University of Michigan Board of Regents Meeting

•May 21, 2010 • 1 Comment

Today, I attended the UM Board of Regents meeting that was for all three campuses (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint). The thing stretched on for 3 hours, so I felt a need to take notes to make it worth my time. Here’s what happened:

Opening Presentations

1) There was a report regarding finding new revenue streams for the University. Apparently up in Ann Arbor they talked around, and got 530 ideas from 350 people.

2) There was talk of preparing the University of Michigan Health System for the new health care bill objectives and statutes. Also spoke of preparing for the bill to be changed in the near future.

3) Scholarship of Engagement, regarding the U of M – Dearborn’s Women & Gender Studies program. Discussed how the program has been supporting women’s education at all levels. Talked about the Women in Leadership and Leadership (WILL) program, that is aimed at increasing women in those positions, and the acceptance thereof.

Reports

1) The engineering program at UM acquired something on the order of $50 million so that they can teach NROTC students the aspects of naval engineering (a required class for NROTC students, as previously researched) and naval architecture.

2) A 3% increase in the 2010-2011 University Housing Residence Hall rates and a 1% increase in the Northwood Community Apartment rates was approved by the board.

3) Chris Armstrong from the Michigan Student Assembly said that they were preparing for the fall 2010 elections by getting students registered to vote. They are also having some kinda hippie celebration for the Peace Corps’ anniversary. MSA is pushing for Teachers for America fund backing from Congress. They are starting a ‘Get Involved’ campaign to promote student involvement on campus and a broader base of activities. His last remarks were for the Regents to consider accessibility to education when considering tuition increases.

4)  There is a plan in place for a North campus chiller plant (I’m assuming in Ann Arbor)

5) The University Hospital put forth a plan for expansion and increased emergency services.

6) $2.5 million is to be spent on a practice golf course…. yea.

7) Approval was attained for an improvement of the 2012-2013 course calendar.

Public Comments

1) Douglas Smith (alumnus, Ann Arbor), expressed concern regarding the Department of Public Safety (DPS). He stated that the administration was misusing and mismanaging the DPS for the elimination of unwanted faculty/students, and the fact that there was currently a lacking oversight committee that is required.

2) Bill Kauffman (Professor, retired, Department of Aerospace Engineering) spoke about the corruption and plagiarism running rampant through the University/administration. He also commented on the lack of a real election on the Board of Regents, as there is no primary; the members running are selected by their peers. His most intriguing points were in regards to the ChiCom invasion of education and industry in the United States, most distressingly at the University of Michigan. He ran out of time, but when I spoke with him, he said that the FBI had requested a meeting with Mary Sue Coleman in regards to her support and allowance of advanced rocket and nuclear technology education of Chinese nationals, but that she had refused to meet with them.

3) Cardi DeMonaco (President, Student Association of Michigan/ UMD student) requested that the Board stop raising tuition (considering the EMU tuition freeze, and suggesting a reduction in power consumption and wasteful spending) and do something about the prices of books at the bookstore.

4) Bonnie Halloran (representing the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO)) discussed the LEO contract obligations. She was asking for: A) Whole benefits for part-time lecturers who met certain time in criterion. B) Compensation on par with that of at least high school educators with similar qualifications (Master’s degree). C) The reinstatement of Dr. Kirsten Harold, who was apparently wrongly dismissed from UM’s English department for her support of LEO. The Board responded with 1) File a grievance & 2) Step up negotiations on both sides.

5) Don Anderson (Professor, retired, UMD Political Science department/ represented the Committee on Retiree Health Benefits) simply asked the Board to maintain their commitment oh health benefits to retired faculty and staff. If it is found absolutely necessary to cut back benefits, he said it should be done gradually, and with much consideration.

6) Linda Martinson ( former accelerated nursing student) said that in October of 2007, she was without warning or provocation, warned of trespassing on campus at the University Hospital (this means that she was banned from the premises and not allowed to finish her program). The Vice President Harper authorized the charge of trespassing. Three weeks later, without her knowledge or presence, a hearing was held attempting to withdraw her from the University. Ties into Smith’s discussion of DPS misuse. Culminated with the University’s lack of integrity.

That’s all I got! 🙂 Thanks for lookin’!

Gays in the Military

•March 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There has been recent discussion of allowing openly gay members of the US Armed Forces to continue to serve. This is in contrast to the current policy of discharging those who are outed as homosexuals. I fully support gays in the military, and have been convinced that DADT is a policy that needs to be changed. Now, I think some delicacy is in order, however. I don’t want to see one god damn rainbow-colored humvee in country! 😉

Ordnance Denial

•January 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Now, I understand the need to minimize civilian casualties on today’s battlefields. It makes the populace happy. You lessen death on the battlefield to innocent parties. However, some shit just goes too far. In my humble opinion, the decision of General McChrystal in July 2009, to forbid air strikes except in “the most dire circumstances” is grounds for a drug test. The order severely restricts the operational effectiveness of the men on the ground. Coming under siege by Taliban forces, one can no longer be assured that the wings in the air will be allowed to lose a few hundred pounds of ordnance in some hadji’s colon. Officers are second guessing themselves, because they know that if they order an air strike, it has to absolutely be defendable as a necessary course of action and is subject to review.

The American military does not get enough credit for the great measures it goes to to minimize civilian casualties. Billions of dollars have been poured into making bombs and missiles more precise; using less explosives; and being selective about targeting options. People like to bitch and moan about civilian casualties in Iraq. Well, here:

Afghani Civilian Deaths: 8,165 (most caused by Taliban forces)

Iraqi Civilian Deaths: 95,158 – 103,819 (which I may note, are not wholly from American forces)

WWII German Civilian Deaths:  780,000

WWII Japanese Civilian Deaths: 672,000

Korean War Civilian Deaths (N. Korea): 1,000,000

I couldn’t find proper statistics for Vietnamese Civilian casualties. However, as is clearly evident, we have been able to greatly improve our ability to minimize civilian casualties in time of war. What I don’t get (and have never agreed with) is the restrictions put upon fighting men and women on today’s battlefield. Some of it stems from insurgent tactics, some of it comes from trying to please the international community. But this, this is too much.

P.S. I will admit Iraqi civilian deaths were higher than I expected. But I stand by my original statement. I would really like to find numbers for civilian casualties caused by American air power, but that’s probably a lost cause.

P.P.S. I found one bullshit figure from an antiwar website (1,366,350). This, especially compared with previous engagements casualty rates, is nonsensical. I would also like to point out that this particular antiwar website links to the Iraqi Body Count that I used in my above statistics, giving them a variance of 1,200,000 or so in count.

F22 Raptor & Military Budget

•September 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have heard some things that people have been saying about the F22, that are inaccurate and misguided. I feel it necessary to clear the air. 🙂

The F22 Raptor is a Generation 5 stealth air fighter. All other planes on the planet are currently Generation 4. Basically what that means is that, the F22 is the most advanced fighter in existence (barring any Air Force prototypes), and is very relevant to today’s world.
In regards to a particular individual’s letter in the Detroit Free Press on April 10th (I’m a little late to that argument), if the DOD’s budget were to be cut by 75%, we would have to conduct the same operations with $162.8B, which just isn’t feasible. Yes, it is a lot of cash, but when compared with what it takes to sustain global operations among 100+ countries, things begin to come into perspective. The United States is much more globally active then most Americans might like to think. We maintain military bases and personnel in too many places to list. So of course, Wikipedia has listed it here. Just a cursory glance will reveal to you how vested we are in the global community. We have so many bases, because US troops are called upon to handle international situations more often than not. We are also conducting wars in two countries, which includes trying to finance and raise both the Afghan and Iraqi armies to a level where they can competently handle their own affairs, so that we won’t have to return under the same circumstances.