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March 14, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-14

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4A - Wednesday, March 14 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Wednesday, March 142012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C Ibe 1iian 4E)aU*j
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynatd St.
Ann Arbot, MI 48109
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.
Ask their orientation
Question helps meet all students' needs
he University has the important responsibility of serving
every student as best as it can. To assess students' needs as
accurately as possible, students at the University of Califor-
nia, Los Angeles are suggesting that the university give students
the option to identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or trans-
gender on their intent to register form. Obtaining more informa-
tion about the size and needs of the LGBTQ community will allow
UCLA to better serve these students. A similar program should be
adopted on our own campus to learn more about and include this
group of students.

The Academic Senate at UCLA proposed
that a question be asked on the intent to regis-
ter form that gives students the option to dis-
close their sexual identity. The University of
California Board of Admissions and Relations
with Schools is currently debating the issue.
The data would be collected from incoming
freshmen and transfer students, but because
the question is optional, some students may
choose not to respond or to answer incorrect-
ly, slightly skewing results. However, many
students believe having incoming students
answer this question could provide valuable
information for the university.
Statistics that determine what percentage
of university students identify as LGBTQ are
limited and are usually not based on quantita-
tive data. Here at the University of Michigan
- and at most other colleges - estimates are
made as to what percentage of students iden-
tify as LGBTQ, but there is no way to support
these estimates. Many believe thatthe number
of LGBTQ students has been underestimated,
and finding out a more concrete percentage
would validate their cause. If a student feels
uncomfortable answering the question, they
will not be forced to do so.
Universities already ask students what race
they identify as, so asking students to identify
their sexual orientation would help serve the
needs of another minority group. Living and

learning communities for the LGBTQ com-
munity could be offered to create a safe envi-
ronment for these students, similar to African
American or science students' communities
offered at UCLA. More LGBTQ-friendly resi-
dence halls could be created as well. When
LGBTQ students enter college, they would
have the opportunity to meet with other stu-
dents like them and learn from their college
experiences if they desire.
The University should be commended for
providing accessible resources for LGBTQ
students. The University hosts the Spectrum
Center, which gives students the opportu-
nity to participate in open forums and receive
assistance as needed. All universities should
have resources like these in place to help stu-
dents become comfortable with their identi-
ties and provide help for them if needed.
It is essential that universities cater to
students' needs so that they receive the best
education and college experience as possible.
By including an optional question asking stu-
dents if they identify as LGBT, universities
would be better equipped with more accurate
data to provide essential resources for this
community. Identifying as LGBT will hope-
fully be viewed as simply a demographic ques-
tion, and if treated as such, the stigma that
surrounds the issue may be one step closer to
becoming obsolete.

You need something unusual to go your way."
- Augsburg College Math Prof. Michael Weimerskirch said on the
need to take risks when crafting a successful March Madness bracket.
The truth about 2012
L ast Thursday, I got an e-mail that the world hadn't stopped spin- field. It turns out that this isn't even
from the Department of ning. I'm sure that was somewhere kind of true. There's no scientific
Engineering, warning on SSW's list of possible fallouts evidence that such a shift will occur
against possible from the storm. Though the solar in December 2012 or that it could be
hazards associ- storm did hit the globe, its effects caused by solar storms. A swing in
ated with the were minimal. the magnetic field does occur about
Solar Storm of In the past, the storms have been every half million years, but "even if
the Century. Not known to interfere with electrical it did shift, it would take thousands
knowing much grids and satellites - in 1989 a solar of years to do so," giving everyone
about the topic, storm caused an electrical grid fail- plenty of time to change the N to an
I followed the ure in Quebec, rendering nearly 6 S on their compass.
link contained million people powerless. The tech-
in the e-mail and JOE nological advances in those areas,
was shocked to SUGIYAMA however, have given these systems
discover that the capacity to overcome celestial The scare tactics
the world as we interference. Also, it turns out that
know it was heading back into the this Storm of the Century occurs are starting to
dark ages. about every 11 years or so - making
The website, Solar Storm Warn- them about as rare as a high school get old.
ing, preached of the upcom- reunion.
ing global catastrophe with I enjoy a doomsday prophecy just
masses of pointless charts and as much as the next guy, but enough
blinking graphics. The degree of is enough. The whole concept of the Yeomans also touches on topics
fear-mongering that went into cre- 2012 Mayan apocalypse has been like solar flares and disastrous plane-
ating this website is truly impres- overplayed and according to NASA, tary alignments. He proceeds to shut
sive. SSW clearly spelled out - in planetary collisions, magnetic field down any lingering fear that such
bold red text, so you know they're shifts and solar flares aren't the end a cosmic event could have any - let
serious - how to prepare for the for our world. alone apocalyptic - repercussions.
yearlong power outages and the In light of the recent publicity for Each is a naturally occurring event in
shift in the earth's magnetic field the various ways our world's going our solar system and poses no threat
by stocking up on canned food and to end, NASA released a video to to our planet or to human health.
bottled water in their Solar Storm dispel the obscene notion of the It seems that the world won't end
Survival Guide. It was pretty much 2012 apocalypse. on Dec. 21 - much to the chagrin of
everything a person who's watched Don Yeomans, leader of the Near- websites like SSW - and it's time for
Apocalypse Week on the History Earth Objects Program Office at those would-be prophets out there to
Channel would expect. NASA, explains that there is no mas- stop with the scare tactics. It's get-
Despite the inclination to dis- sive planet set to collide with Earth ting old. To those who think they're
believe everything SSW has to say, this December and if there was, it right about the end of the world:
solar storms are real. They stem would be relatively easy to spot.Yeo- What's the point of lingering on such
from solar flares of subatomic par- mans points out that "thousands of a morbid thought? Let's focus on
ticles on the surface of the sun. astronomers who scan the sky on a ways we can tangibly improve our
The energy released through these daily basis haven't seen this [rouge world - like protecting the environ-
flares blast the Earth with solar planet]." He also dismisses the idea ment and reducing our carbon foot-
storms, which can affect GPS sys- that these astronomers have some- print - instead of concentrating on
tems and power grids. how managed to keep the impend- how it's going to end.
Now, I had planned on waking ing doom of our planet under wraps
early on Friday to observe the mad- over the years.
ness first-hand, but hey, it was a SSW warned that the solar storm - Joe Sugiyama can be reached at
Friday. So when I woke at the crack had the capability to cause an jmsugi@umich.edu. Follow him on
of noon, I was shocked to discover abrupt shift in the Earth's magnetic Twitter at @JoeSugiyama.
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints. Letters should be fewer
than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words. Both must include the writer's full
name and University affiliation. Send submissions to tothedaily@michigandaily.com
Gupta brings hope





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
Speak up for change

The ability to be an informed and active
member of campus affairs is a privilege I'm
glad to have. As an Engineering student and
a member of several student organizations,
I certainly care deeply about how things are
run at the University, be it in my department,
within my organizations or as a whole. But
I've found that many students across campus,
regardless of their background or involve-
ment, remain apathetic about campus affairs.
And I've never been too sure of why that is.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending
a panel discussion hosted by the University's
Engineering Council - the College of Engi-
neering's student government - that talked
about student activism. Among the panelists
were DeAndree Watson and Brendan Camp-
bell, current president and vice president of
Central Student Government. Prompted by
my general feeling of dissatisfaction with
student involvement, I asked them about
how they can get people to care w issues on
campus, or at least care enough to vote and
to think they have an impact. While I didn't
necessarily get a straight answer, I was defi-
nitely motivated by Watson's response that
what made him personally care was simply
recognizing the idea that "this University
belongs to me" - and he's right. The Univer-
sity doesn't just belong to the state, the Board
of Regents or the administrators. It belongs to
the 40,000 students that pay tuition here, and
that should be enough to recognize that the
opinions of students certainly matter.
Campbell shared a story about how CSG
recently received an e-mail that there were no
efficient water fountains in the Shapiro Under-
graduate Library. It seems trivial, but the fact
that someone cared enough about something
to reach out to someone who might be able to
change it shows what power we each have as
students. In fact, plans are already underway

to replace those water fountains - proving that
a student governing body can make real things
Inspired, I decided to test this concept out
myself. I've had issues all year with being
able to shower in my residence hall. It seems
that every set of showers available to me is
always being cleaned right when I want to use
them. And sure, maybe I have a weird show-
ering schedule, but my personal preferences
shouldn't hinder my ability to take a shower.
So a few days ago, I decided to take my issue
directly to a residence hall administrator, not
really expecting anything. To my pleasant
surprise, I received a thoughtful and prompt
response, and was told that facilities staff had
been notified of my issue and steps were being
taken to stagger cleaning schedules such that at
least one set of showers would always be avail-
able to all residents.
Maybe this doesn't seem like much. Maybe
the kid in the UGLi and I were just lucky that
our concerns were not only heard but also
acted upon. But I'd like to think that this is the
kind of thing that makes the University great.
Faculty, administrators and student govern-
ment representatives are in their positions
because they care. If you have a problem, take
it to someone whose job it is to listen. People
may insist on advocating for "letting students'
voices be heard" or "giving a voice to those who
have none" but the truth is, every student does
have a voice. And there is someone out there
who wants to hear it.
The University is mine just as much as it is
yours, your professors', your student govern-
ment representatives' and your administra-
tors.' So if you have something to say, just say
it. Because someone's always listening.
Hema Karunakaram is an
Engineering sophomore.

Two years ago, I was at the spring commencement
where President Barack Obama spoke. Even though
I was in high school, I was excited at the prospect of
seeing Obama at such an important event. How many
chances do you get to see a president give a commence-
ment address? Especially a president who is famous for
his uplifting and hope-inducing speeches. I waited in
the rain that day, went to the upper reaches of the Big
House, and then the president began to speak. To this
day, I can't remember what he spoke about, but all I
know was that I was not uplifted at all. My sister, who
was a graduate that day, said she appreciated the mes-
sage. But she, too, was left unsatisfied. Where was the
hope that Obama promised?
It has been almost 20 years since Sanjay Gupta was
a student here at the University. That's a long time. I
haven't even been alive for that long. Gupta is a Michi-
gan original. He completed his high school education
at nearby Novi High School, his undergraduate degree,
his M.D. and he even finished his residency here in Ann
Arbor. Currently, he's the chief medical correspondent
at CNN, hosting his own show entitled "Sanjay Gupta,
M.D.," and is a highly respected neurosurgeon at Grady
Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he also serves on
the staff of the Emory University Medical School. This
commencement speaker is, as Mary Sue Coleman said,
a reminder of the potential that the Michigan degree
gives each and every one of us.
Due to the economic downturn, it has been more
difficult in recent years for University graduates to get
jobs. Despite the fantastic education we receive here
in Ann Arbor, there just aren't enough opportunities
in the world today for all these students to get a posi-
tion. There's a decided gloom around students who have
graduated in recent years - so many have indetermi-
nate futures.
Enter Sanjay Gupta. Gupta represents the epitome of
the Michigan difference. He has ascended to the top of
his field, and even transcended it, making the shift to
reporting as easily as making a precise incision into gray
matter. As talented as he is, he made an extremely dif-
ficult transition seem relatively easy. I'm not suggest-
ing that every pre-med here at Michigan will become a
top reporter or an anchor for the most famous name in

news. But if the best the University can offer succeeded
so much, there's hope for the rest of us down below to
at least find a place in the world, however less glorious
it may be.
By selecting Gupta as the next commencement speak-
er, the University's Board of Regents project an image
of internal pride. After making a political statement the
past two years, with Obama in 2010 and Republican
Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011, the University is going back
to its roots. It selected a true Michigan Man, one born,
raised and educated within an hour of the Ann Arbor
campus. Who couldn't take pride in that?
I left the Big House on that rainy day in May the
same as I came in. Excited about junior prom, ner-
vous about upcoming AP tests and excited about hear-
ing Obama speak. I still remember that before Obama
himself came to the podium, there was a video display
of all the past presidential luminaries to come speak at
Michigan. Images of Gerald Ford during his time here
at the University flashed on the screen. John F. Ken-
nedy speaking on the steps of the Union, announcing his
plan for the Peace Corps during his 1960 campaign for
president, raised rousing applause. Lyndon B. Johnson,
detailing his desire for the Great Society, was met with
applause as well. George H.W. Bush didn't receive as
much applause as the others, but still carried with him a
feeling of awe. Bill and Hillary Clinton were among the
favorites in recent years. Even Kofi Annan was appreci-
ated by the crowd. I'm not saying Obama wasn't appre-
ciated. He just didn't have the same weight with him as
the others did. There was no feeling of awe, of unified
emotion, of pure hope that accompanied so many of
his other speeches. It felt as if he came to give a simple
speech, not to inspire the next generation of graduates
to something special.
I picked up The Michigan Daily on Monday, and
saw the headline announcing Gupta as commencement
speaker. I couldn't explain the feeling, but it wasn't even
just hope. It was something more. It was the same feel-
ing I had watching the presidents of the past speak at
Let's just hope Gupta meets the expectations.
Nirbhay Jain is an LSA freshman.



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