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August 13, 2007 - Image 22

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-08-13

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1 0 The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2007
Pfizer to close Ann
Arbor facility

Regents approve North Quad

By WALTER NOWINSKI
Daily News Editor
Jan. 23, 2007 - In a devastating
blow to the city and region, Pfizer
Inc. announced yesterday that
it would close its massive Ann
Arbor research and development
facility - eliminating 2,100 jobs.
At a hastily convened press con-
ference in the Michigan Union,
Mayor John Hieftje joined Uni-
versity President Mary Sue Cole-
man, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and
other elected officials to address
the job cuts.
University officials said the
announcement will not have a
dramatic effect on University
research. Over the last three
years, Pfizer contributed about
$12 million of the University's
roughly $800 million research
budget.
Pfizer paid $13 million to the
city's treasury in 2006, more than
4 percent of Ann Arbor's property
tax receipts, and was one of the
largest charitable givers in the
city, supporting the United Way,
youth programming and the Uni-

versity Musical Society.
Pfizer was the largest non-
University employer in the city
and had recently invested heavily
in upgrading and expanding its
Ann Arbor research labs, which
abuts the eastern edge of North
Campus.
At the press conference, Hieftje
spoke candidly about what the loss
of Pfizer, the world's largest phar-
maceutical company, would mean
for Ann Arbor. He said that the
disappearance of the city's largest
taxpayer would have an impact on
property tax levels in the city and
would hurt the city's schools.
Still, he cautioned against
despair.
"This is certainly a blow to the
city, but it is not one from which
we cannot recover," he said.
With a low unemployment rate
and the promise of new indus-
tries like Google moving into the
area, Ann Arbor had been one of
the few economic bright spots in
the struggling state.
But the loss of thousands of
high-tech jobs yesterday cast
doubt on the city's economic
future.

New dorm to cost
extra $38 million
By BRIAN TENGEL
Daily StaffReporter
Dec.13, 2006-TheUniversityBoard
of Regents on Friday approved a new
design for North Quad, campus's
first new residence hall since Burs-
ley Hall was built in 1968.
The schematic design and bud-
get for North Quad were originally
scheduled to be approved at the
regents meeting in March. At the
last minute, though, administrators
decided to delay the approval, citing
concerns over the aesthetics of the
building's exterior.
University President Mary Sue
Coleman said yesterday that the
original design wasn't welcoming
enough.
A nine-month delay means that
the dorm Coleman has called the
northwestern gateway to Central
Campus will open at least a year
later than scheduled. It will also
cost an extra $38 million.
Coleman said the new structure
will echo many of the other build-
ings on campus, reflecting the aes-
thetics of structures like Weill Hall,
also designed by architects at Rob-

6

Schematic drawings of North Quad approved by the University Boarc
December. The new dorm is expected to be completed by 2010.

ert A.M. Stern.
"It's more urban, it's more Michi-
gan, it's more who we are," Coleman
said of the new design.
The hall is now slated for com-
pletion in 2010. The building will
stand on the current site of the
Frieze Building, the demolition of
which the regents approved at their
September meeting.
The new complex, designed to
merge academic facilities and resi-
dential space, will house 460 stu-
dents, the School of Information,
the departments of Communica-

tion Studies and Screen Arts and
Culture, the Language Resource
Center and the Sweetland Writing
Center. The residential part of the
building will include a top-floor
community lounge overlooking
campus, air conditioning in every
room, personal bathrooms and
updated dining facilities.
The construction of North Quad
is part of the University's Resi-
dential Life Initiative, an effort to
improve the living and learning
environment in the University's
residence halls.

New program enables 'U' to gauge geographic diversity

0

Sc
ch

Mar. 2
underp
and hi
in thea
the Un
graphi
lege Bo
The
Plus, sc
hood
cluster
sity wi
about
tionalK
applica
school
ty offic
diverse

tware creates consideringrace.
The University's undergradu-
usters' based on ate admissions office began using
the service at the beginning of the
demographics admissions cycle in September.
University officials said they
hope the service will help the Uni-
By GABE NELSON versity maintain ethnic diversity
Daily News Editor after the passage of Proposal 2,
which banned the use of affirma-
tive action.
9, 2007 - Students from But Proposal 2 wasn't the reason
rivileged neighborhoods for the implementation of the sys-
gh schools will get a boost tem, said Chris Lucier, director of
admissions process now that recruitment and operations for the
iversity is using a new demo- -University's undergraduate admis-
cs service offered by the Col- sions office.
ard. ."It's not a device that's oriented
servic'e, called Descriptor solely at social or ethnic diversity,"
arts students into "neighbor- Lucier said. "It's another tool for us
clusters" and "high school to identify populations that might
s." It provides the Univer- not have the same access to higher
th demographic-information education as other populations."
the socioeconomic, educa- Lucier said Descriptor Plus is
and racial breakdown of the legal under Proposal 2 because it's
nt's neighborhood or high based on geographic and education-
- information that Universi- al information - the consideration
ials say will help them select of which Proposal 2 didn't outlaw.
e freshman classes without He said Descriptor Plus is one

of many factors taken into account
when considering applications.
Using demographic character-
istics like annual income, ethnic
breakdown and college attendance,
Descriptor Plus groups neighbor-
hoods into one of 30 "Educational
Neighborhood Clusters." It also
forms "High School Clusters" by
measuring factors that show a
school's academic quality and its
students' racial and socioeconomic
backgrounds.
Alan Foutz, an attorney for The
Pacific Legal Foundation, a Cali-
fornia-based law firm that opposes
affirmative action, said it would be
hard to challenge the University's
use of Descriptor Plus in court.
"They would have to establish
that the criteria they are using are
subterfuge for actual racial profil-
ing, which would be a difficult case
to establish," he said. "If they are
in fact taking into consideration
the whole panoply of demograph-
ics that are attached to a particular
geographic area, that is most likely
not a violation of Michigan's Pro-

posal 2."
Ted Spencer, executive director
of the University's undergraduate
admissions office, said the Uni-
versity hopes Descriptor Plus will
prevent the sharp drop in minor-
ity attendance that was seen at the
University of Texas and the Univer-
sity of California system after their
states banned the use of affirmative
action.
"We make no bones about the
fact that diversity's important to
us," he said.
But Lucier said it's unclear
whether the new system will work.
"We don't know if it will help us,"
he said.
Tlie service 'costs $15,000 per
year, University spokeswoman
Deborah Green said.
Forty-one other colleges - pri-
marily private schools - currently
use Descriptor Plus, according to a
list provided by Steve Graff, director
of admission and enrollmentservic-
es for the College Board. Michigan
State University and Northwestern
University are the only other Big

Ten schools using it.
Although some colleges use
Descriptor Plus to analyze how stu-
dents from certain neighborhoods
perform academically or how like-
ly they are to attend the school if
accepted, most don't use the service
as a key factor when making admis-
sions decisions, Graff said.
When the University bought the
right to use Descriptor Plus three
years ago, it originally intended to
use the service to recruit students
from underrepresented groups,
Lucier said.
He said admissions officials
eventually decided it would be more
useful in admissions.
Lucier said Descriptor Plus is.
a more accurate snapshot of a stu-
dent's background thanthe applica-
tion previously provided.
Admissions officers are currently
ableto see anapplicant's genderand
race - but they can't use that infor-
mation when making an admis-
sions decision. Admissions officials
haven't decided whether that will
change next year, Lucier said.

0

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