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November 16, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-16

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4 - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
311: g ll4811
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.co
E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMISRT dUMICH.EDI

ELAINE MORTON

Cl~-si)om slilr!um - N- VGr-)RG&IXLAT ION
Jvfdy sAest?

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 solely the views of their authors.
Combating mental illness
'U' should increase resources and funding to CAPS
he mental health of students is a serious concern on col-
lege campuses. College students simultaneously manage
a heavy course load, busy social lives, internships and
extracurricular activities - and they do this all while adjusting
to life as an adult. The combination of so many expectations and
responsibilities can lead to depression and anxiety. This is by no
means a new problem, but studies show that the number of stu-
dents with mental health issues has increased in recent years,
prompting increased need for a University response. The Univer-
sity must respond to students'needs and devote more resources to
developing and improving systems that help students cope.

3
1
1
1

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sic
on
al
dr
th
la'
fr'
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ist
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a
ne

A Loko reason for regulation
he nannies in our government a drink very similar to Four Loko. Phusion Projects, Inc.'s website, the
are at it again. Citing health In other words, the measure will producer of the drink. The Michi-
dangers, the Michigan Liquor likely have no effects whatsoever gan Liquor Control Commission can'4
ontrol Commis- on University drinking habits or the seriously ask anyone to believe that
on announced number of students hospitalized for consumers don't know what they're
Nov. 4 that 55 alcohol-related harm. Central Wash- purchasing when they buy Four Loko)
coholic energy ington University Police Captain It's difficult to believe that anybody has
'inks, including Mike Luvera informed me during a been misled into thinking that clearly-
e recently-popu- Nov. 8 phone interview that there marked Four Loko cans aren't alcohol4
r Four Loko, will had been several alcohol-related cita- ic or caffeinated.
on be banned tions issued to students who reported An unconsidered aspect in all this is
om the shelves of drinking Four Loko and other alco- the negative effects for the consumers.
ores statewide. holic energy drinks - even after the By supplying the public with an inex-
This paternal- ALEX school president and mainstream pensive alcoholic beverage, Four Loko
tic response fol- BILES media alleged that caffeinated alco- was responding to consumer desires.
ws an alleged hol was the latest threat to public People who once had to deal with anot-
xual assault of health. so-tasty array of $3-beverages could
14-year-old girl Thereis absolutelyno empirical evi- choose to consume a fruity alcoholic
'ar Detroit and another episode dence behind the warnings that these energy drink if they wished.

According to a Nov. 10 article in the
Daily, the National College Health Assess-
ment from this past spring found the
the number of students with feelings of
depression, anxiety, stress and sleep trou-
bles have risen from previous years. This
fact worries health officials including
Director of University Health Services Dr.
Robert Winfield and Tim Davis, associate
director of the University's Counseling
and Psychological Services - more com-
monly referred to as CAPS. To address this
problem, UHS is working to start routine
student mental health evaluations. CAPS
is attempting to increase the size of its
staff to accommodate students' needs.
Officials are unsure of the reason for these
recent increases in reported mental health
problems. But it's possible that the decreas-
ing stigma surrounding counseling for the
stress of college life has contributed to the
rise. More students are also coming into the
University with mental health diagnoses
and may require continual assistance dur-
ing their time here. In addition, students
must also adjust to and deal with Michi-
gan's competitive academic environment
- an environment that creates high levels
of stress. The University should be aware of
this concern and ensure that its students are
well-informed about where to seek help and
advice when they feel overwhelmed.

Mental illnesses often go undiagnosed
and untreated, which can allow a small,
solvable problem to grow into something
potentially unmanageable. UHS's plan to
expand mental health screenings should
help decrease how often these problems go
unnoticed. This is a crucial service - and
students should make use of it if they begin
to feel unreasonably stressed, depressed or
otherwise unwell.
Though diagnosing an issue is important,
it's only half of the battle. The next part of
the process is treatment. Students at the
University are fortunate to have the CAPS
program available, but they need to be able
to access it. Currently, CAPS simply can't
handle the influx of students who need its
services - there are too many students seek-
ing counseling and not enough employees or
space to accommodate everyone in a timely
manner. The University must make sure that
CAPS has the necessary resources to ade-
quately meet all students' needs.
Mental illness as a result of stress is
an unfortunate reality for college stu-
dents, but it doesn't need to cripple stu-
dents' functioning. The University should
increase funding and resources to CAPS
and encourage students to participate in
screenings. It should do everything pos-
sible to help students - and make them
aware that help is available.

involving nine Central Washington
University students who were hospi-
talized upon excessive consumption
of the caffeinated malt liquor. In the
caseofthe 14-year-old, the loth-grader
testified that she had been drinking
a mixture of Four Loko and rum, and
later Hennessy at a motel room outside
of Detroit. But there were numerous
factors that contributed to this tragic
assault - including the girl's age, the
large quantity of alcohol consumed
and the actions of the men who alleg-
edly assaulted her. To single out Four
Loko as the main villain is a rash and
reactionary decision by the state.
Across the country, Central Wash-
ington University President James
Gaudino banned Four Loko from his
campus. Administrators at Central
Washington hsave heavily discouraged
use of the drink. And while Gaudino
and MLCC Commissioner Patrick
Gagliardi will tell you that their bans
are about protecting your health, take
their words with a grain of salt.
The regulators want it to seem
like they're doing students a favor
by curtailing irresponsible behavior.
But the ban's effects on the drinking
habits of University students will be
immaterial. To meet the desire for
caffeinated alcohol, many students
will simply resort to purchasing
energy and alcohol drinks separately
and then combining them, producing

products are more dangerous than
other drinks that combine alcohol and
caffeine. The mass hysteria created by
the media and regulators in response
to a product that the Food and Drug
Administration has yet to complete
testing is premature and ill advised.
In fact, figures show that Four Loko
is a less dangerous alternative to the
practice of combining alcoholic and
caffeinated drinks independently.
The volume of alcohol in Four
Loko is comparable to the amount
in five shots of vodka. Holding this
level of alcohol constant, mixing a
regular can of Red Bull with five
shots of vodka would result in a caf-
feine-to-alcohol ratio that is 1.3 times
greater than Four Loko. Four Loko
isn't especially dangerous. The fact is
overconsumption of anything can be
hazardous to one's health. Modera-
tion is the best policy.
But health concerns about Four
Loko aren't the only figures that fail
to hold water. According to a Nov. 4
release from the Michigan Department
of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth,
Four Loko's "packaging is often mis-
leading" - though the body offers no
facts to back up this claim. But in fact,
a glance at a can of Four Loko shows
that its alcohol by volume warning of
12 percent is prominently displayed
in large letters - the largest font size
allowed by federal law, according to

The MLCC's Four
Loko ban is rash
and reactionary.
And while I would pass on any offer
to drink Four Loko, that doesn't mean
that everyone should be required to.
The move of two government regula-
tors on the MLCC to reduce the choices
of a state of millions of people with no
data or testimony to back their deci-
sion amounts to nothing but the low-
est form of government paternalism.
A panel of two individuals should not
have the power to turn their personal
preferences into moral imperatives
that require imposition through force.
With a ban in place, Gagliardi and
liquor regulators are reducing the
choices for Four Loko aficionados
to spend their money as they see fit.
Without a shred of scientific evidence
to back up their claims, the rash and
reactionary government decision to
ban caffeinated alcohol needs to be
reconsidered.
Alex Biles can be reached
at jabiles@umich.edu.

I

I

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis,
Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer,
Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga, Teddy Papes, Tommaso Pavone, Leah Potkin,
Roger Sauerhaft, Asa Smith, Laura Veith, Andrew Weiner
ZACK GRANT |
'U' should hold spring concert

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
clarity, length and factual accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
The power of nuclear plants

Last May, I visited a friend at Cornell Uni-
versity for their annual Slope Day event and
saw hip-hop artist Drake perform. That same
spring, my friends at Syracuse University were
graced by the up-and-coming superstar's pres-
ence at their MayFest, while another friend at
Brown University enjoyed performances by
MGMT and Snoop Dogg at Brown's annual
Spring Weekend.
Since the University has such an early end to
the academic year, there was a noticeable group
of Wolverines in attendance at Slope Day. As
we all discussed our summer plans and waited
for Drake to start his set, the same thought was
on everyone's mind: we could do this so much
better - if only we had such an event.
Ann Arbor isn't generally a stop on the tours
of the majority of headline acts. Artists who
choose to perform in Michigan typically stop
in Detroit or at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
For an act to play Detroit one night and Ann
Arbor the following night doesn't make any
sense for an artist. Between the overlapping of
ticket markets and the current struggling state
of Michigan's economy, artists don't have any
financial incentive to perform in both Detroit
and Ann Arbor. This is an unfortunate reality
that University students looking to attend con-
certs have had to accept. With the accessibility
of mass transit into Detroit lagging far behind
other major cities, traveling from Ann Arbor is
often limited to driving or taking a costly taxi.
For many students, these options are simply
implausible - and the void of music continues.
But what if there is a way to make perform-
ing in Ann Arbor not purely a business decision?
What if there was a systematic way to make see-
ing music easier for all Michigan students? If
the University of Michigan, like Cornell, Syra-
cuse, Brown and countless other schools around
the country, created its own music event, more
major artists would perform in Ann Arbor. An
annual, school-run concert would transform
Ann Arbor from its role as second fiddle to
Detroit on the musical spectrum, to a city with
a legitimate musical event with a massive and
enthusiastic student audience.

Students who previously struggled with the
logistics of traveling to Detroit would have
the opportunity to see their favorite artists
without having to worry about the difficul-
ties of transportation. The economy in Ann
Arbor would also stand to benefit because a
music event would bring an influx of people to
the city and to its local restaurants, bars and
other establishments. But most importantly, an
annual music event would give major musical
acts a definitive reason to put the University
down as a stop on their tours. I'm confident our
student body would make it worth the while of
any entertainer who comes to perform on cam-
pus.
Modesty aside, students at the University
are pretty good at cultivating some of the most
memorable experiences. We're the school that
puts on one of the most exciting athletic spec-
tacles for seven or eight Saturdays every fall.
We're the school that had the president of the
United States as its commencement speaker
this spring. We're the school that celebrates St.
Patrick's Day not just on the day itself, but also
on the Saturday before. Simply put, students at
the University are masters of magnifying every
experience to the grandest scale possible. This
attitude needs to transcend into the produc-
tion of an annual campus-wide music event.
over the summer, my friends and I routine-
ly talked about various aspects of our college
experiences. When we came upon the subject
of spring concerts, my friends all asked, "Who
performed at Michigan's spring concert?" and
not, "Does Michigan have a spring concert?"
Like my friends did this summer, the Univer-
sity student body should expect the University
to create a signature music event. As a univer-
sity, we have proved throughout our rich his-
tory that we are capable of almost anything.
An annual music event would not only give
students a better opportunity to see major art-
ists perform, but also would establish another
memorable event as part of the impressive fab-
ric of the University.
Zack Grant is an LSA sophomore.

arly this month, German citi-
zens gathered in the thou-
sands to protest trains and
trucks entering
their country from
France. The con-
tents of the trains
in question was
reprocessed nucle-
ar waste. It seems
that Germans
were upset with
their government's
recent decision to JOE
extend the life of SUGIYAMA
their 17 nuclear
power plants by 12
years. The exten-
sion is under fire because it moves
Germany further from its original
plan for its nuclear power plants - to
have all plants phased out by 2021.
Government officials have
responded to protests - which have
become commonplace in the past
few years - by stating that they cur-
rently don't have a solid alternative
to nuclear power and shutting down
current plants would leave the coun-
try without a reliable energy supply.
But the protesters aren't buying this
excuse. They seem to believe that
the next Chernobyl disaster is right
around the corner.
It's easy to understand the protest-
ers' concerns. Nuclear plant accidents
aren't exactly something that can
be taken care of overnight. The 1986
Chernobyl disaster, for instance, dev-
astated a large region of Europe after
a reactor failed and released a large
plume of radioactive fallout. It eventu-
ally forced more than 350,000 people
to relocate because of unsafe levels of
radiation. This is obviously an unac-
ceptable result, but that is the most
extreme example ofa plant failure ever.
Currently, the U.S. has the largest
number of nuclear power plants in the
--the
podium

world - but it hasn't constructed a
new plant in nearly 37 years. Obama's
cap-and-trade plan includes a provi-
sion to set aside $36 billion for the
construction of nuclear facilities. But
due to our current economic situa-
tion, there hasn't been a push to raise
taxes to create new plants. According
to a Nov. 11 CNN article, people like
Whitney Stanco - an analyst at the
Washington Research Group - sug-
gested that using the money as a loan
instead of grants could jumpstart
the plan, which would reduce our
nation's dependence on fossil fuels.
Even if the $36 billion in federal
subsidies is granted to power com-
panies, there's still reluctance to put
more workers and civilians at risk
of a major accident like Chernobyl.
But Chernobyl should be looked at
as an anomaly rather than the norm.
Though there have been similar acci-
dents since 1986, no failures have
occurred on the same scale as the
Chernobyl incident. A properly main-
tained and managed nuclear power
plant offers many solutions to our
current energy, environmental and
economic problems.
The capital cost associated with
nuclear power plants comprises a
large majority of total cost. Uranium
is a fairly common element in the
Earth's crust. One pound of it has
roughly the same energy content as
2 million pounds of coal, meaning we
need much less fuel to run a nuclear
plant than a coal-fired power plant.
Less fuel means lower production
costs - even when considering the
price of the enrichment process.
The environmental impacts can't
be ignored, either. Coal-fired power
plants release large amounts of carbon
dioxide, sulfur - resulting in acid rain
- and fly ash. On the other hand, the
byproducts of nuclear plants include
radioactive waste, but this waste is on

a much smaller scale than the outputs
of coal plants. With recent advance-
ments in technology, scientists and
nuclear engineers are finding better
ways to reprocess this waste and have
the potential to make nuclear plants
self-sufficient in terms of fuel.
Nuclear power plants would
reduce our dependence on foreign
fossil fuels, increasing our nation's
ability to operate on our own terms.
In times of turmoil abroad, it's vital
that we become an energy-indepen-
dent nation.
Nuclear power
is a sensible
energ alternative.
The German protesters seem to
have a "not in my backyard" mental-
ity. What they aren't grasping is that
nuclear energy is one of the most
cost-effective and environmentally
friendly forms of power. The U.S.
should look at the brighter side of
this form of energy - lower energy
cost, lower carbon footprint and less
dependence on foreign fuels.
Using nuclear power seems like a
no-brainer when considering all the
positive benefits. Though the cons
can't be thrown to the wind, safer
practices and new technologies that
prevent accidents and reduce radio-
active waste justify the risks. Like it
or not, nuclear power is going to be
a part of our future. It would be best
for our country and environment if
we embraced it.
- Joe Sugiyama can be reached
at jmsugi@umich.edu.

J
I

Seeing Red: Kylie Kagan points out that legalizing recreational
sarijuana could be great for the economy - and give citizens back
their civil liberties. Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium.

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