4A - Monday, December 1, 2008
4 Moa Dc e1 8 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com *
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FROM THE DAtIY
Greene case demands answers about faculty hiring, review
Now when it comes to the economy,
we're not going to get out of the hole that we're
in overnight ... I'm not a miracle worker:'
- Barack Obama in an interview Thursday, as reported by USA Today.
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Te Mumbai message
At a university with more than 5,600 faculty members, it's
unrealistic to expect every single one to be professor of the
year. But while the University can't be expected to make
sure every professor is a master lecturer, it should be expected to
hire and maintain a staff of high integrity and quality. The recent
scandal regarding the dubious ethics of political science lecturer
Lawrence Greene raises important questions about how well the
University screens its potential faculty members and ensures they
teach at the highest level of quality.
The scandal began last month when the
Michigan television station WXYZ aired
a segment criticizing Greene. The seg-
ment described how Greene cashed thou-
sands of dollars in pension checks made
out to his deceased parents by Ford Motor
Co. and angered several former clients by
allegedly failing to do the job for which he
was hired. Because of these problems, he
had his license to practice law in Michi-
gan suspended twice: once in 1998 and
again in 2003.
Despite these professional concerns,
the University has employed Greene as a
lecturer for the past six years. Days before
the segment aired, Greene withdrew from
teaching his course "Constitutional Poli-
tics, Courts, Politics and Society," citing
Greene is not the main problem though.
While these personal troubles are prob-
lematic if true, the real concern here is how
the University failed to act already. Either
the University was unaware of Greene's
questionable professional qualifications
before and during his time as a lecturer or,
more troubling, it just didn't care. In both
scenarios, the University owes students an
Take, for instance, the first of these two
scenarios. Because of the records contain-
ing this information are public, there's
no reason the University shouldn't have
known that Greene's license had been
suspended both before he was hired and
during his first year as a lecturer. The Uni-
versity has a responsibility to check the
professional qualifications of the faculty
that it employs, both before and after they
are hired. If the University didn't notice
these professional faults in Greene, it just
wasn't paying attention.
On the other hand, if the University was
aware of Greene's shortcomings, why did
it overlook such serious professional flaws?
License suspension is no small matter.
In Greene's case, a lecturer who couldn't
maintain his legal license was charged
with teaching hundreds of students about
the legal system in his political science
class on constitutional law. If someone
can't be trusted by the state to practice a
profession, that person certainly can't be
trusted to teach others how to do so.
In the end, it's not the University that
suffers when faculty with questionable
qualifications remain in the classroom -
it's the students who pay the price. Stu-
dents expect an outstanding education
from the University when they pay thou-
sands of dollars in tuition fees each semes-
ter. To give it to them, the University must
maintain the highest standards for its fac-
ulty. That means that it must be keeping
a close eye on its faculty, even after they
make it through the application process.
don't remember many things
from my early childhood, but I do
rememberthe car accident. Sitting
in the backseat of
a taxi, I was struck
in the forehead
by shards of glass,
which left a scar
that still remains
Sadly, that is aboutI
my only memory of:
Mumbai --then, and
perhaps still, better IMRAN
known by its West- SYED
ern name, Bombay.
more prominent and informed Indian-
Americans (Suketu Mehta in Friday's
New York Times, for example), I cannot
and undying spirit of Mumbai. Others
will tell you all about that cosmopolitan
metropolis - like New York City, Los
Angeles and Las Vegas all rolled into
one (indeed, Mumbai has more people
than those cities combined). I simply
wouldn't know what to say about that.
However, there is one key thing I can
talk about: Namely, what makes India
and these attacks different.
From the invasion by Alexander
the Great in the 4th century BC to the
coming of the Muslims in the 700s and
finally to the 300-year occupation by
the British starting in the early 1600s,
you might say India has had border
security problems for thousands of
years. It has also long battled religious
and communal tensions, even before
the heated partition of the subconti-
nent in 1947. Now, as theworld's largest
democracy and an emerging economic
power, the problems India has always
faced suddenly become more glaring.
As the American media set aside
the turkey to feverishly analyze every
aspect of the attacks this weekend, it
made the assumption that's perfectly
natural by this point. It took as agiven ofthat), theyrequiredifferentsolutions
that the attacks in Mumbai are a part of than similar attacks in London or New
the global struggle against terrorism. York City. In India, the "other" lives
And perhaps, on the most basic, least notacross oceans, but across the street,
insightful level, they were just that. But and the vast majority of the time there
no matter how many bald guys with are no conflicts. But when there are,
titles like "terrorism expert" the cable the result can be terrifying, as these
news networks brought out, one point attacks and similar ones through the
overlooked in the conversation was decades have shown.
that Mumbai and other major Indian Understanding these complexi-
cities have been attacked in this hor- ties is important because it helps us
rific fashion before, including earlier understand the complexities that will
this year. be required in any possible solutions.
I say that in no way to minimize any- As so-called experts go on about stock
thing. The loss of life and well-being in solutions like increased border secu-
this weekend's attacks was unspeak- rity or more police presence, they over-
able. But there's a risk in immediately look the fact that those strong-handed
lumping the Mumbai attacks with police tactics simply cannot quell a
those in New York City and London, democracy of more than a billion or a
as the media, with its obsessive need city of14 million.
to compartmentalize, seems eager to
do. Those cities were shining beacons
of Western empire that hadn't been
attacked in that fashion before. The Don't respond to
reason Mumbai is different is India's
longhistory ofinternal communal rela- last week's
tions and struggles, details of which
would fill entire libraries. Suffice it to attacks like 9/11
say, however, there are many possible
motives for the Mumbai attacks that
pre-date Al Qaeda and Sept. 11, 2001.
And yes, this is of crucial impor- Afterthe attacksofSept. 11, the Unit-
tance. Consider the huge mistake the ed States passed the Patriot Act, which
American media and leaders made curtailed individual liberties almost to
post-Sept. 11 in grouping Al Qaeda with the breaking point. Britain went even
other violent movements like Hamas further after its own attacks - the
or the insurgency in Iraq. Al Qaeda is a Brits either haven't heard of the con-
global ideological operation of sicken- cept of a bill of rights or simply aren't
ing fortitude and proportion. The other too impressed by it. It's crucial at this
groups, however, care only about their time that the world remembers those
practical regional gains. Dealing with lessons of how not to respond to ter-
them as one is inefficient to say the rorism, and ensure that India doesn't
least and creates a blanket war whose make the same mistakes we did. In
blanket solutions are impossible. a place like India, the results of that
Something similar is true about would only add to the tragedy.
these attacks on Mumbai. While they
were probably executed by individuals Imran Syed was the Daily's
influenced byAl Qaeda(the assault on a editorial page editor is 2007. He can
Jewish center in particular is evidence reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman,
Edward McPhee, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Matthew Shutler, Robert Soave, Eileen Stahl,
Jennifer Sussex, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young
BEN CALECA VIE T
Taking charge of electric cars
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed writers to be columnists
next semester. Columnists write 750 words on a topic of their choice every other week.
E-MAIL ROBERT SOAVE AT RSOAVE@UMICH.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Sipie ways to stopAD
With more attention being paid to the risks
of global warming, a growing awareness of the
effects of car exhaust emissions like lung dis-
ease and photochemical smog and this sum-
mer's massive gas price hikes still fresh in our
minds, many people are clamoring for a politi-
cally feasible solution to the problem of our
dependence on oil. In California, an ambitious
billion-dollar plan by the startup company Bet-
ter Place to install an electric-car grid hopes to
show the United States what is possible with
existing technologies. More importantly, it
could soon render most arguments against a
new electric-based auto industry moot.
The Better Place plan builds on a set of cars
from Renault-Nissan that work with existing
lithium ion batteries, like those in your laptop
or the upcoming Chevy Volt. These cars can
travel approximately 40 miles on one charge,
which can be a little inconvenient for drivers.
But here's the beauty of the Better Place plan:
Drivers who pay per mile for the service own
the cars at a discount, and Better Place owns the
batteries. Instead of relying on lengthy charg-
ing periods, Better Place circumvents the prob-
lem by building stations that swap out drained
batteries for a fresh ones ina couple of minutes.
Drivers get to stay in their cars and have more
flexibility to charge their cars away from their
But this simple solution isn't only convenient
for commuters. With banks of batteries stored
at charging stations, Better Place can charge
the drained batteries whenever it is most con-
venient for the company and the electric com-
panies. This eases the burden on the power grid
and puts Better Place in a good position to lever-
age deals to buy electricity at discounted rates.
Going further, the increased flexibility that
comes with the Better Places plan will allow
the company to take advantage of other ener-
gy sources. If such a system were tied to clean
energy sources, for example, having an excess
of charged batteries at any given time for the
electric car system would mean that even unre-
liable sources of electricity like wind and solar
power could be used to charge batteries. This
way you are both eliminating emissions from
fossil fuel-burning power plants and cars.
The cities involved, for their part, are not
going to end up paying for the program. Instead,
while Better Place collects its own venture capi-
tal to create the required infrastructure, the,
government will provide permits to expedite
the creation of charging stations in parking lots
and homes besides the battery replacing stations
in 200 locations and will encourage users of the
system to benefit from government tax incen-
tives on clean car technologies. This kind of
partnership of private funds with government
cooperation is a model that both parties want.
The Better Place plan isn't perfect, though.
For one, it beholds people to one company for
their transportation. Additionally, the plan
focuses on the San Francisco Bay area, meaning
that drivers making long trips outside the area
will still need to use gasoline or make lengthy
stops to re-charge.
There are a few things that need to happen
for a plan like Better Place to work nationwide.
Most importantly, automakers would need to
agree to some kind of standards for batteries
so they could be interchanged across brands -
think about how the same ties work on a range
of vehicles or the same gas nozzle fits into every
car on the road. Electric propulsion also needs
to emerge as the primary replacement for the,
internal combustion engine. It's currently vying
with other technologies - like hydrogen fuel
cells - for that spot.
In the meantime, companies like Better Place
are offering a way to move toward a cleaner
infrastructure than we have now, without mas-
sive sacrifices by the government and taxpayers.
Ben Caleca is an Engineering junior.
n our current times of eco-
nomic recession, terrorism and
global disparities, it seems only
right to take time
out to reflect and
assess our personal
well as our account-
ability to our fellow
dentally, this also is
in keeping with the
theme of today, ROSE
World AIDS Day.
As the World AFRIYIE
tion celebrates the
20th anniversary of its HIV/AIDS
campaign, it's logical to start with one
important question: What is the state
of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS?
There definitely has been progress.
Since 2000, the worldwide numbers
on HIV have stabilized. But accord-
ing to the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, that also means
there were still an estimated 33 mil-
lion people living with HIV globally in
2007. There were 2 million HIV-relat-
ed deaths in 2007.
Domestically, the Center for Dis-
ease Control reported that more than
1 million people are living with HIV in
the United States. The other bad news:
Recent estimates of infection rates
look like they were too optimistic.
While it was previously estimated that
40,000 people are infected annually,
a report released this year estimated
that the annual infection rate was 40
percent higher, at 56,300 infections
Here at the University, HIV infec-
tion rates are relatively small. In 2007,
HIV tests administered by Univer-
sity Health Service came back positive
only .001 percent of the time. How-
ever, this data doesn't account for the
many services at the University that
offer HIV testing. And recent national
data asserts that roughly 1 in 5 people
with HIV may be transmitting the
infection to others because they don't
know their status.
So, to close out the semester, let's
discuss what you can do in your own
sex life and whatyou can do politically
to make a difference.
This fall, we learned that using
condoms isn't high on University stu-
dents' to-do lists. To recap, a 2006
National College Health Assessment
survey along with UHS showed that
condom rates are at 50-51 percent for
vaginal sex and as low as 5 percent for
We may be in need of some fresh
ideas when it comes to protection.
Here's one good place to turn: a 1997
article "It's Like You Use Pots and
Pans to Cook. It's the Tool." This was
featured in the Journal of Science,
Technology and Human Values and
offered interviews with a particular
group of San Francisco sex workers
who paid particular attention to con-
trolling their bodily fluids in a post-
HIV climate. Tobe clear, none of these
women were drug-addicted or worked
on the street, and all of them were
The following are some helpful tips
about how to make safer sex a more
viable option. First, all condoms are
not made equal. In this assessment,
Kimono condoms were regarded as
the standout latex condoms. Kimonos
are known for being thin and discreet
so that your partner won't even notice
they are on. And while most latex con-
doms are an off-white colorthat seems
to camouflage the most on white men,
Kimonos have such a clear quality to
them that they appear invisible on
men of all races.
Next, it's important to take another
look at the female condom. "Women-
initiated devices" as they are called
have the potential to remedy a lack of
compliance. Some informants report-
ed that these condoms can be noisy
and minimize sensation. However,
one sex worker reported that "the fif-
teenth time was a lot easier than the
Lastly, another offering this article
made was about the utility of non-
powdered latex gloves. These can
be used during digital penetration,
otherwise known as "fingering," and
when cut sideways they can be used
as a makeshift dental dam. They can
be bought in bulk at warehouse retail
outlets, are gender-neutral and are
available in all sizes.
On the political level, you can write
your Congressmembers advocatingfor
the reform of U.S. foreign aid to ensure
that the global HIV/AIDS struggle is
a priority in president-elect Barack
Obama's first 100 days. Looking more
locally, however, it's important to note
that the United States has spent bil-
lions of dollars in global aid and the
CDC spends only $750 million dollars
annually on prevention of infections
nationally. We must advocate for more
funding domesticallyand amulti-tacti-
cal approach that includes comprehen-
sive sexual education.
Tomorrow between 11 a.m. and 1
p.m., there will be a kickoff rally on
the Diag in commemoration of World
AIDS Day. Stop by, and lenda hand for
Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex and
relationships columnist. She can be
reached at email@example.com.
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