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March 11, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-11

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4--The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 11, 1997


420 Maynard Street
nn Arbor MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor .in hief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily' ~ditorial board. All
otherarticles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

Emergency extension
U' must remedy applicant decline

'I wasn't scared, I was having fun. I was canoeing
around and fishing in my front yard. Didn't catch
anything, but I was getting some bites.'
- Twelve-year-old Phillip Sharp, of Birdsville, Ky., explaining how
he turned his town's devastating floods into an afternoon ofplay
MA" ,s . 1 PU T r $. Am-
BYE* Mons !

-.I he composition of the 1997-98 first-
year student applicant pool fell consid-
rably short of University expectations this
year. Missing from the swarm of prospective
Wolverines were the substantial numbers of
miinorities and high-achieving academic
scholars sought by admissions personnel. In
an emergency.effor to secure applications
from such students, the University extended
the application deadline by one month.
Admissions officers then messaged some
4,000 of these students who had requested
applications or submitted test scores but had
tdot yet completed the procedure, encourag-
ig them to submit core applications by the
extended deadline. Moreover, the University
allowed these students to submit the essay
domponent of the application separately
after the new deadline.
While the University proved wise in
compensating for the compositional short-
domings of the applicant pool, foresight and
oareful planning would have eliminated the
need for such drastic action. The University
should better anticipate such problems with
suture incoming classes to make the dead-
line extension a one-time action.
2 Reports reveal that the numbers of
minorities and top students applying
dropped sharply from last year. In fact,
minority applications - mainly those from
14ative Americans, African Americans and
Latino/as - fell 14 to 18 percent. The
declining trend in top scholar applicants
,roved so evident that, this year, the
University even investigated the prospect of
etablishing a school for the academic elite
1o attract such students. The magnitude of
the declines - and the fact that the drops
represent part of a recent nationwide trend

made them' predictable. occurrences.
Because of the length of time it had to rec-
ognize and address the problem; the
University should not have had to resort to
last-minute emergency tactics to attract stu-
dents. Earlier action would have doubtless
proved preferable to the deadline extension
- an act that demeaned the University,
making its rules appear lax and its image
one of desperation.
As the volume of applications - from
all students - has declined in recent years,
the University should intensify its overall
recruitment efforts. Possibilities for such
action include more summer programs
offered to high school students that expose
them to the University campus and earlier
mail or phone contacts with high school
students viewed as potential qualifiedappli-
cants. The University could easily slant
such'efforts to intensely target the specific.
segments of the high school student popula-
tion they wish to attract - in this case,
minorities and the academic elite. Though
the University does offer a limited number
of these programs for minorities - such as
the long-standing King, Chavez, Parks
Program - they have apparently failed to
produce the desired effect. The University
could either augment these programs or
explore other recruitment avenues.
The University's lack of anticipation cost
the institution both a number of valued
applicants and, because of the deadline
extension, a share of its esteem. More care-
ful planning and heightened recruitment
should prevent a repeat of this year's episode
and should make certain that future appli-
cant pools better reflect the broad spectrum
of students the University hopes to attract.

Automatic politicians
Ex-officio MSA seats defy democracy

If the students approve the Michigan
Party's latest brainchild, the small Room
3909 in the Michigan Union could become
a lot more crowded at every 7 Michigan
Student Assembly meeting. In its last meet-
i g, the assembly approved a ballot ques-
tion that would amend the All-Campus
Constitution to give large student groups -
of 400 members or more - direct ex-offi-
do representation on the assembly. MSA"
works with student groups a great deal and
their input is important. However, giving
them an automatic seat on the assembly cre-
ates more problems than it solves.
The group representatives would be
unable to vote but could take part in debates
and would have all other representative
Rtowers. Presently, any student interested in
eipressing their opinion - on behalf of a
group or otherwise - can speak during.
qonstituents' time at the beginning of MSA
,meetings. Representatives can also allot
time for constituents to enter into the regu-
lar debate. There are avenues available for
student input into MSA business - creat-
ing new seats is unnecessary.
The students elect MSA representatives
Mbr a reason - to pursue students' best
interests. Adding ex-officio members who

.. _ .. .

squabbles worse and creating severe con-
flicts of interest. Debates over important
issues like the annual budget and student
group allocations could rage out of control
with group representatives stifling mean-
ingful debate while vying for a bigger piece
of the pie.
MSA debates often run long with
dozens of representatives taking time to
speak. Injecting inexperienced, partial rep-
resentatives into the situation would enlarge
the problem - leading to longer, more con-
fusing debates. Moreover, the group repre-
sentatives would be uninformed about
many of MSA's issues and the parliamen-
tary procedures under which it operates.
MSA meetings could deteriorate from dis-
order into chaos.
The 400-member rule the ballot ques-
tion imposes is problematic. A change to
the MSA Compiled Code would be neces-
sary to work out the details if the students
approve the referendum. The Michigan
Party has no system to validate student
group sizes. Without such a mechanism,
MSA could not guarantee that its ex-officio
representatives are legitimate student group
members. Small groups could submit mass
meeting sign-up sheets containing dozens
of non-members to gain representation -
making the referendum irrelevant.
The U.S. Congress does not have seats
for large citizens'% groups like the National
Organization for Women - similarly, large
student groups should not have seats on
MSA. Elected representatives should equal-
ly represent all 'facets of the student body.
By creating seats for large student groups,
the ballot question could severely damage
the integrity of MSA's work. Students

Cloning will
affect food
I read with interest, as
I'm sure most people have,
about the cloning of a sheep
in Scotland, reported in
Nature this week. Regarding
your article "Sheep clone
raises issues" (2/27/97), Prof.
Velleman makes an excellent
point: A genetic clone, even
of a human, would not pro-
duce an exact copy of the
person. The environment cre-
ates a portion of who every-
one is and in most cases,
even geneticists don't know
what proportion, in absolute
numbers, genes contribute to
a disease or personality trait
and what proportion is con-
tributed by the environment.
I do not believe that
cloning, whether of humans
or of non-human animals,
could possibly lead to any-
thing worse that what already
goes on in the production of
non-human animals for
"food" in the United States
today. The Daily may believe
that using non-human ani-
mals in the production of
enhanced food and drugs is
not a common ethical debate,
but that doesn't mean it
shouldn't be. As a veterinari-
an, I have been repeatedly
horrified by what passes for
"housing" for non-human
animals in "food" production.
I am continually dismayed by
my colleagues who perform
painful surgeries on "food"
animals without anesthesia,
and by the abysmal way in
which non-human animals
are crammed into trucks for
long journeys (for example,
from New York to Wisconsin
or from Wisconsin to
Montana) in any weather,
usually to end up in a slaugh-
The use of non-human
animals for "food" is an ethi-
cal question whose time has
come. What are you having
for dinner tonight?
Fisher is not
to blame
Simply put, most
Michigan fans need to grow
up. Yeah, so the basketball
team had a terrible Big 10
season, they didn't make the
tournament and they didn't
fulfill lofty pre-season expec-
tations. But this is the time
the real Michigan fans show
their faces and the wannabes
jump on the hockey band-
wagon. It's easy to cheer for
the blue when they go to
hn4_n-s r .+ ame.,. n; h .,

like Dean Smith. Don't
expect him to be anybody but
Steve Fisher. He's done just
fine since he started; he's got
the numbers to prove it: 179-
82. Are those the numbers a
guy who can't coach would
put up? Let's remember,
Fisher took a group of under-
classmen to the champi-
onship twice in a row, to lose
to Duke and North Carolina
with what was considered the
greatest recruiting class
before the Fab Five.
Second, even though the
team under Fisher has been
great, fans always expect
more. If Michigan wins by
one, they want it by 10. If
they win by 10, they want a
bigger win. Last time I
checked, they all count as one
win, no matter the final score.
Fans don't do it with just
scores, they do it with
recruits too. There will never
be a group of freshmen like
the Fab Five, so don't com-
pare every new face with
them. Let them become who
they are, instead of trying to
be who they aren't.
Finally, although an NIT
bid is disappointing,
Michigan and its fans should
show the nation that they are
a better team than what peo-
ple think. If they can win the
NIT, it will not only give
them momentum into next
season, but it can salvage
respect. They won't be No.
65, but a top 20 team at the
end of the year. Consistently,
the NIT winner has placed in
the final polls.
No one expected the sea-
son to turn out like it did.
But the players and the
coaches aren't going to give
up on themselves and neither
should the fans. Because the
fans who don't give up are
part of that team too.
reasons for
team's trials
With all the talent the
Michigan men's basketball
team has, there are many
good explanations for why
they stink. I think the top two
are coaching and recruiting.
Steve Fisher and his staff
are damn good at recruiting
talent, but don't seem to do it
very strategically. Before
long, all the players realize
that if they are going to prove
to the world that they are the
man, they had better shoot
before the next guy does. The
end result is no offensive
scheme and repeated trans-
fers to other schools. The
answer is this: recruit some
unselfish, fundamentally
sound players and keep two
nn.ta en..... mch a n,-

depend on their size and ath-
leticism way too much when
a shot goes up. Michigan has
averaged only one more
rebound per game than its
opponents. This is unbeliev-
able and unacceptable. Fisher
needs to refresh everyone's
memory on how to box out
Finally, Fisher needs to
learn how to motivate his
players. Since their opening
eight-game tear, they have
been flat and apparently
indifferent. They didn't want
to win as badly as their oppo-
nents and that had a lot to do
with their bonus free time.
are exclusive
I am responding to Sara
Deneweth's letter ("Kirk inci-
dent represents GOP demise,"
2/25/97). The commentary
brought up some valid points,
but I feel compelled to refute
her inaccurate stereotypes of
both the Republican and
Democratic parties.
"The Democrats have
always been inclusive," but
only, it seems, to those who
unquestionably back their
rigid agenda. Individuals who
retain firm religious convic-
tions, push for less govern-
ment intrusion and hold dif-
fering policy views are not
only unwelcome in the
Democratic Party, but are
often vilified as "fanatics" or
A recent example of this
involves the treatment of
Paula Corbin-Jones. Instead
of merely denying her allega-
tions, White House public
relations personnel launched
into an immature name-call-
ing tirade by slandering Jones
as "trailer trash" andmock-
ing her "big hair." The party
that claims to embrace the
poor and oppressed wasted
no time in labeling her with
ugly stereotypes of the lower-
middle class for its hypocriti-
cal smear campaign. f
Although Jones' charges have
merit, many journalists and
feminists have declined to
speak out. It seems that the
Democratic Party is only
inclusive to those who desire
to maintain the political sta-
tus quo. Individuals seeking
reform, justice and equality
should go elsewhere.
The Republican Party is
"elite" only in the sense that
it attempts to uphold the
principles that allow
American society to function;
obviously, not everyone
adheres to these tenets.
Division within the
Republican Party in recent
varsc hsc ',acina sred a a

Clinton sticket
to historical
praise: The arts
S econd-term presidents typically
have three central, over-arching
priorities: to secure a place in history
as a great leader, to leave a legacy of
good policy and to ensure their party
continued control of the executie
branch. Our current president is surel
motivated by these
ambitions andche
should be con-
cerned that he
might fall short on
all three. As things
currently stand,
Clinton is likely to
be remembered
for a never-ending
supply of scan-
dals, for destroy-
ing the social safe- AMUEL
ty-net, for bring- GOODSTEIN
ing poll-based GRAND
politics to new ILUSION
and disturbing levels and for causing
the Democrats to lose control of
Congress - and these are things 4'is
supporters will recall. While he will
deservedly be given credit for sound
economic policy, for preventing mis-
guided Republican budget proposals
and for a relatively coherent foreign
policy, the president surely could use
some more issues with which to secure
a positive place in history. To this end'
I have a suggestion: Use the bully pul-
pit to make funding for the arts a
national priority.
The president has been complicit -
by using his pen and not his mouth-
in Congressional Republicans' assault
on funding for the Nation
Endowment for the Arts. Funding for
the NEA has reached a dangerously.
low level and America's future as a
country that values - and promotes
- the arts is in jeopardy.
The non-partisan President's
Committee on the Arts and
Humanities recently released a report
noting that public cuts in funding for
the arts, which have been accompa-
nied by decreases in private and cor-
porate support, are threatening the.
well-being of cultural and educational.
institutions in the United States. The
committee - on which policy-mak-
ers, academics and artists sit - pro-
posed, among other things, raising
funding for the NEA, increasing fund-
ing for the arts in schools, requiring
arts education for all high school stu-
dents and encouraging philanthropy
through the tax code. The committe}
noted that while charitable giving rose
by 11 percent last year, contributions
to the arts remained constant - this
trend exacerbates the damaging
impact of Congressional cuts to the-
NEA and other cultural institutio s-
which have slashed funding for t
arts by 40 percent.
More specifically, the committee
called on all 14 states currenlbr
attempting to limit the tax-exempt s
tus of non-profit organizations to give
up such efforts. Indeed, tax-exemptions
are crucial for non-profits to continue
to provide services that, for obvious
reasons, for-profit organizations will.
not. Furthermore, the committee
called on Congress to restore funding
for culture and the arts to a level of $2
per taxpayer, or $550 million, up from
the current level of $1.34 per taxpayer,
or $358 million. One needn't be a'
economist to know that an extra $192
million doesn't amount to a hill of:

beans in the federal budget.'
Congressional Republicans who claim
that. cutting funding for the arts is in.
any way going to impact the national';
debt are pulling a fast one on the pub-F
lic; they are doing nothing to cut the
deficit, they are merely using the bud-
get as a veil to cover their ideological
opposition to public support for th;
arts and culture.
Both the president and the first lady
have indicated their support for these
proposals. However, the president
should do more than merely announce
his support and leave it to artists and:
academics to make the case for this
issue. Here is the rub: To really have
an impact on funding for the arts, and
to make the arts a national priority, the
Clintons must make an issue of th
issue. This means giving speeches,
making appearances at museums and
calling for action, and, of course, giv-
ing Congressional Democrats political
cover to try to make things happen on
Capitol Hill - something this presi-
dent has never been very good at.
If Clinton takes these steps and
makes the arts a real national priority,
he will be rewarded. Historians will
remember him as the president w.
saved the NEA and other cultural insti-
tutions from fiscal oblivion, the public
will respect him as the man who stood
up for our cultural heritage and our~
artistic future, and artists will consider
him a president "for the arts." The
..,-v PPA-d u ili n .:...li:inm ;

represent a small portion of the assembly's
constituency could cause uneven distribu-
tion in representation. Small groups would
IWse influence while large groups' power
would increase disproportionately - creat-
ing unfair representation.
MSA's job is to represent the entire stu-
dent body not individual student groups.
Elected representatives' personal agendas
and commitments already interfere with
aCfimhlv hbuines .Ex-officio ron renre-

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