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March 31, 2010 - Image 1

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Daily Columnist Tommaso Pavone sits down with MSA's first openly gay president, Chris Armstrong, for a frank discussion. ) PAGE 4A

be 13Icigan 40a Im

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

michigandaily.com

MSAs first
openly gay
president
sworn in

SMALL SLICE OF THE BIG HOUSE

Armstrong said his
* election shows any
student can embody
'spirit of Michigan'
By ELYANA TWIGGS
Daily StaffReporter
"Work hard, be true, go blue,"
said former Michigan Student
Assembly President Abhishek
Mahanti last night in the Assem-
bly Chambers, before yielding his
position leading campus's leading
student governing body to LSA
junior Chris Armstrong. Business
School junior Jason Raymond,
Armstrong's running mate, was
also sworn in as MSA vice presi-
dent.
Elected in a landslide victory
last Friday, LGBT Commission
Chair Chris Armstrong of MFor-
ward is now the first openly gay
MSA president - a fact he said
he hopes will have large impli-
cations not only for the LGBT
community on campus, but also
for the greater University com-
munity.
Armstrong said he hopes that
being gay and holding a position
as assembly president will dem-
onstrate that any University stu-
dent can represent the "spirit of
Michigan."
In an interview with The

Michigan Daily yesterday, Arm-
strong recalled how he did not
expect to ever be elected MSA
president, after hiding his iden-
tity throughout high school and
staying out of the public eye. He
admitted that he only came out to
a few friends and his parents by
the end of his senior year in high
school.
Elected at the end of his fresh-
man year to be a MSA represen-
tative, Armstrong said he was
"impressed" by the other repre-
sentatives and the atmosphere
of the MSA Chambers, but never
thought he was capable of hold-
ing such a leadership position as
a gay man.
Over the past three months of
campaigning and forming MFor-
ward, Armstrong said he became
even more sure of himself that
he was ready to fulfill the role as
president, despite his sexual iden-
tity.
"I think that slowly over the
course of the campaign that
broke down," he said. "It shows
that MSA can do anything."
After serving two years as
chair of MSA's LGBT Commis-
sion, Armstrong has made a name
for himself within the commu-
nity.
His work in bringing the Mid-
west LGBT Conference to cam-
pus next year came from his
work with the Victory Fund - a
See ARMSTRONG, Page 7A

University Police reported yesterday that Michigan Stadium was vandalized this weekend when a strip of the block 'M' on the 50-yard line was stolen. The incident was
reported by stadium staff at 11:30 a.m. on Monday. Diane Brown, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, said the stolen strip was a 6" by 4' piece on the edge of
the M' and that there was some damage to the surrounding area. Damages are estimated at approximately $1,000 to repair the affected area of the field. There are no sus-
pects or leads, but the incident is under investigation. University Police are unsure how someone was able to access the field.
Robinson, the man with te pen

Post columnist, 'U'
alum won Pulitzer
Prize for coverage of
2008 election
By JILLIAN BERMAN
ManagingNewsEditor
ARLINGTON, Va. - University
alum Eugene Robinson's house
was bustling on a humid afternoon
late last summer. His nephew was
relaxing on the couch, while his
wife, Avis, and a friend were chat-
ting and working in the kitchen.

Like most in the Washington area
in August, the household was pre-
paring for a vacation.
But unlike many Northern Vir-
ginia residents, Robinson was also
preparing for a television appear-
ance. Later that evening, Robinson
would be criticizing Sarah Palin's
approach to health care reform as
a guest on MSNBC's "Countdown
with Keith Olbermann."
Robinson, a regular guest on
"Countdown," is also a twice-
weekly columnist for The Wash-
ington Post. He's addressed a wide
range of topics - from the recently
passed health care bill to racial
profiling. But Robinson wrote one

C ON T INUI NG SERES
set of columns that got him more
attention than usual - his cover-
age of the 2008 presidential elec-
tion for which he won the Pulitzer
Prize, journalism's most presti-
gious award.
"It was psychedelic, it really
was," Robinsonsaidofwinningthe
award in an interview last sum-
mer. "I never thoughtthat a career
was in any way invalidated if you
didn't have a Pulitzer because it's
See ROBINSON, Page 7A

UNIVE RSIT Y ADMINIS T RAT ION
'U' officials say lecturer
layoffs possible next year

JAKE FROMM/Daily
Delon Allen and other students from the O.W. Holmes School in Detroit create paper mache hands for Fesitfools yesterday.
Festifools collaboration offers a new
type of expression for blind students

Provost says cuts to
personnel may come
in the future if state
funds continue to fall
By KYLE SWANSON
Daily News Editor
Though it's been a routine prac-
tice in past years for the University
to lay off lecturers due to a lack of
interest in certain classes, this year
some units within the University

are considering laying off lecturers
strictly asa cost-savings measure.
The layoffs
are one option
being consid-
ered by budget
officers in some
LSA depart-
ments, who
are preparing
responses to KYLE SWANSON
scenarios that
involve cut- Coverinrh
ting 1, 3 and 5 All iilrion
percent from
their unit's budget for the next fis-

calyear. Such exercises are normal,
but the means by which some are
suggesting meeting the potential
cuts in unit funding are not as rou-
tine.
Asked about the situation in an
interview with The Michigan Daily
last week, University Provost Tere-
sa Sullivan said she didn't have cen-
tral plans to lay off lecturers.
"Right now our plans don't
include - from this office - they
don't include layoffs," Sullivan said.
"But we're a very decentralized
place, and what we end up doing is
See LECTURERS, Page 3A

A2 officials face off for state Senate seat

Students from
Detroit public
school helped create
puppets yesterday
By ALEXA BREEDVELD
Daily StaffReporter
Every spring, University under-
graduate students enrolled in the
Lloyd HallScholars Programbuild
floating puppets that are paraded
down Main Street in April for Fes-

tifools. The project has an obvious
artistic purpose, but it has a phil-
anthropic one as well.
Yesterday, eight visually
impaired students came to Ann
Arbor from the O. W. Holmes
Elementary School in downtown
Detroit to help build the puppets.
Ruth Marsh, a Lloyd Hall Schol-
ars Program staff member, said
the Festifools parade is part of a
class called Art and Public Spaces,
which aims to bring artto the pub-
lic of Southeastern Michigan.
"The breadth of the course is
to get the community involved,

and to make the art accessible to
everyone," Marsh said in an inter-
view yesterday. "This is one of our
outreaches to the community."
Prof. Mark Tucker, who works
with the Lloyd Hall Scholars
Program, said Festifools is a col-
laboration between the scholars
program and the local community.
"Four years ago we started
Festifools, and we close down
Main Street for an hour (for the
parade)," Tucker said. "University
students design these giant pup-
pets, and people from the commu-
See FESTIFOOLS, Page 7A

State Reps. Byrnes,
Warren make bid for
18th district seat
By BETHANY BIRON
Daily StaffReporter
Come the Aug. 3 state primary
elections, Ann Arbor voters will see
two familiar names on the ballot.
State Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann
Arbor) will be forced to step down

from her current position next
year due to term limits, allowing
contenders State House Speaker
Pro Tempore Pam Byrnes (D-Lyn-
don Twp) and State Rep. Rebekah
Warren (D-Ann Arbor) to vie for
the State Senate's 18th district seat
this-November.
Byrnes said that if elected to the
Senate seat, she will expand on
initiatives that she has pushed for
in the House but that didn't have
enough time to come to fruition.
"With term limits, we just get

started with various policy issues
and then we're cut off," Byrnes
said. "And there's just so many
more things that I want to see
accomplished with my vision for
what I'd like to see for Michigan to
be back on the right track. We need
to have this long-term vision about
the quality of life here at Michi-
gan."
Warren echoed Byrnes's senti-
ment of hoping to be a member of
the state Senate as a way to expand
See ELECTION, Page 7A

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INDEX NEW S................................2A CLA SSIFIEDS......................6A
Vol. CXX, No.119 OPINION ............................4A SPORTS.. . ..A...........8A
C20StTheMichigan Daily ARTS.................................SA TH ESTATEMENT.......... 1B
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