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September 09, 2004 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-09

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5A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 2004

OP-ED

eneration

9/11 ?

Colleges seek repeal of tax credit
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I)emand Caller ID
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Being ousted from Senate Budget cuts firce
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VIEWPOINT
The impact of 9/11
on international education

Sept. 11, 2001
It was student life as
usual until the morn-
ing of Sept. 11. This
edition of the Daily
available on campus
that day was instantly
irrelevant after the
first plane crashed into
the north tower of the
World Trade Center in
New York at 8:46 a.m.

i

VIEWPOINT
A nation coming of age

By SAM BUTLER
It is akin to our parents' experiencing
the JFK assassination; we will forever be
able to pinpoint our exact location when
it happened. I was in an 8:30 a.m. studio
class when someone peeked her head into
the doorway and matter-of-factly said
that a plane had crashed into one of the
World Trade Towers. As class continued,
it seemed so sterile in those few moments,
an otherwise banal accident that only
seemed to affect those personally involved
and to be shuffled away with other count-
less, distant tragedies reported on the
news. But right away the event smacked
of distinctiveness as we soon learned that
classes were canceled for the first time
since a blizzard hit Ann Arbor in 1975.
Another unique feature was that there was
a classmate from Manhattan worrying
about her mother who worked in the area.
I wandered into one of the viewing rooms
set up by the school and was introduced
along with the other curious bystanders to
the full spectrum of the tragedy at hand.
We watched in uniform awe as the sec-
ond plane crashed into the other building
on live television and heard interviews of
people trapped inside the towers before
they were silenced by the eventual col-
lapse. It was then that I also first laid eyes
on someone of whom I had previously
never really heard, Osama bin Laden.
Coming back to the event three years
later, the reflection may seem trite but that
day has affected our lives today in innu-
merable ways, even if they are not all con-
sciously realized. I began this rumination
with a personal experience because this is
a personal topic to each of us. Everyone
can say how it touched his or her life; my
experiences are by no means unique. But
in my mediocrity comes the generalized
story of us all. I felt as though I was per-
sonally attacked and so was the country at
large. Contributing to the chilling close-
ness I felt, a month later Newsweek pub-
lished its cover story dubbing my college
peers "Generation 9/11," with a directed
focus on the University, with three stu-
dents on the cover. One of my good friends
was interviewed and photographed, mak-
ing the proximity of the tragedy all the
more haunting. The article, in its effort
to depict a sample reaction for the rest of
the country, chose to focus on such famil-
iar names to me as Geoffrey Gagnon and
David Enders, further blurring the line

between my life and the popular media.
The comfort of distance had vanished.
Suddenly we were the tragic ones pic-
tured on CNN receiving the gilded sym-
pathies of the world. For the first time, it
was a weeping American mother pictured
amongst the charred rubble. It was a com-
ing of age. On parallel tracks, I, as a col-
lege freshman, left the swaddling blanket
of naivety and so did my country. The veil
of invincibility one feels during youth was
stripped away, and America and Ameri-
cans felt vulnerable - just like everyone
else. Never before did we second-guess
the purchasing of airline tickets or attend-
ing large events. Like a virgin raped, we
entered the world of adulthood not by our
own accord.
The global awakening seemed to ignite
a sense of political awareness among stu-
dents. This was to be our call to action, the
moment we could contest the generational
envy we felt toward our parents and enact
the great social change we all yearned for
and our parents spun yarns about. A Uni-
versity graduate student quoted by News-
week said, "We had no crisis, no Vietnam,
no Martin Luther King, no JFK. We've got
it now ... this is where it changes." We were
once called "Generation 9/11," but how
have we lived up to the label? Although
we were in the national spotlight, we froze
like a deer in headlights, not knowing how
to proceed. The political awareness didn't
really develop into mobilization on any
grand scale. The promise of our student
collectivity never materialized, unified
mass war protests never took place, the
great political change never happened.
Of course reflection on the past is only
useful when applied to the future. The
administration whose existence will for-
ever be intertwined with Sept. 11 is up
for re-election. The issues featured in this
presidential election can be boiled down to
societal backlash felt after the September
three years ago. The patriotic communion
felt across the country was unfortunately
temporary and has dissipated into one of
the most polarized electorates in recent
history. The two Americas mentioned by
both candidates represent two wholly dif-
ferent political ideologies in reaction to
Sept. 11. President Bush overtly made the
tragedy a focus in his convention speech.
His rhetoric speaks to those who see the
events of three years ago as a watershed
and are reacting with a defensive posture.
The frightening pre-emptive precedent

By RODOLFO ALTAMIRANO
The University can boast of its
remarkable international diversi-
ty, with more than 5,000 interna-
tional students and scholars from
129 countries. However, the trag-
edy of Sept. 11 has created tan-
gible and intangible impacts on
international education. While
the number of international stu-
dents enrolled at the University
has remained fairly stable (4,602
for Fall 2002 and 4,584 for Fall
2003), the intangible effects are
worth mentioning.
In response to Sept. 11, the fed-
eral government created the new
SEVIS, Student and Exchange
Visitor Information System data-
base, mandating all universities
and colleges to register their
international students and schol-
ars in this system. This task has
proven to be time-consuming and
complex for all universities. As a
result, the International Center
staff at the University, like staff
elsewhere, have had to exercise
creativity and imagination to
avoid decreasing other services
to students, visiting scholars
and faculty. Although we have
received supplemental funding
during the SEVIS implementa-
tion, the demands of implement-
ing these new regulations have
required a great deal of staff
energy and attention.
Another result of Sept. 11 has
been the additional security at
the borders, which has created
concerns for many international
students. Students arriving from
certain countries, mostly Muslim
countries, must complete special
registration processes. These
processes often require them to
visit U.S. Citizenship and Immi-
gration Services (formerly INS)
offices far from their campuses,
and to fly out of specified air-
ports when leaving the United
States. Students arriving from all
countries have experienced the
new USVISIT system, a security
procedure that requires students
to be fingerprinted and photo-
graphed upon their arrival, since
January 2004. The burdens asso-
ciated with these processes likely
have contributed to the 25 percent
decrease in the number of interna-
tional students choosing to study
in the United States overall. Here
at the University, we have seen a
significant decrease in applica-
tions from international students
for Fall 2004 admission.
It is often difficult for stu-
dents, scholars, researchers and
professors to obtain U.S. visas
in a timely manner. Nearly all
visa applicants must appear for
a personal interview at a U.S.

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consulate or embassy, and even
if an interview can be scheduled
promptly, the applicant may find
him or herself subjected to com-
plex and time-consuming secu-
rity clearances, depending on the
applicant's gender, age, country
of origin and religion; whether or
not he or she has the bad luck of
sharing the same or similar name
with an individual listed as "sus-
pect" in a government database;
and whether or not his or her field
of study/research appears on the
Technology Alert List which
covers a broad range of medical
and scientific areas.
Once here, people frequently
express worries about traveling
outside of and returning to the
United States.
On a more positive note, I
believe that U.S. students have
become more interested in the
politics and cultures of the inter-
national students here on Ameri-
can campuses. The major impact
of Sept. 11 on American stu-
dents was to increase their inter-
est in learning about the rest of
the world through studying and
working abroad. Nationally, the
number of Americans studying
abroad rose 4.4 percent in the
year following Sept. 11, from
154,168 (academic year 2000-
2001) to 160,920 (academic year
2001-2002, the latest available
data). That trend holds true at
the University as well, where 943
and 985 students studied abroad
in those years, respectively. An
additional 400 University stu-
dents worked abroad each year,
with the University's Peace
Corps applications, for example,
increasing by 50 percent in the
year following Sept. II.
A primary goal of interna-
tional education is to broaden
the understanding of and interest
in the world around us. Perhaps
Sept. I1 has opened the eyes of
students inside and outside the
United States, and the experiences
of international students here in
the U.S. will aid in developing a
greater understanding of the world
beyond our borders, and in the
long run, further the promotion
and realization of world peace.
Our community can serve as a
living example of why we should
remain engaged in the global com-
munity and why we should keep
the door open to internationaliza-
tion. We are in a unique position
to play a significant and active
role in making sure that, despite
the world issues, people will see
in us the opportunity behind the
tragedy.
Altamirano is the director of the
University's International Center.

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Inside coverage

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page to~

- ------- - - - --

Sept. 12, 2001

Bush has introduced is almost analogous
to a cornered animal exposing its claws,
driven by the primal impulse to kill or be
killed. However John Kerry's approach is
by no means more cogent. His differenc-
es regarding Iraq are nearly nonexistent,
but his distinction arises from his com-
mitment to enter back into the fold of the
global community. His strategy is one of
protection through the strength of num-
bers, attempting to avoid attack through
a kind of international anonymity. In a
sense, this election presents the choice
between a reactive defense and a proac-
tive attack.
The American public will soon
decide which tactic they agree with
more. And like any pivotal moment in a
young adult's life, the choice will affect
future development. Perhaps the world

is forever changed; the scars from our
trauma will probably be permanent. Or
maybe the United States will return to
its insular nature as it did after the first
World Trade Center attacks. Students
are already showing signs of moving
on and what little political activity is
seen from the student sector may wane
if Bush loses re-election. However, we
can't allow ourselves to be gripped
by apathy. The effects of Sept. 11 will
always be endured, but it is up to "Gen-
eration 9/11" to decide its own fate in
managing those effects. While growing
up, it is not the trauma itself that shapes
a person but how he or she deals with
the aftermath.
Butler is an Art and Design senior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.

University students attend a vigil in the Diag on
Sept. 11, 2001, reflecting on the day.

Reflections on the effects of
The Daily's editorial board considers how the events of Sept. 11

REMEMBERING THE DAY
When I think about Sept. 11, I think about
the worst possible thing that I have ever seen.
I think about all the tears shed. I think about
the assassins. I think about the heroes. I think
about the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters,
boys, girls, aunts, uncles, cousins, husbands and
wives. I think about the millions who watched
on TV. I think about the day my grandchildren
will read about this in their history books. I
think about how my world will never really
will be the same. I sit here and I think.
- Daniel Marchese
-L

directly involve us in the war, it is important
that we acknowledge our generation is paying
the price.
Whether we believe our lives have changed
dramatically or not, Sept. 11 has made it more
essential to be a civically engaged citizen
because our country is at a crossroads with
many tough decisions ahead. This election
year, it is critical to recall how our lives have
changed in the past three years and consider
whether we are satisfied with where we stand.
However you feel, express it with your vote.
- Sara Eber

such policy demanded attention like it has in are
the post Sept. 11 era. than

from

rare
that
days
11 the

In the past three
tion has become ac
all reference to tha
can trigger powerfu
us with emotion. T
airports, a feeling:
the Manhattan skv
associated with a ci
ing to a scared and
Personally, I've1

nor tne government's intense investigations of
the terrorists that were so remarkable to me.
Instead, it was the way human nature seemed
to emerge so naturally hopeful, as if it was all
anyone could think to do. The purity of love
and the innate human goodness replaced the
attacks' proposed outcome of hate, mistrust
and danger with that of compassion, love and

- Katherine Cantor

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