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October 24, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-10-24

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4 - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

74c ic igan at1
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed
articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
More than admissions
Effects of Proposal 2 will extend beyond University
With just weeks remaining until Michigan vot-
ers decide on Proposal 2, the Center for Equal
Opportunity released a conveniently timed
report last week that purports to confirm the shocking
extent to which the University considers race and ethnicity
in its admissions process.


57K ~ R~VLF

We've never been
- PRESIDENT BUSH, clumsily trying to
abandon his administration's sud-
denly unpopular rhetoric regarding
the war in Iraq, as aired on ABC's
"This Week" on Sunday.


. 1 ^x d-

The fall ofBabylon

The conservative think tank's find-
ings are a gross oversimplification of
the University's admission policies,
but what is more troubling is how it
restricts discussion about Proposal 2,
or the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative,
to a debate on the University's admis-
sion of black and Hispanic students.
The way Proposal 2 supporters have
latched onto the study would suggest
that it is a voter referendum on how the
University should admit students. Pro-
posal 2, however, is an amendment to
the state Constitution, not a voter-ini-
tiated change in University policy, and
its effects would certainly extend far
beyond University admissions.
Considering only standardized test
scores, grade-point averages and the
race of applicants, the CEO study con-
cluded that the University currently
gives more consideration to black and
Hispanic students than in 1999, before
the U.S. Supreme Court struck down
the University's point-based policy.
But the study bases its conclusions on
incomplete data, ignoring factors that
don't lend themselves to statistical
analysis - like admissions essays, high
school curricula and letters of recom-
Groups like One United Michigan
were quick to point out these short-
comings, but failed to highlight that
the University's admissions process is
just one aspect of the broader issue at
stake in November. The proposal bans
affirmative action programs based on
gender, race and ethnicity for all pub-
lic education, contracting and employ-
ment across Michigan.
Both sides have turned to Califor-
nia's Proposition 209, which contains
language nearly identical language
to Proposal 2, in order to predict the
effects of MCRI. Ten years after Prop
MSA commission
working for environment
A recent editorial in The Michigan Daily
(An inconvenient vacuum, 10/19/2006)argued
that although there are many environmen-
tal groups and movements on campus, they
lack unity. I'm part of the Environmental
Issues Commission, a branch of the Michi-
gan Student Assembly that was created to

209's passage, much still remains to be
sorted out in court, but a few results
are clear. In California, not only uni-
versity admissions have been affected
- there was a substantial decline in
gender-specific after-school programs
and minority outreach programs as far
down the education ladder as elemen-
tary school. Publicly funded financial
aid for minorities and women pursuing
education in male-dominated fields like
engineering and medicine was also pro-
hibited. In the contracting sector, state
and local governments had to end out-
reach requirements to ensure minority
entrepreneurs are considered in con-
Even considering just the University,
the admissions process is one small
part of the many initiatives that seek
to promote underrepresented groups.
The proposal would likely end pro-
grams such as Women in Science and
Engineering and the Summer Bridge
Program, as well as specific minority
outreach efforts.
The release seems convenientlytimed
to sway the 15 percent of Michigan vot-
ers who remain undecided on Proposal
2 and to leave pro-affirmative action
groups scrambling to respond as Nov. 7
approaches. Taking California as a case
study, it is evident this issue affects all
of Michigan, from public contracts to
public education, from women to His-
panics - and the proposal may have
unpredictable consequences. By reduc-
ing the debate to an oversimplified
analysis of the University's admission
policy, CEO is undermining the dia-
logue that needs to take place for voters
to understand the issue. Proposal 2 is
about affirmative action in Michigan -
not affirmative action in the University
of Michigan's undergraduate admis-
sions office.
involvement in the University's discussion of
sustainability goals. This is why we are push-
ing for the formation of a permanent commit-
tee in the president's office that would include
both students and faculty and would ensure
progress toward sustainability goals.
In an effort to increase awareness about
all these important environmental issues
and to give students an opportunity to get
involved in these exciting efforts, the Envi-
ronmental Issues Commission will be host-
ing Earth Week on the Diag this week. We
hope to see you there.

n March 19, 2003, the United
States began its invasion of Iraq.
As the television coverage of the
fall of Baghdad spread across the globe,
the world was intro-
duced to a literally
unprecedented his-
torical phenomenon:
war without sacri- M6
fice. America reached
halfway around the
world and demol-
ished a foreign TORY
government in two
weeks with mini- MITCHELL
mal casualties and
subjecting its citi-
zens at home without the slightest drop
in their standard of living. It was power
of an order never before seen.
Or it appeared to be. The insurgent
violence following President Bush's
May 1, 2003 announcement of the "end
of major combat operations" has esca-
lated into civil war. Top military lead-
ership proved inflexible and arrogant:
Donald Rumsfeld fired military advis-
ers who counseled deploying more
troops from the outset. Inexperienced
reconstruction officials picked solely on
the basis of party loyalty debated anti-
smoking campaigns and traffic codes
while hospitals were looted and car
bombs exploded outside their fortified
offices. We lost Iraqi trust through our
failure to secure even the most basic
necessities of life: clean water, electric-
ity, explosive-free roads.
After Iraq's WMDs failed to appear
and Iraqis didn't leap to buy Tivos and
open up Burger Kings, the official justi-
fications for the war approached inco-
herence. Why are we in Iraq? Because
there are terrorists there. Why are
there terrorists there? Because we're in
Iraq. Stare into this spinning wheel of
circular logic long enough and you too
might realize that the ill-defined ben-
efits of "staying the course" are worth
the violent deaths of hundreds of thou-
sands of citizens of the very country we
supposedly set out to liberate.

America turned an entire nation into
a political science laboratory for what
could be called the Full Metal Jack-
et Theory of international relations:
"Inside every gook, there's an Ameri-
can waiting to get out." Encouraged
by an explicit rejection of multicultur-
alism, our policymakers ignored the
most basic sensibilities of Iraqi soci-
ety. Marines searched through clothes
drawers in nighttime raids while
Muslim women and their husbands
stood by in their underwear. The Iraqi
national museum was looted while
troops secured the Oil Ministry. The
president referred to the war as a "cru-
sade." Republican Rep. Terry Everett of
Alabama serves on a House intelligence
committee and didn't know the differ-
ence between rival Sunni and Shiite
Muslims. When a reporter explained,
he replied: "Now that you've explained
it to me, what occurs to me is that it
makes what we're doing over there
extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but
that whole area."
There is perhaps no more potent sym-
bol of the enormous ignorance behind
the invasion than the fate of Babylon.
While archaeologists pleaded for the
United States to respect the ancient.
cradle of civilization, the Army built a
helicopter pad next to the remains of
the Ishtar Gate. The parts of Babylon's
walls that weren't shattered by vibra-
tions from tanks and helicopters were
packed into sandbags for fortifica-
tions or taken by soldiers as souvenirs.
The symbolic power of the conquest
of ancient Mesopotamia has now been
overshadowed by the image of Cletus
looting statues of Lord Marduk.
To a man with only an axe, every-
thing looks like a tree, even if the job
at hand calls for subtler tools. The
very people who were so intoxicated
by military power that they relied on
it to the exclusion of all else have done
more to destroy that power than any-
one else. Trapped in Iraq, the military
can't perform its fundamental mission
as a deterrent to actual threats, such as

Iran and North Korea. Abu Ghraib has
become a recruitment poster for terror-
ists, yet Congress endorsed such abuses
with the recent detainee torture bill.
Most tragically, the global groundswell
of allegiance and sympathy for America
following Sept. 11 has been squandered
for an ego-driven war that has created
new terrorists and reinforced al-Qaida's
anti-Western propaganda message.
America has maintained its promi-
American power
stumbles into
Iraqi realities.
nence because the world understood
that, even if it didn't like our power,
there was likely no other nation that
could be trusted to do better with it.
Without yokingthis power to the global
common good, as we did in establishing
the United Nations, our might can only
generate resentment and rebellion. The.
war in Iraq was an error not merely of
execution, but of intent; by failing to
follow the standards the United States
expects others to respect, we under-
mined the framework of international
cooperation we need to fight terrorism
This Congress must be unseated and
replaced with another willing to shine
light on the abuses of the war and bring
the legitimacy of international law back
to American foreign policy. Only then
can America be restored to the power
that constituted our strongest national
defense in the past - that power that
does not compel obedience through
force of arms but inspires allegiance by
force of example.
Toby Mitchell can be reached
at tojami@umich.edu.

The luxury-box president


facilitate cooperation between the many
groups. Through this commission, we hope Elissa Dickson
to achieve a more concerted effort toward LSA senior
shared environmental goals.
The editorial also discusses the need for f
a push towards renewable and alternative OSUfan a
energy sources here on campus. My commis-
sion could not agree more; one of our major M ichigani
campaigns this fall is convincing the Univer-
sity to take a more serious stance in support TO THE DAILY:
of sustainable energy forms. Universities all With the grea
over the United States - including the Uni- game of all time loc
versity of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, express the great r
New York University and the University of for Michigan foot
California system - are taking steps to pur- cannot think of an:
chase renewable energy and reduce their es his integrity or I
greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, NYU to always tell it lik
recently agreed to offset its entire annual that Michigan reci
energy usage with renewable energy cred- because of a refere
its from wind and solar power, among other as I would like to
sources. its winning streak,
Environmental stewardship is extremely about who shouldv
important, perhaps more so today than ever From what I've
before. Considering that the University has State are arguably
always been regarded as a leader in environ- because of this, I'n
mental initiatives, we would love to see the ever team plays bet
administration take steps to increase our deserve to win th
use of renewable energy as a part of its push Wouldn't it be grea
toward sustainability. conference game a
The University recently began discussing a championship gan
potential purchase of wind energy in conjunc- could start a debat
tion with Mayor John Hieftje and the city of title in 2007. At any
Ann Arbor. This would be a great step toward year that Michigan
sustainability, and the student body should own NCAA footbal
actively support this proposal. In this same
vein, the Environmental Issues Commis- Rand Jameson Sh
sion would like to see an increase in student Ohio State University

dmits that
is worthy foe
test conference rivalry
,ming before us, I want to
'espect I have always had
ball coach Lloyd Carr. I
y other coach who match-
has the personal presence
e it is. I also acknowledge
eived a raw deal last year
e's poor call. And as much
see Ohio State continue
I am totally on the fence
win in the final game.
seen, Michigan and Ohio
equals on the field, and,
m going to root for which-
ter on the day. Both teams
e national championship.
t if one team won the final
nd the other the national
me in January? Then it
:e about who will win the
'rate, let's all celebrate the
n and Ohio State together
y alum

No matter how many wonderful
things Mary Sue Coleman accomplish-
es as University president, she will be
remembered for one major initiative:
the renovation of Michigan Stadium.
Of that, I have little doubt.
Take the rabid anger of alumni a few
years ago when the Athletic Depart-
ment put a gaudy yellow ring around
the top of the stadium. Now compare
that reaction to their silence as the state
cut tens of millions of dollars in Univer-
sity funding in the past few years.
Whether it's fair or not, if Coleman
fundamentally alters Michigan Stadi-
um, even if those alterations are done
tastefully, her presidency - no matter
what she wants to make it about - will
be remembered for those renovations to
the stadium, the University's most tele-
vised landmark.
I will set aside all the practical argu-
ments - the ones most likelyto sway the
University Board of Regents - against
the skyboxes because they have been
made before. I will say, however, that
I'm surprised at how gung-ho a board
of regents and an administration with
very, very little experience building
$300 million stadiums have been. This
is, however, largelythe same group that,
despite its inexperience jumpstarting
massive life sciences initiatives, spent
more than twice that amount on a life
sciences building spree under Cole-
man's predecessor because every other
university was doing the same thing.
We were behind the curve then, just as
we're apparently behind the curve at
adding luxury boxes to our stadium.
In January, I wrote a lengthy pro-
file of Coleman (Michigan woman,

01/19/2006). I spent a fair bit of time
with her and talked to a number of peo-
ple who know a lot about Coleman and
the University.
I concluded that Coleman is doing
a very good job as president, but I also
found that almost nobody could coher-
ently tell me what her vision for the
University is. Not her vice president
for communications. Not the regents.
Not the administrators or officials she
works with closely on a day-to-day
basis. Not even Coleman herself.
But after looking at her initiatives,
reading her public statements and talk-
ing to Regent Olivia Maynard, I figured
out that Coleman does have a noble
How the skyboxes
will ruin Coleman's
vision for this place.
Coleman is breaking down barriers
and recommitting the University to its
dual historic legacy: providing whatlong-
time University President James Angell
called "an uncommon education for the
common man" and generating knowl-
edge that can benefit people outside the
University's boundaries. As Maynard
told me, the University should be part of
the world around it, notan ivory tower.
Symbolically, that effort comes in
the form of being the first female presi-
dent. But she is also trying to make the

University more seamless - internally
and with the outside world. She wants
to make the University more afford-
able and accessible to people who have
traditionally seen it as out of reach.
She wants the vast knowledge in the
University's libraries to be available to
everyone. She is trying to engage the
world in which the University exists
but often finds itself marginalized.
Her support for spending $300 mil-
lion on luxury boxes for wealthy fans
only clouds that vision, because those
luxury boxes stand for everything her
presidency and this university do not.
I'm not asking Coleman to take the
lead against the national trend toward
the commercialization of college athlet-
ics. But at some point, for her work on 4
the University's academic side to carry
any weight, she has to draw the line
and say that the University of Michi- I
gan is not about isolating wealthy fans
in luxury skyboxes and spending hun-
dreds of millions of dollars on a football
Maynard is rumored to be Coleman's
biggest supporter among the regents.
She probably has supported the luxury
box project thus far largely for Cole-
man's sake.
But this project will further confuse
the core themes of Coleman's presiden-
cy and ensure that the University's first
female president will be remembered
more as an institutional manager than
a bold university president.
Jason Z. Pesick is a former editor in chief
of The Michigan Daily. He currently works
as a journalist in San Bernardino, California.

YCeAH...CVCEPY $1N61e-


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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