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November 18, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-18

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4A - Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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





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.
It's time to repeal DADT
Obama and Congress should end archaic policy
During his campaign, President Barack Obama said that
overturning the military's ban on openly gay members
would be a priority of his administration. But there has
been no improvement since he took office. Obama has failed to
take action and the U.S. Congress has been unable to pass legis-
lation on the issue. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court
stated that the ban could be enforced even while it's under scru-
tiny by a federal appeals court. But the federal government needs
to put a stop to this archaic ban. Congress should repeal the ban.
In the meantime, Obama should issue an executive order to halt
enforcement of the ban.

Sf,9T 4 .,E '0CA y ML .
In defense o tree huggers
any history book will tell wet and has some chickens next to scientific concentrations, it's a moot
you, the environmental move- it. Actually, that is the entire poem. point at best. (Note to English majors:
ment has often been associ- It literally has - get this! - sixteen A good rhetorical way to refute your
ated with fascism words, and he allegedly wrote it in opponents' arguments is to simply
and is thought to five minutes. But it is a masterpiece, call all their points - or their faces -
have caused our according to people that hold degrees "moot.") Simply put, PitE majors don't
country's Great that you don't. Considering that it is need fancy mathematics to tackle
Depression. But a masterpiece: (1) What does it say such issues as sustainability and glob-
public perception about the human condition? (2) What al warming. People are wasteful, the
of both the envi- does it say about the chicken condi- earth is heatingup. It's not that hard!
ronment and envi- tion? (3) Which condition (human or
ronmentalists is chicken) is more emotionally arrest-
improving. ing? (Be sure to mention the wheel-
Before I write WILL barrow at some point.)"espiew at you
too much, though, GRUNDLER Needless to say, like many people D
I should stress that who enjoy nature but have difficulty think, PitE isn't
in today's column making life plans, I switched to PitE.
we will absolute- Littledid I knowthatthe majorhas vir- just for hippies.
ly not discuss whether the current tually the same reputation as English -
global warming trend is man-made many non-PitE students just don't take
or natural - is that what you were it seriously. So I'd like to correct some
expecting? Good lord, if you don't of the false assumptions people have of course, cynics will jump on this
think humanity is causing it, then about the concentration, starting with: and say, "So you'll be leavingrthe actual
you better make sure you don't oper- "Don'tronly hippies major in PitE?" solving ofthe energy and climate crisis
ate heavy machinery, serve on a jury This is absolutely false. PitE to engineers, physicists, etc., hmmm?"
or reproduce for the rest of your life. attracts people from all walks of life - This is rather petty, but it deserves
No, today's column is about the Pro- hippies, hipsters, artists, animal lov- a response. Consider this: until we
gram in the Environment major - the ers, super-meta-ironic self-identifying solve the energy and climate crisis,
only concentration that includes the anti-hipsters, people who enjoy recre- who will actively nag people to turn
words "program in the" in its title for ation, people who enjoy recreational off lights? To recycle? To use reus-
absolutely no reason. Anyway, despite marijuana and, of course, vegetarians. able water bottles? Reusable grocery
the increasing amount of respect with To say that only hippies major in PitE bags? Certainly not engineers and
which we treat the environment, or is to say that only scumbags become physicists, who often have less social
with which we want to treat the envi- lawyers. Well, let's use a less conten- skills than a cactus.
ronment but are just kind of lazy, or tious analogy: to say that only hippies Ultimately, the Program in the
with which we would like to see our major in PitE is to say that only geeks Environment major isn't some use-
public officials treat the environment major in engineering. It's simply not less degree to be frowned upon like
if they weren't brainless gerbils, many true. Anyone can love and respect the English or Organizational Studies -
students scoff at the PitE concentra- earth unless they're an asteroid. it's a dynamic, interesting alternative
tion (pronounced "pity"). Another ignorant utterance is: to real degrees in biology or ecology,
Ofcourse, I'm no stranger to people "I've heard there's no math involved degrees that require considerably
scoffing at my major. I was going to in PitE and your individual 'program' more effort. However, it will still get
concentrate in English for a long time can be laughably easy." This is a typi- you a job. At least I hope so. I don't
and had to deal with a LOT of verbal cal response from students study- want to go back to being an English
and physical abuse, mostly from my ing triple advanced biochemistry or major. If life is all about a red wheel-
father. Also, I became tired of writ- honors theoretical particle physics barrow then we're all doomed, no
ing papers that featured topics like: and it's often tinged with jealousy. matter what happens to the climate.
"In William Carlos Williams's 'The While it's true that thyfiner points
Red Wheelbarrow,' the speaker med- of calculus and physics and all that - Will Grundler is an assistant
itates on the supreme importance of stuff aren't stressed in environment editorial page editor. He can be
a reddish wheelbarrow that's a little classes as much as they are in other reached at wgru@umich.edu
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.
Regulation without restriction


To sidestep the Defense Department's
ban on openly gay people serving in the
military, President Bill Clinton created
DADT in 1994. The executive order allows
LGBT community members to serve in
the military with the condition that they
do not reveal their sexual orientation. On
Nov. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court decided
that the military could continue to enforce
DADT while a federal appeals court delib-
erates on whether or not it will see a case
determining its legality. The decision over-
rules a California federal district judge.
Prior to the Supreme Court's decision on
Friday, The Washington Post published a
summary of a report by a Pentagon study
group that has not yet been released to the
public. According to two anonymous indi-
viduals "familiar" with the document, the
report includes the results of a survey that
indicated that most military personnel
wouldn't object to serving alongside a mem-
ber of the LGBT community'-'thouabout
40 percent of the Marine Corps expressed
concern about lifting the ban. The report
included a potential plan to end DADT's
According to a September Gallup poll,
69 percent of Americans are in favor of
repealing DADT. The survey summarized
in The Washington Post article suggests

members of the military share this grow-
ing acceptance. The results from these
studies indicate that the repeal of DADT
would not negatively affect the military's
functioning. There is little reason to keep
the draconian policy in place.
Following the midterm election, the U.S.
Congress has entered a lame-duck ses-
sion. Currently, Congress has the power to
reverse a discriminatory policy. Efforts to
repeal the ban have stalled in the Senate in
recent months, but now outgoing senators
have nothing to lose. Now is the time to
push legislation through and stop discrim-
ination against members of the LGBT com-
munity who want to serve their country in
the armed forces.
But Obama has the opportunity to reverse
the policy as well. He ran on a promise to
repeal DADT - and it's time for him to deliv-
er. He should put pressure on Congress to
pass legislation ending the ban. In the inter-
im, he should enact an executive order that
stalls enforcement of the ban completely.
In the end, Congress must be the insti-
tution to end this discriminatory policy.
But just as Clinton initiated DADT with
an executive order, Obama should issue
an executive order that puts a hold on its
enforcement until the ban is legislatively

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, Julian Toles, Laura Veith, Andrew Weiner
Revise DPS trespass policy
p '

On Tuesday, the undergraduate chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union sent a let-
ter to University President Mary Sue Coleman
and Department of Public Safety Chief Ken
Magee regarding DPS's trespass policy.
ACLU-UM believes thatthe policy is vaguely
worded, which allows for too much discretion
as to who is banned from campus. This places
an immense and limitless amount of power in
the hands of DPS officers.
Furthermore, to appeal a trespass order, an
individual must ask for a review of his or her
case by the same people who issued the ban in
the first place. To keep the policy from infring-
ing upon First Amendment free speech and
assembly rights, the policy must be more spe-
cifically worded. It must specify when a tres-
pass order is appropriate and further define
the process through which it is issued. Addi-
tionally, individuals must be able to appeal
their trespass order to a body independent
from DPS for review.
Currently, DPS.Policy and Procedural Order
on Trespass delegates the power to issue a tres-
pass warning to DPS officers if, among other
violations, an individual "disrupts the opera-
tions and lawful functions of the University or...
demonstrates a risk of physical harm or injury to
others or property." This policy allows officers
excessive discretion in deciding what is or is not
"disruptive." Vagueness in the policy unneces-
sarily creates room for a DPS officer to overstep
his or her legal authority and restrict speech
protected by the First Amendment. The policy
also effectively dissuades individual free expres-
sion for fear of receiving a trespass warning.
Along with amending the conditions under

which trespass warning may be issued, a
revised policy must create an appeals process
that includes an objective, independent review
body. Current policy now states that an individ-
ual may appeal the warning "by appointment
with the Director of the Department of Public
Safety." But an appeal to the same body that
issued the punishment isn't enough protection
for individuals who have been issued trespass
orders. The appeals process must be reformed
to give an individual a meaningful opportunity
to challenge the validity of the punishment.
DPS's trespass policy must not come with
the risk of banning free speech on campus. As
an academic community that encourages the
free transfer of ideas, University policy must
be tailored to avoid silencing protest or speech
in any way. As members of the University com-
munity, we understand that DPS must be able
to effectively keep our campus safe. And we
believe this objective can still be accomplished
with a modified trespass policy.
There may be instances in which the ban-
ning of an individual from campus is necessary
in order to ensure the safety of the community,
but this type of action shouldn't be taken with-
out due process. Everyone has the right to feel
safe on campus and should be comfortable uti-
lizing the systems that are in place to protect
them, so long as they are fair and just. A new
policy must maintain the necessity of student
security while providing protection of the
First Amendment.
This viewpoint was written by Mallory Jones,
Rebecca Egler and Bennett Stein on behalf of the
University's undergraduate chapter of the ACLU.

Lots of people in today's politi-
cal climate make accusations
that the government is too
big and frequently
intrudes on peo-
ple's lives (see the
midterm election).
But these accu-
sations are espe-
cially prevalent
in debates sur-
rounding health
regulations on
consumer .prod- JEREMY
ucts like tobacco LEVY
and food. For
instance, many
have argued that
the University was overstepping
its boundaries when it went ahead
with the campus-wide smoking ban,
set to take effect in July 2011. Cities
and states that contemplated a soda
tax to curb obesity this past spring,
such as New Mexico and Baltimore,
received similar scrutiny. Every pro-
posal of this nature is accompanied
by a debate over the boundaries of
government regulation, and these
boundaries are being determined on
a case-by-case basis.A new case came
under scrutiny on Nov.10, as the Food
and Drug Administration proposed
36 new graphic cigarette labels, nine
of which will be required on cigarette
packages by October 2012.
Unlike the current warnings that
are on cigarette labels, the new labels
display disturbing images that are
intended to remind consumers of the
dangers of smoking. For example, one
design has a picture of a man smok-
ing out of a hole in his neck. Addition-
ally, the proposed labels would take
up half of the package and would be
accompanied with phrases like "ciga-
rettes cause fatal lung disease."
I'm not worried about government
overstepping its bounds in these
cases. Under the assumption that a
soda tax actually would be effective
at reducing obesity, I would support

it. But I think it would be particu-
larly difficult in this case for anyone
to argue that the government has
no right to regulate cigarette labels.
Many of the typical arguments
against government regulations sim-
ply don't apply in this situation.
To explain why, I want to invoke a
philosophy called "libertarian pater-
nalism," coined by Richard Thaler
and Cass Sunstein, an economics pro-
fessor and law professor respectively,
in their 2008 book "Nudge." The main
premise of this concept is that any
program manager - from govern-
ment officials to business owners -
can attempt to influence a consumer's
decisions without restricting that
consumer's options. This is because
humans all have natural psychologi-
cal biases that frequently prevent us
from acting in our long-term interests.
For instance, a dining hall manager
can utilize the information that indi-
viduals are more likely to pick the first
food item they see. If he seeks to influ-
ence consumer health, the manager
can arrange the healthiestitems in the
front of the cafeteria. In this way, he
influences consumers to make health-
ier decisions without restricting the
options of pizza and a burger.
The logic behind the smoking
labels is similar. People who smoke
are likely aware of the health effects
of smoking and many want to quit.
But when a cigarette is actually
accessible, it's easy for an individual
to ignore that information - often
because of addiction. The new smok-
ing labels - which are much more
difficult to ignore than current warn-
ings - would serve as a reminder at
every point in the smoking process.
Consumers would see the warnings
every time they buy a pack or pull
out a cigarette. In a 2001 survey by
the Canadian Cancer Society, 44 per-
cent of smokers said that these types
of labels, which were introduced in
Canada in 2000, "increased their
motivation to quit."

But the labels don't restrict con-
sumer options. They don't place
increased financial burden on people
who smoke like a tax would, and they
don't limit where an individual can
smoke, as would a public ban.
New cigarette
labels won't restrict
consumer options.


Regardless, cigarette companies
have objected to the changes on any
grounds possible. In this case more
than any other, it won't be very con-
vincing for them to argue that these
labels place undue burden on people
who smoke.
If you look at the reader comments
for any news report about the pro-
posed labels, you will see objections
along the lines of, "What's to stop
the government from putting dead
body labels on cars and fast food?" To
this, I argue that few would consider
applying a similar policy to any other
product. According to the Center for
Disease Control, tobacco use is the
leading cause of preventable deaths
worldwide. It's for that reason that
gruesome labels have been instituted
for cigarettes, rather than any other
product, in 39 different countries.
When it comes to smoking, it's too
easy for individuals to ignore infor-
mation that would be beneficial in
the long term. The new FDA labels
seek to counteract such a trend, and
they do so without restricting any
consumer choices. They maybe grue-
some, but if they're effective they
could re-energize the fight against
smoking in the U.S.
- Jeremy Levy can be reached
at jeremlev@umich.edu.


Thoughts from the Daily: Yesterday, the FDA said it
was closing time for Four Loko and other alcoholic energy
drinks. This Prohibition-esque decision goes too far.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium.

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