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April 18, 2005 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-18

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 18, 2005


~ijz £Iirhipu PaU~til

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


in the rich
countries like
ours, we really
don't give a
- Former President Jimmy Carter, criticiz-
ing wealthy nations for being stingy with
foreign aid at a recent human rights confer-
ence, as reported on Thursday by Reuters.

aa n od JW ino lke Ms?
C C9

The UGLi has to go


here are a lot
of buildings on
this campus that
nobody likes. Few tears
were shed by students
when the Frieze Building
was slated for destruction
to make room for North
Quad. The LSA Building
has been undergoing reno-
vations for years, but I have yet to find someone
bursting with anticipation of its re-opening. Of
course, at least these two have a role to fill at
the University. There is one building that is
both aesthetically displeasing and serves no
functional purpose: the Shapiro Undergradu-
ate Library.
The services offered by the UGLi do noth-
ing to justify its existence. Aside from provid-
ing group study tables where undergraduates
can loudly complain about the unjust require-
ments of group projects and allowing students
who are pressed for time to check out books
also available at the Harlan Hatcher Gradu-
ate Library without the hassle of walking the
50-foot distance to the Graduate Library, the
UGLi has little to offer. The only thing of note
on the fourth floor is the Turkish American
Friendship Room, a conference room that,
according to the UGLi's website, was "fur-
nished by a generous donation from the Turk-
ish American community of Ann Arbor" and
is reserved solely "for special occasions."
There are a handful of ways to reform the
UGLi in order to make it more useful to stu-
dents. The first and second floors could be con-
verted into computer lounges similar to those
at other universities, complete with impracti-
cally comfortable furniture and ample power
strips for laptops. The oppressive fluorescent
lighting could be removed and more soothing
iridescent fixtures installed. Perhaps the Film
and Video Library could be expanded to allow
for idle browsing. Of course, cosmetic chang-
es will do nothing to improve an inherently
flawed building. A complete overhaul is neces-
sary. That's why I propose moving everything
of importance to the Graduate Library and

converting the UGLi into a homeless shelter.
Of course, there will be rampant NIMBY-
ism as a result of this change. The backlash
against the Delonis center on West Huron
is nothing compared to the wave of elit-
ist animosity that will come if a part of our
revered Diag is set aside for those not well-
off enough to afford thousands of dollars
per year in tuition, let alone scrape together
enough money to pay rent every month. Prop-
erty values along South University Avenue
will more than likely dip as a result of their
close proximity to the new shelter, and the
Campus Day tours for high school seniors
will more than likely need some retooling in
order to appease antsy parents. The nostalgic
alumni who started foaming at the mouth
after the demolition of the Frieze Building
was announced will no doubt do their best
to ensure that their beloved Shapiro Under-
graduate Library doesn't fall into the greedy
hands of the disadvantaged. A massive letter-
writing campaign to the Daily and The Ann
Arbor News will let the public know of the
sentimental value of the hideous glass sculp-
ture in the lobby or tell the charming story of
how one alum met her husband at a second-
floor group study table.
Despite the inevitable public outcry, this
change would do much to ease the heavy bur-
den that Washtenaw County's homeless shel-
ters are currently carrying. The new shelter
could be modeled after the Delonis center,
which offers the homeless a place to stay for
90 days and offers resources to ensure that
those who stay can find a job and a place to
live before their allotted stay is exhausted.
While the shelter would be unable to provide
permanent housing to those who need it, it"
would act as a supplement to the temporary
housing facilities currently available. The Sci-
ence Library reading room can be converted
into bathrooms with enough showers and
sinks to accommodate the influx of patrons.
The plentiful floor space would allow for
regular beds instead of bunk beds, and much
of the space can be divided up with walls to
create private space for families. Students

would benefit as well, because the Graduate
Library could be kept open until 5 a.m. in the
morning instead of 2 a.m., allowing for longer
access to the much more valuable possessions
of the UGLi's far-superior counterpart.
While the economic feasibility of convert-
ing a campus library into temporary living
space seems doubtful, it is far from impos-
sible. All of the books not already held by the
Graduate Library can be moved to it, and all
duplicates can be sold off in a marathon book
sale fundraiser. The money saved by cutting
off purchases of new books and serials can be
used on meals. Current employees can either
be retrained from book-stamping circulation
desk clerks or moved to the Graduate Library.
The University can throw its academic weight
behind the shelter, offering resume-padding
unpaid internships to students who would be
otherwise unwilling to volunteer.
According to the Shelter Association of
Washtenaw County, the average cost of serving
a homeless person for 90 days is about $1,100.
The starting pay for student employees in the
UGLi is $6.25 per hour. If that one student
works for 15 hours a week for three months,
she will make $1,125, more than enough to
serve one homeless person. There is a veritable
treasury behind the wages of student employ-
ees, and cutting a few can go a long way in
funding the new shelter.
One might think that this plan is just a
pipe dream, mere masturbatory delusions of a
well intentioned but ultimately clueless under-
graduate. In response to this, I'd challenge
naysayers to visit the UGLi with the homeless
shelter idea in mind. Even given the;potential
impracticalities of converting the building into
y a shelter,few skeptics will decidethit the nap-
ping, cell phone-toting regulars deserve use of
the facilities more than our city's homeless. It's
time for the University to lead the charge in
developing innovative strategies for combat-
ing homelessness, and the UGLi is the perfect
place to start.

Mallen can be reached at


MCRI upholds true goals
of affirmative action
The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative will, if
adopted, forbid all discrimination and all prefer-
ence by race or sex or nationality. Will the MCRI
end affirmative action? That depends entirely
upon what one means by "affirmative action." If
one means by "affirmative action" giving special
preferences to some racial or ethnic groups, as
our University does, then of course affirmative
action in that sense will be ended. If one means
by "affirmative action" taking positive steps to
ensure that all persons of all races are treated
equally, then the MCRI will give strong support
to affirmative action.
For example: Have examinations and other
qualifications for employment or admission been
distorted by racial preference? Yes, they have.
Affirmative action is essential to cleanse them of
such ethnic bias. MCRI supports such affirma-
tive action categorically. Has the availability of
housing, credit and other civic advantages been
skewed by discrimination and preference? Yes,
it has - affirmative action is needed to uproot
such prejudice, and MCRI takes affirmative
action by rendering such preference unconstitu-
tional in Michigan.
"Affirmative action" has many meanings and
many forms. Its ambiguity is the reason courts
and legislatures avoid it. But originally it meant,
and should still mean, the steps we take to elimi-
nate racial unfairness. MCRI will give muscle to
affirmative action in that honorable sense - the
sense in which most decent Americans support
affirmative action wholeheartedly. Most decent
Americans also detest racial preference.
Proponents of the MCRI are accused of lying by
omission (MCRI opponents not telling truth about
its effects, 04/14/2005). The critics who make that
accusation think of affirmative action as race pref-

administration of our University. But it is not the
view of most Michigan residents, who detest all
discrimination and preference by race.
Carl Cohen
The letter writer is a
professor of philosophy.
Student has love-hate
relationship with Daily
One brilliant, one not.
Friday's edition of the Daily included two arti-
cles worth a line.
The first, Jasmine Clair's column (Asses to the
Left, bigger asses to the Right, 04/15/2005) was a
brilliant piece of analysis that stood out among
everything published on the editorial page this
year. Being a staunch moderate myself - yes,
there is indeed such a thing - I truly appreci-
ated this nonpartisan analysis, the likes of which
are found so rarely in the Daily and most other
papers. Clair's analysis of the short-sighted and
often-hilarious schemes the Democrats are using
to gain back ground unceremoniously snatched
from them last November is fair and level headed.
The Democrats must realize that they lost not
because of a crazy scheme unleashed by Karl
Rove, but because they were really out of touch
with what the majority of Americans wanted.
They have always taken for granted that they are
seen as the small man's party, the one that fought
for progressive ideals at the beginning of the 20th
century and civil rights during the '60s. Yet the
truth is that a party will have trouble selling the
"People's Party" image while running a rich intel-
lectual from a liberal stronghold. Had the Demo-
crats come with even a blueprint of a formidable
plan for issues like Iraq, they may have defeated
Bush, for even conservative voices - Tucker
Carlson comes to mind - felt that never had so

cinema. However, though this record is certainly
different from Smith's other albums, it still has the
same class, beat and level of enjoyability needed
to be successful. If hip-hop/rap has truly changed
since Smith was last there, then we can bet that
Smith will change it again.
Anyone who doubts this should check Ama-
zon's top-selling rap/hip-hop albums, where Lost
and Found is found at number 2 and gaining fast
to the top spot. It is also worth noting that, though
critics disapprove of Lost and Found, the fans are
quite pleased, judging by the user ratings on Ama-
zon - four stars, compared to three for current
top-spot-holder 50 Cent. Of course, as always, in
the end, it is only fans that matter.
Imran Syed
LSA freshman
Letter writer wants to be
the University princess
With all the drama of Prince Charles getting
married, I've decided that it's high time we had
our own princess here at the University. And of
course, I'd like to nominate myself. The only
famous people we've got are Michael Phelps and
that VonClemm guy.
The Daily could make up tabloids about me
and follow me around. Potential headlines could
include: "Princess caught dancing on tabletops
with new beau!"; "Princess Beth pregnant?"; and
"Princess Beth on life and love."
C'mon. It'd be great! I'd get those giant sun-
glasses and wear a lot of hats.
And you know what, I'd be a people's princess.
Let the people eat cake! I'm moderately attrac-
tive, but I'm certainly not unapproachable or unat-
tainable. I'd champion various causes like world
peace, go to luncheons with old ladies and have
tea and biscuits with University President Mary
m-, (1rnrn n



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