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December 09, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-09

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, December 9, 1999

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How much is brotherhood worth.

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

HEATHER KAMINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
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.

Hazing must end
Fraternity ritual is unacceptable ...

A ccidents happen. Rules are broken. As
teachers tell youngsters not to run with
the scissors pointed up and mothers insist that
kids not play with matches, governing bodies
set rules that will be cast aside by adherents
with the same sense of youthful abandon. The
recent, unfortunate Alpha Epsilon Pi BB gun
accident is a reminder that rules, silly as they
may seem, are in place with constituents' best
interests at heart. The community's trust that
the Greek system is haze-free is becoming
hard to see as anything but myth governed by
good intentions. But this "possible hazing"
mishap, which sent a 19-year-old student into
surgery with a groin injury, is not a time to
blame, but a chance to reassess some larger
issues. It calls to attention the great need to
eliminate first-semester rush.
The University's Interfraternity Council
Constitution expressly forbids hazing, but
pledges are not regulated with totalitarian
authority, nor should they be. But the IFC has
the responsibility of educating all members
about the dangers of hazing. The Greek sys-
tem can and should be allowed to run with
some deal of autonomy, with personal
changes in behavior as logical first steps.
This incident may be used to highlight
the importance of personal responsibility,
both on the part of Greek brothers and sis-
ters as well as pledge members themselves.
It is personal discretion that can prevent
accidents like this from recurring. If a pun-
ishment is to be dealt, the IFC
Constitution's "mandatory sponsorship of

an educational program or activity" should
be considered to help young pledge mem-
bers empower themselves in the face of haz-
ing and aggression. The fact that new
recruits are often campus newcomers with-
out a good sense of their options remains
part of a larger issue.
The University's Greek system recruits
students in their first semester, while many
other major universities restrict pledging to
the second semester, or even to the second
year. Having an adjustment period for wide-
eyed freshmen on a big campus could give
them time to realize their options and get a
better sense of what they can explore.
Combining this with better education or some
kind of crash course in the various Greek
pledge programs could be the start to better -
and safer - initiation traditions. No intrusive
intervention by the IFC or the Greek Activities
Review Panel would be necessary if everyone
was looking out for themselves as well as their
brothers and sisters.
This ultimately comes down to a matter of
personal discretion. An abusive relationship,
in any form, is not something that authority
can ultimately stop, no matter the intervening
role they may assume. More policing is an
option, but not a good one. If University fra-
ternities and sororities are to retain their
appeal, it is up to them to make the effort to
learn from the horrible mistakes of Alpha
Epsilon Pi and others, lest more dire conse-
quences of brotherly and sisterly love present
themselves.

... but the 'U' shouldn't be involved

The campus community must not take
the recent hazing tragedy lightly. This dis-
plays the dire need for all hazing to end.
And whoever committed this alleged
atrocity should be tried to the fullest
extent in a court of law. Unfortunately, the
University might try to hold its own, un-
democratip trial.
The Code neglects many rights guaran-
teed in the U.S. legal system. Bureaucrats

have too much power in these often secre-
tive hearings.
We also do not want the University to
begin a Greek witch hunt. While this act of
violence should not be tolerated, it must not
serve as reason for local police to increase
their watch over fraternities and sororities.
The campus must not judge the entire Greek
system by the hurtful actions of a few hurt-
ful people.

December frenzy
More study days would ease student stress

T he end of the term is an imminent yet
unwelcome part of students' lives.
Each year at this time, students prepare for
final examinations or complete term
papers. Whether a first-year student or a
senior, the week-long experience can be
both exhilarating and draining on one's
patience. The University must consider this
when scheduling the academic Num
calendar and give students more study0
than one study day.Fate
Final examinations are Harvard:
expected in most classes, and the Princetor
brief time between the official Ya e7
end of classes -Monday - and Chicago:
the beginning of final examina- MIT: 3
tions - Wednesday, is unaccept- tDuke 3
able. This lack of time to prepare Stanford:
is baffling and should be adjusted Ohio Sta
to meet the needs of the students.
This is not an unreasonable demand,
considering the competitive nature of most
classes. Some students are caught with two
or three exams on the first day of finals,
having only one day to prepare. This puts
them at a huge competitive disadvantage
compared to other students, who might only
have one exam that day. Grading curves are
part of many classes, so the University
should level the playing field.

fte

willing to start school a week earlier to earn
longer study time. With more than four
months off, starting school before Labor
Day would not be a huge strain on well-rest-
ed students.
Many schools, including Princeton,
Harvard's Arts and Sciences College and
Yale, allow students more than a week to
prepare on "reading days" (see
Iya a accompanying chart). The
& University claims to have three,
:2 but it includes the weekend that
12 follows three days of final
examinations. That's a decep-
4 tive trick to make it look like
students have more study days.
What students really need is a
week to prepare.
o 2 When professors, abuse the set
guidelines for administering
finals, all students - and their test scores
and term paper grades - suffer. The
University also must address this violation
of rules.
Everyone wants to do well when a large
chunk of their grade is at stake. While rec-
ognizing that time cannot simply be created
without taking it from elsewhere on the aca-
demic calendar, the University should do
everything in its power to give the best pos-

Original Superfan sets the record straight

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