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September 30, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-30

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 30, 2005


abe liitan &ilg

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


Once it jumps
the 101 it doesn't
stop until it gets to
the Pacific Ocean."
- Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaro-
slavsky, discussing the risk of brush fires in
Southern California crossing the Ventura (101)
Freeway, as reported yesterday by NBC News.

MICHELLE BIEN Ti ir BiN xAra mv rs

Underappreciated arts

he University's
School of Music
is one of the most
prestigious places in the
country to study fine arts.
&'- With 15 different depart-
ments ranging from con-
ducting and musicology to
drama and jazz improvisa-
S'tion, the school is a gem
for students looking for
a highly competitive academic environment and
first-class artistic training. Each year thousands of
students audition for acceptance, and a select few
ate permitted to attend - making the concentra-
tion of talent truly staggering.
Just scroll through the alumni list - in addition
to big names like James Earl Jones and Gilda Rad-
ner, the school has churned out a host of Broadway
stars, acclaimed company dancers and profes-
sional orchestral musicians. If you were fortunate
enough to see the Joffrey Ballet this summer, or
the National Tour of "Les Misdrables" or hear the
music to the Broadway show "Avenue Q" - you
would have witnessed the talents of University
School of Music grads.
But unfortunately, the school and its talent go
virtually unnoticed by the vast majority of the
University population.
Most students are not even aware when a per-
formance is going on, unless they themselves are
a part of the School of Music. Performances gen-
erally come and go, generating little buzz around
campus - often-times playing to empty seats
due to low ticket sales. In a campus of more than
37,000 students, one would think selling out the
650-seat Mendelssohn Theatre or even the 1,300-
seat Power Center would be a relatively easy task.

But unfortunately, only 26 of the 59 School of
Music productions sold out last season.
What is ironic is that we all go to such lengths
to get to the right party or the right bar - we
spend money on cabs, on cover, on drinks, walk
literally miles in the snow during the ruthless
Michigan winters - but free, student-produced
performances at the Frieze Building often can't
muster a crowd of 50 people. -
However, only some responsibly falls on the
apathetic shoulders of University students. The
rest must go to the University and School of Music
administration - who have been rather lax on
getting the word out about fine arts on campus.
So without further adieu, here are my personal
suggestions for getting the School of Music back
on the map and filling those concert halls and the-
atres this upcoming academic year:
1) There needs to be strong communication
between the College of Literature, Science, and the
Arts and the School of Music. Whenever there is a
performance that relates to an LSA class, students
should be encouraged, if not required, to attend. For
example, all students in Ralph Williams's Shake-
speare lecture last year should have been required
to attend the School of Theatre and Drama's pro-
duction of "Romeo and Juliet" - that class alone
could fill more than half of the Mendelssohn The-
atre. Not to mention that Shakespeare's plays are
best seen, and not read, anyhow.
2) The University should invest in what many
schools refer to as Arts Dollars - student vouch-
ers intended for arts-related events. Considering
students are usually short on cash, these vouch-
ers could be an incentive to do something free
and different on a Thursday night. Arts Dollars
could treat students to two, maybe three School of
Music performances per academic year and come

together with a schedule of events highlighting
performance locations, dates and times.
3) The School of Music needs to do a better
job promoting its own productions. A single sign
hanging over the Diag and a short review on the
back page of the Daily is just not going to cut it.
If desperate students can poster the entire campus
with sublet signs, the School of Music can do the
same. The best advertising I've seen is usually
done in the Frieze Building itself, which doesn't
do much for the rest of campus.
4) If the School of Music has a hard time fill-
ing seats now, just wait until people need to trek
up to North Campus to see a performance. With
the coming of the much-anticipated Walgreen
Performing Arts Center, theatre students will find
themselves relocated to North Campus as soon
as the fall 2006 term. With the Frieze Building
gone, it is imperative that the performance venues
remain on Central Campus - particularly for stu-
dent-run productions like Basement Arts.
But at the end of the day, the success of these
suggestions depends on our own motivation.
According the School of Music website, there
are more than 200 events and performances
happening in the next 365 days, and that doesn't
include the free student-produced shows that take
place all over campus each weekend. It's not
as easy as lying around watching TV, but the
extra effort pays off. So the next time you hap-
pen upon a poster for an orchestra concert or a
musical, don't just keep walking. Write down
the dates, buy tickets and go - if nothing else,
it's a nice change from the bar scene. And most
likely you will not be disappointed.
Dibo can be reached at


C'esth on

Change would make language requirement fairer

The Daily erroneously advised the
College of Literature, Science,
and the Arts faculty on Tuesday
(Mala Idea, 09/27/2005) to reject a pro-
posed change to the language require-
ment. The change would let students
meet the language requirement with two
semesters each of two different languag-
es rather than requiring fourth-semester
proficiency in one language. This shift
to a two-plus-two system is in students'
best interest and should be adopted.
It is difficult for the Daily to take a
consistent editorial position on the lan-
guage requirement because doing so
forces the paper to choose between two
beliefs it strongly advocates. On the one
hand, the Daily generally supports plans
that give students more freedom. Indeed,
this page has previously argued for the
abolishment of the language requirement
(Reconsider requirements, 01/15 /1987).
However, the Daily also believes that
LSA students should receive a liberal arts
education. The supposed importance of
the four-semester language requirement
to a liberal arts education has swayed
the editorial board to support the con-
tinuation of a four-semester proficiency
requirement in recent years.
A modern liberal arts education, how-
ever, does not force all students to master
a defined body of canonical works. Rec-
ognizing that learning Greek and Latin
and reading the work of dead male Brit-
ish authors isn't interesting or relevant to
many students, the University has instead
taken a buffet-style approach to liberal
arts. Currently, LSA requires students,
through distribution and vague content
requirements, to gain exposure to a broad
variety of subjects to graduate.
This approach to a liberal arts educa-
tion better allows students to pursue their
specific interests while still requiring stu-
dents to study a broad range of subjects
to graduate. Furthermore, it is a fairer
and less Eurocentric way to approach
liberal arts in a multicultural world.

A four-semester language requirement,
however, barely fits into this scheme.
Those whose idea of a liberal arts educa-
tion includes reading novels in the origi-
nal language or living abroad will not be
fluent after four semesters and will elect
more courses. Other students do not
wish to take any languages and struggle
through four semesters - or just pass
out on the language placement exam and
never take a college language class.
It would be more consistent with LSA's
modern liberal arts education to require
two semester of college language instruc-
tion, regardless of placement exam scores.
This strategy would expose students to
college language courses - which are
far more intensive than their high school
counterparts - while not wasting the
time and money of students who do not
wish to become proficient in a language.
Though the proposed change does not
go this far, it would allow students to try
two semesters of a less commonly taught
language they find interesting instead of
continuing with French or Spanish just
to finish the requirement. And it would
be fairer to students who had little desire
to study any language.
Certainly, knowledge of foreign lan-
guages is vital in today's interconnected
world, and students would benefit in the
job market - as the Daily pointed out
- by becoming fluent in another lan-
guage. But the failure of the American
education system to provide adequate
foreign language instruction begins in
our elementary and middle schools, and
it needs to be addressed there. It is not
something that LSA can or should expect
to fix by requiring language proficiency.
The proposal before LSA recognizes
that fact while giving students more con-
trol over their education. It is not a mala
idea, and it should be adopted.
Christopher Zbrozek is an LSA senior
and an associate editorial page editor.
He can be reached at zbro@um ich.edu.

Flying toward pandemic
A s winter - and impending pandemic will be handled in an entirely was awarded a $100 million contract to produce an
flu season - different way from its predecessors. Past pandem- undetermined number of vaccines. Broader inter-
approaches, a ics have always come as surprises. In this case, national cooperation will be crucial. In a White
deadly new strain of influ- the strain and geographic location of the virus are House meeting with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin
enza is evolving in South- known. While global integration has made trans- Shinawatra last week, President Bush expressed
east Asia. Known as Avian mission of human diseases much more danger- his concern about Avian Flu and said "All of us
Bird Flu, this new virus ous and rapid, the upside is that government and need to be mindful of this potentially devastating
has health experts world- health organizations are better able to coordinate disease." But being mindful just won't cut it.
wide fearing a repeat of the worldwide resources to contain pandemics. The For the first time in history, we have the infra-
Spanish Flu pandemic of WHO has been the most prominent organization structure and advanced warning to effectively
1918, which killed 25 mil- collaborating these efforts and, at the beginning fight a global pandemic. During the next few
lion worldwide. The Department of Health and of September, sent a strategic preparedness plan months, we will see how governments around the
Human Services believes that this new flu strain to all member nations. The document observes world respond to this dire threat. Large amounts
"has a greater potential to cause rapid increases in that "During 2005, ominous changes have been of money and supplies will need to be transferred
death and illness than virtually any other natural observed in the epidemiology of the disease in from the developed nations to poorer countries
health threat." For many experts, the occurrence animals" and that not only are "human cases con- in Southeast Asia for effective containment.
of a pandemic is already a foregone conclusion. tinuing to occur" but "the virus has expanded its The greatest risk is that advanced countries try
Robert Webster, a world-class influenza research- geographical range." Russia reported days later to hedge their bets by spending money solely on
er, warns that an Avian Flu pandemic "is just inev- that it had lost more than 100,000 birds to Avian drugs for domestic populations. The potential
itable. One of these is just going to blow." It's not a Flu, showing that another dangerous facet of the speed at which a pandemic could spread with
question of if, but a question of when. virus is cross-continental bird migration. modern high-speed travel makes this strategy
The Avian Influenza has historically been a In the report, the WHO found that weak early dangerous. Finally, this strategy hinges on the
virus that originates in birds. When a strain can detection systems, the unpredictability of the virus ability of the U.S. government to spare millions
jump from birds to humans, and from human to and an insufficient number of vaccines and antivi- of dollars for such an effort while simultaneously
human easily, the necessary conditions for a pan- ral drugs are the major weaknesses facing its abil- rebuilding New Orleans and funding a war. The
demic are fulfilled. The virus in question, classi- ity to fight an outbreak. The WHO recommends world often looks to the United States to set an
fied H5N1, was first diagnosed in 18 humans in containment and stockpiling retroviral drugs as example, and we can't afford to fail in this capac-
1997 in Hong Kong. Figures released last week by the best approach to stop a global pandemic ity during what may be the greatest threat to
the World Health Organization put the tally at 115 In terms of vaccinations, the American phar- humans in almost a century.
total cases in Southeast Asia resulting in 59 fatali- maceutical company MedImmune Inc. has joined
ties - an astonishingly high mortality rate. with the National Institute of Health in the develop- Slade can be reached at
Health organizations have indicated that this ment of a vaccine for H5N1, while Sanofi-Aventis bslade@umich.edu.



Bookstore spirit display
insensitive to racial past
This morning, as I walked down South Uni-
versity Avenue, I was appalled and disgusted by
the display in the window of Ulrich's Bookstore.
The display featured a life-size skeleton, clad in a
ripped and burned Michigan State T-shirt, hanging
from a lynching rope, its neck limp and twisted.
During my years as an undergrad at the Uni-
versity, I often felt slightly unnerved by the bla-
tant displays of violence stimulated by Michigan
football rivalries with other schools, such as the
practice of beating and trashing junk cars with
"MSU" spray-painted on the side. However, these

imagery demonstrates an ignorant disregard for
the gravity of these issues and a gross insensitivity
to the personal histories of countless individuals
on this campus and in our society.
I call upon Ulrich's to remove this window
display at once and to publicly apologize for the
sickening display.
Hana Zwiebel
Crime bulletin's vague
description harmful
David Betts's column I'm Tired of Being a Suspect
(09/28/2005) referred to a recent DPS Crime Alert

of this newspaper and beyond.
Like Betts, I was puzzled and concerned by the
imprecise and deeply problematic description of
the suspects' clothing, complexion and accesso-
ries. Riana Anderson's letter to the editor, Frater-
nity shooting coverage propagates stereotypes of Black
community, (09/28/2005) raised this point as well.
On other campuses, including my former univer-
sity, authors of these bulletins include pertinent
details to help readers identify potentially danger-
ous circumstances should they find themselves in
similar situations. Perhaps the officers transcribed
the comments verbatim from the man who was
victimized? Might the officers not have pressed
for more information about the materials or style
of the "do-rag" or for more details about "baggy,
hip-hop clothes?"

"In Dissent" opinions do not reflect the views of the Daily's editorial board. They
are solely the views of the author.
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Amanda Burns, John
Davis, Whitney Dibo, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, JaredrGoldberg, Eric Jackson, Theresa
Kennellv .Raiiv Prahhakar. Marr Rose David Russell Dan Skowronski. Brian Slade.

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