Media does not make men cheat on women
To the Daily:

Shakira Smiler’s column about how men’s sexual nature is reinforced by the media (A trifling media, 02/01/2008) did a great job of old-fashioned male bashing without much argument to back it up. She made a great point that men’s and women’s magazines give each sex different messages (Hint: It’s based on what sells magazines). However, calling all men “trifling” and saying that women are “baffled” by cheating men left me scratching my head.

Studies have shown that just as many women lie and cheat as men. Just because a former U.S. president, the mayor of Detroit and a few of the author’s friends have cheated doesn’t mean that there aren’t just as many “trifling” women doing the same thing. I don’t know why Smiler is so baffled. People don’t cheat because of what a magazine says. Both men and women cheat because they are human beings, and unfortunately, some people feel the need to lie about it so they don’t lose what they have.

Nick Stadts

Bad team shouldn’t cause bad turnout
To the Daily:

This week, the University celebrated the 40th anniversary of Crisler Arena and hosted, among other players, our great alum Cazzie Russell, who played basketball for Michigan and was a three-time All-American. I was at the game. The Michigan basketball team did its best, and the players worked hard against Big Ten-rival Minnesota. The only people who didn’t show up were the Michigan students. It was embarrassing that the student section was one-third empty.

Where is the student body at these games? Do students only show up when they are guaranteed a win? Our team, though not very good yet, works hard and shows up. It’s about time for students to do the same.

Jerry Acker

Stereotyping men as cheaters ignores reality
To the Daily:

After reading Shakira Smiler’s article bashing the entire male sex (A trifling media, 02/01/2008), I couldn’t help but laugh. By stereotyping over 3 billion people as liars and cheaters, she managed not only to embarrass herself but also look ignorant.

Are we supposed to believe that because she can find cheaters and liars among her friends and idols that all men are cheaters? Sounds to me like she isn’t a good judge of character.

I think it’s time for her to drop the sullen, adolescent attitude and start surrounding herself with good men. Good men greatly outnumber the bad ones. Maybe if she did a little social research, she would have known that. She also would not have written such an overreaching and disturbingly ignorant article that tarnished her name and the name of a usually excellent newspaper.

Stephen Reed
Engineering graduate student

Studies show marijuana doesn’t cause cancer
To the Daily:

A New Zealand study about the dangers of smoking marijuana, cited in a news brief Wednesday (Three Things You Should Know, 01/30/2008), was misleading and contained a significant inaccuracy.

Medical studies with large sample sizes have consistently failed to link marijuana use to increased rates of lung cancer. In fact, at least two studies have shown lower incidences of lung cancer among marijuana smokers who didn’t also use tobacco.

Furthermore, the New Zealand study’s assertion that a lung cancer epidemic is imminent because of marijuana use is simply not credible. Marijuana use has been ubiquitous in America for more than 40 years and no such epidemic has emerged.

On the contrary, marijuana has proven medical value for patients suffering from debilitating and painful diseases like multiple sclerosis and cancer. Fortunately, Michigan voters will have the opportunity this November to pass a ballot initiative to protect these sick and dying people from the threat of arrest and penalty for using medical marijuana to alleviate their pain and suffering.

Chris Chiles
LSA sophomore
Executive Director of the University’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy

‘U’ has done well fixing graduation mistake
To the Daily:

I feel like I’m going out on a limb, and maybe I will be ostracized by fellow seniors for this, but I would like to thank the University’s administration for everything it has done to fix the graduation snafu. I concede that the administration should have thought about graduation when planning the construction project or at least let students know about the problems sooner. But everyone makes mistakes, and I feel the administration has done everything it can to make up for its mistakes.

The administration has spent a great amount of money and time looking into alternative solutions to make everyone happy. It’s clear that the University realized its error and dropped everything to make amends.

I now hope that other graduating seniors will be able to accept the compromises. When I heard the news, I figured that all of the anger would be gone and most people would be satisfied. After all, most students initially just complained that graduation wasn’t going to be on campus. But I read the comments on the Daily’s website and the walls of Facebook groups, and I still see students who are unsatisfied with the decision to have graduation on campus but not at Michigan Stadium.

The University has given strong reasons why commencement can’t be at Michigan Stadium, reasons that portable toilets and generators won’t fix. No amount of complaining or marches at the Cube will get graduation to be at Michigan Stadium. As seniors, there are two things we can do: Accept this fact, give the administration credit for quickly correcting its mistake and have a great ceremony elsewhere. Or we can hold our breath, throw a temper tantrum, refuse to attend graduation and refuse to donate to the University ever again because of this grand injustice.

Once again, thanks to the University’s administration. I appreciate what it did, and I’m looking forward to April 26, wherever commencement is.

Aaron Johnson
Engineering senior

Arguments against Peace Corps misguided
To the Daily:

The charges levied against the Peace Corps and its volunteers in last Tuesday’s Daily – including paternalism, volunteers’ lack of “the experience necessary to tackle the problems in developing countries,” misguided “do-gooder mentality” and an insufficient commitment to service – are certainly valid in the world of international aid (University ranks fifth in grads joining Peace Corps, 01/29/2008). The work of even the most well-meaning aid organizations often lacks results or smacks of neo-imperialism when the West’s supposed experts impose solutions on other people.

However, when it comes to the Peace Corps, such criticisms are largely misplaced. These criticisms inappropriately overemphasize the Peace Corps as an aid agency while underestimating its unparalleled cross-cultural virtues. Two of the Peace Corps’ three official goals are explicitly cross-cultural: “Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served” and “Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” The other goal is a reminder that the Peace Corps does not force volunteers on foreign governments. Instead, volunteers are requested to meet each country’s needs.

I would say most Peace Corps volunteers – regardless of their motivation for joining – quickly learn they are not abroad to save the world. Instead, the do-gooders, the adventure-seekers and even the slackers all form friendships and understandings that are unavailable back home. People in the host countries similarly benefit from the exchange. It’s difficult to think of another program that affords so many Americans and people around the world this in-depth experience.

While the concerns voiced in the Daily’s article should weigh on the mind of anyone considering work abroad, in my experience, Peace Corps volunteers develop nuanced insights on these issues. Today, when Americans have the wealth and power to do tremendous good or evil in the world, the more Peace Corps volunteers we have, the better. The value of Peace Corps is not necessarily in “making a difference,” it’s in gaining a cross-cultural perspective on when, where and how to make a difference.

Matt Muspratt
The letter writer was a Peace Corps volunteer.

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