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October 23, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-23

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4A - Monday, October 23, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

l e ticl igan ily

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

So where do you suppose Dick DeVos thinks the governor's
office should be? The Cayman Islands?"
- Television ad sponsored by the Michigan Democratic Party about Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos's
investment in foreign markets, allegedly to avoid paying U.S. taxes, as reported Friday by The Detroit News.



Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorialboard. All other signed
articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Closing the grad gap
University has a responsibility to its minority students
The University has a reputation for striving, through
its recruitment and admissions processes, to achieve
former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor's vision of a "robust exchange of ideas." However,
receiving a thick envelope in the mail is only the first step in
the rigorous journey toward graduation - a finish line that
many minority students are not crossing, at least not as often

as their white counterparts.
A recent University study shows
that although the graduation rate for
minority students has risen 10 percent
over the last 10 years, the gap between
minority and white student graduation
rates persists. Currently, 89 percent
of white students graduate within six
years, compared with only 79 percent
of Hispanic students and 72 percent of
black students.
Despite concerted efforts by admin-
istrators to bring minority students
to the University, something happens
between acceptance and graduation.
While the University has made efforts
to reach out to minorities in the face
of negative press brought on by the
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, these
strategies are only half the battle.
Administrators have a dual responsi-
bility here - to both enroll and retain
minority students in an effort to achieve
a diverse campus.
The University provides resources
like Minority Peer Advisors and the
Summer Bridge Program, but the dis-
parity in graduation rates persists
despite these support systems.
Although not obvious to most white
students, minorities face unique chal-
lenges that hinder continued enrollment
and graduation. The predominantly
white student body and faculty can
alienate some minority students, and
the search for role models of a similar
ethnic background can seem fruitless.
This discouraging process may prompt
students to transfer to a university with
a more substantial representation of
their own background. Moreover, many
minority students are the first genera-
tion in their family to attend college,
and therefore the expectation to pur-
sue higher education is not as strong as
in families with several generations of
college graduates.
The most devastating barrier for
minority students attempting to attend

a college as expensive as the University,
however, is financial. Overwhelmed
and frustrated with the extremely high
cost of a University education, many
minority students leave the Maize and
Blue to pursue a more affordable educa-
tion elsewhere.
One answer is to increase financial
aid and scholarships to underrepre-
sented minority students. More pro-
grams like last year's federal initiative
through the Louis Stokes Alliance for
Minority Participation, which received
$5 million to attract and retain minor-
ity students interested in science, math
and engineering, will provide minor-
ity students with both a means and
incentive to complete their degree. By
making financial aid a top priority, the
University can use fundraising, reallo-
cation of existing scholarships and leg-
islative lobbying to provide the funds
necessary to meet student's needs.
No student should be forced to forfeit
higher education for want of funding,
particularly at a university that claims
to be a pillar for diversity in academia.
The administration's responsibil-
ity, however, extends beyond relieving
the financial burden facing minority
students. The University must cater
to students who, once enrolled, find
themselves overwhelmed by the rigor
of classes or alienated from the pre-
dominantly white, upper-class student
body. These nuanced programs are just
as important as providing financial aid,
if not more so.
The University has striven for
decades to be a leader of academic
diversity, from the first Black Action
Movement in the 1970s to this decade's
U.S. Supreme Court cases on affirma-
tive action. By focusing energy and fun-
neling money into minority retention
and graduation rates, the University
can give every student what they came
here to get - a degree.

The University's
Flint campus attempts
to attract more resi-
dent students by pol-
ishing off plans to
builda new dorm. Maybe our campus
should take a hint.
The Detroit Pub-
lic Schools didn't
check references for
three of four com-
panies that it gave
technology contracts worth millions,
the Detroit Free Press reported yes-
terday. That's good for the companies
involved - one of them didn't bother
to provide the school district with ref-
erences anyway.
Progress is rarely popular. There was
a time when our government needed
to send in troops to_
integrate schools
because the good old
masses just weren't
having any of it. The
will of the people
shouldn't alwayswin,
but implicit in that
idea is the argu-
ment that it usually IMRAN
should. SYED
When it first_
became clear
that the University planned to install
enclosed luxury boxes at Michigan
Stadium, the popular uproar was swift
and vicious. It became clear that at
least a loud minority among the Michi-
gan faithful see luxury boxes as a scar
upon their beloved grounds. They see
it as a smirch upon tradition, a sellout
of the hallowed Michigan brand and an
unnecessary embrace of elitism.
In a column last April (Skybox deceit,
04/07/2006), I sought to smash these
arguments. I contended that there
have been other meaningful changes
at the stadium over the years (such as
the installation of an ugly artificial turf
playing surface) and this change would
be no more drastic. As for the sellout of
the Michigan brand, I pointed out that
through corporate deals with Nike,
ABC and other companies, the Univer-
sity had gone further down that road
on many past occasions. And as for the
elitism argument - well, with skyrock-
eting seat premiums, the entire stadium
is an embrace of elitism.
Now, after seeing the schematic
designs published last week, my opin-
ion remains unchanged. While there
may be others who faint at the thought
of an 85-foot structure on either side of

the stadium, I can't help but think that
they'd probably add character to the
stadium - not to mention crank up the
volume on the crowd widely known as
"the quietest 110,000 people in Ameri-
ca." Some see this as a sellout of tradi-
tion; I am squinting and cannot figure
out how this is a bigger affront than
other changes that have been made in
the past (I mean Tartanturf? Come on).
But, you know what? It doesn't mat-
ter. Even if there is nothing wrong with
putting in luxury boxes (and even I
wouldn't go as far as that) and people
are upset over nothing, the fact that
they are upset is enough.
There are times when practicality
should trump blind idealism. We can
debate the principles of a particular
action all we want but after a certain
point, the high-headed truth is mean-
ingless. Even if there is nothing ideo-
logically wrong with that action, if the
majority of those that are affected dis-
agree with the action, that is enough to
make it wrong.
Certainly there are limitations.
Althoughwe dealinpeople andthe willof
the people should be supreme, our rights
to pragmatic ease end where another
person's civil liberties begin. That is why
forceful integration of schools is justi-
fied. But no such factors are in play in
the University's decision to build luxury
boxes at Michigan Stadium.
As the purists cry for intervention to
stop what is to them murder, the Uni-
versity can contend that there is no
foul. I am one of the few who agree and
see luxury boxes as an economic reality
that, if not now, will eventually find its
way into Ann Arbor sometime down the
road. But it doesn't matter.
A few months ago, I argued in favor
luxury boxes, not because I liked them
but simply because I didn't buy any argu-

ment against them. Now, however, there
is one argument I do buy. The Big House
should always be the biggest stadium
in college football, and luxury boxes
threaten to limit further expansion of
the main bowl in the future, potentially
puttingthat distinction in jeopardy.
That may not be enough to convince
the University, but another reason
should be. I now see that I underesti-
Listening to the
fans in the debate
over Big House
mated the popular discontent against
luxury boxes. Perhaps even now it's
simply a vocal minority, but that seems
less and less likely. When you've got
concerned alums flying in from Maine
and threatening lawsuits, something
isn't quite right. The University previ-
ously claimed that its plan including
luxury boxes was the only viable plan
available, but that is no longer true.
The plan proposed by the Save the Big
House group, for instance, presents an
alternative that makes necessary reno-
vations and adds 10,000 bleacher seats
without the need of luxury boxes.
There are times when the people
should win, and this is one of them. The
fact that fans think it is wrong to imple-
ment luxury boxes makes it wrong.
Imran Syed is a Daily associate
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at galad@umich.edu.

ding discontent



Checking the wrong box

America's own terrorist Museum ofModern

training school
With all of the media coverage regarding
human rights, torture and terrorism, most
Americans still have not heard about the
School of the Americas. For over 50 years, it
has been notoriously advocating the use of
torture. Its graduates leave a trail of blood
everywhere they go, and the countries with
the worst human rights records consistently
send the most soldiers.
The School of the Americas - now called
the Western Hemisphere Institute for Secu-
rity Cooperation - trains Latin American
soldiers in counterinsurgency, psychological
warfare and interrogation tactics. It is run by
the U.S. Army and paid for by U.S. tax dollars.
Its purpose: "To control the economic and
political systems of Latin America by aiding
and influencing Latin American militaries."
The graduate's progress of control is mea-
sured by "the number of arrests, searches and
seizures, cocaine pits destroyed, and insur-
gents killed." These so-called "insurgents"
are union leaders, students, teachers, reli-
gious leaders and anyone trying to change the
status quo or work for the rights of the poor.
These community leaders are assassinated,
massacres, disappeared and tortured.
The 60,000 graduates, many of whom are
known human rights abusers, are not just "a
fewbad apples"working on their own. Human
rights organizations have found cables link-
ing U.S military stations and Latin American
military and paramilitary groups involved in
these atrocities. The graduates of the SOA are
installed to make sure that the discrepancy
between America's wealth and the rest of the
world's doesn't change.
We cannot tolerate this institution. Not
only is it inhumane, but it is hypocritical to be
denouncing terrorism around the globe while
we are training Latin American soldiers to do
our dirty work. The SOAis a symbol of repres-
sion and impunity, and an institution that
shames this country.
Jennifer Mills
LSA sophomore

Art more valuable than
Cowan thinks
The $20 entrance fee that "overweight,
middle-aged yuppies, giggling children and
grinning Chinese tour groups" pay is pivotal
to keeping the doors open and the collection
growing. Is Caitlin Cowan (Art not enough to
sustain the myth of MoMa, 10/19/2006) sug-
gesting that Middle America (much less
minorities) is unable to appreciate modern
art? Cultural institutions are focal points to
American life; they need funding to remain
Part of the beauty and pull of a cultural
entity is the ability for members of any
race, class or gender to access it. Part of the
beauty of the Museum of Modern Art is its
egalitarian position in a multicultural city,
composed of both tourists who document
their travels and naive New Yorkers who
shell out tax dollars to support local cul-
tural attractions. When Cowan states in an
elitist and naive way, "Just because a third
of all lower-middle-class homes display a
print of the swirling landscape doesn't give
it quality or importance," she is forgetting
the most important creed of art: It is uni-
versal and should be shared by any person
who enjoys it.
I amsurprised that Cowan feels so strong-
ly against a place that I have come to love
and admire. How can a museum that is so
universally venerated become a mockery of
arts culture? How can the author speak out
so strongly against arts education ("Had the
grouchy teenagers who had come to MoMa
on school trips gained an appreciation for
abstract art while they rolled their eyes at
Rothko's dichromatic canvases?") while she
claims to be "no connoisseur of art" her-
self? The MoMa is not a "tourist trap" but
a bastion of modern art like no other, cre-
ative and open to anyvisitor, knowledgeable
about art or not.
Katie Green
LSA senior

My name is Joshua Tishhouse, but
that's not what it should be. Like many
other families that immigrated to the
United States in the late 1800s - the era
of Ellis Island - my family was stripped
of its name upon arrival. Why? It wasn't
American enough. My name should be
My family came here for the hope of
a better life in the land of opportunity.
Those hopes were quickly crushed. My
family was persecuted in the slums of
the urban East Coast for years until
we finally were able to leave the area.
For years, my family worked blue-col-
lar factory jobs, earning just enough
to keep themselves fed and sheltered.
It wasn't until the era of affirmative
action that my family was able to put its
name - its new name - on the steps of a
university. My grandfather, who is still
alive today, never dreamed of being able
to do that. He didn't even finish high
school because he had a responsibility
to care for his family.
That puts me in the same boat as Afri-

can Americans, Asian Americans, Latin
Americans and every other minority,
right? Wrong. What makes me differ-
ent? I'm white. In fact, I'm as white as
they come. Because of this label, I get
zero additional consideration in Uni-
versity admissions, or for affirmative
action dollars set aside for those in
our society who have been persecuted
because of their ethnicity.
By now, it's quite obvious that I don't
fit the Caucasian stereotype. So where
do I fit in? As affirmative action stands
right now, I don't. I should be at an
advantage - that's what the NAACP
tells me. That's what most of those tell-
ing us to vote "No on 2" are telling me.
Without affirmative action on my
side, I'm forced to work two jobs during
the summer to pay for my education.
During the school year I work 20 to 30
hours a week in addition to my 15 cred-
its just to live out my family's American
dream. The next person to tell me that I
get everything handed to me has anoth-
er thing coming.

As I stood in the semicircle of an
NAACP rally against the Michigan
Civil Rights Initiative, I could feel eyes
staring at me. A couple of people even
gave me dirty looks. They didn't have
to say anything to me - their faces said
it all. There I am, in virtually the same
boat as they are, but I get looked at dif-
ferently than their black brothers and
sisters. I'm immediately stereotyped.
Many of them looked at me in the same
way they complain white people look at
I write to you today as a white stu-
dent who doesn't fit into a neat little
category. I'm not the only one. There
are countless others who are Irish, Ital-
ian, Dutch, German, Jewish and there
are other "Caucasians" that immigrated
here only to be lumped into this same,
nonexistent category. We all suffer too.
Don't forget us, affirmative action. If
you're going to level the playing field,
level all of it.
Joshua Tishhouse is an LSA junior.




Editorial Board Members: Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler, Ben Caleca,
Devika Daga, Milly Dick, James David Dickson, Jesse Forester, Gary Graca, Jared Goldberg,
Jessi Holler, Rafi Martina, Toby Mitchell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine Seid,
Elizabeth Stanley, John Stiglich, Rachel Wagner.


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