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April 06, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-06

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4 - Friday, April 6, 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 representsolely the views of their authors.
A dishonored code
College of Engineering must address cheating
What happens when you mix grade-conscious students
in a competitive program with an unproctored test?
The results of a seven-year investigation of College of
Engineering students suggest that the answer is cheating. While
the College of Engineering's honor code is admirable for its ideal-
ism, the propensity of cheating requires a more rigorous system to
bring fairness and honesty back into the college.

I got nowhere I can go!"
- Rene Matamoros, a released sex offender in Florida who lives under a highway bridge because of his
county's strict housing restrictions for sex offenders, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.
High schoolpolitics


For more than 92 years, the College
Engineering's honor code has been a h
mark of trust. By allowing students to t
tests that aren't supervised, the code
designed to breed a graduating class t
takes responsibility for it's actions and r
ognizes the importance of hard work. Vis
tions of the code are supposed to be repor
to the Engineering Honor Council for inv
tigation and punishment.
However, the investigation into engine
ing students' cheating by the Center
Research on Learning and Teaching s
gests that the code may not be living up to
lofty principles. The report claims that ne
ly nine out of 10 students in the engineer
program admitted to cheating, and m
rationalized cheating as acceptable if t
felt the teacher was inadequate. Of the vi
tions that are reported, critics claim prof
sors and administrators often overlook th
and marginalize those who speak out.
When students are cheating, their w
doesn't reflect their effort. The quality of
graduates the school turns out suffers. s
grade inflation could harm honest stude
because much of the grading in the en
neering school is done on a curve. The a
ficially inflated grades also call into quest
the quality of teaching at this highly ran
engineering school.
'U' should be leader in
sweatshop fight
In the University's fight song, the phr
"leaders and the best" is intended as a st:
ment of athletic superiority. Unquestiona
the University deserves the honor in the re
of athletics. But it is unfortunate that Univer
President Mary Sue Coleman missed an opp
tunity Tuesday to make the University not j
an athletic leader but an ethical leader as we
Instead of meeting with members of,
Students Organizing for Labor and Econo
ic Equality's Sweatfree Campaign, Coleo
enlisted the Department of Public Safety
expel them from the Fleming Administrat
Building. Coleman did not need to use po
power to prevent this peacefulstudent assem
Former University President Lee Bollinger s
precedent in March of 1999 when he addres
the concerns of a similar group. In order top
tray the University as an ethical leader, Coleo
should have followed Bollinger's example.
If the University, as one of the most marl
able schools in the world, sends a signal th
will not allow workers to suffer so that Bl
M's can be cheaply affixed to T-shirts, app
el companies would be forced to take not
Other colleges would take notice as well.
University regrettably lost an opportunity
be a leader by failing to take an ethical sta
to improvethelivesofgarmentworkers arou
the world. By arresting students instead
listening to them, Coleman showed that
prefers running a university that is a pawn
apparel companies' interests.
Luke Schmerberg
Faith, reason are not
necessarily always at odds
Ian Robinson's letter to the editor ear
this week (Religion's got nothing on an o
mind, 04/03/2007) was not only mildly off
sive, but laughable. Robinson boldly endor
an "open mind" and utterly dismissesc
belief or faith in things beyond his finite:
supposedly open mind. I will allow reader:
dissect the glaring hypocrisy of his assert
on their own, but I'd like to respond to Ti
Mitchell's column itself, which the letter
written in response to (Sex, God and terror
Mitchell's proposal that students hav
"terrible choice" between sound intellectu

of worst of all, however, is that unqualified
all- students could graduate and be placed in
ake positions of great responsibility. The thought
is of unqualified engineers making it through
hat college because of their clever cheating
'ec- methods should send chills down anyone's
ola- spine. One inflated grade in a thermodynam-
ted ics course could mean the difference between
es- your vehicle moving comfortably around a
bend or landing in a ditch upside-down.
eor- The solution is simple. The only thing the
for College ofEngineeringneeds to do to curtail
ug- cheating is simply put a proctor in the room.
its Measures like proctoring tests can improve
ar- the fairness of testing for all students and
ing come at a very small cost.
lost If instances of cheating are decreased
hey through commonplace, basic monitor-
ola- ing in these courses, professors can also
fes- get the added bonus of accurately seeing
em what concepts their students don't under-
stand and can alter their teaching methods
ork accordingly.
the In a perfect world, students would be
uch responsible and trustworthy, wealth would
nts be distributed equally and cars would pro-
sgi- duce fresh water instead of carbon emis-
rti- sions. But that just does not reflect reality.
ion Although cheating is deplorable and stu-
ked dents should know better, the University
should not make it so easy.
ism and religious belief is ridiculous. I just do
not see the dichotomy. Instead, students can
use logical and philosophical ideals from their
liberal educations to understand "childhood
faith" in a deeper, richer and more fulfilling
way. I am not alone in this position. A popu-
ase lar counterpart to Richard Dawkins is Francis
ate- Collins, the director of the National Human
bly, Genome Research Institute, who sees scien-
alm tific thought and faith as strengthening each
sity other - not as being at odds.
or- This assertion that atheism is inherently
ust the only logical belief is both ethnocentric and
4. misinformed. These statements ignore the fact
the that atheism also comes from its own system of
sm- belief and culture. Ignoring this basic fact has
nan led some people down the dangerous roads
to of eugenics and genocide in the past. These
ion deluded positions have no place in a liberal,
lice open-minded University.
et a Rob Dood
sed LSA senior
Don't throw away old school
at it supplies, donate them
ice. The end of the semester is approaching rap-
the idly, and most students probably have a few
'to extra pages of college-ruled paper or a partial-
nce ly-used notebook that will likely be discarded.
nd But before they throw them away, I implore
of students to pause for a moment and consider
she donatingthese things to a worthy cause.
of Supplies for Success, a student group, is
issuing an urgent plea for the cooperation and
assistance of the University community. We
are collecting any unused or gently used school
supplies that students may be able to donate to
an underprivileged school in Detroit. High-
demand items are notebooks, pens, pencils,
office supplies, art supplies, floppy disks and
athletic equipment. Dropboxes are located con-
veniently at the Michigan Union, the Michigan
League, Palmer Commons, Pierpont Commons
and the Michigan Student Assembly office.
lier Students should give because our communi-
pen ty is fortunate enough to have ample resourc-
en- es. Others do not. It is unfair that potential and
'ses willing students should be restricted by a lack
any of resources. When they contribute, students
and should know that every donation is not a mere
s to handout; instead, their donation empowers
ion the disempowered and extends the privilege
oby of education beyond the confines of our com-
was munity. So please be generous. Any donation is
sm, greatly appreciated.
e a Paul Leahy
sal- LSA sophomore

Almost seven years ago, Ameri-
cans voted George W. Bush into
the oval office, deeming him
more charming and relatable than Al
Gore, who was too robotic and lacking in
charisma.Since then, the warin Iraq has
caused hundreds ofthousands ofunnec-
essary deaths, the war in Afghanistan
has been on the rocks since the Taliban
has started creeping back and tax cuts
for the rich have put
this country into
deep debt. You'd
hope that Americans .
would learn a lesson
from all this and look
to next year's elec-
tions for redemption.
to be the case. RAJIV
As someone who
reads the news- PRABHAKAR
paper everyday, I-
follow all the major issues. I know all
about how John Edwards's wife is bat-
tling cancer again and I know all about
the fund raising war between Hillary
Clinton and Barack Obama. I even
know about the numerous marriages
and extramarital affairs of Rudy Giu-
liani and John McCain. Sadly, I know
almost nothing about each candidate's
platform or what exactly he or she
plans to do if elected. The media seems
too busy debating the candidates'
images to the point that there is no
meaningful discussion about the mer-
its of the platforms or how effective a
candidate's ideas would be.
Take, for instance, Fox News's cov-
erage of Obama. The dominant themes
of the coverage were Obama's middle
name being Hussein, his father being
Muslim, his alleged attendance of an
Islamic school as a child (completely
false) and even his smoking. The other

Democratic nominees aren't doing any
better. Clinton's biggestproblem is that
people view her as power hungry and
"unfeminine." Edwards meanwhile is
getting grief for not dropping out of the
race because his wife is ill.
As New York Times columnist Paul
Krugman wrote recently, policy has
been ignored in favor of image (Sub-
stance over image, 02/26/2007). Judg-
ing from the media's priorities during
the last few months, the election next
year will not be won by the person with
the best ideas but by the person who
is best at playing the public relations
game and projecting the most attrac-
tive image. This drama led Howard
Fineman of Newsweek to come to the
conclusion that presidential elections
are nothing more than glorified high
school popularity contests.
It is easy then to blame the media
for dumbing down the debate, but
ultimately, we have only ourselves to
blame. The coverage from news outlets
is just a reflection of what society thinks
is important in general. If the media
has focused almost exclusively on the
superficial merits of each candidate, it's
only because the public would rather
hear about Edwards's family situation
than about his health care proposal.
As students, we spend hours poring
over our textbooks trying to make sense
of our economics class in preparation for
an upcoming final. But when it comes
to choosing the next president, we're
content to make decisions based on the
sound bytes we hear on television. Try-
ing to understand the merits of trickle-
down economics is simply more effort
than most of us are willing to expend.
As a society, we crave leaders with
simple ideas and beliefs that we can
understand and that we agree with. We
want politicians who canidentifythem-

selves as either pro-war or anti-war, big
government or small government and
pro-life or pro-choice. There's no room
for intellectuals like John Kerry who
are personally opposed to abortion but
don't want to impose their religious
beliefs on others.
In our quest for simplicity, -our
beliefs become wedge issues for which
no middle ground is possible - you're
either with us or against us. Conse-
quently, liberals are writingoffRepub-
licans as Bible-thumping rednecks,
while conservatives are just as will-
ing to dismiss Democrats as godless,
senseless, bleeding hearts.
Political debates
are lacking in
Unfortunately, real life isn't half as
simple as we wish. More often than
not, complex problems can only be
handled through solutions that are just
as complicated. And more often than
not, people have good arguments to
support their beliefs.
Throughout our lives, there will be
no shortage of people trying to con-
vince us that things are actually very
simple, that simple solutions exist and
that their opponents are completely
wrong. We shouldn't fall for it. The
world is much too complicated for a
binary outlook. We must always chal-
lenge ourselves to understand why oth-
ers believe in what they do.
We will be better for it.
Rajiv Prabhakar can be
reached at rajivp@umich.edu.




SOLE: It's upto you, Mary Sue

University President Mary Sue Coleman's decision
to allow 12 student demonstrators to be thrown out
of the Fleming Administration Building in handcuffs
this Tuesday was a slap in the face to the thousands of
workers worldwide who struggle to survive on sweat-
shop wages to produce University apparel. Her outright
refusal to negotiate with students not only demonstrat-
ed her contempt for student activism but also sent a clear
signal that the University will continue to embrace the
use of sweatshops in the production of clothing bearing
the Michigan logo.
For two years, Students Organizing for Labor and
Equality has encouraged Coleman to adopt the Designat-
ed Suppliers Program, a proposal guaranteeing an end to
the use of sweatshop labor in making University apparel.
Thirty universities, from Duke to Grand Valley State,
have already endorsed the DSP. But Coleman has refused
to discuss the DSP with students and maintains that stu-
dents must acquiesce to the appropriate channels if they
wish to engage in productive dialogue. She has consis-
tently redirected student concerns to the Committee on
Labor Standards and Human Rights, a dilatory advisory
body charged with enforcing the University's Code of
Conduct, which prohibits the manufacture of University
apparel under sweatshop conditions.
Coleman's predecessor Lee Bollinger adopted this
code in 1999 following SOLE's two-day occupation of his
office. But the code remains unenforced. Bollinger rec-
ognizes that abuses continued, and as the president of
Columbia University, he has endorsed the DSP. Coleman
openly admits that the code of conduct is failing to ame-
liorate the hardships workers face, yet she still refuses to
adopt a proposal to do something about it.
Those who make University apparel have borne the
brunt of the University's inaction. Workers in factories
producing clothing with our logo routinely grapple with
the burdens of compulsory overtime and physically
strenuous work. The overwhelming majority of sweat-
shop employees are women who face the humiliations
of mandatory pregnancy tests, limited or nonexistent
bathroom breaks and, in some cases, forced abortions,
all for the sake of a wage that does not provide even the
barest of necessities.
Workers face brutal suppression when they organize
to improve conditions in their factories, and victory all
too often leads only to unemployment. Factories where.
University apparel is manufactured have closed down in
response to demands for a just wage and fair treatment as
corporations flee for non-union shops.
For example, workers in the BJ&B factory in the
Dominican Republic banded together with American
students to win shorter hours and an unprecedented
wage hike. In response, Nike and Reebok pulled their
orders from the factory, forcing BJ&B to shut down and
condemning hundreds of workers to unemployment.

This is the story across the globe as corporations aban-
don factories with union representation and opt to do
business where labor is cheapest and treatment of work-
ers is at its most depraved.
The DSP would put an end to this barbaric race to the
bottom by guaranteeing that workers are not punished
for asserting the rights guaranteed under the Universi-
ty's current code of conduct. The DSP requires that cor-
porations like Nike and Adidas can only make University
apparel in factories that respect freedom of association
and provide a living wage. As such, Nike would not be
able to pull all of its orders out of a unionized factory
like BJ&B. Such a proposal would reward factories for
respecting the rights of workers rather than giving cor-
porations an incentive to cut and run.
;" gess 2 Shioos
5 ... Cor Pops 0omM e
or h d 00,?mop? / ' 1oaP a.
recommended last April that the University not endorse
the DSP, instead making vague promises to strengthen
the existing (and utterly ineffective) code of conduct.
However, the committee has met only intermittently
over the course of the academic year and has devoted
less than 14 hours (roughly the equivalent of a sweatshop
worker's daily shift) to devising an alternative.
Of course, the committee's inaction is moot. Despite
Coleman's insistence that she doesn't "sit in (her) office
and be the grand pooh-bah and say thou shall do X, Y
and Z," the real decision making power lies not with
advisory bodies but with Coleman herself. She had
the opportunity to make the University a leader in the
struggle to end sweatshop labor. Instead, she callously
allowed 12 students to be sent to jail for daring to chal-
lenge the brutally oppressive status quo. It's up to us to
help her change her mind.
To get involved, check out www.uofmsitin.com.
Elliott Mallen is an RC senior and a member of SOLE.




Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler,
Ben Caleca, Mike Eber, Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie Huetteman,
Toby Mitchell, David Russell, Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

W/ i NQ 11 1 / i

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