Saturday, September 24, 2005

Off Topic on Off Tackle

I know that in the past I have used this blog to comment solely on sports, but for a brief moment I'm going to veer into the realm of student politics in Ann Arbor and at the University of Michigan. I was involved in the fringes of this scene last year, serving on the executive board of the Residence Halls Association. It was in this capacity that I came to sit in on a couple of meetings of the Off-Campus Housing Advisory Board or some such committee last summer. At this meeting an Ann Arbor fire marshall made a very convincing case for a ban prohibiting couches on porches in the city. Convincing statistics prove that couches on front porches are a serious fire hazard and the time seemed to be right to move on a ban. Unfortunately this "right time" was in the late summer, prior to most students returning to campus. Ultimately the Michigan Student Assembly, who couldn't trouble themselves to send a representative to the meetings in the first place, convinced the Ann Arbor City Council to table the issue and it has not been raised since. To quote:
"After members of the Michigan Student Assembly expressed concerns about a lack
of student input concerning a possible ban on porch couches, the Ann Arbor City
Council voted unanimously to table the issue on Monday."
Well, I'm here to say that I, and the RHA, were the student input. If the MSA did not find that sufficient, they should have provided further representation. I picked up the Detroit Free Press on Friday to find this story.
A house fire in Ann Arbor left a University of Michigan student seriously
injured early Thursday and four other students homeless.
The fire in the 700 block of Arbor Street, located in a student neighborhood of older homes near the U-M campus, is believed to have started in a couch on the front porch of the wood frame house, said Assistant Ann Arbor Fire Chief Chris Brenner.
A propane tank attached to a barbeque grill on the porch exploded about 4:30 a.m.,
spreading the fire into the living room and second and third floors of the
house, he said. Four students escaped through a back door. The fifth
student, a 21-year-old senior whose name was not released, apparently tried to
flee his second-floor bedroom by using the stairs, Brenner said.
He was burned on the front and back of his body before he jumped out a window and was cut by glass. He was taken the Trauma Burn Center at the University of Michigan Hospitals. Arson is not suspected, but the cause of the fire has not been
determined, Brenner said.
This story is further confirmed by this one from the Michigan Daily. The really sad thing though, is that as recently as June the Daily published an opinion piece lauding the student activism that led to the couch ban reprieve. While my best wishes go out to the displaced residents and for the recovery of the injured student, I am still left wondering, When will the Daily and the MSA wake up and realize that not everything the city of Ann Arbor does is intended to screw the students? We can only hope that this latest incidence of porch couches rearing their ugly heads will finally lead to a positive change in Ann Arbor.


At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Travis said...

News flash: the Daily and the MSA will never get their heads out of their collective asses, because they're a bunch of tools. They'll be stuck up there until they graduate, and then they'll get a boss and wedge it firmly up his ass.


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