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January 11, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-11

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4 -Friday, January 11, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

L 4e AtIC41,60an 43al4"Im

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 oftthe Daily's editorialboard. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir 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 ofthe paper. Readers are encouraged to contactthe public editor
with questions and comments. He canbe reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
Movin' on up
Two Ann Arbor proposals threaten housing affordability
inding an off-campus place to live near central campus is
hard; finding a quality, affordable one on central campus is
next to impossible. In the face of fierce competition among
students to nab the best places, many students are left crammed
into decrepit houses with inflated prices. Right now, the city of
Ann Arbor is considering two separate proposals, one to build a
high-rise apartment complex and another to rezone the area near
Burns Park, which would only make the situation worse. These
proposals move away from the two issues most important to stu-
dent housing: affordability and community diversity.

First, a kind word about Hillary Clinton.
[She] looks good in a pant suit."
-Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, in the opening of a commercial by the conservative group Citizens
United. The commercial is one of several by the group being challenged in a federal appeals court.
The pursuit of happiness
every University ot Michigan Forexample,whenwas thelsttime mind if two dollars of that tuition was
student gets three opportuni- you received a survey from the Uni- going to front the money for a concert
ties to touch the grass at Mich- versity to find out how your student that might pay for itself.
igan Stadium: two experience was going? My best friend Doing little things specifically for
chances if Michigan attends Virginia Tech. He receives students would be a pleasant reminder
beats Ohio state at several surveys every year. Some are that the administration knows we're
home and once at basic "how are you" surveys from his here. Yeah, the University brings great
graduation. department. Others ask him about speakers to campus like Bill Clinton at
Unfortunately, the food options on campus. One even last year's commencement,hbut the pri-
as a member of the asked him to detail his experience mary audience is academics and older
2008 graduating with university advisers. Ann Arbor residents. These aren't stu-
class, IShave suffered I remember the last time I received dent-centered activities.
four years of losing a survey: It was when the Univer- I understand there are complexities
to Ohio State. After sity asked what I would like to see here, and I know the University didn't
this year's Ohio MEKELBURG improved about the Big House. They start the renovations with the inten-
State loss, I climbed decided to renovate it with those sug- tion of ruining graduation. But one
to the top rows of an gestions - now those suggestions are of two things happened. Either they
emptying Michigan Stadium to stare hurtingus. didn't have the foresight to deal with
out onto the field. I was cold, wet, If the University did ask about more it or they didn't care. Both situations
alone and heartbroken. But I realized everyday concerns, students would are equally troubling.
that as magical as a win would have probably have a lot to say. A friend,
been, touching the field as a graduate who is now in the Ross School of Busi-
would be even more special. ness, was told that he was ineligible to Another example
Now, I'll never touch the grass of apply to the B-School. At large public
Michigan Stadium. universities, bureaucratic mishaps are of the U' n tcaring
I won't even graduate in the cityI've bound to happen, but I would like to Ot
called home for four years. I'm not bit- see an attempt at improvement. about stu
ter about going to Ypsilanti - there's Then there are concerts.A concert is dents.
nothing wrong with the fair city next a visible thing a university can do for its
door - I would be just as upset if I students. My Virginia Tech friend told
found out I was graduating at the top me about eight university-sponsored The worst part of the whole thing is
of the Empire State Building. I just concerts in the last four years at his col- that I end up feeling trapped in a bad
want to graduate here. lege: acts like G-Unit, Dave Matthews relationship. No matter what the Uni-
Maybe I shouldn't have been so Band, 311 and John Mayer. Bob Dylan versity does, I still love it here. In fact,
surprised, though. This incident just and Elvis Costello played at Eastern everyone I know still loves it here. I
hammers home something I've always Michigan University last semester. Of don't even know if "love" is a strong
subconsciously felt. It may be a little course, Ludacris performed here, even enough word to describe my passion
blasphemous, but I don't think this if it was a huge financial disaster. But for the University of Michigan. Right
University cares about its students. that concert may not have happened now, though, the class of 2008 is get-
Sure, the University cares about without the grassroots effort of groups ting fucked.
academics and prestige. It cares about like Hillel and the Michigan Student I hope the administration hears
you getting a greatjob, you giving back Assembly. This month's Mos Def show our outcry. Maybe it will remind them
some of your post-graduation earnings will mark only the second major act that we're here. Sometimes, I think
and maintaining its golden reputation with a large student following during they forget.
that justifies its Ivy League-sized price my four years.
tag. I'm saying the University doesn't The University has had no problem David Mekelburg is an outgoing
care about whether students are happy raisingmy tuition thousands of dollars associate news editor. He can be
while they're here. during the past four years. I wouldn't reached at dmek@umich.edu
Death by deterioration



The first proposal being considered is
a plan to construct a 26-story apartment
building called University Village on the
corner of South University and South For-
est avenues. The complex would house up
to 1,750 residents and offer lush amenities
including flat-screen televisions, washer
and dryers in every unit, a fitness center,
a caf6 and a Residential Advisor on each
floor. The design also promises eco-friend-
ly features, like a green roof - a 14,000
square-foot area designed to save energy
and recycle rainwater.
Sounds great, right? It's luxurious, leaves
a small carbon footprint, emphasizes den-
sity and is right in the heart of campus.
But the next logic question is "How much
will rent be?". While the contractors have
yet to make public how much it will cost
to rent an apartment at University Village,
the silence seems to indicate the answer
already: too much.
Consequently, if University Village is built,
it will turn out to be a high-end apartment
complex serving the richer students on cam-
pus. This further segregates the population
of those living off-campus, as students who
cannot afford the pricey housing near cam-
pus are pushed farther out to the margins of
campus to find cheaper rent. Naturally, this
affects the University's ability to provide an
equal and diverse atmosphere in which all of
its students can interact.
If another city proposal is passed next
week, though, some students will lose the
option of moving even farther away. Cur-
rently, homes in the Burns Park neighbor-
hood south of Dewey Street are zoned to

allow both multiple-family and single-fam-
ily units in the area. For students who are
willing to live further away from campus,
the extra distance translates into big sav-
ings. However, some members of the Ann
Arbor City Council are hoping to rezone a
section along Golden Avenue. The proposed
change would rezone the area to single-fam-
ily housing, which would not affect current
multi-family housing but would stop more
apartment complexes from being built and
prevent homeowners from breaking their
houses into several individual units.
For the residents who are demanding
this proposal, there is only one justifica-
tion: unrealized hysteria. Unlike some of
the houses near central campus, plastic
red cups and beer cans aren't strewn care-
lessly across the front lawns of houses in the
Burns Park area nor is there any more of a
parking problem there than inAnn Arbor in
general. Students have generally been living
amicably in this area for years. Even ifa few
students have been disrespectful, that's no
reason to crowd them out of the neighbor-
hood. The University has been rooted in
Ann Arbor for almost 185 years. Residents
are bound to encounter a few obnoxious
students - just as students are bound to
encounter a few obnoxious residents.
In both of the proposals being considered
by the city council, there is a danger that stu-
dent housing in Ann Arbor will become even
more unaffordable and detrimental to our
campus diversity. We need more high-rise,
environmentally friendly student housing
near central campus, just not with unneces-
sary luxuries that keep the prices high.
ing your greatness a lie.
If the University is concerned about its
reputation and the happiness of its students
and their families, it will find some way to
hold graduation at the Big House in April.



'U' abandons tradition
I have been involved in the University of

Michigan Men's Glee Club for the past four
years. If you have ever been to one of our con-
certs, you would know that, at the end of each
performance, we sing "Michigan Songs,"
hailing the University's greatness and long-
standing traditions.
When I was accepted to the University, I
thought I mightbe attending a school that
respected these traditions. Commencement is
the grand finale of many students' four years
of hard work, late nights, new friends and col-
lege memories. It was supposed to take place
in the Big House - and now it won't. Why?
Luxury boxes.
Since the idea of these special seats for rich
and well-known alumni was presented, it has
been surrounded by conflict and frustration
by those of us who see no reason to fix some-
thing that isn't broken. Not only will the lux-
ury boxes ruin the football experience at the
Big House but they also will ruin the event
that marks the end of my time in Ann Arbor.
Thank you very much, University of Michi-
gan. You've just made my four years of sing-


Eric Portenga
LSA senior
Family will miss first
and only trip to Big House
I am writingto express my profound dis-
appointment in the University of Michigan's
decision to hold this year's spring commence-
ment at Eastern Michigan University instead
of at our beloved Michigan Stadium. The
already unpopular renovations being made
to the stadium are the reason being given
for depriving the class of 2008 its privilege
of graduating at the University. Not only is
the $226-million project creating a classist
separatism in the Big House by adding luxury
seating, which is contradictoryto Michigan
tradition, this unnecessary construction
is not being adjusted to accommodate this
year's graduating class.
This decision will affect thousands of
graduating students and has already affected
me greatly. Iam the first in my family to
graduate from college. My commencement
is not just an accomplishment for me - it is
one Ihave been looking forward to sharing
with my family. Although my family has been
Michigan fans for generations, none of it
has been able to visit the Big House. For four
years Ihave anticipated the opportunity to
share the school, the campus and the stadium
I love with my family at commencement.
Unfortunately, Ihave to break the news that
commencement will not be held at the Big
House, the University or even in Ann Arbor.
It is incomprehensible to me that the Uni-
versity doesn't view providing its students
with the graduation they deserve as an obli-
gation. After spending more than $100,000
during the last four years and countless hours
of studying, my previously unwavering trust
in the University have now been irreparably
damaged. All Ican do now is hope that the
outrage expressed by University students and
alumni will be enough to convince the Uni-
versity to reconsider.
Leah Potvin
LSA senior

bout four years ago I returned
home from high school to find
three squad cars in my drive-
The sight of the
police officers con-
gregated in front
of my house threw
me off, but when I
saw that they were w
crowded around
my 78-year-old -
grandmother I was ASHLEA
even more baffled.
My grandma lived SURLES
about two miles
away, didn't have a car and wasn't
exactly someone you'd expect to get
picked up for disturbing the peace.
"Ashlinka!" my grandma - a born
and bred Pole - cried as she spotted
me walking up to the house. I looked
at the officers' concerned expressions
over her shoulder as I hugged her 4-
foot-10-inch, 100-pound frame.
It turned out that the police had
picked her up when she was trying to
walk down the unpaved side of a main
road, with severely arthritic knees,
from her apartment to my family's
house. She had mistaken the day and
thought that my mom had forgotten
to pick her up to go grocery shopping.
It was a Thursday and my mom had
told her on the phone the night before
that, just like every week for the last
few years, she would pick my grand-
ma up on Saturday to go to the grocery
store. This was the first major incident
signaling the onset of my grandma's
dementia, but in the next years there
were many more like it.
Dementia is characterized by a loss
of mental ability severe enough to
interfere with daily life. It progres-
sively impairs the memory, reasoning,
planning and personalities of its vic-
tims. But you probably don't need this

definition. This is the first time in his- to do by their grandparents, just not
tory that it's considered to be common for the same reasons.
knowledge. But there are other less obvious,
Recent studies show that neuro- yet deeper impacts of this tragic phe-
logical disorders like dementia and nomenon. We are learning that death
Alzheimer's disease among the elderly is often ugly and painful, coming
are higher than ever, afflicting one before a body shuts down but jerking
in seven Americans over the age of loved ones through a treacherous pro-
71. The prevalence of the disease has cess of letting go while one is already
increased by 1,200 percent since 1998, mentally long gone. While statistics
makingit exceedinglylikelythatyou're illustrate that people are living lon-
familiar with these conditionsbecause ger, these progressive mental diseases
at least one of your grandparents has are striking early, teaching us that life
been affected. Today, Alzheimer's dis- is shorter than is often planned. And
ease is the eighth most common cause more, we can look at our formerly
of death in America, marking the first capable grandparents slipping back
time in 50 years - and perhaps ever
- that a neurodegenerative disorder
made the top ten. How neurological
Our parents' parents died most L~"~
often of heart attacks, strokes, can- ds as swilshape
cers, pneumonia and tuberculosis. diseases wiv sh p
They didn't waste away in hospital
beds or nursing homes, surrendering our generation.
dignity along with pride as they lost
the ability to think for themselves, let
alone eat by themselves as many of into the incapacity of childhood and
our grandparents are doing right now. see the image as a symbol of life's
And our parents didn't watch them go unfairness. Growing up surrounded
through this. by these signs of the unconquerable
Instead, our parents learned hob- and unavoidable injustices of life, we
bies like cooking and fishing from have no choice but to fear our inevi-
their grandparents and heard them table fate.
tell stories about the World Wars and Our view, which our parents and
the Great Depression. Our generation their parents before them have held,
visits grandparents in nursing homes that we will be rewarded for a life well
who may not even remember our lived seems tobe disintegrating along
names. We are the first generation with our chances of dying gracefully.
to witness the mental collapse of our We are growing up dreading growing
elderly - and I can't help but wonder old, not just because of the wrinkles.
what this means for us. We are the first generation of true
Many of us are learning to be pro- fatalists - learning to fear our own
active and will attempt to nip men- declines, instead of anticipating our
tal degeneration in the bud - so to destinies - when we are still studying
speak - by exercising regularly, doing for classes.
crosswords daily and eating plenty of
greens. Ironically, this was something Ashlea Surles can be reached
that many of our parents were taught at ajsurles@umich.edu.


ONS aOt c

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.
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300
words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. All submissions
become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.


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