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July 19, 2004 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-07-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 19, 2004
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109 NIAMH SLEVIN SUHAEL MOMIN
tothedaily@michigandaily.com Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
Ylb EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials refect the opinion o
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
SINCE 1890 necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
G raffiti has long been considered a lions of dollars to fight graffiti, only to have
blight upon our urban landscapes. It Jood m ark S the art form resurge stronger than before.
is often derided as a defacement of Campaigns against graffiti can also wreak
public property, an obstruction to property Gra at t Arbor's cultral vtaty havoc on a city's artistic and cultural well
values and a propagator of gang warfare. \JIOLLLar co ut eto [XIIIf-ILAUrS CLILLI[dI VLd.lt being. Areas of a city that are ppl.
However, after decades of evolution and among graffiti artists are often slapped with
media attention, graffiti has been elevated to themselves in ways that might not be accessi- of graffiti is that if someone dislikes the advertisements, replacing public art with
a burgeoning art form. Stencil graffiti, a type ble in other cities. Acceptance of graffiti is a message, that person is welcome to make corporate marketing. Ann Arbor would suf-
where paint is sprayed through a cut-out sten- necessary step that must be taken if Ann his or her own mark. Graffiti is an intrinsi- fer both economically and culturally if it
cil to make an artistic or political statement, Arbor truly wishes to foster the kind of lively cally interactive art that welcomes everyone attempted similar graffiti clamp downs.
is on the rise here in Ann Arbor, but some are arts community of which it boasts. to participate. An argumentative discourse While beneficial, graffiti artists should
leery over the new form of expression. One argument commonly made against on city sidewalks should be encouraged and exercise some restraint in choosing where
According to the Ann Arbor News, both area graffiti is that it is vulgar and a sign of gang the ensuing debate would only increase a to paint their visual narratives. Important
businesses and the University are doing their activity. This is not the case with Ann Arbor sense of community through dialogue. landmarks like the Diag 'M' and large
best to fight this expansion by zealously stencil graffiti. Most of the graffiti seen Both the financial and cultural costs of murals like those near the Michigan Theater
painting over stencil graffiti whenever it pops around Ann Arbor makes artistic or politi- anti-graffiti programs outweigh their poten- should be considered off-limits because
up. These efforts to fight stencil graffiti cal statements that do little to incite vio- tial benefits and usually have little hope of these are the few places where graffiti c
should be abandoned, as graffiti is a type of lence. The artistic and poetic aspects of the succeeding. For example, in 1985, efforts to hurt the city's cultural value. Graffiti artists
public art that only adds to the cultural rich- art beautify the city, while the political and clean graffiti-ridden subway cars in New should also be wary of private property and
ness of Ann Arbor. often anti-war messages have about as York only resulted in respiratory problems keep their concrete canvases to public areas.
Stencil graffiti is but one aspect of the much to do with gang violence as a John among transit workers and young people Despite these restrictions, stencil graffiti
vibrant cultural environment for which Ann Kerry bumper sticker. due to exposure to the cleaning solvents. A should be encouraged to cultivate Ann
Arbor is well renowned. The increasing Many disapprove of stencil graffiti nearby school was forced to close and tran- Arbor's artistic richness, as it plays a vital
appearance of this public art indicates that because of such overtly political statements sit workers won a $6.3 million court settle- role in making Ann Arbor an artistically
residents feel comfortable openly expressing made on our public sidewalks. The beauty ment. New York has spent countless mil- and culturally diverse, tolerant city.

Dorm dearth
Housing shortage should be fixed for the long-term

Kerry-ing the load
Missed votes harmful to Keny's credibility

The University has recently revealed
an innovative housing plan for cer-
tain incoming freshman and North
Campus residents. Faced with an "over-
booking" - 450 freshman with housing
contracts but no rooms to accommodate
them - the University has decided to
move undergraduate students into the fam-
ily housing units of Northwood I, II and
III. This move is a functional compromise
that makes the best of the immediate situ-
ation, but it reveals a much more funda-
mental problem at the University: inade-
quate residence hall facilities.
The makeshift solution employed by the
University will be costly and merely enough
to get through this coming academic year.
Last year, faced with a large incoming class
and a significant number of students who
elected to return to the residence hall system,
the University converted lounge facilities in
many dorms to quads --rooms for four. For
the coming year, the University's plan is
much more extravagant and expensive.
Upperclassmen living in the Baits complex
on North Campus will be moved into the
family housing units of Northwood I, II and
III. Some current residents of Northwood I,
II and III will be moved to Northwood IV
and V The University will cover the moving
costs, and both the relocated upperclassmen
and former residents of Northwood I, II and
III will continue to pay their original housing
fees. Incoming freshmen, then, will be able
to occupy the vacated sections of the Baits
complex.
While this scenario is not perfect, it is
the best working option, and the University
has been unusually considerate in its plan-
ning. Residents of any Northwood complex
will not be relocated without permission,
and while certain upperclassmen in Baits

housing will not be given the option to
return to Baits, they will be allowed to
withdraw from their housing contract if
they choose not to move into Northwood.
Of course, questions and concerns linger,
and many Northwood residents remain
wary of having rowdy undergraduates liv-
ing next to their children.
In addition to the measures implemented
to benefit relocated students, the University
should be encouraged to expand services to
accommodate the greater number of incom-
ing students who will live on North Campus.
Historically isolated, freshman on North
Campus often miss the rich experiences
available to those on the Hill or luxurious
South and West Quads. With almost 30 per-
cent of incoming students located some-
where on North Campus, the University
should expand extracurricular facilities as
well as transport services in the area. Just
because students are placed in a North
Campus dorm, they should not forego the
freshman year experience.
However, whatever the University does to
fix its immediate housing problem, it will fail
to address the core issue: inadequate housing.
Bursley, the most "modern" residence hall,
was nonetheless built about 40 years ago.
Since then, no major residence facility has
been constructed, while enrollment has
steadily crept upwards. This disparate growth
has created a problem, which is now an
imminent crisis. Fundamentally, the
University must seriously explore the idea of
constructing a new residence facility. Only
through the construction of new buildings
can the University actually create more
rooms, which are realistically what is needed.
While this may be expensive, it promises a
permanent solution, not a temporary fix, to a
chronic growing problem.

ast week, the United States Senate
soundly rejected President George
W. Bush's Federal Marriage
Amendment, 48-50. Even though the FMA
was a spurious measure that was predes-
tined for failure, 98 senators were present
- only senators John Kerry (D - Mass.)
and John Edwards (D - N.C.), the pre-
sumptive Democratic presidential and vice-
presidential candidates, missed the symbol-
ic roll call vote that killed the bill. In order
to advance his campaign, Kerry has been
consistently neglecting his responsibilities
as a Massachusetts senator and has not
been present for an overwhelming number
of votes. The tribulation of the campaign
trail is undeniable, but with many contro-
versial bills approaching, Kerry's presence
and votes will be critical. Kerry needs to
reprioritize, balancing his current job with
his future aspirations.
Kerry's campaign manager has stated
that Kerry will only attend votes if a bill's
success or failure is contingent upon his
presence. Consequently, Kerry has been
accused of missing 87 percent of the roll
call votes this year and 64 percent last year.
Some of the bills were actually close votes,
where Kerry's presence arguably could
have influenced the measure. A bill spon-
sored by Senate Democrats, to make war
profiteering illegal recently failed by a slim
margin of two votes. Yet, Kerry did not feel
as though his schedule would permit his
participation in the vote.
Recently, Kerry missed another vote to
extend federal unemployment benefits to
people in need of further assistance. The vote
fell short by one vote, and Kerry was the only
senator absent. Mitt Romney, the Republican
governor of Massachusetts, claims that this
bill's defeat caused the state to lose over $75

million. Romney has called for Kerry to
resign his seat in the Senate, seeing as how he
spends more time campaigning than being an
effective representative for his constituents.
His missed votes, while having practical
consequences, have symbolic ones as well.
Kerry's actions as a senator threaten '
future credibility as president and make
him an open target for Republican criti-
cism. The Bush-Cheney campaign has
already launched commercials attacking
Kerry for missing more than two-thirds of
the votes this year. Kerry needs to start par-
ticipating in Senate votes, regardless of
whether or not he believes his presence is
important. Kerry was not elected to the
United States Senate to represeO
Massachusetts merely 13 percent of the
time. Furthermore, as President, Kerry will
be expected to multitask and maintain a
vigorous work schedule. He needs to prove
to Americans that he is able to fulfill his
duties through difficulty and stress.
Running a successful and effective cam-
paign is a time consuming and rigorous
process that requires a high level of commit-
ment. If Kerry feels that Senate votes are not
worth his time in light of his campaign oblig-
ations, he can choose to resign his seat. The
however, will give Gov. Romney an opportu-
nity to fill Kerry's seat with a republican, giv-
ing the GOP an even larger advantage on
Capitol Hill. This is certainly something that
would seem unpleasant to Democratic voters.
The best course of action for Kerry to take is
simply to participate in more votes. Improved
attendance would exemplify his qualities of
leadership to his Massachusetts constituency
as well as to the American people. If wantsOi
serve the United States of America, it would
be wise to first show that he can serve the
state of Massachusetts.

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