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May 30, 2002 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-05-30

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, May 30, 2002
Jabe 1Mirbil-;ian 49iiI

OP/ED

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

LISA HOFFMAN
Editor in Chief
ZAC PESKOWITZ
Editorial Page Editor

t 3 _ ~.....4.S

. 7.
Editor's Note:
This cartoon w supposed to be
a scathing-con ntaryn-Mary
ASue Colan's alcoho1'° tcies at
Iowa. However, the car';Srist was
too druken to finigsh! jafllalfa

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

The University: Poised for greatness?
ZAC PESKOWITZ THE LOWER FREQUENCIES

- T he University is one
of a handful of
national universities
in this country. It continu-
ously draws students from
throughout the United States
and its alumni can be found
in every state. The Universi-
ty's reputation is as strong in
San Francisco and Miami as
it is in Chicago or Detroit.
The University, while maintaining an unparal-
leled reputation throughout the Midwest, has not
become a regional university. This incredible
advantage over schools that have lower student-
to-faculty ratios and better attention to the needs
of students, has propelled the University into a
position as the university with the most research
spending in the country and created a school
that is wildly popular and well-known with stu-
dents throughout the nation.
Too often this national reputation and the
job prospects that await students after gradua-
tion allow the University to ignore undergradu-
ates academic needs. Classes are too large,
office hours are too short, GSIs are too busy
with their dissertations and cross-disciplinary
experiences and independent studies are too
rare. Football Saturdays become the defining
and most significant experiences for students at
the University. These are the qualities that shape
our educational experience here.
It is difficult to understand how the selection
of Mary Sue Coleman as the 13th president of
the University will fit into this problem. She
attended Grinnell College, a small liberal arts
school known for its dedication to teaching and
attention to students. At Iowa, she championed
undergraduate education and attempted to

increase study abroad programs and interdisci-
plinary offerings.
But Coleman is also a professor of biochem-
istry, noted for her ability to raise large dona-
tions and strongly supported research. She
earned a reputation for her attention to the Uni-
versity of Iowa Medical Center. While the rela-
tionship between research and undergraduate
teaching does not have to be a zero-sum game,
Coleman must recognize the centrality of under-
graduates to the University. The University
needs to use its resources not as an excuse to
offer sub-par academics, but as a supplement to
improve the worldview of its students.
That is what the President's Commission on
the Undergraduate Experience failed to recog-
nize. The solution to these problems is not to
assume more control over students' lives by
requiring students to live in the residence halls
for longer extensions of time. The University is
not a cloister, nor should it be. Students live on
their own and deal with the pressures of adult
life, experiences that create students with a
maturity often absent in other schools.
The solution is to combine the unique free-
doms that education at a large public university.
offer with the educational ethic and life of the
mind that is synonymous with the nation's best
universities. Through the University's national
renown and the unique culture that its students
have created, the University is one of the most
popular colleges. The University now has an
unmatched ability to change its direction and
improve undergraduates' academic experience.
With acceptance to colleges and universities
becoming more difficult to achieve, a growing
college-age population, increasing access to
financial aid and an international body of appli-
cants that is continuously expanding, the Uni-

versity can create a new model for education. A
model that neither follows the cold and detached
German research university or the collegial and
caring of British undergraduate institutions.
There needs to be a synthesis between the supe-
rior aspects of each system. A system that pro-
vides all undergraduates with a thorough
knowledge of the humanities, while offering the
possibility of specialization and advanced work
in the sciences. Combined with a deep respect
for students' rights and freedoms, the University
can produce students of intellectual depth with
the worldly experience that is often neglected at
the nation's elite private universities.
To achieve this goal, Coleman must devote
her attention to undergraduates and consider
substantive changes to the curriculum. The
implementation of a core curriculum for all
undergraduates should be considered to correct
the deficiencies and gaps in knowledge that the
present curriculum does not address. Simultane-
ously, the University must not capitulate to the
desires to increase in loco parentis or strengthen
control over non-academic aspects of student
life. Although the University of Iowa is known
for its parental role and control over students
lives, this history is much older than Coleman's
tenure at the University of Iowa. Coleman must
do more to fight against these incursions into
students' autonomy.
The University is in a position to offer its
students an education and experience that is
unique amongst this nation's institutes of higher
education. The independence of students' lives
is central to this goal.
Zac Peskowitz can be reached at
zpeskowi@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINTS

Coleman takes helm of 'U' at crucial

BY JACKIE BRAY
I hope that most of us smiled when we realized
that our regents had bucked a trend that has saddled
higher education for too long and chose a woman to
be our next president. I know I did. It is our respon-
sibility, as students, no matter who is our president
to hold that person accountable and responsible.
It seems that since I came to the University
there have been a series of transitions in the Flem-
ing Administration Building. However, those
changes have little to do with the priorities of active
students on campus. The University leads the way
in a variety of fields; one of those is of course stu-
dent activism. On campus this year, issues ranging
from environmental sustainability, the school's
response to hate crimes, fair working conditions,
violence against women, affirmative action and the
retention and recruitment of under-represented stu-
dents have all been raised by students. Students
have been maintaining the tradition of this Univer-
sity as one dedicated to creating an inclusive and
just community. With a new president, it is time for
the administration to prove that it is also committed
to inclusiveness and justice.
Coleman and the student body will inevitably
meet and greet one another so to speak. What is
vital is that Coleman puts the time and effort into
getting to know her students. At the University,
there is constant tension between the University as a
great research institution and as a place where
24,000 undergraduate students learn to navigate the

world. As an undergraduate, it has been proven
repeatedly to me that the administration must be
constantly reminded that undergraduate education
and the needs and concerns of their students should
and must be paramount in their decision-making. I
do not know her relationship with the students at
the University of Iowa, and I and every other stu-
dent should be willing and open to building a work-
ing and respectful relationship with our new
president, but she must show us that our education,
in all of its forms, is her top priority.
To do this, students must feel and be empow-
ered. Student concerns must be listened to and
acted upon. At the University, an education has
never been solely from the classroom. Most stu-
dents here have benefited by and learned a great
deal from work outside of the traditional academic
setting. Coleman must respect the actions students
take and demand through their work outside of the
classroom.
It is of utter importance that Coleman continues
to support affirmative action with all the resources
this University has at its disposal. However, it is
time that we deepen our understanding of how to
create an inclusive community. This work can start
with Coleman. She must take us one step further in
the fight to create an inclusive and inter-cultural
environment, must realize the need to invest
resources into increased recruitment of under-repre-
sented students and must work with student leaders
to devise mechanisms and resources for the Univer-
sity to retain under-represented students.
The trend of privatizing public education is

moment
ominous today. Budget cuts are forcing institutions
to raise already incredibly high tuition rates and are
causing universities and colleges to out-source once
in house jobs and services. Our finest institutions
are relying more and more on private money, a
trend that has the potential to seriously undermine
the objectives of public education. It was heartening
to read this morning that Coleman was an opponent
of this trend. Here she must actively fight for
increased spending on higher education. We need a
president who can stand up for the right of her stu-
dents to an affordable education. The University
has lead the way in the fight for fair working condi-
tions on campuses and around the world. Although
Coleman has experience with this issue from the
University of Iowa, coming to the University
brings new responsibility to take leadership to
improve sweatshop conditions around the world
because the Michigan logo is the most widely
licensed collegiate logo. Coleman must step up to
this and all the other challenges, which come from
being at the University.
Universities are facing challenges that 20 years
ago could not have been anticipated. It is encour-
aging to see that our University is entrusting a
woman to lead us through this time. The Universi-
ty needs a woman that will be committed to creat-
ing a community in which the needs of all of its
members are respected. I do not know if Coleman
is that woman, but I and many other students
expect her to be.
Bray is an LSA junior.

Coleman will challenge Greeks at the 'U'

BY JIM VANEK
I will never forget that cold February morning
back in 1998 when my father and I ventured all the
way from suburban Detroit to Iowa City, Iowa for
the University of Iowa version of "Campus Day."
There was a little more than 16 inches of snow on
the ground and what was supposed to be a large
recruiting event was reduced to an intimate gather-
ing of die-hard prospective students looking to
find out more about the university. Most of us
assumed the event would be cancelled. However,
as if on cue, President Coleman made her entrance
right on time and gave one of the most powerful
speeches I have seen. One of the first things I
learned was her passion for student life and how
she would always make time to talk to the
prospective and current students. Rain, 16 inches
of snow or shine.

with the University and Iowa City establishments to
move the social seen away from the typical fratemi-
ty house party, and towards a safer "Third Party
Vendor" system. The initiative worked because the
Greeks at Iowa made the decision to move away
from fraternity parties and the University supported
them. They even helped make the contacts in the
community to support the Greek initiative to move
parties out of the fraternity houses. The fraternities
and sororities have mixers at local bars, where the
responsibility of serving alcohol is in the hands of
the bars. They can walk to these bars, thus eliminat-
ing the possibility of drinking and driving and the
high costs of buses. The system works for them.
I remember going to the Big Ten Greek Con-
ference as a member of the University Interfrater-
nity Council just a year ago. There was a specific
segment of the program that showcased the Greek
system at Iowa. Of course, the idea of dry fraterni-
ty houses and the feasibility of implementing this

Iowa from the rest of the schools. The open-mind-
edness of the Greeks at Iowa was very clear, and
the defensiveness of the other schools only magni-
fied the strength of the open-mindedness. It was
clear that the Greeks at Iowa were being chal-
lenged, but in a very positive fashion. The other
campuses were complacent with the status quo.
I pulled one of the Iowa Greeks aside and asked
him about their interaction with the administrators.
One of the things that really stuck out in that con-
versation was his words about President Coleman.
He said that President Coleman wanted the Univer-
sity of Iowa to be the leader both inside the class-
room and out. She supported the student groups, but
refused to allow them to become complacent. She
challenged the Greeks in positive ways and offered
support when they decided to step up to her chal-
lenge.
How should the Greeks feel about Coleman
taking over at the University this fall? They

r..r. x*c n that tie :life. sc ; '

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