4A - Thursday, December 7, 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 CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
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.
F RO T H E RA ILY
Ford's last stand
As company restructures, state should move on
F ord Motor Company announced plans last week to mort-
gage nearly all of its domestic assets to raise $18 billion for
its restructuring plan. The move was yet another signal
that the era of the mighty Big Three auto companies in Detroit is
coming to an end.
Whatever the root causes of the
problem - more efficient foreign
competitors, unpopular product
lines or misguided vehicle development
strategy, to name a few - Michiganders
must realize automotive manufacturing
will never again form the core of a healthy
Ford is taking a tremendous financial risk
- if the company does not spend its infusion
of cash wisely, itcould file forbankruptcyin
the next few years. More likely, financially
attractive portions of Ford would be sold to
the highest bidder, causing another wave of
panic across Michigan.
As part of its restructuring, Ford has
offered buyout deals to all 75,000 of its
union workers to reduce its future finan-
cial obligations. Nearly 35,000 Ford work-
ers have accepted the proposals, and many
seem destined to join the growing group of
residents leaving the state. Unfortunately
for Ford, the likely increase in sales of mov-
ing vans won't generate enough revenue to
save the company.
But regardless of whether Ford's gamble
pays off, Michigan needs to prepare imme-
diately for life without a booming automo-
tive industry. Accordingly, the state needs
to shift any available resources into pro-
moting a knowledge-based economy, in
part by increasing funding to higher educa-
tion. The state should also focus attention
on training laid-off workers through tuition
assistance and other programs so they can
learn the skills necessary for the 21st-cen-
tury job market.
The best hope for the American auto
industry is for a knowledge-based economy
to develop new transportation technologies
exclusive to American manufacturers. For-
eign automakers currently have the market
cornered on fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles,
but they could easily lose their market share
if vehicles with even greater fuel efficiency
Ford has three years and $18 billion to
find an alternative to the internal com-
bustion engine - or at least build a line of
cars Americans want to buy. In the mean-
time, the state would do well to get over its
decades-long romance with the automotive
industry and focus on developing a skilled
The country cannot be at war and as
divided as we are today."
- LEONE. PANETTA, former chief of staff to President Clinton and a member of the Iraq Study
Group, speaking yesterday after the bipartisan commission released its recommendations on
the Bush Adminstration's policy in Iraq, as reported today by The New York Times.
Taxes and tuition
ur nation's debate over who back. The Democrats who are about about how American education isn't
benefits from education - and to take control of Congress talk about up to the challenge of a global econo-
thus who should pay for it - is their plan to make college more my and how we need to prepare our-
nothing new. From a distant enough affordable - but all they want to do is selves for the knowledge-based jobs
historical perspective, it might not cut the interest rate on student loans of the 21st century. One might think
seem terribly interesting. (If I wrote a bit. We're far more likely to hear we'd recognize that the pendulum
out my politicians promote various schemes has swung too far - that by acknowl-
thoughts on to allow parents to save for their chil- edging only the benefits individuals
the Morrill dren's college education than we are stand to gain from higher education,
Act of 1862, to hear anyone suggest a meaning- we've undervalued the broader good
you'd turn ful boost to the value of Pell grants, of a highly educated, competitive
to the sports which once covered the majority of a workforce. Worse, we've endorsed
section.) Soci- low-income student's costs at a four- policies that keep middle- and low-
ety benefits year university. income students from attending
in some fairly Former University President James woefully unaffordable flagship state
obvious ways B. Angell famously said that the Uni- universities.
from an edu- CHRISTOPHER versity should strive to provide "an
cated popu- uncommon education for the common
lace, and so we ZBROZEK man." Other elite public universities W ho should foot
pay taxes for - like the University of Wisconsin at
public schools. Individuals also stand Madison, the University of Virginia the bill for higher
to benefit from getting an education, and the University of California at
and so we pay college tuition, even at Berkeley - play similar roles in their educat
public universities. states, ideally servingto offer a world- ion?
But for the last couple decades, the class education to a far broader swath
debate has favored the idea that indi- of students than could afford a top-
viduals benefit more, so individuals notch private school. But that mission The University tries to offer what
should pay more. That's ultimately is threatened by society's increasing financial aid it can, at least to in-state
why tuition goes up the way it does, reluctance to help pay for the costs of students, but the overwhelming stick-
why a friend of mine will finish his a quality education. er shock at schools like this one deters
undergraduate degree here with more Lower-tier schools can, to some many qualified students from even
than $70,000 in debt and why public extent, make do on a limited budget applying. I should know; I was one of
universities that aspire to academic by further sacrificing their quality, them. My father strongly encouraged
greatness are becoming increasingly The best public universities won't do me to go to Wayne State University,
inaccessible to the public they're sup- that. The components of a qual- where I was assured a scholarship.
posed to serve. ity institution - enviable research My luck on the ACT fooled the Col-
The electoral success of politicians facilities, say, or salaries adequate lege of Literature, Science, and the
who rely on anti-tax, anti-government to attract and retain the best faculty Arts into providing me a substantial
rhetoric; post-Cold War skepticism - are expensive. If state support isn't scholarship that let me attend, but I
toward any and all public institutions; adequate, administrators at these was the grateful and fortunate excep-
President Bush's notion of an "owner- schools will gladly raise tuition. The tion to the unfortunate rule.
ship society" - it all adds up to an result, in the case of this institution, Our public universities produce
environment where paying for higher has been double-digit tuition hikes far more graduates than the private
education is seen almost exclusively during my time here. schools do, and any meaningful effort
as the responsibility of students and Even such drastic tuition increas- to ensure equitable access to higher
their families. By and large, the gen- es aren't enough. These schools are education will necessarily focus on
erous state appropriations that once turning to private donations, becom- public institutions. But the debate
enabled public universities to offer ing what former University Presi- over who stands to benefit from edu-
residents relatively low tuition were dent James Duderstadt has called cation, of course, doesn't occur in a
pared down in the tax-cutting frenzy "privately funded public universi- vacuum. The broader political forces
that's dominated American political ties." The University of Virginia has of the times enforce the seemingly
life ever since the actor from Califor- embraced that phrase in describingits immutable political reality that taxes
nia unseated the peanut farmer from current $3-billion capital campaign. may only be cut, never raised. That
Georgia. The result, invariably, has The Michigan Difference is near its will all but certainly keep us from
been drastic tuition increases, year goal of $2.5 billion. Eventually, one of increasing our public investment in
after year. these schools will give up on pretend- higher education until the need to do
Sure, there's federal financial aid. ing to be a public university and turn so becomes too obvious to ignore.
But it increasingly comes as loans private, thereby ridding itself of that
that the college graduate, who after pesky obligation to give in-state stu- Christopher Zbrozek is a Daily
all should earn more thanks to his dents a discount on tuition. editorial page editor. He can be
degree, will eventually have to pay Wekeep hearingfearful statements reached at email@example.com.
Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
Of abortions and deceit
State Senate should not be coerced into voting for bad bill
The Coercive Abortion Prevention Act has received star-
tlingly little attention since its introduction in the Michi-
gan state Legislature last March. The bill, which the
House approved in July, appears to address concerns that preg-
nant women could be forced into getting abortions. But the bill's
intent is more deceptive, and the bill would further complicate the
already laborious process required to get an abortion. It is now up
to the Senate to strike it down.
Aside from physical violence, there
are a number of ways a woman
could be coerced into having an
abortion. An upset partner could threaten
to move out, cut off financial support or
file divorce if she does not terminate the
pregnancy. The legislation seeks to crimi-
nalize these threats. Given that relation-
ships can change, it is easy to imagine how
the bill could also lead to false accusations
and a costly legal process, if not jail time,
for the accused. If a couple broke up fol-
lowing news of an unexpected pregnancy,
for example, even a heated verbal argu-
ment could provide sufficient grounds to
press charges. Better wording and a real-
istic means of establishing intent would be
needed for such a law to have a chance of
worse, this legislation makes abor-
tion screening even more arduous. The
bill requires that doctors run through a
lengthy list of people - from the patient's
husband to her employer - asking if any of
them tried to coerce or threaten her into an
abortion. One affirmative answer and the
woman must wait an additional 24 hours
after the already legislated 24-hour wait-
ing period ends. For minors, the doctor
must contact child protective services.
This bill is a crude form of social engi-
neering intended to force nuclear families
to stay together at least until a child is born.
In an opinion piece that ranlast week in The
Detroit News, Suanne Thompson of Right
to Life of Michigan boasts that the bill is
"designed to be a deterrent" and argues
that it "will change behavior regarding
personal and intimate relationships." The
bill also seeks to make the process for get-
ting an abortion more laborious for those
who are legitimately seeking one.
Protecting the rights of women is a wor-
thy cause, but the proposed legislation does
no such thing. This billtries to make getting
abortions more difficult and deters perhaps
already broken families from separating
under the guise of protecting the rights of
women. The state Senate should prevent it
from becoming law.
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 Mitch-
ell, Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Katherine SeidElizabeth Stanley, Jennifer
Sussex, John Stiglich, Neil Tambe, Rachel Wagner.
JACK DOEHRING T " EE
'U'needs to improve wheelchair
access in the Big House
TO THE DAILY:
As a wheelchair user, undergraduate student and fan
of Michigan football, I am appalled by the University's
plans for Michigan Stadium renovation and applaud
the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America for tak-
ing action to ensure that people with disabilities have
equal, integrated access to the Big House (Disabled vets:
stadium plan violates law, 11/30/2006).
I have held season tickets for three years but decided
not to buy them this year. I was sick of having to sit apart
from my friends, in row 70, where I was often tripped
over because there was not adequate room for others to
pass. I couldn't watch the action on the field because I
wasn't able see over the people standing in front of me.
Apart from violating the Americans with Disabilities
Act, the University's current plan also does nothing to
correct these existing problems. If I can't see the game
in row 70, putting other people with mobility impair-
ments in a segregated area of accessible seating at the
very back of the stadium certainly won't fix anything.
With a total capacity only about two-thirds that of
the Big House, Notre Dame has figured out a way to
put more than 400 accessible seats in all areas of its
stadium. As "the leaders and best," the University and
the Board of Regents must do better than 76 segregated
seats. University principles - and the law - demand it.
Printing allocation is the product
of careful management
TO THE DAILY:
Patrick Wycihowski wrote that "every damn semes-
ter" he goes over his printing limit of 400 pages and has
to pay extra money (Students exceed 400 pages 'every
damn semester', 11/21/2006). Students frequently ask
the Campus Computing Sites staff to consider increas-
ing the printing allocation. Other students want to
reduce the volume of printing in order to conserve natu-
ral resources. About 70 percent of the students who use
printing in the Campus Computing Sites stay within
their printing allocation, and some academic units sup-
plement the printing allocation for their students.
At Campus Computing Sites, we print about 24 mil-
lion pages a year and about 150,000 color pages from
approximately 180 printers. The annual printing bud-
get is more than $1.1 million. Campus Computing Sites
aggressively looks for ways to save money, and once we
do, we pass the savings directly onto students. This is
done by upgrading printers, cutting the cost per page
side, expanding printing sites and offering new printing
technology such as MPrint and an upcoming venture
to charge photocopies to students' Mcards. We spend
money on keeping our software loadsets robust, add-
ing more e-mail-only cyberstations on campus and on
replacing aged computers with newer, faster models.
We have also recently switched to recycled paper.
Through careful management, we have been able to
maintain the 400-page-side allocation and decrease
the cost of pages, and we hope to lower the cost even
more for next fall. Given our budget constraints and our
desire to encourage conservation of resources whenev-
er possible, we believe sharing the cost of printing with
our users is an appropriate choice.
The letter writer is Campus Computing Sites printing
Direct mass editorial support
toward truly serious outrages
TO THE DAILY:
Thank you for supporting the Daily Trojan and other
collegiate newspapers by printing Tuesday's edito-
rial (Defending the collegiate press, 12/05/2006). As an
alumnus of the University of Southern California and a
former staff member of the Daily Trojan, I was glad to
see so many college papers stand against administrative
control and censorship.
While Zach Fox will not be editor in chief next
semester, winning the support of so many other jour-
nalists, both collegiate and professional, feels like vic-
tory enough - almost.
But let's put this whole thing in perspective. While
I'm glad to see all this support for Fox and for the idea of
a free, unfettered collegiate press, I wish Ihad seen the
same amount ofsupport for Mostafa Tabatabainejad,the
UCLA student who was stunned with a Taser numerous
times for not leaving the library when asked. There has
been plenty of coverage but not nearly enough outrage
from college students across the country. Where's the
mass editorial run in every college paper decrying the
unnecessary use of force by campus police officers? I'm
still waiting for one.
Of course, this criticism is not directed solely at The
Michigan Daily. We're all responsible. We must hold
ourselves accountable for the apathy of our generation.
The next time a dozen or more college papers unite
behind a cause, let's be sure to make it a good one.
James Rufus Koren
The letter writer is an alumnus of the UniversityofSouthern Cali-
fornia and a former Daily Trojan city editor.
Local unions did support
Coke Coalition's efforts
TO THE DAILY:
While IapplaudbothNickIsrael's andRyanFantuzzi's
concern for local Michigan union workers ('U' must be
responsible to the state before the world, 12/06/2006),
they are misinformed about the effects of cutting the
University's contract with the Coca-Cola Company and
wrong in their assumption that the Coke Coalition has
never considered their concerns before.
The coalition met with the leaders of local Team-
sters union, who supported our campaign and enthu-
siastically offered to help in any way they could. It is
also important to note that the University's contract
accounts for a mere 0.16 percent of statewide Coke con-.
sumption, according to Coke's own data. Cutting the
contract would have a negligible economic effect, but as
we saw this past January, an enormous symbolic one.
The letter writer is a member of the Coke Coalition.