4- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, July 26, 1995
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
RONNIE GLASSBERG ADRIENNE JANNEY
Editor in Chief JOEL F. KNUTSON
Editorial Page Editors
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not I
necessarily reflect the opinion of the Daily's editorial board.
With a 14-10 vote, the California Board of
Regents shocked college campuses
across the country. The regents, mostly ap-
pointed by California Gov. and GOP presi-
dential candidate Pete Wilson, have suc-
cumbed to the fervor of his No. 1 theme for his
presidential bid: ending affirmative action.
The vote orders the dismantling of affirmative
action programs in hiring and admissions in
the University of California system.
That Wilson has the gall to use a university
systemwith 162,00 students as a battleground
for his politics is an abhorrent abuse of power.
That the regents passed an issue that failed to
garner support from any of California's college
presidents is equally reprehensible.
Wilson has given fodder for affirmative ac-
tion opponents' cannons by setting an example
forother conservative boards to follow.With the
politicalclimate of Michigan becoming increas-
ingly conservative, it is imperative that the Uni-
versity of Michigan not only uphold its commit-
ment to diversity but also strengthen the positive
trends begun by the Michigan Mandate and the
Michigan Agenda for Women. The Board of
Regents have publicly issued support for diver-
sity in the University, mindful of the fact that as
minority enrollment andretentionrates increase
- enrollment of people of color currently
Cynicism as policy
Affirmative action maligned by Calif. regents
stands at an all-time high of 24.2 percent - so
does the quality of life at the University.
California schools are continuing to pledge
support for minority recruitment, even after the
ruling. The University must follow this lead,
focusing now on minority retention.Everything
from financial aid to fostering dialogue that
goes beyond the surface rhetoric will improve
the position of minorities beyond enrollment.
Opponents of affirmative action call for a
"color-blind society, an end to racial and gen-
der preference." In reality, issues surrounding
diversity are far more complex. California
Regent Ward Connelly said, "From now on,
you will know when you see a black or a brown
face, they got there because they deserve it, not
because of some racial preference." His igno-
rance of the real problem typifies the short-
sighted response many have to affirmative
action in college hiring and admissions. First,
the assumption among many is that only whites
are naturally competent, whereas minorities
have to be expected to raise to their level and
prove their worth. If this were notthe case, why
would anyone expect to look at a Black student
and think "not qualified?"Wilson has taken this
cynical view and used it against a program
trying to erase this image. It is not the fault of
diverse colleges that he andhis conservative ilk,
both Black and white, are largely ignorant.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no evi-
dence to support the assertion that hordes of
minorities are robbing whites of their jobs and
admissions. A mere 1.3 percent of senior man-
agers in American companies are African
Americans, Latinos or Asian Americans.
Women fare barely better, occupying a 3 to 5
percent of senior positions. Minority college
graduates earn little more than the white high
school graduate. Taking into consideration
loan statistics, pay scales and educational
opportunity, it becomes clear that the major-
ity is not getting the shaft at the expense of
expanding minority opportunity.
Currently, California admissions stan-
dards require 40-60 percent admissions on
straight academic standards. The move wJ4
require 50-75 percent. Of course, race is only
one consideration. Sports, extracurricular activ-
ity, children of alumni and donors, quality of
education in a given area and geographical
origin willcontinue to play arole in admissions.
Race alone has never been a single deciding
factor: the most important consideration, after
all, is whether a student has what it takes to
succeed at the University. If white students are
reliant on well-roundedness to get into college
it should not be assumed that minority sti
dents are only there for the color of their skin.
The burden of desegregation should not
rest on minority shoulders. It is not an issue of
less-than-qualified applicants entering solely
on the color of their skin, something that can just
as easily happen with whites, but an issue of
opening doors to productive levels of society.
By no accident the University of Michigan, one
of the premier public universities in the world
is also one of the most diverse - and it mu4
work to retain and strengthen that diversity.
Waiting for results
Keep the code work group on its toes
Cost-benefit analysis not applicable to clean water
e group has grown, from four to three to
six," said code work-group member Jack
Bernard. With only three months at most to
complete its task of gathering student input
and submitting a policy to the Board of Re-
gents, the members of the group have their
work cut out for them. But in the rush to meet
the regents' slightly unreasonable deadline,
the group must not lose sight of its primary
goal: student input into the new conduct
From the original four members, it dropped
to three when Student Rights Commission
Chair Anne Marie Ellison left the group, ap-
parently because she did not approve of the
way the process was being run. Before leav-
ing, Ellisonhad vowednot to participate in any
type of closed meeting the group conducted.
She also complained of the overall tone of the
proceedings - that it was pro-code, anti-
At the public comments of the July re-
gents meeting, Ellison proposed her solution
to this problem. She suggested off-campus
mediation as a means of hashing out the
particulars of the new code. A company that
would have a vested interest in neither the
students, nor the University administration.
For obvious reasons, a mediator without a
stake in the outcome could be helpful - or
In any case, the University is not likely to
agree to mediation and lose its upper hand.
When asked, Judicial Advisor Mary Lou
Antieau said, "I don't understand why the
process would have to be mediated."
Bernard was equally unclear. He said, "I
don't even know how that would be done. I
don't know if it would be a good idea or a bad
So the group will probably continue on
without Ellison, but with three newcomers,
some experienced, some merely interested.
Bernard will be leaving the group early in
August, as previously arranged, because of.
other commitments. He said, "I came into the
process with opinions ... the idea, though, is
to try to be as open as possible."
Makeup aside, the group may experience
a time crunch. Summer leaves group mem-
bers with a lot of time --and few students from
whom to gather input. While they appear to be
making serious efforts, it is uncertain whether
they can do the best job possible by October.
Bernard said, "As a committee, we have yet to
discuss any substantive issues."
He did say that the group has asked the
input of underrepresented minorities on cam-
pus - people who are often affected, but not
asked to contribute information. This is a
very positive step in the code-writing pro-
However, the controversial issues that have
surfaced in the past three years - open hear-
ings, representation, the 30-mile radius, etc.
- must be addressed in student forums.
The success of the group will not be proven
until results are delivered. "I don't believe
there's a code that can make everyone happy."
No, but it must be acceptable to the majority
of students on this campus.
To give input to the code work-group contact
them at email@example.com
hile Congress is embroiledin Whitewater
hearings, the Republican assault on the
environmentmarchesonquietly. Sen. BobDole
significantly alter the regulatory capabilities of
the Clean Air and Water acts by holding them
accountable to vague "cost-benefit analysis."
Dole'sproposalwouldhave allfederal regu-
of each standard. Naturally, the idea of cost-
benefit analysis is positive. If a federal regula-
tion costs an exorbitant amount without conclu-
sively proving to be beneficial, then it should not
be on the books.
There have been cases where a frightened
public has resulted in wasteful regulatory ac-
tion. Laws against benzene in gasoline, for
instance, were written before a conclusive link
between the exposure from gasoline andcancer
were established. However, for each benzene
example, there is an equal and more egregious
example of the cigarette industry lobbyists un-
doing all regulations and inquiries into the to-
bacco industry during the past four years. If
Dole's proposal is enacted, necessary legisla-
tion protecting the environment and people may
be stricken from the books.
Although conservatives generally try to dis-
mantle every existing environmental statute,
many moderates, most notably Senator John
Chaffee (R-Rhode Island), are pushing Dole to
modify his current proposal. As the current
chairman of the Environment and Public Works
Committee and a major proponent of the Clean
Air Act of 1990, Chaffee has been a voice of
sanity in the oversimplified "cost vs. benefit"
debate. On the other side of the aisle, Sen Pat
Moynihan (D-West Virginia) has introduced a
similar bill that would include but not limit
environmental impact studies to cost-beneq
What Congress must realize is that as useful
as a program of cost-benefit analysis might be,
it is incapable of addressing all health and
environmental regulations alone. The benefits
counted in terms of dollars. A clean environ-
ment is often taken for granted. People should
be able to expect clean water flowing through
their taps without political wrangling.
How can Dole put a dollar sign on the
years? Not too long ago, Lake Erie was near
extinction. Are pollution standards enacted to
save it issued on a "dollar per hour" basis?
Perhaps to fully understand the significance of
should visit other nations in which the air is
polluted and the water must be boiled before it
is safe to drink. It is impossible to put a mon-
etary value on a sense of security.
The Clean Air and Water acts preserve
America's national forests, wetlands and public
lands. By banning some substances and indus-
trial practices, nature is preserved for future
generations. If Dole rams his proposal through
Congress, he had better be prepared to offer a
dollar value on the bald eagle and pacific salmon.
The damage to the environmentcausedby some
legislators and their friends in big business, in
both ecological and economic terms, will be fS
greater than Bob Dole could ever imagine. He
and his followers should consider if that cost is
worth the benefit of short-term political gain.