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March 24, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 24, 2000

lbe 5ci gun &tiig

Meal plans in the residence halls are really sketchy

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
Dailys' editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily
reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Ba Di necessnfary
Baby 'drop off' law will save infants' lives

The alternative meal options at the resi-
dence halls don't add up. This is a great
concern to me since I can no longer bring
myself to eat in the cafeteria. I think it's the
smell. The smell of the cafeteria reminds me
of the time during first semester when I got
sick from eating something that I thought
resembled some sort
of peeled potato. But
there was no way that
this was any sort of
natural vegetable
from the earth. I
should've known by
the lime-tinted water
that it was chillin' in.
-but I was in a
hurry. Ever since
then, I can't bring
myself to enter that
room of trays and Erin
cheap silverware, McQuinn
because I can start to
smell that nasty-pota- NM
to smell. It makes my W d
stomach turn just
thinking about it. So I
must resort to the alternative meal venue -
the basement kitchen with the extended
At the start of second semester, I switched.
from the "Any 13" to the "135 meals." (By
the way, is there anyone who actually eats all
13 meals a week?) But after eating several
expensive tomato slices, I started thinking
about the math behind it.
Okay, there are approximately 16 weeks
in a term - we are automatically given the
Any 13 meal plan and if you want no meal
plan, they'll credit you $540 to your Entree

plus account. So that means that we are
allotted $2.60 for every meal - right? No,
you're pretty much getting screwed over if
you choose to take the "Points only" option.
Now the "135 Meals" plan gives you 135
meals (hence the name) and $135 in your
entree plus account. All unused meals are
credited back to your account at the rate of
$2 per meal. Not $2.60, just $2. But here
comes the major (more than 60 cents) prob-
lem. It doesn't make sense that it costs $7 or
$8 for an outside person (without a meal
plan) to eat at the dining hall. How can they
cite such a huge difference in price? How
can the same tray be worth that much more?
Is it to punish the outside people for being
so weird that they actually want to eat at a
dining hall? How can the Entre office put
the price tag of $7 or $8 on entering the
cafeteria, but then only credit us $2 for
meals that we don't eat? It just doesn't make
sense to me. Is the cafeteria that magical of
a place that it warrants a $7 or $8 entrance
Now there is the story of the alternative
meal venues where you can use meal credits
from missed meals and Entree plus. At
lunchtime you can get something "worth"
$2.60 and at dinner you can get something
"worth" $3.75. Now if you make these num-
bers the actual value of a University meal,
the entree office is allotting you $669.60 per
semester. But if you denied the meal service,
they will only credit you $540 per semester.
So again, why the price difference? Is there
just some person in an office making up ran-
dom numbers? There seems to be absolutely
no standard price for the privilege of enter-
ing the cafeteria. And it brings back the
question, if the price of dinner in the base-

ment is $3.75, why are we only getting $2*
back for meals that we don't eat?
Oh yes, and then there's the condiments.
If you want to throw some veggies on your
basement fried food - it'll cost you. It'll
cost you ten cents for onions or mushrooms,
a quarter for a tomato slice and 35 cents for
cheese. However, if you had used your
"mystery amount" meal credit in the cafete-
ria like they wanted you to, you could've
walked out with five tomatoes. Sure, a quar
ter isn't a lot, but it's starting to annoy me. It
seems like some sort of condiment punish-
ment for the people who have late classes or
can't stand the smell of the cafeteria. The
person making up the random numbers in
the Entree office is trying to slowly mentally
break us down until we are all zombies eat-
ing Salisbury steak every day in the "stan-
dard" cafeteria.
Just about the only good thing that the
Entree office has done is making it possible
to get a pint of Ben and Jerry's for a meal
credit. But then they put the time constraint
of a 10 p.m. curfew - no meal credit usage
after 10. Now that's just plain cruel. Every-
one knows that the worst ice cream/fro yo
craving hits late at night. It was bad enough
that they were ripping us off, but the ten
o'clock ice cream curfew is where I draw
the line. Something must be done...
Being tough on crime has long been a
stalwart of successful politicians. Of course,
this makes sense: Siding with criminals@
seems to be a great political faux paus, and
reasonably so and the messy interplay
between politics and law enforcement has
- Erin McQuinn can be reached via
e-mail at emcquinn@umich.edu.

E ver hear a sick "dead baby" story?
Here's one: According to the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Ser-
vices, 105 newborn babies nationwide
were abandoned in 1998 alone, 33 of them
died. In order to save the lives of future
defenseless children, several counties in
Michigan announced a new program
Wednesday which would allow parents to
anonymously "drop off" their newborn
babies at local hospitals. The Michigan
Senate Judiciary Committee is also con-
sidering passing legislation on a similar
vein. These initiatives are extremely
important and should be strongly support-
ed on both the state and local levels.
Currently, Michigan parents could face
felony charges and a potential ten year
prison sentence if convicted of abandon-
ing their children. Such penalties deter
unprepared or unwilling parents from
handing their newborn over to those who
will properly care for it. All too often
these parents let these infants die in a
dumpster or abandoned lot. These deaths
are senseless and easily avoidable. By giv-
ing parents the option to hand over their
children to the government without fear of
reprisal, these initiatives allow these chil-
dren the opportunity to live. As opposed
to being left on a church doorstep (where
a child may freeze to death before being
discovered), newborns can now be taken
care of the second their parents leave
Many people are concerned that aban-
donment offers an easy way out of parent-
hood by not holding people accountable
for their children. While these sentiments
are understandable, we need to decide
which we hold higher: The lives of

infants, or the accountability of their par-
Should we really allow newborns to die
alone because we think their parents are
irresponsible? Additionally, one would
hardly call nine months of bringing a child
to term, let alone giving that child up,
"easy" in any sense of the word. These
parents are giving their children over to
the State because they know they cannot
emotionally or physically care for them.
At the very least, they feel as though
they have no other choice. Because of this
feeling, they will abandon their children,
law or not. These programs allow them to
do so in a way that will prevent the death
of a defenseless newborn. Finally, it's
important that these laws and programs
not be used as pawns in the abortion
debate. Their intention is to simply protect
the lives of babies who have already been
born, period. Politicians and supporters of
either side of the debate shouldn't ever
consider abandonment an acceptable alter-
native to a woman's right to choose. Of
course, it is a sad commentary on the
world that such laws need to be in place. It
is absolutely disgusting that there are so
many neglectful parents. Nevertheless,
recent trends demonstrate that ignoring
this problem won't make it go away. Just
last Sunday, a baby (who now has a criti-
cal case of pneumonia) was left in a
garbage bag in Detroit.
Hopefully these new programs and leg-
islative actions will prevent such tragedy
from reoccurring. While it is horrible that
the state must draft legislation to protect
these small children, it would be almost as
neglectful as these children's parents if
Michigan didn't do anything about it.


You can't own a gene
Human genome data should be public

S cientists announced earlier this
week they have reason to believe a
patent issued to Human Genome Sci-
ences Inc. on a sequence of human
DNA purported to be crucial in trans-
mission of the AIDS virus may contain
glaring errors. This announcement
comes amid growing concern by scien-
tists over openness of the Human
Genome Project, which has seen signif-
icant advancements in sequencing and
decoding of the nearly 3.5 billion
chemicals in human DNA. Private
companies, such as Human Genome
Sciences, are often credited for the
recent surge in discoveries, due in large
part to their pioneering techniques
designed to pull them ahead in the race
to claim patents.
But, as more and more sequences
based on human DNA effectively
become the property of profiteering
genetic research firms, scientists from
around the world have begun to urge
caution. As this endeavor marches ever
closer to revolutionizing health care
and disease treatment, we must urge
openness of research, coupled with
truly altruistic, long-term vision among
all private interests laying claim to this
veritable genetic gold mine.
The potential in decoding the human
genome is not science fiction. Human
Genome Sciences' patent claimed to
have discovered a sequence intrinsic to
blocking the spread of AIDS. With the
right genetic information, new medi-
cines may be developed to block AIDS
and other diseases.
But, according to the L.A. Times,
scientists have discovered potential
errors with the patent on up to four
grounds. A potential error this glaring
in the patenting process should alert us

to the very real threat of serious inac-
curacy in other aspects of the genome
process. If profiteering genetics com-
panies rush modified genetic material
to the market prematurely, the potential
for serious error cannot be ignored.
With this patent potentially in dis-
pute, other companies working on the
genome project have begun to salivate
at the potential of owning a sequence
involved in AIDS. With billions in rev-
enue at stake, this is a game where
entire company stock valuations can be
gauged by their ownership of certain
strings of genetic material, whether or
not the research is sound. Economics
aside, the findings of the human
genome project must be released to
research universities and scientists
without royalties on the patents. Com-
panies must put research before short-
term profits.
Last week, President Bill Clinton,
along with Britain's Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, released a declaration urging
free access to human genome data. This
declaration said, "To realize full promise
of the research, raw fundamental data on
the human genome, including the
human DNA sequence and its varia-
tions, should be made freely available to
scientists everywhere."
This statement comes as the Univer-
sity prepares to launch its new Life
Sciences Institute, a potentially impor-
tant resource for the decoding and test-
ing of genetic discoveries. Unfettered
access to human genome data is good
for the University and necessary in the
fight to ensure quality and safety in
this exciting new scientific realm. Prof-
it cannot get in the way of sound sci-
ence. Human genome results must be
shared for all people's benefit.

Students should
participate in Earth
Week 2000
Between yesterday and Sunday, April 2,
hundreds of University students, faculty and
staff will join together in a coordinated effort
to commemorate the 30th anniversary of
Earth Week. But regardless of all our hard
work, and all the people involved, Earth
Week 2000 can only be a success with your
input and help.
The theme for Earth Week 2000 events is
"Beyond Environmentalism: Reaffirming the
Connections between Society, Culture, and
Ecology." It is our goal to present our Univer-
sity community with a unique opportunity to
remember and reflect upon the underlying
ecological, social and economic threads that
join us to the web of life. These threads make
each and every one of us an "environmental-
ist:' whether we choose to believe it or not.
We welcome and encourage everyone.
from soon-to-be briefcase warriors to poets
hopeless and romantic, from meat-eating,
SUV driving shop-til-you-droppers to gra-
nola-and-Teva die-hards, to escape the day-
to-day molds in which we are too often cast,
and together consider the roles we can and do
play in "environmental" issues.
Global climate change, economic devel-
opment, species extinction, hunger, poverty
and social injustice share commonalities we
sometimes forget to consider and sometimes
completely ignore. Everyone helping to orga-
nize Earth Week 2000 events hopes to both
directly and indirectly highlight some of these
interconnections, offering opportunities for
campus and community-wide discourse (dis-
sent and debate are welcome) and active
involvement (remember that inaction is an act
in itself).
With 23 "official" and many more less-
than-official events, there's something
planned for everyone. Highlights include the
Earth Week 30th Anniversary Lecture Series
(to be held next Monday through Thursday in
the afternoon and evening in the Michigan
League), as well as student presentations,
information sessions, musical events, cultural
celebrations and volunteer opportunities. All
these events have been coordinated to high-
light the diverse, dynamic and interdiscipli-
nary nature of efforts being made here at the
University to increase ecological literacy,

encourage active participation to affect posi-
tive social change and investigate notions of
justice, democracy and equality in the current
political and economic climates.
Earth Week events are being held one
month in advance of the day commemorated
by Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to keep finals and
graduation from discouraging participation.
We've also stretched the "week" into ten
days, including weekends, for those who have
many scheduling conflicts. Please take the
time to participate, and help to make a differ-
ence in both physically and mentally improv-
ing our environment! The schedule can be
found at www umich.edu/-jgroenke/earth-
week.html and you can link to it from ITD's
website (the default webpage on most cam-
pus computers).
objectified women
On Tuesday March 21, I opened the Daily;
and found, on the second page one of the most
sexist ads I have ever seen in the Daily or any
other newspaper. On page two was an ad with
a provocatively dressed woman leaning into
the car window with a man at the driver's seat.

t- ,.. CU55 EVJEN GR& O
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This ad not only provokes the image of prosti-
tution but it is substantiated by the caption
"Free and Easy. 2 words you won't hear com-
ing out of her mouth."This ad is misogynistic
and it perpetuates the sexual objectification of
women in society. It allows women to be seen
as sexual objects who are not free or easy but
obtainable for the sexual desire of men. Some
people may argue that sex sells but should it
be at the expense of women?
The University and Ann Arbor communi-
ty should be embarrassed by the placement of
this ad. This month in the nationally recog-
nized feminist magazine, Ms. Magazine, this
ad is one of four in their section about sexist
ads in the United States. I was informed by
Ms. Magazine that this ad was developed in
Ann Arbor by Bidlack Creative Services for
CollegianClassifieds.com. The University
newspaper allowed and was paid to run this
sexist ad and the Ann Arbor community sup-
ports the company'that produces this ad.
I am now saddened more by the idea that
the liberal and diverse communities of the
University and Ann Arbor have falsely repre-
sented their progressive feminist ideals. I, as a
proud feminist representative of these com-
munities, have to question if in fact I should
be proud. How could any liberal community
allow this ad to be in circulation? The ques-
tion that the Daily, the University community
and the Ann Arbor community needs to ask
themselves is do they have a feminist con-
sciousness? If so, then this ad should not be

The final word has been spoken concern-
ing whether "gayness" is hereditary or a
learned behavior. This conclusion did not
cost the federal government a dime - no
federal grants were involved - no taxpayer
The breakthrough did not come from a
lengthy federally funded research treatise, nor
was it published in the Journal of the Ameri-
can Medical Association. Rather, University
of Michigan instructor David Halperin has
stated unequivocally that male homosexuality
has to be learned. Writing in the University
Fall 2000 course catalog, Halperin states:
"Just because you happen to be a gay man
doesn't mean that you don't have to learn
how to become one. Gay men do some of

developing a better understanding of homo-
sexuality, especially in light of recent state-
ments from the homosexual community,
which would have us believe homosexuality
does not involve choice or learning. They
state that a homosexual is a homosexual sim-
ply because he was born that way.
Halperin's course explodes that reasoning,
for if a homosexual needs to learn how to be
gay, and even needs a University course to
teach him how, then it is obviously not a mat-
ter of heredity. Let me demonstrate. The full
catalog entry for this course is available at:
www isa. umich.edwsaa/publications/courseg
uide/fall/361.htmLfOO. But to prove my
point, I will excerpt from Halperin's own
course description and substitute the word

facts and activities that seem to play a promi-
nent role in learning how to be Irish: Holly-
wood movies, grand opera, Broadway
musicals and other works of classical and
popular music... What can such an approach
tell us about the sentimental, affective, or aes-
thetic dimensions of Irish identity, including
Irish sexuality... this course will... seek ulti-
mately to create the basis for a wider accep-
tance of the plurality of ways in which people
determine how to be Irish.
It just doesn't work, substituting "Irish"
for "gay," especially when you consider hav-
ing to "learn" to be Irish. I didn't have to
"learn" how to do that. Not many Afro-
Americans have to "learn" how to be Afro-
American, either. They might study to learn

a i ninE VA& h Ei 0


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