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November 22, 2011 - Image 4

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4 - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 481i09
tCthedaily@michigandaily.com
MICHELLE DEWITT
STEPHANIE STEINBERG and EMILY ORLEY NICK SPAR
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS 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.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
FROMT H EDA ILY
Drive eiciency forward
Congress should pass new CAFE standards.
Last Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official-
ly released a proposal to hike fuel economy standards to 54.5
miles per gallon by 2025. The plan should be embraced by all par-
ties and lawmakers should work toward making the United States a

FOLLOW DAILY OPINION ON TWITTER
Keep up with columnists, read Daily editorials, view cartoons and join in the debate.
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Como se dice, globalization?

e tend to use the term
"globalization" liberally,
but what does it really

mean? We don't
have to look any
further than our
own campus to
find the answer.
The Institute
of Internation-
al Education
reports that,
the University
ranks eighth in
the country for
the number of

DANIEL
CIIARDELL

leader in energy efficiency.
Wednesday's announcement came after the
Obama administration and automakers agreed
in principle to the plan last July. This is well
over a 50-percent increase since the Energy
Independence and Security Act of2007, which
mandated that the national mileage reach 35.
miles per gallon by 2020.
The average fuel economy standard in the
U.S. has been stuck at 27.5 miles per gallon
since the mid-1980s. The European Union
and countries like Japan have average rates
of at least 45 mpg, starkly contrasting the
Corporate Average Fuel Economy in the U.S.
Though President Barack Obama has yet to
fulfill promises to cut down on foreign energy
dependence and oil consumption, the admin-
istration has begun making strides toward
raising the fuel-efficiency standard.
It's crucial that Congress takes steps to
reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Making
automobiles more fuel efficient would greatly
impactthese efforts. Moreover, the proposal is
in line with additional efforts made by the U.S.
EPA to cut down on motor vehicle emissions,
which is a major contributor to greenhouse
gases. Gas exhaust has undesirable effects on
the environment and public health. Factors
such as toxic hydrocarbons and solid particu-
lates contribute to air pollution A escalating a
varietyof diseases includingsome cancers.
Many foreign car companies including
Daimler AG, BMW AG, Jaguar Land Rover
and Porsche AG choose to violate CAFE
requirements and pay millions of dollars in

fines as a result. Volkswagen AG has been
especially vocal against raising fuel-efficiency
standards, while Ford Motor Company, Chrys-
ler Group and General Motors have come out
in support of the proposal, saying 54.5 mpg is
an achievable goal.
Taxes on gas-guzzling vehicles are proving
ineffective at gaining cooperation from auto-
manufacturers. Companies are happy to pay
the fines for noncompliance because the fees
are less costly than investing in new technolo-
gies. In orderto enforce the new national stan-
dard, the Obama administration should follow
theleadofother EuropeanandAsiancountries.
Different measures need to be implemented
to promote fuel-efficiency - fiscal incentives
could be provided for companies that comply,
and tax relief could be awarded according to
efficiency and lower emission rates.
The U.S. is the world's largest market for
passenger vehicles. Therefore, corporations
have a responsibility to do the best they can
for the environment, economy and health of
their consumers. It's in the country's best
interest to cut down on energy consump-
tion - if the proposed rates do take effect by
the projected date, the country will use 2.2
million fewer barrels of oil each day. CAFE
standards needoto respond to pressuresnof
the present. In a global economy, it's of the
utmost importance that U.S. automakers can
compete with their foreign counterparts in a
market that is becoming increasingly envi-
ronmentally conscious.

international students studying
on campus. During the 2010-2011
academic year, this amounted to
5,995 students coming to the Uni-
versity from around the world. A
2010 statistical report released by
the University of Michigan Inter-
national Center shows that inter-
national student enrollment has
steadily increased each year. This
is reflective of a broader nation-
al trend. According to the IIE's
annual Open Doors report, foreign
student enrollment in the United
States increased by 5 percent over
the past year. To put that in per-
spective, there are 32 percent more
international students studying in
the U.S. today than there were one
decade ago.
These statistics speak for them-
selves. Anyone who still believes
that isolation from the world out-
side U.S. borders is a viable option is
simply delusional. As with econom-
ics and politics, higher education is
yet another venue in which people
from opposite sides of the globe now
interact on a daily basis.
But let's not get lost in the num-
bers or cliche abstractions. Like the
ever-elusive "diversity," it's easier
for us to frame foreign students as
if they were merely a data point or a
homogenous demographic and easi-
er to deem all international students
"non-American" rather than invest
the time to learn what makes their
respective cultures unique from one
another. For American students and
native English speakers, the more
difficult (and urgent) task is to learn
how to communicate with and learn
from the international students

with whom we interact each day.
Their presence should be a constant
reminder that we live in an increas-
ingly global society. Perhaps the
best way to act upon this is learning
another language.
Which brings me to my unfortu-
nate point: The University's foreign
language requirement is inadequate.
In the University's largest school,
LSA, fourth-term proficiency in a
language other than English is nec-
essary for graduation. For students
pursuing concentrations in interna-
tional studies or specific area studies
programs, sixth-term proficiency is
required.
Are four to six courses enough to
ascertain a new language? Unfortu-
nately, I'd have to say no. As in most
schools, basic language courses at
the University consist of hour-long
sessions that meet anywhere from
three to five times each week in a
formal classroom setting. That's not
really the issue. The true problem
lies in the fact that, as soon as stu-
dents step outside the classroom,
they revert back to English. As long
as we still study at the University, we
can't escape the fact that we live in
an English-speakingsociety. English
inevitably interferes with foreign
language acquisition.
For some students, that is perfect-
ly all right. They consider the foreign
language requirement a burden and
a distraction from their concentra-
tion. But for those who genuinely
wish to master a new language, it.
quickly becomes clear that our cur-
rent system of foreign language
instruction isn't conducive to actual
proficiency. Intro courses certainly
provide the necessary foundations
- grammar, vocabulary, cultural
awareness - that are requisite to
long-term language acquisition, but
they fall short of supplying students
with the tools they need in order to
carry on an intelligent conversation
with a native speaker.
The best remedy would of course
be studying abroad. Immersing one-
self in a foreign language and culture
is proven to be the most effective
means of language acquisition and
long-term retention. The University
has exceptional resources for stu-
dents interested in studying abroad,

and I would encourage all to consid-
er this option.
Nonetheless, the University can
still improve things here on campus.
For instance, departments should
offer more semester- or year-long
intensive language courses. Inten-
sive language classes represent the
best available alternative to actual
immersion abroad. Having taken
intensive first-year Russian, I can
attest to the fact that intensive
courses do wonders for language
acquisition.

6

U' should focus
more on foreign
languages.
Students in the Residential Col-
lege are required to complete an
intensive foreign language program,
which allows them to satisfy their
LSA language requirement faster.
With an emphasis on speaking, RC
students also gain superior con-
versational proficiency. Keeping in
mind that students are often wary
of devoting so many credits to one
class, undergraduates should be
encouraged, not steered away, from
pursuing intensive foreign language
coursework.
Foreign languages are tough. We
should recognize this, reward stu-
dents who pursu.e languages beyond
the LSA requirement and reinforce
the fact that foreign language com-
petency makes students more com-
petitive in the job market following
graduation. The University would
do itself a favor by investing in more
intensive foreign language pro-
grams and encouraging all students
to achieve full language proficiency
- something that can't be achieved
at the current low standards. In the
future, when globalization.is old
news and foreign language skills are
valued above all else, we'll be thank-
ful that our University expected the
most of us.
- Daniel Chardell can be
reached at chardell@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Caroline Syms, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
JESSE CARR l EWOIT
A false illusion of safety

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. We do not print anonymous
letters. Send letters to tothedaily@michigandaily.com
DAVID GREEN|VIEWPOINT
Make crime alerts more descriptive

I write to draw the campus community's
attention to a pair of articles that recently
appeared in the online edition of The Michi-
gan Daily.
"Students talk racial profiling in Depart-
ment of Public Safety alerts" describes a town
hall meeting where students of color gathered
to share their experiences of being randomly
stopped, interrogated and searched by DPS
officers. The town hall meeting was called by
Students of Color of Rackham in response to
an especially problematic alert that described
an alleged offender as a black man who was
either "bald or with dreadlocks" - a vague and
contradictory description that makes it easier
to engage in racial profiling.
DPS Chief Greg O'Dell explained to the
frustrated town hall audience that alerts had
to go out quickly in order to comply with the
Clery Act, and therefore officers don't have
time to procure more detailed descriptions or
reconcile contradictions. In light of this, I was
surprised to see a second article titled "Days
later, DPS alerts East Quad of sexual assault."
This article describes an incident of sexual
assault that was not reported to the cam-
pus until 10 days after the fact because DPS
didn't think the incident represented a serious
threat.
Taken together, these articles expose seri-
ous flaws in the University's crime alert sys-
tem, namely that they exacerbate the problem
of racial profiling and simultaneously mini-
mize the problem of sexual violence. Last
week's town hall organizers presented data
on four years of crime alerts - showing that
more than half of these alerts involved alleged
crimes perpetrated by black men. This figure
is wildly disproportionate to the population of
black men who attend the University or reside
in the larger Ann Arbor community. The cause
of this disproportionate reporting pattern is
not clear, but the effects are undeniable: Stu-
dents of color (especially African-American
men) face racial profiling, which makes them
feel less safe on campus.
If you have never experienced the fear and

shame that comes with being interrogated by
police while you are minding your own busi-
ness in the library, racial profiling might seem
minor compared to the issue of safety. But do
crime alerts ensure safety? When it comes to
sexual violence, these alerts might actually
leave us underprepared.
Last week's unreported East Quad Resi-
dence Hall incident is just one example. It's
likely that more students on campus have
experienced date rape or acquaintance rape
than have been attacked by a stranger in East
Quad, but we never get crime alerts about
those incidents either. On the other hand, we
frequently get crime alerts about stranger-
assaults (and half of these alerts feature black
men). This leads to a situation where many
students feel instinctively fearful when they
see an unfamiliar black man approaching on
the sidewalk, even though chances are this
person is probably just another student on
their way home from a late night study session.
What few students realize is that the pushy
guy who keeps bringing you drinks at a party,
or who implies he is owed sex because he paid
for your meal, is a much more likely source of
violence than the stranger on the street. Crime
alerts give us a false illusion of safety, making
usoverlyfearful insituationsthatare probably
safe and overly complacent in situations where
we might actually be in danger.
The Clery Act and the crime alert system
are certainly well intentioned - buthave rates
of sexual violence (or any other type of vio-
lence) actually decreased as a result of these
policies? All students deserve a safe campus
where they can learn, live, work and play
without being subject to violence. We deserve
initiatives that address root causes of violence
like challenging pervasive rape culture. We
deserve strategies for addressing violence that
don't perpetuate racial profiling, which is a
form of violence itself. If the Clery Act and the
crime alert system don't provide this, it's time
to develop effective alternatives that will.
Jesse Carr is a Rackham student.

On Nov.11, a number of concerned University students,
faculty, administrators, staff and representatives from
the University's Department of Public Safety convened at
the Law School to discuss an issue critical to our current
reality in Ann Arbor: race, racism and safety. What led to
the organization of the town hall meeting was a rather
dubious crime alert which described a black male suspect
as being "bald or with dread locks" and wearing either an
"orange, red or black" sweatshirt.
Now, anyone in their rightmind knowsthat it's impos-
sible to confuse a baldhead with dread locks. This vague
description fits a number of black men who attend the
University, myself included - a black male Ph.D. student
with no criminal record, whose academic merit at the
University of Florida and the University of Wisconsin-
Madison rightfully earned a space here at the University
of Michigan three years ago. These and other similar
alerts lack a specificity that could lead to apprehending
the suspect.
My central concern, however, is that this description
and the medium it was pipelined through - via e-mail
- results in a unique practice of racial profiling that per-
petually typecasts African-American men as pathologi-
cal menaces to Ann Arbor's society. I call this practice
viral racism because, like a virus, these descriptions
spread through the University system and thus pei-
petuate a gendered formation of blackness that's inher-
ently criminal and deviant. This viral racism is a subtle
practice of racial profiling that's legally and federally
protected in the name of campus "safety" vis-a-vis the
Clery Act.
While the town hall meeting and its reception were
positive; students' responses to The Michigan Daily's
coverage of the meeting deserve critical attention. These
comments were accusatory and representative of racial
politics endemic to the University's campus climate -
racial politics that can perhaps explain why students
of color do not feel comfortable at the University. Com-
ments attacked Philosophy Prof. Elizabeth Anderson
with counterproductive personal attack, calling her an
idiot and a moron because she dared to challenge the
need of race as a descriptor in DPS crime alerts. Critics of
Anderson take race for granted as a descriptive category,
unfazed even by vague descriptions as "baldhead or with
dreadlocks." Iam disturbed by the fact that of those who

condemned Anderson, none were willing to acknowledge
this appalling crime alert description.
Indeed, there were a number of comments that failed
to comprehend the history of race and racial profiling
endemic to Ann Arbor and the United States. Critical
to this discussion is the racialization and regulation of
"safety" on campus. What body of students benefit from
safety and at whose expense? This was the question that
town hall participants addressed. DPS crime alerts pro-
vided a platform to discuss privilege and power, as well
as pathology and marginalization.
Let us all be more conscious of the crime alerts. At
the town hall meeting, archival research was presented
of crime alerts, from 2007 to 2011, as opposed to those
reported in the Daily's report and issued by DPS, which
only represented a few short months of data. This method
was done to highlight a politics of disproportion whereby,
according to 2010 U.S. Census data and University demo-
graphics, the total number of black men who attend the
University and those who reside in Ann Arbor was sub-
stantially less than reported percentages in said-crime-
alerts1n 2010,3.28 pecient of men at the University were
black; and the total number of black male residents in
Ann Arbor was less than 7.7 percent. Between November
2007 and October 2011, 62 incidents provided descrip-
tions of the suspect whereby black men represented 48.3
percent of alleged offenders. Men of color (including
Latino, Asian, black and mix raced) comprised 51.5 per-
cent of these descriptions.
What factors explain this disproportionate reporting
pattern?
Instead of attacking town hall organizers and panel-
ists, it's time to institute social and institutional change
here atthe University.
I will close in an attempt to capture the essence of
Anderson's presentation. Anderson's central questions,
cogently articulated throughout her presentation, were:
Why are we so obsessed with race in this country? What
value, or added value, does race have - particularly for
those with access to institutional power compared to
those who do not? She argued that if race is important
and necessary, then we ought to be more diligent and
ethical in the transfer of reportage.
David Green is a Rackham student.

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