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September 21, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-21

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011- 5A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 5A

From Page lA
time would undergo litigation
called patent interferences, said
Rick Brandon, an associate gen-
eral counsel in the University's
Office of Technology Transfer.
But the interferences were often
so costly - sometimes upwards
of $200,000 - that one or both
investors would concede the pat-
The new reforms resolve that
dilemma through guaranteed
one-year patent reviews and ini-
tiatives, strengthening the qual-
ity of the patents, Brandon said.
"I think that overall we'll find
that it gives a lot more predict-
ability to patents," he said. "And
once you have more predictabili-
ty in the patent system ... it makes
it just a little bit easier for folks
to invest in businesses that are
dependent upon technology and
patent rights."
University students and other
young entrepreneurs could be
among the beneficiaries of the
From Page 1A
stream of students ceased, Cole-
man said she enjoyed meeting
students from every corner of
"Everybody that I talked to
really expressed delight at being
at Michigan," Coleman said.
"The new students were really
excited to be here and to find out
about campus, and the senior
students got nostalgic about
their last year."
LSA freshman Anthony
Keilani said his brother, a Uni-
versity alum, spoke highly of
Coleman and recommended that
he go to her open house.
"(It's) great that I'm con-
nected to the president of a huge
university and that she wants to
get to know me," Keilani said. "I
appreciate that, and it makes me
feel comfortable to be here."
E. Royster Harper, the Univer-
sity's vice president for student
From Page 1A
echoed Gordon's sentiments. She
said success doesn't necessarily
come with a business degree.
"If you look at some of the
major entrepreneurs that came
from (the University), I would say
they're from all parts of the Uni-
versity," Klinke said.
Though Norman didn't pursue
a business degree, he did start sev-
eral companies throughout high
school and college and developed
his latest venture in 2008. The
business, UBI, launched last week
and gathers free streaming mov-
ies and television shows onto one
comprehensive website, www.
"I realized there were lots of
different videos available online,
but it was spread across the entire
Internet so it was hard to have a
comfortable viewing," Norman
said. "So I started trying to build a
tool that would bring that into one

place, so you could watch videos in
one simple interface."
Five days after UBI launched, it
had 200 users, according to Nor-
man, who noted that the free web-
site is not yet available globally.
"One thing to bear in mind
is that our data is landlocked to
Michigan," Norman said. "If it
was a global site I'm sure it would
have already gone to 2,000 people,
but that's just done because our
publishers don't necessarily want
us throwing their video across
the world before we've proven our
In addition to UBI, Norman
has another company called First
Motoring Apparel, which special-
izes in clothing customers can
wear while driving. Norman had
the idea for First three years ago,
but officially started selling prod-

probable uptick in investments,
Brandon said.
"Because students are at least
as likely to need outside money -
outside investors - as any other
business, I think it's going to help
them the same, if not more," he
said. "They may be even more
sensitive to the need for predict-
But while Neal and Brandon
expressed optimism that the act
could benefit entrepreneurial
University students, Erik Gor-
don, a clinical assistant professor
in the Samuel Zell and Robert H.
Lurie Institute for Entrepre-
neurial Studies, said the bill
would be of little benefit to the
"little guys." Instead, he said, it
panders to the interests of large
By not mandating that appli-
cants publicly disclose their
applications until a year after
they file for a patent, the act
betrays entrepreneurs who may
be working on inventions already
submitted by corporations, Gor-
don said. He added that legal dis-
putes over patent rights would

favor large corporations over
small businesses and entrepre-
neurs, which would hinder the
growth of small companies and
therefore limit job expansion.
Still, others touted the over-
haul as an initiative that will
encourage innovation and entre-
preneurship at the University
and in the region. In addition to
the reforms of the patent system,
the act calls for the building of
the first satellite patent office in
Detroit, a milestone that Bran-
don and Stephen Forrest, vice
president of research at the Uni-
versity, called important to the
state's economic growth.
"University research is at the
core of our nation's competitive-
ness," Forrest wrote in a Sept. 16
University press release. "This
legislation clarifies and simpli-
fies the process by which many of
the most promising ideas arising
in academia are transferred to
the marketplace. It also provides
for the opening of the first satel-
lite office in Detroit, the heart of
a region that manufactures prod-
ucts for America and the world."

Assembly passes resolution
supporting Proposal 2 repeal

affairs, also attended the event
and mingled with attendees. At
one point, she handed out cook-
ies to students waiting to chat
or get their picture taken with
In an interview at the event,
Harper said occasions like the
open house allow University
administrators to remain in tune
with students' needs.
"It's important, in part,
because one of the things we
want to be careful that we don't
ever do is to get so distant from
our students that we don't know
what's going on or know what
they're experiencing," Harper
Michigan Student Assembly
President DeAndree Watson said
in an interview at the open house
that there has been a long history
of University presidents reach-
ing out to students. Watson, who
greeted students as they mingled
in the first level of Coleman's
home, said it's important for stu-
dents to know they can commu-

nicate with Coleman and other
"A lot of times the highest
level of leadership at a college
level can seem distant to stu-
dents, and these types of events
- where the president takes time
to interact with students on an
individual basis - helps bridge
that gap," Watson said.
Some students said they went
to the open house to share their
views on campus issues with
Coleman, while others said they
went to tell her more about their
student organizations.
LSA junior Charlotte Rath
said Coleman's home was "sim-
ple, but nice" and was thank-
ful for the opportunity to speak
with Coleman, even if it was for
just a few seconds.
"I came out to thank Mary Sue
for everything she's done for the
University and just for serving as
an awesome female role model,"
Rath said. "And you don't get this
opportunity very often, so it's
nice that she's doing it."

MSA backs
court decision
to overturn
affirmative action
Daily StaffReporter
Members of the Michigan Stu-
dent Assembly showed their sup-
port for race and gender-based
considerations in college admis-
sions at a MSA meeting last night
in MSA Chambers.
MSA passed a resolution at the
meeting in support of the Sixth
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's
decision in July to uphold affir-
mative action in Michigan.
Because of Proposition 2 - a
2006 statewide ballot initiative -
the University is prohibited from
considering race and gender dur-
ing the admissions process.
The resolution reads, "The
Michigan Student Assembly has
held a long-standing commit-
ment to defending affirmative
action and maintaining diversity
on our campus." The resolution
cites statistics on the drop in
minority enrollment at the Uni-
versity since affirmative action
was banned through Proposal 2.
In July, the Sixth U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals voted to over-
turn Proposal 2. However, the
courtannounced on Sept. 9 that
it will rehear its decision.
From Page 1A
and on Fridays all day, the din-
ing hall does not see as many
patrons, according to Logan.
Sitting next to DeFore on
the ground was Engineering
sophomore Andy Pekala, who
expressed safety concerns
about people eating on the
"They're blocking the exit
door, and they're blocking the
tray return," Pekala said. "That's
got to be against fire code."
Logan wrote that even
though the students eating on
the floor aren't actually violat-
ing a health code, it's "not the
kind of experience we want for
diners." He added that Univer-
sity Housing doesn't believe the
dining area reaches full capaci-
ty on a regular basis or presents
any fire hazards.
"There are ample exits from
the dining hall for those seated
plus additional patrons," Logan
However, in an interview
after the statement was released,
Logan said students occupying
floor spaces could constitute a
tripping hazard whether in an
emergency or not. If students
seated on the floor are block-
ing emergency exits, dining hall
managers are supposed to ask
them to move to a different area,
according to Logan.
"From the standpoint of the
health code and the standpoint
of the fire code, we don't see a
violation," Logan said. "But no,
we aren't happy with the fact

that students are sitting on the
Mike Lee, director of Resi-
dential Dining Services, said
North Quad's dining hall man-
agers try to alleviate the capac-

At its meeting last night,
members of the assembly were
also faced with the decision to
repeal a prior resolution to ban
water bottles on campus. How-
ever, this was rejected in a 16-10
vote, which reinforced MSA's
prior decision to move forward
with its support of banning the
sale of plastic water bottles at the
The resolution to repeal MSA's
prior decision stated the ban was
"unbecoming of this Assembly in
that representatives presented
no objections to such an other-
wise contentious resolution."
MSA Vice President Bren-
dan Campbell disagreed with
the language and said the mer-
its of the water bottle ban have
already been properly discussed
by the assembly. Wavering from
the original stance would be a
poor precedent to set, Campbell
He also reinforced his support
for the ban because of its goal to
make the University more envi-
ronmentally friendly.
"Sustainability is one of the
biggest issues on campus,"
Campbell said.
He added that while other
college campuses have imple-
mented plastic water bottle bans,
the student populations at these
schools are not as large as the
"The University of Michigan
ity problem by asking students
who are no longer eating to
vacate tables.
When asked whether North
Quad dining hall staff have a
protocol that requires them
to limit the number of people
entering the dining hall, Lee
said there is currently no such
"They're trying to work
around that by the managers
going out and moving people
out of seats and moving stu-
dents off the floor," Lee said.
Only 23 percent of lunch-
time diners and 43 percent
of evening diners are North
Quad residents, according to
card swiping data provided by
Logan. There are only about
450 students living in North
Logan said this might be a
factor in the dining hall's occu-
pancy problem since North
Quad's dining hall was intena-
ed to primarily serve the com-
plex's residents rather than
students from other halls or
non-residents with meal plans.
"I think when North Quad
was planned and designed, the
sense was that this would be
essentially a dining facility for
the residential community in
North Quad, and that its suc-
cess probably wasn't debated to
this point," Logan said. "I think
it has been a little eye-opening
for us to see how successful and
popular North Quad has been."
He added that officials
determined the size of North
Quad's dining hall based on the
space available for the building
and the need for academic and
residential areas in addition to

the dining hall.
"We made due with the
space available to us for a din-
ing facility as best as we could,"
Logan said.

has an incredible opportunity
to - and the Michigan Student
Assembly by extension - has an
incredible opportunity to lead
a movement," Campbell said.
"The idea behind this resolution
is to jumpstart the conversation
about sustainable efforts."
Despite the majority of MSA
members' views to uphold the
assembly's previous decision to
support the ban, some members
felt that not debating the original
water bottle ban resolution was a
mistake. They argued that new
MSA representatives may not
have been fully engaged in the
process because they may have
been too intimidated to object to
the resolution.
The drafted resolution stated
that the repeal would not have
been a statement on the merits
of the original resolution but
rather only a statement of desire
for more assembly discussion on
the water bottle ban. However,
the assembly widely debated the
benefits of the water bottle ban
last night.
MSA Public Health Rep.
Adam Behroozian was among
the assembly members who
advocated for MSA to retract its
support of the water bottle ban
"Students should have the
right to choose between going
green or not ..." Behroozian said.
"I think repealing the previous
resolution would be good (and
to) kind of revise it. It seems a
little extreme."
Looking toward solutions to
the problem, Logan said Uni-
versity Housing does not want
to turn students away from the
dining hall.
"Right now, what we're try-
ing to do is manage the amount
of students in the dining hall
at the time we've got them,"
Logan said. "I don't think we
would want to get into a situ-
ation where we are restricting
some students from using the'
dining hall at certain times."
Lee noted that every aca-
demic year, Residential Dining
Services monitors the use of
the dining halls and determines
each cafeteria's peak times. He
said they are carefully watch-
ing the North Quad situation.
"We have to be very cau-
tious not to have a knee-jerk
reaction to something that may
work its way as students settle
into their patterns," Lee said.
"We're always trying to moni-
tor it, find ways to address it,
which is why the managers
spend time in the dining room
at those times when we typi-
cally get a large number."
Lee added that the Hill Din-
ing Center located in Mosh-
er-Jordan Residence Hall
experienced similar problems
to North Quad when it initially
opened in 2008, but numbers
have since settled to a more
desirable level.
However, Residential Dining
Services will examine the prob-
lem at North Quad more thor-
oughly and brainstorm more
solutions if the overcrowding
does not subside soon.
"The staff has really been
working hard, managers have

been working hard, to tackle
this situation," Logan said.
"It'll be interesting to see how
this shakes out over the next
few weeks."

ucts earlier this year.
Engineering junior Dhruv
Sekhri, who is working with
Norman at UBI, said he thinks a
degree isn't necessary to succeed
in business, but the correct atti-
tude is.
"There's just certain people
who have that mindset that you
can go out there to have your own
business and get it done," Sekhri
said. "You have to believe in your-
self. You haveto do everythingyou
can to make it work. You can learn
the skill sets, but it's just all about
that mindset."
Norman said he doesn't think
earning a traditional degree in
business was necessary for him to
launch his startup.
"An MBA is just a piece of paper
that tells someone else to pay you
more," Norman said.
But for people who do want a
degree to precede their business
launch, the University is starting
a master's in entrepreneurship
program next fall. Like Norman's
areas of expertise, the master's in
entrepreneurship will be a joint
program between the College of
Engineering and the Ross School
of Business.
Some recent University alumni,
however, have started their own
businesses in fields other than the
University alum Greg Caplan,
who graduated in the spring, co-
founded oBaz, a website compa-
rable to sites such as Groupon and
LivingSocial that offer members
deals on local merchandise. How-
ever, instead of site administra-
tors choosing the deals, members
tell oBaz what they want, and a
team of employees then negotiates
deals with companies on the items
members request.
A month after launching oBaz
on Aug. 9, the site has more than
4,000 users, said Caplan, adding

that he believes it will continue
grow. Caplan said oBaz is looking
to gain more members by add-
ing specialized sections - called
aisles - to the website. Currently
there are two aisles - one for
moms and one for college stu-
Caplan has another Univer-
sity alum on his team - Andrea
Lewandowski, who also gradu-
ated in May and is the head of
marketing for the company.
Caplan, who majored in business,
and Lewndowski, who majored
in English and communications,
knew they wanted to go into busi-
ness when they left college.
Though Lewandowski and
Caplan started their business a
few months after graduating, they
don't believe their age will have an
effect on the success of oBaz.
"Age is just a number. It's not a
qualifier for what you can or can't
do," Lewandowski said.
Age certainly didn't play a
role in Caplan's view about start-
ing businesses. Like Norman, he
launched companies - includinga
T-shirt store - while he was still
in high school. Though he had
experience starting a business
before he began college, Caplan
said the things he learned while
at the University helped him start
Lewandowski said she didn't
originally plan to join a start-up
right out of college, but she knew
she would do with business.
"It was always my intention to
go into business, but I
didn't go through the
typical Ross route,"
Lewandowski said.
"When I started col-
lege I didn't ever
think of joining a
start-up, but now I'm
here, and it's a great

@nicoleaber, @dylancinti,
@brienneprusak, @hustonca,
@ylichterman, @bethanybiron



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