4A - Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4A - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
ANDREW WEINER and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
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.
Colleges, not corporations
Universitypresidents need to focus on education first
niversity presidents have some of the most prestigious posi-
tions in academia. With that comes immense responsibil-
ity and the ability to change the face of higher education.
John Sexton, president of New York University, was named one of
the "10 Best University Presidents in America" by Time magazine in
2009. However, he has recently come under fire by his own faculty
for running the school like a corporation instead of an education-
al institution. He has been accused of bypassing the faculty board
when making decisions that affect the entire academic body. Trans-
parency is a huge issue for any large-scale organization, including
our own University. University President Mary Sue Coleman is set
to leave office in 2014, and with the continued controversy over the
role of a university president, the University needs to take NYU's
situation into account when choosing its next leader.
I've heard so many times from survivors 'You're
the first person I've ever told.'Once you create a
space for people to talk, they will."
- Annie Clark, a North Carolina graduate and activist against sexual assault, said to The New York Times.
What makes the mitten?
Sexton has been an integral part of NYU's
campus expansion to Greenwich village, a
reform to which many faculty have object-
ed. More broadly, the faculty dislikes Sex-
ton's inconsideration for dissenting opinions
and unwillingness to include the faculty on
important university decisions. The prob-
lem goes beyond Sexton's lack of leadership
qualities. Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of
media, culture and communication in NYU's
Steinhardt School of Culture, said, "We see
NYU as a school; we see our mission as edu-
cational. Sexton and the trustees who sup-
port him view NYU as a bundle of assets
whose value they will apparently do anything
to maximize on paper. We believe that this
approach is destroying this university." This
problem is not unique to NYU. Universities
across the country have been accused of a
lack of transparency and a business-like men-
tality toward running their respective uni-
versities. This is a trend we should be wary
of, especially when choosing the next leader
of our school.
Communication between the University
faculty and administrators has been under
scrutiny in the past year.When expanding the
Big Ten to include the University of Maryland
and Rutgers University, University Athletic
Director Dave Brandon failed to consult the
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine
Megan McDonald, Jasmine McNenn
Paul Sherman,Sarah Skaluba,Michael
Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics
before making his decision. Instead, he simply
informed the board of the result. This decision
affected the game schedules of student athletes
by increasing travel time, thus increasing the
strain on student athletes as they spend more
time out of the classroom. This expansion may
bolster the Big Ten's profits at the expense of
the University faculty's main goal of educating
students, athlete or otherwise.
The new president should be an essential
part of completing the University's main goal
of educational improvement. Transparency is
central to this improvement. The regents had
one fewer public meeting this year because of
a trip they took to California. They also have
a rope and security surrounding them at pub-
lic meetings, separating them from the public.
University presidents should not be insular and
be committed to academia, not corporations.
A new University president will generate
change throughout campus, good or bad. How-
ever, we need to ensure that these changes
translate into substantial educational and
administrative improvements. NYU has dem-
onstrated that there has been a shift in higher
education goals that resemble those of a profit-
maximizing company. Our future president,
and presidents at all universities, should focus
on educating students.
Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh,
y, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts,
Spaeth, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
often teach an essay called
"Michigan." In it, Mohammed
Naseehu Ali details his journey
from Ghana to
for the Arts.
he sharpens his
outsider's eye to JOSEPH
types of Michi- HORTON
is the Poet, who
spends lots of time observingnature
and writing about it; the outdoors
man, men and/or women who
engage the elements through skiing,
ice-fishing, and hunting through
the sullen months of winter; and the
Sports Fanatic, the ordinary Michi-
gander who passes endless hours
watching sports on television." My
classrooms full of students - both
native to the state and new - are
quick to say there's more to the Mit-
ten. Plenty more, they say. But when
talk turns to what Michigan actu-
ally is and to defining what being
a Michigander actually means, the
classroom splits - alliances form,
tempers flare, claims are staked,
and authority and credibility are
invoked to the breaking point.
For the outsiders, summarized in
broad terms, Michigan is distilled
into a parade of opposites. The state
becomes a contrarian collection
of everything left behind at home.
Californians point out the "con-
stant" gray, "absolutely freezing"
temperatures and the delightfully
empty highways - no, no, they're
"freeways," you know. East Coasters
note, en masse, on how polite and
"nice" everyone is, and Southerners
wonder why everyone is so reserved.
International students - a category
so broad as to be often unusable -
do regularly share common ground
in comparing their home cuisines
to Michigan's big-portioned, less-
flavorful attempts at replication.
For most of the newly arrived, an
appreciation of Mitten geography
and culture is passing and general:
Canada's close, Detroit's a disas-
ter and there are a ton of big lakes
around. Not only have many never
been to the Upper Peninsula, but
also a not-insignificant number have
no idea that Michigan even has an
upper peninsula - and just forget
Natives and long-timers, then,
frequently find themselves left to
defend or dismantle Michigan's
stereotypes, and I've found this
at first produces surprising una-
nimity. Yes, they say, we do point
to where we're from on our hand,
but only in response to the blank,
"you're-from-where?" stare. No, not
everyone owns a boat, but everyone
knows somebody who owns a boat.
Yes, we have plenty of great lakes,
and we can name at least four with-
out an acronym. Sports are a major
unifying component of Mitten life,
and yes, part of beinga Tigers fan is
appreciating (if not secretly enjoy-
ing) suffering, but fandom is frac-
turing too: the Michigan-Michigan
State rivalry seeps into all facets of
life, from high-school graduation
cliques to families divided blue and
green over generations with neither
side giving ground. Yes, we have
two peninsulas, and of course the
Upper Peninsula is weird, but it's
our weird, so back off.
But there is one issue that vexes
the Michiganders. As this schizo-
phrenic Michigan March drags on
in its cruel game of bait-and-switch
and guardedly optimistic conversa-
tions inch toward cabins and cottag-
es and trips "up north," the question
is collectivelybegged: Where, exact-
ly, is "up north?" Past Midland, some
say. Or Mount Pleasant. Just any-
thing above the thumb, insist oth-
ers; if you draw a line flat across the
end of the thumb, that's north. Some
draw a higher line - Traverse City
or Gaylord or.Grayling and above. A
few even venture that north really
means above the bridge only. No
agreement. No compromise.
Consider, then, that our Univer-
sity not only serves its state but also
serves to introduce a huge num-
ber of outsiders to the state. What
responsibility do native and long-
time Michiganders have here in
shouldering Mitten identity? What
introduction should natives offer the
new, and whatgood is that introduc-
tion if basic geography, "the north,"
is so divisive and variable?
I thought Faygo
was a cleaning
I'm not in a position to say, since
I'm an outsider. I'm from Colorado,
which on the Michigander radar
generally appears as a single giant
mountain rearing up in the Far West
populated solely by Bronco-jersey-
skiers with Coors beer-helmets and
handfuls of GORP. Before moving
here four years ago, I'd never heard
of a powder puff game or Sweetest
Day. I thought Faygo was a cleaning
solution (and, really, isn't it?) and a
"Michigan turn" was the acquired
patience of driving forever in a one-
way wrong direction.
But as a teacher of writing, I
believe that process is as valuable as
the product. For me, the truth that
"up north" is a state of mind - the
enduring definition, offered up by a
student semesters ago, is the won-
derfully simple, "'up north' is where
your cabin is; 'up north' is where
you go" - suggests a private space
in a public conversation, a place
bounded by tradition yet boundless
in idea, that helps me better appre-
ciate Michigan. Here, understand-
ing can't always be found on a map,
but you'll know it when you're there.
Or, as a good Michigander friend
of mine says, invoking his grandfa-
ther, "Michigan's adestinationstate.
There's no reason to be here besides
- Joseph Horton can be reached
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ANJALI BISHT AND CHELSEA JEDELE 1
Where are all the women?
Sophia's Study-A-Blog: Elaborate mosaics, bronze sculp-
tures and huge marble columns are all features of the
beautiful Moscow subway. To find out more about what
characterizes this historic transport system,
read Sophia's blog.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
As two seniors, we couldn't help but be
disappointed at the announcement of Dick
Costolo as the 2013 Spring Commencement
speaker. Sure, he's the chief executive offi-
cer of one of the most monumental social
movements of our time and a 1985 University
alum. There's no doubt that Costolo has all
the qualifications necessary to make a mean-
ingful and memorable address, one we will
undoubtedly enjoy and remember. But Costo-
lo represents yet another layer of a disturbing
pattern in commencement speakers.
In the past 24 years, 71 percent of spring
commencement speakers have been male.
In the past 10 years, only two speakers were
female: Jennifer Granholm (as part of the tra-
dition of the Michigan governor speaking),
and Christiane Amanpour. But what's most
disturbing is the fact that in the past 24 years,
out of the seven total women who have spo-
ken, only one - Antonia Novello who spoke in
1994 was an alum. This sends the message
that even though women have been admit-
ted to the University since 1870, almost none
are accomplished enough to serve as a com-
A commencement speaker not only serves
as a role model and a purveyor of the Uni-
versity's missions and values, but also offers
inspiration to students as they step into the
world. For women and men heading into their
careers, a female speaker demonstrates that
women can - and do - succeed in leadership
and offer alternate perspectives.
We're frustrated that the selection com-
mittee has seemed to overlook so many great
female candidates in the past decades - there
is certainly no lack of impressive women.
For example, Alexa Canady, a 1971 gradu-
ate, is the former chief of neurosurgery at
the Children's Hospital of Michigan and the
first African-American woman to become a
neurosurgeon. Melinda Gates is co-chair of
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - the
largest private foundation and an instrumen-
tal organization in initiating global public
health interventions. Or, perhaps in keeping
with this year's business theme, there's Ursu-
la Burns, the chief executive at Xerox and
the first African-American woman to head a
Fortune 500 company. There's also the for-
midable Barbara Walters, an American icon
since the 1970s.
This list, impressive as it is, only scratch-
es the surface of available female leaders to
inspire graduates of the University. Is it truly
that difficult to find a female commencement
speaker who demonstrates women - not just
men - can be the leaders and the best?
Anjali Bisht is an LSA senior.
Chelsea Jedele is a Ross senior.
Lifelong commitment, not an end goal
In Jennifer Xu's column on
Monday ("Weighing in on Diets,"
3/18/13) she recommends funding
for research on a Japanese canker
sore drug that has been shown to
increase weight loss in mice. She
endorses trying to see if the drug
could help humans combat the obe-
sity epidemic sweeping the nation.
While there's scientific proof
backing up Xu's claims, I'm still
very skeptical of any drug pro-
duced to stimulate weight loss.
Maybe it comes from the thou-
sands of infomercials that feature
before and after pictures and a too
tanned, too toned muscle-head
saying, "And you don't have to
change your diet at all!" Quite sim-
ply, I don't believe it.
More importantly, a magic pill,
if it does exist, won't cure the real
problem that has led to a massively
overweight American population.
Fast food, large portions and a
sedentary lifestyle have been pro-
grammed into our culture and don't
seem to be leaving any time soon.
Super Big Gulps, Supersized
French fries, and the Treinte size
at Starbucks are all examples of
obscenely large and high-caloric
items that have become a normal
part of our meals at least once a
week. Does anyone really need a
The food culture of our society
doesn't just affect those who are
extremely overweight. A skinny
person isn't synonymous with a
healthy one. Obesity isn't the only
problem: Some of the skinniest
people have the worst eating hab-
its. Weight loss isn't the only indi-
cator of a healthy lifestyle. Muscle
weighs more than fat, therefore
muscle mass is a better indicator of
health than relative weight.
As a person who has struggled to
lose and maintain her weight since
puberty, eating well and exercising
have become a part of my lifestyle
rather than interim measures to
lose 10 pounds.
I don't "diet" - not in short
bursts, anyway. I eat well and com-
pensate for less healthy days with
healthier ones later in the week.
I exercise because I feel stressed
without it, and I make it fun with
kickboxing and kettle bell classes.
Xu is right. It's hard to change
what our bodies consider the norm,
our "set point" as she calls it. How-
ever, just because eating right and
exercising are hard doesn't mean
they aren't worth doing. And
they're probably healthier than
injecting chemicals into our bodies.
Secondly, your body seems bounces
around that "set point" by five or six
pounds every month. It's exhaust-
ing to keep track of every half-
pound gained or lost. Instead, finda
weight that makes you feel good in
your clothes, gives you energy and
isn't impossible to maintain - even
if that's a few pounds heavier than
what you would like.
A magic pill - even if it's scien-
tifically proven to help cut weight -
won't improve the way people look
at being healthy (a lifelong com-
mitment rather than an end goal).
Healthy shouldn't be about a goal
weight or fitting into a prom dress
or being "bikini ready." These are
the short-term objectives that can
lead to bulimia, anorexia and other
Everyone longs for the day when
we can take a pill and become a size
two, but it's very unlikely that this
will make us any healthier.
Jesse Klein is an LSA sophomore.
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