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March 09, 2009 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-09

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4A - Monday, March 9, 2009
L7 e 4 6 ldli an al


The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0

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.
The wrong cut
State should rethink consolidation of scholarship programs
T he cost of higher education has been a prominent part of Gov.
Jennifer Granholm's agenda these days. On Tuesday, she called
for an increase in funds for the Michigan Promise Grant pro-
gram. But coupled with this declaration was the unfortunate decision
to cut need-based scholarships. Providing more funding for merit-based
scholarships is welcome, but the state has a responsibility not to fall
behind on its need-based coverage either. With an increasing number of
students depending on both merit-based and need-based scholarships
to attend college, the state should look elsewhere for budget cuts and
keep financial aid levels as high as possible.

Close them down, get them out of business.
If they're dead, they ought to be buried:'
- Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), explaining how the new administration could
respond more strongly to the banking crisis, as reported yesterday by CNN.
SI.1aA!Woae yo No u won't I'll rle yu! ' ude Ihad aerra ledrat! a
..,. ".This plastic bag baa, City
Im a plastic cup, an as soon as Ann , Fat chance!I m polystyrene auncil's got it all wrong
Arbor leans plastic bags my kind # plastic. Non-recyclable in
will be free to take er! Today Ann Arbor. You're powerlessne
bEser ong. tomorrow the world! to stop us! Muahahaha e et:";..
G e be s
Gender bias in the classroom

The proposal is the latest in a string of fis-
cal measures proposed by Granholm as the
state seeks to reduce government expenses
while keeping college affordable for residents.
Last month, universities were urged to freeze
tuition and the Michigan Promise Zone Act
was passed in an effort to increase merit-based
scholarships for students in low-income areas.
If adopted, this proposal would increase fund-
ing for the Michigan Promise Grants - which
provide scholarships of up to $4,000 to eligible
students - by $59.5 million. But Granholm also
wants to lump need-based programs into an
overarching fund called the Michigan College
Access Grants and decrease funds for need-
based scholarships by 5.8 percent.
The legislature should continue to support
merit-based scholarships. The Kalamazoo
Promise, which inspired the Michigan Prom-
ise Zone Act, has already shown the effective-
ness of merit-based funding. Recipients of these
scholarships experienced higher graduation
rates. And enrollment, according to Public Pol-
icy Prof. Susan Dynarski, tends to increase by
5 to 7 percent as a result of merit-based schol-
arships. Clearly merit-based scholarships serve
a vital role in helping students opt for a college
The increase in funds for the Michigan
Promise Grants should not, however, come at
the expense of need-based scholarships - a
necessity for students disadvantaged by an
economy in recession. Granholm claims that
the new Michigan College Access Program
would increase the number of students eligible

for aid, but merging the state's six need-based
scholarship programs into one increases the
number of dependents and reduces the funds by
$18.8 million. Now students in need of aid will
have to deal with less money for an even greater
number of overall students.
The low-income students who are ineligible
or unqualified to receive Michigan Promise
Grants are the clear losers in this situation.
Last month, the government increased funds
for Federal Pell Grants by $14 billion. But the
increase will result in very little extra money
per person - scant consolation for students
who will now find scholarship opportunities
even harder to come by on the basis of need
If the state wants to signal its commitment to
providing inexpensive higher education for its
residents, need-based scholarships should not
be subjected to budget cuts. Last week, Wayne
State University announced it was going to
double funds for need-based scholarships while
simultaneously increasing merit-based schol-
arships to ease the burden on its students. The
state should be similarly mindful of students'
economic difficulties. Instead of saving on edu-
cation, Granholm needs to stick to cutting other
unnecessary expenditures. I
A decrease in funds for need-based scholar-
ships is also likely to have implications for the
state economy. A large, competitive and edu-
cated workforce is key to the state's revival. If
the state fails to facilitate higher education for
its residents in their time of need, it forgoes an
opportunity to improve its future prospects.

W hen students walk
into my classroom at
the beginning of each
semester, one of the first things
they notice about
me is that I'm
No, I don't
sprinkle testos-
terone on my
cornflakes or use
Axe body spray. -
Gender is just
something we
naturally notice PATRICK
about other peo- O'MAHEN
ple. And based on
that observation,
students immedi-
ately derive assumptions about what
sort of teacher Ilam goingto be.
These perceptions were the sub-
ject of an informative workshop
put on by ADVANCE last week in
the Political Science department.
ADVANCE is a University program
that aims to foster gender equality in
science and engineering. The work-
shop's facilitators, Psychology Prof.
Abby Stewart and ADVANCE con-
sultant Diana Kardia, worked with a
group of male and female GSIs, lec-
turers and professors to address and
solve gender challenges that teachers
may face in the classroom. For me,
the workshop was a welcome depar-
ture from some training experiences
I've had in the past.
One frustration with my prior
training was that sessions degener-
ated into a laundry list of possible
problems that female teachers might
encounter in the classroom instead
of a useful discussion about gender
This approach upset me for two
reasons. First, it didn't help me deal
with issues I could personally face in
the classroom. The training session
seemed to implicitly indicate that as
a man, I would instantly command
authority and respect. It seemed that
it would be my fault if I failed, but if
I succeeded, it would be just because
I was a man. I once had a fellow GSI

dismiss a successful teaching tech-
nique I had used, saying it worked
because I "was a guy."
And that type of training didn't
seem to help my female colleagues,
either. Due to trainers' haste to ham-
mer home the gravity of the chal-
lenges female GSIs would face, I
could see several women becoming
visibly nervous. Instead of focusing
on ways to overcome challenges,
this approach increased their self-
consciousness and sapped their self-
confidence - clearly notthe best way
to help anyone establish authority.
I remember an incident where I
helped mediate a dispute between a
female GSI and a male student. The
student clearly needed an attitude
adjustment, but I also could see how
an overly defensive reaction by a GSI
exacerbated the situation. The result
was that everyone lost - my col-
league lost more self-confidence and
may have become more defensive in
the classroom, and the student's per-
ception of female teachers probably
became worse.
Fortunately, the ADVANCE
workshops, attended was part of the
solution - a proactive, not defen-
sive, conversation about gender that
focused on tools to use in teaching.
For example, Stewart said, and
several of my colleagues have
noticed, that females tend to have
to work harder in the classroom
to establish authority. It's not that
women can't gain respect as teach-
ers or that men will always retain
authority, it's just that many stu-
dents are more likely to give male
teachers the benefit of the doubt at
the beginning of the term.
This puts females in a difficult
position because even though they
have to work harder to establish
their authority with students, they
also risk getting labeled as a "bitch".
Other differences include how
accessible students perceive their
GSIs and professors to be. One of my
female co-workers reported that stu-
dents seemed to view female teach-
ers as more accessible and nurturing

than men,
There are trade-offs to this differ-
ence in perception. On one hand, my
female colleague might face more
unwarranted appeals for leniency
on grades or deadlines. On the other
hand, students mightfeel more com-
fortable bringing serious problems
to her attention than they would to
mine - somethingthat could hinder
my ability to be an effective teacher.
And there are other stereotypes
men face, too - for example, the lin-
gering suspicion fueled by the actions

GSI training
doesn't address
the real issues.


reMICHIGAN will rethink MSA

of a small minority of my colleagues
(shame on you) that we are likely to
take advantage of female students.
That stereotype can sometimes make
office hours a bit awkward ..*...g..k
But the point here isn't to drawa
moralequivalence between the chal-
lenges that men and women might
face as teachers in the hs odim.
Instead, I want to highlight the need
to properly address these issues
in GSI training in a way that gives
teachers tools to overcome them.
One of those tools is very simple.
Professors: support your GSIs. On
the first day, introduce them and
their accomplishments and say you
have faith in them. Enforce the poli-
ciesonyoursyllabus and don'tunder-
mine your GSIs by changing grades
or granting extensions behind their
backs. GSIs: back each other and your
professors up. And male GSIs, espe-
cially, speak well of the competence
of your female colleagues and make
it a point to emphasize the authority
of any professor who you work with.
- Patrick O'Mahen can be
reached at pomahen@umich.edu.

For many years, student government has sought
to define its role on campus and in students' lives.
Today, the Michigan Student Assembly finds itself at
an important moment in its history. With 40,000 of
the most active and diverse students in the country,
we deserve a student government that reflects the
energy that is the University of Michigan.
MSA has the potential to be an active and vibrant
student government that is focused on real issues
that matter to campus. We deserve astudent govern-
ment that is relevant and engaged ina conversation
with students. We also deserve a student govern-
ment that is mobilized, is committed to being a
stronger advocate for students and has a more pow-
erful voice that reflects the intellect and diversity of
our campus population.
In order for studentgovernment to work, students
must be able to have faith in MSA representatives
and their potential to actually do something. This
election can be the first step toward a government
that is engaged with campus in a constant conversa-
tion that extends beyond Election Day.
The reMICHIGAN Campaign can be that first
step in the right direction.
The reMICHIGAN Campaign is focused on a new
idea about the way that student government elec-
tions should work: a party is about people, but a cam-
paign is about issues. The reMICHIGAN Campaign
is a movement for student issues and incorporates
the kaleidoscope of voices that make the University
what it is. We are more than just a vision - we are
the action, experience, talent and leadership needed
to propel our student government to a new era of

student activism.
We believe knowing the answer to "how" prob-
lems can be solved so our entire team of candidates
can be ready to go on day one. For each one of our
goals we have viable plans and other ideas that are
being internally tested. These goals include work-
ing on tuition and financial aid, improving sustain-
ability on campus, creating more job and internship
opportunities for students, enhancing Michigan
spirit and traditions, facilitating academic guidance
and improving the lives of student organizations.
We must have the ability to go beyond simply talk-
ing to the administration and instead develop strong
coalitions of students, faculty and administrators in
order to get things done. Studentgovernment candi-
dates must practice what they preach and shouldn't
have to wait for a title in order to begin working on
such important issues.
We know that we can't do this alone and that
we need every possible voice at the table. Over the
next two weeks and beyond, we will ask you how to
achieve these goals, and how you, as a student at this
University, can contribute to revitalizing and reen-
ergizing student government.
You can check out our diverse candidates from
eight different schools and colleges, take a look at
our comprehensive plans for moving student gov-
ernment forward and join the movement today at
Chris Armstrong and BrittneyJackson
are communications directors for
the reMICHIGAN Campaign.

L GBT identity through Judaism

Are you on
the list?
God, we
hope so...

Growing up in a reformed Jewish family has provid-
ed me with a solid moral foundation based on respect,
empathy and compassion toward others. While my fam-
ily belongs to a synagogue, and my mother even works at
one, I have always been more humanistic than religious
while relating to Judaism. But Jewish culture, ethnic-
ity and history still remain an essential part of my being
and the key to understanding my ancestry to its fullest
When I came out to my family and friends during my
sophomore year of high school, obstacles pertaining to
religious acceptance were the last issues on my mind -
and for this I am very thankful, especially considering
the adverse coming-out experiences faced by several
of my friends. My family lives in a Southeast Michigan
town with a rather substantial reformed and conserva-
tive Jewish population, which generally identifies as
socially liberal.
While I have never felt ashamed or hesitant to step
into a synagogue or to proclaim that I come from a Jew-
ish heritage, I've undergone a slight religious transfor-
mation over the past few years. As I mentioned, Jewish
culture and tradition have always offered me enrich-
ing and comforting insights into my roots. But when I
examine my religion as opposed to my ethnicity, I tend
to think of myself as more of a secular humanist, which
I feel allows me to be the most empathic and respectful
person I can be. In fact, humanism lies at the foundation
of every ancient religion and is called for by every sacred
text - it is no obscure philosophy.
When I settled into the University campus, the last
thing I expected to do was become involved in religious
groups or student organizations. But I soon defied my
expectations and surprised myself. Upon visiting both
Gayz Craze and Festifall, I discovered a student group,
Ahava (meaning "love" in Hebrew), which connects and
explores the intersecting identities of Jewish and LGBT-
identifying persons. I received an instant feeling of grati-
fication when I chatted with the Hillel liaison, who left

me with a permanent impression of kindness and com-
passion. These are two virtues I have sought for and val-
ued in forming my beliefs. I. decided to attend Ahava's
first meeting and am definitely glad that I did so.
Having attended multiple Ahava meetings, which
take place in a laid-back, open atmosphere, I felt I had
reaffirmed and reestablished my connection to my Jew-
ish background. During these meetings, group members
would engage in constructive dialogue pertaining to our
Jewish and LGBT identities and discuss any obstacles,
inquiries or positive experiences we had encountered.
Not only was I able to share my own values and beliefs
in this setting, but I thoroughly appreciated being able
to hear about different perspectives and diverse back-
grounds relating to both identities - Ihad seldomspoken
with Jewish, LGBT-identifying individuals beforehand.
Before I knew it, I'd made many new friends and acquain-
tances, as well as established ties to welcoming faculty
members at Hillel and throughout the Ann Arbor area.
Through Ahava and alongside other Jewish student
organizations on campus, I soon became involved in pre-
paring for the arrival of Danny Savitch, a champion of
LGBT rights in Jerusalem and Israel as a whole. Ahava
members also welcomed a director from the Jewish Gay
Network of Michigan in a screening of"Hineini", a docu-
mentary about a young Orthodox girl who comes out as a
lesbian to her friends and instructors in her high school.
Aside from these events, Ahava held a personalized
Shabbat dinner, which to me exemplified the warmth
and hospitality that is so integral to Jewish culture.
Judaism has continuously offered me enriching and
convivial experiences, and my time as a first-year student
at the University has only strengthened my bond with
Jewish ethnicity. Even if I tried, I would not be able to
ignore my characteristically Jewish mother, who cooks
for an army and calls me five times a day to ask if I've
eaten. She drives me meshugeh (but I still love her).
Matthew Shur is an LSA freshman.

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman,
Jeremy Levy, Edward McPhee, Matthew Shutler, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder


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