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November 19, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-19

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4A - Monday, November 19, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, November19, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Ce t dhi an atl
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
AnnArbor,MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Keep out the corporate
Next president must put student interests first
ale University appointed its next president this month, but not
without controversy. There were serious concerns about some
selection committee members' close connections to large com-
panies like PepsiCo, Inc. The University of Michigan will also be choos-
ing a presi;lent soon as University President Mary Sue Coleman's contract
expires in 2014. In light of Yale's selection committee controversy, and
with the appointment of our university's leader fast approaching, the Uni-
versity should be careful to check the influence of business interests and
connections in order to make the best choice for students.

This is for all the haters who thought I was
just here for one or two years. I feel like I'm
going to be here for a very long time."
- Justin Bieber said after winning an American Music Award for
best male pop/rock artist Sunday night.


Protest in un

Peter Salovey, who was appointed the next
president of Yale, will replace Richard C. Levin
in June. The search committee looked at about
150 candidates for the job. Eight corporation
fellows served on the search committee, such
as the president of Goodyear Capital Corpora-
tion and the former Chairman of the Board of
JPMorgan Chase.
The University has, in the past, made the
crucial decision to ensure that corporate inter-
ests were not present in the presidential search
committee. Over the course of her tenure,
Coleman has made sure those who have a large
stake in the University played a role in the most
significant decisions as opposed to those wield-
ing corporate ties. More importantly, none of
the members of the committee that elected her
in 2002 were tied to corporate interests. This
allowsthe searchcommittee to choose the best
possible candidate who will focus primarily on
the University, not on how University contracts
and partnerships will grow their business.
As far as the next president is concerned,
the committee should be looking for someone
with a controlling interest in the University
as an institution and who will act in student's
best interest. The University and its affiliates
deserve a president who will be an advocate for
the city of Ann Arbor and'who will be willing
to continue campus improvements Mary Sue

Coleman has championed. This broad, Univer-
sity-centered outlook could be lost if selection
committee members push corporate agendas
and interests.
There must be a separation of interests. The
committee chosen by the University to pick a
new president should take care to maintain
independence to ensure an affordable future
for every student.
Teresa Sullivan, the president of the Uni-
versity of virginia and former University of
Michigan provost, made headlines this year
due to spending cuts that would have re-orga-
nized the education system to be based around
"inexpensive, online education." The univer-
sity's controversy came because she could not
reconcile her vision of an academic institution
with visions of a corporation that educates.
This only goes to show that if a president is
influenced by outside interests, his or her abil-
ity to make good decisions for the University as
a whole may be compromised.
In the next few months, the University's
selection committee must make a key decision
about its future. When the University commu-
nity starts to think about the next president,
corporate interests shouldn't play a major role
in the search process. In the end, the commit-
tee must select a president who will help stu-
dents best achieve education and experience.

y eyes have been glued to
the computer screen for
days. The Israel Defense
Forces is live-
tweeting its
offensive, "Oper-
ation Pillar of
Defense," in the
Gaza Strip. Al-
Qassam Brigades
- the military
wing of Hamas -
responds in turn. DANIEL
And in an inter- CHARDELL
active map fea-
ture, Al Jazeera
tracks, aggregates and categorizes
social media posts coming from both
sides of the Gaza conflict.
The pace of escalating warfare is
fast, but the Internet is faster.
The ongoing conflict in Gaza has
spilled over into a new realm: social
media. As Yonah Lieberman wrote
in a column last Thursday, Face-
book was suddenly abuzz with posts
decrying or lauding Israel's opera-
tion in the Gaza Strip as the military
confrontation escalated. "Am Yisrael
chai," commonly translated as "The
nation of Israel lives," flooded my
newsfeed as friends sought to express
their enduring solidarity with Israel.
Meanwhile, others drew attention to
the growing number of Palestinian
civilian casualties and injuries.
But that wasn't all. In addition
to civilians caught in the crossfire,
the combatants themselves - the
IDF and Hamas - have taken to
Twitter, YouTube and Facebook in
their official capacities to simulta-
neously propagate their respective
narratives while rallying support
for their military campaigns.
I read news reports of skirmishes
along the Israeli-Gaza border early
last week, but the gravity of the situ-
ation was only brought to my atten-
tion on Wednesday, when one of my
Facebook friends shared a link to the
IDF YouTube account. There, the
IDF had posted a video of the "pin-
point strike" on Ahmed al-Jabari, the
top military commander of Hamas.
Only 10 seconds long, the video gives
a bird's-eye view of the bombing of
Jabari's car. One moment, the car is
there. The next, it's replaced with an
explosion and a cloud of smoke.
Some argue that the video vio-
lates the YouTube terms of service
because it depicts violence and
disturbing imagery. Indeed, after

enough users flagged the video as
inappropriate, it was removed for a
short time on Thursday morning. But
hours later, YouTube put the video
back up. When I last checked, the
video had more than 4 million views.
That same day, the IDF posted the
following Tweet: "We recommend
that no Hamas operatives, whether
low level or senior leaders, show
their faces above ground in the days
ahead." But the exploitation of social
media is not limited to the IDF alone.
In response, al-Qassam Brigades
responded: "Our blessed hands will
reach your leaders and soldiers wher-
ever they are (You Opened Hell Gates
on Yourselves)."
The role of social media in this
intensifying conflict has garnered
perhaps as much attention as the
conflict itself. "There have long
been the tools of warfare associ-
ated with the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict: warplanes, mortars, Qas-
sam rockets," writes Gerry Shih
of Reuters. "Now that list includes
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube."
In the short time since this con-
flict began, news websites and blogs
have published untold numbers of
articles deliberating the moral and
free speech implications of this
newborn phenomenon, war by way
of social media. Is it the responsi-
bility of tech giants like Google -
which owns Youtube - Facebook
and Twitter to restrict the flow of
threats and violent images? That
would be a good question, but given
the fact that the Jabari video still
stands, it seems that these compa-
nies have already demonstrated
their unwillingness to implicate
themselves in the messy business
of distinguishing "appropriate" vio-
lence from "inappropriate" blood-
shed. (Slippery slope? You betcha.)
Beside, I'm less interested in that
question. More important, I think, is
this: Does broadcasting warfare on
social media make it easier for us to
ignore, perhaps even dehumanize,
the other side? Let me put it more
bluntly: If you don'tsee photos of Pal-
estinian or Israeli corpses, are you
more easily able to escape the very
real human cost of conflict?
Dehumanization - the unwilling-
ness of either side to recognize the
existence of the other - is a hallmark
of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The enforced physical separation of
Israelis from Palestinians, Palestin-

ians from Israelis, enables this. Social
media platforms minimize human-
to-human contact and maximize the
speed with which information flows.
When it comet to war, that's a dan-
gerous formula. In the safety of your
home, thanks to the Internet, you can
choose which stories to read, which
videos to watch. Thousands of miles
away from the actual conflict, you
can share this information even more
widely among your circle of like-
minded friends - support more vio-
lence with only a click of the mouse. I
don't care what your political beliefs
are. That's morally repugnant.

The pace of
warfare is fast,
but the Internet
is faster.-
Due to fear, hatred, politics or all
of the above, Israelis and Palestin-
ians cannot interact. Unfortunately, I
see that same dynamic at play on our
campus. I was thrilled, for example,.
to see students protesting on the
Diag on Thursday in response to the
escalating violence. But I was less
thrilled that these protests were lit- .
erally divided along political lines.
Pro-Israel students stood on one end
of the Diag, while pro-Palestine stu-
dents stood on the other.
I have strong feelings on this con-
flict, but that's.not the subject of this
column. For our current purposes,
my only opinion worth sharing is
that civilians, Israeli and Palestin-
ian, are the true victims. It's neces-
sary to distinguish combatant from
non-combatant. Under these circum-
stances, both are threatened. That
means we should protest not against
one another, but together.
I'd like to see interfaith events
held immediately to promote dia-
logue on these latest developments.
In the meantime, before you "like"
a post you see online, let's try to
remember that you're "liking" the
death of a real human.
-Daniel Chardell can be
reached at chardell@umich.edu.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain,
Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny,
Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner, Derek Wolfe
Israel acted in defense

Between Saturday, Nov. 10 and Wednesday,
Nov. 14, various terrorist groups led by Hamas
firedmore than 100 rockets fromthe Gaza Strip
into civilian areas in Israel without justifiable
provocation. In response, Israel launched a
successful targeted assassination of Hamas
military leader Ahmed Jabari on Wednesday.
Jabari was responsible for planning numerous
terrorist attacks, as well as the kidnapping of
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Since the assassination on Wednesday,
Hamas terrorists have fired more than 800
rockets, striking numerous Israeli cities. Warn-
ing sirens blared across cities within range of
Gaza, allowing Israeli civilians only seven sec-
onds to seek cover before impact. For the first
time in more than 20 years, warning sirens
were sounded in Israel's largest and most
vibrant city, Tel Aviv.
The recent Hamas rocket fire is the latest
escalation between the group, classified by the
U.S. government as a terrorist organizaation,
and Israel. These rocket attacks are unfortu-
nately not out of the ordinary. Hamas has fired
at Israel relatively frequently since Israel unilat-
erally disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005
with hope for peace. Since the beginning of this
year, terrorists have fired more than 1,000 rock-
ets from Gaza into surrounding Israeli areas.
As an independent sovereign nation, Isrdel
is responsible for neutralizing such threats
to ensure the safety of its citizens. Thus, Isra-
el launched Operation Pillar of Defense on
Wednesday, the first offensive since Operation
Cast Lead in2008. Of course, no military opera-
tion is ideal, nor is the collateral damage caused
by such operations. Forceful intervention is the
last possible resort, but unfortunately there are
times when such attacks are necessary.
In regard to Israel's attempts to protect civil-
ians during Operation Cast Lead, Colonel Rich-
ard Kemp, the ex-Commander of British Forces
in Afghanistan, made the following statement

in front of the United Nations Human Rights
council: "Based on my knowledge and expe-
rience, I can say this: During Operation Cast
Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to
safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat
zone than any other army in the history of
warfare." Israel continues to use all necessary
means to protect Gazan civilians in Operation
Pillar of Defense by dropping warning leaflets,
making personal telephone calls to civilians in
danger and even diverting missiles mid-air.
Israel is certainly not perfect. Still, every
country has a right and a responsibility to pro-
tect its civilians and defend itself as a sovereign
nation. Imagine that you are one of the one
million Israelis who have been forced to sleep
in a bomb shelter since Wednesday as a result
of Hamas aggression. Imagine that you live in
New York City and your neighbors in New Jer-
sey regularly shoot rockets into your neighbor-
hood. Israel is asking for nothing outrageous,
only an end to violence and a call for peace and
safety. Yet, how can there be an end to the vio-
lence when Hamas's charter explicitly calls for
the destruction of Israel?
As statuses, pictures and links to articles
blast our news feeds on Facebook, we must
question what we see, hear and know. Know
your facts. Know that Operation Pillar of
Defense is not an offensive act of aggression,
but rather adefensive response to attacks
that Hamas initiated. Know that this isn't a
recent flare-up - rather, it's an escalation of,
the constant danger that thousands of Israe-
lis and Palestinians live through on a daily
basis. Know that Israel is not only fighting
for the safety of its citizens, but also for the
hope that one day Hamas will abandon its
arms and its extremist agenda and join Isra-
el in the process towards peace.
Shlomo Dalezman, Jonathan Garshofsky
and Molly Rosen are LSA juniors.

Student regent not a goal for 'U'

As the former chair of the Uni-
versity's student government Stu-
dent Regent Task Force, I read with
great interest The Michigan Daily's
editorial ("Students for Regents",
11/14/12). This idea isn't "new" or
"novel" as I, along with many other
members of student government,
have worked on such a proposal for
more than 40 years. From my time
working with the Regents, I can say
that the Daily's position that the
regents will voluntarily implement a
de-facto student regent is pollyanna-
ish. While attempting to work with
the Board of Regents - five of the
eight current regents were serving
at the time of my negotiations - all
of the regents opposed, in varying
degrees, the idea of a student serving
on the board.
After intense negotiation, the
regents finally agreed to designate
a chair in the room for the current
presidentof the studentbody. I, along
with many others at the time, consid-
ered this insulting at best. For exam-
ple, at the first meeting when this
position was instituted, the regents
had a lengthy discussion regarding
University Health Service in which
none of them ever addressed the
"student" representative.
The reasons provided by the
regents as to why a student should
not serve on the board ranged from
the offensive (students could never
understand nor appreciate the com-
plexities of the issues faced by the
Board of Regents) to the inane (stu-
dents would never be satisfied with
only one student representing them

so should we have several each rep-
resenting a different constituency,
such as non-traditional students,
commuter students, graduate and
undergraduate students, etc.).
A proposal from one of the current
regents actually suggested that we
create a petition, signedby more than
600 students representing 15 constit-
uencies at the University, before they
would consider a single student rep-
resentative of the campus commu-
nity. One regent - no longer serving
- did agree that a non-voting student
seemed like an idea the board should
at least "discuss." When this regent
mentioned the idea to University
administrators, they were told it was
inappropriate for regents to intro-
duce ideas to the board for consid-
eration - typically action items are
introduced by the executive officers.
The Daily is correct that many
states have student regents, but
what they don't note is that it's not
only other states, but other Michi-
gan universities as well. Michigan
State University has four student
regents, as do almost all Michigan
state schools. Additionally, Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman
worked with a voting student regent
at the University of Iowa. After
working with the regents it became
clear that there was not only an
unwillingness, but outright hostility
to the addition of a student regent.
I don't share the Daily's optimism
that the two newregents - one afor-
mer president of LSA Student Gov-
ernment - will be able to reverse
the stance of the current board and

administration. While it would be
a vast institutional improvement
for students tobe involved and con-
sulted in regards to the policies and
priorities of the Board of Regents,
I'm doubtful that the regents would
ever cede power in this way. During
the time I served working on obtain-
ing the student body representation
on the board, I determined that the
only way-to achieve a student on the
board would be via constitutional
amendment. At the time, the Uni-
versity's student government con-
ducted a statewide poll of voters and
more than 80 percent of Michigan
citizens also supported the idea of a
voting student regent.
While I lament that the current
student government has not pur-
sued the extensive work performed
by their forerunners, I believe that
without constitutional reform the
Board of Regents will never have
the invaluable input of a student.
While many other institutions have
recognized the great value of a stu-
dent regent, why has the University
of Michigan not? If the University is
truly training its studentsto be "lead-
ers" why does it resist the notion that
students are capable of handling
the responsibilities of serving on
the board? It's time for the student
body to recognize that if they truly
desire representation on the Board
of Regents, they will have to fight
for that goal as opposed to passively
standing back and waiting for the
regents to "grant" them this right.
Andrew Wright is a University-alum.



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