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October 31, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-31

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4A - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 TeMciaDly-mhgnayo

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4C iidtigan a30 lo
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
TIMOTHY RABB
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS ANDREW WEINER
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.
FROM T HE DAILY
:Bernstein and Diggs for regents
Clear ideas can impact students' debt burdens
F or the 2012 election cycle, 10 candidates will vie for two open
seats on the University's Board of Regents. At the forefront
of the race are Democratic candidates Mark Bernstein and
Shauna Ryder Diggs and Republican candidates Dr. Rob Steele and
Dan Horning. In endorsement interviews with The Michigan Daily,
all four candidates placed the greatest emphasis on tuition rates and
the University's accessibility to prospective students.

A nutritious choice

There's no doubt that eco-
nomic downturn has left
many Americans strug-
gling, and this is
reflected in the
rise of families
applying for fed-
eral assistance
programs. Food
assistance has
especially spiked
according to the H.RSHA
Congressional
Budget Office. NAHATA
About 45 mil-
lion Americans
- one in seven -_applied for the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program in 2011. In 2010, five mil-
lion fewer people applied for pro-
grams like food stamps.
Concurrently, obesity rates
among low-income individuals
continue to be disproportionately
high. With food stamps affecting
such a large part of this popula-
tion, the healthiness and effective-
ness of the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program has been called
into question. Groups advocating
for nutrition and health argue tax-
payer dollars shouldn't be used to
fund junk food. While combating
growing obesity and helping people
develop nutritious eating habits
should be a policy goal, regulating
what people can and can't buy with
food stamps isn't the way to do so.
Sen. Ronda Storms (R-Fla.) pro-
posed a bill that would prohibit
using food stamps to buy sugary,
fatty or highly processed foods.
Her proposal bans a broad range:
"foods containingtrans fats; sweet-
ened beverages, including sodas;
sweets, such as Jell-O, candy, ice
cream, pudding, popsicles, muffins,
sweet rolls, cakes, cupcakes, pies,
cobblers, pastries, and doughnuts;
and salty snack foods, such as corn-
based salty snacks, pretzels, party
mix, popcorn, and potato chips," as

reported by The Miami Herald.
Storms defends her bill claiming,
"If we're going to be cutting ser-
vices across the board, then people
can live without potato chips, with-
out store-bought cookies, without
their sodas."
What she fails to mention is that
parts of her bill are so restrictive it
may make it impossible to purchase
something as simple as a birthday
cake for a child. Yes, it's important
to be nutritious, but not at the cost
of cutting out an entire food group
for an individual, simply because
they are ina position of dependency
and helplessness.
Florida isn't the .first state to
propose such a ban. In 2010, New
York City Mayor Michael Bloom-
berg attempted to ban the use of
food stamps to buy sugary bever-
ages. He was met with opposition
from advocacy groups - like the
New York City Coalition for Hun-
ger- for low-income individuals,
arguing primarily that it "punishes
poor people for the supposed crime
of being poor."
And in a way, that is exactly what
such a law would do. Dictating what
can and can't be bought with food
stamps is targeting those who are
dependent on the social protection.
Yes, we want to encourage healthy
lifestyles, but forcing people to eat
healthy isn't the way to do so. There
are no laws dictating that average
Americans can't go out and buy
junk food. Stipulating that those
with food stamps specifically can't
is discrimination against society's
most vulnerable.
Additionally, food stamps are
rarely enough to sustain a family
for anentire month. Even with food
assistance, people struggle to make
ends meet. Reporter Katie Evarts,
from Southern California Public
Radio, took a challenge - she spent
one week eating on a food stamp
budget. Her spending cap? $36.50.

Having to buy a week's worth of
groceries with so little put her in a
very difficult position. And that was
only for one person.
Eating healthy
is a national
priority.
Evarts interviewed a family on
food stamps, and their story reveals
just how difficult it becomes to bal-
ance a food stamp budget. As one
recipient says, "I can't buy as much
healthy food as I'd like to buy. It's
expensive. I mean I can buy three
weeks' worth, but other than that
you know we have to stick to card-
board boxes and Hamburger Help-
er and all that kind of stuff."
As a result, when budgeting food
stamps for the month, people tend
to maximize their usage. They buy
canned food that lasts longer, junk
food they can easily find coupons
for, and preserved food that can
be bought in bulk. Even with food
stamps, healthy food is too costly
for people to invest in.
Eating healthy should be a nation-
al priority. Encouraging nutrition is
necessary, especially when the CDC
reports that more than one-third of
adults and more than 17 percent of
children in America are obese. But
the way to do so isn't through com-
pulsion - it's through education.
Beinghealthy is a choice. It's a choice
we want to encourage people, to
make, but in the end it's a choice that
is theirs to make.
- Harsha Nahata can be
reached at hnahata@umich.edu.
Follow her on Twitter @harshanahata.

Horning believes his previous term as regent
from 1995 to 2002 offers him a fresh perspec-
tive that puts him in a unique position to cor-
rect the mistakes he alleges were made by the
current regents.
"Having sat at the table, and dealt with the
needs and the intricacies and the workings of
the University of Michigan, I've now spent 10
years" involved in a variety of ways with the
University, said Horning.
Horning says the regents' decision to sup-
port a group of graduate student research assis-
tants who wanted the right to unionize was one
of the greatest missteps made in his absence.
He views it as an example of the board over-
stepping its bounds, since University President
Mary Sue Coleman, Provost Philip Hanlon and
a majority of the University's deans opposed
the measure.
The decision, Horning alleges, was the first
step toward a "slippery slope" that could lead
to further abuses of power by the University
community.
Though Horning's enthusiasm and back-
ground as a former regent couple well with
his goal to curb the University's rising
tuition, his vehement stance against union-
ization is troubling. Furthermore, many of
his ideas aeka-lear focus.-He has several
viable ideas that include tuition refunds for
students who stay in-state to work and a cap
on tuition increases, but vaguely suggested
that funding these projects involved "better
utilizing the endowment."
Republican candidate Rob Steele, a cardi-
ologist and University alum, placed a similar
emphasis on retaining Michigan's talent by
proposing tuition refunds for students study-
ing science, technology, engineering and math
concentrations who stay in Michigan for five
years or more after graduating. He also said
the endowment should be invested in students'
financial aid options and, like Horning, feels
in-state students should take precedent, since
there's incentive to reject highly qualified in-
state applicants in favor of higher tuition rates
garnered from out-of-state students. .
However, Steele's dismissal of social issues
such as tuition equality for undocumented
students and his inordinate focus on STEM
concentrators at the expense of other students
hampered his eligibility as a candidate. It sim-
ply doesn't encourage across-the-board acces-
sibility to focus on only one demographic of
the student population. Furthermore, his sug-
gestion that the University require two terms
dedicated to the study of America, including
the study of the Constitution and Declara-
tion of Independence, implies an excessively
nationalist bent.
Democrat Shauna Ryder Diggs said her
greatest strength is the ability to facilitate
agreement amid fierce opposition. Though
she was unaware of a variety of special inter-
est issues raised by students at the University,
including the Coalition for Tuition Equality,
she positions herself as a flexible candidate,
able to listen and wisely mediate discussion to
find solutions to divisive campus issues.
n Furthermore, Diggs acknowledged the
board's role in appointing the next University
president, since Coleman's contract expires in
2014. She underscored the importance of the
decision with the desire to appoint a president

who isn't "a top-down administrative type."
Ryder Diggs instead prefers a "ground-up con-
sensus-builder."
Though attorney Mark Bernstein shared his
fellow candidates' concerns for the University's
financial welfare and accessibility to eligible
students, the precision and efficiency of his
message raised him above other contenders.
Where the rhetoric of many candidates is full
of baseless promises and abstractions, Bern-
stein said he isn't content with simply identify-
ing problems. During his appeal for the Daily's
endorsement, he outlined the most empirically
researched, comprehensive and realistic plan
possible to ensure the University's continued
economic viability and accessibility to low-
income students.
The research.Bernstein presents is as hon-
est as it is compelling. Following recent tuition
trends established over the last decade, "tuition
for a child born today in Michigan will be over
$300,000 by the time they're old enough to go
to college," Bernstein said.
"That is unsustainable, and it's completely
unacceptable," he added.
Bernstein's experience with investment
banking makes him especially qualified to
address the significant burden of student debt.
He said the University should expand the func-
tionality of its AAA credit rating and 2.3-per-
cent interest rate it borrows under to construct
"buildings,hospitals andstadiums"by"passing
along" the savings to students, allowing them
to borrow money for their education atunprec-
edentedly low interest rates. The average stu-
dent would save about $5,000 on their college
education under Bernstein's plan, he said.
He also suggested offering lower rates for
classes that were held during periods of low
facility utilization. Students who take classes
inthe early morning, evening, weekend, spring
and summer would enjoy lower tuition rates,
since their classes occur when the University's
resources (electricity, water, etc.) are at their
lowest utilization rates.
Horning and Steele's desire. to keep stu-
dents in the state and decrease tuition costs are
admirable, but their lack of flexibility regard-
ing issues such as tuition equality, unionization
and minority enrollment was disconcerting.
Worse yet, their best ideas for making the Uni-
versity more financially viable were under-
mined by their reliance on the University's $7.8
billion endowment.
Bernstein explained that since most of the
endowment money is supplied by donors with
specialinterests,theUniversitycan'tlegallyuse
the endowment as a default source of funding
for investments and other financial initiatives.
It took him less than a minute to invalidate his
opponents' mostthoughtful plans.
Therefore, vote Mark Bernstein, the
most studied and well-prepared candidate,
and Shauna Ryder Diggs for the University
Board of Regents. Though Diggs' flexible,
even-minded approach to the regent position
makes her a suitable candidate, the Detroit
Free Press asserted that her nomination may
be the result of a deal struck by departing
Regent S. Martin Taylor - her father-in-law -
and the labor unions that influence the party
nominating conventions. Shauna Ryder Diggs
receives our endorsement for the second open
seat, but not overwhelmingly.

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
The slate is grel-at

J 's the fall of 2013, and three
incoming freshmen walk
into the Union's Computer

Showcase, each
looking for a
computer that
will weather
their college
years. One's an
Engineering
student, one an
English major,
and the third
is, undecided
but considering
informatics.

ERIC
FERGUSON

They each take a stroll around
the place, take in everything the
Showcase has to offer, and ultimate-
ly settle on three different devices
that run different operating systems
and have differently sized screens.
They're all buying laptops, right?
Think again. The introduction of
devices such as Microsoft's Surface,
the latest iPad and various Android
devices has launched tablets into
a heyday. The devices are rapidly
replacing both the laptop and the
large smartphone in the modern col-
lege student's technological arsenal.
There's a method behind this
seemingly mad suggestion. When I
look at the 13-inch laptop I'm typ-
ing this piece on and the 4.5-inch
smartphone sitting next to it, I see a
shameful redundancy. Both devices
have word processors, cameras,
music players, basic video editing
capabilities and screens to consume
media and play games on. They
can also access the Internet, and
through it, an ever-increasingnum-
ber of apps and information.
What distinguishes the two are
the laptop's size. and the smart-
phone's calling and texting capa-
bilities. The laptop can do nearly
everything the smartphone does at
a far higher level and on a far more
viewable display - other than call
people over a mobile network.
And the smartphone's size is

necessarily smaller than a laptop's
in order to keep the mobile phone
"mobile." The tablet is the logical
next step, able to do almost every-
thingbetter than alarge smartphone,
perform all but the most strenuous
computing tasks, and able to be easily
slipped into the bag, purse, or back-
pack of your choice.
Though the hardware in a tab-
let may become outdated relatively
quickly as new ones are introduced,
its basic capabilities- have already
advanced to the point where the same
tablet could be used for yearswithout
an upgrade. Thanks to cloud storage
like Google Drive, office software is
free to acquire and easy to use, and
many video sharing sites have their
own apps that work on devices of any
generation. And with high-definition
displays already standard on many
tablets, it makes sense that apps and
videos made in the next few or even
the next half-dozen years would dis-
play acceptably, if not well, on even a
relatively old tablet.
For college students, all of the
above should make buying a tablet in
favor of a smartphone or a laptop a
no-brainer. Wi-Fi is a given on this
campus, and there are a plethora of
cases and covers available that give
tablets a full keyboard. Also, the
tablet's smaller size compared to a
laptop would make sense for taking
notes, especially in buildings like
Lorch Hall's Askwith Auditorium
and the Dennison Building, where
the amount of desk space allotted for
each student is barely sufficient for a
laptop of any size. And even though
the commercials during the World
Series extolled the capabilities of the
latest smartphones, dropping $100-
200 on one every two years while
buying a decent laptop at some point
makes little sense when a $500 tab-
let has so much power and versatil-
ity. Considering this, along with the
tablet's support from wireless carri-
ers who give them mobile Internet
access, why would anyone want to

buy a big smartphone?
A tablet makes sense even for
those students who need the pro-
cessing power of a full-fledged com-
puter, considering that between the
Sites and CAEN computers located
around campus, there are more
than 1,500 computers available for
use and even more when including
the computers in the dorms. These
computers are equipped with the
advanced audio and video, pro-
gramming, engineering and design
software needed by students in
multiple programs.
Laptops and
smartphones are
being replaced
by tablets.

U

4

Though the technology involved
does not currently support tablets,
there are also virtual computers
that are available for use on one's
own machine that have the same
software as the Sites and CAEN
workstations. As tablets take off,
it'll only be a matter of time before
they are able to take advantage of
this virtual computing power.
Though those of us who are
already in college may be attached
to our laptops and our increasingly
massive smartphones, the next gen-
eration of students will know better.
Between their capabilities and the
existingdigital substructure already
in place at the University, tablets and
smaller, though still "smart", phones
are virtually guaranteed to become
ubiquitous around campus in the
next few years.
- Eric Ferguson can be
reached at ericff@umich.edu.

NOTA BL E QUO TA BL E
We are still in response mode with
states stilll being impacted.'
- Federal Emergency Managment Agency director Craig Fugate said in an NBC
interview on the administration's repsonse to Hurricane Sandy's landfall.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE COVERSATION
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.
Send the writer's full name and University affiliation to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

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