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November 19, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 19, 2002

OP/ED

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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, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
The Electronic
Monitoring Team is...
looking actively at the
possibilities for using
tracking technology to
monitor offenders'
whereabouts."
- Hilary Benn, British minister, in a letter
proposing that pedophiles be
tracked with silicone chips implanted
under their skin. The Observer (London)
reported the story on Sunday.

BONNIE KELLMAN m.1XED NUTFS
-S"
--'s- -
- - -cSc.Y ~ou h
6,4 l (0

0

Bored? Unapologetic? Take back your education
AUBREY HENRETTY NEUROTICA

n unfortunate
side-effect of
attending a
big-name university
like ours is that school
often gets in the way
of learning.
While there is
something to be said
for the ability to write
an entire A-paper from scratch (i.e. no famil-
iarity with subject matter, no thesis) between
the hours of 1 and 6 a.m. after a particularly
harrowing shift at work - while there is an
element of learning involved here - it is an
easily-forgotten-after-a-two-hour-nap-and-a-
24-ounce-cup-of-coffee sort of learning.
"Finish your paper?"
Yeah, at six.
"What was it about?"
Can't remember. Book of Mark, maybe.
Head hurts.
I may never remember what happened in
the Book of Mark, but I did get that A on the
paper, which was all I cared about at the time.
I sometimes wonder who my high school
guidance counselors were trying to fool when
they told me I wouldn't be able to pull stunts
like this in college, to study the key terms at
the end of the chapter or skim the Spark
Notes and still manage to contribute more to
class discussion than the dead-eyed drone in
the corner who actually did the work. The sad
reality is that now, as then, she who can string
a sentence together on cue is often erroneous-
ly identified as a good student.
Around this time last year, I was a terrible
student. I could feel my gray matter atrophy-

ing in 80 percent of the classes I was taking,
so I took my brain elsewhere. I shunned
homework, read and wrote (not for class)
with reckless abandon, took up coffee and
gave up sleep, went to The Fleetwood when I
shouldn't have, had wee-hour debates about
politics, art, religion, life, love, pizza, death,
taxes and storytelling. I was learning so much
about the world and so little about geology
that I was beginning to resent school for
usurping so many precious hours of my edu-
cation. The distinction really was that clear; I
was either in class or I was learning some-
thing relevant and valuable.
Call it sophomoric rebellion, but I was
sick of paying ridiculously high tuition
each semester to sit in the windowless
basement of the Modern Languages Build-
ing while GSI Joe glared at me because I
once again had not done his fill-in-the-
blank homework assignment. Je regrette,
monsieur, mais je n'ai pas fait les devoirs heir
soir parce qu'ils itaient stupides et ennuyeux.
Justement, je ne regrette pas du tout.
As unfortunate as it is when someone of
my intelligence level (higher than some,
perhaps, but nothing that would keep me
from getting laughed clear out of a MENSA
meeting) can manipulate the system such
that she receives highly misleading good
grades in most of her classes while barely
retaining so much as a factoid about the
Champs-Elysees, I've come to expect it. I
was furious about the B-plus I got in French
232 even though I probably never spent
more than 45 minutes a week on it outside
of class. I hated the system, but I'd resigned
myself to it. If all I was to take away from

college was the immense base of knowledge
and skill I acquired outside the classroom, I
could hardly justify complaining.
I'd all but convinced myself there was
no reason to exert effort in the tuition-
fueled portion of my University experience
ever again when, on the advice of a friend
who knew better, I decided to look into the
New England Literature Program. "Spring
Term in New England!".exclaimed the
flyer. "Earn eight credits." Forty students
and 12 staffers. Reading. Writing. Moun-
tains. Living and learning writ large. I had
never touched a mountain or read Civil Dis-
obedience, but halfway through the mass
meeting, I was sold.
I will be attending NELP's mass meeting
again tomorrow, this time as a participant.
What the flyers will never say (for fear, I
imagine, of losing the University funding
and support) is that NELP succeeds where
the University fails; at NELP, the aforemen-
tioned line between school and learning
doesn't exist. There are no cram sessions for
multiple-choice exams, no last-minute fid-
dling with margins to get those two extra
lines on page seven. No fill-in-the-blanks.
For these reasons, NELP is the most rigorous
set of eight credits the University offers.
Quick thinking is as non-negotiable in a class
on Frederick Douglass and the rhetoric of the
slave trade than it is at a 65-degree angle on
slippery Mount Washington. And that's
learning at a level of intensity no amount of
coffee or stolen sleep can render foggy.
Aubrey Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

a.

VIEWPOINT
Democracy gone awry
BY COURTNEY TAYMOUR terparts, should be appointed. There are far also foster debates that yielded the most quali-
too many legal processes and details that the fied candidates. Prospects of thoughtful dis-
AND JOSEPH LITMAN general public cannot grasp. Accordingly, course resulting in sound appointments make
they cannot accurately assess what makes a the blind selections that result from the pre-
Marilyn Kelly, Clifford W. Taylor and good justice. Law students and scholars sent system seem misguided.
Stephen J. Markman - if you know who any excluded, who can explain what a motion for Back to reality. Even in the states where
of these people are, please proceed to the win- summary judgment is and when it is appropri- judges are not banned from expressing their
ner's circle. No one's there? Not surprising. ate to request one? opinions, most people are not politically
For those interested, the aforementioned are The esoteric nature of the judicial system active enough to receive all the information,
three of Michigan's sitting Supreme Court aside, what makes this nation's current proce- let alone a significant amount. Acknowledg-
justices. The fact that few, if any, members of dure even more asinine is how judicial cam- ing this disappointing truth is not meant as an
the citizenry could identify these important paigns are run. Out of the 39 states in which indictment of the electorate, though. Rather,
decision makers illustrates why the hoi polloi citizens elect judges, eight of them prohibit between limited and biased media outlets, the
should not possess the right to elect people to justices from disclosing their personal opin- demands of pressing needs like going to work
fill positions like the ones held by Kelly, Tay- ions on political issues. Such statutes deprive and raising their families, and interest in other
for and Markman. However, this opinion is the electorate of necessary information con- pursuits, many voters don't have time for
countercurrent to that of the general elec- cerning how the justices would decide cases election news. Especially not generally
torate's majority, which feels that justices and leave voters without appropriate criteria ignored races like those for judicial positions.
should be chosen in the same fashion that is- with which they can evaluate the candidates. In the rare case when a regular citizen does
used to elect presidents and congressmen. This forces the populace to make crucial deci- take an interest in the judicial race, are they
Well, if so many people feel so strongly sions based upon a Law and Order conception expected to look at a judge's past perfor-
about the right to elect judges, we request that of the legal system. mance? How can a normal citizen be expected
everyone take a moment and recall who they Assume for a minute that in each state, the to fully grasp the components that factor into
voted for in this month's elections. Can't power to select justices would be placed in the an ostensibly mundane decision?
remember? Not surprising. But, don't feel hands of elected officials rather than the elec- Hopefully, this exploration of voting
ashamed or embarrassed because neither can torate. This new responsibility would poten- process will not be misinterpreted as an
we, and, plenty of people can't even remem- tially require those in power - governors, assault on democracy. The issue at hand is
ber within five minutes of pulling the levers or senators - to more thoroughly consider the whether normally disinterested voters should
pushing the buttons for whom they voted in desires of their constituents since no longer be deciding the fate of our justice system with
more salient races like those for U.S. Senate. would the uninformed will of the people influ- limited information. Even the most politically
Given that voters have such limited recall ence judicial placement. Instead, representa- sophisticated members of the population are
of political knowledge, one could plausibly tives of the people would be forced to ask who unqualified to assess a justice's merit due to
extrapolate that the same ignorance would their constituents would want sitting on the the legal system's complexity and nuances. In
also preclude the retention of crucial informa- bench. Skeptics surely would assert that such ' this instance, bad choices are more harmful
tion concerning the judicial system. This pre- a change would transform judicial appoint- than not having the opportunity to make them.
sents a paradox, therefore, between the ments into another arena for partisan wran-
electorate's desire to vote for judges and their gling. While dreams of making the courts Taymour is an LSA freshman and Litman is
inability to make informed choices. ideological bulwarks would surely tempt an LSA senior. Both writers are members
State-level judges, like their national coun- many politicians, the increased scrutiny would of the Daily's editorial board.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

0

Paying student athletes will
not ward off corruption
TO THE DAILY:
After reading Jeremy Lacks' viewpoint
NCAA exploitation must end to clean up hoops
(11/18/02), I felt appalled at his suggestions.
He argues that the NCAA is an evil organiza-
tion that uses athletes to make massive profits
for itself. He further states that these same ath-

expenses will be higher than budgeted
So I hardly see "enormous profits" that
Lacks is dreaming of. I guess if you consider
the $3 million (probably less) that the NCAA is
putting in funds that go towards student athletes
as profits, then yes they made some profits.
Where is all the money the NCAA is getting
going? Over 58 percent ($245 million) of rev-
enues are going towards student athletes in
Division 1.
In essence, this is where the athletes' schol-
arships, stipends and special programs come
from. According to the NCAA website: "Ath-

dard wage" to student athletes. Where will this
money come from? As we saw above, the
NCAA only has around $3 million to pay this
wage. Again from the website, the NCAA finds
that there are approximately 150,000 athletes in
Division 1. Do some simple math: 3 mil-
lion/150,000 comes out to $20 per athlete.
Wow, that's a tidy sum.
How about we just give those with profes-
sional career aspirations: football and basket-
ball. Let's say we somehow find the money to
give these athletes $10,000 extra per year. Will
this actually do anything to prevent taking

As

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