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September 26, 2012 - Image 4

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4A - Wednesday, September 2fi-~ 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

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7 4 4 I thigan :atug
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

Identify consistent policy

TIMOTHY RABB
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

ANDREW WEINER
MANAGING EDITOR

AlUnsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
FR OM TH E DAi LY
Stop the rain rain
STEM Jobs Act is a step in the right direction
ays before Congress prepares for recess, lawmakers failed
to pass a bill for further immigration reform. Introduced by
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the Science, Technology, Engi-
tleering, Math Jobs Act would increase green cards for highly skilled
foreign nationals. While this bill begins the conversation on immigra-
tion reform, it only scratches the surface of the comprehensive immi-
gration reform that lawmakers should discuss. Congress should make
immigration reform a top priority, and while the STEM Jobs Act is a
step in the right direction, more provisions are needed so graduates of all
subjects, and their respected families, are able to live in the United States.

V oter identification laws
are back in the news, and
many of these laws directly
affect college
students. A
new Tennessee
law "explicitly
excludes stu-
dent IDs" as
a valid photo
ID to show at
polls, and Wis- MICHAEL
consin college SPAETH
students can't
use "university-
provided hous-
ing lists or corroboration from other
students to verify their residence."
Republicans in state legislatures
around the country claim that the
new voter ID laws are designed to
combat voter fraud. Now, I could
understand why we should have a
national conversation about pre-
venting voter fraud if it really was
a widespread problem. However,
one recent analysis of election
fraud cases found that since 2000,
there have only been 10 cases of
voter impersonation - out of 146
million registered voters in the
United States. Prof. David Schultz
of the Hamline University School
of Business concluded, "There is
absolutely no evidence that (voter
impersonation fraud) has affected
the outcome of any election in the
United States, at least any recent
election in the United States."
Democrats and other critics have
been up in arms about the new
voter ID laws, claiming that Repub-
licans are trying to reduce voter
turnout among groups that tend
to vote for Democratic candidates,
including minority groups and col-
lege students. On Saturday, First
Lady Michelle Obama went so far
as to call the fight to ensure voting
rights the "sit-in of our day." If some
Republican legislatures are deliber-
ately making voting more difficult

for specific groups of people for
purely political reasons - which
seems likely in many states since
there have been so few cases of
voter fraud - then these actions are
reprehensible and unacceptable.
But while Democrats' claims might
be true about some Republicans,
we should be a little more cautious
before we over-generalize.
Some Republican students at the
University fully support implement-
ing the new voter ID laws but also
believe that states and universities
can do more to provide assistance to
the groups of people that are being
adversely affected by these laws.
"I think that Michigan could pass
a law that says the universities across
the state need to help students navi-
gate the process, help students know
what the laws are, how they can reg-
ister to vote, where they go to get
their proper credentials," said Jared
Boot, an LSA senior and a member of
the College Republicans.
The use of student IDs as photo
identification at polls is another
legitimate topic for consideration.
Pulling out his MCard, LSA senior
and College Republicans senior advi-
sor Brian Koziara pointed out that
there are "no security features to
speak of." Therefore, the Tennessee
law may have some validity if stu-
dent ID's in Tennessee are similar
to ours. At the same time, however,
it's perfectly legitimate for students
in Wisconsin to use official housing
lists from universities as verifica-
tions of their residences, since they
live in these residence halls.
"We need to establish these rig-
orous (voter ID) laws and we need
to make sure that we're protect-
ing the integrity of the ballot box,"
Koziara sa4tl, "but if we're going to
do that, we have to make sure that
we're not preventing people who
should be able to vote and who are
eligible to vote from actually voting."
It's as reasonable for poll workers

to ask voters for their photo ID as it
is for receptionists to ask people for
their photo ID in all kinds of mun-
dane situations. But all states have
to strike a proper balance. If states
are going to make voting slightly
more inconvenient for groups of peo-
ple that are legally allowed to vote
but may not have the means to adapt
to the new voting requirements, they
need to provide extra assistance,
such as transportation to places that
provide the required ID or paper-
work or more accessible information
on the proper voting process. If states
can't give these voters adequate
assistance, they should make their
voter ID laws less stringent or elimi-
nate them altogether.
Existing voter ID
laws are unfair to
college students.

4

4

The STEM Jobs Act was introduced this
month after failing many times in many
forms, and would allocate visas to interna-
tional graduates of American universities
with a master's or doctoral degrees in certain
subjects. The recipients of these green cards
would then be able to live in the United States
for five years. This bill would replace the cur-
rent immigration system, in which a lottery
is used to award visas on a per-country basis.
Opponents argue that Republicans are being
too choosy in who they allow to live in the
United States.
The United States is experiencing a brain
drain, and in 2018, is projected to be short
230,000 "qualified, advanced-degree workers
in scientific and technical fields." A 2009 study
found that U.S. students ranked 25th among 34
countries in math and science. To combat this
problem, America should encourage the thou-
sands of foreign students who come to study
each year to remain in the country after gradu-
ation. Countries such as GermanyandAustralia
have already instituted successful immigration
initiatives that have lured workers away from
their homelands in order to work abroad. The
United States needs a system of its own to com-
pete with an increasingly globalized economy.
But, while a bill like the STEM Jobs Act
works to combat the lack of workers in sci-
ence and math related subjects, it's restrictive

and unfairly places emphasis on specific areas
of study. Although the United States is falling
behind in such fields, graduates of all subjects
should have the chance to work in this country.
Allowing graduates of American universities to
stay in the United States is a start, but compre-
hensive immigration reform is required for all,
not just those who have a specialized degree.
The Republicans' attempt to end the current
lottery system is commendable, but a bipar-
tisan compromise is needed. This bill should
include revisions that allow family members
of graduates to live in the United States. Such
a provision may encourage graduates to settle
in the United States and start businesses. We
shouldn't educate people and then kick them
out of the country.
Although this bill failed to pass, it laid
important groundwork for an investment in
the future of the United States and immigra-
tion reform. Allowing foreign graduates to
stay in the country is a way to encourage job
creation and economic growth. Immigration
reform law has the potential to revamp the U.S.
economy and significantly fill the void created
by a decrease in STEM graduates, making
the U.S. workforce globally competitive again.
Eventually, however, we as a country must
move past exclusionary bills and allow more
than just graduates of American universities to
live in our country.

Until all states implement these
voter ID reforms, we should still
object to the existing voter ID laws
that are genuinely unfair to college
students and other minority groups
because there isn't a proper bal-
ance right now. Many states' voter
ID laws are deterring citizens from
voting without providing extra
assistance to make up for these dif-
ficulties. Right now, more people
are being hurt than helped.
No matter which state enacts
unreasonable voter ID laws, all
students should stand together in
opposition until there is sufficient
assistance to go along with these
laws.
- Michael Spaeth can be
reached at micspa@umich.edu.

INTERESTED IN CAMPUS ISSUES? POLITICS? SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK'N'ROLL?
Check out The Michigan Daily's editorial board meetings. Every Monday and Thursday at
6pm, the Daily's opinion staff meets to discuss both University and national affairs and
write editorials. E-mail opinioneditors@michigandaily.com to join in the debate.

Votes over apathy

i

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
ERIN PAVACIK|
Mid-college crisis

I'm having a mid-college crisis. This isn't
the kind where I go out and buya bright yellow
moped (the college kid's version of a muscled-
ip sports car) or have a torrid, illicit affair with
a coworker, but it's a real crisis nonetheless.
As I enter my junior year, the impending con-
sequences of my chosen majors are looming ...
and that means I find myselfhaving to choose a
career path within the next two years. Cue the
panic attack.
Engineers can skip this article. Future
doctors, too. You won't have to worry about
finding a job out of college - you're practi-
cally biding your time until an international
conglomerate or promising start-up snatches
you straight from the graduation procession.
But the rest of us, those who are pursuing lib-
eral arts degrees, the ones who dreamed their
whole lives of law school or pursuing further
education in sociology or philosophy, we're
the ones who will graduate thousands of dol-
lars in debt with little to no job perspectives
after months of fruitless searching.
This news hits hard for me. Since I was
a little girl, my parents have called me "the
attorney." Law school wasn't so much a ques-
tion of when and how, but rather, where - as
if at 12 years old it was already decided that I
would be taking the LSAT an entire decade
in the future. I was always better with words
than with numbers, devouring books and
writing short stories at a young age, but scoff-
ing at my finance-man father when he asked
me about my multiplication tables. I wasn't
math-illiterate; I just liked sentence struc-
ture more than balancing fractions.
Now, I'm tossing and turning through sleep-
less nights with the realization thathumanities
degree holders may be in serious trouble step-
ping into the real world. The plan was always:
graduate with a double major in Political Sci-
ence and Women's Studies, minoring in Inter-
national Studies. Write an honor's thesis, use it
to get into a good law school and the rest will
follow. But now, the work force is too full of
wannabe lawyers swamped in student loans.
Even professors, GSI's just out of law school
and into another four-plus years of education,

are advising to get out, now.
That leaves me with two degrees and a
botched plan for a whole lot of research. If I'm
honest with myself, I never intended to prac-
tice law for long - it was my jumping point for
broadcast journalism. But you can't go straight
from undergrad to the newsroom (of CNN,
not Aaron Sorkin) so I devised another plan
instead. A plan that, it would seem, will lead me
straight into the jaws of joblessness and debt.
Now that I'm in the very depths of my crisis,
I've dropped Women's Studies as a concentra-
tion. I'm considering picking up an Economics
minor - never mind that I haven't yet taken a
single credit in Economics or that I only have
two years left to complete my degree. But if I
refuse to adapt to the job market, I could be
waitressing nights while continuing to pay
off student loans for an education that, while
enlightening, left me completely unprepared to
face the real world - a fault that's completely
my own. I need to start training myself to be
technical, to face a future that might include an
MBA (nothing bores me more than accounting
and finance), and a nine-to-five job that means
little more than a cubicle and a 45-minute
lunch break.
There's noeasy conclusion to this article, or
to my crisis. It won't find resolution until I find
a career in which I'm happy and stable, a wish
that many haven't seen recognized in recent
years. Maybe someday you'll turn on your tele-
vision and you'll see me presenting the news
that the unemployment rate is up .5 percent.
Maybe you'll see me behind the stained apron
of a waitress's indifferent glare. Who knows
where any of us will end up? But one thing we
must be sure of: the importance of higher edu-
cation cannot be understated. And beyond even
that, training students to land jobs in sectors
that will be seeing growth in the next two or
four or seven years (math, science, engineer-
ing) is absolutely essential. So if my future
employers want technical, then that's exactly
what this liberal arts, words-only girl is going
to give them.
Erin Pavacik is an LSA junior.

n Nov. 2008,Iwas a sophomore
in high school. Even though my
classmates and I couldn't vote,
the election was
a huge source of
excitement for
us, and everyday
I'd hear people
in the hallways
and in classes
discussing that
after President MARY
Barack Obama GALLAGHER
was elected,
everything was
going to be different. Of course,
there was the occasional Republi-
can thrown in there, but even some
of them were swept up with the rest
of us in "Change We Can Believe
In." When the election results came
in, students and townies flooded the
streets of Ann Arbor in celebration.
Whether the memory is fond
or painful, we all remember that
presidential election. There was
tangible excitement in the air: Sen.
Obama was fresh-faced and char-
ismatic and students from across
the country flocked to his cam-
paign. Many of us were inspired by
his message of hope for the coun-
try's future, and a large number of
young people even became involved
with his campaign in some way -
whether through small donations,
social networking or campaigning
door-to-door.
Four years later, however, the
mood has shifted from excitement
to a general feeling of frustration
and apathy. We voted for Obama's
optimistic message of change, and
instead got what appears to be the
same old slow, ineffective political
process that we had before. Before,
Obama's message excited us with

the possibilities of political involve-
ment. Today, his campaign is drier,
less idealistic and, if we're going to
be honest, more and more depen-
dent on the mistakes of his opposi-
tion.
Aside from our daily dose of the
oft-mismanaged Romney campaign,
my friends and classmates have been
relatively silent on the upcoming
election. Romney's now-infamous
speech regarding the 47 percent that
went viral last week was the most
excitement I've felt from my peers
about the campaign. Even then, the
general reaction on our consistently
liberal campus was an incredulous
"Who would vote for this guy?"
This is understandable. We've
become so numbed to political opti-
mism that the only things that can
provoke a reaction are the frustrat-
ing, inspiring a sigh, aheadshake and
a return to browsing Reddit. Many
potential voters are unenthusiastic
about the election as the incumbent,
Obama, is no longer the exciting new
face on the block. For many people on.
this campus, his campaign strategy
seems to be "Well, look at the alter-
native."
However, this lack of enthusi-
asm is hardly reason to notuse your
vote in the November election. The
Michigan voter registration dead-
line is fast approaching, so if you
have any opinion at all regarding
who you think will make the bet-
ter leader of our country, now is
the time to act. You can check your
voter registration status right now
at the Secretary of State website,
and either register in person or send
it by mail. We live in a sometimes
crazy, often ineffective democracy,
but it's your vote that puts the peo-
ple in power whose craziness most

lines up with your views.
It's much harder to idolize some-
one when we've seen his flaws as
a leader over the last four years.
However, maybe that's for the best.
Politics is not a
place for
hero-worship.

4

As long as we can still muster the
energy to find our way to a ballot on
Nov. 6, perhaps dropping some of
the excitement from the elections
isn't entirely a bad thing. Politics
is not the place for hero-worship
- it's the place for serious, reason-
able conversations about the issues
that affect all of us in our day-to-
day lives. That means that we have
to trade in the image of our iconic
presidential candidate for a more
realistic, flawed presidential incum-
bent who we hope is still doing his
best to represent our interests. But
if you're voting for Romney, you
probably don't have to worry about
having this problem. Whatever your
opinion on his views, I think we can
all agree that Romney is in very lit-
tle danger of being idolized.
The Secretary of State will be
registering voters in front of the
Michigan League Friday from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. Whatever opinions,
make them heard this November
and make sure to register by Oct. 9.
- Mary Gallagher can be
reached at mkgall@umich.edu.

4

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FOLLOW CAMPAIGN EVENTS ONLINE
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Obama are
speaking in Ohio today. Check out @michdailyoped to get real-time updates
on both of their speeches. For the editorial's page coverage of the events,
visit http://michigandaily.com/section/opinion for
Vanessa Rychlinski's anaylsis of Romney's speech and
Adrienne Roberts' thoughts on Obama's visit.

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