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February 08, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

4- Tuesday, February 8, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

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

ELAINE MORTON

E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@UMICH.EDU

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0

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

KYLE SWANSON
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.
Doubling up on diversity
State needs minority grads with science degrees
University President Mary Sue Coleman has kept the Uni-
versity's focus on a buzzword here on campus - diversity.
Recently, Coleman was in Lansing to celebrate the growth
of the Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation
initiative, which aims to increase the number of minority students
who graduate with bachelor's degrees in math, science, technology
and engineering. Increasing minority representation in universities
and emphasizing math and science education are important to the
future of the state. University leaders should continue to develop
and enlarge the MI-LSAMP while making tangible efforts toward
achieving its objectives.
Officials from the University of Michigan, engineering are important sectors to Michi-
Michigan State, Wayne State and Western gan's - not to mention the United States' -
Michigan founded the MI-LSAMP in 2005. progress. President Barack Obama made these
The program's goal was to double the num- subjects a priority in his State of the Union
ber of bachelor's degrees earned by minority address, calling for "100,000 new teachers"
students in math and science-related fields. in these fields and emphasizing that they are
According to a Feb. 3 Daily article, this com- a priority for America to be a global competi-
mitment was reiterated, and the program tor. In Michigan, graduates in science and
expanded to include nine Michigan communi- technology could help provide the state with
ty colleges, including Washtenaw Community the boost that it needs to make the transition
College. The current yearly rate of increase of from a manufacturing-based economy to a
minority students earning bachelor's degrees green technology hub that will fuel the future.
among the four founding universities is 28 Producingstudents who are employable in the
percent, but this number -'though better than 21st century is one of the University's main
many other schools over the same time frame responsibilities and a promise it's upholding
- will have to improve to meet MI-LSAMP's through programs like MI-LSAMP.
aims, according to Coleman. The University is doing its part by giving
It's encouraging that Coleman and leaders studentsthe toolsto do well through programs
of other universities are setting high standards like MI-LSAMP. Students should reciprocate
for stu Universgityisupholdi'gits aking use of the resources proyided and
pledg 'versity, by fostering arich-inteHellepursuing employment in the state of-Michi.
tual enient for students- and-providing-g an. Whether through greater diversity in
exposure Ito colleagues of starkly contrasting the workforce or economic improvement,
backgrounds and experiences. But recognizing increased underrepresented minority gradu-
the presence of underrepresented minorities ation rates in the fields of math and science is
and facilitating their academic success goes beneficial for all Americans.
beyond the classroom and into the workplace MI-LSAMP's sponsors should be applauded
by preparing students to succeed and contrib- for their efforts - the goal of doubling minor-
ute to an ailing Michigan economy. The MI- ity graduation rates in math, science, technol-
LSAMP demonstrates that the University's ogy and engineering by 2015 seems attainable
dedication to diversity doesn't end when stu- because of them. These efforts should be sus-
dentsenroll,but continues throughgraduation. tained as the University continues its efforts
Additionally, math, science, technology and to promote diversity on and off campus.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Will Butler, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Melanie Kruvelis, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Teddy Papes, Asa Smith, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

f S f 1

Afresh initiative

Healthy food is expensive.
Penny for penny, a bag of
baby carrots is going to
cost you about the same as a combo
meal from Taco
Bell. When
healthy, unpro-
cessed food is up
against fast food
one-on-one -
say, an apple ver-
sus a small order
of fries from M RY
McDonald's - DEMERY
there's more in
question than
just the immediate deliciousness of
the fries. The apple probably costs as
much, if not more. Realistically, this
makes the choice of healthy food
over fast food improbable and infre-
quent for many consumers.
This speaks to a major discrepan-
cy in America. By now it's no secret
that the economy works against
most Americans. Not everyone can
afford to choose broccoli over a
burger. In our country today, the
high cost of produce is enough to
turn millions away from the farm-
er's market, sending people back to
the fast food drive-thru. In terms
of your health, this may not make a
lot of sense, but choosing fast food
certainly seems more cost efficient.
Lowering the often inhibiting
cost of produce is one of the first
steps on the road toward better
shealth-for- all. -Access- to food -
rather than processed ingredients
- shouldn't be a luxury. All citizens
should be able to afford healthy
food, regardless of their socioeco-

nomic status. Unfortunately,there's
not a whole lot consumers can do to
change this. Making produce more
affordable to the masses is some-
thing that big companies must do.
In an unexpected move, Wal-
Mart has made making healthy
foods affordable its priority. In
January, the company announced a
plan to lower the price of produce
and to cut fat, sugar and salt lev-
els in its store brand called Great
value. In addition, Wal-Mart said
it would encourage other manufac-
turers, like Kraft, to do the same.
It's not an empty public relations
promise since the company has
deadlines. Although far away, Wal-
Mart wants everything in place by
2015. Admirable and progressive,
this is a move that isn't character-
istically Wal-Mart - a company
better known for its poor treatment
of employees and displacement of
locally-owned stores.
When I first read about Wal-
Mart's initiative, I was almost
instantly dismissive. I don't shop at
Wal-Mart. Like many Americans,
I don't care for the way Wal-Mart
treats its employees. The company's
signature swoop into small towns,
displacing locally-owned stores, is
unsettling enough to keep me away
from Wal-Mart, however low its
prices may be.
But Wal-Mart's new initiative is
a start. It's hard to deny the impor-
tance of good-health-for all Wal-
Mart pridesitself on its low prices
and caters to millions of Americans,
offering the opportunity - perhaps
more than any other superstore -

to help change our eating habits.
And that's just what Wal-Mart is
addressingwiththis newplan. Even
First Lady Michelle Obama agrees.
She was involved in planning the
project and has, for the first time,
publicly supported a single compa-
ny. Such an endorsement is mean-
ingful, especially since Obama is so
invested in nutrition and fighting
the obesity epidemic.
Healthy food
needs to be
affordable for all.
Nationwide, - Wal-Mart sells
more groceries than any other
store. Not surprisingly, it's also one
of the biggest purchasers of food
in this country. These two facts
alone grant Wal-Mart a significant
amount of power. Wal-Mart has
the ability to - and does - shape
the nation's eating habits. With
this power comes responsibility.
Despite its past failures, Wal-Mart
is tackling the obesity epidemic in a
constructive way. This alone makes
me - an avid anti-Wal-Mart girl -
want to reconsider my opinion. Any
company that addresses the obesity
epidemic on such alarge and well-
considered scale deserves notice.
-Mary Demery can be reached
at mdemery@umich.edu.

*I

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In defense. of guns

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

The Daily disregarded
the rights of embryos
TO THE DAILY:
A human being is a person regardless of
how small he or she is or how he or she is
conceived. We are deeply concerned by the
blatant disregard for the rights of the unborn
in the recent Michigan Daily editorial about
abortion (Insuring the choice, 02/03/2011).
Embryology asserts that human life begins
at conception. Furthermore, the Univer-
sity prides itself in its campaign to "Expect
Respect" from all in spite of one's physical
appearance, level of development, environ-
ment or degree of dependency. Just as we
consider a newborn infant as precious as
any adult, sotoo must we also recognize that
those in the womb deserve the same funda-
mental human rights that we possess.
According to a 2009 CNN poll, more than
60 percent of Americans don't support the
funding of abortion through taxes. The
Daily argues that a woman should have the
right to choose what she does with her body.
Shouldn't the majority of Americans who
find taxpayer-funded abortions repugnant
have the right to choose not to be involved?
Claire Levis is an LSA sophomore, Benjamin
Meyers is an LSA junior, Carmen Allen is
an LSA sophomore and Michael Haines is a
Rackham graduate student. This was written
on behalf of Students for Life.

The 'U'failed to help the
disabled after the storm
TO THE DAILY:
In regard to the article on snow travel for
disabled students (Snowstorms make campus
travel difficult for disabled, 2/4/2011), I'm a
freshman with a disability, and I have tried
various avenues to expedite the cleaning of
street corners and crosswalks. The sidewalks
were well cleaned, but when I got to the
crosswalks I couldn't cross.
So, I began contacting people. First, I con-
tacted my hall director, and she alerted the
snow plow company, and they told me they
would get right on it. Then by late Thursday
morning nothing had been done, so I con-
tacted disability services and spoke with the
director, Dan Measel, and he gave me the
snow plow number to call, but he didn't dial
them himself. I asked myself why he was ask-
ing me to dial when he is the director of dis-
ability services. I preceded to call the snow
plow company myself, and they told me they
would get on it as soon as possible.
On Friday, many street corners and cross-
walks were still a barrier of hardened snow
or a pool of slush that was impossible to get
through. I even got stuck twice for a few min-
utes each time, but luckily a couple of nice
pedestrians helped me. It isn't easy when my
wheelchair alone weighs approximately 500
pounds. This poses a dangerous situation,
should my chair tip over, and with low tem-
peratures I could have been frostbitten. After
all, if classes are going to be in session during
a blizzard when half the state is shut down, at
least have the crosswalks clean.
Rohit Kapur
LSA freshman

y father lives a pretty
safe life. He's an engi-
neer from a small town
with four children and a wife. He
rarely encoun-
ters serious dan-
ger, but he has a
permit to carry a
concealed weap-
on.
My older ,
sister also has
a concealed RACHEL
weapon permit. VAN GILDER
After she turned
21, she took the
class to obtain a CPL - a concealed
pistol license - with my father and
my brother. Because they took the
time to learn to use a weapon prop-
erly and followed the law, there's no
reason why they shouldn't be trust-
ed to carry it.
In Michigan, it's legal to carry
a weapon openly. Concealed weap-
ons are regulated by state law.
Currently, individuals with CPLs
aren't permitted in areas such as
school grounds, college classrooms
and dorms, sports arenas and hos-
pitals.
Legislation has recently been
introduced in the Michigan Sen-
ate to loosen restrictions on where
concealed weapons can be carried.
The proposal has some flaws, but
it's based on a solid concept. Adding
firearms to any situation isn't auto-
matically going to increase safety,
but trusting qualified individuals
with those firearms might.
In a Jan. 31 editorial, the
Michigan Daily argued that the
proposed legislation should be
thrown out (Rethink gun legislation,
01/31/2010). The editorial argued
that adding more firearms to a
dangerous situation makes things
worse, not better.
The Daily said in its editorial
that the shooting in Tucson, Ariz.
in early January was causing peo-
ple to think rashly. But as horrible

as that event was, it wasn't the true
impetus for the legislation. As the
Daily also noted, the sponsor of
the proposal, Sen. Mike Green (R-
Mayville), sponsored similar leg-
islation in 2000. People have been
debating the range of the Second
Amendment for decades. There
are legitimate debates about where
individuals' rights end and the con-
cern for public safety takes over.
It's clear that there are some
places that firearms shouldn't be
allowed. The Daily was right when
it pointed out that schools are one
such place. Allowing weapons to
be in close proximity to so many
children isn't a wise decision. And,
of course, we shouldn't hand out
firearms willy-nilly to any Tom,
Dick or Harry on the street. Some
gun restrictions can be reasonable
- like asking those seeking a CPL
to provide proof of residency and
not be a convicted felon or mentally
unstable. These restrictions don't
step on Second Amendment rights.
They simply ask people to approach
these rights responsibly.
But there are good reasons to
relax concealed carry restrictions,
some of which are unreasonable -
like the ban on firearms in stadiums
and arenas. In these settings, there
are people we trust with weapons
- police officers, for example. We
trust these individuals because
they've been trained to protect the
public and use a weapon conscien-
tiously."
People with CPLs also undergo
some education - they must com-
plete a course in gun safety to
apply for a license. Typically, the
people who choose to complete the
course are people who know how
to use a weapon. My father and
sister, for example, have military
training. And my father has been
using firearms for a few decades.
Admittedly, this doesn't compare
to the training cops get, but it
shows that these individuals are

thinking critically about the use of
a weapon and their obligations as a
citizen - that they're approaching
their rights with a sense of respon-
sibility.
I once asked my father why he
got a CPL. After all, the most dan-
gerous situation he faces is rush
hour traffic. He explained to me
that he made the decision because
it's better to have some people
who know how to use a weapon in
a potentially dangerous situation
than simply allow one dangerous
individual to hurt as many people
as he or she can.
Violence
shouldn't be
considered taboo.
The concerning weapons are the
ones that are illegally obtained -
either bought illegally or stolen -
or illegally concealed by unstable
individuals. There's only so much
that can be done to limit those
weapons, but we can trust stable,
legally-certified people to help pro-
tect public safety.
It's easy to think that maybe the
tragic shooting at Virginia Tech in
2007 would have led to less loss of
life if someone had been able todis-
able the shooter sooner. Not every-
one with a weapon can be trusted,
but it's better to know that some
people - like those who take the
concealed weapons training course
and know how to use their weapon
- are ready totake the responsibil-
ity to protect their fellow citizens.
Violence isn't always the answer,
but it shouldn't be taboo either.
- Rachel Van Gilder was the Daily's
editorial page editor in 2010. She can
be reached at rachelvg@umich.edu.

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