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July 24, 2014 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2014-07-24
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Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
TROTTER voice those concerns to the admin-
From Page 1 istration.
"If we'd have an advisory board,
we could have had that conversa-
of a new director, but has plans to tionearlyon andtried to move that
continue work in the fall to ensure agenda forward, rather than hav-
all of the issues raised in January's ing student have to put together
seven demands protest receive a set of demand to say, 'These are
appropriate attention and action the things I want,' "she said. "The
from the University. idea is to hear what it is the stu-
"We're still working hard to dents are feeling so that we can be
obtain these goals that we've set responsive ahead of time, before
in place," she said. "I hope that in they get to a breaking point."
several years all the demands will The University is also con-
be met ... No one coming up into tinuing the long-term process of
the BSU and the BBUM move- establishing a new multicultural
ment is going to be okay with these center on Central Campus, which
demands not being met." Simpson said she adamantly sup-
Gaines said she hopes the new ports. Harper said working on
director will ensure the necessary programming changes at the cur-
renovations are completed to make rent facility is an important step in
the physical spaces in Trotter Cen- determining the best plan for the
ter safer. new center.
While facility improvements Harper also said she felt it was
have been the ongoing topic of important to capture students'
conversation ever since January's energy while the protest was still
protest, Harper said improving at the front of their minds.
student programs at the center "Lots of students have been talk-
was an even greater challenge. ing about the multicultural center
"It's not that we're moving away and being involved," Harper said.
from paying attention to improv- "We really can't wait. We need to
ing the facility," Harper said. "But harness that energy and that com-
we also need to strengthen pro- mitment right now and have some
grammatically what's going on honest conversations about what it
there - so it's a shift in focus." isn't and what it could be. I think
Simpson said she plans to orga- the possibilities are endless, but
nize programming based on stu- we have to do that work now while
dent input and has plans to form we also plan for a new facility."
a student programming board to Though she did not refer-
oversee event planning for the ence specific program proposals,
various campus organizations that Harper said the University plans
use the space. to work with students to evaluate
In addition, Simpson also plans the best use for the space, poten-
to form a student multicultural tially including classes, retreats or
advisory board that could work workshops.
with the administration to address Harper also referenced the cur-
minority issues in a proactive, rent struggles between the Trotter
rather than reactive fashion. She Center and local Greek commu-
helped moderate similar student nity, citing student complaints of
groups at her former position in homophobic, racist and sexist lan-
the Spectrum Center, which dur- guage that gets "hurled out of dark
ing her time as director helped windows" on their way to the cen-
establish gender-neutral housing ter for events.
and other programs on campus to Simpson said she plans to
support the LGBTQ community. work to improve the neighbor-
Simpson said she envisioned hood around the Trotter Center
that the board would work closely by engaging local Greek houses
with Harper and other University through regularly scheduled com-
officials to foster conversations munity meetings and retreats,
about multicultural issues on cam- allowing members of those houses
pus. She added that such a board, and students who use the Trotter
if it had been in place sooner, may Center to engage in dialogue and
have identified the need for Trot- build understanding about
ter Center updates sooner and "We just want to think differ-
would have had more ability to ently about that work and work

Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

17

with those students that live
around the multicultural center,
so that they have that as part of
their University experience also,"
Harper said.
From the BSU's perspective,
most students on campus are still
not aware of the issues surround-
ing the Trotter Center and minor-
ity inclusion on campus. Many
continue to live in sheltered com-
munities that prevent them from
engaging with these issues, Gaines
said.
"We're just trying to make
people aware, to educate," Gaines
said. "I think we know vice presi-
dent Harper has our back, but we
all could do a better job making
campus aware."
The new appointments will also
allow both MESA and the Trotter
Center more freedom to develop
programs specific to the needs of
their students. Harper said the
current system, with one direc-
tor overseeing both facilities, pre-
sented problemsgiven the physical
separation of the spaces - Trotter
Center is located off of Washtenaw
Avenue and MESA offices located
in the Union - and the specialized
needs of each office.
"In the past, we've focused on
the facility," she said. "What we
need to focus on now is how we
make sure there's something going
on inside the facility."
In a press conference on Friday,
University President Mark Schlis-
sel also addressed the issue on
diversity on campus, noting that it
was a topic of discussion through-
out his interview process and dur-
ing the months leading up to his
appointment.
"Last year was a very important
year on campus from the diversity
discussion perspective," Schlissel
said. "I've never been at an institu-
tion where it's closer to the top of
the mind of people that you talk to
... It's very much part of the fabric."
Harper agreed with his com-
ments, citing the long history of
diversity issues on campus, which
she said positioned the University
as a national leader on the topic.
However, she said the added
attention can put pressure on
administrator to create a perfect
campus.
"It's hard, but it's doable," she
said. "We just have to do it with
our students, not to our students."

DETROIT BEAT
General Motors CEO
Mary Barra in midst
of difficult summer

'Trouble in Paradse No Smilin
i Vn Chicago

Detroit automaker
recovering from
ignition switch recall
By KATIE BURKE
ManagingEditor
General Motors CEO Mary
Barra began the summer in the
Big House, delivering a speech to
University graduates that offered
advice for the future.
Last week, she appeared in
front of Congress for the fourth
time in four months, addressing
an audience that was much less
welcoming than the class of 2014.
Barra did not mention GM in
her commencement address in
May, even though the company
was in the midst of a crisis that
would call into question the cul-
ture of one of Detroit's major
automakers.
Detroit has been home to
American automakers since
Henry Ford and William Mur-
phy founded the Detroit Auto-
mobile Company in 1899. Since
then, three have emerged as the
foremost U.S. automakers: Ford
Motor Company, Chrysler Group
LLC and General Motors.
The three automakers have
weathered a number of storms
over the past decades, from the oil
crises in 1973 and 1979, to the Ford
tire failure controversy in 2000,
to the GM and Chrysler bailouts
of 2009, all of which have had
ripple effects on their home city.
The most recent jolt to the
industry began Feb. 13, when GM
recalled 619,122 Chevrolet Cobalt
and Pontiac GS models, both cars
that sold well when they were on
the market.
What began as a routine recall
notice - 714 recalls affecting
27,957,339 vehicles were issued
in 2013, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Adminis-
tration - quickly led to the pub-
lic revelation of a faulty ignition
switch linked to 13 deaths and 54
accidents.
One month earlier, Barra had
assumed office as the first female
executive of a major automaker.
According to GM, she was noti-
fied of the defective ignition

switch Jan. 31, two weeks later,
leading to the initial recall. By
March 17, 2.6 million vehicles had
been recalled and three days later,
the U.S. House of Representatives
Energy and Commerce Commit-
tee announced its first investiga-
tive hearing into the issue.
This is the second major auto
company recall this decade fol-
lowing a 2010 Toyota recall
sparked by unintended accel-
eration in the Prius and other
models. The company eventually
recalled 15.43 million vehicles
worldwide, and was fined $17.4
million by the U.S. Department of
Transportation.
While the Toyota recall
occurred on a massive global
scale, the implications of the
GM crisis hit much closer to the
Motor City.
How the switch came to be
In pursuit of a smoother igni-
tion switch, GM engineers began
working on a new design in
1997. Between 1999 and 2001, an
engineer named Ray DeGiorgio
was given control of the design
and was ultimately in charge of
approving the final design speci-
fication in March 2001.
After its initial design approv-
al, the switch had proven prob-
lematic in testing. There were
multiple reports of the switch
slipping from "run" to "acces-
sory" modes, as well as electrical
issues. By design, when the igni-
tion switch is no longer in "run"
mode, airbags will not deploy.
DeGiorgio and his team
attempted to address these
problems in time for the vehicle
launches of the Saturn Ion and
Chevrolet Cobalt. In internal
emails, DeGiorgio referred to it as
"the switch from hell."
According to an internal
investigation, in 2002 DeGiorgio
approved the switch design for
production, even though it had
not yet met torque requirements.
Reports of vehicle stalling con-
tinued to be brought to the engi-
neer's attention in the following
Read the rest of this artitle at
MichiganDaily.com

Elly Jackson a.k.a La Roux
Danceable beats
fill La Roux's 80s
throwback album
By ADAM DEPOLLO
OnlineArtsEditor
It's been five years since Eng-
lish synthpop duo La Roux - then
composed of singer/multi-instru-
mentalist Elly Jackson and pro-
ducer Ben Langmaid - released
its eponymous
debut album,
which featured
the massively Trouble in
successful sin-
gles "Bullet- ParadiSe
proof" and "In La Roux
for the Kill."
The years since Polydor
2009 have pre-
sented a number
of obstacles for
Jackson, including a debilitating
bout of performance anxiety, but,
after parting ways with Langmaid
over creative differences, La Roux
has returned as a solo act with
its infectious sophomore release
Trouble in Paradise.
On 2009's LaRoux, Jackson and
Langmaid successfully blended
'80s chic with elements of the late
'00s club sound on the album's
radio-ready singles, but the LP's
deeper cuts were something of a
disappointment. While the dis-
tillation of punchy square synths
and 808 percussion worked on
"Bulletproof," it left the rest of the
album feeling sparse and incom-

plete, as though it were begging
for a remix that La Roux wasn't
quite ready to provide.
Fortunately, the creative split
between the duo's members seems
to have opened the way for Jack-
son to pursue her '80s throwback
aesthetic to its potently dance-
able and upbeat conclusions on
her latest release. Opening with
"Uptight Downtown," Jackson
delivers a string of well-crafted
melodies and contagious cho-
ruses over buoyant analog synths
on the album's more club-ready
tracks and lush piano riffs and
vocal harmonies on ballads like
"Paradise Is You." Jackson's ear
for melody is particularly strong
on the chorus of "Cruel Sexual-
ity," a dance track with traces of
Graceland-era Paul Simon," and
on the mildly tropical synth lines
of "Sexotheque."
Trouble in Paradise's produc-
tion, provided largely by Eng-
lishman Ian Sherwin, is just as
impressive as the album's song-
writing. The warm lo-fi halo
floating over Jackson's voice adds
an inviting color to the LP while
providing a touch of nostalgic
'80s fuzz to the whole project - a
number of the tracks, particular-
ly "Cruel Sexuality" and "Silent
Partner" with their driving ana-
log bass lines and echoing vocals,
sound like they were recorded
inside of a David Bowie music
video. You can almost see the fog
machines and angular shoulder .
pads sticking out through the
mix.
This album's biggest stumbling

block, however, is Jackson's lyrics,
which, while exploring the rocky
aspects of relationships implied
by the record's title, don't offer
much in the way of innovation or
even particularly creative imag-
ery. Even on the most interesting
lyrical track "Paradise Is You,"
Jackson is dealing with ideas, like
losing yourself in your lover, that
we've all heard before.
And, while I could overlook
Jackson's lyrics if she ended the
album on a strong note with the
catchy single and second-to-last
song "Let Me Down Gently," she
unfortunately closes out the LP
with its most disappointing track
"The Feeling." In comparison with
the finely wrought '80s aesthetics
on the rest of the album, this cut's
badly mixed bass lines and drums
are an unexpected turn. The lack-
luster production blends poorly
with Jackson's weak falsetto and
clumsy vocal harmonies, making
this track seem like a half-finished
demo that was mistakenly tacked
onto the album's final cut.
With the exception of the
album's weak finish, however,
Trouble in Paradise is a solid fol-
low-up to La Roux's debut album
that, while lacking any obvious
hits along the lines of "Bullet-
proof," is a much more satisfying
release. Few of the LP's first eight
tracks feel incomplete in the way
that much of La Roux did, and
Jackson has clearly come into
her own as a songwriter, crafting
refreshingly nostalgic pop tracks
that still sound like they were
made in 2014.

By BRIAN BURLAGE
Daily Arts Writer
There's something unsettling
about Lonnie Lynn's voice. His
distorted mid-range flow some-
times smears
over the treble/
bass border. It's
gravelly. His Nobody's
inflection seems .
rather venom- Smiling
ous at times, and Common
when you hear it
string together ARTium
his somber mate-
rial you start to
have thoughts like "Man, if this
guy is rapping about Chicago
crime, it must really be a huge
problem". And that's precisely
what Common does on Nobody's
Smiling. The whole album is a log
for his thoughts about growing
up in Chicago, being confronted
with violence at an early age and
grieving for murdered friends and
family. The particular immaterial
quality of his voice allows him to
give his subject matter a unique
importance, a cut-the-shit direct-
ness that aims its five-fingered
death punch straight at your fore-
head. And before you can recog-
nize it happening, Common takes
the podium as the experienced
teacher and you become his happy
pupil. Listen and learn, he says on
Nobody's Smiling: I'll tell it like it
is.
Lesson 1: Album artwork
counts.
Nobody'sSmilingis the aesthetic
opposite of Common's sixth album
Be, the uplifting, jazz-sprinkled
soul project that proved he could
delve into the root of hip-hop and
still maintain his funk. The most
immediate difference between
Be and Nobody's Smiling is the
album cover. Be's cover is tainted
with a tangerine glow, upon which
Common's Marvin Gaye-esque
profile grins openly. Its warmth
and sincerity reveals much about
the album's power through spo-
ken word: stories told around the
halo of a fire. Nobody's Smiling, on
the other hand, takes its moniker
very literally. Common's stony face
emerges like a ghost, his eyes dark

as coal, the front of his pale face
turned aslant now, the whole look
of him bending into shadow. From
the second we notice its correla-
tion to Be, we learn that Common
has set a pretty high mark for the
album. His is grave business, after
all.
Lesson 2: Politics have
changed very little in south-side
Chicago.
Sure, Common has had his
share of political involvement with
campaigns, protests and charity.
And sure, he even took a special
trip to the White House in 2011 to
perform for the Obamas. But if Be
was his grand inaugural address,
then Nobody's Smiling is his sol-
emn campfire talk, in which he
bears the heft of his anxiety about
Chicago crime to the people who
might not know better. R&B pro-
duction wizard James Fauntleroy
kicks off the opening track "The
Neighborhood" with a plea, his
voice straining from somewhere in
empty space: "But be careful don't
drown in the gold/I know it glows
but it's cold." A chorus of shrill
trumpets shatters the peace. Com-
mon and Lil Herb (hailing from
'Terror town' in Chicago) use the
rest of the song to explain just how
impossible it is to leavea neighbor-
hood in Chicago and how consis-
tently dangerous it is to challenge
any of the neighborhood rules.
Urban division often translates
to political division, they seem to
state - not the other way around.
Lesson 3: Gloomhas a place in
an album's sound.
While Common busies himself
with painting a bleak and even
tragic portrait of Chicago, pro-
ducer No I.D. crafts even bleaker
instrumentation. With the excep-
tion of "Hustle Harder" and
"Real" - two tracks that gracefully
address sexuality in the midst of
violence - the beats are thunder-
ous, the bass is deep and an elec-
tric tinge galvanizes the album's
neo-soul vibe. Horn sections fil-
tered through mix machines and a
score of wiry classical instruments
each add beauty to an otherwise
desolate soundscape. No I.D. has
delivered his trademark intensity
See COMMON, Page 8

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