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December 04, 2012 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-12-04

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4- Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Edited and managed by students at
the University cf Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the D dly's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely tle views of their authors.
Working the system
Fraternity's allegations serious cause for concern
Rumors about the incident involving sexual assault spread around
campus and the Greek community too cften for comfort. Soror-
ity members are warned by their peers :n Facebook or notified
via e-mail, but sometimes no concrete punishment is taken against the
alleged criminal. Unfortunately, this happens al universities.across the
nation. The University chapter of Zeta Beta Tat was shut down by the
national organization for allegedly harboring an "unsafe environment."
The chapter has also previously faced years of dllegations about sexual
assault and extreme hazing. The actions taken 'y officials, though, are
not enough. Instead of simply disassociating the alleged wrongdoers
from their larger institutions, students themselves need to take personal
responsibility and speak out about the reported events.

@Fog Thanks for making our Instagram
pictures look like we are actually
good photographers.
S#somanypictures #can'tsee
onate ime to the'D'


In 2006, ZBT was expelled by the Inter-
fraternity Council for rule violations and
reported incidents of extreme hazing and has
not been recognized by the University since.
They then continued to act as an unaffiliated
fraternity at the University until their clo-
sure last week. Recently, the Daily reported a
security guard was placed outside the frater-
nity's house on Oxford Road by ZBT's.nation-
al headquarters in order to ensure no damage
is done to the property and no more parties
are thrown at the location.
One of the main problems is the fact that
nobody is willing to report indiscretions to
authorities. E-mails and messages are sent
out to members of the Greek system, warning
each other about the dangers of certain fra-
ternities, but incidents often go unreported.
No action is being taken against any individ-
uals which, in turn, fosters the negative and
unsafe Greek life culture.
The punishments that are taken against
the indiscreet fraternities are arbitrary and
do not actually penalize the people at fault.
Simply disassociating fraternities from the

IFC or their national bodies does not bring
about justice to the victims, nor is it an
adequate punishment. For years, penalties
have been thesame and we have yet to see
progress. Acctrding to The Michigan Daily,
ZBT was previously suspended by the IFC
in 2000 due tohazing allegations. They then
returned as ai IFC member one year later.
The cycle is continuous and creates no real
solution to persisting problems. Greater
action needs to be taken against non-abiding
Furthermore, the Greek system needs to
work internaly to report crimes and pro-
mote safety. These problems point to inher-
ent flaws in :he culture: fraternities and
sororities need to stress the importance of
respect. They need to implement a zero-tol-
erance policy against hazing, sexual assault
and any other acts that could be deemed ille-
gal or emotioially and physically harmful.
By doing so, me can begin to tear apart this
socially accep:ed norm among college stu-
dents and creite a better environment that
fosters respect rather than abuse.

W ith the departure of
University Provost
Philip Hanlon to Dart-
mouth and cur-
rent University
President Mary
Sue Coleman's
contract expiring
in 2014, Michi-
gan's administra-
tion may become
vastly different JAMES
in the coming BRENNAN
years. Regardless
of the change,
our University must stay committed
to the state's largest city, Detroit.
Michigan has already taken an
active role in working in Detroit,
but this is only the beginning of
what could become a fruitful, long-
term relationship. President Mary
Sue Coleman has set an excellent
example of commitment to the
city, overseeing the creation of
Michigan's Detroit Center and the
development of multiple outreach,
service and learning programs. Our
next set of leaders - both the presi-
dent and provost - must continue
and expand upon President Cole-
man's work in Detroit.
After decades of deindustrializa-
tion, population loss and high crime
rates, sparks of hope and revitaliza-
tion have been spotted throughout
the city. The resilient community
take it upon themselves to rebuild
and innovate, while the downtown
and midtown areas are quickly
becoming attractive spots for young
college graduates to start their new
lives at low cost living. It may be
hard to notice with nightly reports
of shootings, thefts and government
corruption, but Detroit is on its way
up - and the University needs to be
a part of this ascent.
With our massive endowment,
far-reaching influence, extensive
network of alumni and student body
committed to service and innova-
tion, we have the ability to greatly

contribute to the rebuilding of a
city in need of assistance. Our stu-
dents and staff are some of the best
the state, the country and the world
have to offer. As a public university
receivingfundingfrom the state, the
University's president and provost
should make service to the state a
top priority. People have said it a
million times, and I'll say it again:
We cannot have a thriving Michigan
without a thriving city of Detroit.
The University was founded
almost 200 years ago in Detroit
- we must stay committed and
connected to the city. As Detroit's
position among U.S. cities has risen
and fallen, so has the position of the
state of Michigan. The state's econ-
omy greatly depends on the status
of the city, and by extension, affects
the University's budget'and ability
to provide for students in a similar
fashion. The next president and
provost must understand the long-
term necessity to assist the rebuild-
ing of Detroit.
This past summer, I spent two
months living in the city as part of
the University's relatively young
Semester in Detroit program.
During my time living in the fast
growing mid-town area, I took
classes focused on urban studies and
worked part time with the American
Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.
Other students worked in areas as
diverse as education, architecture,
performing arts and community
development. Living in the city, I
was exposed to people from walks
of life I would otherwise have likely
never met, took in cultural experi-
ences unique to Detroit and had a
great internship despite only being a
freshman. My time in Detroit wasn't
only a way to serve the city, but also
a great opportunity to build my
resume and develop personally.
After finishing the program, I took
a job on a campaign and spent limited
time in the city, only visiting weekly
for meetings and each time wishing

I could stay for longer. I have always
had affection for the city, but living
there for two months and experi-
encing day-to-day life as a Detroiter
changed my perspective completely.
Obviously not everyone can spend
an entire semester in the city, but I
would recommend something simi-
lar to the University's next adminis-
tration: make Detroit a requirement.
A day of service
in Detroit should
be required for
all students.
What I mean is that a program
should be established there each
year. Every freshman would go to
Detroit for a day to learn about the
city and perform community ser-
vice. Logistically, this would be
tough, I understand, but hear me
out. By requiring a day of service and
learning in the city, the University
would make it clear to every student
the importance of Detroit. Students
ignorant of the city's situation would
become better informed and per-
haps even discover a newfound com-
mitment to rebuilding Detroit.
I will admit, my proposal. is a
bit lofty, but the idea of an admin-
istration committed to Detroit is
not crazy. President Coleman has
started the trend, and the Board
of Regents must make it clear that
this movement to help the city is
not ending any time soon. My hope
is that in 2014, as I graduate and
transition into adulthood, I will be
joined in Detroit not only by my fel-
low alums, but also by a large group
of committed students and faculty.
-James Brennan can be reached
at jmbthree@umich.edu.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Kin, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura
Levine, Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Tirrothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spseth, Gus Turner, Derek Wolfe
Hours on End

Sought after democracy


According to our wonderful fellow student
Brandon Shaw's new book, there are 175 hours
in a week - or, at least, there can be. The book,
"Twenty Five Hours a Day: Embracing the
Internet Generation," is a testimony to what
can be, in what the suits have so aptly named
the "information age." It's a work defining
three completely separate and utterly unique
yet interconnected principles: possibility,
capability and opportunity, as applicable to
physical reality and supplemented by the vir-
tual totality we've become so fond of. OK, so
that was a mouthful. I'll try again: Shaw (or
should I say, Linder) transcribes his intimate
experiences with being told what's possible,
discovering of what he's capable and taking
"seriously and severely" the opportunities
that may not have been "possible" but which
unveiled themselves once he proved himself
"capable." It's a work begging us to reconsider
our understanding of "reality" in the age of
profiles, accounts and handles. Let's discuss.
I think we should start with the latter
first, to lay the interactive framework by
which possibility, capability and opportunity
find themselves. So what in this paper-for-
saken world can we call "reality?" In other
words, what do our actions on the Internet
mean for our actions when we run out of bat-
tery? Shaw asserts that the two are one in the
same; they both, for lack of a better phrase,
are simply expressions of ourselves. In that
sense, our "stalking" on Facebook is equiv-
alent to asking our friends about that hot
chick over lunch.
Something of particular interest is, as Shaw
calls it, the "serious status." It's not that this
status intrigues more than any other, but that
we can even wrap our heads around the idea
that any other might be less serious. "Sever-
ity" of expression should not be limited to the
times when we are the most desperately in
need. I feel as severely against Mark Sanchez
as I do against the endless stack of practice
tests the night before the big game. I happen
to think that what Shaw is questioning is not
the content of what we post, but how con-
tent we are to seriously and severely take the
time to consider it. In this way, our virtual
and physical realities are not, but should be,

along a contimum, each one referencing and
supplementing the other.
Who we art on Facebook is different than
who we are inthe cafeteria only because our
friends do notgive us the time we deserve.
And perhaps that is the sin of the constant
flow of infornation - as Roger Scruton so
eloquently puts it, our compulsion is to "click
on our friends as you might click on a news
item or a musi video." They are amusements
that are distrtctions from, not complements
to, our daily reality.
So what do's any of this have to do with
possibilities aid capabilities and opportuni-
ties? Perhaps,as Shaw writes in reference to
relationships,-"it begins and ends (with the
question): whit is 'normal' and why should
we care."
I think it I-as something to do with that
natural sin o our generation: procrastina-
tion. If we soinsistently consider our social
media to be eactly that - media - then we
ourselves are :reating a fragmented normal-
ity of our respective realities. That is, so long
as Twitter is ai escape from an awkward con-,
versation at Sleeps rather than a supplement
to that conversation, it will not be normal for
us to apply it to real life. If, on the other hand,
it was a "soci'd medium," a true resource for.
our interactims with one another, then we
might be ableto consider it normal (and rel-
evant) in dailylife.
Possibilities are defined by what we can
see. Capabilites are defined by what we (as
individuals) would do. Opportunities are cre-
ated by what ve do about what we see -they
don't come loiking. "Twenty Five Hours" is
a personal acount of an experience in which
reality includes what we post as well as what
we say, in whch the virtual world is a nor-
mal complement to the physical one, in which
social media became a social medium and
in which opportunities revealed themselves
from the capaeility to seriously and severely
act on the pocibilities laid out. Do yourself a
favor and readthe book. You'll probably come
out as confused and incoherent as me, and at
least then youll feel some of what I've tried.
Eli Cahan is a Business sophomore.

While the developed world
struggles economically, the so-
called emerging economies -
roughly identified as Brazil, China,
India, Mexico, Russia and Turkey
- breezed through the global finan-
cial crisis of 2008 and rapidly went
back to the track of fast economic
growth. The political dynamics
of these countries are often disre-
garded as long as there's stability;
however, three of these countries
especially demonstrate a new polit-
ical and economic occurrence.
All of the identified countries
have had trouble developing the
democratic processes within their
systems, but China, Russia and
Turkey have a common pattern
that sets them apart. Historically,
these countries and their predeces-
sors have almost always possessed
regional power and then rose to the
international scene once conflicts
escalated. They shared an auto-
cratic form of government until the
early 20th century, and have had
trouble transitioning into democra-
cies ever since. Today, these coun-
tries are similar in that they share
political stability, economic prog-
ress and corruption.
Each case must be looked at
separately to elucidate how these
three developing countries and
their benchmark characteristics
may lead to capitalism and democ-
racy in the future. Growth in
democracy doesn't parallel growth
in the economy. Democratic prog-
ress is far more convoluted and
harder to achieve. However, as
the developed world staggers eco-
nomically, confidence in the global
market is lost while respect in its
institutions and democratic values
are marred. Therefore, it's more
likely that the course of democrat-
ic progress for the underdeveloped
countries will follow that of China,
Russia and Turkey.
China has never historically been
a multi-party democracy, and today's

People's Republic of China can be
regarded as the least democratic
among the trio. The PRC has had
solid political stability since its foun-
dation, which allows the government
to act freely without worrying about
losing power. Given the country's
communist background, its presi-
dents and premiers act as benevolent
social and economic planners who
vigorously engage the state in an
open market environment.
The Russian Federation, the suc-
cessor of the Soviet Union, has been
harshly criticized in regards to civil
rights. In May 2012, Vladimir Putin
was elected president of Russia for
the third time in a highly-fraud-
ulent election. Massive protests
followed the elections, and NGOs
called for a recount. The protesters'
calls were futile, and Putin became
the president once again.
The opposition in Russia argues
that Putin has created a system of
barons, similar to landlords, who
control massive businesses among
both rural parts and commercial
hubs of Russia thanks to invest-
ment stimuli and privileges given
to them. In return, these barons -
in effect, businessmen - remain
loyal to Putin and support him
when necessary. Putin now enjoys
his 12th year in power as a one-man
leader, dominating not only the
political scene, but also the social.
Turkey, a Republic since 1923 and
a multiparty democracy since 1945,
has had its fair share of political
instability. The country has gone
through two coup d'dtats and many
short lived, unproductive coalition
governments. In 2002, Recep Taky-
ip Erdogan became prime minister
and continues to hold that position
today. Since his rise to power, he
has been criticized for diminishing
the state's secularity and impris-
oning unprecedented numbers of
elected politicians, activists, jour-
nalists and army generals. Brutal
and excessive police force against

demonstrators and protesters is
another major concern.
The political freedom the gov-
ernments enjoy as well as the sub-
sequent disappearance of checks
and balances systems has resulted
in a surge of corruption in all three
of these countries. The politburo of
China rhetorically acknowledges
corruption but doesn't fight the
corrupted factions within itself
because it's often the high officials
themselves who are part of the
problem. The situation is similar
in Russia and Turkey. Their polit-
buros are in the phase of estab-
lishment, and Putin and Erdogan's
parties chronically control the
state's politics. The people consid-
ered close to the government enjoy
more and more business'opportuni-
ties, making both government offi-
cials and themselves richer.
In spite of all of this, in the past
10 to 15 years the countries have
liberalized their economies and
started on the path of rapid eco-
nomic progress. All of the coun-
tries have achieved over five years
of consecutive growth, stabilized
inflation and decreased unemploy-
ment. As a result, real incomes
have increased. Since people have
become more able to obtain their
goals through economic improve-
ment, they tend to disregard the
flaws in their democracies.
Fast economic growth makes it
easy for political leaders to stay in
power. If the economic boom in the
developing world continues, the
democratic process is likely to wors-
en or stay as it is like in China, but
rapid growth has an end. The coun-
tries will have risen above a certain
threshold of wealth. Growth will
slow down, recessions will occur,
politburos will be questioned and
doubted, and political parties will
lose dominance. Finally, true democ-
racy will be sought
Kaan Avdan is an LSA sophomore.



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