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April 04, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-04

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4A - Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Thursday, April 4, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

ie J*idiian&43aih
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.

Maintaining integrity

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


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.
Coding for success
University should introduce more creative interdisciplinary courses
The New York Times published an article recognizing the
pervasion of computer science into college curriculum.
Arguments reference the need for "elements of computa-
tional thinking" in all careers and majors. Wheaton College in Mas-
sachusetts offers a course called "Computing for Poets." The subtext
reads: "a love of the written (and digital) word." Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh offers "Principles of Computation" for
those not in the major itself. This reflects an effort to develop skills
in technological literacy, an ever more important skill. The Univer-
sity should take a more integrative perspective in its approach in
offering the hard sciences - one that could also appeal to those stu-
dents outside these majors.

For the second year in a
row, the elections for Cen-
tral Student Government
ended without
a clear winner.
While forUM's
candidate ChrisT
Osborn and vice
candidate Hay-
ley Sakwa, both
LSA juniors, TIMOTHY
were ahead by BURROUGHS
485 votes at
the time polls
closed on March 29, it was too
early to declare victory.
With only about a fifth of students
voting, the integrity of the CSG elec-
tions is constantly under question.
As a result, CSG implemented a
new, stricter election code requir-
ing specific punishments following
violations. Included in the code are
rules regarding campaign donations,
which are intended to prevent any
individual or party from winning
because of access to significantly
greater funding. It's the responsibil-
ity of the University Election Com-
mission, a third-party organization,
to establish the guilt of accused par-
ties or candidates, while the Central
Student Judiciary hears appeals.
The UEC disqualified Osborn and
Sakwa after finding that Osborn, on
multiple occasions, influenced stu-
dents who were in the process of vot-
ing. This resulted in four major CSG
election code violations, and the can-
didates were assessed a total of eight
demerits, which exceeds the limit
of four demerits per person allowed
before disqualification. Additionally,
the forUM party was assessed eight
demerits for accepting donations
from Osborn and Sakwa for $300
each, double the $150 per-individual
limit. Ten demerits total are required
for a party to be disqualified.
Many are frustrated with the
election results and later disqualifi-
cations. A Michigan Daily editorial

claimed that the sole purpose of the
charges brought against Osborn
and Sakwa, one filed by youMICH
and the other filed jointly by you-
MICH and momentUM, "seemed
solely intent on preventing them
from taking office, pending an
appeal." However, both complaints
were filed with the UEC prior to
the results becoming public. The
editorial also belittles the signifi-
cance of the campaign infractions
and only questions the other par-
ties' motivation to pursue these
violations. Everyone involved has a
vested interest in the results of the
elections and clearly many motives
are at play at once. However, all
those involved, including the Daily,
should not lose sight of the impor-
tance of protecting the CSG elec-
tion process's integrity.
The Compiled Code offers clear
and straightforward guidelines
on how student campaigns should
operate. It's the responsibility of
those running for CSG positions,
especially president and vice presi-
dent, to do their due diligence and
understand these rules. The edito-
rial and many commenters have
stressed the importance of CSG on
campus and its relationship with
the University. The Daily edito-
rial claims that "the election and
resulting drama embarrass more
than impress (the administration)."
Tensions clearly are running high
between parties, but the "drama"
of ensuring fair elections is para-
mount to CSG's existence.
Additionally, much has been made
of youMICH's role in the investiga-
tion process. Many have questioned
the party's motives since they have
the most to gain from Osborn and
Sakwa's disqualification - their
candidates Business and LSA junior
Michael Proppe and LSA sophomore
Bobby Dishell came in second and
will take office if the potential appeal
fails. The role of youMICH does
raise a serious question surround-
ing enforcement with violations. The

editorial proposes the creation of a
third-party organization to police
the elections. By creating a redun-
dant committee operating under the
UEC, CSG would only overcompli-
cate and muddle the system already
in place.
By letting parties
police themselves
and each other, they
ensure compliance.
By letting parties police them-
selves and each other, they ensure
a high level of compliance. Parties
would want to avoid the type of pub-
lic humiliation and negative atten-
tion forUM has received. They're
motivated to follow the rules, while
also making certain the compliance
of others. This effectively cleans up
the election process and allows the
deserving candidates to win. Finally,
by actually disqualifying a winning
ticket, the UEC has also established
the precedent of ridged enforcement
and harsh punishments, which will
encourage all parties to abide by the
policies in the future.
The prompt seating of the next
CSG president is overshadowed by
the importance of ensuring the cred-
ibility of the election and its win-
ner. Furthermore, this controversy
shows that the new election code is
effective and working and is prevent-
ing individuals from tampering and
manipulating the process. While the
disqualification ofOsborn and Sakwa
is disappointing on many levels, dem-
onstrating that CSG takes itself and
its election process seriously will
only encourage students and the Uni-
versity to do the same.
- Timothy Burroughs can be
reached at timburreumich.edu.


It's the responsibility of the University to
offer relevant courses, but they also need to be
accessible and welcoming. All too often LSA
students are turned off by the thought of tak-
ing science classes because of concerns that
they might not have the necessary background
in these subjects. Headlines over the past three
years have noted the lack of grade inflation -
and possibly increased deflation - in science,
technology, engineering and math majors.
There's an observed 40- to 60-percent major-
dropout rates from engineering, meaning that
about half of those intending on an engineering
major ended up switching out. These figures
could be compensated by a program that part-
ners LSA with the Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science Department in the College
of Engineering. The program would develop
a curriculum that engages, encourages and
intrigues those outside of engineering fields.
Chemistry 215 double honors is an example of
this. The final project involves coding a web-
site to represent an organic molecular mecha-
nism. Across campus, students would benefit
by learning technological methods, literacy and
thinking, if integrated into curricula.
Technological skills are a needed bonus in

the job market. Computer-related occupations,
in general, pay an average of $73,710 according
tothe BureauofLabor Stastics. Entrylevel sala-
ries for computer science positions have grown
the fastest and according to U.S. News, four of
the "top 10 Best Jobs" relate directly to comput-
er science. Literacy in coding is a desirable skill
for an increasing array of professions. In order
to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit promoted
all over the Diag, students need to be equipped
with the tools to do so.
Moreover, the University needs more inter-
disciplinary focus around campus. Students
of all disciplines could benefit from such
intertwined learning. By sharing knowledge
between disciplines, students could gain a
far broader exposure than they would in iso-
lated majors. Expanding cores to include such
"exposure" classes, or changing curricula to
incorporate such elements could encourage
this kind of preparation.
The University should take the example of
other colleges and develop courses that give
students a broader skill base. University stu-
dents of the future will need a more expansive
toolset; one that includes the tools for the
online world.

The Feminine Critique: While pro-choice and pro-life fac-
the tions rarely agree, they may be able to find common ground
podiiu m in providing women the care they need after an abortion. To
tead mote of Emma Maniere's bl
rdmre o ma aieresbog go to:
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
End doesn'tj'ustify the means


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba,
Michael Spaeth, Daniel Wang, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
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 full name and University affiliation to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
Hand Up, hands on

Why has Michigan's unemployment rate
remained so high in spite of the many efforts
made to lower it? Most news sources attribute
it to problems in Washington D.C., a lack of
bipartisanship or the weather, depending on
the day. The true reason behind it, however,
was touched upon by Michigan Gov. Rick
Snyder earlier in 2012, when he discussed
how there has been too much emphasis on a
four-year degree and not enough on vocation-
al training. However, the true costs of this
dismissal of vocational training have not fully
been examined. In order to do so, it's neces-
sary to explore the cycle of poverty.
People are impoverished for a plethora of
reasons, but many can be distilled into two
groups. The firstbeingthose that weren't able
to receive the education necessary to become
an active member of the working community
- be that training in the traditional academic
forum or informally on the job. The second
group of individuals are those that they aren't
willing to put in the effort necessary to find
and maintain gainful employment.
It's this latter group that receives most of
the media attention when unemployment is
concerned, which limits the scope of govern-
ment action to benefit this group. Unfortu-
nately, it's impossible to convince someone
who doesn't want to work - even when their
life depends upon it - to do so. Thus, this
intervention is rendered inadequate by the
very nature of the people it's trying to benefit.
By limiting the scope of the unemployment
conversation in this way, real solutions for the
former group are severely limited.
Snyder suggested that these individuals
go to vocational school. However, many of
these individuals are unable to do so because
of financial and temporal limitations. Since
there's no increase in employment, this idea

does nothing to solve the problem of the sys-
tem that didn't allow them to acquire the
skills necessary in the first place. Communi-
ties in which the majority of members are of
low socioeconomic status don't collect the tax
revenues necessary to improve the school dis-
tricts to the point where they would be able
to adequately provide the skills required for
employment. This lack of skill creates unem-
ployment, and the cycle continues. In order to
break this cycle it's necessary to provide an
opportunity for hardworking individuals to
find employment.
A group of University students has decided
to tackle the issue in a unique manner: voca-
tional internships. Calling themselves the
Hand Up Initiative, they have made a plan that
attempts to bridge the gap between the level of
skills required by employers and the skills that
the unemployed populace have by setting up
two-week sessions of on-the-job training. After
this period of time, they facilitate the hiring of
these individualsbythe companies who trained
them, or, if that is not an option, through anoth-
er company in the same field. They hope thatby
eliminating one of the main factors separating
industrious job seekers from semi-skilled labor
jobs,those who wishtowork buthave been pre-
vented from doing so by forces outside of their
control can take direct control of their future.
By learning skills, individuals can provide
not only monetary wealth for their families, but
also the wealth of knowledge that comes from
experience for their children. While this meth-
od is currently untested, it seems to be an inno-
vative take on an age-old problem. If carried out
in the correct manner, this has the potential to
seriously improve the unemployment situation
in Michigan.
Drake Baglietto is an LSA freshman.

As I walked across the Diag,
chalked-out slogans bom-
barded me from all direc-
tions. To myleft,
the brass Block
M twice like a
crossword puz-
zle. To my right,
"Vote forUM"
colorfully graced KEVIN
the cracked
sidewalk. A MERSOL-
morass of post- BARG
ers with memes,
and more spanned the posting wall.
And a political party, youMICH,
released a YouTube video that many
students consider tobe racist. All of
this could mean only one thing: It
was campaign season for the Cen-
tral Student Government.
Candidates campaigned in ear-
nest soon after winter break and
until polls closed on March 29. They
advanced platforms that would ben-
efit the student body and mobilized
students to support them. Although
they pounded the pavement for
endorsements and Facebook "likes,"
ultimately only one measure of sup-
port counted - votes.
And in the voting booth, one pair
of candidates distinguished them-
selves from the rest: LSA juniors
Chris Osborn and Hayley Sakwa,
the presidential and vice presiden-
tial candidates of the forUM ticket,
respectively, swept the contest
by a margin of nearly 500 votes -
including mine.
However, they may have set them-
selves apart in another way - a more
squalid one.
Allegedly, Osborn and Sakwa
"influenced voters in four instanc-
es while they were filling ballots."
Because this type of influence vio-
lates the election code - a new code
implemented because of similar
misconduct seen in the March 2012
election - the University Elections
Commission decided to disqualify
the candidates from the election
pending appeal. The Central Stu-
dent Judiciary will review the case
this weekend and further investigate

whether or not the new code can
ensure clean elections.
If Osborn and Sakwa did vio-
late the election code to the extent
charged, CSJ should uphold the
UEC ruling and the candidates
shouldn't take office. The integrity
of the University's democratic pro-
cess depends on it. These actions
are highly unethical and sharply
deviate from the exemplary leader-
ship for which University students
are known. We shouldn't condone
these violations even if a plurality
of voters supported the candidates
or if we fear what the second place
candidates may do in office.
In fighting their case, the forUM
candidates face some fairly damning
photographic evidence. However, it
wouldn'tseemthat way gauging from
the reactions of the party and many
of its supporters. As one supporter
shared with me, "I highly doubt
four extra votes won them the elec-
tion, so it's a minor technicality, and
I don't believe we should let a minor
technicality prevent the University
from seeing a much bigger and better
change than youMICH offers."
I would note that this type of
influence is neither minor nor mere-
ly technical in nature; it gravely
encroachesupon anindividual'sright
to vote - the bedrock of democracy.
In addition, it most likely reflects a
broader political strategy that earned
the candidates far more than four
votes if the allegations are true.
Semantics aside, I find this sup-
porter's perspective deeply unset-
tling and problematic. It implies that
the ends justify the means, which I
deem morally reprehensible.
If acted upon, it would allow
candidates to have their cake and
eat it too. It would enable them to
celebrate a democratic process that
yields a favorable outcome; how-
ever, if the democratic protections
integral to that process threaten to
invalidate the outcome, they can
dispense of them. Unfortunately,
this is exactly how forUM seems to
hope it'll play out.
In an official response to the
UEC ruling, the party asserted,
"students ... will not stand for this
outrageous outcome. The voices of

3,413 students will be heard." Much
like the supporter I conversed with,
forUM tacitly accepts that, even
if Osborn and Sakwa grievously
violated the election code, their
plurality should override the con-
sequence of unethical conduct.
If Osborn and Sakwa
violated the election
code, the candidates
shouldn't take office.
Furthermore, many forUM sup-
porters are rallying against the UEC
decision to prevent what they most
fear: a youMICH administration.
Many other progressive student
leaders and I assume that the often-
reactionary youMICH candidates
would undermine progress towards
a more inclusive and diverse cam-
pus community. For example, you-
MICH stands against the Divest
and Invest campaign, which in part
calls on the University to divest
from the fossil fuel industry. This
and other stances have spurred stu-
dent leaders to keep youMICH out
of the president's office by petition-
ing the UEC decision.
A successful petition would do
more harm than good. If Osborn and
Sakwa lose their case on appeal, the
student body should accept the result
rather than meddle with the impar-
tial judiciary; it should trust the
democratic process to iron out any
discrepancies and that candidates
who sufficiently violate the election
code will face the consequence -
disqualification. Ultimately, the ends
don't justify the means.
Are forUM supporters willing to
deny a group political power know-
ing it will degrade the democratic
process? Their answer will help
define the landscape of future stu-
dent government elections and the
common understanding of ethics ,
in student leadership.
- Kevin Mersol-Barg can be
reached at kmersolb@umich.edu.


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