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June 07, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-06-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 7, 2004
tothedaily@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion o4
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.

In a triumphant moment, the
Lecturers' Employee Organization
signed a three year contract with the
University. Complete with salary hikes,
summer health coverage and more job
security, the contract will impact lectur-
ers on the Ann Arbor, Flint and
Dearborn campuses. The agreement
comes after deliberations twice a week
over the past 10 months and in spite of
the failure of those deliberations on
April 8, when LEO members participat-
ed in a day long walkout. Now that a
middle ground has been met, LEO,
although generally pleased with their
gains, recognizes that there is still much
left to fight for. This agreement can be
perceived as a mere stepping stone and
the University should be aware that the
fight for labor rights is far from over.
LEO's gains are extensive when com-
pared to the previous status quo. The
most noticeable concession by the
University was the increase in salary
and agreement to annual pay raises.

LEO roars, 'U' listens
New contract a groundbreaking, progressive agreement

Lecturers that were the least paid
obtained a pay raise close to 50 percent.
Lecturers now will also enjoy greater
job security and increased chances for
longer employment. After undergoing a
probation period and review, non-
tenured staff will be eligible for longer
Despite these gains, this agreement
still leaves much to be desired. Health
coverage is perhaps the most important
and most contested field. The contract
lacked improved insurance coverage for
the standard school year, a situation that
LEO will be looking to ameliorate in
three years. Also, with pay disparities
reaching as much as $8,000 between the
three different campuses, LEO will be
seeking to bridge such financial

schisms. The pay disparities will only
become exacerbated when the percent-
age pay raises begin to accumulate. The
other juncture of contention will be the
amount of annual salaries. Although
LEO is pleased with their raises, the
amount is far from enough; $31,000 is a
low figure for people of such high acad-
emic achievement. Furthermore, given
the University's extensive reliance on
lecturers - they teach 75 percent of
language classes - it is imperative that
the University provides adequate com-
The problems facing LEO are represen-
tative of a growing and pervasive trend.
The death of state funding has caused pub-
lic universities to resort to budgetary mea-
sures seen at private institutions and the

situation will only worsen if left unre-
solved. However LEO's struggle is a
metaphorical line in the sand. The exten-
sive benefits gained by LEO are unique
amongst the nation and should be celebrat-
ed as a historical milestone. Their success
provides an example to other lecturers
across the country and will give lecturers
at other institutions the motivation and
momentum that is needed to launch simi-
lar campaigns.
The continued unionization of lec-
tures will be an instrumental force in
reminding institutions that their distin-
guished reputations are significantly
impacted by the dedication and hard
work of their non-tenured staff.
Although the University and LEC.
should be applauded for their mutual
cooperation, this agreement marks a
momentary compromise that will not
suffice for the future. After this three
year contract expires, lecturers will con-
tinue to fight to receive more of their

Dwindling diversity?
Admissions statistics should cause concern, not panic

Recently released figures indicate
that this fall's incoming freshman
class will likely contain more white
and fewer black students than last year's.
There are several possible causes for the
drop in minority representation in the
incoming class, and it is currently too
early to tell whether this drop is permanent
or merely an anomaly. However, this class
is the first to use the new application
process that the University developed to
comply with last year's Supreme Court
decision, which upheld the use of race as a
factor in collegiate admissions, but over-
turned the previous point-based system.
As such, the drop is a troubling indicator
that the new admissions system could
potentially be interfering with the
University's commitment to diversity.
Applications to Michigan were down
across the board: 25 percent fewer African-
American applicants, 20 percent fewer
whites, a 13 percent drop in Hispanic appli-
cants and 8.5 percent fewer Native
American applicants. Part of this drop may
reflect economic insecurities amongst
potential students and their families, who
may, for instance, be more likely to consid-
er attending a local community college for
the first two years to save on room and
board. However, it would be difficult to
argue that the new application process did
not also contribute to the overall drop in
applications. The new application is 26
pages long and requires applicants to write
four essays. This is a far more rigorous pro-
cedure than the short form and one generic
essay required of previous applicants.
The intensity of the new application
ensures that the University will attract a
more dedicated group of applicants.
Students who are considering the University

as a "backup" school are far less likely to
fill out a 26-page application that those
whose blood already runs maize and blue.
Indeed, the incoming freshman class could
be the largest in the University's history, as
there has been an overall increase in the
numbers of admitted students who choose
to enroll.
However, there is a troubling racial dis-
parity amongst matriculated students: While
enrollment deposits are up 8 percent
amongst white students, they are down 13
percent amongst blacks. It is too early to tell
why this might be the case. Perhaps the
University is attracting a more elite set of
minority applicants, who choose to attend
other schools; perhaps, since minority stu-
dents are more likely to come from socio-
economically disadvantaged families, fewer
are able to afford a University education
given the state of the economy.
The current picture of the incoming class
is troubling, but not yet cause for alarm. It
is impossible to tell from one year's statistics
what precisely caused drops in minority rep-
resentation in the incoming class. Some of
the potential causes, such as confusion over
the court rulings, may be temporary. Others
are largely beyond the University's control:
Other than offering the most extensive
financial aid possible, there is little the
University can do to offset the decisions stu-
dents and their families make in hard eco-
nomic times. In light of the current drop in
minority enrollment, however, it is impera-
tive that University administrators and the
admissions office increase their vigilance
and watch closely in future years to deter-
mine whether the new admissions proce-
dure or any other University actions or poli-
cies could be leading to a long-term drop in
minority enrollment.

Rolling s
AATA promoting effici
T he Ann Arbor Transportation
Authority deserves credit for being a
progressive public transportation enti-
ty; the authority is at the forefront of creating
innovative programs for the benefit of its rid-
ers, the environment and the city which it
serves. The AATA has truly set a high bar for
other transportation authorities to follow. Its
newest endeavor has been the installation of
clock timers at the various stops on the "The
Link" bus system, which connects downtown
Ann Arbor with the University's central cam-
pus. These timers tell the number of minutes
that has passed since the last Link bus arrived
at the stop. Since the interval between the
buses arriving at each stop is about every
eight minutes, commuters will easily be able
to decide whether or not they want to wait for
the next bus. Besides the "coolness" factor of
these devices, it is one step closer to the big-
ger picture of a transportation coordination
system of the future by which all buses are
linked through a single network with the abil-
ity to transmit their locations to the Internet in
real-time. By taking the first steps towards
such a system, the AATA shows that it is
actively testing new technology that could
improve public transportation's user-friendli-
ness and ultimately its usability.
The AATA has also recently begun
exhibiting student artwork on the sides of
its buses under a program named ArtRide.
Large posters on the sides of all 82 buses
in the bus fleet decorate Ann Arbor's roads
with expressions of student creativity and
artistic talent. The goal of the program is
to forge closer bonds between the
University's population and the city as a
whole. Community building through ini-
tiatives like ArtRide will enhance the rela-
tionship between these two entities, which
in times past and present, feel estranged

ent mass transportation
and often isolated from each other. With
stronger community ties, Ann Arbor can
be even more proud of being the home to
one of the best public universities in the
Besides pioneering new technology
and implementing innovative programs to
enliven the community, the AATA is alsO
environmentally friendly. In July of 2002,
the AATA announced a partnership with
British Petroleum, a global oil producer, to
use ultra-low sulfur diesel. By using the
low sulfur fuel, AATA buses obtain a 10
percent reduction in particulate emissions,
which are colloquially known as "smog."
This is in light of tougher federal regula-
tions that require buses to cut down emis-
sions by 2006. The AATA was proactive i*
creating this partnership and was the first
municipal transportation system in the
Midwest to use this fuel. By meeting
future emissions standards before it needs
to, the AATA shows a sense of social
responsibility in operating minimally pol-
luting buses for the sake of a cleaner envi-
Not many public transportation sys-
tems can claim the innovative trends the
AATA has tried to set, or the environmen-
tally friendly attitude that it has adopte@
The authority should be praised for their
efforts in adopting a progressive attitude
towards transportation. The superior exe-
cution of their initiatives proves that the
AATA is not some municipal service satis-
fied with the status quo but, in fact, a
dynamic institution that constantly sub-
jects itself to ideas for improvement. With
rising oil and gas prices, Ann Arbor'
transportation system is well positioned t
serve as a great alternative for drivers who
are looking for a way to cut down on costs.

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