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October 20, 2010 - Image 4

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4A - Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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


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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
Giving it back
Coleman should donate pay increase to the 'U'
n 2009, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked Universi-
ty President Mary Sue Coleman the sixth-highest paid public
university president in the country. But last week, the Uni-
versity Board of Regents decided that Coleman deserved an even
larger paycheck. And while Coleman has done much for campus in
the last year - she has a special talent for raising funds - the Uni-
versity has more pressing needs than increasing her paycheck. As
she has done in previous years, Coleman should donate the money
back to the University for it to allocate for other uses.


501 (c) the source

According to an Oct. 15 Daily article,
the University Board of Regents voted at
its Oct. 14 meeting to increase Coleman's
salary by 3 percent, which will come to
$16,605. The increase will bring Coleman's
base salary to $570,105. In 2009, Coleman
received $230,250 in various bonuses for
retention, deferred compensation and
retirement pay. As University president,
Coleman also has an account for business-
related travel expenses, a car and full
use of the President's House. In previous
years, Coleman has requested that she not
receive a merit-based raise or donated her
raises back to the University. She has not
yet indicated that she will do so this year.
The need to maintain competitive sala-
ries to create appeal for excellent admin-
istrators is understandable. But Coleman
already receives a salary that exceeds
nearly every other public University presi-
dent in the country - it seems unlikely
that money will drive her to another uni-
versity, or that a similar salary would
deter any potential administrators from
the University. Other recent pay increases
that University administrators - specifi-
cally Philip Hanlon, the University's new
provost, who received a 28-percent' pay
increase over his predecessor Teresa Sulli-
van this summer - have also far exceeded
what's necessary to draw administrators
to Ann Arbor.
Coleman has been successful at raising
private funds for the University. The Mich-
igan Difference campaign that she spear-
headed raised about $3 billion between

2000 and 2008. But despite her accomplish-
ments, the regents shouldn't feel obligated
to give Coleman yearly raises. For one,
Coleman certainly isn't hurting for cash.
Since the 2005-2006 academic year, Cole-
man's salary has grown by about $60,000,
including this year's 3-pecent raise. Her
current University salary and other forms
of compensation are still impressive and
she makes additional income by serving on
the board of directors for Johnson & John-
son and Meredith Corporation. And Cole-
man's salary comes from the general fund,
which took a hit this year when the Michi-
gan legislature decreased its funding to
public universities - and one way that the
University dealt with the cut was to raise
tuition yet again.
There are more important areas to which
the University should direct its money -
namely, financial aid. As tuition continues
to inflate, a University education seems
more unlikely for many students from
low-income families. Instead of increas-
ing administrator salaries, the University
should apportion more funding for finan-
cial aid. Coleman's $16,605 salary increase
alone could fund a full tuition scholarship
for an in-state undergraduate student with
plenty left over.
The University should be more con-
cerned with helping students in need of
aid than padding its top administrators'
paychecks. Coleman should donate her sal-
ary increase back to the University to set
an example and use the money to deal with
more pressing matters.

hate to sound melodramatic, but
our form of democracy in the
United States has a serious prob-
That problem s
has to do with how
we fund campaigns
- specifically, with
loopholes regard- -
ing the disclo-
sure of the donors
behind advertise-
Much recent PATRICK
furor among jour- O'MAHEN
nalists and activ-
ists has focused
on the lack of
limitations on political spending -
exemplified by the Supreme Court's
January 2010 decision in Citizens
United vs. FEC, which struck down
spending limits of outside interest
I have problems with the sheer
amount of money spent in. American
political campaigns - I'd prefer pub-
licly financed campaigns with strict
spending limits. But the immediate
problem is with disturbing develop-
ments in campaign finance disclosure
rules, which drastically hurt the abil-
ity of the average voter to hold lead-
ers accountable.
American voters are generally
ignorant, as 1950s scholars, led by
the University's Philip Converse, dis-
covered to their surprise. Americans
generally can't even identify major
political figures like Supreme Court
justices or the Speaker of the House,
let alone explain complicated policy
ideas like health care reform.
But if citizens can't understand
public policy, how can they make
intelligent electoral decisions? In the
1990s, another University scholar,.
Arthur "Skip" Lupia, suggested that
voters could read cues in the cam-
paign environment to make decisions.
In a pair of American Political Sci-
ence Review articles published in
1992 and 1994, Lupia defended voter
intelligence. He claimed it was highly

unlikely for voters to have the time or
inclination to understand the details
of everything they might have to
cast a ballot for. To prove his point,
Lupia cited the example the several
hundred pages of information that
explained Calfornia's notoriously
complex ballots.
But he thought that if voters knew
who backed the initiatives, they
would have a good chance of making
the "right" decision by using the iden-
tity of sponsors asa cue to which way
they should vote. To test his theory,
Lupia used exit poll data to analyze
how voters voted on five different
highly technical initiatives reform-
ing California's automotive insur-
ance system in 1988. He figured that
voters, as car owners, would want
to vote against proposals backed by
the automotive insurance provid-
ers. His hunch held up - voters who
knew about the automotive insurance
industry's position tended to back the
measures opposed by the automotive
insurers and vote against measures
supported by the insurers at higher
levels than voters who didn't realize
the insurance industry was backing
certain reforms.
In short, with just a bit of informa-
tion, voters can vote for their person-
al interests, which is a central part of
making democracy work.
Of course, many unpopular groups
try to hide their identities by donat-
ing to political action committees or
advocacy organizations with generic
name (think Americans for Prosper-
ity) or ones that are flat-out mislead-
ing (coal companies funding a group
with an environmentally-friendly
sounding name).
That's where disclosure laws come
in - as long as laws force advertise-
ments to mention their sponsors and
make shadowy advocacy groups dis-
close their donors, voters can fairly
easily get information about issue
sponsorship and make their decisions
But now, corporations and other
(usually conservative) groups have

found a way to skirt the problem that
stems from using the current law.
Two sections of tax law - 501 (c) 4
and 501 (c) 6 - allow the formation
of types of non-profit organizations
to only report their donors to the IRS
and not the public. Normally, that
wouldn't be a problem. There's really
no compelling reason why the public
needs to know who's funding a group
that's trying to fix the park or sup-
porting a battered women's shelter.
Voters must know
where information
comes from.
But the problem is that many of
these groups are political. By law,
they aren't supposed to engage pri-
marily in political activity, but as
Slate magazine's Richard Hasen has
pointed out, the language defining
"primary purpose" is vague, and it
takes at least a calendar year to deter-
mine whether spending patterns
match a group's putatively non-polit-
ical purpose.
That gives groups like Karl Rove's
American Crossroads GPS the ability
to pour tens of millions of dollars into
political advertising in this election
cycle without disclosing big-pocketed
donors. Even if the Federal Elections
Commission cracks down, it will be
after the November election.
In the meantime, corporations
shield their identities and voters lose
sight of the most critical piece of
information they use to make voting
decisions - the knowledge of who is
really behind a campaign.
And with voters blinded, a cen-
tral tenant of democracy collapses -
which is a tragedy, not a melodrama.
- Patrick O'Mahen can be
reached at pomahen@umich.edu.

Aself governance experiment


Thoughts from the Daily: What took so long for the East
Stadium Boulevard bridge to finally get the repairs it
needs? Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium.

Organically Ann Arbor

The multitude of food options on campus
can be overwhelming. Dorms and restaurants
serve every cuisine imaginable. Visitors are
blown away by the variety this campus offers.
So how do we decide where and what to eat?
Most of us decide based on proximity or a
craving. Next time, though, I challenge you to
choose your meal option from local sources.
Locally grown food has countless benefits,
including the satisfaction of your palate. Some-
times, locally grown food can taste much bet-
ter. This is an obvious conclusion, since freshly
picked food is going to taste better than pro-
cessed food that has been frozen or injected
with chemicals. Do you think it's healthy that
our food is sprayed with chemicals strong
enough to keep bugs away and then we ingest
it? Though some local farms use chemicals and
fertilizers, they are less likely to do so than
industrialized farms.
Of course, it would be ideal just to eat
organic foods that don't contain any chemi-
cals. However, it's often hard to find "organic"
foods. And local farms cannot always afford to
be certified "organic." Many local farms have
organic practices, such as Goetz Farm, which
is one small supplier of food in the University's
dining halls. Goetz Farm takes measures to
help the environment by reusing rainwater and
rotating the crops to prevent land deteriora-
tion. Our local farms work harder to produce
food of a higher quality than that which is
mass-produced and chemically infused. The
result of higher-quality soil and natural sea-
sonal cycles is better-tasting food.
In the long run, it's also cheaper to eat local
and organic food. Though you think that cheap
fast food is saving you money, it's going to cost
you later. Large health care bills due to poor
nutrition and/or obesity can be avoided if you
just choose to eat healthy now. In eating at
local and organic places, you are helping your
wallet and body by avoiding future, serious ill-
nesses, which result from the high-fat content
and unnatural ingredients in foods.
The money you eventually save by lowering

your future health care costs, as well as the
money currently spent to cultivate local farms
and restaurants, will help Michigan's economy
and employment now and in the future. During
difficult times like these, it's especially impor-
tant to keep our money in Michigan's local
The next step is figuring out how to eat
local. First, if you live in the dorms or have
meal plans, try to eat at least two meals at East
Quad. Some of you might think that East Quad
is a place only for hippies and RC students -
and yes, its dining hall does serve a lot of veg-
etarian and vegan food. But more importantly,
it serves food that is from within a 150-mile
radius of Ann Arbor or the state of Michigan.
If we all just ate there more, we could support
local farms and encourage these practices to be
applied to other diningcenters on campus, also
reaping the benefits of better-tasting and more
economical food.
At Yale University, there was once only one
dining hall that served local, organic foods. Once
this food became so popular that students start-
ed to sneak in to eat at the specific dining hall,
all dining halls started serving local and organic
foods twice per day. If we students want more
local and organic foods served here, we have to
show it by supporting East Quad's practices.
If you eat out a lot, there are local and organ-
ic options for you as well. Restaurants in Ann
Arbor that currently buy locally include Arbor
Brewing Company, Blue Tractor BBQ & Brew-
ery, Grizzly Peak, Seva Restaurant, Silvio's
Organic Pizza and Zingerman's Delicatessen &
Roadhouse, along with others. There is also the
farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays,
from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., that sell seasonal food
from local farms. Try these options instead of
eating at fast food spots.
We need to be aware of our food intake and
help ourselves with local and organic food
both for our personal health and for the health
of our local economy.
Alyse Opatowski is an LSA junior.

t's always inspiring to witness
fellow Wolverines taking own-
ership of their communities.
What's even bet-
ter is when the
University trusts
students enough to
encourage the pro-
Welcome to
Stockwell Hall: a
real-time experi-
ment in self-gover-
nance. TOMMASO
When Stockwell
Hall reopened last PAVONE
year after under-_ _
going major reno-
vations, all the talk revolved around
how much money had been spent, how
beautiful the building was and how, for
the first time since the building's open-
ing in 1940, men could join women in
calling Stockwell home. But as a proud
member of the Stockwell community, I
submit that what's really worth talking
about is the Second Year Experience
SYE is a collaborative effort
between residents and University
Housing to create a self-governing
community that addresses the needs
of second-year residents, which make
up approximately three quarters of
Stockwell's population. The decisions
regarding how these needs should be
addressed, along with what types of
programs should be put in place, are
left completely to the residents. This
stems from the common-sense phi-
losophy that nobody knows second-
year students better than - well
- second-year students. But with
such a strong focus on building inclu-
sive communities, there was also a
realization that the traditional hall-
council model needed revisiting.
Enter SYE.
SYE's new model of self-gov-
ernance, which began this year,
includes five committees: a program-
ming board, an outreach committee,
an academic development committee,

a civic engagement committee and
MOSAIC, SYE's multicultural coun-
cil. With the exception of the elected
members of the programming board,
involvement on all committees is vol-
unteer-based. Each committee has
its own mission and defines its own
structure. For example, the academic
development committee connects
second-year students with academic
resources to help them be success-
ful, whereas the civic engagement
committee provides an opportunity
for community service and political
activism. This allows residents to
better match their interests with the
goals of a specific committee.
Committees often cooperate with
one another on programs. The pro-
gramming board helps to coordinate
and improve these activities while
simultaneously ensuring their success
by connecting them with the neces-
sary funds. So far, this more decentral-
ized and cooperative structure seems
to have induced greater participation
among Stockwell's residents.
It's too early to completely assess
the merits of the new SYE model.
Nevertheless, all signs seem to point
in the right direction. The program-
ming board just drafted and ratified
a constitution and all five commit-
tees will be putting on a diverse set of
programs over the upcoming weeks.
And, most importantly, SYE is help-
ing the University better understand
the needs of second-year students.
Consider, for example, a recent
survey conducted by SYE's academic
development committee. The survey
garnered approximately a 40-per-
cent participation rate out of Stock-
well's 400 residents - an impressive
amount for any such endeavor. More
importantly, it found that the needs
of Stockwell's residents differ from
those traditionally found in academic
research concerning second-year stu-
dents. Namely, Stockwell's residents
seem most concerned about finding
internships, compiling a resume and
acquiring interview skills. Converse-

ly, much of the academic literature
suggests that selecting a major should
be of highest salience - yet Stockwell
residents seem relatively confident
that they will be able to handle the
task. These results are being com-
bined with assessment reports for
every SYE program and will likely
prove to be an invaluable resource for
years to come.
SYE program
benefits second-
year students. 0
This is a clear example of how a
student-run and self-governing com-
munity is helping the University learn
more about its students and their
needs. While only time will tell if
SYE is a model that deserves expan-
sion, at least it's getting a chance to
prove its value. For that, University
Housing deserves much praise - it
has taken a hands-off stance from the
very beginning, conveyed a sense of
trust in residents' abilities and active-
ly encouraged self-authorship. It has
recognized that our residence com-
munities should be kept malleable so
that residents can ultimately shape
the environment in which they live
and interact with one another. And, so
far, it seems to be working.
Perhaps a couple of years from
now the SYE model will have become
the new paradigm. I surely hope
that's the case. In the meantime, as I
return to my role as resident advisor
in Stockwell, I'm very much enjoy-
ing letting residents take the driver's
seat. It certainly makes my job easier,
and what's more, they seem a whole
lot happier for it.
- Tommaso Pavone can be
reached at tpavone@umich.edu.

Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis,
Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin, Asa Smith, Laura Veith


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