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January 18, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 18, 2002

OP/ED

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily. letters@umich.edu

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE

-- BILuoNS of oLLD, CoEr UP'S,
p CAU R I n aaUaL C StOVE IEZM All OV
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9

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
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.

We think that
people are able
to distinguish
between Osama
and the rest of
the family."

I MTEDTOEY '4E WKAE
______AbUT THE PRETZEL..
DRTOS? ,f1W,,

- Juerg Brand as quoted in the Wall Street
Journal. Brand is the lawyer of one of Osama
bin Laden's 53 siblings, Yeslama Binladin
who is planning to launch a fashion label.

Hey language requirement, wanna take this outside?
REBECCA ISENBERG ONE TURNTABLE AND A MICROPHONE

ave you ever sat
in your foreign
language class
dumbfounded? Desperately
trying to understand what
your professor is saying as
she speaks to you like
you've spoken this lan-
guage for years. Even if it's
your first day. Well let me assure you that
you're not alone. Maybe you're like me. I can't
seem to grasp more than 'Mi piace nuotare' -
which I think means 'I like to swim' in Italian.
But I can never be too sure. You see, as a
sophomore in LSA, I'm struggling with my lan-
guage requirement. The one that demands that I
achieve fourth semester proficiency in the for-
eign language of my choice before I graduate.
However, I grapple with this requirement daily
as I attempt to teach my 19-year-old brain to
learn the ins and outs of the Italian language -
from a professor speaking only in Italian. The
language requirement is a thorn in my side.
Why? Well ...
Some people pass out of their language dur-
ing the orientation placement tests. These peo-
ple are lucky. However, I would have to advise
that there be a warning given to the incoming
freshmen about the importance of this test. If I
had known the consequences of not racking my
brain for every morsel of French vocabulary I
had ever learned in high school, maybe I
wouldn't have taken this test so lightly.
If I had known I would have to surrender my
schedule to my language requirement or that I

would spend the next two years crowded into
the basement of the Modern Language Building
four days a week, I promise you I would have
taken this more seriously.
The language requirement is the only subject
within LSA that takes up two years of your life
without being your major. Of course you can
choose any language you want but then you are
forced to take four semesters of that language
with no leeway. In addition, your ability to learn
languages doesn't really matter. It's a fact that
some students' brains don't register foreign 'lan-
guages as well as others. I may have a hard time
and need to go slowly while the girl sitting next
to me might be ready to whiz through conju-
gates and subjunctives. What bugs me about this
is that in other fields students are not forced to
take a class from level one to level four. If
you're bad at chemistry you just don't take it.
You aren't forced to train your brain the inner
workings of the entire periodic table.
My other gripe is that most students don't
have the proper background education in Eng-
lish to learn a foreign language at such a high
level. Most students don't even know the
basic grammar rules of English which can be
confusing when learning the grammar of a
whole different language. And if you start in a
level 101 at the University then most likely
the professor is going to speak only in the lan-
guage you are taking. So if you can't under-
stand what she's talking about in English then
how can you understand what she's talking
about in Russian? It's tricky, I tell you. Maybe
I'm just biased because I'm an English major,

but I think that it may be more important that
students take more English classes than so
many foreign language classes. Many students
can technically graduate with little back-
ground in English literature and essay writing.
However, these students will be perfectly able
to give a full report on every German classic
novel - in German. Not that I have anything
against German literature, but somehow this
seems askew.
Just for the record, I'm not saying that the
language requirement should be taken away. I
understand why we should all have to learn a
foreign language. I recognize the importance.
However, my beef with the requirement is that
it's too strenuous. People whose brains don't
register and recognize other languages with ease
should not be forced to reach such a higher level
of proficiency. Those who really have a passion
for languages - be my guest. The truth of the
matter is that the best way to learn a language is
to be fully immersed in it. This would require
being around people who speak your language
of choice 24 hours a day, not simply four hours
a week. Better yet, it's much easier to learn
another language as a child when your brain is
developing and is more malleable.
Recognizing these facts, I would argue that
instead of making students like me struggle to
learn Italian politics - in Italian - why don't
we just loosen up the requirement a bit. 'S'il
vous plait'.

0
0
0
6

Rebecca Isenberg can be reached
via e-mail at risenber@umich.edu.

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

B-School jobs
important for all
To THE DAILY:
I admit, I rarely read the Daily. And when I
do, it's usually for the crossword puzzle.
However, I had to respond to the In Pass-
ing presented Monday ("B-School students:
You'll get no tears from me"). As a BBA in
the Business School program, I am used to the
"greedy business school" stereotype often
used to typify University of Michigan Busi-
ness School students. Is it accurate? For some
People, perhaps.
But for a member of the Daily edit board,
which is a consistent champion of student's
rights and defender of anything evil, to bla-
tantly stereotype and blindly categorize every
Business School student is ridiculous and hyp-
ocritical - lines like "if jobs are so scarce
maybe their time could be spent doing a little
soul searching" and "it's not that important
that a few grads won't be going to live in New
York City at salaries starting in the hundreds
of thousands" are ridiculous and laughable.
Please, a little homework or an attempt to
understand what you're talking about
wouldn't kill you!
Why is it important when Business students
can't get jobs? Because, for example, when
investment banks hire analysts and associates,
(30 percent and 17 percent of BBAs and MBAs
respectively, according to the UMBS annual
report) companies can acquire capital more eas-
ily - which means they grow.
When companies grow, they hire more
people at all levels (yes, this includes the
working class!). Sure, these people get com-
pensated well - but wouldn't you expect
exceptional compensation packages for work-

ing 100-hour weeks with' aneducation from a
top-tier institution? Exactly.
JESSICA CASH
LSA senior
The writer is Vice-President of the
Michigan Student Assembly
MSA 'irrelevant;
'out of touch'
To THE DAILY:
Reading the Daily article ("MSA pass-
es resolution about the Michigan Student
Assembly resolution in favor of detained
local Muslim leader" 1/16/02) has con-
vinced me of a few that about MSA.
A) They are irrelevant
B) They are out of touch
C) They are wasting my money
Perhaps I have always known that they
were the first two things and failed to
admit it to myself; however, allocating
$500 to a symposium is drawing the line.
Regardless of Haddad's plight, the practi-
cal matter is that he has nothing to do with
this university and should be outside the
MSA's jurisdiction, not to mention its list
of priorities. I guess I didn't have a prob-
lem with the MSA living in its own little
world, though, until they started wasting
my money. Didn't we just pass a fund
increase of $1 to the MSA? Not that it is a
big expense, but please guys, spend it on
something that benefits the student popula-
tion. The MSA is not an avenue to advance
your own personal agendas, so please try
and focus.
NATHAN CAMPBELL
LSA junior

MSA's leadership to
blame for poor
student-city relations
To THE DAILY:
I write in response to Michael Grass's essay
("Whose Ann Arbor?" 1/16/01). Grass writes
that the Michigan Student Assembly has been
"mired in petty political bickering for years and
has been unable to address student issues off-
campus". I would suggest that this is rather a
lack of MSA's administrative will and leader-
ship than the fault of the entire Assembly.
Less than three years ago, students were reg-
ularly appointed to City Council committees,
commissions and task forces. I, along with other
MSA representatives, working in concert with
the Mayor established a process that included
student representation. This plan, which had it
been followed by the current MSA administra-
tion, would address many of the complaints that
Grass addresses. Rather than blame the Assem-
bly as a whole (even though the Assembly bears
some responsibility for lacking the ability to fol-
low-through on well developed projects devel-
oped by former representatives), place the blame
where it belongs - on the shoulders of an inex-
perienced, politically motivated MSA adminis-
tration which neither values (or uses) the vast
wealth of experience held by current or former
members of opposition parties because they are
more interested in what they can accomplish
and then tout in the next semester's elections
than they are for real student progress.
ANDREw L. WRIGHT
Alumnus
The writer is aformer MSA representadtveand
MSA City Liaison and is a member of the Downtown
Development Authority Citizen's Advisory Committee.

V VIEWPOINT
March with a Purpose on MLK Day

BY JESSICA CURTIN
AND AGNES ALEOBUA
This year on Martin Luther King's birthday
we march with a purpose. Martin Luther King
Day must no longer be a time when pompous
speeches soothe us while inequality and injus-
tice fester. Now is not the time for hollow com-
memorations celebrating Martin Luther King's
struggle for integration and equality in America.
Now is the time to take up that struggle and
build it energetically. The last civil rights move-
ment won equality before the law and outlawed

Michigan are currently under consideration by
the entire Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Cincinnati and will be in front of the US
Supreme Court over the next year and a half.
The outcome of these cases will be felt around
the nation. Our march must say to the judges
who will decide affirmative action's legal fate
and to American society as a whole - we will
not accept a return to the segregated conditions
which gripped the University and other institu-
tions of higher education before the first Civil
Rights Movement won affirmative action.
At the same time, this MLK march is also a

er, of beacon of knowledge while capitulating in
deeds to the ugly racist tradition of marginaliz-
ing black, Latina/o andNative American peo-
ple. Only leaders unequivocally committed to
the integration of higher education are accept-
able for our nation's great schools. We demand
that the next University president be on record
unequivocally in defense of affirmative action.
We will accept no less.
Ours is a time when the US government
openly claims racial profiling of Arabs to be its
policy, when affirmative action to kill and die in
the armed forces is assumed and affirmative

,I

m

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