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September 05, 2006 - Image 1

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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TuiesdaV Sent t52006

- --. .,.

______y, _.,_ DEFENSE IMPRESSIVE IN FOOTBALL OPENER ... SPORTSMONDAY
Opinion 4A Toby Mitchell:
Irony and apathy
News 6A Pluto defender
takes on a more
cosmic issue
Arts 8A Pop culture: Our
generation's
wilderness
One-hundred-slvteen years ofeditoril freedom

www. michikandai~y corn

Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVII, No. 1

@2006 The Michigan Daily

OSCR director may
have been arson target

A NOTE TO OUR READERS

Student suspected to have
lit blaze in Jennifer Meyer
Schrage EMU'S office
By Ashlea Surles
Daily Staff Reporter
Jennifer Meyer Schrage's path to the
University involved a fear-inspiring fire
and an arsonist believed to be a disgrun-
tled student still on the loose.
The office of Eastern Michigan Uni-
versity's Student Judicial Services, where
Meyer Schrage was the director, was set

What is OSCR?
The Office of Student Conflict Res-
olution mediates disagreements and
deals with violations of the State-
ment of Student Rights and Respon-
sibilities, among other purposes.
ablaze at 2 a.m. in late November.
The fire had caused $85,000 in damages
by the time Ypsilanti firefighters extinguished
it, officials said. No one was injured.
Meyer Schrage may have been the target
of the fire. Officials say the fire was started

in her office, the scene of a broken window
and gasoline.
Concerned with her safety, she tendered
her resignation two months later.
She said the fire department has no
leads on who the arsonist may have been.
"I had to look out for my personal
well-being," Meyer Schrage said at an
interview in her new office in South
Quad Residence Hall on Friday.
At the beginning of last month, Meyer
Schrage took over as the director of the
University of Michigan's Office of Stu-
dent Conflict Resolution.
See ARSON, page 7A

You may have noticed that today's
Daily feels smaller than usual. You're
right: We have narrowed the Daily's
pages by about an inch. This is part
of an extensive redesign, the rest of
which we will launch next Monday.
Like most newspapers, the Daily
has taken a keen interest lately in
reducing costs. The savings associ-
ated with printing on a smaller page
were a factor in this decision. We also
think you'll find the narrower page
easier to handle - when, say, you're
trying to open the Daily on a crowded
bus, or in the back of a classroom
without your GSI noticing.
There has been a lot of talk these
days about some newspapers
reducing quality by cutting costs in
response to economic pressures on
the industry. We want to assure you

that the smaller page isn't a sign that
the Daily is about to start scrimp-
ing. Unlike other newspapers, we
won't be cutting costs by squeezing
our newsroom staff. (Granted, they
already get paid so little that anti-
sweatshop activists might picket us if
they found out.) In fact, this semester
the Daily's operations are expanding
- we have a new weekly section and
new editorial positions, with more big
plans on the horizon.
Enjoy the new size, and be sure to
grab a paper next Monday.
Sincerely,
Donn M. Fresard
Editor in chief

THE SPIN ZONE

The University's up one spot this year in the (
annual U.S. News and World Report list, but
that's not the whole story. The Daily takes you...
INSIDE THE RANKINGS

By Kelly Fraser Daily Staff Reporter

Fifth-year computer science student Abe Thurtell spins
the cube in Regents Plaza on Friday. It was covered in
magnetic LED lights following a performance by the band
Nomo as part of Artscapadae.
REET ELE IO
N" i
Nine vie for
two spots on
regents board
Brandon and Brown will run for
I Republicans against White and Darlow
on the Democratic side
By Gabe Nelson
Daily Staff Reporter
The two incumbent members of the University Board of
Regents now know who their competition will be in Novem-
ber's election.
Nine candidates - including relative unknowns running on
third-party tickets - will compete for two seats on the eight-
person University Board of Regents.
At their convention in late August, Republicans nominat-
ed incumbent David Brandon, the CEO of Domino's Pizza,
as well as newcomer Susan Brown, a University alum and
long-time volunteer. Democrats nominated incumbent Kathy
White, a law professor at Wayne State University, along with
newcomer Julia Darlow, a corporate lawyer who has moved on
to nonprofit work.
White and Brandon have served as regents since 1998.
Until the convention at Cobo Center in Detroit, four Demo-
cratic candidates jockeyed for the nod.
Darlow won the support of sitting Regents Larry Deitch
(D-Bingham Farms), Olivia Maynard (D-Goodrich), Rebecca
McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) and S. Martin Taylor (D-Grosse
Pointe Farms) while campaigning for the nomination.
The other two Democratic candidates - Denise Ilitch, a govern-
ment- relations attorney, and Casandra Ulbrich, director of develop-
ment and alumni affairs at Wayne State University - dropped out
of the race just before the nominations were confirmed, Michigan
Democratic Party spokesman Jason Moon said.
Ulbrich withdrew her bid when the party offered her a nom-
ination for a seat on the State Board of Education. Ilitch, a
member of the family that owns the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red
Wings and Little Caesars Pizza, dropped out for reasons Moon
declined to discuss. Ilitch could not be reached for comment.
The Republicans' picks came as no surprise - only Bran-
don and Brown sought the nomination.
More than two years ago, Michigan Republican leaders
See REGENTS, page 7A

It's a tradition.
Every August, college guides over-
whelm newsstands, intensifying the debate
over which schools are the best and how to
arri e at that conclusion.
In this year's U.S. News and World
Report rankings, the University placed
24th among national universities and sec-
ond among public universities, tying the
University of Virginia and behind only the
University of California at Berkeley.
That's as deep as most readers go. This
is the story behind the magazine's glossy
pages.
A PUBLIC GIANT IN A PRIVATE WORLD
Although the magazine made no chang-
es to its methodology this year, the Univer-
sity climbed one slot.
Despite the popularity of the rank-
ings, academics frequently criticize the
magazine for its formula, which relies
primarily on statistical measures such
as retention rates, faculty and financial
resources and peer assessment survey
results.
On average, private schools tend to fare
better than public schools, in part because
of their higher selectivity and large endow-
ments. For example, UC-Berkeley, the
top-ranked public, has 20 private schools
ahead of it in the national rankings.
Statistical measures used to evalu-
ate colleges generally fall into two cat-
egories: input and output. Input data are
measures of resources entering a school,
such as the caliber of entering freshman
and incoming financial funds in dona-
tions and research. Output data includes
graduation rates, student reten-
tion and faculty achievement.
U.S. News and World
Report focuses too heavily
on input data, said former
University President James
Duderstadt, a higher educa-
tion expert.
Student selectivity com-
poses 15 percent of a

school's total score.
Duderstadt said large schools includ-
ing the University and UC-Berkeley are
penalized for their size because a school's
resources are divided among each student.
In per capita measures, having more stu-
dents results in lower spending per stu-
dent.
DO THEY MATTER?
"The U.S News and World Report rank-
ings are largely viewed as rather meaning-
less by major research universities like
Michigan," Duderstadt said in an e-mail
interview.
Although rankings may not have a sub-
stantial effect on the perception of large
schools, Duderstadt said small colleges
and universities are much more sensitive to
fluctuations.
"(Rankings) are much more important
to less well-known universities, particu-
larly small liberal arts colleges, who can
see major swings in student applications if
they drop too low," he wrote.
Former University Provost Paul Courant
agreed with Duderstadt that the rankings
were not a main concern among admin-
istrators during his tenure, though he
recognizes their influence on prospective
students.
"They matter much more (to students), I
think, than they should," Courant said.
Courant prefers the National Survey
of Student Engagement as a measure of a
school's success. The study polls freshman
and seniors at about 1,000 schools about
their participation and personal develop-
ment at their schools.
However, the survey's academic format
makes it less accessible to the public, Cou-
rant said.
"You have to read it," he said. "That's
the problem."
Duderstadt also recommends alterna-
tive ranking systems to the U.S. News and
World Report's model.
Duderstadt was one of 19 higher education
See RANKINGS, page 7A

Where 'U'
ranks
The University's rank in U.S. News and
World Report's list of the nation's top
national universities
Rank among public schools in U.S. News
and World Report, tied with the University
of Virginia
Rank on the list of top global universities
on a list by Newsweek
Rank on the Washington Monthly maga-
zine's list of top universities
Rank in the Princeton Review's list of
schools where "Teacher Assistants Teach
Too Many Upper-Level Courses."

Mob of football fans
impedes ambulance

SCRIBE IN THE ARB

New ticket scanners
create log-jam of fans in
front of stadium
By Anne VanderMey
Daily Staff Reporter
As the football team kicked off the first
game of the season at noon Saturday, a
group of thousands stood outside a north-
west entrance to Michigan Stadium, wait-
ing impatiently to get in.
Because of delays resulting from new
scanners at the turnstiles that are replac-
ing the old method of ticket-takers tearing

off stubs, the frustrated group stood with
their passes in hand, listening the stadium
roar as the game began.
At about 12:10, an ambulance strug-
gled to pass through the mob, which had
overflowed onto the street.
It took at least five minutes for the
ambulance to pass. It was on its way
to assist a bicycle rider who turned
out to be OK, according to Ann Arbor
police.
But the ambulance's trouble getting
through the crowd could have caused
a delay that might have endangered
someone's life.
See STADIUM, page 7A

RODRIGO GAYA/Daily
LSA alum Etan Klein performs in "Love's Labour's Lost" at
the Residential College's Shakespeare in the Arb program
yesterday afternoon.

p"I'

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