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March 18, 2009 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-18

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4A - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

74eMictc ian Bathjl
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 arti-
cles and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
Mahanti, Rorro for MSA
Schepeler, Wojcik have necessary experience for LSA-SG
T he Michigan Student Assembly has probably had a bet-
ter year than last - none of its members were convicted
of felonies and its president wasn't forced to resign in
disgrace as a result of a serious lapse in judgment. But despite
avoiding the flashier scandals of the past, MSA has still garnered
significant negative attention and student frustration. This year,
representatives found themselves bogged down in divisive ideo-
logical debates that frequently consumed the time they should
have allotted for addressing student's real concerns.




Bard madness


MSA's troubles, however, weren't iso-
lated to the meeting room. The Michi-
gan Action Party, MSA's strongest party,
disbanded after it became clear that it
lacked the ability to lead MSA to fulfill
its potential. In MAP's wake emerged
the Michigan Vision Party and the
reMICHIGAN Campaign, which have
both produced candidates for the MSA
presidential seat.
Both parties seem enthusiastic about
reforming the assembly. Both also get
bogged down by lofty rhetoric. But this
is where the similarities end - for the
most part, MVP and reMICHIGAN rep-
resent very different approaches to stu-
dent government. In MVP, voters have
the choice of a party that's wildly moti-
vated but short on experience. ReMICH-
IGAN's leaders, on the other hand, have
a stronger track record of working with
the administration but don't inspire as
much confidence in their dedication to
the cause. The stark difference in the two
party's strengths and weaknesses makes
it tough to determine which party is, on
the whole, better for students.
MVP, led by presidential candidate
Abhishek Mahanti and vice-presidential
candidate Mike Rorro, prides itself on
having sought student feedback around
campus. Though the repetition of this
"vision" theme is slightly tiresome, it's
certainly true that MVP has put in the
time and effort to reach out to students,
swarming the Diag for days straight and
interacting with other student groups.
It's unclear, however, if Mahanti and
Rorro know what to do with that input.
This is partly because Mahanti and
Rorro don't have the experience working
with the University administration that
reMICHIGAN does. This makes it dif-
ficult to determine how effectively they
could advocate student concerns to Uni-
versity officials. It also seems like they
might struggle to navigate the University
bureaucracy - a necessary component of
the job if they want to accomplish their
But despite these struggles, MVP has
put forward a set of goals that, while
seemingly small, have a good chance of
coming to fruition. In recent years, MSA
has seemed incapable of implementing
the things students most want to see -
like a working website. Though MVP
aims small, it has proposed goals that
it could reasonably meet. These include
installing LCD screens in buildings to
let students know when the next bus is
coming, holding more workshops on how
to apply for financial aid and reaching
out to student groups to offer them more
MVP wants MSA to do a better job of
reaching out to students, and it plans to
do this by holding office hours and by
sending representatives to the meetings
of student groups. While reMICHIGAN
has made similar promises, MVP has
better credibility here because of the
substantial outreach effort that Mahanti
and Rorro made during the campaign.
Mahanti and Rorro have also expressed
their unhappiness with the current
structure of MSA and seemed enthusi-
astic and ready to encourage the neces-
sary cultural changes to the institution
that could lead to an effective student
government. Reorganizing the Steering
Committee in order to prevent certain
resolutions from ever making it into the
MSA agenda is a major priority of both
parties, but MVP's eagerness to restruc-
ture MSA is decidedly more genuine.
But the reMICHIGAN Campaign also
has a lot to offer students. Though the
decision to call the new party a "cam-
paign" is gimmicky, reMICHIGAN
presents students with a more knowl-
edgeable choice. Presidential candidate
Gibran Baydoun has a better idea of how
to work with the University administra-
tion than MVP does. A three-year mem-
ber of MSA, Baydoun is responsible for

the recent resurrection of Homecoming,
which required a significant amount of
collaboration and negotiation with Uni-
versity officials.
Baydoun demonstrated he was some-
one who administrators would take seri-
ously but he didn't prove that he would be
able to convince them to heed student's
concerns on issues like tuition. While his
inside knowledge and history of working
with the administration shows promise,
his comparative lack of genuine dedica-
tion to students is troubling. It's easier
to imagine reMICHIGAN degenerating
into another MAP than it is to picture
MVP doing so.
Though institutional savvy seems to
be reMICHIGAN's strong suit, it isn't
enough to override the fact that students
want a student government that's moti-
vated to fix things. While reMICHIGAN
might know more about how to achieve
this, MVP's higher level of motivation
is enough to somewhat overcome its
comparative inexperience. Both options
certainly come with advantages and
disadvantages, and picking MVP over
reMICHIGAN is admittedly a tough call.
In addition, the long-shotDefend Affir-
mative Action Party is continuing its
historically futile quest to win the presi-
dency. Simply put, DAAP presidential
candidate Kate Stenvig and vice-pres-
idential candidate Alanna Owagbemi
have no grasp of what student govern-
ment's role is. Their unnecessarily ideo-
logical arguments were a distraction this
year at MSA. There is every reason to
believe that, under DAAP's leadership,
issues that distract from the campus
agenda would be even more widespread.
SA student government might not
get as much press as MSA, but this
year it did make the news when
representatives decided to run for seats
without party affiliations. Despite this
change, the LSA-SG presidential elec-
tion is once again uncontested. Christine
Schepeler and Jeffrey Wojcik are run-
ning for the presidential and vice presi-
dential seats, respectively.
Though a contested election would
havebeen ideal, Schepeler and Wojcik are
undeniably qualified candidates. Wojcik,
current LSA-SG Treasurer, was involved
in cutting administrative spending. This
allowed LSA-SG to fund more student
groups this year. Schepeler, chair of the
Communications Committee, worked
with committees in MSA to improve syn-
ergy and created what she has dubbed the
LSA Pride Campaign, which has worked
toward a comfortable community in the
college. The campaign aims to reach out
to freshmen at convocation and includes
a Senior Send-Off party.
And the pair's apparent dedication
to LSA-SG and their constituents is
encouraging. Schepeler and Wojcik have
focused on supporting student groups
rather than stepping on their toes. They
outlined plans to address the rising cost
of bike registration on campus and to
work with academic departments to cre-
ate more minors by providing concrete
evidence for why departments should
make the switch. They even demonstrat-
ed viable plans to tackle bigger projects
that MSA seems incapable of making
progress on - like the ever-popular chal-
lenge of improving campus lighting.
Despite the fact that Schepeler and
Wojcik are running unopposed, they
have a history of dedication to the student
body and possess innovative solutions.
As was the case last year, MSA would
benefit from emulating LSA-SG's practi-
cal approach to improving academic life,
one small project at a time.
The Daily's Editorial Board endorses
RORRO for MSA president and vice
president. We also endorse CHRISTINE
for LSA-SG president and vice president.

Bard Blog (Live)
"The Bard, or not the Bard?
That is the question posed by yes-
terday's unveiling of a
centuries-old portrait
of a dark-eyed, hand-
some man in Elizabe-
than finery... 'We're
90 percent sure that
it's Shakespeare,' said
PaulEdmonson,direc- ,
tor of learning at the
Trust... 'You'll never WILL
be entirely certain. GRUNDLER
There will always be
voices of dissent.' "
- Associated Press,
Portrait of Shakespeare unveiled, but is it
LONDON - Cheers from the Globe
Theatre, where the annual meeting
of the Association of Shakespearean
Scholars for Enacting Standards is
about to begin!
The Association, for you non-Eng-
lish majors out there, is famous for its
fiery, theatrical debates over the prop-
er interpretation of William Shake-
speare's life and literature. Indeed, its
members dress and act like their favor-
ite character while attemptingto make
logical arguments, though the acro-
nym of "Association of Shakespearean
Scholars Who Enjoy Role Playing" is
rather inappropriate.
The meetings, like many of Shake-
speare's tragedies, consist mainly
of name-calling, swordplay and tea
breaks, and they attract record audi-
ences - right now, I'm surrounded by
thousands of screaming Brits.
Since Professor Ralph Williams
was swamped by lectures and I was
the only Daily staff member who dis-
played any fencing skills (in case the
debate escalated), my editors drove me
to the airport and, after an awkward
hug goodbye... Oh, it's starting! Here
we go...
18:02 -Thelightshave been dimmed
and some Mozart is playing. The audi-
ence is only getting more excited. The

Association's stance on Shakespeare's
new and improved portrait - i.e., if it's
him or not - could elevate the play-
wright to the status of Literary God
and make for a really good party or,
keeping with tradition, reaffirm him
as a talented but unattractive writer.
And the lights are up!
18:04 - Professor Plympton is
making his way onstage dressed as
Julius Caesar. Behind him is Profes-
sor MacDougall clothed as Macbeth.
He is arguably the finest swordsman
of the assembly and there is thunder-
ous applause from the audience. Now
comes Professor Hucksberry, brilliant-
ly playing the senile King Lear - he
just triedto shake hands withhis chair.
And the crowd has leapt to their feet
and started cheering, which can only
mean Professor Filliwippet, who plays
Romeo and is the only member under
30, is onstage. Yes, he just took his seat
and is waving at a group of teenage
girls. Last is Professor Morrow, who
plays the depressed Hamlet, and the
audience falls silent out of respect. It
appears he is already crying.
18:05 - The new portrait has just
been brought onstage. We're await-
ing opening remarks. Professor Mor-
row - oh, how are you supposed to
remember which one he is? - Hamlet
has started pacing around the paint-
ing, furiously muttering to himself.
Oh! He just embraced the portrait
and sobbed, "What a piece of work is
this man!" and we've officially begun.
Macbeth just responded with derisive
laughter and expressed his opinion
that the work is at besta sorry sight. It
appears the two might duel quite early,
much to the delight of the audience.
Yes, Hamlet just told Macbeth to go
to a nunnery. King Lear, however, just
stepped absentmindedly between the
two and is now stroking the portrait.
One hopes it's not the original.
18:06 - Julius Caesar, in an attempt
to gain order, asked everyone to lend
him their ears. Macbeth just correctly
informed him that the line belongs not
to him but to Marcus Antonius and

that he, Caesar, is a poisonous bunch-
back'd toad. It looks like we're defi-
nitely going to see some action soon.
Where's Romeo? He's left the stage...
There he is. He's in the audience talk-
ing to some young females. And now
it looks as though a duel is imminent.
Yes, Caesar, Macbeth and Hamlet are
drawing their rapiers. One wonders if
they'll have enough time before the...
18:07 - Tea break.
A glimpse of the
high-tension world 6
of Shakespeare.
18:07:12 - The tea break has just
been interrupted for the first time in
the entire history of the assembly by
Hamlet, who spilled his tea intention-
ally on Macbeth's tunic. Macbeth is
furious and - oh! He just took a swipe
at Hamlet and hit Caesar instead, who
had enough poise to say, "You.brute!"
before falling. For this display of grace
the audience has awarded him much
applause. Macbeth is now after Ham-
let, who is running away, sobbing. The
audience is chanting, "Headcase!" I've
just been informed that Romeo has
left the theatre with three women, so
Hamlet won't have any help from him,
and King Lear is licking the stage cur-
tains. Hamlet, desperate, is now in the
audience and appears to be heading
directly toward me. There is Macbeth,
now. He looks fairly mad. I might have
to defend...
Editor's Note: This is all that was
written. We have yet to hear back from
Will, though we never sent him to Lon-
don in thefirstplace. We don't give awk-
ward hugs.

- Will Grundler can be reached
at sailgull@umich.edu.


- Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer,
Edward McPhee, Matthew Shutler, Jennifer Sussex, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
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 accu-
racy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedoily@umich.edu.
Campus Day nightmares


There is no better way to kick off
your Saturday than walking through a
crowd of middle-aged men while clad
in only a towel. Or at least that seems to
be what the University thought when it
scheduled part of the campus tours for
prospective students the dorms.
Everyone has seen the tours on cam-
pus - a bunch of high school students
and their parents clutching pamphlets
about our great establishment and scut-
tlingaround like ducklings while follow-
lng a student in a yellow coat. They stop
in the middle of the hallway in Angell
Hall to point out the Fishbowl and block
the sidewalk in front of the Union to
point out the building's historic appeal.
Many University students even went
on tours themselves when they were in
high school. I went on two.
Having tours block the hallways
and sidewalks can be irritating when
you are late to class and it's 27 degrees
below zero yet again and you can feel
your blood slowly freezing in your
veins. But five minutes later, warm
and inside a building, you forget about
strangling all of them and move on.
This is a luxury you don't have when
they follow you home to South Quad.
The tourists block the front doors to
hear about safety, sneak a peak in the
dining room, take up the entire lobby
to talk about residence halls and then
march upstairs to a vacant third floor
room directly across from the girls'
bathroom. A collective groan rises

from the inhabitants of the third floor
when a tour arrives.
Not only do the tours block the hall-.
way, making it impossible to get to
your room, they don't move when you
politely request to get by. The tour guide
floor is currently under "quiet hours"
due to exams (completely disregard-
ing said quiet hours), comments on the
messy state of the other rooms and then
blatantly lies to the tour group, asserting
that all rooms have wood floors and this
is the average size of a room at the Uni-
versity (have you seen Markley?).
All this is after you've been woken
up at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning by
a someone singing the praises of Uni-
versity housing. You stumble - bleary
eyed, with messy hair and make-up
from the night before - out of your
room and right into a group of high
school boys who are trying to look like
they aren't trying to be cool. You don't
even want to imagine what a walk of
shame would feel like if you ran into a
Dashing to the shower between
tours is ultimately thwarted when
another tour arrives as you are step-
ping out of the shower. And, somehow,
it's always the dads in the hallway that
you have to awkwardly weave through
toward the safety of your room while
clutching your towel. Don't forget to
multiply this tragic situation - there
are always several tours going through

the building at the same time. You have
the joy of running into a group in front
of the building, in the lobby and out-
side your room. The sad thing is that
these descriptions aren't worst-case
scenarios - they're reality.
When Campus Days started after
winter break, the number of tours
increased. Tours now run on Mondays
and Tuesdays in addition to Fridays
and Saturdays. Campus Day tours have
added lunch in the dining hall to their
rounds, just in case you happened to
miss them. If you wanted to be dragged
out of bed and thrown into a group of
giddy high schoolers who thinkthey're
the next big thing, this is your dream
situation. For the rest of us, it's another
reason to sleep until the afternoon (for
those not being rudely awakened at 9
am.). But, no matter what you do, it's
impossible to escape them.
Of course, touring the University is
a great way to get a feel for the cam-
pus. We should be excited that so many
people want to tour our school. And it
isn't really reasonable to end tours just
because the third floor of South Quad
is miserable. Maybe it's our punish-
ment for living in a great dorm with
an awesome location. Or maybe we are
just such wonderful people that they
want to show us off. Either way, tours
will continue. And I will continue to
despise them.
Erika Mayer is an LSA freshman.

As the Michigan Student Assembly examines its own
future on campus,the Daily would like students to voice their opinions
on what should be a part of its agenda.

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