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September 11, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-11

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Page 4A -- Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Michigan Daily mchigandaily.cam

Page 4A - Thursday, September11, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

t ~ian 4aly
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
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.
The housing headache
As students scramble, help is needed to navigate the housing market
n.light of the recent overflow of students from University
Housing, other concerns facing the student housing
market have surfaced. Due of the University's apparent
shortage of student housing, thousands of students are forced to
enter the Ann Arbor's housing market each year - now subject
to the questionable business practices of property management
companies in the city. Furthermore, the pressures of the open
market and the timing of University Housing sign up leaves
too many students gambling on their housing situation in
the next year. While there are University programs in place
to help students with off-campus housing, there remains a
need for additional assistance. Furthermore, the City of Ann
Arbor must more closely monitor leasing practices in the city's
housing market.

Vapors and vapers

t tou mean I can smoke
these indoors?!?"
So goes the typical
reaction of
an American
cigarette smoker
examining their
first electronic
cigarette. It's
a revelation
in a country
where, unlike
the rest of the ELI
world, cigarette CAHAN
smokers must
crawl outside,
tail between their legs, to satisfy
their craving. The pitch only gets
betterwhenthemarketinggeniuses
at Blu tell smokers that "vapor,
rather than smoke" has cured
their impending cancer prognoses.
Sounds like a-miracle - all thanks
to our good friends at Big Tobacco.
But could it really be true? There
certainly seems to be some allure to
the blue glow in the hazy nightclub.
And yet, the health facts on e-cigs
are just that - hazy.
Scientifically, though it's true
that e-cigs vaporize liquid, rather
than flaming tar, to create the
"smoke" effect, the data remains
inconclusive on the health
implications of the vapor. Though
they have been shown to contain
fewer carcinogenic substances
than the nicotine tar present in
traditional cigarettes, the market
is highly unregulated and harmful
substances have been found in
liquid samples.
Additionally, since other
smokeless tobacco products, such
as snuff or dip, have been shown
to cause numerous cancers, there
is fear that e-cigs might induce an
analogous problem.
Further concerns parallel the
technical name for e-cigs, which
is "Electronic Nicotine Delivery
Systems" (ENDS): The name still
speaks to the addictive nature of
the product.
So there is concern that while
e-cigs might well reduce cancer cases
amonglong-timesmokers,theymight

also prove a "gateway substance"
for new, prospective smokers. The
theory is threefold: First, regarding
the addictive nature of nicotine;
second, regarding the pleasurable
"burning" sensationuponinhalation;
third, regarding the mimicked
"pulling motion" of hand to mouth.
Accordingly, the Centers for Disease
Control released a report in 2013
showing that the number of e-cig
smokers under l8years old doubledin
the past two years. The CDC recently
released another report saying that
the number of youths who have
"tried" e-cigs tripled between 2011
and 2013. Big Tobacco's aggressive
marketing campaigns (spending
increased tenfold from 2010 to 2012)
and creative "candy" flavors are
indicative of its awareness of this $3
billion future "market opportunity,"
so to speak.
The counterargument regarding
e-cigs' benefits is made by a study
conducted by the University of
Nottingham. The study, by looking
at recent statistics in the United
Kingdom as well as illustrative.
case studies in

All of this came to a head in the
recent report released by the World
Health Organization. In the report,
WHO recommended regulatory
action against e-cigs equivalent to
that of typical cigarettes, claiming
the potential risks are greater than
the benefits. Of particular concern
is the idea that e-cigs might
"perpetuate the smokingepidemic,"
through "glamorization" and
"implicit targeting of minors." Big
Tobacco, as well as various public
health experts, immediately fought
the report, claiming that proposed
regulation would be "overly
restrictive" and would limit the
health benefits of the product.
So what does all of this mean
for us? In my opinion, it means
that e-cigs will only increase in
prevalence. Powerful lobbying
campaigns in Washington and
marketing campaigns on television
are seductive, especially when they
addresshealthstigmas.Furthermore,
as we've seen with trends in the food
industry with labels like "organic"
and "natural," these movements,
codified
scientifically or
Slke a not, tend to gain
traction in a
e all self-diagnosing,
hypochondriac
to our society like ours.
The additional
nds at Big significance
here is to a
ICCO. broader theme
- the continued
influence of the
private sector on public health issues.
There remains considerable
tension between political strategy
(demonize corporate America for
Main Street) and honest science
(embrace the optimal health
options for Main Street, regardless
of the source): See the Sovaldi
controversy. Whatever happens
to e-cigs, that tension isn't going
away. But for the time being, expect
Skeeps to glow a little more blue.
- Eli Cahan can be reached
at emcahan@umich.edu.

Norway and
Sweden, speaks
to the public
health benefits
of cigarette
replacements
and smoking
cessation
tools. It shows
that markets
embracing
viable

Sound!
miracl(
thanks
good frier
Toba

As of 2013, total student enrollment
was 43,710. The University only houses
about 9,500 undergraduate students in 18
different residence halls and apartments.
There are also only 1,100 apartments for
graduate students and their families on
North Campus. An additional 600 spots for
single graduate students will be added when
Munger Hall opens in Fall 2015. During the
Fall 2013 semester, 28,283 undergraduates
were enrolled at the University. Freshmen,
however, are the only undergraduates
guaranteed a spot in University Housing,
and about 98 percent accept first-year
dormitory positions. According to statistics
from the office of the Registrar and the
University Housing website, 66 percent of
undergraduate students live off campus
- not necessarily by choice. While it's of
course impossible for the University to
generate more physical land near campus
for dormitories, it's important for the
administration to continually search for new
and creative ways to guarantee housing to a
larger portion of the student population.
Many undergraduates begin looking for
and enter into leasing agreements for the next
academic year within weeks of a semester's
start. This early rush for off-campus housing
places non-freshman undergraduates in an
uncomfortable situation. Since the signup
for university Housing opens and closes
in mid- to late January, non-freshmen who
want to sign up for University dorms must
forgo the chance to solidify reasonably
priced and located housing for the following
academic year. Furthermore, since every
freshman is guaranteed one of the 9,500
available residence hall spaces, less than half
of University living spaces are open to non-
freshmen. Looking at the student enrollment
numbers from the previous five years, this
means that the University has been unable to
accommodate at least 80 percent of all non-
freshmen undergraduates. With such poor
odds, returning students who wish to live in
University dorms are stuck taking the serious
risk of being rejected by University Housing
due to space constraints. Not only are these
students left without a guaranteed place to
live, having missed the rush for leases early in
the fall semester, many are stuck in a seller's
market with few quality prospects.
This is a tough predicament to resolve,
but one way to begin remedying it is to fix a
loophole in Ann Arbor's Housing Code. The
code states that landlords aren't permitted
to "... enter into an agreement to rent the
leased premises to another tenant for a
subsequent lease period until 70 days of the
current lease period has passed," nor are
they permitted to show these properties
during this same time period. Despite these

restrictions, many students searching for off-
campus housing find themselves signing pre-
lease agreements with property companies
and going on unaccompanied tours well
before the required wait period has passed.
Landlords, in order to sidestep these Housing
Code regulations, often have students sign
"Priority Lease Agreements" as early as mid-
September. These agreements simply state
that the students are legally bound to sign a
lease for a certain property when it becomes
available after the 70-day wait period, and
are often obligated to pay a deposit for the
property upon signing these preliminary
agreements. In addition, landlords ask their
currentresidentstoshowcasetheirrespective
houses to other students who are interested
in leasing them for the next school year.
These tours are unofficial and employees of
the leasing company are absent. In doing
so, this sidesteps the 70-day wait period for
opening properties to tours. If Ann Arbor can
close these pre-lease contract loopholes, the
city will at least give students more time to
weigh their already difficult choices.
Non-freshman students who live off-
campus constitute a large population of
captive customers who mustlivenear campus,
or otherwise commute. In recent years, high-
rise apartments such as Landmark, Varsity,
Sterling 411 Lofts, Zaragon Place and Zaragon
West have been constructed close to Central
Campus. These complexes are expensive -
prohibitively so in many cases. High-rise
apartments aren't the only exorbitantly
expensive housing in Ann Arbor; based
on the city's average rent figures, it's more
economically sound to purchase a house
instead of renting after 2.6 years.
The University has shown that it cares
about itsstudents seeking off-campus housing
through its Beyond the Diag program.
In order to maintain some semblance of
equitability, however, the University should
make itself more available to students who
are looking for off-campus, non-university
housing. It might also consider using its
substantial influence as an economic force in
the city to act as an advocate for its students
by reporting - and thus, hopefully preventing
- the kinds of loopholes in the Housing Code
that put students in stressful and precarious
predicaments. In addition, the city should be
more vigilant in enforcing its own legislation,
ensuring property management companies
follow Housing Code standards more closely.
Between expensive pricing and the business
practices of housing operations, the current
state of the student housing market is
bleeding many students' funds and cornering
them into unwanted and less-than-ideal
situations when searching for and leasing off-
campus housing.

alternatives to cigarettes have
shown marked decreases in lung
cancer rates. Thus, the study
concludes that while information
on e-cigs remains inconclusive,
they may prove a useful tool as a
smokeless alternative for nicotine
users, an important opportunity
worth consideration for public
health organizations globally.
This is the same argument that
traditional tobacco companies
(Lorillard, Phillip Morris, Altria,
Reynolds, etc.) are backing and
lobbying for.

4
S

CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION
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 the writer's full name and University affiliation to
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
Our better Angells

September is a strange month
for commencement like
fanfare. These events usually
celebrate
graduation,
where
students
finally
receive their
diplomas and 1
are forever
freed from
required'
courses, bad ERIC
Graduate FERGUSON
Student
Instructors
and having to stick around until the
last possible day of finals.
It felt odd, then, to attend last Fri-
day's ceremony inaugurating Mark
Schlissel as the 14th president of the
University of Michigan and to hear
him speak about the future of the
University. In his speech, Schlis-
sel emphasized his priorities for
the University as a public institu-
tion, focusing on the importance of
diversity, accessibility and appreci-
ation of all voices. He expressed his
desire for the University to address
the world's biggest challenges
through liberal education and the
promotion of cultural understand-
ing alongside the pursuit of scien-
tific and technological advances.
For students current and future,
though, no part of Schlissel's
speech will have been more impor-
tant than his statement that "stu-
dents and their parents must hear
clearly and rest secure that the Uni-
versity of Michigan values curios-
ity and intellect, not ZIP codes or
family income." With those words,
Schlissel echoed another presiden-
tial address: one given by James B.
Angell in 1879. Angell, the Univer-
sity's third president as well as the
namesake of a large campus build-
ing and a leadership organization,
argued in his speech that the Uni-
versity's greatest task is "to reach
with our best training men drawn
from all classes, from all pursuits in
life, and men who are to return to
all honorable and worthy vocations

... in all parts of the land," and that
"it is by this diffusion of the edu-
cated men ... that a great school of
learning does its highest work."
Judging from the amount of time
he has spent acquainting himself
with the state of Michigan and the
corners of this campus, Schlissel
appears to understand this task
- and his leadership role as
University president - quite well.
He also has an undeniably strong
background as the former provost
of Brown University and dean of
biological sciences at the University
of California, Berkeley. All of this
combined in his speech to justify
the loftiness of the occasion and its
accompanying atmosphere.
And what an atmosphere it was.
Even considering the event's impor-
tance to the
University, the
amount of pomp
and circum- Schlis
stance pervad- rioritize
ing it was almost
absurd. Dozens and convi
of University
professors and beneath I
leaders from
other prominent the s
higher educa-
tion institutions
paraded around the acoustically
perfect Hill Auditorium in full com-
mencement gear at the beginning of
the event. As they took their seats, a
University representative took great
care in placing the University's cere-
monialmaceon a101-year-oldlectern
while the organist (the organist?)
brought his fourth and final piece to
a close. Speakers rhapsodized about
the richness of the University's his-
tory, with past presidents such as
Angell and Mary Sue Coleman held
up as nearly equal in importance to
some of the great American leaders
of the past century.
Truly, though, many of these
leaders are University graduates.
They and their University affilia-
tion are vital parts of the institu-
tion's history and image, and it's
appropriate to invoke their achieve-
ments at an event like last Friday's.

Most importantly, a good number
of students aspire to similar promi-
nence and to see their names on
buildings, academic programs and
school awards alongside the likes of
real estate mogul Stephen Ross, U.S.
President Gerald Ford and Dorothy
McGuigan, a former University pro-
fessor and distinguished feminist.
But the fates of these great men
and women are not for every gradu-
ate of this university - and that is
OK. Many will go into their fields
and conduct essential, world-chang-
ing work that will never attain the
public prominence and wealth this
school loves to display on campus
and in the public sphere. It would be
easy for a freshly inaugurated Uni-
versity president - or one caught up
in a multiyear, $4 billon fundraising
drive - to miss
- this fact, and, in
el must doing so, have
a misguided
his vision start to their
stint at the Uni-
nee those versity's helm.
Even worse, a
irm to do president who
disregarded
ame. this for any sig-
nificant period

it
h

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
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John, Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan
McDonald, Victoria Noble, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm,
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Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
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of time would
begin to alienate those students who
don't aspire to attain great fame or
fabulous riches. Carried out over an
entire presidential term, this would
be disastrous for the University and
for society in general.
Due to his prior experiences as
an educator and self-proclaimed
lifelong student, Schlissel hasn't
fallen into that trap. From his words
and actions so far, I have high hopes
that he never will. But to live up to
Angell's vision and ensure that the
University diffuses dynamic, well-
educated men and women across all
ZIP codes and into families of every
socioeconomic status, Schlissel must
prioritize that vision for the full
course of his tenure and convince
those beneath himto do the same.
- Eric Ferguson can be
reached at ericff@aumich.edu.

S

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