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March 13, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-13

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4A - Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

74C fidiigan:43al&j
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the'Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely 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 canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
FR A T1 L AY"
No- smoking jobs?
Not hiring smokers at'U' would do more harm than good
he list of potential consequences of smoking cigarettes is
lengthy. It includes lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, heart
disease and stomach ulcers. If two Michigan state senators
get their way, smokers will have one more thing to add to that list --
unemployment. The two senators, Tom George (R-Kalamazoo) and
Bill Hardiman (R-Kentwood), suggested last month that the state's
three research universities - the University of Michigan, Michigan
State University and Wayne State University - stop hiring smokers
to help cut down on the state's health care costs. It's an absurd idea
that the University rightly rejected.

That is like asking a woman after she
has just delivered a baby, do you want to
get pregnant again?"
-Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, responding to a question about whether
he would run for president again, as reported yesterday by Fox News.
CHRIS KOSLOWSK I IUT TOPASTURE
Well, first Hotdog Man gets I wonder what Freud would
If's crazy how Ann Arbor is tossed from Michigan Stadium. say about this.
so anti-hotdog. and then city council bans eI V
all of the sidewalk vendors. 6 Probably something than
It's ridiculous would generate moreDaily
a cartoon batemail. two
0
Smoke, mirrors and skyboxes

George made his suggestion to Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman and the
two other research university presidents
last month at a state Senate Finance Com-
mittee meeting. George and another sup-
porter, Hardiman, argue that not hiring or
promoting employees who smoke will pro-
mote healthy habits and lower health care
costs. Neither state law nor the University's
non-discrimination policy explicitly pro-
tects smokers from discrimination.
In their veiled attempt to undermine
state-funded health care, George and Har-
diman make an argument that's built on
shaky ground. Sure, health care costs might
fall if people who smoke don't have health
insurnace. But why stop there? Research
universities could stop hiring people who
eat fast food, don't exercise regularly and
forget to floss. They don't because the ben-
efits of covering them outweigh the costs.
If the University stopped hiring smok-
ers, it might pass over potentially talented
employees. When hiring or promoting pro-
fessors and staff, the University should be
looking for the most qualified people, not
necessarily the healthiest. Michigan is
already struggling to keep college students
from fleeing the state as soon as they get
their degrees. Now, it wants intelligent
professors who happen to enjoy cigarettes
to follow them.
While the law might not explicitly

protect people who make poor personal
health choices, this suggestion to not hire
or promote smokers raises major privacy
concerns. Not only would it require the
University to ask about people's personal
habits, it would also require them to con-
tinually monitor employee habits. How is
the University supposed to know ifa pro-
fessor is lighting up a cigarette between
classes - or better yet, at home?
And who can forget that smokers are
already paying a lot of the state's bills. A
substantial amount of funding for the state's
universities - like the School Aid Fund, the
Michigan Educational Assessment Program
and the Michigan Merit Award - comes
directly from the Tobacco Master Settle-
ment Agreement of 1998 and is based on the
total sale of cigarettes in the state. The set-
tlement requires tobacco companies to com-
pensate the government for smoking-related
medical costs. As of 2005, reports estimate
that 34 percent of the $300 million settle-
ment was spent on education.
Smoking is dangerous. But there are
much better ways to discourage it without
adding smokers to Michigan's unemploy-
ment problem. Better education about the
negative consequences of smoking would
be a good place to start.
Maybe George and Hardiman could get a
few of the state's chain-smoking professors
to help them.

hate to be the one to do this.
Truth be told, there probably
isn't one student at the Univer-
sity more thrilled to
be here than I am.
Everyone who has
ever known me has
known that I'm an
exuberant champi-
on of the University.
But for all my fervor,
I know this placeI
isn't perfect. As lib- IMRAN
erals have learned I
in recent years, if SYED
you truly love an
institution, you will
feverishly decry its wrongdoings and
demand improvement. So, here it goes.
The University has finally settled
the lawsuit filed against it by the
Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of-
America concerning the renovations
to Michigan Stadium. The lawsuit
alleged that the University broke the
law by not bringing the stadium up to
the standard mandated by the Ameri-
cans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
The ADA requires one percent
of all seating in a public facility like
Michigan Stadium be wheelchair
accessible. Because the stadium was
built before 1990, it was exempt from
the ADA - until renovations were
made deemed significant enough to
require compliance with the ADA.
The University until this week tried
to skirt the ADA by arguing that
this construction at the Big House
- which was significant enough to
deem the stadium unfit to hold com-
mencement, as you might remember
- still qualifies as "repairs" and not
"renovations."
The University finally caved earlier
this week: The currentrenovation plan
will now incorporate enough wheel-
chair-accessible seats to appease the
MPVA. So we're all good, right? No,
Wheelchair-accessible seats take up
far more space than a regular seat. As
a result, total capacity at the stadium
will go down - far enough to make
the Big House the second-biggest sta-
dium in the country. And that's going
to be a problem.

As good Michigan Wolverines, we
students often feel entitled to certain
things. One of those things is that our
stadium be the largest in college foot-
ball. Another is that our commence-
ment be held at the Big House, and you
remember how touchy we got about
that a few weeks ago.
From the grumblings I've been
hearing around campus, I see that
the frustration has started to flow.
Already students are expressing dis-
may and outrage at the fact that the
solution has made the Big House the
second-biggest stadium in the coun-
try. A few have been naive enough
to blame the MPVA and fans who
require accessible seating (Blamefans
in wheelchairsfor lower stadium capac-
ity, 03/12/2008) which, of course, is
simply ridiculous.
This lawsuit with the MPVA, not
to mention the uproar over the addi-
tion of luxury boxes at the stadium,
had made this construction process a
public relations disaster for the Uni-
versity. But all of a sudden, the mess is
gone, and the University miraculously
emerges almost unscathed. As much
as I hate to entertain the thought, that
seems like too much of a coincidence.
Maybe the University knew what it
was doing all along.
Consider this: In late January, the
administration announced Sompletely
out of the blue that this year's Spring
Commencement would be held at
Eastern Michigan University, not the
Big House. It should have expected'
the astounding level of student out-
rage that followed. Then, seemingly
as an example of responsiveness
to student wishes, the administra-
tion announced commencement was
coming back to campus - not to the
Big House, but to the Diag. Students
breathed a sigh of relief.
Did you catch the trick?
Had the administration announced
right off the bat thatgraduation would
be at the Diag because the Big House
was not ready (due toa gross, and sus-
picious, lack of planning), students
would have been upset. But how then
would you mollify those students?
The only possible solution would be to

move commencement back to the Big
House, and that was not on the table
for the University. So, as the Univer-
sity, you give students a disgustingly
outrageous option and then get them
to play into your plan by accepting
a compromise that you would have
taken all along.
How smooth.
As unfortunate as it sounds, the
settlement of the MPVA lawsuit reeks
of the same ploy. Surely the Univer-
sity knew that with the addition of its
luxury boxes, there would be no way
to also accommodate the mandated
number of accessible seats while
ensuring that the Big House remained
the largest stadium in the country. It
then had two options: Either take
the heat for its luxury boxes - those
The grand
illusion about who
gets the blame
hated structures that are the true root
of the dilemma we're now in - or find
something else to take the blame for
the Big House becoming the second-
biggest stadium.
For months the University dragged
its feet about meeting the MPVA's
demands, despite the pending law-
suit. But, when the U.S. Depart-
ment of Justice joined the suit on the
MPVA's side last fall, the game was
essentially up. And now the Univer-
sity has finally shown its hand, having
held out long enough to ensure that
the ensuing outrage is targeted at the
MPVA and fans in wheelchairs rather
than at the administration's stubborn
insistence on haphazardly building
luxury boxes.
Ihopeyoureaders are brightenough
to see through the smokescreen.
Imran Syed was the Daily's fall/winter
editorial page editor in 2007. He can
be reached at galad@umich.edu.

I

(

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Harun Buljina, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman,
Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave,
Imran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya,
Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Looking forward to
inclusive Big House

Daily, this simpl
"U.S. Deaths"
bodies closer to
me, this box -
between Sudokt

TO THE DAILY: dom advertisem
In his letter to the editor yes- man I respect ve
terday (Blame fans in wheel- also killed in Ba
chairs for lower stadium capacity, years ago. Did it
03/12/2008), ChrisVesselsexplic- Daily that there,
itly blamed people with physi- who have serves
cal disabilities and the Michigan ing overseas in
Paralyzed Veterans of America current military
for the University administra- To these me:
tion's mismanagement of the suspect the nur
Michigan Stadium renovations. represents theI
As an able-bodied Michigan foot- fellow soldiers,s
ball fan, I was not only offended, Marines withv
but also embarrassed by his cal- risked or willI
lous tirade. lives. To others, i
I was particularly angered by a fallen mother
the way Vessel held an "us-ver- sister or friend.
sus-them" mentality throughout speak on behalf
his letter, implying that either but I respectfu
the University or disabled fans Daily either tu
must lose in order for the other count into a tril
group to accomplish its goals. selfless America:
The way in which he labeled women who hav
the new accessible seating "the for their country
wheelchair section" and implied
that disabled fans were "willing Stephen Taylor
to sacrifice Michigan Stadium LSA senior
tradition in order to see games"
was especially degrading and Some love
polarizing. To the extent that his
letter was possibly an attempt atc
sarcasm, it was bigoted and in s
poor taste.
I, for one, look forward to TO THE DAILY:
watching next season's Wolver- I would like I
ines in a stadium with fans from appreciation to
all creeds, abilities and walks of University stude
life. basis - the bus di

y means that the stoplight at Hubba
box inches five Parkway, the Nc
4,000 dead. To pulled up to the
squeezed as it is the driver opened
u and some ran- though it was not
ents - insults a route. Although I v
ry much. He was home, I was gratefi
ghdad over three the driver cared e
not occur to the me the option of h
are students here bus to ride the re
d or will be serv- This is the same b
support of our I saw last week p,
operations? directions to some(
n and women, I This is just one,
mber in that box drivers employed I
living, breathing sity. I'm sure there
sailors, pilots and other drivers who
whom they have same care while
be risking their dents around cam
it might represent you University bus,
, father, brother,
I don't mean to Sara Henry
f of anyone else, School ofinformation
illy ask that the
rn this casualty LawSchool
bute to all of the
i servicemen and book misrej
e given their lives
or remove it.

rd and Huron
rthwood bus
red light and
the door, even
a stop on the
wanted to walk
ul to know that
nough to give
opping on the
st of the way.
us driver who
atiently giving
one.
of the fine bus
by the Univer-
are numerous
illustrate the
shuttling stu-
pus. So, thank
drivers.
profs
iresented

me think that the Miller was any different from
writing diatribes about his per- to the stadium? W
sonal views of what is disgusting, gan Paralyzed Vet:
which included two men kissing ica did was ensurE
as an example. wheelchairs and t
To understand the accusation abilities were affor:
better, I researched the book It is ridiculous th
and discovered that my initial "expectation," asv
appraisal based on the Daily's placed on those inj
article was inaccurate. This book accommodations
is a scholarly look at common would like to be gt
views of disgust and how these civil rights.
views influence law and society. I've been a seaso
In addition, Miller cites numer- et holder for the p
ous other examples of things There aren't even f
viewed as disgusting with no rel- dent section who n
evance to gay people whatsoever. expectation of wh
Knowing that such descriptions
are given in a specific scholarly
context to explain the role of
disgust makes me reconsider the ARIELA STEIF
passage that Green cited fromthe
book out of context. In the acad-
emy we are supposed to grasp
and respectfullydiscuss concepts
and beliefs that do not necessar-
ily reflect our own.
While I don't know Miller, I
imagine that he is fully capable
of using his examples without
harboring or applying this to his
professional life. I feel that Daily
readers should be made aware of
this so that they will not make pre-
mature conclusions (as I did) with
the limited information provided
by Green's quote in the article.

fans who walk be a good far
hat the Michi- maize and bl
erans of Amer- deafening lo
e that those in fans aren't o
hose with dis- tain obligati(
ded civil rights. game withoi
at there is an wheelchair
Vessels argued, deserving of
need of greater I would pr
because they gan traditio
uaranteed their rights, rathe
It'snot an ho
on football tick- have the lar,
ast four years. bodied peop
fans in the stu-
eet up Vessel's Brian Choi
at it means to LSA senior

n: being decked out in
ue and cheering with
udness. Just as these
bligated to meet cer-
ons and can enjoy the
it guilt, those in the
sections are equally
these freedoms.
efer to boast a Michi-
n of upholding civil
r than fillingup seats.
nor to declare that we
gest stadium of able-
4e.

I

,0for
its drivers
to send a note of
those folks that
ots see on a daily
rivers. These men

TO THE DAILY:
I read with great interest the
Daily's recent article about former
Law School Prof. Peter Hammer's
discrimination case against the
University (Former law profclaims
anti-gay bias influenced tenure
decision, 03/07/2008). I would like
to comment on the information
cited by Hammer's attorney, Phil-
lip Green, about why several Law
School professors should have
abstained from voting on Ham-
mer's tenure decision because of
anti-gay bias.
Daily readers should be aware
of the article's misrepresentation
of the book "Anatomy of Disgust,"
whichwas incorrectlytitled "Dis-
gust" in the article. The book is
being used by Green to make the
claim that its author, Law School
Prof. William Miller, was biased
against Hammer because he is
openly gay. The article's brief
representation of the book made

L \-OUR$ cWTH A
K -~EJ ~ ST'lTt-rE?
SA L,4RY?
$ 00
?PF1:Oj1 C,4 4-/7A- y A
Ri~c ELE S

Adam Booth
Medical School

Bobby Poulson-Houser
LSA sophomore
Daily's troop death
count disrespectful
TOTHE DAILY:
Five more U.S. soldiers died
in Baghdad on Monday. To the

and women drive the same route,
hour after hour, and graciously
get us to our classes, dorms, apart-
ments and jobs.
I especially want to thank
the gentleman who drives the
Northwood route on some after-
noons. I chose to walk back to
my apartment in Northwood V
from North Campus Tuesday
afternoon because it was such
a beautiful day. As I neared the

A value bigger than
our seating capacity
TO THE DAILY:
I took issue with Chris Vessel's
letter to the editor yesterday,
which responded to the Michi-
gan Stadium accommodations
for wheelchair users (Blame fans
in wheelchairs for lower stadium
capacity, 03/12/2008). Since when
were people using wheelchairs

;C44
/t
i SI

4

I

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