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January 10, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-10

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 10, 1999

c E Wt]Cblgttn ttilld

Second semester: The time when seniors act up

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

HEATHER KAMINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
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.

Riabt on time
Winter rush is a better alternative for Greeks

don't care what anyone says: Senior
year is very difficult.
Don't let our carefree attitudes, oui
absence from the UGLi or our aversion to
waking before noon fool you:
We seniors have
plenty of prol1n m
to face In the fi ml
months before gra d
uation. But the prob
lems that concern us
most are not the
ones that all under-
graduates batte -
like classes or
grades. Instead, \ e
face a unique set of
troubles.
After toiling Scott
through four years Hunter
of a difficult, but 4
enjoyable,.collegiante _
existence, we $ .
seniors find our-
selves saddled with some really frighten-
ing questions:
"What happens to me next year?"
"Where am I gonna attend graduate
school ?"
"Can I wear my shredded white hat on
the job next year?"
For a long time, these sorts of ques-
tions about life after college were really
abstract; we only thought about later life
so that we'd know which classes to
CRISP into.
But all of a sudden we seniors see
graduation and imminent adulthood
looming squarely in front of us. We have
to go on interviews, trying to woo poten-
tial employers and professional schools
by dressing in conservative suits, comb-
ing our hair and doing our best Carlton

Banks impressions.
After all, this is what will be expected
of us for the rest of our lives. And it's
frightening. There will be no more
pierced lips and eyebrows, no more four-
month-long summer breaks and no more
3 a.m. runs to Pizza House. (Of course,
there won't be any more of this sort of
academic misery, either.)
In a few short months when most of us
graduate, we will promptly gain 20
pounds and start shopping at Fashion
Bug. It is at this point that we will be
classified as "adults" -- or as many
physicians term it, "clinically depressed."
It's a disheartening prospect.
I'm sure every one of us has had to
listen to our parents and other baby
boomers tell us repeatedly how miserable
they are now and how college was the
high point of their lives.
We've all been bored with their stories
about dorm life, chemistry classes and
the reckless good times they had back
during the presidency of Chester A.
Arthur.
Just think: In a couple of years, when
"Back That Azz Up" is playing on the
oldies stations,zwe'll be doing exactly the
same thing.
All of this explains why the final
semester of every students' college expe-
rience is something special - a sort of
practice run for our eventual mid-life
crises. As hard as it may be to believe, we
might one day refer to these as the best
days of our lives (depressing thought,
isn't it?).
As such, we seniors - like the waves
of graduating classes before us - will
undoubtedly carry on the hallowed tradi-
tion of acting like complete primates dur-
ing our final four months of undergradu-

ate life.
We'll act as recklessly as Puff Daddy
and Jennifer Lopez, and we'll annoy all
the other undergraduates who will be
perched in the UGLi trying to fill their
transcripts with A's (This is how I spent
my undergraduate years, by the way).
So, I ask the college community to
forgive the seniors' behavior in advance.
It's only a week into the second semester
and I've already listened to droves of
seniors complain about senioritis (This is
the same disease that afflicted many of
you in high school).
This semester, we may not all be on
our best behavior. Some of us may not be
too attentive; some may completely van-
ish; and others will even run naked
through the Diag (note to my parents who
may be reading this article: I will not par-
ticipate in this event).
Many of us will just try to enjoy our-
selves one last time before we dissolve
into the next phase of our lives. After all,
going to house parties and running naked
in public are not among the common pas-
times of professionals and doctoral stu-
dents.
This kind of behavior is only accept-
able on college campuses. If we don't
take advantage of these sorts of opportu-
nities right now, we'll wind up as some of
those creepy 50-year-olds who grope
people at the Naked Mile.
So, be a little tolerant, green little
underclassmen. Despite what it looks
like, many of us seniors are going
through a little crisis of our own: The
transition into full-fledged adulthood. It's
going to be very different from here on
out.
-- Scott Hunter can be reached via
e-mail at sehunter@umich.edu.

:

As any student knows, the start of both fall
semester and winter semester at the
University brings some expected activities.
Students buy books, drop and add classes and
search for housing. Although most of these
activities work well at the beginning of either
semester, there is one campus tradition that
should be restricted to winter term: Greek
rush.
While students have come to expect frater-
nity and sorority rush at the beginning of both
semesters, holding rush during winter term
only would be advantageous. The primary
advantage of a winter rush system would be
that it would give students an entire semester
to sample University life before committing to
the Greek system. Students would be able to
establish some friendships, try some other
activities and experience a college workload
before making the large commitment that the
Greek system demands. The immediate pres-
sure of fall rush would be relieved, and stu-
dents would able to make a more informed
decision on whether the Greek system is for
them.
Hopefully, another advantage of a winter
rush system would be a decrease in the recent
controversies which have clouded the Greek
image on campus. Many students who rush in
the fall - especially first-year students -
make the Greek system their sole social func-
tion. Because their fraternity or sorority is so
important socially, a student is unlikely to
jeopardize his position in the Greek system by
speaking out or leaving amidst initiation diffi-
culties. It is not a stretch to say that the recent
incident in which an Alpha Epsilon Pi pledge
was shot in the groin with a BB gun could

have been avoided if the pledges felt confident
enough with their options outside"Greek life
to leave the fraternity. A winter rush system
would allow students an established social life
to fall back on. With their place at the
University already secure, students would be
able to evaluate when an initiation ritual goes
too far.
Despite likely objections, there should be
few logistical problems associated with a win-
ter rush system. While housing concerns are
understandable, most fraternities and sorori-
ties only rush the number of pledges they have
room for in their house the following semes-
ter. Therefore, students rushing in the winter
term would have a place to live the following
year if accepted into the fraternity or sorority.
And for those who worry about leases already
signed, some can be broken without penalty
upon initiation into the Greek system, while
others will result in, at most, a loss of security
deposit. This is a small price to pay if it means
that students will feel confident with their
entrance into the Greek system. Furthermore,
if winter rush becomes the standard, landlords
will become more likely to adapt their con-
tracts to account for this.
A winter rush system would ultimately be
a better system for students. With the transi-
tion to college life demanding enough by
itself, students need one semester to become
accustomed to work and life in a University
setting before determining if they want to
enter the Greek system. Far from hurting the
Greek system, a winter rush will likely give
them more confident pledges, and ones that
can contribute to the Greek system on campus
in a positive fashion.

THOMAS KULJURGIS

TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

CORPO R F-T
SPOSOSUP
G~OES Too FVAR...

Privacy principies
Criminal records should not be available

n a scenario reminiscent of the disu-
topia in Orwell's 1984, a plan proposed
by the Family Independence Agency, a
state government agency, would create a
.telephone number parents could call to
check if their childcare providers have a
criminal record.
But do we need to spend more money
to continue to invade the privacy of citi-
zens? Rather than use the opportunity to
allocate state funding to increase child-
care subsidies for 65,000 impoverished
households, some would rather make it
even easier to access individuals' person-
al information.
The proposed plan, based on a similar
one enacted in California, would place
the names of those with no criminal
record on a toll-free hotline, called
"TrustLine." Like sex-offender listings on
the Internet, problems could arise, lead-
ing to errors in the system. Someone with
no criminal record may be omitted from
the list by accident.
A criminal record may be due to a
simple misdemeanor. Even if one
believed that a similar system would be
justified in cases where individuals had
committed serious crimes, it would be
unjust to create a system where misde-
meanors follow people for their entire
lives.
It is currently possible to gain infor-
mation from the FBI by providing state
police with a provider's fingerprints if,
for example, a family wishes to examine
a provider's criminal history. Other sys-
tems exist in which it is possible, for a

those convicted of crimes ought to be able
to continue their lives in a normal fash-
ion. Instead of using a great deal of
money to further demean and demonize
ex-convicts, we should let ex-cons find
steady jobs and get on with their lives.
Many parents may be unable to seek work
because nobody is available to take care
of their children. If the FIA has its way,
many employable people could be yanked
out of the childcare market.
A major problem in the criminal jus-
tice system is the lack of a widespread
proactive program to educate and teach
skills to convicts. Giving prisoners the
necessary skills would significantly alle-
viate the need to commit crimes.
Programs such as the FIA's proposal only
perpetuate the theory of isolating crimi-
nals instead of reforming them. Many
people fear individuals with criminal
records, but without an opportunity to
prove themselves upstanding citizens,
criminals will almost certainly fall
through the cracks in the system and
revert back to a life of crime.
Few ex-cons, especially those with
only a petty crime on their record, would
harm children. By far, it is not murderers
and sex offenders who will suffer under
the FIA proposal, but one-time offenders,
many of whom are no doubt guilty of vic-
timless crimes. Not only is the law a vio-
lation of privacy, but it would not even be
effective. This overblanketing law is well-
intentioned, but misses its mark. This
infringement on the privacy of citizens
cannot be accepted. The state should put

Many Greeks defy
stereotypes
TO THE DAILY:
I joined a sorority when I came here
three years ago. but since then I have
become quite removed from the system's
activities, traditions and people. I am not
very close with my sisters, because I feel I
don't have much in common with them. I
am a music school student, as wellras a cel-
lular and molecular biology major. I have
met my close friends through classes and
music, not the Greek system. So, although
I wouldn't call myse fa typical sorority girl.
I have experienced first hand being a part of
the system: liv ing w ith 40 sorority sisters
(for two years straight), going to fraternity
parties. even holding an executive board
position in my house. So when I speak on
its behalf, I am well-informed.
I do not blame David Curkovic for being
disgusted with what he identifies as the
Greek representation on campus ("Students
need to accept responsibility for Greek sys-
tem," 1'5 00f. Believe me, I have often felt
the same way. Many of them can be "meat-
heads." Chances are, when he sees people
that embody this stereotype around campus,
he probably thinks, "there goes another
one." However, the next person Curkovic
passes by may go unnoticed and may not
disgust him: there's a decent chance that he
or she could also be a member of the sys-
tem. As I'm sure Curkovic is well aware, it's
the extremes that define the stereotype. But
the extremes are also the minority.
Many of my sisters are very intelligent,
drink moderately and dress conservatively
(some don't even drinkand never have). As
for what he said about 'joining a group
because they needed other people to tell
them who the yare" - I'm sorry to be the
first to say this, but all humans (not just
Greeks) tend to create and join groups. It's
natural human behavior. I'd be willing to bet
Curkovic. has joined at least one or two
organizations in his lifetime, so that he
could interact with people with whom he'd
shared common interests.
My main point is that, although I can
understand Curkovic's negative opinion
regarding the Greek system, it is really not
in his place to write such a definitive
description of the system's members, prior-
ities and activities, when the extent of his
knowledue is what he sees walking across
the diag.Yes. Curkovic may walk by Greeks
who are behaving rudely. But the other
Greeks that you didn't have reason to shake
your head at, who were not so obnoxious
and rude, should not be ignored when form-
ing an opinion. There are many Greeks out
there that are not quite so despicable.
Perhaps Curkovic should have made more
of an effort to research his entire subject
pool before reaching (and publishing) his
conclusion. Any good scientist would
would know that this is the definition of the
scientific method. But I suppose you don't
learn this in law school.
MELINDA WENNER
SCHOOL OF MUSIC SENIOR

~IVW ARES '(oe W#ATCH N G?D
5Tk5 5OF i"M E Ex 1TIO
$NosoMED AT4 T &XL.G
_ L

to the Daily in recent memory ("Students
need to accept responsibility for Greek sys-
tem," 1/5/00).
In response to this letter; and in light of
the recent fraternity hazing incidents, I
would like to clear up some popular mis-
conceptions about the Greek system that he
has probably helped to perpetuate.
Curkovic claims that Greeks are "igno-
rant and weak" for they "joined a group
because theyaneeded other people to tell
them who they are." Most students join fra-
ternities and sororities for what their names
imply: brotherhood and sisterhood. As any
sociologist or psychologist will tell you,
people join social organizations, be they
fraternities, sororities, community service
groups, religious groups or political clubs,
to meet similar people, form friendships
and take advantage of opportunities that
would otherwise be unavailable. For the
most part, they do not do so because they
are "weak." Put simply, humans are social
animals and they join organizations to
extend their social ties. Almost all Greeks
have non-Greek friends. This characteriza-
tion of Greeks is both incorrect and igno-
rant.
Curkovic's assertion that Greeks are
"beer-addled morons" is similarly an incor-
rect stereotype. Some of the most intelligent
and most successful people in American
history have been Greeks, including busi-
ness leaders and even presidents.
Furthermore, the average Greek GPA at the
University is actually higher than that of the
general student population. Greeks are just
as intelligent, talented and successful as
other students.
Curkovic's characterization of the Greek
system as "this bastion of non-independent
thinking" is also wrong. People are products
of social forces, and any kind of social orga-
nization or unit is likely to have some
impact on a person's thinking and behavior.
However, Greeks in the same fraternity or
sorority are not all the same. They are often
from very diverse backgrounds and have
different beliefs, values, races and religions.
My pledge class of eight includes religions
as different as conservative Judaism, Irish
Catholicism and Hinduism; geographic
locations as varied as Detroit, rural
Tennessee and the Philippines. We definite-
ly do not all look, dress, think or act exact-

on treating women with the respect and
civility that they deserve. During our
pledge term education, we were repeated-
ly told that disrespecting women would
simply not be tolerated in the fraternity.
We read in a pledge education pamphlet
that "disrespecting women is disrespect-
ing our mothers and sisters." I can hon-
estly say that my fraternity treats women
with the utmost respect.
The Greek system is a great institution.
It helps to forge lifelong bonds of friend-
ship, brotherhood and sisterhood, and to
form lifelong values. Like any institution, it
has its problems. Overall, however, the
Greek system is not a "mostignoble sys-
tem," but a great system.
Stereotypes and generalizations of the
Greek system or any other group must
stop. The "ignorant and weak" people
who write these kinds of letters ignore
the fact that they have never been a part
of the groups they are attacking and usu-
ally have had little, if any, contact With
them.
Prejudice stems from ignorance and iso-
lation. I invite and encourage anyone and
everyone who holds similar beliefs as
Curkovic to stop by a fraternity or sorority
house one day and talk to some members. I
can almost guarantee that you will walk out
with different and informed beliefs about
Greeks. While some people feel the need to
bash and debase other people and groups, in
reality, they are bashing and debasing them-
selves.

0

MARK GORDON
LSA SOPHOMORE

Alvarez supporters
'don't make sense'
TO THE DAILY:
After being on campus for a couple of
days now, I have noticed some interesting
propaganda going around. The supporters
of Robin Alvarez believe that she should
not be sent to jail because all she did was
use her First Amendment rights to free
speech, and that "fighting racism is not a

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