4 - Friday, March 29, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4e Michinan 43atim
Edited and managed by students at
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and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
EDITOR IN CHIEF
When the water started creeping
into our classroomr, ou teacher gave
me a number to call ... The guy on
the phone started laughing."
-LSA senior Adam Kleven said in an interview with The Michigan Daily after a pipe in the North 40
Quadrangle bsrst Thsrsday morning and cassed major flooding throsghost the building.
MOLLY BAUMKEL I V WPOI
Who wins under marriage equality.
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorialboard.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors."
Put a pause on fracking
The public and researchers need to be better informed of risks
T he global debate on the extraction of natural gas through
high-pressure hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has again
reached Michigan. The state is considering applications
from Encana Oil & Gas to drill 13 new fracturing wells in the Lower
Peninsula. According to the Michigan Department of Environmen-
tal Quality, which grants the state's fracking permits, the 13 wells
would break through to an untapped energy source, but not without
environmental and public health risks. While the energy crisis must
be addressed, Michigan communities have yet to be adequately
informed of or safeguarded against fracking. Michigan should place
a moratorium on new natural gas extraction projects until there is
a better understanding of the associated risks both by researchers
and the public.
Hydraulic fracturing pumps an enormous
volume of pressurized water deep into the
earth to break up sandstone, limestone and
shale - which, until this technology's devel-
opment, was beyond reach. The process
results in the release of natural gas that's
already being used as one the nation's big-
gest and world's most unprecedented energy
sources.The one to 13-milliongallons of high-
pressure water is usually about 10-percent
sand and .5-percent a mix of chemicals, some
of which lead to serious health concerns. The
negative effects of this mixture is uncontest-
ed, and the water must be disposed of - but
not all the water is pumped from the ground.
On top of the resulting waste, in a technical
roundtable discussion of independent experts
hosted by the EPA, rural water supplies have
been noted to be the first to drain when water
is withdrawn for fracking.
Companies are currently not obligated
to disclose any of the EPA-estimated 1,000
chemicals they use during fracking. This
deters the public's ability to effectively track
such chemicals to assess their impact. Until
there is transparency and tracking, public
concerns can't be addressed.
According to its document, "Questions
and Answers About Hydraulic Fracturing in
Michigan," the Department of Environmen-
tal Quality is vague about its efforts to inves-
tigate these questions. It states that it "does
not support halting an activity that has been
regularly used without serious incident,"
which would imply that it would support
fracking. The DEQ must acknowledge that
the environmental challenges presented by
current fracking efforts poses unknown risks
as it becomes more prevalent. The idea that
the state of Michigan should respond with
stricter regulation on fracking only after an
accident espouses disregard for all parties
directly affected by any potential accidents.
Although the ability to extract natural gas
may strengthen our energy security, it would
behoove the state to work with local govern-
ments and entrepreneurs to develop local
energy sources responsibly. Regardless of the
economic benefits they provide, current and
future wells ultimately prolong an investment
in fossil fuels that should instead be directed
toward sustainable energy innovation. Envi-
ronment and public health risks need to be
further researched. Ultimately, further inno-
vation is needed to meet the challenges of the
21st century energy crisis.
In reference to an apparently bold
move on the part of former Presi-
dent Bill Clinton - declaring his
support of gay marriage years after
having signed both the Defense of
Marriage Act and "Don't Ask, Don't
Tell" into law - political strategist
David Mixner told the New York
Times in a March 25 article, "We
created a safe place where he could
change his mind." Not only did Clin-
ton need a "safe place," but he's also
quoted in the article as saying that
he has finally realized the errors of
previous actions and came out in
support of same sex marriage.
Over the past year, many power-
ful figures in business and politics
have voiced opinions in favor of gay
marriage - CEO of Goldman Sachs
Lloyd Blankfein, former Utah Gov.
Jon Huntsman Jr., and Republican
lawyer Theodore B. Olson, to name
a few. This isn't to undercut their
support of a population rhetorically
reduced to "the gays." However, as
LGBT marriage rights take center
stage thisweek with Tuesday's hear-
ing on Proposition 8 and an equally
monumental hearing the following
day concerning the DOMA, it feels
especially pertinent to examine the
language that the news media has
chosen to adopt when discussing
Who's left out of the equation
when we create a "safe place" for
Clinton? Why does he get a "safe
place" when so many LGBT youth,
for example, find themselves not
only without a safe place, but with-
out any place at all? I'm not just
annoyed; rather, the particularity of
these words presumes that we don't
need to change the quotidian lives
of those who are at risk of physical
violence and regularly confronted
with systemic oppression. Instead,
we can satisfy ourselves with the
knowledge that we've allowed the
time and space for a powerful man
to come around to a better under-
standing of justice - easily said
and done, considering that the vast
majority of us don't have to move a
muscle to make that sort of change.
When discussions of sexuality are
often contextualized as either "in"
or "out" of "the closet," and when
"coming out" is still, for some, an
untenable danger, what does it mean
when Clinton comes out in favor of
marriage as a white, straight, cis-
gendered and moneyed male? The
stakes aren't the same.
The New York Times' cooptation
and reflection of queer political and
moral rhetoric when considering a
very privileged man is indicative of
whose "problems" we're actually
solvingifDOMA is struck down once
and for all. The aforementioned men
risked very little, if anything, to sup-
port marriage equality, but will still
be told they did their good deed of
the year. Meanwhile, what remains
is the persistent turmoil experienced
by those for whom the right to marry
is absurdly fantastic, wholly irrele-
vant, or a single strand in our nation's
perverse web of legally sanctioned
discriminatory practices. After the
battle for marriage equality is won,
will those powerful men in Washing-
ton D.C. direct their energies toward
creating free healthcare for HIv-
positive LGBTQ individuals?
This isn't to condemn marriage
equality as a goal for the gay rights
movement. I'm extremely happy
for the same-sex couples that might
be able to realize their long-time
dreams of marriage sooner than
theyexpected. Butmaybe thosewho
are privileged enough to be blind to
other extant inequalities are the
only ones for whom marriage equal-
ity is an indicator of ultimate justice.
I'm so delighted that Clinton had a
"safe place" to change his mind, but
I, for one, want to keep fightinguntil
this country is a safe place for every-
one to live their lives.
Molly Baumkel is an LSA senior.
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry B
Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, I
Aarica Marsh,Megan McDonald, J
Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman,
Daniel Wang, Luchen
elmont, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson,
Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet,
asmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth,
Wang, Derek Wolfe
Weil Can Do It: Are women underrepresented in our various
the forms of entertainment? The Bechdel Test which suppos-
* edly examines gender bias in our works of fiction says, yes.
Ellery Weil examines the validity of the Bechdel Test and
other ways to look at gender bias in fiction.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
MOLLY NIEDBALA ( VIEWPOINT
Stand up for racial equality
CAITLYN KNOERR( VW
Activate your inner activist
Coming to Michigan as a naive freshman, Yourself, Amplify: Inspire Others" as we pre-
I never would have dreamed of identifying pare for the conference on April 6th.
as an "activist." What I originally believed As co-director of an event that impacts so
I wanted out of my college experience was many people, this experience has been life
worlds away from my current path, but I changing. While it hasn't been without its
wouldn't change it for an instant. During Fes- trials and tribulations, MAASU has been an
tifall, I was persuaded to join United Asian amazing experience that has led me to devel-
American Organizations by a senior who has op my passions. Not only have I developed
since become one of my greatest mentors. my identity and lens as an activist, but I've
It was through UAAO that I discovered social also had the fantastic opportunity to become
justice, activism and the disparities facing the involved and meet other leaders in the com-
Asian/Pacific Islander American Community. munity from a diverse variety of student
I learned about Vincent Chin, Japanese-Amer- backgrounds.
ican Internment and the A/PIA identity. Learn- There's a place for all activists here on
ing about my heritage as not solely "Asian" but campus, whether it be a freshman just start-
"Asian American" has given me a newfound ing to develop his or her passions, or dedicat-
sense of purpose and inspiration. Addition- ed seniors. Each and every one of us has the
ally, this has led me to become actively involved ability to find a cause that sparks a fire within
with our on-campus community. us during our time here at Michigan. For me,
During my sophomore year, we started it has been the A/PIA community. For others,
planning the Midwest Asian American Stu- it may be LGBTQ rights or tuition equality. I
dents Union Spring Conference. The two-day consider myself an activist and I hope many
conference consists of inspiringspeakers, tal- of you do as well.
ented entertainers, professional development We're incredibly excited to bring the
opportunities and an amazing banquet. The MAASU 2013 Spring Conference to the Uni-
largest component of the conference is the versity of Michigan. With over 30 schools
amazing workshops planned that span topics from across the country represented,
from Gender Studies to "Redefining A/PIA." MAASU will be an amazing experience for
MAASU, a national non-profit organization, all those involved. Our Planning Committee
is focused on A/PIA awareness specifically encourages anyone on campus interested in
for college students. The organization is activism, social justice or A/PIA awareness
dedicated to helping college students devel- to learn more about MAASU by checking out
op their intersecting identities of students, the conference's website.
activists and Asian Americans. We hope to
stay true to the theme of "Magnify: Explore Caitlyn Knoerr is a Public Policy junior.
Late last year, a large brawl broke
out between the football teams of
Huron High School and Pioneer
High School in Ann Arbor. One
coach pushed another in the heat of
the game, and the next thing any-
one knew between 30 and 70 people
were fighting. Of all those involved,
and of all those fired or suspended
from school, criminal charges were
only brought against three Pioneer
students. I would bet you can guess
those students' skin color.
African American students are
far more likely than their white
counterparts to be suspended,
expelled or arrested for equiva-
lent conduct violations, and Ann
Arbor isn't immune to that real-
ity. Although school violence has
plummeted since the 1990s, juvenile
arrests have become far more likely
at school and our youths' futures
have been profoundly affected. It's
jarring to see these dynamics at play
so close to home. Involvement in the
juvenile justice system devastates
the likelihood of high-school gradu-
ation. Juvenile detention facilities'
educational services are negligible,
and students who do graduate are
often denied access to critical chan-
nels of social mobility due to their
criminal records - not only in pub-
lic housing but also in student loans
and occupational licensing.
Many students wrapped up in
the juvenile justice system are dis-
advantaged to begin with. Resourc-
es that could provide children with
basic educational resources are
often used to instead fund things
like security staff. The phrase
"school-to-prison pipeline" refers
to this growing national trend.
We're criminalizing rather than
educating our nation's children,
which has real implications for the
kind ofsocietywe're building.We're
seeing schools create roadblocks to
education. Not only that, research
indicates that excessive disciplin-
ary action actually increases the
likelihood of later criminal mis-
conduct. Harsh juvenile penalties
therefore threaten our safety, not to
mention the costs of incarceration.
As it is, Michigan spends roughly
$1.27 billion more on prisons than
on education per year.
Mark Fancher, a lawyer in the
ACLU of Michigan, advocates for
a different approach to justice. In
a letter to the Washtenaw County
Prosecutor in support of the Pio-
neer players, he asked that "better
alternatives" to criminal charges be
considered. In particular, Fancher
envisions a justice system that val-
ues restorative justice -justice that
brings together everyone impacted
by a crime and fosters community
healing. The idea behind it is this:
opportunities for repairing damage
and for victim-violator communi-
cation build character and commu-
nity resilience, and in so doing, they
enable meaningful repentance.
It's just this sort of the reform
that we need to be implementing.
The Pioneer brawl arrests highlight
difficult structural challenges, but
when injustice hits close to home,
we're given the opportunity to
make our voices heard. We're given
the opportunity to advocate for a
restorative justice system and not
a penal one. We're given the oppor-
tunity to stand with our community
in a trying time. Ann Arbor Con-
cerned Citizens for Justice has been
organizing rallies in support of the
charged students, and early April 2,
the undergraduate ACLU chapter
and other student groups will join
a police-escorted march from the
Ann Arbor District Library to the
Washtenaw County Trial Court in
support of one of the juveniles.
In Ann Arbor and as students, we
don't accept disparate punishment
on the basis of race, and we reject
unhelpful approaches to crimi-
nal justice. We stand up for racial
equality and call attention to coun-
ter-productive strategies. And most
of all, we stand in solidarity with
our community, especially with our
Molly Niedbala is an LSA senior.
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