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July 14, 2003 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-07-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 14, 2003
41 h letters@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
w 7M 11 4U ICU ID UU STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
SINCE 1890 ' necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
ast Tuesday, under the sweltering mid- Personal attacks and intimidation tactics
day sun andamidthe aggressive chants iIar \tive O Ve rreaction aimed at keeping one point of view silent
of unfriendly protesters, University of not only violate the right to freedom of
California Regent Ward Connerly launched -t speech, but also will end up backfiring by
his ballot initiative to eliminate racial prefer- \Wflflerly lS WrOng, but 4e 11 spaki _ _ decreasing public support for the cause.
ences in the state of Michigan. Connerly, who Events such as this one, which was
is chairman of the American Civil Rights to society. With the passage of this ballot ini- announcement. A few in the crowd yelled sponsored by The Michigan Review, allow
Institute, has led successful ballot initiatives tiative, the University and other government "Uncle Tom" when Connerly spoke, imply- everyone to have a say regarding important
in both California and the state of institutions would be unable to use race con- ing that simply because he is black, he should issues. In order to protect Connerly's First
Washington. He announced his intentions to scious policies. The research done in this hold a specific position. This is precisely the Amendment Right, the Department of
do the same in Michigan, in front of a largely field clearly shows that this would result in a type of misunderstanding that the Public Safety removed three members of
hostile crowd, on the steps of the Harlan significant decrease in the number of minor- University's policies are aimed at eliminating. the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action
Hatcher Graduate Library. While we disagree ity students attending elite institutes of high- When Barbara Grutter, the plaintiff in the and Integration and Fight for Equality By
with Connerly's stance on affirmative action, er learning. Not only would this result in less law school case, spoke, someone called her Any means Necessary from the conference.
the way some members of the University diverse educational institutions and less a "loser," referring to the court's decision While this did allow the presentation to
community disregarded his right to articulate cross-racial interaction, but it would also have that ended her case against the University's continue, the University should apply its
his opinion deserves condemnation. a detrimental effect on society as less tradi- law school. When Jennifer Gratz, the plain- policy of defending free speech equally and
The University and the citizens of the tionally underrepresented minorities would tiff in the undergraduate case, spoke, the not simply show more eagerness to remove
state of Michigan should strongly oppose inhabit the state's professional ranks. This protesters made fun of her for not being controversial protesters.
Connerly's efforts to reverse the victories would forestall progress in achieving equali- offered admission to the University. These Universities are outlets for individuals
achieved during the recent admissions law- ty and understanding among the races. kinds of personal attacks do not help facili- to discuss controversial issues. Name-call-
suits. In the U.S. Supreme Court's opinions The importance of defending affirmative tate an open dialogue about affirmative ing and intimidation serve no one's inter-
regarding the University's two affirmative action, however, cannot be used to defend the action. When an issue divides a nation and a ests. Drowning out the opposition's view-
action cases, the majority of the justices reaf- vile and disgusting behavior demonstrated by campus, as this one has, it is important that point is no way to protect freedom of
firmed the importance of affirmative action some of the protesters at last Tuesday's lines of communication remain open. thought or to defend affirmative action.



Restore the corps
Bush must re-affirm his commitment to AmeriCorps

Saving our cities
Situation looks bleak, but new leaders may provide hope

October 14, 1960, Sen. John F.
Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
stood on the steps of the
Michigan Union and announced his
vision for an organization of volunteers
to do altruistic work abroad who would
compose the Peace Corps. The historic
speech, delivered extemporaneously at
2 a.m. during the last days of his presi-
dential campaign, was an inspiration to
the students gathered. Within weeks,
1,000 University students had signed a
petition calling for the establishment of
the Peace Corps program. In that same
spirit of citizenship and service,
AmeriCorps was founded in 1993 as the
domestic counterpart to the Peace
Corps. Even though AmeriCorps is a
valuable program doing important work
to improve the country, it has come
under attack by policymakers who wish
to deprive it of much-needed funds.
These efforts must be defeated so that
AmeriCorps can be expanded, not
AmeriCorps is a network of national
service programs that engage more than
50,000 Americans each year in intensive
service to meet critical needs in educa-
tion, public safety, health and the envi-
ronment, while helping these volunteers
fund their educations. Last year,
President Bush asked AmeriCorps to
expand its work in public safety, public
health and disaster relief as a part of his
plan to improve homeland security, the
fight against terrorism and the wide-
spread desire to increase citizenship
after Sept. 11. But the president's bud-
get for next year cuts AmeriCorps's
funding by 57 percent. According to
reports in the Daily, this could result in

a decrease of 90 percent of the organi-
zation's members in Michigan alone.
These programs are more than just
scattered temporary projects; AmeriCorps
volunteers live and work in the communi-
ties they serve. AmeriCorps also fosters
partnerships with schools and religious
institutions in programs that are ongoing,
including literacy programs and drug-
abuse counseling. These services are
especially important in urban areas, where
residents often cannot raise enough help
or money on their own.
Some relief may be on its way in the
form of $100 million in grants because
of a measure that was overwhelmingly
approved by the U.S. Senate this past
Friday. But that funding may easily get
bogged down in the U.S. House of
Representatives, and the amount is only
half the estimated $200 million
AmeriCorps needs to keep all programs
open, let alone to expand as the presi-
dent seemed to desire only recently.
After Sept. 11, AmeriCorps experi-
enced an upsurge in volunteer applica-
tions, but tens of thousands of people
ready to give 2,000-plus hours per year
of their lives in service to the country
are unable to make use of program
offerings because of the budget cuts.
These cuts are drastic, and they stand in
stark contrast to the president's pro-
fessed aim of "creating new opportuni-
ties within the AmeriCorps." Bush
needs to honor his commitment to
AmeriCorps and take further steps to
pull the organization out of the red. He
should not hesitate to authorize the sup-
plemental funding the program needs
and reverse the scheduled budget cuts.
This is certainly a worthy program.

espite a series of new mayors, new
stadiums, new skyscrapers and
casinos, Detroit's decline from
one of the country's great urban centers
to an impoverished, crime-ridden, large-
ly-abandoned city continues without
respite. As The Detroit News reported
last Thursday, according to the U.S.
Census Bureau, over the past two years,
Detroit's population decrease was larger
than that of any other major U.S. city. The
city's population now stands at about
one-half of its historic high. Other
Michigan cities are experiencing similar
emigration problems, including Flint,
which experienced an equally steep pop-
ulation decline of 2.4 percent. Detroit
faces a number of acute challenges;
hopefully, an injection of younger, more
energetic leaders and new development
opportunities will help Detroit to turn the
corner and begin a new renassiance that
will actually be seen through to fruition.
Like other "Rustbelt" cities, Detroit
and Flint are losing jobs as the makeup of
the economy changes and manufacturing
and heavy industry provide a smaller
share of the nation's jobs. Both cities
prospered earlier in the 20th century
when the U.S. automotive industry was
booming. These jobs have left the cities
and the entire "Rustbelt" region, along
with many of the wealthier residents. For
a variety of reasons, Detroit has been
unable to replace those lost jobs with new
ones in more vibrant industries.
Working in concert with the problem of
job loss to weaken Detroit is its poor edu-
cation system. Many residents flee the city
simply because it cannot provide an ade-
quate education for their children. Unless
the city is able to improve its school district,

its hopes of revival will grow ever bleaker.
A variety of failed plans to improve the dis-
trict, including a state takeover, have not
achieve significant progress.
Many of the residents leaving Detroit
cite high crime rates in the neighborhoods
as the motivation for their departure. The
police department is being monitored by
federal government authorities. In addi-
tion, city officials seem content to build
shiny stadiums and casinos downtown at
the expense of the neighborhoods, which
they often neglect. A vibrant downtown is
a nice asset, but the city will never be able
to attract new residents if the places where
they are to live are run-down and danger-
ous. This neglect, coupled with almost
inconceivable levels of incompetence
among the city's elected officials, resulted
in Detroit's failure to utilize a federally
funded empowerment zone in order to
rebuild major portions of the city.
Despite these ominous trends and pat-
terns, some recent events could provide
the state's largest city with the shot in the
arm it so desperately needs. The software
and consulting company Compuware
Corp. will be moving its headquarters into
the city, which will bring young, educated
workers into the city. It will also bring
more modern jobs to Detroit.
In addition, the state's new generation of
political leadership, headed by Gov. Jennifer
Granholm and Detroit Mayor Kwame
Kilpatrick are well aware of these problems
and seem enthusiastic about rectifying them,
which cannot be said of their predecessors.
Despite their enthusiasm, they will, however,
need to start giving meaning to their words
by taking specific action to save Detroit, and
the state in general, from the slow decay and
depletion of talent that are well underway.

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