The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003 - 7B
What's the rush?
Greek system rush should wait until winter term
Two weeks into the start of their University experi-
ences, freshmen should find themselves enjoying
and discovering school traditions and activities.
Freshmen students have likely visited Michigan Stadium
for football Saturdays, signed up for a few clubs and
activities at Festifall and have begun to form new friend-
ships in classes and the residence halls. However, one
University activity, the Greek system's fall rush, could
limit a new student's awareness of the University's offer-
ings. It would be a wise move for everyone involved,
pledges and old members, to eliminate the fall rush.
The transition from high school to college life and
independence is often stressful and filled with uncer-
tainties. Rushing for membership into a fraternity or
sorority is a time consuming pursuit, and to adjust to a
new life style and to vie for acceptance in the Greek
community at the same time can be overly taxing.
Learning how to balance social and academic commit-
ments should be one of the top priorities of a new Uni-
versity student. Rush demands that these students direct
their attention elsewhere. Eliminating fall rush and
allowing only a winter rush would allow potential
pledges the adequate time to adjust to the academic and
social rigors of college life.
Not only would these new students benefit from the
elimination of fall rush, but the Greek system would
benefit as well. Fraternities and sororities depend upon
members who are dedicated and enthusiastic to the
Greek system and its purposes. Given two weeks to
decide whether or not to rush, new students with half-
hearted commitments may make the hasty decision to
participate. If fall rush were to be eliminated, winter rush
would attract pledges who are more fully aware of their
social and community options at the University, and who
really do believe fraternity or sorority life is for them.
Many fraternities and sororities require their mem-
bers to live in the Greek house the year following their
initiation. These fraternities and sororities fear that
without a fall rush, future pledges will have already
decided upon a living situation for the next year, leav-
ing the houses empty and without sufficient rent and
funds to maintain it. However, it is a myth that no good
apartments are available after winter break - and it is
entirely reasonable that the pledges wait until after their
initiation before deciding on their living situation for
The Greek system should follow the examples of the
University of Virginia, Stanford University and Dart-
mouth College and defer the exacting rush process to
the winter. Most first year students need time to discov-
er the intricacies of the University and adjust to their
new lifestyles in Ann Arbor. A fall rush often deprives
first year students of this discovery process, and makes
the transition to college life even more stressful. This is
a decision which will populate Greek organizations with
It's probably the
most popular thing
that I've ever
- New York City Councilman Philip Reed, on
a bill that would fe anyone $50 who dials up
or fails to turn off a mobile phone's ringer dur-
ing an indoor performance, as reported in
"That's like asking
someone to first
vote for censorship,
and then figure out
later what is censored.
With all due respect, I
find that statement
- Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz
on a proposed speech code that would ban
"offensive" language from the classroom,
as quoted in the Boston Globe.
The University has a wide range of sororities and fraternities. Kappa
Kappa Gamma, a sorority, is located on Hill Street.
It's time for the reform of Michigan's MIP law
The competition cometh
'U' needs to address housing before companies do
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan
filed suit against Bay City on Oct. 31 challenging
the practice of police requiring people under the
age of 21 to submit to a breathalyzer without first
obtaining a search warrant. The ACLU's suit was
spurred by an incident involving a 20-year-old woman
who was stopped by police in the park and asked to take
a breathalyzer. When she refused, the police
told her that she would be fined $100, after
which she submitted to the police officers'
demands. She was not under the influence
of alcohol and passed the breathalyzer test.
The ACLU is challenging the Bay City
ordinance that makes it illegal for a person to
refuse to take a breathalyzer when asked by
police. The decision in this case will likely
affect the entire state. A breathalyzer test
amounts to a search, but the police are not
presenting a warrant as required by the Fourth9
Amendment. The decision in this case will '
likely affect the entire state and hopefully
alter or eliminate the current MIP law.
Michigan is one state that has such severe
laws and penalties for underage drinking. In
other states, an underage person must have alcohol on
their person to get in trouble with the law, but in Michi-
gan no alcohol needs to be present. A person's body is
classified as a container and only one sip of alcohol'
allows for an individual to receive a citation.
There are no set rules guiding whom the police
select for breathalyzer tests. Students routinely walk-
ing home from parties, not causing any trouble and just
wanting to get home to sleep off the alcohol, are regu-
larly accosted by police officers and coerced into tak-
ing breathalyzers. By using the threat of monetary
penalty, people feel like they have no choice but to
submit to the test.
When police break up parties, they often make
everyone line up by age and take breathalyzers. This is
clearly against the Fourth Amendment right
against unauthorized search and seizure. The
police surround the party-goers and force
them to submit or pay a fine. MIP
laws create animosity between stu-
dents and the police. Students do not
lways call for medical assistance
when they are at a party where some-
one passes out from overdrinking. If
the person affected is underage, they
are afraid to call 911 out of fear of
prosecution. Also, if there are under-
age people at the party who have been
drinking they do not call for the same reason.
This leads to a potentially dangerous situation
in which someone who should receive medical
attention for alcohol poisoning does not get it
because people art afraid of an MIP.
The case in Bay City is exactly what the ACLU has
been looking for to challenge the current state alcohol
laws The violation of the Fourth Amendment is clear in
addition to the fact that the person being forced to sub-
mit to the breathalyzer was not under the influence.
This case has the potential to change Michigan's drink-
ing laws to make them more in tune with the rest of the
Last November, the Ann Arbor City Plan-
ning Commission approved something
this campus is in short supply of: new
student housing. The privately-owned develop-
er Integroup Realty Trust is proposing a new
complex to be built adjacent to North Campus.
Currently named North Quad, the complex will
have 900 beds and is expected to open by the
fall of 2004 if final approval is granted by the
City Council early next year.
Even as this proposed development moves
forward, it would behoove Integroup to keep in
mind the realities of campus housing - it is
nearly always overpriced and often of substan-
dard quality. At the moment, Integroup has a
good track record in this area; rent for a one-
bedroom apartment runs for $483 in the East
Lansing development. If Integroup wants to
endear itself to students, it should publicly
make a long-term commitment to keeping rent
for its units down while keeping quality up -
prices such as East Lansing's should not be
By doing so, not only will Integroup be sav-
ing students sorely-needed money, but it will
also be setting a standard that other landlords
will have to follow if they wish to remain com-
petitive. Furthermore, Integroup ought to fol-
low the example set by University Housing,
whose full-time workers are unionized. Inte-
group must treat its workers like it should treat
its tenants with respect and professionalism,
and not as potential subjects of a fleecing.
If there is one clear flaw in the proposed
apartment complex, it lies in the name,"North
Quad." The word "Quad" unofficially belongs
to University residence halls on this campus;
having it grace any other kind of building is an
affront to the University's tradition. More
importantly, the facility's proposed moniker
could mislead prospective residents into
believing that the University runs the develop-
ment. Integroup needs to find another name
for its development - by doing so Integroup
will keep itself in the good graces of students
The University administration needs to learn
from housing developments like Integroup's.
There is a clear demand for affordable housing
on campus, and Integroup is pursuing this mar-
ket. The University needs to reclaim leadership
in this area and get working on student life
issues. The President's Commission on the
Undergraduate Experience's report , released in
2001, made several ambitious proposals,
including both more residence halls as well as
expanding the sense of community within
them. At the moment, the administration says it
wants to complete yet one more study before
taking action and moving on its past proposals.
However, the University has researching this
topic for years - it is time for the administra-
tion to stop talking and start acting. The state
of student housing on campus is reaching a
critical point, and no one is in a better position
than the University to address the shortage.
Running the RC
'U' should let wacky, lovable RC alone
Although tucked away in East Quad, the Residen-
tial College stands out on campus and around
the country for its unique educational philoso-
phy and the degree of deference and independence it
grants its students. Stressing student individualism, cre-
ativity, independent study and active participation in
the educational process, the RC is often a center of
innovation in undergraduate education.
RC students took advantage of a time gap in August
last year between the departure of interim director
Charlie Bright and the installation of director Tom
Weisskopf, to take over the RC directorship; the RC
Student Republic ran the RC for two weeks.
A student government was also formed to maintain
the momentum of the republic after Weisskopf's return.
Regardless of the future role the RC Student Repub-
lic will play in the day-to-day affairs of the RC, it made
an important statement.
Unlike other student government groups, the RC Stu-
dent Republic distinguished itself through de facto stu-
dent control of an academic unit of the University. On a
large campus such as the University, students often feel
as though their concerns fall on deaf administrative ears.
The Student Republic served as a reminder that adminis-
tration exists to serve students and that student input and
participation in decision-making processes is crucial.
The Student Republic underscores the RC's exceptional-
ism within the college of Literature, Science and the Arts
and the University. That RC administrators would risk
handing over the reins to students, albeit for a two-week
period indicates a high degree of respect for student input
and concerns not seen in other units of the University.
To preserve the RC's unique nature, the RC should
maintain its autonomy as an academic unit within LSA
and the University. Former LSA Dean Shirley Neuman
tried to chip away at the RC's unique philosophy two
years ago by pushing through a proposal mandating
grades be given in addition to the RC's customary eval-
uations. Summarily ending what was a unique and
viable grading method, Neuman compromised the RC's
existence within LSA.
Further, the RC should have a representative on the
Michigan Student Assembly. An RC seat has been an
issue discussed in past MSA elections, but never pur-
sued to completion. An RC seat would serve to invigor-
ate MSA and better vocalize student concerns. The
activism many RC students exhibit and the spirit of
equality and respect in of student-faculty interactions is
highly enviable for all students.
Students should claim ownership over their educa-
tions and campus administration should be more recep-
tive to student concerns. While the RC Student
Republic existed for only two weeks, the values it
revived and underscored should remain.
Daily speaks up
about Ann Arbor and
SAM BUTLER TiE- SOAPBOX
a , S o groabO ''a
«._ _I- M SiCcA Chnt, Car o~p ~s e.
Students will suffer with AATUs demise
After almost 35 years serving students and resi-
dents in Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Tenants
Union will close up shop at the end of April.
Conceived in 1968 during the aftermath of a massive
student strike protesting excessive local rents, the
organization provided Ann Arborites with information,
advice and legal help for the inevitable housing dis-
putes that plague so many students' experiences at the
University. In a city notorious for a poor quality of
student housing, the AATU has been desperately need-
ed in order to protect students and other Ann Arbor
this semester, relations between MSA and the AATU
were reduced to a squabbling fit, as MSA refused to
give the union the funding that the student body voted
to have the assembly allocate.
The disintegration of the AATU does not signify
merely the demise of one of a student service; it repre-
sents the demise of Ann Arbor's most effective advoca-
cy group for tenants. Despite claims that Student Legal
Services will act as a viable alternative to the AATU,
there remains no other similar organization in the entire
city. Ann Arbor residents who are not University stu-
dents have been left without representation as well.