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October 11, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 11, 1995

![ir gttn i ttitg

JORDAN STANCIL;

LAST-DITCH APPEAL

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

Harmm 1 Mcard uan
rnsufferarne di grace to U'

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily 's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
The fierst year
Efforts to imp rove exeriencee deserve praise

T ast week, during the LSA faculty meet-
L ing, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate
Education David Schoem presented a report
made by the Joint Faculty-Student Policy
Committee. According to the report, stu-
dents feel isolated from the University - and
existing student services that could alleviate
this problem are being underutilized. Using
information from the report, the committee
will work toward solutions to the problem,
specifically directing improvements at help-
ing first-year students assimilate more quickly
into the University. The aims of the commit-
tee are noble, but must remain in check lest
they become patronizing and parental.
The issue the report raises is an important
one. Most first-year students do feel isolated
and confused at the beginning of the school
year, and most of the student services avail-
able to help them are either unknown to them
or are too difficult for confused novices to
locate. Orientation and the numerous pam-
phlets the University mails to first-year stu-
dents are only slightly helpful.
To address the concerns raised in the
report, the committee made several recom-
mendations, ranging from creating commu-
nities of students to increasing faculty in-
volvement in academic support services. With
the implementation of programs like learn-
ing communities and first-year student inter-
est groups, first-year students should be able
to get help more easily and to feel more at
ease in the University environment. These
recommendations - if implemented cor-
rectly - would make student support ser-

vices more accessible while helping the first-
year student fully experience the University.
However, the University must consider
the effectiveness of any program before fol-
lowing through with it. The current living-
learning programs - one of the University's
flagship attempts to acclimate first-year stu-
dents - are, with the notable exception of
the Residential College, largely a waste of
time and money. If new programs are imple-
mented, like student interest groups, how can
the University ensure that they will be any
more successful than previous efforts?
Furthermore, the recommendations can
help only if they do not blunt the full impact
of the University experience. Making choices
despite the overload is an important skill for
students to learn outside the classroom -
and the University must not impinge upon
this process. If the University pigeonholes
first-year students, the new experience of
independence will disappear in an attempt to
shield them - to the extent of replacing the
parent and removing decisions from stu-
dents' hands. While this is clearly not the
committee's intent, the danger lurks if such
attempts are carried to an extreme.
Despite these potential problems, the
University is taking an important step. It
should do all it can to help first-year students
assimilate into campus life with more ease
and less confusion. Discussion should con-
tinue about this report and its recommenda-
tions, and the University shouldbe applauded
for recognizing the problem and taking ac-j
tion to alleviate it.

This University actually advertises its
own ID card to students. Even as you
read this, Theodore M. Cardman, grotesquely
leering out from some advertisement, is si-
lently accosting an unsuspecting freshman
in a bathroom stall. This ad campaign would
be absurd, except that it represents the fur-
ther penetration of drivel, so prevalent in the
real world, into the one institution, the free
university, that is supposed to be drivel-
resistant.
The University now advertises that you
can check out library books (and do other
neat things) with your new Mcard ID. Now,
some things are just dumb. This is one of
them. Apparently, I was wrong to expect
that a university, especially an expensive
and prestigious one, would be free of such
inanities.
Further, the propaganda spread by the
University and First of America makes it
seem like you need to have a First of America
account to check out library books. Of course,
they never say this explicitly, because it's
not true. But they make you think it. The
now-infamous top-10-list ads say that you
should use Mcard because "graduation re-
quires at least one library visit per year."
At the bottom of the ad are the First of

America and AT&T logos. The University
is allowing private corporations to create the
appearance that they somehow sponsor our
education. And, even though you don't need
a First of America account to go to school
here, everyone is led to believe that the First
of America connecting bar code or chip or
whatever it's called is supposed to come
with your ID card, that you therefore need it
just as you need the ability to check out
library books, and that you really need to
open a checking account at First of America,
which incidentally does not have the most
student-friendly checking accounts.
I'm not suggesting that there's some sort
of shady set-up between the University and
the bank. The point is that the ad campaign
is a shameful injection of corporate pabulum
into a once-venerable educational institu-
tion. Mcard and all its attendant hoopla dem-
onstrate like nothing else the fact that a
student body is no longer seen as a body of
students, but rather as just another market of
consumers. The corporate culture of adver-
tising has become so pervasive that it's ines-
capable even in the ivory tower. Some ge-
nius with a business degree realized that the
ivory tower is a market. When these people
find a market, their job is to get that market

to buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend.
We expect this kind of behavior from
business hustlers. First of America and
AT&T are doing what they're supposed to
do. Sort of. But the University shouldn't be
their accomplice. The new University of
Michigan ID card is just another ploy to
encourage students to spend money.
The most insufferable element in this
disaster is, of course, that eponymous frat
boy, Mr. Cardman, who got the munchies at
2:30 a.m. Mr. Cardman is a Cool Guy, not
just because he has Mcard, but also because
his face displays that painfully hip, happily
insincere and highly skeptical expression of
vacuousness which is the "shadowed livery"
of our faithless, materialistic culture.
Theodore Cardman, with his top 10 list, is
cheap corporate hipness run amok. He's the
advertiser's picture of us, a carefully crafted
archetype, to whom some advertising indus-
try mouse expects us to relate.
Apparently, it worked. If Diogenes were
here today, he wouldn't even bother trying
to find an honest man. It'd be enough of a
challenge to find a freshman without a First
of America checking account.
- Jordan Stancil can be reached over
e-mail at rialto@umich.edu.

JIM LASSER SHARP AS TOAST
-TH15 ?W(--RAltACON TAIN
VIOLENCE, DESTRUCT-ION
- NDP AKAC~EpON.~
WE LCOMF To TH E
--1.,.WEATHER CiANNE L .
yr
)I

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"People In Ann
Arbor are taxed
to death."
-David Kwan, Republican
candidate for the 2nd Ward
City Council seat

Targeting AIDS
Government should fund needle exchanges

LETTERS

s a result of old government restrictions
against the possession of drug para-
phernalia, the rate at which intravenous drug
users acquire the HIV virus has skyrocketed.
Soaring rates can be directly attributed to the
fact that users share blunt, contaminated
needles.
The National Academy of Sciences has
found that independent needle-exchange pro-
grams have led to a reduction in the spread of
IHIV - while not encouraging or increasing
the use of illicit drugs. Lifting the ban on
funding for these preventative programs and
restructuring the current laws are desperately
needed if the rising rates are to be contained.
A program in New Haven, Conn., found
that the rate of needles contaminated with
flIV had dropped by one third since it began
exchanging needles. The incidence ofneedles
tinged with hepatitis, a precursor to HIV, fell
eightfold in a study conducted at another
exchange program in Tacoma, Wash. Clearly,
clean needles are an effective means ofcom-
bating the further spread of AIDS, the dis-
ease caused by HIV.
There are now 75 programs in operation
that disseminate clean needles and/or a bleach
solution that has been proven to kill the HIV
virus on contact. The programs, through com-
munity outreach, establish a dialogue with
the IV drug-using population. Given this
contact, with proper support further preven-
tative treatments could be implemented, such
as drug rehabilitation programs or education
on safe sex and condom use. As these pro-
grams are staffed largely by volunteers, the
programs would require very little direct

funding - making them a cost-effective
solution to a potentially expensive problem.
Addressing and treating a costly and
deadly disease before it strikes is well worth
the initial minimal investment in prevention.
A fresh hypodermic needle costs a mere 10
cents. With no known cure for the lethal
virus, it is outrageous that society is not
taking every effort to avoid its transmission
- but this is precisely the case. In its effort
to eradicate illicit drug use, the government
continues to target "deviant" behavior, at-
tempting to squelch it by limiting the supply
of hypodermic needles. This plan has back-
fired. Cutting the vehicle for safe drug use
does not reduce the demand. For the addict,
physical need for the drug supersedes any
issues of safety. Catch-22 laws now in effect
serve only to sentence a subculture to death.
The initial aims of the puritanically naive
just-say-no policies have not been met. Ille-
gal drug use is on the rise and the past
combative measures have only accelerated
the transmission of HIV.
Recognizing the clear routes of transmis-
sion and thus preventing the spread of HIV
by providing clean needles is not a form of
condoning drug use - it is a means of saving
lives. The time has come for society to con-
front the issue of AIDS realistically and
solve it practically, subsidizing a lesser threat
in order to combat the disease. Allowing
AIDS to fester and spread in a community
where inexpensive interventions are easily
implemented is criminal. Ignorance will not
slow the spread of AIDS - clean needles
will.

Citadel is not
an easy trial
To the Daily:
I congratulate Christina
Doster on the many achievements
she lists in her letter of 9/28/95
("The Citadel is no place for
physically unfit cadets").
However, may I ask: How
many death threats Ms. Doster
received; how many times her
parents' house was vandalized;
and whether she had to ask a
lawyer to argue for her admission
to Officer Candidate School train-
ing, while she stood by for 2 1/2
years, waiting for an education
and training for which she had
already been deemed well-quali-
fied?
Mr. Wan ("Faulkner not fit
for Citadel," 10/3/95) - do you
feel you would be here today had
you experienced the same to join
the University?
Allan C. Chubb
Engineering graduate
student
Seek truth
To the Daily:
Why is it so common among
academics for intellectual integ-
rity and critical thinking to be set
aside in matters of meaning, mo-
rality, destiny and spirituality?
Imagine if the common "stan-
dards" used in evaluating matters
of faith and philosophy were ap-
plied to our scholarly endeavors.
Imagine using these statements
at your professional conferences:
"Believe whatever makes you feel
good," "If it works for you, then
it's true," "What's true for you
differs from what's true for me."
Where is the search for real and
enduring truth in that?
I am encouraged that this
week's Veritas Forum lectures
and seminars address this deeply
rooted problem. It is my hope that
many in this community will pon-
der issues of deep and fundamen-

To the Daily:
On Oct. 4, 1995 hundreds of
University students, at the behest
of University Activities Center
and the Major Events Office, at-
tended a free screening of the
new 20th Century Fox movie,
"Strange Days." Although 20th
Century Fox plans to market the
film as a futuristic sci-fi action
thriller, what students saw that
night was pornography.
For those of you who are un-
familiar with the plot line, the
premise of "Strange Days" is that
there is a new technology that
allows people to record their ex-
periences and then replay them
for others in such a- way that the
other people feel as though they
are having the experiences them-
selves. The main character makes
his living peddling other people's
experiences to his all-male clien-
tele. A big portion of his business
is selling the experiences of men
having sex with women and
women having sex with women.
In other words, he sells pornogra-
phy.
Unfortunately, however, the
technology falls into the "wrong"
hands and a woman-hating-rap-
ist-psycho-killer ends up using it
while he rapes, tortures and then
murders his female victim. As if
that weren't enough, the psycho
also uses the technology to inflict
a new form of psychological tor-
ture on the woman before she
dies, forcing her to simultaneously
experience his experience of tor-
turing, raping and murdering her
while she is being raped, tortured
and murdered. In other words,
she isn't simply raped, tortured
and murdered (as in most slasher .
movies) - she also has to expe-
rience her rape, torture and mur-
der as if she were doing it herself.
All of this happens during the
first half of the film. I don't know
what happens during the second
half because I walked out.
I object to the Oct. 4 showing
of "Strange Days" on three
grounds.

graphic, the content was obvi-
ously going to be experienced as
threatening and derogatory by a
significant percentage of the
University's population. Even
Heidi Fehrenbacher, the public-
ity coordinator for Marketplace
Media who coordinatedpreviews
of the movie for 20th Century
Fox, admitted that the rape scene
in the movie was so disturbing
that "no woman would want to
watch it." In this respect the
University's promotion of
"Strange Days" belies its stated
commitmentto improving the sta-
tus of women at the University.
Youdon't make women feel more
secure about their place at the
University by sponsoring movies
that depict women being abused
in such a violent and graphic way
that the women watching the films
feel emotionally traumatized
themselves.
Second, I object to the way
20th Century Fox and Market-
place Media, with the tacit ap-
proval of the University, inten-
tionally exposed naive students
to emotionally traumatic mate-
rial for the purpose of advancing
their market research. My discus-
sions with Kevin Gilmartin, di-
rector of the Office of Major
Events, and the people at Market-
place Media left me with the dis-
tinct impression thatwthe public-
ity for the film on campus was
vague precisely because 20th
Century Fox didn't want students
to know what the film was about
before they saw it. In this way,
they were able to get a represen-
tative (that is, not self-selected)
audience of students who could
provide a great deal of informa-
tion about who would and would
not like the film. In other words,
20th Century Fox wanted me and
other women at the film precisely
so they could find out whether or
not we would walk out. Some-
how the fact that they emotion-
ally traumatized us in the process
didn't matter.
Finally, I object to "Strange

'Strange Days' showing at 'U' offends viewers

simply drive the material under-
ground. However, that doesn't
mean that 20th Century Fox, and
other members of the movie in-
dustry, don't have a moral re-
sponsibility to not produce films
that degrade, victimize orencour-
age crimes against women (or
any other group in our society).
Exercising good taste, judgment
and compassion are not the same
as censorship. As I see it, "Strange
Days" serves only two purposes:
It titillates and excites some men
who may get off on derogatory
images of women and it makes
movie executives rich. Neither
purpose justifies the role it plays
in perpetuating the culture ofvio-
lence against women.
Whether you agree with me
on all these points or just one,
whether you are a man or a
woman, I strongly encourage you
to make your opinion on this is-
sue heard. The University, 20th
Century Fox, MCI (which also
sponsored the film on campus)
and Marketplace Media will lis-
ten to us if we take the time to
speak.
Karin Tamerius
Rackham student
To the Daily:
I am writing to express my
objections to the showing/spon-
soring of "Strange Days," an ex-
tremely pornographic and violent
film being marketed to Univer-
sity college menaandsothers. As a
university, we are supposed to
speak out for the equality and
safety of all peoples, including
women. Murder, rape and torture
should not be promoted by show-
ing support for this film. I do not
advocate so-called free speech
which is in reality license to in-
timidate and terrorize, just as I do
not advocate killing women for
sport.
Please have this movie re-
moved from sponsorship by the
University; and lend your sup-
port to having it removed from

-oW TO CONTACT THEM
President Bill Clinton
The White House

I

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