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September 27, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-27

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4 - Friday, September 27, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Friday, September 27, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


he firtchioan l 4:lat*lv

Weeding through the laws

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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.
Poorly performed funding
Wayne State is being punished for its unique student body
n 2013, fourteen Michigan public universities will split $534,700 in
state funding that was originally intended for Wayne State Univer-
sity, one of Michigan's top schools. On September 10, State budget
director John Nixon notified Wayne that the university would be forfeit-
ing its performance-based funding due to its 8.9-percent tuition hike for
the 2013-14 fiscal year. The state's performance fund program evaluates
all universities by the same measures. Due to the universal standards that
the state has set for all universities, Wayne has been unfairly punished for
its unconventional approach to education. A funding system based on per-
formance may seem intuitively beneficial by incentivizing improvement;
however, the state needs to recognize that all educational institutions are
unique and cater to differing populations and these differences should not
be penalized.

The University is well known
not only as a great school, but also
for being in the quintessential col-
lege town of
Ann Arbor. Ann
Arbor is world-
renowned for
being a liberal
hotbed of art,
music and youth
activity. It's also
renowned for its
unique and pro- MAURA
gressive local LEVINE
laws regarding
the use, posses-
sion and distribution of marijuana.
Students proclaim, usually in a
haughty, above-the-law manner,
that they can light up a joint on the
streets and receive consequences no
harsher than aparking ticket - but
this isn't quite accurate. University
students should be more careful in
their use of marijuana in public and
understand that law enforcement
has legal loopholes that allow them
to get students in trouble.
In 1969, the Detroit poet John
Sinclair was imprisoned for giving
marijuana to undercover police.
Citizens organized a freedom
rally in Ann Arbor - attended by
John Lennon and Stevie Wonder
at Crisler Arena - to boycott Sin-
clair's imprisonment. Three days
later, the state's Supreme Court
voted Michigan's marijuana laws
unconstitutional and ordered Sin-
clair's release. A year later, the
Ann Arbor government essentially
voted to decriminalize marijuana.
The city's charter it states that vio-
lations of possession, use or control
of marijuana will result in no more
than a civil infraction, which is a
non-criminal violation. This is sim-
ilar to receiving a parking ticket. In
the city of Ann Arbor, a $25 fine is
all you might receive for smoking

marijuana in publi
But here's the
versity does not o
charter of the city
a public university
land belongs to th
gan, meaning stud
to state laws ant
enforcement if t
smoking on ca
Many people cele
in the Diag in the
they will get noth
simple citation. Bu
campus police ma
possession of mari
iday. In other wor
to smoke in Ann t
you're not on camp
Actually, mak
nowhere in public
smoke mari-
juana. What so
many students
fail to realize is
that the unique
marijuana laws
in the city of
Ann Arbor con-
flict with fed-

c. Contrary to common miscon-
catch. The Uni- ceptions, even if you are in the city
perate under the of Ann Arbor and you possess a
of Ann Arbor. As Michigan-issued medical marijua-
, the University's na card, you're still not invincible.
e state of Michi- Even medicinal marijuana is lim-
dents are subject ited in Michigan. You can only have
d campus police 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana or
hey are caught 12 plants at one time. Furthermore,
mpus property. in an opinion by the U.S. Supreme
brate Hash Bash Court in 2004 during the Gonza-
spring, thinking les v. Raich case, it was determined
ing more than a that the commerce clause allows
it last year alone, the federal government to prohibit
de 16 arrests for "local cultivation and use of mari-
juana on the hol- juana, despite state law to the con-
ds, if you're going trary." The Court decided that the
Arbor, make sure marijuana market was national in
pus property. scope and thus fell under Congress'
e sure you're jurisdiction. In other words, fed-
if you choose to eral agents can always get you in
trouble, no mat-
ter what city you
The federal are in or what
kind of a medical
government holds card you possess.
Students need
final power in the to understand
a o a a the contradictory
laws and juris-
diction issues if


The state of Michigan participates in a
performance pay program that funds schools
according to their ability to meet certain cri-
teria, such as graduation rates and STEM
degrees earned. The state has $21.9 million to
allocate to its 15 public universities - given
that the institutions do not increase their
tuition by more than 3.75 percent. Since WSU
violated this statute, it's no longer eligible for
performance pay for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
According to Wayne President M. Roy Wilson
in a recent Crain's Detroit Business article,
"The concept of a performance funding sys-
tem is fine, and I don't really see any issue
with that, but the metrics are particularly
important," he said. "One size does not fit all,
and depending on the nature of the metrics
you use you can penalize some schools and
reward others."
Wayne contends that their tuition increase
was planned and necessary. In an interview
with The Michigan Daily, WSU director of
communications, Matthew Lockwood said,
"We knew that we would be raising tuition;
this wasn't news to us. ... (the tuition hike)
will help us remain on stable financial foot-
ing so we can continue to offer the programs

and support that our students expect." With
the increased tuition, Wayne State Univer-
sity expects to gain $14 million in revenue
this year - far more than the university
would gain under Michigan's performance
pay program. Last year, Wayne received the
lowest amount of performance funding from
the state. By considering criteria such as the
six-year graduation rate, Michigan's per-
formance pay program seems to overlook
universities that attract a large number of
students who are working part-time and are
unable to finish in six years. This is an over-
sight that unfairly punishes schools that have
an unconventional student body.
Since Governor Rick Snyder took office in
2009, the state of Michigan has witnessed an
11.35-percent decrease in state funding for
higher education. Universities must resort to
tuition increases in order to compensate for
these cuts in funding. There is something to
be said about the performance pay program
that clearly does not represent the students at
Wayne. Blanket policies such as Michigan's
performance funding plan do not support
low-income students who are working - and
studying - to achieve their educational goals.

eral law. The
distribution and possession of mari-
juana is still federally illegal and is
prosecuted similarly in someregards
to other drugs such as heroin, LSD
and ecstasy. There's no "accepted
medicinal use," in federal laws,
either, meaning the medical mari-
juana card you may possess means
nothing to a federal officer. In the
eyes of the U.S. government, mari-
juana is still illegal. Federal agents
can (and will) still arrest you for
the use, distribution or possession
of marijuana and charge you crimi-
nally - whether or not you are in
the city of Ann Arbor. The only force
who will honor the city ordinance is
the Ann Arbor Police Department.

they so choose
to use marijuana in Ann Arbor. We
are lucky to live in such an accept-
ing city with progressive laws, but
we are still citizens of the United
States. So before you light up in
public, understand your rights and
your legal limitations. The federal
government holds final power in
the area of marijuana, and they
will exercise that right, despite the
unnecessary target of harmless stu-
dents. The law is the law and when
you choose to break it, you choose
to subject yourself to the conse-
quences - student or not.
- Maura Levine can be
reached at mtoval@umich.edu.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Eric
Ferguson, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick
Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Harsha Nahata,
Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba,
Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Limit NSAs scope

Forget fracking, Michigan

Earlier this month, the University
announced preliminary findings from a two-
year study on the effects of hydraulic fractur-
ing in Michigan. The Hydraulic Fracturing in
Michigan Integrated Assessment is regarded
as the most comprehensive study on hydrau-
lic fracturing in the state to date. Featuring
the research of seven University professors,
the integrated assessment draws on various
disciplines, ranging from public health to
economics. Although the findings are con-
clusive for only the first year of the two-year
report, they are nonetheless important.
Integrated assessments are commonly pre-
pared for policy makers, and since regulation
pertinent to hydraulic fracturing is an active
debate at the state level, this is a good step
to take. At the present, the state of Michigan
permits hydraulic fracturing. Well opera-
tors must follow certain guidelines, such as
reporting chemical additives within 60 days
to the state's Department of Environmental
Quality. However, energy companies are not
required to publicly disclose chemicals used
in the process. Because many of the chemi-
cals used are carcinogens, citizens in Michi-
gan and across the country are demanding
public disclosure. Many companies claim
that these chemical additives are proprietary,
and are thus afforded a right to withhold the
chemical content.
States have taken diverse approaches to reg-
ulation concerning hydraulic fracturing. New
York has issued a moratorium on the practice,
while California had no regulatory oversight
concerning hydraulic fracturing until very
recently. This past Friday, California Governor
Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed Senate Bill 4
into law, a measure establishing a permitting
process and public disclosure system. Many of
the key tenets of SB 4, including disclosure of
chemicals, do not take effect until 2015. Ironi-
cally, the Western States Petroleum Asso-
ciation, a trade association representing oil
interests in California, praised the regulation
while environmental groups such as Sierra
Club and Food and Water Watch pulled sup-
port for SB 4. The bill was significantly weak-
ened through provisions added two weeks
before the Senate vote Sept.19.
Commonly referred to as "fracking,"
hydraulic fracturing has been described as
a "game changer" for domestic natural-gas
production by industry and energy analysts.
The American Petroleum Institute has run

numerous commercials with one prevail-
ing and convincing theme: Natural gas is the
bridge fuel to American energy independence.
The Hydraulic Fracturing in Michi-
gan Integrated Assessment, in addition to
another non-industry funded study done by
Post Carbon Institute, should be consulted
by policymakers before such a conclusion
is established in Michigan. PCI fellow and
geoscientist David Hughes examined 65,000
wells from 31 shale gas plays in the United
States for his report. The key findings of the
report conclude that the majority of shale gas
comes from five plays, with overall produc-
tion at a relative plateau since December 2011.
Individual wells experience steep decline
rates - ranging from 79 to 95 percent - after
36 months. In order to maintain production,
thousands of new wells must be constructed
each year, posing enormous financial costs.
An estimated $42 billion must be spent annu-
ally to merely maintain production by drilling
more than 7,000 new wells. In 2012, the value
of shale gas was estimated at $32.5 billion.
You may be thinking, "Why should I care
about 'fracking' in Michigan?" After all, the
state's natural gas resources have not been
tapped to the extent of Pennsylvania, and we
probably will not be able to light the Huron
River on fire anytime soon. However, the con-
versation regarding natural gas as an effec-
tive bridge fuel needs reexamination.
The University's report contains signifi-
cant statements that have been relatively
absent from the national debate on fracking
for natural gas. Regarding the economics of
shale gas extraction, University research-
ers conclude that the job-creation potential
of fracking in Michigan will not "make or
break" the state's economy. Secondly, a signif-
icant oil or gas boom in the state of Michigan
is "unlikely," even with advanced technology
such as hydraulic fracturing. If the economic
picture sounds mediocre, there are very real
and unquestionable impacts on public health,
the climate and regional ecosystems that
result from hydraulic fracturing. The eco-
nomic and geological constraints of hydrau-
lic fracturing alone underscore a need for
stronger, long-term energy policy in the state.
A majority of Michigan citizens already sup-
port increased renewable energy - increased
fracking is not required.
Chris Takahashi is an LSA senior.

You've made a phone call or sent
an e-mail or text message in the
last few weeks, right? You called
your parents to check up on them,
or texted your friend so you could
meet up on Friday night. Maybe
you had to call University Health
Service to set up an appointment or
e-mail a professor about an assign-
ment. Or perhaps you've been so
busy that you have no idea how
many people you've contacted.
In that case, you're going to
want to drop the National Security
Agency a line. Thanks to Edward
Snowden, it's public knowledge that
under the authority of the Patriot
Act and with the approval of the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court, the NSA has been collecting
a vast array of communications as
part of its efforts to conduct sur-
veillance on those it suspects are
involved in terror plots.
This may not surprise you - after
all, gathering intelligence in order
to prevent terrorist attacks is the
NSA's raison d'etre. But the means
by which the NSA has pursued this
information is the subject of intense
debate.Accordingto Time magazine,
an FISC order gave the NSA blanket
access to the call records of millions
of Verizon customers and allowed
installation of agency equipment
directly onto AT&T and Verizon net-
work equipment, which comprise a
significant portion of the country's
communications networks.
While President Barack Obama
suggested reforms to these policies
would be somewhat helpful in allevi-
ating citizens' concerns, the reforms
don't go nearly far enough. If we
truly value privacy and are adamant
about operating within a system of
laws, nothing less than immediate
restriction of the NSA's power to col-

lect communications pertaining to
U.S. citizens in bulk pending a full
review of the FISC's opinions and
their constitutionality is acceptable.
Obama's response to these con-
cerns consistsofanumberofreform
measures he outlined in August.
He says that these measures will
introduce oversight and transpar-
ency into the NSA's process while
maintaining the agency's ability to
do its job. Some kind of action is
clearly necessary, as, according to
The Washington Post, there were
more than 2,700 violations of agen-
cy rules in 2012. These range from
simple human errors to an instance
where an analyst blatantly oper-
ated in violation of a court order.
These violations and a new aware-
ness of the various programs used
to collect data have contributed to
the privacy debate.
But Obama's reforms aren't suf-
ficient, and they barely address
what is perhaps the most unsettling
part of the whole affair: the role the
FISC has played in permitting the
NSA to seize so much information
with so little evidence of its useful-
ness. Until recently, all of FISC's
decisions and the legal rationale
behind them were classified infor-
mation and as such were unreach-
able for scrutiny from any outside
party. The only reform specifically
aimed at FISC is the addition of an
"adversarial voice" to the court's
proceedings. If that single voice is
able to alter the system, my faith
in both FISC and NSA might stop
falling by the day. This seems more
than unlikely, especially consider-
ing how the Associated Press has
reported that the final report of
the NSA review panel will have to
be reviewed by the White House
before being released to the public.

Worryingly, the implications of
leaving the NSA's bulk collection
programs in place - or subjecting
them to a mere review and allow-
ing them to continue to operate in
the meantime - depend largely
upon the character of those the
NSA has chosen to work within the
program. According to NBC News,
there are roughly 1,000 people who
have the same system administra-
tor access to NSA files as Snowden
did. In other words, there are a
thousand points within the agency
that an outside party could target
in order to gain access to informa-
tion about citizens who aren't even
a target of an investigation.
In the short run, these restric-
tions will certainly reduce the
NSA's capability to conduct surveil-
lance. Losing the call-collection
program and others like it would
have a slight but entirely justifiable
negative effect on national secu-
rity, as they are only a small part
of the government's intelligence
apparatus. The entire NSA is just
one of sixteen government entities
involved in intelligence-gathering.
Moreover, the NSA's track record
of using bulk data to thwart terror-
ist plots isn't exactly stellar - it has
been key in stopping a single plot.
Enough is enough. At present,
the body of evidence effectively
establishes that the NSA - with
FISC's authorization - has violated
Americans' privacy on a massive
scale. Freezing NSA's bulk collec-
tions programs while their con-
stitutionality is reviewed would
reaffirm the federal government's
commitment to obey the law and
protect its citizens' privacy.
Eric Ferguson is a
Public Policy junior.



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