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March 25, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-25

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 25, 2004


oinion . michigandaily. com
lowtothedaily@michigandaily .corn

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

I hope that the holy
warriors can retaliate
against this awful
crime by targeting the
most prominent
Zionist leaders ...
including Sharon ."
- Hamas leader Khaled Mashaa,
vowing revenge against Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon for the killing of
Hamas spiritual leader
SheikAhmed Yassin, as reported
yesterday by The Associated Press.





Existentialism surprisingly good for Senioritis

T here are two
kinds of seniori-
tis, but the first
isn't really senioritis at
all. It's what people think
is senioritis, but I've had
it since sophomore year.
And it's not the feeling
that you're winding down
somehow, or reaching the
end, where you tend to relax and let all the
pieces of your life fall wherever they like, and
sometimes things go well, sometimes they
don't - some people think that's senioritis too,
but that's just being lazy.
No, the first kind of senioritis, the kind
that probably hits most people, is where you
think the same thing you thought in high
school, if you can remember back that far. It
went something like, "I'm better than this
place, this institution with all these annoying
people and its rules and requirements that
don't work for me because I'm one of a kind,
and I deserve my own freedom to do as I
please because I know what I want." You
don't think this for the first year or two of
college, because everyone you know has told
you that the University is a world-class insti-
tution, and a real experience, and it will
change your life, and you are just so happy to
be here. Also, you are impressed by large
numbers like 40,000 and 111,000, and you
think this means you are a part of something
large and impressive.
But then you find out the streets and hall-
ways are not paved with gold, or yellow, or
whatever. You don't ever find your ideal com-
munity, and you think it is the community's
fault. You think, "I really need a change," and
so you do "'study abroad," and you go see

Stonehenge or the Louvre or a lion roaring at
an elephant at midnight - and you're sure
that when you get back home you won't be
the same person. And maybe you're not, but
you still watch TV and put off your major,
and you impress a few professors along the
way, but really you're just wasting time -
you'll make your impact later, you figure.
And eventually, you stop trying to make
everything just right at this school and decide
you need to move on. This is the point when
most people graduate.
But this isn't senioritis, it's just not trying.
It's better than being lazy, because at least
you have the ambition to want something bet-
ter, but you're not really doing anything..
I think there are very few people who
understand what a university is for. Most
have probably never been to the special col-
lections library or looked up the Grad's newly
received books online just to see what there
is. Most people don't own a reading chair.
They don't attend guest lectures or listen to
professors give poetry readings. They don't
read much outside their major, and for their
major they don't read beyond the syllabus. In
short, they don't seek things out for them-
selves if it's at an academic level. They never
become their own authority.
These people don't deserve senioritis, and
I don't think they ever really get it. They get
the premature whining syndrome, but that's
all. Senioritis is an entirely different thing.
It happens after you've understood that
your studies were the most important part
of your life for the past four years, not just
something you did when it wasn't summer,
and then you make a life-changing commit-
ment because of them - maybe grad
school, maybe something else - and all of

a sudden you get the strangest feeling of
superiority. You'll go to a house party and
look at all the freshmen and sophomores
wearing tight shirts and hovering around
the keg, and you realize how confused they
all still are, how they still have no idea
what they're doing with their lives. You
think how you've already forgotten more
than most of them will ever care to know,
and you feel very old.
There's something that happens after
college too - the rest of your life. But this
isn't such a scary thing to think about if
you get to this level of senioritis. You don't
expect some big change to come over you
all at once anymore: You realize that from
here on out it's just you and your work, and
all that's left is to do it. You can still have
adventures, of course. You can quit grad
school and search India for a maharishi if
you want. But you understand that dreams
like this aren't so good for you anymore.
There's no need to waste all your time and
energy trying to live like Hemingway or
resurrect the Beat generation.
Life is more like the stoic "Old Man and
the Sea," or a good existentialist movie by
Woody Allen. Eventually we find that some
things work for us, and we go with them.
It's like Alvy Singer's joke in Annie Hall:
"This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says,
'Doc, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a
chicken.' And the doctor says, 'Well, why
don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I
would, but I need the eggs.' " It might not
mean much when you're a freshman, but
you'll get it by the time you're out.
Cotner can be reached at


'U' should provide
academic instruction, not
unrelated student services
Last week the Daily ran an article about
"disgruntled students" demanding that the
University Board of Regents not cut money
for groups like Pow Wow, the Greek system,
the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Affairs and the Office of
Multi-Ethinic Student Affairs (Students
protest service cuts at regents meeting,
These groups are wrong. The Universi-
ty's job is to provide students today with
the classes, the professors and the build-
ings to hold classes in and for which stu-
dents pay tuition. The premise that
taxpayers' money should fund higher edu-
cation is based on the fact that an educated
citizenry facilitates the democratic process
and benefits all.
The University, however, is not a nursery
school, a babysitter or a project in social
engineering. The University's job is to pro-
vide academic instruction.
If cut services like Sexual Assault Pre-
vention and Awareness Center or the Trot-
ter House are important enough to various
individuals or groups, then those individu-

als and groups should work to fundraise
and procure private funds for their contin-
LSA junior
Co-chair, Young Americans for Freedom
Davis a good choice over
Ivy-League pompous
East-Coast types
I am writing in response to the letter to the
editor from Adam Patemo, Davis a poor choice
for commencement speaker (03/22/04). No, David
E. Davis is not some hyper-political type as you
always see at an elite Ivy League university, but
with all the noise of this year's presidential cam-
paign and the University administration's politi-
cally disastrous moves in recent years, perhaps
it's finally made the decision to play it smart and
safe and pick someone more local and sanguine
rather than some pompous celebrity from the
East Coast who flies in, ridicules us provincial
Michigan types and smugly runs back to wher-
ever he or she came from. After all, didn't
Granholm splash everyone last year with her
insensitive comments regarding the Michigan
The administration has actually made a

move towards getting back to reality and finding
a speaker with different perspectives than the
usual Ivy League commencement blather, and
hopefully Davis will impress us at graduation.
Surely the University is not choosing to bestow
him with an honorary degree for just any rea-
son, and I am optimistic that this is more than
just another ploy by the administration. As for
Davis's long attachment to the local automotive
industry, again, it's nice to see the University
actually care that it's in Michigan instead of
some ivy-laden East Coast location.
Of course, I don't expect Davis or Auto-
mobile Magazine to hire anyone while they
are on campus for commencement, but if
they do, I can't think of it hurting any gradu-
ates in this year's job market.
LSA senior


SOLE demands wage disclosure and accountability

Sweatshops did not go away. Student
activists at the University and across the
country have fought hard for six years to
make sure University clothing is made in
livable conditions, from Los Angeles to
Indonesia. At the University, students have
pushed for a whole system to address the
reality that our clothes are made in sweat-
shops, and administrators and faculty have
been supportive, but it's time to take the
next step: wage disclosure. Students Orga-
nizing for Labor and Economic Equality
has led the way to a code of conduct in
every licensing contract, the full public dis-
cl nce of Pv~rvnnarn4tnrv wtnt, nra Tpt~rcittr

workers, as well as a factory in Jakarta, Indone-
sia, called PT Dada.
That is a start, but sweatshops did not go
away. Kukdong is still a sweatshop. Accord-
ing to the WRC, the workers at PT Dada are
still unable to meet their basic needs and
those of their children. Wages are at the cen-
ter of this problem, and wage disclosure is at
the center of a solution.
To truly enforce The University's code of
conduct, SOLE demands that:
The University adopt a public and written
wage disclosure requirement for all licensees.
To initiate this process, the advisory commit-
tee to University President Mary Sue Coleman
must make this recommendation following its
meeting on March 26.

produced in sweatshops, but we all know that
it is. Workers say so, students who visit the
factories say so, the WRC says so. When
companies disclose wages, this same public
scrutiny will apply to the information, and
the information will help the University
enforce its code of conduct and allow work-
ers to better their own working conditions,
without risk of misinterpretation.
When asked about wages and the idea
of making them public, a worker at a facto-
ry called Kolon Langgeng in Indonesia
said, "I think it would be good for every-
one to see information about how little we
make for how hard we work ... we work
until we are tired to the bone, but it's not
enough to cover even our basic needs. Per-
han i f rth nrc knewthe reality o mi


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