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February 05, 2019 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily

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After free-speech watchdog
group
Speech
First
filed
a
lawsuitagainst the University of
Michigan last May, the University
has restricted the housing staff,
such as resident advisors and
diversity peer educators, from
removing speech from student
doors — including hate speech.
The lawsuit was filed against
the University’s Bias Response
Team and accused the school
of limiting students’ abilities
to express themselves freely.
Since
then,
the
University
has
attempted
to
show
its
commitment
to
the
First
Amendment by allowing more
student
expression.
In
the
dormitories,
this
means
no
writings or postings can be
removed from a student’s door

without the student’s permission.
One RA, who has chosen
to remain anonymous due to
legal
concerns,
believes
the
implementation
of
a
policy
restricting how racist speech is
handled could be problematic.
They think the policy will
negatively affect the students it
targets.
“I most definitely think it
can have an emotional impact,”
they said. “If you wake up in the
morning and you open your door
and see something [offensive], it
can make you feel like you don’t
belong, it can make you feel like
you’re not a valued member of the
community and that you’re out of
place.”
The RA also brought up
past incidents involving racist
messages
on
student
doors.
Last year there was an incident
in West Quad involving three

Black students’ whose doors
were
vandalized
with
hate
speech, including the N-word.
The RA emphasized how having
to be in an environment where
derogatory speech is present
can have an impact on students’
wellbeing.
“Even last year’s event of the
n-word being on the door... ”
they said. “I knew some of those
people [who saw were affected
by it] and it most definitely has an
impact on you and other people
who have those same identities or
simply empathize with you. It can
have an emotional toll because
as a human being, sometimes
you say, ‘This is wrong,’ but it
gets a lot into what is right and
wrong and who constitutes that,
so I do think it can be difficult
to maneuver and that’s where
morality and University policies
have trouble interplaying.”

LSA
sophomore
Ruchi
Wankhede also reflected on the
incident in West Quad Residence
Hall when considering the policy.
As someone who has lived in
West Quad for the last two years,
she recalled how upsetting the
situation was. She said she’s
wary of RAs and DPEs losing
their ability to remove oppressive
speech.
“Last year, I was in West Quad
when the whole incident with
racist slurs on doors happened,”
Wankhede said. “Those are my
hallmates. It was so jarring for
everyone involved, everyone in
the community. The fact that the
free speech is there, the fact that
the University didn’t help out
that much with the investigation
is very upsetting. We still don’t
even know who did it to this day.”

michigandaily.com
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS OF EDITORIAL FREEDOM

Less than a year after the
Trump
administration
and
the Environmental Protection
Agency
received
backlash
for attempting to block the
publication of a federal study
that concluded PFAS chemicals
at low concentrations were
dangerous, it is expected the
Trump administration will not
set a limit for PFAS chemicals in
drinking water.
According to the city of Ann
Arbor’s site, samples collected
from the city’s drinking water

in the fall of 2018 revealed a
rise in PFAS levels since 2016.
Since the reported increase, Ann
Arbor has been committed to
monitoring PFAS levels. In late
2018, City Council approved a
proposal to replace all of the
city’s old carbon filters with new
filters.
PFAS chemicals have been
used for several decades in
industrial
and
consumer
products such as cookware
and
fire-retardant
materials.
Some scientific studies have
shown PFAS chemicals can have
significant health consequences
such as learning and growth

impairments
in
children,
weakened immune systems, and
increased risk of cancer. The
EPA’s decision against a PFAS
limit in drinking water would
mean PFAS chemicals would
remain largely unregulated.
In response to news of the
EPA’s impending decision to
continue to allow PFAS levels
to be unregulated, 20 U.S.
senators,
including
Debbie
Stabenow, D-Mich., and Gary
Peters,
D-Mich.,
penned
a
letter this week to acting EPA
Administrator Andrew Wheeler
to urge the EPA to set a limit for
PFAS.

Devin Pascoe, a sophomore
environmental
engineering
major, expressed her displeasure
with the government’s lack of
response to the health risks
associated with PFAS. She said
she believes the government
could do more to address the
health risks.
“It seems like the government
is not addressing the issue in
the manner that they should,
especially
since
they
were
making citizens pay for testing
their water themselves,” Pascoe
said.

On Monday night, Ann Arbor
City Council passed resolutions
to
encourage
members
of
the
community
to
support
the boycott of Wendy’s, to
strengthen nuclear emergency
planning and to support a
strong Clean Air Act and strong
Clean Water Rule.
At City Hall, before the city
council meeting began, the
A2 Safe Transport, a citizens
advocacy group working to
ensure
pedestrian
safety,
rallied for their cause. They
are attempting to implement
Vision Zero, a multidisciplinary
approach to address local traffic
technologies and policies.
LSA junior Cindy Lin, intern
for
Councilmember
Kathy
Griswold, D-Ward 2, is on the
A2 Safe Transport committee.
She discussed how the New
York-based organization can
bring its initiatives to Ann
Arbor.

GOT A NEWS TIP?
Call 734-418-4115 or e-mail
news@michigandaily.com and let us know.

INDEX
Vol. CXXVIII, No. 67
©2019 The Michigan Daily

N E WS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

O PI N I O N . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

CL A SSIFIEDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

S U D O K U . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

A R T S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

S P O R T S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
michigandaily.com

For more stories and coverage, visit

University
adopts felony
disclosure
amendment

Employees must reveal their criminal
felony charges within week of incident

AMARA SHAIKH
Daily News Editor

The Ford School of Public
Policy hosted a talk Monday to
debate different frames of mind
surrounding gun control and
its effectiveness. Each panelist
discussed opposing perspectives
on firearm policy as well as the
pros and cons of looking at the
issue in terms of injury prevention,
mental health, education, politics
and journalism.
Michael Barr, dean of the Public
Policy School, began the event by
highlighting the frequency of
mass shootings in the news cycle.
Panelist Rebecca Cunningham,
professor of emergency medicine,
said she views gun policy from a
public health perspective – the
same way she would look at any
other harmful situation.
“Firearms
are
not
really
different than any other injury
prevention framework, not to be
thought of any differently from
a vehicle crash to a fire and
burn,” Cunningham said.

Ford panel
discusses
gun safety
perspectives

CAMPUS LIFE

Forum talks firearm
policy, mental health,
injury prevention

EMMA STEIN
Daily Staff Reporter

Trump administration refuses to set
limit for PFAS chemicals in Michigan

EPA faces pressure by President to leave poisonous substance unregulated in water

RACHEL LEUNG
Daily Staff Reporter

Council
supports
Wendy’s
boycott

ANN ARBOR

Members pass nuclear
emergency plan for
Ann Arbor community

CATHERINE NOUHAN
Daily Staff Reporter

See SPEECH, Page 3

Follow The Daily
on Instagram,
@michigandaily

See PFAS, Page 3A

The
University
of
Michigan
implemented
a
new
policy
Monday
requiring members of the
community to disclose all
charges and convictions of
felonies within a week of the
charge or conviction. The
policy applies to all faculty
and staff, including student
employees, volunteers and
visiting scholars.
According to the policy,
those who do not disclose
felonies will face serious
consequences and potential
dismissal.
After the felony charge
or conviction has been self-
reported,
the
University
Human
Resources
department
will
assess
the incident based on the
gravity of the offense, the
timeliness
and
accuracy
of the disclosure and the
relevancy to the role held at
the University.
The reporting of a felony
does not necessarily mean
the
individual
will
face
disciplinary action.
Laurita Thomas, associate
vice president for Human
Resources,
said
the
University implemented the
new policy to ensure the

campus is as safe as possible.
“We
became
aware
of
circumstances
where
we
were
not
aware
of
this
kind
of
situation
across
higher ed, not necessarily
at Michigan,” Thomas said.
“And many institutions have
moved to enhance the safety
of our community and this
knowledge will help us do
that.”
When
asked
about
how
Human
Resources
will
determine
what
consequences,
if
any,
are
deemed
appropriate,
Thomas said they will use
similar standards to the
criminal history questions
and background checks all
applicants are required to go
through before employment.
“We
indicated
in
the
announcement
we
would
use criteria similar to our
background check policy,”
Thomas said.
According to the U-M
Graduate
Employees’
Organization,
the
new
policy applies to residential
advisers but does not apply to
graduate student instructors
or other graduate students
covered by the collective
bargaining unit.

See SAFETY, Page 3
LANE KIZZIAH/Daily

‘U’ policy prevents residential staff
from removing hate speech in dorms

Housing no longer allows RAs from interfering with oppressive speech posted on student doors

See WENDY’S , Page 3

See EMPLOYEES, Page 3

EMMA STEIN
Daily Staff Reporter

ROSEANNE CHAO/Daily

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