year
200. And every one of these new
visions involves scary computers hav-
ing nervous breakdowns and endin*
life as we know it.
Thankfully, the
problem has a nice,
sleek name: Y2K.
Y2K is fun to say
- what R2-D2 and
C-3P0 might call
their love child,
what an auto com-
pany might call a
futuristic new
model. Stylish, JEFI
modern and excit- ELDRIDGE
ing ... the 5 1.} A D
Volkswagen Y2K. S. 'ToN
This is not the
first time predicted computer mal-
functions have been viewed as a
threat to everyday life. A few years
ago, the press reported on the
Michaelangelo Virus with near-equal
For those who don't recall, th*
Michaelangelo Virus was an exciting
little ditty that threatened(as they say)
to crash the nation's computers on the
birth date of the celebrated Renaissance
The predictions made then were a
lot like the predictions we hear now.
Dire consequences portended for
computer users - indeed, all human
beings. The world would stop.
Industry would be paralyzed. We all
would die.
Then,inothing happened. We all
forgot. The evil computer virus was a
bigger bust than "The Godfather, Part
So I didn't think much of the immi-
nent Y2K devastation until the new
year. But with 1999 on the scene,
Y2K (it's fun to say) is downright
Newscasts warn of it. Compute
geeks and financial gurus debate aboW
it. President Clinton gives a speech
when the Social Security system is
saved from it.
I saw an MTV VJ get into the act. She
implored viewers to party like it's 1999,
because as soon as the year ends, we
will, too.
Late Sunday night, I found the
strangest explanation of all. I didn't
mean to watch it; I didn't quite enjoy.
watching it.
But there on cable television was a
pair of rubbery televangelists bellow-
ing about how crashing computers
would prompt a one-world govern-
ment and the Second Coming.
The spectacle carried on for a con-
siderable amount of time. Behind
glassy eyes, they calmly explained dis-
jointed theories that linked the Euro,
biological weapons, the Y2K phenome
non and the nouveau riche.
At a time when profitless Internet
stocks create billionaires, Bill Gates is
worth $75 billion and an article on the
Drudge Report can help impeach a
President, it's fitting that we're conceiv-
ing the end of the world coming from a
computer bug.
A lot of weird things have hap-
pened in the last 10 years - terrorist
bombings, violent little wars, the
L.A. riots, serial perjury, El Nio an
"Titanic" Disaster is the name of thW
game. These disasters tend to be
deeply weird.

So as the decade comes to a close,
everyone's getting primed for the
biggest, weirdest disaster of all -rdeath
by technology.
My computer knowledge doesn't
extend far beyond writing a term
paper and checking e-mail.
Despite my attempts to follow thi
issue, I know little about how thes
damn computers confuse 1900 and
2000, the implications of this confu-
sion, and what might be required to
fix it.
What I do understand is that for the
last decade computers have been sold as
world-changing devices, utopian breed-
ers of new information, new economies
and a new world.
A lot of people are uneasy with this.
I'm uneasy with it, and l've been usin.
a computer since first grade. We're to
figure out whether Windows 95 or the
newest Netscape offer information
panaceas, or whether they're overhyped
Outside of a small community of
experts, I'd posit that most of the
commotion surrounding Y2K stems
from technological uneasiness. The
conspiratorial, apocalyptic babblings
I observed a few days ago confirmed
A few generations ago, such feel-
ings of powerlessness and anger
would have been directed at paper
money. Forty years ago, maybe it
would have been vented toward the
United Nations.

Flynt should not be controlling D.C. politics

arlier this week, pornography magnate
and First Amendment notable Larry
Flynt claimed U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.),
one of President Clinton's harshest moral crit-
ics, may be guilty of the same type of mis-
deeds that eventually led to Clinton's
impeachment last month. The Hustler pub-
lisher stated on the CNBC show "Rivera
Live" that Barr had an affair while married,
and encouraged his wife -- to whom he was
still married at the time - to have an abor-
tion. Barr, a vocal opponent of abortion
rights, denies the charges. The fact that such
revelations have become almost common
place these days is a poor commentary on the
state of American politics.
If Barr committed adultery and failed to
divulge the truth in his 1986 divorce proceed-
ings, as Flynt alleges, it is hypocritical of him
to push for the impeachment of President
Clinton. And this scandal, combined with the
recent resignation of former House Speaker-
designate Bob Livingston (R-La.) after Flynt
brought to light news of an adulterous rela-
tionship in his past, is more evidence that the
Clinton scandal really is more about sex than
While it is true that the House of
Representatives may be a glass one as far as
sex scandals are concerned, it is alarming
that sexual issues are being given such an
important status in Washington. Flynt is
most well known for helping establish a sig-
nificant First Amendment precedent after
Rev. Jerry Falwell sued his magazine,
Hustler, for implying that Falwell commit-
ted incest with his mother. But the fact that
he has so much influence over contempo-
rary political discourse is frightening. The
extent to which the U.S. government has
become hoaed down in nersonal nolitics is

utterly ridiculous. Issues such as adultery
that should remain private matters have
become cause for politicians to step down
from office. This should not be the case in
this situation: Livingston should not have
resigned and neither should Barr.
The Clinton scandal has tarnished both
major political parties - at this rate, few
will escape unscathed. This kind of person-
al mudslinging can only be destructive to
the nation as a whole - the leadership of
the country should not be determined by
sexual ethics. Both sides of this issue are
guilty of engaging in personal politics; the
Republicans' claim that Flynt is working
with the White House is ridiculous -- the
worst thing Clinton could do for his already
tarnished image is associate himself with a
pornography vendor. But since they were
willing to investigate Clinton's sexual back-
ground in such detail, it is hardly surprising
that someone would be willing to bring the
sexual misconduct of Republican leaders to
light. And it is shameful that the govern-
ment has become mired in dissecting the
private lives of its leaders and that a pornog-
rapher has become one of the most influen-
tial people in Washington. These destruc-
tive personal politics must come to an end
before they get any more out of hand.
Flynt must keep his interest in prurient
issues out of the nation's capital. He should
stop trying to act as the fourth branch of the
U.S. government by using his money to act
as a sort of moral arbiter. Washington, D.C.,
power players must do now what they
should have done a year ago when the pres-
idential scandal broke - stop paying atten-
tion to the personal lives of their leaders and
resume the duties of their elected jobs -

Dn't u d1d0local textbookstores

The introduction of online bookstores should
provide local bookstores with a new outlook on
their business. Online bookstores such as
BigWords.com, varsitybooks.com, efollett.com
and dunebooks.com offer students the chance to
buy and sell textbooks online, at cheaper prices.
This should provide for healthy competition
between the new electronic sources and "old-
fashioned" bookstores, which hopefully will
bring outlandish prices at local stores down.
In an increasingly electronic world, online
bookstores can be of great help for students
simply because of the ease with which they can
acquire books for classes. However, online
bookstores don't provide the school supplies,
magazines, software and Spartan wear that
Michigan State University students have come
to expect and buy from their bookstores.
Jerry Parr, textbook manager at Ned's
Bookstore, said Ned's is a place where students
ra fin .-in- nh- ta hcn t -apie nr

shipping fees to send them back fall on the stu-
dents and could be costly.
Going to the bookstore and gathering text-
books, notebooks and other supplies is a stan-
dard practice among college students at the
beginning of a new semester, and not one that
should be abandoned. But expensive books and
minuscule buy-back prices may turn more stu-
dents toward the online alternative.
It's unlikely that local bookstores would be
put out of business by these online services, as
many people still prefer to do business in per-
son and are not comfortable using the Internet,
but local bookstores must recognize the alter-
native is there.
Bookstores should seriously consider low-
ering prices. It would draw more students who
can't afford books at current prices and reduce
the lure of these online bookstores.
If bookstores lowered prices down to pari-
ty with their online counterparts, in addition
to maintaining all the extra services they pro-

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