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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
SELLING THE BLOCK M
11-year contract with BY THE NUMBERS
Bank of America 70,000
worth $25.5 million Total numberoftaccounts
for the University $2.5 MILLION
Total account revenue from 2008
By NICOLE ABER
Daily StaffReporter 1,500
When students use credit cards Student accounts open under this contract
sporting the iconic block 'M', $25,000
they're supporting more than justo
sc-heel spirit - th'ey'e,alsosu- Stadent accountlrevenae
Athletic Director Bill Martin discusses several issues regarding the Athletic Department during a Senate Assembly meeting in Palmer Commons yesterday-
Mart in talks state of athletics
By KYLE SWANSON
Athletic Director Bill Mar-
tin reported improvements in
student-athlete academic per-
formance when he spoke before
members of the Senate Assembly
yesterday. Despite improvements
in the classroom, though, Martin
said the Athletic Department is
bracing for a financial hit in light
of a down economy.
In addition the Athletic Depart-
ment's fiscal situation, Mar-
tin discussed improvements in
student-athlete academic per-
formance and gave an update on
construction at Michigan Stadium.
He also spoke about the faculty
bowl perks practice for which the
department has come under some
Martin said the Athletic Depart-
ment is in good financial condition
at this point, but that it could be
soon be affected by the country's
"Do I believe the current eco-
nomic situation in our country
and in the world is going to have
an impact on Michigan athletics?"
Martin said. "Yes I do, definitely."
Although the department has
not yet seen a financial downturn,
Martin said it is likely forthcom-
"I think we'll possibly see a soft-
ening of some of our development
activities and our donor gifts that
we receive," he said, adding corpo-
rate sponsorships may also fall.
Martin updated members of
the Senate Assembly on the Big
House's construction, saying he
was very proud of the project and
clarifying that the project's goal
See MARTIN, Page 7
porting a profitable relationship
between the University's Alumni
Association and Bank of America
worth $25.5 million.
Under anti-year contract, which
started in June 2003, the Alum-
ni Association provides Bank of
America with student and alumni
information, and in return the
Alumni Association reaps revenue
based on the number of credit card
accounts that are opened.
Although the Alumni Associa-
tion says the contract is directed
at University alumni and not solely
at students, the association makes
$25,000 per year from student
accounts. Other schools across
the country have similar credit
cards deals, which have come
under review from Congress and
from critics who argue that such
accounts are a contributing factor
to rising student credit card debt.
Jerry Sigler, senior vice presi-
dent and chief financial officer of
the University's Alumni Associa-
tion, defended the contract with
Bank of America, saying that the
association puts more funds into
student programming and schol-
arships than the amount of money
generated from students opening
credit card accounts.
Sigler said there are 70,000
alumni accounts opened under the
contract, and only 1,500 student
accounts. From these 1,500 student
accounts, the University receives
$25,000 per year.
Last year, Sigler said the Alumni
Association put $650,000 into 370
scholarships and funds for students
from the $2.5 million it generated
See CREDIT CARDS, Page 3
STUDENT GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS
Party holds first
MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT
Controversial figure in Israel-Palestine
debate to speak at University tonight
Party leaders talk
plans for reshaping
By JENNA SKOLLER
The Michigan Vision Party, one
of the main contenders heading
into next month's Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly elections, hosted
its first mass meeting last night in
MSA's most prominent party in
recent election cycles, the Michi-
gan Action Party, has effectively
dissolved, leading to the creation of
two separate groups. Both groups,
the reMICHIGAN campaign and
MVP, are headed by former MAP
Public Policy senior Jeremy
Borowitz, MVP's external commu-
nications chair, began the evening
by introducing the party's presi-
dential and vice presidential candi-
dates, Engineering junior Abhishek
Mahanti and LSA junior Mike
Mahanti and Rorro then took
the floor, explaining the intricacies
of MSA and the potential they see
for its success. In particular, they
stressed their desire to make MSA
more accessible to students.
"We're very willing to listen, to
talk about your experiences within
MSA,to make a cohesive vision that
we can all agree on," Rorro said.
They also listed immediate ways
they would try to improve student
government. They said they would
like td create a neighborhood watch
and hold MSA office hours in more
accessible places like the Diag and
on North Campus.
A question-and-answer session
then followed, with Mahanti and
Rorro asking the group of about 45
students for critiques and sugges-
tions for MSA.
Students asked the runsning
mates what they thoughtrauparty
system brings to the election and
how they plan to hold representa-
tives accountable after the election
is over, complaining of MAP rep-
resentatives not following through
with campaign promises.
Several MVP members said the
new party wouldn't be just a "vehi-
cle to get elected."
"MAP wasn't so much a party
as it was a political machine to get
elected," Mahanti said.
Audience members suggested
establishing a better connection
between the student body and stu-
dent government and improving
efficiency in the Office of Interna-
Throughout the meeting, Mah-
anti and Rorro said they wanted
MSA to be transparent, account-
able and efficient.
See MASS MEETING, Page 7
'man Finkelstein at the University about the current
state of the conflict.
tiCized for views The event, hosted by the pro-
Palestinian group, Students Allied
the 'Holocaust for Freedom and Equality (SAFE),
will be held tomorrow evening at
Industry 7:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of the
Rackham Graduate School. The
By JASMINE ZHU event is titled "The Israel-Pales-
Daily StaffReporter tine Conflict: What We Can Learn
tical scientist and author Finkelstein has a long and con-
an Finkelstein, whose fields troversial history with regard
arch include the politics of to the region. Among his work
olocaust and the Israeli-Pal- is a book entitled, "The Holo-
in conflict, will be speaking caust Industry: Reflections on the
FOR A VIEWPOINT
FROM SAFE ON THE
SEE OPINION, PAGE 4
Exploitation of Jewish Suffering."
The book - which argues that
the American . Jewish popula-
tion has used the history of the
Holocaust to defend Israel and for
financial and political gain - has
been the subject of much debate
since it was published in 2000.
The child of two Holocaust sur-
vivors, Finkelstein argues in the
book that "The Holocaust Indus-
try" has commercialized Jewish
culture and corrupted the event's
After his open criticism of the
Israeli government, Finkelstein
was denied entry into the coun-
try on May 23, 2008. Israeli secu-
rity officials said the decision was
based on Finkelstein's anti-Zionist
opinions. Subsequently, Israel
banned Finkelstein from entering
the country for 10 years.
In June 2007, DePaul University
See FINKELSTEIN, Page 7
Panera Bread to open on campus in late March
says tough economy
not a concern
By SAGAR DESHPANDE
For the Daily
Set to be the newest addition to
the Ann Arbor sandwich shop cir-
cuit, Panera Bread is expected to
open for business on South Thayer
Street in mid-March.
Located across from Hill Audi-
torium and next to the Jamaican
Jerk Pit, the new restaurant will
be the fifth Panera Bread in Ann
The new restaurant, which took
the University's payroll office, will
cover over 4,200 square feet and
span both levels of the building.
Lee Carmona, area director for
Panera Bread, said additional seat-
ing was added to make the location
student-friendly and cater to the
needs of computer users. Patrons
will order upstairs and have the
choice of seating on both levels.
Carmona said between 40 and
50 new associates and managers
will be hired to staff the restau-
Despite the state's ailing econ-
omy, Carmona said it had little
impact on the decision to open a
"We're in pretty good finan-
cial shape as a company and we're1"
goinsg to continue to grow," he said.
"The reason we've committed to cHRIS DZOMBAK/Daily
See PANERA, Page 3 The logo for Panera Bread adorns its future storefront near campus.
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