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January 10, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 10, 2001

ah}r Sikbigrn ailg

Bottom ofthe ninth
So here I am. Last semester of my senior
year. I wish I could sit here and pontifi-
cate about how my college experience has
changed me and how I'm a better person for
it. Maybe it has and maybe I am, but it

and guess who's up to bat?

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

doesn't really feel like it.
What does it feel like?
it feels like I'm getting
Part of it, I'm sure,
is my job. I actually
have to dress nice.
Shirts by DKNY, ties
by Geoffrey Beene,
shoes by Kenneth Cole
and other trappings of
nouveau riche subur-
banites I have always
detested. The other
aspect of my job that
makes me feel old is
the fact that I always
have money now,
which is a serious nov-
elty. It feels so weird
to just see something I

- ..

Well, for one thing,

Labor committee must act quickly

"f -

It was downright depressing for a moment
and it made me wonder just what happened to
that guy I used to know? Where was that guy
who used to get off jumping out of planes and
crawling through the mud with a 29-pound
sniper rifle? What happened to the guy with
the cowboy boots and the GSXR 750? Where
was the guy who would eat live goldfish on a
dare and was the undisputed keg-stand cham-
pion of any party he went to?
I suppose he's still there, he just doesn't
get out too much anymore. I hope it's just a
case of that guy adapting to his environment.
Maybe it seems he's changed because of the
people he hangs out with or the people he
works for or the people that work for him.
Maybe he's just evolved a little? Darwinism
and all that.
I sure hope so, because the alternative is
that I'm getting old. Not that it's necessarily a
bad thing - it just seems so boring. Working
eight hours a day and walking the dog, rent-
ing movies and reading the newspaper every-
day - not to find out how the Raiders are
doing in the playoffs, but rather to see if my
stocks went up or down. It sounds like slow
This thought has made me appreciate the
last few years here at the University even
more. To be honest, not many memories of
my classes stand out, but there are a few. I
remember the late great A.F.K. Organski get-
ting me excited about mathematical formulae
for the first (and probably the last) time in my
life. I can clearly recall Ralph Williams shak-
ing his hands with the impassioned declara-
tion: "And he left her - pregnant and alone."
I remember some of the various focus girls
I've had (thank you, Kula). But that's pretty
much it.
What I really remember - what I will take
with me forever - are the times shared out
of class. Thursday nights at Charley's, frat

parties, The Daily, roommates, Football Sat-
urdays, road trips to Chicago and Toronto,
Derby Days, hate mail, Girl Fight Club and
all of the other crazy stuff I had the chance to
see and do. Twenty years from now I won't
give a damn about long hours studying in the
Grad, but I will still be able to think about
that Spring Break trip where my buddies and
I rented a motor home and drove from Ann
Arbor to South Beach to New Orleans and
back. Ten days, 3,000 miles, $1,200, six rolls
of film and memories that I will never ever be
able to duplicate.
You know, it's funny how we always tend
to value the past more than the present. To be
honest, I was pretty unhappy my first couple
of years here. In the Army I had money,
respect and people I could relate to and all of
a sudden I'm just a "poor college kid" who
doesn't understand the civilian mentality and
cannot relate to anyone. Well, it took a while
but things are just fine. I actually like college
and I actually like Ann Arbor, but I want to
know if that's just because I will be leaving
soon. Will I look back years from now and
think that these were the best four years of
my life? If so, will it be because they actually
were or because my memories were filtered
with time? Do those glasses get rosier as time
goes on?
More questions and never enough answers.
But that's okay. I've come to the conclusion
that I don't need to know everything now -
it will come with time. I think I need to get
reacquainted with that guy I don't see too
much anymore. After all, he's only got a few
months left before he goes back to the "Real .-
World" and knows what will happen to him
then? For now I'm just happy to laze the days .
away with tests and papers and work and fun.
I've got plenty of time for the rest later.
- Branden Sanz can be reached via e-mail
at hamrhead@umich.edu.

In the next two months, the University
Iis expected to sign as many as 50 con-
tracts with companies that produce
apparel bearing University slogans and
logos. Unfortunately, the University con-
tinues to sign contracts that do not pro-
vide enough assurance that it is not
dealing with companies involved with
sweatshop abuses. These contracts often
allow licensees to subject their workers
to the harshest and most degrading
working conditions.
Although University President Lee
Bollinger agreed to a set of principles
regarding working conditions for work-
ers making licensed apparel in March
1999, those principles have not yet been
codified in the University's contracts
with licensees. While its principles were
hammered out almost two years ago, the
code has since fallen into the bureaucrat-
ic vacuum of two University committees.
While a number of people share the
blame for the fact that the University
does not yet have a code of conduct, the
entity immediately responsible is the
Standing Committee on Labor Standards
and Human Rights, which has been dele-
gated to draft a code for the University.
The ten-member committee is composed
of University faculty members, adminis-
trators and activists from the campus
anti-sweatshop movement. But today,
during a scheduled marathon session to
hammer out a solid proposal, the com-
mittee has a great opportunity to enact
meaningful change.
Ever since its formation, the commit-
tee has been mired in bureaucratic for-
malities and petty battles over some,
language in the code. Obviously, the,
committee needs to produce a code that
is meaningful and workable, but com-
mittee members need to complete their
task in a timely fashion and realize that
their stalling affects real people in sub-

stantial ways.
It is difficult to see how the commit-
tee can justify not producing a final draft
of the code tonight. In its current form,
the code enjoys the support of the Michi-
gan Student Assembly and many of the
University's biggest licensees, such as
But a proposal being discussed by the
committee today could bring the push to
create meaningful change to a halt. It
would allow manufacturers who don't
want to conform to the University's code
to use a far less stringent code such as
the Fair Labor Association code or the
Collegiate Licensing Company code.
This is wrong because by agreeing to
this provision, it immediately discredits
the University's code and the fact that
many licensees support the code as is.
Any other manufacturer that might
potentially disagree with the University's
labor code has the option of not signing
a contract with the University, thus los-
ing an opportunity for earning signifi-
cant revenue.
The occupation of LSA Dean Shirley
Neuman's office last winter by Students
Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality should not be in vain. A strong
code needs to be finalized and imple-
Traditionally, the University has been
on the forefront of labor politics. Univer-
sity students were among the first in the.
nation to confront the problem of sweat-
shop labor in the collegiate apparel
industry. But lately, schools such as
Notre Dame are taking a far stronger
stance against unfair labor practices.
It is timeforthe University to step up
to its responsibilities and commitments
and end its implicit endorsement of
worker exploitation by ratifying a mean-
ingful code of conduct for use in its
apparel contracts.

like and say to myself: "Self, you like that
and you can afford it. Go ahead and buy it."
Case in point: About two weeks ago, my
boss and I were talking over drinks and out of
the blue he buys me a shot of 18-year-old
scotch. It turns out the stuff was pretty damn
tasty. So that Friday night a buddy and I were
hanging out at his place with some friends
and we go to make a run for some adult bev-
erages. For whatever reason - don't really
know why - I just wasn't in the mood to
swill down any more Labatts. So what do I
do? Plop down 50 bucks on a bottle of Scotch
and sip the night away. I was enjoying the
hell out of myself until the realization hit me
that I must have looked like some sort of
jackass 20-something off a bad sitcom.

'Overall he's the greatest president there ever was, at
least in my lifetime.'
- Michigan State Universitlfirst-year student Manish Shah commenting on
Bill Clinton during the President's visit to East Lansing yesterday.

Needed improvements
Undergrads deserve better trained GSIs

Consistently, the University is
ranked as one of the top research
universities in the nation and often its
undergraduate programs are ranked
just as high, despite reports and com-
plaints that undergraduate education is
a often a second priority to large uni-
versities. It is imperative that under-
graduate students receive the
high-quality education that the Univer-
sity is known for.
The President's Commission on
Undergraduate Education, as well as
many other programs implemented to
improve undergraduate life on cam-
pus, have tried to correct many prob-
lems in the undergraduate program.
However, problems are still present in
the undergraduate program and many
changes are still necessary.
For example, the University must
attempt to make the college experience
seem smaller to undergraduates, so
they do not feel powerless and
insignificant in the University environ-
ment. One way to achieve this is to
increase the number of and improve
the quality of living-learning programs
offered by the University.
Of course, one of the most common
problems among large research univer-
sities is the lack of professor-to-stu-
dent contact. Most undergraduates
have little association with their pro-
fessors and receive significant por-

Working with the Graduate Employees
Organization to find ways to improve
the undergraduate experience should
be a top priority at the University.
A definite improvement would be
providing more training for GSIs and
requiring them to meet stricter stan-
dards before being given teaching
positions. Although a frequent com-
plaint among students is the language
barrier, sometimes it is simply a GSI's
inability to present information and
answer questions well.
In addition to more training, GSIs
should receive mid-term evaluations
from students so they can receive
feedback on the strengths and weak-
nesses of the class and their teaching.
Students, as well as the GSIs and the
departments overseeing GSIs, need to
take end-of-term evaluations more
seriously and provide constructive crit-
icism that the GSIs will take into
account. Professors also need to take
an active role in ensuring their assis-
tants are performing well in the class-
room. Mandatory professor attendance
of every discussion section at least
once during the semester is one
option. GSIs who receive poor evalua-
tions should not be able to continue
teaching unless action is taken to
improve their performance.
There are many qualified and effec-
tive GSIs currently teaching at the
TT _ _,...:a_ ...i - - --.. .4 ......4. - -

Second amendment
is not responsible for
safety or freedom
Kevin Hogle's letter to the editor ("Con-
cealed weapons will promote safety," 1/9/01)
is an easy target, so rather than respond to his
opinions, I will only take issue with what can
charitably be described as his creative inter-
pretation of facts.
Kevin admonishes the Daily to, "study the
crime rates of European countries like Lon-
don ... the crime rate per 1,000 people is
tremendously higher than in the United
States." I suggest that Kevin ought to study
geography, statistics and history. The over-
whelmingly unarmed city of London experi-
enced 1,307 violent crimes per 100,000
citizens in 2000 (www.homeojice.gov.uk). In
comparison, the well-armed city of Detroit
experienced 2,151.5 in 1997 (web.lexis-
nexis.com//satuniv). The murder rate draws
an even sharper contrast and helps explain
the pervasive sense of safety a Detroiter feels
in London. In Detroit, in 1997, there were
45.9 murders per 100,000 citizens. In Lon-
don, in 2000, there were 1.5.
Hogle goes on to ask, "If our founding
fathers didn't keep arms and put the provi-
sion into the Constitution, do you think we
would even have a free country today or
would we still be ... controlled by the King."
The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, eight
years after the Treaty of Paris ended the Rev-
olutionary War and 15 years after the Decla-
ration of Independence. The Second
Amendment is not responsible for for a mili-
tary victory that occurred long before its exis-
Affirmative action
suit plaintiffs should
not be attacked
In response to Prof. Cort Johns' letter, "U
correct to defend affirmative action," (1/5/01)
I would like to say he should not attack the
students that are part of the lawsuit. Johns
says that foreigners face discrimination in
European universities however why does that
change the fact that whites are discriminated
against by the University's admission poli-
I challenge him to try applying to the Uni-
versity and to be wait listed (like I was) or
denied acceptance while less qualified stu-
dents are admitted based solely on the color
of their skin.
However, no matter what your beliefs on
affirmative action are these students should
not be attacked. They are standing up for
what they believe in and taking action, which
most of the readers (including myself) of this
letter would never have the guts to do. They
should be commended for their actions.

and stick by the coaching staffs and the play-
ers unconditionally. I will stop at nothing to
defend our teams in arguments or shouting
matches with opposing fans, whether our
teams are good or not. But, like many of my
fellow basketball fans, I have reached my
threshold for patience. As a junior now, I have
a mere three semesters left before graduation.
With the state of affairs of our basketball team
I feel I have little time to stand by Brian
Ellerbe and say "he is the right coach for
Michigan basketball."
Certainly I am not the only Michigan fan
who feels this way. In Orlando at the Citrus
Bowl a large banner hanging from the upper
balcony of the stadium boldly and unapologet-
ically called for the athletic department to
"Fire Ellerbe." My fellow fans at the hockey
games started a "fire Ellerbe" chant this week-
end, something I wanted to join into but which
I squelched, calling for our fans to remain
patient. The truth is patience is running thin on
campus and a change is needed. Fortunately,
the opportunity for change is before us.
My home basketball team back East, the
Boston Celtics, have proven ineffective with
Rick Pitino at the helm. I am sure this is not a
surprise to basketball fans who realize Pitino is
a great collegiate basketball coach that cannot
employ the same domineering coaching style
to ego-driven, individualistic NBA players.
His futility in the pros is fortuitous for Michi-
gan basketball fans, for now there is a coach
out there whom the athletic department can
reel in to jump start our program. This is the
change men's hoops needs to revitalize our
program. This is the change fans need to
recharge our hope and faith and spirit for col-
lege basketball.
Fans need to take charge. For three years
now, our fans have been held hostage to static,
unmalleable policies by the athletic depart-
ment to move to improve men's basketball.
Michigan does not like "hiring out" of the pro-
gram, meaning hiring a head coach who is not:
currently an assistant coach. This policy must
change and now.
Fans: Starting Tuesday night after the Indi-
ana game, win or lose go to your computer fax
program, Mailboxes Etc., Kinkos or your resi-
dence hall front desk and for one buck, fax the
athletic department and tell them to hire Rick
Pitino. Address the fax to William Martin,
Athletic Director. The fax number is (734)
Let the athletic department know how you
feel. Let the athletic department know how
frustrated we fans are and how we want
change. Let them know that as a true-blue
Michigan fan, your voice should count for
something. Don't just sit there and let this
campaign go by without your participation. If
you want change then do something about it.

Chavez treated
unfairly by media

Linda Chavez's withdrawal yesterday as
the nominee for Secretary of Labor illus-
trates the lengths to which the national
media will go to accomplish political ends.
Chavez acknowledged in a press conference
that she had aided an illegal alien from
Guatemala in the early 1990s, a federal
However, Chavez's actions were most''
certainly not wrong. Chavez took in Marta,
Mercado, a beaten woman who risked the
journey to the United States hoping to start
a new life. She provided food, housing and
money for Mercado and helped her find
schooling and a job. Today, Mercado is liv-
ing legally in the United States as a produc-
tive member of society. It is not right to
obey laws and wrong to break them; rather,
laws codify what our society believes to be
moral. Few people could argue that
Chavez's actions in this case were wrong.
However, instead of addressing the *
goodness of Chavez's actions, the media
chose to focus on their illegality. Because
of this, an accomplished woman with a car-
ing heart has been shut out from public ser-
vice. More than a year ago, George W.
Bush began describing himself as a "com-
passionate conservative," a label that much
of the media ridiculed. In Linda Chavez we
had a woman who truly filled these shoes.
But it turns out that in the eyes of the
media, her compassion still wasn't enough
to outweigh her conservatism.

If you are complacent with the leadership of
our basketball team, the same leadership that
has led our team to three of our worst losses in
the history of our program, the same leader-
ship who led our team to a 34-2 start and ensu-
ing drubbing at the hands of Duke - and the
same leadership that has led our team to fall to
third or fourth best program in the state. If you
are happy with this then by all means sit by
and do nothing. If you think you deserve better
then send those faxes.
Like Ellerbe or not, Pitino is better. The
opportunity for change is here and it is now.
Let's not waste any more time. I certainly
don't have enough time left to waste.

s {

AL.OF 00.


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