Bush failed to address relevant questions, or to sway fence-sitters on affirmative action

To the Daily:

In listening to President Bush’s recent comments against my university’s admissions policy, I found myself feeling a mix of disappointment and uncertainty. The fact is I do not know how I feel about the policy. On the one hand I value the diversity on this campus and the contribution it has made to my experience, but on the other hand I still find it difficult to accept that race should be such an enormous aid or detriment to an applicant’s chances for admission. Over my years in Ann Arbor, I have waited anxiously for someone to make it all make sense and to outline a system that is fair, but also preserves many of the values of the university.

On Wednesday, my disappointment and indecision continued; I am beginning to think that such a system will never exist. In listening to the president’s words, I hoped to hear him offer some brilliant alternative that would resolve everyone’s worries, but I didn’t expect much. I hoped to hear him speak out against a legacy system in admissions similar to the one he no doubt benefited from at Yale University, but I didn’t expect that either. Now, with these two historic cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, I am hoping to see the University release to the public all the relevant data. I am hoping to see the numbers and find out exactly how diverse this campus would be without the affirmative action policies in place. I am hoping that this kind of disclosure will help people like me, now firmly planted on the fence, to finally gain the perspective needed to decide what is right and what is wrong. I am hoping for all of these things, but if there is one thing that I have learned, it is not to expect much.

Richard Mayk

Business senior

Wireless Internet in classrooms would be too big a temptation for Law students

To the Daily:

Although the Daily is correct to note that the Law School does have wireless access (Wireless disconnect, 1/16/03), it incorrectly uses this to support expanding wireless into the classroom. In fact, wireless is unavailable in nearly all Law School classrooms, and rightly so. The general consensus is that the administration took the decision to keep wireless networks inaccessible in classrooms because of the credible fear that students would surf the web in class.

Surfing the web, AOL Instant Messenger and checking e-mail are far more engaging activities than passing notes or doodling in class. More people would distract both their classmates and themselves from discussions were wireless to be available in class.

Again, we have to look no farther than the Law School: From the back of any large lecture one can see solitaire on almost as many screens as notes. All these people wouldn’t have pulled out a deck of cards before laptops, and students with wireless access will likely not limit their in-class online activity to even marginally useful pursuits. Forget “cultivating class discussion” or even the Wall Street Journal online – think www.hotornot.com.

Ali Ahmad

Law School

Joint Cooperative House unfairly pressured to call off MLK Day party

To the Daily:

Please note that although I am writing this letter as a frustrated member of the Joint Cooperative House, the opinions that I am about to express in this letter are mine alone, and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of any other resident of the house.

It may have come to the attention of some on campus that the Joint House was planning on throwing a party on Sunday to celebrate the King holiday. Unfortunately, due to the agitation of some who found our flyer “offensive,” and pressure by several groups including the Inter Cooperative Council itself, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Dean, this party has now been called off.

I think this instance of much ado about nothing is unfortunate, however, and would like to take a moment to express my thoughts about the entire debacle.

The flier that was placed at various locations around the University consisted of a cartoon picture of Martin Luther King holding a 40-ounce bottle of beer and some text inviting people to the party. The flier did not contain anything regarding race or affirmative action whatsoever, and it was certainly not our intention in creating the flier to make any such statements. The offense taken by the parties and individuals involved is simply a result of them having read their own feelings and assumptions into the flier.

I can only imagine the satisfaction that the various organizations and individuals involved have derived from accomplishing the important political goal of shutting down a student house party where everyone, regardless of race, color or creed, was welcome to come and have a good time. I would suggest that in the future, it might be more socially productive for these groups and individuals to spend their obviously large amounts of free time concentrating on real political issues.

It truly is a measure of the sorry state our society is in when people must spend time addressing issues such as these.

Sean Caron

Engineering sophomore

Why is no one else talking about inequality in education at secondary level?

To the Daily:

This is my assessment of the situation. If the Detroit Public Schools have a 75 percent dropout rate, and of those 25 percent that do graduate, we admit 10 percent, the University is not admitting enough people to affect any kind of meaningful social change. Worse than that, the focus placed on the affirmative action debate just masks the larger issues of unsatisfactory urban public schools.

If the need for the use of race as a factor in admissions is because, without a preference, minority enrollment would drop, that says that on paper the minority students applying are not as qualified as non-minority applicants.

This says to me that the inequity exists not only in minority enrollment in college, but in access to quality education at the secondary level. If this problem were addressed and mended, there would be no need for racial preferences in admissions. This is the integral issue. Why is no one else talking about this?

Ronald M. Papke

Music senior

U.S. Senate should vote to prevent rollbacks to EPA’s Clean Air Act

To the Daily:

In a few days the U.S. Senate will be voting on a paramount amendment affecting the health of Michiganders and over 100 million Americans. As of the end of last year the Environmental Protection Agency has made rule changes to the Clean Air Act, that, if passed into law, will allow over 17,000 old and outdated industrial sites to pollute even more than they are currently permitted. An amendment, proposed by Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), would block the EPA’s rollbacks to the Clean Air Act.

If the changes in the Clean Air Act are implemented, many more Michigan citizens will be forced to live in an environment that has been undermined by industries driven by concern for profits and not for health. Currently, air pollution from coal power plants alone is responsible for over 500 deaths and thousands of visits to the emergency room in the Detroit metro area. By voting for the Edwards’ amendment, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Detroit) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) will be working to ensure that state citizens’ exposure to harmful pollutants is limited. We should encourage them to make the right choice for their constituency and for the nation’s future.

Rajeev Bhavsar

LSA senior

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