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November 05, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 5, 1999

ilbe Wttbigttn + ttil

0

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.

Learning diversity
Recognizing learning differences is essential

Are you nervous?
It was a sunny afternoon and 1 was
standing at the corner of liberty Street
and State Street, waiting for the traffic
light to change. Across the street, a
woman was trying to give free Michigan
MoneySaver coupon
books to two men'
who couldn't take
them because each
man was already
holding two ice 4
cream cones. An old
man with a poodle'
was talking about
the stock market to
nobody in particular.
A tall girl with blue'
hair was laughing at
a crazy Ann Arbor Jennifer
pedestrian who was Str usz
shouting obscenities
at a crazy Ann Arbor
driver. Behind me,
two middle-aged
women were deep in conversation.
"I'm a nervous wreck," one of the
women was saying.
She was speaking loud enough for me,
the woman with the coupon books, the
men with the ice cream cones, the girl
with the blue hair, the crazy Ann Arbor
driver, the crazy Ann Arborpedestrian.
the old man and the old man's poodle to
hear, so I don't think she minded that I
was listening to her story.
It seems that the self-proclaimed ner-
vous wreck had been having problems at
work. Her boss had given her an extra
project with an early deadline and no
extra pay. She wanted to confront him
about that, but her stomach was getting
queasy just thinking about it. She could-
n't handle conflict very well. To make

matters worse, someone named Mary
Anne. a relative by marriage. would be
staying at the ner vous wreck's home that
weekend. and it really wasn't convenient
for the nervous wreck to have guests. It
would have been inconvenient even if she
liked Mary Anne, but she did not, and
that was even worse.
The other woman, Marge, was appar-
ently an expert on handling difficult situ-
ations. "I don't know how you do it,
Marge." said the nervous wreck. The pre-
vious week. Marge had seriously dis-
cussed Thanksgiving dinner plans waith
her mother-in-law, and the week before
that she had complained to her chiroprac-
tor about the amount of time she had
spent in the waiting room.
"Actually, I have a little trick." said
large. "If I start to get nervous, I can
calm my thoughts by picturing the other
person without any clothes on...~
The nervous wreck had heard this one
before. "In his underwear," she said
knowingly. "I've tried it. It doesn't work
for me. It just makes me more uncomfort-
able ... "
"No, not that," said Marge. She
explained that she had found something
much better. "I don't even picture him
with underwear on," she said.
"Naked?" The nervous wreck was
appalled.
"More than naked," said Marge.
"Skinless. No skin. Nothing on the out-
side. Nothing keeping the insides from
staying inside. Just guts, bones and a
beating heart."
The traffic light switched from red to
green and we crossed the street together.
When we got to the other side, the two
women turned the corner, leaving me
alone with the image that Marge had just
THOMAS KULJURGIS

created. "Guts, bones and a beating
heart," I said to myself.
It brought back the image of those
Halloween parties where they blindfold
you and then someone in a witch costume
tries to scare you by putting your hands in
things like cold spaghetti ("These are
brains ... do you want to eat them?") and
peeled grapes ("These are eyeballs ...").
If they hired a band to play at one of those
parties, they would for sure choose one
called "Guts, Bones, and a Beating
Heart." "Guts" would be the name of the
lead singer. "Bones" would be a tall, skin-
ny guitar player. The drum set would be
painted to look like a human heart, and
the drummer would only play heartbeats.
I was writing a song for the imaginary
band in my head as I walked to lunch that
day, and during lunch I thought some
more about Niarge's "trick."1 pictured her
picturing other people as 'guts.bones and
a beating heart.'
After a little bit of thinking and some
practice in the restaurant, I decided that it
actually made sense.
If you imagine other people as they are,
physically, under the skin, what you will
probably see are living, interconnected
systems of muscle, bone, nerves and
organs, along with some other things that
might look a bit like cold spaghetti or
peeled grapes. You will probably see
something that is simultaneously nauseat-
ing and amazing. When you get good at
this, negative feelings about other people
will vanish. It is difficult to be angry at a
mass of slimy organs, and it is impossible
to be intimidated by someone when
you're looking at their face inside out.
Oh, and it's funny.
._._Jennifer Straus: can be reached
over e-mail attjstrnLsz(imuich. edu.

You should see the otherguy...

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Learning disabilities are more com-
mon at the University than many stu-
dents believe. The inability to concentrate,
the pervasiveness of distractions or mem-
orization hardships are various common
symptoms of learning disabilities and dif-
ferences.
One of the most prevalent learning dif-
ferences, Attention Deficit Hyperactive
Disorder, affects 3 to 5 percent of school-
age children according to the National
Institute of Mental Health. Because this
condition does not disappear as students
approach college, the University is mak-
ing worthwhile attempts to address the
needs of students with ADHD and other
learning differences. The community as a
whole should recognize these differences
and be sensitive to the needs of individu-
als affected by them.
The critical initial step in dealing with
learning disabilities is to acknowledge
their existence. If an individual experi-
ences extreme problems paying attention
or performing difficult tasks testing may
be able to diagnose a problem.
The University provides on-site testing
to try to determine an individual's set-
backs as well as her strengths. Diagnosing
the problem helps an individual to formu-
late a personalized plan of action. There
are no "cures" for learning disabilities,
but students who recognize their own
learning style and effectively address it
can overcome any educational problems
they may have.
After diagnosis, the University can be a
resource in assisting students dealing with
a learning difference. Certain students
may benefit from specialized testing situ-
ations, as lecture room tests are full of dis-

tractions. Additionally, students may want
to schedule as many seminar classes as
possible to take advantage of smaller set-
tings. In certain situations, extended time
for testing can be beneficial. It is the stu-
dent's responsibility to contact UHS and
develop a plan to achieve their education-
al objectives. Students need to shed any
stigmas they may have about learning dif-
ferences and not be afraid to embrace
change.
Once students take the initiative to get
tests and formulate a plan of action, their
instructors should be open to different
learning possibilities. It is not the case
that students with learning differences
require special remedial treatment since
they often exhibit strengths in many areas
that compensate for their weaknesses in
other areas.
Professors and students must realize
that, while most students admitted to the
University are "good" students, this does
not mean everyone excels in the same
learning situations. Similarly, peers need
to be open to working with different types
of students and realizing there is no such
thing as a "learning norm."
The services available at the University
provide a good basis for testing and deal-
ing with these incurable conditions.
Doctors, parents, psychologists and teach-
ers are all valuable resources to discover
the way students learn best. Additionally,
the community should recognize these
differences do exist and be sensitive to the
needs of affected individuals. It is impor-
tant to create and stick to the strongest
possible agenda for minimizing a stu-
dent's weaknesses while simultaneously
entbracing their strengths.

Building the future now
Development programs deserve support

People supporting
'Free Tibet' cause
are inconsistent
TO THE DAILY:
Liberals everywhere champion the "Free
Tibet" cause. A large number of film and
Music celebrities have jumped on the band-
wagon. even staging a few concerts in
Washington. D.C.
These same liberals vehemently support
the Clinton Administration. The Clinton
Administration clearly supports the
Communist Chinese Regime, having granted
it Most Favored Nation status for at least the
last five years. And Slick Willie (that term is
even more humorous since Monica
Lewinsky was an intern) did very little to
support the attempts of China's own people
to attain democracy on his recent visit there.
China has been oppressing Tibet for cen-
turies, if not millennia. So why is it that liber-
als who support "Free Tibet" also support the
Clinton Administration. which supports
China, which oppresses Tibet?
Oh well. No one ever accused a liberal of
being consistent.
JOSHUA BOSTWICK
LSA SENIOR
Letter was not a
general attack on
'liberal' viewpoints
TO THE DAILY:
I just read Matthew Heck's response to the
letter that I sent last week about abortion arti-
cles in the Daily ("Only women control their
bodies," l1/2/!99). I guess Heck doesn't think
I know what the whole "debate" over abortion
is. Please, give me more credit. I am very
aware of this, and that is why I wrote in the
first place.
When I stated that "not everyone on this
campus is a liberal," I simply meant that the
Daily has a tendency to take the liberal "side"
of such issues. I did not mean that anyone's
voice should "count less" for being a liberal, I

AN lNptJSTgY SLET...

-rtio~ U-&.~ ~AKELYS - -h~iE~ ALL THE SAME.

Several factors have certainly con-
tributed to the University's success.
Among the more obvious characteristics
are its diversity, facilities, and distin-
guished faculty. The University experi-
ence is further enhanced by the social cli-
mate in Ann Arbor, campus activism, a
remarkable athletic program and a large
number of other extra-curricular activi-
ties.
But there is one often overlooked facet
of the University. Each day students are
pushing the boundaries in technology,
bringing to life creations that were, until
recently, confined to the realm of science
fiction. The innovative technology-devel-
opment projects currently underway
deserve the active support of students and
adequate funding from the University and
state legislature.
What truly separates the University
from many other schools is its status as a
research institution. In addition to educat-
ing students, the University supports
countless research projects conducted by
students and faculty in all fields. The
advances that come out of this research
benefit people far beyond the student
body.
The recent exploits of the University's
Solar Car Racing Team show the kinds of
projects involving students that push
technological limits. Their creation,
Maize Blaze, placed ninth out of 40 teams
in the 1999 World Solar Challenge, an
endurance race in Australia. The vehicle#

for usage.
There are many other innovative pro-
jects going on at the University. The
Engineering School is involved in studies
researching Artificial Intelligence,
Virtual Reality and other advanced pro-
jects. Each of these programs strives to
push the boundaries of their respective
fields into new territories, continuing to
advance knowledge.
Projects like these bring in a great deal
of benefits for the University. Maize
Blaze was supported by a host of compa-
nies and other groups, including Ford
Motor Co. and IBM.
High profile programs like these bring
in not only a great deal of funds, but also
publicity, which can lead to further fund-
ing and advancement.
If new developments are to be made,
funding of University projects must con-
tinue and expand. If the budget does not
have room for expanded funding, the
State legislature needs to allocate more
funds to the University. The students and
faculty working on projects like Maize
Blaze provide a service not only to the
University, but to society as a whole.
They deserve the financial support of the
University and the state.
If the University is to keep its status as
a well-regarded research institution, it
must continue to support the programs
that helped it reach its current state.
Research and development projects are
one of the University's greatest strengths.

0

sides to the issues than what the paper pre-
sents. Also, I don't believe abortion should be
a political issue; rather, it is a moral issue. If
people don't see anything wrong with killing
a baby, well, there's not much I can say about
that. Yes, if the mother's life is in danger, then
she should certainly be saved. But when a
baby is murdered every 22 seconds, to me, it
means something is wrong. Just think- there
are only two different letters that separate the
words "abortion" and "adoption."
I hope that we can just agree to disagree on
this subject; you are not going to change my
mind, and I know that I am not going to
change yours.
AMY OLSZEWSKI
LSA JUNIOR
Integration is 'under
siege' across the
country
TO THE DAILY:
The attack on affirmative action at the
University is one component of a nationwide
attempt now underway to reverse Brown v.
Board of Education, the 1954 U.S. Supreme
Court decision outlawing segregation in pub-
lic schools, and all the progress toward equal-

of the '50's and '60's.
Integration in education at all levels is
under siege, both as a very partially realized
aspiration of American democracy and as a
basic legal standard arising out of the nullifi-
cation of the American version of apartheid.
In cities from coast to coast, public school
desegregation plans are being fought and dis-
mantled with no organized resistance. The
4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently elimi-
nated a weighted lottery system in Arlington
County Virginia aimed at integrating a
kindergarten. At Lowell High School in San
Francisco (the oldest public school west of
the Mississippi River), the desegregation con-
sent decree was abandoned without a fight by
the school board and the NAACP in the face
of a challenge by racists. This year, Lowell
admitted only eight black freshmen - fewer
than the nine black students that graduated
from Lowell in 1954. Over the last two years,
desegregation plans in Boston, Buffalo,
Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Charlotte,
Arlington and Prince Edward counties in
Virginia, San Francisco and other cities are
under attack or have been dismantled.
Our generation faces a historic challenge.
It has fallen to us'to launch a defense of the
gains of the Civil Rights Movement of the
'50s and '60s. We can and we must prevail. A
successful defense requires that we organize a
new civil rights movement.
JODI-MARIE MASLEY
LAW STUDENT

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Think before you eat - the politics offood and drink

American environmentalist and conserva-
tionist Aldo Leopold wrote that one of the
great spiritual dangers of not living on a farm
is to believe that breakfast comes from the
grocery store. Where does that bite of bagel
come from, and how safe is that sip of milk?
The answers to such frequently-unasked
questions force us to consider several dis-
tasteful realities.
First, agriculture ain't what it used to be.
Gone are the days of small, family-run farms.
Unregulated markets have pushed anyone
who cannot keep up with technological and
biotechnological "innovation" into debt and
deoression, decimating our rural communi-

considered beneficial as fertilizer on small
fams is regarded as "waste" and ends up in
large, environmentally poisonous sewage
ponds acres in size.
Fourth, while technologies have increased
production worldwide. continuing justifica-
tions that new technologies and biotechnolo-
gies are necessary "to feed the world" are fttn-
damentally flawed. Most hunger is not a con-
sequence of lack of food, or of an "exploding"
population - it is the direct result of faulty
food trade policy and inequitable distribution
of food and arable land. Nowhere is this more
true than here in the United States, where
massive overproduction facilitated by these

buy new seeds each year from seed manufac-
turers) is co-owned by the USDA. Such exam-
ples point to a mixed agenda, in which pub-
licly-funded regulatory agencies have vested
interest in private-sector profits as well as in
the citizens they are meant to protect.
The danger of not knowing where our
breakfast comes from is frankly more than
spiritual. Buying local and organically-
grown food is a good first step, but under-
standing how the food we often take for
granted impacts social, economic and envi-
ronmental spheres on a larger scale is also a
means of understanding the inter-related-
ness of many issues that effect our bodies,

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