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October 17, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-17

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 17, 1995

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Here's somethingforyou to
read while you protrastizate

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.
Marching for ato
Protestors rall to preserve diversity programs

t was a big week for affirmative
action in the United States. Here at the
University, 400 students marched in protest
of recent attacks on programs for minorities,
many skipping classes to do so. At the Uni-
versity of California at Berkeleynearly 5,000
people walked out of classes and disrupted
campus activities in a show of opposition to
the new reactionary policies adopted by their
regents. Both protests - along with similar
ones at college campuses across the nation-
sent a powerful message to those who would
end affirmative action programs at universi-
ties and other public agencies.
Affirmative action has come under attack
in the current conservative political climate
asaquota system that unfairly favors minori-
ties and women at the expense of deserving
white males. This stereotype obscures the
true purpose of affirmative action programs:
to achieve an equal level of opportunity for
all individuals.
Despite what many would like to believe,
the effects of past discrimination have not
disappeared from the American landscape. A
large percentage of racial minorities, particu-
larly African Americans and Latinos, are
stalled at the bottom of the economic ladder,
without the educational or job opportunities
needed to move up. In addition, both minori-
ties and women are sorely lacking in role
models for advancement. Because they have
historically been denied opportunities, they
Have been shut out of a network that confers
benefits - the classic "glass ceiling."
Affirmative action programs attempt to
shatter that ceiling. Rather than offering un-
fair advantages, these programs are designed

to build institutions - whether they be work-
places or universities - that are more repre-
sentative of an area's racial makeup. At the
Universitythe Michigan Mandate and Michi-
gan Agenda for Women have taken steps
toward a more diverse campus. The Man-
date, for example, has brought minority en-
rollment up from 13.5 percent in 1988 - its
first year - to 24.2 in 1994. The program
does not deny qualified majority students: If
a majority student cannot successfully com-
pete for a spot in 75.8 percent of the student
body, he or she is clearly not the most deserv-
ing candidate in the first place. Furthermore,
all students benefit from a diverse campus,
gaining experiences and perspectives that
can only come from exposure to people of
varied backgrounds.
There is no question affirmative action
programs have been misapplied at some
points as mere "quota" programs. This stems
more from a failure to understand what affir-
mative action is and what it is supposed to do
rather than from a flaw in the principle itself.
Properly implemented, affirmative action is
much more than quotas - it is a system of
recruitment, training and education to even
out people's opportunities and knowledge.
Americans have invested in their govern-
ment the power and responsibility to remedy
more than two centuries of official discrimi-
nation. Public universities, in particular, have
a responsibility to offer opportunities to all
individuals in the communities that surround
them. It was on this principle that Friday's
protest took place, and it is toward this end
that affirmative action programs must be

it's 2 a.m.
The last thing you knew, it was 7 p.m.
and you had the entire evening to write those
two papers and three problem sets due to-
morrow. Not anymore!
In offices, procrastinators have perfected
the art of watercooler chats, trash-can bas-
ketball and making eraser pigs. Student pro-
crastinating, however, often moves be-
yond coffee breaks and into the twilight
zone where you'll do absolutely anything
but that paper you should have started on
five hours ago. The possibilities are endless:
® Sleep. After all, you need to be well-
rested to work efficiently. Besides, maybe
an idea for a paper topic will come to you in
a dream ... Drawbacks: You'll probably
wake up an hour before the deadline.
Read junk. Well, after all, reading that
romance novel could be very important in
writing your paper on Homer's Odyssey.
OK, maybe not, but just one more chapter ...
Drawbacks: Repeat this rationalization more
than once, and you won't be able to start on
the paper until you get to the part where the
author starts talking about the hero's "throb-
bing column of love." (Hint: Use your imagi-
0 Read real stuff, but not your own.
After hours ofattempting your physics prob-
lem set, yourroommate'stextbook ("Botany
and You!") suddenly seems fascinating. "I
never knew the life of plants was so excit-
ing!" you tell your roommate. "Are you sure

you don't need it back?" Don't be surprised
if she doesn't answer you right away: She's
probably immersed in your physics book.
Drawbacks: By the end of the night, you've
not only decided to change your paper topic,
you've decided to change your major.
M Clean. Your apartment can be a breed-
ing ground for used pizza boxes and old
newspapers when you have nothing due, but
it's amazing how clean the place gets around
exam time. After all, those little scrubbing
bubble guys with the mustaches look like so
much fun in the commercials - why not
clean the whole bathroom? Distraction is
essential here: You can't just put the news-
papers in the recycling bin; you have to read
them first. Drawbacks: Housework sucks.
Watch TV. Cool! It's another Ross
Perot infomercial! Cable TV is the real evil
here, enabling us drooling Generation Xers
to watch our favorite Brady Bunch, One Day
at a Time and Gilligan's Island when we
really have better things to do. If you're
feeling guilty about procrastinating, you can
always watch the Learning Channel (for
fullest effect, wheel in the TV on a metal cart
and invite your elementary school teacher).
Drawbacks: If you sit mesmerized by C-
Span for more than three minutes, call your
physician immediately for treatment.
® Talk on the phone. Call your friend
from class to see how far she's gotten on the
paper. Proceed to talk about how you like the
class, what's going on this weekend, the O.J.

verdict, who really killed JFK, the code,
which Star Wars movie was the best, your
true feelings about asparagus, who's dating
whom, you mean they broke up????, and
what does he see in her, anyway"? Draw-
backs: You may learn more from this con-
versation than from writing the paper.
® Go grocery shopping. Meijer's is"a
great place to sink a couple of hours, espe-
cially if you shop like your grandmother
used to. For example: Chocolate Frosted
Sugar Bombs have 15 percent more fat than
Nutty Nutty Squirrel Granola Snack Cereal,
but they're three for $11.75 and the squirrel
stuff is four for $15.80 not counting the 50-
cent coupon which they may or may not
double at the checkout. If only your problem
set were on SAT Math, you'd be in business.
Drawbacks: Now you have things to eat
while you procrastinate.
Advanced tactics. My cat spends an
extraordinary amount of time staring out the
window at nothing, so occasionally I join
him. Other great last-ditch attempts at wast-
ing time include biting your fingernails,
biting your toenails, counting the dots on the
ceiling and counting the bugs on the ceiling.
(See Cleaning, above.) Drawbacks: You
might get so bored that you start writing your
* Read this column.
- Jean Twenge can be reached over e-
mail atjeant@umich.edu.



'U' should strve for economic

Rady aimg educate
Young gun offernders need alternative schools

he Michigan Department of Social Ser-
vices recently revealed the results of a
study on the zero-tolerance policy barring
the possession of weapons in public schools.
The law has resulted in the long-term expul-
sions of 240 elementary and secondary edu-
cation students since its January implemen-
tation. While this measure addresses the con-
cern of protecting Michigan's students from
violent crime, it contains serious - but cor-
rectable - flaws.
" The law requires that students who bring
,guns or knives to school between kindergar-
ten and fifth grade be expelled for a minimum
of 90 days. Offenders beyond fifth grade
receive a mandatory "vacation" of at least
180 days. Students ranging from the tender
age of 9 to the more mature age of 18 have
been slapped with these penalties. Adminis-
trators may exercise their personal judgment
in cases in which the student displays no
intent to use the weapon. However, accord-
ingto state Sen. Leon Stile (R-Spring Lake),
they have been reluctant to do so. "They're
opting to go the maximum so they're not
liable if a kid comes back to school and does
it again, this time maybe hurting someone,"
Stile told The Detroit News.
The inflexibility of this law is harming its
righteous intent. Several district administra-
tors complain of the law's rigidity, contend-
ing that the punishment does not always fit
the crime. South Lyon Superintendent Bill
Pearson has contended that his district
wrongly expelled a seventh-grade boy who
carried a fish-filet knife for self-protection.
Other students have been expelled for bring-
ing weapons to school in what officials

deemed "show-off situations." Especially
among younger students, mandatory expul-
sion is draconian. Administrators need more
freedom to administer justice on a case-by-
case basis. Stile is helping to achieve this
with a bill to reduce from 90 days to 10 days
the mandatory suspension for offenders be-
low the sixth grade.
In some instances, guidance and a more
lenient punishment might better serve stu-
dents and their communities. Michigan's
zero-tolerance policy offers no guarantee to
its students that, if suspended, they can ob-
tain alternative schooling. Students whose
offenses result in expulsion have little choice
but to run to the streets. Not only does this
further endanger a community, it also con-
veys a message that the state government
need not concern itself with expelled stu-
dents' rehabilitation.
This is wrong. Ensuring a second chance
would help prevent expelled students from
drifting further toward a life of crime. Rather
than leaving armed children on the streets,
the state must deal with their specific needs.
The law should allow students found with
weapons in school to be taken out and placedY
in an alternative schooling environment. Such
schools have worked in other states and should
be established in Michigan.
The cost of this education would be much
cheaper than the bill for an offender's life-
long trek through the correctional system. A
spokesman for Gov. John Engler contends
that the current law is working: It is sending
a message that the state will not tolerate
weapons in school buildings. But what cost
is to the state's future?

By Craig A. Stutzky
I believe that a true and mean-
ingful "diversity" at the Univer-
sity of Michigan would be one
where the student body closely
represents the gender, racial, eth-
nic and especially the economic
characteristics of the citizens of
Michigan. Currently there is no
representative diversity based on
the economic backgrounds ofstu-
dents. In fact, the discrimination
is quite substantial. Consider the
following facts:
While nearly 50 percent of
Michigan households earn under
$30,000 per year, fewer than 13
percent of University students
come from such economic back-
grounds. On the other hand, while
only 8 percent of Michigan fami-
lies earn over $80,000 per year,
more than 40 percent of Univer-
sity students come from such
families! The information below
gives a clear picture of the gross
imbalances in the economic back-
grounds of University students:
In addition to the above data it
is significant to realize that in
1967 the tuition and fees for
Michigan resident undergradu-
ates was $350! While minimum
wage has increased roughly 400
Stutzkv is an LSA senior and
chair of Students for Represen-
tative Diversity, a new campus
group. He addressed the Board
of Regents last month and
presented copies of this report
to the regents and Duderstadt.

percent since that time, tuition
costs have increAsed more than
1500 percent. This explosion in
tuition costs - far beyond infla-
tion - has effectively denied
millions of Michigan families the
option of educating their children
at this "public" university.
While President James J.
Duderstadt and Regent Deane
Baker (R-Ann Arbor) insist that
the door at the University is open
(through financial aid) for all stu-
dents who are accepted here, the
facts about who is attending the
University do not change. As
President Duderstadt himself says
in the University document Di-
versity at the University ofMichi-
gan (1995): "Many groups in the
United States suffered and con-
tinue to suffer from social, cul-
tural and economic discrimina-
tion. Simply opening doors -
providing access -has not been
enough." Clearly, even the
University's commitment to pro-
viding financial aid "has not been
enough" to address the barriers
which practically exclude an en-
tire socio-economic class of stu-
dents from attending this "pub-
lic" university.
It might be good to review
President Duderstadt's public
statements concerning the goals
and commitments of the Univer-
"From our earliest beginnings,
the University of Michigan fo-
cused on making a university edu-
cation available to all economic

classes." (Diversity, 1995).
"Throughout our long history,
perhaps the most distinguishing
characteristic of the University
of Michigan has been our com-
mitment, as President James
Burrill Angell noted in 1879, to
provide 'an uncommon educa-
tion for the common man."' (Di-
versity, 1995)
With this history and these
goals in mind, the regents, Presi-
dent Duderstadt and the
University's student leaders
should take a strong, public stand
for truly representative diversity
at the University of Michigan and
work vigorously to bring that
meaningful diversity into reality.
I would suggest the following
measures to rectify the current
1. Actively recruit students
from families with incomes be-
low $30,000 per year.
2. Insure that the University's
resident undergraduate popula-
tion is closely representative of
both the economic and racial char-
acteristics ofthe citizens of Michi-
3. Provide sufficient financial
and academic resources to make
it feasible for students from those
families to attend and graduate
from the University.
The Board of Regents should
form a diversity workgroup, in-
cluding members of the adminis-
tration, faculty, students and other
Michigan citizens, to address
these issues and draft a statement

'In looking at the
applications, I
think it's going to
be an unbelievably
fantastic show.
qualifications are
-John Dutch, head of the
Miss Norman pageant at
Oklahoma University, on
this year's competition, the
first to feature a barefoot
swimsuit contest
of commitment and plan of ac-
tion to bring about truly represen-
tative diversity at the University.
In addition, the regents should
make a clear statement of their
commitment through their actions
by selecting a new University
president whose track record
shows commitment to diversity
I also hope that students at the
University, regardless of their
background, will support these
initiatives and join Students for
Representative Diversity to work
together toward these goals.
Economic and educational
justice are attainable goals and
we can and should make them a
reality here at the University of
Michigan. To allow the present
system of discrimination to con-
tinue is morally wrong and is al-
ready resulting in serious conse-
quences for our entire society. By
acting with foresight, courage and
leadership, the University of
Michigan can tap the potential of
tens of thousands of intelligent
and talented young men and
women whose families have
worked hard to support the Uni-
versity formany generations with
their tax dollars.
The time has come for a truly
representative "diversity" at the
University of Michigan, one that
no longer hides from the reality
of social and economic inequal-
ity in our society ... one that will
provide an uncommon education
for the common man and woman.
have been. Maybe this acquittal
will finally bring an end to it.
Some measure of justice will
be realized, however, when
Simpson inevitably has to give
up the remains of his fortune as
wronorfii-death damae awars

Critic's note: Courts worked in Simpson case

State Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith

To the Daily:
O.J. Simpson has benefited
by an ancient Anglo tradition of
criminal jurisprudence that favors
ixin"M dann- -:..lc #n. u rnnofi

and Nicole Brown. An acquittal
is merely a statement by a jury
that the prosecution did not prove
the defendant's guilt beyond a
r-nn-n-s niih itdnc. nt-.. n-

slimy racist, and any evidence he
found should have been disre-
garded by the jury. However, the
other evidence in this case was
mnrp thanm - mffrett n, n

(D-Washtenaw County)
410 Farnum Building

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