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January 13, 2003 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 13, 2003

OP/ED

chbe lIkijiitn anilI

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
I don't think so."
-Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi when
asked by Newsweek ifIraqi President
Sadaam Hussein is rational.

SAM BUTLER TiE SOAPBOX

7 ra - -\
~

01

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V7-
d

Diversity will survive; quality might not
PETER CUNNIFFE ONE FOR THE ROAD

0l

ith the resolu-
tion of the law-
suits against
the University's affirma-
tive action policies -
expected to determine the
fate of affirmative action
in college admissions
around the country - fast
approaching, the Univer-
sity may soon have an influential new oppo-
nent. The Bush administration is considering
joining the legal fight against the admissions
programs of the College of Literature, Science
and the Arts and the Law School. Many admin-
istration officials want to be a part of the
expected culmination of the last few years' pat-
tern of repeal and invalidation of affirmative
action in college admissions around the coun-
try - its nation-wide elimination.
But whatever the legal resolution of the
question of affirmative action, colleges will con-
tinue to strive for diversity. And as the experi-
ence of those schools whose affirmative action
programs have already been eliminated show,
they will eventually be successful. Opponents of
affirmative action programs like the
University's, which include George W. Bush,
have insisted racial diversity will not be
destroyed by ending affirmative action and have
been largely correct. After the U.S. 5th Circuit
Court of Appeals banned affirmative action in
admissions to Texas' state universities in the
1996 case, Hopwood v. Texas, then-Gov. Bush,
supported a new system - the "affirmative
access" he still promotes as an acceptable means
of achieving diversity - designed to keep
minority numbers stable in Texas colleges. It
guarantees the top 10 percent of high school
graduates admission to state universities.

Because of the deep segregation of the Texas
school system - which is common throughout
the United States - the "10 percent" policy
quickly returned black and Latino admissions at
Texas universities to their pre-Hopwood levels.
In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush's One Florida pro-
gram, which replaced affirmative action at state
universities with expanded minority recruitment
efforts, college preparation programs and guar-
anteed admission to the top 20 percent of high
school graduates, has also been effective in
increasing minority enrollment after a brief dip
following the elimination of affirmative action.
These programs have not completely solved the
problem of reduced minority enrollment.
In Florida and California for example, while
system-wide minority enrollment has returned to
levels comparable to those achieved with affir-
mative action, the numbers have never fully
recovered at their most elite schools. But these
admissions processes are being continually
modified to increase the number of minority stu-
dents in race-neutral ways, such as reducing the
importance or even eliminating all consideration
of standardized tests and placing more weight
on factors such as "overcoming adversity."
At least in the undergraduate admissions
process (this will be a much trickier problem for
graduate programs), they will eventually find the
right balance of non-racial factors to admit the
number of minorities they want.
Ironically, while affirmative action oppo-
nents claim deserving students are unfairly kept
out under the current system, the race-neutral
methods of achieving diversity that are promot-
ed by those like Bush may be what actually
ensure unqualified students are admitted. Con-
sider the "10 percent" rule. High school grades,
difficulty of curriculum, standardized test scores,
extracurricular activities, essays and letters of

recommendation really are useful in determining
who is most likely to succeed in college. Current
university admissions procedures contain so
many criteria because all of them together give a
much better idea of the abilities of a student.
Those who took hard classes or got high. SAT
scores or distinguished themselves extracur-
ricularly, but fell bellow the 10 percentage
cutoff, may be much more qualified than
those who concentrated only on doing well
in easy classes and went to bad schools -
practices encouraged by "10 percent"-type
rules. College admissions have also never
been solely about academic criteria. Univer-
sities use a number of controversial factors
- alumni relatives, socioeconomic status,
geographic diversity, athletic ability and race
- because they help assembles a class meet-
ing a variety of the school's goals. Race is
probably the most justifiable of these
because racial diversity is educationally ben-
eficial, improving the education of all the
members of the class (diversity's educational
benefits are disputed, but the University has
conducted studies demonstrating them and
the large number of companies supporting
the University's policies certainly- believe it
makes graduates more desirable).
Even if the University's policies are
struck down, those who lament that their
minority classmates took the places of more
qualified students and cheer on a presidential
attack on affirmative action are in for an
unpleasant surprise. Diversity programs
won't go away, but alternatives like "affina-
tive access" may be what actually lowers the
quality of students at the University.

S
0
0

Peter Cunniffe can be reached
atpcunnij@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Job search article misleading;
immigrants take good jobs
from citizens for lower pay
TO THE DAILY:
The article, Political climate slows job search
for international students (1/10/03), by Lydia K.
Leung, has several errors, the worst being the
quote, "In order for a company to be able to
gain sponsorship approval from the (Immigra-
tion and Naturalization Service), they have to
prove that they cannot fill that position from the
American general population."
Bank of America recently replaced many of
its engineers with lower priced immigrants, and
any business can do the same; there is no ban
on doing so. That is at the request of the high
tech industry. You also fail to note that busi-
nesses using H-1Bs are, in fact, selling citizen-
ship to their immigrant workers, a green card is
part of their "pay," but once they get a green
card, they expect to get higher pay.
It is more likely they will be replaced by
new immigrants, as industry sells more seats at
the United States' table. One benefit they will
gain is the ability to bring their parents to the
United States and put them on SSI, at taxpayer
expense. Public costs, private profits is the new
business plan. If Michigan needs more people
on SSI and more engineers on unemployment,
it is a good one. (See: www.programmers-
guiUl.org/Guild/hl b/howtounderpay .htm.)
I have been out of work for two years, while
100,000 engineers from India were sold access
to our schools, hospitals, water, etc. All things
my taxes have paid for for over 35 years.
HARRISON PicoT
Haymarket, Va.
'True Wolverines' do not
complain about football team
TO THE DAILY:
I find it amazing that anyone thinks the
Michigan football team has been mediocre
since its National Championship in 1997,
as Joseph Litman does in Conservative Carr
'officially on the clock' (01/08/03). That is
the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!
Instead of complaining about your football
team, why don't you look at the hard facts.
Since the 12-0 season and national champi-
onship, Michigan's record is a combined 47-15
(including three ten-win seasons!). Over the

They are second in consecutive bowl appear-
ances (28). Carr has also had seven straight
New Year's Day bowl games.
Are you all Michigan Men/Women?
Then show it! We aren't a flash-in-the-pan
school that is good for a few years and then
you don't hear about them for a decade (See
Miami). We haven't had a losing season
since 1967 when Bump Elliot was coach.
Why don't you spend more time being
happy that Michigan has and will always
have a great football team, and stop whin-
ing about its "mediocrity?" Anyone who
complains about this team and its coach is
not a true Michigan Wolverine.
DAVE PRATT
Alumnus
Honkala, party-line thinkers,
Leftist ideologues 'suck'
TO THE DAILY:
If "the Left's big guns are delusional if
they believe personal grudge matches ...
accomplish anything," then why does the
Left's biggest gun, John Honkala, author
of Hitch hits the road; pass the whisky
(1/10/03), launch an ad hominem attack on
Christopher Hitchens?
Honkala believes Hitchens offers an
important critique to the anti-war move-
ment yet dismisses Hitchens for being an
arrogant alcoholic. Needless to say these
irrelevant and perhaps slanderous claims
regarding his personal life have nothing to
do with the debate over war on Iraq. Per-
haps Honkala wants a Left with ideologues
performing languorous fellatio on one
another and dismissing anything that chal-
lenges the "people's" party line. I think
that sucks and the column sucked.
ERIC SIROTA
Engineering senior
Franczak's viewpoint
'unconvincing;' big companies
should pay for damage done
TO THE DAILY:
Matthew Franczak's viewpoint, Dow is
not responsible for Bhopalis' suffering
(1/10/03), offers an unconvincing and
frankly insulting response to concerned stu-
dents seeking recompense for foreign

attempting to hurt his education. As one of
many health students interested in the
rights of Bhopalis, I can proudly say that I
would be glad if my school declined funds
from an entity that profited from the suffer-
ing of others.
AMER ARDATI
Medical School
Dow Chemical should not
be held responsible for
conditions in Bhopal
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing this letter after reading the
extensive review of the Bhopal gas tragedy
in India and the current conditions,
(01/09/03).
I fully agree with the fact that the poiso-
nous waste clean-up has not been done
quickly and that the authorities are not taking
sufficient action to prevent further damages.
However, I do not support the allegation
against Dow Chemical Co. for not respond-
ing responsibly. Since the company took
over Union Carbide Corp. in 2001, we
should give it more time to comply with the
safety provisions and waste clean-up.
I don't think that Dow should be held
responsible for the disaster. Protesting
against the company, although peacefully,
may not improve the situation. The compa-
ny, in that case, has the chance of filing a
lawsuit against the protesters by claiming
loss of work. I think the matter can be
resolved by the students in the University
through peaceful and meaningful talks
rather than encouraging protests in India.
We may not gain much by doing and/or
supporting it.
HEMANT KHANNA
Medical School
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
of its readers. Letters from University students,
faculty, staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters should include the
writer's name, college and school year or other
University affiliation. The Daily will not print
any letter containing statements that cannot be
verified.
Letters should be kept to approximately 300
words. The Michiean Daily reserves the right to

9

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