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November 13, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-13

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4A -- Monday, November 13, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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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.
A new era for Coleman
University president should embrace her new spotlight
L ess than a day after Michigan voters overwhelmingly
approved Proposal 2, University President Mary Sue Cole-
man gave a rare speech on the Diag to answer the ques-
tion on everyone's mind: How will the University respond to the
state's ban on affirmative action?


What's in a name?

Three years into her tenure, Coleman's
public displays of leadership have been few.
Her successful fundraising efforts and her
support for adding luxury boxes to Michi-
gan Stadium have defined her legacy so far.
But in the wake of Proposal 2, all eyes are on
the University - and Coleman. Though her
speech provided few specifics, it did make
one thing clear: Coleman will ensure the
University does not back down on its com-
mitment to diversity.
However, other than promising the
administration will explore all possible
legal actions and reassuring the University's
current students and employees that their
financial aid and jobs are not jeopardy, Cole-
man's speech was vague. That angered some
who wanted to hear a more concrete plan to
preserve a diverse campus - and annoyed
others who figure the University should just
move on.
Coleman's generality is understandable.
The University finds itself in a difficult situ-
ation, and no one is certain where to go from
here. But however tenuous this situation
is for the University, the speech itself left
something to be desired. Coleman's cliches
and awkwardly long pauses for applause
likely didn't sit well with many of the stu-
dents and faculty present on the Diag. Given
that Coleman will undoubtedly remain
under the spotlight in the upcoming months,
she needs to sharpen her oratory skills and
leave phrases like "Michigan is diversity"
behind. Even if she cannot offer a step-by-
step plan right now, Coleman can speak to
the University community with openness
and sincerity.
Despite her lack of specifics, Coleman did
offer a general direction to her 2,000-strong
audience on Wednesday. To mitigate the
consequences that universities in California
and Texas faced after the passage of affir-
mative action bans similar to Proposal 2,
the University must develop its own plan as
well draw on the experiences of other states
to foster a diverse campus. Coleman asked
the community to "think creatively about
how to elevate Michigan's role as a national

model for diversity in higher education." But
how can the University actually go about
this in the face of Proposal 2?
One idea is to use social research aimed at
finding other ways to maintain the diversity
the University values. The administration
could evaluate applicants' potential contri-
butions to campus diversity based on their
values and experiences, without focusing on
the race or gender of applicants. Following
Gratz v. Bollinger, the University increased
its emphasis on essays and building holis-
tic profiles of applicants in undergraduate
admission. Expanding the application - per-
haps through short-answer questions that
would be less burdensome than additional
essays - could provide admissions officers
with a better sense of each applicant. Anoth-
er way to ensure minority students make up
a significant proportion of the student body
every year is to make certain that they apply
in large numbers. Over the last few years,
Coleman has made several visits to church-
es in Detroit to recruit potential applicants.
Finding ways to not just maintain, but
expand outreach efforts will be crucial to
avoiding the same drop in minority enroll-
ment that California experienced.
With Proposal 2 currently scheduled
to go into effect Dec. 22, there are a lot of
questions that will have to be answered in
the coming weeks. If the University truly
believes diversity is crucial to the educa-
tion it offers, its efforts to build a student
body that reflects the diversity of the state
and the nation can hardly end with the pas-
sage of Proposal 2. But what will follow is a
long debate - taking place in the courts and
across the state.
As students, alumni and faculty grapple
with what diversity means at the University
and what can be done to maintain it, it is
encouraging to see Coleman take a leading
role in what is certainly a new era. This first
display of leadership will hopefully be only
the beginning, as the University community
will no doubt turn to Coleman in the coming
weeks and months to redefine what diver-
sity means to our campus.

Two days after Election Day,
Simon Rosenberg, head of the
New Democrat Network, was
quoted by The New York Times as say-
ing, "Every type of Democrat won last
night ... many whose ideology defies
easy description and should be best
described just as a Democrat."
But what does it mean to be a Demo-
crat? Democrats
are usually an. -
eclectic bunch, but
Rosenberg's quote
underlines how the
incoming class runs -
an entire gamut
along the political ,
spectrum. They are L
only unified by a SAM
single name - Dem-
ocrat. BUTLER
The halls of polit-
ical punditry echo with comparisons
between the recent election and the
Republican takeover of 1994. There,
in an astonishing display of ideologi-
cal unity, Republicans unveiled their
"Contract with America" - hitting all
the traditional conservative G-spots -
and it got them elected en masse. This
was easy to do; conservative ideology is
much easier to identify. -
Nowthatthe Democrats controlboth
houses of Congress, everyone expects
the Democrats to similarly unleash
their own legislative agenda and fight
for the things that they stand for.
The problem is, nobody really knows
what that agenda is.
Unlike the Republicans in 1994, the
Democrats didn't offer any well-articu-
lated legislative plan of action. This lack
of a common ideology, long lamentedby
party followers, is notsimply symptom-
atic of the current political landscape,
but is innate to the Democratic project.
The only unifying thread that can ever
encompass the entire Democratic Party
is that it isn't Republican. We were just
lucky that this was enough to get us
elected this year.

As long as they are the leftist party,
the Democrats will forever be the
alternative to the status quo. They are
burdened with the mantle of new ideas
that must be articulated and proven to
be more desirable. Defending the status
quo is a much easier platform, because
you are the default and you need only
to debunk the opposing view. Any
group seeking to advance new ideas
is enveloped under the auspice of the
Left - and as such, associated with
the Democrats. However, just being
referred to under the common signifier
"Democrat" does not imply any kind of
Democrats have gone through sev-
eral evolutions of political ideology.
Once the standard-bearer for the work-
ing class, the Democratic Party first
saw a split in the pivotal year of 1968,
exemplified by the challenges of the
Chicago Seven and by the Dixiecrats'
rejection of civil-rights issues being
included inthepartyplatform.Republi-
cans exploited the disdain felt by white
southern voters, giving Richard Nixon
the presidency. As political writer Joe
Klein phrased it in 2003, that was the
year that the "solid Democratic South
became the solid Republican South, a
truly momentous event in American
political history." Since then, racial
and identity politics continue to be a
divisive and thorny foundation to the
Democratic Party.
Another transformation to the
Democratic cause manifested itself in
the 1970s with the emergence of green
and environmental concerns. Party
infighting still occurs as Democrats
balance expanding jobs and preserving
the environment. Clearly, Republicans
enjoy a relative amount of homogeneity,
whereas Democrats have to build coali-
tions between political interests that
are sometimes diametrically opposed.
This task is often compared to herd-
ing cats, but there is an inherent prob-
lem with the metaphor - cats at least
are still the same kind of animal. Get-

ting Democrats to unite behind a single
initiative is more like trying to herd
an entire menagerie, full of cats, dogs,
pigs and platypuses. (We can make Joe
Lieberman the platypus).
But the Republicans are now facing
an evolution of their own and suffering
the consequences. There is a growing
schism in conservative ideology, a bur-
geoning disparity between old-regime
Republicans forged from the Reaganite
mold and social conservatives who have
Democrats won
Congress because
they weren't
emerged from the woodwork under the
ascendance of Bush the Lesser. Bush's
administration has made the common
leftist mistake of governing based on
pre-ordained ideology, an ideology that
has leftmany ofits ownparty behind. It
was that vacant ideological space that
Democrats were able to capture and
appropriate last week.
When a leftist group gains control,
many followers are often disappointed
athowthe partyco-optsitself,prioritiz-
ing pragmatism-over principles. How-
ever, it was pragmatism that Americans
overwhelmingly voted for on Election
Day. Many of the new Democrats can
be called centrist, but unfortunately the
center has moved significantly to the
right in the past 30 years. We will see
how well the newcomers work with the
old-line Democrats. The only thing
that unites the freshmen in Congress
is that they were labeled with a "D" on
the ballot.
Sam Butler is a member of the
Daily's editorial board. He can
reached at butlers@umich.edu.



Hungry for change


The Hungry Hungry Coeds.com Party recent-
ly announced 12 candidates for the upcoming
Michigan Student Assembly elections on Nov. 16
and 17. The party is committed to fully utilizing
MSA's resources to provide delicious, free food
for all students. MSA currently spends almost
none of its massive $500,000 annual budget on
free food. This ongoing fiscal disaster must be
stopped. We will not give up the fight, especially
when free food is on the line. Hungry students
everywhere, unite!
The other parties - the Michigan Action
Party, Defend Affirmative Action Party and Stu-
dent Liberty Party - show contempt for fellow
hungry comrades. While party bigwigs gorge
themselves at the public trough, they leave hun-
gry students out in the cold. They waste your stu-
dent fees on leaflets and petty gimmicks.
Parties like these and their terrorist allies con-
stitute an axis of evil, armingto threatenthe free
food of the world. In this election, the price of
indifference would be catastrophic famine. You
are either with free food, or you are against it.
Parties must choose to either stay the course
of free food, or to cut and run. While the Hun-
gry Hungry Coeds.com Party has chosen to stay
the course, all of the other parties have cut and
run from the most important issue of our time
- events with free food. Their cowardice is your
hunger and pain. Our people, the Hungry Hun-
gry Coeds, have restored the vigor of this econo-
my and shown resolve and patience in a new kind
of war for free food.
We, the Hungry Hungry Coeds, dream of a

land flowing with free pizza and sandwiches at
even the most humble student group meetings.
We fight to publicize free food wherever it may
be, from University functions to corporate events
and student festivals across campus. Using the
strategies at www.HungryHungryCoeds.com/
strat.php, even shy students can confidently
navigate their way through unfamiliar free-food
events, push their way past all obstacles and con-
sume their well-deserved bounty. With the aid of
MSA's resources, free-food events could become
as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Fighting for student free-food rights has a
proud tradition at the University. In the Port
Huron Statement of 1962, former Michigan Daily
Editor in Chief Tom Hayden wrote, "The (anti-
free food) theory of student extracurricular
affairs validates student government as a train-
ing center for those who want to spend their lives
in political pretense, and discourages initiative
from more articulate, honest, and sensitive stu-
dents.... The university 'prepares' the student for
'citizenship' through perpetual rehearsals and,
usually, through emasculation of what creative
spirit there is in the individual." We must not be
discouraged or emasculated by the insurgents in
other parties, or the unjust causes they support.
In the upcoming election, you will have a
choice: Choose free food. Vote with your stom-
ach, your heart, your wallet and your con-
science. Never go hungry on campus again.
Joe Golden is an LSA senior and the chair
of the Hungry Hungry Coeds.com Party.

Privatizing 'U'would
only hurt diversity
In his letter to the editor (Univer-
sity may need to break free from state,
11/09/2006) Scott Schlimmer suggests
that the University should consider
privatizing after the passage of Pro-
posal 2. While this would certainly
make a political statement, it would be
even more devastating to those whom
affirmative action sought to assist.
The main reason I voted against
Proposal 2 is because I feared that its
passage would lead toa more homoge-
neous and elitist university. Privatiz-
ing this "public Ivy" would manifest
these fears while also raising tuition.
Poor minorities cannot afford to
attend a private university, and their
enrollment would likely drop off even
more than it will after the passage
of Proposal 2. If we want to main-
tain diversity, socioeconomic status
should be an even greater factor in
admissions than race was before the
passage of Proposal 2. I am confident
this will offset much of the loss in
minority enrollment.
The new application should also
place a strong emphasis on commit-
ment to political, religious and com-
munity groups, as these factors too
are good predictors of diversity. I
think we can overcome this obstacle
with a creative and comprehensive -
albeit more complicated - admissions
Eric Kumbier
LSA sophomore

some positive consequences, insofar
as it may force the University to take
extra steps to ensure its commitment
to diversity.
However, I have seen nothing on
campus to suggest that the Univer-
sity actually desires true diversity,
but rather seeks only the "color of the
skin" type. True diversity is not iden-
tifiable from a distance. It presents
itself from all angles, and the Univer-
sity need only widen its gaze to find
other sources of diversity.
The most salient type of diversity
I have experienced is regional. This
proposal gives the University the
chance to become a truly global leader
in education if it opens its doors to top
students from around the country and
the world, creating an international
Unfortunately, after Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman's
address last Wednesday, I do not
see any chance of this happening.
Instead, she continued her hypocriti-
cal campaign for "diversity," simpli-
fying the issue into black and white.
I would urge the president to open
her eyes to all the colors of the spec-
trum. Sadly, the only thing I foresee
is an expensive legal battle that will
undoubtedly bog down progress. That
money would be better spent increas-
ing the quality of education for under-
privileged students, bringing about
tangible, positive change.
Rather than focus on the mistakes
of the past, let us pave a better future
for tomorrow. Rather than striving
for "equality" and "diversity" through
affirmative action programs, let's all
get out and work to make affirmative
actiona moot point.

Columbus and Ohio Stadium for the
greatest rivalry in college football this
coming Saturday. The studentbody of
OSU has taken the initiative to pro-
mote good sportsmanship by forming
the new Sportsmanship Council.
As students, we feel we are the
foundation of OSU, and our actions
help shape our university's reputa-
tion. The Sportsmanship Council is
trying to create a friendly, welcoming
environment for all fans - not just
Buckeyes - but for all visiting teams
and their supporters as well.
Being a Michigan resident and a
student at Ohio State University, I
have a unique perspective on this
great rivalry. If you are planning to
travel to Columbus, I hope you take
notice of our community's hospital-
ity. For the first time, Ohio State and
Michigan will meet on Nov. 18 as the
number one and two teams in the
BCS rankings. We're going to cheer
for the Buckeyes with all our might,
and we know you will do the same
for the Wolverines. But before, dur-
ing and after the game, the OSU fans
want Wolverines to feel welcome in
our town, our campus and our stadi-
um. We invite you to join us in cheer-
ing loud and showing the nation that,
together, we are proud to be the best
teams and the best fans in the land!
Amanda Graver
Ohio State University student
Wait, let new board
vote on stadium plan
I simply cannot understand why
anyone would want to disrupt the
beauty, tradition and egalitarian per-
sonality of one of the nation's most
famous college football stadiums.
Given that Regent David Brandon, a
major support of the skybox plan, lost
his seat in last week's election, I would
like to respectfully ask the University
Board of Regents to postpone any vote
on the seating plan until the new board
is seated.
Mitchell Henderson
Class of 'O5


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, Neil Tambe, Rachel Wagner.


. Daniel Griffin
issue ofdiversity is LSA senior
not black and white 'Hospitality' awaits in
I am disheartened by the recent Columbusfor ourfans

spat of doom and gloom on the Daily's
front page regarding the recent pas-
sage of Proposal 2. It would be wise
of the editors to present less biased
coverage in their news stories. I am an
optimist, and I truly believe the pas-
sage of this ballot initiative can have

There are no twogreater teams than
Ohio State and Michigan, or any two
universities with more loyal fans. The
students of Ohio State look forward
to welcoming University students to

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