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October 19, 2006 - Image 4

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 19, 2006

OPINION

DONN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

JEFFREY BLOOMER
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
413 E. HURON ST.
ANN ARBOR, MI 48104
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
These
demonstrators were
unarmed yet the
majority died from
shots to the head."
- Wolde-Michael Meshesha, a senior
Ethiopian judge, on an inquest into
the deaths of 193 protesters last year,
as reported yesterday by CNN.com.

JACK DOEIIRING 'P,,
ci'
OUR., /A~I~ (CU/\
A\JU 5 -NJ

4

An inconvenient vacuum
University should unite environmental initiatives

Thank you for smoking
JOHN STIGLICH 11

public screening of"AnIncon-
venient Truth" last Monday at
the Michigan League presented
attendees with a more accessible ver-
sion of what scientists have been assert-
ing for years - global warming is real
and the world has to take action now
to slow its progression. But it was the
panel discussion following the viewing
that was most enlightening, revealing
what is missing from the movement for
environmental reform. The discussion
between students and faculty showed
there's a lot happening on campus to
promote energy conservation and alter-
native energy, but each effort remains
independent from the others. In order
to maximize the impact of so many
groups' efforts, greater coordination
is needed to enable them to pool their
ideas and resources.
That panelists on Monday includ-
ed faculty from across the University
- professors from the Ross School of
Business, the School of Public Policy,
the School of Natural Resources and the
College of Engineering - demonstrates
the many facets of conservation and
alterative energy. The assortment of Uni-
versity initiatives and student groups is
equally diverse, with each organization
taking a different approach to roughly
the same goal. The College of Engineer-
ing has reinvented the Phoenix Project,
an effort launched after World War II
to find peaceful uses for atomic energy.
Now it's the Phoenix Energy Institute,
aimed at uniting engineering organiza-
tions behind the common goal of devel-
opingalternative energy sources. On the
other end of campus, the Business School
and the School of Natural Resources
have teamed up to develop a joint degree
program in global sustainable enterprise.
Business models and public policy appli-
cations are as important now to the effort
as innovation and design, because only

through business savvy and political
clout will clean energy sources become
attractive to those who can invest in such
projects.
But what is largely missing is any coor-
dination between these encouraging ini-
tiatives. The University can enable better
communication between different projects
around the campus. In the same way the
Phoenix Institute is meant to unite engi-
neering projects, a campuswide endeavor
could unite the many different elements of
the environmentalist cause, strengthening
its influence.
The same enthusiasm for environ-
mental causes is growing on a state
level, but as at the University, politi-
cians have failed to fully seize the
opportunity to make Michigan a leader
in alternative energy. Cities like Ann
Arbor are working to diversify their
energy portfolios. Even some Metro
Detroit churches have been promoting
fossil fuel conservation via solar panels
and windmills and educating parishio-
ners about global warming.
It's not just tree-huggers who are going
green: Alternative energy is attracting
supporters from every field for its poten-
tial benefits to Michigan's economic
growth and national security. Politicians
on both sides of the aisle have paid trib-
ute to the wonders of alternative energy,
but the government has remained slug-
gish in taking concrete action beyond
a few subsidies and tax breaks that fail
to offset the help the government gives
oil companies. Any politician who truly
picks up this cause as his own would not
only strengthen his own poll ratings but
would also help the country by giving
alternate energies political clout. With
public support and political power, as
well as constantly improving technology,
clean energy will be transformed from a
hippie's dream to a practical solution to
many of our country's problems.

,.:, ,<
:;:
:

"If (my son)
really wants
a cigarette, I
will buy him
his first pack."
- Nick Naylor
in "Thank You
for Smoking."

During the last half-century,
legislators have used the
health risks posed by smok-
ing tobacco to justify the most dra-
conian regulations imposed on any
American industry. Currently, you
cannot smoke in any restaurant in the
state of California or in the city of
New York. Consequently, restaurant
and bar owners can no longer solicit
the clientele they wish to serve. This
is a dangerous economic model, and
it will beget an even worse one over
the next half-century unless we do
something to stop it.
Way back when, the anti-smok-
ing crowd began by calling for "sen-
sible" regulations such as warning
labels on tobacco products. Alert-
ing Americans to the health risks
posed by tobacco, the anti-smoking
crusaders thought, would convince
them to stop buying cancer sticks
- but it didn't happen.
Next, they targeted the dangers
posed by tobacco company adver-
tisements in venues frequented by
children - televisions, convenience
store exteriors, etc. Youngsters kept
picking up the habit. Then, they tar-
geted bars and restaurants - places
where smoking was not only accept-
able, but part of the culfure. Since
bars and restaurants cannot survive
without the sale of alcohol, regulators
tied the issuance of liquor licenses to
the creation of "smoke-free environ-
ments" within the bar or restaurant.
Bar owners reluctantly complied,
begrudgingly showing their smoking
patrons the door.
Now, the anti-smoking fascists
are trying to remove the last sanc-

tuaries available to Americans who
smoke. The state of California is
considering banning smoking inside
motor vehicles and apartment build-
ings. After all, children, tenants and
guests are unduly subjected to sec-
ondhand smoke in apartment build-
ings where smokers exercise their
right to puff away. If they can ban
smoking in cars and apartments, it
is only a matter of time before the
tobacco police cite studies say-
ing subjecting contracted work-
ers - maids, handymen, etc. - to
the dangers of secondhand smoke
is justification for banning smok-
ing within one's own home. Who
knows - they may use "the plight
of the children" to forever ban the
traditional post-sex cigarette that so
many savor.
The crusade against smoking
represents a dangerous model of
government regulation, and the
anti-food crusaders are following
in its footsteps. They first started by
exploiting our fear of our children's
health and mortality. Then, they
recommended we save the children
by removing snacks and soda pop
from the school cafeterias. Former
President Bill Clinton and Republi-
can Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkan-
sas have joined hands in removing
these dangerous foods from Arkan-
sas's public schools.
I have nothing against serving
healthier meals in public schools,
but governmental regulations can-
not replace the educational value of a
parent. How are children to learn the
workings of a free-market economy
when they can't trade their carrot
sticks for a handful of M&Ms? Nor
should government dictate what a
childhood diet should entail.
I want to go on the record pre-
dicting how the anti-food crusade
will'play out in our lifetime. The
health patrol will start by removing
"junk" food from vending machines
and cafeterias in public schools.
Then, they will seek warning labels
on high-calorie foods like candy

and soda pop. They will ban high-
calorie food producers from adver-
tising through venues accessible to
children. After that, they will place
pressure on publicly financed sport-
ing venues and government build-
ings to ban the sale and consumption
of unhealthy foods - while simul-
taneously citing new scientific stud-
ies proving the link between Oreos
and poor health. They will pressure
city officials to levy a "junk food"
tax on fast-food restaurants like
McDonald's and Burger King for
serving products that clog America's
arteries. To top it all off, they will
want city officials to tie the issuance
of liquor licenses to the restaurant
industry's compliance with serving
foods of some scientifically proven
health value.
Suddenly, Ronald McDonald
becomes the Marlboro Man.
Go ahead and laugh at me all
you want, but ask yourparents and
grandparents if they ever imagined
the regulation of tobacco products
would start at warning labels and
evolve into statewide smoking bans.
Ask restaurant owners if they would
accept government-dictated menus.
Ask yourself if you would allow the
government to determine whether
you can eat a burger in your car
when children are present.
I recommend that you rent "Thank
You for Smoking" and discover the
game played between the regulators
and the industries they target. The
last I checked, our government was
built on a foundation of individual
liberty. It is my understanding that
liberty entails the freedom to choose
what is best for you. Nick Naylor is
right - we do have an obligation
to educate our children about the
dangers in life, not excluding the
growing danger of invasive govern-
ment. If we do our jobs as educators,
the government won't have to make
choices for our children.
Stiglich can be reached
at jcsgolf@umich.edu.

4

A

VIEWPOINT
Ending housing segregation

BY RAiv PRABHAKAR
Mary Markley Residence Hall is a paragon
of multiculturalism. There are lounges dedi-
cated to and themed around multiculturalism.
The residential staff is extremely diverse and
committed to multiculturalism, holding pro-
grams and events aiming to promote cultural
awareness every year. There's just one small
problem: The overwhelming majority of Mar-
kley residents are white.
The University has a great reputation for its
diversity, and about 25 percent of its under-
graduate student body is made up of minori-
ties. Through its admissions and recruitment
policies as well as its resources, the adminis-
tration has done a great deal to support minor-
ity groups and to ensure that the University
retains a diverse student body. Unfortunately,
these efforts to build a diverse student body
are all inconsequential if the final result is
simply a self-segregated student body where
people rarely interact with those of other eth-
nicities. This is unfortunately a major prob-
lem on our campus, as documented in an
op-ed page on self-segregation published in
the Daily last semester.
With all these problems of self-segregation,
the University definitely needs to do much
more to promote diversity not only in num-
bers, but also in actual communities. The best
way to do so is through the residence halls.
Almost all students at the University spend
their freshman year in the dorms. They make
their first college friends during this time and
often continue these friendships long after
moving out of the dorms. In addition, their
residence hall communities often shape their
social networks while at college - someone
who has a diverse group of friends is usu-
ally more comfortable and enthusiastic about
meeting others of different races as well.
Unfortunately, despite all attempts by the
University and the Residence Halls Associa-
tion to promote diversity, the system used
to assign residence halls to students is com-
pletely colorblind. Students are assigned
to dorms based solely on their preferences
and availability. As a result, halls such as
Markley which have a reputation for being
"white" have a hard time attracting minori-
ties and continue to remain homogeneous,
year after year. On the flip side, halls that
have a high concentration of minorities, such
as Baits, continue to attract more minori-
ties. This, of course, breeds self-segregation
and leaves large portions of the white stu-
dent body with little experience living in a
diverse community.
Here's a worrying fact that highlights the

above problem: Even before students had
moved into Markley and met their room-
mates this fall, the hall's residential direc-
tors received complaints from parents who
had looked up their children's roommates on
Facebook and requested a roommate change
simply because they didn't want their children
living with someone of a different race. If all
these complaints have come about from the
small pool of residents living with someone
of a different race, imagine the total number
of parents who hold negative stereotypes of
minorities. If nothing is done to convince
these residents otherwise, they will grow up
sharing their parents' prejudices. These res-
idents are badly in need of a diverse living
community.
University Housing states that its mission
is to "create and sustain diverse learning-
Should we allow the
self-segregation of the
residence halls?
centered residential communities that fur-
ther the goals of the University ... Part of
this openness to ideas is an acceptance and
appreciation of diverse cultures from around
the country and around the world - an
allowance not only for people to be different,
but a recognition that such diversity is the
vital core of University life." As long as the
hall assignment system continues to be col-
orblind and some residence halls are almost
entirely white, University Housing will have
a hard time upholding its mission statement.
Considering how much the importance of
diversity is stressed in the mission statement,
as well as the amount of effort the University
is putting into promoting diversity, I have a
hard time understanding why the University
is willing to sacrifice its goal of diverse resi-
dential communities simply to pander to the
whims of freshmen and allow them to stay
inside their comfort zones.
The University should be applauded for its
efforts to promote diversity in its student body.
However, more effort is needed to break down
the walls of self-segregation. Considering the
University's use of affirmative action to pro-
mote diversity, it would only make sense for
University Housing to adopt a race-conscious
hall assignment system to promote multicul-
turalism and the true benefits of diversity.
Prabhakar is an Engineering senior and
a member of the Daily's editorial board.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

Daily coverage of YAF event
divides civil rights movement
TO THE DAILY:
If a patient in a mental ward told his group therapy
session that American citizens were in danger of geno-
cide by Latino immigrants, his doctor would increase his
anti-psychotic medication. When the Young Americans
for Freedom proclaim the same paranoid delusion with
an amateur racist media stunt that equates the European
conquest of the Americas with the plight of undocument-
ed immigrants today, it gets on FOX TV.
Immigrant, minority and progressive students of all
races banded together to say "no" - we do not accept
increased racist harassment on campus. Standing united,
anti-racist students expressed in action what more and
more people sense - it's time for a new, mass civil
rights movement that draws in all the forces standing for
egalitarianism and justice. The editorial theme of The
Michigan Daily's "news" article (YAF plays 'Catch' amid
protest, 10/13/2006) that attempted to divide the move-
ment and demonize By Any Means Necessary is not
worthy of real student journalism.
Maricruz Lopez
LSA sophomore
The letter writer is a co-chair of the campus chapter of
By Any Means Necessary.
Zbrozek wants our campus to
give tacit approval to racists
TO THE DAILY:
WearemembersofthenewstudentgroupAntiwar Action,
and we participated in the protest of the Young Americans
for Freedom's "Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day" lastThurs-
day. People who were there would likely recognize us as the
students holding the "Bag a Fascist" sign.
In the interest of maintaining a democratic discourse
on campus, we agree that YAF Chair Andrew Boyd
ERIN RUSSELL lo

should have been allowed to speak. However, we are
shocked by Christopher Zbrozek's suggestion (Catch
a BAMN Leader Day, anyone?, 10/13/2006) that we
should have remained silent in response to this flagrant-
ly racist event. How would it have looked if the news
crews had come and nobody had been there to speak out
against Boyd and his collaborators? While the prospect
of confronting the evils of racism and xenophobia might
make some uncomfortable, failure to do so gives tacit
approval to those who hate.
Alex Smith
LSA senior
Matt Roney
LSA junior
Celebrity status no reason for
preferential adoption treatment
TO THE DAILY:
I wanted to express my agreement with Kimberly
Chou's article (Gaga for ethnic kids, 10/18/2006). As
a soon-to-be adoptive parent, I find it frustrating that
celebrity adoption allegedly occurs at lightening speed
when compared to the average adoptive family. My hus-
band and I began our international adoption process in
June 2005, and we are currently waiting for our referral.
By the time we travel to bring home our child, the adop-
tion process will have taken nearly two years.
For me and my husband, adoption is our only option
for having a family. Adoption is a truly wonderful expe-
rience, and adoptive families have opened their hearts
and homes to children that need a family. I'm just hop-
ing that the adoption process, whether domestic or inter-
national, is an equal process for everyone involved. It
would be unjust (not to mention disrespectful) to the
average adoptive parent if one's celebrity afforded him
preferential treatment in the adoption process. Special
treatment simply devalues the entire adoption process.
Kathleen Burke
University Health System employee

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