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April 12, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-12

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4A - Monday, April 12, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@ UMICH.EDU

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

ELAINE MORTON

JACOB SMILOVITZ
EDITOR IN CHIEF

RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

MATT AARONSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solelythe views of their authors.
Fire prevention 101
City and landlords must educate students on safety
T he fires on Saturday, Apr. 3 shocked the campus com-
munity and Ann Arbor residents, resulting in a spike
of concern over fire safety issues in student housing. In
response, one Ann Arbor resident has encouraged City Council
to re-examine passing a proposed city ordinance that would ban
couches on porches in an attempt to reduce fire hazards. While
the intent to protect the city is noble, a ban essentially on porch
couches isn't the best way to combat fires. Students, landlords
and the City Council should work together to create a system of
education and responsibility to help prevent house fires.

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Dubbed "suspicious," the cause of the
fires has yet to be determined. Ann Arbor
police are treating the fires as arson, though
the Ann Arbor Fire Department says there
isn't enough evidence to do so yet. One of
the fires, thought to have begun with a
porch couch that caught fire, injured two
students and led to the death of another.
The blaze prompted Ann Arbor resident C.
Robert Snyder to urge the Ann Arbor City
Council at its meeting last week to revisit an
ordinance proposed by the Ann Arbor Fire
Department in 2004 that would ban out-
door upholstered furniture in the city.
Certainly, the events of last week were
tragic. And they have shown that fire safety
in the city isn't up to par. But imposing an
all-inclusive outdoor couch ban isn't the
best way to combat the problem. Porch
couches can be a fire hazard - but they
aren't the major source of danger. There is
much larger problem at hand: Student hous-
ing often isn't fire-safe. And that's the fault
of both landlords and tenants. City Council
should develop a method to educate young
adults about fire safety, and ensure that
landlords are keeping property up to code.
Many students are new to the responsi-
bility of keeping a house fire-safe. To make
sure that students know their responsibili-

ties and how to stay safe, landlords and the
City Council should educate students on
fire-safety and city safety laws. This could
be as simple as a city newsletter sent annu-
ally to student housing, or a short seminar
offered by landlords or the city to teach
students about fire safety. This would give
students the knowledge they need to keep
their houses safe and not exacerbate any
fire hazards.
But, more importantly, landlords are
responsible - morally and legally - for
keeping their property up to code. Many
student houses are quite old and in poor
condition. They require frequent attention
to make sure there aren't any serious haz-
ards. Old wiring, ill-swept chimneys and
flammable materials by house exits are all
potentially dangerous. All student hous-
ing should have safe fire escapes. And, of
course, all smoke detectors should be in
working order. Landlords should advise
tenants if they perceive a fire hazard, even
if it's not against the law.
The horrifying events from last weekend
need to serve as a reminder of how impor-
tant staying fire safe is. But fires don't have
a single cause. To prevent fires, tenants,
landlords, and City Council should share
responsibility for staying safe..

As a skinny freshman way back
in February 2007, I picked up
a copy of The Michigan Daily
and turned to the
opinion page. I P
hated the Daily
back then, and if
you ask me for an
honest answer, I
still kind of do. But, ,
with that hatred
came a certain joy
that one can only -
experience when CHRIS
he or she holds upK
a Daily article to KOSLOWSKI
a friend and says,
"What the hell is
this idiot thinking?" I didn't enjoy the
Daily, but I enjoyed hating the Daily
- a sentiment that I'm sure at least a
few of you out there have today.
But there was one tiny piece of
this paper that didn't read like it had
a golden stick up its ass. If you're an
old fart like me and remember John
Oquist's Live on your Feet, Sam But-
ler's The Soapbox or Erin Russell's
Joy, you know that the 2006-2007
school year was a golden age for
Daily cartooning. Fully expecting to
be greeted by one of these genuinely
funny, superbly illustrated cartoons,
what I instead saw led me down a
three-year path that sadly and thank-
fully ends this week.
Sparing too many details, it was
the worst cartoon I've ever seen.
I've truthfully forgotten the name of
the artist, but it motivated a shy kid
who'd never drawn a straight line in
his life to say, "I can do better than
that." So, I sent a few sample comics
to eternal Daily contributor Imran
Syed, then the editorial page edi-
tor and now a columnist, and Out to

Pasture was born. Three years, SO
pounds and 120+ comic strips later,
I've come full circle.
Now, people hold up my columns
to their friends and say, "Koslowski
is an untalented loser!" Call me mas-
ochistic, but I couldn't be having
more fun.
Out of all the hate-filled e-mails
and comments I've received over the
years, my absolute favorites are those
which impugn my lack of humor and
artistic ability. To all those critics -
you're totally right. But remember, I
somehow tricked the Daily into pub-
lishing me and tricked you into giving
a damn. Just like me all those years
ago, you have a choice: keep firing
anonymous pot-shots on the com-
ment boards, or do something about
it. Heed my advice - you should
probably remain uninvolved because
it's a hell of a lot of work.
I can confidently and proudly
say that Out to Pasture requires less
effort to produce than any other part
of the Daily - and yes, that includes
the Crime Notes. Even still, it takes
a special kind of effort to churn out
a strip at 4 a.m. after a night of real
work only to have it be hacked to
pieces on the comment boards, or
worse yet, axed by your editor. It
takes someone who doesn't just toler-
ate criticism, but embraces it.
I've happily remained on the fringe
of Daily culture during my time at
the paper, but the staff has gained
my utmost respect in their ability to
embrace their critics. Rarely do you
see praise for any part of the Daily
outweigh its criticism - and that's a
good thing. When a paper becomes
complacent with its product or when
its readership stops caring enough to
complain is the moment it starts to go

rsions
under. Just ask the Ann Arbor News.
I mean this next point in the best
way possible, but some folks that
work at the Daily are really sick in
the head. People devote the best
years of their lives to this paper only
to expose themselves to criticism
and scandal, all while making less
money than ifthey spent their work
hours metal detecting in the Diag. I
couldn't do what my editors do, nor
would I want to.
Thank God that
Koslowski guy is
finally graduating.
So, what's the point of this rant
beyond being another sappy senior
send-off? If just one of you reads
this column or this Thursday's ultra-
special-last-Out to Pasture-ever and
thinks, "God, Koslowski's a hack. I'm
going to join the Daily so I can do it
better than him," then my time here
has meant something. The circle will
begin again, and we'll assure that our
children have a daily campus news-
paper to bitch about. And who knows,
maybe you'll actually have talent and
win the $10,000 Charles Schulz Col-
lege Cartoonist Award like Erin Rus-
sell did in 2007. In the interim, I'll
send my two bovine friends to that
big slaughterhouse in the sky. Iknow
I speak for more than myself when I
say, "It's about damn time."
-Chris Koslowski can be reached
at cskoslow@umich.edu.

DEVIN PARSONS, JOEL BERGER, ALEX EDWARDS, JODY SCHECHTER I
Support your lecturers

The end of the semester quickly approaches,
crashing through the academic calendar amid a
flurry of papers, exams, projects and last-minute
office hours. Yet along with the stress of impend-
ing deadlines, a more profound sentiment lines
the chaos of these final responsibilities: reflec-
tion over academic experiences at the University.
Most likely, this reflection will include the
classes that have changed the way in which you
view the world and the courses that have helped
you discover the career path of your dreams.
Most likely, you will recall times that you were
inspired and times that you were challenged to
grow beyond the limits of your capabilities. You
will remember being questioned, encouraged and
shown support in time of difficulty. At the very
least, you will reflect upon knowledge you have
gained that has left you fascinated and intrigued.
These moments have shaped your academic
career, and none of them found a place in your
educational experience purely by chance. A
common thread runs between all such defining
contributions to your time at Michigan. It is a
common thread that is manifest in individuals;
namely, intelligent, talented and accomplished
people who unreservedly invest their time in
your education. Yes, I am talking about profes-
sors, associate professors, and most of all, more
than 1,200 dedicated lecturers.
The lecturers deserve a special emphasis
within this group of educators because of their
unique and critical role in ensuring the success
of the University. Unlike professors, lecturers are
not tenured and earn a significantly lower salary.
Despite this reality, they are often the instructors
who work most directly with students, as teach-
ing is their primary responsibility.
Many departments depend on these hard
working individuals to maintain the character
of their programs. For example, lecturers allow
language departments to facilitate the dynamic
of small-class discussions. They also enable the
Economics Department to reach thousands of
undergrads through the popular introductory
courses in microeconomics taught by Janet Ger-
son and Paula Malone, who are both lecturers.
Most students do not realize that a significant
portion of theirteachers are lecturers ratherthan
professors. This-speaks not only to the impor-
tance of our lecturers, but also to the exceptional
quality of their instruction.
Unfortunately, the University is proposing to
cut lecturers' compensation, despite the essential
role they play in our education. The Lecturers'
Employee Organization, the union that repre-

sents lecturers at the University, is currently
renegotiating the three-year contract that gov-
erns the terms of lecturers' employment and is
fightingthe University's unfair proposals.
Since 2002, the University has experienced
overall revenue growth of about 4.4 percent per
year. Thus, it is especially unjust that the admin-
istration has proposed a nominal increase in lec-
turers' wages that does not even keep pace with
inflation, while at the same time is seeking to
slash their health care benefits. This amounts to
a compensation cut in real terms and is accom-
panied by further decreases in job security and
reductions in retirement contributions.
Members of LEO are limited in their means of
taking a stand against such transgressions bythe
administration. Their current contract includes
a "no strike clause" that impedes their efforts to
mobilize. This makes it all the more essential for
students to voicetheir supportforthose who play
such an invaluable role in shaping their educa-
tion. We need to make it clear to University offi-
cials that we want them to invest our tuition and
tax money in those who invest in us.
So take a moment out of your hectic, end-of-
the-year commitments and gothroughyour class
schedules. Start with this semester and then con-
tinue with your favorite courses of the past. Find
out which of your favorite instructors are cur-
rently struggling to protect their compensation
from cuts. I believe you will find that these are
the very same individuals who inspire us, chal-
lenge us, encourage us, question us and support
us in times of difficulty. They are the teachers
who change the way in which we perceive soci-
ety and guide us toward careers of our dreams.
They are the lecturers who leave us fascinated
and intrigued.
I think you will discover that it is nearly impos-
sible to reflect over the value of your time at the
University without giving credit to these talented
teachers. Offering them our support is the very
least we can do in return for their profound con-
tributions to our academic experiences. As a stu-
dent body, we need to be conscious of the ongoing
contract negotiations and make it clear to the
administration that we whole-heartedly stand
behind LEO's efforts.
-Devin Parson is a member of the University's
Chapter of the College Democrats. Joel Berger is
a member of Human Rights Through Education.
Alex Edwards is a member of Restaurant
Workers Justice Alliance. Jody Schechter is a
member of Students Allied for Labor Equality.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words and must include the writer's full name
and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and accuracy. All
submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.

0

The maverick is dead

Sad news, friends: The maverick
is dead.
Calm down now - silly old
John McCain
remains alive and
well-ish. And I'm
not even talking
about his "I've
never considered
myself a maver-
ick" comment last
week. Sure, there
is a column wait-
ing to happen in IMRAN
that mind-bogglingS
assessment from SYED
a man who for the
last 20 years has
been to maverick what a desert is to
sand. (What do you call a maverick
who refuses to call himself a maver-
ick? A maverick, of course!) But this is
not that column.
Instead, I'm talking about the
sudden vacuum left in the realm
of independent thinking with the
departures announced last week of
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who has
chosen not to seek re-election, and of
John Paul Stevens, associate justice
of the U.S. Supreme Court, who will
retire this summer after nearly 35
years of service as a member of the
nation's highest court.
Stupak - an obnoxiously pro-life
Democrat from Michigan's Upper
Peninsula - has become a house-
hold name of late, thanks to his piv-
otal role in the passage of the health
care bill. Initially derided by fellow
Democrats for insisting that the bill
include no federal funding for abor-
tions, Stupak rose at the last minute
to support the final bill, arguing that
being pro-life had to include provid-
ing health protection for the already-
born. And suddenly he became public
enemy number one for the Right - a
"babykiller" in the words of Rep.
Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas).
As for Stevens, although he is the
longest-serving member of the cur-

rent Court, his independent streak is,
unfortunately, less known. Appointed
by Republican President Gerald Ford
in 1975, Stevens has always considered
himself a Republican. On the Court,
before rising in the '90's to command
the liberal wing, Stevens was a moder-
ate at best, and was often an indepen-
dent thorn in the side of the Court's
legendary liberals Thurgood Marshall
and William Brennan.
The careers of both Stupak and
Stevens are case studies in personal
convictions, constant introspection
and intellectual maturation overcom-
ing the pressures of politics, parties
and propaganda. They are success
stories - the kind that they just don't
write anymore.
Stupak has represented Michigan's
First Congressional District since
1993, managingto hold his seatin that
conservative district for nearly 20
years - despite the fact that a Repub-
lican essentially always held that seat
between World War II and 1992. In a
district that is larger in land area than
the entire state of West Virginia, yet
lacks even a single major media mar-
ket, Stupak built his career by being
and doing, rather than talking and
trying to be seen.
A former state police trooper and
lawyer, Stupak is trusted by those in
his district because he has never let his
party label or even the ideological tag
of "pro-life" limit what he does for his
constituents. Love him or hate him,
Stupak believes in evaluating issues
and finding the best solution - not just
walking into a room doused in blue/
red paint, barking belligerently about
how gay marriage or off-shore drilling
is destroying the world.
And Stevens, perhaps to the dismay
of those who love his recent liberal
conclusions, has always been an oppo-
nent of pre-set tests and pre-ordained
ideologies dictating an outcome - as
was apparent in his dissent in Fulli-
love v. Klutznick and his concurrence
in City of Richmond v. Croson, among

others. Freeing himself from the dic-
tates of pre-set ideologies enables Ste-
vens to grasp more fully the reality of
a case before the court, whatever solu-
tion that may lead to.
We need to have
more independent
thinkers in office.
This isn't to say Stevens has no
moral anchor guiding his work - his
unflinching reproach of flag-burning,
despite his general liberalism on
free-speech issues, is one example of
how core values and ideals do drive
Stevens, a World War II veteran. But
the venerable old-school mid-West-
erner has never been afraid to learn
and apply something new, or to sim-
ply change his mind upon hearing
better arguments.
Stupak and Stevens willbe replaced,
but not really. Tea Partiers dancing on
Stupak's politicalgrave willback some
conservative Republican, who for the
rest of his life will do and vote just
as we know a conservative Republi-
can does. Or maybe by some miracle
a Democrat will manage to hold Stu-
pak's seat and proceed to act out that
ideological script to a tee. President
Barack Obama will surely appoint a
liberal to replace Stevens, but what
are the chances that this replacement
will also have Stevens's intellectual
maturity to command a majority while
remaining unafraid to go against the
tide? Almost none.
Our country as it stands today just
won't stand for another person like
Stupak or Stevens. And that's why I
say that the maverick is dead.
- Imran Syed can be reached
at at galad@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Clift,
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

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