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September 06, 2011 - Image 28

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-06

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2C - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NEW STUDENT EDITION

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

SNYDER CONTROVERSY

NICOLE MILLER AND BRIAN KOZIARA I
Remain respectful of Rick

March 16, 2011 - Who would
have thought that a governor
elected with such a mandate
to revitalize our state and keep
young people in Michigan would
become a focal point for student
anger when he was named the
University's Spring 2011 Com-
mencement speaker earlier this
week? Why would students be so
upset at the idea of such a promi-
nent and successful University
alum coming to address our grad-
uating seniors? We believe that
such anger at the simple decision
to invite the governor of Michi-
gan to commencement is uncalled
for and unbecoming of an open-
minded University where dif-
fering thoughts and viewpoints
can be expressed and exchanged
freely.
Many of those who are unhap-
py with the pick oppose Republi-
can Gov. Rick Snyder's selection
on the basis that Snyder has
proposed cutting state funding
to our own University. But this
is truly nothing new. The Uni-
versity's website explains that
higher education funding has
been cut by every administration
since the 1960s. Over the last nine
years - Democratic Gov. Jennifer
Granholm's two terms as gov-
ernor - state funding declined
by 13 percent. Snyder's proposed
cut of 15 percent is comparable
and fair given the current fiscal
realities that our state is facing.
Some hold the additional mis-
conception that the state money
the University receives susfains it
and constitutes a source of fund-
ing we couldn't survive without.
But in reality, Snyder's proposed
cut of 15 percent in current state
funding to the University is much

smaller than it sounds. Because
state support makes up only 20
percent of the University's gen-
eral fund - and the general fund
makes up just 27.8 percent of the
University's total budget - in
reality, the proposed cut is less
than 1 percent (0.834 percent to
be exact) of the University's over-
all budget. Our University has
done well and can continue to
flourish without relying on this
state funding. This cut can be
managed. And it will have to be.
Anyone who is willing to take
an honest look at our state's bud-
get will see that Michigan simply
cannot continue spending at the
current levels. The politically
expedient path taken by Snyder's
predecessor was to back' down
from tough spending cuts for fear
of losing political support. Snyder
inherited a real structural deficit
that cannot be repaired without
far-reaching structural changes.
Luckily for us, he has risen to
the challenge of proposing long-
term solutions and has the cour-
age to move forward, even with
the knowledge that his ideas will
make him no friends. People can
complain all they want, but we
have already seen that the alter-
native - taxing the same, shrink-
ing tax base and driving real jobs
away from our state - hasn't
worked.
What's more, inviting newly
elected governors - both Repub-
licans and Democrats alike - to
address graduates at commence-
ment is a longstanding Univer-
sity tradition, going all the way
back to Republican Gov. William
Milliken in the 1980s. Those
who wish to protest the decision
would be well served to place per-

sonal politics aside, as many con-
servatives on campus did last year
with President Barack Obama
as the commencement speaker.
Where was all the hype and hys-
teria then?
In spite of some students' irre-
sponsible and immature protest
over petty political differences
with Snyder, it's highly unlikely
that the University's Board of
Regents will make any decision
other than to approve Snyder as
speaker at their meeting today.
He is our governor, whether the
students at the University like it
or not, and has taken on the task
of making hard choices to protect
our state's financial and economic
future. He should be applauded
for having the guts to make such
unpopular but necessary deci-
sions. Snyder doesn't deserve to
be maligned or ridiculed on Face-
book with crudely photoshopped
red X's through his face. Such
petty and degrading behavior
from University students shows a
lack of class and a lack of respect
for an alum holding three degrees
from the University - a loyal
alumwho is seen courtside at bas-
ketball games, who is a resident
of Ann Arbor and who has sacri-
ficed opportunities in the private
sector to serve us as governor.
Whether you agree with his poli-
cies or not, Snyder has shown true
leadership and achieved success
both in politics and in the private
sector. Let's not harangue him for
that success, but instead recog-
nize it, respect it and celebrate it
this spring at commencement.
Nicole Miller and Brian Koziara,
of the College Republicans,
are both LSAsjuniors.

MARCH 13, 2011
The Rick choice
t was going to be hard to find a commencement speaker to follow the presi-
dent of the United States. Regardless of personal political views, having Presi-
dent Barack Obama address the University's graduating class last spring was
a special honor. But since University President Mary Sue Coleman couldn't bring
the leader of the nation back to the Big House, it's no surprise that she would ask
the leader of the state: newly inaugurated Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

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In her eight years at the University, Coleman has
often invited major political figures to speak at com-
mencement, including Obama, former Democratic
Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former President Bill
Clinton in 2007. As the chief executive of the state,
Snyder is an obvious choice to help usher the class
of 2011 into life after college. He will speak from a
unique perspective as both a businessman and a pol-
itician. But he will also speak as someone who once
sat where the class of 2011 will be sitting, since he's
an alum who received his Bachelor in General Stud-
ies, Masters of Business Administration and Juris
Doctorate from the University.
But what makes Snyder unique is that he is a
different kind of politician. Unlike most elected
officials, he went straight from his CEO position
at venture capital firm Ardesta, LLC to Lansing.
Instead of spending years on the campaign trail
delivering persuasive speeches, Snyder promptly
made the decision to run and was elected in one year.
So it wouldn't be surprising if instead of delivering
a typical political speech, Snyder spoke in a more
business-oriented tone.
It will probably be a good speech. Snyder co-
founded and ran a venture capital firm and became
the state's governor with virtually no political expe-
rience. Clearly, Snyder knows how to command all

types of environments, and will be able to utilize
those skills when he enters the Big House on April 30.
However, the irony of this commencement speak-
er decision cannot be overlooked. Snyder has fre-
quently discussed the importance of education for
the state's future. But when it came time to allocate
funding in the budget he announced on Feb. 17, that
message got lost in the translation, as his proposal
included a 15 percent cut to higher education fund-
ing. It's difficult to appreciate a commencement
speaker who wants to reduce funding for the state's
public universities by such a large amount. While
Snyder most likely won't focus on that unfortunate
reality for University students, it will undoubtedly
be on the minds of non-graduates at the ceremony.
How can Snyder motivate the class of 2011 when the
class of 2015 will enter the University with likely
raised tuition costs and potentially fewer resources
because of his budget?
Thus far, a lot of responses to the commencement
speaker announcement have been less than enthu-
siastic. Many students are upset about Snyder being
invited. There are four Facebook groups protesting
the decision. There is also a UPetition asking the
University to reconsider Snyder for commencement
speaker that had more than 2800 signatures as of
midnight last night. And it's difficult to blame them.
MARCH 16, 2011
make deductions for supporting their alma mater.
Inviting Snyder to deliver the commencement
address tacitly endorses his gutting of the Universi-
ty's budget and his threats to University donations,
all while bestowing upon him an honorary degree.
Irrespective of students' wishes, the University will
convey to our governor that we supporthis plan, one
that threatens the very fabric of our University and
discourages successful alumni from donating.
Hope isn't lost, though. Students opposed to
Snyder's budget "fix" should pressure the Univer-
sity's Board of Regents to reject Snyder's invitation
to speak at Spring Commencement. We shouldn't
honor someone whose proposal decreases access to
education while privileging incarceration. Rather,
we should send a message of concern to the gover-
nor, noting that we're discouraged by his plans that
threaten Michigan's future.
Zachary Goldsmith
LSA Senior

LOVING THE NEW STUDENT E DITION?
Come to one of The Michigan Daily's mass meetings at 7:30 p.m. on
Sept. 12,13,18 or 20 at 420 Maynard St.
f X11 _ .I > c domand _p. tm.c_ ts ._---i

Attend today's Snyder protest
in the Diag
TO THE DAILY:
It saddens me to see University President Mary
Sue Coleman's announcement that Republican Gov.
Rick Snyder will deliver an address at Spring Com-
mencement, especially given Snyder's recent policy
initiatives that jeopardize the University's future.
The cut of $100 million to the University's budget
might seem acceptable in a time of fiscal crisis, but
consider that the budget for the Michigan Depart-
ment of Corrections will now dwarf the higher edu-
cation budget - spending $0.79 on education for
every $1 spent on corrections.
Further, Snyder wishes to eliminate personal
tax deductions for those wishing to donate to pub-
lic universities; those making more than $75,000
($150,000 per couple) would no longer be able to

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