Wednesday, March 8, 2006
ICERS NEED TO FOLLOW LEAD OF SENIORS ... SPORTS, PAGE 9
Donn M. Fresard on
Muhammad and the
culture of offense
One-hundred fecn years ofed0malfreedom
Arts 8 Old formulas
- -------- - -- - -- NMI
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Vol. CXV, No. 86
@2006 The Michigan Daily
Whiny and annoying'
messages prove to be nuisance
for professors, easy way for
students to avoid office hours
By Leah Graboski
For the Daily
Students may not be aware of the way they portray
themselves when they hurriedly send e-mails to their
professors. This has prompted some professors to warn
students against sending "lazy e-mails" that are disre-
spectful and can adversely affect a student's image in
the eyes of their teacher.
"Lazy e-mails" may include e-mails sent without a
greeting, e-mails asking for lecture notes after missing
class or e-mails using excessive abbreviations, among
"The casualness isn't itself bad. But students will
say things they wouldn't dream of saying in person,"
Anthropology Prof. John O'Shea said.
O'Shea said the worst e-mails he gets are whiny and
annoying, asking for information that is already avail-
able on CTools. The e-mails are not offensive, but por-
tray the students who send them in a negative light, he
LSA freshman Samantha Grassle prefers to send e-
mails instead of going to office hours. Still, she said, she
wouldn't say anything in an e-mail that she wouldn't
say to a professor in person, because "you still have to
see them in class.'
In general, O'Shea does not think using e-mail to
contact a professor is abused, but that students do some-
times come across as lazy. Other professors are more
concerned about inappropriate e-mails from students.
Catherine Squires, an assistant professor of Commu-
nications and Afroamerican and African Studies, said
e-mail etiquette-is-"certainly a problem." When students
send their first e-mail to a professor, she advises them to
act like they are writing a formal letter.
"You should be as polite as possible," she said. "This
is a person who controls your grade and doesn't know
you.... You have to start off on the right foot"
The problem with e-mail correspondence, Squires
said, is "students haven't been told how to interact with
professors. At the high school level, you're usually not
sending e-mails to teachers."
She said students do not always distinguish between
e-mails sent to friends and e-mails sent to professors.,
She warns students to avoid using abbreviations and
"emoticons," like the smiley face.
An example of an inappropriate e-mail Squires
received was typed entirely lower-case, without a greet-
ing. It read: "what are we supposed to do for the next
When she receives an e-mail like this, she answers in
a formal tone and adds a post-script to serve as a warn-
ing, explaining that if she were more of a stickler she
probably would have a bad impression of the student.
"It's like they are yelling at me across the hall," she
said. "As much as we would all like to be equals, there
is a hierarchy.'
A recent study of rhythms in e-mail usage conducted
by Hewlett Packard Labs found that there is often a
notion of reciprocity in e-mail conversation. Interviews
showed people respond to e-mails in different ways to
make themselves more or less approachable.
Gender may also play a role in approachability
"Students are more likely to see female professors as
a 'mommy' or friend figure. Students are more likely to
get upset when women do not reply," she said.
Squires tells her students they shouldn't expect
See PROF E-MAILS, page 7
Pop culture references
Coleman used in yester-
American Idol: Coleman
said Americans do not have
shared priorities, saying the
country doesn't get behind
anything "except perhaps
who be the next 'American
Beyonce Knowles: Coleman
urged Americans to respect
the importance of intelli-
gence more than they revere
"Bruce and Beyonce."
Grammy awards: Coleman
criticized the media's placing
more attention on the Gram-
mys than on the country's
struggle to remain a leader
in science and technology.
Coleman: U.S. needs
to reorder priorities
renew focus on
By Gabe Nelson '
Daily Staff Reporter
Americans care more about American Idol
than science, University President Mary Sue
Coleman said during a speech at the National
Press Club yesterday. For the United States to
prosper, its priorities must change, she said.
The National Press Club, located in Washing-
ton, is composed of journalists from across the
country and invites experts about 70 times a year
to speak on important contemporary issues.
In her speech, titled "Not Your Father's Space
Race," Coleman said the future of the United
States depends on innovation, science education
and research by American universities. Her con-
cerns stem from her role as a scientist, univer-
sity president and resident of a state struggling
through an economic crisis, she said.
Coleman said she wants the country to priori-
tize science as it did during the space race of the
1950s and 1960s.
"There was the sci-
ence, of course, but
more importantly there
was the Soviet Union,"
Coleman said. "JFK
was going to beat them
and so was every aspir-
ing scientist in Amer-
ica - young people
like me who became
enthralled with the
power and promise of Coleman
But Coleman said she worries about whether
Americans will focus on innovation without the
common goal America had forty years ago.
"Our national priorities are not necessarily
shared priorities;' Coleman said. "There's not
a whole lot that we rally behind together as a
society, except perhaps who should be the next
'American Idol.' "
Division in today's American society contrasts
with the sense of unity felt during the space race,
hindering American ingenuity, Coleman said.
She referred to the state of Michigan's restric-
tions on stem cell research, which she said could
drive talented scientists to other states and hurt
"Our investments are at risk if scientists in our
state cannot pursue the most promising avenues
of research," Coleman said.
Coleman praised the University's involvement
in the Google Book Project, saying it encourages
innovative research and education. Google plans
to scan all 7 million volumes in the University's
libraries. Coleman said the publishing compa-
nies suing Google over the legality of the project
are too intimidated by change to consider poten-
See COLEMAN, page 7
Award mixes poetry, engineering
Engineering senior Kyle
Allison received the Roger
M. Jones Fellowship Abroad
to study English in Europe
Daily Staff Reporter
You wouldn't think a chemical engi-
neering major would spend his first year
out of college immersed in literature,
but that's exactly what graduating senior
Kyle Allison is planning to do this fall.
Allison is this year's recipient of the
Roger M. Jones Fellowship Abroad.
The fellowship is awarded annually to
an outstanding graduating engineering
senior to study English and the humani-
ties at a European university for a year,
all expenses paid.
Its namesake, Engineering Prof. Roger
Jones, encouraged all of his students to
respect language and the written word.
After his death in 1977, the fellowship
was established to honor engineering
students who wrote poetry. When his
widow, Pauline, died, she left her entire
estate to the fund. As donations to the
scholarship continued to grow, the fel-
lowship became a study-abroad pro-
Allison will board a plane to Europe
in September bound either for a school
in London or the University of St.
Andrews in Scotland.
Allison is also eager to experience
European college life, which generally
allows students more freedom than their
He will only be spending about two
days in class for about an hour each day,.
The rest of his time will be spent read-
ing and doing research on his own.
"Even though I attended the College
of Engineering, I'm very interested in
literature, and there is a great deal to be
learned," he said.
The 2005 recipient of the scholar-
ship, Thom Rainwater is studying mod-
ern poetry and Scottish verse at St.
As an electrical engineering major,
Rainwater said he was the "math and
AARON SWICK/ Daily
Engineering senior Kyle Allison will be studying literature in Europe for a fellowship next year. He is traveling on funds from the Roger M. Jones
Fellowship Award, which Is given annually to an outstanding graduating engineering senior with an interest in language arts.
science kid" in high school, but has
always had a passion for creative arts.
He never saw the humanities as a like-
ly career, but after writing about Shake-
speare and Scottish culture, Rainwater
said he has learned how to research,
argue a point and back it up - three
things not all that different from what
he does in engineering.
"I hope that this will help me commu-.
nicate my ideas better to a wider audi-
ence," he said.
Jeanne Murabito, the managing direc-
tor of engineering undergraduate educa-
tion at the College of Engineering, said
the program is valuable for engineers
because writing is important in the
"This provides a good balance for
students pursuing engineering who also
While the fellowship can be a much-
needed vacation from the gritty work of
engineering, the winners don't rest on
their laurels after the program is com-
Past fellowship winner Paul Albertus,
who attended the University of York in
England, is currently working on his
doctorate at Stanford University.
Rainwater will pursue a career as an
acoustician, an acoustic engineer, once
his year in Scotland is complete. Allison
is planning to enter a doctoral program
in biomedical engineering after the con-
clusion of his fellowship.
MSA rep resigns
Facing pressure and scorn from
the assembly, Ari Liner steps down
By Dave Mekelburg
Daily Staff Reporter
Kinesiology Rep. Ari Liner resigned his position at the
Michigan Student Assembly last night, taking responsibil-
itv for an inannronriate e-mail to the narent of a fresh-
Survey links drugs to
According to 'U'
study, about 25 percent
of people have used sex
toys in last four weeks
By Carissa Miller
Daily Staff Reporter
If you think sex toys are only for the
adventurous, think again. Their use is
more common than most people realize.
According to a new study by the Uni-
versity's School of Public Health, one in
four people report using a sex toy in the
last four weeks and more than one in ten