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January 16, 2003 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 16, 2003

OP/ED

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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 strongly support
diversity of all kinds,
including racial diversity
in higher education, but
the method used by the
University of Michigan is
fundamentally flawed."
-President Bush in a speech yesterday
announcing his opposition to the University's
race-based admissions policies.

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KARL KRESSBACH & BEN CARRICO UNTIED NATION

S

Is it spring break yet?
DAVID ENDERS WEIRD SCIENC

hile I was home
during vacation,
my mother told
me I should write a col-
umn about something that
made me happy. I told her
I couldn't really think of
anything. So I came back
to Ann Arbor even earlier
than I had planned. That made me happy.
I'm not sure if it's going back to Grand
Rapids or my family that bothers me more.
(Grand Rapids is a place that, among other
things, claims former President Gerald Ford as
a former resident and names buildings and
freeways after him. Amway Corp.'s world
headquarters is located in one of its suburbs.
In the local paper, there is an ongoing letters
to the editor debate on the validity of creation-
ism, with justifications ranging from quoting
scripture to assuring letter writers espousing
the opposing viewpoint they are going to hell.
As for my family, I won't air that here.)
For those of you still unsure about where
Grand Rapids is, point at the pinkie side of your
open palm, about the same height as the base of
the thumb. I knew long before the end of high
school I wouldn't ever go back there to work or
live. That realization, I've decided since writing
the last paragraph, is fully a function of the type
of place it is, reinforced by my family. Ann
Arbor is less than two hours from Grand
Rapids, but it's worlds apart.
I knew when I came to school here I

wouldn't stay in Ann Arbor any longer than
necessary to graduate. Had it not been so much
cheaper than going out of state, I'd be some-
where else. That's not to say it hasn't been
great. I don't regret a moment of my proverbial
college experience, but I'm going to be excited
when it's time to leave. I'll be a little nostalgic,
I'll miss my friends, but I'm sure I couldn't stay
here another year. Perhaps that's because I'll
always see Ann Arbor as a transient place (I'm
not that excited about getting older while the
girls at the bar stay the same age) or because it
is increasingly less unique as the University
expands and the surrounding area becomes
more commercialized. It doesn't really matter. I
just know I won't be back.
The thing is, I don't know exactly why I'm
so happy to be leaving. I have virtually no clue
as to where I'll go when my lease here ends in
May. I might not have a job. I'm not sure I
want one. There are so many options it has
become paralyzing. But I can't wait to move
out. Perhaps I am one of the few still enamored
with the ethos of the road, the notion of giving
up everything on the chance you'll get some-
thing entirely new and better. Hemingway
wrote about the virtues of expatriation, forsak-
ing his family for the opportunity to die far, far
away from them. Fitzgerald wrote about eras-
ing his past, Salinger about the impossibility of
absence solving familial problems, and that the
prodigal son, in American culture, rarely
returns home to a warm welcome. Kerouac
understood all of this, but wrote it without the

overt thanatos of Hemingway or the excess and
romanticism of Fitzgerald. He blew it wide
open, and the culture he was a primogenitor of
represents one of the last major shifts in our
country's collective mindset. It led to the back-
lash of the stagnating status quo we have right
now. In the United States, progressive thought
seems to move in a sort of sine wave, and I pre-
sume we are in a trough. At least, I thought my
parents worried about some of these same
things at some point. So what happened? Why
did they move to the suburbs and forget what it
was like to hitchhike cross-country on a whim
or smoke pot all the time? Did they fail or give
up? Am I destined for the same? I keep going
over to my ex-girlfriend's house when I could
be dating someone new. I drink in the same bar
every night instead of trying different ones. I
occasionally obsess over lost.friendships I can-
not salvage. Somewhere, underneath the urge
to run, exists a latent desire to settle down, to
fix things before moving again.
The problem with the ethos of the road is
that giving up and failure are not only one in the
same, they are the only options. There is no ful-
fillment without reaching the destination. And
there is no destination. One just reaches an
unmarked end. Empty.
I tried to explain all of this to my
mother. She told me I shouldn't have
come home in the first place.
David Enders can be reached at
denders@umich.edu.

0

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
Bush: LSA, Law School admissions unconstitutional

The following is the full text of President Bush's
address to the nation from yesterday.
Good afternoon. The Supreme Court will
soon hear arguments in a case about admission
policies and student diversity in public universi-
ties. I strongly support diversity of all kinds,
including racial diversity in higher education.
But the method used by the University of
Michigan to achieve this important goal is fun-
damentally flawed.
At their core, the Michigan policies amount
to a quota system that unfairly rewards or penal-
izes perspective students, based solely on their
race. So, tomorrow my administration will file a
brief with the court arguing that the University
of Michigan's admissions policies, which award
students a significant number of extra points
based solely on their race, and establishes
numerical targets for incoming minority stu-
dents, are unconstitutional.
Our Constitution makes it clear that people
of all races must be treated equally under the
law. Yet we know that our society has not fully
achieved that ideal. Racial prejudice is a reality
in America. It hurts many of our citizens. As a
nation, as a government, as individuals, we
must be vigilant in responding to prejudice
wherever we find it. Yet, as we work to
address the wrong of racial prejudice, we must
not use means that create another wrong, and
thus perpetuate our divisions.
America is a diverse country, racially, eco-
nomically and ethnically. And our institutions of
higher education should reflect our diversity. A
college education should teach respect and

understanding and goodwill. And these values
are strengthened when students live and learn
with people from many backgrounds. Yet quota
systems that use race to include or exclude peo-
ple from higher education and the opportunities
it offers are divisive, unfair and impossible to
square with the Constitution.
In the programs under review by the
Supreme Court, the University of Michigan
has established an admissions process based on
race. At the undergraduate level, African
American students and some Hispanic students
and Native American students receive 20
points out of a maximum of 150, not because
of any academic achievement or life experi-
ence, but solely because they are African
American, Hispanic or Native American.
To put this in perspective, a perfect SAT
score is worth only 12 points in the Michigan
system. Students who accumulate 100 points are
generally admitted, so those 20 points awarded
solely based on race are often the decisive factor.
At the law school, some minority students
are admitted to meet percentage targets while
other applicants with higher grades and better
scores are passed over. This means that stu-
dents are being selected or rejected based pri-
marily on the color of their skin. The
motivation for such an admissions policy may
be very good, but its result is discrimination
and that discrimination is wrong.
Some states are using innovative ways to
diversify their student bodies. Recent history
has proven that diversity can be achieved
without using quotas. Systems in California
and Florida and Texas have proven that by

guaranteeing admissions to the top student's
from high schools throughout the state,
including low income neighborhoods, col-
leges can attain broad racial diversity. In these
states, race-neutral admissions policies have
resulted in levels of minority attendance for
incoming students that are close to, and in
some instances slightly surpass, those under
the old race-based approach.
We should not be satisfied with the current
numbers of minorities on America's college
campuses. Much progress has been made;
much more is needed. University officials have
the responsibility and the obligation to make a
serious, effective effort to reach out to students
from all walks of life, without falling back on
unconstitutional quotas. Schools should seek
diversity by considering a broad range of fac-
tors in admissions, including a student's poten-
tial and life experiences.
Our government must work to make college
more affordable for students who come from
economically disadvantaged homes. And
because we're committed to racial justice, we
must make sure that America's public schools
offer a quality education to every child from
every background, which is the central purpose
of the education reforms I signed last year.
America's long experience with the segrega-
tion we have put behind us and the racial dis-
crimination we still struggle to overcome
requires a special effort to make real the promise
of equal opportunity for all. My administration
will continue to actively promote diversity and
opportunity in every way that the law permits.
Thank you very much.

VIEWPOINT
Praying for the status quo

BY SRAVYA CHIRUMAMILLA
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) call
to reinstate the draft brings back to the nation-
al spotlight one of the most passionately
debated aspects of American military policy.
Established when the United States entered
World War I, the draft required men between
the ages of 21 and 30 to join the armed forces.
The draft did not require women and the dis-
abled to enroll with the Selective Service Sys-
tem. It also allowed for men in college and
those who were conscientious objectors to
either defer or postpone their enrollment.
Exemptions from the draft have often been
discussed due to the popularity of draft dodg-
ing during the Vietnam War. Congress has
since revised the draft exemptions so that col-
lege students would not be able to evade mili-
tary service but could only postpone it for a
semester or an academic year. Religious lead-

zens' freedoms to observe religion as an excuse
for granting those who follow a religion an
upper hand. There are many cases where this
also applies at the University: If for example, I
were to approach my history professor for an
extension on my 23-page term paper citing my
need to ritualistically sacrifice my textbooks to
the Elephant God, I would be granted the exten-
sion; however, this same excuse is not available
for those who choose not to practice a religion.
The government should not hinder any per-
son's practice of his/her religion, however it
should also not be influenced by religion. Citing
a religious belief should not exempt a person
from the laws that govern us all; incidents when
parents withhold medical care for their children
are cases of negligence and child abuse. Not
everyone believes in a god, and even if they did,
they should not be forced to say "under God"
when reciting their country's pledge.
A more dangerous misuse of the govern-
mennt uwminld 1,athe nrnnneoA Aictrilhuntinn of

potential for a great deal of corruption and
unfairness. It is also important to note that
money is tangible and while funds provided to
these groups might be offered for a specific pur-
pose, other functions would also benefit. Since a
goal of most religions is to spread the word of
their beliefs, many religious organizations could
use these funds for that purpose by sponsoring
missionaries around the world, which are a great
threat to religious freedom. This pacific threat is
far more damaging than a group of religious
zealots pointing guns to people's heads in order
to make the victims convert. The false pretenses
of offering food and shelter conceal the fact that
the desperate only get these supplies if they con-
vert to the particular religion. The government
would be indignant if asked to sponsor the mili-
tant group and should refuse just as adamantly
when a request for funds is received from main-
stream religious groups.
Religion's involvement in this nation's gov-

THE BOONDOCKS

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DONALD "LETS ROMLE" ROMSFELD SAID TODAY THAT THE

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