4A - Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Nl Id iigan 4aily
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FROM THE DAILY
Not getting the message
Signing up for alert system is easy and important
f a major chemical spill occurred on Central Campus, you'd
think most people would want to know about it. And yet,
according to the Department of Public Safety, only 17,000 peo-
ple have signed up for the emergency text message alert system - a
mere half of them students. While some of the apprehensiveness is
understandable because the-University made initial blunders in its
implementation, nonetheless, this is an important effort that calls
for far greater student participation. With the University working
hard to address the lingering concerns on its end, it's now up to stu-
dents to embrace the program and allow it to take flight.
It is time to take the training wheels
off, and time to take our hands off the
Iraqis' bicycle seat.'
- Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), at yesterday's Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, quoting a senior
U.S. military official he met while touring Iraq, as reported yesterday by the Washingon Post.
ROSE JAFFE E-MAIL JAFFE AT ROSEJAFF@UMICH.EDU
Findrt you0100 gr r wn r
Nationally, text message alert systems
began receiving serious attention following
last year's shooting at virginia Tech. The
tragedy, in which 32 people were killed,
exposed serious concerns about students
and faculty being unaware of dangerous
situations on campus: Gunman Seung-Hui
Cho took two hours between his rampag-
es. During that time, many students knew
nothing about the situation. Here at Michi-
gan, similar flaws were exposed following
the fatal shooting near North Campus at
the beginning of winter semester. Although
administrators sent out e-mails warning
students of the crime, some of them took up
to 10 hours to circulate.
In response to these concerns, the Uni-
versity launched a text message alert sys-
tem about one month ago to ensure that
students find out about emergency situ-
ations in a timely and efficient manner.
Unfortunately, the program hascad prob-
lems so far getting off the ground. Accord-
ing to a recent statement by DPS, only about
2Q percent of students had sigW up,com-
pared to averages of 28 percent and 39 per-
cent found by two different companies that
provide the service to 800 campuses across
Part of the blame falls on the University
for mistakes made in setting up the pro-
gram. The initial e-mail sent out by admin-
istrators, for example, led to an electronic
labyrinth on Wolverine Access that made
matters far more complicated than they
should have been. Similarly, greater efforts
could have been taken to spread the word
about the new program on campus since
many students simply didn't understand
what they were signing up for, and some
hadn't heard of the program at all. To its
credit, the University has tried to resolve
these issues, streamlining the sign-up pro-
cess and sending another e-mail to students
following these changes. More work may be
needed, but you can't blame the University
for lack of effort.
A more pressing problem, however,
seems to be student apathy. Whether the
University has made things easy or not, 20
percent is an embarrassingly low figure for
such an important program. While it's easy
to assume that it's unnecessary, events in
the last few years have proved otherwise.
In case a mass shooting does occur at our
university, no one will want to risk waiting
10 hours for a University e-mail to arrive.
With roughly 90 percent of college stu-
dents carrying cell phones, text messag-
ing is an effective method for preventing
Some effort is still needed for this pro-
gram to reach more of the student body.
Without going to unnecessary lengths -
like mandating enrollment-the recentpro-
posal to introduce the system at freshman
orientation is a good idea. In the meantime,
responsibility falls on the current student
body'as well. The University is offering a
program that could prevent a major tragedy
without much effort from students. Typing
your phone number into Wolverine Access
isn't difficult, and students must take the
initiative before they regret it.
To most kids, being left in a
department store by Mom is
either a sign of extreme dis-
obedience or paren-
tal negligence. But
to Izzy, it was a sign
nagged by her
Izzy to let him
take the subway
home alone, New E
York Sun columnist EMMARIE
Lenore Skenazy HUETTEMAN
decided to conduct
She gave Izzy a subway ticket, some
money and a map and left him at the
Bloomingdale's in Manhattan, telling,
him that she would see him at home.
He survived the New York City sub-
way system, and she wrote about it.
Despite focusing her column on
the reason she decided to encour-
age her son's independence - recent
statistics show that New York City
is among the safest in the country
- Skenazy received a lot of criticism
for the decision itself.
"Half the people I've told this epi-
sode to now want to turn me in for
child abuse," she wrote. "As if keep-
ing kids under lock and key and hel-
met and cell phone and nanny and
surveillance is the right way to rear
According to 52 percent of the
respondents to aninformalpoll posed
by MSNBC.com, though, that is the
right way to rear kids - at least under
the guise of "Even if I trust my child,
who knows how many crazies there
are out there?"
But when should parents put aside
their sensationalist fears about cra-
zies in favor ofmore rationalconcerns,
like whether they're raising indepen-
dent, self-sufficient individuals?
With commencement fast
approaching, these qualities seem to
be hanging like an albatross around
the necks of my graduating friends.
We couldn't get out of high school
into the "real world" of college fast
enough, but now some of my peers
just want to hold off for another year
on entering the real "real world."
From my observations, it's actually
a fairly common sentiment. The fact
that so many college students don't
feel ready makes me wonder if gener-
ational parenting choices should take
some of the blame.
If unsupervised subway travel is a
good gauge, then I didn't reach inde-
pendence until age 16. My friend and
I had decided to audition for a profes-
sional theatre company in downtown
Atlanta, and my parents had run out
of excuses to keep me off the subway:
It was daylight, Ihad a buddy and the
evening news hadbeen relatively vio-
lence-free recently. With cautions of
"be yourself" and "make good choic-
es," they let me go. I felt the same way
Izzy said he did when asked about his
adventure on the "Today" show last
week: "I was like, 'FINALLY!"'
my parents had only the best inten-
tions and encouraged my indepen-
dence in other ways, I always wished
they would give me the freedom to
learn a few more things firsthand
- within reason, the opportunity
to make more mistakes and put the
values I had learned to better use. I
didn't really get the chance to miss
my stop on the subway and find my
way home until I was old enough to
drive home anyway. Five years later,
my mom still worries when I walk
home alone, and I'm already worried
about what will happen when I grad-
uate next year.
In many respects, this seems to
be the root of the problem for many
of us: Our parents didn't let us fail.
We're the generation who reveled
in certificates of participation. We
got trophies even if we lost the soc-
cer game. And now the thought of
not finding a job that pays six figures
immediately after graduation scares
many of us.
When these fears came rushing
out to my parents recently, I remem-
bered that my parents were once ner-
vous graduates, too. My mom pointed
out that she hasn't worked in her field
for years. Aside from my dad's only
to be said for being
a lone rider
half-joking, experienced advice that
graduate school is the best place for
new graduates in a struggling econ-
omy, he reminded me that his field
didn't even exist when he graduated.
I encountered one of the great virtues
of this generation of protective par-
There's a fine line between protect-
ing and coddling. After all, while Ske-
nazy's experiment in baptism by fire
and public transportation is hardly
exemplary parenting in practice, it
makes a decent metaphor. When it's
time to find my way after graduation,
I'll be glad my parents left me with a
Emmarie Huetteman is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan,
Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Imran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
TOR SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
The important role of the
fair-weatheredfan in sports
TO THE DAILY:
How come when I came across Scott Bell's
column Monday (Relax, the Tigers will be
fine, 04/07/2008), it was predictable that
"fair-weathered fans" would be mentioned
in the opening paragraph and Bell would
once again portray himself as the antithesis
of this fan?
This isn't the first time the hometown
slappies at the Daily have cowardly avoid-
ed criticism while attacking other fans.
This past fall, I grew tired of every column
defending Lloyd Carr and proclaiming that
anybody who called for his head was a "fair-
weathered fan." We live in a what-have-you-
done-for-me-lately world, yet nobody at the
Daily dared talk about the four-loss seasons
that led some to say that the "M" in Michi-
gan stood for mediocrity.
Now back to this recent column. Why is
there no reason to be concerned about the
Detroit Tigers, who have the second-highest
payroll in baseball and have lost consecu-
tive home series against division rivals? Bell
isn't a little bit worried when a baseball team
hasn't won a game in a week? He pointed
out that last year's World Series teams lost
a lot of games too, but the champion Red Sox
never lost more than four games in a row.
Being from Ann Arbor, I can comfortably
say that I am one of the biggest Michigan/
Detroit sports fans out there. I won't deny
that there are fair-weathered fans and agree
that we should not panic about the Tigers.
But criticism is OK, and it doesn't just come
from "so-called die-hard fans." Without
criticism, we settle for mediocrity, whereas
real fans expect championships.
Like many, Bell must have been rejoicing
after our football team won the Capital One
Bowl against Florida. On second thought, he
may have been the only one, since apparently
he was the only passenger on the bandwagon
after two season-opening losses and another
loss to Ohio State.
Bell may calleveryone else a "fair-weath-
ered fans," but we can only be envious of his
world where the sun always shines.
Looking beyond stereotypes
when covering the Greeks
TO THE DAILY:
For three years now I have been holding
out hope that eventually the Daily would
attempt to coverthe Greek community asjust
that - a community composed of smaller,
close-knit organizations sharing much of the
same goals and passions in life. But Monday
I was let down yet again by an article about
the Interfraternity Council's proposed alco-
hol policy (Alcohol policy gets mixed reviews
at frats, 04/07/2008). Instead of shedding
light on how the Greek community is trying
to improve its image and increase safety, the
Daily once again painted Greeks as drunks
who only have one thought: "Me want beer."
This news story came on the heels of yet
another opinion column blaming the IFC
for bad media relations (Giving Greeks press,
04/03/2008). Coupled with the articles pre-
dictably run in the Daily each fall criticizing
Greeks, these articles just add to the divide
between those who choose to go Greek and
those who don't.
I will continue to hope that one day the
Daily will cover the Greek community's
other efforts in support of various charities,
instead of drinking, hazing or medi.a rela-
tions. I challenge the Daily to move beyond
the stereotypes, and I promise that if it does
it will find engaging and intelligent individu-
als seeking to become what every other stu-
dent here strives to be: "The leaders and the
The letter writer is a member of Phi Gamma Delta
WANT TO BE AN OPINION COLUMNIST DURING THE SUMMER OR FALL?
E-MAIL GARY GRACA AT GMGRACA@UMICH.EDU
YOUNG AMERICANS FOR FREEDOM
The war at home
Let's face it: War is never want-
ed, desired or even deserved by any
country. However, war is an unpop-
ular reality that America, Israel and
the West must face today because
extreme radical groups using the
peaceful religion of Islam as a tool
to wage genocide against "non-
Muslims" have declared war on us,
a Holy War. And like it or not, this is
So why don't all Americans and
their allies at the University sup-
port National Radical Islam Aware-
ness Week? Why isn't this campus
appalled by the jihad - this Holy
War that has been declared against
the West? The anti-war protesters,
the liberal professors, the Demo-
crats - who claim to be anti-fascist,
anti-sexist and progressive - why
are theynot disgusted bythe sancti-
fying ofmurderers as holy"martyrs"
Americans, Christians and Jews?
Why aren't these people outraged
by the genital mutilation of women
in countries like Nigeria, Somalia
and Yemen, or the sanctioning of
wife-beating under Islamic law in
Pakistan and other Islamic states?
Across America, Women's Studies
programs will teach students about
the oppression of women in Peoria
and Ann Arbor, but not in Teherap
or Riyadh. Why not?
The fact is that so many students
are ignorant of these horrific reali-
ties and trained to believe that the
Bush administration is the reason
America is fighting in the Middle
East. Yes, Bush put troops in the
Middle East. And yes, many would
love to be at home with their fami-
lies and wish they did not have to
fight this war. However, I ask you
this: Did the New Yorkers on Sept.
11, 2001 wish for the desecration of
their city? Did the morning com-
muters riding the London subways
on July 7, 2005 desire for their train
to be destroyed? Do Israelis want
to fear leaving their home in terror
that they might not ever come back?
National Islam Awareness Week
is a way to educate students about
the genocidal agendas of the global
jihadists and the fact that these
radical ideas are far more main-
stream in the Muslim world today
than most Americans are willing
to believe. It is also to remind stu-
dents not to forget about Sept. 11,
to remember what our troops are
fighting for: Our freedom, the same
freedom that allows you to learn at
this university without the fear'of
attack because of who you are.
Our group, the Young Ameri-
cans for Freedom, is expecting and
has had protests against our views.
However, we are familiar with the
way the Left wages its political
wars on conservative students. If
someone happens to disagree with
its position on racial issues - if one
believes, for example, that govern-
ment-enforced racial preferences
are misguided or immoral - the
Left will denounce that person as
a "racist." The Left's only logic Is
emotional, and the character of
that emotion is hatred - hatred
for those who want to raise aware-
ness of the threats we face from
radical Islam. This hatred has only
one purpose: to silence those who
oppose the jihad.
We see members of our genera-
tion ready to put their lives on the
line to defend our freedoms. We
know that this war is being waged
at home as well, and we will not let
our brothers and sisters in uniform
shoulder the burden alone.
This viewpoint was written os
behalf of the University's chapter of
the Young Americans for Freedom.