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January 18, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-18

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4A - Thursday, January 18, 2007

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




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.
Lending students a hand
House bill not adequate; Congress should expand grants
As college students around the country begin to fill out
their FAFSA forms and graduating seniors grow more
nervous about the magnitude of their debt, the U.S. House
of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a measure yesterday to
decrease interest rates on some student loans. While the legislation
would be welcomed by students who could save money on inter-
est payments, the resolution fails to truly address the increasingly
unaffordable price of higher education.

I hate to be the guy to use the cliche that he
seemed like a normal guy, but he really did."
-ROB HART, friend of Michael Devlin, who is being arraigned today for the abduction of two teenage boys in Union,
Mo. and may also be connected to other kidnappings of Missouri children, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.
AT 7:30 P.M. AT
413 E. HURON ST..
Outfrom under the '60s shadow

Some lawmakers, like Sen. Edward Ken-
nedy (D-Mass.), have argued that the House
bill doesn't go far enough, and they're right.
When this measure comes before the Sen-
ate, senators must reinforce the govern-
ment's commitment to need-based financial
aid by increasing funds for grants, expand-
ing interest-rate cuts and loosening the
requirements to receive need-based aid to
account for special financial circumstances
that the current system overlooks.
The House's College Student Relief Act
slashes the interest rates on some loans
from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over a five-
year period. The bill gives an estimated
$6 billion back to student loan programs
after the $12 billion cut by the Republi-
can-led Congress last year. To make up for
this increased spending, the bill also cuts
the amount banks receive when students
default on loans, increases bank fees and
reduces the government's guaranteed yield
to banks for contributing to student loan
programs. However, the interest-rate cut
only applies to federally subsidized Staf-
ford loans, and the bill fails to mention any
Over the last five years, tuition costs have
risen by more than 35 percent and students
are paying for these increases with high-
interest loans. The average student owes
more than $19,000 by graduation, and many
owe more than $40,000.What students need
is more grant money, not more suffocating
loans. While Democrats are partly honor-
ing their campaign commitment to make
college more affordable, they also hinted
in their campaign that the maximum Pell
grant award would increase from $4,050 to
$5,100, something that this bill doesn't do.

The House bill also fails to cut interest
rates for some federal loans, like unsubsi-
dized loans given to needy students. These
are the loans that are the most taxing on
students because they accumulate inter-
est while students are still in college. This
forces students either to work more hours
- undermining the education they are
paying for - or let the interest accumulate
Even the federal financial aid process
itself is poorly designed to meet the evolv-
ing circumstances that financially burden
students. The FAFSA forms students fill out
every year rely on equating need strictly
from parental income and assets. This pro-
cess makes it difficult for students who are
financing their own education and parents
who are struggling to meet their expected
contributions while financing the educa-
tion of several children. Some top colleges
around the country, including the Univer-
sity, have already recognized this fallacy
and are supplementing FAFSAs of freshmen
applicants with the College Scholarship
Service Profile, which attempts to more
thoroughly evaluate a student's financial
situation in determining need.
Ultimately, the House's new bill is an
improvement on the current situation,
but by no means an is it end-all solution
to college affordability. Senate Democrats
shouldn't settle for this watered-down ver-
sion of the promises that were made during
the 2006 campaign. If Congress is really
committed to helping educate Americans,
it should increase grants, include more
types of loans in the interest-rate cuts and
restructure the system to get money where
it's needed most.

This summer, partly out of family
obligationbut mostly outofnos-
talgia for the songs that defined
my childhood, I begrudgingly/happily
attended a Peter, Paul and Mary con-
cert. The trio played all the old favor-
ites - "Puff the Magic Dragon," "Don't
Think Twice its
Alright" and of
course the clas-
sic tear-jerker,
"Leaving on a Jet
Still, the con-
cert wasn't all
fun and campfire f
songs. Being true
political activ-
ists of yester- WHITNEY
year, Peter, Paul DIBO
and Mary just
couldn'tresistthe - ------ "
soapbox. After about an hour of music,
the concert took a sharp political turn
as Peter spoke at length about his views
on the war in Iraq. After a speech pep-
pered with 1960s peace lingo, the trio
sang out the old civil rights era classic,
"We Shall Overcome." Who says Amer-
icans don'tknow how to recycle?
The crowd wasted no time getting
out their lighters and waving them
in the air like peace-loving twenty-
somethings. If you closed your eyes
tight enough, the scene almost felt like
Woodstock - on a neatly manicured
suburban lawn.
As I looked around, I realized that
the children of the '60s were at it again,
bearing down on our generation with
their legacy. The lighters felt forced,
the singing contrived. The whole pic-
ture had the unmistakable handprint
of our parents. The real twenty-some-
things in the crowd were awkwardly
out of place.
It made me feel a certain pity for
GenerationX. How can we find our own
anti-warvoicewith our parents' decade
of rebellion looking over our shoulder?
It's not an easy act to follow. Frank
Sinatra Jr. might be a great singer, but

he'll always be Frank Sinatra Jr.
Well, it's time for our generation to
stop living in the shadows of the ghost
of activists past. Yes, the '60s were
original and vastlyinfluential, like a big
brother. He had great music and an ide-
alistic vision to change the world. But
let's face it - he grew up. He had his
hippie heyday and the country elected
Ronald Reagan just a few years later.
Now it's our turn.
But what will our legacy be, now that
waving lighters and sticking flowers
down gun barrels is redundant at best?
Undeniably, our generation's anti-
war activism got off to a slow start. The
aftermath of Sept. 11 put an invisible
hand over our collective mouths for
quite a while. We wandered through
high school and then college, not really
knowing what was acceptable to say
and what was taboo. As the younger
sibling, we weren't sure if our activ-
ism would be perceived as unpatriotic
- or worse, a shallow imitation of our
parent's generation.
But now things have changed. The
country is ripe for our generation to
step up to the plate. New United Nations
statistics show 34,000 Iraqi civilians
were killed in 2006 alone, in addition
to 3,000 American soldiers. With Presi-
dent Bush's decision to send 21,500
more troops into the line of fire, our
audience is waiting on baited breath. So
what will our next move be?
To find out a little more about anti-
war activism on campus, I called up
Mikhail Lomize of Anti-War Action,
the only student group of its kind on
campus. When I asked him how many
University students regularly show
up to his weekly meetings, his answer
was eight to 10. For this reputably lib-
eral campus in the midst of an escalat-
ing war, that's pretty pathetic. Are we
really that afraid of the shadow of the
The strangest part about my con-
versation with Lomize was reconcil-
ing it with my memory of the 2004
election. During that fall, the campus

was teeming with activists: Kerry/
Edwards stickers were plastered
everywhere, Voice Your Vote T-shirts
became the hot new thing and every-
one seemed to own a different Bush-
bashing button. So where are they
now? I don't know what our genera-
tion's legacy will be, but I certainly
hope it's not fad-liberalism.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking
for a'60s repeat. A resurgence of flower
children would be as hokey as the light-
ers at my Peter, Paul and Mary con-
cert. But we need to find some way of
demonstrating our collective objection
- something besides another Bush joke
or fadingbumper sticker.
The sooner the
better for our own
breed of activism.
Whatever path we carve, let it at
least be our own. We can't burn draft
cards we don't have. We can't hold sit-
ins and teach-ins and marches like in
the history textbooks. The '60s replica
is obsolete, but it still somehow remains
the touchstone for anti-war activism.
Despite its benchmark status, we must
resist the temptation of imitation. The
result is predictably stale: We've got to
find our own voice.
I don't have the blueprint. Maybe the
answer is the Internet, the blogosphere
or some effective use of new media.
Maybe it's finding the right candidate
to represent our generation in 2008.
Maybe it's as simple as trying a little
harder and sticking around in-between
elections. I don't know the answer, but
I know it's not modeling ourselves after
the 1960s and hopingthe sequel lives up
to the original.
Whitney Dibo is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at dibo@umich.edu.


The benefits of a tandem ticket


This fall, Colorado's Democratic guberna-
torial nominee, Bill Ritter, selected Barbara
O'Brien as his running mate for lieutenant
governor. Ritter's Republican opponent, Bob
Beauprez, selected Janet Rowland as his
running mate. Also, both parties' guberna-
torial nominees were men and lieutenant
governor nominees women in New Mexico,
Minnesota and Wisconsin. In another eight
states, one of the two parties had a man run-
ning for governor and a woman running for
lieutenant governor.
Year after year, the male-female tan-
dem ticket seems to crop up in more states.
More male gubernatorial candidates are
selecting women lieutenant governor can-
didates, proving not only the importance of
women voters but also of campaign efforts to
build broader coalitions of supporters. The
increasing prevalence of the male-female
tandem ticket is a sign that campaign strat-
egists are onto something - voters. Voters
are always more eager to support candidates
who look, act or live like them, and women
voters are no different.
According to a study by researchers at the
University of Michigan, Boston College and
Harvard University, identity politics exist in
real terms. The study shows that elections
with women candidates generate a higher
percentage of political activity - voting, con-
tributing time/money to campaigns, etc. - by
women. The data suggests that women candi-
dates are better able to galvanize women vot-
ers and increase their interest in a particular
candidate or ticket.
Because identity politics are important,
women candidates for lieutenant governor are
uniquely situated to aid in the victory of guber-
natorial candidates. Therefore it is not surpris-
ing that a male gubernatorial candidate might'
prefer a female running mate to an all-male
ticket. And because the electorate is split even-

ly between men and women, the male-female
tandem ticket is a wise political strategy.
Fortunately for our democratic system, this
phenomenon is leading to greater involve-
ment by women in government. Starting in
the mid-1990s, women made up between 36
to 43 percent of all lieutenant governors at
any given time, bringing that office closer to
gender parity than any major state or federal
office. In the last two decades, 34 states have
elected women as lieutenant governors, even
more significant considering that only 42
states have lieutenant governors. At the end
of January, after the latest round of success-
ful candidates is sworn into office, women
will make up about 26 percent of all lieuten-
ant governors, the lowest point in a decade,
but still far more than the 16 percent of mem-
bers of Congress who are women and the 18
percent of governors who are women.
Of course, some critics argue that the
male-female ticket is tokenism in its worst
form, wherein women candidates are merely
tools used to gain leverage among women
voters. Yet the increasing prevalence of the
male-female gubernatorial tickets means that
more women will be elected to office and be
better able to exert influence in state gov-
ernment. This can result, whether through
election or elevation, in more women becom-
ing governors of states, like Delaware's Ruth
Ann Minner or Connecticut's Jodi Rell, both
of whom were lieutenant governors first. As
female politicians rise through the ranks of
state government, often through the position
of lieutenant governor, America's leaders will
finally begin looking more like the population
they serve. For women in politics, lieutenant
governors are leading the way.
Michael Inganarport is a graduate student
of American government at Georgetown
University in Washington, DC.

Diversity at the University should
extend to all parts of campus
With all the debate over the passage of Proposal 2, I
don't understand how we can demand such diversity
only in the student body. If we need diversity in the class-
room, then shouldn't we expect it on the football field
or basketball court? Our football and basketball teams
are composed primarily of black players. Whites are the
minority on the basketball court, and there are no Asians
at all. Is this because black people are some of the most
talented football and basketball players? Yes.
Recruiters look for the best talent, and that is also
what admissions officers should do. If we started filling
our sports teams with students who are racially diverse
but not quite as talented, Michigan would lose its reputa-
tion as one of the most competitive and best athletic pro-
grams in the nation.
Diversity is not measured by race or gender, but by
thoughts, experiences and talents. I have learned about
diversity from my friends who went to private schools,
had different religious backgrounds or grew up in differ-
ent states, which shows why diversity should have noth-
ing to do with skin color.
Sabrina Valenti
LSA junior
University cannot lose sight of
affirmative action's intent
I was surprised to read Wednesday's editorial urging
the University to continue the legal battle over Proposal
2 (From the Daily: Worth fightingfor, 01/17/07). I found it
notonlyillogicalbutlaughable that there is talk of unfair-
ness and disenfranchisement of applicants being judged
by two different admissions standards. This race-based
standard was - like it or not - deemed unfair by a vast
majority of Michigan voters. Thus it's ridiculous to grand-

father in an unfair policy in the name of fairness.
This argument, however, hinges on the merit one gives
to the democratic process ingeneral. The MichiganDaily's
editorial board and University leadership clearly seem to
be forgetting that Proposal 2's passage was the decision of
over 2.1million Michiganvoters. Challengingit is not chal-
lenging the decision of a corrupt political leader, overzeal-
ous judges or one outspoken campus group, but ignoring
the voices of2.1million people who have faith in the demo-
cratic system. Talk about disenfranchisement.
In the wake of Proposal2, it is importantnot to lose sight
of the original goal of affirmative action. Instead of wasting
time, energy and money on more litigation, let's join forces
and address the inequality of K-12 education in Michigan
and figure out how to make higher education financially
accessible for all. As former Supreme Court Justice Sandra
Day O'Conner said, "We expect that25 years fromnowthe
use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to fur-
ther the interest approved today." Uniting and proactively
working to make this vision a reality would be a silver lin-
ingto the cloud of Proposal 2.
Rob Dood
LSA senior
Letters Policy
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editor. Please include the writer's name, college and
class standing or other University affiliation.

81661f~E-SIZE OQP



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