The War on Drugs costs more than tax dollars
To the Daily:
In his viewpoint Friday, Jeff May was right that the U.S. government could put the billions of dollars spent on the failing drug war to better use (Our half-baked drug policies, 04/04/2008). The continued criminalization of marijuana and other drugs has not only wasted tax dollars for decades, it has also destroyed the futures of thousands of Americans.
The Aid Elimination Penalty of the Higher Education Act, passed in 1998, denies federal financial aid to college students with drug convictions on their records. This penalty does not apply to any other convictions, violent or otherwise, and has cost 200,000 students access to education. Alarmingly, this harmful penalty doesn’t just ruin individual lives, it also wastes valuable tax dollars. It costs approximately $26,000 a year to lock up just one prisoner, while the average tuition cost of a four-year public college is only $5,836.
The failing drug war is an economic drain that costs students more than just their tax dollars. The best way to make a difference in the fight against these unfair laws is to get involved. To learn more about what you can do to fight back against the war on drugs, check out the Michigan chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at www.umdrugpolicy.org.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Forgetting about North Campus in the Daily
To the Daily:
I’m not sure if it’s the seven-minute bus ride that deters the Daily from covering North Campus events, but it’s something my peers and I have realized over the past years. Usually we just shrug it off. These past few weeks, though, were intolerable.
The last straw was Wednesday’s feature photo of the Rubik’s cube on Central Campus, instead of the one on North Campus (04/02/2008). To say “another Rubik’s cube appeared on North Campus” undervalued the prank. Some students may not know that North Campus did not have a cube until this past April 1. The Rubik’s cube on North Campus was built from scratch, transported by students to its current location and to cap it off, it could be spun. You don’t have to be an engineer to appreciate this.
It may seem silly to make a fuss over a simple prank meant for all students to enjoy, but it highlights the indifference that the Daily feels for North Campus. To talk of political bias in the media is one thing, but when you ignore an entire group of students based on classroom location, that’s something else. North Campus is not just the College of Engineering; it also contains the Schools of Art and Design, Architecture and Urban Planning, Music and Information.
As a North Campus student, I rely on the Daily to keep me informed of events that are happening on campus just like any other student. I expect the Daily to report on the entire campus community, not only the parts of campus closest to its offices.
Covering Greek life without the stereotypes
To the Daily:
The divide between Greeks and “GDIs” discussed in Theresa Kennelly’s column Thursday is fictional (Giving Greeks press, 04/03/2008). Before reading the column, I hadn’t even heard the term GDI – that’s how often it’s used. In typical Daily fashion when dealing with the Greek system, the actions of the few were overblown and applied to the entire Greek community. This, along with the Daily’s compulsive misquotation of Greek representatives (which I heard about all the time as a fraternity president), is what causes Greeks to spurn the press.
The article also reflected a misunderstanding of the Interfraternity Council’s role in the fraternity process. It is not some all-powerful, dictatorial body that knows when every individual speaks to the press and summarily crushes them with merciless abandon. In reality, the hypothetical situation presented, where an individual with something serious to say is silenced, is completely implausible.
If the Daily really wants to enjoy open information from the Greek system, it needs to stop putting stereotypical aggressive language – for example, “Allegations of hazing” and “pressure to consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol,” which Kennelly used – in its articles when it is not related to the topic. Do some fraternities have problems? Yes. Does applying those problems to everyone alienate the rest of us? Yes. So stop, do some real reporting, and then maybe we’ll talk to you.
The letter writer is the former president of Triangle fraternity
Exposing Hagen for what he is: a good professor
To the Daily:
I would like to share a short statement about my experiences with Prof. John Hagen during my time here as a University undergraduate. Without a doubt, Hagen offers a unique and academically stimulating learning environment. As part of Psychology 305 during winter term 2007 I had the opportunity to attend the conference of the Society for Research in Child Development in Boston where I was exposed to groundbreaking research in the multidisciplinary field of child development.
As the former executive officer of SRCD, Hagen gave our class an exclusive and personal perspective on the conference, which helped facilitate the learning experience. When the four-day conference ended, I realized that what I had learned in that short period of time was more precious than any classroom experience. The final assignments included both critiques of the science presented and a term paper. In March 2008, I was able to travel to Chicago and attend the conference of the Society for Research on Adolescence. Again, Professor Hagen prepared our class with appropriate readings about current advances in psychology.
Yet another innovative aspect of his teaching style is that he encourages students to take advantage of the many events and lectures our university has to offer. The assignment asks students to attend lectures, then reflect upon the issues and evaluate the presentations using critical-thinking skills. The final project represents a culmination of both the conference experience and lecture critiques as students are required to complete an extensive research project.
The students in Hagen’s class and I can attest to the wonderful educational experiences with him as an incredibly intelligent, honest and well-respected educator.
Student-athletes are still students, deserve respect
To the Daily:
In light of recent controversy surrounding athletes and academics at the University, the Expect Respect Student Committee wanted to write this letter in support of our fellow students. It is discouraging to have the media project one specific form or academic support in a negative way.
Despite what news reports have said, Michigan athletes are students just like all of us. No student’s academic history should be publicly exposed and scrutinized without his or her permission. Many students rely on the guidance of counselors, advisors and mentors to help plan their academic career. There are several factors like work schedules, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program or credit hours that factor into which classes a student takes. Finding a way to balance academics, extra-curricular activities and a personal life is something every student faces. All students at the University of Michigan have access to academic support and other forms of support, including concentration advisors, academic peer advisors, the Sweetland Writing Center, Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, the Dean of Students Office, the Spectrum Center and many more. Students should feel comfortable seeking these University-sponsored services.
It appears athletes are being held to a double standard. Students will often take a light semester for many reasons. This should not cause others to question their place as University students. In addition, student-athletes are being ridiculed because their interests outside the classroom sometimes match their major. This phenomenon is not unique to athletes – would it be surprising if many students interested in student government were also political science majors?
We are all students and everyone deserves respect. The Expect Respect Student Steering Committee extends its services and respect for University student-athletes and their contributions to our campus community in and outside of the classroom.
Expect Respect Student Committee