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January 11, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 11, 1999

420 Maynard Street HEAT HE
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Editor
daily.letters@umich.edu "

Elian Gonzalez: Under two red,

in Chief

T his past week Miami saw hope, anguish,
upset and agreement, ard none of it had
to do with a missed extra port.
First, let me ask you a gestion. Let's say
you're a kid again, and your ptrents are work-,

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.

ing-class people. Let's
also say you have a
rich aunt and uncle,
and they claim you
should live with them
and be their child,
since they can give
you a better life. They
promise you every-
thing, and there's a
decent chance you can
get it. Your parents can
make you no such
promises, but they are
your parents. Where
do you go?
Like you. I've been
following the case of
little Elian Gonzalez, a

The clock is ticking
Pass/fail, drop/add deadlines are too soon

Exie a

at least until then.
INS made the right decision, and the
courts should agree. though the hearing pro-
vides an unfortunate delay. Elian's father
wants him back, and a six-year-old is not in a
position to speak for himself. He'll say what-
ever someone tells him is right. The United
States, and the boy's Miami relatives, have no
legitimate claim to him -- no way to tell a fit
father he has no right to his son.
I understand it's hard to know what to
think, because the case in the media sets up as
"Home Alone in Miami." Watch Che slip on
Elian's Micro Machines while an iron hits
Fidel in the face, splitting his cigar into an
It's been manipulated to levels that sicken-
ing. You don't need to know all the details;
one will illustrate. U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-
Balart (R-Fla.), who wants the boy to remain
with his Miami relatives, gave Elian a puppy.
It's that thick. We're asking, "Aww, can we
keep him? And the puppy too?"
The kid is so cute. I want to buy him all
the Pokemon cards and Happy Meals he
could possibly want. And this is how most of
us feel, but we're thinking with our hearts. We
should be grateful for our laws at times like
these, because they make the right decision
when emotions cloud our judgment.
Look, I don't see why Elian's father, if he
truly wanted his son to live in America,
wouldn't just say he wanted Elian to live there,
or at least say nothing at all. Presumably, some
argue he cannot because Castro's goons have
guns on him, or something (an elaborate,
mousetrap-style killing device).
I don't buy that. The bond between parent
and child is so strong, I believe most parents
would die for their children. I don't think
that's uncommon. Ever try stealing someone's
kid? No, and you know why besides morals
and stuff? Because if a parent perceives you as

ite and blue flags
a threat to his or her child, you're in for theme
equivalent of a bear attack. Didn't you see the9
movie "Ransom?" I didn't either, but I'm sure
something like that occurred. So if I were in;
Juan Gonzalez's place and wanted my son to
live in America, I would not speak out for him
to return, whatever the personal cost: execu-
tion, torture, whatever.
Could they even kill Juan Gonzalez? To'
do so would guarantee the child never returns,
and would earn the world's disgust at a time
many countries exhibit growing sympathy for
Cuba. Juan must know this.
I don't think we need to worry about Elian
for the same reason. He's now world famous.
If you remain uncomforted, consider a bit
more. It is an arrogant American attitude that
our lives and country are best. Whatever you
think of Cuba (and how much of our percep-
tion is reality?), we in America do not always
treat our children well. And do not forget that
many of the poor conditions in Cuba result
from our 40-year-old embargo.
If you think in extremes, I assume you*
believe the child will live a wasted life in a
Cuban barrio and die with unused potential.
I'll swing that to the opposite end of the spec-
trum: How do you know he won't grow up to
found democracy in Cuba? Castro turns 74
this year, so I doubt he'll dominate much of
Elian's life. After Castro, who's to say what
happens? There are few communist states left,
and I bet American money will look awfully
tempting to his successors.
Elian Gonzalez's life doesn't end with a4
return to Cuba (a return that deserves no prob-
lems from politicians looking for sentimental
headlines). A child is better off with a capable
parent, and we shouldn't be so arrogant as to
believe the only good lives are lived in
- David Wallace can be reached over
e-mail at davidmw tumich.edu-

University students kicked off a new
semester of classes last week. But
students who may want to take a course
for credit will have only a short time to
decide - the deadline for taking a class
pass/fail falls on Jan. 25, only 3 weeks
into the term. This is not nearly enough
time for students to determine the diffi-
culty of any class. For that reason, the
deadline should be extended until spring
There are several reasons why stu-
dents might want to take a course solely
for credit. The ability to opt for pass/fail
allows students to take classes outside of
their concentration without risk to their
GPA. This gives students the opportunity
to expand their horizons by studying sub-
jects not touched on by their concentra-
The University should encourage the
exploration of many different areas, and
taking classes pass/fail can aid in this.
With the chance to enroll in courses
without having to get an A, many stu-
dents are more likely to try more adven-
turous classes.
In addition, taking classes pass/fail
,relieves some of the stress of a difficult
.ourse load, and allows students to
'devote more attention to concentration
courses (which have to be taken for a
The pass/fail option also gives stu-
dents more time to participate in
extracurricular activities. There is more
to the University than academics, and the
free time created by a slightly lighter

homework load can be used to participate
in the arts, intramural sports, the Greek
system, political action groups or any of
the many activities on campus. And not
only are extracurriculars a very reward-
ing part of the University experience, but
they are also looked at by graduate
schools and prospective employers.
In addition to allowing time for
extracurriculars, taking courses pass/fail
can also give students more time to hold
part-time jobs. Because of tuition and the
costs of living in Ann Arbor, this is a
necessity for many students, and it only
adds to the pressure of a full course load.
It is also not true that moving the
deadline would cause students to slack
off. To pass a course, a C- is still neces-
sary, and that is not always a given in
some of the more difficult classes.
Students must put a certain amount of
effort into any class, even if they opt for
pass/fail. Also, students cannot abuse the
privilege, because the University only
permits 30 pass/fail credits.
Three weeks is not enough time to
accurately determine the difficulty of a
class. By the time the pass/fail deadline
arrives, most students have not yet taken
exams or handed in any papers, and it is
not easy to gauge the difficulty of a
course based on a few homework assign-
Pass/fail is a form of insurance for
students with a strenuous class load. But
for this insurance to be effective, stu-
dents need a suitable amount of time to
properly evaluate the semester.

6-year-old rescued in the wate!s off Florida on
Thanksgiving after the boat carrying he, his
mother, stepfather and other CObans sank. His
mother and stepfather drownx, leaving himn
in the custody of relatives liing in Miami,
who demanded the boy remait in the country
to pursue the better life his mother sought for
him. His father and closest Elatives live iQ
Cuba and called for his return
Then last Wednesday, the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service,
which met with both the father, JRau
Gonzalez, and the family in Miami, deter-
mined the boy's father has cusdy and there-
fore speaks for him. INS set Jat. 14 as the lat-
est date for the boy's return to uba. But yes-
terday, a judge granted tempotry custody to
Elian's great-uncle, pending aiearing March
6. Apparently Elian will remain in the country


GR"I).N.: RE IB*

Segregation, 2000stle
AIDS discrimination is blatantly wrong

The idea that one group of people
should receive "separate but equal"
treatment as another group of people is
an obsolete notion,
"Separate but equal" in actuality is
not equal. We are now immersed in an
era in which people are steadily becom-
ing more conscious of issues such as
civil rights, gay liberties and affirmative
Last April, the 1Ith U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals decided to segregate
HIV infected patients in the Alabama
prison system. Doing so will not obliter-
ate the spread of AIDS but only con-
tribute to feelings of hatred among those
Though the effects of the court's rul-
ing are exclusive to the Alabama prison
system, the ruling offers evidence that
people with HIV continue to be the tar-
gets of legal attempts to segregate them.
The justice system should not punish
people for contracting HIV.
Many contract HIV due to circum-
stances far beyond their control. Rape
victims or blood transfusion patients are
prime examples of people who could not
have avoided obtaining the virus.
For these people, it would be adding
insult to injury to ask them to attend dif-
berent medical centers, live in certain
communities or work in specific places.
Isolating them would make it difficult to
have contact with friends, family, physi-
cians, co-workers and other important
people in their lives. These are the peo-
ple that they should surround them-
selves with during the struggle.
Being around people with similar ail-

but more likely it also will bring about
feelings of despair.
AIDS patients may choose to attend
support groups where they are free to
interact and share experiences with
other AIDS patients. But groups only
last a certain amount of time; people go
back to the real world and their own
Being around other virus carriers all
the time would make patients feel that
there is no definite end to the struggle
and death is inevitable. It is society's
responsibility to provide hope for these
people so that they may continue on
with their lives.
Overall, it is most critical to educate
people about the true nature of the HIV
virus and how it is obtained. For exam-
ple, when prisoners with AIDS are
required to practice religious services
separate from other prisoners, there is
no increase in safety for non-AIDS
infected prisoners.
It is critical to realize that the only
manners in which a person can obtain
the virus is through unprotected sex
with a carrier, sharing of needles or
blood transfusions.
None of these are activities that occur
while practicing religion or other activi-
ties such as work duty or classes. The
people who find it necessary to isolate
people are not in fact, protecting the
While we have come a long way since
the civil rights era, it is critical that we
do not rest on our laurels and continue
fighting for equal rights. AIDS is one
such issue for which we must still strive

Dental studerts'
education were
primary concern
The process involved in the grading of two
dental students at the Universit has recently
received public attention and :mment fol-
lowing the filing of a lawsuit b a member of
the School of Dentistry faculty Because the
University has an obligation t observe the
educational privacy rights of all Pf its students,
I cannot comment on that specic case. I am
compelled, however, to clarify some of the
misinformation being reported bout School
of Dentistry grading procedures
First, the dean does not unilerally deter-
mine grades. All grading is done by members
of the faculty. In most clinical aid preclinical
courses, individual faculty menbers provide
input to faculty course directos, who then
determine each student's final trade. Issues
regarding academic performancare reviewed
by the Academic Review Boad which is
comprised of eight members o' the faculty
and the associate dean for acadevie affairs.
When a grade dispute arise, there is a
process available for student: to appeal
through the Academic Review Bard. with an
ultimate right to seek redress froi, the School
Executive Committee. The Executive
Committee is comprised of six members of
the faculty who are elected b' their col-
leagues, and the dean, who only votes when
there is a tie. Any action the schol takes with
respect to its students is done iith careful
attention both to the rights of the tudents and
to the school's paramount conern for the
quality of its education.
Living wage is
'welcome realy'
Thank you for the Daily's Jan 7 editorial
supporting Ann Arbor's adoptionof a living
wage. While you correctly state th t the sym-
bolism of the city's adoption of a d ving wage
is of importance, we believe that number of
social service agency employees, parking lot
attendants, materials recycling faclity (MRF)
workers and other employees of dty vendors
will get raises as a result of this Mneasure. For
these employees, a living wage wil be a wel-
come reality, not a symbol.
Letter perpetuates
Greek stereotypes
Regarding David Curkovic'! Jan. 5th
letter, I am mildly surprised thatthe Daily,


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expressing an opinion of Business School
students as money-grubbing. resume pol-
ishers concerned only with personal gain,
thus rendering themselves contemptible
sub-human lifeforms. I am positive the
Daily would not publish such a narrow-
minded opinion.
Admittedly, I only have 21 years of obser-
vation to base this next statement on, but I will
boldly tender this opinion: No group, especial-
ly a group that numbers in the thousands, can
be accused of exhibiting uniform behavior.
Not Greek system members, not Boy Scouts,
not politicians and not lawyers. Anyone that
claims otherwise is a fool. The Greek system at
this institution annually raises thousands of
dollars for charity. maintains a consistent stan-
dard of academic excellence and donates hun-
dreds, if not thousands, of hours to communi-
ty service. The behavior of every member is
not always exemplary, but it is never always
boorish. To ignorantly stereotype thousands
based on the action of a few, whether members
of the Greek system or members of a minority,
is always a foolhardy pursuit.
It is an ultimate disappointment to me as
a student of this University, that the Daily
continues to contribute to this problem.
Israel tainted by
injustices .
Jennifer Strausz. in her column in
Friday's Daily ("There is more to Israel than
falafel and conflict"), tells a story of her
encounter with a simple, honorable man dur-
ing her trip to Israel. Israel, she argues, is not
just about the "problems and conflict" you
see in thenews, it's also about normal people
living normal lives, sunsets and the the beau-
ty of the ocean.
I myself spent six months living in
Jerusalem. I spent a lot of time on both "sides"
- Arab and Israeli - and I wanted nothing
better than to focus on the real, normal lives
that surrounded me. I wanted to get beyond
the newspaper headli'nes and stereotypes. And
like Jennifer, I also met many endearing char-
acters there, including carbon copies of
Manny on the predominantly Arab side of

they could not get building permits almost
impossible for Arabs to receive. They would
have loved to forget about the conflict just as
much as I did and still do, but for them it was
much more than a newspaper story - it was
their everyday reality, and all the beauty w
Israel couldn't change that. It's a shame that
the good, honest lives of people such as
Manny are tainted by the unjust practices of
that surround them. Unfortunately, ignoring it
won't make it go away.
KKK demonstration.
got out of hand
I think Washington County Prosecutor
Patricia Peters best summed up the story of
the KKK-haters' recent trials: "It's not about
the government siding with the Klan. It's
about prosecuting people who broke the law
I dislike the ideas of the Klan as much as a4
other person. Actually, I was a little pleased tor
see that someone showed up to look them in
the eye and say, "this is wrong." Hatred, intol-
erance and violence are things that we can do
For this reason, I was a little disturbed tc
read that someone or other threw stones an4
tore down a fence in response to the Klan gath.
ering. The Klan has a right to preach its ideas
in a public place, stupid as they might seem to
the rest of us. And although we have a rig,
(maybe even a duty) to be there and disagr
with the Klan, words never justify a violent
These protesters could have just as effec-
tively stared the Klan down in silence from 50
yards away, and they would have looked much
better than the Klan by comparison. If they
needed to be arrested to call attention to theit
cause, they could have managed it without
throwing projectiles. I don't want to make a
issue of the innocence or guilt* of the sW
defendants who ended up being charged with
the crimes. The fact remains that the demon-
stration got out of hand.
I would prefer not to live in a country
where an unpopular minority can be bullied
and physically threatened by a shrill major-


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