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July 21, 2003 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-07-21

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 21, 2003

able andu

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editor

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

overnor Jennifer Granholm
announced a successful budget deal
last Tuesday, saying, "We have
emerged with what I think is the moat educa-
tion-friendly budget insthe history of
Michigan." College students should disagree.
Most state universities face substantial
cuts in state appropriations under the new
budget. Giving higher education the
short end of the funding stick is sure to
make life more difficult for the state's
coveted and dwindling college-age demo-
graphic. What happened to the governor's
quest to make Michigan a center of
opportunity for the young and hip?
The University, which will endure an
effective 10 percent decrease in state appro-
priations under the new budget, has already
raised tuition accordingly. University stu-
dents will have to bear a 6.5 percent increase
in tuition on top of the 7.9 percent increase
the University Board of Regents instituted in
2002. The planned revamp of the state's
financial aid distribution system, which over-
whelmingly benefits students attending pri-

Budget crunch
Large funding cuts will hurt students and the state

vate schools, was dropped as well. This
means that students and their families will
not receive assistance from the governor in
order to pay the higher tuition rates. Even
considering that students at private schools
generally need more financial aid because of
high attendance costs, it is the government's
responsibility to make public colleges afford-
able to its citizens, not private institutions.
It is bad enough that cuts in appropriations
burden students, but they also amount to poor
investment strategy. The University returns
every cent that the state invests and more
because of the tremendous ways in which it
benefits the state, so pulling funds away from
that investment seems counterproductive.
While these cuts will prove damaging to
the state in both the short and long runs,
Granholm and the Legislature did need to

make some cuts in the budget to avoid a mas-
sive deficit. The way the remaining appropri-
ations have been distributed among the state's
universities, however, has a strong flavor of
politics rather than one of prudent public pol-
icy planning. For example, Grand Valley State
University, located in a primarily Republican
area of the state, received an increase in state
appropriations, while the budget cuts almost
all other universities' funding.
The good news for future college students
is that the Merit Award Scholarship for col-
lege-bound high school students will remain
intact at $2,500. Even so, the scholarship
could be made more effective in assisting
those who need it most if it were not based
solely on the MEAP, the state's standardized
academic achievement test. To some degree,
the students who score well on the test are not

those most reliant on government assistance
to attend college. Also good news,
Granholm's proposal to start a new "rainy
day" fund for state schools was approved, and
a $75 million deposit has already been autho-
rized by the state Legislature. Hopefully, the
savings fund will cushion education against
further budget pinches in the future. And
even though state universities are forced to
buckle down, the new budget promises to
keep the important task of elementary educa-
tion relatively well financed. Preschool and
early childhood education funding has been
restored to $78.8 million.
Despite some of these positive nuggets,
such large cuts hinder universities' ability to
create jobs, fund research and spend. The
Life Sciences Corridor, for example, will
receive $5 million in extra funds, but even
with this, it is not receiving anywhere near the
$50 million a year originally promised. The
work that universities do to improve society,
of which their contribution to the Life
Sciences Corridor is just one example, is too
important to shortchange in this way.

Happy birthday, Mr. President
Gerald Ford tums 90

Open season on Iraq's non-Christians

ver thirty years removed from
office and the Watergate scandal
that placed him there, the 38th pres-
ident of the United States, Gerald R. Ford
Jr., is celebrating his 90th birthday. He
remains the only president from the state of
Michigan and the only one who attended
the University. Though history may remem-
ber him as the first vice president to assume
the role of commander in chief without
election, and subsequently as the only pres-
ident to garner the prestigious position as
the result of his predecessor's resignation,
the University community should view him
as a friend and a supporter.
Throughout the course of his life,
Ford has been a man of incredible hon-
esty and integrity. Despite the fact that
he lost his bid for a second term in
office, he left the White House having
earned a reputation for being passionate
and truthful. He has been a man who cer-
tainly stands up for what he believes in
and passionately defends his convictions.
Well before there was affirmative
action and decades prior to the civil rights
movement, Ford was a believer in equal
opportunity. Born Leslie King Jr. in
Nebraska and raised in Grand Rapids, Ford
(whose name was changed after his moth-
er remarried), gained a system of values
that allowed him to see people for who
they are as opposed to judging them on a
preconceived notion. When the all-state
football player entered college at the
University on a football scholarship, he
quickly befriended a very talented team-
mate, Willis Ward. Ward played right end
and both of the half back positions and was
extremely valuable to the team. In a 1934
game against the southern school Georgia
Tech, Ward became the center of concern.

Georgia Tech ardently opposed playing the
Wolverines if Ward were to play because
Ward was the only black member on the
team. Ford quickly, with the rest of the
team, supported Ward and adamantly
fought to keep Ward in the game and on
the field. Ultimately, Ward himself decided
not to play, but happily, Georgia Tech
turned out to be the only team that
Michigan beat that year.
After President Richard Nixon resigned
following the Watergate scandal, Ford was
sworn in as President. He inherited the
presidency at a time when the country was
full of anguish and turmoil. The Vietnam
War was still being waged, the economy
needed a boost after a recession and the
American public didn't know whom they
could trust. While this page has often dis-
agreed with many of Ford's policies, he has
received credit for helping to speed eco-
nomic growth shortly after taking office,
and the Vietnam War finally came to an end
in 1975 under his leadership. He lost the
presidential election to Jimmy Carter, but
his ability to become friends with Carter
says a great deal about Ford's character.
Fast-forward to the 1990s, and we again
see Ford defending those things that he
believes in. When rejected applicants chal-
lenged the constitutionality of the
University's admissions policies, Ford
came to the University's defense. His posi-
tion diverged from a strong number of his
party's members' and firmly stated that
diversity was necessary in order "to create
the finest educational environment."
Ford is one of the University's most well
known alumni. He led the country through
one of the past half centry's extremely dif-
ficult eras. He is a model American citizen.
Happy birthday President Ford..

It seems too good to be true. The Kurds are
free of a tyrannical butcher, the Shiites are free
to practice their long-suppressed sect of Islam
and the Iraqi border is open to America's inter-
ests. While corporations are salivating over the
thought of juicy development contacts, what is
going through the minds of America's
Christian missionaries? "So many non-believ-
ers," they observe, "yet so little time." With the
watchful eye of Saddam's thought police out of
the way, and with Protestants and Catholics
alike having success recruiting new Christians
in the Third World, the freshly opened borders
to millions of unsaved souls looks to mission-
aries like cookies to a toddler.
Will Iraqis welcome missionaries with
open arms? If there is a conversion drive any-
time soon, there will initially be some resis-
tance, but if it is true that large sections of the
Iraqi population view American troops as lib-
erators, then it is very conceivable that they
will believe the word of American missionar-
ies. Yet even if discontent with the occupation
increases, given the amount of success
Christian missionaries have had with popula-
tions in underdeveloped countries, social
instability among Iraqis could make conver-
sion relatively simple.
Will the American government recognize
the separation of church and state and not
grant missionaries any special privileges in
Iraq? It's still unclear, but the government has
incentive to let Islam in Iraq dwindle, espe-
cially among the Shiites, who have protested
the American occupation much more than any-
one else. The less Islam in Iraq, the less fun-
damentalism there is, and in turn, America can
boast that it eradicated the terrorist threat in
Iraq. Therefore, protecting and even encourag-
ing Christian missionaries in Iraq may be in
the government's best interests.

With the failure of the United States to
show that Iraq had WMDs or link Saddam to
either Sept. 11 or al-Qaida, the Bush adminis-
tration could tout a decline in fundamentalist
Islam in Iraq as a victory in the War on Terror.
But is sending Christian missionaries to Iraq a
legitimate means of warfare? Is it at all main-
To put in bluntly, it is very much not a
mainstream tactic. In fact, after Sept. 11, the
Right's blonde bombshell columnist Ann
Coulter suggested the new policy towards the
Arab world be to, "bomb their leaders and con-
vert them to Christianity." Such a comment -
even while the dust had yet to settle at Ground
Zero - was considered so extreme it got
Coulter booted from the roster of the hard-line
conservative weekly National Review. 4
There is certainly no international law
against missionary activity, but when the
waves of men and women preaching the good
news come through the borders, the charges of
cultural imperialism will fly like F-15s over
the floor of the U.N. General Assembly.
Will that matter to Bush? He has made it
clear that he doesn't need the international
community's blessing to do anything; all that
concerns him is what the voters will think next
year. And given his current popularity and
ability to spin the truth to the press, a decrease
in Islam, fundamentalist or mainstream, in the 4
Middle East will bring joy to most Americans'
Coulter's prophesy may have been extreme
two years ago, but the power of American
Christianity and the fear the current adminis-
tration manufactures have created conditions
where a drive to convert the so-called heathens
will actually be popular among mainstream
America. Things change, and now it's open
season in Iraq for missionaries.
Paul is an LSA senior and a member
of the Daily's editorial board

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