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October 05, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 3, 2003

OP/ED

£t

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

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE

SAM BUTLER THiE SOAPBOX

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

LouIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
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.

It's like a huge
pot of honey
that's attracting
a lot of flies."

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- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on turning
Iraq into a major profit center, as
reported in The Washington Post.

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Mother Teresa and the Devils
SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA WEAVING THE HANDBASKET
G rowing up, memory as news arrived that Mother Tere- did more harm than good through her mis-
March was sa's beatification is scheduled for Oct. 19 at sionary work. By urging paupers to accept
known only for the Vatican. Jesus in exchange for food, Mother Teresa
Madness. Be it the '93 A countdown until the beatification is misled thousands of Kolkata residents into
season with that fateful . displayed prominently on the website dedi- believing that their lives would improve
time out or the '98 epic cated to the cause, through conversion to Christianity.
battle for the ACC www.motherteresacause.info, which also Leaders who have reserved their lives for
Tournament Champi- offers a means of obtaining tickets for the the benefit of others are revered for the work
onship between the Tar day. The Associated Press reports that the they have done but not worshiped. For exam-
Heels and the Blue Vatican post office has launched a set of ple, Mohandas Gandhi, who also served in
Devils, Carolina bas- postcard stamps with Mother Teresa's India, is celebrated tomorrow in the Gandhi
ketball ruled our lives. My sister and I image and that factories have been making Day of Service, where thousands of people
saved copies of newspapers when Dean rosaries, crucifixes and key chains for the volunteer to better the community. While
Smith became the winningest coach and beatification. Mother Teresa's dedication to help others
watched a disturbing Spike Lee film Pope John Paul II (sorry Cardinal may be admirable and perhaps worth the
because Smith made a cameo. During our Chistoph Schoenborn, he is still alive) has Nobel Peace Prize, her selfish motivations to
high school's homecoming, I even won arranged for the beatification to coincide convert others do not warrant the worship of
most spirited on college-dress-up day for with the celebration of his 25th year as pope thousands of people.
the sheer amount of Carolina memorabilia I this month. Since Mother Teresa was a However repulsive it may be for people
possessed (think popcorn bucket and a map favorite of the pope, her beatification has to worship those who deceived thousands, it
of the memorable seven-mile stretch been on the fast track ever since her death. is even more reprehensible to bar forms of
between Chapel Hill and Durham). The pope waived the standard five-year wait- reverence. Thousands across the world,
Thus, I could hardly control my excite- ing period and originally wanted to forgo the from Christians persecuted in China to Mus-
ment when seated with a basketball team on entire beatification process and name Mother lims killed in race riots in Gujarat, must be
a seven-hour international flight last summer. Teresa a saint, but was forced to retract when saved from the mobs unable to accept a
The couple next to me, the team's coach and top cardinals spoke against it. variance in views.
his wife, soon explained that the team was The canonization process is lengthy in The particularly dislikable, be they Moth-
part of a missionary organization, which trav- that someone needs to undergo "extensive" er Teresa or the Cameron Crazies, must be
eled to parts of Africa and competed against investigation to make sure that the two mira- given an opportunity to speak. Much like The
local teams. Watching the uniformed team in cles attributed them are true miracles. In fact, Michigan Review, their convoluted percep-
zip-ups and Nikes, I couldn't help but mull even after the beatification, the step in the tioris either of people's fates or basketball
over the materialistic message the team canonization process that only requires one dynasties usually help strengthen the argu-
members were sending. miracle, parishioners can only worship Moth- ments against them. Heated discussions and
Then it dawned on me that this was the er Teresa in a few places where the church long discourses about these topics arrive at a
exact message they wanted to portray: Their deems appropriate. simple insight that only through the persis-
God helped them earn all these luxuries and The worship of a human being who died tence of these differences can one learn to
if the infidels converted, they too could share five years ago does not make sense regard- sympathize and create concrete beliefs.
in the booty. less of the amount of good she might have
The exchange that occurred thousands of done for people around her. In fact, it has Chirumamilla can be reached
feet above ground, came rushing back into been popularly debated that Mother Teresa at schiruma@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Opportunities for women
also present in LSA
TO THE DAILY:
The Women in Science and Engineering
Program is pleased the Daily shares its con-
cern about the underrepresentation of women
in science and engineering, See Jane Engineer
(10/01/03).
While it is true that the College of Engi-
neering has made considerable progress in
enrolling women students, often graduating
more women at the bachelor's level than any
other school in the nation, it is incorrect to
state that LSA has not had equally impressive
efforts and successes in the sciences and
mathematics.
Just to provide a few examples, faculty
from the Chemistry and Physics departments
have worked with over 500 middle school
girls in the Future Science: Future Engineer-
ing Program. LSA IT routinely provides com-
puter stations and support for both FSFE and
the Grace Hopper Project for high school
girls. The WISE residence program, which
has been nationally recognized and honored,
has historically been almost half LSA women.
The Association for Women in Science is
very active within the college. LSA provides
space for both the WISE Central Campus
office and the WISE research office.
The representation of women among
LSA science and mathematics majors is
impressive, including 61 percent female in
biology, 57 percent in cellular and molecular
biology, 30 percent in chemistry, and 45 per-
cent in mathematics. The number of women
in LSA graduate programs is equally impres-
sive. In fact, in chemistry graduate programs
the percentage of women actually increases
to 39 percent.
Both the College of Engineering and LSA
can be proud of their accomplishments in
supporting girls and women in pursuing
careers in these non-traditional fields. But
we are not satisfied. As the Daily editorial
pointed out, there are still far too few women
faculty members. Even in this area, the Uni-
versity, including LSA, has dedicated signif-
icant resources and time through the
ADVANCE grant.
LSA Associate Dean Abigail Stewart
directs this important University-wide initia-
tive. The University should be commended
for its efforts for women in both science and
engineering. T

An often-overlooked side effect of this
problem is that the few female/minority facul-
ty members in these fields are often severely
overworked in providing mentorship to
female/minority students. Students seek them
out for both formal and informal advising and
mentoring in far greater numbers than their
male/non-minority counterparts. Many of
these faculty members end up overburdened
with mentoring responsibilities and this ends
up hurting their progress towards achieving
tenure in disciplines where research produc-
tivity is paramount. This perpetuates the prob-
lem; when a popular professor is denied
tenure, it creates resentment and cynicism
among their students. Those who do achieve
tenure, however, have much greater flexibility
to devote resources to mentoring students.
The University has a number of great pro-
grams aimed at supporting female and minority
students in engineering and the sciences; what is
needed here and at other universities is still
stronger effort to recruit, retain and tenure female
and minority faculty in these fields. In addition,
students can always do more to support their
peers, as well as organizations like the Girl
Scouts that work to pique girls' interest in math
and sciences during their pre-college years -
helping reduce the need to "catch up with the
boys" when they reach college. Such efforts
reduce the workload on faculty in areas such as
the LSA sciences in attracting students to these
programs after entering college.
DAVE JORDAN
Rackham
Coleman hypocritical in
creating taskforce, must
divest from Israel
TO THE DAILY:
I could not help but find University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman's policies quite hyp-
ocritical after reading yesterday's editorial,
Ethical purchasing (10/02/03), considering that
a year ago, in a letter to the University, Cole-
man issued a statement in which she declared
she does not support divestment from Israel. I
certainly feel that the creation of the Purchas-
ing Ethics and Policies Task Force is a step
in the right direction, but without a reconsid-
eration of our financial ties to Israel, I find it
a hollow step. Our investments in Israel are
directly and indirectly funding the 36-year
occupation of Palestinian land. We are help-

Mental health problems
real, cannot be cured by
just popping pills
TO THE DAILY:
I commend you for presenting an issue
that is often ignored, stigmatized, and misun-
derstood, (Mental health problems on the rise
for students, 09/29/03). It is important to have
a healthy mind and spirit as well as body.
Raising awareness and understanding about
mental health is extremely important to
ensuring good quality of all people. One
point that I found particularly interesting is
the way that experts and mental health pro-
fessionals described the onslaught of students
presenting with mental health issues. As true
as this may be, we must continue to encour-
age people to seek help when they need it.
We cannot assume that the stigmas and mis-
conceptions about mental health have melted
away in recent times. In many communities,
people who seek counseling are seen as weak
and out of control of their lives. Honestly,
how many of us have the same sympathy for
someone who has poor academic perfor-
mance due to depression or any kind of men-
tal health issue versus the sympathy you
might feel for someone who suffers from a
physical ailment? Would you be willing to
offer a job or admission to a student who
tries to explain poor academic performance
by citing mental health issues? Those stu-
dents who walked through the doors of Coun-
seling and Psychological Services may have
represented a minority of people aware of
their own mental health well-being and who
felt confident enough to seek help. We have
to understand that mental health diseases and
conditions are real and you do not have to be
"crazy" to suffer from them. People should
care for their mental health just as they would
monitor their diets and exercise.
Another point that is discussed in your
article is the cause of depression and anxiety.
With the influx of anti-depressants and anxi-
ety medications that are being advertised and
promoted, many people are probably being
misled into thinking that there is a pill that
will make them feel better. Though a cause
of depression is chemical imbalances in the
brain, we cannot ignore the many other fac-
tors that also affect a person's affect. Any
clinician knows that there is hardly ever a
person who walks into an office and has the

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