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January 16, 1998 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-16

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 16, 1998







In the upcoming gubernatorial primaries, the
three frontrunners for the top seat in the state
are debating many issues affecting higher
education and the University community.
By Jeffrey Kosseff and Peter Romer-Friedman

Jn less than a year, Michigan citizens
will decide whether to grant four
more years in office to Republican
Gov. John Engler or to give his job to
one of two Democrats currently cam-
paigning for August's gubernatorial
According to Engler's administra-
tion, the stage is set for Engler's re-
election: the economy is thriving and
the future is promising. But controver-
sial issues, such as affirmative action
and funding for higher education, are
stirring up debate across the state, cre-
ating sparks for what could be a heated
race to the governor's mansion.
With August primaries approaching,
Engler is by far the most favored
Republican candidate, and the two
frontrunners for the Democratic nomi-
nation have University connections.
Larry Owen, a University Law
School alumnus and former chair of the
Michigan State University Board of
Trustees, and Doug Ross, a lecturer at
the University's School of Public
Policy and former assistant secretary of
labor under President Clinton, are in a
heated battle for the nomination.
While the three candidates differ on
many issues
that are impor- _
tant to the
they all claim
the means tos
reach the same
end - quality
education for
M i c h i g a n 's
Two law-
suits filed i
against the
University late
last year alleg-
ing discrimina-
tion against
students in
a d m i s s i o n s
h i g h I i g h t e d Democratic Gubernatorial
a ff i r m a t i v e University lecturer Doug
action in high- at the School of Public P
er education
All candidates say policies must be
reformed, but Engler holds a stronger
position against race-based affirmative
action than his liberal would-be oppo-
"The Governor looks towards
Michigan State University where
admission and financial aid are tied to
economic need, rather than ethnic her-
itage," said Engler spokesperson John
Truscott. "It makes U of M's policy dif-
ficult to uphold. It seems that the
University might run into some trou-
But Owen said there is still a 'dire
need for programs that help fight past
discrimination. While he said he agrees
that the system has flaws, he said there
are many positive aspects of affirma-
tive action programs.
"The fact of historical discrimination
in this state is real," Owen said. "It cer-
tainly needs to be remedied. In some
respects, the policies need to be reme-
died, but we still need affirmative
Ross is the staunchest advocate for
affirmative action. Employing affirma-
tive action through admissions is not
enough, he said.
"(Affirmative action) plays a critical
role of a state institution," Ross said.
"If we can keep some version of affir-
mative action in the courts we should
go to the poor schools to prepare them

for college. The goal is not affirmative
action. It's simply a means to an end
and the end is equal opportunity."
Ross said he hopes the University
prevails in the two pending lawsuits in
order to ensure a diverse student body
in the future. He also attacked state
Sen. David Jaye (R-Macomb) for help-
ing to organize the lawsuits that he said
have divided the state. While Jaye was
spearheading preparations for the orig-
inal lawsuit last fall, he also successful-

Daily Staff Reporter
"My objection to Mr. Jaye is that
while he's arguing that race should not
be used as an issue, he used it to win
his own election," Ross said. "We can-
not let race tear society apart. Anyone
who seeks to enflame racial tensions is
a part of the problem, not the solution.
I say shame on him. The right way to
(address affirmative action) is to initi-
ate a dialogue."
Owen associated Jaye's staunch posi-
tion against
action with
the politics of "The road TO

ing that Ender is more concerned with
cutting taxes than funding education.
"If you're not increasing or even cut-
ting, your priorities are wrong," Ross said.
"The governor has not made education one
of his priorities."
Owen, who has focused most of his
campaign against Engler rather than Ross,
agreed that Engler's administration has not
allocated enough money to state higher

a strong

the Engler
admin istra-
"That's one
example of
the Engler

economy will e paved
with higher education."-LryOe
'e r- Larry Owen
Gubernatorial candidate (D)

"It has not given
an adequate invest-
ment in higher edu-
cation." Owen said.
"The road to a
strong economy
will be paved with
higher education."
But Truscott said
Engler plans to sup-
port education by
allocating more


approach to
things," Owen said. "They divide the
state to gain political advantage. It is
deplorable. It will disable us from hav-
ing such a high quality of living in
Michigan. The exploits of Jaye and
Engler are terrible."
Truscott said Engler defends Jaye's
affiliation with the
lawsuits because
there is no law
excluding state
senators from par-
ticipating in such
n cases.
"Jaye did what
he thought was
right," Truscott
said. "It's their
legal right to do so.
So frequently we
have liberals going
against the state,
that when we have
a conservative go
against the state it
is noteworthy, and
that's why people
are talking about
Owen said that if
the plaintiffs win
LOUISBROWN/Daily the lawsuit in
candidate and Appellate Court
oss holds a seminar and the
licy last week. University's affir-
mative action pro-
grams are eliminat-
ed by that victory, it will be difficult to
remedy past discrimination.
"We could look at income status and
family background," Owen said. "That
would be a real problem."
Ross said that regardless of the outcome
of the lawsuit, Head Start programs that
bolster the skills of minorities should be
expanded to put minority applicants on the
same level with the majority of applicants.
"The University of Michigan should be
identifying talented students in middle
school, preparing them with tutors, after-
school programs and summer programs,"
Ross said. "We should go into low-income
areas and give them the support so that
they have an equal shot."
Truscott said the key to creating equal
opportunity in Michigan education is hav-
ing high quality primary and secondary
education for all students.
"Universities are there to recruit
whomever they want," Truscott said. "We
advocate equal access. Part of it is having
a great K-12 system to prepare students to
go to college."
Higher Education Funding
For the past few years, the state govern-
ment has given state universities funding
increases that are about twice the rate of
inflation. This year, however, Engler's
Department of Management and Budget
indicated that it will not advocate a high
rate of increase for higher education
Universities' budgets "will be tight and
they will have to manage better," Truscott
said. "We're only talking about a 1-per-
cent increase, and it's hard to spread that
Truscott predicted that in 1999 "the
budget will grow more." He added that
Engler encourages university presidents
and governing boards to keep tuition
increases low.
Ross criticized Fnler for his lack of

money to the state's primary and sec-
ondary school systems.
Ross criticized Engler for spending
more money on projects such as prisons,
and less money on education.
"We can either invest substantially in
K-12 or build five new prisons as the gov-
ernor proposed," Ross said. "I would look
to shift more resources towards education
and stop the building of immense prisons."
Another funding issue attracting atten-
tion from candidates is the disproportion-
ate amount of state dollars per student the
University receives from the state. The
state allocates as much as twice the
amount of funding to the University as it
does to other universities such as Grand
Valley State University.
Ross said the state is justified in allocat-
ing a larger proportion of money to the
University because of its reputation out-
side of Michigan.
"The universities are very different
within the state and play different roles."
Ross said. "When you come to University
of Michigan you pay more but you get
greater opportunities. The reality is that U
of M offers much of' what other schools
can't offer."
One higher education accomplishment
of which the Engler administration boasts
is the college savings bond program,
which was instituted last fall. The money
the state receives from the bonds goes to
University construction.
But Owen said the savings bond pro-
gram robs students of money because they
could invest in a more lucrative mutual
fund or stock.
"That bond program is a travesty,"
Owen said. "It's a terrible way for children
to save for college. If you're going to save
for college, you must realize the benefits
of the stock market."
The Out-of-State Debate
The University's situation as both a
large state university and one of'the best-
regarded academic institutions in the
country, puts it in a unique position in
receiving out-of-state students.
The maximum proportion of out-of-
state students for the University is about
one-third, which is significantly higher
than the maximum proportions in most
other state universities.
Some state legislators here called the
University elitist, and state Rep. Morris
Hood (D-Detroit), who chairs the House
appropriations committee, attacked the
University's high number of out-of-state
students during a recent appropriations
meeting. Hood claimed that underprivi-
leged students in Detroit are passed over
for students from other states who are
willing to pay a higher tuition.
But some of the candidates said
Michigan's special position as a top-notch
education institution is a reason to allow
students from all around the world to
"The University of Michigan is a spe-
cial place," Owen said. "To maintain a
high status, the University of Michigan
must have a stronger out-of-state compo-
nent than most state universities. It will
operate differently."
Owen said that in the long run, the
state's economy will be strengthened by
the well-educated students who graduate
from the University.
"The state and the students of the
University of Michigan will greatly bene-
fit " Owen said

efits from out-of-state students, he said
the University's geographical statistics
must always be examined.
"There needs to be a constant debate on
how many out-of-state students attend the
University," Ross said. "I certainly will
always want some out-of-state students."
Truscott said Engler is against admit-
ting out-of-state students to public univer-
sities if an equally qualified in-state appli-
cant is rejected.
"Ifan out-of-state student takes the spot
of an in-state student, we would discour-
age that," Truscott said.
Crime on Campus
The murder of LSA senior Tamara
Williams last fall sparked great concern
about domestic violence on campuses
across the state. The candidates said
domestic violence would not be tolerated
during their administrations. Each said
that, if elected, they would encourage
aggressive anti-violence laws and
increased counseling for victims.
Truscott said that under the Engler
administration, crime rates in Michigan
have plummet-

Gov. John Engler takes the oath of office for his second term in 1995. Engler hopes to take that oath one more

;: :

"Our violent
crime rate has
dropped six
years in a
row," Truscott
said. "We've
increased grant
funding to pro-
tect victims
and their fami-
lies, to make it
easier to get
out of a bad sit-



U student vote
has small imnpact
on pnmaries
With the gubernatorial primary elections fast approaching, a
plethora of political campaigns will try to persuade Ann Arbor
students to go to the polls.
While recent studies have shown college students arc beconO
ing more apathetic toward politics, some groups say they are look-
ing forward to rejuvenating the voice of students across the state.
In fact, many politicians have expressed their frustration for
the lack of student turnout at the polls, even in non-election years.
Larry Owen, who is currently challenging Doug Ross to run on
the Democratic ticket for governor, said that despite low turnout
in the past, he will focus his campaign to gain students' votes.
"Everyone involved is disappointed by the lack of partici-
pation by university students," Owen said. "They have the
greatest interest in our decision. We plan on doing as muc 4
as possible to increase participation. They will have to 11N
with our decisions longer than we will."
While Owen said he hopes to get students
involved in the elections, Gov. John Engler's
spokesperson John Truscott said Engler's
administration will take an increasingly
hands-off approach with students across the
* state and in Ann Arbor.
Truscott said the on-campus and local
political groups will do the bulk of cam-
paigning to secure Engler's third term.
"We will actively seek any votes we ca
1/0 ' get," Truscott said. "What we have to do is
to persuade (students) what kind of Michigan
they want to graduate into."
Meanwhile, as the political heavyweights
gear up for the long and draining campaign
process, student political leaders in Ann
Arbor said they are looking forward to mobi-
lizing a University student body that has a
rich tradition in political activism.
"It's a Michigan tradition of activism
on both sides of the political spectrum.
said Nick Kirk, president of Students for
America and former chair of the campus
chapter of the College Republicans dur-
ing the 1996 presidential campaigns,
"We'll give students an outlet for politi-
cal energy. There's a lot of energy that
can be harnessed in the student body."
Because Engler is the only serious coi'-
tender for the Republican ticket, student con-
servative groups will not have as hard a task
FILE PHOTO for the primaries as the College Democrats.
996 elections. "The College Democrats will do the tradi
ot usually draw tional things to inform the student body,
residential elec- said Sara Deneweth co-chair of the College
Democrats of Michigan. "We're staying neu-
tral and we won't endorse anyone. We've
invited Doug Ross and other candidates to speak."
Last winter, Owen, Ross and former contender state Sen.
Jim Berryman (D-Adrian) spoke to the campus chapter of
the College Democrats. Ross is scheduled to speak to the
College Democrats on campus later this month.
Deneweth said students can still determine the outcome o
elections and policy by using their voices and their votes,
College campuses are generally expected to be more polit-
ically active during presidential election years. In 1996, hun-
dreds of students got involved in political campaigns for
elections on the federal, state and local levels. A cam-
puswide program called Voice Your Vote successfully reg-
istered thouanne r stentc v onte throuoh eion-un tahles

uation. We
have made it so
the police can
iiow testify. A '
lot of the vic-
tims are so
abused mental-
ly and physi-
cally that
they're afraidY
to come for-
Owen, who
in s t i t u t e d
domestic vio-
lence support
p r o g r a m st
when he was A student votes during h
mayor of East Gubernatorial elections d
Lansing, said as many student votersa
he would push tions.
many crime
reforms through the legislature.
"The state has a key responsibility in
instituting legal and social programs to
prevent domestic violence," Owen said.
"They are sound investments in solving
a major problem."
Ross said that providing quality educa-
tion is a way to prevent crime.
"People with an education don't turn to
crime. ninety percent of the people in
Jackson prison do not have a high school
diploma," Ross said. "Education is a
crime fiohtino strate"ax

he 1
do no
as pr


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