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June 18, 1997 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-06-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, June 18, 1997
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH JACK SCHILLACI
students at the Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan U
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of t
n420 Maynard Street majority o theDarilys editorial board. All other articles letters ail
a An Aror, i 4109cartoons ao not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan DaiI

A river runs through the city of Flint,
Mich., splitting it. into two separate
parts. South of the river is an upper mid-
dle-class, white neighborhood while the
north holds a predominantly African
American community With its resources,
the University can help both sides of the
bridge and in so doing, overcome many
access barriers that exist today. The
University's plan to expand the Flint cam-
pus will offer many city residents access to
resources they never had before while
enhancing the campus's educational quali-
ty.
The University Board of Regents
approved the Flint expansion in 1994.
Though still in the conceptual stage, the
plan includes increasing the campus's size
by 42 acres, building more classroom
space and adding programs. The expan-
sion will bring the river front campus
across the Flint River onto a lot donated by
the Flint Downtown Development
Authority.
Diversity contributes greatly to the

Ovrthe ader
Expansion aids diversity, academic qualty

learning environment by allowing students
to interact with people of different back-
grounds. In stretching its Flint campus
over the river, the University is moving
itself from being exclusively in an upper
middle-class, white' neighborhood to
including an African American neighbor-
hood. Recent years brought increased
minority enrollment to the Flint campus
though representation is still off-balance.
The expansion will offer the minority
community greater access to the campus
and could help minorities view the
University as a more viable option than
they have in the past. The campus's expan-
sion could increase the number of minori-
ty enrollees and thus, create a stronger
learning environment.
The University's Flint and Dearborn

campuses provide students who are unable
or unwilling to attend the Ann Arbor cam-
pus with the ability to receive a University
education. The expansion plans include
additional classroom buildings and a pro-
fessional studies facility. The new facili-
ties will support expanded numbers of
classes as well as a richer course selection
for students at the Flint campus -
improving the education offered to stu-
dents.
The University's vast educational
resources could help its surrounding com-
munities. It should work to ensure that com-
munities surrounding University campuses
have access to its technological and infor-
mation resources.
Flint campus Chancellor Charlie Nelms
stated that the campus's Center for

University Outreach already takes part i
community outreach programs. Th
expansion plan also includes the formatio
of new programs that will augment exis
ing ones. One program would have
University staff and faculty team upnit
the Flint school district and communit
groups - offering the University
resources to a broader group of peopl
The campus's efforts to expand access t
University resources is an excellent wa
for the University to give back to the cor
munity and contribute to its development
All qualified students should be able t
attain a University education. Through it
satellite campuses, the University workjt
make that possible by increasing the
ber of communities that have direct acces
to campus. By strengthening the Flir
campus's programs and diversity, th
regents contribute to the University'
strength as a whole. The regents an(
Nelms deserve commendation for a pla
that enhances the University and increase
its accessibility at the same time.

Voice of the vote
SACE suggestions increase voter access
V oting in Michigan may soon become tions that could easily be combined with
much easier. Last week, the Special general-election dates. Restricting voting to
Advisory Commission on Elections specified dates also reduces the chance of
released recommendations for significant citizens being unaware of these elections, as
changes in the way the state conducts elec- might happen when votes fall on odd dates
tions. Affecting both voters and potential throughout the year.
candidates, the recommendations call for The rest of SACE's major suggestions
measures that would result in a greater seek to help potential political candidates
portion of eligible citizens voting. The get on electoral ballots. Currently, would-
state should move to adopt many of be politicians from across the state must
SACE's suggestions. raise the same number of signatures,
One important recommendation from regardless of district size. One of the rec-
the standpoint of voter turnout calls for ommendations would allow candidates
removal of a restriction on absentee ballot from smaller districts to appear on ballots
eligibility. Currently, citizens away from with fewer signatures than their large dis-
their home districts on election days must trict counterparts - removing an obstacle
meet stringent criteria to be eligible for that could get in the way of a potentially
absentee ballots. SACE's proposal would effective community leader.
allow all eligible citizens to voice their However, a second suggestion goes too
opinion even when away from their voting far. SACE recommended most politicians
districts. - except those running for governor, U.S.
Along the same lines, a second proposal Representative, U.S. Senator or Court of
concerns voter convenience. SACE recom- Appeals judge - have the ability to
mended the establishment of a vote-by-mail appear on ballots by paying a nominal fee.
program. If approved, citizens would not While this may be a moot point - candi-
even have to leave home to cast ballots. dates without enough support to achieve
Citizens unable to get out of their homes on traditional ballot status probably have no
election day deserve to voice their opinion chance to win contested elections - fees
with a ballot - the recommendation repre- should not replace the requisite popular
sents a great opportunity for homebound support.
citizens and others unable or unwilling to Michigan should move quickly to
go to traditional polling sites. Although the implement most SACE recommenda-
SACE recommended only local elections tions. Voting by mail represents a great
use this program, the state should establish opportunity to move toward elections that
voting by mail for statewide and even are truly representative of the popula-
national offices. tion's wishes. The increased accessibility
Other SACE recommendations target the should raise voter turnout at elections,
many single-issue elections conducted in leading to increased awareness and inter-
cities. By consolidating elections to only est in issues among voters. Any step
four days per year, the recommendation, if towards the establishment of a concerned
acted upon, could prevent small towns from and knowledgeable electorate can only
spending too much money on special elec- ;help Michigat.

Closing the divide*
Clinton's panel may ease race relations
Tn 1968, the Kerner Commission investi- on Saturday with a speech at th
gated the origins of the race riots in the University of California, which in 199
urban centers of the country. Although criti- stopped using affirmative action in admis
cized at first for its politically moderate sions and hiring policy. California voter
membership, the report issued from the also passed Proposition 209 - effectivel
group earned great respect for its findings ending the use of affirmative action
- that a separate black and white America state employment and contracting. Sinc
existed. The liberal recommendations were ending the use of affirmative action, th
taken seriously because the political moder- university's graduate school saw a drop i
ates who made them. However, suggestions minority enrollment - showing a definite
for urban renewal were largely ignored and problem that Clinton's panel should wor
many Americans took the more popular to solve by encouraging the use of affir-
stance that stricter measures were required mative action.
to reign over the violence and lawlessness of Clinton's efforts have the potential to
the inner cities. Despite the commission's help heal the nation's racial divide. The
recommendations, a separate black and panel could devise many useful met s
white America still exists today in many for solving racial problems. Howe r,
ways - a situation that the government Clinton should also enact possible solu-
should work to eliminate. tions already created and support the use
Last week, President Bill Clinton of social programs to help quell the racial
appointed a panel to explore the racial divi- divide. For instance, "empowerment
sions in the country. This diversely ethnic zones" - like the one in Detroit - are a
and political group will advise Clinton on good mechanism to promote inner-city
his new race initiative - an effort to create improvement. By allocating money to run
a national dialogue on racial divisions. The -own areas for improvement and to foster
panel will coordinate town-hall meetings private development, they can help over-
and analyze information to help the presi- come socioeconomic differences an g
dent compile a report that will be the basis inner-city and suburban residents. Cliwn
for presidential policy initiatives. Clinton should act upon the panel's ideas and
expressed hopes that these innovations expand present programs to help qualm
would be the hallmark of his presidency, but racial tensions.
many question the president's motives, his The president's panel could contribute
methods and even the possibility of greatly to efforts to relieve problems
improvement in race relations. Such skepti- among members of different races and
cism is wise - the panel could become a ethnicities. However, it must not turn into
political tool. His desire to break down the a political tool - instead, Clinton should
racial walls that divide the nation is ensure that the panel's ideas are put to
adnirable but a great danger exists that this effective use. Will the president hav e
national dialogue revolve around matters strength of conviction to pursue a solu-
that are more political than essential to tion recommended by his panel? The
improving race relations. answer to that question may well decide
Clinton launched the yearlong initiative the hallmark of his presidency.

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