Letters to the editor

· Oct 17, 2001 Tweet

Quit your whining

October in Madison . . . Football games, cold weather, Oct. 12, Halloween . . . what are we forgetting? Oh yeah, midterms. Nothing dominates longer periods of students’ time during the year. Not even guys planning how to court girls into the sack, although that’s a close second. Bottom line: We obsess over school.

And with obsession comes frustration. And with frustration comes complaining.

Ahhh, there it is. I knew this letter had a point. In 20 years, when my kids ask what I thought about UW students, I will tell the truth. “They were all obsessed with porn, lots of porn.” Then I will laugh, send them to their rooms, and tell my wife the real truth — how almost all Madison students constantly whimpered about too many exams, or papers, or readings, or jobs or not enough sleep.

Yes, this is a fine, prominent university. And college life, for non-pot smokers, can be stressful at times. But what did you all expect?

Nobody said a college degree was easy. Except my chemical engineering friend who often chuckles when I say I’m a journalism major. Until, of course, I sock him one in the jaw ? cocky engineers.

Here’s a bulletin: We are all engrossed in studies and stressfully eating whole bags of chips at night to curb anxiety. Every person walking briskly through library mall, or riding a bike in the “Lane-Bike,” they are all immersed in a boring book or tedious paper just like you. They are all strapped for time.

So all you people who are “overwhelmed” or “Soooooo busy this week,” well, so are the rest of us. Every conversation must not revolve around it. When friends ask, “What’s new,” try not to talk about exams or hours spent in College Library. Make jokes. Talk about sports or the WB.

And by the way, just because you spend eight hours at the library, that does not mean you are not e-mailing for two, talking for three and peeing for one. My friend Don watches movies all day for a month until the night before the exam and probably studies just as much as 75 percent of the College Library contingent.

Toughen up, and quit your whining.

Kollin Kosmicki, UW senior

Chancellor commended for sweatshop stance

We are writing to commend the chancellor’s office for their proactive stance in recent anti-sweatshop developments. Special Assistant to the Chancellor LaMarr Billups agreed to write a letter to the contractors through which UW-Madison gets its licensed apparel, urging them to subcontract to Mexmode. Mexmode, formerly called Kukdong, is a maquiladora, or assembly factory, in Atlixco, Mexico that produces apparel for colleges in the U.S. through Nike and Reebok. Fed up with their poor working conditions (including worm-infested food at the cafeteria), workers at the factory walked off their jobs and staged a sit-in last January. Several workers were fired.

Students and consumers across the United States held protests and boycotts against Nike, while the Worker’s Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring group of which UW is a member, sent investigators to the factory. All of this hard work has been fruitful, resulting in an independent union recognized by management, rehired workers and improved working conditions.

For the first time in the maquilas of the apparel industry, an independent union has signed a contract with a company, making this a very significant event in the movement to clean up Bucky Badger and the struggle worldwide for workers’ rights. Although we do not always agree on the issues concerning UW’s ties to sweatshops, we certainly agree that the first contract for an independent union is an important step in improving conditions for workers producing apparel, and we applaud the chancellor’s office for their bold support of the movement and the workers at Mexmode.

Valerie Carroll, UW senior, and Daniel Long, UW graduate student

Support ‘Big Red, Go Green’

Mosquitoes and droughts, floods and heat waves; they all say the same thing. The earth is heating up, and so are the health risks. Increased air temperature increases the concentration of ozone, which can damage lung tissue and causes serious problems for people with asthma and other lung diseases. Even modest amounts of ozone can cause nausea, chest pains and pulmonary congestion. UW-Madison should create policies to promote pollution reduction, institute more cost-efficient ways of generating energy, preserve the environment and, as a result, improve health. WisPIRG’s Big Red, Go Green campaign is pressuring the university to reduce energy consumption by demanding that the administration stick to a definite energy plan that would reduce energy consumption by 7 percent by 2008. As a result, air pollution will decrease and the health of UW students will improve. We, as students, should support campaigns like these by promoting energy conservation on campus that will not only protect the environment but human health as well.

Sheila Simhan, UW sophomore

The Puppy Plan?

Perhaps a solution to the threat of airline hijackings is a very simple one. I have yet to hear governments officials even mention the Puppy Plan, an ingenious plan to stop these hijackings.

The puppy plan is simple. As people board a flight they must pet a puppy that will be accompanying them in the cabin during the flight. There are several undeniable benefits to this, including, but not limited to the following:

1) Innocent bystanders are more likely to defend the plane for the sake of the puppy.

2) Hijackers will find it hard to overcome their desire to keep the puppy alive.

3) Countries will retaliate with absolute force at the premeditated attack on the puppy.

4) Whiny children will be quiet as they watch the puppy’s antics for hours on end.

Although experts may agree this would be a hard plan to implement, it is a step in the right direction.

See also: the Kitty Plan.

Tal Sutton, UW student

School board did the right thing

I agree that the pledge should be dissected and studied by schoolchildren, as long as it is in addition to saying the pledge every day. Teachers claim that the mind needs to hear something repeated four times before it is permanently retained, so if the pledge is to be memorized and cherished by future citizens it needs to be regularly recited by all students. It is comforting to feel national unity in a time of discontent by reciting the pledge with fellow Americans.

As Americans we all must remain vigilant in defending our civil liberties, but none are threatened by reciting the pledge. Students are not brainwashed to believe in God by mentioning His name. By aligning themselves with the will of the people and the law, the school board did not promote “blind adherence;” rather, it has promoted much discussion on the matter. Peer pressure might influence students to conform, but remember that peer pressure works both ways. “Pride cannot be imposed” and “patriotism cannot be taught,” but students should be equipped with the tools they need to better understand why they are citizens of the United States of America. Therefore the school board made the right choice in listening to its constituency and obeying state law.

Ryan Nichols, UW graduate student

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This article was published Oct 17, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Oct 17, 2001 at 12:00 am

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