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May 12, 2008 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-05-12

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41

Monday May 12, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

e ltc ilgan Dal,1
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu
EMMARIE HUETTEMAN GARY GRACA KATE TRUESDELL
EDITOR IN CHIEF MANAGING EDITOR EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect theofficial positionof the Daily's editorial board. All other
signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
F RMT H E DAILYN
Reverse the ban
Quick fixes can't remedy same-sex exclusion
Last Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court
actually regressed the equal rights movement. In a
5-2 decision, justices upheld an appeals court rul-
ing that illogically determined that the state's 2004 consti-
tutional ban on gay marriage also prohibits public sector
employers from extending domestic partner benefits to
same-sex couples. The University won't immediately be
affected by the decision, but its policy of offering benefits
to "other qualified adults" stands on shaky ground - that
is, unless the state reevaluates its discriminatory ban.

RICK JONES VIE WPOINT
In defense of the 10-percent plan

Recently The Michigan Daily
published an editorial claim-
ing, "...amending admissions
would be disastrous for educa-
tion" (Amending admissions,
04/29/2008). The editorial was
referring to the legislative ini-
tiative that I am-currently work-
ing on similar to the "10-percent
Plan" currently in Texas.
In Texas the top 10 percent of
graduating high school seniors
receive automatic admission into
any state university. This has
occurred for more than a decade.
In a recent Harvard study, the
students admitted under the 10-
percent plan had higher grades
and higher graduation rates at
the universities. It also increased
racial, economic, and geographi-
cal diversity. Under this propos-
al, students from urban cities,
the rural countryside and private
schools get the same chance to
go to college. I have heard from
many rural school parents that
their children never even get a
chance. This plan at a minimum
requires exploration and addi-
tional study.

Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D-
Detroit) recently proposed a
similar to-percent idea. I'm a
Republican from Grand Ledge
and we both agree that change
is needed. Change is needed
to allow for greater access and
broader education options here
in Michigan.
The top priority and mission
of every public university in
Michigan that accepts public tax
dollars must be to educate Michi-
gan students first. Currently, one
third of freshmen come from for-
eign countries and other states.
Under my proposal, students
from places like China and New
York are welcome, but only after
Michigan students have had the
first chance.
After I rolled out the proposal
to alter university admissions, I
was contacted by two University
of Michigan professors. One pro-
fessor blatantly stated to me that
the University was an "elite insti-
tution" and only certain types
of people should apply. I do not
believe in "elitist" institutions.
On the other hand, the other pro-

fessor agreed with me that the
"mission" of the University has
changed during the last 30 years
to exclude Michigan students
and educate those from other
states and countries.
I strongly believe that out-of-
state and foreign students should
not be "cherry-picked" because
they pay higher tuition rates.
Money should not be the moti-
vating factor for public schools
when it comes to our kids' edu-
cations. I encourage the Uni-
versity administration to have
an open mind when exploring a
groundbreaking change such as
this. The institution prides itself
on cultivating critical thinkers
- I say it's time for it to apply the
same practices and skills inter-
nally.
Again, students from all coun-
tries and states are welcome at
our Michigan universities. How-
ever, I believe Michigan students
must come first.
Rick Jones is Grand Ledge's
representative in the U.S.
House of Representatives.

q
I

4

ETLISE BAUNgnfVIEWPthte
Taing one for the team

When voters went to the polls
in 2004, they were asked whether
they supported a ban on gay mar-
riage in the state. They weren't
asked whether state employees
could receive benefits for their
same-sex partner. Thanks to
Mike Cox, the state attorney gen-
eral, that decision was made for
the voters when Cox interpreted
the amendment to also ban same-
sex benefits for state employees.
His position was upheld both in
a February 2007 appeals court
ruling and last week by the state
Supreme Court.
Fortunately, the University
already has its defenses in place.
Its thinly veiled policy extend-
ing benefits to "other qualified
adults" who fulfill certain crite-
ria sidesteps the barriers built by
Cox. This approach allows the
University to provide benefits to
same-sex couples if they meet
these criteria.
So the University doesn't pro-
vide benefits to same-sex part-
ners per se, just "other qualified
adults" who happen to have lived
with a University employee for
more than six months, are not able
to be legally married in Michigan
and share either a joint checking

or credit account, among other
qualifications. Clearly, the two
are very different.
The University may be con-
fident that its policy, which it
claims is compliant with the
amendment, could hold up in
court, but that's probably wishful
thinking. While the University's
response to the injustice result-
ing from the 2004 election is cer-
tainly praiseworthy, the policy is
living on borrowed time. With
these band-aid measures, the
longevity of benefits for "other
qualified adults" is only as long
as the time the policy can survive
the justice system. .
The University has done what
it could to circumvent these
unfair laws, but it can hardly
offer a permanent solution to
the problem. The responsibility
belongs to Michigan's govern-
ment and voters. The ban should
never have been passed in the
first place, and the blatantly
unfair treatment of same-sex
couples employed in the public
sector is but one of its harmful
consequences. Four years later,
it's high time to confront the
problem head on and turn back
the mistakes of 2004.

4

I'm not suggesting that Hill-
ary Clinton drop out of the race.
I'm not saying that Barack Obama
should simply quit. But what I am
saying, most emphatically, is that
one of them needs to bite the bul-
let, cut their losses, and take one,
most literally, for the team.
The Democratic primaries have
been dragging on, and no one with
absolute certaintycanpredictwho
is going to win. America's eyes are
fixed on the Barack/Hillary show-
down, and both candidates seem
determined to place the other in
the most negative light possible in
order tobe the eventualDemocrat-
ic presidential nominee. But what
neither seems to care about is that
the Democratic Party will have
fully beaten down one candidate
and wounded the other. Then they
will send the wounded one on to
the general election in November.
You'd never have an injured kicker
try to kick the game-winning field
goal. Likewise, you shouldn't send
a wounded candidate to compete
in the general election, and all
that Clinton and Obama are doing

is injuring one another.
John McCain makes headlines
by visiting college campuses and
talking to students, in essence
focusing fully on the general
election. put Clinton and Obama
make headlines by duking it out
at yet another Democratic debate
or throwing insults at each other.
They can't focus on the issues that
will come up before November
because they are still battling the
politics of the primaries. In fact,
the negative emotion growing
between them could be turning
voters against both candidates, at
a point when it is crucial that the
Democrats win the election.
After eight years of Presi-
dent Bush, I want a change in
the government. I'm tired of the
reputation of my country slowly
decaying in the world's eyes. I'm
tired of a bumbling leader who
continually finds new ways to
limit my freedom (Patriot Act, for
starters). My hope was that the
Democrats could bring me that
change. But, since both Hillary
and Barack seem determined to

play out the primariesto the bitter
end, it appears that I may be shit
out of luck.
It's time to stop the insults,
time to stop the mudslinging.
Democrats, as a whole, need to
come together and keep their eyes
on the prize: the White House,
not the Democratic National Con-
vention. Of course, the next most
logical question to ask is who
should be the one to gracefully
step down? Currently, Obama has
1869 delegate votes, while Clinton
only has 1696 delegate votes. To
be the official candidate one of
them needs to rack up 2025 del-
egate votes. It's a very close race,
with Obama leading by. a slim
margin. My suggestion would be
for one of them to stop looking at
the dropout choice as giving up,
and instead realize that it would
be a sacrifice made for the greater
good of the party. It's a strategyto
win, and the Democratic Party is
the one running for the election
- stop splitting up the team.
Elise Baun is an LSA senior.

4

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Editorial Board Members: Harun Buljina, Robert Soave, Matt Trecha

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