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January 14, 2013 - Image 4

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4A -Monday, January 14, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A -Monday, January14, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

c firichi l [y

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Wow, what an exciting special guest!
That was Hillary Clinton's husband!"
- Amy Poehler said about former President Bill Clinton after his
surprise appearance at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night.
Dangerously brainwashed



Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of theirauthors.
Timely transit
Federal funding for railway is a good start
ccording to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, nearly
40 million working-age people live in metropolitan areas in
the United States that lack public transportation. Detroit and
its surrounding area are no exception. The lack of public transporta-
tion has made it difficult for people without cars to travel through-
out the city. Detroit is also inaccessible for individuals who live in
communities bordering Detroit. The federal government is stepping
in to help Michigan's dire transportation system problem. According
to the Detroit News, it's likely that $25 million will be awarded to,
Detroit's light-rail streetcar project. This funding will help Michi-
gan's public transportation system immensely and make traveling to
Detroit a more attractive option.

The light-rail streetcar project is expected
to cost $500 million and will travel up Wood-
ward to 8 Mile Road every 7.5 minutes during
peak travel hours. The car called M-1, hopes to
connect to a four-line regional rapidbus system
that will tie Detroit to surrounding counties.
Less than 10 percent of Detroit residents use
the citywide transportation system. The cur-
rent bus system has been cited as being slow and
unreliable. This light-rail streetcar will make it
more convenient and efficient for residents to
travel to and from work. A more reliable system
will also make Detroit more attractive to peo-
ple looking for jobs in the downtown area with
urban amenities.
In recent years, state and local leaders have
discussed various methods to improve the
transportation system in the city, but plans
have been tabled. Three years ago U.S. officials
agreed to fund M-l, yet Detroit is just receiving
the funding now. Though this funding is a nice
gesture, it's not sufficient to overhaul Detroit's
transportation system. While this demon-
strates the federal government's commitment
to improving Detroit and the entire state of

Michigan, leaders at all levels must act in a
more timely manner. A feasible transportation
plan that can be implemented quickly is crucial
to Detroit's economic recovery.
This funding is the first step to connect-
ing southeastern Michigan. However, for
this transit system to be totally effective it
needs to be more encompassing so that every
county has access to Detroit. Implementing
this transit system throughout Michigan will
encourage citizens to work, visit and live in
the downtown Detroit area. Increasing access
to Detroit will also encourage new businesses
and their future employees to live and spend
time there, helping the city's suffering econo-
my. But this will only be possible if the public
transit system is extended.
It's clear that Michigan is ina state of transi-
tion. A large part of the success of this transi-
tion will involve connecting Detroit to the rest
of the state. The light-rail streetcar project is
one method of making this a reality, though
more effort and money is needed to make public
transportation a useful service to Detroit and
Michigan residents.

n Dec. 14,I received three
text messages from my
mom. The first simply said,
"S love you." The
second asked
me, "Why did
he have to kill
20 babies?" and
the third read,s
"Please write
about this."
The first col- JAMES
umn Iever wrote BRENNAN
for the Daily was
an indictment
of our country's
failure to have a meaningful debate
about guns. In it, I said that if we
do not have this conversation, then
another mass shooting would hap-
pen within nine months. It only took
three, and now 20 children lie dead
for absolutely no good reason.
That's the worst part about all of
these deaths - they have no pur-
pose. Someone simply snaps and
decides to go on a killing spree.
There has been massive specula-
tion as to the mental state of Adam
Lanza, the Newtown shooter, but I
can answer that question without
looking at his medical history or
making any investigation. The guy
went to an elementary school and
gunned down more than two dozen
people, most of whom were six- and
seven-year-old children. Clearly, he
was mentally unstable.
Three years ago, I had an emo-
tional breakdown and spent four
days in a psychiatric hospital. I
had to be admitted because I was
considered to be a major threat to
my own safety. I needed proper
treatment and constant ,observa-
tion. I was put on anti-depressants
and have spent countless hours in

therapy since, figuring out why I
feel the way I do and how to keep
my less rational side at bay. I can
confidently say that I've gotten a lot
better, but when it comes to mental
illness, you really never know if sta-
bility will last.
Despite demonstrated, docu-
mented potential for self-harm, I
face no additional barriers to pur-
chasing a gun. If1I wanted a hand-
gun, I would have to registerand
obtain a permit, all without any
investigation into my mental health
history. It would be even easier to
obtain a rifle or shotgun. IfS was so
inclined, I could drive to my local
gun shop right now, pass a quick
criminal-background check and
walk out the same day with a rifle.
During my stay in the hospital,
we spent a lot of time in group ther-
apy discussing our problems. There
were other young men much more
depressed than I - guys who had
attempted suicide and failed. Some
of them had tried with guns. Worse
yet were the kids who weren't just
a threat to themselves, but to those
around them. They were angry
and had a history of violence. I
was afraid of them despite being
in a hospital under near-constant
surveillance. Imagining that some
of these kids are out in the world
today and legally old enough to buy
guns makes me even more afraid.
Mentally stable people do not
walk into schools and gun down
children. Nor do they open fire on
a crowded movie theater or walk
around a college campus shooting
students. Someone with a history
of a potentially dangerous mental
illness should not be allowed any-
where near a gun, this is just com-
mon sense.

So why am I even writing about
this right now? Why is it that I live
in a country where there is even a
debate about mental stability play-
ing a role in whether or not some-
one can purchase a gun? Better yet,
as I asked in my first column, why
am I living in a country where we
have to debate whether or not to
take any action when it comes to
gun violence? Why does it take the
deaths of children to get our presi-
dent to publicly support a ban on
military grade weaponry for citi-
We need to accept
the fact that guns
lead to tragedy.
I'll be blunt: It's because our
country is brainwashed. The gun
lobby owns Congress, but they also
own public perception. We see guns
as forms of protection rather than
tools of mass death. We take seri-
ously the media's glorification of
shooting people. On top of that, our
idea of freedom has been skewed
to include owning high-powered
weapons designed for the sole pur-
pose of killing people. The rest of
the world doesn't have this prob-
lem. The rest of the world hasn't
been coerced by fear and lies. The
rest of the world accepts the con-
cept that guns lead to tragedy. We
need to do the same.
- James Brennan can be
reached at jmbthree@umich.edu.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata,
Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Paul Sherman,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Derek Wolfe
Benefits from Medicaid

(Dis) honor code

Expanding Medicaid benefits not only helps
the uninsured, but also benefits individuals
with private health insurance, hospitals and
the state economy. The Affordable Care Act,
put into place by President Barack Obama,
gives states the opportunity to expand Medic-
aid eligibility to cover all non-elderly citizens
and eligible immigrants. Michigan Gov. Rick
Snyder has the power and obligation to decide
whether Michigan should participate in Med-
icaid expansion. Now is the time for Snyder to
decide that Michigan will take advantage of
this valuable opportunity.
Medicaid expansion benefits Michigan's
economy. The Affordable Care Act provides
that the federal government will pay for 100
percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion
between 2014 and 2017, ultimately paying
for 90 percent of the cost in the following
years. Analysts at the Center for Healthcare
Research and Transformation project that
Michigan can reap up to $1 billion in savings
in the next 10 years due to this expansion.
Medicaid expansion is also projected to bring
more than $30 billion into Michigan's econo-
my between 2014 and 2023.
Medicaid expansion benefits those who
need health insurance. According to the Cen-
ter for Budget and Policy Priorities, there.are
about 676,000 uninsured Michigan citizens
who would be eligible for Medicaid if Michi-
gan chooses to participate in the program.
Medicaid expansion will give these uninsured
people a chance to access health care services

that will improve their health and well-being.
Medicaid expansion benefits employers
and individuals with private health insurance.
If you're an employer or individual who pur-
chases private health insurance, part of your
costs come from uncompensated care that hos-
pitals provide to the uninsured by law. If we
reduce the number of uninsured, we reduce
the amount of uncompensated care expenses
that get passed onto those with private health
insurance. The Center for Healthcare Research
and Transformation projects statewide savings
between $640 and $985 million over the next 10
years for those who purchase health insurance
because of Medicaid expansion.
Medicaid expansion benefits hospitals.
Currently, hospitals that treat a lot of unin-
sured patients receive extra compensation
known as disproportionate share payments.
The federal government will reduce pay-
ments to hospitals across the nation between
2014 and 2020 because it expects fewer peo-
ple will be uninsured. If we fail to expand
Medicaid, Michigan hospitals will most like-
ly be in a nasty bind - their payments will
go down and they may face an increase in
uncompensated care expenses.
Snyder believes that "to build a stronger
Michigan, we must build a healthier Michi-
gan." I agree wholeheartedly. Let's get start-
ed by expanding Medicaid and participating
in this valuable project.
Elizabeth Lamoste is a Law School student.

J have neither given nor
received unauthorized
aid on this examina-
tion, nor have I
concealed any
violations of the
Honor Code."
I scan my
eyes over the
familiar pledge
on the front
page of my engi-
neering exam, HEMA
quickly sign my KARUNA-
name beneath it KARAM
and wait for the
instructor to give
us the signal to begin. Students in
front of me are doing the same thing
while the remainder of the exams
are passed out behind us. A few seats
down from me, however, Ihear more
noise than I'd expect a pen scribbling
on paper to make. One of my fellow
students - after signing the Honor
Pledge - is flipping through the
pages of the exam, sneakily checking
out the questions before the exam
has officially begun.
Under the College of Engineer-
ing's honor code, our exams may
not be proctored. Because of this,
we're all aware that the instruc-
tor will step out of the room as
soon as we're told to start. At that
point, we are expected to uphold
the honor code and not cheat on the
exam, although the opportunity
may exist. But what about this stu-
dent who now has prior knowledge
of the exam questions - even if by
only a few minutes? Is this an honor
code violation? And if so, am I sup-
posed to do something about it?
The College of Engineering has
a concise but, serious honor code to
,which all of its students and faculty
are held. While its effectiveness is
debatable, every student has the
opportunity to bring a case before
the Honor Council, and is essentially
assured a "fair trial" on any aca-
demic dispute. On the other hand,
LSA does not have a formal honor
code and much discretion is left to
the instructor when academic integ-
rity violations are of concern. In fact,

according to the faculty guidelines at
the Newnan LSA Academic Advising
Center, in cases of academic miscon-
duct "the course grade is your deci-
sion" regardless of the outcome.
With such a loose structure open
to interpretation, it's no wonder
so many of my LSA friends have
reported that cheating runs rampant
in several of their classes. But in my
experience they aren't the only ones
observing - or partaking in - cheat-
ing. Across almost every University
school, academic integrity seems to
stand out as a hot-button issue. So
why has the University done relative-
ly little to battle it?
I'm sure that somewhere over the
past few semesters I, too, have violat-
ed the College of Engineering Honor
Code or the LSA Academic Integ-
rity standards. I've bent the rules
on "collaborations" a few times on
projects and homework assignments
in the past, and have even concealed
minor grading errors on exams when
they've been in my favor. Despite
this, I've never knowinglycheated on
an exam or taken credit for work that
was entirely someone else's. Perhaps
we all have a different point at which
we draw the line when it comes to
upholding moral standards - in fact,
we've all grown up with different
moral standards.
So is it of greater importance that
morals with regard to academic
integrity be preached more seri-
ously and frequently to students? Or
should the focus be on letting stu-
dents know what they can do if they
feel they have not been given a fair
opportunity to succeed in class?
While the proactive approach may
be easier for the University, its effec-
tiveness is doubtful. Most academic
units, including LSA, don't have any
framework in place for formally tell-
ing students about academic integ-
rity - the standards are just implicit
on all assignments and exams. But
all engineering students sit through
a lecture on the Honor Code their
freshman year during Engineering
100, though most have probably long
forgotten it.
But knowing that the College of

Engineering has an Honor Code at
all has made me feel a little safer dur-
ing assignments and exams - pro-
vided there was something I could do
about violations I saw or heard about.
I've observed students copying each
other's answers verbatimon problem
sets. I've sat through engineering
exams that were, in fact, proctored.
And I've silently looked on as class-
mates have flipped through exams
before they were supposed to. In
each case I've felt helpless. Instead
of feeling proud for not violating any-
thing myself, I've silently wondered
if watching violations take place is
just as bad as being the snitch to tell.
Would it matter at the end of the day
when I had earned my grades fairly,
even if they were lower than those of
the violators?
A 'fair trial' is
essential when it
comes to incidents
of cheating.
A few semesters from now, I
would like to graduate from the
University knowing that I worked
hard for my degree and that I truly
earned it for myself. Perhaps I
shouldn't be concerned whether or
not those around me share that sen-
timent or even acknowledge it. But
a University of Michigan degree
is respected around the world for
a reason. The University should
make a greater effort across all aca-
demic schools to make sure that
students do not feel compromised
during exams, projects or anything
else that has a large impact on their
grades. As students, next time we
see an opportunity to cheat, we
should be asking ourselves wheth-
er, in a few years, we'd be proud of
a degree that was earned unfairly.
- Hema Karunakaram can be
reached at khema@umich.edu.

"Books serve to show a man that those original
thoughts of his aren't very new after all."
-Abraham Lincoln
POd In her blog, Lincoln Logs, Harsha Nahata explains
why this quote is still relevant.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
to read more.


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