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March 31, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-31

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4A - Monday, March 31, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A -Mondy, arch31, 014The ichian aily- mihigndaiyco

Ele idhiian a4y
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
I 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.
Trning a new page
The 'U' should utilize open-source textbooks
As the prices of textbooks continue to rise, many college students
are choosing to not purchase them at all. With many students
continually struggling to pay for higher education, the added
stress of buying expensive textbooks is a serious issue. It's because of these
high prices that some universities are turning to open-source textbooks.
The University should make an effort to utilize open-source textbooks
more often in class curricula in order to reduce the cost of education for

Connecting us all

C onnecting... " said the
screen of my iPhone.
A couple of seconds
later, my younger
smiling face
popped on my
screen. In one
hand he held up
the phone, and
in the other he
was holding up a NIVEDITA
shiny, new black KARKI
football with
a Manchester
United logo on it. "I did OK on my
midterms, so Mummy and Papa
finally bought this for me!" "That's
awesome!" I said. "Jaldi aao (Come
here fast), we need to start the Pooja
Vedant!" "Your sister is going to get
late for class!" I heard my parents
say from the other room.
I straightened up in my chair,
pushing back my hair so my Kurti
shirt was visible, and made sure the
new fairy lights I had bought for my
room were noticeable on the phone
screen. As my brother ran across
the living room to the Pooja room in
our house, I could see that my mom
had decorated the house with flow-
ers beautifully. "Nivi beta, ready?"
"Nope!" I tried to kid.
And so we prayed and sang Bha-
jan songs - my brother and I trying
our best to mouth the right words
- then my parents showed me how
they had decorated the house. "Your
mom outdid herself this time!" said
Papa, showing me the flower petals
that formed patterns across the liv-
ing room floor. From our balcony, I
could see lights lighting up the night
everywhere, and hear fireworks
going off every other second, mak-
ing me cringe. New Delhi looked
like a beautiful, but noisy, bride - as

it always did on Diwali. I looked up
at the clock in my room - 9:30 am -
my class started in half an hour. "By
the way, the new update for iOS 7 is
available," my mom said. I laughed
and nodded, said my goodbyes, and
started packing my bag.
Diwali - the Hindu festival of
lights - was, literally, a surreal
experience in 2013. And so will
the next few ones to come. Though
this happened last November, you
can see that I remember the day
extremely well. Partly because it
made me realize how far out of my
comfort zone I have been trying to
live, but mostly because that was the
day I truly appreciated how technol-
ogy has come to affect our lives.
Every other Facebook/Intel/
Microsoft/Apple commercial I had
ever seen - y'know the cheesy,
overtly emotional kind showing
how families, friends and people in
general had been united through
the company's work - all made
sense to me that day. I don't mean
to sound like someone in love finally
understanding the meaning behind
all sentimental, sappy songs - but
despite my problem against the
dominance of boys in tech, I had
come to truly appreciate and love my
choice of major that day.
As I finished getting ready for
that morning, I remember taking
a picture of myself by those fairy
lights I bought, and sending it as a
Snapchat to all my friends with the
caption "Happy Diwali - the festi-
val of lights!" What followed was a
hilarious series of replies. From my
friends in India, I got Snaps teasing
me about all the sweets and des-
serts I would be missing, and that
it sucked for me that I had to go
to class.
Meanwhile, some my friends who
weren't from India started send-

ing me Snaps of them next to the
most random sources of light - the
chandeliers in the Law Library, the
ceiling lights in the UGLi, and even
the sun - and some just drew lights
next to their faces.
Other than realizing the fact that
I only picked people whose brains
stopped developing after middle
school to be my friends (just kid-
ding, I know they were just being
silly) no matter where I went, I also
realized how I absolutely agreed
with my mom on one thing: "What
would we do without technology?" I
couldn't help but marvel at the fact
that I was 7,500 miles away from
home celebrating one of my favor-
ite festivals in a strangely amusing
way. It made me miss my family a
little less, and appreciate people a
little more.
The point of this extremely per-
sonal anecdote is, or at least I hope
it's been, to create a little positiv-
ity around our dependence on
technology. In between deactivat-
ing accounts on social media out-
lets during exams, and blaming the
Internet and other fun tech cre-
ations for the decline in our atten-
tion span (I've been trying not to
play 2048 while writingthis article),
we have forgotten to appreciate the
good things that have come out of
this dependency. Our generation,
especially, takes technology for
granted. We know that technol-
ogy is going to continue to be a huge
influence on our lives, so we must
understand that we need to learn to
really value how it has augmented
our ability to interact. Focusing on
how it can help us create valuable
experiences can really help us make
it an asset for ourselves.
- Nivedita Karki can be reached
at nivkarki@umich.edu.

its students.
The University of Maryland, College Park
is one of the universities working on making
the transition. Open-source textbooks are
comprised of materials from a variety of
sources that are not subject to copyright
restrictions. The initiative to use open-
source textbooks is just a pilot program at
the University of Maryland but it has been
estimated that the program has saved 1,100
students $130,000 collectively.
According to the College Board, the
average university student spends $1,200
annually on textbooks and supplies, and
depending on the major, the amount can be
even higher. Open-source textbooks would
provide a free alternative to these expensive
textbooks. According to the U.S. Government
Accountability Office, average textbook
prices rose 82 percent between the years
2002 and 2012. With this kind of price hike,
students need more cost-efficient resources.
However, there are concerns that go along
with using open-source textbooks. Textbook
publishers have extensive processes involved
in editing the information presented in the
textbooks they sell. They make sure that
the materials are credible and use reliable
and correct information. It could be harder
to check the credibility and reliability of
open-source textbooks since they would be
compiled from so many different sources.
To combat the problem of credibility
and reliability, extensive review systems
should be implemented. For example, the
College Open Textbooks Collaborative
provides reviews of books used by over 200
community and two-year colleges. Reviewers
are community college professors with at
least one year of teaching experience and
their reviews are considered along with their
curriculum vitae. Open-source textbooks
should be treated as all other academic
articles are and be reviewed by experts in the
field to ensure quality information. Minimum
teaching requirements and a demonstration

of qualification should be a standard for all
reviewers, and open-source textbooks should
be constantly reviewed by these individuals
to ensure credibility and reliability.
There are already a number of simple ways
that the University can transition into an era
of cheaper textbooks. The University already
has subscriptions to many academic journals,
magazines and newspapers. Professors
should utilize these resources as often as
possible, as some classes have completely
replaced textbooks with these online articles.
Additionally, a number of professors at
the University allow students to use drafts
of textbooks they're currently writing -
sending students updated versions if certain
chapters have been edited. More professors
should consider this method, and professors
already doing so should consider allowing
other classes to use their textbook drafts.
The University should take note of the
other colleges that have already begun
to transition to open-source textbooks.
California State University, Washington State
College, the University of Minnesota and
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
all have compiled giant libraries of free
course materials online within recent years.
These colleges are making an effort to save
their students money on textbooks, and the
University should do the same. However,
in doing so, the University should consider
other aspects of switching to open-source
textbooks, like providing additional printing
pages to allow students to view these
resources on paper.
With the rapid rise of collegetuition over the
past decade, colleges need to assist students in
investigating cheaper alternatives to pricey
textbooks. Textbooks are an essential tool
for learning, but their extremely high prices
provide a barrier to students. Open-source
textbooks can be that alternative, and with
proper support from the academic community,
they can be just as effective.

Barry Belmont, Edvinas Berzanskis, Rachel John, Nivedita Karki,
Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman,
Allison Raeck, Linh Vu, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Pineapple express

A resolution for all

This week the Daily's editorial board
appeared to come out in support of the bill
rejected twice by the Central Student Gov-
ernment, which calls for a committee to
investigate and recommend divestment of the
University's endowment from certain compa-
nies doing business with Israel.
The Daily editorial board said, "the Uni-
versity needs to institutionalize a permanent
mechanism to evaluate complaints against
companies that are suspected of doing busi-
ness with unethical regimes." That is a noble
initiative that was not at all addressed by the
divestment bill CSG considered.
The Daily editorial also said, "The reso-
lution called for CSG to petition the Board
of Regents to create an ad hoc committee to
investigate University investments in com-
panies accused of violating human rights."
That sentence is missing an important word
that changes the meaning entirely: Israel. The
Daily implied that the measure recommended
the committee investigate all companies for
human rights violations. The resolution does
no such thing, the bill requests that the Uni-
versity investigate companies doing business
with only one of many imperfect states with
which transnational corporations do busi-
ness. To illustrate the impotency of the bill to
broadly target human rights violators, if one
of the four companies listed in the resolution
stops doing business with Israel one day and
the next day is found to be complicit in the
commission of a genocide in a different coun-
try, SAFE's ad hoc 'human rights' committee
would give the investment the seal of approval.
The editorial board of the Daily either mis-
understood the language of the resolution
or was misled by its drafters into thinking
that the bill addressed globally responsible
investment rather than a targeted political
attack on Israel. Once the editorial's words
are carefully parsed it is clear that the Daily

endorsed a measure that no student group
has yet drafted and proposed to CSG.
Had Students Allied for Freedom and
Equality authored a bill striving for a Uni-
versity endowment free from investments in
irresponsible corporations around the world,
it would have remained true to its name, seek-
ing freedom and equality for all. Instead, it
introduced a bill that focuses on one side of a
complex geopolitical issue in just one country.
The bill before CSG was not interested in
guarding human rights globally. The bill was
not even drafted to protect human rights
violations committed against all Palestin-
ians. For example, it ignored the cruelty to
the Palestinians committed by the Syrian
regime and the Palestinian Authority's vio-
lations against its own citizens. Singling out
Israel is where SAFE's human rights dialogue
starts and ends. To achieve this narrow goal,
SAFE wrote a resolution that the Daily has
not properly fact checked. The resolution was
filled with sources that would be unaccept-
able in an academic paper or a news article
and they surely do not hold water as factual
support underpinning a piece of legislation.
The editorial is a call to us as students to
propose a wholly different resolution. It is a
call for us to look one by one at the 597 directly
held equities in the University's endowment
portfolio and investigate the global human
rights records of all of them. By contrast, the
SAFE BDS bill would instruct the University
to only cross-reference those companies with
ones on lists of alleged violators featured on
anti-Israel political websites.
Let us as a student body come together and
fight for human rights in every corner of the
globe. Let us fight for equality for all. We are
the thinkers of the day and together can start
building a better tomorrow.
Jeremy Kazzaz is a second year Law student.

Pineapple is one of my favorite
fruits. I love its cool, refreshing
taste. I love the way it squirts juice
onto your taste buds. I love it in my
fruit salads, I love it in my smooth-
ies, and I love it on my pizzas. I love
it by itself, just the way it is. But
because of Adam Kredo from the
Washington Free Beacon, I don't
know how I'm going to be able to
eat a pineapple ever again.
On March 26th at 10:23 am,
Kredo posted an article titled "BDS
Leader Posts 'Overtly Threaten-
ing' Photo to Facebook." In it, he
posts a Facebook photo of me with
a keffiyeh wrapped around my face
as I stick a knife into a pineapple.
The author writes: "Civil rights
leader Kenneth Marcus labeled
Kherallah's photograph as 'overtly
threatening' and said that it could
contribute to the culture of fear
within the University of Michigan's
pro-Israel community."
The article goes on to speculate
about the meaning of the pine-
apple, somehow connecting it to
Zionism and peoples' denial of the
Holocaust through an anti-Semitic
French comedian (whom I had
never heard of). Another bizarre
speculation was that since sabras
(presumably associated with Isra-
el) were not available at Michigan
grocery stores, I used a pineapple
as a substitute to convey these hor-
rible messages.
It is embarrassing to even have
to address this. None of these
claims are true whatsoever. I jok-
ingly posted the photo on Facebook
before any talk of a divestment
resolution started. I was playing on
an intramural basketball team and
posted the photo in the lead-up to
a game against a team of friends.
Their team was called Ananas -
the name of their favorite sandwich
joint in Dearborn, also the Arabic
word for pineapple. In the cap-
tion, I tagged the members of Team
Ananas and wrote, "It's on," allud-
ing to the basketball game we had
the following week.
The photo was an innocent joke
that engaged in a longstanding bas-
ketball rivalry between friends,
who were overwhelmingly Arab
and non-Arab Muslim. At another
level, the photo was intended to
make fun of racial stereotypes of

Arabs as violent and extreme by
juxtaposing the image of a "vio-
lent" Arab man with a piece of fruit.
When your identity is repeatedly
demonized in public, all you can do
is laugh it off.
What Adam Kredo did in his
article is, in a word, libel. It is
politically motivated and bigoted
journalism that targets me as a vis-
ible leader of the #UMDivest cam-
paign. Unfortunately, this sort of
individual attack against Univer-
sity students involved in the BDS
movement is not unusual. In addi-
tion to this attack against me, other
Students Allied for Freedom and
Equality students are being falsely
accused of using racial epithets
against opponents of the resolu-
tion in an attempt to distract from
our real message - that complicity
in Israel's human rights violations
has to stop - and paint us as moti-
vated by anti-Semitism. This is, in
fact, a primary tactic of opponents
of divestment, including Kenneth
Marcus himself - the "expert"
who provided Kredo with the stun-
ningly wrongheaded analysis of
what the pineapple means. Despite
Marcus's civil rights background,
he is a leader of the crusade against
campus activism for Palestinian
rights, using various legal tactics to
claim that this activism is threaten-
ing Jewish students.
Words cannot describe the kind of
outrage and emotional distress Ihave
gone through in recent days. Already,
Kredo's article has been cited in a
number of other outlets including in
The Jerusalem Post, on the Brandeis
Center for Human Rights under Law
website, and in San Diego Jewish
World. None of these sources both-
ered to verify Kredo's allegations by
reaching out to me.
My Twitter account has been
flooded with hateful and racist
messages. There are photoshopped
images of me in which I am called
a "Jihadist" and "Infidel slayer."
The emotional shock I have been
through is immeasurable. This
is something that will negatively
affect me for the rest of my life,
every time I have to go through an
airport (as if I didn't have to worry
about airports already as an Arab
male), when I apply for grad school,
and every time I interview for a

job. It does not matter how inac-
curate and libelous Kredo's article
is, the fact is that my reputation has
been unfairly tarnished and simple
Google searches will always lead to
the original false allegation.
I want to tie this back to cam-
pus. I sincerely hope that no one
at our University gave Kredo my
photo out of context with insidious
motives, but I have to question why
my Facebook account was scoured
months back*for a point of attack.
That's disconcerting in itself. More
importantly, we all have to critical-
ly examine the rhetoric surround-
ing the opposition to #UMDivest.
Many opponents of the resolution
we proposed chose to oppose us by
calling our movement "violent" and
"hateful" instead of debating us on
the actual merits of our resolution:
nonviolent divestment as a means
to advance the end of the Israeli
occupation and the discriminatory
laws Israel enforces.
These opponents included
prominent CSG members. This was
despite SAFE going to every length
imaginable to ensure that the sit-in
and the movement was a place that
was safe and loving for everyone.
This was despite Vice President for
Student Life E. Royster Harper's
public statement affirming our
peaceful methods and respect for
the space we occupied.
My advice to fellow students
is this: You came to a University.
Your opinions and political stances
are meant to be challenged. Please
engage in actual critical discourse
instead of resorting to fear-mon-
gering and baseless accusations.
If you have a case, you might be
able to challenge us for the better
by engaging with us intellectually
rather than on the basis of ad homi-
nem attacks.
Thank you to all my friends who
have supported me (both pro and
against divestment). How ironic
that a photo that was intended as
a satire of violent stereotypes of
Arabs and Muslims is taken out of
context to spread the same anti-
Arab and Islamophobic character-
izations it sought to ridicule. What
are Adam Kredo and Kenneth Mar-
cus smoking? Pineapple Express?
Yazan Kherallah is an LSA senior.

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