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November 11, 2005 - Image 1

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-11

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Friday, November 11, 2005
News 3 The Institute for
Social Research
receives large grant

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Opinion 4

Whitney Dibo takes
on Fred Phelps

Arts 8 Morgan Spurlock
supersizes EMU
audience

One-hundredfifeen years ofeditorialfreedom

www.mzchigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVI, No. 29 2005 The Michigan Daily

Turnout
down
in MSA
elections
Dominant Students 4 Michigan Party
tightens its grip on assembly, placing each of
the 17 candidates it fielded
By Ashlea Surles
Daily Staff Reporter
Did you vote in this week's student government elections?
Probably not.
This week's fall Michigan Student Assembly election saw the lowest
voter turnout in years. The number of students who participated in the
elections dropped from 4,100 last fall to only 3,355 this year. The turnout
two years ago was 5,598.
The declining numbers in recent years have been linked with a lack
of party competition in MSA. This year, the ruling Students 4 Michigan
Party assured its dominance over the Assembly for yet another term, tak-
ing roughly 70 percent of MSA seats in this week's elections.
The party won seats for each of the 17 candidates fielded for the MSA
elections. The Defend Affirmative Action Party lost two seats. It placed
only four of the 16 candidates that it had slated for the election. DAAP rep-
resentative Ben Royal, a prominent organizer for BAMN, lost his assem-
bly seat. Three of the five independent candidates running won seats.
These numbers closely parallel those of last fall's elections, when S4M
seated 12 of its 13 candidates, and DAAP won seats for all three of the
candidates it had slated. However, this election saw significantly fewer
independent candidates, allowing S4M to win an even greater majority
- five more seats than it took last year.
MSA President Jesse Levine theorized that the low number of indepen-
dent candidates is a result of the Assembly's recent campaign to encour-
age experience with student government before running for a seat. Levine
said there was a record number of students involved with MSA commit-
tees this year, adding that this could have acted to funnel out potential
independent candidates from the representative elections.
Prior to the elections, Justin Paul, S4M campaign manager and an LSA
junior, said the party's key goals include more efficient North campus trans-
portation and the ability to use Entr6e Plus in Angell Hall. Paul also empha-
sized that the party encourages unique platforms for each candidate.
LSA sophomore and newly elected S4M representative Laura Van
Hyfte said her goals for the term include continuing to pursue a city ordi-
nance moving back lease dates, as well as improving campus safety. Van
Hyfte expressed deep concern over the "recent rash of crime on campus
and in surrounding student housing areas" and said she will try to assure
the safety of students during her term on MSA.
Rackham student and DAAP representative Katie Stenvig said earlier
this week that DAA P's main goals include actively campaigning against
MCRI and combating sexism and racism.
The low turnout numbers came in spite of new, more accommodating
policies concerning election campaigning.
A new policy allowing candidates to campaign inside the dorms during
See MSA, Page 7

MIKE HULSEBUS/ Daily
State representatives Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) and Rich Brown (D-Bessemer) talk with representatives from Michigan's public universities in
Lansing yesterday.
egislators skip out o students

By Margaret Havemann
Daily Staff Reporter
LANSING - Student delegates from
13 Michigan universities lobbied state
representatives yesterday to increase fund-
ing to higher education, but the event was
marred by the fact that fewer than half of
the state legislators who were invited actu-
ally attended.
The night before, the state Legislature
had unexpectedly been called into session,
and many senators and representatives
who had originally promised to attend
yesterday's event said they did not have the
time to spare.
The Association of Michigan Univer-
sities, a nonprofit organization that rep-
resents Michigan's 15 public universities,
organized the event and invited 15 state
senators and representatives, as well as
students from every state university. While
most schools did send students - some
even postponed exams to come - only six

"The questions are not meant to
criticize, scrutinize or blame (for) the
past, but to improve the future."

-Julieyn Gibbons
Director of legislative affairs,
Michigan State University Student Government

heavily, said Julielyn Gibbons, the director
of legislative affairs for the student govern-
ment at Michigan State University.
Timothy Wiggins, the University's del-
egate at yesterday's conference and vice
chair of the Michigan Student Assembly's
External Relations Committee, said the
event was not at all as effective as he had
hoped it would be. "It would have been
very useful if the legislators had had more
time to answer questions," he said. But as it
was, students had no time to speak directly
to legislators.
Instead, the six representatives were
asked a series of three vague ques-
tions about how higher education can be
improved. "The questions are not meant to
criticize, scrutinize or blame for the past,
but to improve the future," Gibbons said.
However, the legislators did not have
time to do much more than declare their
support for more funding to universities.
They were unable to point to anything
See EDUCATION, Page 7

of the legislators were able to attend. Those
who did stayed only for their 30-minute
lunch break.
The conference was intended to focus
on the increasing financial burden that stu-
dents face because of high tuition rates that
are a direct result of state funding cuts to
public universities.
In the past 25 years, the state's universities
have increased expenditures by 311 percent,
while state funding has increased by only

134 percent, according to Ellen Jeffries, the
deputy director of the Senate Fiscal Agency.
Tuition has increased by 526 percent.
Because the state is in the midst of a
financial crisis, the Legislature has cut
funding in the past few years in many
areas, including higher education.
The University has also felt the pain of
these cuts. Appropriations to the Univer-
sity will be reduced by $4.3 million next
year, a cut that is likely to impact students

Campus ROTC
to honor veterans

By Gabe Nelson
Daily Staff Reporter
Engineering senior Doug Knotts
looks and acts like any other student on
campus - except when he dresses up
in military gear every Thursday.
"I go to school like a regular
college student," Knotts said.
"I have 17 credits, I take reg-
ular classes, but I also take
classes related to leadership
and being an officer."
Knotts, from Niagara
Falls, NY, is a cadet of
the Navy Reserve Officer
Training Corps. After he finishes
college, which the military pays for,
Knotts will go to flight school for about
two years to get his wings. He will then
owe eight years of service to the Navy
as a pilot and officer.
"Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to
be a pilot," Knotts said.
Knotts is only one of many Univer-
sity students with military ambitions.
The Navy ROTC branch has about 120
students. There are also Army and Air
Force ROTC groups on campus.
For Veterans Day this year, the
ROTC is doing more than prepar-
ing students for military careers. The

"A lot of people here really just don't
know or understand the meaning of
'veteran,"' Knotts said. "They think
that Veterans Day is just one day a year,
but these people are veterans every day
of their lives."
The lack of understanding may
be due to the political atmo-
sphere on campus; the Uni-
versity has a reputation as
one of the most politically
liberal schools in the coun-
try.
"Whether they agree
with what the president is
doing or not, these sailors, sol-
diers and marines are doing
what they are directed to do,"
Knotts said. "They are making a sacri-
fice for their country and deserve to be
recognized for that."
Eight veterans of the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan who now teach in the
ROTC program are among those being
honored at Veterans Day tributes today
and tomorrow.
The ROTC is sponsoring a number
of events, including a traditional flag-
raising ceremony at 8 a.m. today and
an 11 a.m. visit to the Ann Arbor Vet-
erans Affairs Hospital. The visit to the
hospital, planned jointly by the ROTC

Students:
Renew
Voting
Rights Act
By Joelle Dodge
For the Daily
Law students gathered in the Law
Quad yesterday to release a report that
they hope will convince Congress to
renew key portions of the Voting Rights
Act of 1965, which are set to expire in a
couple years.
Under the supervision of Law Prof.
Ellen Katz, the students involved in the
project - known as the Voting Rights
Initiative of the Michigan Election Law
Project - have created a report that
documents the history of problems at
the polls since 1982.
Some provisions of the Voting Rights
Act of 1965, a piece of legislation that
is widely considered to have helped
blacks gain equality at the polls, are set
to expire this year, and the report that
was presented last night aims to urge
Congress to renew the act and continue
to discourage segregation and other
voting problems.
"The voting booth is the most seg-

AARON SWIUK/ Daily
LSA sophomore Charlie Collier takes part In the annual Ohio State vs. Michigan Blood Battle by donating blood
yesterday in the Michigan Union.
OSU e n lo

Organizers hope to
avenge last year's loss in
annual blood drive
By Deepa Pendse

the holidays a lot of regular donors
are out of town." .
The amount of blood that has been
collected so far is around 500 pints.
The University is a lagging behind
Ohio State; however, Beachnau said

game and a blood battle win.
The organizers here are work-
ing toward a win this time around.
Alpha Phi Omega brought the blood
drive to students with a Diag Day,
which Beachnau said was a "fun way

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