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December 10, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-10

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4A -Monday, December 10, 2007


The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
Re-examining finals
'U' must enforce exam policy and find way to extend break
Final exams are miserable. They're hard, long and usually
worth a significant percentage of your grade. Worst of all,
they run deep into the holiday season, cutting into the time
students should be on break. But as miserable as exams at the end
of the term naturally are, they are often made worse in practice by
professors who decide to administer them before the period allot-
ted for final exams. These professors are ignoring a policy designed
to ease the strain on students and are thus making the hectic end
of the semester even worse.
Accordingto the University policy on final on students' plates, the last day of class is a
exams, as listed by the office of the Regis- horrible time to have any exam.
trar and in the Faculty Handbook, profes- The University recognizes this dilemma
sors are supposed to administer their final and gives students the extra time to study
exams during the period specified by the with the desire that students do well on final
University's Calendar Committee. This pol- exams. Professors should share this desire.
icy does not allow professors to administer While students and professors may be all for
final exams on the last day of class unless going home a few days early, a main objec-
students and the professor reach a mutual tive of beinga student, studying, should not
agreement to change the exam date. This be compromised for this reason.
policy was designed to give students an ade- The University's policy is also flawed.
quate amount of time to study for each exam Even though the policy gives ample time to
over the next two weeks. study, it extends the exam period too far into
Yet some professors skirt the policy, December. For example, this year the last
holding exams on the last day of classes exams will be given on Thursday, Dec. 20,
with the hope of finishing up the semes- and students are expected to be back in class
ter a little earlier. One way to do this is by on Thursday, Jan. 3. With travel time, espe-
arguing that the last exam of the semes- cially for out-of-state students, this means
ter is not cumulative and therefore is not a students have less than two weeks of break.
final exam by definition. But this argument Everyone wants to do well on exams,
is disingenuous: If an exam is given during and everyone wants to go home. There can
the last class of a semester, students need be a compromise here if the exam period
satisfactory time to study regardless of is moved earlier into December and if pro-
whether it is cumulative. With final papers, fessors follow University policy and only
projectsaid"honewofk'assignmefrith"tlW"ddihnster exafi swithin that e am period.
Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Jon Cohen, Milly Dick, Mike
Eber, Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody,
Robert Soave, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van
Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa

Bill is every bit as black as Barack ...
He's probably gone with more black women
than Barack."
- Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, on former President Bill Clinton.
As a disclaimer, Young added "I'm clowning."
A true institutional change


The dust has finally settled onthe
resignation of Zack Yost, the
former president of the Michi-
gan Student Assembly, and people are
moving forward. In
light of the recent
forum on disability
issues, students are
now using Yost's
online diminution
of MSA Rep. Tim
Hull's Asperger's
Syndrome as a way
to make progress MIKE
on inclusiveness. EBER
Nobody can defend
what Yost did, but
the way people eagerly called for his
resignation without contemplating the
role of other actors on campus raises
many red flags.
In fact, taking the action to remove
Yost might have jeopardized the
momentum necessary to make real
change on disability issues. While
campus was quick to criticize one
man's online comments, it is continu-
ing to ignore the other group members
involved, as well as the University's
opposition to accommodating disabled
fans at the Big House.
Overall, it reflected well upon the
University that students responded
negatively to this latest MSA scan-
dal. Yost knew that the group was in
poor taste, and as a public official he
understood that his private conduct
had everything to do with his role as
MSA president. The bottom line is that
Yost should not have made his crude
remarks, and students responded to
that poor choice. While the general
consensus is that students are particu-
larly apathetic about campus politics,
they can pat themselves on the back
this time.
Taking a stand is one thing, but

throwing the baby out with the bath- tant Dean Marjorie Horton decry the
water is another issue. infamous Facebook group as inimical
Throughout this fiasco, outraged to "a sense of belonging to every indi-
masses pushed too eagerly for Yost's vidual in our community." Meanwhile,
resignation. He resigned not due to theadministration still insists it does
force but because he would have pre- not need to meet requirements of the
sided over a campus hostile toward Americans with Disabilities Act of1990
his leadership, which was not in the in the renovations to the Big House.
best interest of students or the assem- Instead, the University is attempt-
bly. Hence, Yost's decision was for ingto reclassify the renovations to the
the greater good of MSA, but angered stadium as "repairs"to skirt ADA com-
students were more concerned with pliance. Despite the law, the actions
seeing him punished than promoting of the University - more so than the
leadership capable of bringing change
for students with disabilities.
Yost's resignation only serves to end Those who fought
this conversation. Perhaps Yost would
have been the best person to lead the to take down Yost
dialogue because of his personalaexpe-
riences. After all, he is a leader in the must finish the fight.
Program on Intergroup Relations who -
is familiar with campus politics and,
through this public trial, has become
mostacutely aware oftheobstaclesfac- words of Yost - exclude people with
ing students with disabilities. disabilities: We continue to misdirect
On a related note, most students our attention to what is said by Univer-
have forgotten that the Facebook sity officials instead of what they are
group contained at least a few other actually doing.
people.FormerMSARep.KennyBaker All of this makes the University
revealed his own identity along with look awful. To some, the University
Yost's to expose the entire scandal, seemed complicit and insensitive by
but other representatives purported keeping Yost in office. Therefore, run-
to be in the group remain unidenti- ning an apologetic Yost out of office
fied. We already know Baker lacks any creates the fagade that the University
moral bearing after he exposed the is taking action on disability issues. It
private group for vague political rea- seems that more people should be out-
sons. However, if students really cared raged with the Athletic Department
about moving forward, they would for going to such lengths to exclude
expose the other two participants. disabled football fans.
The healing process cannot be selec- Perhaps the mob ranthe real Mich-
tive toward easy political targets. igan Man out of office, but hopefully
While people are quick to criticize for the sake of disability issues, the
our elected leader for his transgres- chance for real change was not run
sion, we dance around the real issue on out as well.
campus that truly affects thousands of
disabled people: the Big House. Out- Mike Eber can be reached
spoken administrators like LSA Assis- at mieber@umich.edu.



Transgender issues unfairly downplayed-


Female scholars offcolor
are already high achievers
It's good to see students taking an inter-
est in the tenure process. It directly affects
the quality of education students receive and
the diversity of the courses offered by the
University. However, Adriana Aldana's view-
point (Deterring women of color, 12/05/2007)
may give readers the false impression that
female scholars of color often lack "presti-
gious publications."
The two American culture faculty members
mentioned in the article wrote books that are
in the process of being published by highly
regarded university presses. They have also
had multiple articles within peer-reviewed
academic journals. Contrary to Aldana's view-
point, it is in fact quite common for University
faculty to be granted tenure with publications
in these or similar venues.
Scott Kurashige
This letter writer is an associate professor in the
Department ofAmerican Culture
Attorneys have morals, too
Eric Sauck's letter last week about the
role engineers should play in war strategy
(We need a new type of person planning wars,
12/05/2007) claims that, unlike engineers
who abide by "strict rules of ethics," attor-
neys are nothing more than snake oil sales-
men, unscrupulously manipulating facts and
laws to reach their "predetermined conclu-
sion." It's true that most engineers are prob-
ably better at scientific problem solving than
attorneys. But the job of most attorneys is to
resolve disputes, negotiate and give counsel to
clients. While scientists may be able to fore-
see problems, the attorney must negotiate to
implement the solution. Attorneys are not per-
fect, but when it comes time to sit down with
the opposition to reach a deal, who would you
rather have - an attorney or an engineer?
Sauck's statements amountto nothing more
than athinly veiled attempt to restate the tired
contention that attorneys lack ethical values.
The state of Michigan governs its attorneys
by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Pro-
spective attorneys must pass a Professional
Responsibility Examination and go through a
thorough character and fitness check before
being admitted to practice. These standards
of conduct are not taken lightly. A look at the
Michigan Attorney Discipline Board's web-
site gives public notice of the transgressions
of those disciplined.
Contrary to popular belief, an attorney can-
not introduce whatever evidence he wants to
make his point. Lawyers have rules to follow,
and those who don't comply are punished.

As Sauck says, a diverse group of experts
should be sought to achieve a stable solution in
the Middle East. But his point would have been
better made if he concentrated on the under-
representation of the scientific community
and overrepresentation of the legal commu-
nity without unfounded statements about the
immorality of attorneys. Apparently lawyers
are not the only ones trying "to find evidence
to fit a predetermined conclusion" in order to
convince people of their viewpoint.
David Kowalski
This letter writer is a member of the State Bar of
Objectivism's stance on
smoking misrepresented
In a recent Statement story, Andrew Sar-
gus Klein referenced a discussion he had with
Students of Objectivism about government
smoking bans (The University's most rational
egoists, 12/05/2007). Klein wrote, "Objectiv-
ism would side with the smokers," but this is
not the case. Objectivism does not side with
any individual or group, but holds reality and
reason as absolutes. Objectivism adheres to
the non-contradictory results in morality,
rational egoism and politics, particularly a
system of complete laissez-faire capitalism,
which is the only social system based on the
recognition of individual rights.
Government smoking bans are not a viola-
tion of smokers' individual rights, but rather a
violation of restaurant and bar owners' prop-
erty rights. Just as I don't allow anyone to
smoke inside my apartment, restaurant and
bar owners should decide whether or not to
allow smoking in their own facilities. Klein
misrepresented this point by closing his article
by suggesting that you should "tell your boss
you're exercisingyour individual right to ratio-
nal egoism next time he tells you to stop smok-
ing in the workplace."
True capitalism prevents the government
from using coercive force, like industry regula-
tion, taxation and smoking bans, to interfere in
citizens' lives. The only exception to this rule
is when disciplining the criminals who violate
the rights of others.
Everyone is familiar with the economic effi-
ciency of capitalism, but many try to dilute it
with appeasements to socialism, fascism or
some other forms of collectivism because of
capitalism's supposedly suspect moral foun-
dation. Objectivism provides such a founda-
tion by rejecting altruism in all its forms and
embracing rational egoism.
Andrew Sardone
LSA senior
The letter writer is presidentofthe University's chapter
of Students of Objectivism.

There has been much talk of late
about issues affecting the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender community.
Events like Congress's signing of the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act
- which bans workplace discrimina-
tion based on sexual orientation - and
the Transgender Day of Remembrance
- which reflects on the lives lost in the
transgender community - are making
people aware of GLBT problems. Both
of these events occurred recently, but
did students know about them?
These topics are important to the
GLBT community. Unfortunately,
they do not seem to be as important to
those outside of the community. But
they should be because they concern
the lives of people who live in the same
dorms and sit in the same lecture halls
as everyone else on this campus.
Cayden Mak wrote in a letter to the
editor recently about the lack of vis-
ible support and acknowledgement of
transgender issues at the University
and in its media (Daily fails to do its
part for awareness, 11/26/2007). Mak
spoke about feeling disheartened,
understandably, because the Daily did
not run any stories about the Day of
Remembrance. If no one on the Daily's
staff knew about the event, they cannot
be at fault, but if it was purposefully
left out, then that is discrimination and
it should not be tolerated.
In looking through the Daily's
archives online, there were no articles
about Congress passing the Employ-
ment Non-Discrimination Act in
November, except one editorial. A

major issue with this bill was that it
was not transgender inclusive. As a
result, there were protests all over the
country. This topic was talked about
heatedly for weeks at every GLBT
organization in the country, but was
barely mentioned in the Daily. Is the
Daily staff uninterested or unaware?
Katherine Gallagher wrote in her
letter to the editor the same day as
Mak that there are University students
using hate speech and degrading the
entire GLBT community at football
games (Homophobia, sexism abound
among fans, 11/26/2007). Gallagher
called for the University community
to do better, and hopefully it will.
Unfortunately, if students still feel the
term "fag" is acceptable language, as
Gallagher overheard, I doubt that the
University community is ready to be
more inclusive toward members of the
GLBT community.
Although many University students
may not be interested in transgender
issues or advocates of their rights, it
appears that Michigan's governor is.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiv-
ing, Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed an
executive directive banning discrimi-
nation in state employment based
on "gender identity or expression."
This directive will protect transgen-
der employees and anyone who does
not conform to society's view of how
individuals' appearances or behavior
should reflect their gender.
According to the Triangle Founda-
tion, an organization supporting the
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender

community, this directive protects
approximately 50,000 state employ-
ees. People now have the freedom to
be who they are without fear of losing
their jobs in government.
Does this sound somewhat famil-
iar? It should. About two months ago,
the University passed the inclusion of
gender identity and expression into
its non-discrimination policy. Appar-
ently, inclusiveness is a trend because
other universities and colleges across
Michigan, like Michigan State Uni-
versity and Eastern Michigan Univer-
sity, recently included this protection
for their transgender students and
employees as well.
The transgender community is
breaking new ground with these new
protections at Michigan universities
and in the state government. Even if
students are disinterested for what-
ever reason, they should be aware of
what a powerful and progressive step
this is for a community of people who
have been unprotected and neglected
for so long.
Many students rely on the Daily for
their news and the Daily must be as
inclusive in its coverage as possible. If
the Daily does not deliver everything
it can, then it is doing a disservice to
the University and to itself. If issues
reflecting communities on this campus
are not covered, then oppressed people
willcontinue tobe marginalized inthe
greater University community.
Brett Beckerson is an RC senior and
an intern at the Triangle Foundation.





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