The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 3A
OKs changes to
state's school law
Michigan's efforts to win more
federal cash for schools could result
in changes that would cause some
angst beyond education circles.
Among them is a proposal that
would eliminate the requirement
that Michigan schools wait to start
classes until after Labor Day. It's
one of several changes proposed
in legislation that supporters say
would give Michigan a shot at
winning up to $400 million in the
Obama administration's Race to the
A state law passed in 2005
requires public schools to start
classes after Labor Day so families
could extend summer vacations
and tourism-related businesses
could have teen workers available
into early September. It was a pro-
vision sought mainly by Michigan
tourism interests, along with the
Some lawmakers say eliminating
that requirement may improve the
state's chances of securing more
federal cash for schools.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.
against Asian carp
Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants
Michigan's attorney general to take
legal action to prevent Asian carp
from invading the Great Lakes.
Granholm and Lt. Gov. John
Cherry sent Attorney General Mike
Cox a letter Wednesday urging him
to "pursue every legal tool" avail-
They say among possible actions
are closing the Chicago Sanitary
and Ship Canal, part of a waterway
linking Lake Michigan with the
A Granholm spokeswoman
says Michigan could file lawsuits
against the state of Illinois and the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It
also could try to prevent Southern
fish farms that use Asian carp from
importing more of them.
Five environmental groups also
have sent Cox a letter with similar
Cox's office had no immediate
Teen pleads guilty
of hate crimes in
One of six remaining defendants
awaiting trial in the fatal stabbing
of an Ecuadorean immigrant in
New York has pleaded guilty to
gang assault as a hate crime.
to testify against other defendants
accused in the death of dry-clean-
ing worker Marcelo Lucero.
Lucero was stabbed in the chest
Nov. 8,2008, in Patchogue, N.Y.
Authorities. say seven teens
went looking for a Latino victim.
Last month, another defendant
pleaded guilty to conspiracy and
hate crime charges and agreed to
The year since the Lucero
slaying has put national spot-
light on the area's race relations.
The U.S. Justice Department
launched a probe of hate crimes
and police response to them.
0 VALLEJO, Calif.
Mayor criticized over
remarks about gays
Vallejo's mayor is under fire
from demonstrators who gathered
on the steps of City Hall to protest
his remarks that gays will not go to
Dozens of protesters waved rain-
bow flags and held signs demand-
ing separation of church and state
before Tuesday's city council meet-
ing. Some called for Mayor Osby
Davis told The New York Times
last month that gays are "commit-
ting sin and that sin will keep them
out of heaven." He later apologized,
saying his remarks were taken out
The New York Times also
released audio of the interview
with Davis. In it, Davis said he
prays for gays to see the "error in
inside City Hall on Tuesday, pas-
tors from several churches offered
prayers and support for the mayor.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
New York state Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Bronx) consoles Senator Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) following the
defeat of same-sex marriage legislation in the New York state Senate in Albany, N.Y. yesterday.
New York lawmakers
reject gay -marriage bil
From Page 1A
the teaching evaluations had to be
shut down. In addition to software
improvements, Information Tech-
nology Services has made system
performance more efficient and
included a contingency plan for the
2009 teaching evaluations period.
"There are some minor features
that have been questioned, primar-
ily by students, that produce a lot
of load that we could temporarily
suspend without a loss of function-
ality," Williams said.
These features include services
like "users present" - the list on
the left-hand side of a page that
shows who is on the same page -
and e-mail digest, an option that
displays a list of e-mails one has
received through CTools.
In order to check the CTools
system, Williams discussed an
important analysis called "load
testing" which allows those who
run CTools to simulate different
loads on the system. But, despite
the use of that testing last year,
Williams said the system still
crashed in April because students
were using CTools in these new,
one of those new ways was the
online course evaluations - a sys-
tem that allows students to give
feedback to their professors and
graduate student instructors via
an online medium rather than the
pencil and paper version.
Jim Kulik, director and research
scientist of the Office of Evalua-
tions and Examinations, said that
there are as many as 8,000-9,000
classes available for online evalua-
tion during the end of the term as
opposed to approximately 1,500
From Page IA
of places," not just along the pain
pathway or in the nervous system.
The presence of opiate receptors
in other areas of the body is one
reason opiate-based treatment of
pain results in side effects that
limit the dosages clinicians can
use, he said.
Fink added that the gene ther-
apy approach his laboratory is
developing may offer a more effec-
tive alternative pain treatment,
avoidingtheside effects associated
with opiate treatments. Since HSV
naturally possesses the capac-
ity and mechanisms necessary for
transmitting genetic information
to targeted cell types, Fink said
that the virus is a well-suited vec-
tor for the study.
The Department of Veterans
Affairs awarded a $1.8 million
grant early last month to fund the
given at midterm time.
At this point, Kulik said he feels
positive about the influx of stu-
dents tryingto complete their eval-
uations. After making it through
both the summer term and this
fall's midterm season without inci-
dent, he said he feels more confi-
dent about the process.
"What was unique to the winter
situation was a problem developed
that the only real alternative was
to shut down the whole service so
that all the other services CTools
provided would be there for stu-
dents," he said.
This semester, to avoid a situ-
ation like last spring, teaching
evaluations will be offered over a
longer period of time - from Dec.
4-15 - to cut down on the load and
to give students more opportunity
to complete the evaluations.
Kulik also discussed an initiative
to increase communication with
students, including e-mail updates
and reminders to complete evalua-
tions as well as CTools reminders
and posters across campus.
"We've tried a number of new
things and communication activi-
ties that have increased rather than
Kulik said. "We're hoping that stu-
dents will be aware that the evalu-
ations are here and the importance
that teachers put on getting good
feedback from students."
Alan Levy, communications spe-
cialist fdr ITS, said that the most
valuable method ofcommunication
about evaluations is via professors
and GSIs in their classrooms.
"There is both some research
and anecdotal evidence that the
single greatest factor that predicts
students completing evaluations
is instructor encouragement,"
Fink said pharmaceutical com-
panies and start-up firms - not
grants - are usually the sources of
funding for such undertakings. He
said the new grant will fund the
production of a human-grade her-
pes simplex vector, which is.essen-
tial for testing the gene-transfer
pain therapy in clinical trials
involving human patients.
"The start-ups are ideally suited
for novel work but have limited
resources, while the pharmaceuti-
cal companies are typically more
risk-averse," Fink said.
But in the currguhentslnomic
-cal corporations havebecome even
more cautious about funding inno-
vative research. In light of the hes
said, grants specifically intended
to fund translational research to
produce certified human-grade
vectors are critical to advancing
new medical research.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New
York lawmakers rejected a bill
Wednesday that would have made
their state the sixth to allow gay
marriage, stunning advocates
who weathered a similar decision
by Maine voters just last month.
The New York measure need-
ed 32 votes to pass and failed by
a wider-than-expected margin,
falling eight votes short ina 24-38
decision by the state Senate. The
Assembly had earlier approved
the bilt, and Gov. David Paterson,
perhaps the bill's strongest advo-
cate, had pledged to sign it.
After the vote, Paterson called
Wednesday one of his saddest
days in 20 years of public service
and he criticized senators who
he said support gay marriage but
"didn't have the intestinal forti-
tude to vote for it.
Senate sponsor Thomas Duane,
From Page 1A
a Manhattan Democrat and the
Legislature's first openly gay
member, expressed anger and dis-
appointment. "I wasn't expecting
betrayal," he said.
During debate, Sen. Ruben
Diaz, a conservative minister
from the Bronx, led the mostly
"If you put this issue before
the voters, the voters will reject
it," Diaz said. "Let the people
But Sen. Eric Adams, D-Brook-
lyn, challenged lawmakers to set
aside their religious beliefs and
vote for the bill. He asked them to
rememberthat once even slavery
"When I walk through these
doors, my Bible stays out," Adams
"That's the wrong statement,"
Diaz countered later. "You should
carry your Bible all the time."
Others told personal stories of
friends and relatives who are gay
and unable to marry. Many also
spoke of grandparents who sur-
vived the Holocaust and racism
starting costs for the clickers and
software from iClicker and Turn-
ing Technology are already lower
than a new Qwizdom clicker," the
and said they wouldn't want to see
gays subjected to such treatment.
Supporters had been hopeful
they could eek out a narrow win,
or a much closer vote. But after-
ward, they said private assur-
ances were broken. In the end, a
half-dozen Democrats opposed
the measure when it was expected
only two or three would vote no.
While no Republicans supported
the bill, most advocates expected
it would attract as many as four or
five GOP senators.
"This is a loss for every family
in New York," said New York City
Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
"This is a loss for every lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender
Others tried to put a positive
light on it.
Immediately following the
vote, gay rights advocates chant-
ed: "Equal rights now!"
"We have a road map for 2010,"
said Alan Van Capelle, execu-
tive director of the Empire Pride
Agenda, a leading proponent of
an improvement or if students and
faculty don't see a big need for a
The ISS representatives said
they are particularly anxious
to get student input, both from
students involved in a pilot run
planned for selected classes this
winter and from students with
ISS officials said they hope to
have a clicker choice implemented
by next fall.
traditional clicker. ISS representatives
"Students can purchase a'click- They added tha
er' device or, if permitted by their nies seem willing
instructors, use their own WiFi buyback program
device such as an iPod, Web- who own Qwizdom
enabled cell phone or a laptop," While research
the ISS representatives wrote in programs is pros
the e-mail. basko said there
Though the researchbegan last change if "there is
spring, the replacement c'hoices
have recently been narrowed
down to two different systems:
the iClicker and Turning Tech-
Hlebasko describes the
iClicker as being "the size of
a candy bar with five differ-
ent buttons," and the Turning
Technology device as "the size
of a credit card, with an LCD
ISS representatives said in an
e-mail to The Michigan Daily
that unlike Qwizdom, both new
options seem more reliable and
will offer flexibility in the type
of presentations professors can
use them with. They also have
the abilityto work on both Macs
Myron Campbell, professor
of physics and associate dean of
natural sciences, said one of the
greatest difficulties he has faced
has been the lack of flexibility
Qwizdom offers in lectures.
"I would like to be able to
ask the same question again (in
lecture) but that's very cumber-
some in the current system," he
Both Campbell and ISS said
they are conscious of the eco-
nomic impact the system's
replacement will have on stu-
dents - but they said that will
be less of a problem with the
"Although we have not yet
approached the other com-
panies to negotiate price, the 9
it both compa-
to work out a
into these new
may not be a
n't that big of
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