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April 06, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-06

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4A - Monday, April 6, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 4

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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 of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The road to recovery
Government should take responsibility for saving Detroit
At this point, the auto industry's cries for help are nothing
new. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are struggling and
in desperate need of government assistance. A few months
ago, the federal government promised to help these companies if
they meet certain conditions for revamping their businesses. While
the companies struggle to accommodate the government's demands,
the government continues to disparage the industry's progress,
going so far as to force out GM CEO Rick Wagoner. If the govern-
ment is going to take such an active role in the industry's manage-
ment, then it must outline a clear vision to resuscitate the industry
while assuming the responsibility for seeing the crisis to its end.

Last Wednesday, GM's Wagoner resigned
at the urging of President Barack Obama
after a presidential task force claimed that
GM had not made significant progress in
its attempts to restructure. Wagoner was
replaced by Chief Operating Officer Fritz
Henderson, granting GM 60 more days of
federal funding. At the conclusion of this
period, GM is expected to have put forth
significant plans to restructure. The fed-
eral government will cut off aid if these
demands are not met. The government also
told Chrysler it has only 30 days to com-
plete a merger with Fiat SpA before federal
aid will be discontinued.
While the possible side effects of the auto
industry's collapse have been widely dis-
cussed for the state and the nation, students
may not realize just how much is at stake
for the University as well. Automakers like
Ford and GM contribute to the many pro-
grams and scholarships at the University.In
addition, many parents of in-state students
work for the auto industry - or for busi-
nesses dependent upon the auto industry
- impacting their ability to afford tuition.
And University graduates often go on to
work for the auto industry, meaning these
car companies' troubles directly impact
students' ability to find jobs after college.
In light of the auto industry's importance
to the University - as well as the rest of
the country - it's important that the fed-

eral government make a concerted effort
to rescue the industry. And while the gov-
ernment did agree to support these failing
automakers, it needs to do more than simply
make demands and threaten to cut off aid
if the companies don't restructure quickly
enough. Having involved itself in the prob-
lem, the Obama administration now has a
responsibility to the auto industry and to
the people dependent upon the jobs the
industry sustains. Forcing out Wagoner
was only an acceptable move if the govern-
ment is prepared to offer better leadership
for GM and the industry.
But the government doesn't seem to have
a clear plan to fix the problem, instead plac-
ing mandate after mandate on the compa-
nies that won't necessarily create positive
outcomes. The auto industry needs a long-
term solution to its problems, and the fed-
eral government has yet to produce such a
The government knows what the stakes
are - it understands the dire repercussions
for leaving these companies for dead. It's
evident that millions of Michigan residents,
including University students are depen-
dent on.these companies.
But just understanding the stakes isn't
enough. It's time for the federal govern-
ment to offer a coherent plan. Having fired
Wagoner, Obama has implicitly agreed to
do a better job than he did.

A court decision doesn't change
what's right and what's wrong.
- Bryan English, a spokesman for the Iowa Family Policy Center, commenting on a ruling by the
Iowa Supreme Court that will allow gay marriage, as reported on Friday by The New York Times.
Hw often do you H Have you been to
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getsa dretaonIwas t-.j wasn relae
therefor the Final four this 0h, all the time! The Super+
weekend, and it was rcking bowl the AStar Game, the°Isbakakapot
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Wrong move, Rackham
L astThursday,aDailyviewpoint enrolled at all times increases Ph.D. approved the measure with little
written by Associate Rack- completion rates and decreases the advance notice on Dec. 10, conve-
ham Dean Peggy McCracken time to degree by creating a closer niently at the end of the fall term.
extolled the virtues relationship between Ph.D. students Weiss announced the decision on
of the Rackham and their advisers. These arguments Dec. 17, which stunned many gradu-
Graduate School's are reasonable - except there is no ate students with concerns about
proposed continu- empirical evidence supporting them. the proposal. To this day, although
ous enrollment On its website, Rackham links to a she has met with representatives of
policy (More guid- document entitled "Doctoral Degree CEWG, Weiss has refused to pro-
ance for graduates, Completion: Conceptual Framing" to vide substantive written answers to
03/02/09). Accord- support its proposed policy. The doc- questions from concerned students,
ing to McCracken, ument, developed by the University's instead referring us to the empty
the proposal rep- PATRICK Center of the Study of Higher and rhetoric of Rackham's website.
resents a com- Postsecondary Education, stresses
mon sense way O'MAHEN that inclusive faculty-student inter-
to improve fac- actions, adequate funding and other Graduate
ulty mentorship of research and healthcare support for schOOls
graduate students and cut the 33 per- graduate students have improved . i shoul
cent drop-out rate of Ph.D. students completion rates. new 1dea should
at the University. The logical course of action would
Yet in a survey conducted last be to directly address the underlying be discontinued.
month by Rackham Student Gov- problems of inadequate funding pack-
ernment, 807 of the 1,241 graduate- ages by developing effective faculty
student respondents who knew of mentoring programs - especially for
the proposed policy thought it would culturally marginalized students But despite its aura of inevitabil-
affect them negatively. We graduate - and expanding mental health ser- ity, we can still stop the continu-
students may be notoriously paranoid vices. Instead, Weiss and McCracken ous enrollment steamroller. On Apr.
about administration. But this time, express the naive belief that requir- 16, the University Board of Regents
we have good reason. ing advisors to certify their students needs 9 approve tuitipnchasngghat
The truth is this: Rackham's con- are enrolled every term will magical- make the policy work. CEWG has
tinuous enrollment proposal is fatally ly tighten the advisor-student bond already signed up a pair of speakers
flawed. It is poorly designed without and increase completion rates. Yet in to oppose the policy at the meeting,
meaningful input from the students February, when an organization of but we need more. With the support
and departments that it purports to graduate students called Continuous of the Graduate Employees' Organi-
help. Administrators are using laugh- Enrollment Working Group (of which zation, CEWG will be staging a pro-
able arguments to support it. And we Itam a member) sent Rackham a letter test prior to the regents' meeting.
must stop it. with specific questions challenging Show up and make your voice heard.
Continuous enrollment is simple the scholarly support of Continuous Talk to your GEO Steward for more
in theory. Many Ph.D. students who Enrollment, the reply ignored our information. In addition, talk with
have completed coursework and questions and instead offered empty your faculty advisors and department
taken preliminary exams have a sta- platitudes about continued commu- chairs about this policy and encour-
tus called detached study, which nication. age them to express their concerns
means they're not officially regis- This attitude has been typical of to Rackham. Finally, contact the nine
tered and don't pay tuition. Many of Rackham administrators throughout regents (http://www.regents.umich.
these students conduct research at the process. Far from "benefitting edu/about/regents.html) and let
locations far from Ann Arbor. Con- greatly from numerous discussions them know your views.
tinuous enrollment would require with students, faculty, program Together, we can force Rackham
all graduate students to register each directors and chairs," as McCracken to abandon this ill-considered policy
semester. Rackham Dean Janet Weiss blithely claims in her viewpoint, the change. Then, Ph.D. students, faculty
claims the policy would result in no development of the program has been members and Weiss can all sit down
changes in financial aid - tuition for conducted in an arrogant, top-down as equals and develop a policy that
all candidates would be cut to free up fashion with little involvement of the adequately addresses the needs of
funding for tuition waivers for candi- students who continuous enrollment students.
dates on detached study. claims to help and faculty who will
Weiss and McCracken have argued have to make the program work. - Patrick O'Mahen can be

repeatedly that having students The Rackham Advisory Board reached at pomahen@umich.edu.





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, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Matthew Shutler, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith

Safer health facilities and
emergency care save lives

ing countries.'
countries are i
they might not1
lack of advance
These people a

TO THE DAILY: hospital thanr
Tomorrow is World Health Day, an annual are. Establishi
event that focuses on the issue of healthcare that provide em
infrastructure. This year, it aims to tackle the data on illness
safety of facilities and the readiness of health health care bet
workers who treat those affected by emer- immunizations
gencies. While we in the United States worry of people in the
about losing our health insurance, Cyclone ties safe, we car
Nargis left 138,366 people dead or missing in care costs, and
Myanmar and the earthquake in southwestern call or send a le
China's Sichuan province killed 87,476 people. asking him or h
Even though these events seem very far away health facilitie
from our daily lives, they're devastating to our worldwide.
global neighbors.
Just as disastrous as the cyclone is the medical Jangwon Oh
infrastructure in Myanmar and other develop- LSA freshman

When people in underdeveloped
injured and sent to the hospitals,
be cured perfectly because of the
ed medical facilities and doctors.
re much more likely to die in the
citizens of developed countries
ng safe health-related facilities
ergency care, collect and analyze
and deaths, deliver longer-term
fore and after an emergency and
services are critical to the health
region. By keeping health facili-
n save more lives, decrease health
safeguard social stability. Please
tter to your local congressperson
er to support bills that help keep
s safe in the United States and



True progress for social justice



We !AQF ZAIIN&e MoR ltY\
,-0 HELL, IN -THe FIdT
A(AtAerST cZA4'CEIZ, WHAT fslgE)
)z. OM E DAV,

During my freshman year of college, I saw passion and
possibility on this campus. I saw individuals and groups
dedicating themselves to social justice issues with an
intensity Ihad never seen in high school. Here were people
determined to try and take on some of the most pressing
issues facing our society: poverty, malnutrition, human
rights abuses, massive environmental degradation, insti-
tutionalized and personal bigotry, war and genocide. This
excited me more than anything else, and I was more than
ready to get involved in this campus community.
I jumped in headfirst during my first semester at the
University. For the first month or so, I spent more time
learning about different issues and organizations than I
did in class. I started to notice things that began to turn
me off from the organizations in which I was involved, but
at the time, I couldn't put my observations into words. As a
result, my extracurricular involvement began to shrink to
more manageable hours. In retrospect, this was probably
a good thing. I was in way over my head as a freshman.
In college, away from my family for the first time in
my life, I began to feel isolated and lonely. I don't know
if all freshmen go through this, but by the beginning of
the second semester, I felt increasingly alone on a campus
with tens of thousands of my peers. I had somehow con-
vinced myself to take classes that I had very little interest
in and convinced myself to get involved in organizations
that dealt with issues I had little passion for. At one point,
though I never went to see a psychiatrist, I was more than
likely clinically depressed.
After a summer and a semester of mental recovery,
I was finally able to verbalize some of the things that I
had noticed during my freshman year that had turned me
away from campus activism. As a result of my own isola-
tion, I was able to see and describe the isolation on this
In the midst of excitement and action, I saw groups of
people trying to change the minds, attitudes and actions

of the campus community, but I also saw them work-
ing almost exclusively within their own, isolated nich-
es. Groups with seemingly similar goals were working
toward these goals separately - they were competing for
the same resources and sometimes even working against
each other. There were some organizations that broke
away from this trend, but they were few and far between.
I felt that if only this one thing could change - if we
could confront the isolation on this campus - it would
take us that much farther in creating and sustaining a
more effective form of campus activism. It was less than a
year ago that I told this to somebody and the word spread,
and the idea of an alliance of social justice organizations
was first envisioned.
This alliance, consisting of a fluid membership of over
two dozen organizations, came to be known as the Pro-
gressive Alliance. In about a year since it was first envi-
sioned, it came together this past weekend to put on the
first-ever Michigan Social Justice Conference. Social jus-
tice organizations and activists from different corners of
the University came to share their issues and experiences
with the broader community. The point was to bridge the
gap in understanding between individuals from different
backgrounds and, in particular, to highlight the intercon-
nectedness of many social justice issues. The hope was
that this would help conference participants to uncover
the structural issues at the root of many societal problems
and would help in building a more unified campus activ-
ism. In this regard, it was a success.
But this conference was only a first step. There is still
much work to be done and we invite all people, with their
unique passions and creativity, to join us. If you are at all
interested in joining us, please contact theprogressiveal-
liance@gmail.com and visit http://www.umsjc.blogspot.
com for more information about the conference.
Bhavik Lathia is a member of the Progressive Alliance.

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