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November 18, 2009 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-18

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK

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ABOUT CAMPUS

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If I got cancer or needed
a kidney, I'd go bankrupt.
We all would.".
- RUSS SARGENT, a 50-year-old bookstore
owner in Portland, Me., describing the state's
problems in providing universal health care.
He typically has to pay doctors in cash, and
he's worried that his insurance company
won't cover him if he becomes seriously ill

"I think I was trying to say
'Janes' as your right name.
Maybe my writing looks
bad, but I was just trying to
say your right name."
- GORDON BROWN, prime minister of Britain,
explaining to a furious woman that he did, in fact,
spell her last name correctly in a letter intended to
console her after her son's death in Afghanistan

I

ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN OQUIST

The quietest frat
on campus
A law school student haunt
tucked behind West Quad
Nestledbetween South Quad and
West Quad is ahouse that remains a
mystery to many students. Its large,
brick frame and massive white col-
umns have the appearance of an
old-time Southern estate, despite
being surrounded by plain-styled
dorms on two sides. It gives off
the essence of exclusiveness and
grandeur, and while it may not be
the home of an obscure University
administrator, a unique campus
group resides inside.
The mansion is home to 25 Uni-
versity law students, all members
of a law fraternity called Phi Delta
Phi. The first legal and professional
fraternity established in the coun-
try, Phid has now expanded to over
130 chapters, called inns, at law
schools. The University of Michi-
gan chapter, founded in 1869, is the
only one with its own house.
Phid took the house over in 1914,
when it was an all-male fraternity
complete with in-house cooks and
cleaners. This setup evaporated
several decades later, though, when
women were first allowed into the
fraternity in the 1960s.
Ten years before that happened,
though, Phid House itself almost
disappeared. The University tried
to claim ownership of the home
in order to tear it down and build
South Quad in its place. But Phid
alumnus and former mayor of Ann
Arbor, William E. Brown, Jr., was
able to convince the University not
to tear the house down. That forced
the University to build South Quad
into an irregular shape surround-
ing Phid House.
Despite being coined a fraternity
by name, Phid House is quite dif-
ferent from the Greek system vari-
ety. For one, Phid has evolved to
be a sort of cross between a frater-

TALKING
POINTS
Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Obama in China
2. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
3. Water on the moon
And three things you can't:
1. Levi Johnston's Playgirl shoot
2. "2012, the movie
3. 2012, the year

"Garlic is the best, forget the vaccines."
- MARKO JANKOVIC, an elderly man from Belgrade, Serbia, expressing his belief that garlic will
prove effective in guarding against the spread of swine flu among the population. Regarded as a
good luck charm in Serbia, garlic has recently become more expensive as demand for it increases

nity and co-op, which contributes
to the community dynamic that
draws many members to the house.
Each fraternity member has house
duties, like cleaning the kitchen
and common areas, and everyone is
responsible for preparing his or her
own food, diverging from Phid's
history of having cooks and house-
keepers. Also similar to a co-op is
the inexpensive rent - Phid presi-
dent Robert Escalante said resident
members only pay $400 a month.
Despite sporting Greek letters,
Phid House doesn't often host riot-
ous keggers - law students can't
often spare the study time. This
more subdued atmosphere is what
Escalante called the house's "law
school personality."
Phid House does host one big
blowout each semester, though,
which allows for many members of
the Law School community to let
their hair down for one night. To
the chagrin of undergraduate stu-
dents, however, Phid limits these
bi-annual parties to graduate and
professional students in order to
prevent underage drinking at the

house, Escalante said.
But with the dorms soclose, Phid
House isn't always successful in
keeping eager freshmen out. Many
an undergraduate have walked
past those white columns, or snuck
in the back door of the house after
being rejected once.
Members of Phid have a sys-
tem of weeding out the non-grad
students, which includes having
bouncers at their parties and try-
ing to figure out who may be beer-
thirsty undergraduates by quizzing
them with questions that are likely
to trip them up.
"(We) had to throw them out
of the house, but (it) isn't fun,"
Escalante said, referring to a party
last year at which members of Phid
tossed out several undergraduates.
"Everyone wants to get into the
party."
The rejected undergraduates
can't be too hurt, though, as most
don't seem to realize anyone even
lives at 502 East Madison Street.
Phid member Kate Mitroka said
this is due to the studious nature
of law students and the fact that

undergraduates and law students
tend to exist in different spheres on
campus.
"I think that sort of inherent dis-
tinction between the two groups
just sort of means their own lives
and centers of gravity are sort
of distinct," said Mitroka, who
recalled times as an undergradu-
ate here when she wondered what
went on inside the mysterious brick
abode she now calls home.
Despite hosting the future law-
yers of the nation, Phid house has
faced its share of obstacles, includ-
ing the threat of eviction posed
last year. Escalante attributes this
brush with homelessness to a lax
attitude toward city regulations,
which tend to slip the minds of
Phid members who are busy work-
ing toward their degree.
Phid House provides something
different to those looking to do
more during law school than hole
themselves up in the library. It
offers a support system and sense
of community for its members,
which includes law students of all
three years, ranging in age from 20

ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA GARAVOGLIA
to 35. The members' diverse back-
grounds and life experiences are a
draw for many.
"The idea of being around people
who have different perspectives
and come from different walks of
life makes your living experience
more robust and more fulfilling,"
Mitroka said. "And I think that's
important when you spend so much
time with your nose-in a book and
in class and dealing with things
that get you really wrapped up in
yourself.
"Living with family and with a
community really helps you both
stay grounded and gives you the
distraction that's necessary to stay
sane."
A mystery to many, Phid House
is a fulfilling home for its members
and perhaps a source of resent-
ment for University Housing. Next
time you hear a cacophony of music
and chatter coming from the mini-
mansion, try your luck to get in.
You may just see your polisci GSI
doing a keg stand for the one and
only time that semester.
-NICOLEABER

YOUTUBE
VIDEO OF
THE WEEK
Birds of beauty
For those who were disturbed by
Alfred Hitchcock's harrowing 1963
movie, "The Birds," which depicts a
town attacked by violent birds, this
video might prove simply terrifying.
Or, at the very least, astonishing.
Filmed in Denmark, this clip
showcases a flock of 300,000 birds
swooping through the air in unison
above a barren field. Other than a
block of text that reads "300,000
starlings in spring ballet," the video
features no commentary or intima-
tions of how the producers found
these birds.
As the video progresses, the birds
move in effortlessly coordinated
waves, making different shapes that
seem to be real objects. At one point,
the birds array themselves in what
appears like a voluminous gown,
with thick sleeves jutting out from
each side of a swaying and billowing.
torso. After a second, though, they
uniformly dissemble and become
amorphous once again. The birds
then begin moving gradually across
the vast expanse of field, the little
black dots scattering in a frenzy of
activity.
The birds' constant motion has a
steady, almost soothing rhythm to
it. The flock does, indeed, seem like
a ballet, transitioning gracefully into
various shapes patterned against a
backdrop of blue sky. It is calming,
stunning and aesthetically pleasing.
Let's just hope they don't attack.
- BRIAN TENGEL

BY THE NUMBERS
The ranking of Joaquin Guzman, leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, in
Forbes Magazine's list of the world's most powerful people
The upward estimate, in dollars, of cocaine Guzman has shipped to
the United States over the last eight years
The amount, in dollars, federal authorities are offering for
Guzman's capture
Source, cNN

THEME PARTY SUGGESTION
Reading "Rogue" - Sarah Palin's new semi-auto-
biographical, wholly confrontational book, "Going
Rogue," isn't worth a lot as far as factual accounts
go. But it could make for an interesting drinking
game. Someone start with a criticism the McCain
campaign made of Palin. The next person respond
with a counter-attack from "Rogue." Go back and
forth until someone slips up and has to drink. A Levi
Johnston reference means players drink twice.
Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu
STUDY OF THE WEEK
Men are more likely to leave a spouse with cancer
Men are six times more likely to abandon a female partner who has
cancer than females are to leave a male partner with cancer, according
to a study recently published in the journal Cancer and led by Dr. Marc
Chamberlain, a director at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
In the study, the researchers took 515 men and women and divided
them into different groups based on their diagnosis: 214 patients.had
a malignant brain tumor, 193 patients had a solid tumor unrelated
to the central nervous system and 108 patients had multiple scerlo-
sis. The researchers observed the subjects from 2001 or 2002 until
2006.
They found that the overall divorce rate among the group was 12
percent, which is lower than that of the normal population. However,
when the researchers examined gender as a variable, they concluded
that the rate was 21 percent when women were diagnosed with can-
cer and only 3 percent when men had the fatal disease.
- BRIAN TENGEL

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