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August 11, 2003 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-08-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 11, 2003 - 5

VIEWPOINT
This never happened at recess!

Kicking and screaming

BY SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA
Thursday late afternoon, as my
colleagues and I were playing kick-
ball at Elbel Field, the powers that
be barred us from play. The Recre-
ational Sports referee first moved
us off the softball field. After we
had started to play again on a
makeshift field next to the train
tracks, an organizer forced us to
move from the second location,
suggesting we share an unobtrusive
area with the cheerleading camp
that was practicing down the field
or to set up our field in the parking
lot next to the field hockey rink.
The intramural softball teams
often shouted down the thirteen-
year-olds practicing their cheering
and even this fan who was joyfully
playing with a bottle of bubbles. Per-
haps the teams were caught up in the
heat of the finals, but the referees
and organizers should not shuffle
non-IM participants off the property.
On the other hand,-when IM par-
ticipants schedule time in the nata-
torium, it is not uncommon to see
their pool time switched so that
non-University persons can take pri-
ority. Simply because the University
earns money from these people
should not disadvantage students
who are already paying for the use
of the facilities. While an argument
can be made that IM sports are pro-
moted by earning p-iority over
unorganized sports such as kickhall,
this same reasoning fails to explain
non-University members getting
preferential treatment over students.
The routine neglect of students
in favor of those paying the Uni-
versity is not reserved just for our
athletic facilities. When the Uni-
versity hailed the arrival of author
Salman Rushdie for a three-day
visit in March, it failed to include
more than three hours of student-
Rushdie interaction. In fact, even
faculty members whose entire
courses were dedicated to
Rushdie's works were not invited
to the gala dinner, which was
reserved to large donors.
Discontinuing vital programs
has also become a trend at the
University. Students interested in
a journalism career can no longer
ean a degree in that field from
the University. Instead, they must
look to student media to educate
and to gain experience. Most stu-
dents cannot afford attending
prestigious journalism schools, as
most are private such as Columbia
University or the Medill School at
Northwestern University, and this
University needs to offer a com-
petitive alternative.
Similarly, the LSA and Medical
School collaboration in the Inte-
flex program, which produced the
likes of Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN
fame, has ended. This eight-year
program that provided high school
seniors a spot in medical school
contingent on average MCAT
scores is no longer available at the
University. Instead of attending the
University, my cousin, a Michigan
fan for years who has been raised

in all things maize and blue, has
chosen to attend the Lyman Briggs
School, the seven-year program at
Michigan State University. Even
more students leave Michigan for
the numerous six-year programs in
Ohio universities such as those at
Case Western or Akron. While
some oppose this program because
students might miss out in the col-
lege experience, students must be
given this choice.
Providing students the right to
choose between more programs is
just one way the administration
can improve the quality of educa-
tion at the University. Treating
students with respect will create a
cohesive university whose alumni
will fondly remember it for end-
less opportunities and esteem
instead of limited resources.
One such university is Rice
University, which places an inspir-
ing emphasis on the honor system.
The students and their university
understand that the reason for
attending a university is for educa-
tional purposes. Professors do not
proctor the exams, and students
realize the weight of the trust
placed on them. In order to stress
the importance of the honor code,
students take an active role in pre-
venting honor code violations. In
fact, the student newspaper, the
Rice Thresher, usually discusses
the merits of the student govern-
ment's vote on honor code appeals
or a student's appearance in front
of the Honor Council.
University students besides
those in the Engineering School,
however, have failed to persuade
the administration to take them into
account. The once vibrant student
body that only a couple of years
ago took to the streets protesting
the opening of Starbucks now sits
passively without fighting for our
rights. Only through student lobby-
ing will an unadulterated message
reach the administration: Punch'
and cookies are not enough to sub-
due a student populace that is tired
of being treated as children.

JOHN HONKALA Loi
This is my last
column. No
more under-
handed stabs at
Dubya or the suburbs.
No more cheap liter-
ary devices or over-
wrought pleas. This is
the last one.
Twice a month for
the last year, I've had 800 words to write
about anything I want, and it's even avail-
able for people to read. It's free! Frankly,
it's become quite addicting and I'm going
to miss it like crazy. I'm not sure I can
quit this cold turkey. I don't know what
I'm going to do come September. God
forbid, I start a Weblog or something.
I didn't even do much to get this col-
umn, either. I just wandered into the Daily
a few years ago, joined the editorial board
and sort of went from there. Sort of like
finding crack in the gutter. So, I'm lucky.
But a week from now, I'll be gone,
apartment hunting with old friends in
Chicago, likely annoying the living crap
out of them with column ideas that will
never be. Probably a year from now I'll
be doing the same thing. (Coming up
with column ideas, not annoying the liv-
ing crap out of them.)
I've been thinking about this column
for about two weeks now, trying to figure
out how to approach it. I really wanted to
write something profound, something that
would make people stop reading and go,
Wow. And I wanted to do it without being
sappy. The problem is, I've got nothing -
not an ounce of profundity. Profanity, I've

got by the boatload, but this isn't a party at
Dubya's so I'll hold my tongue.
So, I'm left with sappy, which would
actually be a lot easier to pull off if I was
at Junior's joint. Oh wait. He doesn't
drink anymore. Right. Gotta get sappy
somehow, though. Maybe George and I
could lie around the ranch and read
melancholic books. Wait, he doesn't read
either. I guess I'd have to settle for a dis-
cussion about the sad state of America's
great cities. Wait, not that either.
Oh, fuck it. I'll just stick with the
profanity and let the sappiness come
out on its own.
Before I get too sugary, I should
admit that this hasn't always been sweet
potato pie. For example, I was absolute-
ly mortified every time I found a mis-
placed comma or a poorly used word in
the print edition. And I use the word
mortified for a very specific reason -
because it conjures up images of prim
and proper old ladies accidentally fart-
ing at the bridge table. I'm sure no one
noticed my flubs, but it made me want
to crawl under the nearest table.
But really, it's laughable to think of
complaining about this column. It's far and
away the best thing I've done since I've
been here. In my mind, every person on
this campus wants this job and I just hap-
pened to get lucky. (This, my friends, is
what I consider getting lucky. Perhaps that
sheds some light on a few things.)
It really is addicting. If you're not
careful it can go straight to your head.
I'd be lying if I said I never got a huge
rush from seeing someone in class read-

ing my column or once thought that I
was going to become some sort of
minor University celebrity. As if when
Ann Arboritts sit down for coffee they
pull out the Daily and ask, Have you
read Honkala yet? You just hafta.
ButI know some people have actually
read it because I've gotten e-mails, which
is just about the coolest thing in the world.
Seriously, thank you for that. Even that
guy who wrote to tell me that I'm aracist.
More than anything else, though, I'm
going to miss sitting down at the comput-
er and poring over stacks of The New
York Times, Detroit Free Presses and the-
sauri searching for column ideas. And
then turning them over in my feeble mind
until I find something relevant and origi-
nal to write. And then just making fun of
George W. Bush instead, because it's just
so easy. Absolutely no doubt about it, that
was my favorite of this job. Some people
have yoga. I have Dubya.
In all seriousness, I have enjoyed this
more than I ever thought was possible. I
really, really hope I get the opportunity
to do it again. But even if that never hap-
pens, at least I'll have a folder full of
hate mail and stacks of yellowed newspa-
pers to show my kids and their kids. I'll
be an old man then, so I'll sit them on
my knee and tell them about my year as a
crusading journalist. The year I spent
fighting the system. Embellish a little,
lie. Just like our president.
Man, I'm goingto miss this.
Honkala cas be reached at
jhonkala@umich.edu.

The cream filling
DANIEL ADAMS ADVANTAGExt? PUsH.

Chirumamilla is an LSA junior
and the Daily's editor in chief

was always
warned by
friends, rela-
tives and teachers
that I should enjoy
my high school
years, for they were
destined to be
remembered as the
"best years of my
life." I spent my four years in high
school waiting for the fun to start, yet
the only thing I remember feeling was
pressure, anxiety and stress. I can
remember a time when the car ride
back from my family's annual vaca-
tion in mid-August brought with it
the awful realization that school was
mere weeks away. Confirming what
had usually become obvious, office
supply stores began to advertise
"Back to School" sales - the death
knell for a summer vacation that was
already well on its way to being over.
In short, I knew that another year of
high school was en route, and I
dreaded its approach.
I don't feel that way anymore. In
fact, you could say that I've been
looking forward to going back to
school now for the past three months.
When I'm back at the "U," and not on
break, I enjoy a work week that usual-
ly consists of sitting in lecture halls
and classrooms 16 hours a week.
Afterwards, I go and get a two-pound
burrito, the aptly named El Gordo, at
Panchero's on South U. I go to the

football games, and pay far less than
the common man for tickets. I have a
part-time job on the weekends that
has significantly less responsibility
than I can handle. I stay out late,
wake up late and do what I want most
of the time.
I take a look at my life now, "on
vacation," and realize that being on
summer break is no break at all. There
is nothing fun about a four month peri-
od where most college students are
faced with these tasty choices:
a) You could head home, back with
your parents to show them all the
nasty habits you've picked up since
you've been away. Show them first-
hand why they shipped you off to
school in the first place.
Or,
b) Toss yourself into the real world.
Discover that Ann Arbor crap jobs
won't pay for both Ann Arbor rent and
a 60-dollar-a-week drinking habit.
Or,
c) Take an internship: slavery in the
name of job experience that is vaguely
connected to yotpr najor of choice,
which, chances are, won't be your
major of choice come next semester.
Not exactly stellar options. When I
go home for summer break, the work
week gets longer and the job gets
tougher. Mom is decidedly against
opening a Panchero's franchise in our
kitchen. Most everyone I care to
spend time with is busy or out of the
state and every person I never wanted

to see again usually decides to drop
by for a chat on my day off. These vis-
its from high school classmates are
obligatory, and only confirm the
"glory days" of high school really
weren't so glorious and that I won't be
attending my high school reunion.
So here I sit, tan, fit and royally
discontent, counting the days until I go
back to school, and I can't help but
think how truly perverse this situation
is. I spent most of my youth wishing
away the school year, and now I wish
away the summer months so I can go
back to school. I know full well that
when my four years here are over, and
I get handed a degree, life will get a
lot more serious really quickly,
whether I like it or not. Responsibili-
ties, taxes and my thirties await. Mea
while, I'm fortunate enough to get
these college years, which are turning
out to be four amazing years of first
time experiences. It's your first taste of
freedom. Your first responsibility. Your
first step towards something you enjoy.
Your first meaningful education, by
teachers, most of whom really know
what they are talking about. Your first
taste of late night Blimpy Burger, and
your first "Walk of Shame." Here, you
get to stand in the Diag screaming at
the top of your lungs, or walk through
it saying nothing at all. I'm loving
every minute of it.
Adams can be reached at
dnadams@umich.edu.

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