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September 03, 2002 - Image 25

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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NEW STUDE NT EDITION

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Fall 2002

Editorial page desk: 764-0552
www.michigandally.com

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LUKE'
. SMITH

111

YEARS OF EDITORIAL FREEDOM

The Hitchhiker's'
guide to college
ot too far out off of overly mapped highways from the
unfashionable side of a state that's shaped like a glove on
a planet three rocks from a bright yellow sun lies a small
haven of liberal tendencies, excruciating living costs and broken
dreams.
Not much bigger than a few city blocks moving in any of the
four cardinal directions, the campus of the University of Michi-
gan-Ann Arbor is built primitively into a city with streets and
windows plastered with flyers preaching "Our Neighborhood -
A Work in Progress," as if to apologize for the trash and con-
struction congesting the cement.
The apartment was buried under an all too old house, in an all
too old neighborhood. It was not the kind of old that makes one
smile like a grandfather with a thick mustache and flannel, but
the kind of old that wrinkles the nose like the smell of stale beer.
Aside from his roommate, the apartment was built for only one
person; the dungeon-esque walls were wooded, and at parts even
appeared to have once held chains or torturous devices not seen
since the final episode of the too short-lived "You Can't Do That
on Television."
Someday the apartment will be meant for someone else.
Someone out elsewhere, someone preparing to leave home now,
kissing their parents and high school goodbye with the same
puckered lips mouthed to the air before a bright red Volkswagen
Eurovan scoots down the road.
And into the great unknown. Or the grate unknown, as the
freedoms of college are often more prison-ous than the constric-
tions of high school.
By now, the New Students for whom this edition tolls will
have been run through the three-day trials of orientation. A smat-
tered collection of events best observed from a bed in an over-
heated, under air-conditioned dorm room invariably no closer to
the pavement than the fourth floor. After all, the University does-
n't need to kiss up to you anymore; they already have taken you
for a non-refundable matriculation fee by this point.
Your conversations at orientation were decidedly dull. You
waxed like high school was a big deal and talked about the Ivy
League schools you applied to, well didn't apply to, but you
wanted everyone to think you applied to them so that they (the
orientation folks) would think you are some kind of big shot.
"My 730 Verbal was a bit lower than I expected, but I made up
for it with a surprising 750 on the Math portion. My parents
wanted me to apply to Yale as well, but I laughed because I was
really only interested in Harvard if I was going to stay on the
East Coast," you paused, watching the impressed faces of those
around you. "And then when I got accepted," a girl gasps, she
surely craves you now, you could smell it, you were almost
there. "They just didn't come through with a strong enough
package, so I came here, to the Harvard of the Midwest,' you
point at your t-shirt non-chalantly, the blue t-shirt you just stole
that phrase from.
The blue t-shirt that was on the 2-for-$15-rack at Steve and
Barry's, the rack that when you were looking at it, you actually
had to ask if that meant you had to buy two of them to get them
for the total of $15, or if that meant each one was, well, how
much was each one Mr. 750 Math? Yes good, $7.50 plus tax.
Was that Harvard, Kentucky?
And from orientation to now you've been so excited. Ann
Arbor, Michigan suddenly feels more like home than your own
bedroom because somewhere inside your brain, a coping mech-
anism triggered and reminded you that.you're only going home
for the holidays so you better start thinking about somewhere
else as home Mr. Mousekewitz.
The orientation boastings wear off soon enough, and those
lucky or unlucky enough to see their 'orientation chums'
throughout the rest of their college career will notice the
changes, the age lines, the extra 15 pounds, the stress and stretch
marks, the beer bellies and when you look at Bradford (whose
name you barely remember) from orientation and see that he's
put on a pair of kindergartners in beer weight, you'll look at
yourself in the mirror and believe you haven't changed a bit.
I'll leave it to your parents to tell you how you really look.
Classes will resume and you will see that the workload is
basically the same as in high school. It's just the amount of
opportunities for procrastinating will have increased exponen-
tially. You will welcome the chance to procrastinate. And you
will waste tons of time, probably in an alcohol or drug-induced
haze. Hopefully in an alcohol or drug-induced haze. This is col-
lege, not the real world.
When you decide to go to class, you will probably sleep, and
then regret going in the first place because in addition to being
miserably uncomfortable to sleep in, University lecture hall
chairs are awful for sleeping.
Then if you do manage to stay awake in class, it becomes a
whole new host of problems. We have professors who like the
sound of their own voices; GSIs, students with not only diarrhea
of the mouth, but leakage of some of the dumbest in-class ques-
tions imaginable, the list could go on and on, with specifics and
names and faces and gruesome details. But my picture is printed
above these words, and my grades don't need any other odds
stacked against them.
Thank God for the ability to transfer. Some of you will. I

don't have the numbers here, my fact-checker is on vacation for
the week, but many of you will transfer and a lot more of you
will flunk out, drop out, fall in love, get married, get pregnant,
get abortions, get jobs and a few of you will graduate, and even
fewer will look back on this whole experience fondly. And to my
future brethren, the English majors of the incoming class, pre-
pare yourself for the world of waiting tables or working in a
smarmy bookstore, because if you don't want to teach, you will
be joining me when I ask, "May I offer you two an appetizer
tonight?"
Hungry?

Daily's editoral page
Principle: Students should have some forum for free expression and The Daily should
provide it.
Corollary: This year we have said what we wanted to say and not what the administration
wanted us to say.
Result: The administration is mad as all get out at us and would like very much to get rid
of us.
Conclusion: We still think we're right.
Daily Editorial, April 5, 1935
The Michigan Daily's editorial voice and later, editorial page, has caused a lot more trou-
ble and made many more people (and countries) angrier than most of us will ever know.
In the second issue of the Daily (Sept. 30, 1890) the editors, a day old in their new posi-
tions, made a bold assertion:
"Custom has ordained that a new college paper shall give a reason for its being. The
Daily is its own excuse,"
This statement, which appeared opposite a page three notice from Prof. VC. Vaughan
informing the campus that "Hygiene I, the course in sanitary science will not be given this
year" finds just as much truth on The Daily's editorial page as it did on page two more than
a century later.
For 111 years, the voice of The Daily, through staff editorials and the content of the entire
opinion page, has also been enough to justify its own existence.
On Sept. 27, 1969, a Daily editorial called for a student strike to protest a decision by
University President Robben Fleming to order mass arrests of students peacefully occupy-
ing the LSA Building.

a proud troublemaker
In October, 1952, the Soviet Union accused a Daily satiric editorial of "warmongering"
during a United Nations session.
We've waged wars on the University. We've waged wars on the country and the world.
We've even fought wars between ourselves.
And we've done it all, at least since 1931, from behind our typewriters and keyboards at
420 Maynard St.
The Daily's commentary over time has turned from criticism of young men not coming
out for the football team to harsh evaluations of U.S. foreign policy. The Daily supported
socialists since the '30s, but it was in the '60s, under the leadership of one of The Daily's
greatest editors and most famous alumni Tom Hayden, co-founder of Students for a Democ-
ratic Society, that The Daily developed the notoriously "progressive" voice that defines its
character and baits its critics today.
Daily editorials are guided by precedent. Our precedent is our past and our personality
the opinions of 111 years of the Daily's editorial voice.
Principle: The Daily is for abortion and against the death penalty. We like civil liberties
and human rights. We don't like corporations but we love workers. The Daily will never
write an editorial against gun control or in favor of prayer in schools. We're idealistic, liber-
al,and proud of it.
Conclusion: We still think we're right.

Johanna Hanink
Editorial Page Editor
The Michigan Daily
Feb. 04, 2002

Coleman to face numerous challenges at 'U'

T he eight-month presidential search concluded anitclimatically on May 29 with
the nomination and election of one candidate: Mary Sue Coleman, President of
the University of Iowa. Coleman, a biochemistry Ph.D, is uniquely suited to deal
with many of the pressing concerns which confront the University. However, Coleman
has a difficult transition ahead of her where she must define her role at the University
and refine her positions to best suit the challenges here.
STUDENTS RIGHTS
The most troubling aspect of Coleman's experience as president of the University of
Iowa was her attitude toward student rights. During her presidency, the University of
Iowa implemented restrictions on student conduct and new forms of supervision for its
students. The University of Iowa has chilling speech policies that prevent protests in
university buildings. Next year, University of Iowa students who are caught drinking on
cam us will have letters sent to their parents. The University of Iowa has repeatedly
tried to invade students' lives with its anti-alcohol policies While Coleman is not solely
responsible for these policies, she has done little to fight them and fails to see the injus-
tices they represent.
This lack of concern for students' rights is extremely troubling at this particular
moment. During the 2002-03 academic year, the president is eligible to make amend-
ments to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, formerly known as
the Code of Student Conduct. The Code's Byzantine system of justice permits
hearsay evidence to be submitted, prevents students from having legal counsel speak
on their behalf and allows for double jeopardy. Coleman must recognize that the
Code has no place at the University and must be abolished. Students should immedi-
ately begin to express their outrage toward the Code and encourage Coleman to oblit-
erate the document.
STUDENT ACTIVISM

of Iowa students. She holds monthly "Fireside Chats" where she informally meets with
students to address their concerns over the university's direction. While this accessibili-
ty should continue, simply listening to students is not enough.
Coleman must take strong stands and prevent administrators from acting against the
broader interests of the University. Her experience at Iowa has made her familiar with
the New Era Cap Company, the Worker Rights Consortium and other labor issues. She
must act to cut the contract with New Era and expand the University's dedication to
labor issues. The University administration's stalling and dishonesty that were prevalent
during the Graduate Employees Organization's negotiations should not be repeated.
THE ROLE OF RESEARCH
While Coleman is the first woman to assume the University's presidency, there is a
more important first that Coleman represents: The first primarily research-oriented
University president. Coleman's extensive academic and intellectual experience in the
sciences provide her with a subtle understanding of science's future development in
relation to higher education. While former University President Lee Bollinger recog-
nized that the life sciences will be one of the most significant developments of the 21st
century, his lack of substantive scientific knowledge provided an obstacle to the growth
of the Life Sciences Initiative. With Coleman's scientific knowledge, she will be able to
better relate with researches and encourage the initiative's development.
Just as Bollinger's lack of scientific expertise could have lead to a disconnect with
Life Sciences Initiative executives, Coleman's lack of credentials in the humanities or
social sciences may cause problems with some University administrators and profes-
sors. Many professors have expressed their desire for a president with a tradition of
scholarship in the humanities, a qualification that Coleman does not possess. Coleman
should recognize this lack of experience and consciously work with professors and
administrators in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and the Rackham
.q i'fnot-MAN Passe 2R

-Luke Smith is a regular columnist in The Daily, although
right now he doesn't know where his columns will appear in the

II

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