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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Tuesday, September 6, 2011- 3C

Mackinac Center for Public Policy
requests Labor Studies e-mails

FOIA request
includes e-mails
between Labor
Studies employees
Editor in Chief
March 30, 2011 - A request
for public records has raised
eyebrows and caused debate for
some about the role and scope
of a sunshine law in Michigan
meant to make public entities
more transparent.
The Mackinac Center for Pub-
lic Policy recently filed requests
under Michigan's Freedom of
Information Act to obtain copies
of e-mails about the union dis-
pute in Wisconsin sent between
professors, faculty and staff
at three public universities in
The University of Michigan,
Michigan State University and
Wayne State University have
not yet responded to the FOIA
request from the Mackinac Cen-
ter, the nonpartisan, non-profit
organization in Midland, Mich.
that studies state policies that
has created discontent because of
the nature of its request, which is
focused on labor relations.
An article from Talking
Points Memo originally pub-
licized the requests on Tues-
day. According to the article,
the requests ask for all e-mails
from employees working at the
universities' centers on labor
research. Also requested were
e-mails that contain the words
"Madison," "Wisconsin," "Scott

Walker" -Wisconsin's governor
- or "Maddow" - in reference
to MSNBC talk show host Rachel
Maddow, who has reported on
the recent controversy affecting
Wisconsin labor unions.
University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald said the FOIA request
submitted to the University of
Michigan on Monday asked for
e-mails from the University's
Labor Studies Center.
According to the Talking
Points Memo article, a second
request was submitted to the
Douglas A. Fraser Center for
Workplace Issues at Wayne State
University last Friday. A third
FOIA request was sent to Michi-
gan State University's School of
Human Resources and Labor
Relations, the article states.
The records request was filed
by Ken Braun, managing editor
of Michigan Capitol Confidential
- the daily news wire service of
the Mackinac Center.
The FOIA requests to follow
the Wisconsin state Republican
Party's request for the e-mails
of University of Wisconsin Prof.
William Cronon, who publicly
criticized the state's Republican
The request was intended to
find evidence that Cronon had
violated a Wisconsin law bar-
ring state employees from using
state-funded resources, like
their work e-mail, for partisan
political purposes, according to
a March 25 article in The Chron-
icle of Higher Education.
Through several public state-
ments, the American Associa-
tion of University Professors and
American Historical Associa-
tion opposed the effort to obtain

Cronon's e-mails.
Roland Zullo, a researcher
at the University of Michigan's
Institute for Research on Labor,
Employment, and the Economy,
said the effort in Wisconsin
appears to be an attempt to go
after a professor who spoke neg-
atively about Walker.
"It seems as if what is hap-
pening here in Michigan is bor-
rowed from what is happening
in Wisconsin," Zullo said. "It
seems to be the case, but we
don't know yet for sure."
According to Mackinac Center
spokesman Michael Jahr, Michi-
gan Capitol Confidential has used
the FOIA apolitically, with sever-
al recent stories generated from
or assisted by FOIA requests.
"The center has used Free-
dom of Information requests
extremely effectively for a num-
ber of years both for research
and analysis and investigative
reporting," Jahr said in an inter-
view with The Michigan Daily.
Based on this history, he said
he was surprised people reacted
to the requests without inquir-
ing about the reasons behind it.
Jahr said he didn't anticipate
any public reaction before a
story had been written and was
unsure why other media sources
reported solely on the request
for information.
"I've worked at a number of
media outlets over the years," he
"And it does seem to be unprec-
edented - the reactions and the
Jahr refused to comment on
the content or reasoning behind
the FOIA request.
"I won't be able to speak to the

specifics of it until we have the
information and hopefully a story
to go with it," he said.
Fitzgerald said he also thinks
the media coverage is strange.
"I'm as perplexed as anyone
as to why there's so much media
attention being made to a request
for information," he said. "That's
unusual. Most of these things
don't happen in the media spot-
light. We don't know what the
record search will show, if any-
thing, at this point."
Zullo said the tactic of asking
for information from faculty at
a higher education institution is
somewhat baffling to him.
"It is an interesting sort of
political phenomenon for a think
tank to ask for this sort of infor-
mation from faculty at a univer-
sity," he said.
Zullo said there isa level of dis-
comfort with information being
requested in this manner for a
faculty members.
"The real risk here is that
e-mail is given out and basically
cherry picked for statements that
will attempt to embarrass or dis-
credit a faculty member," he said.
Zullo added that the work Uni-
versity faculty members partake
in is in support of workers, work-
er's rights and collective bargain-
"It's certainly possible to take
some of the messages, pluck
things out of context and have
them used against us in some
way," he said. "And that, I guess,
would be the biggest concern."
Fitzgerald said the recent
request will undergo the same
process as the hundreds of other
requests received by the Univer-
sity each year.

Students gather in Pierpont Commons for a "North Campus Rant," addressing
their concerns about North. April 6, 2011.
Students discuss
desired changes
to North Campus

University releases admission statistics

Officials note
'surprising' increase
in applicants for
class of 15
ManagingNews Editor
July 16, 2011 - For the fifth
consecutive year, the Univer-
sity received a record number
of applications from students
hoping to attend the University
in the fall - 39,570 applicants
compared to last year's 31,613,
according to University Provost
Philip Hanlon.
"Because the University of
Michigan went to the Common
App this year, we anticipated
some increase in application
numbers, but I was surprised by
the growth in application num-
bers that we have actually expe-
rienced," Hanlon wrote.
He added that the prestige of
the University and the value of
receiving a degree from the Uni-

versity draw students to apply.
"This surge in applications,
particularly from non-residents,
is one more sign that students
and parents across the country
recognize the value of a Univer-
sity of Michigan degree," Han-
lon wrote.
Ted Spencer, associate vice
provost and executive director
of Undergraduate Admissions,
said the University expected an
increase in applicants when they
joined the Common App since
other schools that made the
switch over the years have seen
between a 6-percent and 30-per-
cent increase.
Spencer added that while the
website makes it easy for stu-
dents to apply to many schools
at once, it's not the only reason
for the increase. In fact, Spencer
said the University has seen a
surge in applicants for 10 years
prior to when they switched to
the new application.
The University's academic
reputation makes people want to
apply, Spencer said, and over the
past several years the greatest

increase in applicants has been
among out-of-state students.
"Michigan has an outstand-
ing academic reputation. We
have outstanding faculty, we
have outstanding facilities and
we have outstanding students,"
he said.
Furthermore, the Univer-
sity's more than 300 majors and
approximately 3,000 courses
are a "big draw" to high school
seniors looking to apply to col-
lege, Spender said.
He added the increase in
financial aid - namely the $137
million increase the Universi-
ty's Board of Regents approved
this year in light of state budget
cuts to higher education - also
serves as an incentive for stu-
dents to apply to the University.
"Anything we can do to
reduce the cost of an education
is an incentive," Spencer said. "It
can't do anything but help."
Due to these incentives, the
University is expecting the
entering class to be about 5,970
students - approximately 500
students less than last year,

Spencer said.
As of June, 16,046 appli-
cants were offered admission
and 6,540 paid the enrollment
deposit, but even those who paid
the deposit may not choose to
attend the University in the fall,
according to a July 13 University
press release.
The press release also said
admissions are based on a holis-
tic review of the individualized
information received about each
applicant, including the high
schools students attend and if
those schools are not already
significantly represented at the
The University received 4,265
applications from underrepre-
sented minority students.- a
14.8-percent increase from last
year - and 1,576 were offered
admission, which is a decrease
of 3.7 percent, according to the
The University will announce
the final statistics as well as an
analysis of applicants by race,
gender and other specifies in
October, the release said.

'North Campus
Rant' addresses
social events
April 6, 2011 - Location, loca-,
tion, location was the catch-
phrase for a small group of
students who came to "rant" on
North Campus last night.
About 15 students attended
"The North Campus Rant: The
Good, The Bad, and The Dude!"
- a University event where stu-
dents were encouraged to express
their likes, dislikes and ideas for
improving North Campus. The
most common desires students
expressed to see in the campus's
future are more social activi-
ties, efficient transportation and
accessibility to resources.
Student and staff volunteers
who facilitated the event at Pier-
pont Commons sat down with
the students to discuss the area
that some students refer to as a
'satellite campus." The volun-
teers were gathering data for the
North Campus Initiative, a proj-
ect started by Royster Harper,
the University's vice president
for student affairs, which intends
to find ways to make North Cam-
pus more attractive for students.
Loren Rullman, the Univer-
sity's associate vice president for
student affairs, said in an inter-
view at the event that he admires
the vast amount of academic and
artistic activities that take place
on North Campus.
"There's lots of incredible
research going on here. Students
are engaged," Rullman said. "I
think of this campus as an expres-
sive campus ... It's acampus where
things are beingmade."
However, Rullman said North
Campus has some problems,
which students have complained
about, including transportation
to and from the area and accessi-
bility to buildings. He added that
some facilities on-North Campus
need updates.
"We know that our recreation-

al sports facilities need improve-
ment," Rulman said. "We hear
that from students."
Public Policy senior Stephanie
Parrish, a facilitator at the event,
said getting to North Campus
can be a hassle.
"There's not a convenient way
to get to the things that are hap-
pening," Parrish said. "If you
have a busy schedule, and you
have an hour, it's not worth it to
ride the 20-minute bus ride."
It's important North Campus
is "rebranded," Parrish said.
"It's a culture change," Parrish
said. "... There's already that cul-
ture that North Campus is weird
and far."
Kinesiology senior Andrew
Benintende said he goes to North
Campus because it has quiet
study spaces. However, many of
the buildings he likes to frequent
aren't accessible to non-engi-
neering students.
"Open up those buildings,"
Benintende said. "You can't get
in here on the weekends."
LSA senior Cameron McK-
night said she regularly enjoys
the fine arts shows on North
Campus, but is concerned the
events aren't widely promoted.
"I've never seen an advertise-
ment for one that I remember,"
McKnight said.
She added that more parking
on North Campus would encour-
age upperclassmen to make the
Public Policy junior Chris
Sorenson said he thinksthe cam-
pus should have more activities
for students.
"I think one way to increase
the liveliness of North Campus
is to add social events," Sorenson
Elizabeth Zollweg, project
manager of the North Campus
Initiative, said she thinks the
event drew only a small crowd
since it was planned recently,
leaving the group little time to
fully market the event. Despite
the low turnout, Zollweg said it
was important to hold the event
before students began to study
for finals and became too busy.
- Andrew Schulman
contributed to this report.

Sunday, Sept11
1-3 PM
4th Forum Hall,
Palmer Commons
Any major welcome

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