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6 The Mass Media March 22,1983

COMMENTARY
EDITORIAL

LETTERS

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"The unapathetic
among us"
The Wednesday before Spring Break, the newly-elected
Student Activities Committee (SAC) was formally seated.
David Burns, a representative from the College of Public
and Community Services (CPCS) was elected chairperson of that body, becoming the first chair in several
years who was not an incumbent. Very few incumbents
were re-elected, ensuring that this year's new and diverse
committee will be viewing its various functions and
duties with a fresh eye, not necessarily a bad thing.
However, even if critical, it is hoped that the new
committee will take a kindly view of its predecessor.
Soon enough, the new members will discover how tough
a job they have and how frustrating it can be.
The purpose of this editorial is not to caution or warn
off the new committee members, however. Rather, it is
to congratulate them. Because, irr spite of another discouraging display of apathy towards the student electoral process, these people made a decision to participate,
and committed themselves. Regardless of how many
people ran for office, how few voted, and how many of
these elected are new to the game, they are in it. now.
They are the unapathetic among us.
Unfortunately, they already face a tough year in that
a lower projected enrollment for 1983-84 means a
smaller budget for the SAC. That, in turn, could well
mean the SAC will be spending the first quarter of its
term in office cutting budgets, not a pleasing prospect
under any circumstances. Less so, considering that the
budgets to be cut will also belong to that minority of
students at UMass/Boston who have chosen to participate in the life of the campus.
Let us hope that the enrollment drive the university
has under way will begin to pay off, and though enrollment may be down next year, it will begin to rise the
next. Let us also hope that the overall participation and
activity of students in campus-related events is at the
low point of a cycle and will begin to rise, despite the
effects of the UMB-Boston State merger, the economy,
' a n d the lack of a free period.
Aside from the gloomy predictions and faint hopes,
: let us finally hope that if the new committee must spend
time in discouraging work, that it doesn't last long and
from there they can move on to the more positive aspects
of the job. Good or bad, these people will be spending
the next year, unpaid and for no scholastic credit,
working for the rest of us. In that time, The Mass
Media, one of the SAC's largest organizations, will
surely have differences with them, but for now, we wish
them well.
Ben Hughes

"Changing the guard"


To the editor,
Two students recently published a complaint about
long-winded instructors that may well be justified. I'm
sure it is in some cases, but there may be others where
the real problem lies in disagreement about when one
class' right to the classroom ends and the next one's
begins. Unfortunately, the writers of the letter didn't
say what they thought was fair, and that makes their
argument difficult to judge. I remember a bitter quarrel
between two instructors who used the same classroom
at successive hours, because one felt that it belonged to
her as soon as the clock struck twenty past, and the
other didn't feel obliged to be out until the moment the
next period began, ten minutes later. Obviously neither
could be entirely right.
The ten minutes'between classes (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) are important to teachers as well
as students. Before class it may be necessary to arrange
one's books, papers, slides, shrunken heads and other
visual aids, erase some paradigms of Rumanian irregular
verbs from the boards, and replace them with lists of
the kings of Wessex and Mercia. Afterwards there may
be papers to hand out and conferences to arrange. If
students want to insist that all such activities be
squeezed into the fifty-minute class period at the expense
of lecture and discussion, they put themselves in the
position of asking for less of what they've paid for.
Professors, for our part, have to remember that
others have pre- and post-class rights to the use of the
room, and not expect to monopolize the whole ten
minutes either before or after our own classes. It goes
without saying that lectures should be planned so as to
end at the fifty-minute mark, and should not last more
than a minute or two beyond this no matter how far
from complete (although with no audible signal it is
possible to lose track of the time). As for the time between classes, perhaps we could adopt a rule of thumb
that twenty-five past is the official time for changing the
guard: that everybody in the room should be out, or on
the way out, by that time, and that nobody has the right
to come in before then, unless the room is already approximately empty. This might prevent some confusion
and rancor. (I certainly feel rancorous when I see a
stream of students pushing in the door at twenty-one
past without allowing my class members their wellearned opportunity to exit.)
Any student who is obliged to leave at exactly twenty
after in order to get to another class or for some other
good reason should be able to tell the instructor about
this in advance, and get up quietly when the time comes
without drawing fire. If it isn't that important, though,
I think students ought to grant the minute or two necessary to bring a particularly Ciceronian sentence to a
close, without going through all the familiar rituals
(closing books, picking up purses, squirming around in
their seats, etc.) by which they are accustomed to let
their teachers know that, the thirst for knowledge has
been quenched. Of course, if the lecturer is still in full
cry after that minute or two, it's a different matter.
A rule of thumb can only be proposed, not imposed,
but it would help us all if we had some generally understood and accepted notion of what's reasonable. (It
might also help if we had a reliable system of bells to
impose an official time standard pn the heterodoxy of
our various mechanical, electronic and biological
timepieces.)
Charlie Bowen
English Dept.

"Distressing reversal"
The Mass Media welcomes letters to the edit or from all
members of the campus community. Letters must be
typed, double-spaced, and limited to two pages. Writers
should include their name and telephone number (for
verification purposes only). The deadline for submissions
to the letters column is the Thursday before each
Tuesday publication. The Mass Media is located at
080/4/003 (Harbor Campus) 929-8294/5.

To the editor:
Last fall 1 responded rather strongly to an editorial
("Ad Standards") which appeared in the October 19
issue of The Mass Media. At that tim* I expressed both
my appreciation for the integrity of your struggle to
come up with a judicious advertising policy and my disappointment with the results of that struggle. Now, because of what appears to be a distressing reversal of a
previous editorial statement, I find myself expressing
further disappointment.
Last fall, in the editorial cited above, The Mass
Media stated that it would not advertise pre-written

research papers because "such a service undermined the


academic mission of UMass." Imagine my surprise,
then, to discover such a service advertised in the last two
issues of The Mass Medial While I am willing to accept
the probability that this advertisement is a matter of
negligence rather than hypocrisy, I am irked by its inclusion in a publication that has so self-consciously
drawn attention to its own decision-making process
concerning advertising in the past.
Also, your inclusion of pre-written research paper
ads makes some of your more recent, and more important, editorials opposing "minimum standards of
admission" at UMass seem ludicrous. On the one hand,
you tell the UMB community that minimum SAT scores
and high school class ranking will be detrimental to disadvantaged potential college students and, on the other
hand, you print a solicitation for plagiarism. (Surely,
you realize that anyone who purchases a research paper
that someone else has written is a plagiarist and subject
to academic dismissal if caught?) Has an education at
UMB so deteriorated that its "academic mission" is
now to encourage and produce plagiarism?
Finally, if The Mass Media is going to assume the
responsibility for reporting administrative duplicities to
the UMB community, then it must become more stringent in policing its own duplicitiesotherwise, The
Mass Media gambles with whatever credibility it has
earned and, since it would represent the voice of the*
student body, it adds fuel to the sometimes passionate
administrative view that UMB students are irresponsible
and in need of "direction."
But in any case, as I said last fall, "this is no way to
run a god-damned newspaper." It still isn't. You would
do yourselves and the student body a favor by finally
foregoing some of your liberal and informal policymaking non-decisions by drawing up reasoned and specific rules for advertisements in The Mass Media.
Otherwise, hell, take the plunge, sell the student newspaper
to Rupert Murdoch.
v
John Hawkins
Philosophy/English '84

"Conscientious
objection"
To the editor,
Certainly racist statements should be silenced. But
legitimate protest of Israeli military adventurism should
not be silenced by labeling it "anti-Semitic racism" (as
was done by Nick Aksionczyk in Wavelength) or
"biased criticism."
One might consider the racist innuendo used against
Arabs in all facets of the media. For instance, in the
movie "First Family" there is a scene in which an Arab
at an international political conference swears, burps
and throws a knife. In the movie "Black Sunday,"
Arab terrorists attempt to blow up the Super Bowl.
Arabs are generally portrayed as barbarians, greedy oil
sheiks, or terrorists.
It is naive not to question the assumption that the
P.L.O. were a terrorist threat to Israel and a major cause
for the invasion. There are economic and political
reasons for Israel to want to redraw the map of the
Middle East and occupy other areas besides which
they now do.
As far as Israeli soldiers are concerned, Palestinian
refugee camps are diseased terrorist nests whether they
contain armed guerrilas or not, so why should they interfere with the work of the Phalangists? By giving a
"mortal blow" to the P.L.O., Israel issued an invitation
for another slaughter of defenseless refugees.
Certainly one can cite several examples in which
Moslems have slaughtered Christians, Christians have
slaughtered Moslems, Hindus have slaughtered Moslems, etc., etc. But to isolate one example isn't really a
valid justification for Israeli aggression.
/The bottom line is that Israel has nuclear weapons,
and territory in which they consider their sphere of influence is ever increasing. Conscientious objection of
how they use their newly found power is not biased or
racist.
Leila Saba
English '86