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May 14, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-05-14

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

4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, May 14, 1997
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH JACK SCHILLACI
students at the Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan
Unless otherwelse noted, unsrign ed d Itoriads re flect the opinlionz
420 Maynard Street miajority of the Daily ┬žeditorial!oard .tII other articles,.etite
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 cartoons do not necessarily reflect t1e opinion ofr/ Te iicligan Pai

O n February 1, a new face sat behind a
desk on the 2nd floor of the Fleming
Administration Building. More than 100
days later, University President Lee
Bollinger has laid the foundation for his
administration by establishing a strong
relationship with the University communi-
ty. His work to foster communication with
students and administrators promises to
serve the University well. Bollinger must
continue strengthening his relations while
defending the University's commitment to
diversity and an accessible education.
The president's relationship with the
University Board of Regents plays an
important role in shaping education poli-
cies. Former University President James
Duderstadt's relationship with the regents
was strained in many ways. One of
Bollinger's first actions.as president was to
set up guidelines for faculty and adminis-
trators' compensation packages - provid-
ing the basis for a trusting relationship
between himself and the regents.
The president must also develop

100 and counting
Bollinger promotes communication

strong ties with students to ensure that
important decisions receive student input.
In his months here, Bollinger has made
some contacts with students and student
groups - however, his efforts in this area
must increase.
Bollinger recently announced that he
wants to keep this year's tuition increase
low. High tuition can place an unmanage-
able burden on students - it should
increase at a rate equal to or less than
inflation. Bollinger should work for a low
tuition increase to make the University a
viable option for all students.
Campus diversity should remain a pri-
ority for Bollinger. Many legislators who
view affirmative action as discriminatory
challenge it. With declining numbers of
minority applicants, Bollinger should

ensure that minority students see the
University as an educational option. He
recently released guidelines for the New
Century Fund - supporting the creation
of programs that will expand diversity
efforts already active on campus.
Threats of future discrimination law-
suits against the University for its affirma-
tive-action policies could weaken the
unique learning environment that it fos-
ters. Bollinger must stand behind the use
of affirmative action in admissions or risk
a serious threat to campus diversity.
Bollinger also worked to increase edu-
cational quality at the University. He
established a $3 million fund to help the
Medical Center attract high quality faculty
- an idea that he should expand to
include other schools.

New presidents must form their o
core group of administrators to support t
stability of their administration. Mai
senior administrators - including Provost
Bemard Machen - announced that the
will leave the University at the conclus
their present contracts, between four m
to a year and a half from now. This chan
creates an unstable administrative enviro
ment. Bollinger must ensure that the admi
istrators are chosen carefully and quickly
restore the administration's stability.
Bollinger's first 100 days show h
commitment to developing strong ti
with the regents and students - a patte
that must continue to ensure that t
University gives the best education s
ble. At the same time, he should su
affirmative-action policies and work or
low tuition cap to make the Universit
available to all qualified student
Bollinger must juggle the many balls
higher education without dropping any 1
ensure that the University remains
strong educational institution.

Gas tax would help
T he disturbing condition of roads
across the state of Michigan is finally
receiving adequate attention from Gov.
John Engler. Engler's new road-reform
plan is centered around a tax that would
raise gas prices by four cents per gallon.
The tax increase is expected to yield $200
million in additional revenue each year to
be spent on state-road repairs. The moder-
ate tax increase is certain to improve the
poor quality of state roads if officials
manage the extra funds properly.
State estimates indicate that the tax
hike would cost the average Michigan
family an additional $25 per year. The
burden appears even less severe consider-
ing that Michigan's gas-tax rate is
presently among the six lowest in the
However, in the present political cli-
mate, most citizens expect tax breaks
rather than increases. Many state repre-
sentatives, specifically Republicans, feel
pressured to satisfy these expectations
because many of their, campaigns were
based on the endorsement of tax relief.
These officials are therefore hesitant to
support the legislation. Nevertheless, the
Michigan legislature must recognize that
Engler has a stake in keeping taxes low,
but is compromising his ideals because
road problems are so serious. Engler takes
a bold step in opposing party traditions to
do what is most beneficial to the people
of Michigan. State legislators must simi-
larly ignore party ideals to bring about
necessary improvements in road condi-
An essential piece of Engler's plan is
transferring road-care responsibility from
the local to the state level. A state-run
road-maintenance plan would enhance the

up prices
maintain state roads
focus of the road-maintenance efforts that
occur across the state. At the same time,
the state's Department of Transportation
saw a decrease in size in recent years
under Engler's administration. The small
department is unable to handle the addi-
tional roads. Engler's plan to transfer con-
trol of many locally managed roads will
not work unless he also increases the abil-
ity of the department to handle those
The institution of a gas tax must be
accompanied by other fundraising aspects
of Engler's plan for overall road reform to
be a success. The additional tax revenue
serves as one component of the extensive
arrangement that is expected to include an
increase in truck licensing fees - a good
idea, as large trucks often cause a great
deal of the damage to state roads. Engler's
plan also relies on an additional $200 mil-
lion in federal funding - a lofty goal that
is uncertain at best. Alternative funding
sources are necessary as the plan is too
dependent on federal support. If the sup-
plementary proposals are not enacted, the
extra gas tax taken from state drivers will
not bring improved road conditions to all
areas. The complete plan requires $570
million per year and would map out state
road maintenance past the turn of the cen-
The state representatives have already
waited too long to address this critical
issue. Rejecting the gas tax would allow
roads to deteriorate further, with no practi-
cal solution in sight. Funds must be raised
immediately to ensure that roads soon
receive the repair they need. The longer
officials take to agree upon a resolution,
the more expensive road repair will
become for state residents.

School dissection *

School board should
n every school district, there are students
who do not fare well in the traditional
system. Recognizing these students' needs,
the Ann Arbor Public School District pilot-
ed an alternative program - appropriately
titled the New School - last year. The pro-
gram, located in the old Stone School build-
ing, represented a new educational opportu-
nity for its students away from the more
structured education offered in the crowded
halls of Huron and Pioneer High Schools.
Originally conceived as a one-year
experiment, the program now faces a major
- primarily financial - hurdle. For the
next year, the city's public school system
faces a potential $3 million shortfall.
Concern over the New School's costs - far
higher than originally budgeted - and
effectiveness have made the fledgling pro-
gram a potential target for budget cuts. As
it now stands, the central administration
recommended the retention of the new
school with one major caveat - it must
move from the Stone School building to the
confines of Huron High School. Some city
school board trustees advocated elimina-
tion of the alternative program altogether.
Opponents of the New School's current
structure point to a number of factors -
both financial and academic - in their
request for changes. Critics utilize issues
of achievement and security in their argu-
ments - during the New School's first
semester, less than half of its students
achieved better than a 2.0 GPA.
Proponents of a move to Huron believe the
presence of additional authority figures
and disciplinary personnel would help the
New School concentrate on its education-
al mission.
Undoubtedly, the extra support services
available at Huron represent a great aid for

support New School
the six adults running the New Schoo
However, the benefits -of such service
should not supersede the best interests
students' education. Moving the prograt
to Huron - while preferable to elimin
tion - would negate the idea of an altei
native school.
The Stone School location, physPall
distant from Huron and Pioneer, gives i
students a certain freedom from An
Arbor's large high schools. Low student-t
teacher ratios also allow for more persona
ized attention. The structure of the school -
currently four teachers instructing 82 sti
dents - is designed to build camaraderi
and trust between students and teachers.
Furthermore, after nearly a year o it
tence, New School's students may feel 'd
and a sense of ownership in their prograr
and the current building. Relocation t
Huron - where the students would repre
sent only a fraction of the population an
might occupy space grudgingly ceded b
established classrooms - could destroy thz
spark of pride.
The proposed move also presents logist
cal problems. Given Huron's large studer
population, there is speculation that ,eN
School classes might take place a d
hours. This scenario might lead to decrease
extracurricular and social opportunities fc
New School students, further negatin
whatever advantage might come from pro>
imity to Huron's facilities and services.
A move to Huron might help the Ne'
School's financial woes, but from a stu
dent's perspective, the prospect spells dis
aster - a return to the overwhelmin
atmosphere they elected to leave be <
The school board must take the students
best educational interests into accour
when making their budgetary decision.

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