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May 05, 2003 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-05-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 5, 2003
letters@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
W STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials refect 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.
very April, thousands of University ' ,. .. . and these guidelines limit the amount of cer-
students find themselves facing the l 10n solstiCe tain types of aid any single student can
fall term with a crammed schedule receive. Students who may now be eligible
and are forced to enroll in spring and sum- 'U' shou1 be flexible i s aid distribution for certain federal funds will not receive
mer classes. A lucky few have secured a sholds emorefin stbthem if they were not eligible two years ago.
spot in an affordable, credit-transferable Universities like Harvard and Princeton
course at Eastern Michigan University or of-state tuition tab is a financial burden too two years ago in order to estimate the stu- make use of their alumni bases and corpo-
another college closer to home. Many of heavy for most families, and the meager dent's need today. Because so many students rate connections to offer a variety of non-
those who must remain at the University, financial aid available offers small relief. submit FASFAs, in the aggregate, using old federal need-based funding, including low-
however, start the mad scramble for spring Enabling students to take the courses data might make sense, but at the individual interest, non-federal loans. This type of aid
and summer funding as soon as they close they need over the spring and summer level, it is grossly unfair. A flux in family is less restricted and is not based exclusive-
the books on winter finals. requires more than an influx of cash. The income during that two-year period can sig- ly on the FAFSA, so that a student experi-
The University recognizes that most stu- University needs to make major changes in nificantly impact a student's ability to meet encing financial difficulty not accounted
dents will need some financial assistance and the way spring and summer aid is adminis- the cost of tuition. The University would for in federal calculations can seek addi-
attempts to distribute funds equitably among tered. One glaring flaw lies in the way that better serve its students by beginning to base tional aid. With the world's largest alumni
those who have applied for financial aid. The student need is assessed. The assessment of its assessment of student need on more base, the University should seek to diversi- 4
typical financial aid package is a threadbare a student's need - and therefore the distrib- recent documents, such as the next academ- fy the types of aid available to those stu-
patchwork of federal loans and other institu- ution of aid funds - is based upon the pre- ic year's FAFSA, which is based on the cur- dents seeking spring and summer assis-
tional funds and falls far short of the signifi- vious academic year's Free Application for rent year's federal income tax return. tance. This is especially necessary because
cant financial support most students need. Federal Student Aid. A student applying for Compounding this problem is that most the University is the country's most expen-
Many students are forced to take out high- financial aid this summer would submit the of the aid available for the spring and sum- sive public institution of higher learning.
interest private loans or to make significant 2002-2003 FAFSA, which is structured mer is federal aid and subject to federal Until the University becomes more flexi-
changes in their academic plans and disen- around his/her family's 2001 federal income guidelines. Without exception, the rules for ble in its financial aid distribution, students
roll. Out-of-state students face a particularly tax form. In effect, the University is looking distribution of federal aid depend upon that who need to take classes over the summer
difficult situation. The $6,000 per-term out- at a snapshot of the family's finances from same FAFSA used to estimate student need, will be faced with a funding nightmare.

LEO has roared
The University must listen to lecturers' concerns

Surging sharers
Strategy of going after students too aggressive

ast Tuesday, 64 percent of the
University's non-tenure-track faculty
voted by for union representation in
the Lecturers Employees Organization. As a
union, this group of faculty members,
including lecturers, adjunct faculty and visit-
ing faculty on the University's three campus-
es, has new leverage in negotiating with the
Previously, the working conditions of
lecturers have been shaky at best - job
security, pay and poor healthcare were at the
forefront of lecturers' concerns.
Individually, lecturers could often be over-
looked or dismissed. But unionized, the pro-
tection of their livelihood as well as their
financial and physical well-being can be
strongly voiced and reinforced by their
LEO's formation can have immense
positive effects on undergraduates' educa-
tion as well. If paid fairly, lecturers will no
longer have to work part-time at multiple
universities to make a living, as some are
currently forced to do. As a result, they
will be able to pay more attention to and
spend more time on the education of their
students at the University.
The University should pay special
attention to the formation of LEO. If the
University does not comply with the
group's needs, it is a direct threat to the
education of University students. In recent
years, full-time professors have been
steadily replaced with part-time lecturers.
Considering this ever-increasing depen-
dency on lecturers, their satisfaction with
the University is key to the quality of edu-
cation that students receive.
As recent experiences with the Graduates
Employees Organization that took place in
the winter of 2002 show, when unionized

educators' needs are not met, they have the
power to University activity. With LEO's
new power, the University can choose
between fair pay and benefits or sacrificing
its main objective, educating.
But due to recent budgetary setbacks, the
new advancements for lecturers may pro-
voke the University into cutting corners con-
cerning these non-tenured staff. As a way of
cutting costs, the University might attempt to
implement a hiring freeze or eliminate non-
tenure positions. Putting a halt on the hiring
of new lecturers would jeopardize the quali-
ty of a University education. As lecturers
move up the hierarchy of academia, the
number of University lecturers is bound to
decrease. Were this to happen, class sizes
would increase while students' opportunities
for direct interaction with their instructors
would decrease. Already, many departments
do not offer enough sections for all of the
students who want to take certain classes.
Reducing the number of lecturers will only
exacerbate this problem.
Though the unionization of LEO will
likely translate into more expenses for the
University, this is no time for the University
to be skimpy. The Ann Arbor News reported
on Thursday that in the face of the state-
imposed financial crisis, the University will
likely admit more students in order to create
more tuition revenue. This projected combi-
nation of fewer instructors and a larger stu-
dent body bodes poorly for the individual
student's education.
LEO should be applauded for the success
of its formation. But, more importantly, the
University community must continue to
stand behind LEO and support these union-
ized educators in their future efforts to obtain
just treatment, job security, fair pay and
appropriate benefits.

Recent lawsuits and settlements
between the Record Industry
Association of America and indi-
vidual college students have marked the
beginning of a new battle revolving
around Internet file sharing. The RIAA
sued four individual college students who
hosted sites that enabled users to down-
load copyrighted material. Each student
was fined $150,000 per file, adding up to
an enormous expense that the students
could not possibly afford to pay. The set-
tlement reached required each student o
pay a fine of only about $12,000 to
$17,000. While the fines may be reduced,
the overaggressive litigious actions of the
RIAA have only just begun.
Only a few years ago, the RIAA thought
it had won the battle against Internet pira-
cy when it won its case against Napster,
shutting down the popular and user-friend-
ly music sharing site. Much to their cha-
grin, the technology has changed, making
the decisions of the Napster case null and
void for the current types of file-sharing
found online. Napster's Achilles' heel was
its centralized server; new programs and
Web sites now are decentralized to avoid
the fate of Napster.
Because they extracted settlements from
the college students against whom the
RIAA has taken legal action, these first
four lawsuits may be just the beginning.
The success may bring about continued lit-
igation in an attempt to instill fear and deter
people from sharing files and skating on
thin ice regarding copyright laws. By
attacking college students, however, the
record companies could ruin students'
futures. Even the reduced settlements may
be enough to hinder one of the students'
educations and further lawsuits will proba-

bly attempt to go after more college stu-
dents. College students may be the source
of much of the methods of file-sharing and
for its popularity, but bankrupting them to
earn more money for one of the largest
industries in the country is overhanded.
File-sharing and Internet piracy are
not going to disappear no matter how
aggressive the record industry becomes.
One lawsuit or many lawsuits will simply
make the methods of sharing evolve, not
eliminate the practice of file-sharing. The
RIAA should be looking at ways of work-
ing with the technology to promote their
product, not to deter people from using a
technology that is already in place and
readily accessible. The inability of the
RIAA to evolve to meet the popularity of
file-sharing is one of the main motiva-
tions driving their lawsuits. If they could
find a way to benefit from file-sharing, it
is likely this legal activity would come to
an abrupt conclusion.
The difficulty of shutting down file-
sharing programs like Kazaa all at once has
led to the decision to isolate individuals
who are easier to sue. With their success in
court thus far, it is inevitable that the RIAA
will continue its fight and attempt to dis-
mantle the large file-sharing networks.
Without a centralized server and without
the names of the individual users, the RIAA
still has no ability to immediately end all
Internet file-sharing; however, their recent
actions seem to show that the RIAA would
have no qualms about suing every individ-
ual user on Kazaa or other Internet file-
sharing programs in order to achieve its
goal. Protecting copyrights is understand-
able, but the antagonistic approach that the
record industry is pursuing is not only
predatory, but will ultimately be ineffective.

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