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May 16, 2011 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-05-16

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Monday, May 16, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'U' Law students protest commencement speaker

Graduates organized
walkout in protest of
Senator's views
Daily StaffReporter
About 50 students protested
the selection of U.S. Sen. Rob Port-
man (R-Ohio) as keynote speaker
at the University Law School's
commencement ceremony on
May 7 by walking out during his
While choosing Portman as
commencement speaker gener-
ated an outcry from members
of the campus community, Law
School Dean Evan Caminker
said the event can be used as a
way to enhance conversation and
cooperation among students and
members of the University admin-
istration in the future.
According to Andrew Selbst -
a recent Law School graduate and
principal organizer of the walkout
- students protested Portman so
strongly because he is not a sup-
porter of gay rights and is openly

againstgay marriage.
Selbst said that the protest
was done in a respectful man-
ner that still effectively demon-
strated their disapproval, and that
students met in the hallway after
they walked out in a gathering
that was "very celebratory" and
"We got up silently, walked
out, we wanted to be the least dis-
ruptive as possible," he said. "We
didn't want to try to ruin gradu-
ation for anyone. We definitely
made our point."
Selbst added that in the
future students should be actively
involved in choosing speakers,
adding that the protest aimed
to make a statement to the Law
School administration that LGBT
issues should not be a point of con-
"The point of the protest
was really targeted towards the
administration," he said. "It was
saying that the legal community
has moved pass the point where
LGBT rights are just another thing
to disagree on, and instead saying
that this is not up for debate with
the nextgeneration of lawyers."

Selbst said that prior to the
commencement services, students
sent a letter of petition to mem-
bers of the Law School's admin-
istration asking them to recall
Portman as speaker, to which
Law School Dean Evan Caminker
replied with two e-mails to stu-
In an e-mail interview with
The Michigan Daily, Caminker
said students protested because of
their concerns over Portman's vot-
ing record in regards to gay rights
as a member of the U.S. House of
Representatives from 1993-2004.
In defense of Portman,
Caminker wrote that other news
sources have reported erroneous
information regarding the com-
mencement walkout.
"We've seen a lot of very
inaccurate information in vari-
ous public blogs and reports,"
Caminker wrote. "For example,
some described Senator Portman
as an active and vocal opponent
of gay rights - whereas, to my
knowledge and based on extensive
research, he has never spoken out
on these issues at all."
Caminker added that a lot of

sources misreported the actual
number of students that partici-
pated in the protest.
"Some of the stories signifi-
cantly overestimated the num-
ber of graduating students who
participated in the walkout - the
correct number is around 50," he
wrote. "Just under 50 graduat-
ing students, out of just over 300,
walked out and were joined by
some friends and family."
The walkout did not interfere
with commencement services,
and students participating in the
walkout were civil and received
no form punishment since they
"were exercising a First Amend-
ment right of free expression and
did so in a peaceful and orderly
way," Caminker wrote.
Caminker added that he met
individually with students or
groups who expressed concern
over choosing Portman as speaker
or who sent petitions to him.
"I received letters signed by a
group of students who were dis-
appointed with my selection," he
wrote. "I engaged in conversation
with many of our students indi-
See WALKOUT, Page 6

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Mark Burns


Bishop Lecture in Bioethics
The Complex Ethical Mess Surrounding
Genetic Testing in Children
John D. Lantos, MD
Thursday, May 19,4:30 pm
Alumni Center (200 Fletcher St.)
2nd Annual Bioethics Research
Friday, May 20, 8:30 am-3:30 pm
Alumni Center (200 Fletcher St.)
!.w ...... --,9!. . . . . - -... ----......-- -- -----
The Bishop lecture is sponsored by the Ronald C. and Nancy V.
Bishop estate and the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in
The Bioethics Colloquium is jointly sponsored by the Center for
Ethics in Public Life and the Center for Bioethics and Social
Sciences in Medicine.
For more information: www.cbssm.org/events
Center for Bloethics and Social Sciences in Medicine

Brie Prusak Managing News Editor
TeddytPapes EdiorilPae E~ditor
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design @m ihigandai h.com

High-speed rail to offer
increased tramvel options

Rail project aims
to connect cities in
Southeast Michigan
Daily StaffReporter
Despite funding setbacks,
administrators at the Southeast
Michigan Council of Government
and the Michigan Department of
Transportation are continuing
to work on creating a high-speed
Ann Arbor-to-Detroit rail line,
which would be the first major
transit system in Southeast Mich-
The ultimate goal of the project
is to provide four roundtrip runs
every weekday from Ann Arbor
to Detroit with stops in Dearborn,
Ypsilanti and the Detroit Metro
Airport - a plan that is unfolding
in stages as a result of changes to

Funding constraints lessened
on May 9, when the federal gov-
ernment gave the state a $200
milliongrant and access to a sepa-
rate shared $336 million fund to
expand high-speed rail, according
to a May 9 article in the Detroit
Free Press.
Specifically, Michigan will
receive $2.8 million to build a
new rail station in Ann Arbor, as
well as $196.5 million for work on
the Detroit-Kalamazoo corridor,
according to the article. Part of
a separate $336 million grant will
help the state to purchase the nec-
essary trains and equipment for
the new raillines.
Tim Hoeffner, MDOT's admin-
istrator of high-speed rail and
innovative projects advancement,
said he thinks revitalizingthe rail
system will be a key transporta-
tion improvement in Southeast-

Haley Goldberg


SarahySquire W eevelopment Manager

Ashley Karadesheh
Alexis Newton
Meghan Rooney
Connor Byrd
Quy Vo

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Layout Manager
Special Projects
Circulation Manager

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