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September 12, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 12, 2006

OPINION

'Chic atchilgan ID ttilg

DONN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief
dwmft I

EMILY BEAM
EMILYBEAM EFFREY BLOOMER
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
413 E. HURON
ANN ARBOR, MI 48104
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
In truth, it
is a struggle for
civilization.
-President Bush, during last night's
address, referring to the need to create
democratic societies in the Middle East
countries, as reported by nytimes.com.

A

Stay out of our labs
Funding scheme would invite state meddling

Turn and face the change
IMRAN SYED

ne might not expect the Mack-
inac Center for Public Policy,
Michigan's own far-right free-
market think tank, to care much for
economic equality. A plan the Macki-
nac Center recently proposed, how-
ever, seeks to equalize state funding
per student at all public universities in
Michigan. The legislation is ostensibly
meant to make higher education fund-
ing more transparent. Its main effect,
however, would be to harass the state's
research universities for trying to do
their jobs - and threaten the Univer-
sity's status as a world-class research
institution.
The Mackinac Center's proposal has
begun to gain support in some impor-
tant quarters. State Rep. John Stew-
art (R-Plymouth), chair of the state's
House Appropriations Subcommittee
for Higher Education, is said to favor
the change. So does Central Michigan
University President Michael Rao,
whose institution receives a third of
the per-student spending that this Uni-
versity does.
As for the University, the plan could
drive tuition up even higher - by
as much as $9,070, according to the
biweekly political newspaper Inside
Michigan Politics.That would bring in-
state tuition to nearly $20,000 - down-
right absurd for a public institution..
The proposal would allow the state's
research institutions to supplement
per-pupil funding by requesting addi-
tional money for research graduate
education. That stipulation is at the
very least an unnecessary hindrance,
and it could reduce state funding for
the University as well. Furthermore,
it could lessen the desirability of
research positions at the University by
harming the prestige of the University.
Top professors and researchers might
choose institutions offering more sta-
ble funding over a University where

research proceeds only at the whim of
the state Legislature.
The proposal would allow the state
Legislature to withhold additional
funding from universities in order to
restrict research deemed "wasteful" or
programs thought unnecessary. While
perhaps appealing, past experience sug-
gests such a provision would encourage
political meddling in the University's
affairs. A few years ago, for example,
the Republican-dominated state Legis-
lature attempted to shut down an Eng-
lish course that focused on gay male
literature. The move was unsuccessful,
but University faculty and researchers
can only expect to encounter similar
obstacles if the Legislature is asked to
approve controversial projects such as
stem-cell research. The University's
constitutional autonomy may ultimately
prevent such direct micromanagement.
Still, the specter of the University hav-
ing to sue the state to force an intrusive
Legislature to back off is hardly a happy
prospect.
Michigan desperately needs to
increase the number of its residents
obtaining college degrees, and to do
so, it will need to make its universi-
ties more affordable. While making
the higher education funding process
more transparent might make clearer
the link between declining state sup-
port over recent decades and skyrock-
eting tuition, the Mackinac Center's
proposal seems a poor approach. At
best, it might make less prestigious
universities slightly more affordable
while forcing research universities to
boost their tuition and waste resources
dealing with legislative interference.
At worst, it could leave the state's pub-
lic universities equally mediocre and
unpopular - perhaps not an undesir-
able outcome to a free-market outfit
eager to reduce the role of government
on all fronts.

4
4
4

The
worst
thing
that anyone
r; who wants
to change the
world can
do is remain
oblivious to
the change
that's already
happening. As we stand now five
years removed from the day that
changed everything, inching fur-
ther into a world that may very well
be more dangerous now than it was
then, our leaders remain curiously
unaware of the very menace they
seek to defeat.
Last month, as the Middle East
erupted once more, President Bush
and Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice maintained that they were not
interested in seeking a return to the
previous status quo - what they
dubbed a "false" peace in the region.
They wanted a changed Middle East,
and even if it takes a full-scale war to
get there, they argue it's worth it in
the long run.
Perhaps they're right. In a land
where peace eludes everyone from
Churchill to Clinton in the 20th
century - and pharaohs, Roman
emperors, popes and prophets
before them - it's probably safe
to doubt the vitality of any new
cease-fire. But while the president
wails and moans about his desire
for a new Middle East, he contin-
ues to ignore the changes that have
already brought a new Middle East
about - granted, it isn't the one he
would have wanted.
The beginning of this story, like
the beginnings of many stories these
days, is terrorism. Sure, the attacks
five years ago changed America.
They made our nation more vigilant,

alert and wiser inat least some ways.
But we became these things not out
of understanding, but simple, primal
- and manipulable - fear.
And so we remain today, five years
later, still afraid, still believing that
you can only be with us or against us.
We remain on guard, but still don't
really understand why. The instinc-
tive response that kicked in immedi-
ately following Sept. 11 never gave
way to understanding. There was
no chance of stepping back and tak-
ing in the situation because we were
told that this was the first of many
attacks, and so we are continually
reminded today.
But while taking this overly
simplistic worldview undoubtedly
makes it easier to conduct war, it
prevents us from understanding that
which we fight. Thus, even as a new
Middle East emerges in the very land
our troops patrol, we fail to see its
implications.
The 20th century's Middle East
conflicts were nationalist in nature
- religion has always been the
cover that region's clashes, never
the sole cause in modern history -
with leaders like Moammar Gad-
dafi of Libya and Yasser Arafat of
Palestine leading the Arab world's
assertion of political legitimacy
through militarism. But those lead-
ers are now diminished, and while
war remains in the region, it cannot
be dealt with by the same tactics
employed in the past.
The fact remains that the region
has been permanently altered since
America invaded Iraq, since the
demiseofSaddamHussein's secular
regime and the resurgence of Shia
power there and in Iran. Everyone
realizes this fact - except Amer-
ica. Even as the president remains
hellbent on bringing democracy
to every nook and cranny of the

region, one of its most stable exist-
ing democracies (Lebanon) has
been devastated. No one denies
Israel's right to defend itself, but
after weeks of fighting, even Israel
now realizes that the stakes have
changed and the fight is different.
Anti-Americanism and anti-
Semitism still exist in the Middle
East and in other parts of the world
- that much hasn't changed - but
the reasoning, motives, tactics and
ideals of those who fight are a world
apart from even just a decade ago.
The destruction of Hezbollah is in
the best interests of both Lebanon
and Israel, but the war Israel con-
ducted reflected a failure to under-
stand the changed stakes. Arab
nationalism is dead; Hezbollah
fights not for Lebanon, not for the
Arabs (Arab nations have actually
condemned Hezbollah), but simply
for its own political legitimacy.
Five years is much too long for
America to childishly cling to the "us
vs. them" worldview that's thrown
any semblance of "hearts and minds"
prudence far into oblivion. The glob-
al war against terrorism is muddled
enough to boggle even Napoleon's
mind; there is no continuity among
its various parts. We must learn not
to generalize about a region, nation
or group based on past experiences,
or in order to fit them into our vague
existing definitions.
Since Sept. 11, President Bush's
aim has been not simply to fight our
enemies but to bring about a world
order that redefines America's place.
His stubborn refusal to negotiate and
unwillingness to acknowledge the
political actors his war has brought
into being assures that new place
won't be where we want tobe.
Syed can be reached at
galad@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
Equality for Michigan universities

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

By NICK GLAUCH
There were many shocked expressions and
raised eyebrows over the Daily news article Pro-
posal could cost you more (09/07/2006). For those
of you who missed it, Jack McHugh, a legislative
analyst from the Mackinac Center for Public Pol-
icy, has written a proposal that would drastically
change the face of higher educational funding in
our state.
What McHugh is proposing is a change to the way
funding for Michigan's universities is determined -
from alump sum to a per-pupil system. This system
would direct state funding to institutions based upon
the number of students that attend each university,
with a set value for each student. Currently, the Uni-
versity receives a disproportionate amount of money
per pupil from the state - in fact, a very dispropor-
tionate amount, more than three times the amount
per pupil as Central Michigan University. What is it,
exactlythat makes a Wolverine worth three times as
much asa Chippewa?
There are many reasons a Wolverine should
oppose this plan, but before anyone jumps at a cut
to our funding, students must put aside our alle-
giance to this great school and realize that the cur-
rent system is hurting our state more than all the
University's graduates will be able to help it. We
must recognize the damage the current system is
doing to the rest of Michigan and the terrible dis-
parity that is evident between the institutions that
educate our fellow Michiganders. This University
is simply not big enough to educate every Michi-
gan resident who wants a job in the 21st century,
so we must give other state institutions the tools
to fulfill the unified goal of all public education.
The state is facing a major economic collapse.
The manufacturing industry that has driven
Michigan to its historical wealth is coming to a
screeching halt, and in order to avoid becoming
the worst state in the Union, we must jump into an
economy that can be sustained through the 21st
century. The only way to create that economy
is through high-tech industries, maintained by
an educated workforce. Sadly enough, there just

aren't enough classrooms in all of Ann Arbor to
deliver this workforce to our state.
McHugh's proposal is the only way we can
deliver this 21st-century workforce across the
whole of Michigan. By equalizing funding, we
will give schools like CMU, Grand Valley State
and Lake Superior State the funding they need
to provide Michigan with high-quality education
that will allow the state to return to an era of eco-
nomic strength and widespread prosperity.
While the adoption of this program will spell
the end of some classes here at the University,
I refuse to believe that a change in our funding
will bring the Maize and Blue to an end. This
University will cut some less effective programs,
fine-tune its spending and come out stronger than
before. As a result, other public universities will
receive a drastic increase in funding and will be
able to provide the necessary funding to offer
both the basic programs that they lack and the
programs that Michigan residents will need to
compete in the new global economy, to a student
base that cannot be reached under the current sys-
tem of funding.
If we simply ignore McHugh's proposal, the
University may continue to prosper and be ranked
among the best in the country, but we will watch
as the rest of the state slides into further economic
recession and more and more Michigan families go
without work.
Washtenaw County may continue to succeed, but
elsewhere we will see eligible high school graduates
kept from quality classrooms because they cannot
afford to leave Michigan. We must change course.
We cannot allow this University to continue
to prosper at the expense of the rest of our state.
Expanding access to quality educational institu-
tions for more Michigan's students is the only way
to bring about an economic revival in the state,
and those institutions can only be built if we go
ahead with McHugh's plan for a drastically dif-
ferent higher-level educational funding program
in the state.
Glauch is an LSA freshman.

Prop 2 would end
discrimination
TO THE DAILY:
In response to Andrew Yah-
kind's viewpoint (Proposal 2 is
bad for blue, 09/07/2006): That
affirmative action creates diversity
is simply an illusion. The national
dropout rate for individuals being
penalized for their race is 18
percent, while the rate for those
receiving preferential treatment
is 39 percent. The end of racial
preferences has been proven to
dramatically reduce dropout rates.
We only need to look to states that
have banned racial preferences.
According to a recent article
by the San Francisco Chroni-
cle, 13 California universities,
including the University of Cali-
fornia at Berkeley, have ranked
in the top 20 universities nation-
wide in granting undergradu-
ate degrees to minorities. The
key is to accept minority stu-
dents based on merit, not color.
Regarding legacy preferences,
Ward Connerly has been a cham-
pion against legacy preferences
at Berkeley, and we hope that the
University will end this type of
discrimination as well. Vote yes
on Proposal 2.
Dan Shuster
School of Public Health
The letter writer is a co-chair of
Washtenaw County's MCRI board.
Choose activism, not
Facebook and apathy
TO THE DAILY:
What a stirring article Christo-
pher Zbrozek wrote in response
to the Facebook outcry (A Face-
book profile of our generation,
09/08/2006). It inspired even me
- an activist already, some may
say - to want to do more than
click around online networking
sites. His comparison to past
causes, which are so similar to
what our generation faces, cut
through any apathetic excuse
for not going out to change the
world.

0

That's not to say that a few
Students Organizing for Labor
and Economic Equality kids
and a handful of environmental-
ists are the only ones on campus
accomplishing great things. I
realize that like Zbrozek's other
skillfully constructed sentences,
that one was meant to increase
the sense of urgency about the
University's overall lethargic
stance toward progressivism.
However, walking through Fes-
tifall, one couldn't help but
notice the activist groups, full
of people who will succeed - if
you show up and help them out,
of course.
Forget for a minute that I'm a
member of SOLE; I'm speaking
as a student concerned with the
state of affairs Zbrozek men-
tioned. Thus, I want to acknowl-
edge that if it wasn't for all those
who are working to improve our
campus community, there is no
way SOLE would be on its way
toward achieving a Sweat-Free
University. I look forward to
shaping the University with the
talented leaders we have here.
Aria Everts
LSA junior
Looking at Sept. 11
through another Lens
TO THE DAILY:
Ah, September 11, 2001. I
remember it well. I was a senior
undergraduate at the University.
As I reflect on that day, five
years later - older and wiser
- I can say that, yes, it was
sad people died. But remember,
despite all the sympathetic pro-
paganda garbage the government
blasted across the airwaves yes-
terday, you are still more likely
to be struck by lightning than be
a victim of a terrorist attack.
Furthermore, the real tragedy
is that the Sept. 11 attacks were
used as a justification for invad-
ing Iraq and Afghanistan (con-
trary to international law) and
used to justify billions of dollars
of increased and unnecessary

defense spending. Remember,
even the current administration
has admitted that there was no
connection between Iraq and al-
Qaida.
Five years of living in fear,
tens of thousands of Iraqi and
Afghan dead - not to mention
the deaths of thousands more
Western troops - are not justi-
fied by the Sept. 11 attacks. Nor
have they ensured we are any
safer then we were back then.
They have only served to further
alienate the American populace
from the rest of the world and, of
course, make U.S. military con-
tractors billions of dollars.
And to all those who believe
that Sept. 11 is now a solemn
event fit only for quiet reflection
- and therefore should be pro-
tected from political debate - I'd
like to point out that our country
was founded on principles of the
freedom of speech, among other
things. The idea that anyone who
would criticize the government
at a time like this is unpatriotic,
turns the notion of what it means
to be a good American.
Those who blindly supported
the Patriot Act and those who
called for blood - any blood
- after the attacks are no dif-
ferent from the type of sheep
that would blindly follow Hitler,
Stalin or Mao. Whether you like
it or not, the nation's response to
the attacks - blindly lashing out
at Arabs - meant the end of the
notion that America is a nation
unlike any before it. It will only
end up like many other empires
in history that haven fallen
before. In denying that princi-
ples of justice and law apply to
this country as we continue to
seek vengeance on Osama bin
Laden, al-Qaida and terrorists
in Iraq and around the world, we
have invalidated the moral basis
for our actions and ensured that
we will not be viewed as inno-
cent victims of a terrorist act
but rather as a manipulative and
capriciously violent people.
David DiMaggio
Alumnus

d
I
a
I

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