4 - Tuesday, April 6, 2010 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
New IFC party rules spread burden of responsibility
orority members will soon be joining their neon-T-shirted
brothers as monitors at fraternity parties. The Interfrater-
nity Council, the governing body of most campus fraterni-
ties, recently passed a bylaw amendment to mandate sober sorority
members in addition to fraternity sober monitors at Greek parties.
The IFC and the Panhellenic Council, the IFC's sorority counter-
part, believe participation will be mutually beneficial. The new reg-
ulation is only a minor adjustment, but it demonstrates the Greek
leadership's genuine desire to increase safety at parties. The Greek
community should continue to implement changes that encourage
students' security. And the University should join in this culture of
safety instead of ignoring the realities of underage drinking.
I was a little disappointed with
the pitch. It was high and outside.
Fortunately, Zimmerman has a tall reach:'
- President Barack Obama, commenting on the pitch he threw to open the 2010 Major League Baseball
season, as reported yesterday by the Associated Press.
ELAINE MORTON E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT @UMICH.EDU
1 6~ cO I - I
PiNIE ~ (mt
Coleman's smoking gun
Last week, the IFC passed an amend-
ment to its bylaws that will require each
sorority attending a fraternity-sponsored
social event to provide two sober liai-
sons. The regulation sought to extend the
responsibility of monitoring parties to
sororities on campus. The Greek commu-
nity claims that the regulation is neces-
sary to protect party-goers by increasing
the number of sober individuals at a party
and spreading the responsibility among
more people. IFC and Panhellenic leaders
believe the sororities will comply, since
female guests may feel more comfortable
asking a fellow female for help.
Though the title is different, sorority
liaisons would essentially fill the same role
as sober monitors. And their presence will
make parties safer. More sober individu-
als at parties will increase the likelihood of
identifying and dealing with the concerns
that can arise when alcohol is involved. And
many female party-goers may feel more
comfortable asking a female for help than
a male. A more diverse group of sober indi-
viduals will also be capable of handling a
wider variety of problems that may arise.
The amendment illustrates a changing
mentality in Greek communities nation-
wide. Sororities currently aren't allowed to
hold parties because of antiquated gender-
role conceptions. Due to this provision, fra-
ternities have had to bear the entire burden
of throwing and supervising parties alone.
The update to the IFC bylaws reflects mod-
ern gender roles and distributes responsi-
bility more equally among members of the
It also changes the traditional approach
to the binge drinking that often takes place
at campus parties, which has been to ignore,
overlook or deny. This has often been the
attitude of both the University adminis-
tration and the IFC in the past. University
President Mary Sue Coleman has stalled
progress on combating the dangers of binge
drinking by refusing to sign the Amethyst
Initiative, which calls for discussion of the
current drinking age and asks if it is the most
effective way to encourage safe drinking
practices. Coleman's actions haven't helped
to deal with binge drinking on campus.
But the Greek system is stepping up. With
the new regulation, the IFC and Panhel-
lenic Council are acknowledging the some-
times dangerous elements of Greek parties
and are trying to do something to combat
it. While the presence of liaisons is only a
small improvement, it indicates that the
culture of turning a blind eye to the reality
that students drink is ending.
Coleman and the University administra-
tion should follow the IFC's lead on this
issue. It's important to recognize problems
so that steps can be taken to resolve them.
The new regulation is beneficial for the
Greek community, and it should continue to
increase its efforts to keep parties safe.
The policy was made by the
president. No one knows how
this decision was made." This
was the comically
honest response of
Ken Warner, dean
of the School of
Public Health, to
the question of who
proposed the cam-
ing ban, according
to The MichiganY
It's clear, then, SOAVE
Sue Coleman is the
architect of the Smoke-Free Initiative,
which will take effect in July of 2011.
The initiative will prohibit smoking on
all outdoor University property. Cole-
man and University administrators
have been embarrassingly vague about
why such a ban is necessary. Instead,
they keep insisting that the smoking
ban will improve public health.
Interestingly enough, the smok-
ing ban may also improve Coleman's
That's because Coleman isn't just a
college president. In her spare time,
she moonlights as a businesswoman,
sitting on the board of directors for
major pharmaceutical company John-
son & Johnson, as well as the Meredith
Corporation, a magazine publisher.
According to Forbes.com, her position
at Johnson & Johnson netted her an
income of $229,000 last year.
Among Johnson & Johnson's many
marketed brands are smoking ces-
sation products like Nicorette and
Nicoderm - products that University
smokers will feel encouraged to use
once smoking becomes unwelcome on
campus in July 2011. Indeed, adminis-
trators have already announced that
smoking cessation products may be
offered at discounted prices to stu-
dents who are trying to quit.
obviously, this is a sizeable con-
flict of interest for Coleman. Even if
her Johnson & Johnson salary didn't
actively influence her decision to ban
smoking, it makes it substantially
harder to take her at her word that the
University needs this ban - especially
when representatives of her adminis-
tration can't come up with a specific
reason for it.
But Coleman's corporate troubles
run deeper than this. As the Univer-
sity's College Libertarians pointed
out in a press release this weekend,
Johnson & Johnson has an affiliated
non-profit group, the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation, which lobbies
for the adoption of certain health-
related policies through research and
grant money. RWJF is notoriously
anti-smoking, as its website explains:
"At the state and community level, we
support advocacy for proven tobacco
control measures, such as smoke-free
air laws, funding of prevention and
cessation programs and increases in
While it's no surprise that RWJF
would fight for laws that restrict
smoking and lead to increased use of
Johnson & Johnson products, such
an aggressive lobbying force should
not hold financial sway over the pres-
ident of a public university. Students,
faculty and staff must be able to trust
that their president is working in the
best interests of the University corn-
munity, not a profit-motivated cor-
poration. Even the perception of a
conflict of interest is embarrassing
for this institution.
Seen in this light, some of Coleman's
other policy positions make more
sense, too. She has adamantly refused
to sign the Amethyst Initiative, a peti-
tion asking Congress to take up the
issue of whether the current drinking
age should be lowered in accordance
with mounting evidence in favor of
such a change. Though 135 college
presidents have signed the initiative,
Coleman won't - a baffling position,
since the initiative only calls for a dis-
cussion, not a change. As the presi-
dent of a research university, Coleman
can't actually believe that the current
drinking age is a matter that shouldn't
even be debated.
But in addition to its anti-smoking
policies, RWJF has been accused by
the Center for Consumer Freedom of
holding attitudes toward alcohol con-
sumption that are borderline prohi-
bitionist. Among its policy positions,
RWJF intransigently supports keep-
ing the drinking age at 21. Coleman's
seemingly baseless opposition to the
Amethyst Initiative makes a lot more
sense if it's.because she has corporate
overlords at J & J breathing down her
Coleman's situation, then, is a fun-
damental betrayal of the values of
a public university - whether she's
being influenced or not. She should
demonstrate that her true commit-
ment is to the integrity of the Univer-
sity and resign her corporate positions,
donate her salaries or, at the very least,
reverse the upcoming smoking ban.
And when Ladies' Home Journal
- published by the Meredith Corpo-
ration, which paid Coleman $137,000
last year - becomes required reading
in English 125 classes, that's when
we'll really know Coleman's corporate
ties are influencing her.
- Robert Soave was the Daily's
editorial page editor in 2009. He can
be reached at email@example.com.
DANA CRONYN I
Fund Teach for America
Nationwide and here at University, mem-
bers of the class of 2010 applied to Teach for
America in record numbers - more than
46,000 applicants for this fall's class of 4,350
teacher corps members. Here at Michigan, 461
seniors applied - a remarkable 7.4 percent of
the senior class. This continues the strong rela-
tionship between TFA and the University. For
the last four years, the University has been the
top contributor to TFA.
But in spite of all of this interest, Teach for
America is facing a funding crisis.
Under a new proposal currently before Con-
gress, TFA's federal funding for 2011-2012 would
be eliminated. This is a deeply troubling proposal
that would dim admissions prospects for Univer-
sity seniors and derail the organization's long-
term goal of ending educational inequality.
Due to its strong track record of providing
quality teachers and leaders, TFA has received
federal funding for years. This year, TFA
requested $50 million from Congress to meet
increasing demand among college students
Without federal funding, TFA would be
unable to hire the more than 1,350 teachers
who would teach 86,000 students in the com-
ing school year. This scenario severely limits
opportunities for recent graduates at the Uni-
versity and other schools to make a difference
in our public schools.
The proposed federal funding cuts come
at a critical time for TFA's expansion. For the
last several months, TFA representatives have
been meeting with Detroit's top leaders and
charter schools in hopes of bringing at least
50 corps members to Detroit schools by next
fall. Without secure federal funding, TFA faces
yet another hurdle in this planned expansion
into Detroit. It would be disheartening to see
another year go by without TFA corps mem-
bers in Detroit, further delaying the opportu-
nity for University students to give back to the
state of Michigan.
The need for TFA corps members in Detroit
could not be more real. The average ACT score
for a student in Detroit Public Schools is a 16,
with a graduation rate under 50 percent. This
reality is not confined to Detroit. Nationally,
more than 14 million children living in low-
income communities are performing below
grade level on standardized tests, and are
falling further behind their more affluent
peers each year. 50 percent of students in low-
income communities will not graduate from
high school by the time they are 18 years old.
Those who do graduate on time perform, on
average, at an eighth-grade level. We need pro-
grams like TFA to increase educational oppor-
tunity in our public schools.
With an annual $50 million appropriation
from Congress, TFA would be able to double in
size over the next five years. At this scale, the
organization would be able to provide nearly
17,000 corps member positions each year and
reach more than one million underserved stu-
dents in nearly all 50 states. And by 2016, TFA
will have more than 50,000 alumni who will
create a powerful leadership force for mean-
ingful and bold education reform.
As college students, we can make our voices
heard to Congress on today's most urgent civil
rights issue: education. As students at the Uni-
versity we have so much at stake. A smaller TFA
corps will mean fewer jobs for University gradu-
ates, and school districts just 30 minutes away
will continue to struggle to succeed in the face
of the achievement gap. I hope you'll join me in a
grassroots campaign to call and write U.S. Sena-
tors Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow to urge
them to support federal funding for TFA.
Dana Cronyn is an LSA senior and a campus
campaign coordinator for Teach For America.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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AIMRIE REAM I
Why I Relay
Relay For Life is a 24-hour event benefiting the Ameri-
can Cancer Society. Michigan community members join
together in the fight against cancer in the hopes that one
day cancer will be eliminated. Last year, Relay For Life
had over 5,000 participants here at the University. We
raised over $305,000 in 2009 and have been nationally
recognized as one of the top five collegiate fundraising
At Relay For Life, we celebrate cancer survivors. A
cancer survivor is anyone living with a history of cancer,
from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of
life. Anyone who has lived one day with cancer is a survi-
vor. Survivors are encouraged to attend our event to help
us celebrate all the successes we have accomplished.
At the University we take great pride in our superb fac-
ulty, staff, administration and community, and as such we
are encouraging you to join the Michigan community in
the fight against cancer. Most people have been affected
by cancer at some point in their lives. Relay For Life serves
as a means to celebrate the successes we have had in the
arenas of cancer research and patient support, remember
those who have lost their lives in the battle against can-
cer, and to fight back.
I participate in the Relay to find a cure so that others
don'thave to deal with the pain of cancer. My grandmoth-
er was diagnosed with cancer before I was born, but she
survived and I never knew what she really went through.
But the summer before my freshman year of college, the
cancer resurfaced. She considered not going through with
surgery because of the pain it had caused her earlier in
life. This was devastating to me. What would I do without
my grandma? She ended up getting-the surgery and was
told that it gave her another 20 years of life, which I am
so grateful for. But it was very hard for me to move away
to school while she was recovering. I couldn't believe that
my grandma had almost been taken away from me. The
pain and sadness I felt was awful and I wish no one would
ever have to feel such emotions because of cancer.
Join me and over 2,800 participants at Relay For Life at
Palmer Field, from 10 a.m. on Apr. 10 to 10 a.m. on Apr.11.
The day oftRelay includes a lot of food, games, entertain-
ment, sports and, most importantly, being a part of Michi-
gan's fight against cancer. All money raised goes directly
to the American Cancer Society to help fund research
efforts and programs to support cancer patients and their
families. As an amazing research institute, the University
receives a number of grants each year sponsored by the
American Cancer Society for cancer research.
Starting a team is extremely easy - you can sign up
today at www.mrelay.org. Between now and Relay, team
members must register and then begin to fundraise. This
is a great way to encourage and promote unity throughout
all departments, schools and colleges, as well as support
University students while helping out a great cause. If you
have any questions, please feel free to e-mail mrelayl0@
Join Michigan in uniting for a common cause in the
hopes that cancer will one day be eliminated.
Aimrie Ream is an LSA junior.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
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Michelle DeWitt, Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith,
Robert Soave, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith