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February 22, 2012 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-22

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3A

groups press EPA
on foreign ballast
Environmental groups yester-
day threatened to file another law-
suit in their long-running battle
with the federal government over
ballast water discharges from
cargo ships blamed for spreading
invasive species inthe Great Lakes
and other U.S. waters.
Representatives of five orga-
nizations issued the warning on
the final day of a public comment
period on a regulation the Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency pro-
posed last fall. It would require
oceangoing commercial vessels to
install technology strong enough
to kill at least some of the fish,
mussels and even microorganisms
such as viruses that lurk in bal-
last water before it's dumped into
harbors after ships arrive in port.
Environmentalists want tougher
standards that would leave noth-
ing alive in the vater.
Spanish crown to
reclaim treasures
The transfer of 17 tons of ship-
wreck treasure wrested away
from deep-sea explorers to the
Spanish government will be
made later this week from a U.S.
Air Force base in Florida, offi-
cials confirmed last night.
MacDill Air Force Base said
in a statement that it is cooper-
ating with Spanish government
officials in the transfer of the
594,000 silver coins and other
artifacts that were brought to
the surface off the Portuguese
coast and flown back to Tampa
by Odyssey Marine Exploration
in May 2007.
"The U.S. Air Force has an
excellent relationship with the
Spanish Air Force and we are
working closely with them to
ensure a safe and secure mis-
sion," said the brief statement,
which added that Spain is send-
ing two C-130 transport planes
to haul the cargo.
4.0 magnitude
earthquake shakes
southeast Missouri
Just days after the 200th anni-
versary of a series of massive
earthquakes in southeast Mis-
souri, residents woke up yesterday
to a rumbling reminder that they
live in one of the continent's most
active seismic areas.
The U.S. Geological Surveysaid
the epicenter of a magnitude 4.0
earthquake at 3:58 a.m. was locat-
ed near the town of East Prairie,
Mo., roughly midway between
St. Louis and Memphis. Several

people in five states - Missouri,
Illinois, Arkansas, Kentucky and
Tennessee - felt the quake, along
with scattered people in four oth-
ers, as far away as North Caro-
lina and Georgia, according to
responses to the U.S. Geological
Survey website.
Only minor damage was report-
ed, such as items falling from
shelves, broken windows, minor
cracks in walls and sidewalks, said
Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist for
the Geological Survey office in
Golden, Colo.
CARACAS, Venezuela
Chavez releases
update on cancer
President Hugo Chavez
announced yesterday that doc-
tors in Cuba found a new lesion in
the same place where a cancerous
tumor was removed last year and
said that he is not deathly ill but
will require surgery.
"It is a small lesion of about two
centimeters (less than one inch)
in diameter, very clearly visible,"
Chavez told state television from
Barinas, his home state.
The announcement thrust Ven-
ezuelan politics into new uncer-
tainty because the socialist leader
is seeking re-election this year,
hoping to extend his more than 13
years in power with a new six-year
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports

From Page 1A
meeting was not called properly
according to Regents' Bylaws
and the Michigan Open Meet-
ings Act. Newman and Richner
voted against the resolution.
According to the bylaws,
three regents or the University
president can request an emer-
gency meeting to take action
on a particular issue, but it was
unclear whether or not Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman
had declared this an emergency
meeting. In the meeting, Cole-
man said she had not formally
declared this an emergency, but
a previous e-mail sent to the
regents implied that the meeting
should be considered an emer-
gency, Regent' Laurence Deitch
(D-Bingham Farms) said.
It was unclear which three
regents had also declared the
meetingto be an emergency.
"If we're going to take a posi-
tion, we should have a public
meeting under the auspices of
the Open Meetings Act," New-
man said. "This is not that meet-
The only notification for the
meeting was an e-mail sent to
the media at 10:50 p.m. Monday,
University spokeswoman Kelly
Cunningham said. There was no

apparent postirfg of the meeting
on the regents' website or in the
Fleming Administration Build-
Suellyn Scarnecchia, the
University's vice president and
general counsel, said she thinks
the meeting is considered legal
based on the bylaws, but was
pressed on the issue by several
"The definition (of emergency)
is not provided in the bylaws, and
it is based on any opinion of the
president or three members of
the board," Scarnecchia said.
Though the issue of the
legality of the meeting was left
unresolved, Regent Laurence
Deitch (D-Bingham Farms)
proposed a resolution stating
the regents' formal opposition
to Senate Bill 971, which would
bar GSRAs from obtaining
union representation or col-
lective bargaining rights since
they would not be considered
public employees.
"Adoption of this law would
be tantamount to changing the
rules of the game in the middle of
thatgame," Deitchsaid. "To do so
would be a violation of due pro-
cess which is inconsistent with
the core values of the University."
Deitch was careful to stress
that his resolution neither
favored nor opposed the forma-
tion of the union, but instead

focused on allowing the current
process within MERC to contin-
ue without interference from the
"The regents have not, and
I emphasize, have not, taken a
position on whether the union
should win an election or not,
and we do not do so today."
Deitch said. "The regents' deci-
sion is predicated on our support
for freedom of choice for valuable
members of the university com-
Deitch's motion also instruct-
ed Cynthia Wilbanks, the Uni-
versity's vice president for
government relations, to use the
University's resources to lobby
against the bill in Lansing.
At the . meeting, Newman
expressed her opposition to the
motion and found it inappropri-
ate for the University to take a
position toward legislation in
this case.
"The idea that due process
precludes legislative action
implies a basic misunderstand-
ing of control over government,"
Newman said. "Without the
legislative policies and goals as
a framework, the MERC has no
framework at all."
Richner also opposed the
motion, stating his belief that
the University should sup-
port the legislation rather than
oppose it.

From Page 1A
The action also occurred
amid proceedings before an
administrative law judge who
is currently, hearing testimo-
ny from witnesses called by
Michigan Attorney General Bill
Schuette and Students Against
GSRA Unionization, both of
whom believe that GSRAs
should be classified as public
employees. The administrative
judge will submit a recommen-
dation on the employment sta-
tus of GSRAs to the Michigan
Employment Relations Com-
mission next month.
Rackham student Liz
Rodrigues, communications
chair for the Graduate Employ-
ees' Organization, said she
believes Senate Bill 971 is dis-
rupting the ongoing MERC pro-
ceedings and said she objects to
the subject matter of the legisla-
Rackham student Stephen
Raiman, founder of SAGU, dis-
agreed with the Rodriques' state-
ment that the bill is interfering in
the democratic process.
"It's the legislature's job to
set policy, and it's MERC's job to
interpret that policybased on law,
so it's absolutely not interfering
with MERC's decision because
MERC should be carrying out the
law that the legislature writes,"
Raiman said.
Among those who testified
against the bill were Wilbanks
and Rackham student Jeremy
Moore, a member of GEO. Engi-
neering Prof. Fawwaz Ulaby and
Rackham student Melinda Day
testified in support of the bill.
Ulaby, who was invited to
testify by Richardville's staff,
said in an interview that GSRAs
should not be allowed to unionize
given that they are students, not

"The idea of unionizing one
segment of this larger class of
graduate students is ludicrous,"
Ulaby said. "If it applies to
GSRAs, it applies to all of them,
and by extension, it applies to
all students. So the logic there
should suggest ... that we should
unionize all 40,000 students at
the University of Michigan."
Ulaby garnered some atten-
tion last month when he started
a petition directed at the Univer-
sity's Board of Regents express-
ing opposition to the GSRA
unionization. Regents Andrea
Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor)
and Andrew Richner (R- Grosse
Pointe Park) also signed the peti-
tion. Newman and Richner, the
only Republicans on the board,
also voted against the regents'
resolution at yesterday's emer-
gency meeting.
In an interview, Day said
she was pleased by the result of
today's hearing.
"I think it's the right thing,"
Day said. "I think obviously the,
situation has indicated a need to
clarify the original intent of the
Public Employment Relations
Rodrigues, on the other hand,
said she was disappointed that
the bill passed through commit-
tee, but said it was predictable
given its Republican majority.
"Clearly this is a concerning bill,
and we are disappointed that it
passed and consider it to be an
attack on GSRAs' right to have an
election," she said.
Minority Floor Leader Tupac
Hunter (D-Detroit) was one of
the two committee members
who voted against the bill. He
also proposed that the panel
wait to vote on the bill until the
MERC proceedings have con-
cluded. Hunger's resolution was
voted down by the committee.
- Daily Staff Reporter Peter
Shahin contributed to this report.

From Page 1A
His grandfather then
informed him of his undocu-
mented status, embroiling Var-
gas in a series of elaborate lies
that allowed him to obtain a
driver's license and social secu-
rity card.
"It's a dangerous thing to be
sixteen in America and realize
that the flag you've been pledg-
ing allegiance to didn't belong to
you," he said.
He added that his high school
English teacher led him to jour-
nalism, where he found security
in working and "contributing to
In 2008, Vargas was a part
of a Pulitzer Prize winning
team of journalists, which won
the award for Breaking News
Reporting for its coverage of
the 2007 Virginia Tech shoot-
ings. He also wrote an in-depth
profile of Facebook creator
Mark Zuckerberg in September
2010. Vargas, who was initially
hired by The Washington Post

in 2004, quickly rose to the
highest echelons of the journal-
ism world.
Last summer,'Vargas finally
told his story in a highly-publi-
cized article in The New York
Times Magazine to demonstrate
undocumented immigrants'
diverse backgrounds and profes-
Vargas said undocumented
immigrants paid $11.2 billion
in local and state taxes in 2010,
and 63 percent have resided in
the United States for 10 years or
Vargas added that the nature
of immigration in the United
States changed significantly over
the last 50 years.
"The interesting thing, of
course, is that most of the immi-
grants coming in the late 19th
century were white," he said.
"Most of tkie people coming to
this country since the Immigra-
tion Act of 1965 - legal and ille-
gal - have been mostly Asian
and Latino; that's the only differ-
He provided evidence that the
American population is shifting,

citing that slightly over a third
of Americans belong to minority
"It's not going to get any less
gay, any less Asian, any less
Latino or Black," he said. "The
question of how we define Amer-
ican is coming face-to-face with
a demographically changing
At the event, University of
Detroit Mercy senior Maria
Ibarra also recounted her expe-
riences as an undocumented
Ibarra moved to the United
States from Mexico when she
was 9, and she said she no longer
identifies asa Mexican citizen.
Ibarra said she had hoped to.
gain admission to the University,
but was unable to apply because
of her status as an undocunented
"I had to pretend that I was
a normal student while inside
I just felt so alone," she said. "I
felt like I didn't have a right to an
education. I didn't deserve what
my classmates were getting, and
felt that this wasn't for me."

From Page 1A
gan ballot proposal, amended
the Michigan Constitution, by
banning preferential treatment
based on race, ethnicity, sex or
national origin in gaining admis-
sion to public universities and
other public institutions.
"We will be watching what
happens at the Supreme Court,
but the University has legal obli-
gations under state law, and so
whatever happens at the central
level is unlikely to change what
we do here," Cunningham said.
Last July, the 6th Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled that the
amendment was unconstitu-
"This is a tremendous victory
for the University of Michigan,
for all of higher education, and
for the hundreds of groups and

individuals who supported us,"
University President Mary Sue
Coleman said in a press release
addressing the ruling.
Michigan Attorney Gen-
eral Bill Schuette appealed the
court's ruling, and the full 6th
Circuit will again consider the
constitutionality of the proposal
on March 7.
Former University President
Lee Bollinger, now the president
of Columbia University, was a
defendant in Grutter v. Bollinger.
He said in an interview with The
New York Times that he was
concerned about the Supreme
Court taking up the affirmative
action issue again.
"I think it's ominous," Bol-
linger told the Times. "It threat-
ens to undo several decades of
effort within higher education to
build a more integrated and just
and educationally enriched envi-

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