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October 20, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-20

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 20, 1997

(1hie Wlcbt-ull atfllu

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


Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.
A place at the table
Students need representation in city council

'This memorial has been forged by the countless acts of
bravery and sacrifice of generations of America's service-
women, by their centuries of patriotism and patience,
their blood and valor, their pain and perseverance.'
- Vice President Al Gore, at the dedication of the women':V
military memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VI.
LJRA'Tl6 -Tro AY7. '
1U1 admissions practiCes are legal

A nn Arbor is the quintessential college
town - with University buildings
intimately interlaced among the city's
prized restaurants and shops. Yet in Ann
Arbor's political arena, the University
community is glaringly underrepresented.
Students and faculty, while constituting a
large part of the city's population, current-
ly hold no seats on the Ann Arbor City
Council. In turn, the council does not
always give University issues the attention
they merit. Students deserve a voice in city
politics - the city and the student body
must work jointly to ensure the current
lack of representation does not persist.
In the past, Ann Arbor drew electoral
lines so that students comprised the major-
ity of one or two districts. Students, sens-
ing they had a realistic chance of winning,
ran in citywide elections - and were fre-
quently elected as city council representa-
tives. These representatives were able to
give University issues a prominent spot on
the council's agenda. Moreover, they
worked toward forging a strong and posi-
tive relationship between the council and
the University. Today, in the council's
chambers, such attention to University
needs is sorely lacking.
Current electoral laws make change
unlikely, however they fail to address
the unique political circumstances students
inevitably must face. Ann Arbor's electoral
districts jut out like spokes from the center
of the University campus. Students, if they
wish to run for council, are at a formidable
disadvantage. Other candidates can trans-
late strong community roots into votes -

In honor of
midterms, an
ode to the TV

it is difficult for a student to have the elec-
toral base of a decades-long resident. In
addition, other candidates will likely have
more time to devote to their campaign than
a full-time student could possibly spare.
By re-establishing student majority dis-
tricts, the city of Ann Arbor could once
again give students their proper voice in
municipal affairs.
The city is not all to blame for student
absence from local politics. Student
turnout in recent local elections has been
abysmal. This is partly because many
University students are not registered to
vote, or are registered elsewhere. While
attending the University, policies in Ann
Arbor and the state of Michigan will prob-
ably have a great deal more relevance in
students' lives than politics in their home-
towns. When University funding and poli-
cies are on the line, student input, and
votes, are vital. By not registering to vote
in Ann Arbor, students are limiting their
ability to influence state and local policy-
There is one way students can guaran-
tee local politicians pay attention to their
concerns - by exercising their right to
vote. If students do so, city councilmem-
bers will heed student input, and once
again put University issues on the council's
agenda. Electoral district lines seem to be
drawn to minimize the impact students can
have on city politics. If enough students
press the issue, the city should be more
willing to redraw electoral lines to level
the playing field for students in city elec-

Since its founding, the
University of Michigan has
been committed to providing
an education to the widest
range of students. Throughout
our history we have included
students from diverse geo-
graphical, racial, ethnic and
socioeconomic backgrounds.
For almost 200 years, pub-
lic universities have unlocked
the doors to social and eco-
nomic opportunity to students
from many different back-
grounds, and we believe it is
absolutely essential that they
continue to do so. Our mis-
sion and core expertise is to
create the best educational
environment we can. We do
this in part through a diverse
faculty and student body.
Our admissions policies
are linked to these core val-
ues, especially our chief
value: academic excellence.
We are supported in this
judgement by virtually all of
America's leading universi-
ties, and we believe that our
admissions policies are fully
consistent with existing legal

We use a variety of factors
to determine a student's
admissibility to the
University. These include,
among others:
High school grade point
The rigor of the curricu-
lum during high school years,
especially the number of
advanced placement and
international baccalaureate
courses offered
* Standardized test scores
such as SAT/ACT scores
Geography (Michigan
residency, underrepresented
counties in Michigan, under-
representedsregions in the
United States)
Alumni relationships
(parent, sibling or grandpar-
Essay quality
Personal achievement
(state, regional and national
Leadership and service
(state, regional and national
Socioeconomically dis-
advantaged student or educa-

Underrepresented racial
or ethnic minority identity or
Athletic ability
Each of these factors can
influence a student's admissi-
bility because they are consid-
ered to be characteristics that
contribute to the quality of the
University and the diversity of
the student body. No one fac-
tor is determinative; our
approach utilizes both objec-
tive and subjective factors,
treating the admission of stu-
dents as both an art and a sci-
The University has
retained Wilmer, Cutler and
Pickering, a highly regarded
international law firm, to rep-
resent it in this lawsuit.
- University President
Lee Bollinger offered this
statement in response to a
lawsuit filed in US. District
Court challenging the
University's affirmative
action policies.

t 's midterm time, which - if you're
Ibig on procrastination - means your
house is spotless. You're taking great
interest in things like vacuuming wln-
dowsills and washing all your shoelaces.
You're probably also watching televisift
programs that would not raise the slig.
est bit of interest
A little history:
Back in the 1920s,
a few folks were
driven to find -
something new to
do with their time.
Their pursuit for
entertainment in
the legal, non-alco-
holic form gave us ERIN
one of the most MARSH
marvelous instru- TH N
ments of time T FINuING
suckage known to
humankind: the television.
Although those frustrated moonshine
guzzlers developed all the pieces
(minus, I believe, the remote) the first
actual program was aired by the Brits;
1937. (And, 60 years later, they of
"Absolutely Fabulous.' How's that for
progress?) College students and mas-
ters of procrastination everywhere owe
these trailblazers of the tube an enor-
mous debt.
I'm sure everybody remembers ty-
kid in elementary school whose hippie
fied parents wouldn't buy a TV. When
everybody else swung from the mon-
key bars and discussed their favorite
shows, this kid would say somethi
like, "We read books instead. Mom
says TV slowly rots your brain." The
brain-rotted - but content - kid.
would stare in terrified pity, then cluck
sympathetically. "Aw man!"
'm pleased to report that the TV-
deprived kid in my class turned out to be
as big a weirdo as I thought he would.
This doesn't stop people, however,
from maintaining the delusion that TV
deprivation is a good thing. A qu
check of the Internet confirms that there
exists a "TV-Free America" webpage
appealing to those red-blooded
Americans who would pledge to turn off
their television sets for a week. (The
sickos.) TVFA describes itself as an
"~organization that encourages
Americans to reduce, voluntarily and
dramatically, the amount of television
they watch in order to promote ni
healthier, and more productive liv
families and communities"'
Mm hm. Whatever you say.
People are polarized and passionat: ,
about their television habits. Some talk
about it like it's a drug: They get
"addicted" to a show, need their week-
ly/daily "fix" of some program, andthe
season-ending cliffhanger of a favorite
show always leaves them panting for
more. People talk about some new p
gram that is particularly pleasing, a
the response is: "Oh no. (Groan.) I'tm
not getting hooked on anything else'."'
TV junkies must be selective. It can
be ome an expens habientaltoT
viewing is basic cable. Cable is a phe-
nomenal thing. You've got 60-odd chan-
nels, feeding you random sporting
events (have you ever watched ESPN2at,
off-hours? The "Strongest Man Alive"
contests are truly a sight to behold :
albeit, a revolting sight), news of every-
flavor, home decorating, travel adven-
tures, amazing visual lessons of history,
John Hughes movies and more.
I remember as a kid sharing the "what-
did-you-learn-today" discussion at the
dinner table. More often than not, 1
would proudly spew forth some remark
able little tidbit and Mom would say

"Wow - you learned that in school?"
Nope. Saw it on "Mr. Roger
"Sesame Street.""3-2-1 Contact.'
TV offers constant, new information
at a faster pace than any other med-
um. To me, there is no substitute for "a
copy of The New York Times and a cup
of coffee, but if life gets hectic ard'
schedules are tight, who's going 'to
condemn you for watching CNN while
you brush your teeth and iron a skirt?
You get the information either way -
and picking one or the other will p
vent ignorance, which is perhaps the
greatest social malady of all.
Then, of course, there's the garbage.
Junk TV is also great, for reasons tht,
defy and sometimes negate all my jus
tification for television viewing in the
first place. "Loveline" is one such
addiction, of which I'm not necessarily
proud. "Pop-Up Video" is another one."
Reaching the end of the workday
which in terms of the University a*
The Michigan Daily means I I p.m. or
later - leaves one with energy levels
sufficientsonly to accommodate the
most mindless of programming. Junk
TV has a purpose and serves it well.
So as you plow head-first into
exams, papers and the prospect of all

Testing troubles
HSPT performance is overemphasized


Inaccurate, elitist, high-risk, low-yield,
irrelevant - these are just some of the
terms used to describe Michigan's High
School Proficiency Test. Controversy has
surrounded the HSPT since its implemen-
tation in February 1996, yet six state legis-
lators have proposed a bill that would uti-
lize test scores to grant Michigan
Competitive Scholarships. Considering
the disputes over the HSPT's validity, stu-
dents' scores must not be grounds for the
Michigan Competitive Scholarship
Rep. Kwame Kilpatrick (D-Detroit), a
co-sponsor of the bill, says supporters
"want the test to mean something." Some
students claim they have little incentive to
take the test, as it only results in a mark on
their transcript. Under the bill, students
would have to take the HSPT to qualify for
state scholarships. Considering the
HSPT's track record thus far, this require-
ment is nonsensical.
Initially, depending on score, students'
scores were rated from novice to profi-
cient. During this past summer, the
Michigan House passed a one-year mora-
torium on labeling students "novice." The
moratorium was also intended to grant the
legislature time to review problems and
questions from individuals the HSPT
affects. Should the proposed bill pass, it
would be obvious that the legislature did
not fulfill their responsibility to fully
investigate the problems associated with
the HSPT. Before using scores to grant
scholarships, the state must first reconsid-
er the test's value.
The HSPT is an intense 11 1/2-hour
testing marathon. With 181 school days
per year, the test's large time block detracts
from the student's educational time. In a

participants were declared proficient in
writing and science, 40 percent in reading
and 50 percent in math. Many of the
"novice" students were actually college
bound - with high grade point averages
and extensive extracurricular involvement.
Yet, in accordance with the HSPT, they
were not worthy of receiving state-
endorsed diplomas.
The idea of declaring certain students
proficient, based solely on a test, creates
an unfriendly and elitist environment.
Students in heavily urbanized areas tend to
score poorly on the HSPT and other
national and statewide tests - possibly
indicating ethnic and racial biases in test-
ing. In addition, wealthier school districts
offer after-school programs to assist stu-
dents in taking the HSPT. Poorer districts
are immediately put at a disadvantage.
Considering the questions surrounding
the test, awarding of scholarships should
not be based solely on HSPT scores. It is
also unreasonable and irresponsible to
base hiring practices on scores, as another
co-sponsor of the bill hopes to eventually
Rep. Ron Jelined (R-Three Oaks),
plans to propose a bill that will encourage
employers to pay higher wages to gradu-
ates who score well on the HSPT. Jelined
believes the bill would give non-college-
bound students incentive to take the test -
a test that offers no conclusive information
about students' academic potential.
The state must not use HSPT scores to
determine state scholarship recipients -
basing scholarships on such a controver-
sial test will prove beneficial to no one.
Before using the test as a base to gauge
students' ability to succeed beyond high
school, the state must reconsider the

'U' must fund
North Campus
nursing clinic
Family housing has
recently suffered a tremen-
dous tragedy. Many through-
out the community came to
participate in the candle light
vigil and memorial services.
It was very heart warming to
see President Bollinger there
showing his support for those
victims still alive (family and
friends). You see, family
housing is not a dormitory
community. Family housing
is where nearly 1,500 fami-
lies grow and develop. It is
not uncommon for home
births to occur in family
housing apartments.
So, I am writing this letter
to bring the attention of
President Bollinger to a new
tragedy descending upon the
residents of family housing.
Many of the 1,500 residents
in family housing are in dan-
ger of having their only
source of health care taken
from them.
You see, along with the
1,500 apartments in family
housing, there is a little clin-
ic, the North Campus nursing
clinic. This clinic provides
everything from vaccinations
to first aid for "unexplained
domestic injuries." For many
in family housing, the nurs-
ing clinic is the only health
care they can afford or which
their culture will allow them
to receive.
Unfortunately, it appears
the University will not pro-
vide adequate funding, or

will allow UHS fees to be
applied for services rendered
at either clinic.
State roads
are in ill repair
Last week, I drove to
Lansing to visit friends.
Unfortunately, I forgot my
crash helmet, which has
almost become a necessity
when driving on Michigan's
pothole-infested roads.
Needless to say, it was not a
pleasant trip.
We have heard an awful
lot of talk from Governor
Engler about fixing the roads
(I will leave it up to you to
guess why he was not inter-
ested in doing this until an
election year).
We have heard the gover-
nor talk about getting more
federal funding to fix our
roads. And we have heard
U.S. Rep. Nick Smith (R-
Addison) assure us that he is
securing more funding.
The only problem is that
Engler does not carry enough
weight to convince Newt
Gingrich to increase funding,
and people like Smith vote
against that funding when it
comes to the House floor.
Engler should be blamed
for procrastination on the
road issue, while we should
blame the likes of Newt
Gingrich and Nick Smith for
not getting the job done.
The next time I lose a
hubcap because of a pothole,

U.S. history is
one of 'savage
Of all the deceptive anti-
affirmative action arguments,
one of the most ridiculous is
the abstract claim that it is in
complete contrast to
America's ideals and values.
Proponents of this claim call
for allotment of resources
based solely on merit - a
color-blind society where all
have equal access. It seems
we are to believe that prior to
the Civil Rights Act the
United States was a harmo-
nious land of equality. We are
to believe that those timeless
words comprising the
Constitution and Bill of
Rights have historically been
given life by the actions of
America's citizens.
However, there is a very
serious problem with this
position: history. We have all
studied it, and we all know
that America's history is one
of savage racial inequality.
The truth is that 250 years of
injustice, brutality, racial strat-
ification and pervasive suffer-
ing all comprise America's
"sacred" ideology. Let us
remember that the original
quota was "white males only?'
So now, after centuries of
benefitting from the oppres-
sion of others, those individu-
als who hold a disproportion-
ate share of the resources are
calling for the observance of
so-called American principles
of equality. What they are
really saying is that America's
college campuses and profes-

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