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February 12, 2009 - Image 4

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4A- Thursday, February 12, 2009

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C 4e MIC41*pan wily

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu
GARY GRACA ROBERT SOAVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Rackham's mistake
Graduate policy change hurts quality of programs
G oodbye to the exclusivity of Ph.D. programs at the Uni-
versity and hello to strained resources - the days of small
class sizes and hours of face time with professors could
be long gone. With a new continuous enrollment system in place,
Rackham Graduate School will admit more students but leave
funding unchanged. The plan ignores the true purpose of gradu-
ate school, emphasizing an expedient graduation rather than the
gradual process of thorough research. With this policy in place,
the University needs to concentrate more resources so that the
quality of a graduate education does not suffer.

I suggested that we have a talk show together called
'Pallin' Around With Sarah and Bill."
- Bill Ayers, commenting on his idea for a collaborative video show, in a
letter to Alaska governor Sarah Palin, as reported yesterday by CNN.

HARUN BULJINA

E-MAIL HARUN AT BULJINAH@UMICH.EDU-

Obama's
Stimulus Plan

a
I

A low-budget Valentine

Set to begin as early as fall 2010, the con-
tinuous enrollment system will include
already-admitted students and increase
enrollment by almost 30 percent. Under
the policy, students will have to register
each semester to retain an "active" sta-
tus until degree completion. Even during
periods of detached study, students are
required to register and pay tuition to stay
in the program.
The new policy serves the interests of
Rackham more than those of students.
Though a decrease in tuition rates is being
hailed as a welcome change, this won't real-
ly effect graduate students because most
of them have at least part of their tuition
covered by the University. What the pro-
posal will achieve is a higher completion
rates that will give Rackham a comparative
advantage in recruiting. It also argues that
if students retain "active" status, the change
will reduce administrative work in dealing
with the changing needs of Ph.D. students.
But a decreased hassle for the administra-
tion and a better reputation does not mean
a more efficient system for students.
The problem is that the Rackham execu-
tive board is trying to streamline graduate
programs that demand flexibility. Though
the board intends to solve a valid problem
- unsatisfactory graduation rates - it will
create new problems in the process. The

new system will essentially put more stu-
dents into programs not yet designed for
such numbers.
Students will face a higher student-
professor ratio and consequently less
individualized attention. In this case, a
higher enrollment puts quality at risk. Such
a change is not ideal for students investing
money and years of their lives into a pro-
gram - a program meant to facilitate their
independent research, not corner them
into speeding up the process and compete
for time with their professors.
The opportunity to do research abroad
without constraint is a crucial component
of graduate study. It is a time when detach-
ment from the University is often part
of the experience. Students who spend
extended periods of time studying abroad
should not have to deal with continuous
registration nor bear the financial burden
of paying tuition. Rackham's vague inten-
tion to provide University services while
abroad does not warrant the added pres-
sure on students to finish their degrees.
The goals of the continuous enrollment
system must remain open to evaluation
to ensure that the interests of students
are being met. Rackham needs to pro-
vide enough faculty and resources for an
increased number of students to get the
same quality education in graduate school.

With the economic fate of our
country uncertain, it seems
like the perfect time to
redirect our energy
to celebrating love,
companionship
and romance. But
the product place-
ment orgy that is
Valentine's Day
doesn't really lend
itself toward saving
money.R
According to a ROSE
2009 report done AFRIYIE
in conjunction
with the National
Retail Foundation,
Americans plan on spending $14.7 bil-
lion dollars this Valentine's Day. That
same report revealed that the average
woman will spend $85 and the average
man will outspend her almost 2 to 1 on
candy, jewelry and a night on the town
amounting to $156.
While some supporters of chivalry
will be pleased, Iam a little concerned.
While the plight of college students
isn't exactly dominatingrecession cov-
erage, that doesn't mean that students
will be unaffected by our country's fis-
cal changes.
Many here at the University, myself
included, are in the process of saving
money to compensate for our meager
to nonexistent internship income and
the time gap between our graduation
dates and first full-time paychecks.
Then there is the matter of opportuni-
ty cost. If some of us were not wasting
our shrinking discretionary income on
chocolates, expensive gifts and cards,
we might have a little extra for Spring
Break, summer travel or our favorite
charity or non-profit organization.
Valentine's Day can't take all the
credit for what Eva Illouz cited in
Consuming the Romantic Utopia, a
book that documents the history of
romance and capitalism in the U.S. as

the "romanticization of commodities."
This phenomenon is about how build-
ing and maintaining our romantic
relationships is centered on spending
money and how advertising and mass
media has reinforced this concept.
Dinners. Movies. Coffees. Think
about it: When was the last time you
went on a date that did not involve
anyone spending money? Perhaps I
would need to spend an entire column
covering gender stereotypes, relation-
ships and money, but it's worth noting
that mixing money and relationships
can sometimes become a minefield of
problematic expectations. To consider
heterosexuals, we all have that shady
female friend who only dates men who
can foot the bill every time they inter-
act. On the flip side, everyone has that
equally shady male friend who equates
each dollar he spends on a woman
with a sexual act he hopes to receive
that same evening.
Considering all this, I think it's time
for us to accept once and for all that
you don't need money to be romantic.
And I have some ideas on a few free
ways you can spend Valentine's Day
that will only cost you a little effort,
creativity, openness and the desire to
show someone you care.
Cards. Last year, 57 percent of
people bought cards for Valentine's
Day, according to the National Retail
Federation. Instead of buying a card,
climb fully into the 21st century and
e-mail one. Websites such as somee-
cards.com provide really funny, witty
e-cards for Valentine's Day. I almost
fell off my chair at card titles like
"Blow jobs are like flowers for men"
and "I hate Valentine's Day unless
you would like to be my date." The
websites also allow you to create your
own cards - for free.
Events. One of the benefits of being
on a college campus are the many free
and low-cost events that are going on
all Saturday long, as well as leading

up to Valentine's Day. Meeting the
needs of singles, couples and people
of all different colors and cultures, the
online events calendar provided by
the University and arborweb.com has
many free events featured, like movie
viewings and concerts.
Gifts. If you insist on buying some-
thing, put it toward a good cause.
Websites like organicstyle.com sell
organic roses and allow you to donate
You don't need to
shell out cash to
be romantic.
five percent of the purchase prie to
your favorite charity. You can also buy
fair trade chocolates through the site.
Non-profits also need love, too. You
can give a gift donation to organiza-
tions that are working overtime in the
wake of the recession such as Feeding
America, a non-profit that feeds 25
million low-income adults, children
and seniors annually.
Don't be afraid to give yourself
on Valentine's Day - literally. Wake
up next to your partner naked, tied
in a bow. Then proceed to take full
advantage of the fact that Valentine's
Day falls on a Saturday. Spend a good
amount of the day in: talking, blow-
ing through your DVD collection,
cuddling and cooking your own food.
Just don't forget to pick up some free
condoms from UHS this Friday. And,
in the words of someecards.com "have
a fiscally but not sexually conservative
Valentine's Day."
- Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex
and relationships columnist. She can
be reached at sariyie@umich.edu.

6
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I
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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.
GARY GRACA I IEWP I
Defending print journalism

Obama's scapegoats

Print newspapers aren't dead.
I say that knowing today's front page story
(Money woes hit Student Pubs., 02/12/2009)
about the financial woes of The Michigan Daily
- and more broadly, the University's Student
Publications - can be easily misinterpreted as
another example of print journalism's inevitable
demise.
I also say that as someone who has no emo-
tional attachment to print newspapers. I've never
bought a newspaper subscription. I don't curl up
on a couch every Sunday to read an encyclopedic-
size The New York Times. And, honestly, I don't.
read any print newspapers except the ones dis-
tributed on campus, like The Michigan Review,
The Michigan Independent and the Every Three
Weekly - all of which I read religiously.
So why, then, didh Iproclaim that we should
stop newsprint's funeral procession? Because
the supposedly common knowledge that print
newspapers are dying is a gross generalization
and a poor reflection of what's happening in the
media world.
The situation, as I see it, is as multi-faceted
as the thousands of print newspapers that exist
in this country. We've just minimized that com-
plexity into a single, fictitious catchphrase: No
one reads news in print.
Sure, many print newspapers are sinking rap-
idly. The Times is the poster boy of that fall from
grace. Even though its website is one of the most
visited on the Internet, it has still been forced
to borrow against. its 52-story, Renzo Piano-
designed headquarters and defile its front page
with advertising - all because it can't generate
the same kind of revenue online it once made
from its print product.
Close behind the Times are many other big
city or national newspapers. The Tribune Co.
- which owns the Los Angeles Times, Chi-
cago Tribune and Baltimore Sun, among other
newspapers - has already filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection. The Detroit Free Press
is cutting back its home delivery to three days
a week. And the Christian Science Monitor has
already made the leap to being an online-only
newspaper.
The rapid online shift these newspapers are
undergoing makes sense. These papers primar-
ily offer news that is intended for a large, het-

erogeneous audience. The Internet is the ideal
medium for that. Compared to expensive home
delivery subscriptions, it's simply a faster, cheap-
er and more convenient way to get information
to all of these people while understanding that
almost no two consumers are alike.
That's not the situation for local and, especial-
ly, college newspapers. These publications have
closed, captive audiences in which a print paper
is still an effective medium. Why? Because it is
still a convenient way to spread information.
Take, for example, The Michigan Daily. The
Daily's greatest strength is that it offers news
about the University of Michigan that no one
else can offer. Because it exists in print for free,
students pick up a copy on their way to class and
leave it on the seatnext to them in lecture, where
another person picks it up, leaves it somewhere
else and continues the chain.
As long as students go to class and are then
bored in class, the print version of the Daily can
be effective. The same thing goes for The Michi-
gan Review, The Michigan Independent and
the Every Three Weekly. The New York Times
doesn't have that same advantage.
That doesn't mean michigandaily.com can'tbe
just as effective, if not more effective, than the
print version of the paper. It can be - but for dif-
ferent reasons. It can offer expanded resources
and different types of content the print Daily
can't, including video and audio content, as well
as resources like an events calendar, entertain-
ment guide, crime map, real estate guide and a
host of other useful tools.
And that's the type of content we've been
adding to the site so students have one central
resource to turn to for information about this
campus. While we build up the site, we also want
to know what you, as readers, want to see. What
do you want from the Daily and its website? How
do you want it presented? How can we serve this
campus better?
Ultimately, that's why we're putting this paper
together. Andnomatter what the formatyou can
be sure of this: The Daily will continue to lead
the campus conversation every day and provide
students with the vital information they need to
get the most from this university.
Gary Graca is the Daily's editor in chief.

Executive pay has been in the
news a lotlately. First, the CEO's
of the Detroit's Big Three auto-
makers hypocriti-
cally flew private
jets into Wash- P
ington to ask for
federal bailout
funds. Then it was
discovered that
many executives
working for fed-
erally bailed-out
banks received PATRICK
huge bonuses in ZABAWA
2008 - the year
their banks almost
failed. So on Febru-
ary 4, President Barack Obama capped
executive salaries at $500,000 for all
firms receiving "extraordinary assis-
tance" from the government. Though
hailed by many as a move in the right
direction, the decision has many nega-
tive far-reaching effects. For starters,
it sets up the precedent that making
scapegoats and limiting their freedoms
is the correct course of action for future
government policy.
Limiting executive pay compensa-
tion was an unnecessary step for the
federal governmentto take in the first
place. The stockholders of these com-
panies are very upset at the pay pack-
ages being given at the expense of their
companies' performance. Many of
them are now insistingthat they have a
vote on executive pay packages. In the
past month, such corporate conglom-
erates as Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard
Co., and Occidental Petroleum Corp.
have all given shareholders a vote on
their executive pay policies. Besides,
it is the stockholders who know how
their company is running and what
kind of reward its executives should
receive based on their performance.
A limit of $500,000 seems to commu-
nicate to executives that their perfor-
mance doesn't matter - whether the
company fails or flourishes, their pay
will be the same.

And for many executives, $500,000
is an awfully low salary. Author Holly
Peterson, in an article for The New
York Times entitled "You try to live on
500K in this town" says many execu-
tives in Manhattan who earn $2 or
$3 million end up with no money left
at the end of the year. She says that to
many executives, a salary reduction
to $500,000 "means taking their kids
out of private school and selling their
home in a fire sale." And while private
schools may sound like a luxury, many
parents choose to send their children
to them out of care for their children's
education. Obama himself sends his
daughters to a private school where
tuition is upward of $20,000 per child
per year.
At the same time, a salary of
$500,000 restricts executives from
using chauffeurs, whose pays range
between $75,000 and $125,000 per
year. Chauffeurs are essential for cor-
porate executives because running a
company is a 24/7 job and executives
need to be available at all times in case
of company emergencies. Obama is the
same; whether or not the country is
failing, he needs to always be available,
including on the road. The country,
just like any company, needs to have its
chief executive always available. Who's
to say that his ability to have a chauf-
feur - and therefore be available to han-
dle crises on the road - should be taken
away if the country isn't doing well?
Sadly, one of the reasons executives
are getting such harsh treatment is
because they are being used as scape-
goats for the country's current finan-
cial crisis. While they may have had a
part in it, there are other causes such as
private investors and government poli-
cies that have gone unpunished. Now,
new corporate executives hired after.
the crisis will have restrictions placed
on them due to something they had
nothing to do with. But it's easier to
restrict executive pay across the board
than admit that there may have been
other causes of the financial crisis.

What's more is that salary caps
are setting a dangerous precedent for
future economic policy. There will
certainly be an increasing number of
companies receiving government aid
as the $789 billion economic stimu-
lus bill moves through Congress. The
government may soon want the these
companies receiving stimulus funds
to ensure that their executives don't
get "overpaid" by restricting their pay
Caps on executive
padysetdangerous
precedents.
to some arbitrary level. Government
would thenbe restricting the freedoms
of both these executives to earn a wage
worth their work and the companies
to hire better executives at a higher
price.
Worse yet is that government is
targeting a small group of people who
cannot fight back. Corporate execu-
tives are a minority group of people
because there are so few of them.
And as minorities, they have no voice
if they are harassed. Right now, their
lifestyles are being overturned at the
hands of the majority and in the name
of justice.
Making a small group of people a
scapegoat and then punishing them
is not a sign of good leadership but an
omen of bad thingsto come. Should this
precedent be applied on agrander scale
- as any stimulus plan would likely
demand - freedom will become less
and less available to American com-
panies. Let's hope the Obama admin-
istration stops restricting American
citizens' freedoms and starts extend-
ingthem.
- Patrick Zabawa can be reached
at pzabawa@umich.edu.

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