4 - Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
DONN M. FRESARD
EDITOR IN CHIEF
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS
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.
The Pentagon, redesigned
Washington must learn from Rumsfeld's mistakes
W ith the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld and the
Democratic takeover of Congress, many liberals are
celebrating the start of a new era. Although the pub-
lic and the new Congress must now look ahead for new solu-
tions, it is crucial that they do not neglect to examine the past.
It will take time to sort out the mess Rumsfeld left behind at the
I would ban
- ELTON JOHN, explaining his belief
that organized religion promotes dis-
crimination against gays, as reported
yesterday by CNN.com.
Life after affirmative action
Former CIA director Robert Gates,
nominated to replace Rumsfeld, has excel-
lent credentials and a reputation as a prag-
matist, and hopefully he can point the
Pentagon in a new direction. Rumsfeld's
mistakes will be felt for years, however,
and only through investigations can leg-
islators understand the current situation
and rectify problems in the Pentagon.
Using the opportunity voters have given
Congress, politicians on both sides should
ensure the policies of the Rumsfeld era are
investigated thoroughly. While cronyism
in the Pentagon has existed for some time
now, the remarks made by several retired
generals in the past year and the evidence
of no-bid contracts handed out to political
allies reveal grievous abuses in the Penta-
gon. The public deserves to know to what
extent Rumsfeld's Pentagon filtered infor-
mation about the Iraq War to suit its views
of the war. By investigating this, we can see
a far more complete picture of Iraq and of
homeland security deficiencies.
Furthermore, Congress must carefully
analyze how funding for the war in Iraq
was spent. Although evidence of question-
able funding decisions and rampant waste
has emerged, neither the public nor leg-
islators are certain to the exact extent of
this corruption. Holding contractors more
accountable and ending no-bid contracts
for work in Iraq are musts - not only to
lower costs and make troops safer, but also
to expose any illegal activity and deal prop-
er punishment where necessary.
Democrats in both houses have prom-
ised to enact the 9/11 Commission recom-
mendations. Senators will need to properly
question Gates on how he will contribute to
this goal during his confirmation hearings
- and to make sure he has an answer. Fur-
thermore, senators must take care to find
out Gates's motivations; he has been accused
of overstating Soviet military strength for
political gain in the 1980s and had ties to
many officials involved in the Iran-Contra
affair. While the future for the Pentagon
looks brighter with Rumsfeld out of the pic-
ture, it will only be through investigating its
past that Rumsfeld's mistakes over the past
five years can be put behind us.
think ofProposal2's passageintwo
ways: as afait accompli - affirma-
tive action is gone and not coming
back - and as an opportunity. When
the history of this Universityis written,
the ban on affirmative action will be
looked on as a turning point; Election
Day 2006 will be regarded as a water-
shed moment. That
is, if we're honest -
what the passage of
the Michigan Civil
We must admit
two things: that - -
affirmative action JAMES
is dead and that if
we want diversity, DAVID
it'll take much more DICKSON
than slapping 20_
admissions points -
or, since the old point-based system was
deemed unconstitutional, its "holistic"
equivalent - on the problem and think-
ing we've fought the good fight.
In my five years at the University,
I've never heard more thoughtful,
constructive dialogue on the prob-
lems which al minorities than I have
in the five days since MCRI passed.
The "what now" - what will we do
now to ensure minority representa-
tion at the University? - conversa-
tion simply wasn't happening when
affirmative action existed, when its
proponents relied solely on social
engineering and point scales to do
what the education system couldn't:
get black students into Michigan.
This is why I'm given pause when
I hear that University President Mary
Sue Coleman wants to fight MCRI.
As she said in her Nov. 8, post-MCRI
address to the campus: "I will not
stand by while the very heart and soul
of this great university is threatened.
We are Michigan and we are diver-
sity. ... I have directed our General
Counsel to consider every legal option
available to us."
Affirmative action is off the table.
Period. Michigan's voters - nearly 60
percent of them, majorities in all but
three counties - demand it so. Cole-
man, above all, should realize this,
and should lead the paradigm shift
as our University moves beyond race
preferences. The worst that could
happen is for the University to conve-
niently ignore that fact, because that
ignorance will enable it to do what
affirmative action's supporters have
been doing far too long: hinging the
fate of diversity on a divisive social
The University has proven itself
willing to shell out the money to
defend affirmative action and ensure
diversity. It's done it in court cases. It's
done it the past 30-plus years through
the Bridge Program, which prepares
disadvantaged students for the rigors
of the University. Now that affirma-
tive action is a nonissue, though, I
wonder whether we'll see that same
commitment come through in more
creative ways, or if we'll fight in vain
in the courts so that we can soak up
the limelight and maintain our repu-
tation as the defenders of diversity.
Coleman should save our money on
the lawyers, and instead spend it cre-
ating work-study or fellowship posi-
tions thatcwill give minority graduates
the chance to give back to their com-
munities, either in full-time teaching
or mentoringroles.And it doesn'thave
to be limited to minorities: Anyone
who feels a sense of commitment to
ensuring quality education in Michi-
gan would be more than welcome to
help, and could make some money
doing it. or perhaps the University
could promote (and lead the efforts
to obtain state funding for) a "Teach
for Michigan" program that would
exchange free schooling for a prom-
ise that the "leaders and best" would
make their presence felt in Michigan
classrooms upon graduation.
Either program would allow the
University to maintain the funding
There are better
ways to foster a
levels needed to attract top minor-
ity students, while putting them to
work in classrooms where they could
train and recruit the next generation
of potential Wolverines. Talk about a
But rather than tackle the problem
at the roots by working to ensure that
Michigan's high schools graduate stu-
dents who are qualified for admission
and prepared for college coursework,
Coleman seems satisfied that the
"20 points" mentality is enough. She
seems intent on defending it publicly
and legally, rather than privately, and
at the grassroots level. There is a way
to ensure that our minority numbers
don't drop, that our sacred cow of
diversity is protected without resort-
ing to race preferences. But it'll take
no small dose of reality and creativity
to find that solution. It'll sure as hell
take more than 20 points.
What now, indeed.
James David Dickson can
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DANIIL GUN ITSKIY, JOSH KERSEY AND ZACK YOST
MAP-ping out change
What do you think of when you hear about
student government on this campus? If you're
like most students, you've either never heard of
it or are only vaguely familiar with what it can
do. Keeping this in mind, the Michigan Action
Party is committed to ending the disconnect
between students and their student govern-
ments by showing you the work that we already
do for you and by making these representative
bodies more open and accountable to your true
needs and issues as soon as we are elected.
Who are we, and what do we stand for? MAP
is a group of qualified, experienced and dedi-
cated students who have come together to work
for you in the Michigan Student Assembly and
LSA Student Government, and we are focused
on taking action for you. We do not adhere to a
specific political ideology, butinstead encourage
an open marketplace of ideas both within our
party and throughout the University because
we believe that this is the environment neces-
sary to develop the best policies for students.
We also believe in working toward innovative
yet achievable goals, both large and small, that
will directly improve everyone's experience
at the University. In short, we stand for taking
action that will make a true difference in your
lives, not promoting half-promises and unreal-
istic goals that will never be achieved.
How do we plan to take action? Our slogan,
"Protecting Your Rights, Protecting Your Wal-
let and Taking Action for YOU!," summarizes
exactly what MAP is about. If elected, our can-
didates will protect your rights by expanding
the availability of University Health Service
resources to make them more convenient for
students, improving both on- and off-campus
lighting and safety measures and continuously
stressing the need for local police to focus on
the safety of students rather than simply writ-
ing tickets for drinking violations.
We will also protectyour wallets by expand-
ing Entree Plus service to several off-campus
locations, working with faculty and admin-
istrators to have textbook lists released early
to allow students to purchase materials from
cheaper sources and reforming the printing
limit policies currently affecting many stu-
Dems don't necessarily.
deserve Green Party votes
dents on campus.
Finally, we will take action for you by listen-
ing to your ideas and making them a reality by
working with the administration and within
the student government's hardworking com-
mittees and commissions. We will also act to
further our own candidates' projects - such as
creating an online bank of old exams, increas-
ing bus service to Oxford and North Campus
and working with the University Activities
Center to bring more big events to campus - to
improve campus life for everyone.
This is only a sampling of the clear, achiev-
able goals that MAP candidates will continue
to work toward as both committee members
and student government representatives. MAP
is committed to creating bold plans that we
know can be successfully implemented. Our
party can make this distinction because we
have several members who already work for
you as committee members and representa-
tives in student government, and we know how
to get things done. Other parties make claims
with no experience or research to back them
up. We strive to present students with goals
that we know will get results.
On Nov. 16 and 17, we encourage you to take
the opportunity to elect the qualified and dedi-
cated individuals of the Michigan Action Party
to MSA and LSA-SG so that your voice is effec-
tively heard throughout the University and your
ideas can become a reality. Take a minute to read
through our extensive party platform and get to
know our candidates and their individual goals
for student government at www.michiganaction-
party.com, then head back to this website when
the polls open on Nov. 16 for a direct link to the
voting website. Lastly, please contact any of our
candidates or party members with any ques-
tions or concerns, because in the end we're all
here to Take Action for you and put your ideas
on the MAP.
Daniil Gunitskiy is an LSA sophomore
and is the chair of MAP. Josh Kersey is
an LSA senior and is the communications
chair for MAP. Zack Yost is an Engineering
junior and is a member of MAP.
Mary Sue should take up
Hope for MSA?
First there was the Michigan Student Assembly's lacklus-
ter performance in organizing the Ludacris concert lastfall.
Then came MSA's difficulty in adheringto its own suggested
business-casual dress code. In the winter, MSA's 15-minute
stroll to determine which portions of campus were inade-
quately lit was criticized, even by some assembly members,
as ineffective. The election last spring - a circus by reason-
able standards - was tainted by a denial of service attack,
the tearing down of campaign posters and prolific spam-
ming of students' inboxes. By my count, that's four separate
instances that the assembly has been caught with its pants
down in front of the student body - and that doesn't even
include missteps that have happened since March.
Despite these previous displays of incompetence, one of
MSA's recent public efforts was highly successful - and
should not pass without notice. It happened in the Diag,
with the distribution of "vote today" stickers, encourag-
ing students to vote. It happened in the dormitories, with
volunteers canvassing door-to-door. It happened across
campus, with students registering voters and distributing
nonpartisan information on the issues.
After spending hundreds of man-hours this election
season, the Voice Your Vote Commission and its student
volunteers registered 4,896 voters and encouraged many
others to participate in last week's midterm election. In
campus precincts this year, election-day turnout was more
than double the number from the last midterm election in
2002. According to the commission chairs, Voice Your Vote
registered the third-most voters among colleges across the
country - and ranked first among campuses where voter
registration drives are not institutionalized by the univer-
The numbers, while certainly impressive, are not the
most compelling factor in declaring the commission's
efforts to get out the vote a success. Rather, it was the meth-
od that Voice Your Vote used that is most important. The
commission presented itself in the public eye as organized
and skilled rather than inept and ignorant of student inter-
ests, as MSA usually appears.
Students benefited from the commission's help, because
registering to vote and casting a ballot can be difficult and
confusing. Many students vote for the first time on campus,
or are out-of-state students unfamiliar with Michigan's
election laws. Getting off campus to register at City Hall
or at the Secretary of State's office is tough for students
without their own transportation, which makes Voice Your
Vote's on-campus presence all the more crucial.
The commission was also successful in recruiting many
student volunteers, involving them in MSA activities.
Locked away in the Michigan Union, MSA often seems dis-
tant and out of touch with students. Increasing student par-
ticipation in MSA activities fights that notion, and working
directly with students enables MSA to better understand
the student body it represents.
The premise of the effort itself and its visibility were
also nice changes from MSA's status quo. Outside of elec-
tion season, MSA is relatively quiet, and students may won-
der how much MSA's work actually benefits students. The
Voice Your Vote Commission's work was highly visible and
was definitely in the students' best interest. Activities to get
out the vote aid students in expressingthemselves political-
ly, preventing politicians from ignoring the bloc of student
voters. Students are often ignored because their turnout
rates are relatively low, so promoting voter registration is
vital to helping them raise their voice in Washington.
To be fair, MSA's work in helping to pass the lease-sign-
ing ordinance and creating a liaison position to the AnnO
Arbor City Council was positive, and last year's mistakes
happened under another president's watch. But that doesn't
mean that MSA can't learn a lesson or two from the Voice
Your Vote Commission about executing large projects or
managing its public image. MSA should try harder to tai-
lor its actions to the best interests of students and should
empower many more students to get involved in stages of
planning and implementation. MSA should be more visible
and present itself as organized and empathetic to student
interests. Thankfully, after witnessing the public success of
Voice Your Vote, the studentbody now knows that an effec-
tive MSA is possible.
Neil Tambe is an LSA sophomore and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.
TO THE DAILY: TO THE DAILY:
The AP article Did Green Party help GOP Proposal 2 is now Michigan law, and
win state? (11/12/2006) perpetuates the absurd University President Mary Sue Coleman must
notion that Democrats are somehow entitled to accept the will of 58 percent of Michigan.
the votes cast for Green Party candidates. I urge her not to waste our money in fight-
Those who voted for Greens in the close ing a battle in court that is already lost to her.
Michigan senatorial races did so because they Millions of dollars will be wasted. I suggest she
supported the candidates. Their votes weren't takes up interpretive dance, like our friends at
"stolen" from the Democrats; the Democrats Trotter House, in expressing herself over Pro-
never had any right to them. posal 2.
Anyone looking to assign responsibility for
Democratic losses need look no further than Dan Shuster
two parties: the Democrats, whose turnout Rackham
was insufficient, and the Republicans, who
successfully elected Republican candidates. There was an election lest week.
It was a pretty big deal.
Patrick Cooper-McCann Send us your thoughts.
RC freshman tothedaily@michigandailycom
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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.