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January 29, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-29

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4A - Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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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 represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
A greener tint
Letting states set higher standards is the right way to go
iready a week into his first term, President Barack Obama
seems ready to come through on the promises he made
about environmental policies. On Monday, Obama signed
a presidential memorandum allowing California and 13 other states
to implement stricter standards for automobile emissions. This is
in line with efforts Obama outlined in his climate and energy sav-
ing plans. If the states decide to raise their standards, there will be
a reduction in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which causes
global warming. Though automakers may be uneasy about the
prospect of having to produce more efficient cars, this is a great
way for states to take emissions standards more seriously with-
out having to raise the federal standards. California and the other
states should take this opportunity to lead the country toward
higher standards.

P ai h n r

During the Bush administration,
the Environmental Protection Agency
refused to accept California Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger's request to raise the
emissions standards for his state. But now
Obama's memorandum calls on the EPA to
review the waiver of emission standards
for California. The state's proposed stan-
dard could reduce up to 30 percent of car-
bon dioxide emissions by 2016 - a healthy
start toward achieving Obama's promised
reduction of emissions by 80 percent in
2050, The new law would give car compa-
nies until 2011 to start producing cars that
abide by the new regulation.
Instead of changing the federal stan-
dard, states will now be able to choose
whether to raise the bar like California
or remain at the same level. This is a good
way to allow certain states to get more seri-
ous about controlling emissions while per-
mitting other states to wait until they're
ready. At the same time, automakers will
have to start producing more efficient cars
in order to satisfy the restrictions in the
other states. Unless they manufacture a
car for each state, they will have to build
all their cars to meet the standards of the

strictest states, possibly accomplishing the
same thing as a federal standard without
the hassle of having to implement one.
Detroit's automakers expressed their
concern about this regulation. But car
companies have no right to complain
because they've stalled on making the
move to stricter standards for years.
Customers want more environmentally
friendly vehicles, and making better cars
is a long-overdue priority for auto makers.
Environmental concerns should be their
focus, and this change in policy regarding
emissions is a necessary nudge. Besides,
moving in a greener direction is Michi-
gan's only hope. The state's econoipic
future is tied to adopting more responsible
environmental policies, and that starts
with the automakers.
Allowing California to move ahead with
better emissions standards is a good way to
begin making the country more green, but
Obama must continue to push for environ-
mentally sound policy in order to reach his
necessary goal of an 80 percent reduction
in emissions by 2050. With any hope, this
new policy will pave the way for the rest of
the country to adopt better standards.

With the state's budget defi-
cit growing exponentially,
some extreme methods
of saving money
have been floating
around the state
legislature. Among
them is the idea
of privatizing they'
University. The
Legislative Com-
mission on Guy- -
eminent Efficiency PATRICK
was charged with
cutting the state's ZABAWA
higher education
budget, and the
fourth suggestion on its list was to cut
the University loose from its annual
$327 million drain on the state budget
and making it a private school.
This possibility obviously has quite
a few hurdles to clear before it can
become reality, the biggest of which
may be the constitutional amendment
required to let the University go. On
the other hand, a private University
of Michigan would also have many
opportunities that a public university
would not. These include offering
more financial aid, giving Michigan
taxpayers a much-needed break and
allowing the University to resume its
preferred policies toward minority
enrollment and same-sex benefits.
One of the biggest concerns about
the University becoming a private
institution is the elimination of its sig-
nificantly discounted in-state tuition
rates offered to state residents. With
60 percent of students at the Uni-
versity paying in-state tuition rates
- and the discount about $23,000
per person per year - this concern is
well-justified. But at the same time,
the increased tuition rates would
enable the University to offer more
generous financial aid options. If the
University were to raise all residents'

tuition to out-of-state levels, it would
obtain more than $504 million in
additional revenue, much more than
the $327 million the University gets
from the state. The additional $187
million could then be used to sub-
stantially subsidize the attendance
costs of low-income students who so
desperately need aid even to pay in-
state tuition rates. The University
currently spends only $184 million
on financial aid.
Discounted tuition rates should be
determined based on who needs them
mostratherthanwho lives inthestate.
The Office of Financial Aid's website
states that the University "does not
have sufficient funds to meet the full
demonstrated financial need of non-
resident students directly." And yet
it does bend over backward to help
residents of Michigan. This system,
in which the University especially
focuses on in-state residents, seems
antiquated. In an era of globaliza-
tion, when students frequently travel
across the country to attend college,
why is the University still focusing
on serving local residents instead of
the local and national communities
The common justification for this
discrimination is somewhat valid:
Michigan residents pay taxes to the
state that fund the University. But
this doesn't make much sense - why
should taxpayers who aren't attend-
ing the University pay for those who
are? A better system of financing is
one in which the'University charges
equal tuition to all and offers finan-
cial aid based on need, not residen-
cy. This way, the University can be
accessible to those living outside the
state, and taxpayers who have noth-
ing to do with the University won't be
forced to pay for it.
Another benefit of a private Uni-
versity of Michigan would be the end

to discrimination against the LGBT
community and minorities. Separat-
ing itself from the state would allow
the University to also separate itself
from the state's bans on same-sex
benefits and affirmative action at
public institutions. Not only would
the University be able to attract the
best out-of-state students, but it
would again be able to attract LGBT
faculty who may currently feel dis-
suadedcfrom coming to the Univer-
sity because of the ban. At the same
What the 'U' will
gain if it cuts ties
with the state.


time, the University would be able to
continue its legacy of racial diversity
and be able to take race into account
in its application process. In terms of
reaching out to minority students and
LGBT faculty, the University's status
as a public institution has forced it to
adopt policies against these groups.
The University is stuck in a system
in which it is forced to give priority to
residents of the state instead of treat-
ing all students equally. This struc-
ture also seems to be hindering it
from attractingthe diversity itdesires
for its campus. A private structure for
the University seems to have many
benefits, including the ability for the
University to offer the financial aid
thatstudents need. Inthe end,thefact
that the University is a public institu-
tion is preventing students from com-
ing here, whether they be a minority,
gay or from out-of-state.
Patrick Zabawa can be reached
at pzabawa@umich.edu.


Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emma Jeszke,
Shannon Kellman, Edward McPhee, Emily Michels, Matthew Shutler,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
Racism from unlikely sources

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. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and
accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
The 'date and mate' mentalit

A few days ago while walking down Wash-
ington Street to the public library, I noticed two
young black men coming down the sidewalk
toward me. I hoped they would make room for
me on the narrow, snow-lined sidewalk. As we
squeezed by each other; one of them muttered
something and I heard the word "China-wom-
an." I was a little bit stunned, but kept walking.
When I didn't respond, they shouted at me and
laughed as I hurried away.
It's been several years since I've been the tar-
get of a racist joke or remark. I grew up in Mis-
souri and have heard some pretty nasty things
over the years - "go back to China" is one
that I've heard many times (I am not Chinese).
And yet when people talked about racism at
my high school, discrimination against Asian-
Americans was never mentioned. Discussions
on racism always focused on tensions between
whites and blacks, which in some ways made
sense to me because the racial, social and eco-
nomic injustices suffered by blacks were much
more prevalent in my community. I was made
to feel that I was worrying about pebbles while
boulders were being hurled. And admittedly,
being an African-American in my community
was much more difficult than being an Asian-
But when I went to California for my under-
graduate studies, I discovered the issue of rac-
ism is not really about which minority group
suffers more. Slavery was a horrendous crime,
but so was the internment of thousands of
Japanese Americans during World War II. Is it
really constructive to attempt to rank injustice?
Racism is still racism, no matter how big or
mal, no matter to whom it is directed toward.
The incident on Washington troubles me not
only because of the racist remark but because
of who said it to me. In Missouri, the people

who said racist things to me were white, and
as a result I've always felt a sort of kinship
with other minorities. Other minorities know
what I've gone through - they know what it's
like to be stamped with stereotypes. I felt the
two black men who called me "China-woman"
should know better and should know how
demeaning it is to be subject to racism. Did they
use a slur against me because they've never
thought of racism as something that happens
to other minorities? Or did they just not care?
It's been several years since I've lived in the
Midwest. It's no longer the '80s or '90s, Michi-
gan isn't Missouri, and the United States is
much more diverse than it used to be. But I'm
curious as to whether conversations about race
in Michigan are still only focused on tensions
between whites and blacks. I hope not, because
so many other issues of minority identity are
beginning to work their way into our national
consciousness - gay rights, for example. I think
more dialogue about all forms of discrimina-
tion is necessary.
Not surprisingly, President Obama's election
has meant a lot to me. Finally, we have a nation-
al leader who understands what it's like to be
a minority in America and who's not afraid to
have conversations on tough issues like race
or religion. And while Obama campaigned
to bring change to America, he can't change
this country on his own. Getting beyond the
destructiveness of racism is something that
we all have to work on together. This is change
that I want to believe that America is capable
of, racist remarks from anyone have no place in
this era of hope.
Nerissa Rujanavech is a graduate
student in the School of Natural
Resources and Environment.

hese days, itseems thatsingles
at colleges are entertaining an
interesting question: Post-
pone sex for com-
mitment or date
and mate? Perhaps
the commitment
bias is creeping in.
After all, our idea
of monogamy more ,
closely resembles a
One Tree Hill epi-
sode than our next-
door neighbor's ROSE
.friends-with-bene- AFRIYIE
fits arrangement.
However, that----- -
selfless, always-
faithful, emotionally-attentive com-
panion may be more common in
Hollywood blockbusters and Disney
fables than at the Michigan Union.
The evidence is in anecdotes and sur-
veys. One anecdote can be noted in
last year's New York Times contest
among college students that asked
them to write in about their love lives.
The editor noted that only three red
roses were exchanged amongst lovers
in the 1200 respondent letters and a
recurring theme was the "no-strings-
attached sexual opportunism of the
hookup culture."
Another example can be found in
the "casual sexual encounter rates"
amongst students in the North-
east United States. A report entitled
"Hookups" in the 2000 edition of The
Journal of Sex Research revealed that
78 percent of the students had experi-
enced sexual activity with a stranger
or a brief acquaintance at least once.
But many of us don't need empiri-
cal data to know that the tide is turn-
ing. However, it's worth exploring
whether the grass is greener on the
non-committal side. Some clues are
offered in a 2007 Michigan State Uni-
versity study "Negotiating a Friends
with Benefits Relationship" that
measured students who identify as

"friends with benefits". The study
confirmed that most college students
have self-identified as this at least
once. Accounting more accurately
for sexual encounters, this survey
included friendly friends as well as
exes who still have sex and "people
who hangout at the same places" who
may not identify as friends.
While the reviews around this
study depicted these relationships
as stressful, the numbers report that
these diverse encounters have varied
outcomes. Twenty-five percent ended
up nixing both the sex and the friend-
ship. About one-third stopped the
sex and remained friends. A slim 10
percent ended up graduating to com-
mitment. The rest (also one-third)
maintained their friends-with-ben-
efits arrangement. Follow-up stud-
ies revealed that students opted into
these relationships because they did
not want a commitment.
What gives with the anti-commit-
ment sentiment? I have a few theo-
ries. Perhaps our generation has been
scared straight by the beat-downs on
Jerry Springer and has seen enough
politicians fall from grace to know
that being unfaithful just isn't worth
the drama. And the best way to pre-
vent infidelity is to not commit.
Further, I would argue that it's not
so much that we don't value commit-
ment. On the contrary, I think that
we hold it to an even higher stan-
dard. For twenty-somethings today,
the statistics about the failed marital
state in America aren't just numeri-
cal, they are personal. We've stood
courtside at enough nasty divorce
hearings. Some of us are the sons and
daughters of mothers who raised us
on their own. And perhaps the best-
kept secret is that some are even the
products of lasting marriages that
reeked of unhappiness.
We know we can do better.
Perhaps we resist commitment in
the short-term because we know we

can do better in the long run. Non-
committal sex may have its upsides
and downsides, but many of us have
learned to separate sexual feelings
from the complex tapestry of emo-
tions that exist in a committed rela-
tionship. And these encounters can
be a means to a larger end. "Sexually,
I learned plenty about what turns
me on," explains writer Tracy Clark-
Flory in an article that appeared at
Salon.com, "In Defense of Casual
Sex." She also states, "By spending
time in uncommitted relationships,
what I wanted in a committed rela-
tionship became clearer."
The ups and
downs of friends
with benefits.
Abstinence-only advocates who
oppose non-committal relationships
have often argued, "There is no con-
dom for the heart." But non-commit-
tal sex does not have a monopoly on
heartbreak, and other factors such
as disrespect and a lack of emotional
support can also give your partner
the blues. Clark-Flory aptly retorts,
"That heartbreak isn't always sexu-
ally transmitted."
In the end, everyone must pave
their own path to the partnership -
sexual or committed - they seek. As
long as respect and consent is a stan-
dard, there are no wrong answers.
Developing the values in yourself that
you seek in others is also important.
That will increase the likelihood that
your sexual relationships will be a
plus factor and not a detractor.
Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex and
relationships columnist. She can be
reached at sariyie@umich.edu.



T2'iy is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed writers with
1 interest in campus issues to become editorial board members.

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