4A - Monday, February 6, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0
4A - Monday, February 6, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom *
Edited and managed by studentsat
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ANDREW WEINER JOSH HEALY
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
A class divided
The University must improve economic diversity
t's no secret that many University students come from wealthy
backgrounds. With high tuition prices, not everyone can afford
to attend. While it may be more difficult to admit and enroll
students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, the University
should be doing everything it can to reach out to these students
and let them know there are many financial aid options available
to them. Specifically, the University must do better to increase the
number of students who receive Pell Grants.
FROM THE PUBLIC EDITOR |
T he Michigan Daily's editorial writers and editors whose words many antagonists - all of whom will
page is a significant forum - usually fill it, editors often have to likely be offended if told that there
perhaps the most important limit political viewpoints to ensure is not enough space to permit their
platform for speech and expression adequate space for content address- second, third or fourth responses.
at the University. The Daily takes ing other important issues that stu- This isn't to say that this Middle
pride in being the voice of the stu- dents perhaps wouldn't learn about East debate does not belong on this
dents, routinely printing letters and in other ways. page. As much as I abhor the vitriol
viewpoints from students. In making that decision, the edi- that always seems to surround this
However, there is a great respon- torial page editors unquestionably debate (see the online comments
sibility undertaken by the senior steer the conversation, but this is under those four viewpoints from
editors of this paper that goes part of their job as editorial stew- the past few weeks), I recognize
beyond simply being the students' ards of the Daily's storied opinion that there are students and groups
voice. This paper has an institu- page. And as long as the steering is on campus to whom the central and
tional philosophy, and the editorial done with the best interests of this peripheral issues of that debate are
page must guide discourse toward paper's core ideals, and of free cam- very near and dear. It is part of the
that philosophy. Thus, we come pus discourse in mind, it is not just Daily's job to host a discussion that
upon somewhat competing forces - permissible, but actually necessary. is so important to at least some stu-
printing what students want to read Limiting each candidate-affiliat- dents.
(or write) about, versus selectively ed group to just one viewpoint in the But the fact remains that at some
driving the discussion toward what weeks leading up to the election is point, the news hook that revived
the Daily believes students need to an easily defensible exercise in edi- the debate will lose its pull, and the
know more about. torial stewardship. In recent weeks, Daily shouldn't allow the rabidly
I'll start with an innocuous exam- though, I was reminded of one of divisive rhetoric to continue when
ple before moving to a more difficult the more controversial examples of it's not based in news and takes away
one. editorial stewardship when I read from covering that which is actually
During the lead-up to elections a handful of viewpoints printed on news. Editorial :stewardship will
- be they student government elec- this page about Israel, Palestine and soon demand that the Daily's editors
tions or the presidential election the many people and groups who give the platform to advocates of
- the Daily receives a mountain of play roles in the Middle East debate. other issues. At that point, they will
letters and viewpoints from candi- I counted at least fourviewpoints on squarely face once again the accusa-
dates, parties and various student this topic since December - a fairly tions of "censoring" the Middle East
groups supporting a candidate or high number, given that the Daily discussion.
party. While I respect all students is often accused of censoring this But I hope this column contrib-
who choose to speak out by writing debate. utes slightly to helping readers
to a newspaper, in the lead up to elec- I commend the Daily's current understand that there is no mass
tions, there is often just too much editors for boldly choosing to show- conspiracy at the Daily, just practi-
political content being dumped on case debate on a topic where, if my cal editorial decisions.
Pell Grants are need-based federal funds
dedicated to underclassmen for student
expenses. The majority of students who
receive Pell Grants come from families who
make a household income of under $30,000
annually. Some students whose families earn
between $30,000 and $60,000 also qualify.
As the income level rises above $60,000, the
likelihood of receiving a federal Pell Grant
At the University, many students have the
privilege of coming from well-educated fam-
ilies. Of students enrolled from 2007-2009,
59 percent had a parent who had achieved a
master's degree or above, and 88 percent had
a parent who had achieved at least a bach-
elor's degree. These statistics paint an accu-
rate picture of our student body. Many of the
parents of our students are well-educated
and most likely work in professions where
they are able to adequately provide for their
Since only a very small percentage of
students come from families that have not
achieved a level of higher education, only a
few students may be eligible for Pell Grants.
Some may argue that students from wealthi-
er backgrounds are more qualified for admis-
sion to the University. However, that isn't
true. There are plenty of intelligent students
from lower socioeconomic backgrounds that
are just as qualified, yet don't think they will
ever be able to afford a university education.
The disproportionate number of students
from a lower socioeconomic class comes from
a lack of knowledge about the options avail-
able to them. The University has a responsi-
bility to help these students learn how they
can pay for their education.
In order to receive a Pell Grant, students
may not get a full scholarship to their college.
There are only a very limited number of full
scholarships available to students every year.
Without the ability to get a full scholarship,
many students who may excel at the Uni-
versity but come from a household of under
$30,000 in net income may not even apply to
the University, assuming that they won't be
able to afford it.
The University should reach out to schools
specifically located in lower socioeconomic
areas and encourage them to apply, no mat-
ter what their economic background may
be. They should also inform these potential
students of the multitude of ways they can
finance their University education.
At some point, editors have to
draw a line, because if they printed
every "Students for Hillary" or "Stu-
dents for Life" viewpoint the Daily
receives, they'd get to print almost
nothing else. And because this page
is not a billboard, but rather an
opinionated institution steered by
experience over the past eight years
is any guide, they simply cannot win.
While the advocates on all sides may
feel vindicated in having that issue
aired on this page, the Daily will at
worst, suffer epithets of being an
anti-Semitic or Zionist forum, or at
best, will lose valuable page space to
several rounds of responses from the
-The public editor is an independent
critic of the Daily, and neither the editorial
board nor the editor in chief exercise
control over the contents of his columns.
The opinions expressed do not necessarily
constitute the opinion of the Daily.
Imran Syed can be reached at
If you're going to go for it, you gotta relax and let
your imagination soar."
- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said in an interview, according to
Time.com.Gingrich said he'd like Brad Pitt to play himself in a movie about his life.
A non-inclusive bill
DANIELLE VIGNOS I
Morals of illegal downloads
As the world rapidly advances, the music
business is slowly unraveling and being
driven to oblivion. The change is inevitable,
but has been severely hastened because of
increased illegal music downloading since
the Shawn Fanning case in 2002. In the case,
Fanning, the creator of peer-to-peer file-
sharing service Napster, was sued by multi-
ple artists for freely distributing their music.
While some advocates fight to maintain the
traditional industry, there is no clear-cut
solution to this growing problem.
Despite the Recording Industry Associa-
tions of America's lawsuits, the music industry
has already changed. Since the invention of
online music databases, includinglegal sources
like iTunes, the music industry has irrevocably
changed. People no longer buy a whole album,
but rather, they buy individual songs. They
count the number of songs in a library rather
than the number of CDs on a shelf.
Here at the University, the RIAA has tar-
geted many students for peer-to-peer file
sharing. According to copyright regulations,
violators can be charged up to $250,000 per
infringement. The consequences are severe,
and students understand that the sources
are illegal - they just don't seem to care or
understand the severity of the punishment if
they are caught.
The idea that music is "free" is just too
tempting for a student who is already spend-
ing roughly $40,000 a year to attend college.
As tempting as it may be, there is no fuzzy
line between illegal and legal. If you buy it,
it's legal and if you don't, it's illegal. Sharing,
swapping or borrowing files on non-licensed
sites or burning music on CDs and giving or
selling them to friends is illegal. Despite the
seemingly harmless names, they all translate
Music costs money and people don't
want to pay the high prices. iTunes recent-
ly changed the price of a $0.99 cent song to
$1.29. Not only is this ridiculously high, but
it also makes no sense. How can a song on
a hard copy CD cost less than a song that
doesn't involve packaging, manufactur-
ing or distribution, but is simply purchased
through the Internet? If the music industry
expects people to purchase its music, they
cannot charge $1.29 for a song.
If the average student has about 5,000
songs on their music library and spent $1.29
on every single song, this adds up to $6,450.
So you are either spending $6,450 if you
choose to use legal sources or you are steal-
ing around $6,450 if you are using illegal
sources. Neither option seems desirable.
Artists also have mixed views on music
downloading. The singer Shakira, an advo-
cate for illegal downloading, told the Daily
Mail in 2009, "I like what's going on because
I feel closer to the fans and the people who
appreciate the music."
Similarly in a different era, John Lennon
said, "Music is everybody's possession. It's
only the publishers who think that people
In today's world, Lennon would likely
advocate for the free distribution of music.
This is somewhat hard to believe given the
millions of albums sold and dollars made by
Non-mainstream artists believe illegal
downloads project and publicize their music.
Some artists give permission to sites like
Last.FM and Pitchfork to freely distribute
their music. Obviously, an artist has the right
to sell or give away their music, but that must
be their decision.
When Radiohead released In Rainbows in
2007, they chose to release it online for free and
accept donations instead. People don't want to
steal, but they want a fair deal, and Radiohead
did receive donations. People respect the art-
ists and the music, but they just don't want to
pay an exorbitant price for it.
However, another group of artists believe
that illegal music downloading is ruining
the industry. "Our industry must take a very
strong position against the stealing of our
writing and music or else those writings and
music will become as cheap as the garbage in
the streets," Stevie Wonder said.
It doesn't feel like stealing if you take it
over a wire in a digital format. There is noth-
ing tangible like a candy bar taken from a
grocery store, but rather, a somewhat magi-
cal receiving and replaying of a song in a dig-
ital format. There is nothing to touch, only
the sound to embrace. As the illegal music
downloading industry continues to flourish,
the debate goes on and a solution will hope-
fully be adopted.
As for now, students must resist the temp-
tation of downloading all illegal music. As
for the music industry, it must find a way to
make a legitimate profit without gouging the
consumer. Hopefully, some place between
the two extremes can be found, so people can
enjoy music and artists can earn a living.
-Danielle Vignos is an LSA freshman.
You know there's a problem
when your elected repre-
sentatives are actively work-
ing to mandate
that the scope
now in the Mich- DANIEL
igan Legislature. CHARDELL
Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976,
discrimination on the basis of "reli-
gion, race, color, national origin, age,
sex, height, weight, familial status or
marital status" is prohibited. Notably
absent from that list are sexual orien-
tation and gender identity.
Luckily, cities like Ann Arbor and
Detroit have passed municipal ordi-
nances that extend Elliott-Larsen
to include those individuals who
remain unprotected under current
state law. According to Michigan's
constitution, this is within a city's
rights - each city and village "shall
have the power to adopt resolu-
tions and ordinances relating to its
municipal concerns." If statewide
antidiscrimination law is lacking, at
least protections are being extended
Well, not quite.
Enter state Rep. Tom McMillin
(R-Rochester Hills), the sponsor of
the draconian House Bill 5039. Intro-
duced last October, HB 5039 would
prohibit any state agency or unit of
local government from adopting any
local policies that protect groups not
covered under Elliott-Larsen such as
LGBT individuals. Furthermore, HB
5039 would nullify any existing local
ordinances protecting those groups
not covered by Elliott-Larsen. In
other words, Lansing would throw
Ann Arbor's local protections out
the window. HB 5039 also applies
to public school districts, meaning
that McMillin's proposed legislation
would invalidate and prohibit any
anti-bullying policies pertaining to
sexual orientation or gender identity.
The proposed legislation violates
Michigan's Constitution, so, in legal
terms, I'm not particularly worried
that it will hold up if passed. But I
have some broader concerns with
the principles of HB 5039 - how
it's being sold and what it means for
McMillin claims that he's simply
aiming to standardize the "patch-
work" of civil rights law in place
across Michigan. This coming from
the man who, according to LGBT
newswire Pride Source, served as
the Michigan Christian Coalition
field director from 1994 to 1997, was
instrumental in defeating Royal Oak,
LGBT-friendly Human Rights Ordi-
nance in 2000, sponsored a constitu-
tional amendment banning same-sex
marriage as Oakland County Com-
missioner in 2003 and, regarding
that same resolution, said, "I think
that the people who are caught up in
the homosexual lifestyle need help.
We encourage people to stop smok-
ing. This resolution is the same sort
He just wants to help! How con-
As an aside, excuse me for finding
it funny that McMillin also serves
as chair of the Michigan House of
Representatives Oversight, Reform
and Ethics Committee. Before that,
he was chair of the Education Com-
mittee. Ethics and education. Yes,
really. Clearly, it's the ethical respon-
sibility of elected representatives
like McMillin to show the children
of Michigan that homosexuality is -
like smoking - an unhealthy addic-
tion that, with the right regulation,
can be discouraged.
In all seriousness, I find it insult-
ing that McMillin would pass off HB
5039 as an innocent effort to stream-
line statewide civil rights, as if that
made sense, anyway. This is an effort
to reverse progress in LGBT civil
rights. McMillin shouldn't get away
with calling it anything butthat.
One week from today, on Feb. 13
at 7:00p.p., the Rochester Hills City
Council will be meeting to consider
adopting a similar resolution oppos-
ing HB 5039. This meeting is crucial.
I encourage anyone interested in
promoting equality and safeguarding
civil rights law.
civil rights to attend. Rochester Hills
is McMillin's home city. As such, it's
crucial that the City Council oppose
HB 5039, and as cities like Ann Arbor
have already done, show McMillin
that the state does itself no favors
by cutting off access to protection
University alum Ryan Lecler,
a current Law School student, is
spearheading the campaign in Roch-
ester Hills, where, after defeating
HB 5039, he also hopes to get a city
council resolution granting antidis-
crimination protection to the LGBT
With an eye to the future, let's
make this the st rt of a debate on
reforming Elliot Larsen to include
sexual orientation and gender iden-
tity. If anyone truly opposes extend-
ing antidiscrimination protections to
individuals on the basis of sexual ori-
entation and gender identity, I'd love
for you to tell me what year it is and
what country we live in.
- Daniel Chardell can be
reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Laura Argintar, Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa
Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner