4A - Monday, September 17, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4A - Monday, September17, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
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.
Smoking bans only further stigmitize smokers
More than a year after becoming a smoke-free cam-
pus, the University has come to be a poster child
for national tobacco-free programs. On Wednes-
day, Howard Koh, the assistant secretary for health at the U.S
Department of Health and Human Services, used the Univer-
sity as the site to officially launch the nationwide Tobacco-
Free College Campus Initiative. While the initiative may have
healthy intentions, a widespread smoking ban does not pro-
mote the tolerance expected from a college campus. Smok-
ing is a personal choice, and universities shouldn't attempt to
intrude so much into students' privacy.
We never have the elite, smart
people on our side."
- Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum said in a speech Saturday at the Values
Voters Summit, according to CBS News.
Is ignorance really bliss.?
The nationwide Tobacco-Free College
Campus Initiative aims to increase the num-
ber of smoke-free campuses. Currently 17
colleges are smoke-free, including the Uni-
versity. Since July 1, 2011, all of the Univer-
sity's campuses - Dearborn, Flint and Ann
Arbor - have been smoke-free. Under the
ban, members of the community are forbid-
den to light a cigarette on University prop-
erty, including outside associated buildings.
The smoke-free policy relies on students and
faculty informing the office of Student and
Conflict Resolution when they encounter
someone who isn't complying with the ban.
This approach is unenforceable at its core.
More than a year after the ban, students, staff
and other members of the community still
remain confused about whom they should
consult when they see someone smoking.
Even if they are aware of the office, many may
be reluctant to file a complaint, either feeling
uncomfortable 'tattling' on another campus
member or not wanting to bother with the
paperwork. Other universities adopting a;
smoking ban will likely encounter this prob-
lem of enforceability when drafting their
Instead of turning toward an all-out ban,
universities across the country should look
for other ways to encourage students to quit
the unhealthy habit. From offering free nico-
tine patches and gum to providing counseling
services that help smokers kick the habit, the
University has taken positive steps to sup-
port smokers quitting at their own pace. If
colleges across the country want to protect
the health of students and faculty, admin-
istrations should ensure that anti-smoking
resources are provided and publicized to the
university's community. Education and sup-
port are the best ways to help addicts - not
"Treating smokers with respect is impor-
tant in breaking the cycle of behavior," said
Dr. Robert Winfield, director of University
Health Service. Yet respect is the last thing
smokers receive under these campus-wide
smoking bans. Universities should be mod-
els of tolerance, but policies that encourage
chastising stigmatized behavior do anything
but foster such an environment.
Koh, speaking on campus on Sep. 12,
said the University should be applauded for
"Instilling an anti-tobacco culture," While
this maybe true, a smoking ban promotes dis-
crimination against people who smoke, rath-
er than promoting a culture willing to help
people quit. Tolerance should be the norm in
a university setting and a smoking ban will
only go up in smoke.
Sam looked to his left, then to
his right, making sure none
of his fellow party members
were around to
hear what he
was about to say.
He knew, just as
well as I did,that
if anyone heard
him, the conse-
be dire not only PATRICK
for himself, but MAILLET
also for his wife
and his newborn
daughter. "I just
wish we had real elections like
you," he said, in perfect pronuncia-
tion, almost like he had practiced
the phrase in front of a mirror, "I
am tired of not having a voice."
The conversation took place
approximately three and a half
months ago while I was living in
China for the summer. For the first
month of my stay, I lived in the
southern city of Hangzhou teach-
ing English to high school students
throughout the Zhejiang Province.
Part of my job was traveling to vari-
ous schools with English-speaking
Chinese teachers who would help
translate certain parts of my pre-
sentation. Sam was one of my bilin-
gual coworkers. Sam and I would
travel throughout the province,
practicing Chinese and English
along the way. His English was
phenomenally better than my Chi-
nese, along with his understanding
of American culture. In particular,
Sam was fascinated by American
politics. No matter what the topic,
he would always somehow steer
back to talking about President
Obama or the 2012 election.
When he told me his desperation
for a "voice," I understood what he
was referencing. China is having
an election this year. This election
will take place at the end of October
and will mark the end of President
Hu Jintao's ten-year-term. China's
election is very different compared
to what we're used to in the United
States. Onlymembers of the Chinese
Communist Party are able to vote, a
group that is more than 80 million
people strong. While that may seem
like a lot, remember that China's
population is close to 1.4 billion
people, so only about .06 percent of
the population can vote. Also, the
term "vote" is used very loosely.
Their "choice" is whether or not
they support the single candidate,
Xi Jinping, to be the next leader. If
they choose "no," their party mem-
bership will almost immediately be
revoked and there's a decent chance
that they and their familycould lose
their jobs or even be detained.
Sam has been a party member for
five years. He said he applied to bea
member because it offered his fam-
ily more opportunity. So when he
said those fateful words about his
desperation for the right to free and
fair elections, I could do nothing but
sit back, shocked and speechless. I
hadn't asked him for his opinion on
our elections, nor had I even asked
him what the election process in
China was like. Sam was just des-
perate to get these radical feelings
off of his chest, and a 20-year-old
American kid who obviously didn't
know enough of the Chinese lan-
guage to rat him out was the perfect
person to express them to.
Like China, the U.S. is in an elec-
tion year, but ours isn't clouded
by repression or a lack of choice.
Regardless of how flawed one may
think our political system is, I
promise you that it could be much
worse. Unlike hundreds ;of mil-
lions of people around the world,
we Americans have an inalienable
right to make our voices heard and
to single-handedly affect the way
our lives are governed. All too often
I hear my friends say that they are
not going to vote this year because
they don't know enough about the
election, don't think that their vote
will actually make a difference, or
my personal favorite, they believe
no matter who wins, everything in
D.C. will stay relatively the same.
Some of the people who tell me this
are extremely involved citizens
who are passionate about social
issues, yet for some reason believe
that their interests are unconnected
to the presidential race. Our presi-
dential race is between two agen-
das that are more polarized than
any election in recent decades.
Unlike past elections, Americans
throughout the country will be able
to decide between two radically
different men with two radically
different approaches to solving our
nation's problems. From women's
reproductive rights to national
security, virtually every element of
American life is subject to change as
a result of November's election.
citizens, you have
a voice. Use it.
Regardless of who you support,
I implore you to take an interest in
this upcoming election, especially
those of us voting in Michigan, a
toss-up state that will undoubt-
edly help shape this election. Invest
the three minutes that it takes to
register to vote with any one of
the countless volunteers who will
be scattered throughout campus.
Remember that unlike so many of
your fellow global citizens, you have
Sam's daughter will be turning
two this spring. Perhaps by the time
she turns 18, she will have the same
extraordinary power we Americans
possess, but odds are she won't.
Remember that come Nov. 6.
- Patrick Maillet can be
reached at email@example.com.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Kaan Avdan, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Caroline Syms
CASSIE BASLER V
Put the 'D'in difference
This September, students are sure to see , visual and literary arts scene. As a historic
images around campus tagged with the site for social change during the 1930s labor
new phrase: the familiar block 'M' standing movement and the 1960s civil rights move-
before a plus sign and a sleek, modern "D." ment, Detroit has claimed its stake as an
The phrase "M+D" signifies a reciprocal, sus- important American city. Today, its educa-
tainable relationship between the University tion system, political structure and financial
of Michigan and Detroit. It also symbolizes state present challenges. But as Semester in
an opportunity for students to begin a new Detroit students will come to learn through
chapter in their education: an experiential their personal relationships, those challeng-
semester living, learning and working in an es give way to triumphs, and the people of
important American city. That opportunity is Detroit balance those extremes on a day-to-
the Semester in Detroit program. day basis.
Through site-specific courses and short- It might be hard to imagine what the future
term studies, the University has established may hold for Detroit. Heck, it might even be
formal connections to its hometown - the hard to imagine what this winter semester
'U' was founded in Detroit in 1817. However, may hold. But students should look ahead to
Semester in Detroit offers arguably the most the winter and envision themselves engag-
intimate undergraduate experience in Detroit, ing in hands-on learning while experiencing
similar to a study abroad program. Semester positive change in a nearby city.
in Detroit is the only 'U' program that allows With four successful winter semesters and
students to become temporary residents of two enriching spring half-terms under its
Midtown Detroit. While livingat Wayne State, belt, Semester in Detroit is one outstanding
students take classes with faculty at the Uni- example of the University's continued com-
versity of Michigan Detroit Center and work mitment to the city of Detroit. Students can
with local non-profits, politicians and small help strengthen their own relationship to
businesses on meaningful projects. Detroit and apply for the Semester in Detroit
Some may wonder, "Why Detroit?" But Winter 2013 program.
perhaps the question should be, "Why would Prospective students can learn more at
students of a university at the cutting-edge of the SID Information Session on Thursday,
so many fields ignore a city at the forefront of Sep. 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Parker Room of the
today's most pressing challenges and innova- Union. Semester in Detroit will accept stu-
tions?" Detroit inspires innovative thinking, dent applications online until Oct. 26.
sprouts new community organizing opportu-
nities through urban agriculture and bolsters Cassie Basler is a media assistant
Michigan's creative reputation with a bustling for Semester in Detroit.
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Due to some
ning, I ha
in London dur-
ing the Olym-
pic Games. This
with some unbe-
For example, I
went and saw
but unlike a
screening in Ann
Arbor, Kevin Duran
and the entire U.S.
team was sitting th
me. But better tha
simply the fact tha
embrace London an
tures. I understand
predictable, but any
the games this sun
were watching son
Michael Phelps bec
Olympian of all tim
woman from Saudi
compete in the gam
nant, mind you - w
can't script that kind
repeating the sam
my time overseas t
asks. They normall
was crowded, or.
questions about th
soccer game. How
question was abou
feel of the games.
that you couldn't tu
sion without being1
e strategic plan- Visa logos, Nike apparel and NBC
appened to find commercials. He's not the first to
udying abroad critique this aspect of the Olympics:
The contemporary British graffiti
artist, Banksy, created numerous
works negatively portraying this
aspect of the games around the city.
I was caught a little off-guard by
the question. Yes, there were obvi-
ously advertisements everywhere,
but they never crossed my mind as
TIMOTHY something I had to share with my
BURROUGHS friends and family. After doing a
little research, I realized that these
sponsorship deals involve massive
sums of money. And this money
it, Lebron James is the only reason events like the
men's basketball Olympics are able to take place.
ree rows behind Even thinking in the context of the
n any story was world's current economic state, I
t I was there to realized that these companies are
d a world of cul- shelling out massive amounts of
this sounds very cash in a time when even market
one who watched staples like Barclays are crashing.
nmer knew they A few days later, I saw this same
mething special. friend. I argued that instead of this
ame the greatest being a negative, it was actually
ne, and the first extremely positive. This is the capi-
Arabia ever to talist, post-Cold War system working
es - while preg- at its finest. Even with the European
'on a medal. You Union crashing, the United King-
I of drama. dom, a member state - though they
home, I've been still don't use the euro - was able to
e stories about put on an Olympic games that will be
o everyone who remembered for generations.
y ask if London By no means do massive corpora-
the same stale tions have a solely positive impact
e U.S. women's on our society. Hardly anyone
ever, one of my would make the argument that Nike
friend's first production processes are sweat-
t the corporate shop-free. The point is that the glo-
He complained balized free-market economy we
rn on the televi- live in has created these monsters,
bombarded with but at times, we are also able to reap
the benefits of them. In many ways,
the Olympic Games are a perfect
example of this. The games provid-
ed work for thousands of individu-
als, gave amateur athletes a shot to
achieve their dreams and provided
entertainment and hope to billions
of people across the globe. Is every-
thing perfect? No. Is it a little annoy-
ing that only Visa cards are accepted
in Olympic Village? Yes. Is the ben-
efit of having the Olympic Games
done on the spectacular level worth
it? I think anyone who watched a
second of the action would say yes.
isn't always a
My two months in London gave
me a new perspective on big busi-
ness and introduced me to fields that
I might actually want to continue in
during my adult life. The broader les-
son Ilearned is to keep an open mind.
While many would see the money in
athletics as a corrupting force, it's
clear to me that it's a reward of the
system we live in. Even in times of
struggle, we can still witness the best
in the world achieve their dreams
and have moments of pure joy. And
when it comes down to it, isn't that
what is truly important?
- Timothy Burroughs can be
reached at email@example.com.