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May 16, 2011 - Image 3

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

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

Gender diversity lacks at graduation

No women received
honorary degrees at
spring ceremony
Managing News Editor
Each year, distinguished profes-
sionals in a wide variety of careers
and hailing from various back-
grounds join the list of more than a
thousand honorary degree recipi-
ents from the University. But despite
the University's strive for diversity
in their selection, women appeared
to be underrepresented this year.
Five men were chosen to receive
honorary degrees at the University's
Spring Commencement ceremony on
April 30, including keynote speaker,
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. Over
the past ten years, only 25 of the 88
- or about 28 percent - of recipients
have been women, according to the
University's official list of honorary
degree award winners.
University Provost Philip Hanlon
said University President Mary Sue
Coleman strives to select a diverse
mix of recipients, adding that she
invited women this year, but their
schedules didn't permit them to be
present at commencement - a stipu-
lation required in order for to receive
an honorary degree.
"President Coleman works very
hard each year to put together the
honorary degree recipients for both
the winter and spring commence-
ments," he said. "As it turned out
this year, none of the women invited
by President Coleman worked out
which is quite unusual as you will
see from our history of honorary
degree recipients."

"We are pleased that, taken as a
group, our honorary degree recipi-
ents over the prior two decades have
been a very diverse group," Hanlon
This year's recipients included
Stephen Ross, a University alum who
has made substantial monetary con-
tributions to the University includ-
ing funding for the Ross School of
Business, Washington Post colum-
nist Eugene Robinson, former U.S.
Rep. and physicist Vernon Ehlers
executive chair of Ford Motor Com-
pany William Clay Ford, Jr. and film
producer, director and writer Spike
According to Lisa Connolly, proj-
ect manager of the Honorary Degree
Committee at the University, recipi-
ents of the degrees are accomplished
in a way that relates to education or
service and have a connection to the
University or do work that aligns
with the University's efforts.
While Connolly said these char-
acteristics are important, diversity
of the honorees is also taken into
account as well as the schedules of
nominees, as they must be present at
the graduation ceremonies.
"We had a distinguished slate
of recipients, but the mix changes
from year to year," she said. "Efforts
are taken each commencement to
confirm a diverse slate of honorary
degree recipients, but timing of the
process and availability of invitees
both play a significant role. in the
Each fall, students have the
opportunity to nominate people
they think are worthy of honorary
degrees, Connolly said.
She added that after the nomina-
tions have been submitted, the Hon-
orary Degree Committee - which is

comprised of the Dean of Rackham,
heads of executive offices, students,
faculty and alumni - consider the
nominations and recommend their
choices to Coleman and Vice Presi-
dent and Secretary of the University,
Sally Churchill. The last step is for
the Uaniversity's Board of Regents to
approve the decision, Connolly said.
It's tradition to give an honorary
degree to the commencement speak-
er as well, and that just as much con-
sideration goes into recipients for
winter commencement as for spring,
Connolly said.
Cindy-Sue Davis, director of
Women in Science and Engineer-
ing, said the University would like to
have more women recipients, adding
that she has been asked to nominate
women she thinks would be a good
choice to receive honorary degrees.
Despite the lack of women chosen
this year, Davis said she believes the
University does a good job in choos-
ing a diverse range of recipients.
"I think there are several expla-
nations - not excuses - that there
are more men, because the adminis-
trative level at the University does a
good job with diversity," she said.
Davis said the reason women
aren't nominated as often for hon-
orary degrees is because the nomi-
nations reflect the current state of
the workforce in society, and there
simply aren't as many women rep-
resented in high-level occupational
positions as men.
However, Davis said she believes
this will change over time and there
will be a more equal representation
of men and women in the future.
"It's not always the case (that
women are overlooked) and it's
something that will change over
time," Davis said.

From Page 1
in order to meet their financial
"We will probably do cater-
ing in the off season, and who
knows, maybe a restaurant
down the road, but we're defi-
nitely going to enjoy the cart and
flexibility that it gives us at this
point and time," Panozzo said.
Besides his own personal
ventures, Panozzo said he is
looking forward to seeing how
the food carts will transform
the Ann Arbor food scene, since
Mark's Carts offers an array of
dining options and innovative
ways of serving that custom-
ers may not necessarily find in
"a big brick and mortar restau-
Emma Machcinski, a senior
at Community High School, said
she likes the idea of The Lunch
Room because it has widespread
"I think that it's really great
because I'm a vegan, and it's just
really great to see foods that
are vegan," Machcinski said.
"And also they're not necessary
just catering to super hippie-
like people ... they're trying to
appeal to everybody, and get the
word out about veganism with-
out hitting you over the head
with it."
Mark Hodesh, owner of
Mark's Carts, said he chose The
Lunch Room from a wide vari-
ety of applicants - specifically
35 carts applied for 7 spots -
because of its solid vision and
Hodesh added that The
Lunch Room had a strong pres-
ence on its first day and includ-
ing carts similar to theirs will
help Ann Arbor transition to a

new era of community dining.
"I've been in the neighbor-
hood 35 or 40 years, working
and running businesses and it
was very important to me to
have a gentle transition to the
residential Westside to down-
town," he said.
"These food carts are kind
of a low density development -
for people to flow, walk by, and
enjoy them."
Mark's Carts officially
opened on May 9 and is open
daily from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.,
though each individual cart has
flexibility in choosing their own
hours of operations, according
to Hodesh.
Hodesh added that he was
inspired by the Brooklyn Flea
MarketinNewYork whiledevel-
oping the food court, which was
established on a vacant piece of
land he acquired near an empty
building he owned on West
Washington Street.
University alum Anna Fos-
ter said she likes the concept
of the outdoor carts and hopes
they will become more viable.
"I think Ann Arbor needs
more street food, that the main-
stream businesses are too afraid
of street foods, and that this (is)
a good step forward in having
a facility for them - and then
hopefully they will actually be
on the street," Foster said.
Foster added that the food
courts also have the potential to
positively impact the health of
Ann Arbor citizens.
"I think that Ann Arbor is
a very pedestrian-friendly city,
and we don't really take advan-
tage of it all of the time," she
said. "Things like food carts get
people out of their offices, walk-
ing to get food, and generally it's
not fried and it's not processed
as much, it's made by people."

From Page 1
sity will react if faced with funding
State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann
Arbor) said the amendment was
passed as a voice vote - a case in
which each representative's vote is
not recorded - and House Demo-
crats were not expecting the pro-
"This was part of a huge bill
and this was one last little add on
that (Republicans) threw in there,"
Irwin said. "I don't suspect they're
concerned about what gay people

or gay families think about their
political agenda."
Irwin said the amendment is
unlikely to pass in the Senate or
even Gov. Snyder, who, according to
Irwin, is not focused on "pursuing
social conservatism."
Despite the apparent need for
conservation of state funds, Irwin
said it's doubtful that the provision
will improve finances for the state
if it is enacted.
"Obviously if you take away
benefits from employees you're
going to save money, (but) that
money won't be saved for the state,"
Irwin said.
University alum Gilia Smith,

who is writing a dissertation
on health benefits for same-sex
partners at universities, said her
research has shown an increasingly
hostile environment for gays and
lesbians since gay marriage was
banned in Michigan.
She said new co-habitation and
age requirements put in place by
universities make fewer same-sex
couples eligible for health care ben-
efits. To comply with the law and
remain competitive, universities
opened up access to health care to
unmarried heterosexual couples as
Smith added that while it is
currently legal for a public univer-

sity to provide benefits to unmar-
ried couples in the form of an
"other designated beneficiary" pro-
gram, the law does not require that
colleges do so.
Although universities are given
these options, Smith said elimi-
nating health care coverage for
unmarried couples would be detri-
mental to both the state's economy
and the advancement of gay rights.
"(Same-sex partner benefits)
send an important signal to the gay
and lesbian community that this is
an open and inclusive environment,
and it maintains all of the Universi-
ty's recruitment edges in the state,"
Smith said. "It gives them the abil-

ity to compete for international tal-
ent in (the) academic labor market."
Irwin said the University's
desire to retain itscompetitive edge
might mean a lawsuit in the near
future if the budget passes in the
Senate and that he "would assume"
the University would pursue
legal action if the benefits of some
employees were compromised.
"The University wants to com-
pete for the best and brightest
employees," Irwin said. "They're
spending lots of money on lawyers.
It could be many years before we
get a decision, (but) history is on
the side of people who believe in
equal rights."

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