Only transparency will show if ‘U’ follows law
To the Daily:

In response to the Daily’s article about the University’s failure to release the admissions figures yet (‘U’ hasn’t released data on admits, 02/13/2008), the state of Michigan must demand full disclosure of the University’s admission policies in order to prove that it is complying with the law. What is it trying to hide? I don’t believe for a minute that the University’s admissions officers are too busy to share this information. The state ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action further defined admissions standards – that should make the University’s job easier, not harder.

Remember, the University originally tried to cover up its race-based admissions. Thanks to University RC professor Carl Cohen this was uncovered. I’m afraid that the University is still carrying on these discriminatory practices, hence the secrecy. If the University truly wants to prove to the people of Michigan that it is following the law, it should be transparent.

Dan Shuster
Alum

A good personality isn’t Obama’s only quality
To the Daily:

Kellyn Jackson’s attack on Barack Obama’s hopeful rhetoric in a viewpoint yesterday (Obama’s hollow hope, 02/13/2008) ignored the fact that his message is backed up by sound policy, superior judgment and experience that matches Hillary Clinton’s.

In particular, Jackson argued that Obama represents nothing new or impressive. What she ignored is that Obama is out-fundraising one of the most powerful Democratic campaign machines in history, the Clinton Machine. He has done this without reaching into the pockets of special interests or political action committees. He has also managed to create a huge grassroots political organization, and through his campaign, Obama is uniting white people, black people, Catholics, Protestants and even Republicans.

On the issue of experience, Obama has served 11 years in elected public office compared to Clinton’s seven years. Yes, she presided over a failed health care plan and gained political experience as first lady of Arkansas when her husband was governor. But, if this is considered political experience then so should Obama’s experience fighting for the needs of Americans on the streets of Chicago.

I appreciate that Jackson brought up the issue of people simply voting for a candidate because they would want that person at their backyard barbecue. I agree: I don’t want a president to be elected because that person is someone I would rather have at my home. Yet it is Obama’s combination of this personability and his capability of getting the job done that makes him special.

While I appreciate that Obama is friendly, I will vote for him because he has the knowledge to get around Washington D.C. While it is good to be inspired by a speaker, I will vote for him because he has the foresight to vote against an endless war in Iraq. While I am glad to have a president who eloquently articulates the dreams of our country, I will vote for him because he is capable of bringing these dreams to fruition.

John Latus
LSA sophomore

Theories are necessary or a modern lifestyle
To the Daily:

I would like to respond to some comments made by Adam Ajlouni in a letter to the editor yesterday about the importance of teaching language at this university (Staying true to the language requirement, 02/13/2008). In particular, he made a generalized and grossly inaccurate blanket statement about the nature of the coursework in most University departments. He wrote: “Far from the abstract theories that make up most college disciplines, foreign language is one of the few studies that yields an applicable skill.”

Theories might be abstract to Ajlouni, but they underlie crucially important parts of our daily lives. Have you considered that the vaccines and medicines you use to stay healthy, as well as the electronics in your computers and cell phones, were all designed by these abstract theories? As someone majoring in chemistry, I was particularly offended by this comment because these theories, which form the basis of much the rigorous curriculum I study every day, are also the foundation of all the applications of chemistry (and science in general) in our world.

Ajlouni’s idea that no other academic fields yield what he calls “applicable skill” undermines the countless hours and sleepless nights my colleagues in the natural sciences and I have put into our classes at the University. I certainly don’t think that I am doing all of this in vain. Maybe he’ll think about that the next time he gets sick or makes a phone call.

Jeff Simon
LSA junior

Teach For America’s popularity is deserved
To the Daily:

I’d like to thank Joe Stapleton for his article in Monday’s paper about the popularity of Teach For America at the University (‘U’ leads nation in Teach For America applicants, 02/11/2008). As a graduating senior and an accepted Teach For America applicant, I have been inspired by our university’s enthusiasm for the organization, which works to provide all children in this country with a quality education.

But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many Wolverines are applying to Teach For America: Students at the University maintain a strong sense of community and are constantly driven to better the world around us. We are the leaders and the best when it comes to tackling some of our generation’s toughest problems. The disparity in educational quality at schools across the America remains a problem that students recognize and hope to solve.

It was, in short, the spirit of the University, coupled with Teach For America’s vision, that compelled me to apply to the program. I believe that Teach For America is an agent of change – one that has rocked the nation out of the “me generation” and into the collective “we generation.” It is an organization that has empowered the lives of many children and will continue to provide opportunities for many more.

I’m glad to see that when duty calls, University students rise to the occasion. I hope that this tradition carries on. Hopefully, children all across the country will one day have the opportunities that all of us at the University were lucky enough to have.

Jason Stern
LSA senior

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