4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 10, 1999
Ii £idi~igan S&dIg
Even prospective killers like to talk about Star Wars
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Editor in Chief
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t was 3 a.m. and I was on the only work-
ing elevator in Alice Lloyd. I had just
finished studying for my statistics final
and was ready to get some sleep. I pushed
the button for the sixth floor and smiled
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the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
sleepily as the doors
began to close.
Suddenly, a hand
reached out towards
me. The elevator
doors paused and re-
opened, and the body
belonging to the
hand stepped on. He
was a suspicious-
a stranger to me,
in black. He stepped
on, moved into the
opposite corner of
the elevator, and
kept his gaze
focused on me. He
did not push a button;1
Preve ing tragedy
Greek drinking rules show responsibility
rolled in his direction. Out of the corner of
my eye, I saw him bend down to pick it up.
Oh man, I was thininn. Thi is it. I held
my breath, waiting for him to pull out a
gun. lie handed the pencil to me and
opened his mouth to speak. I braced
myself for the worst.
"Star Wars,"'he said.
My mind was racing. I was planning my
escape route, my hand was moving towards
the emergency button, my life was flashing
before my eyes. I was picturing my first day
of kindergarten, my first trip to Disney
World, my first kiss. I was imagining my
old swing set, sidewalk chalk on the drive-
way, birthday parties, Halloween costumes,
scenes from Star Wars. I was picturing my
parents and my best friend and my room-
mate and how upset they were all going to
be when they found out ...
Wait ... Star Wars?
That guy - my killer, had just looked at
me and said "Star Wars." That was it. That
was all he said. He kept staring.
The elevator had almost reached my
floor. He was waiting for a response.
"Um ... Star Wars ?" I asked.
"Star Wars," he said. "Episode I. The
Phantom Menace. Are you going to see
it?" He spoke clearly, enunciating every
Why did my murderer care what movies
I wanted to see?
"Yeah," I found the words to answer,
"Awesome," he said. "It's supposed to be
We had reached the sixth floor. The
doors opened, and we stepped off in oppo-
site directions. I walked slowly to my
room, allowing my heartbeat to return to
he was going to my
its standard rate.
This guy wasn't a murderer. He didn't
want me dead. He seriously wanted to talk
about movies. lie was probably just a
friendly guy. Strange, but friendly. Maybe
he was obsessed with Star Wars, and
thought that I looked like the Star Wars
type. Maybe he was returning from his
weekly "People Who Only Wear Black"
meeting, and was in a talkative mood.
Maybe he was doing a psychology experi-
ment: make someone think that you are
going to kill them, and then ask them
questions about Star Wars. Who knows.
But there was no intention of harm.
I am usually not the type of person who
expects the worst of others. But in the mid-
dle of the night, when the only people I've
seen in the past hour are the ones who have
fallen asleep in the study lounge, I'm not
thinking very rationally. I tend to jumble
my own life with images of suspenseful
horror movie scenes and clips from
America's Most Wanted. It wasn't that I
looked at the guy and assumed him to be a
criminal; I just kind of thought that being
killed was the natural thing to happen to
me right then. It's what would have hap-
pened in a movie.
I pondered it while I was brushing my
teeth. I laughed about it while I.was wash-
ing my face. The truth of the Star Wars guy
was certainly more unusual than some-
thing someone could have made up. After
that short elevator ride, I learned that real
life can be much more interesting than fic-
tion -- and, a lot less predictable.
I slept well that night, dreaming of Luke
Skywalker and feeling good about reality.
-Jennifer Strausz can he reached over
e-mail at sirausz urnich.edu.
1ENI\ lELY SiPEA"LNG
W hen the alcohol-related deaths of
several college students received a
frenzy of national media attention last
fall, the University's Interfraternity
Council and Panhellenic Association
launched discussions on the risk and
responsibility drinking inevitably brings
to their social scene.
The result of the self-study was the
unveiling last May of a new alcohol poli-
cy for the Greek community. The Social
Environment Management Policy, cur-
rently in effect, states that it "aims to pro-
vide the safest possible social atmosphere
for the members of the Greek community
and their guests while allowing those
attendees to exercise the personal respon-
sibility afforded to college students within
the limit of the law."
The rules are stiff. All attendants at a
party who are not members of the hosting
fraternity or sorority must wear a wrist-
band and no "Friends" parties where alco-
hol is present can be held before the end
of fall fraternity rush.
All houses must either attend or spon-
sor at least one alcohol education program
each semester. Fifteen weeks of social
probation will be enacted if a keg or other
common source of alcohol is found at a
party or a "Friends" party is held before
While the heavy partying associated
with the Greek system often puts fraterni-
ties and sororities in an irresponsible -
and dangerous -- light, it is also the com-
munity on campus that receives the most
attention for drinking. Excessive drinking
also happens at house parties and in resi-
dence halls; the Greek system can not be
held responsible for the so-called "binge-
The University administration is asking
for trouble by having first-year students
move into residence halls in late August
only to not begin classes until a week into
September. New students need a day or
two to adjust to their new surroundings
before classes start, but nine or 10 days is
excessive. Restless incoming first-year
students - the vast majority of whom do
not have extensive drinking experience or
the desire for moderation on their side -
have little else to do night after night than
follow their entire floor to parties. Before
finding their own roots, first-year students
spend the early weeks of the school year
looking for any open party - and there is
never a shortage of sprawling house par-
ties, especially during football season.
While the new Greek policy is thor-
ough and thoughtful, now is when it will
be tested. Self-policing isn't fun or easy.
Some may feel these rules are overly strin-
gent, but the Greek community should be
commended for exercising the responsi-
bility required to create self-imposed stan-
dards. The hardest part - enforcing their
regulations - has yet to come.
But the actions are a reminder to the
many non-Greeks on campus that drink-
ing, in any situation, needs moderation:
Fraternities and sororities will hopefully
embrace this chance to not only demon-
strate leadership, but help prevent
Since I am quite an apprehensive per-
son, especially at 3 a.m. and especially
alone on the elevator with such a shady
character, I assumed, of course, that I was
about to be killed. As his eves burned into
my side and his fingers tapped suspicious-
ly against the wall, I thought about what a
shame it would be if I was murdered
before I got to take the stats exam.
All that studying would have been such
Theelevator seemed to be moving in
slow motion. I tightened my grip on the
books and notebook I was holding. My
pencil fell to the ground, bounced, and
TuE CONGRESSIO4PAL IRQLJMX IUTO WAIA(O NIT A. SLA x-.
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Memorials should encourage campus activism
Clemency move smacks of hypocrisy
K ent State University dedicated memo-
rials Wednesday to the four students
killed by National Guardsmen during a
1970 campus protest against the Vietnam
Granite markers now occupy the parking
spaces where Allison Krause, Jeffrey
Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William
Schroeder fell after members of the
National Guards opened fire on protesters
on May 4, 1970. Bystanders and students
on their way to class were also hit.
The National Guard was called in on
May 2 after the burning of Kent State's
ROTC building. Wounded students and the
parents of the four slain students later sued
the Guardsmen, the state of Ohio and then-
Gov. James Rhodes and settled for
Until three weeks ago when construc-
tion on the memorial project was started,
the parking spaces were only roped off
annually for an overnight vigil on the night
of May 3. The University had already set
up a memorial to the dead at another loca-
tion and offers classes on the shooting. The
new memorials only came after a petition
drive and $100,000 in private funds were
While Kent State's previous efforts to
come to terms with the 29-year-old shoot-
ing are admirable, the decision to mark
the places where the four students died
was a necessary and long overdue step
towards properly recognizing the fallen
Before the new memorials were built,
cars continued to park in the spaces where
the students died. But aside from com-
memorntinfa snecific individuals who gave
their lives for a just cause, Kent State's
memorials offer up a worthy challenge to
modern campus activists.
While current popular campus move-
ments - like the current anti-sweatshop
movement and the South African divest-
ment movement in the '80s - continue to
be quite successful, active membership in
these groups still appears to be dwindling
or at least far too invisible in comparison
with earlier movements.
The roster of worthy and relevant caus-
es to fight for remains lengthy. Rights stu-
dents tend to take for granted, like free
speech and a woman's right to choose, are
far from secure.
College activists must continue to
address issues such as affirmative action,
the environment, the war on drugs and
poverty to name a few. 'These and other
issues are just as important to everyone as
the need for civil rights and an ending to the
war in Vietnam were in the '60s.
Today's college-aged generation should
be embarrassed that current issues are being
addressed in a weaker fashion than the
social activism of the '60s and '70s.
Campus activism is far from dead, and it is
unfair to characterize students as apathetic.
Yet it is undeniable that the activist fervor of
previous decades has faded.
The new Kent State memorials to the
students slain in 1970 do not simply add a
better sense of closure to the shooting. They
also beg modern students to explain why
campus activism was more prevalent than it
is now, even though worthy causes still
abound. The answer to this question ought
to come in the form of actions rather than
By The Daily Nebraskan
University of Nebraska
Once again, President Clinton did not
think his actions through. In mid-August,
Clinton offered clemency to 16 members
of a Puerto Rican nationalist group called
FALN, which is a Spanish acronym for
Armed Forces of National Liberation.
Law enforcement officials blame FALN
for at least 130 bombings in the United
States and Puerto Rico between 1974 and
As part of the clemency offer, Clinton
gave the 11 men and five women until
Friday to renounce political violence and
pledge to disassociate with FALN..
The separatists have already served
between 14 and 19 years for crimes such
as bomb-making and conspiring to commit
When criticized, the White House was
quick to point out that the clemency offer
was extended to only those "not associated
with the more violent acts that led to
With this offer, Clinton has made an
abrupt about-face from the terrorism poli-
cy he espoused following the embassy
bombings in Kenya and Tanzania last year.
Following those incidents, the United
States bombed terrorist training headquar-
ters and launched a manhunt for alleged
mastermind Osama bin Laden, while
Clinton vowed that we would not bow to
Now we are going to pardon these ter-
rorists simply because they hail from a
U.S. territory ?
That is wrong.
Even President Clinton's wife now
Speculation abounds that the president
offered clemency to this group to help his
wife's chances in next year's New York
Initially, Hillary Clinton supported
clemency, but with a move out of her hus-
band's play book she reversed her position
Regardless of the motives, this is simply
a bad idea. The United States should not
condone terrorism in any form.
Clemency only reinforces terrorists'
actions, and any pledge to denounce vio-
lence on their part would hardly be worth
the paper it was printed on.
-This staff editorial appeared in the
Daily Nebraskan, the University of
Nebraska's student newspaper, last
Title IX needs to be revamped, or forgotten
By Sarah Mitchell
The Minnesota Daily
I am a woman. And I love sports.
So what I am about to say next might
throw some for aloop. I can't stand Title
IX, the long-standing regulation that, in
part, requires equality in men's and
women's athletics at a college or universi-
Don't misread that statement. I do sup-
port the development of women's athlet-
ics. I was one of many Americans tuned
into the U.S. Women's World Cup victory
this past July.
But the law waving the green flag for
gender equity in college sports is hypo-
critical. As more women can't be forced to
come out and play, male athletes are
unfairly being thrown off the athletic
stage. Rather than add more sports for
women, many schools are going the low
road and cutting out successful programs.
Students at Miami (Ohio) University
have lost their men's wrestling, soccer and
even tennis teams, although roster spots
on the women's tennis team remain
vacant. On June 30, this celebrated 26-
year-old law forced the Miami athletics
department to cut the sports, because the
| .. . . . . ,
they still managed to send the women's
precision skating team to Europe for com-
petitions. How was that little escapade
made possible? What the hell is women's
precision skating, anyway? Does anyone
even know? All this because school offi-
cials felt the heat of Title IX. This is only
one of Title IX's comedic effects.
Another example of the goofiness of
Title IX comes from Arizona State. A
desert surrounds the Sun Devils, but the
university plans to add women's crew to
its list of varsity sports. In order to accom-
modate the rowers, Arizona State plans to
flood a nearby two-mile-long dry gulch
for the team to row on.
While Title IX provides a laugh, it is
failing to do its job, which is to provide
equal opportunities for both sexes. Until
more women show interest in athletics,
men's sports just won't develop. The law
doesn't provide for any common-sense
development necessary for men's sports.
More than 350 men's teams - from
baseball and gymnastics to wrestling -
have been cut as athletic departments
strive to comply. Sadly, successful pro-
grams are as much of a target.
UCLA swimmers felt the wrath of its
w1ni11 atlic denartment.Denite
And what about the national pasttime?
Our friends to the east are a prime
example. In 1991, a thin budget forced
Wisconsin to cut its baseball program.
Because of Title IX, the Badgers are in an
embarrassing situation - they are the only
Big Ten team without a baseball team.
Women's lacrosse is the leading candi-
date to soak up some more of the school's
resources and take the place of the base-
Fortunately, male athletes are fighting
back. California State-Bakersfield
sparked an off-the-mat fight with its grap-
plers when it limited the wrestling roster
in order to take a step closer to the equal-
Thankfully, Title IX backfired (at least
in this case). Team members successfully
argued in court that no person "be exclud-
ed from participation" based on sex
because gender-based cuts violate the law.
The wrestlers were awarded a temporary
injunction in February.
So maybe the tide is turning toward san-
ity's favor. If all else fails, we can load
Title IX onto the next shuttle mission and
eject it with all the other spaced-out
debris where it belongs.
-This column anneared in the