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October 11, 2011 - Image 4

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4 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

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Abortion is not genocide

4

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

NICK SPAR
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.
Invest in innovation
New initiative is beneficial to 'U' and community
University President Mary Sue Coleman has been in a giving
mood lately. A week after outlining a $14 million plan to fund
sustainability projects on campus, Coleman announced that
the University will implement another initiative - direct investment
in start-ups created by University faculty members. Investing in on-
campus start-ups demonstrates the University's economic and moral
support for its employees, and the project should be expanded to all
members of the University community.

Before I get to the spectacle
that was the two daylong
abortion-is-genocide extrav-°
aganza held on
the Diag last
week, let's talk
about the impot-
tance of the
words we choose.
The word lp
"genocide" is a
relatively recent
construct, draw- DANIEL
ing from the CHARDELL
Greek genos for
"race, kind" and
the Latin -cide for "killer."
We owe many thanks to a man
named Raphael Lemkin for coining
this term and, more importantly, for
his pioneering advocacy of interna-
tional legislation to address and pre-
vent it. As a Polish Jew and scholar
of international law, Lemkin's stud-
ies assumed much more personal
significance when he witnessed
Hitler invade Poland, demonize his
religion and murder his family on
the grounds of a twisted theory of
racial superiority.
Surviving World War II, Lem-
kin emerged as a leading proponent
of a legally binding international
agreement prohibiting genocide.
In 1948 the nascent United Nations
unanimously adopted the landmark
Convention for the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Geno-
cide - the product of Lemkin's activ-
ism and a triumph for untold millions
of victims.
Labeling abortion "genocide" is
wrong. That's not my opinion - it's
etymological fact. Lemkin arrived at
the term genocide precisely because
its roots, genos and -cide, capture the
nature of the events that he sought to
illustrate: the purposeful extermina-
tion of an ethnic group. In Lemkin's
lifetime, this meant Armenians and
Jews. Over the next several decades,
that list of victims would tragically
come to include Muslims in Bosnia,
Tutsis in Rwanda, East Timorese
under Indonesian occupation and
other groups victimized for their
shared heritage, common social iden-
tity orexpressed beliefs. Sorry, but

fetuses don't qualify.
The pro-life supporters on the
Diag were only aware of the histori-
cal implications of the word "geno-
cide" in the most superficial and
distorted ways. I say this not as a lib-
eral (which Iam) who disagrees with
their extreme political stance (which
I do), but as someone who stood on
the Diag for nearly two hours speak-
ing with the event's organizers as I
tried to figure out how they could
possibly justify equating abortion
with Nazism.
Needless to say,' I wasn't con-
vinced.
After telling the activists on the
Diag that I'm Jewish, I asked if my
being pro-choice meant that I'm the
contemporary equivalent of a Nazi.
"No," they said, "of course not!"
Why, then, were there pictures of
aborted- fetuses placed alongside
photographs of emaciated Jews?
Why was there a swastika strategi-
cally placed at the top of a sign read-
ing, "Can you connect the dots?"
Why, Students for Life, was this
sensationalist scare tactic the best
way to convey your pro-life mes-
sage? Suggesting that your peers are
complicit in genocide isn't exactly
the best way to start what Michi-
gan Daily columnist Harsha Nahata
aptly calls "meaningful debates."
Last week's display was anything
but meaningful. It was insulting -
no matter how you spin it.
Carmen Allen, president of Stu-
dents for Life, defends her organiza-
tion's decision to bring the Genocide
Awareness Project to campus by
claiming that students at the Univer-
sity are apathetic toward the issue of
abortion. That's avalid point.
But you know what else student's
are apathetic about? The socioeco-
nomic inequalities and campaigns of
misinformation that exacerbate the
number of unwanted pregnancies in
the United States. One of the repre-
sentatives from the Genocide Aware-
ness Project tried to convince me
that abstinence should be taught as
the best way to minimize unwanted
pregnancies. If teenagers didn't have
hormones, that might be true. But
let's takes look atthe facts.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry champi-
ons abstinence-only sex education.
According to a 2009 study issued
by the Texas Freedom Network, 94
percent of Texas school districts
give students no sex education
beyond abstinence. How well has
abstinence-only sex ed worked? The
Guttmacher Institute reported in
2010 that Texas has the highest teen
birth rate and the fourth-highest
teen pregnancy rate in the country.
Clearly, Mr. Perry, the young people
of Texas aren't buying it.
Don't sacrifice
decency for
shock value.
This matters. Let's get at the
source of the problem - unwanted
pregnancies. UnfortunatelyStudents
for Life doesn't seem to understand
that abortion is the consequence of
a much larger societal issue - one
that's perpetuated by extreme right-
wing politicians who are all too eager
to pander to their base and unjustifi-
ably defund Planned Parenthood. (By
the way, only 3 percent of Planned
Parenthood's services are abortion-
related.) Rather than draw attention
to underlying social issues and the
failures of abstinence-only sex ed,
Students for Life has resorted to an
easier approach: calling anyone with
whom they disagree a Nazi.
Students for Life, you're contrib-
uting directly to the erosion of our
discourse (and your own credibility)
by giving a platform to a reactionary,
fear-mongering, historically insensi-
tive group that's willing to exploit
and cheapen genocide for the sake
of its own highly politicized cause.
You're free to invite whoever you'd
like to campus. That's a right to
which you're entitled. But don't sac-
rifice decency for shock value.
-Daniel Chardell can be
reached at chardell@umich.edu.

4

4

Through an initiative called the Michigan
Investment in New Technology Startups -
referred to as MINTS - the University could
invest up to $500,000 in any start-up formed
by a faculty member. To be eligible for fund-
ing, a project must first receive funding from
an independent venture capital firm. Over
the next decade, the University projects that
it could award up to $25 million through the
initiative.
The plan perpetuates the University's status
as a leader in innovation. In the last fiscal year,
University faculty filed 122 patents and 101
licenses. Faculty have also launched about 10
companies a year in the past decade.
Similar to other investments, the University
will obtain a monetary return once a company
becomes profitable. But unlike other invest-
ments, the University is entitled to say it is
home to innovative and successful research-
ers, and it played an active role in helping these
individuals succeed. Inventors and entrepre-
neurs make an important decision about their
professional careers when they decide to work
at the University, and this initiative indicates
that work is appreciated.
Universities often invest in the most profit-
able ventures, many of which are not campus-
grown or even in the university's home state.
Money for MINTS is coming from the Uni-
versity's endowment. However, it is money
that is being reallocated to help "(diversify)

our assets," according to Coleman. Though
there is no guarantee all the start-ups the
University invests in will generate revenue,
it's necessary the University demonstrates its
support for its community.
Some universities have received large
returns from profitable, campus-grown com-
panies without directly investing in them.
However, these universities tend to be locat-
ed near places like California's Silicon valley
and Boston's Route 128, where lucrative firms
invest in local start-ups. Working in a city that
isn't flourishing financially makes it more dif-
ficult for start-ups to get off the ground.
Given Ann Arbor's geographic location and
Michigan's slow recovery from the recent
economic downturn, start-ups at the Uni-
versity may have difficulty finding investors.
It's imperative the University lends a hand.
Should these start-ups become profitable, they
will likely keep and attract talent in the state,
hire local workers and contribute to Michi-
gan's economy.
However, faculty members aren't the only
people on campus executing new and creative
concepts. When the University begins to see
returns on this investment, Coleman must
carry out her proposal to offer funding to stu-
dent start-ups as well. The University's plan
to grant funds to start-ups is a great way to
encourage new ideas and local investment, and
it should continue to expand this initiative.

4

0

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

VANESSA RYCHLINSKI I
Protect historical houses

Occupy Wall St. is raising hell

When I worked as a canvasser for a non-
profit two summers ago, I was assigned a
neighborhood in Ann Arbor's historic Old
West Side. Traversing on foot to make cold
calls at strangers' doors was often a trying
task. I was thankful, however, that I wasn't
stuck in typical suburbia - I was consistently
amazed at the variety of the houses and the
creativity of their owners.
In September 2009, the Ann Arbor City
Council approved City Place, a project that
would demolish seven century-old houses on S.
Fifth Street to make way for a set of two-block
apartment buildings containing24 units, com-
plete with a 36 space surface parking lot. The
proposal was in line with city regulations and
a refusal from City Council could've resulted
in a lawsuit.
Knowing the unpopularity of his project,
developer Alex de Parry tried to compromise
later in that same year by bringing forward a
new venture for the same area called Heritage
Row. Heritage Row not only kept the seven
houses intact by building the apartments
behind them, it also created a sub-surface
parkinggarage with a public art display. When
the choice was presented before the council,
the Germantown Neighborhood Association
- Germantown is an area south of Main Street
and includes the row of houses in question -
brought forth a petition that forced the need
for a super-majority to approve the project.
The project was subsequently turned down
- blocked by four City Council members. In
July 2010, in a last-ditch attempt to stop all
construction on the strip of houses along Fifth
Street, City Council voted to designate the
area as historic and therefore protected. The
vote failed.
Now that City Place is apparently moving
forward, the tenants of the seven houses along
Fifth Street were told on July 15 that they had
until the end of September to vacate the prem-
ises. Many of these residents are University
students. While some tenants had a clause in
their housing contracts stating their leases
may unexpectedly expire, others did not.
While some students have complied, others
insist that they were not informed - either
verbally or in their lease contract - they must
vacate. One student told me that though her
landlord told her to be out as soon as possible,
there was no way she was leaving without

proper compensation.
It's hard to look at this situation and refrain
from playing the blame game. The inimi-
cal relationship between a developer and
Ann Arbor city officials has put a century-
old streetscape under serious threat of being
destroyed. Ann Arbor residents, University
students included, are being displaced unfairly,
and in the first quarter of the school year to
make matters worse. This is a serious situation,
and it clearly didn't happen overnight. I could
point a finger at Alex de Parry and Jeff Helmin-
ski, owner of Campus village LLC of Rochester
and a partner in the project, for attempting to
build City Place. But developers have always
been destroying history to turn a profit, and
de Parry spent years trying to move forward
with Heritage Row. He even complied with city
council members' and Germantown Neighbor-
hood Association members' requests to modify
his building plans.
In the end, something very unfortunate
occurred amid the swirl of politics and proce-
dure. Certain council members decided to call
de Parry's bluff - Mike Anglin (D-Ward 5), one
of the four who blocked the Heritage Row pro-
posal, stated in September to AnnArbor.com
that developers "had that option to build City
Place,.but I don't think that's their intent." Ste-
phen Kunselman (D-Ward 3), another council
member who voted down Heritage Row, placed
the blame on the council: "The council chose
not to create a historic district to protect those
houses and they have said basically that those
houses aren't worth protecting." Kunselman
continues, saying, "the burden is on the prop-
erty owner" to "do what's right." I attempted
to contact the president of the Germantown
Neighborhood Association, who simply gave
me the name of another member. An attempt to
reach this member yielded a fullvoice mailbox.
One of the things that I love most about Ann
Arbor is its character. This city is not your typi-
cal college town, and that's something you can
see by taking a walk in any direction. Is there a
need for more student housing? From looking
at this year's freshman class, I'd say probably.
But are the Zaragon Twos and the City Places
necessarily the right answer? Probably not.
And definitely not if they come at the expense
of residents or the culture of this city.
Vanessa Rychlinski is an LSA junior.

n Aug. 27, 1963, a Gal-
lup poll revealed that
Americans disapproved

of the March
on Washington
- which took
place the next
day - at a ratio
of 3 to 1. Many
simply thought
the civil rights
leaders were
demanding too
much. Others
sympathized
with the move-

JEREMY
LEVY

ment but did not approve of their
methods.
Lately, I've encountered simi-
lar views in regard to Occupy Wall
Street - the recent set of anti-cor-
porate protests in New York's Finan-
cial District. Many think all the
protesters are nuts or that blocking
traffic in front of corporate offices
holds no purpose. But to be frank, it
doesn't matter all that much when
the public disapproves of a massive
demonstration such as the March on
Washington or Occupy Wall Street.
The pointis to raise hell, and Occupy
Wall Street is doing exactly that.
Granted, when I first read about
the movement, I was very skeptical
of its prospects. But it's been three
weeks, and Occupy Wall Street has
hardly died out - last week it held
its largest demonstration yet. With
every new headline of a police crack-
down on protesters, I wonder if this
is going to mark an important turn-
ing point for corporate politics. I
sure as hell hope so.
While it's too early in the game to
tell what the protests will amount to,
these are the plotlines I'll be looking
to follow as it proceeds:,
How will Occupy Wall Street-
organize its agenda?
Probably the most common criti-
cism of Occupy Wall Street so far is

that it has no central focus. As The
New York Times puts it, you may
ask 10 protesters about the goals of
the movement and get 10 different
answers. One slideshow from The
Atlantic showed protest signs that
were all over the place in terms of
policy - while some are fighting
for higher wages or reforms to stu-
dent loans, others are demanding
that we end capitalism or encourage
anarchy.
While these observations are cor-
rect, anyone who thinks that the
movement needs to have a clear set
of policy goals can shove it. Even if
the current goals are broad, diverse,
and sometimes contrasting, it's
abundantly clear where the common
thread lies. Our current economic
and political dogma causes tre-
mendously unequal outcomes, and
Americans are suffering because of
it. For this reason, the movement's
current slogan, "We are the 99 per-
cent" will go a long way. Still, the
question remains if a group of lead-
ers will emerge from the pack and
deal with the necessary political
hurdles to make definitive policy
changes.
'How much disruption can it
cause?
On Friday, New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg warned protest-
ers that they were antagonizing the
companies that could hire them, and
therefore, they were only hurting
the economy further. But this state-
ment misses the point.
Protesters want bigger changes
than renewed business confidence
leading to increased hiring. And to
get those changes, they need bar-
gaining leverage obtained through
public disruption. If the disruption
means business confidence remains
low in the near term, so be it.
Such strategies could likely help
other occupy, groups across the
country, such as Occupy Ann Arbor,

since holding an evening meeting in
the Diag didn't cause much of a stir.
Tea Party counterweight?
Even before last year's midterm
elections, it seemed like Republi-
cans, and especially the Tea Party,
had been calling the shots in Wash-
ington. But, as many have already
pointed out, Occupy Wall Street
feels like the Tea Party of the left.
In the short term; there's some hope
that this movement can re-energize
the Democrats' liberal base. Con-
gressional Democrats like House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have
already shown their support.
The movement's
'99 percent' will
go a long way.
In, the long run though, I
hope Occupy Wall Street can do
more. We live in a post-Reagan
political realm in which even the
Democratic presidents hedge on
conservative economic policies.
Long gone is the liberal golden
age of the 50s and 60s. I realize
this is a long shot, but ultimate-
ly, I want Occupy Wall Street to
,,succee d so liberalism can once
again be a contending force in
American politics.
Occupy Wall Street's future
is uncertain, but this statement
from former Wisconsin Demo-
cratic Sen. Russ Feingbld sums
up the outcome I'm hoping for,
"By the time this is over, it will
make the Tea Party look like ... a
tea party."
- Jeremy Levy can be reached
at jeremlev@umich.edu.

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