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April 01, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-01

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 1, 2005

OPINION

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JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON GO
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
Kudos to them."
- University President Mary Sue Cole-
man, congratulating the Michigan State
University men's and women's basketball
teams for reaching the Final Four, during
an interview yesterday with the Daily.

ALEXANDER HONKALA l.E4MMNU PRADE

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Politics embitters personal tragedy
SOWMYA KRISHNAMURTHY AuD)i A LTER AM PARTEM
erri Schiavo died W. Bush and his governor brother Jeb. For the to undertake the exhaustive journey of Terri
yesterday, ending past few years, Jeb has tried numerous times Schiavo's parents. If the government desires
15 years of litiga- to keep Terri alive, and his efforts culminated to save lives, then these lives must be treated
tion, family heartache and in the audacious and unconstitutional piece of with respect and attention too.
a national debate over the legislation dubbed "Terri's Law" in 2003. I, like most people, am not sure whether
right to life. His brother proved even worse. George W. justice was served in this case. On the books,
In 1990, Schiavo suf- left his vacation conspicuously just in time to it was - Terri's legal guardian ordered out the
fered brain damage after intervene and pass a law that allowed Schiavo's death wish that she supposedly requested. As
her heart briefly stopped parents to take their case to federal court. The I say this though, I cannot ignore the nagging
beating, which was caused president explained his decision by stating that part of my conscience. The verbal instructions
by complications related to an eating disor- it is "wisest to always err on the side of life." Terri gave to her husband were given under a
der. Her husband and legal guardian, Michael Err on the side of life? That sounds a bit odd hypothetical context - who knows what she
Schiavo, requested to have her feeding tube coming from the same man who, as governor might have desired knowing her true fate?
removed - as per Terri's alleged requests to of Texas, led his state in the executions of 152 But law dictates that she die of a cruel, gov-
him - when she did not recover from a veg- prison inmates. And let's not forget the com- ernment-mandated starvation. What type of
etative state. Being that Terri's wishes were pletely anti-life Futile Care Law he enacted civilized society sentences people to death,
never put into writing and could therefore be in 1999 - legislation that allows hospitals to especially when family members exist that
misconstrued, her parents fought every level discontinue life-sustaining care if they deem it are emotionally and financially willing to take
of the judicial system in a vain attempt to pro- "futile," even if family members object. care of them? Miracles may not be common,
long her life. Just a few weeks ago, Sun Hudson, a 6- but they do happen. Should we create a prec-
What should have remained a family dilem- month old with a fatal form of dwarfism, was edent that quashes hope?
ma quickly escalated into a national melee. allowed to die in Texas because of this legisla- I do not know.
From the heart-wrenching photos of Terri tion. Despite his mother's objections, Sun was And perhaps that's the most unnerving
degenerating in her finals days on the nightly taken off his feeding tube at doctors' behest. aspect of the Schiavo case - the uncertainty
news, to the two-cent commentaries by every- Interestingly, the Bushes, expensive doc- that surrounds the government's jurisdiction,
one from religious pundits to right-to-life inter- tors, experts and news media hoopla were or lack thereof, over life and death. People
est groups, a complete media circus ensued. absent. Perhaps this case just wasn't ratings may be clamoring to create iron-clad living
It is no surprise that politicos realized the worthy? wills, but the grim reality is that nothing is
marketability of such an incendiary case and There are tens of thousands of people in ever predictable or promised.
they latched onto it like mosquitoes hungry for America living in a persistent vegetative state,
constituent ratings. The most obvious pro-lif- and most of their families will never have Krishnamurthy can be reached
ers were also the most vocal: President George the political muscle or financial resources at sowmyak@umich.edu.
Baiting diversity to switch the University's image
JASMINE CLAIR PTIE NEAN ING OF PROGRESS

ctions speak louder
than words, except
in a country like
America where success is
measured in dollars, titles
and initials. Our elitist cul-
ture contributes to height-
ened egos for those with
prestige and wealth. How-
ever, those without such
pleasures are encouraged to drown themselves
with personal guilt for their apparent failures.
This is what makes meritocracy great. We're all
competing against one another in a race toward a
finish line where wealth and prestige awaits us.
But in America, the winners don't have to be the
most hardworking, talented or ethical. Especially
when making a set of rules eliminating other
competitors yields the same outcome.
These rules would obviously be unfair and dis-
criminatory. But that would be cheating. However,
by labeling these rules "democracy," the cheaters
go unnoticed for a while. And when the other
groups finally do notice, they're so far behind
that they can't catch up at a reasonable pace. But
"democracy" makes this acceptable.
The University participates in such acts today.
Activism and diversity are two very important
issues on campus, which explains why the Uni-
versity has adamantly fought to protect its affir-
mative action polices. Such practices repair and
attempt to reverse the disparities caused from
the members-only democracy (that still exists,
though to a lesser extent than before).
Affirmative action also brings diversity, which
is important because it allows for the exchange
of ideas. Not to mention that it adds color to the
room, a sight that many experience for the first
time here on campus.
So every year the University works to recruit
as many qualified students of color and from low-

income areas (including whites) as possible, espe-
cially from areas with notoriously high poverty
rates and low-quality public schools. However,
this presents problems. Even the highest achiev-
ers attending an underfunded urban public school
will lack the same level of preparedness as some-
one from a wealthy suburban public school. But
more importantly, how can a student from a poor
family afford to attend one of the most expensive
public universities in the nation?
Considering this, the University devised a
seemingly great solution. But I refer to it as the
bait-and-switch approach.
In reafizing the difficulty in convincing
someone to spend nearly half of his annual
household income on college tuition - call
them selfish, but sometimes food, clothing and
shelter take priority - the University simply
baits students with incredible financial aid
packages for their first year..
Filled with scholarships, grants and work
study, a prospective student's financial worries
seem to disappear. Combine this with a sum-
mer enrichment program designed to make up
12 years of low-quality education in an eight-
week program, and we've got a future Wolver-
ine in the making.
This brings many bright and ambitious young
students to campus to finally experience what
our parents were denied for so long. However,
for many, the college experience serves as a rude
awakening explaining why minority retention
rates are so low.
First, it's just ridiculous to think that a summer
program will make up for years worth of untaught
information. Yet, such enrichment efforts seem to
disappear after freshman year. While many stu-
dents persevere, many do not. But that doesn't
mean that they weren't smart enough or didn't
deserve to be here. It simply means that the Uni-
versity cut off the academic support at a time

when students needed it the most.
However the financial situation is worse. Col-
lege costs frequently extend beyond what's writ-
ten on paper, especially when the average meal
plan only covers 13 meals a week, forcing stu-
dents to either upgrade their plans or pay for the
rest of the meals out of pocket. Either way means
more money spent.
But this is trivial when compared to what
happens during sophomore year. That beautiful
financial aid package becomes a thing of the past
because debt will undoubtedly be the future. The
loans that were missing from the baiting aid pack-
age appear with full force, displayed right below
the total aid amount, which is interestingly a cou-
ple thousand less than the last year.
Needless to say, a lot of us don't come back
for the third and fourth years. But those that
do will carry the added stress of having debt,
making them much poorer than they were
upon entering here.
These all factor into the low retention rates
among minority students and those from less
than privileged backgrounds. Such obstacles are
quite similar to those from my race analogy. Yet
affirmative action opponents ignore this in their
discussions. But even worse, the University appar-
ently does too.
Affirmative action is needed and benefits the
entire campus community. However, present
policies only give ammunition to its critics. The
current bait-and-switch policies must end now.
Financial aid and academic programs must be
tailored to fit the needs of students beyond their
first year. If the University is truly concerned
with fighting inequality and discrimination, it
will give the retention rates of such students the
attention they deserve.
Clair can be reached
at jclair@umich.edu.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

a

Professor desemes freedom,
not ad hominem attacks
To THE DAmY: ,
As faculty who are deeply invested in main-
taining free and open discourse on all uni-
versity campuses, we support our colleague
Nadine Naber and her right to speak on the
issue of human rights in the Palestinian-
Israeli conflict.
By accusing the University of promot-
ing "ignorance, prejudice and anti-Semi-
tism," Or Shotan presented a one-sided

anyone voicing these concerns is promot-
ing "anti-Semitism" is a blatant smear
campaign. Those who want to take issue
with the overwhelming majority of inter-
national observers who believe an Israeli
withdrawal from the occupied territories
is critical to peace in the Middle East are
entitled to express their dissent. However,
ad hominem attacks are antithetical to the
spirit of mutual respect and free exchange
of ideas that is essential to the academic
enterprise.
Vast numbers of Jews and Israelis oppose

the assumption behind the argument of
Shotan and those who share his position.
Phillip Akutsu, Paul Anderson,
Catherine L. Benamou, Maria E.
Cotera, Vicente M. Diaz, Joseph
Gone, Nesha Z. Haniff, Jarrod
Hayes, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, Scott
Kurashige, Lawrence La Fountain-
Stokes, Jayati Lai, Emily Lawsin,
Susan Najita, Sarita See, Andrea
Smith, Miriam Ticktin, Gustavo
Verdesio, Penny Von Eschen,
Alan Wald and Stephen Ward

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