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April 07, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-07

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

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Spring is a time for reflection: One student's thoughts*

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, M1 48109
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
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily
reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Spring is almost here. Not spring weather,
Spring term that is. We're living in Michi-
gan, who knows when the hell spring will
finally come around. I must admit though,
I'm getting a little perturbed/disoriented with
the changing weather pattern.
I know it's not just me either, because
without fail, every
time after there's a
warm period followed
by a frigid day, there
will be the one girl in
sandals - or the one .
guy walking quickly <
to class in a T-shirt. 3f
Everyone stares at :
them because every- e
one knows that this
person slept with their
window closed and
failed to turn on the Erin
weather channel. McQuinn
It's not like in high
school either where Playing With
you could wear what- Words
ever you wanted
under your coat
because you were inside all day. No, every
morning in college you have to dress in layers
for the polar expedition that you must endure
before entering the "random temperature"
building. And it is too much of a hassle to
keep on switching between heat and AC, so
the University sets a date where they will per-
manently switch over. So even those few days
when it was unseasonably hot out, the heat

was on - making Chem 1800 a sauna. And
now, no matter how cold - the AC will stay
on - turning Angell Hall into a meat freezer.
But I'm still looking forward to Spring
term. I just feel bad for all of those people
who are still trying to sublet their
apartment/house putting up those little signs
with the phone numbers you can tear off at
the bottom. I wonder if they check their signs
to see how many numbers have been dis-
persed. Does anyone really tear off the num-
bers? I always see the signs with a couple
slips torn off, but I have yet to see someone in
the act of doing it. Maybe the leasers pre-tear
a couple of the numbers off to make the
apartment look really good. That would be
CRISPing is the only thing that has me
worried about Spring term. I, unlike the
really smart kids, did not come in with 15
A.P. credits - so therefore I always seem to
get the absolute last time for CRISPing. I'm
not.even going to try to get into Psych 11 I
- I made that mistake last time. I built my
schedule around this one class, and when it
was full, I had to completely re-work my
whole carefully orchestrated timetable. It
was a mad fit of dialing various numbers -
I ended up with some random University
course and a whole lot of social science
And why is it that the classes that sound
so easy never are? The description sounds
good - you can even go so far as to see what
books are required at the bookstore. But then,
on the first day of class the prof. just casually

mentions the coursepack. Then when you go
to pick it up at Accucopy or wherever and
they slap down this three holed-plastic
wrapped - oh did they leave out the fact that
it was 400 pages too - composite of dead
trees. And then you're totally screwed
because no one is going to believe that Bud-
dhist Studies is actually really hard. And w
do you do with the un-returnable coursepad
It's $50 for a collection of essays from people
that you've never even heard of talking about
stuff you could care less about. What are you
supposed to do after the class? At least if you
have books, there's the possibility of referenc-
ing them later. Even if you don't sell them
back or ever use them again, they'll make you
look smart chillin' on the bookshelf. And if
they have a decent cover, they could even go
on the coffee table. But there's no such use-
fulness about a coursepack. It's not li
you're ever going to sit down again and
read it just for kicks. It's not even a complete
work - just some random topics off the top
of someone's head ... Coursepacks are like a
giant trick to get you to take a class.
But Spring term makes all the CRISPing
madness and coursepacks worthwhile. It is an
example of what Fall and Winter term should
be - only taking four credits and an awful
lot of parties during the week. It's only two
extra months - and most of those stu*
people who always click "reply to all" on
mass e-mail messages have gone home to
annoy their parents.
-Erin McQuinn can be reached
via e-mail at emcquinn@umich.edu.

Enrollment "increase" no sign of success

ince the passage of Proposition 209,
" the nation has looked to California as
the proving grounds for anti-affirmative
. action initiatives. That measure effectively
ended affirmative action in the state by
eliminating programs that involve "prefer-
ential treatment" based on race, sex, color,
ethnicity or national origin. If, in the wake
of Proposition 209, minority enrollment in
California universities were to slide signif-
icantly, affirmative action advocates would
have a great case for its reinstatement. On
the other hand, if the opposite occurred,
they might be in serious trouble.
Some preliminary results are in.
According to UC officials Monday, the
number of black, Hispanic and Native
American first-year students admitted to
the University of California system has
r rebounded to pre-209 levels. But the
increase in admissions from last year in no
way signals the end of racial disparity.
In fact these statistics illustrate what
proponents of affirmative action have said
from the start: without programs to
encourage diversity, underrepresented
minorities aren't given equal access to
quality education. While minority enroll-
ment has increased at the less competitive
UC schools (such as Irvine, Riverside and
Santa Cruz), blacks, Hispanics and Native
Americans are still massively underrepre-
sented at the highly respected campuses of
Berkeley and UCLA. As long as these
groups are deprived of proportionate
admission to the best schools, they are in
no way receiving equal opportunity.
Suppose, for example, that Michigan
enacted similar legislation effectively end-
ing affirmative action programs. Our state
certainly couldn't claim to have equality
in higher-education if enrollment at
Michigan and MSU plummeted while
Western, Central and Eastern University's
Guns om
States should contii
1 Jhile even the most modest and wide-
ly supported gun control efforts
have been completely stymied at the
national level by Congress' unrelenting
dread of the NRA, many states have
admirably taken matters into their own
hands. In the most important example,
Massachusetts began regulating handguns
in the same manner as all other consumer
products this week. By finally recognizing
the danger posed to gun buyers and acting
to improve consumer safety, Massachusetts
has demonstrated how firearms should be
treated as long as they are legal.
It has taken far too long for recognition
'that handguns should at least be governed
by the same safety rules as other products.
; While this is certainly a step in the right
direction, handguns, if legal at all, deserve
to be regulated in the strictest manner pos-
sible, considering they are virtually the
only legal product specifically designed to
kill people. Such inherently dangerous
products should have never received the
legal protection from consumer safety laws
granted by Congress at the federal level
and it is encouraging to see the institution
of protections at the state level.
Many other states have been able to
avoid Congress' paralysis on the gun-con-
trol issue and implement measures to

improve gun safety. Maryland's legislature,
earlier this week, approved a bill requiring
all handguns to have built-in trigger locks
after January 2003. Connecticut passed a
law allowing the seizure of guns from
potentially dangerous individuals. And law-
suits by numerous cities have forced at
least one gun maker, Smith and Wesson, to
change the way it manufactures and mar-

populations rose to offset the decline.
Similarly, don't expect minority-advocates
in California to jump for joy over Mon-
day's press release.
These statistics merely show that
instead of leveling the playing field, Cali-
fornia has simply stratified it. Ironically,
Ward Connerly, a UC regent staunchly
opposed to racial preferences, said it best:
"the numbers ... (do) not mean that
minority kids will not be educated at one
of the best educational facilities in the
country ... They'll just be redistributed to
less competitive campuses." The state
probably hasn't seen such segregation
since ... well, segregation.
Additionally, the UC figures miscon-
strue actual minority representation on Cal-
ifornia campuses to make a decline in
representation seem like an increase. Even
though the raw number of students admit-
ted to the UC system have rebounded to
1997 levels, proportional representation of
these minorities still remains well below
that year. According to the New York
Times, black, Hispanic and Native Ameri-
can students accounted for 18.8 percent of
new first-year student admissions in '97,
but only 17.6 percent of admissions this
year. Because underrepresented minority
enrollment is still relatively lower than it
was when such programs were in place,
these numbers indicate that affirmative
action is still desperately needed in Califor-
While it's encouraging that minority
admissions have somewhat recovered
from the massive blow Prop. 209 inflicted
two years ago, current levels are by no
means optimal. Minorities don't just need
access to higher education, they need
equitable access to quality education as
well. In short, they need affirmative
nue regulating guns





These developments were achieved in
the face of massive opposition from gun
manufacturers, the NRA and other gun-
rights organizations and are some of the
first instances of government, at any level,
taking a stand against those groups. The
gun lobby still holds considerable influence
in most states and Congress continues to
cower before it however, making the
promising new state measures isolated
islands of responsibility in a nation still
awash in guns.
The usual assertion made by those who
oppose tighter regulation of guns is that
people deserve the right to protect them-
selves. That argument is utter nonsense.
The United States has an astronomically
high number of gun-related deaths for a
developed nation and, not coincidentally,
the weakest gun laws. In addition, almost
all those deaths are attributable to shootings
by criminals and accidents, not people
defending themselves. Clearly, this nation's
practice of letting almost anybody have a
gun isn't protecting anyone.
It is disappointing that the U.S. Con-
gress has proven to be completely impotent
in the face of the gun lobby and that even
the continuing high rates of gun violence
and endless series of school shootings can-
not seem to convince them to enact even
the most minimal gun controls. While it is
encouraging to see many states taking
action to curb gun violence, so far they are
exceptional cases. Many states, including
Michigan, have actually been trying to
weaken existing gun laws. Every American
deserves relief from the epidemic of gun
violence that afflicts this nation and Con-
gress should follow the example of Massa-

Being politically
correct has value
Branden Sanz seems to have all the
pat answers for what ails America
("Thoughts on Columbine and America's
youth," 4/4/00). But I disagree with him
concerning political correctness. The
main problems I see with political cor-
rectness involves those who are constant-
ly whining about political correctness.
My observation is that they are people
who don't want to take responsibility for
their actions. They don't want to
acknowledge that sometimes what they
say and do is hurtful and harmful to oth-
ers. They seem to think that everyone
experiencesethe worldtthe same way they
do. They see no need to try to understand
what life is like for others. They won't
make the effort to reach out and bridge
the gaps in our society.
There may be times when somebody
might be a little too quick to complain
about being the victim of this or that
"ism." Although they may be wrong in
the particular case, there probably is a
history that gives them good reason to be
sensitive. That will be the case until we
address our social problems more com-
pletely and honestly. In the meantime
please spare me the whining about politi-
cal correctness.
Horn's column was
In response to David Horn's column
"Stars and stereotypes: Racism flies high
in Carolina" (4/6/00), 1 must say that I
am utterly disappointed with the Daily
for allowing such stereotypes, hatred and
ignorance to be put to print. At a Univer-
sity that is to dedicated to diversity and
understanding of other cultures it amazes
me how people can so freely say such
horrible, false things about another group
of people and it be accepted. Coming
from Nashville, I constantly hear people
say horrible things about the South as it
has been stereotyped up here to be the
Dukes of Hazzard. It utterly disgusts me
that a community supposedly so open
and receptive to people of all back-
grounds can discuss "a good old fash-
ioned hillbilly ass-kicking" without some
kind of moral dilemma.
I am aware that the South's past hasn't
been the greatest and I don't think the
Confederate Flag should be atop the
South Carolina state Capitol, but do not
pigeon-hole all Southerners as racists,
conservatives, traditionalist, or Christian
Fundamentalist. I am none of the above
and I am deeply offended that being from
Tennessee I am viewed as so. People at
this "multicultural" university need to
realize how hypocritical they are when
they say that Southerners are ignorant.

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tion costs. This proposal has a major hole
that, even most conservatives would
agree, subsidizes OPEC on the backs of
working Americans.
Think about it this way: OPEC cuts
production of oil. Costs per barrel go up.
Gasoline prices in America rise. Ameri-
can lawmakers propose cutting American
taxes so more Americans will buy gaso-
line. More Americans purchase gasoline
and the country as a whole continues
buying oil at the same rate from OPEC.
The U.S. Government loses billions of
dollars in tax"revenue.
Does anyone else see the end result?
The only entity losing money in this
scheme is the Government. OPEC contin-
ues raking in money, because it will do
so regardless of our internal tax policies
(unless they make gasoline prices inhibi-
tive). And taxpayers, the ones supposedly
benefitting from all this, save about 50
cents each time they fill up. For even the
biggest gas-guzzling vehicles available,
this might save the average driver two to
three bucks a month.
Am I incorrect in thinking that even
our most conservative lawmakers would
be incensed to know that Sen. Trent Lott
(R-Miss.) is proposing what amounts to a
subsidy of OPEC?
Of course, then there are the programs
that would likely get cut with less tax
revenue in the government. Let's see ...
welfare, farm subsidies and education, to
name a likely few.
It's time Americans started paying
attention to what's happening out in
Washington, DC, and thought about what
is really going on when Lott says "tax
cuts." It's not all it seems.
Alternative fuels
could help
I congratulate the Daily on the editorial
"Oil and Water" (4/4/00). We seem to be at
the mercy of the oil producing countries. At
the same time our farmers get federal subsi-
dies to leave fields unplanted or sell some
crops at low prices. Alcohol as a fuel, either
by itself or in "gasahol" could help. Unfortu-
nately, most such past efforts have themselves
competed with the major oil companies. Per-

SCC fights campus
The Daily's editorial "Michigamua: Privi-
leged tower space is'unfair" (4/6/00) really
strikes a raw chord with me and many other
students throughout the University. The col'
cerns so bravely raised by the Students oi'
Color Coalition have nothing to do with the
issue of freedom of speech. The attempt to
make this issue about First Amendment
rights, or to try and keep the focus of atten-
tion on allocation of space, is a convenient
decoy employed by the University's adminis-
tration to draw attention away from the real
issue - institutionalized racism. Undoubted-
ly, a discussion about the virtues of free
speech, as opposed to an open and honest
dialogue about racism, is more palatable t0
the apathetic members of this campus com-
munity; limiting discussion to the allocation
of University space, I imagine, makes the
unconscionable actions of Michigamua more
acceptable to those who benefit from power
and privilege; confining conversation to
issues of First Amendment rights, I'm sure,
placates those who are ignorant to the hurt
that Michigamua's culturally derisive tradi-
tions have caused to America's indigenou6
people. So ... bravo to the administration.
Thus far you have been successful in deceiv-
ing the easily duped.
But from those of us who refuse to be
duped, we will not relent. The University and
its administration must quit ignoring and
dodging the real issue of institutional racism!
The University and its administration must
sever all ties with Michigamua! The Univer-
sity and its administration must assert itself as
being more concerned about respect and jus-
tice for-its students of color than with thk
money raised by Michigamua alumni! The
University must take a stand and show some
moral strength! Until it does, concerned stu-
dents on campus will not let this issue rest!
But, to the author of the editorial, you're
right- ignorant people have the right to
spew out all the ignorance they want. You're
right, Michigamua has the right to spit in the
face of Native American students and make a
mockery of Native American history and tra-
ditions. And you're right, freedom of speec
is protected by the First Amendment. But
when this speech disenfranchises, limits
access and resources, creates an unsafe envi-
ronment, treads on one's culture, mocks reli-
gious traditions, mocks ancestry, mocks
heritage, and mocks the genocide of hun-



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