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July 30, 2007 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-07-30

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Monday, July 30, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C, he Ifficbioan Dailu


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109



Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other
signed articles and illustrationsrepresent solely the views oftheir authors.
Let's get ethical
Senate regulates financial aid practices
Finding the terms "ethics reform" and "U.S. Sen-
ate" in the same sentence is about as likely as
avoiding hearing about the end of "Harry Pot-
ter and the Deathly Hallows." However, that's just what
happened last week as the Senate passed its final legisla-
tion to reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965 and
reform ethics codes on the relationship between college
officials and student loan companies.


A sick medi

Among the many new changes,
the bill prohibits loan compa-
nies from providing financial aid
officers with trips, gifts or other
incentives in exchange for advan-
tages in the student loan market.
It also cuts almost $19 billion over
five years in private educational
lending subsidies, adding most of
that money to low- and middle-
income students. Finally, the bill
simplifies the FAFSA from seven
pages down to two and requires
that growth in tuition and fees
for all universities be reported.
At a time when students are
being hit with rising tuition costs
and dwindling financial aid, this
new bill is a big victory. Not only
does it make the student lending
industry more competitive and
less criminal, it adds a much-
needed increase to student grants
and reduces loan payments for
students who are suffering from
Congress's previous negligence.
However, the effectiveness of
the law's other stipulations will
largely be determined by how
they are implemented. Decreas-
ing the number of FAFSA pages
may be more convenient, but the
priority is to create a financial
aid application that will gauge an
individual's ability to pay for col-
lege through questions like how

much a student's parents will
contribute to tuition. Unless the
government chooses to reevalu-
ate the form, it's likely that the
shortening of the FAFSA will
only aggravate this problem.
Likewise, forcing colleges
to release tuition increases for
scrutiny helps the public monitor
exorbitant price hikes and hold
educational institutions account-
able. But forcing universities to
report price hikes does nothing
to stop them from raising them
steadily but surely.
Finally, while marshalling the
relationship between lenders and
financial aid officials is an obvi-
ous way to prevent the scandals
that have riddled student lending,
this legislation may not have gone
far enough. After all, the scandal
within Columbia University's
financial aid department last year
didn't involve gifts, but rather
officials owning stock in a compa-
ny classified by the university as a
"preferred lender." This bill does
nothing to prevent such conflicts
of interest in the future.
While the Senate's new ethics
bill could use some tweaking, it is
at least some good news for stu-
dents and an encouraging sign of
long-overdue competence from

Popular provocateur Michael
Moore was recently featured on
CNN's "The Situation Room"
to promote his newest docu-
mentary "Sicko." The interview
opened with a preemptive seg-
ment that, according to the tex-
tual headers on the bottom of the
screen, purported to be a "real-
ity check" and a "healthy look at
the facts." However, this entire
CNN segment employed blatant
techniques of misinformation at
a time when the American public
needs accuracy in mainstream
news coverage - not the evoca-
tion of phantom WMDs or other
scare tactics designed to perpe-
trate political ideology.
The show opened with a clip
in which CNN correspondent
Dr. Sanjay Gupta informed the
audience that Moore's support
of Cuba's tax-based health care
system is ill-advised. Cuba has
actually slipped to number 39
(two rankings below America)
in the World Health Organiza-
Dingell blocks
U.S. Rep. John Dingell's fail-
ure to be pro-active in stopping
global warming leaves Michigan
in a very dangerous position.
We know that global warming
is heating the planet in perilous
and unpredictable ways that will
change the lives of Americans
for the worse, yet Dingell seems

tion's rankings of data on the
medical systems of 191 countries
- an irrelevant factoid that dis-
tracts the viewer 'om Moore's
point that Cuba has more read-
ily accessible services and cheap
prescription drugs. Although
Cuba may rank slightly below
America, that hardly means that
America can't explore the benefi-
cial practices that Cuba employs
in its facilities.
After this, "The Situation
Room" put up a smokescreen of
statistical data that denigrates
from what could be a platform
for discussion about America's
low-ranking position on the list.
Gupta reported that America
has the shortest waiting peri-
ods for non-emergency electri-
cal procedures, which is a moot
point. What difference do long
lines make when many Ameri-
cans cannot even afford cover-
age to get in the door? The entire
segment served the purpose of
silencing Moore's message before

>uTube is a website
it allows kids to net-
rk with one another
id make friends and
ontact each other."
- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
Romney, confusing YouTube with
MySpace atan ice cream social in
Story City, Iowa on Thursday.
he was even interviewed.
When WolfaBlizter gave Moore
an opportunity to respond, he
remarked, "That report was so
biased. I can't imagine what
pharmaceutical ad is coming
up right after our break here."
Moore demanded that the media
public, not something sponsored
by a corporate conglomerate.
Despite this, immediately
after the interview, Lou Dobbs
remarked that Moore is "more of
a left-wing promoter than Hugo
Chavez." This semiotic comment
aligned Moore with someone
who the media depicts as a sort
of radical Communist; the aver-
age viewer sitting at home was
alienated as CNN attempted to
minimize his political message
under the subterfuge of stereo-
types it had already invoked.
Jennifer Sussex is an LSA
sophomore and a member of
the Daily's editorial board.



content to roll the dice and worse
yet, is serving as a roadblock to
proactive solutions.
What Rep. Dingell should be
doing is leading Congress to work
on realsolutions,like reducingpol-
lution, funding renewable energy
resources like wind and solar
power and increasing fuel effi-
ciency standards for cars. Instead,
he is standing in the way of these
efforts. He should be ashamed.
In Michigan, global warm-
ing will fuel dangerous summer
heat waves and lead to higher

concentrations of asthma-caus-
ing pollution. Winter weather
will also become less predict-
able, threatening tourism and
recreational opportunities like
ice fishing and snowmobiling.
Please visit www.michigan-
hotseat.org to find out more and
to volunteer to make a differ-
ence. You can contact Rep. Din-
gell at (313) 278-2936.
Rebecca Sobel
The letter writer is
a member of Greenpeace


Editorial Board Members: Mike Eber, Kellyn Jackson, Jennifer Sussex,
Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya

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