MSA needs to cut back on posters, extreme waste of paper leads to desire to vomit

To the Daily:

As I was reviewing my current tuition bill, I noticed that the first thing I was being charged for was a “school & college gov’t fee”. The third item was something called simply, “Michigan Student Assembly”. What follows isn’t so much me telling you how to spend this $1.50 and $6.69, respectively, but rather me pleading with you on how not to spend it.

Please, please, please do away with all the posters. No more posters. Every time I walk into the Modern Languages or Dennison buidings around election time, I feel like throwing up. You all have plastered the interior, wall-to-wall with pictures, names and ridiculous mnemonic devices.

Every night the custodians tear them down and every morning you put new ones up. Just so you know, this paper does not get recycled. Believe me, I asked the custodians as they were shoving them all into plastic trash bags one night, cursing your existence. If any of us knew exactly how much paper was wasted every year on student elections, I think we’d all throw up.

This alone is the reason why I have never voted in a student election here. If this wholesale deforestation continues, I assure you, not only will I never vote as long as I am a University student, but I will begin withholding my $8.19 from your pockets every semester and encourage everyone I know to do the same. If this means cutting funding for student groups, then so be it. In my eyes, the enrichment of my college education is not something for which I’m willing to sacrifice the planet Earth. Admittedly, this isn’t the only issue on my University of Michigan Axis of Environmental Evils, but I think it’s a good place to start.

Instead of accelerating our race toward extinction and insulting my intelligence in the process, why don’t you guys do all this stuff online?

You could have a big page full of candidates, with all the colors you want and by clicking on their names, the extremely capable student body could view a short biography, the candidate’s stance on student issues and even a nice big picture for those of you still interested in keeping some of the beauty contest aspects of the election. Then, being sufficiently informed, we could make up our minds based on real criteria, not on whose name rhymes with that of someone famous.

But perhaps you already do all this. Why then, is it not enough? You can still chalk up the sidewalks, slap some ads in the Daily and record public service announcements – whatever. Just stop killing the damn trees! And if it turns out the money for the posters doesn’t come from my $8.19, then for god’s sake, stop killing the damn trees!

Thank you all very much for your time and please seriously consider my suggestion. I think it would truly revolutionize student government and maybe even encourage people like myself to vote.

Will Travers

LSA senior

Local music scene flourishing, Daily needs to acknowledge strength of local groups

To the Daily:

Thank you for Niamh Slevin’s feature article on Mons in yesterday’s Daily (Mons’hugs’ local scene). It’s been a while since there has been any recognition of local talent in the Ann Arbor music scene. The fact of the matter is, Ann Arbor is anything but a “barren wasteland” for local music, as Slevin puts it in the article. There are so many great local groups here, but the Daily refuses to recognize them, for the most part, unless they are on the fringe of national success; this past fall’s spreads on Funktelligence and Athletic Mic League were commendable, but only the tip of the iceberg.

There are a number of really amazing groups around here, but the Daily gives absolutely no thought or mention to them. Shows happen every weekend at the Michigan League, Union and of course the Blind Pig. In fact, Slevin’s description of the number of local acts to become legends as “laughable” is just plain wrong! Taproot, four Ann Arbor natives, two of which attended the University, are now out touring the country in support of their second album “Welcome” which has already sold 200,000 copies and their single “Poem” is garnering heavy MTV and radio airplay.

Perhaps the reason that it seems to many as if the music scene here is dead is that the Daily pays no attention. As the newspaper that claims to belong to the students, it is the responsibility of the Daily to go out and find what is going on, and to report it to the student body. Without the Daily’s support, the music scene here can never reach its full potential, and that is why, to the majority of the student body, it would appear as if Ann Arbor’s music scene is lame.

Ben Umanov

LSA junior

Hanink wrong, e-mails over discussion list do not reflect opinions of Anti-War Action!

To the Daily:

To clarify, the source of the impetus for Johanna Hanink’s column, No room for Israel on campus left (1/27/03), is one e-mail from a discussion list with over 150 members. The purpose of this list is to serve as a space where those involved in anti-war activism can converse about issues related, directly or indirectly, to Anti-War Action! As a discussion list, people are free to express their opinions on said issues. We decided to have a group discussion about the Israel/Palestine issue, one on which we have consciously refrained from taking sides as a group. We did this, hoping for free and open discussion, because we are, without reservation, “pro-dialogue.” We are also “pro-journalistic integrity;” Hanink is apparently opposed to both.

Clearly, as a discussion list, statements made in such a forum do not represent the opinion of the group as a whole. It seems obvious that a private statement made in the course of such a discussion cannot serve as an official source of information about such a large and diverse group of people, contrary to what Hanink assumed. It’s unfortunate that the column characterizes AWA! as being part of an “isolating, exclusive” community, when this is simply not the case. People who identify themselves as part of AWA! include members of the Progressive Israel Alliance, Students Allied Freedom and Equality, The University Snowboarding Club, Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality and the Environmental Justice Group, to name just a few.

While we appreciate constructive criticism of AWA!, divisive slander serves no purpose, either for us or for the alleged “anti-people.” Israel/Palestine is an emotionally charged issue and there are conflicting opinions both inside and outside of what Hanink ambiguously calls “the Left.” The exchange that occurred over the AWA! discussion list was meant to create dialogue between people whose views differ, in many cases strongly.

It is poor journalism to assume that a few people’s opinions are representative of an entire organization. It is unethical and vicious to do what Hanink has attempted and failed to accomplish, while passing the blame to us: “irreparably staining the movements that have put the University in the national spotlight over the past year with personal agendas…hypocrisy and hatred.”

Gregg Jashnani

LSA senior

Max Sussman

LSA sophomore

Both writers are members of AWA!

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