4A - Thursday, December 2, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
E-MAIL CAMERON AT CNEVEU@UMICH.EDU
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
CAMERON NEVEU I
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.
Big freeze from the big man
Public pay freezes shouldn't be standard solution
T hough it appears the economy is finally turning around,
it may be a while before public employees see a pay raise.
Early this week, President Barack Obama announced a
plan to freeze federal workers' wages for two years. It isn't outra-
geous to say that Michigan Governor-elect Rick Snyder may follow
his lead. Snyder has already said that he wants public employee
payments to be "comparable with the private sector." While freez-
ing wages might help balance the federal budget - and could be
implemented here in Michigan if necessary - top ranking officials
shouldn't fall back on this temporary solution.
On Monday, Obama announced a plan
to freeze federal employees' pay for the
next two years. The freeze was a response
to increasing pressure to cut compensa-
tion. While Snyder hasn't made a formal
announcement about his plans regard-
ing state employee compensation, he has
made comments about the issue during
his campaign and since his election that
indicate he will do everything he can to
fix the economy - even if it requires dif-
ficult decisions. Snyder has said that he
understands peoples' livelihood is at stake,
but that there needs to be a middle ground
between "what's comparable with the pri-
vate sector and what's financially afford-
able," according to a Nov. 18 article in The
Washington Post. Snyder has said he is
open to discussion.
Obama's decision, while difficult, was
a necessary short-term fix in light of the
current state of the economy. He explained
that getting the deficit under control is
going to require some sacrifice by govern-
ment employees. But Obama's decision was
also an attempt to create cooperation with
congressional Republicans, who will take
control of the U.S. House of Representa-
tives in January. Newly-elected Republi-
can representatives already had plans to
enact a similar plan when they take con-
trol of the House. This decision will hope-
fully decrease conflict between the liberal
president and conservative House.
The state of Michigan currently has one
of the most serious deficits in the country.
Snyder was elected on a platform of finan-
cial management. Throughout his cam-
paign, he has maintained that cuts to state
spending will be necessary to balance the
budget. But while a pay freeze is a practi-
cal and effective way to help control the
budget, it's not a great option. It is under-
standable that funding needs to be cut from
many sectors right now, but the government
needs to ensure that it is trimming fairly -
and temporarily - from each department.
Pay freezes shouldn't become a fallback
option. To create a consistently balanced
budget, Michigan will have to consider
a long-term budget overhaul - and the
federal government must reconsider its
spending and taxes, too. While pay freezes
can help to fix the current problem, the
freeze must be lifted when the economy
stabilizes and other ways of reducing the
budget deficit are implemented in its place.
Snyder was elected because he assured
voters that he could stabilize the economy
and balance the budget. Implementing pay
freezes may be a necessary component to
reduce the state deficit. But the federal
government can't allow its temporary
solutions to become permanent.
ICRAs rsJ aIJJt-(t_ BE 1C CAN36W46
CEIAO.W _!& RIVAS...
*esn*u,,s ow) HA5 TIE- 90TwEJTIAL
TO $ -TN ANs
f RIVAL Y1
A nenormouscacheofsecretUni- this unorthodox decision is "prob- (Records show that tuition for fall
versity documents was recently ably the best of both worlds. I think. 2009 increased by 5.6 percent for in-
made available to the Daily and I mean... maybe? I was the head of a state residents.)
other award-win- pizza company, LOL (sic). But I want According to one document, the
ning publications, to see where this thing goes." University of Michigan Press turned
with the excep- The job of provost, currently held down the manuscript of "Harry
tion of The Michi- by Philip J. Hanlon and long sus- Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in
gan Review, and pected to be a fictional position, is a 1997 because it "failed to adequately
the controversial fictional position. Philip J. Hanlon is, explore the plight of Muggle-born
contents are only however, a real person and belongs to wizards who apply to the Hogwarts
adding to the wide- _ the University's custodial staff. School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
spread unrest over Multiple documents and e-mails and relate it to the University's own
yet another embar- link University President Mary Sue beliefs about affirmative action."
rassing women's WILL Coleman, and previous presidents
field hockey season. before her, to the prolonged illegal
Some have ques-_GRUNDLER ownership and captivity of a wolver-
tioned the authen- ine. We at the Daily possess a very Shocking 'U'
ticity of these authentic-looking letter from past
documents. This is, of course, a bit University President Lee Bollinger, documents w ere
like questioning the authenticity of addressed to "Mary" in the year 2002,
Jesus. The documents are almost cer- which includes the following para- recently released.
tainly true, but even if they aren't - graph: "Lastly, DON'T forget to feed
and that's a very small "but" - like Bitey (sic), who prefers live mice.
maybe a 10-percent chance, is it really You will find him in the basement (of
worth the risk of eternal damna- the President's House) on most days, Aren't you glad you sat down? And
tion? Probably not. Well, maybe that unless he escapes. He's been there that's just a few of the documents.
argument doesn't make a whole lot of since the Reagan administration There are many, many more - almost
sense. At any rate, if the documents (which was a complete failure, if you 200,000 in total. As more secrets come
do turn out to be false, please voice ask me)." If true, the animal would be to light, as they undoubtedly will,
your concerns to: Jacob Smilovitz, the last known surviving wolverine in there will be those who will denounce
Editor in Chief, 420 Maynard St., the state of Michigan, making the pos- their publication by the press. But the
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, United States session a federal offense. press has a civic duty to enlighten the
of America, and demand that he get Multiple documents reveal that ignorant public. And most of the stuff
better columnists - or at the very Ted Kaczynski, or the "Unabomber," the Daily publishes is justcplain boring
least an e-mail address. wasn't removed from the alumni mail- by comparison.
Now, I don't have enough room to ing list until 2006 due to an embar- Yet those who will denounce this
include every tidbit of information, so rassing oversight. great university of ours, on the other
I'll just list the most shocking details. A memo allegedly from the Board hand, must be silenced by all means
You may want to sit down before read- of Regents and dated Jul. 18, 2009 necessary besides murder. It's a uni-
ing these. Seriously. Are you sitting confirms widespread beliefs about the versity that we all know and love. It's
down? Okay, here we go: committee's lack of touch with reality a university for which we live and die.
Contrary to the two schools of and its fondness for occult practices. It's more than a university. It's the
thought concerning the future of The first half of the memo urged the University of Michigan. It may have
Michigan football, the Athletic University to offer $3.25 billion or its share of dirty secrets but we must
Department will neither fire Rich roughly half of the current endow- stand by it at all times, good or bad,
Rod NOR keep him as head coach. ment, to the state of Michigan in rain or shine, even though, as multiple
Rather, the Michigan football team return for the Upper Peninsula, citing documents indicate, it's planning to
will simply be dissolved next season. the possible "research benefits." The phase out financial aid by 2013.
According to a leaked e-mail from second half stated that after rolling
Athletic Director David Brandon, "The Die of Knowledge" and getting a - Will Grundler is an assistant
dated Nov. 2, 2010, to each member six that the tuition should increase by editorial page editor. He can be
of his Special Planning Committee, "about that many percentage points." reached at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPEN HOUSING INTIATIVE I
A broader view of open housing
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed, passionate
writers to be columnists for the winter semester. Columnists write a
700-800 word column every other week on a topic of their choosing. If you
are an opinionated and talented writer, consider applying.
E-MAIL MICHELLE DEWITT AT DEWITTM@UMICH.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION.
EMILY ORLEY I
Keep high-speed rail on track
Ann Arbor is considered to be one of the
leading cities in the movement to go green. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of
on-site green power producers in the agency's
Green Power Partnership list ranked the city of
Ann Arbor 12th in the country this year with
about 29 percent of its electricity produced by
renewable energy. Ann Arbor is also ranked in
the top 15 most bicycle-friendly cities in Amer-
ica. But there is one environmentally-friendly
component missing from this major metropolis:
a train. While the city has a public bus system
run by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authori-
ty - and many of its buses are hybrids - it lacks
a form of multi-city public transportation. This
problem was on its way to being fixed, but there
may be a stumbling block in the plan.
In October, U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-
Mich.) announced that the state would receive
$150-million federal grant to create a high-
speed railway system. The rail would travel
from Kalamazoo to Dearborn and pass through
Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Jackson, Albion and Bat-
tle Creek. Now it appears there is a financial
block in the train's way.
According to a Tuesday annarbor.com arti-
cle, Michigan will be forced to send back its
federal funding if the state Senate doesn't agree
to allocate the required matching funds. The
state House of Representatives bill needed for
the funding was passed on Nov. 10 and is cur-
rently awaiting approval from the state Senate.
While I understand that the Michigan econo-
my isn't exactly at it's finest and that there may
not be $37 million lying around, the Senate needs
to figure out a way to scrap together the money.
Most major cities in the country have some form
of a train system. Our Midwest neighbor, Chica-
go, has had an electric rail for nearly a century.
While the high-speed rail would help many
cities around the state, Ann Arbor will greatly
benefit from the addition. Ann Arbor is a high-
traffic city. Hundreds of people commute to
Ann Arbor each day. And yes, Ann Arbor has
already established many efforts to reduce its
carbon footprint. Projects like Commuter Chal-
lenge - which encourages people to make their
daily commute on foot - and others developed
by getDowntown, which creates commuting
alternatives to driving, have helped to offer the
community eco-friendly routes. But on a day
like today, when it's below freezing and snow-
ing, I doubt that many people would decide to
walk to work instead of drive.
The high-speed rail is an essential addition
to the city. Not only will it help commuters
who travel to Ann Arbor for work or leisure, it
will also benefit students. While the airBus -
which is sponsored by the Michigan Student
Assembly - is offered before and after vacation
breaks for $7 per student, many out-of-state
students take a cab to Detroit Metro Airport
instead. Not only is that up to a $60 fare, it also
increases traffic around the holidays. With a
high-speed rail, students would be able to get
to the airport more quickly and cheaply.
Additionally, building a high-speed rail will
create many jobs. Workers from multiple cities
will need to be hired to build the tracks and peo-
ple will need to be hired to monitor the stations.
The condition of Michigan's economy is
mediocre at best. The city of Detroit, particu-
larly, has taken a huge hit by this economic
downfall. But as economist John Keynes said,
the only way to help a struggling economy is
for the government to put money back into it.
The state government needs to subscribe to
this theory. Michigan will never be revived if
it doesn't begin to incorporate more efficient
and advanced technology. The high-speed rail
will decrease air pollution, decrease traffic and
help commuters save money. It's a perfect start.
Emily Orley is a senior editorial editor.
While we truly appreciate the coverage that The Michi-
gan Daily has given to open housing, the most recent edi-
torial discussing the issue missed the substantial progress
and key conversations that the Open Housing Initiative
has been promoting over the last two years (Closed hous-
The Open Housing Initiative believes that adding the
option to choose a roommate, regardless of gender, is the
next step in honoring the history of social justice and
respecting the lived experiences of University students.
The implementation of open housing will foster a safer,
more inclusive community for those living in the residence
halls as mandated by the Living at Michigan Credo, the
University's non-discrimination policy and the Michigan
The Open Housing Initiative has made significant prog-
ress in the two years of its existence. This semester has
brought about the most significant movements forward in
the form of continued educational outreach and the report
submitted last week by the Open Housing Initiative to Uni-
The increased attention to educational outreach ele-
vated this proposed policy change to the agendas of both
the Vice President of Division of Student Affairs E. Roys-
ter Harper and Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones and
their respective advisory boards. Because Harper over-
sees University Housing and Jones oversees students, they
each hold a large stake in shaping University policy. These
conversations were not taking place at any level of the
University administration last year, so the fact that these
two advisory boards are now devoting significant time to
considering open housing and how to implement it is an
incredible step forward.
The report submitted this semester provides a detailed
outline of what policy options would bebest suited for this
campus. The report logically outlines where University
Housing is failing to abide by its own credo and the univer-
sity's non-discrimination statement. It also provides the
exact method by which University Housing can implement
the policy. This includes changes to the application process
as well as when and which students would have access.
Administrators were expecting this proposal be sub-
mitted in January 2011 because of the extensive research
and thought required to make it impactful. The fact that it
was submitted two months in advance of this expectation
allows them time to digest and analyze the proposal and
have other necessary conversations.
The Monday editorial from the Daily failed to include
these important details. For this reason, we believe it was
irresponsible for the Daily to have effectively declared
the initiative dead on arrival for next fall's on-campus
residents. The Daily should have realized that Housing
administration is not the only relevant actor involved
in the discussion regarding this important change to
University policy. The Daily should have spoken to oth-
ers involved in the conversation on open housing before
making such sweeping statements. We agree that prog-
ress on this issue has been difficult, but students have not
stopped fighting. To insinuate that we have not met our
goals is simply incorrect.
This viewpoint was written by Chris Armstrong,
Brendan Campbell, Allison Horkey and AlexSerwer
on behalf of the Open Housing Initiative.
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, Julian Toles, Laura Veith, Andrew Weiner