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January 09, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 9, 1997

(hII 3tirbigtu Paig

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
Unversity of Mtcahigand

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

'We're particularly concerned with the effort
that the University puts forth to recruit minority
faculty, but we need to put forth an equal
amount of effort to retain those faculty.'
-Vice Provost for Multicultural Affairs Lester Monts

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
OMA amendments are unfair to the public




O n its way out the door, the Republican
majority of the 88th Michigan
Legislature forced the passage of two bills
to amend the state's Open Meetings Act.
The OMA amendments will allow
Michigan universities to- conduct presiden-
tial searches almost entirely in secret.
Supporters passed the amendments to
counter the results of an Ann Arbor News,
Detroit Free Press and Detroit News lawsuit
against the University Board of Regents
during the University's search. The decision
forced the regents to comply with OMA and
open the final stages of the recent presiden-
tial search. But the addenda do the opposite
they effectively displace presidential
searches from the public record and scruti-
ny, severing the vast majority of con-
stituents from the search for and selection
of the next chief executive of Univeristy
Preliminary stages of the search will be
closed, and records of the search advisory
committee will be exempt from the
Freedom of Information Act until the selec-
tion of five finalists have been selected. The
regents must deliberate over the final selec-
tion for no less than 30 days. Several
regents said the time limit is excessive; and,
while the selection should not be hasty, a
30-day minimum does seem rigid. The final
selection process, including interviews and
all other regents' deliberations over the
presidential selection from the field df five,
must be held publicly.
The only positive part of the bills
ensures that presidential search advisory
committees be composed of students, facul-
ty, alums and community members. Unlike
the recent search advisory committee,
formed mainly of faculty, no group may
form a majority on the search committee.

However, the committee may have regents
as members, provided the number is less
than quorum - which will allow the
regents to snake around the spirit of the law
yet again.
The bills contain other provisions that
will likely make the final selection process
a token event. Not only can some of the
regents now participate in the secret ses-
sions of the search advisory committee, the
entire board will be privy to the documents
excluded from FOIA requests. Why not let
the regents pound the pavement on their
own to find a new president? With this de
facto participation by the majority of the
board through their representatives on the
search advisory committee, the shadow of
regents' influence on the finalists will
become virtually inescapable. Because the
search advisory committee will meet in pri-
vate, there will be no way to ensure that the
committee will consider equally students,
faculty, alumni and community members.
More likely, the regents on the search advi-
sory committee will be able to force the
board's favorite candidate onto the list with
four other names that may never be in seri-
ous contention.
Legislators created OMA and FOIA to
protect and inform Michigan citizens. The
revisions remove any semblance of
accountability from the selection process by
telling members of the community they
cannot participate or even know what is
going on. Secret search procedures hardly
foster an environment of trust and goodwill
in which a new president will feel welcome.
The presidential search process may be
doomed to be the first in a long line of
OMA exemptions - a trend that will only
further remove citizens from the democrat-
ic process.

S I--e

Early expulsion
Engler's adult ed. cuts will hurt thousands

'U' transit
system not a
taxi service
This letter is in response
to a letter written by Richard
Hofer ("'U' buses do not
serve students' needs,"
I thought I had heard it all
in my 21 years as a
University bus driver, but
Hofer, you take the cake.
No. 1: What are you
doing trying to catch a 9 a.m.
bus from Central Campus to
get to a 9 a.m. North Campus
class? Suggestion: Try get-
ting up earlier. I would think
a senior would have enough
intelligence to figure that out.
No. 2: Because it's only
about half a mile from
Central Campus to the
Medical Center, it doesn't
take very long to get there,
especially if you hit all the
green lights.
No. 3: The Bursley-Baits
buses are mostly empty out-
bound around 9 a.m. because
most students are going to
Central Campus and that's
why those buses are so fre-
quent - to accommodate the
heavy loads going to Central.
Hofer, we are not running
a limousine or taxi service.
We are a mass transit organi-
zation. The next time you
open your mouth, be sure you
check your information first.
'U' should be
proud of
Reading the Dec. 9
(issue), I was impressed with
the success Michigan has
earned in the world of col-
lege sports. Articles included
the men's basketball win over
Duke, which kept them unde
feated at 5-0; our current
NCAA champion and No. 1
ranked hockey team; the
wrestling team's fourth place
finish (out of 45 teams) at
the Las Vegas Invitational;
and the football team's selec-
tion to play in the Outback
Bowl on New Year's Day. The
list extends to women's bas-
ketball, swimming, crew,
cross country and beyond.
I was getting dizzy think-

ing of the many sports in
which Michigan fields suc-
cessful squads.
More importantly,
Michigan has maintained a
nationally renowned academ-
ic ranking in the top echelon
of public universities. This
education, after all, is what
your tuition pays for and
upon what your future liveli-
hoods will be based.
Students, faculty, coaches
and administrators all should
take pride in being a part of
this stellar example of acade-
mic-athletic balance. As an
alum and member of the
local community, the pride I
feel is knowing this balance
is based on integrity, hard
work and a set of values that
preserves and protects
Michigan's reputation. No
No. 1 ranking in anything is
worth jeopardizing this repu-
tation, for it is precisely this
reputation that makes it
worthwhile to be a Michigan
man or woman. As you begin
a new semester, feel good to
know that you belong to such
a highly regarded institution.
Feel great to know that your
efforts will be rewarded -
you will do well. And thank
you for maintaining the high
standards that color us not
black and white, but maize
and blue.
MIKE Ricci
"Architecture and
Morality ..." was an article
in last semester's ADVICE
Magazine about a student's
frustrations in the classroom.
It is no more or less a frustra-
tion that every student has
felt at one point or another. I
don't think it was meant to be
a display of hostility toward
any one particular instructor,
nor have we heard any stories
lately of students "whipping
out a 12-gauge pump-action
shotgun" and killing their
teachers. It doesn't necessari-
ly strike me as an article over
which to be greatly dis-
tressed. Examining the last
couple of paragraphs a little
more closely, the student
does, in fact, redeem his
"violent instincts" by getting
his graduate student instruc-
tor's side of the story. In turn,
his "point" is not to blame
his instructor for his own
irresponsibility. (Rather,

blame the assignment! It's
funny, guys, laugh!) It is a
pity that several people took
such offense to this article. I
could apologize for printing
it, but I think I would then be
overlooking the real problem.
The GSs in general may
have other reasons not to like
ADVICE Magazine.
ADVICE exhibits students'
opinions of their instructors,
via letter grade value. If
instructor grades are low,
problems for potential profes-
sionals may arise in the
future. We must realize that
the data is derived from the
opinions of several students.
Therefore, if a few students
do not appreciate their
instructor, it may be reflected
in the grade.
In addition, more often
than not, only a percentage of
students actually complete
their course/instructor evalua-
tions. With this in mind, one
may question the accuracy of
the data.
It should be noted, howev-
er, that these grades are
already weighted, to give the
instructor the benefit of the
doubt. We believe that this
more or less balances it out
fairly, and thus provides stu-
dents and faculty with an
accurate description of
instructors' performance.
We have noted in the past
that some instructors' and
departments' grades are
lower than others.
As a tool designed and
implemented by students for
students, it is our hope at
ADVICE to become much
more than a wimpy-dink pub-
lication that only a small
population of students knows
about and a vast number of
faculty members try to hide.
If the instructor is performing
up to par and really making
an effort to serve the student,
there should be no reason to
want to conceal the grade.
Obviously, it goes much
deeper than simply blaming
the instructor or the student
for each other's grades. But
what I hope to see happen
with ADVICE is the students
(via the Michigan Student
Assembly and the ADVICE
staff) taking it upon ourselves
to seal the communication
gaps between students and
instructors and to strengthen
our academic structure by
confronting the various prob-
lems associated with it - an
accomplishment that is long
overdue - and thus turn
ADVICE into a project bene-
ficial to all sides of the story.

How to achieve
your New Year s
resolution with
relative ease
F rat guy: "I resolve to wash m
wite baseball cap this year.
Clinton: "Ah
resolve to be hon-
est with the good
American people
this year. And . :
that's the truth.
Board of Regents:
"All right, if
you're going to
make such a fuss ERIN
about it, we MARSH
resolve to make itMAS
look like we're complying with th
Open Meetings Act."
Madonna: "I resolve to stop pretend-
ing I'm an actress."
Michigan men's basketball team:
"This year, we resolve to keep a ver
close eye on our time-outs."
Promises, promises. Nine days into
the new year, three years shy of the
millennium, the promises have been
made - and the majority have been
broken, too. Actually, most resolutions
bit the dust before the ball dropped. In
Times Square on New Year's Eve,
figure I witnessed at least 1 00000.
counts of resolution murder in the first
But some of the rest of us mantal*
hope. We're all going to stop smoking-
study harder, lose 10 pounds, find a.
mate for life and discover our true call-
ing this year. Uh huh. New Year's reso
lutions are the least believable lines-
out there, right up there with "We're
just friends," and "I was NOT looking
at that woman!"
Making the pledge feels good. "I am
going to improve my study skills this
year. I have the potential to do gre
work! This is the year when I realize
my academic strength!" You sit down
with textbooks, coursepacks, pens,
new highlighters and a few notebooks,
You take a great refreshing breath and
stretch, preparing to settle in. You
stretch your arms over your head
because it's going to be a long, long
night of studying - no, of realizing
your academic potential! Chapter one
- you dig in. Except ... well, the lig
is sort of bothering you. You can't b
expected to reach genius in poor light-
ing, now can you? So you rearrange
the desk lamp, turn off the overhead
light and close the curtains. Much bet-
ter. You color Einstein's mustache with
a green highlighter and then give him
pink hair. You put him in a blue high-
lighter house and give him an orange
highlighter dog. There. Ready to start
reading chapter one. Except ... yo
forgot to return your mom's phone call
from yesterday. She'll start checking
area hospitals if you don't do it
Twenty minutes later, you return to
your desk. Except .. well, you're sort
of thirsty. No more Diet Coke in the
house. Damn. Well, you'll have to go
to Meijer.
At this point, you give up and blame
the demise of your academic career o
Diet Coke.
New Year's resolutions areunsuc-
cessful because, let's face it, they're
just no fun. The only reason people
make such a big fat deal about a reso-

lution is that it's usually something
they wouldn't ordinarily do. Wouldn't
you think there's a reason for that? No
one particularly wants to get up at S
a.m. every day to run 10 miles because
it's just not the most appealing thing
do in January. And if you've neves
before strapped on a pair of Nikes -to
brave the elements and run a marathon
at daybreak, what makes you think one
stinking day is going to make the dif-
ference between lethargy and
Energizer bunny-like stamina?
The problem is, everyone makes res-
olutions that sound good, but don't
necessarily reflect the limits and weak-
nesses of human motivation. No one,
makes the kind of resolutions that and
one wants to keep. No one says, "Gee
- this year, I resolve to go to class
(except when it's really yucky out-
side), and do sit-ups every morning for
four days (at which point I'll be thor-
oughly sick of them), and put in a
good couple of hours of studying per
night (unless "ER," "Seinfeld," foot-
ball, fill in the blank, is on TV), and I
resolve to stop spending my Saturda
nights drinking beer with all W
friends ... um ... on second thought,
no. I just don't:" These are reasonable
resolutions. These have an outside
chance of lasting beyond the first
week of the new year.
It's guilt. That's why we're all

W hen it comes to giving individuals a
second chance, Michigan Gov. John
Engler misses the mark. Continually. This
time, his administration initiated a series of
draconian cuts in adult education. State
support for adult education dropped from
$360 million in 1993 to $85 million in
1996. As a result, both the breadth and
number of programs have decreased dra-
matically. Restoring funds to adult educa-
tion would ensure that all state residents
regain the opportunity to obtain a high
school education.
As a result of the cuts, less than half of
Michigan's 534 school districts now offer
adult education. If the status quo is main-
tained, 15 percent of the remaining pro-
grams will be cut by the fall. The remaining
adult education programs offer only a bare
minimum of services. Students with a gen-
eral equivalency degree can no longer take
free classes to get a high school diploma.
Furthermore, dropouts must be within a
year of finishing high school to qualify for
adult education. The regulations' supporters
fail to acknowledge that finishing high
school is not always feasible due to prob-
lems at home or slow. maturation.
Immigrants are one of the groups hard-
est hit by Engler's ill-advised education
reforms. The administration has made
English as a Second Language programs
subject to drastic cuts and unrealistic edu-
cational expectations. For instance, in
Dearborn, funding has dropped from $3
million to $1.2 million and students are
now limited to 4A hours to master English.

enrolled in adult education are illiterate in
their native language. That's 450 hours not
enough time to teach them how to commu-
nicate fluently in English.
Engler transferred most of the funds for-
merly designated for adult education to the
Michigan Jobs Commission. The commis-
sion trains youths and adults for clerical,
industrial and other work. Unfortunately,
the training is limited in scope and provides
a miniscule window of opportunity. The
broad base of knowledge necessary to
obtain a high school diploma often opens
the door to management positions. It is
inappropriate to curb the potential of thou-
sands of Michigan residents to advance
beyond entry-level jobs.
The net result of the adult education
funding cut will be a less skilled labor
force. Unfortunately, an economic down-
turn is often accompanied by the loss of the
types of jobs provided by the Michigan
Jobs Commission. Those without a high
school diploma will lack both the training
to perform other jobs and the ability to fur-
ther their education. Moreover, immigrants
who are not proficient in English earn 16-
percent less per week than their English-
proficient counterparts. ESL program cuts
prevent highly trained immigrant engineers,
doctors and other professionals from help-
ing to contribute to the strength of
Michigan's economy.
Engler's lack of foresight has decimated
Michigan's adult education program. He
needs a reality check - partisan executive
nlovs do have an effect outside of Lansing.

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