4A - Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
EDITOR IN CHIEF
RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
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.
State legislature shouldn't cut higher ed funding
This is a big f---ing deal."
- Vice President Joe Biden, congratulating President Barack Obama on the passage
of the health care bill, as reported Tuesday by The Huffington Post.
CHRIS KOSLOWSKI I E-MAIL CHRIS AT CSK()SLOW IEUMICH.EDU
Yea kucew, after all the CJ
sknfealhMSAelectionyears, Ifeel guilty about tellingA hadygund
0 d students to throw their votes z
Which fictional character 6 away. MSA is important, and You sly dog a
should we vote for this time? students should take the time HE-MAN FOR PRESIDENT! L
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way enyoe ' as
Dear President Coleman...'
t seems inevitable - though distasteful - that tuition will
increase again this summer. And one of the budget bills
passed on Tuesday by the Michigan Senate won't ease the
severity of that increase.If it becomes law, the bill would decrease
the funding public universities receive from the state in the next
fiscal year. But higher education can't manage another funding
cut. Before the state House of Representatives votes on the bill, it
must realize that it would damage not only higher education in the
state, but also the state's potential economic recovery. To protect
Michigan, state representatives should vote the bill down.
On Tuesday, the state Senate passed
a bill that would drastically cut funding
for public universities. The bill, which
will now head to the House Appropria-
tions Committee, would reduce state aid
to public universities and colleges by 3.1
percent. The legislation was cited as one of
the many ways state politicians are look-
ing to alleviate the states' approximately
$920 million budget deficit. According to a
Monday report in the Daily, the University
would see a $10.2 million cut in state aid if
the bill is approved by the full legislature.
The bill would also establish a Tuition
Grant Program that intends to help stu-
dents pay for their attendance at private
colleges within the state.
Unavoidably, cuts will have to be made to
balance the state's budget deficit. But more
cuts to higher education are unacceptable.
Public universities' ability to help improve
Michigan's economy is damaged when
funding is cut. Institutions like the Uni-
versity bring the state revenue by drawing
in researchers and producing students in a
variety of fields to diversify Michigan's econ-
omy. The state must allocate more funding to
this economic resource, not cut it.
And slashing funding to public univer-
sities would mean that funding for the
colleges would have to be supplemented
elsewhere, like from student pockets' or
the elimination of programs. Students
can't afford another cut to education fund-
ing. Funding cuts will inevitably lead to
an even steeper tuition hike for University
students than expected. Though the bud-
get passed by the Senate includes a grant
program, it wouldn't compensate all the
students affected by tuition increases - it
only subsidizes tuition for private univer-
sities. The state legislature must consider
these side-effects before it makes more
cuts to education.
The state legislature should look at other
programs that can withstand cuts, like the
state's corrections budget. Currently, over
20 percent of the state's general fund is
put toward correctional facilities - almost
$2 billion to a single department. Correc-
tional facilities could handle a decrease in
funding. But one of the budgets passed on
Tuesday by the Senate actually increased
funding to corrections by $43.7 million,
according to a Tuesday report by The
Detroit News. Instead of increasing fund-
ing to an already bloated system, the state
should dedicate more money to under-
funded institutions of higher education.
The state should be increasing funding to
higher education - not cutting it. The House
should encourage higher education's effect
on the economy and protect Michigan stu-
dents by not passing the education budget.
Dear President Mary Sue Cole-
I can't thank you enough.
tion's proposal to
ban outdoor smok-
ing on all three
puses - Ann Arbor,
Flint - effective
July 2011, is truly
a lifesaver. Your
to the Smoke-Free BILES
tive website, is that
you are "trying
to help people move toward healthy
behaviors," which will ultimately
Your administration has also pub-
licly stated numerous times that the
ban has absolutely nothing to do with
the negative effects associated with
second-hand smoke, but rather to
"promote a culture of health."
You don't know me - or barely any
of the University students, faculty
and staff that choose to smoke and
that this ban would affect - person-
ally. Your administration has refused
to even consider so-called "common-
sense" alternatives to a total ban like
banning smoking in high traffic areas,
the establishmentof "smoking zones"
or allowing the ban to be voted on by
the University community. But all of
your administration's actions seem
perfectly reasonable to me.
I have just a few recommendations
to offer. If you're correct - that is,
if encouraging "healthy behaviors"
such as the cessation of smoking will
result in a benefit to everyone - then
your proposal is far too modest.
Just think about it! Consump-
tion of fast food, lack of exercise and
unprotected sex are also unhealthy
behaviors. What's true for banning
smoking will also hold true for these
acts. If your administration and the
Smoke-Free University Steering
Committee, which is tasked with
implementingthe ban, are really seri-
ous about campus health then we stu-
dents beg you to address these issues
Like you said, encouraging ahealthy
environment will help us address our
rising health care costs. First of all,
the University should implement a ban
on all fast food restaurants on cam-
pus to be consistent with a "culture of
health." That means no more Wendy's,
Pizza Hut, Panda Express or that evil
Mrs. Fields. And we especially need to
get rid of Taco Bell. We also must lib-
erate ourselves from the soft drinks,
popcorn, hot dogs and other unhealthy
foods that plague Michigan football
games and other sporting events.
Remember, we need to put people
ahead of all those corporate contracts
the University makes so much money
from - no matter what.
Additionally, there should be a limit
on how much students can eat in the
cafeteria. A "no seconds" rule must be
implemented and the University must
cease the production of desserts and
chocolate chip cookies, even if that
means firing the people who make the
desserts in the cafeteria.
Lack of exercise is a major prob-
lem at campuses around the country
as exemplified by the "freshman 55."
If the University wants students to
unite in the name of campus health,
they must mandate that all students,
faculty and staff exercise for at least
two hours and 30 minutes a week at
one of the University's recreational
facilities, as the Centers for Disease
Control recommends. A violation of
this policy should result in a stiff pen-
alty. Such a move would be incredibly
beneficial to the University's welfare
and the true epitome of "moving peo-
ple toward healthy behaviors."
Finally, we must address the hor-
rors of unprotected sex. The spread
of sexually transmitted infections
is a huge threat to our health. Like
any consistent regulatory body, the
administration needs to act in order
to send a resounding message to the
campus community. I pondered a
variety of brilliant methods in which
this could be accomplished, includ-
ing a return to all single-gender
residence halls or chastity belts that
students must wear until graduation,
whereupon they will be removed by
you, President Coleman.
smoking ban is
truly a life-saver.
But I came upon an ingenious one.
We can't afford to risk the spread of
STIs. Therefore, all sexual activity i
must be deterred. By requiring that
anti-aphrodisiac chemicals be added
to all beverages in dorm cafeterias,
we can greatly reduce the chance of
students engaging in sexual activ-
ity and consequently spreading STIs.
This policy would promote a "cul-
ture of health" without any negative
effects, just like government mandat-
ed water fluoridation.
For the benefit of all students, fac-
ulty and staff at the University, your
administration must prove its com-
mitment to developing a "culture of
health" by going far and above a mod-
est smoking ban. I don't enjoy seeing
people smoking in the Diag anymore
than I enjoy seeing obese individuals
walking out of the Michigan Union.
It's obvious that competent adults
- many of whom pay to attend this
school - aren't responsible enough to
make their own decisions. Clearly we
need the University to make choices
for us through coercion, even when
they infringe on our individual rights
to engage in a perfectly legal activity.
- Alex Biles can be reached
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words and must include the writer's full name
and University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
In remembrance of alum
John Philip Dawson III
TO THE DAILY:
Readers of the Daily know (or should know)
that many former top editors have gone on to
distinguished careers. I write to mark another
such individual, Prof. John Philip Dawson III,
who died on Mar. 21 in New York.
Phil Dawson was the son of a distinguished
University law professor, John P. Dawson, and
his wife, Emma. He graduated from the Uni-
versity of Michigan in 1950. While here, he was
editorial director of the Daily, writing clear
and incisive commentary on the issues of the
day. He obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard in
1961 and taught French history at Stanford and
Brooklyn College. He wrote "Provincial Mag-
istrates and Revolutionary Politics, 1789-1795,"
and more than 40 historical articles and other
works. He taught more than 40 graduate and
undergraduate courses and trained some of
today's leading historians.
He was my predecessor as editorial director
of the Daily and, in fact, it was at his urging that
I decided to join the Daily in 1958. His brother,
Peter Dawson, was associate editorial direc-
tor in my year. Phil always thought the people
attached to the Daily were among the bright-
est and most interesting people on the campus,
which I trust is still the case. Although a mag-
isterial scholar, he was very warm and easy to
approach, with a wonderful sense of humor
always at a boil just below the surface.
Philip H. Power
O'Mahen failed to notice
seven year Iraq war tributes
TO THE DAILY:
I am perplexed by Patrick O'Mahen's state-
ment that "the seven-year anniversary of
the start of the Iraq War passed without
much fanfare" (Keeping the war close to home
03/22/2010). Indeed, if he had checked the
online version of The Michigan Daily, he
would know that students, faculty and com-
munity members gathered on the edge of
campus to mark this anniversary (Peace rally
raises awareness about war in Iraq anniversary,
03/22/10). (Full disclosure: I am one of the
Michigan Peaceworks organizers of the "What
is the Price of War?" demonstration and was
quoted in the article.) At the same time, 10,000
people marched on Washington D.C. and many
smaller events were held in cities and towns
throughout the country. These events, like our
own, received little media attention. That does
not, however, mean they did not take place.
I am equally perplexed as to why the editors
of the Daily found it more important to include
pieces about a Pokemon video game and a Cali-
fornia underwear race in the print edition than
to include the very well-written article about
the protest. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
have cost nearly a trillion dollars and hun-
dreds of thousands of lives. But neither of these
issues received any coverage in the print edi-
tion of the Daily even though they are of para-
The Daily did include an article about the
passage of 3-percent cuts to higher education
by the Michigan State Senate (State Senate
cmte. passes bill to cut higher educationfunding,
03/22/10). Ironically, this was the very connec-
tion that our rally was trying to make. When
hundreds of billions of dollars are diverted to
war and defense spending, inevitably less funds
will be returned to states for funding domestic
needs, including higher education.
Rackham graduate student
To see more letters about the MSA
presidential election, go to our website
The state of the statement
f I were to mention "the State-
ment," I imagine most of my
friends would think I was refer-
ring to the Daily's
weekly news mag-
azine. But, in fact,
there's a different
may have more of
an impact on the
lives of students
here in Ann Arbor.
Formally known _
as the Statement
of Student Rights
and Responsibili- GREEN
ties, this document
is the University's
of exactly that. The text of the docu-
ment 'is available for anyone to read
on the University's website.
It's odd, then, that many people
don't know about it. Such a signifi-
cant document should be recogniz-
able to all students at the University
- not just those forced to read it after
getting caught drinking Franzia in
But I don't blame students for their
ignorance. Frankly, reading the state-
ment doesn't leave students with a
better understanding of either their
liberties or their duties on campus.
Instead, through overcomplicated and
patronizing language, the document
likely evokes bitter memories of paren-
tal authority as it focuses on deeming
certain behaviors as unacceptable.
Outlining inappropriate conduct
is, of course, necessary. There are
those on campus who probably need
to be reminded in writing that burn-
ing down the Chemistry building is
a bad idea. But the statement should
take a more proactive approach to
addressing students' actions.
In its current form, the docu-
ment supposedly intends to focus
on "rights and responsibilities" but
spends little time discussing either.
of eight rather lengthy sections, only
one comparatively short article is
reserved for enumerating students'
rights. In that section, the statement
basically reiterates select liberties
granted by the United States Bill of
Rights, protects students from dis-
crimination and creates a safeguard
from "capricious decision-making
from the University."
To be sure, all of that's key in such
a document. But instead of merely
reminding students that we have the
right to speak our minds, the state-
ment ought to encourage us to do
so. Rather than simply affirm that
students will be protected from dis-
crimination based on our various
self-definitions, the statement should
challenge us to question labels and
social norms and encourage us to
critically examine ourselves.
And that's where the "responsi-
bilities" part comes into play. That
section happens to be the shortest
of the document's eight, devoting
only two sentences to what the core
of the document ought to entail. It
starts out with an important truth -
that "along with rights come certain
responsibilities." And it concludes,
rather abruptly, by reminding us of
a student's duty "to obey local, state,
and federal laws."
Yet rather than restating the rights
and legal obligations that character-
ize everyday life, the statement needs
to focus on the unique experience
of being a student at the University.
It should reclaim the ideal of the
"Michigan Man" from its current
usage as an athletic catchphrase and
define it as an intellectual and ethical
standard to which all students in Ann
Arbor should be compared. It would
remind us that though our classes
teach us to talk the talk in all kinds
of languages, we also have an impera-
tive to walk the walk as members and
representatives of our community.
As the beneficiaries of a world-class
education, we have a responsibility to
change and repair the world. We have
heard the stories of exceptional Wol-
verines who have come before us -
Raoul Wallenberg, Clarence Darrow
and Arthur Miller amongst so-many
others - and we have an obligation to
raise the bars they've set.
Students have a
change the world.
By simply enumerating all the
things the University doesn't want
students to do, the statement misses
out on an opportunity to stimulate
truly exemplary behavior from the
student body. The current document
implies that the University expects
nothing more from students than to
be law-abiding like all other people.
Instead, it should encourage us to
I am reminded of the extraordi-
nary character of this place all the
time. Just recently, the stellar show
of University students at the latest
Winter Olympics brought even more
pride to Ann Arbor. Those Olympians
were keenly aware that wherever a
Michigan student goes, asa represen-
tative of the University, his actions
have a bearing on much more than
just his own reputation.
It's widely known that the Uni-
versity is dedicated to the academic
growth of its students. But scholastic
maturity, while clearly vital, cannot
create an exceptional citizen alone.
Ethical mindfulness and the tenacity
to make positive change are part of
the equation. The University ought to
use the statement to remind students
- Matthew Green can be reached
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Clift, Michelle DeWitt,
Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Robert Soave, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith