4A - Monday, April 7, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 4
74 i Idiig0an Bal
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Congress needs to act on Coleman's funding request
P resident Mary Sue Coleman must be trying to avoid the long
Michigan winter this year. Shortly after returning from
a trip to Africa, she left for Washington D.C., where she
spoke before the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering Committee. She
addressed the issue of federal research funding joined by a group
composed of more than 50 research institutions. They pleaded with
legislators to expand the federal government's spending on sci-
ence research. While Coleman's message was one that needed to be
heard, it is up to legislators - especially Michigan's U.S. senators
Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin - to make her message a reality.
We're going to solve this without a
drop of tear gas."
- East Lansing Police Chief Tom Wibert, on how he would end a riot at Cedar
Village apartments near Michigan State University without tear gas minutes before
tear gas was used, as reported yesterday by The Detroit Free Press.
JASON MAHAKIAN E-MAIL MAHAKIAN AT MAHAKIAJ@UMICH.EDU
The scandal that wasn't
On Capitol Hill, The Science Coalition
is fighting to prevent further cuts to fed-
eral funding for scientific research. But
President Bush's proposed 2009 budget
is promising more of the same. This fed-
eral funding is especially important at the
University, where it accounts for nearly 70
percent of the total financial contribution
to the University's research. In particular,
the National Institutes of Health is a key
contributor to the University, accounting
for about 47 percent of its total research
budget. In the 2009 budget, NIH would
effectively be getting a funding cut as
inflation outpaces its increases.
Despite indifference on Capitol Hill,
research funding is an investment with big
returns. In hopes of showing the impact
of university research, Michigan's three
research institutions - the University
of Michigan, Michigan State University
and Wayne State University - formed the
University Research Corridor last year.
Independent analysis has shown that the
URC members brought $12.8 billion into
the Michigan economy and helped create
almost 70,000 new jobs in the state.
Toyota's announcement last week that
it will expand its research headquarters
in Ann Arbor, and spending $100 mil-
lion on research certainly reinforces this
argument. While only 35 new jobs will
be created as a direct result of expansion,
the gesture by Toyota is evidence of for-
eign interest in the resources of American
research institutions like the University.
Coleman's greatest strength has always
been her ability to fundraise for the Uni-
versity, and she did that well last week. But
in the end, the legislators, who have only
shown minimal interest in this issue, con-
trol the purse strings. Levin and Stabenow
are both experienced members of the U.S.
Senate who are more than capable of using
their political clout to help bring about
the needed increase in research to not
only stimulate but strengthen Michigan's
economy. They also have the sway to push
Michigan's state Democratic party into
action back home. Yet, they have failed to
make this a high-profile issue.
The pleas for increased funding by the
Science Coalition to the Senate are com-
mendable, and Coleman did well to fight
for this cause. Michigan needs its legisla-
tors to follow Coleman's example in her-
alding this issue. Without the support of
Congress, the abilities of organizations
such as the Science Coalition are no more
than words without the hope of action.
There are some bad guys affiliat-
ed with the University of Mich-
igan Athletic Department. The
Ann Arbor News
has exposed one of
the good ones.
In a March 16
report the newspa-
per tried to prove '
letes are funneled
to Psychology Prof.Q
John Hagen, who
in turn gives them KARL
an easy A, which STAMPFL
keeps them eligible
for athletic compe-
tition. The news story cast Hagen as
an Ed Martin-esque fan hell-bent on
giving athletes the advantages in the
classroom that would allow them to
reach the Frozen Four and the Rose
Bowl. In a peculiar attempt at gotcha
journalism, the paper even printed a
photograph of Hagen sitting several
rows behind football coach Rich Rodri-
guez and recruit Terrelle Pryor at a
Michigan basketball game.
On first glance, this conspiracy
seems plausible. Michigan athletics
has certainly been associated with far
On second glance, there are the
This scandal would be a lot more
convincingifHagen didn't just happen
to be someone who has been studying
how people learn and helping them do
so over a 43-year career in Ann Arbor.
If Hagen were a mathematics professor
who was allowing struggling athletes
to do a few pre-algebra questions and
leave his office with an A, that would
be a problem. He's not. He's been
researching learning since the 1960s.
One of his areas of interest:is stu-
dent-athletes, who are more likely to
have learning disabilities and have
time constraints because of demand-
ing practice schedules. The indepen-
dent study class the article focuses on
is designed to help people who have
Is it any surprise that student-ath-
letes would want to take his class and
spread the word to their friends, who
are mostly other athletes? The class
seems relatively easy; the News says
athletes averaged a 3.62 GPA in Hagen's
courses and a2.57 in their other cours-
es. Breaking news: Michigan students
aim to take easy classes. I've done it.
A lot. I've learned that just because
a class is an easy A doesn't mean stu-
dents can't get alot out of it.
What would be damning is if ath-
letes were given easier treatment in
this class just because they play sports.
This does not appear to be the case.
After receiving a complaint from a jeal-
ous professor about Hagen, the Univer-
sity twice investigated him. Neither of
the investigations, which appear thor-
ough, uncovered any ethical violations.
According to the second report: "There
is not a pattern in the grades assigned
to indicate that Professor Hagen treats
student-athletes differently from non-
The News's article insinuates a
scheme by Hagen and the two co-
directors of the Athletic Support
Program, Shari Acho and Sue Shand,
to steer struggling athletes into his
class. There isn't much evidence of
inappropriate collusion. Even if there
were, shouldn't athletes who aren't
keeping up in the classroom take a
class that teaches them how to better
do so - a class taught by an expert in
this exact area?
I'm no Michigan athletics apologist.
I've used this space before to criticize
the juggernaut distraction that the
Athletic Department is to the academic
side of this university.
But the actual problem here is that
the University admits far too many ath-
letes who simply can't keep up academ-
ically, especially given the pressures
of practice and travel. The school's
academic standards are lowered, and
the campus community condones it, at
least implicitly, in exchange for crisp
fall Saturdays at the Big House.
Vilifying one prof
ignores the real
And then when the very people who
are charged with making sure athletes
keep up do their jobs - when they try
to make sure athletes get something
out of a world-class education besides
how to weave through the defensive
line - it's a controversy.
That's the real scandal.
You don't need to do seven months
of investigation, interview college kids
under false pretenses and callously
reveal confidential information about
specific athletes to uncover it.
Karl Stampfl was the Daily's fall/
winter editor in chief in 2007. He can
be reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan,
Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Imran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
WANT TO BE AN OPINION COLUMNIST?
E-MAIL GARY GRACA AT GMGRACA@UMICH.EDU
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
The War on Drugs costs
more than tax dollars
years. Usually we ji
past few weeks, tho
The last strawu
ture photo of the:
tral Campus, inste:
TO THE DAILY:ICampus (04/02/20
In his viewpoint Friday, Jeff May was Rubik's cube appe
right that the U.S. government could put pus" undervalued1
the billions of dollars spent on the failing dents may not kno'
drug war to better use (Our half-baked did not have a cube
drug policies, 04/04/2008). The contin- The Rubik's cube o
ued criminalization of marijuana and built from scratch
other drugs has not only wasted tax dol- dents to its current
lars for decades, it has also destroyed the off, it could be spun
futures of thousands of Americans. an engineer to app:
The Aid Elimination Penalty of the It may seem sill}
Higher Education Act, passed in 1998, a simple prank me
denies federal financial aid to college enjoy, but it highli
students with drug convictions on their that the Daily feel
records. This penalty does not apply to To talk of politica
any other convictions, violent or oth- one thing, but wher
erwise, and has cost 200,000 students group of students
access to education. Alarmingly, this location, that's so
harmful penalty doesn't just ruin indi- Campus is not just
vidual lives, it also wastes valuable tax neering; it also coi
dollars. It costs approximately $26,000 Art and Design, Ar
a year to lock up just one prisoner, while Planning, Music an
the average tuition cost of a four-year As a North Cam
public college is only $5,836. the Daily to keep r
The failing drug war is an economic that are happenini
drain that costs students more than just any other student.
their tax dollars. The best way to make report on the enti
a difference in the fight against these ty, not only the pa
unfair laws is to get involved. To learn to its offices.
more about what you can do to fight back
against the war on drugs, check out the Patricia Pacheco
Michigan chapter of Students for Sensible Engineering senior
Drug Policy at www.umdrugpolicy.org.
ust shrug it off. These
ugh, were intolerable.
was Wednesday's fea-
Rubik's cube on Cen-
ad of the one on North
08). To say "another
ared on North Cam-
the prank. Some stu-
aw that North Campus
until this past April 1.
:n North Campus was
, transported by stu-
location and to cap it
n. You don't have to be
ly to make a fuss over
ant for all students to
ghts the indifference
Is for North Campus.
L bias in the media is
n you ignore an entire
based on classroom
mething else. North
the College of Engi-
ntains the Schools of
chitecture and Urban
pus student, I rely on
ne informed of events
g on campus just like
I expect the Daily to
re campus communi-
rts of campus closest
the few were overblown and applied to
the entire Greek community. This, along
with the Daily's compulsive misquota-
tion of Greek representatives (which I
heard about all the time as a fraternity
president), is what causes Greeks to
spurn the press.
The article also reflected a misunder-
standing of the Interfraternity Council's
role in the fraternity process. It is not
some all-powerful, dictatorial body that
knows when every individual speaks to
the press and summarily crushes them
with merciless abandon. In reality, the
hypothetical situation presented, where
an individual with something serious to
say is silenced, is completely implausible.
If the Daily really wants to enjoy
open information from the Greek sys-
tem, it needs to stop putting stereotypi-
cal aggressive language - for example,
"Allegations of hazing" and "pressure to
consume unhealthy amounts of alcohol,"
which Kennelly used - in its articles
when it is not related to the topic. Do
some fraternities have problems? Yes.
Does applying those problems to every-
one alienate the rest of us? Yes. So stop,
do some real reporting, and then maybe
we'll talk to you.
The letter writer is the former president of
ExposingHagen for what
he is: a good professor
TO THE DAILY:
I would like to share a short state-
ment about my experiences with Prof.
John Hagen during my time here as a
University undergraduate. Without a
doubt, Hagen offers a unique and aca-
demically stimulating learning environ-
ment. As part of Psychology 305 during
winter term 2007 I had the opportunity
to attend the conference of the Society
for Research in Child Development in
Boston where I was exposed to ground-
breaking research in the multidisci-
plinary field of child development.
As the former executive officer of
SRCD, Hagen gave our class an exclu-
sive and personal perspective on the
conference, which helped.facilitate the
learning experience. When the four-
day conference ended, I realized that
what I had learned in that short period
of time was more precious than any
classroom experience. The final assign-
ments included both critiques of the
science presented and a term paper. In
March 2008,I was able to travel to Chi-
cago and attend the conference of the
Society for Research on Adolescence.
Again, Professor Hagen prepared our
class with appropriate readings about
current advances in psychology.
Yet another innovative aspect of his
teaching style is that he encourages
students to take advantage of the many
events and lectures our university has
to offer. The assignment asks students
to attend lectures, then reflect upon the
issues and evaluate the presentations
using critical-thinking skills. The final
project represents a culmination of both
the conference experience and lecture
critiques as students are required to
complete an extensive research project.
The students in Hagen's class and I
can attest to the wonderful educational
experiences with him as an incredibly
intelligent, honest and well-respected
Student-athletes are still
students, deserve respect
TO THE DAILY:
In light of recent controversy sur-
rounding athletes and academics at the
University, the Expect Respect Student
Committee wanted to write this letter in
support of our fellow students. It is dis-
couraging to have the media project one
specific form or academic support in a
Despite what news reports have said,
Michigan athletes are students just like
all of us. No student's academic history
should be publicly exposed and scru-
tinized without his or her permission.
Many students rely on the guidance of
counselors, advisors and mentors to
help plan their academic career. There
are several factors like work schedules,
the Undergraduate Research Opportu-
nity Program or credit hours that fac-
tor into which classes a student takes.
Finding a way to balance academics,
extra-curricular activities and a per-
sonal life is something every student
faces. All students at the University of
Michigan have access to academic sup-
port and other forms of support, includ-
ing concentration advisors, academic
peer advisors, the Sweetland Writing
Center, Office of Services for Students
with Disabilities, Counseling and Psy-
chiatric Services, the Dean of Students
Office, the Spectrum Center and many
more. Students should feel comfortable
seeking these University-sponsored
It appears athletes are being held to
a double standard. Students will often
take a light semester for many reasons.
This should not cause others to ques-
tion their place as University students.
In addition, student-athletes are being
ridiculed because their interests out-
side the classroom sometimes match
their major. This phenomenon is not
unique to athletes - would it be sur-
prising if many students interested in
student government were also political
We are all students and everyone
deserves respect. The Expect Respect
Student Steering Committee extends its
services and respect for University stu-
dent-athletes and their contributions to
our campus community in and outside
of the classroom.
Expect Respect Student Committee
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Forgetting about North
Campus in the Daily
TO THE DAILY:
I'm not sure if it's the seven-minute bus
ride that deters the Daily from covering
North Campus events, but it's something
my peers and I have realized over the past
Covering Greek life,
without the stereotypes
TO THE DAILY:
The divide between Greeks and
"GDIs" discussed in Theresa Kennelly's
column Thursday is fictional (Giving
Greeks press, 04/03/2008). Before read-
ing the column, I hadn't even heard the
term GDI - that's how often it's used.
In typical Daily fashion when dealing
with the Greek system, the actions of