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March 20, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-03-20

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4

4A - Thursday, March 20,2008

Opinion

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

741id6iPan 3aihJ
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tathedaily@umich.edu

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorialsareflect the official position othe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views otheirauthors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, actsaas the readers'representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every sectionofthe paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He can be reached at publiceditor@umich.edu.
FROM THE DAILY
System breakdown
Academic problems a product of big-business mentality
he University's Athletic Department is known for running
an upstanding program. It's no wonder then that The Ann
Arbor News's four-part series this week on academics and
athletes at the University hit a raw nerve. While the reports raise
immediate questions about whether the University pushes its stu-
dent athletes into easier classes and specific majors, underscoring
the articles is a more important point - college athletics have grown
into something they were never supposed to be.
On Sunday, the News kicked off a four- at the Terrelle Pryor fiasco. Many schools
part series on student-athletes with sala- are willing to overlook academic deficien-
cious allegations about independent study cies (orhaveto overlookthem) inthe pursuit
courses taught by Prof. John Hagen. In that of securing commitments from top athletes.
installment, the News claimed that many Frequently, this results in two sets of aca-
athletes are shepherded into Hagen's inde- demic rules: one for athletes and one for
pendent stud courses to receive credit and non-athletes. And this benefits no one. For
high grades or meager coursework. Hagen non-athletes, this double standard under-
and his courses had been reviewed twice by mines the credibility of the University's aca-
the University's College of Literature, Sci- demic programs. These degrees, no matter
ence and the Arts without concern. how they are obtained, have the same uni-
The next three parts of the series went versity on them. For athletes, the University
on to detail or imply many other problems. is doing these students a disservice when if
These included how athletes dispropor- it sets less-demandingstandards. When col-
tionately graduate with majors in general leges allow athletes to forgo a meaningful
studies, previously migrated to the sports education, athletes often suffer a loss of edu-
management major in the School of Kine- cational opportunities and graduate with
siology until the degree requirements were poor career prospects.
tightened and how advisors questionably Granted, student athletes have time con-
hel push students into programs and class- straintsathat many other students don't have.
esaat are more beneficial or students' ath- It would be unfair to characterize all stu-
letic dligibilit-Kth eiriciademicfntiiires dent athletes as peolewho squeak by with a
For some people, these storiesawere damn- degree. Being an athlete and a good student
ing accounts that uncovered secret abuses at does not need to be mutually exclusive - and
the yi~siF hsjtesewer.Wvsb- tnwstdesa jvl$jtpi
anstudh enn a r n it nel
stantktt{lgdtittsthat used qustin- 'd coee a n o re anrn des.
able reporting tactics like printing students' The University is a school and its primary
GPAs to make obvious points, or just imply mission should be to educate. That mis-
them. Both sides have good arguments, and sion is undermined if students are allowed
thankfully this series has brought this topic - or even worse, encouraged - to put sports
back into discussions, before schoolwork. That's the real culprit
Settingaside whether these allegations are here, and the University has an obligation to
true, they are nothing new in college sports. be doing more to make sure that academics
Disparate treatment of student atetes is all come first.
too common at large Division I universities. Athletics should complement educa-
Big-time college sportsahave turned into abig tion, not substitute for it. A degree from the
business. There are strong economic pres- University should be more than a rubber-
sures for colleges to recruit and retain key stamped document: it should signify educa-
players for revenue sports - just take a look tional achievement.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Harun Bujina, Anindy Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Arikia Millikan,
Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, lmran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha, Kate Truesdell,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
ORDER OF ANGELL I VIEWPOINT
A call for neutrality

NOTABE QUTABLE
For people to claim that because the delegates
weren't seated you can't count the popular
vote seems somewhat goofy.'
- Harold Ickes, a senior adviser for Hillary Clinton, on why the Democratic National
Committee should seat Michigan's delegates based on Clinton's win in the state's January
primary, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
CHRIS KOSLOWSKI I OUT TO PAST URE E-MAIL KOSLOWSKI ATCSKOSLOW@UMICH.EDU
Ann Arbor city conil DIdn't you hear? The
Vote for me for MSApromises trolleys. I promise Neighborhood is already on
an entire Neighborhood the drawing board. 2021 man.
Why' of Make Believe
For a better tomorrow
1W 101 .W 00
*
Community coping
ust days before I graduated from vent suicide. Community efforts can solution to stopping people from kill-
high school, one of my teach- involve educational forums and focus ingothers or themselves and certainly
ers passed out copies of a Time groups, fostering connections and aren't going to cure mental illness in
magazine article relationships, a greater transparency our society. But there are administra-
profiling one of her of psychological services and better tive steps that can be taken to control
former students. financial services. the proliferation of mental illness.
The student gradu- While suicides are by no means That day in high school was a pro-
ated from our high "common" occurrences on college found moment in my education. It
school not too long campuses, the number of students wasn't simply because I saw a teacher
before and went on suffering from depression has dou- break down either. It was first time I
to aprestigious East bled since the late 1980s, and 24,000 heard a teacher talk about suicide and
Coast school with a suicide attempts occur on college tell me that receiving psychological
bright future ahead campuses every year. At the Univer- care shouldn't be outside the realm
of him. He never THERESA sity alone, more than two-thirds of of possibility in my future. It was the
finished college, KENNELLY the student population has reported first time a teacher had shed light on
though. Just weeks feeling isolated or alone, a major this stigmatized and avoided issue.
into his third year symptom of depression. And unfortu- Most importantly, she explained that
and a day after his 20th birthday, he nately, most remain untreated. mental illness can be conquered, a
jumped to his death from a 10-story Mental illness is undeniably at the message that should be a lot more
balcony at his campus library. In level of being a community problem. widespread.
between deep breaths and controlled Yet mental health is rarely spoken The only thing worse than secretly
tears, my teacher said that none of us about as such. Depression and sui- suffering from a mental illness is
should ever let ourselves get to the cide are often taught about - if at all being unaware of the resources that
point that he had. Seek help. Besides, - as personal problems that people
nothing is so bad that you can't live need to seek independent help for,
through it. individually take responsibility for
No one would seem to know this and take medications to fix. These All of us have a
message better than the psychology are personal conditions and often go
professors, counselors and students underreported out of fear that too stake in te tin
uni esuntrywgth- nuch exposure will only get peopler
eri t tee 's Depesson on o0 n gatively think about their own mental illness
College Campus Conference hosted at mental conditions. This could poten-
Rackham Graduate School. Amid the tially spark more suicide attempts.
wide variety of models and philoso- This completely ignores the idea,
phies presented at the sixth annual though, that intervention and com- are available to help you and lacking
conference, there was a theme of sur- munal attention is key to mental the courage to pursue them.
vival. Improving the health of more health. As one speaker at the confer- With a mre community-oriented
students during the often psychologi- ence noted, college students commit approach to mental illness - which
cally stressful and emotionally trying suicide at half the rate of their peers of includes better education about the
college years is critical to a success- the same age because of the commu- issues and administrative initiatives
ful.educational environment. Accom- nity fostered by colleges. Thus, pro- - and reducing the stigma about
plishing this requires looking beyond moting the public health approach to seeking treatment for depression, a
the individual, though. mental illness and creating more soci- brighter future could be in store for
Mental illness is a communi- etal involvement at colleges and other those hiding in the dark. Perhaps if
ty problem that requires a com- communities only stands to improve my teachers opened a dialogue about
munity response. There was no the mental health of people every- depression three or four years earlier,
question about this stance at the where. If the shootings at Virginia my class would not have had to read
conference presentations on Tuesday Tech and Northern Illinois University the article about the student who lost
and Wednesday, which emphasized are any indication, policy changes are his life.
the ways campus communities can needed too, like limiting access to gun
create educational and public efforts ownership - something one speaker Theresa Kemnelly is a former
to detect and treat mental illnesses, at the conference suggested. associate editorial page editor. She can
particularly depression, and pre- of course policy changes aren't the be reached at thenelly@umich.edu.
ARIA EVERTS I VIEWPOINT

Saying no to Order of Angell

0

When Paul Johnson was asked to be the
Daily's first-ever public editor this fall,
he was charged with "helping the Daily
improve accuracy, fairness and the relation-
ship between the newspaper and its read-
ers," as the news story about his appointment
explained (Daily appoints paper's first public
editor, 10/02/2007). Unfortunately, this week
he failed to achieve thisgoal, apparentlyrely-
ing on a quick Google search for the content
of his column Tuesday (To join or not to join?,
03/18/2008).By failing to offer accurate facts,
counter-claims and balanced rhetoric in his
article, Johnson perpetuated an uninformed
and prejudiced view of the Order of Angell
and its past. This faulty journalism continues
to misinform students today and forces us to
be defensive.
First of all, there were blatant factual
errors in his reporting. While the group did
have all-male status for decades alongside
the all-female society Adara - which togeth-
er formed the Tower Society - the group was
integrated with minorities in the 1930s and
was the University's first true diverse non-
athletic organization. The "raid" in 2000
that Johnson mentioned never proved that
"several Indian artifacts" were being used.
Instead this was an allegation propagated by
those who broke in. Moreover, the organiza-
tion voluntarily left the space in the Union;
it was not forced out or, to use Johnson's
unnecessarily colorful language, "booted."
Additional insinuations, like the need for
Order members to "clean up their act" are
misleading and further distort the organi-
zational development that has transpired for
over of a century. While Johnson chooses
inflammatory quotes from current Daily
staff of the "many" concerns over contro-
versy and secrecy, he chooses not to back
these claims up. Not only was current Edi-
tor in Chief Andrew Grossman's "invitation"
mischaracterized, but Johnson didn't quote
former Daily Editor in Chief Donn Fresard
who joined the group or any current order
members in order to present their viewpoints
or clarify Johnson's facts. The egative and
Sone-sided slant by Johnson $"mnonstrates

either sloppy reporting or his distinct bias
- and either is a clear failure of his role.
Johnson also made a feeble attempt to fully
disclose his membership in Cornell's Quill
and Dagger Society. He slyly referred to his
organization as "semi-secret" and comprised
of "student leaders," but choose more loaded
language about the Order of Angell, rather
than citing its 100-year public mission to
improve the University. He skipped over the
fact that our group had public membership
for 85 percent of its history (as Order ofAngell
does today), and boasts how his own society
"doesn't have the same controversial past."
Yet doing a quick search on Quill and Dag-
ger brings a plethora of potential transgres-
sions, including elite tower space, minority
membership discrimination, administration
stacking and much more. But I digress.
While Johnson disparages the Order's
past with the phrase "very little of it good,"
the public record shows that the organiza-
tion played a consistently positive role at the
University over its century-long existence.
Nowhere in his article did Johnson refer to
how the organization conceived and raised
money for the Michigan Union, fought for
integration on campus in the 1950's or any of
its many present-day movements. We invite
dialogue with anyone interested in learn-
ing more. Rather than promote an old, tired
agenda, perhaps it's time to start listening
to each other first. For a campus that strives
for high academic rigor and critical thinking,
it's disappointing that so little of it has been
applied to this debate.
order of Angell is not asking the Daily or
its public editor to ignore this group's past,
but the least it can do is provide a balanced
description of the organization's affairs the
next time it attempts to characterize the
group. Fair and accurate reporting should be
the least that we - or anyone else in the cam-
pus community - should need to ask of our
campus newspaper.
Sarah Banco is an LSA senior and a
mnernber of Order of Angell. She is writing
on behalf of the group's 2008 class.

I was recently invited to join
Order of Angell. This came as a
shock, because the organization
traditionally includes athletic lead-
ers and those in charge of large
organizations like Dance Mara-
thon, The Michigan Daily and the
Michigan Student Assembly. I have
not felt that my influence or skills
as a student leader surpass those
of others. However, this offer was
extended nonetheless. Faced with
this decision, I have chosen not to
be a part of Order of Angell.
Order of Angell, formerly known
as Michigamua, has a history of
exclusivity, racist rituals and sex-
ist policies, among other things.
Recently, structural changes -
including disclosure of its members
after they are initiated and a name
change - have addressed some ele-
ments of the group's contentious
past. Further, out of a class of 23,
there are currently women, some
members of color, some members
of the LGBT community and others
who bring perspectives from other
underrepresented populations.
Supported by an influential alumni
base, these students "make posi-
tive change" through undisclosed
activities and "without the need for
recognition," as the order's consti-
tution explains.
Why then would I refuse the
potential influence I could have on
other leaders, the administration
and University policy, especially
now that the organization has a less
homogeneous membership?
I fundamentally disagree with
the idea of secretly selecting stu-
dents who will decide the agenda for
the campus. An unknown process
decides the new members without
input from the student body. Yet,
initiation to the Orde guarantees
access to a plethora of resources,

University officials and an alumni
network that can .help members
accomplish goals they think are
important. This elevation of private
goals above other common ones is
contrary to the University spirit in
which we are all the "Leaders and
Best."
Through this selection and oper-
ation process, the Order becomes a
dominating elitist voice influencing
the direction of campus initiatives.
one of the troubling results of this
is how these intentions can never be
part of the campus dialogue before
they are enacted. The structure of
this organization mirrors larger
structures in our society that keep
power from being equally distrib-
uted. Empowering communities
who face inequality is only possible
when elite organizations - like our
own order of Angell - are under-
stood to be part of this problem.
We should not have to join orga-
nizations like the order to be able to
shape the direction of the Univer-
sity. I envision a University where
evenly distributed power ensures
more democratic processes forevery
student's opinions. Acceptance of a
position in the Order would legiti-
mize an organization that creates a
campus agenda through secret and
non-democratic processes without
the consent or input of students.
If the order truly wishes to act in
the "best interest of Michigan" it
should include all of us, not just a
few of the students who make up
our University.
This brings us to the Daily's Edi-
tor in Chief Andrew Grossman's
possible decision to join Order
of Angell, as Public Editor Paul
Johnson explained in his column
Tuesday (To join or not to join?,
03/18/2008). Of all the organizq-
tions t ,t have a responsibilf

to resist elitism, be impartial and
accurately convey information to
the student body, the Daily has the
most serious burden. Anyone from
the Daily joining Order of Angell
undermines the efficacy of the
paper. It is in the best interest of the
University for the Daily's staff to at
least pursue a vote regarding his
continued involvement.
I aspire to share power through
community involvement rather
than consolidate it through exclu-
sion. While Order of Angell does

4
4

claim to want to create "campus
synergy" by including approxi-
mately 25 organization representa-
tives, we must question institutions
that fail to make space for everyone
affected by their activities, espe-
cially when those activities are
secret. Rather, let us defy the status
quo in which very few have power
in the world and misuse of that
power is rampant.
As students, we could be forming
alternative systems, not just giving
tradition a facelift.
Aria Everts is an LSA junior and
the president of Stu nts Organizing
for Labor and E nomic Equality.

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