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April 16, 2007 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-16

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E

4C - Monday, April 16, 2007

OPINION

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the university of Michigan since 1890.
a 413 K. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MIn48104
tothedaily@umich.edu
The Daily's Editorial Page is a forum for diverse opinions
on key issues of contemporary concern. As the class of 2007
prepares to graduate, we offer a look back at some of the most
important topics addressed during its time at the University.
Here are excerpts from the last four years of page 4.
FROM THE DAILY
After MCRI
Proposal 2 passes, but affirmative action debate not over

Those who stay will be champions."
- A storied adage of legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler,
who passed away on Nov. 17, 2006.
Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does
not make a profit is without value."
- Renowned playwright and University alum Arthur Miller, who passed
away on Feb. 10, 2005.
America needed recovery, not revenge."
- Former U.S. president and University alum Gerald Ford on his much-maligned pardon of
Richard Nixon. Ford passed away on Dec. 26, 2006.
SAM BUTLER

few hopeful souls may be waiting
for a deus ex machina to uncover the
missing half-million ballots oppos-
ing Proposal 2, but with 94 percent of pre-
cincts reporting at press time, it's clear that
the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative has
passed. Despite years of effort, first to keep
the proposal off the ballot and later to edu-
cate voters about what the proposal actual-
ly means, Michigan residents have spoken
- and come out overwhelmingly against
affirmative action.
But the battle isn't over. Some changes
are certain: The University will revamp its
admissions process, tweak some programs
and probably eliminate others. But Pro-
posal 2 hasn't put an end to the affirmative
action debate.
For being born to the wrong family, thou-

sands of children received an inferior educa-
tion from the first day of kindergarten. For
being born the wrong gender, women across
the state face the legacy of male privilege
that persists today in employment and con-
tracting. The passage of Proposal 2 has done
nothing to remedy these inequalities that
demand our immediate attention
The morning after is hard, but the real
challenge lies in the coming months and
years. The University has fought battles in
the U.S. Supreme Court to defend its com-
mitment to diversity; we hope it doesn't
abandon that commitment now.
If there is one university that can find a
way to achieve diversity after a setback this
dire, it's the University of Michigan.
- Nov. 8, 2006

4

Bleachers, not skyboxes
'U' should consider alternative stadium plan

4

In a move many regarded as a mis-
take, the University Board of Regents
approved a controversial expansion of
the Big House last May. Unlike any previ-
ous expansion, the plan would actually
remove bleacher seats, replacing them with
club seats and luxury boxes.
The Big House has embodied the tradi-
tion of Michigan football since it was com-
pleted in 1927. Each home game, more than
a 100,000 fans journey to that familiar
sunken bowl to watch the Wolverines take
on that week's unlucky opponent. Each fan
sits or stands on the same cold steel bleach-
ers. Every one of them suffers through the
often cruel Ann Arbor weather. There are
no advertisements, no distractions - just
fans and football.

Affront to tradition aside, the skybox plan
has a number of flaws. The skyboxes won't
necessarily sell out. The plan also jeopar-
dizes the stadium's standing as the largest
in the nation.
However, mistakes, clerical oddities and
other shady tactics have been the norm
regarding this subject since the adminis-
trative sleight-of-hand that placed the sta-
dium expansion plan on the agenda for the
regents' meeting in May at the last minute.
In the end, the Board of Regents should
remember that Fielding Yost put extra steel
pilings into the ground for a reason. It's a safe
bet that the reason wasn't to allow for-the
future construction of "enclosed seating."
- Sept. 26, 2006

4

It's our turn
University should find its place in relief effort

Not exactly apathy

4

n the wake of one of the most devastat-
ingnatural disasters in our lifetime, the
University is in a unique position to pro-
vide much-needed aid and assistance to the
victims of Hurricane Katrina.
With thousands dead and injured, many
more displaced and damages estimated in
the tens of billions of dollars, the level of
need is staggering. The University commu-
nity, which has already opened its hearts,
must now turn its empathy into action.
One of the most important things the Uni-
versity can do is serve as a temporary school
for the students who normally attend col-
leges in the ravaged areas.
Although most students are unable to
donate large amounts of money to relief

efforts, instead of simply donating money,
college students can encourage family mem-
bers, neighbors and hometown organiza-
tions to donate and volunteer the manpower
necessary to organize large fundraisers.
The greatest resource to be tapped, how-
ever, is the massive crowd that will convene
this Saturday in the Big House as Michigan
takes on Notre Dame. At last Saturday's foot-
ball game, fundraising efforts involved con-
tributing $2 from every $5 game program and
standing at the gates asking for donations.
Our University community, filled with
generous and empathetic people, must step
up in this time of desperate need.
- Sept. 6, 2005

To die for one's country
U.S. death toll reaches symbolic number

T wo months after Sept. 11,
Newsweek rana cover story on
the students it dubbed "Gen-
eration 9/11." Seeking a place from
which to observe the effects of the ter-
rorist attacks on youth, the magazine's
reporters came to
our campus.
This is what one
student was quotedr
as saying in the
article: "Our gen-
eration, as long as
we've had an identi-
ty, wasknown as the a
generation that had CHRISTOPHER
it easy. We had no
crisis, no Vietnam, ZBROZEK
no Martin Luther -
King, no JFK. We've got it now. When
we have kids and grandkids, we'll tell
them that we lived through the roar-
ing '90s, when all we cared about was
the No.1 movie or how many copies an
album sold. This is where it changes."
Most of us graduating now were
still in high school when that issue hit
newsstands, and perhaps a few of us
came to college expecting the sobered-
up atmosphere that student's quote
implies. Yet it turns out that Sept. 11
didn't change everything, at least for
most of us. We came to the Universi-
ty, we got our degrees and we'll go on
with our lives.
Having worked at a newspaper, I
pay altogether too much attention to
current events, and I can't help notic-
ing that we're living in historic times
- globally and locally. Depending on
whom you talk to, America is either
locked in a death struggle against radi-

cal Islam or is rapidly throwing away
its civil liberties and respect for the
rule of law in the name of security.
Either way, America is still stuck in a
rather unpleasant situation in Iraq.
Here on campus, the past four years
saw a protracted debate about the Uni-
versity's admissions policies, capped
at each end by the decision at the U.S.
Supreme Court in June of 2003 and the
passage of Proposal 2 last fall. No mat-
ter what you think about affirmative
action, you couldn't avoid the issue.
The state of Michigan, meanwhile,
is simply dying. The most recent dead-
lock over how to deal with the perpetu-
al deficit in the state budget looks more
like the decline of a critically ill patient
going into shock than any sort of ratio-
nal democratic process. And there's no
end in sight to the state's economiccol-
lapse. Cuts to state funding translated
nicely into hefty tuition hikes. Nobody
said creative destruction was fun.
But life goes on. We find our intern-
ships, we boost our resumes and we
learn all about networking. We visit
graduate schools or we try to find a
job with health insurance. We hint
to our parents that they might want
to clean out some space in the base-
ment. We start reconciling ourselves
to the idea that our friends are going
to scatter across the country. We've
learned by now that we aren't special,
unique snowflakes, at least not most
of us, and we can perhaps be excused
if the events unfolding around us
haven't driven us to devote our lives to
"Changing The World."
It's not exactly apathy. That's a
word that writers at this paper like to

throw around - I've been as guilty as
the next - but the phenomenon might
more accurately be described as self-
preservation. In four years there are
bound to be plenty of disappointments.
Even the much-despised Frieze Build-
ing had defenders hoping to spare it
from demolition.
So we don't reflect on our experi-
ences and our surroundings as much
as we might, and when we do, we tend
to focus on fond memories. We won't
serve in Iraq or Afghanistan unless
we want to, and we'll find.it hard to
be as passionate about affirmative
Our generation's
philosophy: make
the most of life.
action (or about "ending reverse dis-
crimination") once we leave cam-
pus. Forty-seven percent of us will
skirt Michigan's economic crisis by
decamping to a greener state.
You just go on with life and make
the best of it. Viewed one way, it's a
cheap slogan that might have come
from any number of nondescript self-
help books. Viewed another way,
it's a philosophy a bit reminiscent of
the themes Kurt Vonnegut scattered
through his novels.
He died last week at 84. So it goes.
Christopher Zbrozek is a former
Daily editorial page editor. He can
be reached at zbro@umich.edu.

4

Sept. 7, four American soldiers lost
their lives in Iraq. Had these deaths
occurred at another point in the con-
flict, the soldiers would have become just
another number to some Americans, part
of the steadily rising death toll in the war.
Yet, there is an artificial significance to the
passing of these young people: The death toll
of U.S. soldiers in the war in Iraq has now
passed 1,000.
Now is a time to honor not only the four
men who died, but also the hundreds who lost
their lives before them. Students should be
especially cognizant of the rising death toll,

because the young, as they do in all wars, are
bearing the majority of the burden of combat.
The number of deaths in Iraq is larger
than the number of students who live in
East Quadrangle Residence Hall. Each one
of the students in East Quad has a story - a
compelling life story, just as there is a story
behind the end of every life in Iraq.
The situation on the ground in Iraqis dan-
gerous now as it was dangerous then. More
soldiers will die; this is an unfortunate real-
ity. Our fearful trip is not done.
- Sept. 9,2004

4

Vote Kerry
Our nation needs new vision

Four years ago, as Americans went
to the polls to vote for who would
become the next president of the
United States, the nation was enjoying a
period of unprecedented growth and pros-
perity. Today, as we stand on the brink of
another election, our world is decidedly and
irreversibly different.
Few campaigns have been as contested.
Few elections have been as anticipated.
Most of all, few decisions will matter as
much to our generation and our world as
the decision that the nation will make on
Tuesday.
With a demographic surge threatening
our critical social programs, Bush's fiscal

record is nothing short of negligent-
Bush's environmental policy has managed
to undo decades of progress toward clean air
and water.
Although the link between al-Qaida and
Saddam Hussein has never been substanti-
ated, the Bush administration used the Sept.
11 tragedy as the catalyst for the invasion of
Iraq.
John Kerry is a leader. He is a man whose
beliefs were forged while leading the fight
against another unpopular war - an experi-
ence that seems uniquely suited to the chal-
lenges of the present.
- Oct. 27,2004

JOHN OQUIST | ITYE ON YOU R FE E-TNov.8,2006
UGH..IM SO HUNGOVER, WHY'D HEY, DID YOU HEAR THAT
WE POP THE CHEAP CHAMPAGNE PROPOSAL 2 PASSED? WELL..WE SHOULD PROBABLY
AFTER THE DEMS TOOK THE START DRINKING AGAIN.
HOUSE? FOR REAL?
THE LAST THING I RECALL IS
WOLF BLITZER SAYING
SOMETHING ABOUT THE
SENATE EING TOO CLOSE
TO CALL
S

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