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April 02, 2008 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-02

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4A -Wednesday, April 2, 2008
4C.Udc lan4,aily 1
Edited and managed by students at
the University ofMichigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com




Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a criticallook at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contactthe public editor
with questions andcomments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
Divide and conquer
State Senate right to increase funding, wrong not to split bill
he budgetary fiasco orchestrated by the state at the begin-
ning of this fiscal year caused widespread disgust and
doubts about the legislature's ability to do its job. In a
recent attempt at redemption, the state Senate passed a 3-percent
budget increase for Michigan's public universities. But while boost-
ing higher education funding across the board is commendable, the
Senate has failed to account for the current state of the economy. If
the legislature truly wants Michigan to recover from its economic
troubles, special consideration must be given to the research univer-
sities go vital to Michigan's vulnerable economy.

Everyone wants to be loved."
- Kurt Volker, a senior State Department official, excitedly acknowledging that survey data shows
international opinion of the United States rising, as reported yesterday by the BBC.
S0 X
rae ' e
Living in the Ivy shadow
ne-thousand, nine-hundred, receive financial aid and how much aid drop out for financial reasons or at least
forty-eight high school stu- those people should receive. Plus, the able to save accordingly.
dents were admitted into Ivies are intricately tied to our beloved Without a massive endowment to
America's 'most American Dream, functioning as train- buoy the program and forced to rely on
exclusive club Mon- ing grounds for America's elites. state funding, CMU had to cut the pro-
day. They were But our infatuation with every- gram in February. CMU only receives
selected from a pool thing Ivy is giving us a misleading and roughly $82 million in state appropria-
of 27,462 students dangerous snapshot of the American tions, an amount that hasn't increased
that included more higher education system. While these much from the amount it received in
than 2,500 students schools still shape elite opinion of the 1990s. While legislators and educa-
with perfect SAT higher education, they are onlya few of tion elites in the United States are up
critical reading the 2,629 U.S. colleges and universities in arms about universities that hoard
scores, more than turning out the educated people this their endowments, the limited federal
3,300 with perfect GARY country needs. The more we overlook and state funding that goes to the less-
SAT math scores GRACA these schools, the more vulnerable we endowed universities is taking its toll.
and more than make them. Yet, universities like CMU form
3,300 students who It'stoughtodenythatourEastCoast the real backbone of America's higher
were ranked first in their class. They colleagues are important. When Har- education system. When statistics
were among the 7.1 percent of appli- vard does something incredible like detail that unemployment among cl-
cants admitted this year - another open up its $34.9 billion endowment
record-breakingly low percentage. to give financial aid to students whose
These 1,948 students got into Har- parents earn up to $180,000 a year,
vard College, the apple of America's that's understandably a big deal. Since W hy CM U is as
collegiate eye and the object of aca- the school did that last December,
demia's most notorious fetish. In other dozens of universities have followed important as
words,thesestudentswerepickedfrom suit. State and federal legislators also
the freakishly smart of the freakishly took notice, starting to question whyarvrd
smart who started working as hard as public universities with multibillion-
a 40-year-old business executive at the dollar endowments aren't being more
ripe age of 15. generous. lege graduates is lower than among
Face it; you probably know how But only the privileged few public high school graduates - like the U.S.
those 25,514 Harvard rejects are feel- universities could ever parallel what Census data detailingthat adult work-
ing right now. Whether you were a the INies are doing - and I'm not talk- ers with bachelor's degrees earned 82
Harvard reject back in high school ing about public-Ivy powerhouses like percent more in 2006 than adults with
(like I was) or you just got denied from the University of Michigan. The truly a high school diploma - CMU and
Harvard Law (like I probably will be), incredible examples, then, are the uni- Harvard graduates alike are included.
you are not alone here at the Univer- versities that stretch themselves thin But CMU has almost double the fresh-
sity of Michigan. Or maybe you aren't to make an education as affordable as men enrollment.
a Harvard reject, but you probably fit possible. Central Michigan University If we hope to achieve the educated
into the broad category of Ivy League is one ofthose universities. workforce needed in this country, it
rejects - same difference. Beginning in fall 2005, CMU start- won't come from the 1,948 students
The allure and mystique of Ivy ed the CMU Promise, a program that who got into Harvard Monday. It will
League fascinates Americans, and froze tuition for all incoming fresh- come from the hundreds of thousands
admittedly I'm drawn in sometimes, men and transfer students. By freezing of students at colleges in places like
too. It's tough not to pay attention to tuition, the program allowed students Mount Pleasant.
these schools when it seems like they to calculate exactly how much they
are constantly at the forefront of mak- would owe during their time at the Gary Graca is the Daily's editorial
ing higher education more affordable, school. Insulated from sudden tuition page editor. He can be reached
defining and redefining who should hikes, students would be less likely to at gmgraca@mich.edu.

At a mere 1 percent, last year's spending
increase was meager at best. The change
proposed this year, which has been passed
by the state Senate and is headed to the
House, would increase funding for state-
run universities by 3 percent. However, it
allocates all of the state's universities the
same funding increase as the others.
Michigan is currently in a strange and
unique limbo as its economy changes. It
is the duty of the legislature to encourage
the economy to shift from its long-standing
dependency on the automotive industry to
afocus on knowledge-based endeavors like
innovative research. But this transforma-
tion can only occur if the state enables its
three major research universities to build
the skilled workforce and conduct research
that will provide a new foundation for
Michigan's future.
By virtue of their role in educating
tomorrow's workforce, all universities are
wqrthybeneficiaries. However,._, s Go.
Jennifer Granholm suggested in her Feb-
ruary proposal to distribute funding based
on a series of factors including research,
Michigan's three research universities

deserve larger appropriations because of
their additional, integral functions within
society. The University of Michigan, Mich-
igan State University and Wayne State Uni-
versity therefore merit a separate bill to
allocate their higher levels of funding.
Lumping all of the state's universities
onto a single bill with uniform funding
increase ignores the larger role research
universities play. In addition to strength-
ening-the state's workforce, the research
universities attract new businesses, inno-
vative minds and, therefore, much-needed
profits. With these extra responsibilities,
the research universities require extra
money. So far, this plan has not come to
fruition, but there is still potential for the
state House to pass separate bills like it did
last year.
Though thestate legislature still has alot
of ground to make up from its botched han-
dling of the budget, it has at least returned
tome of the money.,duets universities.
Now it is the University's responsibility to
use that money wisely. Maybe it could start
by safeguarding against another tuition
hike in the coming years.


Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Desbmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan,
Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, mran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
Assessing student-athletes


Sports is one aspect of The Ann Arbor
News's reporting that has always had an edge
to it. The otherwise conservative publication
has produced some fine maverick columnists
who eventually moved on to work in big-
ger markets. Chris McKosky of The Detroit
Free Press, Mike Downey of the Los Angeles
Times and Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City
Star come to mind.
Now comes Jim Carty. I, for one, find his
work a breath of fresh air. Ina town filled with
people who see the Big House as akind of ath-
letic Vatican and dissent from the Bo doctrine
as tantamount to blasphemy, Carty tells it like
it is. His columns on Rich Rodriguez's duplic-
ity in taking the Michigan job and his trou-
bling conclusion that the commodification of
the head coaching position has become ubiq-
uitous in Division I college footballiwere right
on target. Tradition - the intangible aura
that once surrounded programs like Notre
Dame and Michigan - has been replaced by
market forces. Carty rightly points out that
universities and coaching candidates alike
take the attitude of consumers, not loyalists,
to any particular alma mater or philosophical
principle. Thank you, Jim Carty.
My comments here then should not be
taken as a disagreement with Carty, John
Heuser and Nathan Fenno's four-day series
on the state of athletics and academics at the
University as much as the perspective of an
insider who wasn't one of the 87 people inter-
As an English instructor who works in the
Comprehensive Studies Program, I appreci-,
ate rhetorical skills of Carty et al. After all,
I teach college writing. What's missing from
this conversation is the issue of assessment, a
topic of constant debate among academics as
it should be, given the ever-changing nature
of teaching and the ways evaluation has to be
recalibrated to address these changes.
I will confine my comments to the humani-
ties only, which would include psychology,
a central focus of investigative articles. An
ongoingtopic in current debates about assess-
ment has to do with "longitudinal progress,"
the question of how improvement over time
figures into grading. Key to this idea is the
controversial notion that rather than com-
paring students to other students, students
should be measured according to their own
This is not to suggest that rubrics should be
abandoned. It simply means that rubrics are
one of many tools in the assessment process.

The controversy arises when those students
who can achieve As without really trying are
outraged that less gifted students should be
rewarded for attendance, effort and improve-
ment. The fact is, however, that these "A"
students oftentimes showmuchless improve-
ment than their hard-working colleagues.
While Carty's article offers one perspec-
tive on Chad Kolarik's academic experience,
one need only read a Daily article on his expe-
rience in my classroom and how it influenced
his decision to keepa diary, as well as his atti-
tude about writing in general, to get anoth-
er perspective (Dear Diary: Kolarik shows
improvement, 11/17/2005).
I also had Jake Long in a spring English 325
class on essay writing, and he was - excuse
the athletic parlance - a flat-out great stu-
dent: smart, conscientious and dedicated.
A final example from my experience is that
of Jack Johnson. Too many students look at
the pursuit of a degree as simply a way to
make money. Although he was drafted into
the NHL in 2005, Johnson elected to stay in
school. Seeing how Johnson addressed his
university experience taught them a lesson
about the value of an education that I could
never impart.
In 2006, however, the possibility of inju-
ry and the offer of instant playing time and
a multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract
made it impossible for Johnson to hold out.
At the time, he was in my English 225 class
on argumentative writing. It was late winter
with about three weeks left in the semester.
He came to me and said, "Dr. Tessier, I have
to report to the L.A. Kings for their last six
games, but I want to finish up here so I can
continue my education next year on the West
Coast. If you'll allow me to work on my papers
for the week and a half in L.A., I'll return to
class with my completed essays and be in
class for the last week."
Even though Jack was set for life finan-
cially, he was of a mindset that a degree was
something with an intangible value that can't
be measured with a monetary yardstick. The
other students were blown away.
While I have taught many student-athletes
in my time (I would say that Peter Vignier,
who is now a lawyer in Arizona, was perhaps
the brightest), these are just three examples
of the kind of work ethic Carty's article failed
to emphasize.
Randall Tessier is a University professor
in the Comprehensive Studies Program.

Columnist unfairly
simplified the South

not comparab]
at the South
ment to any
action for peo
fortable discu

TO THE DAILY: step forward
Arikia Millikan's column yester- erners of any r
day was both an incredibly offensive is a burning nE
and, more importantly, counterpro- renewed inve
ductive call for grappling with racial how can that
issues in the United States (Life's not comes to the,
black and white, 04/01/2008). I was respect the ott
appalled to read Millikan declare,
"Some people try to say that Florida Avi Bhuiyan
isn't really part of "the South.".But LSA sophomore
... where Confederate flags fly high
and adorn rearview windows along U shou
the outskirts of town, I beg to dif-
fer." This piecemeal, pop-culture to reforn
understanding of the South is both
antiquated and insulting.
Is the South home to a race prob- TO THE DAIL
lem? Yes. Is it defined solely by its Through ou
race problem? No. If the South is versity's chap
defined by where the Confederate crats, we hav
flag waves, how can anyone who roadblocks re
doesn't adhere to the ideals of the vote, creating
Confederacy claim ownership of for all parties
any part of it? There is complexity, the popular n
diversity and struggle in the South law pushedI
that the author neatly glossed over state Sen. Mi
to make a Confederate flag crack. Michigan resi.
The South is not identified solely vote using the
by Confederate flags. It is home driver's licens
to dynamic communities of Afri- than done.
can Americans, Asian Americans, Many stud
Latino Americans and Caucasian register to vo
Americans. In fact, my hometown address for f
of Atlanta is a Mecca for black pro- sions this chl
fessionals and middle-class work- have, such as
ers, unique amonga select few cities insurance iss
in the United States with its vibrant fears are unw
racial, religious and economic students then
'diversity. hassle by cho
While the author sought to decry tee. However,
stereotypes and encouragea discus- states thatto v
sion of race, she opened her column register in per
by firing off a salvo at Southerners State or vote
and the South itself, the kind of time. For man
unthinking regurgitation of stereo- Thus, becaus
types against which she railed. By unaware of t
that I mean that, while obviously encounter pr

le to racism, her crack
served as an impedi-
discussion or call to
ople who feel uncom-
issing such issues to
- in this case South-
'ace. I agree that there
eed for a dialogue and
stigation of race, but
begin when one side
table unprepared to
ld push state
a voting laws

ing polls. Hence, because of lack of
knowledge, numerous students are
being disenfranchised.
We feel that for such a progressive
university, the University of Michi-
gan has done an awful job informing
students of their rights. The Univer-
sity should advocate for the students'
best interest and publicly support
student activists who are working
to end the mistreatment of student
rights. The University, the Board of
Regents and the Michigan Student
Assembly need to send a message
to the state legislature informing it
that they support our efforts to end
student disenfranchisement.
Carley St. Clair and Jenya
The letter writers are writing on behalf


: of the College Democrat
ir work with the Uni- Issues Committee.
ter of College Demo-
e run into numerous
gistering students to Forget pro
massive frustration
involved. Rogers's law, u
ame for a 1999 state u'
by then- Republican
ke Rogers, states that TO THE DAILY:
dents must register to Although Karl S
same address as their the donating habi
e. This is easier said versity's professors
Monday, who car
ents are hesitant to money Universit
te at their university donate to Democral
ear of the repercus- 03/31/2008)? The bi
ange in address will contemporary liber
scholarship loss and is the Daily itself,-
tues. For most, these years has prided it
'arranted. Still, many ing the talking poin
decide to forgo this cratic party. If Stat
osing to vote absen- about "finding con
in Michigan, the law points," he wouldn
vote absentee you must the majority of the I
son at the Secretary of time as editor in ci
in person for the first who bask in the igt
y this is not an option. parents' big-governi
e many students are
hese limitations, they Jonathan Slenrod
oblems at the vot- LSA sophomore


fs, Daily
al agenda
tampfl detailed
ts of the Uni-
in his column
es how much
y professors
ts (Leaning left,
ggest bastion of
alism on campus
a paper that for
self on rehash-
ts of the Demo-
mpfl truly cared
servative view-
't have allotted
Daily during his
hief to students
norance of their
ment whims.


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