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September 11, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-11

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4A - Friday, September 11, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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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 oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
A promise is a promise
Michigan legislature should protect state merit scholarship
Most children learn in preschool that it's important to
keep promises. But state legislators- who are poised to
cut the Michigan Promise Scholarship - seem to have
forgotten this lesson. Facing a $2.8 billion deficit in nextyear's bud-
get, the state Senate has voted to eliminate funding for the schol-
arship. What legislators don't understand is that many Michigan
students are counting on the scholarship to help pay for tuition
in the state. If members of Congress want to restore any measure
of faith in their ability to keep their promises - and in their sup-
posed commitment to higher education - they will restore fund-

ow T~ir eseM'iS
{ i My fS eap la
Qt e ve
The fight ofjhis lfe
S enator Ted Kennedy's pass- reform as a rallying point for Demo- favor of public health insurance,
ing marks the end of an era in crats. But what they are conveniently needs to ask themselves two impor-
Washington. The man called ignoringis howKennedy'sownactions tant questions. Would Kennedy, if
the Liberal Lion completely undermine a premise that he were a private citizen of average
was one of the few is vital to the left's argument for a pub- income under Obama's public plan,
remaining links lic health care option. have been able to pursue these life-
to a time when Kennedy was diagnosed with extending procedures, given his age
the Kennedy fam- malignant glioma on May 20, 2008. and condition? Would Obama have
ily was American Only 50 percent of patients survive been willing to look Kennedy in the
royalty. Kenne- one year after diagnosis, and that eye and tell him he would be better
dy's public image drops to 25 percent after two years, off taking the painkiller in order to
was torn between according to the Washington Post save the system money?
glossy-eyed nos- CHRIS (Kennedy's Cancer is Highly Lethal,
talgi and the ROSLOWSKI 85/21/2008). Kennedy, a fighter all
recollection of an his life, decided against throwing in
unfortunate event the towel. Instead, he endured brain Kennedy didn't
on Chappaquid- surgery, intensive radiation and che-
dick Island, but nevertheless, Ken- motherapy treatments, procedures Want to just "take
nedy never allowed his detractors to which cost thousands of dollars. p i~ 1 e.
prevent him from fighting tooth and Luckily, Congress is famous for offer- the painkiller."
nail for his political causes. ing top notch health care. Members
In his historic career in Washing- have a choice of several private insur-
ton, health care was Kennedy's sig- ers and plans based on their health
nature issue. Writing for Newsweek needs. The Senator's dogged perse- As the days progress, liberal poli-
just a month before his passing, Ken- verance to extend his life by utiliz- ticians will use the memory of Ted
nedy called it "the cause of my life." ing all possible options is admirable, Kennedy to sell public health insur-
Now that the senator has died and but it is also a prime example of what ance. What they will universally
the public health insurance option is simply couldn't happen under Presi- omit, however, is how lucky the sena-
still lingering on the Congressional dent Barack Obama's proposed insur- tor was not to have been covered by
table, Democrats are using Kennedy ance plan. that plan. It should come as no sur-
as a symbol of reform. Robert Byrd, Obama has said again and again prise, though, that this discrepancy
the only living senator to serve lon- that a major factor behind the failure between rhetoric and action means
ger than Kennedy, wants to rename of the current health care system is nothing to Washington Democrats.
the health care bill in honor of the the execution of needless or futile They will continue to push a public
fallen lion. Last month, Speaker of medical procedures. Among these insurance plan that they wouldn't
the House Nancy Pelosi promised procedurs, Obama specifically men- be caught dead joining themselves.
reporters, "Ted Kennedy's dream tioned surgeries for terminally ill When Byrd and Pelosi invoke Ted
of quality health care for all Ameri- patients. During a primetime ABC Kennedy and his soaring rhetoric to
cans will be made real this year." broadcast from the White House this sell their plan, they should instead
Undoubtedly an effort to counteract summer, he said, "Maybe you're bet- look at audacious steps Kennedy took
the influence of town-hall protestors ter off not having the surgery, but to extend his life.
and appeal to the fiscally conserva- taking the painkiller." Obama's plan After all, Kennedy was a survivor.
tive "Blue Dog" Democrats, leaders aims to cut health care costs by elim- And despite Obama's attempts to con-
of Kennedy's party hope the sena- inating operations that have a very vince us all to "take the painkiller"
tor's death will rally support for the low chance of actually improving a instead of fighting back, surviving is
foundering bill. patient's life - just the kind of pro- still what health care is all about.
It makes sense that Byrd and Pelosi cedures that Senator Kennedy chose
would use the death of a famous sena- to undergo. - Chris Koslowski can be
tor who continually pushed for health Obama, and everyone who is in reached at cskoslow@umich.edu.
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed writers to be columnists
during the fall semester. Columnists write 750 words
on a topic of their choice every other week.
Racism remains in A2

ing to the Promise Scholarship.
The Promise Scholarship is a state-
sponsored merit scholarship that awards
between $500 and $4,000 to students who
score well on the Michigan Merit Exam.
This semester, more than 5,000 University
students and 96,000 students across the
state were expected to receive aid from the
grant. But in June, the state Senate voted to
cut the scholarship's funding, which should
save the state $140 million. Thousands of
students have received notice from the
University that this semester's allotment of
aid won't be coming unless the legislature
changes its mind before approving the next
fiscal year's budget.
While the irony of having cut a tuition
aid program named the Promise Scholar-
ship is somewhat funny, the result is any-
thing but. For students who were counting
on the money, a college education became
much less affordable. And as tuition rates
have continued to skyrocket over the years,
dependence on financial aid is the situation
facing many Michigan students.
More than individual losses, cutting the
scholarship indicates that the legislature
doesn't understand the economic impor-
tance of affordable higher education in
Michigan's dismal economy. The future of
the state's economy lies in new industries
that rely heavily on innovation, science

and technology, but only a well-educated
workforce will be able to accommodate this
demand. Michigan's workforce will never
become educated if high school students
can't afford college tuition.
The University, at least, wants to help. It
has notified recipients that it will try to foot
the bill in the event that the cut is final, and
it won't charge late fees on tuition bills until
the fate of the scholarship has been decid-
ed. This is admirable, but it camouflages
the University's culpability in the problem.
Tuition at the University has increased 52.6
percent since 2002. While some of this can
be attributed to unsteady state funding, it is
ultimately the University's responsibility to
control its own costs.
Admittedly, the state will need to make
budget cuts, but funding for higher educa-
tion should not be the recipient of those
cuts. The state needs to protect scholar-
ships, not slash them. Instead, the state
should look at scaling back bloated pro-
grams like the corrections budget; which
accounts for more than 20 percent of the
general fund each year.
The state made a promise to scholarship
recipients. It even went so far as to name the
scholarship the "Promise." It can't break its
word now, with so many students depend-
ing on it.

'IP mI t- ew 5Est-
-a: -r T.... ' r1


U' smoking ban is a smart
policy for students' health
The two examples provided by Harsha Pan-
duranga in his column against the smoking ban
don't serve as exact analogies to the circum-
stances behind the move toward the smoking
ban (Keep smoking on campus, 09/10/2009).
The ban serves to prevent smoking in public
places, where people who choose not to smoke
maybe exposed to secondhand smoke. It doesn't
ban smoking in all places, nor does it take away
the right of smokers to chain smoke in the pri-
vacy of their homes.
In regards to Pandaranga's arguments, an
obese person eating cake doesn't adversely
affect his neighbor's health. And talking loudly
on a cell phone doesn't pose a health hazard to
the public.
The University's general smoking ban is
good for the public health. Smokers should be
given designated smoking areas where they can
smoke away from home. An example would be
smoking rooms with independent air systems,
like those found in Japan.
Eugene Kheng
Engineeringgraduate student
Viewpoint ignores value of
UMMA's modern design

collection, seeing as they couldn't even cor-
rectly identify the museum by its name, The
University of Michigan Museum of Art (Adding
color to UMMA, 9/9/09).
To his credit, Johnson does rightly point out
the addition lay in contrast to its surrounding,
but fails to recognize the intent of this move
beyond another University attempt to, "classify
whatever it likes as art."
Rather than being a bi-product of aberrant
modern design as suggested, the shell of the
building appropriately compliments its con-
tents. As the collection of the University grew
more expansive, it began to outgrow its place,
physically and ideologically. The architect's
design reflects this change by bridging more
modern work with the historical vocabulary of
the old building, and the location of work with-
in further observes this distinction. Though
more modern, it's not radically disparate from
other buildings in the area, like the Ross School
of Business.
Additionally, the recommendation that stu-
dent art should be used as a plug to fill John-
son's aesthetic void is insulting, not flattering.
Artists are not the purveyors of crafty, visu-
ally pleasing projects, devoid of context or sub-
stance to be used in a rotational playlist on the
side of a building.
The writer should recognize the building
itself is someone's work of art, and his sug-
gestion is analogous to holding a competition
to spray paint over one of the works inside he
surely holds equal disdain for.
Perhaps next time Johnson should view
UMMA in its entirety, rather than passing
judgment after simply walking through the
corridor the of museum.

Something is dying within the
black community. I first noticed
this after a summer trip to plan-
tation Georgia,
where many still
proudly wave the
Confederate flag
on their cars or on
flagstaffs in front
of their houses.
It's a place where
some black farm-
ers still look to the
floor from under- MATTHEW
neath straw hats HUNTER
when in the pres-
ence of whites. It's
a place that is still
heavily segregated and where blacks
keep civil rights complaints to a mini-
mum - which is, in a way, similar to
my experience of blacks in Michigan,
pervasive even here on campus. But
in Georgia, even in their quiescent
activism, blacks feel and acknowledge
their common hardship. It may be in
passing, but if you are black, you are
part of an extended family. But here,
unlike in Georgia, most blacks do not
acknowledge each other despite the,
fact that we, as African Americans,
share a common struggle.
The images of blacks in the 1960s
include Martin Luther King, the Mil-
lion Man March,RosaParks,boycotts,
Malcolm X and the Black Panthers.
We can remember and identify blacks
in the civil rights era who struggled
together against oppression. In the
1970s and '80s'- and here at the
University - images include Jesse
Jackson leading the Black Action
Movement in a successful strike for
civil rights demands, which included
10 percent African-American enroll-
ment. But even though the University
approved BAM's requests and aware-
ness increased, the University's Afri-
can-American student population,
almost forty years later, hovers near
six percent. Even after the statewide
abolition of affirmative action in 2006
and the atrocious state of minor-
ity enrollment, the University hasn't

seen rebellion or much active dis-
sent for civil rights justice since. The
progressive, protesting black campus
movements of the past are now noth-
ing but periodically active student
groups available for the six percent
to join so they can find other blacks. I
have yet to see recruitment efforts by
any activist civil rights groups in my
time at the University.
There are a number of factors
silencing the movement. One preva-
lent explanation claims that there
is less to fight for because racial
inequalities in education are on a
sharp decline or non-existent, espe-
cially if one considers the election of
Obama, the first black U.S. president.
But despite the University's stated
commitment to equality and diver-
sity, racial disparities among the top
schools in the nation are vast. Jacques
Steinberg, in a 2009 New York Times
article, mentions the University of
Michigan among schools with the
highest graduation rates at 88 per-
cent. But the University's African
American graduation rates between
1995 and 2004 have been closer to
Eastern Michigan University's over-
all average of 39 percent, among the
worst in the nation. In that time, the
African American graduation rates
range from 36 to 52 percent, which
have improved over time but still do
not compare with whites.
The stagnant nature of black civil
rights activism could also be a result
of poor understanding of civil rights
injustices. Activism of the past was a
response to overt racism and bigotry.
But today, racial appeals are often
disguised as class appeals and rac-
ism itself is inconspicuous. In a way,
it is easier to perceive and then fight
against the injustice in egregious
cases like racial lynchings than it is to
fight for equal opportunity in educa-
tion. It's simply harder to understand
that blacks are disadvantaged from
birth than it is to understand that
brutal violence is an injustice.
Changing racial policy requires
bureaucratic negotiations, law-

yers and supportive constituents.
The complex nature of this process
can make fighting for racial policy
changes obscure and confusing. 4t
it is possible for change to occur.
When, for example, the majority of
our nation supports a black president,
and his racial agenda includes having
a diverse administration and nomi-
nating the first Latina Supreme Court
justice, some change is inevitable.
But it's important to address racial
policy locally since there is a danger-
ous trend to equate racial change and
exceptional minority success cases
with racial justice. Obama's presiden-
cy will not single-handedly change
social injustices like that of the edu-
cational disparities between blacks
and whites.
The struggle for
racial equality is far
from over.
What we need first is a greater
acceptance that the civil rights era
is not over. Student organizations -
white and black - should publicly
challenge racial injustices through
protests, forums and student publica-
tions. We must begin with the truth
that blacks are an oppressed group of
people and must constantly consider
their race and its function in society.
Students should hold the University
responsible to their commitment to
racial justice, which should in turn
encourage all students to engage in
racial awareness and activism. We
can then better understand and estab-
lish that sense of a common struggle
and sense of brother and sisterhood
that still remains between blacks in
rural Georgia, where it is essential
for survival.
- Matthew Hunter can be
reached at majam@umich.edu.


A recent viewpoint by Eliot Johnson about
UMMA made me wonder if either Johnson or Matt Hallock
the Daily's editors even bothered to visit the Art £t Design senior

Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty,
Emma Jeszke, Raghu Kainkaryam, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith

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