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April 17, 2007 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

For a day, office
hours held on Diag


negotiating with 'U'
Daily StaffReporter
Yesterday, a concrete Diag
bench was lecturer Margaretha
Sudarsih's Advanced Indonesian
Sudarsih, a lecturer in the
department of Asian Languages
and Cultures, is one of 55 Lectur-
ers' Employee Organization mem-
bers who signed up to hold their
regularly scheduled office hours or
classes on the Diag yesterday and
today to tell students about their
ongoing contract negotiations.
Lecturers from LEO, a union
for non-tenure track lecturers at
the University's three campuses,
stationed themselves on the Diag
from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., meeting
with students while passing out
flyers about LEO to passersby.
"We wanted to bring aware-
ness to the fact that we're in nego-
tiations right now," said Janella
James, LEO's chief organizer.
LEO, an organization of more
than 1,400 lecturers, is in con-
tact negotiations with University
administrators. LEO's contract
expires at the end of June.
LEO's bargaining position
includes salary raises, improved
health care, more transparency
in employment reviews, a uni-
form title for all LEO members,
more flexibility to work off-cam-
A team of bargainers led by
English Lecturer Kirsten Herold
began negotiations Jan. 26.

James said one goal of this
week's event was to inform stu-
dents about the large number of
teachers they have that are not on
a tenure-track.
James also said the event can
remind tenured colleagues how
many lecturers are involved on
campus. She said many tenured
professors have been supportive of
LEO previously.
RC Lecturer Ifnigo de la Cerda,
LEO's Ann Arbor campus co-
chair, said he heard some lecturers
wanted to hold class outside, but
were deterred by the strong wind.
Sudarsih's Advanced Indone-
sian II class, though, braved the
wind. She and her five students
gathered around chicken nuggets,
grapes and ice cream cake while
speaking Indonesian.
"I wanted to support LEO
because negotiations have not
been going very well," Sudarsih
said. "The students need to know
what we're doing."
One of Sudarsih's students,
LSA senior Diana Parker, said
she also wanted to support LEO.
Parker said she has supported
previous LEO demonstrations
and events.
LEO members went on strike in
2004 before issues with LEO's last
contract were resolved.
But James said she hopes LEO
continues awareness campaigns
without taking job action like
strikes, though she said LEO is
far from a point where something
like that would be considered.
Her class yesterday celebrated
the upcoming graduation of three
of its members. Her class today
will also be held on the Diag, but
will follow regular class format.

LSA senior Jason Harris tin whiteT-shirt) speaks to Engineering junior Steve Martin at the Call to Manhood event held yesterday evening at the Crisler Arena Champion
Center. Harris organized the event, which sought to help black men become better leaders.
A 2nd ter-m for faculty gov't chair

Daily StaffReporter
The Senate Assembly voted yesterday to sus-
pend a rule that says a chair of the assembly's
executive arm cannot serve consecutive terms.
The assembly also approved a second three-
year term for Charles Smith, the chair of the
Senate Assembly Committee on University

Smith was unanimously re-elected in a
SACUA meeting earlier this month.
Smith said SACUA has made a great deal of
progress over the past year and that members
didn't to want to stop the momentum by select-
ing a new chair.
"They knew if they elected me they would
have to ask for a rule suspension, because the
rule was clear-cut," Smith said.
He said it usually takes about three or four

months for new SACUA chairs to adjust to the
position. He said he hopes his incumbency will
make the committee more productive next year.
"We had an exceptionally good SACUA this
year," Smith said. "I think nextyear will be even
Smith said he and the rest of the members of
SACUA will determine the committee's goals
for the next year at its June retreat at the Uni-
versity's Inglis House.


From page1
University spokeswoman Kelly
Cunningham said financial aid
offices independently decided to
make the changes because of the
negative connotations that have
been attached to the term "preferred
lender" by New York Attorney Gen-
eral Andrew Cuomo's investiga-
tion. She said she didn't know if any
other University units made similar
Cunningham said it's accurate to
say that the University doesn'tmain-
tain preferred lender lists because
that term now references the con-
flicts of interest Cuomo's investiga-
tion has uncovered.
Although the University was
one of more than 400 colleges that
received a letter earlier this year
asking for information as part of the
investigation, its financial aid office
has not been found to be using ille-
gal practices, Cunningham said.
"We're not doing anything

wrong," Cunningham said. "We're
not doing anything unethical or
While some University of Michi-
gan financial aid offices have tried
to scrub their sites clean of referenc-
es to preferred lenders, others have
left the references untouched.
The University Law School's
financial aid website listed five "ree-
ommended" lenders as of yesterday.
The website of the financial aid
office of the University of Michigan
at Dearborn listed three loan com-
panies underthe heading "preferred
"To help our students, the Office
of Financial Aid has established a
preferred lender list," the website
said. "While there are many attrac-
tive loan products with responsible
lenders, the Office of Financial
Aid has based its selections on our
experience with lenders who offer
attractive terms and have a history
of good service."
The University of Michigan at
Flint's financial aid website used to
include a list of four preferred lend-
ers on a fact sheet.
"The lenders on the back (of
the page) will show you who the
University of Michigan-Flint's
preferred alternative loan lenders
are," the site said until recently,
according to a previous version
obtained from a search engine.
"The University of Michigan-Flint
has partnered with these orga-
nizations to provide you with the
most expedited processes pos-
The paragraph has since been
reworded and the reference to pre-
ferred lenders was removed.
"The lenders on the back are a
sample of alternative lenders cur-
rently utilized by some students at
the University of Michigan-Flint,"
the page now says.

The changes to the page seem to
indicate a hasty revision. The para-
graph is now written in a font differ-
ent from the ones used on the rest of
the page. And because of a coding
error, the original sentences remain
embedded in the web page. If a visi-
tor to the site tries to copy and paste
the new sentence, it will copy the
original one.
Cuomo's investigation has found
that many universities have received
kickbacks from loan companies for
placing them on their preferred
lender lists. It has also found that
top financial aid officials at Colum-
bia University, $ the University of
Southern California and the Univer-
sity of Texas all owned unreported
stock in a loan company that was on
the colleges' preferred lender lists.
Matteo Fontana, a high-rank-
ing official at the U.S. Department
of Education, was found to have
owned about $100,000 in stock in a
loan company while working for the
Several college officials - includ-
ing Ellen Frishberg, the director of
student financial services at Johns
Hopkins University - were found to
have taken thousands of dollars in
consulting fees from Student Loan
Xpress, which is on Johns Hopkins's
preferred lender list. Others were
found to have accepted invitations
to all-expenses-paid conferences
sponsored by loan companies,
Several loan companies have
settled with the attorney general's
office for as much as $2.5 million to
end investigations into allegations
that they bribed their way onto the
preferred lender lists of more than
60 colleges.
One loan company that recently
settled was Citibank, which dis-
burses 70 percent of private loans
granted to University students.
Twenty-three percent of all loans

PcTce SCnOnTcsrtLS/Daily
LSA senior Andrea Buras sits in the University waterskiing clubH'soatn the
Diag yesterday. The group brought the boat to the Diag to recruit students pass-
ing by.

taken out by students come from
Citibank was found in Cuomo's
investigation to have illegally
shared profits with New York Uni-
versity, the University of Pennsylva-
nia and Syracuse University. It is on
the preferred lender lists of all three
Citibank claims to be "a preferred
lender for University of Michigan"
on its loan application for University
of Michigan students. The applica-
tion, hosted on the Universityrfinan-
cial aid office's website, contains the
office's logo.
Cunningham said Citibank is
included on the University's rec-
ommended lenders list because i
has competitive rates and reliable
customer service. She said the Uni.
versitydoesn'treceive anyunlawful
benefits - financial or otherwise
- from listing Citibank as a recom-
mended lender.
Cunninghamsaid UniversityPro-
vost Teresa Sullivan is working tc
improve the University's conflict o1
interest policies to make it less likely
that an employee would be guilty o
a violation.
"The provost has been very
engaged in reviewing our practices
and personnel to make sure the Uni-
versityis observingthehighestethi-
cal standards," Cunningham said.
University spokeswoman Debo-
rah Greene said the University
financial aid office hasn't conduct-
ed a full investigation into the
stock portfolios of its top officials
or into whether any of them have
gone on junkets paid for by loan
"We work on the assumption that
University of Michigan staff are
scrupulously ethical," Greene said.
"In every way, we've found them tc
be. Nobody has a new sailboat in his
front yard."
From page 1
the University of Massachusetts.
With an academic year of experi-
encehe has developed various plans
to expand the amount of programs
and the image of MESA.
Acosta said campus leaders have
always tried to bridge the gaps
between different communities but
that there has not been much prog-
ress for a while. He said he knows
that change can create anxiety
among students.
"It's always scary to take risks,"
Acosta said. "So I don't feel I'm try-
ing to do anything that the institu-
tion doesn't want done or that the
students don't want done."
Some student groups are ques-
tioning his approach.
Jenn Ortiz, president of the Lati-
no Students Organization, said that
LSO's contact with MESA has been
more limited this year than in the
past. Ortiz said LSO used to meet
weekly with a Latino Task Force
moderator in MESA, but since Acos-
ta arrived, this hasn'tchappened.
Ortiz also said thata sense ofcom-
munity on campus is important but
issues. For example, she said, Latino
students have issues with recruiting
students to the University and keep-
"It's difficult to address our spe-
cific needs if you're just focusing on
See MESA, Page 9


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