The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 7, 2002 - 3A
Students react to Social Security proposals
* 'U' team receives
research grant to
develop fuel cells
University researchers in the Col-
lege of Engineering were awarded a
$6 million grant from the U.S.
Department of Energy toward
developing low-cost fuel cells for
use in portable electronic devices,
automobiles and residential power
The fuel processors convert
hydrocarbons such as gasoline and
natural gas into hydrogen energy
stored in proton exchange mem-
brane fuel cells.
With the recent government-
issued initiative promoting the
development of fuel cells as the pri-
mary power source for automobiles
known as FreedomCAR, fuel cell
research is high in demand.
Professor of chemical engineer-
ing Levi Thompson, heads the fuel
cell technology research team.
Thompson said that the military
also has a strong interest in fuel cell
"The replacement of batteries
with fuel cells could significantly
reduce the weight and size of a
power supply carried by individual
soldiers," he said.
"Fuel cells not only could allow
soldiers to carry a greater
food/water supply or ammunition
load, but also power additional
high-tech devices. Fuel cells are
also quieter and have a smaller ther-
mal signature than diesel engines,
enhancing the stealth of military
vehicles," he said.
Ecstasy use may
lead to long-term
Researchers at the University of
Adelaide have uncovered disturbing
evidence linking the popular
designer drug ecstasy to users suf-
fering long-term brain damage later
Rod Irvine, researcher at the uni-
versity's Department of Clinical and
Experimental Pharmacology, said
that with 7 percent of 17 year olds
reporting use of ecstasy, major
health problems could be expected
in the future.
The study shows that ecstasy
taken on only a few occasions could
have the potential to cause future
memory loss or psychological prob-
"For many years it has been
known from animal experiments
that small doses of ecstasy - even
if only taken on only a few occa-
sions - can cause severe damage to
certain brain cells," Irvine said.
"More recently, evidence has
started to accumulate suggesting
that this damage may also occur in
humans. Brain scans and psycho-
logical assessment of ecstasy users
has been used to obtain this infor-
mation," he added.
and race affect
According to a new study at Ohio
State University, states with larger
proportions of blacks are more like-
ly to enforce the death penalty than
states with smaller black popula-
The results also showed that
states with larger income gaps
between rich and poor are more
likely to have the capital punish-
More surprisingly, states with the
most violent crime and the most
murders were no more likely than
other states to have instituted capi-
Michigan does not have the death
David Jacobs, professor of sociol-
ogy and co-author of the study, said
that the findings show that race and
economic inequality still play an
important role in a state's decision
to legalize the death penalty.
"Our results show how important
the politics of racial division and
the racial foundations of punish-
ment continue to be in the United
States," Jacobs said.
- Compiled by Daily Staff Reporter
By Christopher Johnson
Daily Staff Reporter
With the federal government's Social Security
funds projected to expire in 2038, many students
are concerned that when they reach retirement
age the funds into which they have contributed a
lifetime of investments will no longer exist.
Students said that although they hope the gov-
ernment will rectify the problems in the system,
they do not want to depend on an unreliable
source for financial security.
"I do believe that the government will come up
with some kind of system or cooperation that we
will still be able to have some kind of funding,
but personally I believe that it's my responsibility
to take care of myself and make sure that I'm
secure," LSA junior Teana Walsh said.
LSA junior Valerie Taylor agreed. "I guess I'm
not really counting on the government to come up
with something to fix it by then, but I would hope
that there would be something set up," she said.
President Bush has based his plan to save
Social Security with personal retirement accounts
that would invest the funds in the stock market to
promote higher growth and allow the population
greater control over its own money. He has
explained the benefits of this proposition in sev-
eral recent speeches.
"If you own something in America, you own a
stake in America's future, and a good retirement
vision, a good retirement future says that we must
reform Social Security, not only for the good of
the system but, as importantly, for the good of
American workers who work all their life so that
they can have an asset base to call their own,"
Bush said at the 2002 National Summit on
Retirement Savings last Thursday.
In addition to emphasizing the system's poten-
tial to provide greater returns, Bush has maintained
that personal retirement accounts offer greater pos-
sibilities for women and minorities. Since statistics
have shown that blacks tend to have relatively
shorter longevity, placing their money in private
investments would allow them to enjoy it sooner.
Bush had also asserted that his plan would allow
women to increase their ownership and wealth.
Institute for Full Employment, support the pro-
posal to save Social Security by private invest-
ment that would encourage personal control.
"Social Security is bankrupt," Ted Abrams, the
executive director for the institute, said. "You get a
much better return in private markets. It's the only
way we will not have to substantially raise taxes."
Yet President Bush's plan has also met consider-
able opposition from those who feel that the sys-
tem does not provide enough security for workers.
According to a press release from his organiza-
tion, Max Richtman, the executive vice president
of the National Committee to Preserve Social
Security, said, "A secure retirement depends on
three sources of income: personal savings, income
from a private pension or 401(k) plans and Social
Security. Increasingly, the first two sources of
income are determined by the performance of the
stock market. Making Social Security dependent
on the ups and downs of the market will under-
mine retirement security and stability.".
University economics Prof. Matthew Shapiro
explained that although Social Security needs
reform, he believes that placing the funds in the
stock market will create problems for those who
are already receiving benefits.
"One way of increasing national savings is to
save more and invest that saving in productive
equipment. The problem is earnings are ear-
marked for current retirees," he said. "Current
college students should expect to pay a higher
portion of their payroll. Some generation is going
to have to pay twice."
Students had a variety of opinions about the
"I like to know where my money is and if I
placed it in stocks I don't know what would hap-
pen to it," Walsh said.
"It sounds too much like Enron to me. It
sounds awfully dangerous to put things in stocks
to be long term and secure. It's your safety net
when your using stocks," Taylor said.
LSA freshman Nick Annese, however,
expressed his support for the proposal. "It takes the
government out of it and it gives more power to
you to choose what you want to do. And whenever
there's competition within companies, they have to
work to get your business,"he said.
Some organizations, such
as the American
Prospective students take to
By Leslie Ward
Daily Staff Reporter
Would you trust your college
application to the Internet? That's
precisely what the University
admissions office hopes incoming
freshmen will begin to do on a
more regular basis.
A web-based application process
has been in place for the entire
year, but the traditional mail-in
application form was still the most
popular amongst this year's fresh-
"Thirty-four percent of freshman
applicants have applied via the
Internet," Associate Director of
Admissions Chris Lucier said. "It is
our preferred method of applying
- it does reduce our data entry," he
The University's preference for
application type does not grant any
admission preference to those who
apply online. The web-based appli-
cation still calls for applicants to
fulfill the same requirements as the
traditional form, such as essays,
high school counselor evaluations
and the $40 application fee.
This situation creates a combined
web and mail-in application, which
or 'U' applications
presents new problems to the Internet were happy with t]
admissions office. process.
"Whereas with paper, the schools "It was really easy to justs
get (all the forms) together and down at home and fill out the app
send them in all at once, with the cation right on my computer. I w,
web we get everything separately. It able to send it off as soon as I w<
is a challenge to match everything done, and didn't have to wor
up," said Lucier. about it getting lost in the mai
Students who chose not to apply said LSA freshman Jamie Douglas
online did so because they felt it Some students chose to combi
was the safest way to do so. their desire for the traditional wr
"I trust written things more than I ten application and a more easi
trust e-mail things," RC freshman accessible version by utilizing t
Jonathan Lim said. "I know for a downloadable version of the app
fact things I've sent through e-mail cation.
haven't made it to where I sent "I think people would prefer1
them. I know it will get there with apply over the internet because i
snail mail." quicker, but I just like to ha
The professional appearance of something to actually write on, s
their applications was an important printed it out," LSA freshm
factor to several students. Daniel Mullkoff said.
"I think for some reason I Lucier said the University h
thought schools would like it more had a smooth transition to the we
if you sent (a paper application) in," based system, but realizes that t
RC freshman Stephanie Wooten traditional process will alwa
"It's easier to be able to see "We don't think we'll ever get1
everything on a written application. a total, 100 percent web-based sy
I actually had two copies so I could tem, but we hope that students wi
use, one as a rough draft," added realize the ease that it provides. Y
Melissa Morrow, another freshman can be at your own home andt
in the RC. able to complete your entire porti
Those who have applied over the of the application," Lucier said.
Flint Mayor Woodrow Stanley, seen here at a fundraiser Friday afternoon, was
recalled from his position Tuesday night.
Kmart to recover.
DETROIT (AP)- Some Kmart
Corp. stockholders filed a class-action
lawsuit yesterday against CEO Chuck
Conaway on behalf of people who
bought Kmart shares prior to the com-
pany's bankruptcy filing.
Rabin & Peckel LLP filed the suit
yesterday in U.S. District Court in
Detroit. The suit names Conaway"
rather than Troy-based Kmart because
the retailer is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Kmart spokesman Jack Ferry said
the company doesn't comment on
pending litigation. Conaway could not
be reached for comment.
The suit was filed on behalf of peo-
ple and companies that bought Kmart
common stock between May 17 and
Jan. 22, the day the discount retailer
filed for Chapter 11.
The complaint says that during that
time, Conaway and Kmart said the
company was involved in a comprehen-
sive restructuring of operations that was
revitalizing the company and its sales.
The suit says those statements were
materially false and misleading,
because they failed to disclose and
misrepresented key facts, including
"that Kmart's purported revitalization
was a complete failure as the company
was continuing to lose market share to
competitors and the company's pur-
ported efforts to reverse this trend were
not meeting with success."
Yesterday's suit follows a similar one
filed Feb. 22 by Cauley Geller Bow-
man & Coates LLP. Ferry said that
usually when one class-action suit is
filed, others follow.
Kmart's stock was trading above $10
in May. Following the bankruptcy fil-
ing, the stock fell below $1 a share.
Kmart shares yesterday closed up 1
cent at $1.10 on the New York Stock
Eric Belfi, an associate with Rabin
& Peckel, said the firm was putting out
notice to all shareholders so they
would be aware of the suit. He said the
exact number of plaintiffs wasn't
known at this point.
"You're talking about easily tens of
thousands of potential plaintiffs in
this," Belfi said.
Kmart filed for Chapter 11 follow-
ing lower-than-expected holiday sales,
downgrades by several credit rating
agencies and a stock dive.
Bankruptcy experts said the lawsuit
is not uncommon and is similar to
those filed in most major Chapter 11
Lawsuits are filed against directors
and officers because there is insurance
coverage for them, said Martin Zohn,
with Proskauer Rose LLP.
Bankruptcy attorney Jerry Reisman,
partner in Reisman, Peirez & Reisman,
said such suits can be harmful to a
EMU swimmer killed
in automobile accident
YPSILANTI (AP) - A standout
swimmer at Eastern Michigan Uni-
versity died when his car slid off a
snow-covered road and struck a tree,
Keith Falk, 21, of Livonia, was
pronounced dead at the scene of the
Tuesday night crash in Washtenaw
County's Superior Township, sher-
iff's Cmdr. Anderson Brown Jr. said
in a statement. Falk was wearing a
Falk was one of seven Eastern
Michigan swimmers named to the 16-
member All-Mid-American Confer-
ence First Team in 2000-2001. He won
the 1,650-meter freestyle event to help
the Eagles capture their 20th MAC
A shoulder injury sidelined Falk for
the entire 2001-2002 season, according
to radio station WEMU.
What's happening in Ann Arbor today
"Our Separate Ways:
Black & White Women
"A Civil Action"; Spon-
sored by the Edward
Ginsberg Center for
Community Service and
Health; Sponsored by the
Women's Studies Pro-
gram, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m.,
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