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February03 (Feb. 18-22)



Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 2:55 PM -0500
From: Mary Sue Coleman marysuec at
To: student.voices at
Cc: MI-Roundtable at, msa.reps at
Subject: Letter from the President

Dear Students:

I was impressed with your thoughtful presentation of student concerns at the March board meeting. But I was disappointed we did not have a more productive dialogue regarding student concerns when we met at Trotter House on Monday. I had hoped we could use that time to put some important ideas on the table, and to talk together about plans moving forward.

I am not interested, however, in responding to a set of demands where no real discussion can take place. I believe that progress on important issues can only come from dialogue. I'd like to share my thoughts with you in more detail.

First, I have been listening carefully to your concerns. It is clear we have to establish productive dialogue among students and administrators-and in some cases, accelerate decisions that have taken too long. Also, we must build better decision-making processes on major University initiatives focused on students-processes that fully engage student input.

It is not possible for the administration to always be in one hundred percent agreement with students on every issue. We will certainly have some differences of opinion along the way. But when we do, I am prepared to share the principles and facts that have guided our final decisions.

On Monday Provost Courant, Vice President Harper and I wanted to share several actions with you to address many of the concerns you have expressed. Also, we want to keep the door open for continued discussion on these and other issues that will take more consideration and study. I hope you will join us in this work.

I will outline these ideas below.

Student Input

Establishment of a Standing Student Advisory Committee-Vice President Harper will establish an advisory committee to encourage additional student input on University issues that have an impact on student communities. The advisory group will include representatives from student organizations. Clear guidelines for nomination to the committee, terms of service and
other protocol issues will be established.

Re-establishment of annual Provost's discussion on budget convened by MSA-In past years, MSA convened a dialogue between University budget administrators and students, to discuss the budget-setting and prioritization process. Provost Courant would like to re-establish this tradition and ask MSA to host this discussion in April of this year and annually thereafter.

Trotter House project planning-In April, a team of student representatives, facilities experts and staff will be established to recommend possible options for Trotter House. Vice President Harper has asked Patricia Aqui Pacania, director of the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, to lead this fast-track planning effort. The group's work will be shared widely with the campus community in the fall. We are looking carefully at the University's fundraising capacity and the Office of Development will provide counsel on realistic fundraising goals. I have made a commitment to be personally engaged in fundraising for Trotter House as well.

Greek System discussion-We believe this subject needs more time for consideration and discussion. There are many serious issues that need our attention. We want to establish a clearly prescribed process to 1) outline the issues and goals, 2) mutually agree on the student and faculty advisors, 3) provide for open discussion, and 4) determine an end date by which final decisions will be made.

SAPAC-The decisions regarding SAPAC were made in order to respond to very real and enduring concerns about our ability to serve all our students. Complete status quo is not an option. The changes will enable the University to provide a greater level of specialized counseling services to survivors of sexual assault and trauma. Vice President Harper has indicated her willingness to continue a dialogue about how to go forward in a way that is responsive to student needs, especially the need for safe space.

Student recruitment-Many students are currently involved in elements of the recruitment process within their schools and colleges, including LSA student government representatives as members of the LSA Admissions Advisory Committee. We welcome additional student input as we continue to evaluate our new undergraduate admissions process and enhance our outreach and recruiting efforts.

Budget and Program Issues

Budget cuts-The magnitude of our budget constraints and the effect of the resulting cuts is not easy on any part of our community. The hard reality is that all of us will have to deal with cuts to program support in an effort to manage the enormity of the short-term budget crisis. But you are right when you ask us to also find a way to support our University's work to be a truly diverse and inclusive community.

We will work to identify some additional resources, through reallocation, for areas where the funding levels are such that programs are at special risk. Also, we will work with students to ensure that the impact of budget cuts is minimized. Specifically with respect to Pow Wow, the University will cover the program's deficit this year as it has in the past. We will work to develop a sustainable budget model for the future.

Latino Coordinator-We are moving ahead and the position will be posted within two weeks.

Michigamua-The University took strong actions two years ago to establish an environment of respect related to Native American heritage. The Office of the Provost has begun investigating the transcript issue raised at the March Regents meeting. We have discovered that over 200 student organizations and affiliations are listed on transcripts, but the process is not clear and it is obviously out of date. The Provost has charged the Registrar with a study of the issue and will recommend appropriate next steps.

Hate Incidents

Your forceful description of the pain of hate incidents was very powerful to me and I am dedicated to addressing this for our whole campus. Hate incidents are insidious and have a damaging effect on our campus climate. I have asked the Campus Safety and Security Advisory Committee to explore the creation of a comprehensive hate incident reporting mechanism. I want the effort to achieve several goals:

--create a greater awareness of the issue on campus,
--make sure that those who experience hate incidents can reach out to us,
--and make sure DPS is engaged to address hate crimes that are identified by members of our community.

The Campus Safety and Security Committee is chaired by Vice President and Secretary of the University Lisa Tedesco. The charge of this advisory group is to assist with the ongoing review of issues related to campus safety, and its membership includes student representatives. The committee has already taken up the issue and is prepared to explore next steps.

Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay Task Force

The TBLG Task Force, charged by Provost Courant, is expected to issue a report in April. We will be acting upon the report's recommendations in the coming months.

In summary, we are paying careful attention to the concerns you have raised. Some actions will take place immediately, and in other cases we have more work to do as a community. My goal, and I trust it is your goal, is to make the best decisions we can for the students who are here now and for those to come.


Mary Sue Coleman

Posted by Rob at 3:05 PM

"the exact same thing happened to me earlier this year"

A woman has contacted me to say that she, also was raped at the SAE fraternity, and didn't report it because members of the SAE fraternity pressured her to keep quiet.

Following two stories in quick sucession in the Daily this week, yet another controversy swirls around the greek system, this time centered on the possibility a member of the SAE fraternity could be investigated for rape after the Daily reported that, "the victim remembered having sexual intercourse with an unknown male inside the fraternity house after consuming a large amount of alcohol. The victim did not, however, remember where in the house the incident occurred or how she got back to her residence hall." (Daily - March 29: "Alleged rape under investigation"

However, today's story contridicts the police report, the sexual assault survivor today telling the Daily that she has told the Ann Arbor Police the incident was consentual:

"The alleged victim of a reported sexual assault at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house said yesterday the act in question was consensual and she does not intend to press charges. ...

"The truth is that we snuck into the party, and SAE was not responsible for anything that happened that night," she said. The police had reported that the woman and her friends were allowed into an unregistered party although they were not on the guest list. ...

"I do not approve of (SAE) being kicked off campus because of this event," she added.

Nelson said SAE members have cooperated with AAPD detectives, and plan to continue doing so.

"We take this very seriously and it’s not a reflection on who we are as a group of brothers," he said. ...

Nelson added that the SAE member involved in the incident was a pledge."

> From today's Daily: (March 31) "Woman denies rape at SAE house"

Additionally, I've been contacted by a student insensed the Daily is "letting them off like that," saying "almost the exact same thing" happened to her, although she never reported the incident:

"... I just wanted to tell you how I feel about something in today's Daily because I think your site is the only place this is going to get addressed fairly. ... The girl who was taken advantage of at SAE has totally changed her story, and it really upsets me because almost the exact same thing happened to me earlier this year. ... I never told anybody because my friends were friends with some SAE guys, and they kept telling me that SAE would get kicked off campus if I said anything."

She added that she disagreed with the survivor's allegation she "snuck into the party," saying "those guys always let girls into their parties who arent on the guest list."

Concluding, "I dont know who was responsible, but its pretty well known that the guys there push girls to drink way too much to get them drunk, they gave me some mixed drink which was way stronger than they told me."

Meanwhile, a former president of SAE wrote a self-righteous letter in today's Daily attacking the newspaper: "The Daily has always been keen on disparaging the Greek system in its pages with false headlines that often have no factual backing. I think you need to put a stop to your campaign to unjustly ruin SAE’s reputation."

Luckily, saner voices prevail, here in a companion letter:

To the Daily:

After reading about the allegations of rape taking place inside a fraternity house (Alleged rape under investigation, 03/30/04), I am only further drawn to the conclusion that the interests of many of the social frats are simply incongruous with those of the University. Even if evidence shows consent on the behalf of the woman, the testimony of the friend is indicative of the institutionalized victimization occurring at social frats, and not only of women.

From the BB gun incident several years ago to the fairly recent kidney failure due to over-exhaustion, pledges are forced through a bizarre and dangerous boot camp in which their individuality is stripped for the sake of “brotherhood.” This, for one, is completely antithetical to the ideals of the American college experience, in which youth is given the chance for self-expression and realization of its individuality through study, art, sports, etc.

The victimization of women at social frats is simply undeniable and has led to a party design with that goal in mind. This is evident in this recent incident as well as the death of Courtney Cantor in 1998, for which her father sued the University with hopes of changing University policies toward the Greek system. With this in mind, I have to suggest that the recent considerations by the University — pushing back Rush and requiring a live-in advisor — are not so much in the interest of the University’s image but rather in the interest of the health and welfare of the student body.

Phil Muirhead
RC junior"

Posted by Rob at 11:53 AM

Oh yeah, don't forget to check out Ari's column on the Old Fourth Ward's notorious "Neighbor Dave," titled "Not in their backyard"

Posted by Rob at 4:58 AM

Michigamua Confronted During Initiation Week Rituals

What began as a leaked tidbit of information about the meeting time of Michigamua, Michigan's most controversial secret honor society, ended yesterday night with nearly a dozen student activists confronting Michigamua members about their organization's extensive history of abusing Native American culture.

Using cellular phones and a tip that Michigamua members would be meeting in the Law Quad at 7:00 PM, members of the Native American Student Association and their allies embarked on what devolved for some into a wild-goose chase through the evening's cold drizzle.

After seeing that 7pm meeting had in fact occurred, NASA members quickly alerted friends that Michigamua was on campus, apparently conducting activities as part of their initiation week for new members. An open discussion began between when NASA members encountered Michigamua inductees congregating at the Tappan Oak, a large oak tree located between Haven Hall and the Graduate library which has historically served as a meeting point for this campus "leadership" organization.

Confused Michigamua members stood awkwardly nearby before conferring on cellular phones and apparently agreeing to meet elsewhere. Of the roughly dozen student activists present, some were surprised to discover friends and acquaintances among the group's new members.

Meanwhile, another "secret" campus organization had activities planned for the evening, although they might prefer to be called "anonymous." First, some history - rewind to 2000, shortly after the 37-day sit-in which evicted Michigamua from their Michigan Union headquarters, and revealed they had been flagrantly disobeying a 1989 agreement about use of Native American references and artifacts.

Phoenix Members Visit Allegedly Closed Tower

"Consistent with the principles of fairness and access expressed in the panel’s recommendations," [Former University President Lee C.] Bollinger said in a letter to students in the affected organization, "I have decided that it is not appropriate to continue any special tenancy in the [Michigan Union] tower space for Michigamua, Phoenix and Vulcan." ...

Bollinger said the tower space is in need of renovation to conform to safety standards and regulations regarding access for the disabled. A decision about what to do with the space will be made after considering the cost of these renovations and other issues. ... "
(Record: "Three student groups to be relocated")

It was on these terms that President Bolliger evicted the "Tower Societies" from their tower, although not heisitating to provide official University office space for two years, but saying that "If they choose to apply for office and meeting space after this transitional period, they will do so as part of the general process of student space allocation." Bollinger had acceped the reccomendations of a panel which was charged with a thorough review of allocation of office space to student groups, and who had decided every organization must apply for space every two years.

Members of the Student of Color Coalition, who had occupied the Michigan Union tower for over 30 days cried foul, alleging the allocation of office space was periphial of the central issue: the University administration's long and deep involvement with an elitist organization founded on an ideology fundamentally offensive to minority culture students. However, it appeared that whatever the justification given, the tower space would at least be made inaccessable to all organizations equally.

Tonight, however, that decision of Lee Bollinger was apparently overturned or broken as the current inductees to the Phoenix honor society held a meeting in the space of their former headquarters in the Michigan Union.

Three independent sources have confirmed new members were told they would visit the tower, and an eyewitness even spotted new Phoenix members, whose names were recently published on this website, entering the elevators in the lobby of the Michigan Union to travel to the 4th floor, where they would climb the stairs to the tower.

The timing of this stunning hypocricy on the part of University administrators couldn't be more opportune for the opponents of recent budget cuts at a variety of student services offices. In 2000, after the conclusion of the tower occupation, the University fired an employee of the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs named Shannon Martin, allegedly for "embezzlement," although student activists suspected it was because she was openly sympathetic and supportive of the Students of Color Coalition. At the time, the recently appointed Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper personally testified in the jury trial of Ms. Martin, although the jury would aquit Martin of all charges. (See a 10/01 letter to the Daily about Martin)

Since 2000, rumours that Royster Harper had close ties with the campus's secret honor societies have persisted. In recent weeks, student activists drawing from a wide variety of campus communities have rallied behind an effort to reverse deep cuts in already tiny support offices, identifiying Vice President Harper as the one ultimately responsible for their plight. The group's signature yellow t-shirts read, "Royster Cut Student Services ... and all I got was this Lousy T-Shirt."

This monday, Royster Harper participated in an unproductive negotiating session between these student leaders and University administrators.

Yesterday, Royster either failed to fulfil her charge to impliment the office space allocation policy decided on by President Bollinger and the panel he had appointed, or she decided to disobey its directive completely.

It is fully within the University's power to seal the Tower from all student organizations. If that is what they intend to do, they should do it. However, if Phoenix is allowed to hold meetings in the tower, every student organization must also be afforded the privlidge. To do otherwise would be to revert to their policies before 2000, where select elite campus organizations can on occassion don headdresses, smoke a "peace pipe," in their "wigwam," decorated with birchbark and a moose's head high atop the Michigan Union.

Last time I checked such racist and sophmoric antics have thoroughly passed out of vogue. Also, NASA has recently learned Michigamua membership is included on official university transcripts - a practice which should be abolished. The University should sever any remaining ties with the organization, including requiring its employees to renounce their membership as a condition of employment, and convert the tower into some purpose open to all students.

Read more:
> My Michigamua / Phoenix Page
> Detroit News: "Protesters call secret group's rituals offensive"
> U Toronto Student Paper: "Secret society conquered in Ann Arbor"
> Daily: "Michigan minority student group to end 37-day occupation of student union"
> Statement from the Native American Community, February 2000
> Michigan Today: "Michigamua Protest Ends"

Posted by Rob at 4:43 AM

The Lecturers' Employee Organization, a new union representing lecturers on the U-M campuses, is planning a walkout next Thursday, April 8th. Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality (SOLE) are organizing a corresponding student strike of classes:

Students Are Taking Action to Support the Lecturers' (LEO) as they
Demand for Fair Wages, Job Security and Benefits from the University

Get In On the Organizing
This Wednesday March 31
9:00 PM
Michigan Union Anderson Room D

Undergrads and graduate students are organizing their peers for a possible class STRIKE on April 8th in support of LEO. Come to the meeting on Wednesday where students will:

* Get ready for the walkout and teach-in
* Get the word out (flyer and chalk near the Union and Angell Hall)
* Paint and Hang Banners
* Plan to Speak to Another Student Group
* Prepare to speak to Classes About LEO
* Meet with other student group leaders about organizing picketting groups

If you want to help with any of these, or have ideas of your own, come to the union wednesday at 9pm.

If can't make the Wednesday meeting, there will be a second meeting for student organizers on Thursday, April 1 in the Michigan Union room 2105A.


Students are not products
Teachers are not tools
The University is not a factory


***Information about LEO and their Demands***

> Over the past 30 years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of Lecturers and adjunct faculty teaching in our undergraduate programs,and in the share of all undergraduate teaching done by these faculty. However, Lecturers and adjunct faculty have not been provided with the job security and professional recognition warranted by their critical role in undergraduate teaching, and the importance of teaching in a great public university. LEO was formed to address these issues.

Bottom Lines- what are LEO?s core demands?

1. Job Security: Replace the contract (or contingent) labor system for nontenure-track (NTT) faculty with genuine job security. Under our proposal, employment can only be terminated (a) for ?just cause? or (b) due to insufficient student demand for the courses faculty are competent to teach, in which case, lay-offs will be administered based on seniority.

2. Health benefits: extend benefits throughout the summer to all who teach at a .5 fraction (i.e., half time) or above; health benefits available to all who teach at less than a .5 fraction rate, throughout the year, on a pro-rated basis.

3. Wages: A living wage rate for all NTT faculty, regardless of what campus they teach on, and whether they are part-time or full-time. Reduction (and eventual elimination) in inequalities across campuses and units within campuses for work of equal value. Wages to be based on a combination of qualifications and experience (seniority).


Why are LEO's demands fair and just?

1. Permanent employment unless there is just cause or insufficient demand is the system currently enjoyed by most other UM employees, including administrative staff. Why should faculty who perform a function as central to the UM community as ours be denied equal treatment in this regard?

2. Public school teachers and bus drivers don't lose their health benefits just because they don't drive / teach in the summer time - why do so many of us, even after many years of service?

3. The arguments for a living wage, as a general principle of labor market regulation, are well understood if not universally accepted. The argument for equal pay for work of equal value is perhaps even more widely accepted? differences in tuition rates do not justify the fact that NTT in Ann Arbor are paid almost twice what those in Flint and Dearborn are paid, on a per course basis. It?s unfair, to say the least, to pay someone who has devoted a decade of their life to teaching, service and research at UM the same as (or sometimes less than) someone teaching the same course who has just started here.

4. Faculty -- whether tenured, tenure-track or NTT -- should have input into bodies that make decisions with direct implications for the content of what they teach, the ways in which they teach, and the conditions under which they teach.

Why will LEO's demands, if realized, improve the quality of undergraduate education?

1. If NTT faculty have real job security, at least two things conducive to increasing quality education will happen:

*Faculty will feel a greater sense of loyalty to an institution that is willing to invest in them, and as a result, will want to invest more of their time in building programs, developing courses, etc.

*Faculty will also have more time to devote to these activities, because they will not be spending time searching out alternative sources of employment every term or year.

2.&3. Extended health care benefits and above-poverty wage levels will have the same effects, particularly on loyalty and investment.

4. Representation on decision-making bodies will give more influence to faculty whose primary commitment and function is undergraduate teaching.

Greater power for those with this priority will generally result in greater concern, attention and resources devoted to undergrad teaching.

But what about student tuition? Won't LEO's demands, if realized, cost students, their parents, and/or Michigan taxpayers a lot more money?

UM tuition, like that at other major universities, rose at well above the rate of inflation over the last decade, but the salaries and benefits of NTT faculty had little to do with this:

10 years ago (1992-93), the mean salary for full-time Lecturers on the AA campus was $29,687; a decade later (2001-2), it was $41,228. After inflation, this represented a real increase of about 1% per year.

Even if salary increases for NTT contributed little to past increases in tuition, wouldn?t raising our salaries and benefits add to the rate of tuition fee increases in the future? We do need to address the underlying causes of dramatic increases in tuition if we want to stop or slow this trend, which threatens the accessibility of the public university to all but the richest of our citizens. But the additional costs associated with improving our situation would not add a lot to the problem."

Posted by Rob at 12:19 AM

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The University Library has created a special website dealing with how the budget cuts will effect their resources. Here's an excerpt from a letter sent by the University Librarian to the heads of U-M's schools and colleges:

"As a result of these and other forces, our librarians and subject specialists are beginning to review a wide range of library commitments, seeking to reduce acquisitions. Such reviews are in some ways routine and ongoing, but the scale of the current effort will be more noticeable to our faculty and students. As always, we will seek and welcome your input, and that of the faculty, to inform the choices we make."

What will be cut? According to their FAQ:

"Reviews will be done by each library, primarily in conjunction with their faculty and students. While priorities will vary among disciplines, each library will be utilizing a common set of criteria to consider as part of the review process. The following criteria continue to be central for the management of our collections. Criteria include:

· Duplicate subscriptions of print journals
· Print journals when suitable electronic versions are available
· Duplicate copies of monographs
· Lesser used resources (print and electronic)
· Large one-time purchases that can be deferred "

I think Vice President for Student Affairs Royster Harper could take a nod from our friends over at the library: perhaps she should post online information about what she's cutting, and her general approach to budget tightening.

Posted by Rob at 5:02 PM

Phoenix Classes of 2004 and 2005

Here's some information I was able to get about Phoenix, one of the other "Tower Societies" that used to be all female until both it and Michigamua went co-ed in the 1990s. I've heard "4 to 5" people turned down "taps" for the 2005 class, and their names are not included here. This list might not reflect members who decided to quit the organization, as occasionally happens. Also, to my knowledge, Phoenix does not bastardize Native American culture as Michigamua has. The Phoenix classes of 2001 through 2003 are listed at the bottom of my Michigamua page. If you have any reason to believe this information is inaccurate, please send me an email or leave an anonymous comment, and I will be sure to investigate and make corrections, in necessary. I'm still working on Michigamua for last year and this year, and I would also be interested in information about Vulcan.

Phoenix Class of 2004

Name Activities

Touseef Akram Bhatti Multicultural Greek Council, Alpha Iota Omicron
Mara Cazers Garden Club
Scott Davison Football Equipment Manager
Jake Fox Baseball
Joseph Gallitano
Jenny Gerteisen Circle K, Girls on the Run
Tom Gritter Men's Soccer
Ameil Herrera MSA, Sigma Nu, Phi Sigma Pi
Mark Hodges Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi
Matt Kochanek Dance Marathon, Circle K, Mortar Board
Courtney Lewis Daily (sports staff)
Adam Maczik Marching Band, Fencing Club
Erica Margolius Michiganensian, K-Grams Bookmark
Matt McKee Marching Band, Golden Key
Jen Miller Outdoor Adventures, SGA
Deepa Patel Circle K, SAVE, Mortar Board
Christin Plunkett Women's Crew, Campus Crusade
Jenny Putvin Michiganensian
Bharat Sharma Alpha Iota Omicron
Megan Wilbur Dance Marathon, College Democrats
Kate Woolley APO, M-Flicks, Detroit Project
Malinda Matney (Honorary/Faculty Member)

Phoenix Class of 2005

Matt Burrows (Faculty/Alum)
Megan Bonde
Mike Penn
Colin Daly (Daily cartoonist)
Ruchi Talati
Priya Pai
Josh Holman
Ryan Shinska
Jarrod Wood
Melissa Mariola
Tony Ding (Daily Photographer)
Jasmine Singh
Melissa Hough
Julia Power
Steve Kren
George Kiwada
Kim Smith
Heidi Gilbert
Quynh-Nhu Vu
BreAnne McPhilamy
Evan Demko
Brittany Galisdorfer
Leah Ketcheson
Justine Silver
Rachel Chapin

Posted by Rob at 12:55 PM

The Daily reports today about a couple new auction websites targeting U-M students: and UMToday seems more ambitious, even including a U-M specific "hot or not" feature.

"... University alum Zach Price started the auction website this week, in response to demand for a venue to advertise products for students that were not being auctioned elsewhere. ...

LSA junior Johnny Glase said his friend Scott Palko, a University of Notre Dame alum, started a website at Notre Dame that was very successful and planned to bring a similar one to the University.

Glase said he took up Palko’s offer, and the website, which was started in December 2003, now has a couple hundred users. One of the site’s features is an online marketplace, where students can bid on furniture, books and electronics. Glase said he is now actively publicizing the website, which is 100 users short of attracting advertising contracts. ... "

> Daily : "Students start up online auction sites"

Posted by Rob at 3:37 AM

The logo of the Jamaican Jerk Pit, a new restaurant located at 314 South Thayer (across from Hill Auditorium) has been drawing some attention by those who think the cartoon in its logo too closely resembles the racist "Mammy" stereotype from Blackface Minstrel Shows, popular in the United States in the middle of the 19th century. (See also this historical website for more information) Here's one email sent by a U-M faculty member to the contact email address on the restaurant's website (pickup at

"Although I have heard your food is tasty, your sign and web logos are completely tasteless and border on racist. The people are reminiscent of mammies, just updated with dreads. Please consider changing your signs and website design. I find both completely offensive and inexcusable."

Posted by Rob at 3:30 AM

In a tense negotiating session at Trotter House yesterday, student activists seem to have be taken seriously by administrators in their demands for increased funding of student services, which experienced deep cuts this year. Although the administration didn't make any concessions or agree to any of the activist's demands, I think the students are well positioned to win at least some of their objectives.

"Coleman started the meeting, expressing her desire to work together with students to find solutions.

“Here’s what I want to do: Figure out ways to have more productive dialogues. We need to accelerate some decisions that are taking too long … You deserve that — the entire University deserves that,” Coleman said.

As Coleman began to address the University’s budget problems, LSA senior Jackie Bray, an SVA member, cut her off and moved forward with SVA’s 10 demands regarding undergraduate services.

RC senior Erik Glenn voiced SVA’s request that the University retain an Education Affairs Coordinator in the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs on a permanent and full-time basis. The LGBT Affairs office recently announced the position will be terminated at the beginning of the next fiscal year. SVA also requested that gender identity be added to the University’s nondiscrimination policy.

... Harper agreed to rehire a Latino coordinator to replace the previous coordinator who left last semester.

"The Latino position will be posted within two weeks, and we're going to act more aggressively to fill this position. It has always been a permanent, full-time position," Harper said. ...

> Daily: "Administrators address cuts to student services"
> See also this story from yesterday: "Budget troubles burden celebration" Here's excerpts:

"... But budget cuts have undermined this year’s Pow Wow, most notably by reducing its usual three-day span to two. The University has cut the budget of the Division of Student Affairs, the event’s main sponsor, by 4 percent this year.

The Pow Wow has lost an estimated 25 percent of its University funding this year, coordinator Steven Abbott said. Administration officials could not be reached for specific budget figures.

The decrease in revenue has corresponded with continual increases in costs, including renting the Crisler Arena, hiring Department of Public Safety officers and covering maintenance fees.

"I feel that the upper administration has not taken student services like Pow Wow, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center and the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs seriously and hasn't given them priority. They boast about diversity and boast about supporting diversity, but these budget cuts don't reflect that,” said LSA senior Nickole Fox, who is a co-chair of NASA.

Many other students are "frustrated and angry," as Fox said, and cuts and changes to student services have led to the formation of the group Student Voices in Action, which lobbies the administration for change." ...

> See the Daily's photo of University President Mary Sue Coleman, Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, University Provost Paul Courant and Dean of Students Ed Willis speaking to students yesterday

Also of note:
> "Alleged rape under investigation"

Posted by Rob at 3:17 AM

Michigamua "Pride" of 1999:

Andrew D. Berenzweig
Andrew R. Potts
Bobby L. Scales II
Christopher W. Bunt
Cory J. Fryling
Delano M. White
Don M. Chamberlin IV
Dwane Q. Fuqua
Erik W. Ranka
Evan M. Meyers
Frank J. Lodeserto
Gerald B. Olivari
Gregory R. Daddario
Jeffrey Smokevitch
Jonathan W. Jansen
Joseph C. Taylor
Manuel F. Munguia
Michael C. Fair
Pinkey L. Oliver
Rahul M. Shah
Robert D. Hayes
Ryan D. Freidrichs
Spencer F. Preis
Thomas A. Malchow

Posted by Rob at 2:06 AM

Although Froogle, Google's new product search engine might think I'm selling LSA Senior Jackie Bray on my website, they are in fact mistaken. ($1.70 seems entirely too low ... ) She did, however, contribute to a book which was recently issued by called "How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office: The Anti-Politics, Un-Boring Guide to Power" The book includes one chapter called "Students vs. Court of Public Opinion" co-wrote by Jackie Bray, Monique Luse, and Michelle Lin. (Luse and Lin graduated last year.) Their chapter is about their involvement with Student Supporting Affirmative Action helping plan the busses to DC last year, among other things.

If you'd like a copy, the organization which published it is giving away free copies to people who throw book parties the weekend of April 17-18 - just fill out a quick application on their website. They've even posted a bio of Ms. Bray. To order a copy, Powell's is offering it for $13.

Posted by Rob at 1:26 AM

Just another day in our fine city:

"Gunman robs store on Washtenaw Ave.

A gunman dressed in black with a bandana pulled over his face robbed a clerk at gunpoint at an Ypsilanti Township party store Sunday evening, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department reported.

The 42-year-old clerk said the robber entered the Huckleberry Party Store in the 2800 block of Washtenaw Avenue at about 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Sheriff's Cmdr. Dave Egeler said. He said the robber pulled out a handgun and ordered the clerk to open the cash register or he would shoot, Egeler said.

The clerk said he opened the register, and the robber grabbed $250 to $300, then told him to get on the floor, Egeler said. The clerk waited until the robber was gone before he got up and called 911, Egeler said.

Woman reports rape, weighs prosecution

A 22-year-old Ann Arbor woman said she was raped by a man she met at a party Friday night after he took her back to his fraternity house, city police said.

The woman said she couldn't find her friend when it was time to leave the party, so a man she met there offered her a ride, reports said. She said he took her back to his fraternity and eventually forced himself on her, reports said.

The woman then returned home and told friends, who persuaded her to go to police, reports said. She said she was unsure whether she wanted to prosecute.

KKK fliers placed in north-side mailboxes

Fliers from the Mystic Knights of the KKK were found in several mailboxes of homes on Ann Arbor's north side Sunday, city police reported.

The fliers appeared in mailboxes along Placid Way and included references to affirmative action and programs sponsored by McDonald's to support minorities, reports said. Officers did not find anyone distributing the fliers in the area, reports said.

The material itself is not illegal because it is protected by the First Amendment, but placing unauthorized items in mailboxes is a violation under federal law, police officials said. [...]

U-M student struck by BB on Oakland

A 21-year-old University of Michigan student said he was struck by a BB fired off by one of his neighbors early Saturday, Ann Arbor Police said.

The student and several friends were standing near their home in the 1000 block of Oakland Avenue when they said BBs were fired, reports said. They said the BBs were fired from the roof of the home across the street, reports said.

Officers questioned the two men in the home across from the victim, and they denied shooting BBs, reports said. Police arrested a man at the scene for disorderly conduct when he became belligerent and confrontational, reports said. The incident remains under investigation. ...
(AANews Police Beat)

Can't forget break-ins:

"1000 block of South Main Street, 11 a.m. Saturday. Window broken to gain entry; $3,000 cash, financial documents, photographs and a revolver taken.

900 block of Greenwood Avenue, 2:45 a.m. Sunday. No signs of forced entry; laptop computer valued at $3,700 taken."

Posted by Rob at 12:24 AM

Monday, March 29, 2004

A member of the radical environmental organization the Earth Liberation Front has pled guilty to charges he caused $2.5 million in damages after participating in the fire bombing of new SUVs in Los Angeles, and faces a prison sentence of 25 years to life:

> AP: "Student pleads innocent in SUV vandalism, firebombing spree in Southern California"

Posted by Rob at 11:55 PM

The owner of Biener's Wieners, the hot dog stand which has been at the corner of State Street and North University of over 20 years, died on St. Patrick's Day of heart disease, although his partner will continue the business. Interestingly, on the day he died he experienced chest pains, but didn't go to the hospital because he didn't have health insurance. Now, had the United States had a national single-payer health insurance system like virtually every other industrialized nation, or even a state-regulated opt-in system like Mexico, who knows what might have happened ...

" Barry Biniarz, the chatty owner of Biener's Wieners, died unexpectedly of heart disease at his Michigan Center home in Jackson County on St. Patrick's Day. He had turned 50 in January.

Alan Fineran, his life and business partner of 14 years, will be back in business on the same corner one day soon. ...

"He was an exceptional guy, always nice to everybody," said Ashley Arbour, a clerk at Michigan Book & Supply just a few feet from the space Biener's Wieners typically occupies. "It's unbelievable that he's gone. It's kind of like I don't take that information as fact. It's like he's just on vacation. If there was an ice storm, they'd still be crazy and be out there selling hot dogs."

On the rare day Biniarz was a no-show, at least three or four students would stop in the store to ask where he was, Arbour said. Although he enjoyed a chili and cheese dog nearly every day, Arbour said he's changing his diet.

"After I heard the news, I've gone vegetarian," said Arbour. "I'm starting to bring in my own Boca burgers for lunch." ...

Fineran said Biniarz worked the day he died, but later at home complained that he didn't feel well. He didn't go to the doctor because he didn't have medical insurance and thought it was only indigestion anyhow, he said. Fineran's mother, Mary, said her son found him dead on the floor, and that an autopsy showed he had heart disease he hadn't known about. ...

> AANews: "Owner of Biener's Wieners, Barry Biniarz, dies"

Posted by Rob at 11:40 AM

"The Trial of the Century"

A new book about the case of Dr. Ossian Sweet was released this week. Dr. Sweet was a wealthy and successful black doctor in Detroit in the 1920s. While attempting to move into a home he had purchased in an all-white neighborhood in 1925, the Sweet family and some of their friends were attacked by a white mob which surrounded the home. After one man died in the melee, Dr. Sweet and nine friends and family members were charged with murder. Clarence Darrow, recently famous for his oratory during the notorious Scopes "Monkey trial," agreed to accept the case. One trial resulted in a hung jury, and a second jury acquitted the defendants of all charges.

" ... What Dr. Sweet did was probably more American than most things that we consider today," said Baxter, 38. "He had to fight for what he believed in. That's what America is all about.

"I grew up always aware of Dr. Sweet. I kind of became the official spokesperson for the house. We'd have college students from as far away as Florida stop by to get firsthand experience of where Dr. Sweet lived."

Over the years, the visitors waned. But Baxter has noticed a resurgence in interest.

On July 18, the National Black Prosecutors Association will be in Detroit for a convention. A ceremony is scheduled to unveil a Michigan historical marker on the house's front lawn.

"That marker to me means everything," Baxter said. "It acknowledges not just Dr. Sweet but all African Americans who had to struggle to be enfranchised with those unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." ..."

> From Freep: "RACE RELATIONS IN EARLY 20TH CENTURY: 1925 trial of black Detroit family who defended itself against a white mob is detailed in historical book"
> Purchase the book on Powell's: "One Man's Castle: Clarence Darrow in Defense of the American Dream"

Posted by Rob at 4:49 AM

On The Slow Death of Student Journalism at Michigan

Yes, part of the changing ideology of the editorial page of the Michigan Daily is an institutionalized and regular hostility towards student activists. I first wrote about this phenomenon on February 2 after reading editorial page editor Jason Pesick's signed editorial announcing the beginning of his term as editor. In it, he likens patriarchal administrators of the 1960s to a multiethnic coalition of student organizations who boycotted the newspaper last year. In this brave new world of fiercely professional journalism, apparently if you dare to criticize the newspaper, you are fair game for attack - whether you are an administrator seeking to expel students, or a student activist seeking fair treatment in the media.

Mr. Pesick and the editorial staff of the Daily have taken it a step farther in today's newspaper, running a full left-side editorial criticizing "inconsistencies" in the platform of Student Voices in Action, accusing them of being "loose with the facts." It turns out that the facts seem fairly clear-cut, and the only inconsistencies I can find are with this editorial and the Daily's own editorial precedents. Among their complaints - the Daily says that SVA should mention that President Coleman has pledged $500,000 to the University's capital campaign, and that although the salaries of coaches Lloyd Carr and Tommy Amaker are high, "they fail to mention the importance of these two positions to the athletic department." Yes, apparently "failing to mention" the arguments that might be made against your position means your entire organization should be the victim of a full left-side editorial attack, on the day when they need as much support as possible since they'll be meeting with administrators about their demands.

Meanwhile, I would argue that it's the Daily's job to provide the facts about the situation, something it has failed to do. Almost every issue raised by Student Voices in Action has either been underreported by the Daily, or not reported on at all - in fact it is a testament to the knowledge and skill of the student activists involved that they have been able to sift through the facts on their own, independent any help from mainstream student media. Hopefully, the Daily news department is burning the midnight oil preparing FOIA requests to get to the bottom of the funding changes, aggressively seeking Royster Harper's papers, and planning an investigative series on the budget cuts and the plight of minority students on campus. Although I doubt it - former Daily Editor-In-Chief Jon Schwartz said in staff meeting once that "The Daily used to do investigations, and now we have Rob." And then he fired me a few weeks later. Hopefully, the editorial staff is trying to brainstorm innovative ways the University could find funding so that all-important student services can be maintained, and making sure they're writing supportive editorials when the activists need it the most. Although today's editorial makes me think that's not about to happen, - however, I have a few ideas of my own, for what they're worth. And after I hand in my 80-page honors thesis Wednesday, I'll get cracking on the FOIAs.

In case you're not familiar with my little saga at the Daily, not might be a good time to check out my "Inside the Daily" series, which I have available in print form if anyone is interested.

Posted by Rob at 3:09 AM

Sunday, March 28, 2004

U-M Alumni Friendster

The U-M Alumni Association has purchased software developed by Stanford Alumni and plans to launch a Friendster-like service targeting only U-M alumni sometime this spring. Here's what Stanford had to say about the software, called "Affinity engines," on their "customers" page which includes the University of Michigan:

Stanford University

"Affinity Engines helped the Stanford Alumni Association build an online community for its 170,000 members. In just 3 months, we received over 8,000 updates to alumni contact information, 2,000 new online alumni members, and over 180,000 connections between alumni. Affinity Engines is helping us realize a dream we have held for years - a virtual community of Stanford alumni.."

Howard Wolf
President, Stanford Alumni Association

Posted by Rob at 5:15 PM

This website was featured in the April 2004 Ann Arbor Observer in a short "guide" to local weblogs published on pages 14 and 15. Read more about the coverage on Arborblogs, Airbeagle (and co-author Brandhast), srah blah blah, and commonmonkeyflower. Meanwhile, Hillary's The Bunker, and Steve's Seat of the Revolution resent being characterized as Ann Arbor blogs. My criticism is more elementary than that: it just doesn't seem to be a particularly good guide - they even listed the wrong URL for the arborblogs site, which I started back in December. Here's the entry they come up with for this site: (I've added links to the February and December posts they characterize as "recent")

"Goodspeed Update (Rob Goodspeed,
Recent Posts: Lee Bolinger's "imperial presidency," support for AATA service to Metro Airport
Quote: "I'll be spending today at the 'Creating Cool' conference held as part of the governor's statewide cool cities initiative."

While I appreciate the publicity, I suspect the story has been "on hold" for a while - making its content a bit dated. I find it interesting that none of the city's media outlets has covered the local blog scene very well - although this 'guide' is probably the best so far. The Ann Arbor News hasn't printed anything, save a mention of Ann Arbor Is Overrated in their "Talk About Town" column, the Michigan Daily published a story about student blogs that didn't include any of the popular local blogs run by U-M students.

Posted by Rob at 4:48 PM

"There's a new University of Michigan team on campus. It held tryouts, signed on the three top players, has a roster of coaches, and practices weekly.

But it will be brains - not brawn - that determine if this team is a winner.

The team is called The Mighty Hackers and it left Saturday for the Czech Republic for the World Finals of an international competition in computer programming.

This Olympics of the tech world pits 73 teams of college software programmers from all corners of the world against one another in a contest where speed counts as much as acumen. Teams will come from all continents but Antarctica.

The Mighty Hackers are U-M computer science undergrads Jim McCann, Nuttapong Chentanez and Galen Elias.

They won a berth in the international competition when they placed fourth out of 127 teams in a regional contest in Ashland, Ohio, in November. Since then, they've been meeting weekly to practice for the international contest, sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery. ..

> AANews: "'Mighty Hackers' take on world in computer contest"
> See also this Daily article from December: "Computing team wins seat in global contest"

Posted by Rob at 3:21 PM

Here's some more on the Thompson street home invasion:

"A University of Michigan student said she screamed and fought in fear as an intruder ripped at her clothing after climbing through a window in her Ann Arbor apartment early one morning last week.

She later learned he is suspected in a series of similar incidents - including one later the same morning - around the Eastern Michigan University campus in Ypsilanti.

The suspect, 25-year-old Garland Lane Hall of Ypsilanti Township, appeared in court Saturday to face a charge of first-degree home invasion, shaking his head in disagreement as the warrant was read. He became visibly upset after his bond was set at $100,000. ...

Police said the woman's computer was found in the vehicle Hall was driving. ...

> AANews: "Suspected Intruder Charged"

Posted by Rob at 3:16 PM

"We Are Living in a Different Time"
Without, apparently, a constitutional right to freedom of assembly:

"GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- When opposition to the war in Iraq began to mount last year, city police sent undercover officers to anti-war meetings and rallies, collecting intelligence about the aims of activists, the department's chief confirmed. ...

The protesters were arrested when dozens marched through downtown streets after the main rally had concluded and refused police orders to disperse.

"We are living in a different time now. It's a different day," Dolan told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Sunday.

But war protesters say the surveillance infringed on their civil rights more than it protected them from terror. In one case, they say, police threatened the job of a protester and said they would arrest her if she identified undercover officers she recognized. "

> AP: "Grand Rapids police monitored anti-war protests, chief says"

Posted by Rob at 3:11 PM

Students for PIRGIM is sponsoring an event on sprawl this Tuesday at 7:30 PM, featuring Mayor John Hieftje, City Council Member Jean Carlberg, History Professor Matt Lassiter, Law Professor Rick Hills, and director of the Michigan Environmental Council & Chair of Ann Arbor's Cool Cities Task Force Conan Smith. Here's the event on

Posted by Rob at 3:08 PM



We delivered our demands and now we're getting a response! COME put pressure on the administration and demand REAL responses and ACTION!!!

MONDAY, March 29th
at the TROTTER House

Please meet in front of the UNION at 11:00AM to March to Trotter! If you can't make it, please be at Trotter by 11:30AM! Bring your friends! Pack Trotter! Spread the word!

WEAR YOUR YELLOW SHIRTS!!! If you don't have one, you can still purchase them at the MSA Office or on Monday for $4,

UNITE TO FIGHT and let your voice be heard. As students, we deserve avoice. Come claim it."

Posted by Rob at 3:05 PM

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Amid budget controversy, and after a vote of no confidence by the faculty, Michigan Tech has fired their president.

Posted by Rob at 12:29 PM

Two determined U-M undergrads just finished internships with the Royal Shakespeare Company - but there's only one catch - the company doesn't have an internship program:

" ... What the two women proposed to Boyd was, by RSC standards, radical: they wanted to spend a summer in Stratford watching RSC directors rehearse shows. "The two of us would do whatever it took to have the opportunity to observe rehearsals," they wrote, "even if that meant working in the gift shop or serving in the cafeteria!" ... "

> Michigan Today: "With Their Will, They Made Their Way"

Posted by Rob at 12:02 PM

Friday, March 26, 2004

If you would like a $10 ride to Washington D.C. to participate in this year's massive "March for Women" planned to occur on April 24 and 25, there are still spaces avaliable on the busses organized by the Michigan Student Assembly. Here's information about how to reserve a spot:

The Michigan Student Assembly is now sending a total of FOUR busses to Washington DC on the weekend of April 24-25 and students are encouraged to register early in order to reserve a spot [see below]. On that weekend, over one million people are expected to gather in the nation's capitol to attend events and activities surrounding the March for Freedom of Choice.

Every student is welcome to reserve a spot on these busses, regardless of his or her own personal views on the issue of choice. MSA wishes to support and encourage all students to become involved in the arenas of contemporary politics and social justice, and this trip to Washington is a great way to become active in a very pressing and controversial issue.

The busses will leave on the evening of Saturday, April 24 and will return to Ann Arbor very early in the morning on Monday, April 26. Tentatively, participants should expect to leave at 6:00 pm on the 24th and return by 6:00 am on the 26th. No lodging will be required as participants will not only be in Washington during the day on the 25th. Participants should expect to sleep on the rides down and back.

During their time in Washington, students may participate in any activities they wish, and should make plans ahead of time to meet up with any groups in which they are interested. Further details on the trip and transportation will be sent to participants once registration is complete.

On Monday, March 15th at 3:00 pm, students may send their registration requests to MSA.BUSSES at UMICH.EDU. REGISTRATION REQUESTS WILL NOT BE HONORED BEFORE THIS TIME. All registration requests must contain the following information:


AGAIN, please do not send registration requests until Monday at 3 pm.

PLEASE SEND COMPLETED REGISTRATIONS TO MSA.BUSSES@UMICH.EDU. Students who have successfully registered WILL BE NOTIFIED once registration is complete. A reserve waitlist will also be compiled and students on this list will be notified of this and informed of standby procedures.

* At least one phone number must be provided for registration. This does not need to be a local number and MAY be the number at your permanent residence (e.g. your parents' home). Participants are strongly advised to bring a mobile phone or pager on the trip, though this is not required.

The cost of the trip is $10. Once you have received a confirmation e-mail from MSA, please visit MSA Office, 3909 Michigan Union, between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm to pay $10 with a check or money order made out to MSA- Committee Discretionary. NO CASH WILL BE ACCEPTED. Those who receive confirmations but do not pay ten dollars will be dropped and moved to the waitlist. No one will be turned away due to financial difficulties, arrangements can be made.

Please read this e-mail carefully and note process:
1) Send an e-mail to AFTER monday at 3 pm
2) receive a confirmation e-mail
3) Go to MSA from 9 am - 5pm and pay $10
4) Get on bus to DC!

If you have additional questions or concerns, please e-mail ask.MSA at

Thank you,
The Michigan Student Assembly"

Posted by Rob at 3:33 PM

Life Sciences or Student Services: A Question of Fundraising Priorities

In early April, the University's Development Office will announce the start of another major fundraising campaign. The most recent, completed in the 1990's, was titled "The Margin of Excellence," and raised in excess of $1.4 Billion, used to fund the University's academic programs, endow professorships, and meet a variety of other financial needs. In the 1980's, a similar campaign raised early $300 Million, and in the 1960's, the University raised $50 Million.

If administrators take their commitment to all types of campus diversity seriously, they should include in the campaign a major effort to fund the Student Services Offices which have seen their budgets slashed in recent years: the Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center (SAPAC), the Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Affairs (LGBTA), and office of Multi Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA). In addition, funds should be raised to dramatically increase funding to the Native American Student Association's Annual Pow Wow, renovate and endow the Trotter Multicultural Center, and further fund efforts to recruit and retain students of color.

These offices and programs should be endowed - meaning the University should make investments whose dividends would go exclusively to specific student services programs. As it currently stands, the University is leading their promotional material with information about the Life Sciences Institute - however, I would argue these rather small offices are just as important to the life and future excellence of the University as the Life Sciences.

Posted by Rob at 3:13 PM

"For the second week in a row, donning their signature yellow shirts and armed with a list of demands, students marched to the Fleming Administration Building yesterday afternoon to protest projected cuts in funding to and reorganization of several student services.

Last week, about 50 students attended the University Board of Regents meeting where several campus leaders complained about the budget cuts to the University administration.

Several members of the newly-formed Students Voices in Action sent demands in a sealed manila envelope to Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, and Dean of Students Ed Willis. They said the demands are a reaffirmation of the purpose of the Division of Student Affairs, the organization responsible for projected cuts in several student services. ...

Harper and Willis responded to the rally by listening to the concerns by members of SVA outside Fleming. Harper acknowledged a lack of student input thus far in regard to the proposed changes and tentatively scheduled a meeting with herself, SVA, and possibly University President Mary Sue Coleman on Monday. ... "

> Daily: "Protesters target cuts to services"

Posted by Rob at 3:01 PM

Thursday, March 25, 2004

I'm not sure if the Daily is going to print this letter, but the author sent it to me and I have decided to post it here:

"To the Daily,

On March 25, Laura Davis’s article, U’ should provide academic instruction, not unrelated student services, strongly supported the current cuts to various student groups and accessories. Her reason, “The University’s job is to provide students today with the classes, the professors and the buildings to hold classes in and for which students pay tuition,” Unfortunately, this reasoning falls to two arguments.

When compared with the University of Michigan 2003-2004 Application’s Mission Statement, it becomes obvious why the university funds student group services. According to the application; “The University of Michigan seeks to enroll and graduate applicants who will develop and grow educationally and personally and will contribute to the University community, the State of Michigan, and the broader society. It is the University’s experience and judgment that this mix of students will foster the vibrant educational atmosphere that provides the best educational experience for all students.” In other words, the university supports education both within and outside of university classrooms through recruiting those who can add to the ambiance of the university, an educational aspect not caused directly by the university faculty. Even if one doesn’t accept the university’s mission statement, constitutional law should suffice.

American constitutional law upholds this mission statement. In the famous decision, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public institutions can charge students for extracurricular activities that are funded with unbiased intention. In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion of the court, he wrote; “The First Amendment permits a public university to charge its students an activity fee used to fund a program to facilitate extracurricular student speech if the program is viewpoint neutral.” Expounding in the opinion of the court, he wrote; “The University may determine that its mission is well served if students have the means to engage in dynamic discussions of philosophical, religious, scientific, social, and political subjects in their extracurricular campus life outside the lecture hall - it is entitled to impose a mandatory fee to sustain an open dialogue to these ends.”

Don’t let Davis’s title, Co-Chair of Young Americans for Freedom, fool you. The name, in this context, is used as a façade for a counterintuitive purpose: to narrow the definition of academics. Contrary to her title, if Davis favored true freedom, she would allow the University to define academia, instead of imposing her conservative agenda-based definition to academia and its so-called limits. Or, she could simply accept the Supreme Court decision.

Stuart Wagner
LSA Student Government Representative "

Posted by Rob at 11:56 PM

Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action ballot initiative could be delayed or potentially permanently derailed after a judge ruled today that the language was misleading.

AP: Judge rules against petition drive aimed at ending affirmative action

Posted by Rob at 11:53 PM

Although the prevailing sentiment seems decidedly against him, the May commencement speaker David E. Davis is not without his defenders. LSA John Laich speculates in a letter to the editor today that the administration has "finally made the decision to play it smart and safe and pick someone more local and sanguine rather than some pompous celebrity from the East Coast who flies in, ridicules us provincial Michigan types and smugly runs back to wherever he or she came from." Expressing exactly how glad he is that the administration is getting away from "the usual Ivy League commencement blather," adding "hopefully Davis will impress us at graduation." I hope so too - I must say I rather like the "usual Ivy League commencement blather."

Commencement speakers at top universities last year included former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo (Harvard), President of Peru Alejandro Toledo (Stanford), 1984 Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Penn), Queen Noor of Jordan (William & Mary), and of course secretary-general of the United Nations Kofi Annan (Duke). First, it's difficult to characterize these people as "pompous celebrities from the East Coast" since none are from the U.S. And second, I doubt that any of them issued the "usual blather," but I suppose that's a judgment you'll have to make. Oh, my source? The Young Americans Foundation (similar politics to the other YAF).

What, exactly, does Mr. Davis stand for? According to a recent column in Automotive magazine, he thinks a $1-per-gallon "War on Terrorism" tax might be a good idea:

"If you would like to defray some of the cost of the War on Terrorism and, at the same time, do some worthwhile good on the automotive home front, please consider slapping a one-dollar War on Terrorism Gasoline Surtax on every gallon of gasoline sold in these United States of America. At the same time, however, I beg that you resist the natural and near-irresistible temptation to impose a similar surtax on diesel fuel.

But wait, let's consider all the things the money could be used for:

"If the War on Terrorism Gasoline Surtax were fairly and consistently applied across the gasoline-burning universe - no exemptions, no loopholes - it would generate some $133 billion in 2003 alone. This would not pay for a full-scale war, but it would buy an awful lot of 5.57-millimeter community relations ammunition and warehouses full of whatever those things were that turned a carload of al-Qaida enthusiasts into a grease spot on the floor of the Yemeni desert. This fresh stream of revenue might allow our republic to pursue the War on Terrorism with less dislocation among the day-to-day governmental activities that help to make this the one nation in the world where everybody else wants to live. And since the politics of oil are all bound up in these disputes, let oil pay its share of the cost. ... "

I actually like his idea of a gas tax, which, he notes, would incidentally help encourage public transit, save fuel, and encourage auto companies to develop smaller, more efficient vehicles. I don't, however, share his same relish for recycling the money as wars on whole peoples who haven't done anything but live within a few hundred miles of someone we've determined needs a "regime change." In another column, titled "Our Neighborhood Auto Show," Davis suggests the auto industry itself should do a bit more to help out Detroit, after noting that the Detroit he knew as a child is no longer:

" ... The automobile industry didn't cause this, but the automobile industry didn't throw itself on the barbed wire to prevent it, either. Clearly, many automotive executives, most particularly the late Henry Ford II, have worked hard to help salvage something from Detroit's half-century of decline, but the industry itself, working as a team, never really put its shoulder to that wheel. Everybody building and selling cars in Detroit ought to visit Wolfsburg, headquarters town for Volkswagen in northern Germany. It's an automotive and civic tour de force, a city that really celebrates its role in the automotive universe. If you were the North American automobile industry, wouldn't you want your hometown to be an absolute showplace, the best-case scenario for the automotive metropolis?"

He's no Tom Sugrue, but it's a start I suppose. Now, I know a Detroiter who might have made very interesting speaker: Grace Lee Boggs.

Posted by Rob at 10:09 PM

Billions of dollars for freeways criss-crossing the state - now how about some pennies (relatively) for a few bike lanes? Maybe it'll happen after a few get killed - that seems to be the city's attitude when it comes to adequately accommodating pedestrians near the Michigan Union or along Plymouth Road - oh, woops - the crosswalk by the Islamic center is still in the works. God forbid we slow down those busy bobos on their way to the farmer's market!

"Kris Talley was biking on Scio Church Road west of Ann Arbor last summer when she experienced the kind of scare every cyclist dreads.

A large gravel truck topped a hill and was coming up behind her fast, she said. There was no paved shoulder to slip out of the way, and an oncoming car meant the truck driver couldn't ease into the other lane to pass. Talley said she managed to bail out on the rough gravel shoulder as the trucker blasted by, hand on horn.

The Ann Arbor resident and chair of the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition managed to follow the driver until he pulled into a nearby gravel pit, where she confronted him about driving too fast. In the end, the two agreed on one thing after their hour-long conversation: Both motorist and cyclist would be better off with a paved shoulder for an emergency exit.

Such incidents are the reason Talley and others in the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society and the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition are campaigning to have paved shoulders added to many county roads.

Paving road shoulders is part of an increasing effort by area residents to create many more safe places for people to walk and cycle - not just for recreation, but for transportation. And it can be done far more cheaply and quickly than can buying land or acquiring easements for greenways, advocates say.

The city of Ann Arbor, the Downtown Development Authority and the University of Michigan commissioned a $100,000 project on non-motorized transportation to find out how to get more people to bike and walk. Ann Arbor is paying $60,000, with $20,000 each from the DDA and U-M. ... "

> AANews: "Road shoulders get 2nd look Bicyclists campaign for paving along roads"

Posted by Rob at 4:44 PM

Once again, Jane Jacobs is vindicated: safety isn't determined by police, locks, chains, or elaborate security consulting firms, devices, electric fences, or even tasers, but simply the presence of a few people around to keep an eye (or an ear) out for trouble. Here's the text of an Ann Arbor News article from today titled "Student fights off attacker in home":

"Thursday, March 25, 2004

A University of Michigan student fought off an attacker who broke into her ground-floor apartment early today and fled with a laptop computer after a neighbor came to her aid, Ann Arbor Police said.

Police arrested a man in Ypsilanti Township a short time later who may be connected to the attack, Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

The woman was sleeping in her apartment in the 300 block of Thompson Street at 4:39 a.m. when she was attacked, police said. The intruder apparently entered through a window because the front door was locked and chained, but he propped the door open once he got inside, Detective Brian Zasadny said.

A neighbor in the building heard the woman screaming and went to her apartment, calling inside the partially open door to see if she was OK, Kinsey said. The intruder bolted from the apartment, police said.

Kinsey said police are still investigating whether the man intended to sexually assault the woman.

Just before the 911 call was placed, officers on routine patrol saw a black Dodge Intrepid driving in the area of State and Huron streets with its lights out, Kinsey said. They jotted down the license plate but didn't stop the car.

When the officers heard radio traffic about the break-in, they ran the license plate and discovered the registered owner was wanted on a warrant for window peeping, Kinsey said. Officers from Ypsilanti and the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department eventually tracked down the car in the area of the I-94 Service Drive and Share Avenue, Kinsey said.

The driver was being questioned by police early today.

Several similar incidents of a man entering apartments in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township have occurred in recent weeks. Kinsey said detectives from each local department are working to determine if they are linked.

"The information is sketchy at this point ..." Kinsey said. "We need to see what kind of predator we're dealing with here."

Amalie Nash can be reached at anash at or

(734) 994-6832. "

Posted by Rob at 4:32 PM

After a much-publicized request by the U.S. Department of Justice that the University turn over abortion-related medical documents as evidence for an ongoing lawsuit, the University couldn't find any documents that met the requirements:

> AP: "University of Michigan finds no abortion records to hand over"
> AANews: "U-M refuses to give feds abortion files"

Posted by Rob at 4:26 PM

Reminder: Today is the "Student Voices Day of Action":



The Regents meeting was a success! Now COME for some real action - the Day to DEMAND, the DIAG day!!

THURSDAY, March 25TH (TODAY!!!!)
at the DIAG

Come and march to Fleming to present our demands for REAL STUDENT SERVICES and an end to DIVERSITY DOUBLETALK

UNITE TO FIGHT and let your voice be heard. As students, we deserve a voice. Come claim it.

(If you have a yellow Student Voices in Action: Unite to Fight T-shirt, wear it everyday and especially ON Thursday! If you don't- come to MSA Offices in the Union and buy one for $4!!)"

Posted by Rob at 10:54 AM

This week's Alumni Association email newsletter for graduating seniors has a variety of helpful tips.

Posted by Rob at 10:38 AM

Randy from Real World San Diego will be at the Michigan League on Monday March 29 at 6:30 pm at an event sponsored by STA Travel called "Europe Night," where students can enter to win a "rite of passage" trip to Europe.

Posted by Rob at 10:36 AM

It's not just me: thefts are up - Daily: "A2 crime rate falls, but thefts increase"

The Daily also runs a letter from Laura Davis, co-chair of the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, who concludes:

"The University, however, is not a nursery school, a babysitter or a project in social engineering. The University’s job is to provide academic instruction.

If cut services like Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center or the Trotter House are important enough to various individuals or groups, then those individuals and groups should work to fundraise and procure private funds for their continuation."

Meanwhile, Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality has a viewpoint advocating for wage disclosure : "At the University, students have pushed for a whole system to address the reality that our clothes are made in sweatshops, and administrators and faculty have been supportive, but it’s time to take the next step: wage

> Viewpoint: "SOLE demands wage disclosure and accountability"

Also, see this troubling story:

> Daily: "Justice Dept. looks into Michigan Cross Burning"

Posted by Rob at 10:33 AM


Can you help? Send me an anonymous email at rob at goodspeedupdate dot com. Michigamua selects ("taps") their new members around the first week in April each year - my directory doesn't include the people selected last year or who will be selected very soon.

Posted by Rob at 3:18 AM

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Want to hear about Ward Connerly's ballot initiative? This event schedule for Thursday, April 1 has your name all over it.

Posted by Rob at 3:31 PM

An organization I am a member of, the Urban Issues Collective, is sponsoring an event this Friday which I think will prove very interesting. We have invited two leaders of an Ann Arbor organization which advocates for New Urbanism in the city to come and speak, they'll be discussing Granny Flats, the Greenbelt, mixed-use development, and a host of other issues. The talk will be from 12:00 to 1:00 PM in the Kunzel Room of the Michigan Union on Friday, followed by a Q and A period.

> Information about this event on
> See the website of the organization: Community Organization for Urban Revitalization and Sustainable Environments (COURSE)
> See the Urban Issues Collective website

Here's the email that is being circulated:

The Urban Issues Collaborative invites undergrads to a presentation and
discussion on.

March 26, 2004
Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union
12:00 - 1:00 PM

Find out:
What is New Urbanism?
Is there New Urbanism in Ann Arbor?
What could the future look like in our city?

Join us for a presentation by Arthur Nusbaum and Alan Wasserman, founders of COURSE, a local organization which advocates for new urbanism in the city of Ann Arbor, followed by a general discussion.

COURSE = Community Organization for Urban Revitilization And Sustainable Environments

Sponsored by the Urban Issues Collaborative & Students for PIRGIM

Interested in learning more?
Learn about the local issues at our event before attending the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning's MICHIGAN DEBATES ON URBANISM II
: NEW URBANISM Featuring Peter Calthorpe and Lars Lerup, moderated by Robert Fishman.
Wednesday, 3/31/04, 5:30 pm
Auditorium, Room 2104
Art + Architecture Building
Please email kkintala at with questions See or for more information

Posted by Rob at 3:25 PM

The Lecturers' Employee Organization has authorized a vote among their membership about whether to stage a walk-out on April 8:

> Daily: "LEO authorizes vote to walk out"
> See the LEO website

The RIAA is targeting a few hundred students nationally in their latest round of lawsuits, including 9 U-M students:

> Daily: "RIAA will subpoena students"
> AANews: "Internet music suit may involve U-M"

Also of interest:
> Daily: " 'U' slows growth of wireless Internet service in buildings"
> Daily editorial: "Moving on up: Rezoning proposal should keep students in mind"

Posted by Rob at 3:03 PM

" ... "We don’t see how colleges teaming with beer advertisers is in the best interests of students," said George Hacker, director of the Alcohol Policies Project for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The center is asking 1,200 colleges and universities to sign what it calls The College Commitment, a pledge to eliminate alcohol-related television ads during sports events.

The pledge applies to all levels of college sports, from local games to championship contests like the NCAA basketball tournament and national football bowls.

As of March 9, the group’s Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV had signed up 105 schools, including three in the Big 10 Conference -- Ohio State University, Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota.

"It’s inconsistent to say you want to discourage underage drinking and turn around and huckster the stuff on your broadcasts," said Andy Geiger, athletic director for Ohio State, the first school to join the campaign. "I’m concerned about the message." ...

Schools that have signed on to the no-beer-ads campaign take a different view.

"That’s just not the image I want to convey," Rob Fournier, athletic director at Wayne State University in Detroit, said of the ads. "For years, I have brought in people to talk to my athletes about alcohol abuse. It just seems contradictory to me to take money from the beer industry."

> Gannett: "Beer industry too closely tied to college athletics"

Posted by Rob at 1:40 AM

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Let's Make U-M #1 In's College Fundraiser

The activist web organization is working with the "Click Back America" website, which is encouraging college students to sign a petition protesting the impact of the massive budget deficits racked up by President Bush will have on education. For each college student who participates, the Click Back website will donate $1 to the voter fund, from anonymous donors who have pledged up to $1 million in matching funds to support progressive organizing. In their words "If you act, they will give." So far, the University of Michigan is only ranked #15, but the campaign was only launched today.

Posted by Rob at 6:58 PM

Hans Masing, a U-M lecturer running an independent, web-based campaign for the U.S. House seat currently occupied by John Dingell, seems happy with his coverage in today's Daily, posting on his campaign blog: "The reporter was delightful to speak to, and got nearly everything I said right!" Read the Daily story: "U' lecturer takes on Dingell for House seat"

Posted by Rob at 4:22 PM

A couple events coming up this week:

"Organizing Workshop: How to Gain Student Support the LEO Strike
Wednesday 9:00 PM
Michigan Union Room 2105 A

*Learn about the Lecturer's key demands
*Help Strategize for the Campaign
*Write slogans and make banners

Lecturer's will go on strike if necessary to win fair wages, benefits, job security, and respect from the University Administration, and students are prepared to support them. Join SOLE other undergrads for a workshop Wednesday night in the union.


students are not products
teachers are not tools
and the University is not a factory

email sole.maintain at for any questions "

And this demonstration planned for Thursday:



The Regents meeting was a success! Now COME to the D-DAY, the Day to DEMAND, THE DIAG DAY!!

at the DIAG

Come and march to Fleming and present our demands for REAL STUDENT SERVICES an an end to DIVERSITY DOUBLETALK

UNITE TO FIGHT and let your voice be heard. As students, we deserve a voice.C ome claim it.

If you have a yellow UNITE TO FIGHT T-shirt, wear it everyday and especially ON Thursday! If you don't- come to MSA Offices in the UNION and buy one for $4!!"

Posted by Rob at 11:33 AM

Other articles of note in today's paper:

> Daily: "Student stabbed in foiled robbery"
> Daily: "Businesses propose rezoning South U"

Also, Boxes and Walls, originally to take place in the Student Activities Building but cancelled at the last minute, will be showing this week at the Hillel building:

Museum to focus on discrimination

Boxes and Walls, an interactive museum focusing on different types of existing oppression and discrimination, will be available for tours today at 5 p.m. at Hillel at 1429 Hill Street. The museum has nine rooms related to blacks, Asian Pacific Americans, classism, disabilities, Jews, Latinos, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Native American and Muslims. The rooms are decorated with different facts about each group."

And this tidbit:

"Sociology prof to explain theory of terrorism

The Sociology department will sponsor the Social Movement Scholars Network’s inaugural lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday in room 283 of the Sociology building at 1225 South University St. New York University sociology Prof. Jeff Goodwin will address what factors encourage and discourage the use of terrorist tactics against civilians.

The title of Goodwin’s lecture is “A Theory of Terrorism.” The talk will reference a broad range of insurgent movements, such as those in Central America, South Africa, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. Goodwin has co-authored the books “Passionate Politics” and “Rethinking Social Movements.”
(Both from In Brief)

Posted by Rob at 2:37 AM

Daily columnist Jess Piskor read my mind with his column in today's paper, titled "From LBJ's Great Society to David E.'s Range Rover":

"Speaking in front of 80,000 people in Michigan Stadium, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the graduating class of 1964. Calling on all citizens to work for a better future, Johnson used the University’s commencement ceremonies not just to glorify grads, but to first reveal his greatest political aspiration. Addressing graduates directly, Johnson said, “Your imagination, your initiative and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.”

Johnson is but one of the many illustrious graduation speakers the University has attracted. In 1986, United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar spoke on the threats facing the world, including poverty and the Cold War. Another U.N. Secretary General — Kofi Annan — spoke in 1999, when he urged students to embrace universal human values and also defended the ongoing peacekeeping mission in Yugoslavia.

Often it is not the speakers themselves, but the honorary degree recipients that attract the most attention. Largely due to student demand, Nelson Mandela received an honorary degree in 1987 — a degree he could not receive in person because he was in jail in South Africa.

Governors also make the rounds through campus — both Gov. James Blanchard in 1985 and Gov. Jennifer Granholm last year were featured speakers. Granholm attracted ire when she honestly suggested that some University graduates were destined to become “losers” and that they had wasted their degrees.

Of course not all graduation speakers preach words of importance with lasting significance. Even the worthiest of speakers can slip up: In 1993, First Lady Hillary Clinton said, “And I really believe, standing here in this great university, that the Fabulous Five are excellent and Chris Webber deserves the kind of thanks that we can give him for going on and going forward.”

With this history of notable speakers in mind, I have waited in eager anticipation for the announcement of the graduation speaker for my commencement this spring. Maybe we would get a crazy lefty who would blast President Bush and incite us to greater activism. Maybe we would draw a political leader the likes of Dick Cheney toward whom I could hurl invectives. Maybe we would attract a noted philosopher or person of letters — like 2001’s speaker, poet laureate Robert Pinsky — who would provide perspective on life and teach us to value the arts. Would it be too much to hope for Jon Stewart?

Instead, we have to settle for the founder of Automobile Magazine, David E. Davis Jr. While he may lay claim to the title of foremost automobile critic, his magazine is so influential that the University Library — one of the largest in academia — does not have even have one issue anywhere. His book, modestly titled, “Thus spake David E.: the collected wit and wisdom of the most influential automobile journalist of our time” is also absent from our library. Influential indeed.

I’m sure this David E. (as he is known) is a bright guy. He did after all found a magazine — with some startup capital from Rupert Murdoch. And while he says that “I will never have given a speech to as many people or as big of a place in my whole life, and I feel an awful burden of responsibility in the nature of this assignment,” I’ll trust that his speaking ability is up to the task.

While I’d like to think the University can attract better, more famous speakers, the fact that David E. is an unknown should not disqualify him. What upsets me is that I do not think that someone who has devoted his life to the material lust for an inanimate object is particularly qualified to address me on important matters. When he says in his columns that his “love for cars is unconditional” I am not reassured that he can put perspective on our graduation.

Contrast David E. who “fell in love with (his) new 2003 Range Rover” which is “Epsom green with sand leather and burled walnut trim” with another rather unknown speaker.

Addressing the class of 1965, New York Times Associate Editor James Reston said, “The happiest men and women I know are not those who are providing the material things that clutter up our lives and dull our minds, or even those who escape from the struggle, but those who are engaged in the tasks that nourish and elevate the human mind.”

Posted by Rob at 2:32 AM

Monday, March 22, 2004

This event, which I just added to, sounds interesting:

"The Corporate Commitment to Our Social Fortunes: What role to businesses play in enforcing human rights worldwide?

Thursday, March 25, 2004
7:00 PM
School of Social Work

Panelists: De. Marina Whitman, Professor of Business Administrtion and Public Policy and former vice-president of GM
Dr. Robert Stern, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy
Mr. David Berdish, Corporate Governance Manager, Ford Motor Company

Part of the "Corporate Crime and Justice" series sponsored by UM Amnesty, SOLE, Justice for Bhopal, and Solidarity. Refreshments Served."

Posted by Rob at 9:51 PM

The Arb will get a good addition - a amphitheatre at a site which has held in recent years piles of brush and rubble:

Collaboration between the Nichols Arboretum and the Taubman College of Architecture Urban Planning will result in a new amphitheatre on the site of a former parking lot, just north and west of the Arb's Dow Field. ...

> U Record: "Amphitheatre coming to the Arb"

Also, honorary degress this year will go to the following people:

" ... The honorary degrees to be conferred, including four to U-M alumni, are: Davis, doctor of humane letters; Daniel Aaron ('33), professor emeritus of American literature at Harvard University, and founder and director of the Library of America series, doctor of humane letters; Julius Chambers ('59), director of the Civil Rights Center of the University of North Carolina Law School, doctor of laws; William Nelson Joy ('75), Internet pioneer and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, doctor of engineering; Helmut Stern, industrialist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and humanitarian, doctor of laws; and Karen Uhlenbeck ('64), the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents' Chair in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin, doctor of science. ... "

> U Record: "'Dean' of auto journalists to address graduates"

Also, scholar and actress Anna Deavere Smith will speak at Rackham on April 1.

Posted by Rob at 11:54 AM

Articles of note:

> Daily: "New bus routes to extend to A2 outskirts"
> Daily: "'S1' clinches MSA race in landslide"
> Daily: "New waitlist rule troubles students"

Why not give the money to a poor hospital?

"The marathon is the organization’s main event. This year, the event raised $248,955 dollars — highest amount ever made. "

> Daily: "Marathon dancers take a stand for children's charity"

"The students participating in the annual Dance Marathon raised $248,955 for pediatric rehabilitation at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor and William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. That's nearly $50,000 more than last year's total, continuing a tradition of raising significantly more money with each passing year."

> AANews: "All-night dancers earn smiles"

Posted by Rob at 11:46 AM

There seems to have been a rash of violent crime last weekend:

"Assailant stabs, beats U-M student in sudden attack
Attacker may have been trying to rob him

Monday, March 22, 2004
News Staff Reporter

A University of Michigan student was stabbed three times and punched repeatedly during an unprovoked attack that occurred while he was walking home early Sunday, Ann Arbor Police said.

The attacker may have been attempting to rob the student of his backpack, but he fled empty-handed, police said.

Neighbors ran to help the student when they heard his yells for help at 2 a.m. Sunday in the 500 block of West William Street, reports said. He suffered a collapsed lung, stab wounds and bruises but was reported in good condition this morning at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Lt. Mike Logghe said.

"This was an innocent victim who was viciously attacked, and we need help from anyone who saw or heard anything around that time on West William Street," Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

The 28-year-old student told police he was walking home from Pizza House when he heard someone running up from behind, and then he was struck in the back of the head. He said he fell to the ground and was struck repeatedly but didn't realize he was stabbed until the attacker ran off.

A woman who lives in a nearby house heard yells for help and ran outside to see a man punching the victim while he was lying on the sidewalk, police said. She said the assailant ran away after she screamed for him to stop and told him she was calling police.

Other neighbors also came outside and waited with the victim until help arrived. He was bleeding from two stab wounds to the side and one to the thigh, reports said.

Detective Sgt. Jim Stephenson said the victim and neighbors were unable to provide a description of the attacker. "Unfortunately, we don't have much to go on at this point," he said.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Detective Robyn Gillen at (734) 994-2529 or the anonymous tip line at (734) 996-3199."

(Ann Arbor News)

"Man beats another in shushing incident
Milan man arrested following attack at Ann Arbor theater

Monday, March 22, 2004
News Staff Reporter

A moviegoer was severely beaten after he shushed another man in the row behind him during a showing of "The Triplets of Belleville" at a downtown Ann Arbor theater Saturday evening, city police said.

The 51-year-old victim was hospitalized with multiple fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and several facial lacerations that required stitches, police said.

Paul Elrod, 38, of Milan, was arrested at his home that night and charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, police said.

The victim told police he and his wife were watching the movie at the State Theater at 8:30 p.m. when they were distracted by talking behind them. He said he turned and motioned for the man to quiet down, and then the man began coughing in his ear and kicking his chair, reports said.

The victim reported the man eventually spit on him and threw popcorn, so he got up, turned around and said, "Excuse me." The victim said he was punched in the face and thrown down the stairs and into a banister.

Police said the assailant then left the theater but was followed by a theater manager, who got his vehicle's license plate number, reports said. The manager said the man threatened him as he walked behind him.

Police said Elrod called a short time later and said he was attacked at the theater and defended himself, but he refused to return to the scene to speak to officers. After he was later arrested, he told police the victim came at him first, punched him and rushed at him, so he pushed the man and he accidentally fell down the stairs.

Elrod was arraigned Sunday on the felony charge and has a preliminary hearing March 31. "

(Ann Arbor News)

"Off-duty officer injured by bottle

An off-duty Detroit Police officer was struck in the head with a beer bottle during a dispute between two large groups of men near the University of Michigan campus early Saturday, Ann Arbor Police said.

The officer said he and his friends were walking in the 1200 block of South University Avenue at 3 a.m. when a group of men accosted them, reports said. The officer said he pulled out his badge and told them to move on, and then one of the man grabbed a bottle from the ground and hit him, reports said.

The officer said he gave chase, but lost the attacker, reports said. He was bleeding from his cuts and said he would seek medical attention, reports said. "

( Ann Arbor News)

Posted by Rob at 11:20 AM

LSA senior Adam Paterno is more than a little dissatisfied with the selection of auto writer David E. Davis Jr., founder of Automobile Magazine, as this year's annual commencement speaker:

"... For many graduating seniors, the University’s selection of another little-known speaker was a major disappointment and further proof that the University’s tradition of selecting unknown and generally unimportant speakers continues. While I personally expected the University to select another speaker that would be consistent in furthering the University’s political agenda, in this case I was more surprised by the general weakness of the selection.

Coleman was quoted as saying, "I think it is really important for our graduates to see how one person can have a big say." "Through his (auto) critiques, he has really had an impact on a big industry … in Michigan," she added.

What Coleman fails to realize is that the University is not a technical institute or a professional auto school somewhere in the boondocks of Michigan. If I were a student at such a school, a selection like Davis may be acceptable. The University is a world-class institution with an Ivy League reputation. It maintains the advantage, both academically and financially, to attract speakers who are distinguished on a global scale and who truly influence our future. With the University’s U.S. Supreme Court victory, an upcoming presidential election and an ongoing war in Iraq, the school’s choice in Davis is odd at best.

While other schools will be treated to such captivating and moving speakers as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Bill Cosby, the president of the United States or a Supreme Court justice, the University, however, will once again not. While Davis’s achievements and life story are surely notable, the selection of such a speaker with so little experience in public speaking by such a highly esteemed university is not only distressing for seniors, many of whom have paid thousands of dollars in tuition, but an embarrassment to the school."

> From today's letters to the editor

Posted by Rob at 3:04 AM

This week is the annual "Greek Week," with the usual activities.

Posted by Rob at 2:41 AM

The activists responsible for the protest at last week's Regents' meeting are planning a major organizing meeting for the loose coalition of people and organizations united in their dissatisfaction with changes made within the administration's division of Student Affairs:

The Regents meeting was a success! Now, come and determine the future of Student Services at your University!

Monday, March 22nd
G115 Angell Hall
9 pm

Bring your energy, your time, and your friends.
As students, we deserve a voice. Come claim it.

For details, see below.
This collective encompasses students involved with sexual assault awareness and counseling; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied community; Greek organizations; an annual Native American celebration; and concerned about campus hate crimes, a deteriorating multicultural center, drops in students of color admissions, and a lack of certain
ethnic-specific coordinators at the campusÂ’s only student-serving multi-ethnic office.

The Office of Student Affairs clearly does not have the studentsÂ’ best interests in mind. Below are eight major issues on "The Student Agenda".

> Read my take on the budget "crisis"
> What is the "Student Agenda"?

Posted by Rob at 1:54 AM

Yes, the latest Michigan Review is out, and I know you're itching to read it's hard-hitting and clear eyed reporting. Yes, in this week's exciting issue, you can thrill to the verbal styling of Dan Levi, whose column "Just Stay Home," is subtitled "Low Voter Turnout is Not Necessarily Bad for America"; or perhaps more to your liking is the polemic launched by Karl Sowislo against what he terms "Liberal Action Groups," opining "the people who support such radical agendas almost never have common sense." Yes, but what about when they do? In my opinion, any political position can be defended rationally or irrationally, and to criticize one for lacking "common sense" or "reason" is almost irrelevant - what about their ideas?

Meanwhile, Sowislo characterizes Ann Arbor as a "socialist epicenter," leading me to ask, if this is such a "socialist" city, where are the socialists? Liberal, perhaps, but certainly not much more. No, a few cranky Trotskyites running the show over at BAM-N don't count, neither do the few people who set up a table at South University and East University when the weather is nice. In fact, in my experience not only are the authentically radical faculty few and reserved about their politics, the Michigan Daily is increasingly lurching to the right, now barely toeing an extremely moderate if outright centrist politics, whose editors are either registered republicans or thoroughly skeptical "objective" journalists content to parrot the administration's line. Meanwhile the "socialist" city council has an anemic affordable housing program, and recently replaced their homeless shelter (run as a non-profit - wouldn't want any tax money helping them out!) with a new one - although precisely the same size as the old one. Yes, all of this in combination with a relatively low-key activist scene makes me think the review shouldn't have much to make them feel uncomfortable.

Posted by Rob at 1:45 AM

Sunday, March 21, 2004

The annual marijuana legalization rally known as "Hash Bash" will occur on April 3 this year.

Rich Birkett has been an organizer of the Hash Bash since 1988. He hopes the annual pro-marijuana event held at the University of Michigan Diag on April 3 will rebound after a low turnout last year. Birkett, 51, also ran for Ann Arbor City Council last fall to push his agenda for the legalization of medical marijuana. He lost as a Libertarian in the 3rd Ward.

Q. How did last year's Hash Bash go?

A. The low point was last year. ... The weather was absolutely horrendous. It was probably the worst turnout in Hash Bash recent history. My best guess is about 1,000 people showed up.

Q. What was the biggest?

A. We had as many as 10,000 in the early 1990s. ... "

> AANews: "Whims of weather affect success of the Hash Bash"

Posted by Rob at 3:52 PM

Looking for a job?

Representatives from the Direct Action and Research Training Center will be on the U-M campus tomorrow to "inform those graduating of our careers working for social, economic, and racial justice." The information session is scheduled for tomorrow, at 5:00 PM in Mason Hall 1437. I don't know much about this organization, but their work sounds intriguing. See my post about the event here.

Posted by Rob at 3:38 PM

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Chetly Zarko has posted an article on his website about the University's practice of using trespassing law to permanently ban people from campus - generally the homeless, mentally ill, or disgruntled employees. In this case, a former University Health Service employee was told she was no longer "allowed on the UHS grounds," after entering UHS carrying a sign to protest her dismissal. Zarko concludes: "Dr. Winfield grossly overreacted and violated her civil rights when he banned her from UHS grounds. If Ms. Sheridan actually committed a "criminal act," or violated some legitimate "rule of the university" in the "time, manner, or place" of her free expression; then she was entitled to due process and a hearing on the issue; in addition to a detailed explanation of where she overstepped her bounds."

Here's Zarko's account of the protest:

"Following her termination, Ms. Sheridan contacted several of the supervisors in her chain of command seeking additional information and lobbying to get some kind of concessions in her grievance procedure. She relayed the pain that she felt as someone who was retaliated against after seeking treatment for her problem; and that she was deeply troubled by how the inconsistent the University seemed on the issue of substance abuse treatment. As a result, on May 14th, 2003, she returned to UHS wearing a T-shirt with an "A" on the front and holding a sign saying "Alcoholic". She stated that she did this to show her fellow former co-workers and staff the inconsistency in U policy on the issue; and that she entered the building for a few minutes, spoke to some former co-workers, and then stood on the curb in front of the UHS buildings for about 5 minutes with her sign and left."

And on the University's practice of "reading trespass" to undesirables:

" ... In a conversation I had with Officer Piersanti in October, I asked some general questions about trespass enforcement. University officers are empowered to direct individuals off-campus if they are engaged in a violation of university rules; or they are empowered to arrest individuals and issue the semi-permanent "ban" from campus form if a person violates the law. If a person who violates a university rule, is directed to leave, and refuses to comply; then they could then be arrested for violation of trespass. Once a trespass warning is issued, it remains in effect in perpetuity unless the person seeks a reversal through DPS director Bill Bess. The "ban" is all inclusive from any and all University property; which is a quite expansive chunk of Ann Arbor and would include areas that some people wouldn't necessarily recognize as U-M property. Officer Bess is the final authority on the matter, with no further recourse or formal mechanism for appeal. ..."

> Chetly Zarko: "Banned from Campus! The story of how the U-Michigan administration used deputies to abuse the trespass statute and silence dissent"

Posted by Rob at 2:34 PM

The Future of This Website

From a comment posted by a visitor:

"In my experience, [the] goodspeed update has provided ample opportunity for conservatives to post and Rob has also posted links to Michigan Review articles and the like, but the greatest contribution is the creation of a public space and resource for progressive students (and faculty). Some on campus make the absurd argument that MSA should not be engaged in "controversial" issues, while we live in a city where the leaders are eager for students to remain effectively disfranchised. In my view the most important mission of the goodspeed update has not simply been campus-oriented, but also its position that students should be full citizens in this town and in communities beyond. I hope that a successor maintains this agenda."

If you are interested in being a member of an editorial collaborative which would carry on this website, eventually under a new name, please send me a short email. In case you missed it, you can read here about my plans for the future. I've recieved a few inquiries, but I thought that I should ask again:

"The qualifications are quite simple: you are a freshman or sophomore at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, consider yourself politically progressive, and you have the time and desire to start a blog. To apply, send me a one-page letter of interest ... at rob at"

Posted by Rob at 2:22 PM

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow is speaking tomorrow at 1:30 PM in the U-Club in the Michigan Union.

Posted by Rob at 2:06 PM

Arthur Miller, perhaps the University's most famous alum for publicity purposes, is coming to campus, although the press release says the public talk is already sold out:

" ... "In 1936, as a student at the University of Michigan, the National Youth Administration paid me $15 a month to feed a couple of thousand mice in a cancer research laboratory. I washed dishes for my meals, but without that NYA money, I couldn't have paid my room rent and would no doubt have had to leave school. Jobs in those times were next to impossible to find,” Miller said.

"In 1938 when I graduated I managed to get into the WPA Writers Project -- $22.77 a week -- for six months until the project was shut down. In that time I wrote a tragedy for the stage about the conquest of Mexico and perhaps more important, managed to break into writing for commercial radio. The government's help in both instances was brief but crucial,” he said. ... "

> UMPR: "Playwright Arthur Miller plans visit to U-M"

And we now have an official James and Ann Duderstadt Center:

" ... U-M has now named a building for all of its former presidents except Lee Bollinger, who left the university in 2002 to become president at Columbia University.

Anne Duderstadt said her husband began envisioning plans for the Media Union when has was dean of the College of Engineering, in the early 1980s.

"He talked about it for years and years," she said. "When he starts harping on something he doesn't let go until it's done." ... "

> AANews: "Media Union's new name: 'The Dude'"

Posted by Rob at 1:58 PM

Friday, March 19, 2004

The Daily has posted a story about the election results on their website: "Students First dominates elections"

Posted by Rob at 9:08 PM

Ann Arbor News: "Students protest cuts at U-M"
---- "Thousands expected for local antiwar rally"
---- "U-M will cap tuition hikes at inflation rate"

And this lovely incident, for those who are unsure if this sort of thing happens in A2:

"Cab driver reports ethnic intimidation

Ann Arbor police responded to the 900 block of Greenwood Avenue early this morning after a cab driver reported ethnic intimidation by passengers, reports said.

The cab driver, a 50-year-old Somali immigrant, told police he picked up three men from Studio Four after 1 a.m. During the drive to their home, one of the men repeatedly asked where the driver was from. The driver refused to tell them and asked why it would matter. One of men then accused the driver of taking a longer route to their home in order to increase the fare and repeatedly used a racial slur. Upon arrival at the destination, the passenger threatened to kill him with a gun he was going to get from inside the house. The driver called police from the street.

Officers talked to the suspect, 21, who denied using a racial slur but appeared intoxicated, reports said. He told police the cab driver was upset with them over a small tip but did not deny repeatedly asking where the driver was from.

The case will be turned over to the Washtenaw County prosecutor's office for review. "

Posted by Rob at 6:23 PM

The complete, unofficial MSA election results are available here, and the LSA-SG election results here.

Posted by Rob at 5:22 PM

Ballot Initiative Results

MSA question:

"The William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center provides programs and services designed to enhance student experiences while at the University of Michigan. In order to fix the infrastructure of the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center, would you be willing to pay an additional one-dollar ($1.00) of student fees to be allocated toward infrastructure repair for a time period of five (5) years."

Yes 2050
No 977
Undecided 518

LSA-SG Ballot Question:

"In recent years, the LSA Student Government has not been as efficient as possible because executive officers were popularly elected, without prior government experience. A vote of YES to this constitutional amendment allows the LSA-SG President and Vice-President to be elected within the government by elected representatives. We, as your student govnernment, feel this change will aid the student body by enabling LSA-SG to serve the students more productively. A vote for NO maintains the current election system. "

No 918
Yes 532
Undecided 175

Posted by Rob at 2:32 PM

LSA-SG Results

The following people won seats on LSA-SG:

"School Position Candidate Name #votes/weighted votes
LSA-SG President and Vice President Lauren May and Ryan Ford 1372 /1372

LSA-SG Representative Meta Brown 1041 5893
LSA-SG Representative Reggie Gates 1008 5880
LSA-SG Representative Andrew Yahkind 1015 5644
LSA-SG Representative Brittany Jackson 976 5618
LSA-SG Representative David Arnstein 941 5171
LSA-SG Representative Jeff Monahan 721 5136
LSA-SG Representative Matt Megally 941 4974
LSA-SG Representative Basil Basha 946 4916
LSA-SG Representative Missy Siegal 925 4845"

Posted by Rob at 2:30 PM

MSA Results

The first number following each name is the number of votes, the second, the number of "weighted" votes.

"MSA President and Vice President Jason Mironov and Jenny Nathan 2261 2261

The other slates:
MSA President and Vice President Tim Moore and Anita Leung 1201 1201
MSA President and Vice President Kate Stenvig and Cyril Cordor 455 455
MSA President and Vice President Chuck Heidel and Matthew Lapinski 359 359

These people won seats:

"Architecture Representative Kim Klanow 55 55

Art and Design Representative Kim Gaston 86 86

Business Representative Brian Gallagher 59 59

Education Representative Amy Friedman 63 63

Engineering Representative Ian Fette 323 836
Engineering Representative Chris Blauvelt 331 762
Engineering Representative Justin Sheridan 277 553

Kinesiology Representative Ryan Shinska 61 61

Law Representative Ahmad Kayali 73 73

LSA Representative Jesse Levine 1212 7688
LSA Representative Matt Hollerbach 1186 7239
LSA Representative Matt Baum 1156 6794
LSA Representative Riana Anderson 1084 5972
LSA Representative Lisa Bakale-Wise 1043 5511
LSA Representative Sashai Alvarez 1037 5492
LSA Representative Adrienne Waller 1042 5439
LSA Representative Abby Flora 1019 5220
LSA Representative Amanda Hang 975 4815

Medicine Representative Jaffer Odeh 123 123

Natural Resources (SNRE) Representative Yochi "Yochanan" Zakai 66 66

Nursing Representative Robert Bois 2 2

Rackham Representative Khuram Siddiqui 241 729
Rackham Representative Nicole Campbell 218 643
Rackham Representative Lauren Veasey 210 610
Rackham Representative Dustin Gress 192 529"

Posted by Rob at 2:08 PM

Yesterday's protest in the media:

> DetNews: "U-M students protest budget cuts"
> AANews: "Assault center shift raises ire"
> Daily: "Students protest service cuts at Regents meeting"
> Freep: "U-M to Limit Tuition Hike to 2.4%"

Posted by Rob at 12:07 PM

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"... The monumental growth Northland helped to engender has made southeastern Michigan's quilt of counties, cities, townships and villages the most dominant collection of suburbs in the United States.

In no other major metropolitan area do the suburbs overshadow their central city like the suburbs here dominate Detroit.

The build-out never stops. Development daily pushes the boundaries of suburbia outward, further tipping the balance of wealth, power and population away from Detroit, whose 50-year decline is directly connected to suburbia's rise. ... "

> From Freep: "A FRENZY OF CHANGE: How Northland, now 50, jump-started suburbs' growth" (Via Brandon)

Posted by Rob at 9:34 PM

After nearly an hour of students presenting to the Regents what was clearly for some very personal issues, just before adjuring for a break, Republic Regent Andrew C. Richner quipped, "I think that we need to have everybody at the basketball game tomorrow night." Which, as you might expect, didn't go over particularly well.

Posted by Rob at 9:29 PM

"Right now we're in the midst of a crisis."

The demonstration at today's regent's meeting was an outstanding success. I've posted a few photos here if you missed it. I'll also be blogging more about the meeting later tonight. After a number of impressive student speakers, Regents Olivia Maynard, Larry Deitch, and Andrea Fisher Newman spoke thanking the students for their input and saying that although the budget situation is difficult, they were sympathetic to the issues raised. Noticably absent was Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper, whose leadership and decisions were the subject of much of the criticism.

Regent Olivia P. Maynard: " I have heard the pain. ... I just want to say that we want to say we are listening."

Regent Laurence B. Deitch: "The student speakers were an extraordinary group of people. .. Thank you for coming. I believe if we can work together we can create ways to do it - as Mia White said, we need to put our money where our mouth is."

Student hilights:

Alexandria Cadotte: "What I am saying today is out of the simple desire for all of us to move on ... into the future. [Michigamua] appropriated and abused native culture in too many ways to go into today. Members of the administration have beeen members and advisors to Michigamua, and I believe many still are ... The University's unwillingness to take a stance on this issue harms their reputation among native and non-native students alike."

Stephanie Chang, speaking on the need for recording hate crimes: "It is my hope that today will be a step towards a real student voice, and what the campus climate should look like."

Erik Glenn, speaking on cuts in the LGBTA office: "I came to the U of M believing I was coming to a place where I would be safe to live comfortable, and free of verbal and physical assault. ... Support the office that supports us. ... I cannot and will not negotiate this need."

Kathryn Turnock, on SAPAC cuts: "The only clear message was that we should trust [administrators] know best. ..."

Mia White, on SAPAC cuts and other issues: "[cutting student services] is an insult to the spirit in which they were created. ... The University is willing to talk about diversity and not act. What we want you to do is simple - keep your promises, and follow through. ... Hiding behind the budget is not enough."

Posted by Rob at 5:18 PM


Yes, the University of Michigan is facing a cut in funding from the State of Michigan. However the cut, although severe, will only impact their state allocation, which makes up less than 20% of the University's total budget. In a greater sense, the University continues unaffected by the economic slowdown of the Bush years. Construction projects across campus are moving ahead, the new Haven hall has been equipped with flat screen TV's, and nearly 50 University employees are making over $250,000 per year. Meanwhile, Michigan state legislators have taken a voluntary 3% pay cut, and Governor Granholm herself has taken a voluntary 10% pay cut. Meanwhile, President Mary Sue Coleman receives roughly $575,000 each year (when her base salary of $475,000 is added to the $500,000 cash bonus she'll receive if she stays for five years.) If the 47 highest paid employees at the University took a 3% pay cut, the University would raise $440,266 - more than enough to address most of the issues raised as part of the "Student Agenda." During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the University used across-the-board pay cuts to balance the books.

Many of the cuts above are matters of tens of thousands of dollars - mere pennies for the University as a whole. The Woodshop? Less than $50,000. PowWow funding? Cut by perhaps ten thousand. SAPAC cuts? A few positions and the office space. However, these cuts will directly impact student life - and many will make changes that will be difficult to undo if more funding becomes avaliable in the future. Students will have fewer resources at our disposal, and the University's commitment to multiculturalism seems to be seriously drawn into question.

It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of priorities.

Let's tell the administration: it's time for you to share the burden. The time is now: the University Regents are meeting, and they must hear what we think of the University's decisions:

Sign making, and T-shirts 1 PM on the DIAG

Read more about the issues here.

Posted by Rob at 4:37 AM

"What has happened to our fair Ann Arbor?"

The letters to the editor in today's Michigan Daily are well worth your time to read. Here's a quick synopsis:

> There is a letter I wrote opposing the LSA-SG ballot proposal: "As long as we profess democratic principals, electoral upsets will happen. The proper reaction of the other members of student government should be to educate and work with the newly elected candidates as much as possible, not to seek to insulate themselves further from the electorate."

> There's a letter by a variety of MSA members supporting the ballot initiative to fund work at Trotter house: "This is not a "stop-gap" measure. This ballot question is one step in a much larger process. If this ballot question does not pass, it will be detrimental to the development of the Trotter House. ... We urge students to vote yes on this ballot question. LetÂ’s tell the administration that we value multiculturalism and the Trotter House."

Finally, there's what has to be one of my favorite letters of all time about the city. I'll re-print it here in itsentiretyy:

"University needs to do more to help Ann Arbor

To the Daily:

Tuesday, to a full crowd on the opening night of the 42nd Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ann Arbor was introduced to Yoni Goldstein and Max Sussman's documentary "Whatever You Destroy" (We Didn't Start the Fire, 03/11/04). We relived last summer's fiery death of the Ann Arbor Tech Center, the last oasis of affordable studio housing and an essential piece of the Ann Arbor artistic community. As the documentary faded to black, the waves of applause resonated out of the theater, through the lobby, and into the streets of the city, hollowly echoing an uncomfortable question - what has happened to our fair Ann Arbor?

The history of Ann Arbor's cultural and artistic importance is staggering - Students for a Democratic Society, the ONCE music festivals, the Free John Sinclair Rallies, the Ann Arbor Film Festival itself. Yet monuments are fading, and the community that supported them is in strife as well. In the last year, in addition to the Technology Center, we have seen the loss of The Del Rio, the Ann Arbor Tenants Union, the Student Woodshop and Decker Drugs. Rent costs have forced Schoolkids Records literally underground and Fantasy Attic Costumes has, like the 555 Gallery of the Tech Center, fled the city. In their place we are seeing more and more of Starbucks, Sprint Cellular and luxury condominiums. Hash Bash and the annual summer Art Fair are now laughable. The town's gentrification isn't only a threat to low income artists; as student housing prices escalate, it's a threat to community members, business owners and the student body.

Tonight, you could feel this in the theater. While the citizens are upset with the changing face of Ann Arbor, the film documented the city's utter indifference to the shift. As we all know, the University is Ann Arbor. We are still made up of Anti-War Action!, affirmative action and the newly re-emerging SDS. But what are we doing for the town? Who is leading the fight for our right to afford to live in our own town? The students of the University are responsible for demanding an end to the exploitative deterioration of Ann Arbor. The death of the Tech Center signifies a crossroads. We can either demand that the University works to end the city's homogenization, or smile as the condos set in to pick clean the bones of a once vibrant city.

John Notarianni
LSA sophomore"

Posted by Rob at 4:06 AM

Yes folks, the University of Michigan Spring Commencement keynote speaker will be none other than "arguably the foremost writer in automotive journalism," U-M alum David E. Davis Jr. Yes folks, this man's illustrious achievements include:
"Aside from founding and editing Automobile Magazine out of Ann Arbor with the funding of media conglomerate owner Rupert Murdoch, Davis serves on the board of directors of the University's Knight-Wallace Fellows Program, a group of influential journalists whom the University sponsors to conduct sabbatical work. He also spent 14 years editing and writing at Car and Driver Magazine." Call me underwhelmed. Although I'm excited about the student speaker: my friend LSA Senior Rachel Fisher.

> Daily: "Graduation to feature noted auto journalist"

His benefactor is the very same Rupert Murdoch who made sure that every single one of his 175 papers around the world (which print over 40 million papers a week) was in support of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq about one year ago. Ah, the sweet taste of editorial freedom.

> See the BBC: "Their Master's Voice"

See also this on the ongoing MSA election:

"... About 2,500 students had cast ballots by 4 p.m. yesterday, the first day of voting in the elections for Michigan Student Assembly and other school governments such as the LSA Student Government.

That number is less than half the votes cast in the winter elections two years ago, when about 5,500 students voted on the first day. Last year, nearly 8,500 students voted in two-day elections. ... "

> From Daily: "Elections open with low voter turnout"

Posted by Rob at 3:53 AM

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I just posted a quick wrap-up of this week's very successful Cool Cities Task Force Town Hall Meeting on our blog.

Posted by Rob at 11:48 PM

Articles of note:

> Daily: "Students ask city to certify all landlords"
> Daily: "MSA wraps up loose ends before polls open"
> AANews: "U-M economic report leaked"

George H sent me these links:

> Opensecret's Ann Arbor tally
> And something called

Posted by Rob at 10:22 PM

Jed Schein, the Students First party Kinesiology candidate, has emailed me. He says he supports the trotter house renovation, affirmative action, and that he is pro-choice, in addition to the following platform:

"* Improved bus scheduling and routes (to the Rock)
* Increased school spirit with pep rallies before major sporting events
* More late night programming: i.e. Movie Sneak Previews and Musical Artists.
* Printing allotment increase and inclusion of copying in the allotment.
* Entree Plus expansion"

The other Kinesiology candidates are Ryan Shinska (rshinska) with the OPP party, and Kristel Rodriguez (krodrigu) with the Defend Affirmative Action Party, neither of whom I know much about.

Posted by Rob at 3:54 PM

Although the Students First Party is refusing to take a position on the issue of the LSA-SG ballot question, the current S1 LSA-SG vice president is circulating this message:

"Vote NO to LSA-SG Ballot Question!!

As someone who has been an executive officer on LSA-SG for the past year, I understand how important it is for students within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to have a direct connection with the President and Vice-President of this government. This initiative has the danger of converting this government into an inclusive government that could become unresponsive to student needs. From experience I have found that direct campaigning and interaction with students is the BEST way to get a feel for what students really need. LSA-SG has had an amazing year and done a lot of very beneficial things for students within the college with a President and a Vice-president who were DIRECTLY ELECTED. You know who you want to be your LSA-SG execs! Keep your right to vote for them. Don't disenfranchise yourself!

Vote NO to the LSA-SG Ballot Question!!

-Tania Brown, LSA-SG Vice-President "

Posted by Rob at 2:58 PM

MSA Election Endorsements:

Students for Choice are endorsing the following people: Lisa Bakale-Wise, Jason Mironov, and Matt Hollerbach.

College Democrats are endorsing the following:

"Jason Mironov, MSA President, S1
Jenny Nathan, MSA Vice President, S1

Lisa Bakale-Wise, MSA-LSA, S1
Riana Elyse Anderson, MSA-LSA, S1
Matt Hollerbach, MSA-LSA, S1
Jesse Levine, MSA-LSA, S1

David Arnstein, LSA-SG, S1
Meta Brown, LSA-SG, S1
Brittany Jackson, LSA-SG, S1
Andrew Yahkind, LSA-SG, S1"

Anti-War Action! sent this message to members:

"MATT HOLLERBACH, a member of Anti-War Action! since its beginning in October 2002, has been active in progressive politics and social justice for two years now. He is a candidate in this election, seeking a spot on MSA representing LSA. He makes no attempt to hide the fact that he seeks to strengthen ties between student government and student groups like
AWA!. ...

Voting for Students First, especially JASON MIRONOV & JENNY NATHAN for MSA President & Vice-President, means you will be voting to keep MSA active in helping groups to promote issues of global & social justice. One candidate who is running against Jason has been seen on public television saying that he seeks to make code & constitution changes which will prevent any and all issues of "controversy" from reaching the assembly. Additionally, he criticized Students First's diversity by saying that a less diverse group of people would be more "effective" on MSA, implying that diversity is a weakness and an undesirable factor in student government.

AWA! would like to endorse Matt Hollerbach and the Students First party, and reccomend that all AWA! members cast their votes for Matt and S1. You can vote NOW by going to Matt's website or the Students First website (see below)."

Posted by Rob at 12:23 AM

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

This spring's student government elections starts tonight on the voting website ( at midnight and continues for 48 hours until Thursday midnight. Although I'm not giving endorsements (I didn't send out a questionnaire in time,) I know and like Jenny Nathan and Jason Mironov for MSA President and Vice President, Matt Hollerbach and Lisa Bakale-Wise for MSA-LSA Reps, and if I were in SNRE Yochi Zakai. If you are a candidate and you think I would be interested in plugging you, send me an email and plead your case.

Also important: I suggest voting YES on the MSA ballot question, and voting NO on the LSA-SG ballot question.

I will, of course carry the full results of the election sometime before Monday - generally Friday or Saturday.

Posted by Rob at 9:21 PM

"DETROIT (AP) -- The University of Michigan confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating a leak of data in an influential economic survey.

The investigation centers upon the unauthorized access and public release of mid-February estimates from the Surveys of Consumers conducted by the university's Institute for Social Research. [...]

Preliminary estimates are released to survey subscribers on the second Friday of each month and reported within minutes by major news organizations. University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said a news organization that she would not identify reported the estimates "several hours in advance of its scheduled release" on Feb. 13.

"It was accessed before we had shared it" with subscribers, Peterson said. "Somebody actually broke into the data."

Peterson said she could not comment on how the data was obtained, or on the effect the leak might have had on Wall Street. "I just can't speculate on their motive," she said. [...]

Dow Jones news service reported that the FBI was assisting the university's Department of Public Safety in the investigation. Dawn Clenney, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Detroit office, said that in accordance with bureau policy she could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. ... "

> Freep: "University of Michigan probing leak of consumer survey data"

Posted by Rob at 8:55 PM

The student speaker for the May 1st spring commencement ceremony has been announced - it'll be my friend and former College Democrats Chair Rachel Fisher. Congratulations Rachel!

Posted by Rob at 11:04 AM

Yes folks, the Daily is on to the blogging phenomemon, here's a story that leaves out all the popular student bloggers: "Profs join students in blogging craze"
> See George's ArborBlogs post
> See Ann Arbor Is Overrated's take

Also, here's some information about the candidates in the MSA election, which begins at midnight tonight. See also the oddly titled "Candidates for executive office lay out planks"

Other articles of note:
> "Students: Trotter House badly in need of 'U'-funded repairs"

And this:

"Family finds racial graffiti at their home

An Ann Arbor family returned from vacation Sunday to find race-related graffiti painted on the street in front of their home, reports said.

The residents of the 220 block of Place Way on the city's northwest side found "White Power KKK" painted in white lettering near their mailbox. The graffiti covered a 4-foot section of the pavement and caused about $50 in damages for cleanup, reports said.

The incident remains under investigation.

Police arrest man after food taken "

Posted by Rob at 10:59 AM

Keep your eye out for some yellow t-shirts around campus today related to the budget cuts. They'll read: "Royster cut Student Services, and all I got was this Lousy T-Shirt"

Posted by Rob at 2:12 AM

Budget Cuts, or "The Student Agenda: Unite to Fight!"

Building from the meetings held around campus last Wednesday, a broad coalition of students and student organizations is planning a series of activities this week culminating with a an effort to encourage students to attend the Regents meeting this Thursday:

"The Division of Student Affairs has launched a barrage of attacks against student services and communities on campus. In response, several communities are organizing to have our voices heard and have our rights, as students, given their due respect. At the bottom of this email is a list of the various cuts that we are organizing around.

The central problem is this: Detrimental decisions that greatly affect student life are being made without any input from students what so ever. This has to stop.

Below is a rough outline of the events for the following week, and the opportunities to lend your hands and help out this drasitically important student initiative.

If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, please email stopthecuts at, or come talk to us on Tuesday in the diag.

TUESDAY: Diag day, spreading our message from 11-4, with music, T-shirts, and opportunities to express ourselves.

TUESDAY NIGHT: 7pm, Third Floor, Union
Michigan Student Assembly Meeting were four resolutions that deal with these issues will be up for consideration.

THURSDAY: 1:30 pm Diag
*March to the Fleming building and have a presence inside and
*outside the Regents Meeting, with lots of energy and passion.

As a quick re-cap:

"The Issues:

1.The education coordinator, responsible for the nationally known and regionally utilized Speakers Beaureu, have been terminated after 8 years of service.
2. 8000 additional dollars has been cut from the operating budget, in addition to a 10000 dollar cut last year.

Greek Life
Three new rules will be imposed on all houses:
1. Every house will be alcohol free.
2. Each pledge must wait to rush until the second semester of their college experience, which has extremely detrimental housing affects.
3. Each house will be required to have a live in "House Mom/Dad", that will not only take up a room of availability in the house, but will also have to paid a salary out of the houses budget.

The changes in SAPAC negatively affect survivors of sexualized violence by eliminating an accessible, on-campus safe space that has always been a vital resource in ensuring the healing of survivors of sexual assault. Further, by moving counseling services to CAPS, the University creates a situation in which survivors risk seeing their perpetrators when seeking counseling. These changes affect all areas of the University, because SAPAC services both female and male students, University staff, and faculty. Such disregard for the emotional and safety needs of survivors sends a strong message that the University is not willing to seriously address the wide-spread incidence of sexual assault on this campus and is not committed to providing an accessible safe space for survivors. For more details check out or email our.voices.count at

Pow Wow
The Ann Arbor Powwow is a University event, comparable to commencements, that is put on primarily by the Native American Student Association. This event has thousands of participants from accross the country and over 10,000 people attend, including thousands of university of Michigan Students. This event is one of the only attractive aspects of this University to Native people. If there are cuts to this event, this could effect the perception of the University to Native people, reducing the already severly low numbers of Native students who choose to come here. Also, they are denying the student body of the opportunity to experience diversity. This school talks a lot about diversity, but when it comes to implimenting it, they are not putting in enough effort. This is an opportunity to increase the campus community's knowledge about Native people and Native American Cultures; the University should be whole-heartedly supporting it, not cutting it. ...

Trotter Multicultural Center
This physical representation of the campus multicultural community has faces these problems:
1. Negligence of funding and maintenance for decades
2. Cut the position of Trotter Hose Director
3. Squandered any student attempts to make the cultural center more accessible, to consider reformative changes, or to move locations.

Hate Crimes
The lack of Hate Crimes protocols leaves students without a sense of agency when they run into these situations. Instances of hate speech and grafitti are seen as almost ignored when they are kept "in house" in many spheres. At a large university with paid employees to think about everything from the sanity of the bathrooms to the drop/add deadline, it is ridiculous that this issue remains ambiguous and abstract. The publicity of, the expansion of, and the usage of Hate Crimes protocol at the University of Michigan will bring about an unsurmounted sense of security currently absent from this space.

Student of Color Admissions
The enrollment of Native American Students has been very low and has decreased by 27% last year. Native Students on campus have to deal with a sgnificant amount of ignorance on the part of faculty and other students partly due to the apparent invisiblity of Native people. If our numbers continue to decrease, which we are aware that they are, we will continue to be invisible and the ignorance will continue. Also, this University was founded on a land grant from the People of the Three Fires (Ft. Miegs treaty 1817), and part of the aggreement was that the UNiversity would thereafter educate their decendants. Currently, I do not see the committment to this promise by the University. The Numbers of Native Americans accross the country are growing, why are the University's numbers decreasing?

MESA- Latino Coordinator & Middle Eastern Coordinator
The lack of a Latino Coordinator demonstrates the apathy of administration towards the Latino community. The coordinator position was only offered on a temporary basis with the expectation of it expiring in April. This restriction made any attempt to find a coordinator futile because the most attractive trait in a job is job security, especially in economic times such as these. The result is the students are forced to take on much of the responsibility for themselves. Coordinators are a crucial role in a community; they are the ones who do all the little things that help the community to thrive. They also act as a liaison between the students and administration. Steven Abbott, the Native American Coordinator, has taken on many of these roles without being asked. He is doing double the work with no extra compensation for his efforts. Although Steven is an amazing man, he is still only one person. He has responsibilities toward his own community which is currently suffering from massive budget cuts for events such as Pow Wow. In addition to the lack of a coordinator, Student Affairs also greatly reduced the Latino budget. Although the budget has been steadily decreasing, this year it has hit a rock low bottom low of nine thousand dollars down from fifteen thousand last year. These two combined concerns make events like ALMA (Assisting Latinos to Maximize Achievement), the orientation program for incoming Latino freshman, extremely hard to arrange. Although students have taken the initiative, most of the efforts into planning have to be put into fundraising to make up the lost funds. And there is less time to fundraise because more time is needed to organize events without a coordinator taking care of the more minute details. Also, Latino freshman have a harder time getting acclimated to this university without a coordinator because many of the services on campus are explained by the coordinator to students. It is through the coordinator that many students are aware of resources such as CAPS, SAPAC, and the Sweetland Learning Center to name a few. Many students do not feel comfortable talking about certain issues with a person outside of their own race."

Posted by Rob at 1:09 AM

Monday, March 15, 2004

"There's something profoundly ethical about this generation."

I attended the University's Honors Convocation on Sunday, and was struck by the speech given by the student speaker, LSA Senior Eric Shieh. I emailed Mr. Shieh, and he sent me the text of his speech and gave me permission to post it here.

Eric Shieh
Mar. 13, 2004

Honors Convocation Speech (2004)

When I decided to come to the University of Michigan my dad was so proud of me that he went to work to tell all his colleagues that I was thinking of going to—some East Coast college. True story. You have to put up with a lot of shame, not to mention some degree of guilt always, being second generation.

Five years and mom still urges me to quit my plans to go into music education. It’s a hard life she says, recalling perhaps those first few years in America. I told her once that I plan to teach in an urban environment. She said she hopes that doesn’t mean working in a city or something dangerous like that and frankly I don’t know what to say. At some point in your life you’re bound to shatter some of your parents’ hard-earned dreams.

We hear about this kind of thing all the time. Every day on the radio a different person calls in to say something about “Kids these days . . .”, I guess talking about you and me. This new generation, I hear, with this postmodern emphasis on perspectivism and relativism has gotten us all directionless, that we don’t know what’s right from wrong anymore. But really there’s something profoundly ethical about this generation.

In this generation, we’re slowly beginning to recognize that things like wrong and right, truth and history, are bound up in institutions of power. That most everything we’ve taken for granted as natural in the past—say that all Asians are good at math, that women are unfit to vote, or that the person at the front of the room has some sort of authority over you—these are really just socially constructed and confining. And in this generation where we are beginning to realize that no education is politically neutral, and that wars don’t just happen—they’re made, we begin to get a glimpse that where there is no Truth with a capital T, we are free and have the profound responsibility to create our own truths. And we can’t do that haphazardly.

There is something profoundly ethical about our generation.

Our parents send us to college, or we work our way to college, by and large to have a chance at what is affectionately called “the good life.” The idea varies from place to place, time to time, but it usually involves getting a lot of money and finding some sort of homo-racial, heterosexual—pairing. We’ve had this American Dream for a long time now, it makes great propaganda, only I’d ask your leave to push it a bit further. After all, if truth is bound up in power, maybe it’s not to our advantage to take this dream at face value—a dream that was borne in the time of and on the blood of such institutions as slavery or Wounded Knee.

When we use the phrase “the good life,” we often forget that the word good is a word that carries with it some idea of ethical inquiry. What does it mean to pursue a good life, if we have not determined what Good with a capital G is? It’s a question I think all of us here at the University of Michigan need to answer, otherwise chances are life will become complicated real fast. What activities to take part in, which classes to take, hell—what petitions to sign your name or add your voice to. In short, what to do with your time when so many choices lay before you. If we don’t ask the question of what is “good,” we’re in danger of acting out of apathy, and perhaps worse—taking our education at face value, allowing whatever comes our way to define us when we need to define ourselves through our time here.

As to what is good, I can only tell you what I’ve found: good to me is the act of moving myself and others toward becoming more fully human. Perhaps too existential for many people, and too simple for others, but it’s a definition that can force us to recognize a few things. First, that we as human beings are always changing and exploring. Second, that there is a need to struggle against dehumanization in all its forms of injustice and oppression. And finally, that the process of humanization involves community and solidarity, the act of moving ourselves and others toward change.

For me, this has meant that as an English and Music major I am always working to find new ways to make words and music mean, whether by coordinating music workshops in prisons with the Prison Creative Arts Project, or performing poetry in high schools, or simply collaborating with as many different people as possible. For you, it may be completely different.

So here we are—a generation not quite free from yesterday’s dreams, but not quite tied down by them either. We have the possibility to recreate what it means to be good and live good. Sometimes I think we almost have the responsibility, those of us who weren’t placed in a situation where the need for survival restricted that freedom.

At some level I’m always asking the question “Is this better than what my parents had in mind for me?” The next time I see them, I have no doubt my parents are going to talk to me about switching fields, finding a Chinese girlfriend, and about their wanting me to have a better life than theirs. I think I know what I’m going to say finally: that perhaps I do have a better life, because I have the opportunity to make sure that those that follow them, or those that still live in constant struggle, can find that same freedom to recreate. And I intend to take it.

Posted by Rob at 10:45 PM

Today's visit to campus by the Declare Yourself Tour was interesting, and featured free American Apparel clothing for people who registered to vote. American Apparel is a clothing company from LA that manufactures their clothing "Sweatshop Free." This from the bio of the owner of the company:

"Dov Charney's socially responsible initiatives have included affordable healthcare for employees and their families, immigration support, free English and computer classes, subsidized lunches and bus passes, as well as a commitment to paying decent wages (averaging over $12.50/hour) for the company's nearly 1500 workers. He has been instrumental in propelling American Apparel's growth to the status of largest and most profitable T-shirt manufacturing company in the United States. Recently Charney also expanded the company's environmental policies by launching a new line of organic T-shirts and a program that recycles over a million pounds of fiber scraps annually. Through American Apparel, Charney has proven that the industry does not need to exploit its workforce to be cost-efficient, but rather has used innovation to produce the highest quality garments."

Of course, ideally the company could be an employee-operated cooperative, but short of that it seems a smarter choice than gap. The tour also had demonstration electronic voting equipment, which I have blogged about before since the technology has proven highly flawed, and I support paper ballots counted by scantron (also one of the most accurate and re-countable voting techniques) instead of unproved voting machines whose internal workings are secret under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The visit was also sponsored by Clear Channel, the media conglomerate which pro-war rallies last year. (see my post - scroll down) Read more about Clear Channel here.

Posted by Rob at 7:02 PM

The other Daily editorial today was about a MSA ballot question which would create a new student fee to fund much-needed repairs at the University's Trotter House, a student organization resource. The Daily, while advocating a new cultural center (which I support) oddly concludes that "If this stop-gap measure is passed, it would delay the advent of true progress: a complete overhaul of the University's multicultural center." I disagree: students should vote for the money AND ALSO demand for the University-funded renovation or construction of a new facility. If anything, the student fee could be used for much-needed short term improvements, or to help equip a new facility. From the Daily's editorial:

" ... During the past few years, the University has devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy to proclaiming its commitment to diversity and multiculturalism. The attack by various groups on the University's admissions policies has necessitated this extensive defense of diversity. While there is no question that there are many people in the University community who believe in the educational benefits of diversity, there is some question as to what significant moves have been made to back up that sentiment.

The University must find a way to construct a new multicultural center to make good on its claims of being a place where diversity is valued and to solidify Ann Arbor as a place with an accepting cultural atmosphere. The University should invest in the future of diversity rather than relegate students to performing patchwork on a crumbling building. Students of all races and ethnicities deserve a modern and accessible multicultural center. ... "

Here's the ballot question, language, from the voting website:

"The William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center provides programs and services designed to enhance student experiences while at the University of Michigan. In order to fix the infrastructure of the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center, would you be willing to pay an additional one-dollar ($1.00) of student fees to be allocated toward infrastructure repair for a time period of five (5) years?"


YES on the MSA ballot question, which would create a student fee for the Trotter House
NO on the LSA-SG ballot question, which would make LSA-SG President an internally selected position

(Or, if you're keeping track, the exact opposite from what the alleged "flamingly liberal" editorial page of the Michigan Daily suggests.)

Posted by Rob at 6:32 PM

Former U-M student John Honkala has posted a copy of his history undergraduate thesis on his blog "First City".

Posted by Rob at 6:17 PM

The Future of this Website

Since I will be graduating in May, I've been asked by a few people what will happen to this website after I graduate. In truth, I'm not exactly sure, but the information posted here won't go away anytime soon - it will always be avaliable archived online. However, as I move into a different stage of my life, the blog as it currently exists: focusing on the University of Michigan and the city of Ann Arbor and targeting a student audience will undoubtidly change. There seem to be at least a few blogs which might replace some of the functions of my site - Matt Hollerbach, Sam Woll, and Jenny Nathan come to mind, and I'm always willing to help people start and maintain websites.

However, I've decided I'd like to make a formal effort to cultivate successors - one or more people who will fill the role of this website for the next few years at least. I see what I do as providing a space of public discussion and communication that draws from a variety of sources to provide a news source for U-M students who want to be informed about things that will effect their lives. Hence, I'm am looking for editorial collaborators. These people would be able to post to this website (hence why each post is now attributed to an author), and I would show them how I go about operating the website. Theoretically, with my help, the collaborators would launch (or re-launch) their own blog sometime this summer.

Why collaborate with me? Although starting a blog is easy enough, there are lots of little things which make it hard. First, it generally requires some technical knowledge like FTP, HTML, and CSS to design and operate a good site. I can tell you what I know, and put you in touch with people who know much more about the technical side than I do. Second, there are lots of little tricks to find information to post - I can show you my techniques and give you advice on how to efficiently collect information of interest to your readers around town and from the media. Lastly, it takes time to build a readership - collaborating with me will help you get started with at least a base of readers, and I will help you promote your site.

The qualifications are quite simple: you are a freshman or sophomore at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, consider yourself politically progressive, and you have the time and desire to start a blog. To apply, send me a one-page letter of interest by this Friday, March 19th via e-mail at rob at

Posted by Rob at 6:12 PM

Here's a link to an Ann Arbor News article I am quoted in from last week which I didn't get around to posting: "Landlord certification sought":

"Members of the Michigan's Student Assembly have asked Ann Arbor to start certifying landlords in order to steer students to good housing.

Student Samantha Woll, a school of Literature, Sciences & the Arts representative to the assembly, told the City Council last week that the group would like to begin talking about city landlord certification.

The student assembly has discussed the matter around campus and hopes that certification will guide renters to responsible landlords, Woll said.

Woll said the details are still sketchy and she has no timeline, but the idea would be to have a list of items landlords would account for, such as monthly rental fees, number of people inside the building, and conditions of apartments and houses.

Many rental houses, she said, have holes in the walls and are infested with bats and squirrels.

Woll said certification would be voluntary, but the student organizations would advise students to first rent from landlords who are certified.

Rob Goodspeed, a student who serves on Ann Arbor's Cool Cities Task Force, said housing is an issue the government needs to address. "Housing for students in the city tends to be low quality and overpriced," Goodspeed said Wednesday. "Conditions for renters in the city are often abysmal." ... "

Also, the Daily has an update on the SAPAC controversy: "Debate Rages on SAPAC".

Posted by Rob at 12:00 PM

Here's a letter it today's Daily about a vague story they printed last week:

"To the Daily:

Last week, the Daily published an article about some flyers that were posted around campus in the early hours of Thursday morning (‘U,’ DPS finish flyer investigation, 03/12/04). These flyers contained accusations of sexual harassment by a member of the faculty. Although you included details that might help the readers of the Daily understand that this was a prank — you described people wandering around in the bushes at 3:15 in the morning, to which one might add that three women who were connected with the flyers were also seen in Alice Lloyd Hall dressed in dark clothes with masks on — you did not make it clear that this flyer was a hoax. Because you named the faculty member, you should also have made it clear that no complaint has ever been filed against this person. By naming him, you were exposing him to unnecessary embarrassment, and, by doing so, simply forwarding the aim of the perpetrators of this cruel hoax.

David Potter
Director, Lloyd Hall Scholars Program

Martha Vicinus
Director, Sweetland Writing Center"

Posted by Rob at 11:56 AM

"It's moving toward autocracy."

A ballot question which, if passed, would remove LSA President and Vice President from the ballot in future years has been added to the ballot for this week's MSA election by a vote of 15 to 3 of the current LSA Student Government members.

The initiative seems to me a response to the upset victory of Monique Luse and Tim Whelan in Winter 2002. Luse and Whelan had not been involved in LSA-SG previous to their victory, and the existing members, mostly elected as Blue Party candidates, resented the discontinuity.

I strongly oppose this proposal. Although inexperienced presidents and vice presidents may be elected from time to time, the appropriate response is to work with them, not try to prevent it from happening again. Having a directly elected president and vice president makes the organization more responsive and democratic, which unfortunately trumps the selfish interests of the mostly apolitical, resume-stuffing members seeking to create a private club, insulated from the electorate.


> See this article in the Daily: "LSA-SG divided over proposed election changes"
> See a viewpoint written by LSA-SG Representatives Stuart Wagner, Janu Lakashman and Andrew Yahkind: "Let's kill democracy!"
> Also, here's the full text of the proposal, available on the voting website:

"In recent years, the LSA Student Government has not been as efficient as possible because executive officers were popularly elected, without prior government experience. A vote of YES to this constitutional amendment allows the LSA-SG President and Vice-President to be elected within the government by elected representatives. We, as your student government, feel this change will aid the student body by enabling LSA-SG to serve the students more productively. A vote for NO maintains the current election system. Please follow the link to view the amended section of the constitution."

Also, the Daily editorial board reveals themselves to be increasingly elitist, editorializing in support of the proposal:

" ... The main goal of this necessary reform is to ensure that executives are elected based on competence, not charisma. Under the party system, candidates are selected based on factors such as likability, not fitness for office. With an election system in which everyone is allowed to vote but few of the voters have any knowledge of the issues and candidates facing LSA, it is difficult for students to vote for candidates based on details such as experience, leadership philosophy and dedication." ... "

> From the editorial: "Reforming government: Proposal to modify LSA-SG elections should pass"

Posted by Rob at 11:42 AM

Sunday, March 14, 2004

And boy, is the truth strange.

Posted by Rob at 6:39 PM

The Detroit News published an editorial last Friday alleging the University of Michigan isn't doing enough to protect the rights of the people trying to get petition signatures to add to the state's constitution an amendment which would end all government affirmative action programs in the state. BAM-N has launched something they're calling "Operation King's Dream" whose suggestions seem to test political tactics one can legitimately equate with the Civil Rights Movement, including things like "Shadowing the signature gatherers for the racist campaign. Using our First Amendment right to vociferously dissuade people considering signing on to this racist, sexist attack." Anyone vaguely familiar with first amendment law will know there are a number of legal limitations including the right of public facilities and institutions to make time, space, and manner restrictions on speech. Here's some from the Detroit News editorial:

"... We agree with BAMN and other opponents of the anti-affirmative action drive that the initiative is both divisive and offensive, and a setback in the state's efforts to achieve racial equality.

Still, we respect the rights of those who are of the opposite opinion. They have a right to mount their petition drive.

MSU understands that and took swift action when BAMN invaded the Michigan State University student union, where Barbara Grutter, who sued the U-M law school for rejecting her application, was speaking. Campus police hauled the thugs away.

But U-M has done little or nothing to protect the rights of students who are working on behalf of the petition drive. Jeston La Croix, a U-M student assisting the initiative, says the group has made it virtually impossible to operate on campus, blocking access to petition tables and harassing those who stop by for information.

So far, campus police at U-M have not intervened. U-M spokesperson Julie Peterson says the university tries to manage these situations without trampling on the rights of protesters.

Everyone has rights, including the petition signature gatherers. They should be allowed to proceed with their misguided effort free from harassment and intimidation. The university has an obligation to protect the civil liberties of all students, not just the ones it agrees with. "

> DetNews: "U-M Must Protect Civil Rights of Its Opponents" (Via Chetly Zarko)

You might remember Jeston La Croix from last spring, when he angrly demanded the student busses to Washington D.C. funded by MSA for the rally in support of Affirmative Action during spring term be "viewpoint neutral." I would say younger people should keep their eyes on this young conservative activist, whom seems to be sliding into the angry-college-conservative role. The whole thing to me seems like an innocent organizing mistake, blown way out of proportion by the ability of angry white men to demand the administration meet with them. Here's a Michigan Review editorial from April 3, 2003 about last year's snafu, titled "MSA: Majorly Sketchy Allocation":

"AFTER SITTING LESS than two weeks as a new assembly, MSA has made its first highly questionable funding allocation. After being threatened with a lawsuit by a University student at last week's "in and out" meeting, MSA has crafted what can be construed by some as a money-laundering scheme at worst, and a waste of University dollars in times of budget crisis at best. This fiasco surrounds the 2002-2003 Assembly's funding of buses to travel to last Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing of the lawsuits against the University's race-based affirmative action admissions policies. Originally, $12,000 was allocated to fund four buses in conjunction with other buses being paid for by Students Supporting Affirmative Action.

The MSA buses were supposed to be issue-neutral according to the resolution passed by all but one of the representatives. Students Supporting Affi rmative Action (SSAA) was only involved because the group had reserved the buses in advance, guaranteeing a lower rate than if MSA were to secure its own buses. Thus, whether a student supported or opposed the University's admissions policies, he or she was could travel to Washington, D.C. to witness a historic time in University history.

The problems with the buses began last week when two poorly thought-out communications from the assembly revealed a severe bias in the bus organization. First, when anyone sent an email requesting a seat on the MSA buses, they were sent
a confi rmation email reading "Dear student supporting affi rmative action" from MSA Communications Chair and SSAA leader Pete Woiwode. By not separating the bus confirmations into SSAA and MSA seats, Woiwode alienated many conservatives from riding these buses, as they either thought they had signed up for buses that were not issue-neutral or were deterred by the fact that they would be in the midst of an SSAA rally for the entire 10-hour trip. In addition to confirmation email, the composition of the email list that the buses were publicized to was also extremely biased. Groups organized in support of race based affirmative action like BAMN, SOLE and College Democrats were included on the list, while student groups opposing the University's position on the issue like College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom were not included. In fact, the only non-left-leaning email list that received the email was at

This action, again by Woiwode, pushed LSA Freshman Jeston La Croix over the edge. La Croix threatened MSA at their Tuesday meeting and called a meeting with University Vice President E. Royster Harper and Dean of Students Ed Willis. Also at the meeting were new MSA President Angela Galardi (Students First-Engin.), MSA Representative Paul Scott (University Party-LSA), and former Peace and Justice Committee Chair Jackie Bray.

The University recognized La Croix's concern as valid and requested that MSA allocate funds for additional buses to rectify the problem. Galardi agreed and said that MSA could cut into funds currently allocated to Budget Priorities Committee (BPC)
to pay the extra buses. Scott responded by saying that MSA had spent enough student dollars on this event, and opposed cutting into student group funding to "cover the butts" of SSAA leaders like Woiwode and Bray who had not recognized their own confl icts of interest in organizing the buses. Upon hearing this from Scott, Vice President Harper suggested that the University could reimburse MSA out of her "slush fund" to cover the $8000 BPC shortfall that will cover the buses.
All parties seemed to agree on this resolution of La Croix's complaint, and after a two and a half hour emergency MSA meeting, the deal was done. While La Croix may be happy with the result, this action by the University and MSA draws a number of questions.

First, the University cannot legally pay for buses sent to lobby for a court decision in a case that it sits in as a defendant. Thus, by MSA paying for the buses, and the University paying for student group funding, a soft-core money-laundering scheme is essentially at work. Secondly, this last ditch effort, being carried forward by a campus-wide email, to allow students a chance to get to Washington will not allow enough time for students who had given up on the trip, now tied up in class commitments, to drop everything and jump on a bus.

Finally, the University faces times of budget crisis, as the state of Michigan will cut $36 million, and while $8000 is a drop in the larger bucket, it is the one-year tuition of an in-state student. "Slush funds" available to the Vice President should be going to maintain quality class size and selection that were threatened by Provost Paul Courant last week. La Croix should be commended for exposing a corrupt allocation on the part of MSA, but the University and the Assembly should hold their ground and look at the bigger picture a bit more when correcting measures, to avoid shady, back-door dealing like the new allocation.MR"
(See this editorial on the Review's site)

Posted by Rob at 6:28 PM

This is why I'm intrigued by Richard Florida's "Cool Cities" business: according to his theories, being serious about participating in the creative economy means taking serious civil rights for all your citizens. In an excellent column in the Ann Arbor News, Rick Haglund argues that the state legislature's flirtations with a ban on gay marriage in the state could have very real negative economic repercussions.

> AANews - Rick Haglund: "Want to lure creative folks to Michigan? Try tolerance"
> Also, I've posted it on the Cool Cities blog

Posted by Rob at 6:00 PM

The Associated Press has just released an interesting study of Mexican workers in the United States:

"The jobs that lure Mexican workers to the United States are killing them in a worsening epidemic that is now claiming a victim a day, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Though Mexicans often take the most hazardous jobs, they are more likely than others to be killed even when doing similarly risky work. ...

These accidental deaths are almost always preventable and often gruesome: Workers are impaled, shredded in machinery, buried alive. Some are as young as 15. ... "

> "AP Investigation: Mexican worker deaths rise sharply even as overall U.S. job safety improves"

Posted by Rob at 2:35 AM

There's an election upcoming in the online role playing game The Sims Online, and U-M Philosophy professor Peter Ludlow, the editor of a popular blog about the game called the Alphaville Herald, is wondering what it all means:

" ... Ludlow looks at the Alphaville election with an academic perspective. Given that the winner takes over leadership of a virtual government in a virtual city in a virtual world, one might wonder whether there's anything to take seriously here.

"It's government after a fashion, I suppose," says Ludlow. "It's fair to say that the Alphaville Government is in large measure role playing, but I also think it's a real social institution within the game that could do things to improve the quality of the game."

But he also recognizes that the Alphaville Government has power only in the sense that players respect the lead it has taken in trying to make life for Alphaville newbies palatable and to help protect them from being scammed. ..."

> From Wired: "Mr-President Bids for Re-Election"

Posted by Rob at 2:24 AM

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Claude Steele, a social scientist that has done groundbreaking research about race and standardized testing and education more generally, will be speaking on campus on April 1 on "The Effect of Negative Stereotyping on Academic Performance."

> Entry
> UMPR Event Announcement

Posted by Rob at 9:00 AM

Friday, March 12, 2004

Some people are organizing an impromptu vigil in response to the attacks in Spain this week:

"En solidaridad:

Today Friday the 12th just before sunset at 6:20, we will gather on the Diag for an impromptu vigil commemorating victims of the terrorist attacks that occurred yesterday in Madrid.

In solidarity we stand against terror
We are bearers of hope and distant sharers
Of pain so great, a loss so large
We can't sit back we must take charge
We must come together to reflect
Those of whom we are bereft
Tonight we pray as the sun goes down
Let the violence end, the world live again

- J.O.

If you would like to help, or if you have any other ideas for the vigil please contact: jorley at"

Posted by Rob at 3:27 PM

LEO Considers Walkout

"This week LEO has been issuing a notice to many of the non tenure-track lecturers, outlining the possible measures the organization might take if the pace of negotiations does not improve. If the vote for a walkout is authorized during LEO’s March 23rd meeting, ballots will be mailed out to lecturers who then must vote by March 27th. If the initiative passes, non-tenure track lecturers said they will not teach any of their classes on Thursday April 8.

After the walkout, LEO would further discuss other possible actions, such as protesting and withholding grades until the administration settles with the union. ...

LSA senior Mahmoud Fadlallah said the lecturers should take action since it is unfair that their wages aren’t as high as they should be.

"I don’t understand how that if you have a Ph.D. or a master’s degree at the University you still will be making less than a high school teacher.""

> From Daily: "Lecturers may walkout in April"

See also from today's Daily: "Greeks resolve house conflicts" and "'U', DPS finish flyer investigation" (See my take on the Daily's handling of this story)

Posted by Rob at 2:36 PM

" ... In the second round of questioning, Mironov also said that MSA would like to provide funding for the Ann Arbor Tenants Union or a group with a similar function that would assist students living off campus in recognizing and resolving issues with landlords.

"I do see a necessity of providing funding for them," Mironov said. "$20,000 or more of our budget should be allocated to an organization like AATU, whether it is AATU or something like it." ... "

> From Daily: "MSA pres. candidates lock horns on issues"

Posted by Rob at 1:06 AM

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Two bodies have been found near MSU in East Lansing. More info: Ch4, Lansing State Journal

Posted by Rob at 3:16 PM

The Students First MSA party has updated the candidate information pages on their website for MSA and LSA-SG.

Posted by Rob at 2:01 PM

The latest issue of the U-M Alumni Association's email student newsletter has an interesting list of free things offered by local businesses if it's your birthday:

"Everyone deserves special treatment on their birthday. Although you might not be able to sweet talk your way out of that annoying exam, here's some free stuff you can score at popular Ann Arbor businesses. Check out the list below and take advantage of the bonuses (offers are subject to change).

* Zingerman's-half-dozen free bagels
* Grizzly Peak Brewing Company-free dessert, free logo pint glass, and a $10 gift certificate for your next visit
* Main Street Ventures Restaurants (includes Gratzi, Palio, Real Seafood Co.)-receive 50 percent off your bill if two people are dining, 33 percent off if three people are dining, 25 percent off for four people, and so on (discount applies to only the food portion of the bill)
* Cottage Inn restaurant-free meal
* Good Time Charley's-free meal
* Stucchi's-free ice cream
* Hollywood Video-free movie rental
* Baskin Robbins-free ice cream.
* Applebee's-free chocolate sundae
* TGI Friday's-free birthday dessert
* The Olive Garden-free cake and serenade by wait staff
* Red Lobster-free cake and serenade by wait staff
* Arbor Brewing Company-free sampler platter of all house beers currently on tap"

I'm not sure if that last one applies to any birthday, or just your 21st - which comes along with it's own list of freebies. What's missing from this list?

Posted by Rob at 1:58 PM

Articles of note:

> Daily: "MSA pres. candidates lock horns on issues"
> Daily: "Student Affairs budget slashes met by protests"
> DetNews: "College students scramble for aid"

Posted by Rob at 1:52 PM

An article in the Metrotimes profiling a few female Detroit DJ's includes one enrolled in a masters program the the University, "Agile 1":

"... The female hip-hop DJ just might be the rarest of the species. Having moved from St. Louis to Detroit last June, Agile 1 may very well be the top female hip-hop DJ in Detroit right now. And that’s not because there isn’t a lot of competition — she’s damn good, often cutting up doubles of her favorite tracks, and dropping the jaws of onlookers. During Agile 1’s debut Flow performance, she even received a couple of marriage proposals from strangers. But, regardless, the bottom line is this: Agile can hold it down with any male hip-hop DJ in the city — and in Detroit, that means something.

Currently, she’s getting her master’s at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is student teaching at Mumford High in Detroit. The kids don’t necessarily know who they’re dealing with as they’ve never seen her DJ — they’re too young to get into the club — but it’s easy to see that her drive for hip hop stems from the same place that’s kept her in school to be a teacher. There’s something deeply political about the way she lives her life.

“The reason I got into hip hop and became so passionate about it," she insists, "is because of the message of social justice behind it. Basically, I feel like there’s a lot of kids in the city schools who don’t get the chance to think critically. ... "

> Metrotimes: "The Vinyl Monologues"

Posted by Rob at 1:27 PM

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sravya Chirumamilla's column in today's Daily, "Awash with like colors," is a discussion of racial and ethnic communities' relative isolation on our campus - both socially and academically. She incidentally cites me in the story, I suppose for my participation in the excellent SAAN conference earlier in the semester. While I don't agree with everything she says, I am glad she wrote the column and I hope it sparks some discussion:

" ... The most alarming result of this segregation is the lack of discourse on the subject: Everyone notices it, but no one wants to address it. Caught up in the year-long season of cultural shows, students do not have the time or the interest to add such discussions to the daily juggle of dance practice, school, work and social interactions.

Discussions organized by minority groups, useful in examining the many perspectives on campus, are not met with a substantial response, as few members attend. When IASA invited members to an open dialogue about race issues, I was the only person not on the board who attended. Similarly, when the South Asian Awareness Network organized an event with widely regarded professors and media personalities, fewer than 10 people attended. Naturally, these discouraging turnouts hinder the groups' willingness to organize such events. ... "

Posted by Rob at 3:44 PM

Honors in the Liberal Arts

You may or may not have heard about a new degree option instituted by the honors program announced last week. I haven't had the opportunity to write about it here, so I'll catch everyone up. Announced last week by the honors program, they've launched an official Honors in the Liberal Arts website describing the requirements of the new program (see the end of this post). This is the end product of a multi-year process of reinvigorating and transforming the honors program not only to increase its size and activity, but better integrate the freshman and sophomore honors curriculum with the junior and senior year departmental honors programs which generally involve writing a thesis and conducting research. This degree would seem to provide an option for people who start in honors but opt not to write a thesis, but would like the option of pursuing a more challenging academic schedule. The Daily covered the announcement in their story, "Honors Program Offers New Degree," and editorialized in favor of the program this week, "New honors degree option good for students," causing Philosophy Professor and Honors program director Stephen Darwall to quip that it was "Very nice to have some good press" on his honors blog. In general I think I support the program because it increases options for students and encourages a multidisciplinary approach, although I think writing a thesis can be a rewarding experience.

"Requirements for Honors in the Liberal Arts

1. Completion of requirements of the Honors Program in the first two years: eight Honors courses, including 2 "Literature and Ideas" courses.

2. Five HLA courses (a minimum of 15 credits), to be selected in consultation with an Honors advisor. Four must come from outside the student's concentration. The Honors Program will maintain and update the list of courses approved for HLA. Roughly speaking, any course that carries credit for a graduate (M.A. or Ph.D.) program in the department in question will be eligible for HLA credit. For example, since 400-level courses in Philosophy generally carry credit in both LSA and in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Philosophy, they will, with a few exceptions, qualify.

3. Students will submit a portfolio of work completed in their HLA courses to the Honors Program in the term they plan to graduate. This work will be evaluated by a committee, which will include faculty, to ensure that the academic program is sufficiently rigorous and includes written expression of a caliber that will warrant awarding the HLA.

4. An overall GPA of 3.4."
(Source: Honors website)

Posted by Rob at 3:35 PM

Also, Metrotimes has an interesting bit on Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick, Richard Florida, gay rights, and all this "cool cities" business: "Hip-hopcrisy to the Max"

Posted by Rob at 3:21 PM

The Tappan Oak, a large oak tree located between Haven Hall and the Graduate Library and traditional location of the annual Michigamua induction ritual has been vandalized, apparently as a protest to that organization's continued presence on campus. According to the Ann Arbor News, some suspects have been interviewed, but no charges have been filed. Until a few years ago, the oak was marked with a plaque with the Michigamua name, not unlike the small "Vulcan" plaque near the engineering arch. The marker was removed after student protest, although a small plaque near the side door of the Union identifies that area and its small fountain as "Michigamua Plaza."

" Tappan Oak Tree on Diag vandalized

University of Michigan police questioned five people early today after they were seen painting the Tappan Oak Tree on the Diag, officials said.

Officers responded to the Diag about 12:30 a.m. and found the base of the tree painted black, said Lt. Robert Neumann. The five people were found nearby and questioned but not arrested. The incident remains under investigation.

Officers determined the vandals used non-water-soluble paint and referred the matter to the U-M Grounds Department for cleanup. No damage estimates were available this morning, Neumann said.

The Tappan Oak tree is a prominent fixture in the Diag located between Tappan and Mason halls.

From News staff reports"

Posted by Rob at 3:19 PM

These meetings have been heavily promoted, they will be a good way to find out what's going on with the cuts and get involved:

"Heard about changes in Student Affairs?
Cutting Pow-Wow Funding?
Neglecting Trotter House?
Attacking the Greek System?
Cuts to MESA?
Cuts to the Office of LGBT Affairs?
Fragmenting SAPAC?
Ignoring Hate Crimes?
Allowing a Drop in Student of Color Admittance?
Haven't heard, but would like to hear more?


What's the Deal?
Student Affairs Showdown

Wednesday, March 10
8:00 pm

Central Campus: Ambatana Lounge, South Quad
Hill: Umoja Lounge, Alice Lloyd
North Campus: MLK Lounge, Bursley

MESA...LGBTA...SAPAC...Admissions...Hate Crimes...

You need to be there, they're your services...
Find out why they may not work for you"

Posted by Rob at 11:57 AM

It's a webby world: you can vote online in this year's "Sexism in Advertising" competition held by (what remains of) SAPAC.

Posted by Rob at 1:22 AM

"DETROIT (AP) -- White Stripes lead singer Jack White pleaded guilty to assault and battery on Tuesday for a fight with the lead singer of another band.

White was accused of repeatedly punching Von Bondies lead singer Jason Stollsteimer and originally was charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault. He could have faced up to a year in jail, but will avoid jail time under the plea deal.

White must pay a $500 fine, plus $250 in court fees, and Judge Paula G. Humphries ordered him to attend anger management classes. She also told him not to contact Stollsteimer. ..."

> AP: "White Stripes lead singer pleads guilty to assault and battery"

Posted by Rob at 1:12 AM

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I recently updated my Michigan Student Assembly elections information page.

Posted by Rob at 2:05 AM

Here's a letter from yesterday's Daily:

"To the Daily:

In my interview with the Daily regarding the anonymous flyers posted in Angell Hall (DPS investigates campus flyers as harassment case, 03/05/04), I said clearly that we do not know the truth of the allegations in the flyer. I was very careful not to lend credence to the accusations.

Separately, in response to additional questions from the reporter, I shared information about the UniversityÂ’s policies regarding faculty-student relationships and sexual harassment. Unfortunately, the juxtaposition of those remarks in the same sentence as a discussion of the flyer makes it sound as if I have accused a faculty member of improper behavior. I have no reason to do so, and I never intended to leave this impression.

Julie Peterson

University spokeswoman"

In addition to misrepresenting the views of Peterson, the article in question, "DPS investigates campus flyers as harassment case," prints the name of the professor involved in the dispute. I would argue that when someone puts up flyers accusing a professor or instructor of "seducing students and consciously spreading sexually transmitted diseases" the Daily should consider not publishing the name - because if it is false, although they may or may not be committing libel, it certainly would be damaging to someone's reputation and thus unethical.

Here's one defense if the person in question does, in fact, decide to sue:
"The Neutral Reportage Defense allows news organizations to report false accusations made by non-governmental organizations and/or individuals which have a history of responsible behavior."

And no, I don't think anonymous flyers constitute a "history of responsible behavior."

Posted by Rob at 1:30 AM

A group of students calling themselves the Environmental Justice and Global Climate Change Student Group (EJCC) and the School of Natural Resources and Environment are planning a conference titled "Just Climate? Pursuing Environmental Justice in the Face of Global Climate Change" to be held from March 26 to March 28:

"The aim of the conference is to further the dialogue among scientists, academics, policy-makers, economists, residents and activists from communities around the world about how global climate change will affect disadvantaged communities. We wish to identify what efforts can be made to mitigate and adapt to these changes and explore policies and collaborative projects that are a step towards climate justice."

> See the conference website here

Posted by Rob at 12:27 AM

Monday, March 08, 2004

The 3rd annual Academic Conferece on Israel, organized in part by fellow blogger Sam Woll, is scheduled to be held on Sunday, March 21st this year.

Posted by Rob at 8:29 PM

This is from a short interview of Michigan Review writer James Dickson in Mich Magazine, Michigan's online "men's interest" magazine.

"MM: But what about those who claim that admissions should only matter in terms of merit?

JD: "Merit" is another one of the precious illusions of conservatives that I’ve attempted to unearth the flaws of. Specifically, the idea of “blind meritocracy,” a false concept in light of the fact that the people who espouse it tend to have benefited by way of the “old boy network,” their father’s golf buddies, what high school they went to, their parents’ alumni status—all of these factors which say nothing of one’s abilities. [ ... ]

MM: You currently have a white girlfriend. How has your interactions with her added to your perspective on race relations on campus?

JD: Outside of my girlfriend, I’ve yet to encounter anyone on campus with the ability and willingness to carry on a serious dialogue on race. By "serious," I do not mean those who simply feel strongly about affirmative action, yea or nay, but a dialogue that acknowledges the intricacies, contentious issues and contradictions of race relations and a willingness to confront the difficulties of race in non-ideological fashion. Amazingly, I'm able to reach more common ground on race with a liberal, white female from Gaylord, Michigan, whose background (but not necessarily her values) is about as different from mine as is possible than I have even with other blacks who were raised just blocks away from me. I'm convinced that America will only heal its racial wounds through the building of individual relationships between members of different races. I have learned more about whites and [my girlfriend] has learned more about blacks than we ever could have by attending rallies, eating fests, or other such diversity-inspired events with one another. True affection for the mysterious only results from one’s personal dealings with it; rather than being taught that we should love each other for the simple fact that we’re all here. If we could only view our differences with an open mind and appreciate the great similarities which do exist between us all, the racial climate could improve greatly. My girlfriend and I are living proof."

Posted by Rob at 8:21 PM

The Michigan Review has issued their endorsement for this spring's MSA election. I suppose it could be called bipartisan - titled "Vote Anita and Jason: Ideal MSA Ticket Would be Split," they endorse exactly half of the Students First presidential ticket of Jenny Nathan and Jason Mironov, and the independent slate of Anita Leung and Tim Moore.

The legacy of what I'll call Blue Party "nonpartisanship" seems to linger on, like a bad hangover:

"... Hoping to bring a pragmatic approach to student government, Moore thinks "Student government should adopt a mission statement, adhere to it throughout the semester, and never speak about or act on controversial issues amongst the students." Holding the philosophy that issues outside the realm of student life should be left for student’s to debate, Moore believes that student government should “survey what people overwhelmingly want, see if it can be done, and then do it." ... "

> From the Review's coverage of the MSA election in general: "Let the Chalking Begin." And in case this sounds a bit familar, see this proposal from April 2003.

Posted by Rob at 8:01 PM

Articles of note:

> Daily: "Honors program offers new degree"
> Daily: "PCAP hosts relatives of incarcerated artists"
> U Record: "Group working to improve access to mental health resources"
> U Record: "Indiana Jones fan discovers 2,000-year-old papyrus in U-M library"
> U Record: "Duderstadt name to take over Media Union crest March 19"
> U Record: " U-M in top 10 of universities awarded most patents"
> UMPR: "Ann Arbor Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow in March"
> AANews: "U-M focusing on depression"
> Also, see this University investment report in the Record (PDF)

"Judge says Kaczynski can't donate papers

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. - Una-bomber Theodore Kaczynski has no right to donate his writings to a university for research, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. ruled Friday that the government may keep the documents indefinitely.

Burrell overruled a magistrate's earlier finding that the papers must be returned to Kaczynski so he could donate them to a university, or be sold to raise money for his victims.

The University of Michigan was interested in Kaczynski's writings for its extensive Labadie research library of social protests. Kaczynski, whose bombs killed three people, holds advanced degrees in mathematics from U-M.

From the Associated Press "

Posted by Rob at 6:07 PM

Found in my inbox:

"*Heard about changes in Student Affairs?*

Haven't heard, but would like to hear more?


What's the Deal?

Student Affairs Showdown

Wednesday, March 10


Central -Ambatana Lounge -South Quad
Hill -Umoja Lounge -Alice Lloyd
North -TBA


You need to be here, they're your services...
Find out why they may not work for you."

Posted by Rob at 3:41 PM

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I've recently added a number of events to my calendar - scroll down and look on the right side to take a look, or see the same listing on the website.

Posted by Rob at 11:10 PM

Can you say "crisis of workforce and affordable housing"?

"PLYMOUTH - The ride to Ann Arbor may soon get easier for workers who live in the Wayne County suburbs.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority will start a pilot program this summer to provide a shuttle service for people who work in Ann Arbor but live outside Washtenaw County. Though it hasn't yet decided which communities, the Authority is considering providing the service to Plymouth, Canton and Brighton.

The shuttle service is expected to begin in August and last for about two years. Officials then will evaluate it.

"We know where there are pockets of employees (outside of Washtenaw County)," said Greg Cook, head of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. "The bus service will attempt to give people another option for mobility and take some cars off the road." ... "

> Detroit News: "Ann Arbor will shuttle workers from Metro area"

Posted by Rob at 11:09 PM

The U-M exhibit of art by Michigan prisoners, which I've heard is excellent, continues at the Media Union until March 16th:

"U-M exhibit features art by Michigan prisoners

Michigan prisoners will have their artwork featured during an exhibit March 2-16 at the University of Michigan. More than 300 art pieces from at least 200 inmates will be displayed when the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) of the University of Michigan holds its 9th annual Exhibitions of Art by Michigan Prisoners in the Media Union Gallery, 2281 Bonisteel Boulevard. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Monday. Organizers say the exhibit provides a creative outlet for prisoners, who set their prices typically at $10 to $400."

> For more information see the Prison Creative Arts Project

Posted by Rob at 11:06 PM

The Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force, of which I am a member, will be holding a town hall happy hour next week to talk to city residents as part of our process of gathering information to write our report to city council. I strongly encourage everyone interested in the future of the city to attend - we want to hear from as many people as possible.

"* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Art ... Housing ... Culture ... Small Business ... Justice ... Zoning ... Studio Space ... Integration ... Urban Planning ... the Environment ... Music ... Tolerance ... Noise Ordinance ... Creativity ... Affordability ... Sprawl ... Density


Ann Arbor's "Cool Cities" Task Force want to hear from you!

Join the Ann Arbor Cool Cities Task Force for a Town Hall Happy Hour

6-8pm, Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Arbor Brewing Co.
114 E. Washington

Ann Arbor's Cool Cities task force is preparing a report to submit to city hall on what can be done to improve life in our city - please come to contribute your ideas!

For more info visit:

Questions? Coolcities at

"The Creative Centers are not thriving for such traditional economic reasons as access to natural resources or transportation routes. Nor are they thriving because their local governments have given away the store through tax breaks and other incentives to lure business. They are succeeding largely because creative people want to live there. The companies then follow the people - in, in many cases, are started by them. Creative centers provide the integrated eco-system or habitat where all forms of creativity - artistic and cultural, technological and economic - can take root and flourish." - Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class, p. 218

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *"

See this event's listing on On a related note, the newly formed campus organization I am a member of for students interested in New Urbanism and city planning in general, the Urban Issues Collective, has launched a website.

Posted by Rob at 10:42 PM

Saturday, March 06, 2004

John Kerry and President Bush share something unusual: membership in Yale's ultra-secret society Skull and Bones. Unlike Michigamua, which a reader correctly pointed out is mostly elitism lite, Skull and Bones seems worth examining closely:

" ... Both President President Bush and his all-but-certain Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, were members of the elite and secretive club that meets in a windowless mausoleum on the Yale campus in New Haven.

Both Kerry, Class of '66, and Bush, Class of '68, are extremely reluctant to discuss their common ties to what Skull and Bones expert Ron Rosenbaum calls "the most powerful of all secret societies in the strange Yale secret-society system." ...

Since its founding in 1832, Skull and Bones has had fewer than 2,000 members, including three Presidents - Bush, his father and William Howard Taft - and such powerbrokers as W. Averell Harriman, Henry Stimson and Henry Luce, who all engaged in what Rosenbaum calls "certain occult rituals of the ruling class."

Bonesmen tend to help other Bonesman. The current President has staffed his administration with such Bones brothers as Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William H. Donaldson, Assistant Attorney General Robert McCallum, Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Roy Austin and Edward McNally, general counsel to the Office of Homeland Security.

Skull and Bones investigator Alexandra Robbins, author of the book "Secrets of the Tomb," told Lowdown yesterday that the society is positively gleeful over the Bush-Kerry contest.

"Individual Bonesmen will sway according to their personal affiliations," she said, "but the Bonesmen I've spoken to have said it's a win-win situation."

In what might be eerie coincidence or further disturbing evidence of a scheme for world domination, The Washington Post has assigned Bonesman Dana Milbank to chronicle the battle between Bush and Kerry. ... "

> From New York Daily News: "Yale Bones connect Bush, Kerry"
> See also Democracy Now!: "Skull & Bones: The Secret Society That Unites John Kerry and President Bush"
> See also the website of the recently published book "Secrets of the Tomb"

Although, let's not forget there's even bigger fish to fry: a global secret society that does not accept Asians, Middle Easterners, Latin Americans or Africans as members: the Bilderberg Club. See more about them here.

Posted by Rob at 2:27 PM

Anite Leung and Tim Moore, running for MSA President and Vice President as independent candidates, have launched a campaign website, although it's fairly sparse: In addition to theirs, for MSA campaign websites there is Students First's (which may or may not be functioning) and MSA-LSA Candidate Matt Hollerbach's, the Defend Affirmative Action Party's (not updated since fall) but nothing from the new "O.P.P." party that I know of.

Posted by Rob at 2:02 AM

Friday, March 05, 2004

The University appears to be facing another significant budget cut in their state appropriations this year, which could require $20 million in additional cuts for next year's budget. State discretionary funds amount to about 15% of the University's academic budget. The administration has set up an informational website, and is circulating this message to some students:

"From: Mary Sue Coleman
Date: Fri Mar 5, 2004
Subject: Update on the State Budget

Greetings --

Last week, I provided testimony on the University budget situation to the State Senate Higher Education Sub-Committee on Higher Education:

My primary message to the Senate sub-committee indicated that the state has presented us with a budget proposal that is a short-term fix during the current economic downturn. However, our true need is a long-term solution to the funding situation for higher education. If we are going to maintain strong institutions, we must have stable funding.

We are assessing the current budget proposal the state has presented. The plan would return a portion of the 2004 mid-year cut and mitigate the severity of the reduction in the 2005 base appropriations, while requiring us to limit the tuition increase for resident undergraduates.

Under the terms of the proposal, the University would realize a reduction in its ongoing state support by $43 million since 2002. Also, we will have had to accommodate $19.2 million in mid-year cuts over the past two years.

The Provost and I are engaged in budget planning with the vice presidents and deans. Our analysis indicates we will need to cut a minimum of $20 million from the 2005 operating budget in addition to the deep reductions previously instituted.

We have developed a set of guiding principles that will help us make decisions about the best way to proceed with the recent budget eductions. Our core principle, now as well as last year, is to maintain the high quality and excellence of the University, as stated below:

1. The outstanding quality of academic programs, both teaching and research, and the contribution of non-academic programs to that excellence will be paramount in budget decisions. Restructuring of some programs may be necessary. The academic excellence at the University of Michigan is unparalleled and must remain so.

2. Financial aid will continue to be a University priority; we are committed to assuring that a U-M education is affordable for students and their families.

3. Short-lived or illusory savings arising from cutting activities that are self-supporting and growing, such as clinical care, will be avoided.

4. Alternative revenue sources that may be enhanced, most notably, fundraising, will be emphasized.

5. The costs and consequences of our activities must be evaluated so that the highest priority activities may be funded and where necessary, lower priority activities eliminated. In doing so, resources will be generated to make new investments in vital areas of research and teaching, and in our faculty and staff, as well as to meet current budgetary challenges.

6. Collaborative approaches will be encouraged to enhance quality, eliminate duplication, consolidate programs and services, be prudent in expenditures, examine cost effective purchase of services, and utilize all University resources efficiently and effectively.

I will keep you informed as we proceed in our discussions regarding the budget situation. If you want more information on the state and university budgets, please visit

Mary Sue Coleman
President "

Posted by Rob at 4:22 PM

"Tensions between the Honors College and the "Norms" reached a head this week as two LS&A sophomores received corporal punishment after entering the Perlman Honors Commons. Obadiah Shegogue and Woody "Two Scoops" McGillicutty claimed ignorance of any infraction, but were not spared as Honors administration personnel displayed them on a platform in the Diag and flogged the offenders with a cat 'o nine tails. ... "

> The Every Three Weekly: "Riff-Raff Flogged For Entering Honors Commons"

Posted by Rob at 10:35 AM

The Detroit News' Pete Waldmeir thinks Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick's plan to convert the Michigan Central Depot to a new police headquarters has the taint of "voodoo economics," observing that the city council wasn't exactly invited to the announcement ceremony, where millionare owner of the building Matty Maroun stood by smirking.

Posted by Rob at 10:28 AM

In an unexpected turn of events, leaders in the Students First MSA political party have let their domain,, expire. Former Michigan Review editor James Justin Wilson promptly purchase the name, posting a graphic reading " 'University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.' - Henry Kissinger. Take his Advice ... Don't Vote."

Posted by Rob at 10:11 AM

"... In an attempt to revive protest to the ongoing U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, the student group Anti-War Action! has redirected its focus from trying to prevent war to discussing the repercussions of the Iraq war and other government policies directly affecting students. .. "

> From Daily: "Anti-war movement refocuses"
> The Anti-War Action! Website

Posted by Rob at 10:02 AM

Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Ann Arbor city government is holding a series of public meetings as part of their process to write a "non-motorized transportation plan":

"The City of Ann Arbor Planning and Public Services Departments will host two public workshops for the City of Ann Arbor’s Comprehensive Non-motorized Transportation Plan. The meetings will be held:

* Wednesday, March 10 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at Forsythe Middle School’s Media Center, located at 1655 Newport Road (between Miller Road and M-14)

* Thursday, March 11 from 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM at the Michigan Theater Screening Room, located downtown (on Liberty Street near State Street)

Mark Fenton, former Olympic speed walker, pedestrian specialist, and host of PBS’s America’s Walking, will be on hand to speak to the importance of walking and bicycling to a community’s vitality. Norman Cox of The Greenway Collaborative, Inc. will discuss the current state of bicycling and walking in the city. Following the presentation Wednesday evening, there will be small group workshops to identify specific areas of concern around the city as well as participant’s visions for the future of non-motorized transportation in the City of Ann Arbor. Participants in the Thursday lunchtime meeting will be provided with fax back or mail-in worksheets so that they may provide similar input."

> See more information

Posted by Rob at 11:13 PM

In case you were wondering: it was Joan and Sanford Weill who gave $5 million to the University's Ford School of Public Policy to help fund construction of that school's new building. This site has received lots of hits from people searching for that precise information over the past two days: why the sudden interest?

Posted by Rob at 2:15 AM

Yes, Detroit's abandoned Michigan Central Depot will become the city's police headquarters. Luckily, Jack Lessenberry is around to remind us exactly how much the whole thing stinks. You know, I can't think of a better way to reinforce the plutocratic police state than by building a towering police headquarters to dominate the skyline, with a healthy serving of crony capitalism and public profiteering along the way, masquerading of course as public-minded historical preservation.

Posted by Rob at 2:05 AM

The dean of the Rackham Graduate School, popular U-M administrator and history professor Earl Lewis, has accepted a position as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Emory University. For their part, Emory seems pretty excited that Lewis will be coming to Atlanta.

"... Lewis said Tuesday night that he is thrilled about his new role and the chance to have a strong impact on the university's future while working with Wagner, who was named Emory's president last summer.

"The ability to go work with a team and see Emory's rise over the next five years was a very exciting prospect," said Lewis, adding, "It was a tough decision for personal and professional reasons."

Coleman praised Lewis' wide level of leadership at U-M. "We deeply regret losing him to Emory but understand his desire to accept the role as provost," she said in a statement.

U-M provost Paul Courant noted Lewis' U-M roles as a professor, director of the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and as dean. "He has shown himself to be a visionary and accomplished academic leader," Courant said. ... "

> AANews: "Lewis to leave U-M for Emory"

Posted by Rob at 1:54 AM

Here's some anonymous historical commentary on Michigamua I received:

"Now a few years removed from Ann Arbor and from the 2000 Michigamua tower occupation, I look back and have to laugh at the state of Michigamua. Sure, the multi-week occupation gave the organization and the University a black eye, but even more so, exposed what a sorry state the student elite of the University community was and, I'm afraid still is. And I'm sure that the community of the student elite will continue to languish, whither and perhaps die on the Michigamua vine.

I don't claim to be a Michigamua historian, but I have a unique perspective on the whole matter. I first saw the inside of the Michigamua tower way back around 1993 or '94, when I was a freshmen in high school oddly enough. I was given a tour by a Michigamua member who was dating my sister, who in her words "was trying to impress" us by having keys to the tower. While he was giving us a tour, I remember that he said something to the effect of: "Yeah, 'Gama used to do stuff. All we do are service projects now. I guess that's cool." Deep thoughts, aint it?

I of course was too young to really understand the symbolism of the artifacts in the tower space. I guess I thought it was cool to be part of a secret society. You at least got a cool view of State Street.

Later on, my sister told me about witnessing a Michigamua initiation ceremony/banquet at some decrepit suburban hotel, where there were all sorts of cheesy initiation phrases, ridiculous nicknames, etc. "Onward Lone Wolf! Welcome to the brotherhood." or something ridiculous like that. But the food was horrid. My sister said that for an elite society, they could have at least had some decent food. It was a let down I guess. For the student elite, hand-picked from the leading Greek organizations, student groups, etc., it was telltale sign that the organization wasn't all that elite.

If I remember correctly, it was a long standing tradition for Michigama to tap the top editors at the Daily. But then sometime in the late 1990s, even the Daily started to wisen up. While I'm not sure of the whole story, a top Daily sports editor (who now works for a top metropolitan daily) had to resign over something Gama related. The top management at the Daily realized the being part of Gama was a major conflict of interest and it became unofficial policy at the management desk that if you were at the Daily, the tower was off limits. (In the wake of the tower occupation, the Daily editors fired a reporter for dating a high-profile Michigamua member.) As it was told to me by an editor at the time, Michigamua was becoming a pathetic organization, that didn't do anything, and had a more-than-suspicious past. It was a recipe for public relations disaster: Do-nothing student leaders dressing up in headdresses (or what ever they did in the tower) getting drunk and calling eachother insensitive or stupid nicknames. Fortunately for the Daily, the editors abandoned the organization before the fallout. Some Michigan Student Assembly executives, of course didn't, only to meet the wrath of an incensed student body at public meetings. They found out the hard way that getting yelled at by a more-than-normally-agitated Jessica Curtin was a bad thing.

So when lists of Michigamua members were released and more details about the organization became known, the true picture of the University's secret student elite came into focus. So how do you put together a Michigamua class, or for Phoenix for that matter? First, find student leaders from warm and cuddly community service projects (Detroit Project, K Grams, etc.). Second, add some well-rounded athletes, preferably from some second- and third-tier sports. Third, find your racial and religious diversity. Fourth: How about some MSA people? They're always upstanding and fun to be around. Fifth, mix any random stragglers that somehow got accepted to Eunice Royster Harper's LeaderShape program. But wait, we're an elite organization, we need some exclusivity! How 'bout the Greek system? They seem to know a bit about initiations and social exclusionary tactics. Let's get some one from the Pan-Hellenic board. Bam, we have the University's student elite! Boy, that was easy.

So what does a secret society do besides sit in a room being secret and exclusive? They already represent a wide variety of student activities, so they can't duplicate their campus efforts through their coordinating "pow wows." So they do something that cuts across campus. What about a huge community service project that raises money for a good cause? Sounds great. Some other universities are doing Dance Marathon, why isn't U-M? That sounds like a great idea! Bam! Now they're raising a lot of money for childhood cancer.

I'm sorry if I sound like I'm disparaging community service projects. That is not my intent. They are worthwhile. But for a legendary organization that got Crisler Arena and the Union built, a simple fundraising event seems to demean the existence of an organization that has done quite a bit for the University historically ... sans its insensitivities of its name, customs, etc.

When I look at the lists of people who are/have been in the secret societies the past few years, I snarl at their fusion in an exclusive society. I know a lot of them, and they are good people. They mean well, but many are just a bit too vaccuous to avoid tripping over their good intentions to actaully live up to Michigamua's goal of building a better University. There are greater issues facing the student community that the exclusive coalition of student leaders could be working on. We can only hope that they can build greater than they are. In the meantime, hundreds of other student leaders who aren't in the special club are pushing to make their corner of campus better for everyone else. Imagine if Michigamua could actually secretly coordinate everyone's efforts for the greater good (Of course, putting its troublesome past in a dusty closet in the annals of University history would be a good first step ...I'm afraid changing the name to "Michigamua: New Traditions for a New Millenium" isn't going to cut it.)

(In a semi-related note, when Bush and Kerry debate later this year, if a journalist asks a question about Skull and Bones and one of them begins to answer, they both have to walk off stage, according to tradition, orso I've heard. Now there's a secret society. Barb the Younger didn't get in though.)"

> Who's in Michigamua?

Posted by Rob at 1:23 AM

This event, sponsored by the U-M College Republicans, sounds interesting:

A Forum on the USA Patriot Act

*An Infringement on Civil Liberties?
*Is it Really Helping Us Fight the War on Terror?

***Thursday, March 11, 2004, 8:00 pm, Vandenberg Room, The Michigan League***


*Barbara McQuade, Assistant US Attorney, US Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

*Beth Hazen, District Council, FBI Detroit Field Office

*Followed by a question and answer time with our speakers

Brought to you by,
University of Michigan Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and College Republicans

Please contact debbieki at or (734) 883-5001 with any questions.

(See entry)

Posted by Rob at 1:14 AM

Larry Kestenbaum seems to think that online voting in Michigan in the recent democratic primary was an abysmal failure.

Posted by Rob at 12:51 AM

Fellow Ann Arbor blogger Edward Vielmetti has posted something he overheard at Cafe Ambrosia about daffodils on the Diag, but I wonder if they meant the Arb, where about 20,000 should be coming up sometime soon.

Posted by Rob at 12:44 AM

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Yes, it's Michigamua tapping season:

"Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 03:26:40 -0500
From: Nickole Fox foxn at
Subject: say NO to Michigamua's tap


After creating beautiful powwow diag boards until 2am tonight, a group of dedicated NASA members were about to venture home. However, we were caught off guard by a suspicious group of students gathering near the fountain in Michigamua Plaza (outside the union), appearing to hide something. These students muttered "its NASA" and "ooo...the Chief." While we are not certain of their affiliations on campus, it was clear they didn’t want to be around us and it reminded me of what time of year it is: Michigamua recruiting time.

If you do not know, Michigamua has a long history of degrading Native American Culture. They would wear loin clothes, paint themselves red and give each other suto-indian names and use language of a broken English sort, like "me like um squaw." They have been pictured in the yearbook smoking a pipe, with beers in hand, on the presidents lawn. While these examples are wrong on many levels, I encourage each person who receives this email to educate yourself about this organization. I know it can be hard to understand some issues concerning Native people, so to help you understand...if there is anything that confuses you, think about the action if it was against another group of people. Think about blackface, think about the KKK...

What I am asking of you is to
1) if you are a junior, and they want you to join, say no, no matter how much the connections will benefit you. If you are interested in the community service aspect of the org, join another group that does community service, there are a ton of them, and if you need help finding one, I will gladly help.

2) If you are a current member: get out. its not worth it. the group may or may not have changed their practices (they said they would change in the 70's, again in writing in 89 and didnt!) but the history they carry in the name is not worth your time. Imagine if the KKK decided one day to not be a racist organization any longer....would KKK still mean the same thing to the people it hurt? yes. Would you then join the KKK? Please know the history and know that you are a part of an organization that was founded on hatred, do you really want to be associated with that?

3) if you are alum of gamua: see #2

4) if you don’t fit any of the above, educate yourself, and everyone you know.

Here are some links:

Sorry if you receive this email multiple times. I just think this is something
everyone needs to know about, especially University students, alumni, faculty,
and staff.

Hoping for social justice,
Nickole Fox

Nickole Fox
University of Michigan
Co-chair-Native American Student Association
Sociology & Native Studies B.A. student


Posted by Rob at 11:31 AM

Busy Saturday?

"Artists for Farmworkers Benefit Concert

King Mob (Ann Arbor ska)
Havana Affair (Ramones cover band)
Texas Tea
Sexual Pantalones
and many more

Sat. March 6th, 8:30 PM, Joint House Co-op, 917 S. Forest
Five dollars admission, All proceeds to AFF"

Posted by Rob at 3:37 AM

Highlights from today's Daily:

> "E-mail virus fills students' inboxes"
> "MSA pushes for registration alterations"
> "Ari Paul: Feds under the bed"

Posted by Rob at 3:30 AM

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Here's Tom Tomorrow on this "gay marriage" brouhaha, also known as "please-ignore-Iraq-and-the-economy."

Posted by Rob at 8:46 PM

Senator John Edwards has dropped out of the Democratic primary after resounding Kerry victories in the primaries today (Aside from Vermont - which went to Dean), leaving Sharpton and Kucinich the only remaining democrats, in addition to Nader and Bush, in the race for president.

Posted by Rob at 8:35 PM

Baylor University's student newspaper, the Lariat, editorialized in favor of gay marriage last week, unleashing a flurry of letters both in support and criticizing the position, but also eliciting statements from that University's president, and the Baylor Student Publications Board, which determined that:

"The Student Publications Board has determined the editorial published in the Lariat on Friday ("San Francisco should pursue gay marriage suit") violates university policy as defined in the Student Handbook, as well as student publications policy. The Student Publications Policy states that "since Baylor University was established and is still supported by Texas Baptists to conduct a program of higher education in a Christian context, no editorial stance of Student Publications should attack the basic tenets of Christian theology or of Christian morality." Clearly, the editorial published on Friday is inconsistent with this policy. The guidelines have been reviewed with The Lariat staff, so that they will be able to avoid this error in the future.""

Posted by Rob at 8:28 PM

An email virus is circulating in the U-M email system sending messages with subjects like "Email account utilization warning" or "Important notify about your e-mail account" with a .pif or .zip attachment signed by "The team." The University's "Virus Busters" team has tentatively identified the virus as a Bagle.gen variant, and only people using Windows who double click on the attachment will be infected, although the University observed "its 'annoyance factor' is large."

> See the U-M's Virus Busters' page on the virus
> See McAfee's page on the W32/Bagle.j@MM virus

Posted by Rob at 8:12 PM

The deadline for Arts at Michigan's competition to exhibit artwork aboard AATA busses is approaching: submissions are due March 15. Read more on the "ArtRide" website.

Posted by Rob at 4:27 PM

Articles of note in today's Daily:

> "DPS reports fewer incidents in res halls"
> "Charity group showcases more than 340 works of art by Michigan prisoners"
> "Students protest new Art School curriculum"

Posted by Rob at 11:31 AM

Here are the candidates for seats on the Michigan Student Assembly in this March's election. The University Party has disappeared, although some of their former members have filed to run as independents (most notably Tim Moore and Anita Leung - what would have been a UP executive slate), and a new party calling themselves the Other Political Party has emerged. These names are unofficial, but I don't expect many changes.

President & VP:

Tim Moore tgmoore (P - Indep.)
Anita Leung awleung (VP - Indep.)
Kate Stenvig kstenvig (P - DAAP)
Cyril Cordor ccordor (VP - DAAP)
Chuck Heidel cheidel (P - OPP)
Matthew Lapinski mlapinsk (VP - OPP)
Jason Mironov jmironov (P - S1)
Jenny Nathan jlnathan (VP - S1)

Defend Affirmative Action Party (Affiliated with BAM-N):

Jessica Bratus Jbratus LS&A
Helen O'Connor hnoc LS&A
Angela Davis davisan LS&A
Ingrid Macon imacon LS&A
Monica Smith monistar LS&A
Neal Lyons lyonsn LS&A
Sarah Barnard sbarnard LS&A
Keyanna Silverman-Maddox ksilvermg LS&A
Ashley Payne payneash LS&A
Jeremy Schwartz jschwa Law School
Sana Khatib khatibs Education
Stephen Rice steric Rackham
Lauren Veasey lveasey Rackham
Kenneth Kellogg kkellogg Rackham
Nicole Campbell cnicole Rackham
Tanyaporn Wansom twansom Medical
Pete Dykema dykemap Architecture
Kristel Rodriguez krodrigu Kinesiology
Russell Stewart russstew Art


Andrew Landau landaua LS&A
Victoria Adibu vadibu LS&A
Scott Cederbaum sceder LS&A
Dayna Clemons clemonsd Architecture
Ian Fette ifette Engineering
Brian Gallagher btgallag Business

Other Political Party (OPP):

Michael Georgoff mgeorgof LS&A
Erin Thompson ent LS&A
Kathleen Tobias katitobi LS&A
Sam Goldberger (no uniquename) LS&A
Brent Carr bdcarr Engineering
Justin Sheridan jdsherid Engineering
Mike Affeldt affeldtm Engineering
Joshua Sledge jsledge Business
Jeff Saunders jtsaunde Art & Architecture
Ryan Shinska rshinska Kinesiology

Students First (S1):

Jesse Levine LSA jeslevne
Matt Hollerbach LSA mhollerb
Abby Flora LSA abiflora
Adrienne Waller LSA amwaller
Matt Baum LSA mbaum
Amanda (Jer) Hang LSA hangjga
Sashai Alvarez LSA asashai
Lisa Bakale-Wise LSA lisabw
Riana Anderson LSA rianae
Brandon Journey Engin bjourney
Chris Blauvelt Engin blauvelt
Monique Rio Engin mrio
Yochi (Yochanan) Zakai SNRE yzakai
Kim Gaston Art kgaston
Kim Klanow Arch klanowk
Ahmad Kayali Law akayali
Jaffer Odeh Med jodeh
Amy Friedman Education asfriedm
Khuram Siddiqui Rackham ksiddiqu
Dustin Gress Rackham gressd
Saad Saeed Rackham saads
Larry Pier Business lpier
Jed Schein Kinesiology jrshein

Also, see: Daily: "U Party drops out of MSA race, new OPP party created"

Posted by Rob at 11:18 AM

Monday, March 01, 2004

Daily Film Editor Zach Maybee gave Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" 4.5 out of 5 stars in today's Daily, calling it in his review a "brilliant triumph of Biblically inspired filmmaking." Excerpts:

" ... Preliminary concerns surfaced quite early, and still persist, about the Gospel that Gibson and company portray. Charges of anti-Semitism are prevalent, and questions of the film’s historical accuracy abound. Both ought to be dismissed; the film tells a story that adheres remarkably to the Biblical Gospels. To be sure, the film does depict the Jewish high priests as strongly committed to undermining Christ’s ministry. This, however, is in accordance with the Gospel telling of the matter; any criticisms of Gibson’s movie should be similarly leveled against the Bible itself.

In any event, the fact that the Jewish high priests indict Jesus relentlessly should not be of great concern. The Roman soldiers, after all, are portrayed as the veritable savages; they, if any group, are characterized in a decidedly negative light. More importantly, no Christian viewer should distinguish one group as being more involved than others in the death of Jesus. All bear equal responsibility, and to think otherwise would run contrary to a foundational tenet of the faith. [...]

Some have condemned this frank violence as a sadistic or hyper-religious fetish of Gibson’s. They argue, in turn, that it overshadows the love or other essential traits of Jesus. On the contrary: It is exactly what so many films about Christ have, to a flaw, lacked. Jesus, as Christians hold, sacrificed his life for the collective sins of humanity; he bore upon his shoulders an immeasurably burdensome yoke. This grand sacrifice deserves candid and revealing consideration. ... "

Meanwhile, spotted on my spring break, a church sign reading: "Who killed Jesus?" Easy question: the Romans.

Posted by Rob at 11:44 PM

The Halliburton Corporation will be holding a "pre-interview" session on Wednesday night on North Campus to give a presentation about career opportunities in one of the most successful war profiteers making up the modern military-industrial complex. Thrill to stories about how costs of fuel and military base operations (you thought the military would run their own bases? Not in This Postmodern World) can be easily inflated, and how the military might of the largest armed forces in world history can be leveraged for your personal enrichment. Oh, and free food to boot.

1017 Dow Building, North campus, U-M


PI sessions are open to EVERYONE!

We only call them Pre-Interview sessions because they are generally held the night before a company is interviewing on campus. But you don't have to have an interview scheduled to attend, anyone can come.

Mark your calendars!

Any questions contact Nupur Srivastava, PI publicity officer at snupur at"

Posted by Rob at 9:06 PM

As if the next few weeks weren't busy enough for you: former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will once again be coming to campus to talk, this time at 4:30 on Wednesday, March 10. The subject seems provocative, and I'll be interested to hear what she has to say about Bush's Iraq war, as she was an advocate of the Clinton-era sanctions as an alternative to neoconservative empire building.

> UMPR: "Madeleine Albright will discuss today's international institutions"
> Entry on

Posted by Rob at 7:05 PM

MSA Candidate Matt Hollerbach is emerging as the most web-saavy candidate this election, launching not only a new blog, but also a detailed campaign website in the last few days.

Posted by Rob at 6:55 PM

A few Thoughts on BAM-N

At the University of Michigan, an unpopular and sectarian political organization that has co-opted affirmative action activism almost entirely, apparently will the full knowledge and tacit cooperation of the administration. The campus, like the main character in Memento, seems to suffer from a profound amnesia - stubbornly unable to hold any idea in its collective memory for more than a few semesters. Constantly, I see in the newspaper upperclassmen who complain of the latest stunt of BAM-N, saying they were in support of affirmative action until the latest incident. (Most recently February 17) These people are apparently ignorant as to how our local campus politics are connected to a larger political picture – and unable to concieve of a position in support of affirmative action outside the limited rhetoric of BAM-N.

This unfortunate reality leads to two questions in my mind: first, has the intellectual and political culture of campus been any different? Can we reasonably expect a constantly changing group of 18 to 22 year olds, most of whom will spend around four years as students, to maintain a somewhat sophisticated political discourse? No matter the answer to that question, it leads me to a second question: can it be any different? The cynic in me might have said no, but I think the efforts of myself and others have been at least somewhat successful. However, is this simply an anomaly? Is the inevitable state of affairs one where Luke Massie, Caroline Wong, and George Washington mascaraed as the legitimate spokespeople for much more than their true narrow interests as members of the Revolutionary Workers League? Can a more sophisticated political discussion on campus and in our nation take place – or will our generation be doomed to McPolitics where New Democratic Liberals sit politely on panels where anachronistic elements of America's fringe left pretend to speak for students?

Also: some of the signers of the petition I started have interesting things to say. While I certainly don't agree with some of them, it's worth your time.

Posted by Rob at 6:45 PM

Articles of note:

> AANews: "Minority dropouts 'a crisis'"
> AANews: "U-M hikes football ticket fees"
> AP: "Ticket prices to increase with Michigan beginning personal seat licensing"

Posted by Rob at 3:36 PM

My friend and Michigan House Cooperative House resident Yochi Zakai has been having what he terms "neighbor problems." This is the latest installment which involves the notoriously anal "historic fourth ward" neighborhood association's low-grade war of annoyance on the many students who also share their neighborhood. It also involves a graduate student who, upon purchasing a home for $250,000, discovered it was feet from three co-ops (and a number of student apartments), and now has taken it upon himself to terrorize their residents with complaints to the city, no doubt because he's afraid he won't be able to sell the home for a tidy profit after he earns his PhD.

"i live in a coop in the north state neighborhood, and we've been having neighbor problems. we went into a mediation session, but the head of the old forth ward association kept saying that she had been contacted by 5 renters in the area who have called the cops on us at parties or when we sit on our porch and talk in level voices. We've also had problems with one owner of a house in the area and it's crazy. Apparently the noise laws say that if it's past 10pm you don't have a permit you can't make any noise that can be heard from your property line. when we apply for permits for our parties, we generally get them, but they normally only last until until midnight (and if you live in Ann arbor you know all parties start at midnight!). After this time, whenever the cops are called by anyone, the police apparently have to issue a noise violation if they can hear any noise from the sidewalk.

My house, over the years, has had to raise our charges to cover the cost of all of our noise violations. We have been harassed, with people coming in to our yard and attempting to "clean up the neighborhood" uninvited. In response, we reached out to our neighbors and offer to schedule parties around the times they'll be out of town or coming to a compromise about the situation somehow. We offered many suggestions, none of which were discussed as the reprasentative of the neighborhood association refused to speak for the neighbors, who were invited but did not attend the session (they were invited).

If you live in our area, it'd like to speak to you about this. please call us. Our phone number is available from the inter cooperative council, or you can e-mail me. if you don't like our parties, we'd love to come to a situation that we all can live with. If you have experienced harassment from people in the neighborhood, as we have, i'd like to speak with you as well.

if you know of anyone who this letter should be directed to, please let me know. thanks.

yochi (yochi at"

Posted by Rob at 3:31 PM

Welcome Back

What do you need to know?

> The Weather Underground, a documentary about the violent Students for a Democratic Society splinter group of the same name, is showing at the Michigan Theater this week: 9:00 PM on Monday and at 7:00 and 9:00 PM on Tuesday.

> The opening of this year's exhibition put on by the Prison Creative Arts Project will be held this Tuesday at 5:30 PM in the Media Union (Soon to be officially the James and Ann Duderstadt Center) on North Campus. The exhibit will show though March 16.

> Anti-War Action! will be holding the one-year anniversary of their "Books Not Bombs" student strike this Thursday, with bomb-pinata smashing on the diag all day and a "progressive discussion" at 8:00 PM in Angell Hall.

> The laser beam coming from the all-seeing eye that is "free market dogma" has passed over Ann Arbor in an Op-ed titled "Privitize U-M" published in the Ann Arbor News. Hopefully it will pass quickly. (See the Ann Arbor is Overrated discussion thread on this.)

> So you've heard that there "aren't any" Wolverines left in Michigan? Think again: they found one. And it "had moves like Barry Sanders."

> Author if "Georgraphy and Nowhere" and "Home from Nowhere" James Howard Kunstler is speaking at the Architecture school Friday.

> The Ann Arbor Urban Outfitters will not be carrying the "Voting is for Old People" T-shirts that generated some controversy earlier this year. The folks at the Ann Arbor store received them but decided to "send them back." (Via LB)

> Finally, it sounds like my ranting about how city hall is ignoring pedestrians isn't coming out of nowhere:

"To the Daily:

This letter is a response to the article entitled Jaywalking causes greater concern since student deaths (02/17/04). The Ann Arbor police are not doing their jobs as far as protecting pedestrians is concerned. I have first-hand experience. I was struck by a car while walking to work in Ann Arbor in January of 2003. This occurred in front of the Michigan Union, as I was crossing South University Avenue in the crosswalk. I was hospitalized with a broken hip, head wound and internal bleeding. I was in the hospital for a month and in a wheelchair for three months after that. The point I'd like to make is that even if you are legally crossing the street in Ann Arbor, you are not necessarily safe, so the issue of pedestrian safety is much broader than Lt. Michael Logghe attempted to convey with his statements in the article.

Not only did the police never contact me for their report, but they failed to return my phone calls after repeated attempts. The person who hit me was issued a ticket at the scene for failure to yield. The result? The police officer, Officer Martin, never showed up to court that day, and the charge was dismissed. So part of the problem, as I see it, is in the failure of the Ann Arbor Police Department to enforce the law.

That is the kind of "civil service" you can expect from The AAPD when you are a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of Ann Arbor. Thanks for nothing, Ann Arbor.

Kenneth A. Longo
Research fellow, Department of Physiology"
(a letter in today's Daily)

Food for though: half of the black men in New York were jobless, compared to 25% of whites of the same age group.

And while this sounds good, "[metro Detroit] Regionalism doesn’t mean higher taxes. It means delivering better services for less money," too bad he's talking about cops and jails. God for forbid we develop regional transit, or revenue-sharing.

Posted by Rob at 2:55 AM

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