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July 24, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-07-24

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Wednesday, July 24, 1996 - The Michigan Daily - 5

bit of harmless
Olympic nationalism
I used to think I wouldn't like the Olympics. Sure,
I remember Los Angeles in 1984, when the world
was blinded by Mary Lou Retton's white-hot smile.
Visions of the 1980 United States gold medal-win-
ning hockey team also came W} id uIs. .
t miind. But I jut couldn't ~
into the hoopla, the
Atlanta '96 mumbo-jumbo.
I was tired of the pre-
Olympic media blitz byj
February. I was sick of hear-
ing about the Dream Team. I ..
was sick of hearing about
"America's Gold Medal
Hopes."
Olympics, Schmolympics. GREG
Hastily dismissing the PARKER
mpics from my television
nt calendar, I dreaded the days when NBC's talk
shows were to be superseded by Olympic telecast.
Then, a couple of days ago, I flipped past the
Olympic coverage. I've been hooked ever since. I have
fallen on the Olympic bandwagon. In fact, as I write
this column, the TV displays the latest Olympic glory.
When I first stumbled upon the telecast, the swim-
ming preliminaries were underway - for which spe-
cific event, I forget. Nothing else on television, I
began to watch the preliminary. Just then, I found
*reciation for the Olympics just for the simple fact
that I was watching swimming on television - I
think the attention these normally unheralded ath-
letes receive is overdue, and it's good that athletes
other than NHL, NFL, NBA or baseball players
finally share some of the limelight.
Anyway, soon I found myself looking for the
American swimmer, silently rooting her on. Shortly
after, about halfway through the race, I began to
edge forward; my cheering now became audible.
Near the end of the race, I was on the edge of my
t, pounding on the couch --GO GO GO USA I
A GO WHOO WOO COME ON COME ON
AMERICA YEAH!
The woman won, and I started jumping up and
down in hysterics, yelling "USA #1" and "AMER-
ICA" as loud as I could, amongst other ranting and
raving. If I had a gun I probably would have done a
solo version of a 21-gun salute while simultane-
ously trying to salute the nearest flag, recite the
Pledge of Allegiance and sing "The Star Spangled
Banner." Normally, I don't act like a Buchanan-
*ue, gun-firing, "Buy American," "Love It or
Leave It" patriot. But there was something about
the swimming preliminary that made me want to
root for my country - it made me proud when the
United States won.
At first, this frightened me. I've been afraid of
flagrant patriotism in the past, believing that it leads
to malevolent forms of nationalism, like wars and
fascism and racism. But then I started to think about
me, a person so afraid of some forms of patriotism,
rooting so fervently for the American athlete.
I liken it to rooting for one's hometown team. It's
that your hometown is better than "their" home-
town; it's just that you're proud of where you come
from. You like your hometown because you can
identify with it. Your hometown is something that
helps form you as a person, for better or for worse,
and hence it is a part of you. In the case of the
Olympics, my hometown team is America. And it's
not that I disrespect the other countries, or that I
think we're better than the other countries - rather,
1 just am proud of where I come from.
Call ita rationalization; call it what you will. I'm
9ng to continue to root for America. And if tears
come to my eyes when an American athlete stands
on the podium - "The Star Spangled Banner"
playing in the background - and accepts a gold
medal, so be it.
- Greg Parker can be reached via
e-mail at glparker@umich.edu.

Positive steps
Budget helps most, harms a few

By Fona Rose
Provost Machen believes that his and Vice
President Womack's 1996-97 budget, passed by
the University Board of Regents on July 19, rep-
resents a "commitment to undergraduate educa-
tion, diversity, public access to education and
financial need of Michigan residents."
We concur.
Tuition hikes in general are a daunting prospect
for the University. Faculty and administrators
know that keeping our institution competitive and
attractive means controlling costs. Students and
their parents know well the frustration of paying
for increased tuition with stagnant incomes.
Herein lies both a moral and a practical impera-
tive: it is practical to offer a market-comparable
price tag on our degrees; it is of high morality to
keep education accessible to every individual -
regardless of means - desirous of knowledge.
From our perspective, the strength of Provost
Machen's and Vice President Womack's budget
is its cognizance of student need. A tuition
increase of some measure is to be expected; at
the very least, additional dollars are needed to
cover rising inflation. However, a perhaps more
significant factor stems from the changing face
of the student populace. With a decline in the
proportion of out-of-state and graduate students,
and a growth in the number of undergraduate
students, we wrestle with the inevitable change
in the mix of tuition dollars. Even with these
changes, and as the University moves toward
Value Centered Management (a new philosophy
being gradually adopted by the University
administration), Provost Machen's "bare bones"
budget reflects more of a paradigm shift than a
paradigm shove. And that's comforting news to
students and parents struggling to pay for educa-
tion.
Specifically, tuition rates for the 1996-97
school year comprise a 3-percent increase for in-
state freshmen and sophomore undergraduates
and a 5-percent increase for all other students.
There are, however, exceptions to the 5-per-

cent across-the-board hike in the graduate pro-
grams, which are not to be glossed over. Because
of lower enrollments in Rackham and profes-
sional schools, the University's graduate stu-
dents now face some of the highest fees in pub-
lic education. For example, out-of-state medical
students pay more tuition than do Harvard
University Medical School students. These steep
tuition rates must be controlled in future bud-
gets, lest prospective scholars are kept out of
University programs by prohibitive costs.
University students concerned with finances
can breathe easier after passage of this budget,
because coupled with a modest tuition increase
is an extra $6.9 million for student aid. Indeed,
there is a brighter picture for University students
today - a brighter picture comprising a
Congress more benevolent in its allocations to
federal loans and grants programs, a state legis-
lature more generous in its general fund appro-
priation for the University and an administration
more responsive to students burdened with debt.
Finally, if the reader remembers just one part
of this piece, let it be the importance with which
students view educational excellence. The 1996-
97 budget keeps tuition altogether reasonable,
but its 3.4-percent general fund increase does
not allow for growth. Positive programs involv-
ing undergraduate education and specialized
research opportunities expand the mind of our
pupils through challenges and innovation.
Unfortunately, similar programs have hit the
chopping block at other universities mindful of
downsizing. University students are proud of the
quality of their schooling; this quality should be
protected at all costs.
The University of Michigan flourishes
because of its unique balance of excellence and
access. Education is the thread of purpose that
ties individuals to the great and achievable
dream of equality and opportunity for all.
Fiona Rose is the MSA president
and an LSA junior

LITTLE EARTHQUAKES
Hey, let's go
get us some art
Bill and Marge McTourist, from Randomville,
Midwest America, are quivering with excite-
ment. They have waited weeks for this. They
have planned and saved. Finally, the time has
come to fuel up the family
sedan and move 'em out.
They are prepared: Marge
has dusted off her fanny
pack and purchased a fright-
fully large straw hat; Bill
has spit-shined his sparkly-
white sneakers and pulled
his black support socks up
to his knees with a satisfy-
ing snap. They are focused
as they motor relentlessly ERIN
up the highway. Bill dreams MARSH
of devouring greasy
bratwurst in the sticky summer heat. Marge
dreams of birdhouses adorned with fake flowers
and license plates, and all the adorable, useless
little knick-knacks she will take home to
Randomville -- perhaps for friends who weren't
able to make the trip. As they draw nearer to their
destination, the excitement in the air is palpable
- or maybe it's just the combined odor of fried
food and exhaust.
It's Art Fair time again in Ann Arbor.
You've probably already noticed. You woke up
this morning, yawned mightily, and headed out
the front door. You planned on picking up coffee,
a bagel and a copy of the Daily before leisurely
strolling to class or work. You headed toward the
Union, and WHOA NELLIE! "What the hell is
all THIS? What are you people doing here? No
no, go away! Wait a minute, Amer's is NEVER
this busy in summer! Hey - excuse me.
EXCUSE ME! I'm going to be late for work! No
- hey mister! Figure out the difference between
a latte and a cappuccino later, please! Just order a
decaf and move it along! Lady- LADY! Would
you please quit poking me in the eye with your
stupid birdhouse! Oh, god, no....why, why...?"
It's Art Fair time again in Ann Arbor.
Art Fair sparks different reactions, depending
on who you are. For folks like Bill and Marge,
this is the highlight of the summer. For the rest of
us, who actually have to live and work and study
here, iis the closest thing to hell I can possibly
imagine. (It's interestingto note, however, that
this is exactly how Ann Arbor residents feel
about all University students, year-round...)
For those of you who are experiencing Art Fair
for the first time, I offer my sincerest apologies.
This event hits at a cruel time - in the midst of
mellow summer, when you are least prepared.
How to explain the crowds at Art Fair? As far as
sheer volume, I suppose it's like a football
Saturday (without the football, the cheerleaders,
the tailgating or basically any of the fun) plus
Hash Bash (without the drugs - and boy, are
you gonna be wishing for those). The traffic pat-
tern is no less amusing. See, what they do is take
the three passable roads left in Ann Arbor, block
them all off-- and then they laugh at you.
Students' reactions to Art Fair are usually
those of dread, which manifests itself in many
forms, ranging from meek whining to out-and-
out grpig.
But fear not, soon it will all be okay. The
fanny packs will empty of cash, the concessions
will disappear from the Union lawn, the lines at
your favorite cafes will shrink, the streets will
clear of sidewalk sale tables. Life will return to
its normal summer pace.
And in the meantime - what the hell. Get out
there and pick yourself up a tacky birdhouse.
-~Erin Marsh can be reached via
e-mail at eemarsh@sumich.edu.

CHRIS FARAH

MASHED POTATOES

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