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April 02, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-02

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

OP/ED

4

Tbe Ilrbigtuu iOaiI

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

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

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, lette's and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
One man's
Truce of God
is another man's
opportunity for
devilment."
- Paul Johnson, in yesterday's edition of
the Wall Street Journal, commenting on the
use of violence during religious holidays;
specifically the Palestinian terrorists
responsible for the suicide bombings
in Netanya, Israel during Passover.

y r-,
S c¢ '11Lka /1~s1-4he
e6c(os
( t~aO~.t3

a

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX

You've got mail (and a diploma)
GEOFFREY GAGNON G.OLOGY

40

or those of us graduat-
ing later this month,
April is sure to be a'
busy month.
But for one of those
being honored at com-
mencement, this April may
be especially hectic. A
month after starting his sec-
ond season with the Colum-
bus Clippers and a few days after fans lined up to
claim bobble-head dolls that bear his likeness at
the Clippers' April 14 game, Drew Henson will
graduate from the University.
If the list of graduating seniors posted in
Angell Hall is to be trusted, Henson, the onetime
Michigan quarterback turned New York Yankees
minor league sensation will be trading his pin-
stripes for a cap and gown. It was this time last
year that the heralded signal caller turned in his
maize and blue for Yankee blue, pocketed a $17
million signing bonus and bid farewell to campus.
In an interview with the Daily on March 5,
Henson said that he plans to finish up the require-
ments for his degree this spring in order to gradu-
ate on time, four years after first coming to
Michigan. Make no mistake, Henson's commit-
ment to earn his degree in four years despite leav-
ing school early is nothing short of impressive.
But it's what the third baseman said next that real-
ly caught my attention. Henson described how he
has progressed with his academic work since
leaving school by monitoring the course work by
computer - "I still have to e-mail in my papers
and take all the tests," Henson explained.
Now I take nothing away from Henson, but in

my four years of school here I have never once
seen a syllabus that allows students to e-mail the
work from out of town. I'm not saying that Hen-
son shouldn't take classes of this sort if they are
offered by the University; I'm just wondering
why I haven't been.
I'm going to feel pretty stupid if I spent four
years here and never once heard that you could
take classes by e-mail. Its no secret that more pro-
fessors are using the Internet as a learning tool,
but Henson has perhaps stumbled upon some-
thing most of us have missed. Now, I could be
misunderstanding Henson's description of his
courseload, but if he is to be believed, there are
classes that require no participation or attendance,
offer no lectures or discussions and allow for the
work to be sent from out of state.
I have to admit the whole idea of Henson reg-
istering for courses that allow him to earn his
degree from the hundreds of miles away remind-
ed me immediately of those Sally Struthers com-
mercials featured on daytime television a few
years ago - the one where Sally tells viewers
how wonderful earning a degree from an accredit-
ed correspondence school can be ("You can study
a paralegal profession or even small engine repair
right out of your home, please call today").
The thing is, Michigan isn't the type of corre-
spondence school that Henson's email curriculum
would indicate. We don't need Sally Struthers to run
cheesey commercials during Brady Bnmch re-runs
on TBS - not yet anyway. Who knows though, a
few more mail order diplomas and the University
may be tempted to rethink how it does business.
Now again, it's certainly a remarkable testa-
ment to Henson to have stuck with school after

joining the Yankees' minor league system. With
$17 million in the bank and a steady career field-
ing grounders ahead of him, Henson could have
easily justified giving up on school. By compari-
son, Chris Webber made almost $300,000 even
before leaving Michigan and he never came back
to get a degree. Perhaps Webber didn't know he
could e-mail the work from Oakland.
I admit that I might be the last one on board
here. For all I know everyone is taking e-mail-
only classes and living in Arizona, Tampa and
Columbus like Drew. But honestly I had never
heard of this. If the University wants programs
like this to catch on it needs to do a better job
publicizing them or they just won't take off the
way they could.
Of course, I don't mean to single out Henson,
especially after he's spent so much time earning a
degree that most people in his position simply
would not. And for all I know, Henson's been a
regular in his classes here on campus (although
between summer baseball in Ohio, fall baseball in
Arizona and spring training in Florida, this seems
like a stretch). If the e-mail option is in fact open
to guys like Henson it should be open to others.
I don't fault Henson or slight his achieve-
ment; and I'm not even that bitter that a
Michigan degree will be earned in Columbus,
Ohio of all places. I just hope Henson's
accomplishments in the classroom (or rather
Columbus area apartment as it were) aren't
compromised by standards that make his
degree any different than mine.
Geoffrey Gagnon can be reached
atggagnon@umich.edu.

I

A

Drowning our inner child ,25 cents at a time
AUBREY HENRETTY NEUROTICA

N o one ever says,
"I want to be an
Internal Revenue
Service agent when I
grow up."
People want to be
doctors, lawyers, teach-
ers, firemen and con-
struction workers. We
want to be space cadets.
We want to cure cancer and be gourmet
chefs and live in log cabins in the moun-
tains, to teach the world to sing in perfect
harmony, to buy the world a Coke and keep
it company. We want to be cooler than we
were in middle school.
Most of the world's population lacks
adequate medical care. Classrooms are
overcrowded. Public defenders are over-
worked. The space program peaked in the
'60s. Last time we checked, there was no
correlation between Coca-Cola consump-
tion and world peace. Cancer still wins
more often than it loses.
Yet there is no dire shortage of IRS
agents.
So many of us start out with good inten-
tions. We set up lemonade stands (25 cents
for a plastic cupful) on the sidewalk with
our friend Nicole on the weekends and sell
cookies for ten cents apiece (less than our
parents paid for them on sale at the corner
store). We make colorful signs and talk

about what we want to be when we grow up
(nurses and marine biologists, stand-up
comedians and truck drivers) and the great
things we will invent (flying cars and cher-
ry-flavored cough medicine that actually
tastes like cherries). Not as business savvy
as the kids down the street with the boom
box and the designer Dixie cups, we eat
more cookies than we sell.
A few of us - the luckiest - get into
decent colleges. We are older, but no less
starry-eyed. Cough syrup is of little conse-
quence to us; we have ideas. When we
grow up, we tell our friends and families,
there will be no more racism or sexism or
poverty or injustice in the world. We have
studied great thinkers' thoughts and
become brilliant; we can fix everything.
Just you wait. This time, it will work.
So, what happens? Where do all the
young visionaries go to die? At what point
does the eye doctor/tax collector changeover
occur? More importantly, why does it occur?
With all the loud, proud idealism that per-
vades college campuses nationwide, why do
we turn out such sorry CEO-to-soup kitchen
volunteer ratios?
One argument says people go to college
to get good (i.e. facilitating the
acquisition/maintenance of sport utility vehi-
cles and large domiciles) jobs. It is for some
a stepping stone to the upper-middle class
and for others a rain check promising

engraved plaques outside brick buildings:
Welcome to the Rich Banker Auditorium. This
is America. Take what you can get.
But what about space camp? What about
the giant hospital we were going to build in
Somalia? The master plan to end internation-
al conflict, strife and general unpleasantness?
The cough syrup?
Most "successful" post-collegiate card-
carrying members of the social elite are
quick to dismiss our aspirations as childish
delusions of grandeur: Impractical if not
impossible. We will, they say, understand
when we are older and wiser and the real
world is snapping at our heels. We will
leave our lofty ideals out in the garage
with our old board games and rusty one-
speed bicycles. Our peers will sigh with
relief and welcome us to the fold and the
country club. Before long, we too will
chortle, pontificate, dismiss and forget our
dreams, amazed we were ever that young
and stupid. We will grow up.,
Meanwhile, we keep on with our ideas
and our words, our enthusiasm intact and
unscathed (or at least minimally scathed).
We stomp our feet and shout, demanding
respect from head-patting naysayers who
smile and blame college. We buy each other
Cokes. We don't want to grow up.
Aubrey Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

60

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Slave reparations an issue
of longitudinal culpability
To THE DAILY:
What the staff of the Daily Campus wrote
in Slave Reparations: Suit underscores hypocrisy
(4/1/02) grossly misrepresents the issues
involved.
Consider this sentence: "Farmer-Paellman
is basing her claim against people living
today, based on the culpability of others who
have been dead for one and a quarter cen-
turies." The opinion piece argues that, since
the descendants of slave owners are not at
fault, they should not be punished.
This is horribly misguided.
Profits were made on slavery. The correct
question is: Should these profits be in the
hands of African-Americans alive today or in
the hands of company owners alive today?
The opinion piece argues that the descen-

An ideologically inconsistent conserva-
tive position would be: Blindly side with the
status quo, highlight fairness to the wealthy,
and obscure fairness to others. The staff of
the Daily Campus chose the second route.
ANDREAS PAPE
Rackham
Contextualizing murder does
not legitimize murder
To THE DAILY'
Reading the headlines about what's happen-
ing in Israel and the West Bank has left me feel-
ing a sinking, sickening feeling of despair. I
don't really understand what Sharon and Arafat
are trying to accomplish and that frightens me. I
do understand what Hamas is trying to do and it
appalls me. I read Amer Zahr's column yester-
day and it made me angry (She was from
Dheisheh, Palestine).
He wrote: "The Palestinian suicide

fire in protest. A person who walks into an area
crowded with civilians and detonates a bomb has
intent to murder. Is Zahr seriously asserting that
this is just a spectacular form of suicide? I find it
difficult to believe that any of the Palestinian sui-
cide bombers are unaware of the death tolls of
previous attacks. The bombs are full of screws
and nails! The ends of the Sept. 11 hijackers and
the Palestinian suicide bombers are different, but
the meansare essentiallythe same: The indis-
criminate killing of civilians.
Zahr's column invites me to contextualize the
actions of the suicide bombers. He's correct that
the Palestinians have legitimate grievances that
cry out for redress.
But allow me to decontextualize for a
moment. The suicide bombings are murder. If
the bombers are politicized and legitimately
aggrieved, then they are politicized and legiti-
mately aggrieved murderers.
Contextualize that.
JESSE JANNETA
Alumnus

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