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January 08, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-08

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4 -Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


He is putting himself forward not as a black man but
as an American man who wants to be president of the
United States of America:'
-Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking about Democratic presidential candidate
Barack Obama in an interview with PBS host Tavis Smiley
She makes how much?




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solelythe views oftheir authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative andtakes acriticallook at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions andcomments. He can be reached atlpubliceditor@umich.edu.
Broken no-mination
Presidential nomination system in need of repair
For the ninth time since it began holding America's first cau-
cus in 1972, Iowa kicked off the presidential nominating
process last week. Like many caucuses before, Iowa's cau-
cuses came complete with the twists, turns and shifting momentum
that have characterized its influence. It left some candidates reeling
and others cheering. Despite the tradition that gives Iowa and New
Hampshire their first-in-the-nation importance, the continued reli-
ance on the early momentum from victories in these insular states
only encourages a system that is long overdue for an overhaul.

it's available because you have a
legal right to it, although I suspect
most of us don't really care why,
and it supposes to
contain the myster-
ies of the Universi-
ty's payroll, the epic
force that it is.,
It's become
something of a
ritual, a point-
less custom I will
never understand.J
Each year around JEFFREY
this time, the Uni- BLOOMER
versity releases its
salary supplement,
a simple spreadsheet that lists every
full-time employee's salary and tan-
gles up alotmore time and discussion
than it should. It's a silly obsession
we need to stop.
There isn't just fringe interest here,
and it's not just an issue of transpar-
ency from the University. For perspec-
tive, I have involuntarily been on the
Daily's letters-to-the-editor e-mail list
for the past two years. Although there
is the occasional surprise, the rotation
of snail typically goes like this: Israel,
fire so-and-so sports coach, affirmative
action, Israel - and, oh yeah, where
can I find the link to the salary supple-
ment on your website?
Naturally, the Daily plays into this
fixation with a story each year, which
usually makes note of salary increases
and provides the greatest hits of how
much the University pays its adminis-
trators, whose six-figure salaries creep
up every year. You can download the
full text on the homepage of michigan-
daily.com or find it on reserve online
from the University Library. Die-hard
fans who want the collector's edition
can buy it for $32 at Wolverine Tower
on State Street, dare you enter such a
depressing building.

There's something to be said for
having this information public. It's
certainly provided me amusement
(and bemusement) since I discovered it
freshman year when a fellow employee
at a University job pointed out how
much a co-worker made. I'm sure you
can guess why: Employee A made less,
even though she had a better degree
and her responsibilities were more
arduous than Employee B. In turn,
when I saw the Daily's most recent
story - published online during win-
ter break ('U' profs, administrators get
modest salary hikes, 12/11/2007) - and
searched the supplement, I found that
the hands-down best instructor I had
last semester makes about $44,000 for
his eight-month appointment, while
the one who phoned in every lecture
from recycled PowerPoints came in at
nearly $70,000. And I'm a liberal arts
major. Students in the sciences or the
Ross School who are wise to the sup-
plement must get lost in it.
If my interest in the salaries is fleet-
ing, though, it certainly isn't for many
of the full-time employees (or students,
or parents) who make up the supple-
ment's devout audience. Consider the
one I mentioned, who snuck open a
copy of it at work and tore through it
as if out of fevered obligation. It was
scary. There's surely a lot of that to go
around, but I wonder how much an
average reader can actually use this
information to any kind of positive end.
From theDaily's story, for instance, one
deduces that only two academic deans
make more than former football coach
Lloyd Carr. That seems absurd, but not
really if you think about it.
I have seen the way these figures
slink through small offices at the
University and the righteous internal
environments they can foster, and
it's never useful, much less based in
reality. But the really worrisome part

comes when the numbers go out of
those offices and become a scapegoat
for larger concerns.
If we take the figures the supple-
ment provides to be absolute fact -
itself dubious in many cases because
there can be other income tied to cer-
tain positions the spreadsheet does
not consider - it provides no context
and certainly doesn't invite the read-
er to consider the factors that may
influence a particular salary. It's a
point-and-shoot numbers game, and
every University employee is a target.
It also provides the resident spokes-
person an opportunity for a vague,
So what if your
boss makes
media-ready one-liner that justifies
the pay increases and sidesteps any
discussion of what it means that the
average faculty member got a 4 per-
cent salary increase last year, except
perhaps to note how uncompetitive
our salaries are with the Ivies (the
surprises keep coming).
I won't say the supplement shouldn't
be available, because it should, though I
hope its collection of loyal readers will
keep it in perspective. It's fun to flip
through, but it provides about as solid
a foundation for a discussionofsalaries
as any of the other carefully stripped-
down numbers the University funnels
to the public, which is not much of one.
Jeffrey Bloomer is the Daily's
managingeditor. He can be reached
at bloomerj@umich.edu.



For two states with just 11 of the 538 total
Electoral College votes in the actual selec-
tion of the president, Iowa and New Hamp-
shire have a lot of sway but reflect little of
America's diversity. Despite the democratic
fagade of the Iowa caucuses, the races pre-
vent equal access to voting because they
are held in the early evening time when
many would-be caucus-goers can't partici-
pate. From this hollow shell of a democratic
process, Iowa's predominately rural votes
choose two over-hyped frontrunners.
After Iowa, the candidates then go on to
New Hampshire, where only four Electoral
College votes would normally be at stake if
it were the general election. Instead of being
a tie-breaker worthy of its small stature,
though, New Hampshire could be the king-
maker in today's primary. The two candi-
dates who can win over the hearts of New
Hampshire's unique brand of small-state
libertarianvoters have the media's attention,
the voters' confidence in their electability
and practically a presidential nomination.
Before most of America votes, Iowa and
New Hampshire have already decided which
candidates will be facing off in November.
Because these states won't allow others like
Michigan to leapfrog ahead of them in the
nominating process, what is left is America's
front-loaded primaries as states tryto jockey
for first anyway. The front-loaded primary
schedule makes it so that legitimate contend-
ers must launch their campaigns months in
advance. While this continuous campaign is
exhausting and trivial, it's also expensive.

The longer the campaign becomes, the more
expensive the race gets. The 2008 presiden-
tial race is projected to be the first time that
the two final candidates' combined spend-
ing will surpass $1 billion.
Correcting this dysfunctional system
isn't out of America's reach, though. If the
national parties can muster the courage,
plenty of viable options are available. Two
such plans that are gaining support are the
"American plan" and the rotating regional
primary system.
The first of these two plans schedules
groups of the least populous states to hold
primaries first, eventually reaching the
states with the largest delegations and pop-
ulations. Under this plan the smaller states
like New Hampshire still have influence, but
to win the nomination the candidates must
win the larger states later on. This prevents
front-loading by setting a schedule, protect-
ing the voices of smaller states and giving
less-popular candidates an incentive to stay
in the race in hopes of doing well in the big-
ger states. The other plan, a rotating regional
primary system, breaks the country into five
regions with a lottery deciding which region
votes as a block first. Both of these plans are
passable, and many more quality plans will
likely be proposed before 2012.
What is key is that the presidential nomi-
nating process is supposed to sift out the best
candidates, notcthe ones best suited to Iowa's
interests. Whatever presidential nominating
system replaces our current one, it is almost
certain to be a better way to do this.


Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Jon Cohen, Milly Dick, Mike
Eber, Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody,
Robert Soave, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van
Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
International student aid

Students must stick by
basketball team
While it is bad enough that some
of the pompous, spoiled alumni who
call themselves "Michigan Men"
continue to stay away from Crisler
Arena, why are students absent?
As Michigan boys and girls who
will soon be Michigan men and
women, students should cherish
the opportunity they have to sit
courtside with hundreds of their
classmates and cheer on the student
athletes who are working their tails
off in the name of Michigan athlet-
ics. How can 25,000 students pack
the Big House on a 95 degree Sep-
tember day in a meaningless game
against some non-conference team,
yet only a couple hundred students
make it out to Crisler Arena for any
game against a top-25 team?
It is embarrassing. Stop waiting
for the team to get good and support
them when they need it most.
Robert Kaye
Farmington, Mich.
Home sweet home?
In response to the Daily's article
last week about the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly petition to extend
winter break (Petition could stretch
break, 01/03/2008) I have one thing
to say: WTF?
Why would anyone want to spend
more time with family? All break
long you have to listen to your par-
ents complaining about you being
a failure and asking when you are
going to get your act together. Then
they wonder why you are making
plans to come back early.
For those who feel break is too
short, IShave a solution: Go to Bryan,
Ohio for two weeks. It feels like an
Kolby Roberts
LSA senior

make a serious mark on the political
landscape. On Thursday night our
generation made a stand, shocking
pollsters and pundits with renewed
turnout and a passion for Obama.
Obama in many ways seems to
be connecting to the young voters
and disillusioned Americans in a
way that has notbeen seen since
the death of Bobby Kennedy. His
message of unity, hope, strength
and sensibility was a huge factor
in triggering participation in the
caucuses by roughly 236,000 Iowa
primary voters, shattering all previ-
ous records. Obama is shaking up
the system and doing so by avoiding
lobbyist money and appealing to the
middle class on substantive issues
rather than using fear tactics and
political mudslinging. He repre-
sents hope. Previously, many have
felt apprehension that a candidate
so unique and visionary as Obama
has not been seen in a generation
and that our political system seems
dominated by so many figures dis-
tinct from him.
What chance does hope have
against political machines, cynical
politics and the influence of lob-
byists? Apparently, a candidate for
hope has more than enough for a
9-point advantage.
Avi Bhuiyan
LSA sophomore
Students helped
Obama in Iowa, too
In Friday's coverage of the Iowa
caucuses (Most campus campaign
groups don't make trip to Iowa,
01/04/2008), the Daily reported
that the University's chapter of Stu-
dents for Hillary was the only group
to canvass in Iowa. This is not an
entirely accurate statement.
The University's chapter of Stu-
dents for Obama has been to Iowa
twice in the past several months to
campaign for the Illinois senator. In

October, 12 of these students drove
to Iowa, where .we spent our fall
break going door-to-door to canvass
for Obama. At the homes of Iowa
residents in two small communi-
ties, our members talked to indi-
viduals about their issue positions,
garneringsupport for the candidate
as part of a three-day campaign
effort. During winter break, three
members of the organization also
spent their time in Iowa working on
Obama's campaign, culminating in
his victory there on Jan. 3.
Political student groups at the
University have been hard at work
for months to raise awareness and
garner support for their respective
candidates. This is an effort that is
especially important because young
people in America are an inconsis-
tent voting subgroup.
The Daily should have worked
harder to give credit where credit
was due. It should have recognized
the accomplishments and efforts of
all of the groups devoting their time
and energy to candidate victories in
Iowa even if it did not occur imme-
diately at the Iowa caucuses.
Kym Lovell
LSA junior
West Virginia: Stop
crying about coaches
I am tired of whiny people writ-
ing letters to the Daily about how
Michigan "stole" West Virginia's
coaches. These coaches came to
the University because there are
more opportunities here. The
University's Athletic Department
and campus are bigger and better.
Accept that.
I also doubt people at West Vir-
ginia complained when their school
hired away Rodriguez from Glen-
ville State. Let's not be hypocrites.
Matt Phillips


As international high school seniors put
the final touches on their essays and get their
recommendations signed, expectations are
high for aspiring students. But for many of
the highly qualified students, the University
will not be on the list of prospective colleges.
While colleges like Harvard University and
the University of Pennsylvania are increasing
grant-based financial aid to all students, the
University of Michigan is continuing its policy
of not offering any substantial financial assis-
tance to international students. This stance
will deprive our institution of qualified and
needed applicants.
Being a public school funded by the state, it
is understandable that the University aims to
focus on prospective in-state students, trying
to lure high-achieving applicants to the Uni-
versity with loans, scholarships and grants.
But this policy comes at the expense of inter-
national students, a group that forms an inte-
gral part of our diverse student body. Given
the University's desire to raise academic stan-
dards, the complete absence of scholarships
for international students is puzzling.
Like most other students, burgeoning fees
and a lack of financial assistance are hitting
international students hard. For internation-
al students, myself included, attending the
University costs more than $40,000 a year,
a price tag that forces them to cut corners in
their college education and miss out on some
of the college experience. This is a dilemma
that should not arise. Financial aid may not
be an option, owing to the obligatory prefer-
ence given to in-state students, but offering
merit-based scholarships is a realistic option
the University is not considering. It is also an
option that will attract even more qualified
candidates to the University.

What appeals to international students
hampered by financial need is liberal arts col-
leges like Carleton College, Macalester College
and Oberlin College. The Starr Scholarship at
Carleton offers qualified students from Asia
full tuition, complete with two airplane tick-
ets to the winners' home countries. Similarly,
the Kofi Annan International Scholarships at
Macalester - merit-based yearly scholarships
ranging from $1,000 to $35,000 a year -- are
awarded to almost 200 international students
each year. And Oberlin, according to the
school's website, provides substantial financial
assistance to more than 80 percent of its inter-
national student body.
But unlike these private institutions, the
University has to deal with a state legislature,
like these institutions, the University needs to
do more than it is doing currently. If the Uni-
versity doesn't act, it will be the one to lose out
as qualified international students skip over
it. There is undoubtedly a market for the best
students. Selecting a college has morphed into
a process where students look for the best sav-
ings, especially when the quality of the prod-
uct is similar.
As international valedictorians and high
achievers opt for colleges offering scholar-
ships, it is the University that loses out. Diver-
sity is one victim. Another victim is the quality
of the education as better-qualified students
choose not to apply to the University.
The Class of 2011, according to University
President Mary Sue Coleman, was the most
qualified yet. Offering merit-based scholar-
ships to international students would only
have made this good class even better.
Emad Ansari is an LSA freshman and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.


Obama's Iowa victory ALEXANDER HONKALA

is sign ofchange

Thursday's Iowa caucuses were a
victory for hope, as Barack Obama,
son of a Kenyan father and Kansan
mother, won the critical first step
towards the Democratic nomina-
tion for president. Not only is this
a historical moment of a biracial
man winning in a state that is over-
whelmingly rural and more than 90
percent white; it was made possible
by the incredible turnout among
young people.
We've all heard that our genera-
tion is too passive, that the1960s
were the golden years of political
involvement, that we are just too
self-centered, lazy and cynical to



Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should
be less than 300 words and must include the writer's full name and
University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedoily@umich.

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