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January 05, 2000 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-05

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 5, 2000

Gbe 3ikigW ltifg
420 Maynard Street HEATHER KAMINS
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor in Chief
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.

Y2K: The Big letdown with Bizarro-Jennings

Always a leader
'U' faces a century of opportunity

W hen I arrived in Michigan last
Wednesday, I took a shuttle from the
airport to Ann Arbor. The driver of the shut-
tle amazed me. He was one of those
Y2Krazies. He told us passengers that he
had taken all of his
money out of the
bank and was head-
ing up to the wilder-
ness of northernA
Michigan with a
truckload of genera- k4
tors. "I don't want to
be in the city," he
said. In his expert
opinion, the stock
market was going to
melt down. Also,
everyone who had Mike
paper money was Lopez
going to be screwed M
because the govern-
ment was going to Lage
fall apart. According
to this guy, gold and silver was where our
money should be.
Now, I'm not one to ignore a potential
Armageddon. I wasn't about to freak out
like that guy did, but I certainly did prepare
for the worst. I had half a tank of gas in the
car, a pint of milk in the fridge, drinking
water in the toilet bowl and five bucks in
my pocket. In anticipation of the wide rang-
ing effects of the Y2K bug, I crawled out of
bed around noon, planted myself on a couch
and tuned into ABC's round the clock cov-
erage of New Year's celebrations around the
world. China and Japan had already cele-
brated the coming of the "new millennium"
and our own stock market was actually
Personally, I figured that the American
exchanges would take a dive when the Y2K

bug hit Asia. I was pretty darned surprised
when nothing happened. My girlfriend and
I should have guessed right then and there
that we had fallen through a rip in the
space-time continuum. As we kept watch-
ing, the coverage of Armageddon just kept
getting more and more bizarre. It was oth-
erworldly. For 24 hours, I felt like I was on
a different planet because everything that
was supposed to happen didn't happen and
things that don't happen, did happen. Like
no other news broadcast, the coverage of
the Apocalypse had us hooked to the tube.
Planes weren't falling out of the sky,
nuclear bombs weren't exploding and
monkeys hadn't produced Hamlet after
banging on keys for a few decades. The
world coasted on into 2000 without a
hitch. Actually, the fact that there was no
bad news to report seemed to catch the
media off guard. Poor guys spent millions
flying their reporters all over the world to
see the riots, meltdowns and general may-
hem that would ensue when everyone's
toaster exploded at midnight. After hear-
ing so much hype from the media, tech-
nology experts and Y2Krazies, we laughed
our butts off when Katie Couric said that
all the Y2K reports were "boring."
I primarily watched the ABC broadcast.
From here on, I'll refer to them as News of
the Weird. At one point, Al Franken came
out and started talking to Peter Jennings
about his Y2MI group. Franken, a.k.a.
Stuart Smalley of Saturday Night Live
fame, told Jennings that Y2MI was trying
to stop all the celebrating because the mil-
lennium wasn't really starting until 2001. I
couldn't quite figure out if Jennings was in
on it or not. He told Franken that if his
group could convince everyone in Times
Square, then ABC would buy the story.
Later on, some guy came out and pulled

something out of his stomach and gave it
to Peter as a gift. It looked like a piece of
string. Jennings was "speechless" and
seemingly moved by the gesture.
ABC didn't have the monopoly on weird
news broadcasts. On NBC, Couric was
snapping at Tom Brokaw. On CBS, Clinton
was talking about the importance of being
free to do what is morally right. Was I
hearing things?
Back on ABC, a correspondent was
reporting on what she was experiencing.
She said that, unlike Americans, the peo-
ple she had met seemed to live lives that
were very fulfilling. Although many were
very poor, the quality of their lives
seemed to surpass that of the average
First of all, we were amazed that some-
one on ABC News had actually said that
the poor and disadvantaged could live
better lives than the rich and powerful.
Second, we were even more surprised
when we found out that she was talking
about Cuba.
Later, ABC surprised us again. In a
conversation with ABC's correspondent
in Rome, Jennings actually referred to
Pope John Paul II as the Successor of
Peter. He also said that Peter was the first
Pope. Talk about amazing. It is not every
day that a national news agency concurs
with the Catholic Church on the legitima-
cy and primacy of the office of the papa-
cy. That is, aftey all, one of the biggest
points of contention between the Catholic
Church and Protestant denominations.
These weren't the only oddities of the
day. In fact, my whole break was filled with
strange inconsistencies. You'll hear more
- Mike Lopez can be reached over e-
mail at manatlarge~urmich.edu.

The University survived the much-
hyped start of 2000 without any major
problems. Unfortunately, a Y2K computer
meltdown would have been a cakewalk
compared to the elaborate challenges the
University faces this century. From term
limits that created inexperienced state leg-
islators who don't understand the differ-
ence between astronomy and astrology to
attacks on affirmative action, the campus
community has many hurdles.
But we don't want to think about those
difficulties right now - we covered that in
our last issue of the second millennium.
The start of a new millennium is cause for
celebration - not consternation.
Instead, we're going to focus on some-
thing equally important - the University
of Michigan's role in society. Research uni-
versities' duties have expanded, and the
world depends on them for more than just
the traditional form of education. While
undergraduate lectures will always remain
a vital part of higher education, the
University has realized it's not enough to
stay at the forefront of education.
Consider the Undergraduate Research
Opportunity Program. This program
enrolled 14 students when it began in 1989,
and it has grown to involve about 800 stu-
dents with faculty members' research pro-
jects every year. While some students may
use UROP to obtain an easy A and some
faculty members may push their busy work
onto their UROP students, the program has
succeeded over the last decade. It provides
a forum for learning outside of the class-
room - a refreshing change for many stu-
dents. It also sparks interest in academia -
an oft-misunderstood field- by providing
an opportunity to experience cutting-edge
University professors have continued to
perform top-notch research, as evidenced
by Martinus Veltman, a physics professor
emeritus who won the Nobel Prize this
year. As we reported today, the University
of Michigan receives more research fund-
ing than any other university in the nation,
at almost $.5 billion during Fiscal Year
1998-99. This is especially impressive
because competition for research funding
becomes fiercer every year. This tight mar-
ket is bound to brutalize research programs
at some universities, but the University of
Michigan will remain unscathed, if not
stronger. It is clearly a leader in research
across the board.
During the next century, life sciences
will become the new buzzword in research.
But there's good reason. The scientific
community is at the brink of awesome dis-
coveries in learning how to improve the
quality of human life. It requirescollabora-
tion between all fields - from medicine to
public health to psychology. University
President Lee Bollinger realized that and
spearheaded an effort to build a $200 mil-
lion Life Sciences Institute. Not only will
this keep us at the forefront of the research
community, but we think it will yield fruit-
ful results for the world. We hope the
University can find enough governmental
and foundation funding to prevent heavy
corporate involvement in the life sciences.

While some involvement with the business
community is inevitable, the life sciences
research will enjoy the most success if
skilled professors, not pharmaceutical
companies, supervise it.
Traditional classroom teaching remains
an integral part of the University, which has
more living alumni than any other universi-

graduate education. By reducing the size of
classes such as introductory calculus and
English composition, the dauntingly huge
campus seems smaller to new students.
And compared to other schools, even our
largest lectures aren't that overwhelmingly
crowded. While the University's liberal arts
will never be as personalized as those at
Swarthmore college or Amherst college, it
does an outstanding job for a 37,000-stu-
dent institution. Because the University's
stellar resources attract the best academics,
students often have small seminars taught
by top scholars. Few schools can claim to
do that.
Living-learning programs have
increased, giving students more opportuni-
ties to feel like more than a 10-digit student
number. We're encouraged by living-learn-
ing program growth, but we hope the
University doesn't require them. They are
wonderful opportunities, but the adminis-
tration shouldn't force them upon students.
As we move into the future, we hope the
University - in particular the College of
Literature, Science and Arts - realizes the
changing educational demands its gradu-
ates face. To make sure the undergraduate
curriculum meets students' needs, new
dean Shirley Neuman should re-evaluate
and update the core requirements. Should
the college require a course on computer
skills or HTML? Is the four-semester for-
eign language requirement useful? Does
the distribution requirement provide
enough diversity in students' education?
Neuman must address these questions to
maintain high-quality undergraduate edu-
Along with academics, the University of
Michigan is well known for its athletic pro-
grams. Though Michigan fans may not
have any finger nails left, the University's
athletic programs got off to a tremendous
start in 2000 with the football team's over-
time victory in the Orange Bowl, 35-34
over the University of Alabama. We hope
this signals a continuation of the success
our programs enjoyed during the past cen-
tury. The Daily also looks forward to the
first women's team to bring home a nation-
al championship, an eventuality that could
take place this year.
We also hope the victory, and many
more in years to come, casts a new shine on
Michigan's athletic accomplishments and
removes any tarnish left from the Ed Martin
booster scandal. Sadly, the big business of
college athletics will attract more unscrupu-
lous boosters and agents this century; in
response, the University must vigilantly
uphold the commitment to a NCAA viola-
tion-free program, as we've seen during the
tenure of Athletic Director Tom Goss.
Although certain unfortunate pratfalls
exist to derail lax collegiate athletic pro-
grams, we are confident the University will
run a tight ship and bring many triumphs
and a positive image to the University com-
munity. Athletics should not be seen as sep-
arate from learning. They provide great
teamwork experiences and grant access to
the University to people whom otherwise
wouldn't have been able to afford it.
The University of Michigan has always

been a model for other large public univer-
sities, and we believe it will continue to
serve in that role over the next century. You
cannot find this combination of amazing
opportunities - from a picture-perfect fall
football Saturday to classes in almost
every imaginable field - at any other
school in the world. Despite the many




Use of Webcam
was questionable
An article in the Dec.7 Daily (left lying
around the computing center) caught my eye
today as I waited for Medline to pull up the
journals I was looking for - "Watching the
field: Officers use Webcam to nab minors on
My first reaction was that it is kind of
funny that people were caught on the Webcam.
But then I noticed that they were spotted by a
DPS officer at 2:21 a.m. The article doesn't
say whether or not the officer was on duty. I
imagine that he was, as even off-duty DPS
officers have better things to do at 2 a.m. than
surf the Web. That thought brought up a few
other questions: What the hell is a DPS officer
doing surfing the Web while on duty?
Another officer (Skowron) was quoted as
saying "We don't monitor it (the Webcam, I
assume) on a regular basis. We have no proto-
col on it. Apparently, an officer was randomly
looking at it." So no one told this officer to
check the Webcam; he did it of his own voli-
tion. Which implies that we may be paying
DPS officers to surf the Web. A scary thought.
What is even scarier, though, is how much the
incident smacks of "1984" (or Enemy of the
State,' for those of you who have never both-
ered with Orwell). I question the intent of this
camera - you can't watch the games on it!
Who the hell wants to look at the stadium 24
hours a day if you can't ever see a football
game? And what do they show during football
games? Old footage of the empty stadium?
Director of Media Relations for the University
Athletic Department Bruce Madej said that the
purpose of the Webcam was never to catch
trespassers. "That was not a thought," he said.
"It can be used for that, but it was not a thought
at the beginning."
But it is a thought now, how many other
cameras are being used by security to look for
late-night trespassers and other illegal activi-
ties? (Including "trysts" on the 50-yard line.
Makes you wonder if some of that footage is
being broadcast to adult Websites worldwide!)
What other places and activities are being

C W AE BR)\N -

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} '.

individual who is missing too many work days.
At any institution or business other than so-
called higher academia, Cloyd's actions would
warrant dismissal or reassignment. not reward.
For her, this settlement creates the dream job,
where she only needs to work during the fall
term in exchange for a year's pay and benefits.
For the students, it means our tuition goes up
and we lose the education that this professor
can impart outside of the Fall term. Why did-
n't the University fight this case, and does this
settlement mean any University employee
does not actually have to work to get paid?
Minority enrollment
data is misleading
The Dec. 3 Daily editorial on minority stu-
dent enrollment contained some incorrect
information. It is true that there has been a
decline in the number and percentage of
underrepresented minorities in our student
body, but the decline is much smaller than stat-
In 1995, underrepresented minorities -
African American, Hispanic American and
Native American students - made up 14 per-
cent of the student body. In 1996, that number
climbed slightly to 14.1 percent, but in 1997 it.
was back down to 13.8 percent, and 13.6 per-
cent in 1998. This fall, underrepresented
minorities made up 13 percent of the student
body, including both undergraduate and grad-
uate students.
Each year we take a head count in the third
week of classes of all students, then calculate
the number of African American, Hispanic
American and Native American students as a
percentage of American students on our cam-
pus. We do not include international students
in this calculation because that would distort
the key issue, which is representation on our
campus of American students of color. Both
the Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor News
arrived at erroneous percentages by adding
back in the international students. However,
because they didn't have any data on interna-
tional students of color, the numbers came out

community have the correct information.
Students need to
accept responsibility
for Greek system
I have been both an undergraduate and a
graduate student at Michigan. In the five years
that I have attended this institution, I have
noted an almost annual trend of anti-fraternity
indignation that sweeps over the campus. The
non-Greek students lament the often offensive
and always boorish behavior of the letter-bear-
ing crowd. We (I include myself in the non-
Greek population) make fun of their near reli-
gious zeal in adhering to the North Face and A
& F dress code. We mock the idea that "broth-
erhood" is founded upon a case of Natural
Light and swapped stories about spring break
in Cancun. In short, we laugh at them. We
should be crying.
We are the ones who are to blame. Not
them. They are ignorant and weak. They
joined a group because they needed other
people to tell them who they are. Feel sad for
them. Be ashamed of ourselves. We come in
many forms. Professors who watered down
bachelor's degrees by passing these beer-
addled morons (who showed up only twice
all semester and whose only contribution to
class discourse was "Is this going to be on
the exam?"). Girls who "hook up" with
them, before or after the margaritas, because
they look so damn good in their baseball
hats. Anyone who has stood in line trying to
get into one of their parties (I call them "par-
ties", but I'm sure that the volunteers at
SAPAC have another name for them). This
whole "liberal" campus, for having tolerated
this bastion of non-independent thinking for
so long. Me, for when I was a freshman
walking across the Diag at night and didn't
say anything when six of them harassed that
girl walking ahead and bowed my head when
they moved on to me.
I look forward to the day when every frat


decision to settle
was incorrect
On Dec. 10 The Michigan Daily reported
that Prof. Emily Cloyd agreed to a settlement
of her lawsuit against the University of
Michigan. This settlement included $100,000
in damages and the requirement for her only to
teach in the Fall semester (classes of her choice
no less). The settlement is outright fraud
against the taxpayers of Michigan and the
tuition-paying students of the University.
The fact that the University settled this case
rather that fighting it set a dangerous precedent

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