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June 15, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1998-06-15

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 15, 1998
Edited and managed by CHRIS FARAH DAVID WALLACE
students at the bt .&1rEditor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan Q I z uj g
Unless oterise noted msigned editoras refect the opinion q/f e
420 Maynard Street maiod rite Daitorseilhoanhll rherharrieleteerscnd
Ann Arbor, Ml 48109 cartoonst do no necessarily refiet the opinion oj he1 Michigaii Dai:

L ast week, the state House of
Representatives upped Gov. John
Engler's recommendation for a 1.5-percent
funding increase for higher education to
approximately 4-percent. While the nearly
$50 million increase is welcome, an attached
amendment that challenges the University's
admissions policy must be removed from the
legislation. The University's right to use its
own criteria when individually evaluating
each prospective student must be preserved.
The University's use of affirmative action
when creating its student body came under a
great deal of scrutiny and rhetoric last year.
Many high-profile political figures are
involved - Sen. David Jaye (R-Macomb) is
arguably the most vocal, spewing forth ven-
omous condemnations of the University's
practices. Through the controversy, and a
well-publicized lawsuit, the University has
not wavered in its support of affirmative
action and a diverse campus. For this com-
mitment to integrity, the University deserves
a great deal of credit.
Affirmative action seeks to create a fair

Poor methods
State funding puts admissions under fire

basis on which students may be evaluated.
Too often, universities place emphasis on
quantitative measurements such as standard-
ized tests which do not take into account the
socioeconomic status of a student. Essays,
extra-curricular activities and personal expe-
rience contribute more to the overall picture
of a student's abilities and potential through a
policy of affirmative action. Without such
provisions, well-to-do students from finan-
cially sound districts have a distinct advan-
tage over underprivileged students.
When proposition 209 ended affirmative
action in California, the state's premier cam-
puses experienced a striking decline in
minority enrollment. The University of
California-Berkley will have 65-percent
fewer black students enrolled in this year's
freshman class than last year's. Similar num-

bers could result at the University if its use of
affirmative action is compromised.
The amendment attached to the funding
legislation prohibits schools from adjusting
scores and using different cutoff scores
because of a student's race, color, nationality,
gender, alumni relationships and religion.
The University uses a complex system that
evaluates such considerations among others
and then recalculates a student's grade point
average. Under the amendment, the
University would have little control over the
applications it receives.
The University must have the ability to
mold a student body it believes will optimal-
ly benefit all students. A great deal of the
University experience comes from social
interactions between students of different
backgrounds. Diversity teaches the values of

'culture - different cultures bring together
different expressions and ideas. Students
benefit from such variety.
There is no question the University and
other public institutions of higher learning
need this extra funding to continue to
improve the quality of education they pro-
vide. This money allows them to stay com-
petitive with other institutions. Early esti-
mates based on Engler's 1.5-percent increase
projected a 5.6-percent tuition increase for
University students. In all probability, stu-
dents at other state universities and colleges
would see a similar tuition increase under
Engler's proposed 1.5-percent increase. But
while the extra funding would be of great
benefit, the University cannot afford to trade
in its principles for a ftnding increase.
Sadly, state legislators cannot see that
affirmative action promotes fairness and
diversity. The University must maintain its
internal control and cotmsmitment to excel-
lence. For this to happen, the University must
benefit from the funding increase without
any government interference in admissions.

Loud and clear,
School district should accept cell phone deal
A s the number of cellular telephone ing structures. But if the antennas are
users continues to increase, the not constructed at the proposed sites
need for the antennas that support them near Clague Middle School and on the
also grows. The Ann Arbor school dis- existing towers near Huron and Pioneer
trict has been offered $45,000 per year football fields, these antennas will in all
over a multi-year deal in exchange for probability be built somewhere in the
allowing OmniPoint Communications to vicinity of the desired locations. By
install three cell phone antennas on dis- agreeing to the deal, the school districtj
trict property. While a few school board will receive substantial remuneration for
members worry about the towers the ugliness - a far better alternative to
becoming an eyesore, the district badly losing the money and still getting the
needs this additional source of revenue towers in a nearby location.
and should accept the company's pro- Also of great importance is the issue
posal. of safety. The installation of these anten-
The Ann Arbor school district must nas will not place students in a position
think pragmatically. In a time when the of harm. These towers will be construct-
district's purse strings are tight, the ed to withstand high winds and to fall its
money the district will receive from the upon themselves in the event of a col-
telecommunications company can help lapse. Of course, the towers will be
meet the district's considerable needs. fenced off from students. While the tow-
Over the course of the contract, the dis- ers do emit electromagnetic radiation,
trict stands to receive approximately the radiation is 100 times lesser in mag-
$1.2 million. Since the state does not nitude than that from a FM radio. The
provide enough of an allocation to run only harm to students would occur if the
the schools, the district must take advan- district refused the money.
tage of outside funding opportunities. Other districts have undergone simi-
This increase in the district's funding lar installations. The Ann Arbor school
would work to strengthen the quality of board must realize the benefits of the
Ann Arbor schools. The financial strains increased revenue. Both the school dis-
of important programs such as driver trict and the community at large must
education could be alleviated to some continue to think pragmatically and with
degree. As financial issues will most the best interests of its students in mind.
likely continue to be a thorn in the dis- It would be to Ann Arbor's favor to
trict's side, sources of money such as merely avert its eyes to the possible
OmniPoint's offering are necessary to visual disturbance and to focus on the
maintain programs that could be cut benefits the antennas will bring.
from the budget. Ann Arbor's school Building these antennas is for the sake
board needs to be practical: Educational of Ann Arbor's children. With the
quality must be preserved rather than increase in the district's funding there is
schoolyard beauty. a greater ability for the district to culti-
Regrettably, the cell phone antennas vate responsible and well-educated citi-
will create somewhat unpleasant-look- zens.

Bad medicine
Kevorkian's latest assist hurts organ donation
L ast week, Jack Kevorkian helped a 45- lem that goes well beyond politics. Organ
year-old quadriplegic patient die, whose donation is at question, and lie has drawn
kidneys were then extracted for donation negative attention to this vital system.
purposes. The aftensath was as turbulent as Long waiting lists exist for organs, and
could be expected. The medical community often patients die before a donor can be1
condemned his actions, Gov. John Engler found.
asked for a remodeling of assisted suicide More donors are needed, but many peo-
laws, the United Network for Organ Sharing pIe fear that becoming an organ donor
urged an immediate moratorium on all non- makes them less apt to receive the best
licensed organ harvesting, and Jack medical treatment. The fear is that if one's
Kevorkian simply defended his doings. Even organs are valuable, then one's life is less
the coroner added his bit by marking the so. People fear abuses of the system, and
death as homicide by mutilation and intra- this suicide has sparked people's anxiety.
venous drugging. The issues of assisted sui- Esther Benenson, a spokeswoman for
cide and organ donation came to the fore- the United Network for Organ Sharing,
front. The medical community must take summed up the problem: "It's commend-
charge of assisted suicide, while the system able in what Dr. Kevorkian is doing in that
for organ donation must react to quell peo- he wants to save lives," she said. But she
pie's fears and encourage participation. added, "We certainly would not commend
Death is one of our most personal issues. somebody to help a patient commit suicide
Euthanasia adds another complex part to the just in order to retrieve those organs to
equation. Engulfed by profound moral and save somebody else's life." Prospective
personal beliefs, assisted suicide is too con- donors need encouragement that the sys-
glomerate an issue to legislate. Engler's pro- tem works ethically and efficiently.
posal and the state Senate's mandate to ban Kevorkian's latest assist casts doubt on
assisted suicide beginning April 1999 is not each qualification.
in resonance with the intricacies of this Once again, the moral aspect of
deeply individual issue. The government euthanasia is called into question. And as
should not legislate how much a human the debate continues, the government
being can suffer. A democratic government looks for new ways to legislate assisted
cannot command our private lives. suicide. But the government must stand
This issue would be better off left to the aside to let the medical community step
medical community and the persons directly forward and take control: One man should
involved in such issues. After all, we entrust not decide who is fit to die. People need
the citizenry of medicine with our lives in proof that they can trust the doctors they
matters of terminal illness, and society hand their lives to in emergencies. The
awards doctors the license to be practitioners public's fearful opinion must change, but
of health and its issues. To revoke the rights Kevorkian only reinforces this fear. When
of doctors and instead establish policies con- it does change, organ donation - correct-
trary to society's mandate would be hypo- ly labeled as the gift of life - will no
critical. longer be regarded as an excuse for hospi-
But KeYorkian's actions create a prob- tals to take lesser care of patients.

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