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September 06, 2000 - Image 29

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michigandaily.com

New Student Edition
C OMMENTARY

SECTION B
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2000

r

MIKE
SPAHN

Affinnative action is vital to

V

*School Daze:
Don 't let 'em
pass you by
like sitting on my couch. I like sitting on my porch. In fact,
I think I like sitting around doing nothing -- or near noth-
ing - as much as possible.
And college is just the place to do that. In high school,
seven hours of class per day is the norm; in college, some
people only have seven hours of class a week. Long week-
ends, "personal days," sleep-ins and a countless number of
other excuses allow a college student the freedom they desire
to sit around and do nothing. I like to say that college allows
a student all the rights with none of the responsibilities.
From early autumn discussions about bowl prospects for
the Michigan football team to cold winter nights at Showcase
Cinema to sunny spring mornings on the University Golf
Course, there exist a bountiful number of ways to avoid
studying and get involved in more stimulating collegiate
activities.
And getting involved is the name of the game in college.
For some people, getting involved means more video
games, more sleep, more beer or simply more indulgence.
Although these opportunities must be cherished through-
out the college years, being consumed by them is a mistake
far too many students make and regret on graduation day.
These past-times are time honored and will never die.
e tudents will skip class to have a March barbecue for the rest
of time, but it's important to look at the bigger picture and
remember that this is the time to learn new things and get
involved with new organizations that could change your life,
or at least help define it.
The Diag on a near-daily basis is flooded with people
propagating their cause, club or culture, offering each student
a chance to get involved with something that could prove to
be the defining aspect of their college career. "Protest racism,
join a fraternity or sorority, make people laugh, write poetry,
promote AIDS awareness, play ultimate Frisbee, help chil-
dren, come see a play, vote for me."
0 These opportunities engulf the early days of college; it can
get pretty overwhelming. But that's what a major, public uni-
versity is all about.
A lot of people say that going to school at a Big Ten uni-
versity - with thousands of students, huge lecture halls and
high expectations - is too daunting. They say smaller
schools can cater to a student's needs, offer opportunities to
meet and know professors and provide a better opportunity to
make friends.
But a student at the University of Michigan makes a dif-
'erent choice, choosing to attend what seems more like a
mental institution than an institution of higher learning on
many days.
And the only way to deal with that insanity is to become
part of it, get involved in it and learn to love it.
Former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler once
said, "Those who stay will be champions." Everyone at the
University lives by that motto. But simply staying and sur-
viving is not enough. A higher bar has been set for students
at this University, and opportunities to pass that bar are plen-
tiful.
These years will provide opportunities unseen to decades
of students at this University.
* Political campaigns, protesters, the Greek system and a
host of other organizations will vie for the time of new stu-
dents during the early days of September. The freedom to do
nothing will pull everyone away from those groups, but that's
a dangerous prospect. Passing on opportunities in the early
days of college could set a tone for the rest of a college
career.
Opportunities to get involved will present themselves.
Opportunities to try new things, meet new people, learn new
facts, join new organizations and have new experiences are
- round every corner. That certainly includes eating pizza six
imes in a week and taking a long weekend to go to an away
football game, but there's more to it than that.
There's a lot more to college than books, papers and finals.
But that part, as odd as it is to say, is the easy part. Everybody
has to go to class and study enough to pass, but no one forces
outside experiences on a student. Those choices are personal
and take a little effort. But that effort goes a long way in the
end.
- Daily Editor-in-Chief Mike Spahn can be reached via
e-mail at mispahn(gjumich.edu.

By Peter Cunniffe
Daily EditorialI Writer
One of the most contentious issues cur-
rently being debated in the University com-
munity and across the country is the
University's use of race as a factor in its
admissions process. The College of
Literature, Science and the Arts' and the
Law School's use of policies designed to
promote a diverse learning environment are
currently being challenged in federal court
by two class action lawsuits spearheaded by
the Washington D.C.-based legal advocacy
group, the Center for Individual Rights.
The CIR has mounted an aggressive
legal push to dismantle affirmative action
at universities around the country. It was
the driving force in ending affirmative
action at Texas universities and is also
currently suing numerous other universi-
ties, school districts, governmental agen-
cies and other organizations in an attempt

to not only fight affirmative action, but
end any and every program targeted
specifically at minorities or women.
Things such as scholarships and research
grants designed for minorities and women
and even funding of women's sports are
under attack from the CIR.
The primary plaintiffs in the lawsuits
against the University, unsuccessful LSA
applicants Jennifer Gratz and Patrick
Hamacher and unsuccessful Law School
applicant Barbara Grutter believe that the
use of race as a factor in the admissions
processes of those schools illegally dis-
criminates against them.
Both of the lawsuits will be tried in the
federal court for the Eastern District of
Michigan. The suit against LSA is sched-
uled to go to trial this fall and the suit
against the Law School is scheduled to be
tried this winter.
The commendable goal of the
University's consideration of race in

admissions is the promotion of diversity
on campus. Diversity is one of the reasons
that this is a world-class institution o-f
higher learning. The opportunity to exam-
ine ideas from as many viewpoints as pos-
sible is indispensable to a quality academ-
ic environment. Learning and the
advancement of knowledge is severely
limited when people from different back-
grounds, with differing viewpoints, life
experiences and understandings of the
world are not present.
In order for students at this university to
truly learn, they have to be exposed to
ideas and people that allow them to expe-
rience perspectives beyond those of their
own race, class, geographic region and
culture. The point of education is to
broaden one's knowledge and insight, an
unattainable goal in an insular institution
that does not strive for diversity. How can
one better understand the world when sur-
rounded only by people like themselves?

And though it is an important goal of
the University, racial diversity is only one
of the many considerations in the highly
complex method by which applicants are
assessed. When judging applicants, the
University takes into account high school
grades, standardized test scores, content
of a student's curriculum, co-curricular
activities, essays, letters of recommenda-
tion, the quality of their high school,
whether any relatives attended the
University, athletic ability and socioeco-
nomic status in addition to race.
Policies designed to boost the number
of underrepresented minorities may
appear to be unfair to some prospective
students at first glance, but many of the
other factors used in admissions decisions
clearly favor non-minority applicants. The
University's consideration of the quality
of an applicant's high school is obviously
beneficial to students from wealthier, and
See ACTION, Page 28

No CoDE
Code of Student Conduct
infringes on stude nts'
rights, should be eli'nated

By Josh Wickerham
Daily Editorial Writer

Brought up under careful parental
guise, life at the University appears com-
pletely open to your own design. You've
escaped the watchful gaze of community,
church, friends, high school and estab-
lished concern to embark on the path
seen or unseen. New morals, new ideas
and new experiences await you. But
where your parents, and even the laws of
this nation left off, the University supple-
ments your college experiences with a set
of arbitrary values designed to establish,
"civility, dignity, diversity, education,
equality, freedom, honesty and safety."
This is the Code of Student Conduct and
it makes these values part and parcel of
the University's exclusive community.
While developing a set of moral ideals
is well within the bounds of the
University's administrative goals, the
Code is a heavy-handed attempt to legis-
late these values. And no institution -
much less a public university - has the
right or necessity to act parentally.
Yet the Code is not just an abstraction.
It is a set of rules for governing student
conduct, complete with its own legal sys-
tem. With the Code in place, the
University oversteps its bounds in
attempting to legislate decency outside
the justice system. Because the justice
system is already established and has had
centuries of fine-tuning, the Code is by
its very construction an inferior substi-
tute. The problem, though, is that too few
students know what the Code legislates,

how it prosecutes students or how it tram-
ples their rights. Fewer than 15 percent of
students can identify the Code, even
though every incoming first-year student
is required to sign away many of their
constitutional rights before they tan reg-
ister for classes. Education about the
Code lies outside the classroom, so let's
address the problems with the Code from
several angles.
First, the University has too much
power in deciding what is a punishable
offense. Students can be charged under
The Code for violations of law, even
when they have already faced civil or
criminal trials in governmental court sys-
tems. They can also be called into ques-
tion by receiving police reports. This
means that students involved in peaceful
protests -- if asked by police to leave -
could find themselves face to face with
one of the Code's arbitrators. The
University also sidesteps important legal
measures designed to protect the rights of
the prosecuted.
Two years ago, Jason Brooks, an offen-
sive lineman on the football team, was
placed under six sanctions by the
University for an incident involving a
female student. Brooks had already
resolved fourth-degree criminal sexual
conduct charges brought against him in
the Washtenaw County court system.
This amounts to double jeopardy, a viola-
tion of a fundamental legal doctrine. The
federal, state and local court systems -are
more than equipped to deal with prob-
lems of law as they arise. The University
has no need and no right to use its own

BRAD QUINN/Daily
Word from the Fleming Building spells out campus law with the Code of Student Conduct.
system above and beyond what is called lished, as those involved in proceedings
for by law. are kept in the dark about previous pun-
Students can also be prosecuted under ishment and procedures. Likewise, mem-
the Code if char-ges are brought upon bers of the community are unable to
them by other students. Reasonable doubt carry out reviews of the system, except
in the jury pool is replaced by looser when significant pressures are exerted or
standards' of guilt. "Clear and convinc- the community is mobilized.
ing" is gall that is needed to convict stu- President Bollinger now has the right to
dents by a jury of six peers. According to make changes to The Code. The Michigan
Gwyn 1ulswit, then assistant resolution Student Assembly, the University's govern-
coordinator for the Office of Student ing body, also has the right to propose
Conflict Resolution, the office in charge amendments to The Code.
of administering and prosecuting under The Code is an unnecessary measure
the code, students trained as prosecutors aimed at controlling the student body.
are required to assume "in their hearts Students must call for its abolishment.
and minds," that defendants committed a Such measures proved helpful in 1995
violation of the Code. What happened to when The Code was rewritten to be more
the usual "innocent until proven guilty" respectful of student rights. It was only
mentality? through an active student movement with,
The Code is the University's own signature drives and protests outside the
abstraction that has none of the checks of . administration building that action was
a real, legal system. Students are denied taken. If any action is to be taken, it must
legal representation. Meetings are held in be from pressure exerted by the student
secrecy and information is not released. body to get rid of this attack on student
Therefore, legal precedent is never estab- rights.

How tobee
44 0 h, good," you may be thinking, "A
column about how to avoid the
dreaded first year weight gain!" Weight
loss/maintenance tips, information that is
important your first year of college, right?
Women, could there be anything worse
than gaining 15 pounds your first year at

the University? Well
of course there is.
Here's why.
For those of us
coming from high-
achieving back-
grounds (here at the
University, that's a
large majority of us)
being thin and attrac-
tive is usually includ-
ed as an expected
a c h i e v e m e n t,
whether we place
that pressure on our-
selves, or others do.
It's no wonder we
become obsessed
with our bodies. The

hell is going on with our bodies, fat starts Studies on c
to be redistributed, and by the time we're that up to 20 p
18, we've usually got the curves that we're ing disorders.f
supposed to have. Unfortunately we're gling with bi
taught that these curves are not natural or women spendi
good or attractive, but things to look at food and their
with disgust, things to get rid of. How may think, ane
many conversations have you had with oth- vanity or ego;
ers about how you don't like your bodies? and never thi
Dieting has become a strange bonding rit- For some of us
ual for women, and unfortunately one that from a reality
can be unhealthy - both psychologically such as an uni
and physically. not be able toc
Like me, there are some of us who took but you can co
this fear of gaining weight to an extreme, get lots of cor
those who developed eating disorders. Developinga
When I was a first-dear student, I was one socially sancti
of the women who was too obsessed with think of-- Ic
the scale and how many calories I consumed people said tot
to enjoy the very cool experience of being at Have you lost
college. Not only was I miserable the first weight to start
year of school, but the first two and a half It's good to bet
years. I was one of the unlucky ones to have ter what the co
battled both anorexia and bulimia for three Aniston and.
years, and then struggled through a tough loss in the last
recovery. Now much older and confident what I mean. T
about my body and how I look, I think it's eating disorder
iin ornntto hln nt~~herz 1l'rcum nmio o n fr n~,nrtql it's, r' "ii

college women have shown
ercent have diagnosable eat-
Anorexic, bulimic or strug-
nge eating disorder,' these
their days obsessing about
weight. Despite what many
eating disorder is not about
it's about poor self-esteem
nking you're good enough.
it was an attempted escape
that was less than stellar,
iappy family life. You may
control your Dad's drinking,
introl your weight. And you
pliments if you're thin.
an eating disorder is the only
oned mental illness I can
don't remember how many
me, "Wow, you look great!
weight?" I was never over-
with, but that didn't matter.
thin in this society, no mat-
ost. Take a look at Jennifer
Lara Flynn-Boyle's weight
few years and you can see
he cost is high for many, as
rs have the highest rate of
,V IntI ilt l nr'SS

about calories or fat too often, or are really
worried when you think you may have gained
a couple pounds, sit down for a minute and
evaluate if this is a problem for you. Even if
you don't have an eating disorder, having
some sort of disordered eating, or subclinical
problem, can impact your life negatively as
well. It is not normal to be on a diet. It is not
a good thing to hate your thighs or think that
your butt is too fat no matter what you do.
Fight the media and diet industry's brain-
washing attempts at convincing you that you
are not a good person If you weigh moire than
105 pounds.
And, God forbid, if you're not, don't
buy some ridiculous or dangerous product
to make you the "ideal" weight (don't get
me started on Metabolife or the Adkin's
diet).
So pay attention to the pressures and
become a critical consumer. Work on lik-
ing yourself no matter what the scale says.
If your friend has a problem, talk to her
about it. Beat the Freshman Fifteen by not
worrying about it.
If you're concerned about eating or body
image issues, there is help on campus. Call
("'c11 1ncrimyintrAi N cl,.".icmirn.'ii" rxrir'r'cnt

Freshman Fjfteen

Michelle
Bolek
:4 k

diet and fashion industries gain billions of
Ani lor nm prx, ,cnr nfF nof' ,nmn'n,: ncpinri-

I

I 1 * 6 P 'r ri t/ m

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