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September 07, 2004 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


, _ *7

t I am not
interested in
responding to a set of
demands where no
real discussion can
take place."

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004 - 5B


L;,, a
«~ 'wre
. ..
... BEETS ve°ro

w'1 4


- University President Mary Sue
Coleman, in an open letter to students,
printed April 1, 2004 in
The Michigan Daily.

RicI PF:

FOP, succ SS?

'Members-only' diversity
n the early weeks of bly would have been more than sympathetic to the when it comes to minority issues. She was shocked
last year's boycott boycotters' cause. and insulted that a white student had asked her
against The Michigan So what were the leaders of these communities how she styled her hair.
Daily, the organizers of the so afraid of? Would white people necessarily have It's very likely that this student asked her in a
boycott logically held caused problems, and would the students of color less than sensitive way, but, at the same time, are
many meetings with inter- all necessarily have agreed with - and kept secret we supposed to come to the University knowing
ested members of the Uni- from the Daily staff - everything that went on? everything? Where I live, at Telluride House, there
versity community to (They certainly did not.) Was this compatible with exists one of the most comfortably diverse and
discuss the issues sur- University philosophy and policy, and if not, why amazingly engaged communities on this campus.
rounding the boycott. was it OK? Every year, each student is expected to prepare a
However, one of these meetings, scheduled to This kind of situation pops up every once in a one-hour "pubspeak" about any topic that they
take place in a University residence hall, was while, and when it does it usually sparks a few wish to speak on. Two years ago, a black student
designated as a "minorities only" meeting; in debates, enrages a few students and is soon forgot- presented to the group about African-American
other words, whites were not welcome. ten. A friend of mine who graduated last year had hairstyles and hair care. In situations like that,
I'm not sure how the meeting worked - I have tried - with the utmost sincerity - to join when we acknowledge our ignorance and someone
a friend who looks "white" enough, but her grand- HEADS, a black male student group at the Univer- steps up to help eradicate it, the goal of a diverse
mother is Lebanese. Would she have been allowed sity. Not being a black male, he was turned away, learning environment is most successfully realized.
into the meeting? I know another person - again, no question. The impetus behind this column was the story
unequivocally "white"-looking, but he had enough Student groups who exclude others based coming out of California that a student from Oak-
American Indian in his blood to claim minority entirely on those others' non-minority status may ley wishes to begin a Caucasian club - and so far,
status on graduate school applications - although have a sound justification; if there is, I would be she's collected about 250 supportive signatures.
only at some schools, not all. Would he have been very interested to hear it. The University tolerates According to The Associated Press, this girl, who
turned away at the door? Would the organizers this, even if the argument it makes in favor of this promises that all people will be welcome to attend,
have demanded a certificate of tribal affiliation? behavior is an argument from silence. As a white- said that she and her friends feel "slighted" by the
When I first read the e-mail announcing the as-white-can-be student who can date her Euro- presence of other minority student clubs.
meeting, it evinced a visceral reaction in me - pean ancestors' arrival in the United States to the There's somewhat of a natural reaction behind
how, on University property, could a meeting take 1690s, it is admittedly difficult sometimes - and this idea - in talking about the "minorities-only"
place at which the organizers could say, in no sub- very probably impossible - to always fully under- meeting, it followed to question whether the Uni-
tle words, "no whites allowed?" Is this what multi- stand what is at stake in students of color's issues. versity would have allowed a "non-minorities-
culturalism means at this University? Even though This doesn't mean that I don't want to or don't try only" meeting. But it's an instinct that should be
I was in a position of leadership at the Daily during - I want an explanation. If you have one, please suppressed: This isn't the path toward the kind of
the boycott - and thus was supposed to keep my send it. diversity objective that the University claimed
mouth shut - I was outraged enough to write to Exclusion, as easy as it might be, is not the way throughout the course of the affirmative action
the hall director (twice) of the residence hall which to build a comfortable diversity at this University. case. The proper response is not to feel offended
allowed (in that it did not prohibit) that meeting to Right now, this ideal only exists in small pockets and strike back - it -is to strive for inclusiveness
proceed. I received no response. of University life, but where it exists, it's a wonder- even when it is uncomfortable, and to be willing to
Why not market the meeting as targeted at ful thing. Last year I read of a University student, teach others even when the lesson seems obvious.
minority communities? Caucasians surely would quoted in The Washington Post (At U-Michigan,
not have turned out en masse, and those that would Minority Students Find Access - and Sense of
have attended most likely would not have been Isolation, 04/01/03) who complained of the Hanink can be reached
members of The Michigan Review - they proba- absolute ignorance that white students display atjhanink@umich.edu.

America needs to re-commit itself to investing in the future

APRI 1,2003

Foremost on the minds of most university lead-
ers these days are the devastating cuts in appropri-
ations as the states struggle to cope with crushing
budget deficits and the erosion of private support
from gifts and endowment income associated with
a weak economy. Of course, the optimist might
suggest that this is just part of the ebb and flow of
economic cycles. In bad times, state governments
and donors cut support, hoping to restore it once
again in good times. But this time it may be differ-
ent. There is an increasing sense of pessimism
about the restoration of adequate state support,
particularly for flagship public research universi-
ties such as the University of Michigan.
Yet there is a certain irony here, because soci-
ety's dependence upon higher education in general
and the research university in particular has never
been stronger. Today we are evolving rapidly into
a post-industrial, knowledge-based society, a shift
in culture and technology as profound as the shift
that took place a century ago when our agrarian
society evolved into an industrial nation.
A radically new system for creating wealth has
evolved that depends upon the creation and appli-
cation of new knowledge. In a very real sense, we
are entering a new age, an age of knowledge, in

which the key strategic resource necessary for
prosperity has become knowledge itself - edu-
cated people and their ideas. Unlike natural
resources, such as iron and oil, that have driven
earlier economic transformations, knowledge is
inexhaustible. The more it is used, the more it mul-
tiplies and expands.
But knowledge can be created, absorbed and
applied only by the educated. Hence schools, in
general, and universities in particular, will play
increasingly important roles as our societies enter
this new age.
Yet today the United States, which once viewed
education as critical to national security, seems
more concerned with sustaining the social benefits
(and tax policies) demanded by an aging baby
boomer population (and to hell with the kids). The
priorities of those of us in this impacted wisdom
group are clearly heath care, prisons, homeland
security and reduced tax burdens for the near term
rather than the education of the next generation
and the future. This situation is unlikely to change
until a new generation establishes a more appro-
priate balance between consuming for our present
desires and investing for our children's future.
This is particularly important for the leaders of
America's public universities. Today, in the face of
limited resources and more pressing social priori-

ties, the century-long expansion of public support
of higher education has slowed. We now have at
least two decades of experience that would suggest
that the states are simply not able - or willing -
to provide the resources to sustain the capacity and
quality of their public universities.
Most pessimistically, one might even conclude
that America's great experiment of building world-
class public universities supported primarily by tax
dollars has come to an end. It simply may not be
possible to justify the level of tax support neces-
sary to sustain the quality of these institutions in
the face of other public priorities, such as health
care, K-12 education and public infrastructure
needs - particularly during a time of slowly ris-
ing or stagnant economic activity and an aging
generation that apparently cares little about the
future it leaves for its children. Flagship public
universities, such as the University of Michigan,
must come to grips with this reality and take those
actions, both courageous and no doubt controver-
sial, necessary to preserve their quality and capaci-
ty to serve future generations in the face of
declining state support.
Duderstadt served as the University's president
from 1988 to 1996 and is currently a University
professor of Science and Engineering.

Mary Sue and her fight

OCTOBER 15, 2003

ourteen months into
her tenure as presi-
dent of the Universi-
E ty, Mary Sue Coleman has
an agenda.
She spent the first 14
months finishing up where
Lee Bollinger left off - lit-
erally left off - for an Ivy
League presidency.
With Bollinger's unceremonious departure,
the two scientists Bollinger signed up to head
the Life Sciences Institute, Scott Emr and Jack
Dixon, decided they didn't want the job with-
out Bollinger, and two executive officers -
the vice president for development and chief
financial officer - figured they'd rather be at
Lee C.'s Columbia than stay here.
So upon taking over in August 2002, Cole-
man had to find renlacements for those nosi-

versities as equal as good private universities?"
she said. "I think we do."
"I want to shift the conversation from people
saying, 'What is the cost of going to universi-
ty?' and shifting it to, 'What is the cost of let-
ting this go?'"
Coleman is right in that declining financial
support from the states and the feds has meant
schools have had to cut back on programs and
raise tuition. But tuition raised at rates higher
than increases in inflation, as has been the
practice, will cause enrollment to drop - and
the University will suffer.
Recent projections that the state will have to
cut $700 to $900 million out of the current
2003-4 budget is bad news for the University,
Coleman conceded.
State Rep. Mike Pumford .(R-Newaygo),
who sits on the House subcommittee charged
with recommending state funding for universi-

said. "There's no fat left to be cut out there."
A deficit of that size guarantees that the
University will see some cuts. That means stu-
dents can expect higher tuition, larger class
sizes, more graduate students and adjunct fac-
ulty teaching courses and, oh yeah, some pro-
grams might be cut.
"It's hard for me to imagine with everything
we've gone through to think we can hold
everything harmless," if the state cuts Univer-
sity funding, Coleman said.
As we all know, politicians don't like raising
taxes, and taxes will have to be raised on at
least some people if the state - and maybe
even the feds - are to give more support to
the universities.
So this is an opportunity for Coleman to
"show real leadership," as they say, and she has
vowed to do that. One of her ideas is to get
corporations to lobby lawmakers for more sup-

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