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September 09, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-09

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursaay, September 9, 1999

5Iw Sidigan &zil

For the last time, I've never called it

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

HEATHER KAMIINS
Editor in Chief
JEFFREY KOSSEFF
DAVID WALLACE
Editorial Page Editors

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

Learning by doing
All students should attend Festifall

or the past few years, a Daily columnist
has started off the school year with bla-
tant character attacks on East Coast stu-
dents.
Things have changed.
As a native New
Jerseyite, I find those
types of regional.
prejudices appalling.
They are commonly
accepted masks for E
racism, anti-semitism'
and other forms of
bigoted oppression.
Character i z in g
people based on their
hometown is usually
inaccurate and leads
to greater rifts Jeffrey
between an already Kosseff
divided student body.
Let's consider a
few myths about East New Stye
Coasters:
e I'm not a member of an "East Coast"
fraternity. Surprisingly, I don't belong to a
Greek organization.
I don't smoke Marlboro Lights.
Cigarettes repulse me.
V I've never driven an SUV My car is the
least flashy automobile you could find.
l've never set foot in Rick's.
I do not want to go to the Business
School. I'm pursuing a career in journalism
- not a profession known for fat-cat stock
options and high salaries.
* I've never complained about the lack
of good bagels on campus. Zingerman's has
some of the best food I've ever eaten.
O I did not go to a high-profile private
"academy" before coming to the University.
My public high school was quite plain.
You get my drift. I do not fit the common
stereotype that many people have of East
Coasters.

I concede there are some obnoxious East
Coasters. But I know obnoxious people
from every corner of the country, so that
argument doesn't convince me.
I don't know anyone who exactly fits the
stereotype assigned to their region.
Students from Los Angeles to Detroit to
New York City and everywhere in between
have faced expectations from their peers
based on their birthplace.
"Wow, you don't even have a southern
accent," most people exclaim when they
meet my friend, who attends the University
and is from the South.
While that is a pretty bland observation,
we know their hidden meaning:
"Wow, you're not the kind of Southerner
who wears a white hood and marries his sis-
ter."
Would it be a problem if he had a
Southern accent? Would people take him
less seriously? In many cases, I think, he
would get less respect with an accent.
We've all heard the Southerners-are-
bumpkins comments, in addition to bible-
thumping Western Michigan stereotypes
and the chain-smoking and loud Long
Island archetypes.
Regionalism is just as mean-spirited as
racial and gender prejudices, but it is more
accepted. Often, it acts as a way for people
to vent their other prejudices in a socially
acceptable way.
People have made many assumptions
about me based on my home state. I am
commonly asked about my Bar Mitzvah,
without giving any indication of my reli-
gion. It's funny, because I never remember
having a bar mitzvah.
And my fellow students often label me
with many anti-Jewish stereotypes because
of my origin. Because I'm from the East
Coast, they reason, I must be a cheap,
spoiled rich kid who is picky about bagels.
When people "jokingly" label me with

'New Joisey'
these characteristics, they cite the fact that
I'm from New Jersey.
But coincidentally, they are labeling me
with the same stereotypes that bigots assign
to Jews. And the East Coast is known for its
high population of Jews.
Putting two and two together, it's easy to
see that these bigots are finding a way to
make anti-semitic comments without being
branded anti-semitic.
Anti semitism is only one of the forms oe
bigotry that regionalism protects. How
many times have you heard someone
ridicule Detroit for being crime-filled and
poverty-stricken? These are the people who
know the least about Detroit, which has
many nice and safe neighborhoods.
Many University students are from
Detroit, and they don't need to hear other
people talk negatively about their home
town. They should be able to have pride in
their city without their peers assuming they.
grew up in a gang, surrounded by drugs.
Anti-Detroit sentiments sound an awful lot
like prejudices white supremacists hold
against black people.
To break through these regional divides,
we need to get to know people from various
regions rather than making assumptions.
Most importantly, the University must
get rid of these ridiculous "living and
learning" programs that allow students to
essentially choose their own residence
halls - a process that usually results in
geographic segregation by residence hall.
Everyone knows where the East Coast
dorms are.
If students took the time to know individ-
ual Michiganders, East Coasters and
Southerners, they would quickly lose many
of their prejudices. Before we even begin to
tackle issues like racism and anti-semitism,
we need to address regionalism.
- Jeffrev Kossef can be reached over
e-mail atjkossefjfumich.edue
G R\DING T HE NIB

T he University's academics - from
English literature to electrical engi-
neering - are top-notch. But learning in
the classroom only goes so far. As stu-
dents at a massive Big
Ten school, we have ES
opportunities that are WiiE ST: DjA
absent in smaller WHN: ToDAy, r
schools. These opportu- 4 i.f
nities come from the WHAT: REPRiP$EIE
University's nearly 800 AK0uT 305 STD
student organizations.
Today, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., repre-
sentatives from more than 300 of these
groups will be on the Diag to try to con-
vince you to participate. Festifall, an
annual event, helps get students involved
with these groups.
Do not let your time at the University
pass you by without getting involved. An
average of at least 15 credits per semester
can be stressful at times. But you don't
want to look back on your time in Ann
Arbor and realize all you did was attend

[1
r .
NT<
? N

class. Students groups can be just as ben-
eficial as classes - and they're usually
more fun. There is no better way to make
life-long friends.
Don't constrain your-
TALself to the activities you
enjoyed in high school.
oM 11 A.a TO Try something new. That's
what college is all about.
AT VS FROM It's never too late to get
T GROUPS involved. Student groups
don't look only for first-
year students. If you're a senior, and
you're interested in an exotic hobby, go to
Festifall and see if there's a club for it.
There probably is.
From religious organizations to acade-
mic societies to recreational sports to The
Michigan Daily, there is an organization
for everyone. During the next few weeks,
before the stress of mid-terms takes over,
you should find the groups that are right
for you. Festifall is the perfect way to do
that.

CHIP CULLEN

An 'F' for inconvenience
Pass/fail deadline should be extended

T hrough next week, University stu-
dents will be attending this semes-
ter's classes for the first time. But in just
19 days - with only a modicum of expe-
rience in each class - those students
must decide whether to make use of their
pass/fail option.
In requiring this hasty decision, the
University weakens an otherwise strong
support of academic success. The
pass/fail deadline should fall after
midterms.
Taking a course pass/fail helps allevi-
ate the stress of academia while allowing
students to branch out and be a little
adventurous in their scheduling.
When a student takes a course
pass/fail, that course does not affect his or
her grade point average. Students receive
full credit for pass/fail courses, provided
they achieve at least a C-.
A single class can have a significant
impact on overall GPA. Consequently,
students often refrain from leaving their
academic comfort zones.
But if students had the option to
change a class to pass/fail after the
semester's midpoint, more would select
courses they find different and challeng-
ing.
Even the most careful selection of
classes leaves a few surprises. Sometimes
course descriptions and syllabi do not
provide an accurate appraisal. When a
student schedules an oppressive work-
load, the pass/fail option acts as a sort of
safety valve.
Students are then able to prioritize and
balance their studies and extracurricular
activities, deriving the most benefit from
the semester. The pass/fail option is not
an invitation to disregard a class, as some
may perceive; rather, the minimum
requirements for a passing mark ensure
that every class receives a healthy amount
of attention.
And a student's schedule does not sim-

ply consist of academic courses.
Students need time for outside activi-
ties. Being a member of a campus organi-
zation places considerable demand on
tightly budgeted time. Further, many stu-
dents are unable to afford the luxury of
unemployment during the academic year
and need to work. These activities whittle
down students' study time.
But the true workload for the semester
is often not clear until much later than
three weeks after the first day of class. On
Sept. 28, many students will not yet have
completed their first sizeable assignments
of the semester, or received enough
grades to evaluate how well equipped
they are to handle the courses they select-
ed. Some classes will have met only three
times.
The optimal pass/fail deadline would
come after midterms. At this point, all of
the semester's wrinkles have been
exposed, and students are in the best posi-
tion to iron them out. Those students suf-
fering under unreasonable demands can
lose some of them.
The University need not worry about
abuse of the pass/fail privilege. Students
may not take more than 30 credits
pass/fail, so no one will be able to coast
through the University on pass/fail cred-
its.
Students will have to make a decent
effort in every class from the beginning
of the semester, since they must budget
the allotted limit of credits wisely.
A post-midterm deadline for taking
classes pass/fail would greatly benefit the
academic and personal lives of students
without sacrificing tht integrity of a
University education. Students deserve
the time to make a careful, informed
choice. We urge you to e-mail Provost
Nancy Cantor, the chief academic officer,
and let her know 19 days is not enough
time to make a major decision about your
academic future.

Football players
should be held
accountable for
their actions
To THE DAILY:
Another football season is upon us. yet
this year is different.
Henceforth, the University shall not
be able to hold its head high.
This past summer, three members of
the football team were caught and con-
victed of stealing from a Kmart in
Ypsilanti.
In the pastsuch playersnas this were
dealt with by the team in an appropriate
manner, usually with a multiple game
suspension.
However, in this case, coach Lloyd
Carr has found it expedient to merely
hold these players out of the starting line-
up. while inserting them in soon after the
game begins.
This lack of action is outrageous. The
Michigan coaches should be taken to task
for this b' students, alumni, faculty, hot
dog vendors, etc.
I don't advocate throwing the players
off the team.
But this lack of discipline conjures up
terrible images of the University of
Miami and University of Oklahoma in the
'80s as well as the University of Nebraska
in the '90s, where misdeeds by players
were met with cries from coaches of
"boys will be boys."
That is not a comparison I, nor the
coaches would probably desire.
Remember, former Michigan coach Gary
Moeller was fired from his job for an
offense much less serious than what these

JLIGT GOtTTA RUNI HIM-yoME.
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three have done.
PAUL PAVWOSKI
LSA JUNIOR
'Night' march
unintentionally
excluded survivor
TO THE DAILY:
The Ann Arbor Coalition Against Rape
wishes to apologize for the pain that was
caused bythis year's "Take Back the
Night March"
A survivor who did not identify as
male or female was forced to leave the
march by other participants, who per-
ceived this individual to be a man.
In order to make the march welcome

to transgendered individuals, it was stat-
ed that the march was for women as wel
as those who identify as women.
However, this attempt failed, as it
excluded individuals like this person who
do not fit within male/female gender cat-
egories.
It was not our intent to overlook vio-
lence against transgendered individuals.
The planning committee is very sorry
for making this grave error and for the
pain it has caused.
Although the planning committee
members change each year, we envision
in future years the lessons that have been
learned will lead to increased awareness
and an atmosphere of safety that includes
all individuals, regardless gender identifi-
cation.
LISA PAHL
DEIRDRE SHIRES
SOCIAL WORK STUDENTS

Drug charges
By Yale Daily News
Yale University
The new Higher Education Act revokes
federal financial aid from college students
convicted on drug charges. This may be a
well-intentioned idea, but it is unfair and it
won't work.
Our nation does need to combat drug use,
but revoking federal financial aid dollars
from students caught with drugs would have
two unfair effects.
First, those with less money could have
their college education revoked - an unfair,
extra-judicial punishment. The federal gov-
ernment should not be in the business of
meting out extra sentences for those who
need federal support to get an education.
Second, the law will take needed aid
money mostly from those who have a high-
er chance of getting convicted on drug
Y2K or not Y21
v The Louisville Enrdinai

should not hinder aid

charges -- lower-income and non-white stu-
dents.
The intent of the 1998 Higher Education
Act may not be classist or racist, but the
effect of the law is.
At Yale, we know from personal experi-
ence that those who do drugs in college have
generally made a decision about their behav-
ior.
The government can successfully deter
people from doing drugs in junior high and
high school, but not in college. To revoke
financial aid dollars from people busted for
smoking a bit of marijuana or even crack
doesn't solve the drug problem in this coun-
try.
If the U.S. Congress is genuinely interest-'
ed in solving America's drug problem, its
senators and representatives should concen-
trate on crime prevention at a much younger

age and in at-risk neighborhoods, while
improving the neighborhoods' in-school and
after-school programs.
In addition, much of the drug use in
America can be traced to unstable homes,
communities with a dearth ofjobs and activ-
ities for kids and poor K-12 schools.
This wider social problem cannot be
solved by pronouncements.
It can only be solved by concerted federal
and local efforts to-eliminate the causes of
drug use and replace drugs with other activ-
ities.
If politicians wish to limit drug use in this
and other urban university environments,
they will step away from draconian mea-
sures and concentrate on programs that
work.
- This staff editorial ran Tuesday in the
Yale Daily News.

NANCY CANTOR
PROVOST AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
3074 FLEMING
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109-1340
,a A000e

- That is the question

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