Registration bracket reform would level playing field

To the Daily:

I was pleased to read about LSA-Student Government’s nearly complete overhaul of the registration date system (The more things change, 02/12/2007). LSA-SG deserves tremendous credit for tackling this issue, which lies at the heart of the notion of diversity and fairness in academia.

The old system had the effect of creating a fast track into desirable classes for students who started college with a lot of Advanced Placement credit. Most such students are from wealthy suburbs. On the other hand, students from rural or urban schools that lack the resources to fund extensive AP programs end up at an academic disadvantage from day one.

I recall hearing stories during my freshman year from friends who attended wealthy suburban school districts and arrived in Ann Arbor with more than 30 AP credits. These students were in the seminar classes with well-respected professors. Meanwhile, the students who had few or no AP credits were stuck in the massive lecture hall throngs.

One remaining advantage that kids from the wealthy suburbs still have at the University is in the application process, when they are given an advantage because their ritzy suburban schools happen to be considered academically-challenging. Let’s hope that LSA-SG considers the similar effect this policy has on admissions and fairness.

Matthew Murphy

Daily’s coverage of student groups slanted and shoddy

To the Daily:

Please stop your coverage on the group formerly known as Michigamua. Not only is the coverage tiresome, but it is fanning the flames against a student group attempting to reform. Also The Michigan Daily seems to lack the ability to cover it properly. For example, both letters to the editor last Thursday (Daily fails to recognize existing campus activism; Daily’s MSA criticism is knee-jerk and uninformed, 02/08/2007) accused the Daily of poor reporting.

Looking more closely at the reporting on Michigamua, I fully support the sentiments Andrew Wilkinson expressed in his letter to the editor (Daily should leave Order of Angell to its secrecy, 02/06/2007).

The problem is both a slant and shoddy reporting. Just last Thursday, a story (Despite unease of Angells, society adopts new name, 02/08/2007) was framed in a way that made it seem like James K. Angell has always been against the name change. Yet in an earlier story (Society asks Angell family to use its name, 01/26/2007), there was apparently no objection from Angell – he just wished to confer with his sister. So, what is it? Has Angell changed his mind, or is one (or both) of the stories not telling everything?

Hopefully, the Daily can work on its bias and its fact finding so that its stories about The Order of Angell and other controversial events, like the Young Americans for Freedom ex-terrorist event, are deserving of print.

Matthew Lewis
LSA junior

A few points of clarification on green energy proposal

To the Daily:

Thank you for your coverage of last Tuesday’s Michigan Student Assembly resolution supporting the purchase of renewable energy (MSA to ‘U’: buy renewable energy, 02/09/2007). While we appreciate this article, we would like to clarify a few points regarding the resolution and our campaign.

First, the article’s sub-headline read “Group wants 100 percent green energy by 2011.” This is inconsistent with statements made later in the article and the contents of the resolution. In fact, the MSA Environmental Issues Commission hopes the University will buy a third of its electricity from renewable sources immediately and increase this commitment to 50 percent by 2011 and 100 percent by 2015.

Second, the article states that “purchasing a third of its electricity from renewable sources would cost the University about $820,500 more per year.” From our conversations with University administrators, we understand that the University will pay a renewable energy premium of between 0.5 and one cent per kilowatt-hour beyond the price of fossil fuel-based electricity. At these rates, the University will likely spend between $820,500 and $1.64-million per year for the third of its electricity purchased from renewable sources. Given this price range, we maintain that our proposal of renewable energy will be a worthy investment for the University.

We thank the Daily once again for its coverage. The University has the power, the resources and the responsibility to set standards of environmental leadership. By investing in renewable energy now, the University will fulfill this responsibility and provide an admirable response to the unequivocal problem of climate change.

Shari Pomerantz and Chris Detjen
Pomerantz is an LSA senior, Detjen is an LSA junior. They are co-chairs of MSA’s Environmental Issues Commission.

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