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February 16, 2006 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-16

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The D True Hollywood Story

It's Over Your Head


Architecture Column

BAustin igWai

"By the way, Detroit did the damn thing this
year. It was a real city for one weekend."
Simple and elegant, that quote comes straight
from a friend's closing e-mail remarks telling
me of his Super Bowl XL experience. That got
me thinking. What is a real city? Can a place
be a city just for one weekend? If so, Detroit
must be an imposter most of the time. Detroit
has tall buildings like a real city; Detroit has
a downtown like a real city. Perhaps Detroit is
like Pinocchio, wishing so badly to be real yet
not knowing how to get there.
Surrounding the Super Bowl hype, Detroit
was both delighted and petrified. Detroiters
were at once prideful of being the hometown to
NFL legend Jerome Bettis, and also ashamed
that national attention was placed on his child-
hood home. A house which after Jerome left
has since been sold, abandoned, transformed
into a crack house, converted into a prostitute
hang out and finally burned until it was left in
the condition it is in now - a charred memory
of what was once a home.
Being real is about having an identity.
According to a Gallup poll, Detroiters are more
negative about their city than natives of any
other locality in the United States. That means
that if you ask someone from the Metro Detroit
area where they are from, they will more likely
tell you "Royal Oak" over "Detroit." Now ask a
Chicagoland resident where they are from. The
same distance from Detroit to Royal Oak in
the Chicago area equates to only one response:
Detroit once had an identity - the Motor
City. But as our country shifts to a service
economy, that factory-work character of the D
is outdated. While automobile manufacturing
dwindles in the area, the city is now looking
like a magician with only one trick. Is that alone
attributing to Detroit's loss of real-city status?
Detroit might not be a real city, but it is defi-
nitely real. Think of its raw energy. The Lions
are the heroes of gritty assembly-line workers.
Remember that fight with Ron Artest versus
the entire crowd of Pistons fans at the Palace of
Auburn Hills? That was pure D-Town style. The
city is home to the most unrefined rap styles and
birthplace of the underground techno that spins
at basement raves. Perhaps fueled by its own
angst, Detroit has a harsh, but real, voltage.
So Detroit was a real city for that first week-
The Weeker
I4Y~d~\T j0
Pop Up A Cappella
Circle K presents a night of A cappella groups,
with the likes of The Sopranos and the Dicks &
Janes. The performance begins at 7 p.m. at the
Rackham Graduate School. Tickets are $8 at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office or $9 at the door.
Eric Roberson
The Black Business Students Associa-

end in February and a great place to be. The
downtown was analyzed and judged by out-
siders and introspectively examined by native
Detroiters. Then the Super Bowl came and went
without a hiccup of trouble. Now basking in the
aftermath of that successful weekend, when
it had become a real city again, Detroit must
use that momentum as positive energy for the
This past fall, the University took a large step
in reaching out toward the Detroit community
when it opened the Detroit Center, a branch of
the University located near the heart of down-
town. Although most of the programs involved
in the center had already been established, the
center provides a symbolic gesture of support by
providing a visible presence within the Detroit
cultural center. Founded in Detroit during the
year 1817, the University is now returning to its
roots to solidify and expand its programs and
research projects concerning Detroit citizens
and organizations.
The overarching theme of all these altruistic
efforts is to revive the city and make it "real"
again. As Mary Sue Coleman stated about the
city during the unveiling of the Detroit Center,
the University wants "to be a part of its revi-
talization." Implicit in trying to help revitalize
Detroit, the University is also learning about
why Detroit needs that revitalization, and why
it seems to be nothing more than a pseudo-city
to many.
Among the various programs at the center,
the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban
Planning opened a community design center
focusing on the physical space and planning
aspects attributing to Detroit's current status.
Architects and planners are very interested in
the minute details that make up a real city. We,
of all people, should know what a real city is
and how it should behave. As of now, however,
there is no perfect solution for how to create a
real city, let alone reviving one such as Detroit.
We do know that the characteristics of success-
ful cities but do not know how the city will react
to intervention.
Okay, so here is the formula: diverse build-
ings + walking space + shops + other people
+ bars + restaurants + offices + apartments +
various other attractions = real city. Physically,
the recipe is simply to provide the correct pro-
portion of building to open space and provide

the Office of Greek Life by 5 p.m. on the
Monday before the event. A restricted
event cannot be held on Sunday or Mon-
day, but can be held on other days. A party
with more than 200 people can only be
held on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
A first-tier party can have as many as
100 people plus live-in membership, and
must have at least three sober monitors.
A second-tier party can have as many as
200 people plus live-in membership, and
has to have six sober monitors. Third-tier
parties may have as many as 400 people.
These parties must submit registration
one week prior to the normal registration
deadline, in addition to providing a list
of sober monitors to the SRC executive
board, along with a statement of intent and
registration. Third-tier parties must have
six sober monitors plus at least one sober
monitor for every 30 people over 200, and
can serve beer only.
"The policy has been a proactive step
by the presidents in ensuring a safe social
environment," Millman said. "The vary-
ing degrees for party-size registration
allow for stricter rules to maintain a safe
atmosphere during larger parties, which
pose more risk management issues for
The new SEMP also restricts the types
of guests allowed at the parties to Greek-
only. Guests must present a Greek ID or
a state driver's license that can be cross-
checked with a master list of Greeks. A
house may have a guest list with non-
Greeks, which cannot include more than
four times the number of sober monitors.
Last semester, these imposed restric-
tions were extremely controversial.
"(The new restrictions) may give the
impression to freshmen that the Greek
system is an organization only open to
certain types of people," Jacob Strumwas-
ser, a brother of the Sigma Nu fraternity
and a former IFC president, told the Daily
last fall.
The fear was that incoming freshmen
would not have as much access to Greek
parties, and therefore wouldn't be as
likely to show up to parties. People were
terrified of a lower rush turnout.
"1 honestly think that it's going to ruin
the whole Greek system," Nathaniel Stal-
ey, a sophomore in Psi Upsilon, told the
Daily last semester.
The numbers suggest that these con-
cerns were unfounded. Membership for
fraternities in the IFC and sororities in
the Panhellenic Council are up 10 percent
from last year. In fact, the response has
been so big that the IFC is looking into
adding new fraternities.
Eight hundred and twenty four girls
went through Panhellenic recruitment this
fall, a 10-percent increase. Each sorority
was allowed 50 spots to give to pledges.
Seiler said that every sorority except for
two gave out 50 bids.

change the fact that people at these parties
are getting wasted."
"The IFC can put as many restrictions
as they want, but there will always be
ways to get around it," he added.
Brian Perry, advisor for IFC at Univer-
sity of Texas-Austin, said that the IFC at
Texas operates under a similar document
to SEMP, which is based on risk-manage-
ment recommendations from the Frater-
nity Information Programming Group.

11 Candidly, a lot of (SEMP's)
rules aren't really being enforced,
and it doesn't really change
the fact that people at these
parties are getting wasted.
- Kyle Anderson
Beta Theta Pi Pledge

believes the policy enforces a safer envi-
ronment, and that therefore, "we strongly
encourage our members to attend only
parties that are registered through our
policies. Parties that are not in compliance
put our members at a greater risk because
they often lack key risk management ele-
ments such as sober monitors."
But according to Anderson, sober
monitors aren't really making it onto the
scene of these parties much anyway. It

Perry echoed Anderson's sentiments.
"A document is only as helpful as the
people who are enforcing it - some years
it might be more effective than others,"
Perry said. He added that the policy seems
to be effective at solving some problems at
Texas, but they are still having problems
with others.
Millman said the number of fraternities
and sororities that have registered parties
is up significantly, which indicates that
more fraternities are adopting the policy,
which he said ultimately translates into a
safer party scene.
Lauren Kraus, president of the Panhel-
lenic Association, said that the council

is too early to make a sound judgement
about the effectiveness of the policy, but
the only way to avoid incidents in the
future is to take the policy seriously. If
Greek organizations start to slip from
their guidelines, then they might as well
not have a policy.
Both the University and the IFC have
taken significant steps over the past few
years to implement positive change for
the students on campus. The next few
semesters will be important for tweak-
ing specific rules and observing trends
and effects, in order to continue keeping
these movements heading in a positive

Despite the restrictions on alcohol
in use in many chapters.

Fans walk traverse through the changing downtown of Detroit.

interesting architecture as visual flavor. Throw
in a good transportation plan and let simmer
for 30 years, stirring occasionally. Yet this plan
does not necessarily equal success. The miss-
ing ingredient is energy. There is electricity in
Detroit, but it remains to be seen whether this
is the positive energy needed to actually revive
the city or a negative energy that will eventually
harm it.
City development is a natural evolution of
interweaving factors, and any architect or plan-
ner will have difficulty jumping in midstream
and redirecting the flow. One might prescribe
a specific plan that covers the many nuances of
the city. It is wise to design based on knowledge
that informs delicate decisions, but over-speci-
ficity can hinder spontaneous growth when
there is a good energy present in the commu-
nity. Turning to the other extreme - designing

a generic framework that absorbs the changes
of the city - can go dreadfully wrong if the
city provides a negative spark.
Clearly, shaping a city is no walk in the
park. Defining a real city and creating one is
an arduous task, but reviving a city to real-city
status is even more difficult. The energy within
Detroit may not be fully understood, but the
most important thing is that there is a network
of people supplying a strong, positive current.
The University's Detroit Center is only one
example of its many initiatives aiding Detroit
from the outside. Within Detroit are a vast
number of community organizations who see
Detroit's dilemmas not as problems but as chal-
lenges that can be overcome. In their hearts,
they know that Detroit is a real city full of posi-
tive energy, and their goal is to show that to the
rest of the world.

ad Tist

How well

is the

London Programs:


tion presents neo-soul artist Eric Roberson
at Oz nightclub. Doors are at 8 p.m. for the
9 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 with a student
ID and are available at the door.
Satffvia\T 2080
The School of Music presents "Friends," a
play by famous Japanese playwright, Kobe
Abe. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in
the Trueblood Theatre in the Frieze building.

Tickets are $12 and available at the Michigan
League Ticket Office.
Museum of Life and Death
The School of Music presents the
"Museum of Life and Death", a modern
adaptation - using visual and sonic arts
- of the classic play "Everyman:" The
performance begins at 8 p.m. in the Media
Union on North Campus. Tickets are free
but required and available by e-mailing
tickets @theater-as-music .com.


social policy working?

. ''i ,. < ' .. . . . . . ,.. .

Pieta Brown
Contemporary folk artist Pieta Brown comes
to The Ark. Doors for the all-ages show open at 7
p.m. for the 7:30 pm. concert. Tickets are $13.50
and are available online at www.tgeark.org.
Cafe Shapiro
The Shapiro Undergraduate Library presents
another night of undergraduate poetry from up-
and-coming writers. The readings begin at 8:30
p.m. at the UGLi. Admission is free.

ome students are skepti- . . 0
cal about the effective-
ness of the current policy. 7 McAlister Drive #41
Kyle Anderson, a current NwOrleans, LA 70118
pledge at Beta Theta Pi,
said he doesn't believes aren't rea-
the policy is achieving reay
"I remember hearing about it, and U m e s
beginning of the year." Anderson said. FREEMAN COOL OFBSN ES
"'Candidly, a lot of those rules aren't real-
ly being enforced, and it doesn't really

4B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 16, 2006

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