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January 22, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-22

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4A - Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C Ihe iic[ ig n ily


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


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
Permitted to play
Individual colleges should determine eligibility of athletes
After the disappointing season Michigan football just
endured, improving the performance of student-athletes
on the field might be fans' priority. However, many people
tend to forget that the time student-athletes spend practicing and
training does not give them a free pass to perform poorly in the
classroom. Luckily, the Senate Advisory Committee on University
Affairs has turned its attention toward the academic performance
of student-athletes, evidenced by a recent proposal put before the
group last week. If the proposal passes, it would change the way
students' athletic eligibility is determined, eliminating a dangerous
perception of conflict of interest and pushing students to maintain
higher academic standards.

Under current rules, a student-athlete
with a GPA below 2.0 goes before the Com-
mittee on Academic Performance (APC).
The APC then recommends to University
Provost Teresa Sullivan whether or not it
thinks student-athletes should compete.
A new seven-point plan, introduced to
SACUA by the chair of the Athlete Academ-
ic Advising Committee, Prof. Ed Rothman,
would change that. SACUA is expected to
vote on the proposal at its meeting on Jan.
26. If it passes, the APC would be stripped
of its power to make eligibility recommen-
dations to Sullivan. Instead, individual
schools and colleges and the University
would make the recommendations.
One perk of the proposal is it would
eliminate the perceived conflict of interest
caused by the Athletic Department's long-
standing and recently criticized practice of
sending APC members on all-expense-paid
trips to bowl games. According to Uni-
versity President Mary Sue Coleman, the
conflict isn't a problem because the APC
doesn't make the final decision of eligibil-
ity - the Office of the Provost does. But
even though Sullivan has the final say, the
APC recommendation is rarely overturned.
The proposed change in regulations would
temper the University's lack of action by
simply erasing the perceived conflict.
For student-athletes, the changes would
mean a new, more sensible way of assessing

eligibility. Putting colleges and schools in
charge would help tailor academic expec-
tations to each student, taking into account
the specific academic demands of each
school and college.
Most importantly for the University's
image, though, is that the new regulation
would ensure that student-athletes will
be held to the high academic standards
that the University prides itself on. That's
because colleges and schools have a vested
interest in ensuring their students have
impressive GPAs. The higher a school's
average GPA, the greater chance it has
of attracting the best and brightest from
around the country. That gives colleges an
incentive to insist student-athletes meet
and exceed the University's standards in
order to play sports.
But while the new system should go a long
way in ensuring that student-athletes are
representing the University well, there must
be preventative measures in place as well.
Student athletes' grades should never drop
to the point requiring them to go before their
colleges to determine eligibility. Coaches
and Athletic Department administrators
should be carefully monitoring their athlete's
grades to ensure that they are maintaining
an acceptable GPA. Because - devotion to
Michigan football despite a disastrous sea-
son aside - this is a university and student-
athletes must be students first.

All my little McCain-ites are
excited about the inauguration'
- Martha McIntosh, a social science teacher at'Dana Hills High School in Orange County, CA, commenting
on Republican students' enthusiasm for the inauguration, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
* * 7 tr..
Fair housing for all
s Obama settles into the times. It didn't include mention of tion team" have met with influential
White House, it's difficult for gender discrimination on its listuntil, LGBT figures to stay on good terms,
me to feel duringa period of increased tolerance but Obama must do more than pay
like anything has in 1974, women's rights advocates in lip service to gay rights. He needs to
changed. I still have Congress managed to push it through. pressure Congress into amending the
to walkthroughthe Kudos to the legislators - the maver- Fair Housing Act to include sexual
snow to get to class, " icks, if you will - who overcame all orientation. Furthermore, he must be
I still have mounds sorts of opposition to pass an undeni- mindful in his further appointments
of homework and I ably just law. to equally include gays and lesbians in
don't feel any dif- But it has to be more than a con- his administration with heterosexual
ferent physically. gressional effort. As he tackles the counterparts.
I feel a little more nation's other concerns, Obama must
tired, I suppose. Yet MATTHEW add addressing the issue of gay rights
from the way peo- GREEN to his list and galvanize a Democratic Obama owes
ple have been car- coalition behind the matter. He owes the
rying on for these the LGBT community. According to LGBT com munit
past two weeks, it's CNN exit polls, 4 percent of those com muity
almost as if they expected Obama to who voted in November identified as frba 1n- h m
be sworn in and immediately, they'd LGBT and 70 percent of them voted
be free from debt or cured of cancer for Obama. To put that into perspec-
or perhaps ten pounds lighter. tive, the same polls show that only
A few things have changed, to be 2 percent of the voters were Jew- Most importantly, Obama needs
sure, but America has yet to see the ish. Yet, courting the Jewish vote to set an example. The president is
true change we all expect Obama to was near the top of the list for both arguably the most powerful indi-
accomplish. I was reminded of this of the candidates. Gay voters came vidual in the world, but he has more
as I perused Wikipedia a few days out - forgive the pun - in droves to limitations than people tend to think.
ago. I had just read an article about support Obama. It's time that he paid There's only so much a president can
the political disagreement in Kala- that debt. really do, politically speaking. His
mazoo regarding housing discrimi- Unfortunately, Obama's not off to biggest role is to provide Americans
nation against gays, and I decided to a great start. His choice of the evan- with a responsible, moral and intel-
research exactly what rights queer gelist Rick Warren to give his inau- lectual model of leadership. Obama
individuals have when it comes to gural invocation was an affront to the must show more Americans in both
housing. Though thirteen other states millions of LGBT Americans whose red and blue states that gays ought to
have adopted provisions to protect basic civil rights Warren would pre- be treated like everyone else. No mat-
LGBT people from housing discrimi- fer to deny. Warren's Saddleback ter how hard the evangelists may try,
nation, gays in the state of Michigan Church adheres to a fundamentalist homosexuality will always exist.
have no such protection. There is no variety of Christianity that espouses After eight years of a role model
federal protection, either. conservative social beliefs and con- who had little to offer other than
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 pro- demns homosexuality. I understand choking on a pretzel, American's will
hibits landlords from discriminating the importance of giving both sides a look to Obama to change the way they
on the basis of race, religion, national voice, but perhaps Obama could have choose to see both themselves and the
origin, sex, disability and whether or chosen a nonpolitical figure from his country's issues.
not a tenant has children. But the act's past, a more moderately conservative As a nation, we have officially
neglect of sexual orientation has cre- minister or even simply a speaker who handed Obama the keys to the car. In
ated a loophole for legal housing to might be uncomfortable with homo- the next few months, we'll see how
discriminate against LGBT individu- sexuality but hasn't publicly likened it well he handles driving on the ice.
als and families. Despite the fact that to bestiality as Warren has.
it's still incomplete, the Fair Housing But Obama has-made some encour- Matthew Green can be reached
Act has already been amended a few aging moves. Members of his "transi- at greenmat@umich.edu.
A one-sided alliance





Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emma Jeszke,
Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee, Emily Michels, Matthew Shutler,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
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. Letters are edited
for style, length, clarity and accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu. ,


MSA should spend time on Kallus isan LSA freshman and Borovitz isa Pub-
licPolicy senior

more relevant issues

MSA has once again proved itself irrelevant
in the face of pressing student issues today. At
this week's meeting, they spent hours on end
debating a resolution dealing with the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict. Undoubtedly, the conflict
is of severe international concern and we hope
President Obama confronts the issue early in his
administration. Forgive us, however, if we think
it ridiculous that he might consult with the
Michigan Student Assembly when formulating
his foreign policy.
Muggings are on the rise in student housing
areas this year - why aren't we spending more
time improving the lighting for our streets? Rob-
beries over winter break increased significantly
from a year ago - why hasn't MSA been work-
ing with the Ann Arbor Police Department to
try and curb this epidemic? The state legislature
is considering significant budget cuts to higher
education - who will be our voice? We realize
the situation in Gaza and Israel affects students
on this campus emotionally and that many have
family and friends in the region, but MSA rep-
resentatives were elected to deal with campus
issues, not international ones. Yes, MSA has .a
responsibility to take positions on situations
directly affectingthe University community, but
when MSA simplybecomes a sounding board for
ideological debate, it has most certainly lost its
relevance asa representative of the student body
dealing with student issues.
Richard Kallus and Jeremy Borovitz

Gaza resolution a waste of
time for MSA meeting
Three things happen every year in MSA:
people hand out pink fliers with the same
promises in order to get elected, the election
turnout is bemoaned and MSA passes resolu-
tions that have nothing at all to do with their
mandate (such as the recent one on the Israeli-
Gaza Conflict). And all three of these things
are intrinsically linked. The reason there is bad
election turnout every year is because MSA
never fulfills any of the promises made by those
elected. That is in part due to the large amount
of time spent arguing and making resolutions,
especially ones that are controversial which
they have no control over.
It is understandable that MSA members
want to take stances on certain positions and
have people listen to their opinions - we all do.
However, they are not representing the major-
ity of students by doing so. The majority, I am
sure, would rather have them improve student
life at Michigan in concrete and doable ways.
Here is a lesson in leadership - you should
do the job you are elected to do before assum-
ing other responsibilities. If they are unable to
do this, then their next resolution should be in
favor of "economic stimulus," and they should
send us all our eight dollars back.
Ben Cousineau
LSA junior

n January 8, a resolution was
placed before the United
Nations Security Council
calling for a cease-
fire to the Gaza
conflict. Fourteen
of 15 members had
already voted in
favor of the resolu-
tion, and Secretary
of State Condoleez-
za Rice was set to
do the same. But
at the last second, IBRAHIM
the United States KAKWAN
abstained. _I
The reason
became clear in
the hours following the event. The
Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert,
went on Israeli television and boasted
thathe made a phone call to President
Bush, telling him that the U.S. must
not vote in favor of the resolution.
[Olmert:] "It transpired all of a
sudden that a vote would be held in 10
minutes' time. I tried to find President
Bush, and I was told he was attending
an event in Philadelphia.
"I know that if somebody tried to
find me on the phone right now, it
would have to be something unusual
and extraordinary for them to say:
Leave it all and go to some room to
talk to me. In this case, I said: I don't
care, I have to talk to him right now.
"He [Bush] was taken off the podi-
um and brought to a side room. I
spoke with him; I told him: You can't
vote for this proposal.
"He said: Listen, I don't know, I
didn't see, don't know what it says.
"I [Olmert] told him: I know, and
you can't vote for it!
"He [Bush] then instructed the
secretary of state [Rice], and she did
not vote for it."
Although the U.S. officially denies
this version of events, those are the
words of the Israeli Prime Minister
broadcast on Israeli television. As

an American, I am ashamed that our
president is taking orders from the
prime minister of Israel, a man who
hasbeen undercriminal investigation
for the last two years and who is set to
be indicted on corruption charges.
Since when is it the place of Israel
to tell the United States how to vote
in the Security Council? Rice had
already promised her Arab counter-
parts that the United States would
vote in favor of the resolution, only
to snub them all at the request of
Olmert. This is an embarrassment
to the United States and hurts our
credibility in a region where we are
already regarded with little esteem.
To governments like Egypt, which
stood by us in the War on Terror often
against the will of their own citizens,
is a mistake.
And why should we suck up to
Israel? We give them an average of
$3 billion a year in aid when their
per capita GDP is greater than either
Portugal or South Korea. What do
we get from them? An "ally in the
Middle East"? Our unwavering sup-
port for Israel has won us many more
enemies, and is a top reason cited by
terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda,
for their anti-American activities.
And Israel doesn't seem to care
what the U.S. thinks. Before sending
troops into Gaza, they did not seek
permission, and in November, a top
Israeli Defense Ministry official hint-.
ed at the possibility of a strike on Iran
regardless of U.S. wishes. The insta-
bility that would result from such an
action can only be guessed - and you
would be the one paying higher gas
prices when speculators panic in the
wake of such a conflict. You already
did because of the Gazan incursion.
In the last three weeks of fight-
ing, Israel has shown its disregard for
the international community. Israel
shelled numerous U.N. schools and
the headquarters in Gaza. It even saw
fit to blast the Associated Press head-

It is no secret that Israel likes to
play dirty. The Israeli arms industry
took in about $4.7 billion in 2007.
In the 1980's, they armed the death
squads of Guatemala and did the same
for apartheid South Africa's brutal
police, who suppressed and mur-
dered black activists. More recently,
destabilizing Israeli arms found their
way into the 2008 Russia-Georgia
conflict, and Israel attempted to sell
advanced weapons to China.
Supporting Israel
costs the U.S. more
than it's worth.
In the late 1980's, Jonathan Pollard
was convicted of spying for Israel,
having passed thousands of classified
documents to the country. Then in
2006, Lawrence Franklin was found
guilty of espionage against the U.S.,
for passing classified information to
Israeli lobbyists. The documents pre-
sumably found their way to Israel.
Sadly, in January 2008, Olmert
asked Bush to consider pardoningPol-
lard. Numerous lobbyists and Jewish
groups, including congressmen with
affiliations to these religious groups,
have also taken up Pollard's cause.
Since when do-American congress-
men lobby for spies? Since when does
the U.S. consider releasing traitors?
Since when does our country embar-
rass itself in front of its allies and
support attacks on the international .
Since Israel and its lobbyists asked
for it.
Ibrahim Kakwan can be reached
at ijameel@umich.edu.

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