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October 18, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-18

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4A- Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A- Thursday, October 18, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

bffidiigan &il
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solelythe views of their authors.
iling security
Open communication with regents is crucial
n September, the University announced heightened security
measures would be implemented for Board of Regents meet-
ings. Those attending the public meetings are now required
to pass through metal detectors and bag checks before entering the
room. A rope surrounds the regents' table, separating the elected
officials from attendees. While ensuring the safety of all in the
University's community is important, these measures distance the
regents from the public, both physically and metaphorically. Open
communication between the regents and the public - especially stu-
dents - is crucial to the development of the University, and should
be fostered in the regents' monthly meetings.

Smart uses for smartphones

t's a typical classroom scene.
Your professor is lecturing
without the help of Power-
Point slides on a
deep topic while
you diligently
take notes. He
or she passes out
your homework
assignment, and
you find the syl-
labus to check
when it's due. HEMA
The date of the KARUNA-
next exam is KARAM
announced, so
you open your
calendar to add a reminder about
it. You're staying on top of every-
thing - but the professor and your
classmates still shoot you annoyed
glances. Why? Because you've been
on your phone the entire time.
There's no doubt that smart-
phones have vastly affected the
way we function every day. As of
2012, nearly half of all American
adults use smartphones, and the
share is even greater among col-
lege students - 54 percent. Their
infiltration into our daily functions
is apparent everywhere: people
no longer carry notepads, plan-
ners, MP3 players, cameras and,
with apps like Square, sometimes
even cash and credit cards. How-
ever, even with (or perhaps because
of) their convenience, there's still
a stigma associated with using
phones in certain settings.
The advent and growth of tex-
ting over the past decade or so - for
many of us, our entire teenage and
college years - created immedi-
ate access to instant communica-
tion literally at our fingertips. But
it was almost too good to be true,
and it didn't take long for texting
to be prohibited in places like class-
rooms, offices and dinner tables. So,
of course, we all mastered stealthily
hiding phones under desks, looking

down towards our fingers tapping
away while also looking up occa-
sionally, feigning interest in what
we should have been doing - the
classic looking-like-I'm-not-tex-
ting-even-though-I-really-am pose.
In college, using phones during
class isn't a punishable offense, but
it's still frowned upon. Even during
casual social interactions, we get
annoyed when our friends whip out
their phones, choosing technology
to supposedly communicate with
friends who are elsewhere instead of
talking to those physically present.
But would we be as annoyed if they
had instead pulled out a pento scrib-
ble down an address, or asked some-
one what day of the week Halloween
was this year? Phones are used for
so much more than just calling or
texting, but the social acceptance of
phone usage hasn't quite caught up.
Of course, people who are on
their phones at perceived bad times
might not actually be doing any-
thing of use. After all, we've all
seen people playing Angry Birds
or Scramble with Friends dur-
ing class. We've seen people hold
lengthy text conversations while
eating dinner instead of talking
with those in front of them. Occa-
sionally, we've even seen that girl
in class who couldn't keep herself
from pulling out her phone to take
a picture through the curtain of her
hair of that guy wearing the weird
shorts. The association of using
phones with not paying attention or
being rude is justified by real situa-
tions such as these. But it's impor-
tant to recognize that not all phone
use is necessarily useless or unpro-
ductive - many times, it serves an
important purpose.
For me, my iPhone is about more
than just convenience - it's also
part of my personal sustainability
goal for the year to use less paper
and electricity. I've optimized my
phone to handle many functions

that formerly required paper - the
Google Drive app is a godsend - and
I use it every day not only in lieu of
notebooks, but also, when possible,
computers. In fact, even this column
was written on my phone. The digi-
tal revolution has made it easier for
everyone to take baby steps toward
being more environmentally friend-
ly, but our social norms might be
preventing it from truly transform-
ing our lives.

Social norms
are preventing
productive use of
our best tools.


Our generation needn't be
pushed to take greater advantage of
technology. We're often already at
the top of the curve when it comes
to advancements, especially with
smartphones. But while it's impor-
tant to be tasteful in what we use
our smartphones for, it's equally
important to recognize that many
others are also using their phones
tastefully. To my professors: Maybe
I am playing Temple Run during
your lecture. But maybe I'm tak-
ing notes, looking up information I
don't understand, scheduling time
for study sessions - things you
would look favorably upon. And a
message to everyone, give people
the benefit of the doubt when it
comes to using smartphones. As
cliche as it seems, there really is a
world of information at our finger-
tips, and some of us just want to
make the most of it.
-Hema Karunakaram can be
reached at khema@umich.edu.

The Board of Regents is responsible for
managing the University's budget, as well as
major academic and property decisions. This
power directly affects students. Whether the
debate is over academics or athletics, stu-
dents should be able to voice their concerns
directly to the regents. At each meeting, time
is set aside for public comment, but several
speaking restrictions are in place and indi-
vidual regents generally don't respond to the
comments at the meeting. This, along with
placing a rope around the regents, creates an
atmosphere of separation instead of one that
promotes interactions between the students
and those who in effect govern them. The
regents should represent students, but these
high-security measures suggest they aren't
making an effort to reach out.
The heightened securitymeasures appear
to reflect growing concerns over safety in
public forums. These procedural changes
are "part of our ongoing effort to enhance
safety on campus," according to a Universi-
ty press release. Yet these measures haven't
been extended to any other part of campus
aside from monthly meetings with high-
ranking officials. Other publicly elected
boards, like city councils, haven't set up

this many barriers to public interaction. If
Detroit's city council can host public meet-
ings without a rope separating leaders from
the public, the University's regents should
be able to do the same.
Ensuring safety is important, but so is
keeping the regents accountable. Despite
their responsibilities, the regents are not
any more important than the University's
students and faculty. The regents should
be approachable and willing to listen to the
people who are directly affected by their
decisions. These meetings should serve as a
means to increase dialogue between the pub-
lic and the regents - placing the board on a
pedestal won't facilitate this.
For the 2012-2013 academic year the Uni-
versity has a budget of more than $6 billion.
Though others may give input on how this
money is spent, ultimately, the regents have
final say on the budget. The University should
make it a priority to allocate these funds
properly and effectively, and in order to do
that, the voices of students, faculty and gen-
eral public should be heard. And if the Uni-
versity doesn't feel these security measures
should be toned down, then its commitment
to its constituents should be questioned.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,Patrick
Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski,
Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
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.



* * * ISSUES 2012 * * *
Energy and the Environment



Time to.tap into coal and oil Environmentally committed


President Barack Obama's energy plan is disas-
trous for the country. In January 2008, then-presi-
dential candidate Obama stated, "Under my plan of
acap-and-tradesystem, electricityrateswould nec-
essarily skyrocket." Higher electricity prices mean
the cost of everything will "necessarily" increase,
from the price of heat to the price of gas at the
pump. Neither college students nor other Ameri-
cans can afford this. An increase in electricity costs
will undoubtedly result in increased college operat-
ing costs, necessitating another increase in tuition.
President Obama also opposes the planned Key-
stone XL oil pipeline, despite the boon this pipe-
line would bring to the United States. Secretary of
Energy Steven Chu discussed the administration's
energy plan: Keep fossil fuel prices high in order
to make "alternative" options artificially more
appealing. He stated, "Somehow we have to figure
out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels
in Europe." Although Mr. Chu later recanted this
statement, the failure of the administration to take
any action to lower gas prices has discredited this
change of heart. The administration used stimulus
funding to subsidize about 25 alternative energy
companies, three of which later failed. After the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, President Obama also
approved a moratorium on oceanic oil exploration,
which prevents companies from accessing key off-
shore oil reserves. This shrinks the supply of oil,
which raises prices. Obama's energy plan hurts the
U.S. economy and unnecessarily spends billions of
taxpayer dollars.
By contrast, Republican presidential nominee
Mitt Romney's plan provides an energy solution
thathelpsthe economyinstead ofhinderingit. Rom-
ney supports the completion of the Keystone XL oil
pipeline from Canada to the United States. This
will create thousands of jobs for American work-

ers - engineers, architects, etc. - and provide
cheaper energy for Americans. Romney opposes
the current policies that aim to increase elec-
tricity prices. He supports using America's coal
reserves to provide energy security and reduce
the nation's dependence on foreign oil. According
to the Department of Energy, the United States
contains one-quarter of the world's known coal
reserves - utilizing this coal will decrease the
cost of energy. Romney's plan aims to eliminate
restrictive regu-
lations put in
place by Presi-
dent Obama that This
will strangle the is part one
coal industry and by the Colleg
prevent the pri-
vate sector from College Repu
being able to con-
tinue research at important is
into making coal
more efficient Elect
and environmen-
tally friendly.
opposes President Obama's subsidies to alterna-
tive energy companies - companies that may
soon collapse and leave taxpayers with a finan-
cial loss. Romney will allow the private sector
to decrease the price of energy from oil and coal
through market competition. Unlike the energy
policy of President Obama, Romney's plan will
result in less expensive energy and a stronger
This was written on behalf of the
University's chapter of College Republicans
by Phil Brenz and Brent Goodman.

e D

As young America's getting ready to live in a
world rapidly and irreversibly changing, much
is at stake in the upcoming election - espe-
cially our environment and energy. We need a
president who's looking out for the planet we'll
inhabit for years to come. That president is
Barack Obama.
President Obamaunderstands the importance
of environmental protection - and knows it can
contribute to much-needed job growth. In an
April interview
with Rolling
Stone Obama
a five-part series said, "We're
going to have
)emocrats and to take further
steps to deal
cans that looks with climate
change in a seri-
es leading up to ous way. There's
a way to do it
'n Day. that is entirely
compatible with
strong econom-
ic growth and
job creation."
Obama will take these steps if re-elected. Even
in the midst of a dysfunctional Congress, the
President's administration took unprecedented
action to reduce climate change, dependence on
foreign oil and pollution. The American Recov-
ery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated
more than $80 billion to clean energy proj-
ects, and under Obama, the amount of electric-
ity generated by renewable sources has almost
doubled. Fuel efficiency standards for cars rose
not once, but twice. We're now on track to see
cars averaging 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. He

has also pushed Congress to end the enormous
$4-billion-per-year tax breaks to oil companies.
Energy independence is a critical issue for our
generation, a generation that will be vulnerable i
to energy crises and defense issues if we don't
decrease our current rates of dependence on
foreign oil. Obama understands this. Our depen-
dence on foreign oil has decreased everyyear that
Obama has been in office. The Obama adminis-
tration has also taken aggressive steps to reform
offshore oil drilling, ensuring that our offshore
energy sources are developed responsibly.
In this election, we must choose a candidate
who will protect the environment. While Obama
has shown his dedication to protecting our plan-
et, his opponent is unwilling to do the same.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
has championed coal and oil fuels as the future of
American energy; these sources cause great harm
to our environment and are quickly depleting
without the possibility of renewal. He has even
denied the human impact on climate change. To
be fair, Romney has said that he is "not in this
race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the 4
planet," so our expectations for his environmen-
tal policies shouldn't be too high.
This November, our decision is clear. When
we look at both sides, Obama's commitment to
clean energy and the protection of the environ-
ment far surpass his opponent's positions. A vote
for Obama and the Democratic Party represents
a commitment to the future of our world and its
natural resources. Like the energy he champions,
Obama's term in office must be renewed to sus-
tain our environment for the future.
This was written on behalf of the University's
chapter of College Democrats by Annika Doner.

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