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February 14, 2012 - Image 4

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4 - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

4 - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
Sure to be a classic
NHL deal with the 'Uhas numerous benefits
umors were confirmed last week when the National Hockey
League officially announced it would host the 2013 Winter
. . Classic at Michigan Stadium. Though it was public knowledge
that the NHL had been negotiating with the Athletic Department
since last November, the announcement still created a buzz through-
out campus. Hosting the prestigious event is a great opportunity for
both the University and the city of Ann Arbor, and the University
should look for more opportunities like this in the future.

No Child Left Behind never changed how I taught. I
know what my kids need."
- Colorado fourth-grade teacher Bridget Cole after the Obama administration
rescinded many of the law's policies in 10 states across the country, according to Time.com
It's not so bad

It's no surprise that Congressio-
nal approval ratings are at an
all time low. The most recent
Gallup poll

puts Congress
at 10-percent
approval, while
a Washing-
ton Post-ABC
News poll puts
Congress at
13 percent. An
Associated Press
GFK-Poll con-
ducted in August
2011 reports that


Last Wednesday, the University's Board of
Regents unanimously voted to grant the NHL
a one-month lease to host the Winter Classic
on Jan. 1, 2013. The University will receive a
$3 million fee, and the NHL made a $250,000
-donation to the University as part of the deal.
University administrators have said the money
will go toward student scholarships.
Since the Big House would normally go
unused in January, the financial, benefits of
hosting the Winter Classic are a bonus for
the University. The city of Ann Arbor is also
expected to benefit from the event. Accord-
ing to Athletic Director Dave Brandon,
the Winter Classic is expected to generate
approximately $14 million in economic activ-
ity for the city. With most students at home
for winter break, this abnormal financial
boost will stimulate Ann Arbor's economy.
The NHL's decision to lease the Big House
also gives the University national media atten-
tion. Just weeks after President Barack Obama
chose to deliver a speech on the University's
campus, the NHL's decision has brought more
positive media attention to the University. The
NHL also expects to break the world record
for attendance to a hockey game, a record set
by the Big Chill at the Big House - the out-
door game between Michigan and Michigan
State in December 2010 last year with 104,173
in attendance. The NHL plans to sell about
115,000 tickets. From hosting major politi-
cians to record-breaking sporting events, the

University has demonstrated its versatility of
interests and has become a nationally recog-
nized institution.
Though the University is hosting the
Winter Classic, the NHL has assumed full
responsibility for the event and has already
stated that no student tickets will be sold.
Considering that the NHL has been court-
ing both Athletic Director Dave Brandon and
the regents for months, University officials
should have demanded that some tickets
be reserved for University students. Hope-
fully, most students will be too busy watch-
ing Michigan play in the Rose Bowl Game on
New Year's Day next year, but some students
would enjoy attending the Winter Classic
with reserved student seating.
As part of the $3 million contract, the Uni-
versity has decided to use one of its 12 one-
day liquor licenses for the Winter Classic.
This license means that beer will be served
throughout the stadium. Considering that
many students dream of the day when they
can openly drink a beer inside the Big House,
this element of the contract is yet another
plus for the University.
Partnering with the NHL to host the Winter
Classic allows our already nationally recog-
nized university to gain even more media cov-
erage. The event will also bring an economic
boost to the Ann Arbor area. The University
-should continue looking for opportunities like
the Winter Classic in coming years.

Congress currently holds an approv-
al rating of a mere 12 percent. And
a November 2011 Huffington Post
article headline jokingly reads: "Con-
gress Approval Rating Lower Than
Porn, Polygamy, BP Oil Spill, 'U.S.
Going Communist." Apparently
more Americans support polygamy
or an American turn to communism
more than our elected representa-
tives in Washington at the moment.
Taking just one look at the politi-
cal climate in Washington shows
why people may be fed up. The
politically-charged and hostile
atmosphere that dictates stale-
mates over everything isn't doing
much to, boost Congress' image.
The summer squabble over rais-
ing the nation's debt ceiling was
only the beginning, and it seems to
have set the tone for how all policy.
debates will go. Seeing this, it's not
only understandable but also inevi-
table that a majority of Americans
will be 'frustrated. Normally, I
would consider myself among those
88 or 90 percent - having a go at
the inefficiencies of our lawmakers
and continuously voicing my frus-
tration with the direction Congress
is heading.
But last summer - in the midst
of the heated debt ceiling standoff
- I spent a month in India. The con-
trast I saw between how government
works there and.how it works here

put things into perspective a bit. I'm
not saying that I've suddenly gained a
huge admiration for all the pointless
politicking that occurs in Washing-
ton, but there is something to be said
for the system we have set up and for
all its accomplishments.
While the development that India
has undergone in the last decade is
truly admirable, a quick trip down its
streets reveals much more work to
be done. I was greeted by on and off
electricity, unclean drinking water
in smaller, rural areas and half-
paved roads - if there were roads.
Big cities weren't much better: trash
littering the streets, backed-up rain-
water blocking roads and millions of
people living in poverty, without any
form of'government aid whatsoever.
What's surprising is that this wasn't
a war-torn nation or one stifled by
ruthless dictators, or even a nation
struggling to grow. This was India:
the world's largest democracy and
one of the fastest-growing econo-
mies in today's world.
A large portion of the blame for
these inconveniences and subpar
public services can be attributed to
shortcomings in the government.
Government officials are tangled in
large webs of lies and corruption.
Bribes are not only expected, but are
often required to get anything done,
starting from the lowest level of law
enforcement and ending at the very
top. People have long since given up
on government, accepting it as a dis-
tant entity that is there but hardly
ever accomplishes anything.
That is why the entire nation was
in an upswing over Anna Hazare.
Hazare is a 72-year-old Indian activ-
ist who led a 12-day hunger strike
lobbying against corruption. From
ordinary individuals on the streets to
big names in the Indian film industry,
everywhere I looked someone was
talking about Hazare. Every night
there were rallies and marches in his
support. 24/7 news cable networks
were tracking his every move. Indi-

an flags, hats and even wristbands
were being sold on every street cor-
ner "for Anna." Millions even fasted
alongside him to further the cause.
I've been going to India for the past
15 years, and never have I seen the
people of that nation so politically
involved and so invested in a cause.
What waseven more telling was their
desire to finally see the government
held accountable.
Appreciate what
our government
has achieved.
So yes, at the moment, Congress
has a historically low approval rating
of 10 to 12 percent. It's obvious that
we as Americans expect much more
from our lawmakers. And we should.
The rhetoric heard in Washington
these days is frustrating at least and
inconceivably petty at worst. And
after such a politically charged sum-
mer, many are fed up.
As Americans, we're not ones to
rest. We're always looking for the
next problem to solve, the next issue
to fight over and the next debate
to win. That's how it should be.
Still, there isn't any harm in taking
a moment every now and then to
appreciate what we have achieved.
Our government is by no means per-
fect - in fact nowadays, it's increas-
ingly easy to find faults. But the
government and political system that
we have is quite an accomplishment
in itself. Our government gets a lot
of things wrong, but the system we
have in place has also gotten a whole
lot right.
- Harsha Nahata can be reached
at hnahata@umich.edu. Follow her
on twitter at @harshanahata.

Aida Ali, Laura Argintar, Kaan Avdan, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne
Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner
@NickiMinaj We all might need to be
exorcised after watching
that freak show.
'No' to an attack on Iran

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints. Letters should be fewer
than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words. Both must include the writer's full
name and University affiliation. Send submissions to tothedaily@michigandaily.com
Everyone is at risk

One million first graders start public school
in Iran a week ahead of the rest of the students.
The first week of their educational careers is
spent playing, singing, dancing and remember-
ing those who gave their lives so that they may
live in peace and safety.
Like any other people, Iranians crave self-
rule, self-expression and a secure life in their
country. For more than a hundred years,
Iranians have been struggling to establish a
system of governance to protect their human
rights and secure their control over their nat-
ural resources.
It has been a bumpy ride.
The first democratically elected Iranian
government was overthrown by a CIA coup
in 1953.
What would the Middle East look like
today had it not been for U.S. interference?
Need I remind anyone of the destruction that
the U.S. and Israel have caused throughout
the Middle East?
After the CIA coup against Iran, the U.S.-
friendly Shah was installed and ruled with
an iron fist over the nation. The Israeli gov-
ernment oversaw the Shah's secret police
- SAVAK. Many Iranian students and free-
thinkers were arrested, imprisoned, tortured
and assassinated by SAVAK. This nightmare
continued for a quarter of a century, during
which the most valued thinkers of the nation
were systematically removed from civil soci-
ety. Many disappeared into the Shah's jails and
were never seen again.

This U.S./Israeli-backed dictatorship was
only overturned when a popular uprising in
1979 removed the Shah. However, the young
revolution was then militarily attacked by Sad-
dam Hussein, an Iraqi dictator who was sup-
ported by the United States and its allies. Eight
years of deadly war between Iran and Iraq fol-
lowed. This war left more than 1 million dead
and nearly destroyed Iran and Iraq, and shat-
tered the development of the two countries in
every sphere of life. On top of that destruction
was an additional 30 years of economic sanc-
tions against Iran. ,
Despite all of that, the Iranian civil societ-
ies - women's organizations, student orga-
nizations, unions and workers and teachers'
organizations - resumed their struggle after
the war to build the country according to their
visions for what Iran should look like. To this
day - against all odds - Iranians continue
to organize for their human rights, women's
rights and a better life for their children and
the elderly.
Any attack on Iran will destroy the delicate
fabric of a society that has tried again and again
to reach a representative governance to benefit
a nation of mostly children - 18 million Irani-
ans are under 14 years of age.
If you value humanity and human rights, say
no to any attack on Iran.
Mozhgan Savabieasfahani is a Ph.D. visiting
scholar in the School of Public Health.

It's often said that the University is a microcosm of
the world. In many ways - with national attention given
to our local debates, like the racialization of affirmative
action or the University's roles in impacting the future of
Detroit - that couldn't be more true. But when attending
to these issues, our world gets more sound bites than the
realities that confront our community, particularly as it
relates to the status of identity.
Locally, students are bombarded with billboards,
campus signs, digital posters and campus dialogues that
address the range of identities of our student community,
or at least the need to evaluate them. A lot of the public-
ity given to increased awareness around matters that
highlight identity deal with questions that involve the
ideas and leadership that would make the University a
safe space for students. Having such an environment is
thought by many school administrators, especially the
Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, to be required.
MESA explores the appreciation for identity and status
with as much intellectual vitality as the commitment of
students who are willing to dedicate their engagement.
,Though the constant images that students receive around
campus are indeed supportive, they are no lessconfusing.
Take, for example, sexual health.
Bulletin boards in residential halls scream "diversity
matters" or hand-held pledges given across campus that
honor sexual health awareness often provoke students
to get more involved in knowing their sexual health sta-
tus. These campaigns are often very ambitious. They ask
students to survey their health with quick and easy tests
or seek counseling for preventable measures that can
be taken as a precaution against incurable diseases, like
HIV/AIDS. Yet, current societal conditions make it dif-
ficult for students to act responsibly.
The media uses advertisements to convince young
adults - especially college-aged students - to know
their status for sexually transmitted diseases but has
not yet resolved the circumstances that objectify people
who actually know their status, or who feel comfortable
advocating for people to do the same. The name-calling,
gossiping or isolation felt in churches, families or places
of employment is an unfortunate reality for some people
who test positive for a sexually transmitted disease. Cir-
cumstances such as these challenge the idea of college
students all over this country, and in our own commu-

nity, to have their status revealed through a blood test.
So, what are our choices?
Noticeably, our choices aren't as varied as the names
of sexually transmitted diseases. However, there are
options. The one that I favor most is the option to live.
I mentioned earlier that the University lives in the
image of this world; just like our world, it is highly *
responsive to the choices that people make - beit pollu-
tion with the threat of global warming, or the responsibil-
ity that students take in their sexual health. But different
than our world are the University's support and limit-
less resources that students can find and engage in when
understanding what it means to have sex responsibly, or
how to offset potentially more disastrous situations if,
perhaps, your status is positive.
MESA helps students consider these issues and poten-
tially re-frame them. On campus, our reality includes
knowing or hearing about certain students' names get-
ting slandered for their presumed promiscuity, but still
expecting them to get tested. Given the rumors, it may
seem safer for that student to not know the truth.
Indeed, it is very hard to figure out which message
is right: the message that you hear from MESA - that
knowing your status can save a life - the one in our
communities - where the experience of living in iso-
lation might be real for someone whose test came out
positive - or living a life in fear - not knowing when
and with whom it's OK to talk about your status. The
stigma, the shame and silence are all facts of life that
do exist. But MESA's advocacy to share in that journey
with students in identifying support groups on cam-
pus, or spreading the message about the importance
of getting tested be understood through terms that
may resonate with students lifestyles, indicates that
MESA's weekly testing is more than a campaign for
social causes.
Each Tuesday between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., MESA's
testing service is administered in room 2202 of the Mich-
igan Union with a sense of follow-up that makes it a viable
option for students. Not only is MESA raising awareness
by providing a weekly testing service in their office, but
they are also helping students find their voice once they
know what to say.
Brittany Smith is an LSA senior.


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