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July 17, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-07-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4 - The Michigan Daily -,July 17,1996

Edited and managed by LAURIE MAYK ERIN MARSH
students at the 4* 4 . Editor in Chief PAUL SERILLA
s .> University of Michigan Editoria Ediors
420 Maynard Street rrrrtdita ed or theo iale rd.Aoerart ices. letersand
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109 "ir"oon'"dnot n aIviuiril' oflivt the opinion of?'TheMiiain Dal

O nly 17 days into his term as interim
University President, Homer A. Neal
has overseen some significant decisions,
including proposed tuition increases for
the 1996-97 academic year and adminis-
trative appointments at the University's
Medical School.
Yesterday, University Provost J. Bernard
Machen revealed his budget proposal for
the 1996-97 academic school year. The rec-
ommended budget includes the statistic on
every student's mind: tuition increases for
the next school year. University students
can relax a bit - Machen has come
through with some very student-friendly
Tuition for one year of undergraduate,
lower-division University education for in-
state students will increase by only 3 percent
next year. The 3-percent figure is the lowest
annual increase since 1980 (except for the
1984-85 academic school year). It is one-
third the amount of the compound growth
rate for tuition and fees over the past 15
years. The tuition hike for the 1996-97 aca-
demic year is one of the lowest University
students have seen in almost 30 years.
Tuition for one year of undergraduate

Provost recommends fair budget

University education for non-residents
will increase by 5 percent. This figure also
applies to upper-division students. While
the tuition increase for these students is
higher, it still reflects the lowest increase
in more than 15 years.
Machen's proposed increases compare
favorably with both past University
increases and tuition hikes at other
Michigan institutions and other Big Ten
conference schools. The University boasts
a tie for the smallest increase in the Big
Ten - Michigan State University will also
raise tuition by 3 percent.
University students are due for some rea-
sonable tuition increases - for the past sev-
eral years, the University has raised tuition
above the rate of inflation, padding an
already healthy budget with student dollars.

The University currently stands as the most
expensive public institution in the country,
and it is one of the wealthiest. Recent state
endowments and successful fund-raising
efforts confirm the University's excellent
financial health. The students deserve a
chunk of the good fortune.
Machen should be commended for his
appropriate budget proposal. Students have
too long suffered the harmful effects of high
tuition increases. The regents must remem-
ber this when they vote on the budget pro-
posal tomorrow at the July regents meeting.
Also on the table at tomorrow's meeting
will be recommended appointments for
administrative positions at the University
Medical School and hospital. On August 1,
Dr. Giles C. Bole will step down from his
post as Medical School dean, after holding

the office for six years. Interim President
Neal, Machen and Executive Vice
President and Chief Financial Officer
Farris W. Womack recommended Dr. A.
Lorris Betz for interim Medical School
dean. Betz, who currently teaches neur
surgery and neuroanatomy, has been exec-
utive associate dean since 1995.
Also up for replacement is John
Forsyth, former executive director of the
University hospitals. Forsyth resigned last
month, leaving a health system that faced
severe difficulties. The University Medical
School and hospitals have endured signif-
icant financial and staffing problems.
University administrators hope to quell
some of these difficulties with the
appointment of Larry Warren as interi*
executive director of University hospitals.
Warren currently serves as senior associ-
ate hospital director and chief operating
officer of the University Health System.
The regents should approve these candi-
dates to assure a smooth transition and pass
the proposed tuition increases at tomor-
row's meeting. Neal should be commended
for his handling of these significant issues
so early in his term.

Diversity 101

Take a hike

Program an unfair representation of 'U' life Long-awaited wage raise finally a reality

W ith the arrival of summer in Ann Arbor comes summer orientation. New students
from across the country and across the world pack into East Quad for three days
of testing, meeting people and experiencing the University. It is here that new students
get their first crucial exposure to University life.
University life, for most students, is not like life at home. The University is a multi-
cultural arena where people from dissimilar backgrounds come together in the interest
of higher education. This is, of course, a good thing. Because of their diversity, students
gain a better understanding of the world. However, by students' being of so many dif-
ferent backgrounds, the transition from home to the University can come with certain,
small problems.
To address this, the University has included a multicultural program for all students
to attend at orientation. This is a necessary part of orientation. The problem, however, is
that the University has never gotten the program right.
In the past, the multicultural program has used several activities that failed to address
the nature of multiculturalism on campus. Two years ago, the program included asking
students questions and making them go to different sides of a room based on their
answers. Administrators said the confrontational nature of the program may have made
students uncomfortable, so last year they replaced it with a program that was more a step
sideways instead of forward. Students were given a quiz about multicultural history, fol-
lowed by facilitated discussion. But the program seemed geared solely toward white
suburban students.
This year, the multicultural program is the poorest solution yet. The University offers
a severely cut program which falls well short of what new students need. The actual con-
tent of the 40-minute program is of questionable quality and usefulness.
One problem with the University's handling of the multicultural program is that it
tends to see the diversity of the student body as a source of potential trouble, rather than
as a source of learning as vital as any other part of the University experience. The diver-
sity of the student body leads to exposure to and greater understanding of cultures eith
which students may not be familiar. The difference in backgrounds can cause friction, but
will more likely be an important source of education and opportunities for enrichment.
The multicultural program at orientation must be preserved in a different form than
exists today. The ONSP must give the facilitators more in-depth training. The program
must be appropriate for people of all backgrounds and recognize multiculturalism as an
educationally and socially valuable opportunity. The program must address multicultur-
alism as a source of strength within the University community and not as a potential
This program has the potential to be a valuable first exposure to the University's rich-
ly diverse student environment. It is up to the ONSP to make it that way.

L ast week, the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation raising the minimum
wage. Its action corrected what was becoming a terrible injustice to the working poe
- rising wages for the few and stagnating wages for the millions on minimum wage.
The bill calls for an increase from $4.25 to $5.15 over the next year. The minimum wage
would increase to $4.75 this year, and to $5.15 by July 1997. The legislation will now go to
conference committee to be reconciled with a similar bill passed by the House in May.
The passage of the wage increase is an important step toward addressing the plight
of the working poor. Full-time workers paid the current minimum wage earn about
$8,500 per year. With the increase, they would take in an additional $1,800 per year. This
is a significant raise for those working poor who are trying to stay off welfare. Indeed,
the raise is long overdue. As Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich has noted throughout
the debate, the minimum wage, measured in real dollars, was nearing a 40-year low. 0
At the same time, the Senate defeated a Republican amendment to the wage bill that
would have exempted businesses with less than $500,000 in annual sales from the
increase. The amendment would have allowed employers to pay new workers a sub-min-
imum wage of $4.25 for the first 180 days of employment, and delayed the effective date
of the increase to January 1, 1997.
Because many people working at the minimum-wage level tend to change jobs fre-
quently, the sub-minimum wage for new employees would have perpetually kept them
at low pay. Republicans maintained that without exempting small businesses from the
increase, many would simply not be able to keep those workers on the payroll. However,
that claim is unfounded. Most small businesses already pay more than the minimum
wage, and according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, while
percent of its members were opposed to the increase, they ranked concern over the wab
increase at number 62, out of 75 issues confronting them.
Passage of the minimum-wage increase is important to many people. According to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 12.6 million people who currently earn less than
$5.15. For them, it is a well-deserved raise. The minimum wage had not risen in six
years - while compensation for heads of large corporations rose an average of 23 per-
cent last year, wages of low-income workers shrank from inflation. "It's a matter of fair-
ness, it's a matter of morality," commented Reich on the wage increase.
Despite the wage-increase approval, more needs to be done to improve the conditions
for the working poor. In order to keep them off welfare, they need to receive a decc-
wage. In order to reach that, access to educational opportunity is critical. Preside
Clinton is moving in the right direction with his attempts to make the first two years of
college attainable for all through tax credits. The Senate's action is a good start, but more
needs to be done on both the national and state levels to address the problems of the
working poor.

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