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August 13, 2007 - Image 23

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-08-13

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The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2007 11

C, be Micb-toan Dailu

Bleachers, not skyboxes
'U' should consider alternative stadium plan

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Mt 4t109


Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
After MCRJ
Affirmative action debate not over
few hopeful souls may be waiting for a deus ex
machina to uncover the missing half-million bal-
lots opposing Proposal 2, but with 94 percent of
precincts reporting at press time, it's clear that the Mich-
igan Civil Rights Initiative has passed. Despite years of
effort, first to keep the proposal off the ballot and later to
educate voters about what the proposal actually means,
Michigan residents have spoken - and come out over-
whelmingly against affirmative action.

n a move many regarded as
a mistake, the University
Board of Regents approved
a controversial expansion of the
Big House last May. Unlike any
previous expansion, the plan
would actually remove bleacher
seats, replacing them with club
seats and luxury boxes.
The Big House has embod-
ied the tradition of Michigan
football since it was completed
in 1927. Each home game, more
than a hundred thousand fans
journey to that familiar sunken
bowl to watch the Wolverines.
Each fan sits or stands on the
same cold steel bleachers. Every
one of them suffers through the
often cruel Ann Arbor weather.
Every one of them cheers in
jubilation when the revered
Maize and Blue score. There are
no advertisements, no distrac-
tions - just fans and football.
While the two proposed
structures included in the sky-
box plan might not take away

from the football program itself,
they would severely disrupt the
University's football tradition.
Affront to tradition aside, the
skybox plan has a number of
flaws. The skyboxes won't nec-
essarily sell out. Further, the
plan jeopardizes the stadium's
standing as the largest in the
nation. The boxes would hinder
further expansion of the bowl,
effectively locking capacity at
just above 108,000.
Despite the obvious divisions
with the Board of Regents and
among alumni on the matter,
opponents of the luxury box
plan have had a hard time mak-
ing their opinions heard. Cer-
tainly, this could have been a
simple mistake. However, mis-
takes, clerical oddities and other
shadytactics have beenthe norm
regarding this subject since the
administrative sleight-of-hand
that placed the stadium expan-
sion plan on the agenda for the
regents' meeting in May at the

last minute - after the deadline
to register to speak had passed.
If the fact that the skybox plan
is still moving forward is dis-
turbing, the administration's
unwillingness to hear opposing
arguments is even more so.
The Athletic Department will
say that many planswere consid-
ered, yet only the plan including
luxuryboxes could finance need-
ed renovations without increas-
ing ticket prices. This may have
been the case among the alter-
nate plans the department put
forth, but viable alternatives for
stadium expansion exist. They
need to be considered.
In the end, the Board of
Regents should remember that
Fielding Yost put extra steel
pilings into the ground for a
reason. It's a safe bet that the
reason wasn't to allow for the
future construction of "enclosed

But the battle isn't over. Some
changes are certain: The Univer-
sity will revamp its admissions
process, tweak some programs
and probably eliminate others.
But Proposal 2 hasn't put an end
to the affirmative action debate
- it's begun a chain of court bat-
tles to sort out what "preferential
treatment" actually means. If the
deluge of lawsuits filed in Cali-
fornia after a similar initiative
passed in 1996 is any indication,
the debate in the courts could go
on for years.
Bothsupporters and opponents
of Proposal 2 can agree that the
status quo was unacceptable. For
being born to the wrong family,
thousandsofchildrenreceived an
inferior education from the first
day of kindergarten. For being
born the wrong gender, women
across the state face the legacy of
male privilege that persists today
in employment and contracting.
The passage of Proposal 2 has
done nothing to remedy these
inequalities that demand our
immediate attention.
More than any other public
a lot of decisions to make. But the

University also stan
position. It remains
maintaining divers:
despite yet another
it has the influenc
negative effects Pr
surely bring. So fa
istration has been
unable to disclosen
strategy to respond
As last night's resul
that will have to ch
will, beginning wi
President Mary Si
speech at noon toda
The morning aft,
the real challenge li
ing months and ye
versity has fought1
U.S. Supreme Court
commitment to dive
it doesn't abandon
ment now. Some m
to accept Proposal.
the end of affirmati
we have a feeling t
won't give up that e
is one university th
way to achieve div
setback as dire as th
University of Michi,

ds in a unique
committed to
ity on campus
obstacle. And

A mistake to remember
Bush defies experts and common sense in escalating the war

e to allay the f the war in Iraq was cruel,
oposal 2 will wasteful and unnecessary
r, the admin- before, it seems that things
unwilling or are only getting worse. At a time
such about its when experts have begun con-
to Proposal 2. sidering a phased withdrawal,
ts made clear, Bush confirmed that he intends
ange. It likely to send 21,500 additional troops
th University into the Iraq quagmire.
ue Coleman's The majority of the troops
y on the Diag. will be sent to Baghdad. Never
er is hard, but mind that a similar troop surge
es in the com- last fall failed miserably. Never
ars. The Uni- mind that virtually every poli-
battles in the titian on both sides of the aisle
t to defend its think this is the wrong way to
rsity; we hope go. Never mind that even Ameri-
that commit- ca's allies are hesitant to support
lay be willing this surge. Never mind that the
2's passage as American casualties in the war
ve action, but in Iraq now outnumber those of
he University Sept. 11. Bush needs a legacy. To
asily. If there get one of those this late in the
sat can find a game, you have to gamble. The
ersity after a president sees your 3,018, and he
is one, it's the just raised you 21,500.
gan. While his proposal is clear,
what remains unclear is how
- Nov. 8, 2006 Bush expects commanders to

effectively use these additional
forces. Many military leaders
don't think more soldiers on the
ground will make a difference.
But what do they know, they're
just the ones fighting the war.
Additionally, it's unlikely that
adding even 20,000 troops in
Baghdad, a city of some 6 mil-
lion people, will make any sig-
nificant difference. Previous
troop increases in this highly
volatile region not only failed,
but actually deepened animosity
and exacerbated the conflict.
The plan also comes on heels
of a recent poll showing that only
12 percent of the American pub-
lic favors an increase in troop
levels. But it's not just the public
that feels this way. Recent polls
of American military personnel
showthat only35 percent ofthem
approve ofthe wayBushhas han-
dled the war in Iraq, down from
54 percent a year ago.
responded with skepticism to
Bush's troop increase, but even

some Republicans have jumped
ship. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)
called the plan "a dangerously
wrongheaded strategy." Unfor-
tunately, it seems yet again that
the president has heard every-
one and listened to no one.
Congressional oversight is
now the only way to curb the
president's lunacy and salvage
the few remnants of America's
reputation and moral capi-
tal. Now isn't the time for the
nascent Congress to get cold
feet. Speaker ofthe House Nancy
Pelosi recently suggested the
possibility of Congress refusing
the entirety of the president's
funding request and authoriz-
ing only what is needed for the
troops currently on the ground.
She's right: Congress has both
the power and the responsibility
to override Bush's dangerously
misguided proposal and steer
the nation toward a more sen-
sible strategy.
- Jan.12, 2007

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