The University Record, December 13, 1999


The University Record welcomes letters from members of the University community. Those on topics of broad University interest will be given preference for publication. Letters should be no more than 500 words in length and must be signed. The editorial staff reserves the right to reject any letter and to edit and/or condense letters for publication. The editorial staff also may limit the numbers of weeks letters may be published on an issue, and the number of times any one person’s viewpoint on a single issue will be published. Letters may appear in small type. Organizations submitting material must include the name and address of an appropriate officer. Letters must be received by noon Wednesday to receive consideration for publication in the next issue.

Enrollment information in editorial incorrect

The Dec. 3 Michigan Daily editorial on minority student enrollment contained some incorrect information. It is true that there has been a decline in the number and percentage of underrepresented minorities in our student body, but the decline is much smaller than stated.

In 1995, underrepresented minorities—African American, Hispanic American and Native American students—made up 14 percent of the student body. In 1996, that number climbed slightly to 14.1 percent, but in 1997 it was back down to 13.8 percent, and 13.6 percent in 1998. This fall, underrepresented minorities made up 13 percent of the student body, including both undergraduate and graduate students.

Each year we take a head count in the third week of classes of all students, then calculate the number of African American, Hispanic American and Native American students as a percentage of American students on our campus. We do not include international students in this calculation because that would distort the key issue, which is representation on our campus of American students of color.

Both the Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor News arrived at erroneous percentages by adding back in the international students. However, because they didn’t have any data on international students of color, the numbers came out completely skewed.

The real story is that the percentage of underrepresented minority students has declined over the past three years from 14.1 to 13 percent. The University is concerned about this trend, and we are looking at it closely. However, it’s important that the our community have the correct information.

Julie Peterson, director, News and Information Services

Find creative solutions to parking problems

This letter is in reference to a letter published in the Dec 6 Record regarding the parking crunch and the “suggested solution” from the emeritus professor of economics, Daniel R. Fusfeld. I disagree with the good professor. Job cuts in the administrative staffing area are not the answer. We struggle now to keep up with the amount of work taking place.

Have we as a leading university forgotten how to improvise and/or compromise with new and creative solutions to our problems? Rather than add to the unemployment lines (Merry Christmas), why not look to alternatives to the problem, such as telecommuting, job-sharing, four-day work weeks and so on?

I am truly offended by the professor’s suggestion that the administrative staff are a “disposable commodity” to be used by the University to increase already well-paid faculty salaries and to provide parking spaces with! Come now, we can do much better.

Michelle Steffen, program facilitator/secretary, Educational Services for Nursing Department