- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 26, 1999
be £Eit)19n &ig
When circumstances demand it, phone it in
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan
HE ITIEER KAM INS
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
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 Dailv.
People need the facts about meningitis
T he automated voice says, "You have a
collect call from," then my voice cuts
in: "Dav e Wallace." CRISP t ady's cousin
finishes our collaborative speech. "Do you
accept the charges?"
The Daily pauses
for a moment, clearly
unhappy to accept r
the charge. I didn't
to save it 44 percent,
either. But the Daily
"Yeah, look, I'm
phoning this one in
today." My voice is
tired. "Ive been up
more than 24 hours, D
and I've got noth-
Irritably the Daily
once in a while, the show just doesn't go
anywhere. So he just admits it's a bad
show. The writers and Dave phone it in. I
figure, my name's Dave too, lets try the
"You're not on television."
"Details." I'm working from a tired
"No, it's not." the Daily says. "We can't
just put you in reruns."
"Why not? Let's try 'The Best of Exile
on Maynard St."'
"We need to fill 4,500 characters." The
Daily is irascible and a personal friend of
"Look, I want to help, but it's very sim-
ple." I say. "I need at least five hours of
rest to write creatively, and at least three to
"So how many weeks have you been
up?" The Daily aspires for a career as an
This is called an impasse. Time to
change directions. The Daily goes first.
"So what have you got?"
"Nothing," I say. "I'm working from the
principle of phoning it in. Everyone does it
occasionally. Talk show hosts, construc-
tion workers. paramedics."
"Don't say things like that."
"You have to phone it in occasionally.
No one can be on top every time. It's a
survival strategy college students every-
I continue. "How about we rent out the
space? Someone can have a column for a
day. We'll get John Smith off the street and
change the column's name to 'Utility
Infielder."' See the straws, and me grasp-
ing at them. "I'll. go on injured reserve
with a severely sprained brain."
"If there's one thing you should know by
now, there's no injured reserve at the
"I'm an innovator." I pull a loose leaf
from my notebook. "Here's a historical
document: the first Daily Injured
Reserve." I write my name down. "See,
there I am."
Several other haggard staffers approach
to sign up. The Daily puts an end to it with
an unceremonious rip.
"Look, you can't have a guest host." The
Daily stands firm.
"Why not? Carson had millions of them.
I could find my Jay Leno."
The Daily thinks for a moment. Clearly
some devilish idea arose upstairs. "Maybe
l'll Wally Pipp you."
"Wally Pipp. New York Yankees first
baseman. Missed a game and a guy named
4 classmate's trip to the hospital for
meningitis is more than enough to
raise the eyebrows of members of the
University community. When students
only know the basic facts reported by
many media outlets - the disease can be
fatal and occurs more frequently on col-
lege campuses than elsewhere - such
limited knowledge can cause a person to
panic. The University must educate stu-
dents about meningitis's true risks and
take an active role in preventing the
spread of the disease.
Outbreaks can increase awareness of
the disease over time, but they fail to
educate people about the real facts of
Now, whenever there is an outbreak of
the disease, such as this year's cases at
Eastern Michigan University, Michigan
State University and here, the stories turn
into front page headlines. While fatal dis-
eases deserve attention in newspapers,
the University community must not only
make decisions based on the amount of
media coverage. That can lead to unnec-
essary panic. But the campus must take
steps to learn about the disease.
According to a study by the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, only six
of the 88 cases of meningococcal disease
reported among college students between
September 1998 and June 1999 were
Also, the center reported that menin-
gitis is not as contagious as a cold or flu
and cannot be spread by casual contact or
breathing the air where a person with the
disease has been. Meningitis causes
inflammation of the meninges -- the
membranes covering the brain and spinal
cord. It is transmitted by fungi, viruses
and bacteria, by which the most severe
The University has taken steps to
spread necessary information through
University Health Services and its
Website and a telephone hotline (764-
8320) that provides similar facts about
meningitis. Actions like these help pro-
vide members of the University commu-
nity with an understanding of the disease,
but have too little an effect at too late a
time. Public health efforts should start
before an outbreak, not during or after.
The University also continues its
existing program of offering the meningi-
tis vaccine. Students can purchase the
vaccine for $89 each. The program
addresses students who wish to actively
prevent the disease, but many students
can't afford it. In contrast, last week
Michigan State vaccinated 13,555 people
free of charge and the vaccine will be
available for as low as $70 in the East
Lansing area. Although MSU historically
has had more serious cases of meningitis,
the University needs to follow MSU's
lead by providing the drug at low or no
Meningitis is a serious disease, but it
is treatable. The University must contin-
ue its educational and prevention pro-
grams occur and increase access to the
vaccine to insure a high level of public
Gehrig took his spot."
The argument could have been persua-
sive had I not nodded off on the other end
of the phone line.
The Daily tries a new strategy. "Look,
let me help you get started. Halloween is
this Sunday. Write something on that."
"Look, you usually start with a joke. I'll
come up with your first line."
The Daily mulls it over. "With the last
week of October comes the usual assort-
ment of skeletons, witches and goblins."
Through a yawn I say, "Hard to believe
it's election season already."
"That's what I'm talking about!" The
Daily thinks it's getting somewhere.
"No, no we're not even off the ground.
That wasn't funny, that was a reflex."
The Daily is beginning to get desperate.
I just might pull this ot.
"I'll lower my standards. Can you at
least give me the equivalent of Larry
King's News and Views."
"I'm tired, not comatose."
"So you must have something in mind."
"When I'm drastically low on sleep the
only column I can think of is 'The last 20
rows of MLB auditorium 4: Lights out."'
"I've also got, 'Where pennies go to die:
A guide to University fountains."'
"Ugh." The Daily groans, "Man, when
you're shot, you're shot. I guess you've got
"That's why I'm phoning it in. You have
"Can you do me a favor next time you
phone it in?"
"Sure," I say.
"Don't call collect."
David Wallace canh e reached over
e-mail at davidmw(, umich.edu.
/r H EV1
MSU should not require computer ownership
As the new millennium draws nearer,
computers are playing a much larger
role in the typical workplace. To prepare
students for the computer challenges of
the future, many universities, including
Michigan State, are considering a propo-
sition that would require all incoming stu-
dents to own a computer.
This proposal, while it may seem
tempting on paper, contains too many
inherent problems to be an effective tool
for increasing student computing profi-
ciency. For one, the policy is unfair to
incoming students with less financial
means. College is already incredibly
expensive without the added projected
cost of $1,200 for a computer. Although
the plan permits financial aid to assist
with such a purchase, most monetary
assistance comes from loans.
Most students who can afford a com-
puter in addition to their tuition and liv-
ing expenses already have one. Those
who do not will be faced with the unnec-
essary burden to their already-stressed
financial plans. Because of the exact
time-limit set on purchasing a computer -
students matriculating in the Fall of 2002
would be required to own one by the time
classes begin - incoming students would
also be forced into a buying a machine
without the benefit of time, research and
University assistance. Finally, such a pro-
posal will likely force a financially-
pressed student into buying a cheaper
system that cannot handle many of the
multimedia resources required of it..
As computers continue to advance
rapidly, poorer students' discounted
machines have a greater chance of
becoming obsolete by the end of a stu-
systems. The quality factor may well
attribute to a greater disparity in high-
tech access between those who can and
cannot afford a powerful computer.
Providing a computer for every student
on campus could provide many opportu-
nities for graduating students who face a
world full of these machines. But there
are better, cheaper means of accomplish-
ing this without forcing new students to
shell out an extra $1,000 before school
By requiring all students to supply
their own computers in their first year,
Michigan State risks the creation of a
senior class down the road trying to com-
plete 400-level work on antiquated
machines. But at the current rate, most
computers are outdated within just three
years. First-year students, on the other
hand, tend to use their computers primar-
ily for e-mail and word-processing.
Rather than force new students to pur-
chase a system beyond their needs, the
administration would do better to main-
tain computer labs stccked with the latest
technology that all students could use.
Regardless of what kind of program
Michigan State uses to supply every stu-
dent with a computer, the new policy
should not deter the administration from
supporting on-campus computing sites.
Student-owned computers are too unpre-
dictable and often do not include ameni-
ties like printers, scanners and advanced
programs that are readily available at
such sites. Learning how to use a comput-
er is important for the future of Michigan
State students, but such experience
should not come at the detriment to the
availability of technology one can attain
TO THE DAILY:
The editorial entitled "Standard
Procedure?" (10/22/99) was full of
hypocrisy and, as usual for the Daily, a
twisted logic based on everything except
facts and reality. The crux of the editorial
railed against the move by some state legis-
lators to exclude abortion from standard
insurance policies. First, I have to ask the
question, why must I help support the pro-
liferation of a procedure that I feel strongly
is immoral and inhumane to say the very
least? What about my constitutional rights?
Do I have any in your opinion, or should
they be subordinated to the "worthy" cause
of defending Roe v Wade at all costs.
Second, I must point out the hypocrisy
and inconsistency of your editorial point of
view. You state "by passin this bill ... the
Senate is opening the door for successful
restrictions of other constitutional rights in
the future." Hello! Is anyone home? Just last
month the editorial page was spewing out
nonsense that the Second Amendment need
not apply to the modern day and that own-
ing a gun should no longer be a right pro-
tected under the constitution. Now here you
are saying that restricting abortions (four
thousand occur daily in the United States)
will lead down a slippery slope jeopardizing
other rights. Doesn't restricting the right to
bear arms follow this logic also?
Of course it doesn't in your eyes. You'd
rather support a wholly undemocratic
Supreme Court decision which invented the
constitutional right to an abortion, rather
than defend an actual amendment that is
part of the Bill of Rights. The absurdity and
ridiculousness of your point of view is most
apparent. This is especially conveyed by
your closing argument in the editorial when
it is stated "it is contradictory and hypocrit-
ical to protect one right and not another." In
the future please try to follow your own
advice, before you subject the rest of us to
your vile and wicked agenda of supporting
the murder of innocent children.
Students should be
courteous to bus
TO THE DAILY:
What has happened to common cour-
tesy? Is it no longer polite to thank a person
for giving you a ride somewhere? I have
noticed that University students do not
thank the campus bus drivers when they get
dropped off. Many people just walk out the
door without even glancing at the driver let
alone saying "Thank you."
There are a select few of us that do say
c V-nti, , t. C. coI
has many unheard
To THE DAILY:
It is impossible to escape affirmative
action on this campus. Two weeks ago,
Dustin Lee wrote a letter towtheeditor
("Affirmative action detrimental to 'U,"'
10/11/99) that denounced affirmative action
and started (yet another) heated debate on
the topic, that was carried out on the pages
of the Daily.Many of the people that wrote
back ripped him apart, but I know that sev-
eral of the opinions expressed in that letter
are not his alone.
The opposition to affirmative action on
the campus is definitely present, but has not
become a force - yet. Personally, I have
always been an opponent of affirmative
action as it is used at the University of
Michigan. The University has high admis-
sion standards because the classes are rigor-
ous, and people who don't meet those stan-
dards probably won't do well, which is exact-
ly contrary to affirmative action. I think the
whole idea is ludicrous, and an excellent
example of doing too little too late to help
minorities gain access to higher education.
On Thursday, Oct. 21, the Diag was full
of people waving colored signs, many
scrawled with some clever saying or anoth-
er hailing affirmative action. It was the
"Day of Action" that had been aggressively
publicized for well over a month, with fliers
and posters all over the University. Snippets
of the numerous speeches traveled through
the air laden with affirmative action buzz-
words such as white privilege, underrepre-
sented and discrimination. I say buzzwords
because for this occasion they were exactly
that, words that were supposed to sound so
authoritative and intimidating, so cruel and
unjust that one feels motivated to jump right
on the bandwagon, to fight all. that is
unequal and pay homage to the civil rights
However, the very same day, I saw a
handful of students walking around with
buttons that stated, "I ai gaProduct of
Affirmative Action." To me that seems to
say, "I am here just because of the color of
my skin. No less, no more." I used to think
that a minority student might be worried or
tors have taken it upon themselves to decide
what is best for everyone in the world,
regardless of their culture.
Economic imperialism is not much
noticed by the average citizen, and thus i sa,
great tool of those who decide what i
"best" for the world. A current case is the
military coup in Pakistan. Sometimes it is
necessary to replace a corrupt government,
and methods of replacement will vary from
culture to culture. It is not necessary to use
only the Western view.
One parliamentarian from India said in
regards to Pakistan: "We may not agree with
our neighbors forms of government, but we
must live with these differences and go on as
best we can."
Is this such profound knowledge that i
has escaped the intellectual grasp of our
government? We can see that it has when we
look at the US policy on Cuba.
Nearly everything our righteous rulers
say is wrong with Cuba we can find in our
own backyard. Political prisoners? Leonard
Or perhaps you would care for a little
Mumia? Police brutality? Welcome to New
York! Remember, the U.S. has the highes
percentage of citizens locked away in pris-
ons, yes even more than Cuba, even more
than Russia, and China!
Yet our beloved rulers find it necessary
to keep medicine and food from being
exported to Cuba, with lesser sanctions on
less "dangerous" countries.
Hypocrisy on the half shell anyone? Yes,
I'll take some please! With a side of Mr.
Mandatory Minimum George W. Bush
thanks (snort, snort). In short, the U.S. legis-
lature finds nothing wrong with economical
ly isolating certain "unseemly" countries.
And is that not a form of warfare? Yes it is, it
is a war of attrition. A war in which the enemy
is starved until they submit. We are at war
every day people, but most of us choose not
to notice. But it is time that we did.
peace to animals
TO THE DAILY: