History Lost

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm speaks at a formal program at the Lansing center on Jan. 1, 2007. By signing Executive Order 36 on July 31, Granholm sets in motion the dissolution of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries.

Welcome back returning students and welcome to the new students. Our football team tends to not do well, The Commons used to be called Dining Commons One- if you hear anyone mention DC 1, they mean the Commons- and no, there aren’t more parking spaces.

Now that the pleasantries are complete, I can bring you all down from the joys of summer by bringing to light yet another highlight of Michigan’s administrative failings.

On July 31, while we were all hopefully enjoying the summer, Governor Granholm single-handedly destroyed the entire state’s historical records. On that date, she signed Executive Order 36, which will remove the state’s Department of History, Arts and Libraries. This will scatter the state’s historical and genealogical records across the country, ensuring that once dispersed they will never be recollected. The order will be enacted Oct. 1, and barring a legislative two-thirds vote, the Order will go through. For the entire Order, go to Michigan.gov/HAL, it’ll be the top news item on the home page.

The Department is being removed to supposedly save money, as once again the time approaches to prepare the state’s budget. Removing the department will save a grand total of two million dollars. With the dissolution of the department, the state archives will be placed under the authority of the Department of Natural Resources. To be fair, paper is made from trees. The Library of Michigan will be transferred to the Department of Education. And to finish it off, the state’s entire genealogical record, the 10th largest in the country, is being divided. The records that pertain specifically to Michigan will be given to Michigan State University, as if having our colors isn’t enough. The rest of the collection will be scattered across the country.

To oversee this destruction, I mean, process, an advisory board of nine handpicked Granholm stooges — not one of them a librarian — will oversee the process, with all the care and expertise such people can give. However, they are merely pawns of a greater power.

If Order 36 goes into effect, not only will this valuable record collection be lost, an entire department dedicated to knowledge for all will be wiped away as efficiently as if the ground swallowed up the Library of Michigan. I heard they’re going to use it for some long named research and development facility, even though it’s meant to be a library. It would be like taking Halle Library and turning it into the new Science Complex.

There is one chance to stave off this insanity. As I said, if the state legislature can overrule the order with a two-thirds majority, it will not be enacted. So community of Eastern Michigan, whose student body spans not just nations but this very state, write, or better yet e-mail, as time is of the essence, your representatives or the governor herself- politely, the woman may be crazy but she is the governor- and see to it that the state Senate and the House vote against this by Sept. 11, or the future of Michigan’s “knowledge economy” will be destroyed in a flurry of hypocrisy.


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