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September 05, 2006 - Image 24

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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4C - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition 2006
A slightly different kind of campus tour

uring the standard campus tour for of the White Panther program right in the
prospective students, the Univer- middle of South University Avenue started
sity tries to project a tthe disturbance.
certain image of itself. Sure, Sinclair and some of his associ-
there are some tidbits of the ates, incidentally, faced federal
University's traditions thrown charges for the bombing of a CIA
in to break up the boasts recruitment office at 450 S. Main
about what a great school St. the previous September -
this is. But the University is though the government eventually
trying to convince students dropped the charges rather than
and parents to part with tens turn over the contents of an illegal
of thousands of dollars. It has FBI wiretap to the defendants.
an interest in presenting a Moving over to the Diag, you'll
tidy, uncontroversial campus find the Harlan Hatcher Gradu-
history. Well, you've already CHRISTOPHER ate Library. You might think
chosen to come here; it's safe ZBROZEK that, with a library named after
now to share some stories the him, former University President
University might have left off your tour. Harlan Hatcher was a friend of academic
Most tours start at the Huetwell Visitor's freedom. Well, not so much. During the
Center,but we'll start ours at the C. C. Little McCarthyite paranoia of the 1950s, three
Science Building. Former University Presi- University professors were called before the
dent C. C. Little, who ran the campus in the House Committee on Un-American Activi-
late 1920s, was a biologist and a big propo- ties to testify about alleged communist ties.
nent of eugenics, or "race betterment," as its They had the temerity to assert their Fifth
supporters liked to call it. Upon leaving the Amendment rights against self-incrimina-
University, he carried on a career in eugenics tion, so Hatcher suspended them, and two
research, but after World War II the money - including a tenured professor - were
dried up. It seems Nazi eugenic practices eventually dismissed from the University. To
such as killing those with birth defects or its credit, the University now commemorates
mental illness had rendered eugenics unfit this episode with the annual Davis, Markert,
for polite society. Undaunted, Little contin- Nickerson Lecture on Academic Freedom,
ued his quest to benefit mankind through sci- named after the persecuted professors.
ence by defending cigarettes at a "research" Leaving the Diag, we'll head over to the
institute funded by the tobacco companies. Michigan Union. That tower on the Union
Walk from this monument to C. C. Little's now sits empty, but it was once the domain
life toward South University Avenue, and of the University's secret societies. The
near Ulrich's you'll find a snazzy histori- most controversial of these, Michigamua,
cal marker commemorating several nights had its headquarters at the top of the tower,
of rioting in June 1969. One focal point of which was fashioned as a "wigwam" Until
the '60s counterculture in Ann Arbor was reforms in recent decades, the "braves"
a commune at 1510 Hill Street, where John of the "Tribe of Michigamua," heedless
Sinclair alternately managed the musical of Native American students on campus,
career of the MC5 and plotted revolution thought it was their job to carry out mock
with the White Panther Party. Part of the Native American rituals around the Tap-
White Panther's platform was "Total Assault pan Oak (just west of the grad library) and
on the Culture, by any means necessary, on the steps of the Union. Michigamua did
including rock'n'roll, dope and fucking in help raise the funds to build the Union, and
the streets." Some observers of the 1969 riots any old-fashioned 'gamua member would
claim that a couple enacting that last part proudly tell you that the society's purpose

was to "fight'um like hell for Michigan."
Reading through the organization's newslet-
ters, however, one gets the sense that for
many classes the main purpose of the group
was to roast "bear meat" and drink "firewa-
ter." The society voted to change its name,
which many found offensive, this past year
- but the old name lives on, with plaques
marking "Michigamua Plaza" between the
Union and the LSA Building.
Until recently, the LSA Building also bore
a controversial part of the University's past.
One of the 39 bas reliefs placed on the struc-
ture when it was built in 1948 was called
"Dream of the Young Girl." It showed a
young woman reaching out for the hand of a
muscular man flankedby oxen. For decades,
the sculpture was a lightning rod for campus
feminists who demanded its removal, find-
ing the depiction demeaning and sexist. The
University long held that the sculpture was a
part of its history and should remain. Prior to
the LSA Building's recent renovation, how-
ever, the sculpture was moved to the Bentley
Historical Library on North Campus. You'll
have to head up there now to take a look at it.
While you're visiting that bit of northern
tundra abandoned to engineers, note the
name affixed to the A. Alfred Taubman Col-
lege of Architecture and Urban Planning. A
wealthy real-estate developer and investor,
Taubman is a particularly generous donor to
the University. He's also a convicted felon
who did time a few years ago for fixing
prices at the Sotheby's auction house.
Hopefully the same fate doesn't befall
alum Stephen Ross, the real-estate developer
who donated $100 million to build the newly
renamed Stephen M. Ross School of Busi-
ness. Things aren't looking good for Sam
Wyly, yet another billionaire alum and the
namesake of the Ross School's Sam Wyly
Hall. As of press time, Wyly is a focus of a
Senate investigation for using offshore trusts
to dodge hundreds of millions in taxes.
If you go toward the University Hospi-
tal, you'll find that the A. Alfred Taubmen
Medical Library also proudly carries the
crook's name. A hit further down Catherine

Courtesy of Bentley Histor
One of the Michigamua traditions included initiating each new class of
"braves" outside the Michigan Union.

Street, there's an old dormitory converted to
offices, the Victor Vaughn Building. It com-
memorates another eugenicist at the Univer-
sity, who, as dean of what was then called
the Medical Department, advocated steril-
izing both the "feeble-minded" and those of
mixed racial backgrounds - the better to
keep the white race pure as the driven snow,
Keep walking down Catherine Street
and we'll end the tour. Yes, there are more
skeletons to dig up (actually, skeletons of
old cadavers were dug up on the Diag in
1993, though that's another story), but I'm at
my apartment and I'll call ita day. I'm only

a Daily editor, but that doesn't exempt me
from controversy - the Daily itself has been
the subject of protests and boycotts through
the years. In 1989, for instance, hundreds
protested outside the paper's offices, criticiz-
ing a series of anti-Israel and arguably anti-
Semitic editorials.
But you're new here. I wouldn't want to
give you the impression that the Daily is any-
thing but a masterful and absolutely unbiased
source of campus news. Perhaps we should
leave that bit out of the campus tour, eh?
- Zbrozek can be reached
at zbro@umich.edu.

DPS foils student's plan to
propose to 'U' pres'ident

LSA sophomore Joel Skaistis waits in the February cold, planning his Valentine's Day marriage proposal to University
President Mary Sue Coleman. A call to the Department of Public Safety halted his attempt.
I puked with the president'
Most University presidents have discouraged students from entering or assembling
near the historic president's house, but some have allowed it on select occasions.
University President Mary Sue Coleman invites all students, staff and faculty into her
home for an open house on the Friday before classes start in the fall every year.
Former University President Lee Bollinger famously invited a mob of celebrating stu-
dents into his house after a football victory over Penn State in 1997.
Hundreds of students crammed themselves into his home.
"You can stay here as long as you want and come inside," Bollinger said.
For many students, it was the defining moment of his presidency.
"I puked with the president," then-LSA sophomore Andrew Schreiber told The Michigan
Daily that evening. "I puked on the house. I feel so much better with the president now
that puked."

By Gabe Nelson
Daily Staff Reporter
Dressed in a tuxedo, LSA sopho-
more Joel Skaistis stood on the side-
walk in front of University President
Mary Sue Coleman's house early yes-
terday morning.
His mission: matrimony.
His target: Coleman.
Four months ago, Skaistis's bud-
dies had challenged him to cre-
ate a Facebook.com group that
would attract a lot of members. He
decided to promise that he would
do something embarrassing if
enough people joined. When his
friend suggested that he pledge to
propose marriage to someone on
Valentine's Day, Skaistis agreed
and chose Coleman.
"We chose her because she's a
local celebrity, she lives right on
campus and she's already married,"
Skaistis said.
The group, titled "I'll propose to
Mary Sue Coleman on Valentine's
Day If 250 People Join This Group,'
had 285 members.
With the requirement met, Skaistis
had a choice: either fulfillhis promise
or disappoint the group's members.
"As Valentine's Day got closer,
I was kind of nervous about going

through with it, but this morning, I
was completely gung-ho;' Skaistis
said. "I had months to prepare, and
I knew exactly what I was going to
And so Skaistis found himself in
front Coleman's home at 815 South
University Ave. at 7 am. yesterday,
the sky still shrouded in darkness.
Two friends came with him to wit-
ness the proposal, one carrying a
video camera to record it.
Skaistis was carrying a poem he
intended to read to Coleman.
The poem, called "Deep as the
Rose is Red;' is by a 46-year-old
amateur poet named Mel Sharrar.
"So take my heart and treat it well
and forever in this life, come walk
with me your hand in mine, the one I
call my wife," the poem reads.
He never had a chance to read it.
At about 7:45 a.m., Coleman's
garage door opened and a sport util-
ity vehicle emerged.
Skaistis and his friends grew excit-
ed,hoping it was Coleman. It was her
He shot the group a puzzled look
and continued on his way.
By 8 a.m., Coleman still had not
left for work.
Skaistis's friends were cold and
frustrated. They decided to leave.

Skaistis, though, remained deter-
mined. He stared through the win-
dows and commented on every sign'
of movement within the house.
At about 8 am., Skaistis's attempt
was foiled by a callto the Department
of Public Safety.
According to DPS officer David
Dupuis, a caller told DPS there were
strangers loitering and videotaping
outside Coleman's home. It was not
clear who called the police.
Dupuis assured Skaistis that he
was not breaking the law, then asked
why he was standing there.
Skaistis, after pausing uneasily,
said he had a "special Valentine's Day
present for Mary Sue:'
"I don't think you're her type,"
Dupuis replied.
Last night, Skaistis wrote an
announcement to members of his
group, informing them of his failure.
"Coleman was too terrified to
leave her house, so I didn't really get
a chance to ask her to marry me" he
Still, he has not given up hope.
"On the bright side, she never said
'no, " he wrote. "So there's still a
- This article originally
ran Feb. 15,2006


Several 'U' grad programs drop in ranking

By Kelly Fraser
Daily Staff Reporter
In the world of rankings and lists,
11 is the loneliest number.
Luckily, the University's l1th-
ranked Medical School has com-
pany on campus. The Business
School's graduate program also
found itself one slot away from U.S.
News and World Report's list of the
top 10 graduate business programs
in the country.
The newsmagazine published its
2007 graduate school rankings last
Last year the Medical School
ranked ninth, while the Business
School placed 10th.
The School of Engineering and the
Law School did not move from their
positions last year, remaining sixth
and eighth, respectively.
Despite the slip, neither Medical
School Dean Allen Lichter nor Busi-
ness School Dean Robert Dolan said
theirprograms' slight dips reflected a
change in their quality.
"We're the same medical school

we were last year," Lichter said.
While Dolan acknowledged that
rankings are "a part of life" for top
programs, he was not concerned
about small ranking shifts from
year to year.
"We hope to continue to do well
enough in the ones that matter so
that prospective students will do
their homework (researching the
school);' Dolan said.
Many prospective students, par-
ticularly international students who
often cannotpersonally visit the cam-
pus, rely on rankings and reputation
in selecting their schools.
Amit Ahuja, a doctoral candidate
in political science from India, said
reputation and rankings hold great
influence for prospective internation-
al students.
The magazine's rankings often
draw criticism from schools that
say their programs are not accu-
rately represented because of the
methodology used to compile the
lists. The magazine uses a com-
bination of peer reviews and sta-
tistical indicators, like acceptance

rate and total research funding, to
decide each school's rankings.
Critics argue that these methods
favor programs with an established
reputation and high selectivity.
Lichter said that as a public institu-
tion, the University was hurt by this
year's addition of the category "grant
dollars per faculty" because public
schools typically have more faculty
than their private counterparts.
But Lichter added that the Univer-
sity has advantages private programs
do not, noting the close relationship
between the medical school and the
rest of the campus.
"I think in the end that all of that
balances out" Lichter said. "We are
on a level playing field with some of
the world's finest institutions."
While Dolan was disappoint-
ed with this year's ranking, he
said he is more concerned with
recruiters' opinions of gradu-
ates. He said he would give more
weight to ranking systems that
emphasize output data like the
success of graduates.
He said the Business School fares

much better in publications that use
these indicators, like the Wall Street
Journal and Business Week.
Last year, The Wall Street Journal
ranked the Business School's gradu-
ate program second; Business Week
ranked the school sixth.
Lichter also said he prefers to
focus on peer reviews to judge his
school's success.
"We have a wonderful reputation
for graduating outstanding practitio-
ners;' he said. "We feel that is very
reflective of how the product is val-
ued in American medicine."
On the peer review portion of the
rankings, the University's Medical
School is sixth.
Smaller graduate programs are not
evaluated each year.
When last ranked in 2005, the
University's programs in political sci-
ence, psychology and sociology each
placed third.
The magazine releases its annual
undergraduate rankings in August.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings
rate schools on factors like selectivity and
student-to-faculty ratio. The University has
recently fallen short of the top 10 based on
the magazine's critera.
2006: Ranked 11th
2005: Ranked 10th
2006: Ranked 11th
2005: Ranked 10th
The schools of education, engineer-

- This story originally
ran Apr.10,2006. ing and law

41 A


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