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May 22, 1996 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-22

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, May 22, 1996
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH
students at the Editor in Chief PAUL SERILLA
42NanrdSreIaI Q EioriLhe Opinion Page Editors *
; I University of Michigan tpinxon Page Editors
A2 Maynar d street lTitiLtf ote ai.l edini l( bar11' thOer articles.,let teruand
A nn Arbor, M 48109 c ""'" I'""""o nec'ssrh ele h ?irat(fTheMcit~iy

T here should be little doubt that a
multi-billion dollar entity such as the
University is a sort of corporation. Its lat-
est budgetary move - to the new Value-
Centered Management plan - fits in with
that concept. Slated for a July 1 imple-
mentation, VCM calls for a plan of decen-
tralization that, in theory, should lead to a
University far more responsive to the
needs and concerns of its students and fac-
ulty. But as the plan may be well-inten-
tioned, many concerns exist with the prac-
tical effects of the new system.
Traditionally, the central administration
has collected most monies entering
University coffers - including tuition
dollars - before redistributing the funds
to different schools. Under VCM, certain
funds, like tuition, would go directly to
various schools, like LSA and
Engineering. This represents a potential
hazard for smaller academic units, such as
the School of Public Policy, which has a
far smaller enrollment than does LSA.
Where smaller schools could once be sure
of certain funding from a central source,
they could be squeezed out by larger, more
populous academic units when it comes to
funding by numbers under VCM.

Plan encourages increased responsibility

At the same time, other funds -
including state appropriations - will con-
tinue to be handled and rerouted through a
single source. The provost's office will
receive and process money from the state.
The funds, as part of a "Provost's
Allocation," will be awarded to schools by
an incentive-based system, with emphasis
on "the highest priorities of the
While the University has pledged that it
will allow no school or program to go
without sufficient funding, it has not pro-
posed a specific system of safeguards to
ensure the University's pledge will be a
reality of VCM. While it can be inferred
that the University's central administration
will be monitoring the separate schools'
funding requests, the vague pledge must
be solidified. No program should be
washed away in the tide of incentives and

competition for funds.
The incentive plan could have both pos-
itive and negative effects. If the competi-
tion for money leads to the development of
worthwhile new programs, the new system
will have succeeded. However, if the com-
petition turns acrimonious, and leads to
reduced cooperation among the academic
units, the results could be disastrous for
students and faculty.
Another significant component of
VCM is the redistribution of costs from
the central administration to individual
schools. While schools will now receive
tuition funds directly, they will also be
expected to shoulder certain costs for-
merly centrally funded, including high-
profile programs like the Department of
Public Safety, ITD and the Museum of
Art. Once again, by making individual
schools pay, VCM's goal is to increase

the schools' responsibility for these pro-
grams. However, more important than
the fate of the larger units is that of the
students within the University commun
A major goal of VCM is to reduce the
number of bureaucratic layers between
students' tuition money and the money
actually used to educate them. In theory,
the new changes would create a system
more open and responsive to the needs of
its students. However, some fear that the
layer or two of bureaucracy removed
from the central administration will be
replaced by multiple layers in each
school. In the end, students could be leo
as far or farther away from the budgetary
process as they are in the current system.
Many possible outcomes exist for
VCM. In the best case scenario, the result
is a University that treats its students like
respected stockholders in a corporation,
responsive to their needs and requests. On
the other hand, it could lead to a University
that treats its students - its paying cus-
tomers - as mere revenue sources. To
University must take care that education
does not fall victim to economics under

Protecting matrimony
State should respect same-sex marriages
A s the state of Hawaii moves closer to legalizing same-sex marriages, the state of
Michigan is moving farther away from supporting its gay and lesbian population.
The proposal designed to prevent recognition of gay marriages outside of Michigan
unanimously passed in the state Senate Local, Urban and State Affairs Committee by a
margin of 3-0. The full Senate will eventually vote on the proposal and there is a simi-
lar package being considered in the House.
State Sen. William Van Regenmorter (R-Jenison) sponsored the bill to protect "the
basic unit of family" and "the traditional marriage of one man and one woman."
Regenmorter's "family values" belief is indicative of the direction that many American
politicians are taking by attempting to legislate morality. It is clearly an example of pub-
lic lawmakers interfering in the private lives of their constituents. By refusing to recog-
nize the the legal status of homosexual marriages, the state is denying these unions
many of the benefits most consider basic to the institution.
Nationally, the issue of same-sex marriages is becoming highly political. President
Clinton, perhaps attempting to avoid damaging repercussions similar to those surround-
ing the issue of gays in the military, has wavered on the subject. Clinton has had a long-
standing opposition to homosexual marriages -he claims that he does not wish to divert
his energies from strengthening the nuclear family. Yet he has fallen short of officially
supporting Sen. Bob Dole's (R-Kansas) bill forbidding federal recognition of states'
same-sex marriage laws. Nevertheless, Clinton appears to be catering to the right on the
issue of "family values" by hinting he would sign the bill if it passes in Congress, there-
by institutionalizing marriage as a union solely between man and woman.
There are clear fundamental inconsistencies involved in this issue. First, Michigan
appears to be inching toward violating the Constitution. By refusing to recognize a
homosexual marriage officiated in another state, such as Hawaii, Michigan would con-
tradict the "full faith and credit" provision. According to this constitutional law, citizens
traveling from one state to another must be recognized in the same way - marriage sta-
tus included. Second, marriage laws have traditionally fallen under states' jurisdiction.
By attempting to define who can and cannot marry, the federal government is blatantly
interfering in states' rights.
It is clear that the fundamental issues of human dignity and appreciation of differ-
ences are at stake. The law has traditionally treated marriage with respect. By passing
such a statute, this country would be regressing to an age where the law restricted mar-
riages on the basis of factors such as race and religion. Many in the gay and lesbian com-
munities view same-sex marriage as one of the most important ways of maintaining sta-
ble and monogamous relationships. For the U.S. Government - and particularly the
state of Michigan - to deny this freedom is deplorable.

Engler fails students
Governor's plan attacks adult education
Governor John Engler's education agenda has been irresponsible and reprehensible at a
levels of learning - cuts in K-12 per-pupil funding for primary education, hundreds of
millions of dollars of cuts in adult education programs, and pitting universities against one
another for dwindling state funding. Recently, adult education has once again come under
attack. Engler has announced his plans for changing the program - including requiring many
adult education students to pay tuition. His intentions are misguided and should be halted.
Since taking office in 1990, Engler has been ruthless in his attacks on adult educa-
tion. He has cut state spending on the program from $375 million in 1991 to its current
$185 million. He has proposed cutting another one-third of that for the coming year. But
his proposals go much deeper than simply cutting funding.
Engler has proposed that free public education be available to all citizens through age
20. Currently, there is no age limit on students in the programs that are run through local
school districts. For students over 20, only those who obtain a recommendation from
their employers would be eligible to receive a tax-paid education. Adult education
would continue to be available from school districts, but those districts would have to
charge tuition for those who have not obtained a recommendation.
In his continuing efforts to undermine public schools by pitting them against private
schools, vocational training program funding - an integral element of the adult education
program - would be available from the Michigan Jobs Commission. Admission would be
determined by a competitive application process open to both public schools and for-prof-
it private schools. Basic education would still be offered through the school districts.
There are many problems with Engler's proposals. First, by instituting the tuition requi*
ment, Engler is limiting access to a program desperately needed by its users. According to the
Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education, restricting free education to those
under age 20 would eliminate 70 percent of the current enrollment in adult education. Forty
percent of beginning adult education students have skills below the eighth-grade level. Many
students live at or under the poverty level. Pursuing an education provides these students the
opportunity to improve not only their minds, but also the standard of living for their families.
Engler says the existing system has failed to produce positive results. However, limiting its
access is not going to solve the problem. Engler blames the program for being wasteful and
spending money on the same students students repeatedly. But that is far from the truth. "Adult
education isn't really a second chance" said Karen Katz, executive director of MACAE. "*
a continuation of their first chance. When they dropped out, they never had another penny
spent on them. Now they're just getting their late payment. It's not a double dip."
Adult education is an important program, giving a second chance to those who des-
perately need it. In a time when an education is a basic necessity for economic survival,
Engler should not limit its access.

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