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October 06, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-06

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 6, 2003

OP/ED -

4 £4 D

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

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

LOUIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
Editorial Page Editors

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Sacramento is
simply the biggest
Hummer he can buy."

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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.

SAM

BUTLER TEiw. SOAPBOX

0PeWho.+ Pr~C"
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4

- New Republic literary editor Leon
Wieseltier on Arnold Schwarzenegger, as
quoted in Maureen Dowd's New
York Times column yesterday.

Here's a 'meaningful relationship' for you

it's an interesting
and lucky phenome-
non when two
apparently unrelated
news stories have the
power to illuminate
each other. When this
happens, it's the combi-
nation of two reports
that can educe the more
inscrutable below-sur-
face happenings, tendencies and attitudes of
an institution, group or administration -
underground insight that might otherwise
have escaped our notice.
One year ago, I wrote a column about a
peculiar front page of The New York Times,
on which one article weighed the arguments
for war in Iraq and another directly below it
celebrated the merry beard shaving and TV-
watching in the aftermath of the "liberation
of Kabul." Last week, two stories came out
of the University which have arguably less
consequence for the peace of the world, but
which similarly seem to show us that some-
thing is awry - this time, in our own Uni-
versity community. By way of these two
stories' invitation to contrast and compari-
son, last Friday I drew the easy conclusion
that there are some deep problems at this
University with the way that it, as an institu-
tion, views and treats women.
On Friday, the Daily reported ('U' boasts
rise in female faculty, enrollment, 10/03/03) on
the progress that the University has made
since 1990 in increasing the female presence
on this campus - in administrative posi-
tions, as department heads and tenure-track
faculty. The data show that while female
hires have increased, they are not commen-
surate with the number of doctorates granted
to female students nationwide. Since 1980,

the fraction of female assistant professors
has languished at about one-third, and,
"among staff ranks, females generally clus-
ter in lower pay grades than men."
To be honest, reading this article on its
own didn't get me too worked up; I'm sure
that it did, however, rile many of women on
this campus. I tend to think of these things as
processes that inherently prohibit instant
results, and try to see the University as a col-
laboration of individuals who are all doing
the best they can against difficult circum-
stances. But another interesting article ran in
the Daily last Friday, an article which I
believe is revelatory of some of the obstacles
that women are up against here.
Wasted again? 'U' students find alcohol
ads offensive (10/03/03) reported on the
placard-advertisements that have lately
been gracing the residence-hall dining
tables. One of these ads reads, "Wasted
again? It doesn't take a lot of brains or
therapy to figure out why your love life
sucks." Above is a picture of a woman
from below the waist; she is wearing a very
short dark skirt and high heels. In large let-
ters across the top, the woman asks, "Why
can't I have a meaningful relationship?"
Another ad shows a woman in heels and a
short glittery dress throwing up violently
into a toilet. "Guilty of dumping toxic
waste?" asks the placard.
These ads stereotype those female stu-
dents on this campus who enjoy going out
on the weekends as out-of-control, pathetic
relationship dependents. I found the "Why
can't I have a meaningful relationship"
tagline particularly outrageous - is that
the objective of being at the University?
The proverbial "M.R.S." degree? If we
female students don't have a meaningful
relationship, are we failing - is there

something wrong with us? There are no
"male" analogues to these "public-service"
advertisements. The Alcohol and Other
Drugs Prevention Program explained that
there is a male-oriented line to be released
next year, but that the program lacked the
funds this year to launch both simultane-
ously. Apparently we girls are the bigger
problem.
The University, as an institution,
employs so many people and ideas that it
must be difficult to show a consistent face
to the students and faculty. However, with-
out blaming any one person, it seems clear
that there is a disparity in how the Universi-
ty talks about hiring female faculty mem-
bers and how it actually views its female
students - many of whom could represent
future faculty hires. If the University is
institutionally perpetuating exactly the same
stereotypes - of women not being serious
intellectually or being too focused on their
lovelives - that it claims to be trying to
fight by increasing the percentage of female
members of the faculty, it's shooting itself
in the foot without even knowing.
Female students and female faculty mem-
bers are not different species. One becomes
and one once was the other. Is it a stretch to
venture that someone who sees this kind of
ad at lunch will be less likely to take a female
professor less seriously at his (or her!) 1:00
class? The University needs to seriously
examine this most obvious of competing sig-
nals, and seek out places in which there
might be others. Before we worry so much
about changing the numbers on the books,
we need to think about changing the attitudes
in our heads.
Hanink can be reached
atjhanink@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR,

4

LSA Honors Program
attempting to rectify shortages
of enrolled minorities
TO THE DAILY:
I appreciated the Daily's article on
underrepresented minorities and the LSA
Honors Program (Honors Program criticized
for shortage of diversity, 10/03/03). I write to
emphasize two points, which may have
been lost on readers who did not read all
the way to the end. The first is that this
year we are changing our process of invit-
ing students to Honors to take advantage of
the new University application materials
(with increased applicant writing and
teacher evaluations).
These will enable us to go beyond quan-
titative measures and better gauge appli-
cants' aptitude and desire for academic
challenge and intellectual exchange. The
second is that we are especially interested
in attracting talented students of color, and
we are hopeful that this process will help
us to identify and recruit them more effec-
tively. Finally, I would like to counter the
impression that the University is unable to
compete with selective private institutions
in the area of financial aid. It is true that
this is a particular challenge for students
who are not Michigan residents.
For in-state students, however, the Uni-
versity has substantial financial-aid
resources. And even with out-of-state stu-
dents, the University is prepared to do every-
thing it can.
STEPHEN DARWALL
Professor, Department of Philosophy
Director, LSA Honors Program
Despite faults, Mother
Teresa deserving of praise
for humanitarian work
TO THE DAILY:
Sravya Chirumamilla's insulting col-
umn on Mother Teresa (Mother Teresa and
the Devils, 10/03/03), humanitarian nun and
1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner, echoes
journalist Christopher Hitchens' 1997
expose "The Missionary Position," and the
film it insniredI "Hell's Angel " in degor2,1-

ing and unwise, so Chirumamilla should
criticize him too for his mistakes, not just
Mother Teresa.
Finally, in the Catholic Church, saints
may be venerated or prayed to, but they are
not worshiped per se; that honor is reserved
for God alone, I believe. And, despite her
possible errors or excesses, the awards and
veneration she received from the Indian
government, the people themselves, and the
Nobel committee demonstrate that she does
indeed deserve some sort of veneration,
religious or otherwise, despite Hitchens'
and Chirumamilla's attempts at "deviliza-
tion" or "demonization."
DAVID BOYLE
Alum
Chirumamiila demonstrates
'total lack of knowledge'
of Catholicism
TO THE DAILY:
The opinion section is a valuable com-
ponent of the Daily, but a commitment to
good journalism should also include a com-
mitment to well-informed opinion articles.
In "Mother Teresa and the Devils," Sravya
Chirumamilla shows a total lack of knowl-
edge about Catholic beliefs. If she had
looked up the official church doctrine on
the matter, she would have found that
Catholics do not worship human beings, as
she claims.
Church doctrine is clear: God alone is
deserving of worship. People who we
think lead exceptionally holy lives we can-
onize as saints. We look to them as exam-
ples of how to live out the Christian life.
We also believe saints are in heaven with
God. Because they are close to God, we
might ask them to pray for us. It's the same
rationale behind asking a friend of mine
who has a close relationship with Jesus to
pray for me. I am not worshipping my
friend by doing this.
Not only does Chirumamilla fail to rep-
resent our beliefs accurately, she proceeds
to show a total lack of respect for
Catholics. The disparaging tone of the arti-
cle was out of line. According to her, our
religious practices "do not make sense."
They are even "repulsive." These state-
ments show no traice of tihe svmnsthv or

Chirumamilla's column, Mother Teresa and
the Devils (10/03/03). Now the entire read-
ership of the Daily has seen the idiocy that
accompanies the exercise of the last accept-
able form of bigotry, anti-Catholicism.
Thanks for exposing the worship of human
beings by the brainless papists.
Hopefully none of your readers are
thickheaded enough to believe that Mother
Teresa was being deceptive when she cre-
ated homes for orphaned children in Cal-
cutta, or that she was being selfish when
she brought dying people off the streets
and into the comfort of hospice. Spitting
on the grave of an enormously generous
and intellectual woman just because she
was devoted to the Catholic faith says far
more about the writer of the column than
about Mother Teresa.
I have to wonder whether next week's
edition of Chirumamilla's column will fea-
ture similar screeds about peacemakers
whose Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or
atheist beliefs spur them to dedicate half a
century to serving those that Indian society
deemed "untouchable." I guess not, since'
the only religious institution that an unedu-
cated, prejudiced person can attack without
being called out by those who embrace
diversity is the Roman Catholic Church.
ROBERT SHEREDA
Alum
Daily editors need better
understanding of science,
information technology
TO THE DAILY:
While I applaud the Daily for writing
about a change affecting many students liv-
ing on and off campus, the Daily needs to
get its facts straight. In New service to speed
up Comcast Internet (10/03/03), Adam
Rosen states that the previous speed was
1.5 megabytes per second. This is incor-
rect. The speed was previously 1.5Mbps -
1.5 megabits per second, not megabytes per
second. The new speed is 3.0Mbps
(megabits per second). That's about .37
megabytes/second. Likewise, the upload
speed is capped at 256Kbps (kilobits / sec-
ond). This is 32 kilobytes/ second.
As for the download time of a 15-track
CDT - it micght be~ three minuites if vou're

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