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One-hundredfifteen years ofeditorialfreedom
www.michzgandai/y.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVI, No. 32 62005 The Michigan Daily
Bernanke to follow
direction during his term
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ben Ber-
nanke, the president's chief economist,
told senators yesterday he'll continue
the policies of Alan Greenspan if con-
firmed as Federal Reserve chairman
and will make sure the central bank
remains free of political influence.
At a three-hour hearing on Presi-
dent Bush's choice to head the Fed
after Greenspan retires, Senate Bank-
ing Committee members largely
expressed confidence in the man who
would take over a position seen by
many as the second-most-influential
job in America.
Maintaining continuity with
Greenspan's policies is a top priority,
"I intend to be flexible and to learn
from experience," he said. "But I
believe the right starting point is the
point where we currently are, that
Chairman Greenspan has demonstrat-
ed in his policymaking."
Bernanke also sought to assure law-
makers, investors and the public that
he would make decisions on interest
rates and other matters based on eco-
nomic considerations, not political
ones. "I will be strictly independent of
all political influences," he said.
If confirmed as expected, Bernanke
will lead the Fed at a time when the
economy faces challenges, including
bloated budget and trade deficits and
worries about whether the high-flying
housing market will crash. There are
also concerns about high energy prices
and the lackluster jobs market.
"All of your intellectual horsepower
is going to be needed," said Sen. Debbie
Bernanke, 51, is a former Princeton pro-
fessor and Fed governor who now serves
* as chairman of the White House Council
of Economic Advisers. Lawmakers and
the administration want him ready to take
over when Greenspan retires Jan. 31, after
18-plus years at the helm.
Senators intend to act on Bernanke's
* nomination "as soon as possible," said
committee chairman Richard Shelby,
Bernanke said he would move slowly
and seek to build a consensus on the
notion of inflation targeting - that is,
numerically spelling out acceptable
bounds for inflation.
Freshman living in Markley Residence
Hall contacts bacterial meningitis
By Anne VanderMey
Daily Staff Reporter
The University reported its first case of bacterial menin-
gitis in 10 years after a freshman living in Mary Markley
Residence Hall checked into a Detroit-area hospital with
symptoms of the disease last weekend.
Robert Winfield, director of University Health Services,
said the student is recovering well but could not speculate on
when he would be released.
So far, no other cases of the disease have been reported at'
The strain in Markley has been identified as meningococ-
cal meningitis, a deadly bacterial disease that can only be
transmitted through throat secretions, according to Internal
Medicine Prof. Sandro Cinti.
Although not highly contagious, bacterial meningitis
inflames the membranes lining the brain and spinal cord and
can cause brain damage and death. Symptoms include severe
headache, stiffness in the neck, sudden fever and rashes along
the arms and legs.
Winfield said the afflicted individual identified six stu-
dents with which he was in close contact, all of whom will be
treated with antibiotics to prevent them from contracting the
disease. He said that to the best of his knowledge, none of the
students has exhibited symptoms of meningitis.
Winfield said he believes this is an isolated incident but
did not know how the student contracted the infection.
"If you get on top of it quickly and get all of those close
contacts, it's most typical to only have one case," he said.
People who have bacterial and viral meningitis exhibit the
same symptoms, but unlike bacterial meningitis, viral men-
ingitis is highly contagious and only rarely fatal. UHS offers
a vaccine that safeguards against most strains of both forms
of the disease, but about one-third of reported cases involve a
Doctors at the Michigan Department of Community
Health are currently conducting tests to determine whether
the incident in Markley involved this vaccine-resistant bacte-
ria. Winfield said the affected student received a meningitis
vaccination during the summer.
Despite the infrequency of reported meningitis cases, the
bacteria that causes the disease is fairly common, said Stan
Reedy, medical director of the Washtenaw County Public
Health Department. Reedy said that up to 20 percent of the
population carries the bacteria in the nose and throat but
never becomes infected.
The reason why some develop the disease and others do
not is still largely a mystery to scientists, but Reedy said stu-
dents in residence halls have a slightly higher risk of becom-
ing infected. He attributed this increased susceptibility in
part to a densely populated living environment. Nationally,
about 5 out of every 100,000 students living in residence
halls contract bacterial meningitis each year, compared with
only 1 out of every 100,000 in the general public, according
to the University.
In 1997, the vaccine-resistant strain of bacterial menin-
gitis claimed the lives of two students at Michigan State
See MENINGITIS, Page 7
Ryan Bates speaks at the Raise the Wage Campaign held at East Quad last night. Organizers of the campaign hope to
increase Michigan's minimum wage by $1.70.
1ntitive seeks wage icrease
Coalition of University
groups fights to increase
Michigan's minimum wage
By Bo He
Daily Staff Reporter
It's only a $1.70 more, but for some
Michigan residents, it's the difference
between slipping into poverty and being
able to make ends meet.
Last night in East Quad Residence
Hall, members from an array of Univer-
sity organizations, ranging from labor
unions to activist student groups, gathered
to kickoff the start of the Raise the Wage
Coalition and advocate for an increase in
The coalition is trying to push a ballot
initiative that would raise Michigan's mini-
mum wage in 2006 from $5.15 to $6.85.
To reach the ballot initiative process, the
coalition needs half a million or more sig-
natures for its petition by June. If successful
with the petition signatures, then the mini-
mum wage issue would be directly voted on
by Michigan residents in 2006.
Former U.S. Rep. and political science
Prof. Lynn Rivers joined the students in
their campaign last night, adding that the
initiative would combat America's linger-
Rivers said, "Poverty is a very real
issue in this country. We are in a very
affluent community, so we don't know
what it's like.
"People don't understand that there are
many families who work hard every day
for minimum wage and they still can't keep
body and soul together," she said.
While Rivers supported the initiative,
she warned that major businesses would
oppose the coalition's efforts to raise the
Rivers said, "Businesses always like to
use the argument that the only people who
are actually on minimum wage are single
adults, students and younger teenagers with
their first jobs. However, they don't under-
stand the real difficulty many families
are faced with when living on minimum
Although Congress sets the national min-
Michigan's minimum wage
is $5.15. The Raise the Wage
Coalition seeks to increase this
to $. " by sponsoring a ballot
Coalition members want the
intiative to accomodate rising
re t arnd gas ices,
The intiative needs half a mil-
lion signatures by June in order
for it to be voted on in 2006.
imum wage, states still have some jurisdic-
tion to change it as they see fit. It has been
more than eight years since Congress raised
the minimum wage. During this time, rent
and gas prices have increased consider-
ably. The coalition wants an increase of the
minimum wage to $6.85 in 2006 and then
indexed to keep up with inflation.
See WAGE, Page 3
Historic 'U' mansion
put on the market
Gordon Hall, which hosted
two U.S. Presidents, is being
bidded on by interested buyers
DEXTER (AP) - The University is mov-
ing ahead with plans to sell a 162-year-old
mansion that is listed on the National Reg-
ister of Historic Places and once hosted two
U.S. presidents and many fugitive slaves.
The University has owned Gordon Hall,
a white mansion on a 67-acre site that over-
laps Washtenaw County's Webster and Scio
townships, since 1950.
The school has been considering selling
it for many years.
The site is in a rapidly growing area and
is attractive to developers. It is worth about
$2 million, said University spokesman
Jim Kosteva. The university was closing
a sealed bidding process for the property
While the school does not have to take
the highest bid, it has a responsibility to
the public to be financially responsible,
Kosteva told the Detroit Free Press. He said
the University wants to sell the land and the
house together and use the money for schol-
"It's destruction would
"be a cultural disaster."
-Jean Ledwith King
Advocate for preserving Gordon Hall
and James Buchanan at the home.
The Dexters also gave shelter to more
desperate guests, escaped slaves seeking a
path to freedom.
"Slaves frequently came up from Ken-
tucky, Tennessee, Ohio. Station masters
(including the judge) put them on wagons,
covered with hay, and at night they were
sent to Canada," Jean Ledwith King, an
advocate for preserving Gordon Hall, told
The Ann Arbor News. She said its destruc-
tion would "be a cultural disaster."
Historians say the slaves on what was
known as the Underground Railroad entered
through a trap door on the mansion's veran-
dah and hid in secret basement rooms.
For at least five years, the Dexter Area
Historical Society has been trying to raise
money to buy the site and restore the man-
Sisay Asefa, a professor at Western Michigan University, speaks at a panel that discussed violence, civil unrest and democracy
in Ethiopia. The event was organized by Nebyat Demessie, a University graduate student in the school of Health Management
Graduate students and
, , * ,1
itics. But in her home country of Ethio-
pia, this lesson is being put to the test.
that Zenawi's administration rigged the