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February 05, 2007 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-05

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idrigan Dai&

Ann Arbor, Mi


Monday, February 5, 2007

Icers top Western 'BLOC PARTY'
Michigan on senior
SportsMonday Arts,5A


Fourth in an occasional series about the
University's connection to the Iraq war

"It was a kick in the gut. My initial
reaction was, 'I hate this state.' "
- University employee Matthew Scott, who got health
care through his partner, Engineering Prof. Michael Falk,
when the couple first came to the University.
pairs may
lose health
Ruling prohibits care coverage, so it would have
been very difficult for us to
health coverage attain health care coverage if
it hadn't been for the Universi-
to partners of'U' ty's health care program."
With his health care pro-
employees vided by the University, Scott
was able to get a job at a small
By BRIAN TENGEL business in Ann Arbor.
Daily StaffReporter A recent court ruling,
------- _~ though, may changethe ability
When Engineering Prof. of same-sex couples like Falk
Michael Falk came to the and Scott to receive health
University just over six years care coverage from the Uni-
ago, he thought his partner versity.
Matthew Scott would receive The Michigan Court of
health care coverage. Appeals ruled Thursday that
It was a major factor in his the state's 2004 constitutional
decision to work at the Univer- amendment banning same-sex
sity, he said. marriage also prohibits pub-
"When we first arrived, lit institutions from offering
I was employed and Matt health care and other benefits
wasn't," Falk said. "Matt to the partners of employees.
wouldn't have had any health See BENEFITS, page 7A

LSA sophomore Dina Al-Joburi, whose family emigrated to the United States from Iraq in 1980 with LSAjunior Fadi Dawood. Dawood is a chaldean, which is an Iraqi
christian sect. His family fled Iraq when he was 6 years old because of religious discrimination.
Two students whose stories are intertwined with the war-torn country
By Alese Bagdol I Daily Staff Reporter

LSAjunior Fadi Dawood - one of
about 90,000 Iraqi-born people liv-
ing in the United States - has fond
memories of his homeland.
He still remembers the starry
nights of his childhood in Iraq.
He still remembers the mild
fall days watching palm trees and
mountains race by the window of
his car on his way to school.
He still remembers starting
grade school each day with a pledge
of allegiance to Iraqi President Sad-
dam Hussein.
For the first six years of his life,
Dawood lived in Baqubah, a small
city just outside Baghdad. The city
is in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, a region
that has become a hotbed for insur-
gent forces.
Dawood, a Christian, and his
family left Iraq because they felt
threatened by the religious intoler-
ance of many in Iraq.
"We faced ridicule onthe streets,"
he said. "My family came to the U.S.
to leave that area where it was so

hard to advance and seek religious
Dawood and his family are Chal-
dean, a sect of Christianity and a
distinct ethnic group with roots
in Iraq. Although Hussein was
responsible for many atrocities, he
was fairly tolerant of the Chaldean
population in Iraq, Dawood said.
"Saddam Hussein was a dictator
similar to Stalin because he wanted
a secular state," Dawood said. "He
didn't favor any sort of religion and
he knew that the Christians didn't
pose a threat to him. So, he in a
sense protected Christians."
About 15 years ago, the Dawoods
joined other members of their fam-
ily in Detroit.
Dawood's family chose the
Detroit area because of its large
Lebanese population and what was
then a thriving automobile industry,
he said.
Making a living in America
proved difficult, though, Dawood

"In Iraq, one person can support
the whole family," he said. "But
here, you all have to work. My sis-
ters had to work and pay their way
through higher education."
Dawood and his family now live
in Southfield, where his father owns
a restaurant.
While Dawood's family has
become successful in America, he
said he often thinks of the plight of
the Iraqi people. Many politicians
don't understand the impact the
war has had on the everyday lives of
Iraqis, he said.
"It seems as if our government
did not consider what goes beyond
war," Dawood said.
Dawood said he is torn between
his identity as an American and as
an Iraqi.
"Itis heartbreakingtosee somany
American soldiers dying," he said.
LSA sophomore Dina Al-Joburi's
family fled Iraq in 1980, several

years before she was born.
Her uncle, who had been the vice
president of Iraq before Hussein
came to power, was executed for his
opposition to Hussein's regime.
"My father was also politically
active in the Baath party before
Saddam came to power," Al-Joburi
said. "It was wise for him to leave."
Most of her family still lives in
"It's chaos there," Al-Joburi
said. "When I talk to my aunt on
the phone, I hear gunshots. It's like
being under house arrest. Some-
times my family runs out of food,
but they can't get any more because
they are too afraid to leave the
The rest of her family has lost its
hope of immigrating to the United
"For understandable reasons,
the U.S. doesn't want to let Iraqis
in," AI-Joburi said. "The war made
it so much harder - it's almost like
See IRAQ, page 7A

Engineering Prof. Michael Falk (left) with partner Matthew Scott
(right) in their Ann Arbor home last night. The couple came to the Uni-
versity in part because it offered benefits for the domestic partners of
At Palmera'
lesson in suppl
and de-mand

Group wants to
plant change


Students up for
$25,000 grant to
put'green roof on
For theDaily
Some students watch MTV
for entertainment.
Others want the company's
help to save the world.
Environmental Enthu-
siasts, a campus group
that works to get students
involved with environmental
issues, has been selected as a
finalist in a contest sponsored
by mtvU - an MTV chan-

nel aimed at college students
- and General Electric.
Thegroup wants to replace
the current roof of the Elbel
Building with a green roof
composed of plants native to
The contest asked college
students to submit propos-
als for original projects that
could improve the environ-
ment. The winner will receive
$25,000 to implement their
After consulting with Ste-
phen Kunselman, the Uni-
versity's energy management
liaison, the club proposed the
construction of a green roof
on the University's Outdoor
Activities Center. The Out-
See GREEN ROOF, page 7A

Now free, new
building draws
student groups
Daily StaffReporter
Talk about a new lease on
Now that the University
administration has made it
free for student groups to rent
of events being held at Palmer
Commons has nearly tripled.
When Palmer Commons
opened in March 2004, Uni-
versity administrators expect-
ed student groups to flock to
the new building. Unable to
draw student groups away
from better-known buildings
like the Michigan Union and
the Michigan League, though,
the cornerstone of the Uni-
versity's prized Life Sciences
Complex sat largely empty for
the followingtwo years.
Last July, the University

changed the Palmer Commons
booking policy to allow Univer-
sity departments and Michigan
Student Assembly-recognized
student groups to rent rooms
for free as long as they don't
charge for attendance.
Many groups have taken
advantage of the offer.
From July to December
Palmer Commons hosted 294
events. It held just 110 during
the same time period in 2005.
The Office of the Pro-
vost ordered the change to
increase use of the building
and to make it more available
to the University community,
said David Disney, the build-
ing's general manager.
Before the rate change, the
building cost the same to rent
as the Michigan Union, the
Michigan League and Pierpont
Commons. Smaller spaces, like
the Union's Anderson rooms,
cost $3.15 an hour. The Union
Ballroom costs $24 an hour.
DisneysaidPalmer Commons
also owes its newfound popular-
See PALMER, page 7A

The University of Florida GatoRaas team performs at the sixth annual Dandia Dhamaka event at the
Michigan Theater on Saturday, a bhangra dance competition. Organized by the University of Michigan Raas
Association, the event featured 11 teams from colleges around the nation.


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