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November 18, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-18

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4A - Monday, November 18, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C l e Iicl igan wily

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Success in life requires a sensibility about the
World and one's place in it that the humanities
seek to cultivate, as well as an understanding of
economic and societal context that the social
sciences provide."
- University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and Stanford University President John L. Hennessy
wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Nov. 14 defending the importance of a liberal arts education.


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.
Uprooted without engagement
University administration shouldn't suppress staff input
University administration's plans to consolidate some support ser-
vices drew ire from members of the Senate Advisory Commit-
tee for University Affairs last week. As part of the University's
Administrative Services Transformation project, the University plans on
bringing together human resource and financial services into one main
center at the University. While University officials maintain that no firings
will occur as part of the planned transition, the administration's disregard
for faculty involvement in the project raises red flags.

Under the administration's plan, the new
Shared Services Center will move human
resources and financial staffs from indi-
vidual departments into one centralized
location. According to MLive, these posi-
tions work in "accounting, billing, financial
accounts for units, expense reimbursement,
benefit administration, data management,
and employee time tracking." In a letter
written to University President Mary Sue
Coleman on behalf of the Department of
History, faculty members argue that moving
the department's financial administrators
could hinder the department's productivity:
"(AST's) short-sighted focus on task efficien-
cy will undermine the long-term productivity
that emerges from the daily personal interac-
tions between staff, students, and faculty."
While it's clear that the University's plan to
integrate these services into one building is an
attempt to efficiently cut costs through stream-
lined services, the purported financial benefits
of centralizing services appears to be, at the
very least, questionable. Initially, AST's project
was intended to save the University $17 million,
but now is "expected to be just $5 million in
four years." Plans similar to the consolidation
project have had mixed results at other uni-
versities, such as the University of California,

Berkeley; Yale University; and the University of
Texas system. At Texas, for instance, the con-
sultingfirm that devised the university's shared
services program cost the UT system nearly $1
million, angering staff within the Texas State
Employees Union, which argued that the con-
sultants based their restructuring recommen-
dations based on "undisclosed research."
Department heads were notified of this
change in September with the caveat that they
not discuss it with faculty and staff. Kathleen
Canning, the chair of the Department of His-
tory, said the gag was unprecedented. "It's a
bit confusing when you're a public university
professor and you're told you're not allowed
to speak (about the changes)." The limitations
on deans and department heads only adds to
growing concern of the University's lack of
While streamlining services are no strang-
ers to universities, the move to both consoli-
date staff members and suppress the voice of
their respective departments is unprecedented.
With questionable benefits and poor methods
employed to reach its decision, the administra-
tion appears to have handed out a top-down
order without regarding its employees. The
University should not uproot its employees
without, at the very least, engaging them.

avoid th
table: t
and int
some of1
gest an
are p
to recr
the Univ
player in
choices f
my form
and flexil
typical st
than peo
doing mu
a ton ofo
Stik, a s
in down

Getting your start at a startup
first semester comes office feel. Long desks that engender basis and delegate tasks or walk me
o a close, it's becoming conversation replaced cubicles. Stark through how to do them. While they
sore and more difficult to white walls were swapped with were patient and answered questions
e inevi abstract wallpaper and whiteboard when I had them, there were many
he job paint. Brightly colored pod chairs things Ihad to figure out on my own.
ernship filled communal spaces that over- However, this lack of training and
As we looked Comerica Park. A ping-pong structure can be seen as a positive,
d our table was on the second floor. There as it forces young people to learn on
for the wasn't a dress code - many M@ their feet and pave their way.
th time, dison tenants moved with urgency in "Startups are a great way to get
the big- jeans and t-shirts. comfortable operating in the context
d best While I found the innovativeness of uncertainty, ambiguity and risk,"
es and SARA of the office landscape enthusing, said Labenz.
ions MOROSI it was the people that were most There are now programs sprout-
repping inspiring. I quickly determined that ing up for young professionals look-
uit at dreamers run startups. The youthful ing to gain experience at a startup,
ersify. But there's another peopleI worked with see the value in one of the most notable being Ven-
the fight for young talent: pursuing an idea, and because of this, ture for America. VFA funnels recent
they are motivated, hardworking and college graduates to startups in areas
ups have a number of passionate. They showed up early and of the country experiencing growth
es relative to other common stayed late, and did so because they through innovation, with the goal
or college grads," Nathan wanted to. "Important is the oppor- that these graduates "will become
a startup co-founder and tunitytoworkverycloselywithhigh- socialized and mobilized as entre-
er boss, explained. "Most performing people," Labenz said. "At preneurs moving forward." For stu-
it in my mind is the breadth a startup, you should be working dents considering an internship or
bility of the experience. At a with outstanding people - or you job with a startup in Detroit, consult-
artup, there are more jobs should go ing Detroit Venture
ple, so everybody ends up elsewhere." Partners is another
ltiple things. This gives you At the Entre reneurshi great place to start
pportunity to learn several M@dison, E prp My crash course
in a hands-on fashion." the office in entrepreneurship
summer I interned with scene 'and wasn't safe. I loved
tartup company stationed high energy that's exactly why the unpredictability
town Detroit that puts combines of it, of having only
mouth referrals online via to shape an I love it. a rough idea of what
s such as Facebook and environment the day had in store
to advance the business- that stimu- as I drove down


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Eric
Ferguson, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Adrienne Roberts,
Paul Sherman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Share government, not services

es of local professionals and small
I was confident with my deci-
sion to pursue an internship with a
startup versus a big-name business,
but stepping foot in the M@dison
Building - Detroit's startup hub -
further solidified it. Over the course
of the four months I was with Stik,
I found the entrepreneurial spirit
I experienced on a daily basis to be
an unmatched source of encourage-
ment moving forward both profes-
sionally and personally.
I was instantly drawn to the start-
up scene; I loved the non-traditional

lates pro-
ductivity, which is important when
having a haphazard set of responsi-
bilities. Being part of a smallbusiness
means dappling in many areas of the
company and both your successes
and mistakes have a direct impact. I
found this to be intimidating initial-
ly, which points to what can be seen
as a disadvantage to working with a
startup versus a large corporation.
. Oftentimes, the best.way to learn
is through observation, but start-
ing a business from the group up
meant my colleagues didn't have the
time to sit down with me on a daily

I-94. But the "uncer-
tainty, ambiguity and risk" that
Labenz mentioned are exactly what
led to high-value experience that
I could not have found elsewhere.
"For all the value of a college educa-
tion, the available paths are gener-
ally quite safe and clear," he told me.
"Banks and consulting firms provide
a college-like level of comfort and
certainty, but they don't prepare you
to strike out on your own and accom-
plish something great."
-Sara Morosi can be reached
at smorosi@umich.edu.

Economic inequality affects all

As presidents of the Graduate Employees
Organization and the Lecturers' Employee
Organization, we must express our extreme
concern regarding the Administration Ser-
vices \Transformation Project, euphemis-
tically referred to as a "shared services"
model. This model means that University
employees in a wide range of financial and
human resources positions are currently
being required to reapply for new and fewer
redesigned positions with no guarantee of
rehire. Whether at this stage of the projec-
tor the next, some staff members will lose
their jobs and others will be moved to a dif-
ferent employment unit. Reapplication is a
degrading and fear-producing experience
for workers.
Years ago, LEO fought against a similar
process that kept lecturers in a perpetual
state of being new employees by requiring
them to reapply on a yearly basis. This is not
good for employees or the colleagues who
rely on them. Uncertainty in one's employ-
ment leads to anxiety in the workplace, loss
of employee loyalty and increased tension
between laborers and their supervisors. The
University is promoting this as a cost-saving
measure, but the estimates of just how much
these drastic measures will save is continu-
ally dropping according to revisions. Based
on the corporate model of downsizing, this
"cost-saving measure" is a step toward the
dehumanization of University employees
and our working environment.
In addition, the top-down and secre-
tive nature of the Administrative Services
Transformation Project flies in the face of
shared governance, a cornerstone of aca-
demia. As academics, GEO and LEO mem-
bers are committed to the concept of shared
governance as an essential aspect of the
University. The designers of ATS did not

fully engage faculty in the planning stages,
and thus failed to understand that central-
izing Information Technology Services
and accounting services would cause utter
havoc, especially in departments and col-
leges with multi-million dollar grant pro-
grams, with large numbers of graduate
students employed as research assistants.
Decreased efficiency and productivity has
been the result of this model when tried
elsewhere, including the University of Cali-
fornia, Berkeley.
GEO and LEO, as unions of laborers,
stand in solidarity with the non-organized
staff members who are being most affected
by the current "shared services" reduction
in force. We are committed to fair employ-
ment practices for all. We are opposed to
the top-down management style of corpora-
tions becoming the operational style of our
We call for full disclosure of the long-
term shared services plan and for the inclu-
sion of faculty in all future planning of the
ADT Project. As committed members of this
educational institution, we stand with our
academic and staff sisters and brothers. We
all have a stake in keeping the University a
humane workplace, where workers and aca-
demics are a respected part of our educa-
tional community.
Representatives of our unions will be
participating in ongoing discussions with
other faculty and staff with a view to ensure
that our University does not pursue restruc-
turing fads, originating in the for-profit
corporate sector, that are at odds with our
public mission and our tradition of shared
Bonnie Halloran is the president of LEO
and Liz Rodrigues is the president of GEO.

ast week I had the oppor-
tunity to interview Jacques
Mistral, a French economist
with extensive
private and pub-
lic sector expe-
rience who also
happens to be a
visiting profes-
sor at the Uni-
versity this fall.
I started with a LISSA
simple question: KRYSKA '
Why should stu-
dents care about
economic inequality?
It's a question that I ask myself
every time I write this column,
and while I have my own reasons
for caring, I think the reasons that
Mistral presented do an excellent
job of summing it up. His response
not only encompassed the moral.
implications of inequality, but also
provided economic, social and
political reasons that we should
care about as well.
The moral questions are the most
obvious ones. Religion plays a role in
many people's moral compasses, and
include mandates to care for the less
fortunate among us. Conversations
about inequality also tend to include
discussions of work ethic, individual
responsibility and fairness. Person-
ally, I think it's a moral imperative to
work toward a less unequal society;
but the moral question is something
that everyone has to examine and
decide for themselves. Mistral feels
that it's about finding the right bal-
ance of liberty and equality.
There are also more concrete rea-
sons why we should be concerned
about rising inequality. On the eco-
nomic side, Mistral noted that the
common belief that inequality is the
"price to pay" for an efficient econ-
omy doesn't actually seem to hold.
He pointed out the growing body of
evidence showing that more equal

societies are also more
cally successful. The Sc
countries are clear ex
this, as well as develo
tries like Korea and Tai)
economies have seen mi
than their more uneq
terparts in Latin Amer
paper put out by the In
Monetary Fund is one r
lication that supports th
research showed that l
of inequality led to longe
sustainable periods of gr
Socially, Mistral argu
most efficient social pro:
work would also be thi
the largest constituency.
sized health care as a k
the question of inequality
distributions of health ca
bring up difficult moral
but also often
lead to higher
costs. In effect, ,
there are many SoC
reasons to
push for more e
equal access to
In terms
of politics,
Mistral is not the first
express concerns about h
inequality compromising
"Money is not a p
wealth is not free si
argued, contrary to the
of the U.S. Supreme Co
ruled in Citizens United
spending is, in fact, a fc
speech. Therefore, theyr
pendent spending canno
in elections. The resultsw
2012 presidential andc
nal races were the most
in our nation's history,
reporting that $4.2 billio
raised by Nov. 5, 2012.1
effects of money in o
are viewed by many Eu

economi- "clearly anti-democratic," Mistral
andinavian noted.
amples of I have to agree that it's hard to
ping coun- see multi-million dollar donations
wan whose supporting candidates and their
ore success campaigns as anything other than
iual coun- a fast track to corruptio'n. And with
ica. A 2011 higher inequality, the wealthiest
ternational few gain a much larger say in poli-
ecent pub- tics at the expense of the rest of the
is idea; its population.
ower levels With economic, social and politi-
r and more cal reasons to decrease inequality,
owth. the question then becomes: What
ed that the can I do about it? Unfortunately,
tection net- to really decrease the inequality in
e one with America will require large-scale
He empha- changes, which students don't get
ey issue in much say in aside from how we
-unequal cast our ballots. Mistral's advice:
ire not only Don't forget to become an educated
questions, citizen during your college years.
Gaining expertise
and knowledge in
M ore equal technical and lib-
eral arts fields is
ieties are more important, but it's
also important to
!COnom1Cally know and under-
stand what's going
successful. onin the world.
University stu-
dents are going
person to to go on to do great things, and
igh levels of eventually, we're all going to face
democracy. a choice between moving toward a
erson, and more or less equal society.
pdech," he It's important that when that
viewpoint time comes, we are able to recog-
urt, which nize it, which requires understand-
v. FEC that ing how everything in our society
orm of free interacts. We need to go into that
ruled, inde- decision as well-educated citizens,
t be limited so that we can understand the
eas that the consequences of our choices and
congressio- be comfortable with those conse-
t expensive quences: In the end, it will be up to
with CNN us to decide what kind ofsociety we
in had been want to become.

Check out The Michigan Daily's editorial board meetings.,
Every Monday and Wednesday at 6p.m., the Daily's opinion staff
meets to discuss both University and national affairs and write edito-
rials. E-mail opinioneditors@michigandaily.com to join in the debate.


The outsize
ur politics
ropeans as

- Lissa Kryska can be reached
at Ikkryska@umich.edu.


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