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4A - Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

4A - Thursday, March 22, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Gi idtigan 4:at401
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
ASHLEY GRIESSHAMMER
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ANDREW WEINER JOSH HEALY
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING 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.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
A diverse education
Arizona's policy hinders students' progress
merican citizens come from a wide variety of backgrounds,
and education about different cultures works toward a
more understanding and tolerant populace. However, the
recent ban of young adult author Matt de la Pena's novel "Mexican
WhiteBoy" from Mexican-American studies classes in high schools
in Tucson, Arizona prevents students from gaining knowledge and
appreciation of other cultures. Courses including ethnic studies
should be taught everywhere in the United States as cultural educa-
tion develops cognizance and appreciation.

Wall Street or Wehrmacht?

Three years ago, I began my
career in the Ross School of
Business, aiming to become
a successful
financier like
many others that
graduated from
the fine institu-
tion. After read-
ing Greg Smith's
op-ed piece in
The New York
Times last week, JASON
"Why I Am PANG JAO
Leaving Gold- _
man Sachs," I
gained some new perspectives.
Picture the following: You are
an unemployed, 21-year-old living
in Berlin in 1938. Your leader - the
man who promised to "repudiate
the versailles treaty, strengthen
the economy and provide jobs" -
requested your devotion and ser-
vice to the Wehrmacht just years
after the world's worst economic
recession. Your comrades are all
in your age group and came from
the same background: poverty, ill-
ness and a world devoid of hope
and happiness. Your job is simple:
For every bomb you drop from your
aircraft at the target sites you will
receive 1,000 Reichsmarks, which
is about the average nine-month
salary. In addition, you will receive
an additional 20,000 Reichsmarks
each year if your performance is
in the top fifth percentile of your
comrades. You know deep down
that what you are doing will result
in death and tragedy, but all of your
comrades are performing their
tasks diligently and competitively,
and you know that if you don't carry
out your mission, your position in
the Wehrmacht will be effectively
terminated. You and your family
will live a life in peace and prosper-
ity if you "just don't think too much
and do it."

Tempting? Now imagine all you
have to do to make, say, $50,000,
instead of dropping a bomb, is to
convince a client to buy a product
called a Collateralized Debt Obliga-
tion Cubed. You are not given infor-
mation about what it does, just that
it makes money and has some risks
involved that your clients should not
trouble themselves to understand.
Do you see how the lines can get
blurry in that type of culture? Greg
Smith, a former executive director at
Goldman Sachs, described this type
of toxic environment that pervades
the bank. In his controversial op-ed
in The Times, Smith explained his
reasons for quitting Goldman Sachs.
"To put the problem in the simplest
terms, the interests of the client
continue to be sidelined in the way
the firm operates and thinks about
making money," he said. Smith said
he could no longer accept the type
of environment that teaches junior
analysts that it's all right to call
their clients "muppets" and incen-
tivizes them solely on how much
they can make for the bank.
The deterioration of corporate
culture and personal integrity is not
an unaccustomed matter on Wall
Street. In the book "The Big Short:
Inside the Doomsday Machine,"
author Michael Lewis describes
the many questionable things that
investment bankers and traders
did prior to the 2008 financial cri-
sis, including creating and selling
unfathomable, and sometimes toxic,
financial products, using monetary
incentives to control rating agencies
and blatantly disregarding clients'
interests.
Get this. These arguably immoral
acts may appear to make the banks
money, but without their custom-
ers' trust and future business, these
bankers simply end up screwing
their shareholders, other firms
and themselves. A recent example

involves Bankers Trust, the star
quarterback of commercial banks
20 years ago. Though the bank had
stellar performance and was the
go-to bank at the time, people began
to uncover evidence that the bank-
ers were misleading their clients
by selling complex and overly risky
products. The executives at the
bank even coined the term "R.O.F.,"
which stands for rip-off factor. Soon
the company's profit started to dip.
In 1998, Bankers Trust pleaded
guilty to defrauding the State of
New York. Deutsche Bank later
acquired it.
The Goldman
op-ed changed
my perspective.
I wrote this article not to criti-
cize the banks for their past but
to address what they can change
now and in the future. Don't get
me wrong; investment banks are
essential for our economy. Without
them, there would be no one to take
care of financial transactions that
enable you to get mortgages and stu-
dent loans at reasonable rates, have
decent retirement plans or open
small businesses. But banks must
stop reinforcing this type of mis-
managed culture whereby people
narrow-mindedly focus on profit
numbers and ignore their clients'
interest. The Nazis stood on the
wrong side of history because they
couldn't see the forest through the
trees, but there is still much hope
for our financial system.
- Jason Pang Jao can be
reached at pangjao@umich.edu.

The ban on Mexican-American studies
coursesoriginatesfroma2010Arizonalawthat
forbids classes that "are designed for students
of one ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidar-
ity instead of treating pupils as individuals"
for these "advocate overthrowing the govern-
ment," the New York Times reported March 19.
Arizona has used this law to justify the ban of
Mexican-American studies courses "that are
perceived as anti-white." Though "Mexican
WhiteBoy" focuses on the main character's
desire to join his school's baseball team, state
officials accused the novel of "promoting racial
resentment." Many students in Arizona are
Latino - in Tucson's school district alone, the
number reaches 60 percent. According to the
2010 census, 29.6 percent of Arizona residents
and 16.3 percent of Americans have Hispanic or
Latino origins. The problem goes beyond Mex-
ican-American studies courses and is related
to the stance of the state's Republican majority
regarding immigration. Both sides participate
in this politically charged debate - in 2006,
labor activist Dolores Huerta gave a speech on
immigration at Tucson High School and said
that "Republicans hate Latinos," sparking a
backlash from the state education superinten-
dent and Republican lawmakers in the state.
Recent evidence shows that courses like
the ones at Tucson High School are actually

beneficial for students. An audit of the Mexi-
can-American studies program showed that
students who took courses in the program had
a greater likelihood of attending college and
that the classes worked to level disparities in
academic performance among students, The
Times reported. Any improvement in Ameri-
can education is a step in the right direction.
As of 2009, only three in four American high
school students was expected to graduate in
four years. Since the Mexican-American stud-
ies courses increase students' chances of going
to college, banning these courses is counter-
intuitive and could be detrimental to efforts to
improve education in America.
Tucson officials have also banned "text-
books, PowerPoint presentations, teachers'
college theses, exam prompts, poems and lyrics
from hip-hop songs" according to The Times.
School administrators confiscated hundreds
of copies of the banned books from classrooms
on pain of a $15 million penalty from the state.
This outrageous penalty is unfair to Tucson
schools and to the students.
Lawmakers need to repeal the 2010 Ari-
zona law, and the banned books ought to be
returned. In order to become informed and
well-rounded citizens, high-school students
need a diverse education appreciative of
other cultures.

s

SEND LETTERS TO TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

Attacks on Hashwi create hostility
TO THE DAILY:
The Defend Affirmative Action Party condemns the
recent anonymous slander campaign against Central
Student Government representative and vice presiden-
tial candidate Omar Hashwi. This attack has a rac-
ist tone and is aimed at making a serious discussion
of the issues of the Middle East impossible. Attacks
of this kind create a hostile environment for all Arab
and Muslim students on the campus. All students,
CSG candidates and representatives who care about

academic freedom and maintaining a diverse student
body should condemn the demagogy, hysteria and
falsehood of these attacks on Omar Hashwi. Omar is
being attacked for defending the Palestinian right to
self-determination and criticizing the policies of the
Israeli government.
Students who agree with Omar and students who
defend the policies of the Israeli government must
have a right to voice their views on campus without
being the victims of demagogic attacks.
Kate Stenvig
Defend Affirmative Action Party Chair

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Laura Argintar, Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne
Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner
SHREYA SINGH AND ETHAN HAHN
We want you(MICH)

CONTRIBUTE TO THE COVERSATION
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints. Letters should be fewer
than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words. Both must include the writer's full
name and University affiliation. Send submissions to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
Detroi~t-'s disappointing mayor

Today, students across campus continue to
select their representatives for student govern-
ment for next year. It's no small wonder that so
many students to whom we have reached out
express common concerns about their student
government.Whetherthey'retired ofunrealis-
tic goals for campus initiatives, empty promis-
es or idealistic grandstanding, students across
campus will make their voices heard today.
And we've heard them say one thing loud and
clear: University students want their student
government to be a student government.
Our party, youMICH, has been dedicated
since day one to ensuring that Central Student
Government will work toward tangible goals to
improve campus life. With our executive slate
nomination of Shreya Singh and Ethan Hahn,
youMICH will provide the ideas, responsive-
ness and results that have been missing from
CSG. That's why we decidedto run for CSG
- to once again make student government all
about you.
Throughout our campaign, we've focused
on three major areas of the University expe-
rience where we can look after the needs of
students, providing positive action and real
results. our focus on academics - particu-
larly financial aid - centers on making the
University more affordable for students from
all walks of life. Rather than wasting time
passing pointless and doomed-to-fail reso-
lutions demanding lower tuition, youMICH
will work to streamline financial aid and
increase student awareness of the financial
aid process and resources available at the
University. We'll work to standardize proce-
dures across departments and increase the
number of career fairs and other employ-
ment-directed opportunities. And we'll work
to increase transparency and communication
between students and the University admin-
istration, advocating for more fireside chats
and town hall-style events.
Our focus on student organizations will
help campus groups optimize their efforts.
We'll continue Singh's streamlining of the
rolling funding process, making it more acces-
sible than ever before, especially for groups in
smaller colleges. We'll move forward with an
easy-to-use, accessible, all-campus calendar
for student organization events. We'll work
to foster cross-participation and coordination

among student groups on campus, particu-
larly for CSG events. Finally, we'll create more
large-scale events for student organizations,
like Festifall, to gain publicity around campus.
Our focus on the campus environment is
equally focused on addressing student needs
and concerns. One of our ideas, RateMyLand-
lord, an online discussion forum for off-cam-
pus housing, has gained so much traction that
several of our competitors have integrated it
into their platforms. Providing such a service
to students is an example of a common need
that can be addressed in a tangible way by CSG.
Similarly, focusing on relations among stu-
dents, the University's Department of Public
Safety and the Ann Arbor Police Department -
particularly relations in the Greek community
- and encouraging student engagement, dia-
logue and understanding of this relationship.
Student rights and common goals between all
parties involved can make our social environ-
ment on campus more enjoyable for so many
students. We'll improve our campus infra-
structure and transportation systems and con-
tinue CSG's legacy of bringing fantastic events
to campus.
Over the past few weeks, we've received
countless suggestions. We've been over-
whelmed by the outpouring of support from
student leaders across campus who are look-
ing for a pragmatic, realistic and results-driv-
en CSG executive - proof that our platform
resonates with the University community.
And while we've been flattered by our oppo-
nents adopting several of our key issues into
their platforms, we're excited that we've been
a catalyst in a campus-wide discussion about
the need to refocus CSG on real student needs
and concerns. We're glad that this election has
become all about you.
We've been honored to have so many of you
already pledge your support for our movement,
and for that, we thank you. As elections wind
down, we ask for your vote for our cause to
return student government back to its students,
and to make CSG an effective, pragmatic stu-
dent government once again.
Shreya Singh is the youMICH candidate running
for Central Student Government president. Ethan
Hahn is the youMICH candidate running for
Central Student Government vice-president.

As the 2008 presidential cam-
paign's rhetoric of hope
and change wound down,
another election began ina city with
very little hope
and in great need
of change. The
incompetent and
corrupt Detroit
Mayor Kwame
Kilpatrick was
preparing to
resign, the city's
finances were a MATTHEW
mess and resi- ZABKA
dents were leav-
ing the city at an
unprecedented rate.
Detroit Mayor David Bing's elec-
tion in 2009 brought with it pros-
pects of a turn-around in Detroit, but
his term has so far been a disappoint-
ment, and Bing's divisive rhetoric is
not helping the city.
Many saw Bing's election as a
fresh start, since the former Pistons
basketball star seemed to genuinely
care about Detroit. As other firms
were leaving Detroit, Bing founded
Bing Steel in 1980. At the time of his
election, Bing Steel had become the
Bing Group, an apparently success-
ful auto supplier, based in Detroit's
North End Neighborhood.
While this entrepreneurial
experience suggested that Bing
was well poised to take bold action,
Bing had actually left his former
company's finances a mess. Shortly
after he was sworn in as mayor, the
Bing Group laid off its workers and
was sold.
Bing's company's failure fore-
shadowed his term as mayor. He
and the Detroit City Council have
still not enacted real changes to put
the city's finances on solid footing.
For example, one of Bing's big-

gest proposals is the Detroit Works
project. This program is supposed
to relocate residents and consoli-
date city services to viable parts of
Detroit, but, after three years, no
major action has been taken.
Even the city's bookkeeping has
not improved. In January, Detroit
canceled several neighborhood
improvement programs after feder-
al officials found that the city didn't
have $53 million to spend on hous-
ing and development, but rather a
$53 million debt.
Without bold action, Detroit will
run out of money this spring. Since
a Detroit bankruptcy would affect
Michigan's credit rating, Republican
Gov. Rick Snyder assembled a finan-
cial review team that, over the past
several months, has advised Detroit's
government regarding its finances. It
has confirmed thatthe main driver of
Detroit's deficits is union contracts
that the city cannot afford.
Employee benefits eat up half
of the city's general fund. Health
care costs have risen by more than
60 percent since 2008, and the city
has a $5-billion liability for retiree
health benefits. This results in the
city using a larger proportion of its
budget each year for retirees who
no longer provide services to the
city. While Bing and the City Coun-
cil have enacted small cuts by laying
off some workers, without union
concessions for these rising legacy
costs, Detroit cannot balance its
budget. Detroit could lay off every
one of its employees and still have a
budget problem.
This is why last week, Snyder pro-
posed a consent agreement, which
would put a committee in charge
of Detroit's finances. The commit-
tee would work as an emergency
financial manager and oversee the

restructuring of Detroit's financ-
es and operations. As I've written
in a previous column, emergency
financial managers have the power
to amend union contracts to fix
Detroit's legacy costs. While this
committee would not be elected, the
alternative is bankruptcy, where a
judge - also not elected - would fix
Detroit's finances.
Bing and Snyder
must work
together for the
city and state.
Bing was not happy with Snyder's
proposal, calling the governor a
"liar" and "disingenuous." This rhet-
oric does not help Detroit, but Bing
is up for re-election next year, and
blaming Detroit's problems on out-
siders may be his attempt to pander
to voters.
Name calling shouldn't impress
voters, but working with the gov-
ernor to fix Detroit's finances will
give Bing a record on which to base
his re-election.
Bing has said, "I won't work
for the governor. I won't work for
that financial team of nine people.
I work for the people of the city of
Detroit because they voted me in to
do this."
He's right, but Bing was elected
three years ago, and Detroit expects
progress.
- Matthew Zabka can be reached
at mzbka@umich.edu. Follow him
on Twitter at gMatthewZabka.

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