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January 11, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 11, 2005

OPINION

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

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

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

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-Minnesota Vikings wide receiver
Randy Moss, referring to his decision to
pretend to pull down his pants and moon
the crowd after a touchdown catch in Sun-
day's playoff game, as reported yesterday
by the Canadian Press.

Reforming the American Dream ... I mean lie
JASMINE CLAIR TiE MMEAN NG OFPR(GRES

es Mr. President,
we do need tort
reform. But, stop
focusing on robbing medi-
cal malpractice victims of
their well-deserved dam-
* age claims. Instead, shift
your attention toward the
frivolous lawsuits clogging
up our judicial system such
as the Center for Individual Rights and its recent
"didn't get in because we're white" case.
In an obvious waste of time, money and ener-
gy, the CIR has baited the University into yet
another lawsuit. Seeking compensation for white
University rejects, they are demanding the repay-
ment of application fees for close to 30,000 white
and Asian students denied admission into the
College of Literature, Science and the Arts from
1995 to 2003. As though a "coloreds only" sign
decors the University's admissions office, these
students were apparently the victims of "reverse
discrimination" and denied admission because
of their skin color - all 30,000 of them.
Longing for the day when the Universi-
ty's affirmative action policies are effec-
tive enough to enroll 30,000 new students
of color in an 8-year period, I actually wish
that the CIR had justifiable grounds for argu-
ing that the colored people took their client's
seats. For this would indicate great progress
in the struggle for racial and socioeconomic
equality. However, as I tread through this
sea of whiteness here at the University, real-
ity exposes how ridiculous this lawsuit really
is. One cannot legitimately claim that he was
denied admission because he was white when
over two-thirds of an incoming class is of his
same race.
Viewing opportunity as a zero-sum game,
affirmative action opponents create the false

notion that including more minorities in admis-
sions jeopardizes admissions for the white
majority. However, this resistance reveals how
reluctant people are to relinquish white privilege.
Not realizing that their own privilege stems from
maintaining an unfair system that sends more
blacks to jail than college, some prefer to cry dis-
crimination, rather than accept efforts to equal-
ize societal inequalities.
Ironically, the whole notion of "reverse discrim-
ination" implies the co-existence of discrimination
itself. But instead of defending the actual victims
of discrimination, the CIR represents those upset
by the fact that they have not been discriminated
against. Claiming that it is unfair to punish whites
for the racist practices of their ancestors, they fail
to address the racism of today.
The CIR, along with other anti-affirmative
action efforts such as Ward Connerly's Michi-
gan Civil Right's Initiative, believes that it is
unfair to exclude whites from the civil rights
struggle. Even though it denies that pervasive
racism against minority groups exists today, it
quickly seizes opportunities to make sure that
privileged whites are not excluded from discus-
sions on eradicating the problem. As though the
struggles of minorities is some sort of carnival
ride, members of the white privileged class are
excitedly lining up, anticipating the "thrills" of
being oppressed.
Wanting to be both the oppressor and
oppressed, they find a need to include themselves
in the struggle for civil rights as well creatively
inventing lavish tales of their "oppression." Part
of the CIR suit actually seeks damages for the
rejected applicants, whom were "forced" to
attend more expensive out-of-state and/or private
institutions.
The real objection that people have to affirma-
tive action spawns from the selfish individual-
ist mind set that haunts America's savage past.

Too many believe the lie of hard work leading to
prosperity or the infamous "American Dream."
Though many are rewarded for their efforts,
many hard working others are exploited and
forced to live their American Dream with the *
bear minimum. People hate being reminded of
America's bloody history, in particular slavery.
But blacks provided the hard, rigorous labor that
advanced America from a colony into an empire,
yet received rags instead of riches. This is also
the case today, where millions of workers per-
form grunt work daily to receive minimal wages
for their "unskilled" labor.
Perhaps this is yet another reason for main-
taining the barriers that prevent so many
minorities from pursuing higher education.
Knowledge empowers people, giving them
the ability to think for themselves. More so
it allows one to better understand the soci-
etal conditions in which we live. There-
fore, the privileged are afraid of the results
of a fair educational system because it will
teach the poor and the colored people about
the racist and classist system that is inher-
ently designed to keep power and wealth
concentrated within the hands of the few.
Through education people learn to reject the
false notion that racism ended with the civil
rights movement of the 60's. With affirma-
tive action policies, more minorities have
access to education, knowledge and power.
And this is why some are doing whatever it
takes to destroy such policies.
Thankfully, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday
is approaching. Hopefully this will remind us all
that the struggle for equality is far from over and
incite us to action. The University's affirmative
action program must be upheld.
Clair can be reached at
jclair@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Financial aid terms
abusive to students
To THE DAILY:
Every year, I request a loan through the Office
of Financial Aid, and the University unilaterally
requests the lending bank to disburse my loan by
mid-December for the winter term. My tuition,
however, is not due until Jan. 31, which means
that an early disbursement effectively makes
me owe and pay interests I should never pay. In
other words, I end up paying my tuition too early
- about a month and a half before the due date
- and borrowing money to do so. That is a very
unwise decision about my money made on my
behalf, to say the least. In reality, an otherwise
great student loan turned into a financial mecha-
nism with abusive terms. The University benefits
by collecting my tuition early, the bank benefits
with excess interests charged and I have to deal
with the economic and financial burden. That is
simply unfair for students requesting loans based
on financial need.
To roughly estimate the economic impact of the
problem, we can do some simple math. Assume
that a student pays an average tuition of $10,000
for the winter term and that students request loans
three times (i.e., three years) when studying at the
University, on average. Current interest is around

5.5 percent. Then, given a month-and-a-half-early
disbursement, each student pays excess inter-
ests for $70 per year approximately, or $210 per
student. How many students get loans and face
this early-disbursement problem? 5,000? The
total burden on students in need is then around
$1,050,000. What if 50,000 students ever got
these loans that disburse too early? The burden
would then be $10,500,000! Unfortunately, I do
not have data to provide more accurate num-
bers, but the damage caused is certainly big and
deserves attention.
Despite the importance of the problem and the
simplicity of the many possible solutions one can
think of, the university and its financial aid offi-
cers have been more than indifferent so far. Are
they ever going to take this issue seriously?
Leonardo Schvartzman
Rackham
Columnist's moderation
a refreshing surprise
TO THE DAILY:
Although the majority of responses to Adams's
column (Pro-choice and hating it, 01/10/2005)
will most likely be harshly critical coming form
either side of the issue of abortion, I would like

to commend him for both his opinion and for his
bravery in voicing a moderate opinion publicly at
the University. On a campus where students of
either political inclination are strictly unwilling
to tolerate any form of opinion other than their
own, it is refreshing to see an author who is will-
ing to take an intelligent stand on an issue that
does not strictly ally with the radical rhetoric of
either side. I hope writers like Adams have some
degree of effect on the extremist polarization
of political opinions at University, and can help
more students realize that practical compromise
is the only legitimate solution to many of the con-
troversial issues that must be dealt with today.
Matthew Stoker
LSA freshman
WANNA WRITE?
MASS MEETING
ToMORRow
AT 6 P.m.
4Z0 MAYNARD ST.

VIEWPOINT
Support students' rights - while they're still here

BY ANDREW BLOCK AND JOSH GEWOLB
At no other school will you find students as
passionate about effecting positive change in
the community than at University. The willing-
ness of the student body to take on important
national or international issues is clear, but we
often forget the necessity of forging change
within our own university. Right now, we have
an extraordinary opportunity to make those
changes happen.
The Michigan Student Assembly has
recently proposed amendments to the Uni-
versity policy that governs all nonacademic
behavior, the Statement of Student Rights
and Renonsihilhitie ( ak a.The Code\ The

Students should be shocked by what protections
are omitted from the Code. MSA is working to
remedy these shortcomings and has asked the
faculty and administration to consider several
crucial amendments to the disciplinary proce-
dure. The amendments include:
Allowing students facing expulsion to be
represented by an attorney
Inserting a clear definition of sexual
harassment
Telling the student that his case file may
be subpoenaed by the courts
Protecting students from conduct motivat-
ed by bias against their social identity group
Ensuring that the University cannot take
awav a student's right to know all of the evi-

policies.dsa.umich.edu/review, where you can
submit electronic comments to the committee
via a comment box at the bottom of the page.
A more detailed explanation of the proposals is
also available at this site.
The Code generally performs well, but
is lacking in several important areas. Many
other Big Ten and elite universities already
guarantee their students the same protec-
tions that MSA wants to add to the Code. It
is unfortunate that our university, with its
national reputation for being on the forefront
of progressive thought, lags behind in protect-
ing the rights of its students.
You have the chance to share your opin-
ions directly with the decision-makers, an

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