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January 07, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 7, 2000

.Iije £ritiu & IdQt
420 Maynard Street HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by JEFFREY KOSSEFF
students at the DAVID WALLACE
University of Michigan 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.

There is more to Israel than falafel and conflict

Dollars deserved
University funding parallels progress

was looking at silver candlesticks
through a glass case in a small
antique shop in Jerusalem. A small
Israeli man with a bald head, brown
reading glasses and a pretty good handle
on the English lan-
guage came over
and asked if I need-
ed any help.
"Well," I said, "I<
was wondering
about these ..,"<
He interrupted me
to introduce him-
self. "My name is
Manny," he said.
"Man-ny. It's like
woman-ny, but more
. eh ... masculine." Jennifer
Just in case I still StrausZ
wasn't clear on the.
concept, he illustrat-P
ed it some more.
"Woman-ny," he
said in a high-pitched voice, pointing at
me and fluttering his gray eyelashes.
Then he pointed at himself and said
"Manny," in a deep voice, flexing the
muscles on his free arm.
I laughed with the nice man, ignoring
his gender-based stereotyping. "Nice to
meet you, sir," I said.
"Manny," he said.
"Manny," I said, and turned my atten-
tion back to the case at hand. "You see, I
think that my mother would really like
these candlesticks ..."
"These candlesticks?" he asked, his
forehead wrinkling. "Are you sure? They
are very old." Manny opened the glass
case and carefully lifted them off the
velvet display. There were discolored
imprints in the crushed velvet where the

candlesticks must have been sitting for
decades. He turned over one of them to
show me the price. They were way too
expensive.
Manny took my small gasp as a sign
that I was not interested in purchasing
the candlesticks, and he set them down
on the countertop.
I began to look through another glass
case, and Manny began to ask me ques-
tions about my first week in Israel (I was
spending two weeks there over the
semester break). I told him about the ter-
rific falafel sandwich I had had the pre-
vious night in Tsfat. I told him about the
sunset at Rosh Hanikrah and the spray
from the crashing water in the caves.
Manny smiled at my descriptions.
"See, they don't mention those things in
the news, do they? They tell you about
the problems and conflict in Israel. They
tell you about how kids throw rocks at
the people they are not supposed to like.
They tell you about the arguments we are
having about our land. Israel is always in
the news, and it's always so serious.
Nobody tells you, at least not in writing,
that Israel is still a beautiful place, where
people live and fall in love, where stories
happen every day, every minute. Not the
big stories you read about in the paper.
Small, beautiful stories, like babies being
born. I have a granddaughter, one week
old," said Manny. "How can you find a
better story than this?"
He was playing with the candlesticks,
sliding them around on the countertop,
switching the placement of each of them
like one of those street magicians who
has hidden a ball under one of three cups
and is making it so you can't guess
which one.
"You're a writer," he said, "right?"

That caught me by surprise. "Um,
yeah, I want to be a writer ... I like to
write ..."
"I can tell," he said.
"You can?" I asked, feeling transpar-
ent. "How?"
"Your eyes," he said.
He didn't offer any more explanation,
and I didn't ask.
"Do you know what nobody ever
writes about?" asked Manny. He didn't
let me respond. "You should write about
this. It is my idea; remember this. Write
about a man. Not a king. Money and
power ... this is boring. This is unimpor-
tant. What people want to hear about is a
man who works hard to provide for his
family. A nice man. One who cares about
everyone he meets and one who shows it.
Not a man who thinks that he is greater
than all of mankind. Instead, write about
someone who is part of mankind. Who
knows that he is important because he is
just as important as everyone else."
Manny smiled, enjoying his idea. "Just
an ordinary man," he said, "and his ordi-
nary story."
I ended up buying a small silver charm
from Manny at a reasonable price, walk-
ing back to the hostel where I was stay-
ing, and sitting down to write a simple,
sweet story that takes place in the not-so
simple land of Israel. I wrote of someone
ordinary who has made himself memo-
rable - who probably had an interesting
past and definitely has a promising
future, but who right now is just a friend-
ly old man in a musty old store, carefully
placing some antique silver candlesticks
back on the purple crushed velvet of a
display case, exactly where they belong.
---Jennifer Strausz can be reached over
e-mail at jstrausz@umich.edu.
.TTtPE NGJ

T he University community claims to be
"the leaders and best," and the rest of
the nation may start to agree. According to
recent data published by the National
Science Foundation, the University ranked
first in the nation for research expenditures
in the 1998-99 Fiscal Year with nearly half a
billion dollars. This record figure represents
a 1.7 percent increase from the previous
year's record total. The high levels of fund-
ing are extraordinary, and the members of
the University should take pride in being
financially supported as one of the nation's
best research institutions.
The University has been a perennial
research powerhouse and it is recognized as
such by important institutions. An over-
whelming 68.5 percent of the money came
from federal agencies. This means that stud-
ies conducted within the boundaries of the
University influence the rest of the world.
Among the most celebrated areas of
University research is the Institute for Social
Research, which deals primarily with the
social sciences. In 1996, it conducted a
study on health and retirement, which
became one of the preeminent studies on
this topic anywhere in the nation with over
13,000 people involved. In 1997, the center,
which is now the oldest and largest venue
for social science research in a university-
based setting, celebrated its 50th anniver-
sary. Currently, the institute is conducting
research in a wide range of areas from eco-
nomics to race relations to the Holocaust.
Another major area in which the
University has been recognized is in medical
research. The University's Medical Center
was selected as one of three venues for the
National Gene Vector Center in October
1995. The University was presented with
more than $3 million in funding, in addition

to further funding over the following four
years to produce gene transfer agents for use
by researchers.
Benefits from research funding also
extend to individual departments, such as
psychology. According to the Institute for
Scientific Information, from 1990-94 the
department was the most productive in the
nation. Out of the 100 most cited psycholo-
gy papers, the University and Harvard each
produced 19. But the University destroyed
the competition in total citations with 759,
compared to 611 from Harvard.
Prestigious individual accomplishments
have also been bestowed upon University
researchers. In 1996, two professors, Vornie
Mcloyd and Thylias Moss, were granted the
highly regarded Macarthur Fellowships in
the fields of Psychology and English,
respectively. And last October, former
University Professor Martinus Veltman
received the highest honor possible: the
Nobel Prize.
The fact that the University is recog-
nized for research across such a diverse
range of academic fields is extraordinary.
But its character shines brightest in
attempts to improve upon a weaker area -
life sciences. University President Lee
Bollinger said last April that "as a
University, we aspire to be at the top of
every major area of research and teaching
we engage in." With the building of the Life
Sciences Institute, the University can put its
funding to productive use instantly to pro-
duce leading life science research.
Heading into the new millennium, the
University will continue to be a research
powerhouse. The funding levels will pro-
duce optimism as well as expectations for
results. We need to work hard and indeed we
will be "the leaders and best."

'
m M
a
Y

THOMAS KULJURGIS

K0a vs 0 1999

A wage that works
Living wage is a positive step

W ith the City Council's approval two
T weeks ago, Ann Arbor joined the
growing number of cities across the nation
pursuing living wage laws. The tentatively
approved ordinance, which will be considered
in its final form on Jan. 20, requires employ-
ers that do business with the city or receive
municipal help to pay their employees a min-
imum of $10 an hour or $8.50 an hour if the
employer also provides health benefits. The
living wage is designed to keep full time
workers above the poverty line, which the cur-
rent federal minimum wage does not do.
The implementation of a living wage in
Ann Arbor is a welcome and responsible step.
While we live in prosperous times, the feder-
al and state government have both done little
to address the widening chasm between the
rich and poor that is causing an ominous
shrinking of the middle class in this country.
Many localities across the United States, such
as Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, San Antonio
and Baltimore, are responding to this problem
with living wage ordinances.
Despite dire predictions from some that
business flight and increased unemployment
would be the result of these laws, numerous
studies have shown that none of those fright-
ful economic predictions have come true. By
ensuring that businesses benefiting from city
contracts and subsidies pay their workers
enough to keep them out of poverty, these
cities are helping to establish the laudable
principle that working people and their fami-
lies should not have to live in poverty.
How can individuals be encouraged to
earn a living on their own if work is not
rewarding? The nresent minimum wage of

$5.15 an hour is neither rewarding nor does it
provide a minimum standard of living for the
health and general well-being of employees in
Ann Arbor. Having workers who are paid as
little as $5.15 an hour hurts the city and its
businesses, because people who work in Ann
Arbor, but make abnormally low wages, can't
live in the city or buy the products and ser-
vices that its businesses produce. When the
minimum wage is too low, it also puts an
increased burden on all taxpayers because the
amount of money spent on public assistance
programs increases.
All this is not to say that the situation for
workers in Ann Arbor is terrible and compa-
nies that do business with Ann Arbor are not
currently being fair to their workers. The cur-
rent ordinance being considered by the city
council is more of an assurance of the status
quo than an agent of change because most
companies that do business with the city
already pay at least the living wage.
Ann Arbor's living wage proposal and
those of other cities are a good start for pro-
moting the goal of protecting working people
from poverty. It is encouraging to see local
governments stepping into the void of inac-
tion at the federal and state levels.
Companies are not autonomous entities,
they are a part of and have responsibilities to
their communities. Asking those that benefit
from lucrative city contracts and subsidies to
fairly compensate their workers is an entire-
ly reasonable request. While Ann Arbor's
proposed living wage ordinance is only a
small and largely symbolic step, it is an
important one and-.a definite move in the
right direction.

University prepared
for new millennium
TO THE DAILY:
Thank you for the positive article pub-
lished in the Jan. 5 Daily titled, "Y2K
preparations prove to be effective." The
reporter, Jewel Gopwani, presented the Y2K
story well. The Y2K planning was indeed an
effort in readiness that had many positive
results for the University of Michigan. We
are now even better prepared to handle
emergency situations. Additionally, we
improved the functionality of many of our
systems; enhanced our ability to communi-
cate across the University community; and
identified and eliminated redundant and
unnecessary systems. Probably one of the
most important outcomes from our Y2K
preparations are the relationships we have
built among our partners across campus.
While the article accurately expressed
the current situationkrelated to Y2K as non-
eventful, I would like to offer clarification
regarding the participants of this effort,
which was a true, campus-wide collabora-
tion.
The article presented the Information
Technology Division (ITD) as leaders of
the Y2K effort. This is inaccurate. ITD
was one of the many service providers
involved in preparing for the Y2K
rollover. Leadership and responsibility of
the campus-wide effort forY2K prepared-
ness and rollover was my charge from the
Executive Officers in my role as the
University's Chief Information Officer.
Several talented individuals participated
in leadership roles with all representa-
tives involved as we prepared for the tran-
sition.
In addition, I'd like to offer an update on
the information reported about the
University's telephone grade reporting sys-
tem, which was not recorded with an up-to-
date date. Upon investigation, we learned
that the voice message students heard when
the system was accessed had been recorded
prior to the holiday break. There were no
technical problems with the grade reporting
system itself.
I would like to offer my thanks to all
members of the University community for
the support and encouragement of the work
we undertook to resolve the issues sur-
rounding Y2K. With your support, and the
remarkable team effort of many dedicated
individuals, the University of Michigan is
well prepared as we enter the new millenni-
um.
JOSE-MARIE GRIFFITHS
UNIVERSITY CHIEF INFORMATION
OFFICER
Letter
misrepresented
Greek system
TO THE DAILY:
In response to David Curkovic's letter
Jan. 5 - "Students need to accept responsi-
bility for Greek system" -

PRO**L1 F E

I

do with a conversation about any city in
Mexico, but more with the feeling of true
friendshipaand trust that was felt in that
room. I have done this on more than one
occasion, and they have been some of the
greatest times at school, thanks to my
friends.
That is not all I do. I have also walked
to some of the most challenging classes
(I have missed only one in two years) this
University has to offer, completely pre-
pared and confident alongside friends
that will no doubt be a part of my life
when my children are in college. Also, I
have received a very respectable GPA
along the way.
I have also spent many great hours
caring and loving my girlfriend of two
and a half years and never once has she
seen me wearing a baseball cap. I have
been to parties and met new people (both
Greek system members and ones who
choose otherwise) that have no doubt had
a positive effect on my life and ability to
communicate and articulate ideas (all of
which I am sure will benefit me after col-
lege) and I want to take this time to thank
them.
I have also spent many hours raising
money for charities through fun events,
and various other services that have ben-
efited the University and the city of Ann
Arbor. This is what I have done to con-
tribute to the Greek system at the
University, and I have learned respect for
all members of this institution along the
way.
I now ask all members of the University,
what have you done to have fun, help your
friends, this great school and the city that
surrounds you? This is th'e important ques-
tion.
The Greek system is an "experience,"
not a barrier; my advice to all is to enjoy
this wonderful University and respect
one another. Hope to see you on the
Diag, my eyes will be raised, hope to see
you there!
ERIC GERSHMAN
LSA SOPHOMORE
Greek system is
not for the ignorant

alleged pledge hazing incidents," (1/05/00)
I felt nothing but outrage. First of all, the
details that were reported in the article
about Delta Sig were inaccurate. Inot am in
a position to speak on the behalf of Delta
Sigma Phi, but I am confident that after
Nationals visit this weekend to conduct an
inquiry, the facts will be brought to light
and Delta Sigma Phi will be cleared of any
wrong doing. At that time I think it would
only be fair for the Daily to write a follow-
up article.
In regards to Darid Curkovic's sarcas-
tic and bitter letter, I think that he was ter-
ribly off base with his opinions. In case
you didn't read the articie, he portrayed
the Greek system as an institution in this
University that has "ignorant and weak"
members. He then babbled on and said, "I
look forward to the day when every frat
house is razed to the ground." I think that
often times the Greek system has sus-
tained a great deal of criticism and has, in
some cases, gained an undeserved bad
reputation. First of all, there are lines at
parties because theUniversity, more
specifically the IFC, has set up a system
where at parties fraternities have to limit
the amount of people entering the parties
in order to keep them safe.
Secondly, I feel thatthe conception by a
small minority of students that fraternity
and sorority members think that they are
superior to the larger non-Greek system
population is a false one. Personally, I do
not select my friends on the basis if they are
members of any organization. I have friends
in and out of my pledge class.
Lastly, I would just like to reiterate the
positives of the Greek system. Many stu-
dents choose to rush for a variety of rea-
sons. Most rush because they want to
become a part of a very good social medi-
um. Through rush, freshmen have the
opportunity to meet new people their age
and older. In most cases, these aren't stu-
dents who are insecure and who have no
friends. Many students rush with friends
and eventually join the organizations
together. By joining a house, students also
have the opportunity to live in the frater-
nity or sorority house and won't have to
go through the hassle of finding a place to
live sophomore year.
I hope that in the future students learn
to respect each other a little more. It's sad
when you have a law school student reiter-
ate stereotypes and whose hatred is the

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