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January 14, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 14, 2004

OP/ED

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

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

LoUIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
Editorial Page Editors

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
If I could take
it back, I would
take it back."
- Former Treasury Secretary Paul
O'Neill, on comments he made
in a new book, which describes President
Bush's performance in Cabinet
meetings as a, blind man in a room
of deaf people, "as reported
yesterday by The Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX
-I
44 6 *
5~o cxp flr*

0
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Waiting for Connerly (A play in three acts)
ARI PAUL I FOUGHT TIHE LAW

he drama continued
on Monday, when
Ward Connerly, the
leader of the Michigan
Civil Rights Initiative,
announced the beginning
of the campaign to get a
proposal on a statewide
ballot in November to end
affirmative action in higher
education. And what a drama this has been.
In Act One, years of debate on our cam-
pus led to a victory at the U.S. Supreme
Court last summer. The united front for inte-
gration was enormous. Labor groups, civil
rights groups and the deans of the top law
schools stood on our side. Even traditionally
conservative groups like the corporate com-
munity filed amicus briefs in support of the
University. We all thought that the court's
word and the large and diverse coalition in
defense of integration would have given the
small, dogmatic opposition the final good-
bye. But those kids just couldn't stay put.
In Act Two, Connerly, the University of
California regent who ended affirmative
action in state schools there (which would
mark the beginning of the UC system's
decline not only in minority enrollment, but
in prestige in the professional circles of high-
er education), ventured to our state at the
beginning of the academic year to put a pro-
posal on the ballot to end affirmative action.
While conservative students embraced the
MCRI, Connerly's band emerged on the
scene relatively friendless. The state Republi-
can Party and the corporate community want-
ed nothing to do with this. Why? While the

Republicans supported the MCRI ideologi-
cally, they knew that affirmative action is
such a divisive issue that the party's involve-
ment could hand Michigan to the Democrats
this November.
And right here at intermission time is
when the plot thickens. The Ann Arbor News
reported that "Connerly is being sued in Cali-
fornia for keeping secret the names of people
who donated to his nonprofit group called the
American Civil Rights Coalition." What does
he have to hide? If corporations and Republi-
can leadership aren't helping him, are there
groups more extreme willing to foot the bill?
So not only is the GOP wary of the MCRI
because of the political repercussions it could
face in the election, but the party has issues
with being aligned with a potentially crooked
and extremist agitator.
But some state GOP members have
broken ranks with the conciliatory leader-
ship. State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (R-Kala-
mazoo), who berates the University every
year on the House floor for offering a class
on homosexuality, threw in his support.
Rep. Joe Hune (R-Fowlerville), who repre-
sents the state's rights and anti-govern-
ment stronghold of Howell, is standing
with Connerly. The Republican Rep. John
Paster of Livonia, the whitest city in
America among those over 100,000, is
also on the bandwagon.
So we are left here at the beginning of
Act Three, when Connerly has only until
July 6 to get 317,757 signatures on his
petition. While Connerly and his clan have
twisted the meaning of the 14th Amend-
ment to make themselves sound like egali-

tarians, let us paint a picture of how the
duration of this drama will unfold.
Michigan is a politically bipolar state. We
have the labor left and the black, urban poor
in Detroit and the progressive haven of Ann
Arbor. Then there is the militia hotbed of
northern Michigan and the social conser-
vatism of Grand Rapids. Will the MCRI be
petitioning on Cass Avenue or will it be
going door to door in the affluent, mostly
white Oakland County? Will Connerly's peti-
tion reflect the opinion of Howell and Livo-
nia or of Highland Park and Benton Harbor?
Without assistance from the state GOP
and financial support from corporate
donors, the MCRI will have to pander to
the worst aspects of white conservatism and
elitism if it wants to get its proposal on the
ballot. Connerly could very well have his
way; he could get enough signatures and
win the question on the ballot, thus claim-
ing a democratic victory. But there will be
no question where his support will be com-
ing from. Connerly insists that his goals
champion equality, but if he wins we will
have a white, conservative electorate telling
the minority, urban poor of Michigan what
is in their best interests.
While some anti-affirmative action pro-
ponents may honestly not believe that their
goals are this racist, the truth is that political-
ly and practically speaking, this is what the
MCRI will have to do in order to achieve vic-
tory, thus proving how dangerous Connerly
is to the ideal of racial equality.

Paul can be reached at'
aspaul@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

40

U working to improve
Wolverine Access, welcomes
student input
TO THE DAILY:
Using Wolverine Access on Jan. 6, this
term's first day of classes, was a frustrating
experience for students, staff and faculty.
The University of Michigan's Administrative
Information Services (MAIS) worked contin-
uously through the day to correct problems
and will continue to monitor the system
through the end of this drop/add period. By 6
p.m., Wolverine Access was functioning reli-
ably, and by midnight, two-thirds of the stu-
dent drop/add activity expected for the first
day of classes was completed. While our
goal is to sustain a yearly average of 99 per-
cent Wolverine Access availability and the
average for the last two years is 98.7 percent,
performance during important peak periods
has not consistently met our standard.
In response to the recent problems and to
Friday's editorial on Wolverine Access ('U'
should drop changes, 01/09/03), it's helpful to
understand the changes to Wolverine Access
that are scheduled for February 2004. A
major upgrade to the M-Pathways Student
Administration and Human Resource Man-
agement systems will take place in February.
This upgrade is intended to address perfor-
mance and reliability issues and to simplify
system support. It significantly changes the
underlying technology, including the
Wolverine Access architecture, which MAIS
has tested for peak usage and has configured
to handle peak loads. We expect that this
change will position us better to address the
performance issues experienced to date and
to achieve our goal of 99% availability.
In addition, there are changes to the user
interface and some new features will be
added. The front page allows for more
announcements, and users will be able to
accept or decline financial aid, complete and
sign Perkins Promissory Notes and view pay-
checks and financial aid disbursements. The
upgrade also sets the stage for additional
enhancements that will benefit students, staff
and faculty in the future.
MAIS welcomes suggestions for other
ways to improve Wolverine Access and the
other services we provide, and we encourage
dialog with those who wish to discuss ideas
and exolore methods to achieve these

off most of the editorials and political car-
toons as the usual liberal drivel that I've
come to expect from the Daily. However,
this Tuesday's cartoon went far beyond typi-
cal liberalism, beyond Bush-bashing and way
beyond common sense itself. Somehow the
cartoonist believes that our own American
soldiers are deliberately and purposefully
killing innocent children as members of Sad-
dam's former regime did. Not only is this
stupid, it's downright ignorant. This is bla-
tant anti-Americanism by someone who
clearly has no idea what is actually happen-
ing over in Iraq. The Daily should be
ashamed that they actually published a car-
toon that is so clearly slanderous to our brave
troops, who are serving around the world
right now. Colin Daly has gone far beyond
just disagreeing with the current administra-
tion; he is guilty, of treason.
CHRIS JOSEPH
Engineering senior
'U' should be held to
higher level of budget
accountability
TO THE DAILY:
In order to maintain the quality of edu-
cation that students expect from the Uni-
versity, we should all hold the University
administration to higher budget account-
ability. Friday's editorial (Who funds high-
er ed?, 01/9/04) asking the state
government to toss moremoney to the
University failed to acknowledge several
points.
First, the University has been known
for profligate spending for some time now.
Who hasn't questioned the flat-screen tele-
visions in such useless places as the Post-
ing Wall of Mason Hall, the Union
information desk and the lobby of the
Central Campus Recreation Building
(which of all things, shows movie trail-
ers)? Or the new screens for all the Macin-
tosh computers in the Fishbowl? Instead of
wasting money on such projects, why
doesn't the University concentrate on the
programs they are now threatening to cut?
Second, why not pursue an alumni dona-
tion campaign? The notion that public uni-
versities are not able to achieve the same
level of alumni funding as private universi-
.. . ,. ,. . .

ly, giving students the education their
tuition pays for.
LAURA DAVIS
Co-chair, Young Americans for Freedom
Clark's voting record a
reflection of his integrity,
lack of partisanship
TO THE DAILY:
In a recent piece on Wesley Clark (The
General, 01/12/04), it was mentioned that
Clark has faced criticism for his alignment
with the Democratic Party. Students for Dean
Chair Ramya Raghavan was quoted as say-
ing, "I respect General Clark in that he's very
good in international relations, but I don't
necessarily trust someone who voted for
Nixon and Reagan. I guess when it comes
down to it though I'd really like to see a
Dean/Clark ticket. I think that would be very
strong." However, an explanation of Clark's
voting record was not presented in the arti-
cle. As a Clark supporter, I feel it is neces-
sary to respond to this matter.
Clark demonstrates that he is both non-
partisan and moderate by voting for Nixon
and Reagan. He has said that he voted for
them because they were strong on defense.
This does not imply that he should not be in
the Democratic Party. I am a Democrat, but I
have voted for Republicans. And that is a
good thing. You should vote for the person
you believe is the best candidate, regardless
of their party affiliation.
I would also like to note that Clark has
repeatedly stated that he will not be anyone's
vice president.
PATRICK MACNAMARA
Engineering sophomore

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Letters should be kept to approximately

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