4A - Monday, February 4, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
[ e icl igan +. ai1y
Take action on poverty
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
EDITOR IN CHIEF
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.
FRO)M TE D [iLY
Regardless of faith, club leadership should be open to all
ast week, reports surfaced that the University had revoked
the Asian InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's designation as
an official student organization, a move group members and
the media called discriminatory. According to the club, a non-denom-
inational campus ministry, the University kicked the group off cam-
pus due to AIVCF's policy requiring those seeking leadership to sign a
statement confirming their Christianity. The University denied these
claims in a statement released Friday, saying the club wasn't removed,
but instead had neglected annual registration deadlines. While the
University may not have ousted AIVCF, the club's constitution violates
nondiscriminatory policies and prevents students from participating in
leadership roles. If the club truly wants to maintain a "spirit of open-
ness," AIVCF should modify their constitution and give all students
the opportunity to get involved in the organization.
N early 50 years ago, Presi- The White House has also pointed
dent Lyndon Johnson out that the Affordable Care Act
declared an "uncondi- will greatlyimprove millions of low-
tional war on pov- income Americans' access to afford-
erty in America." able health coverage.
Speakingbefore However, a White House official
a joint session admitted a few weeks ago that "the
of Congress, he president hasn't brought poverty to
said, "It will not the forefront of his agenda." Meizhu
be a short or easy Lui, director emeritus of the Clos-
struggle ... but we ing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative,
shall not rest until MICHAEL added "the president hardly talks
that war is won. SPAETH about the poor at all."
The richest nation So we know that poverty is a
on Earth can problem. Here's a more basic ques-
afford to win it. We cannot afford tion: Why should we care? We go
to lose it." to an elite public university - why
Despite the bold rhetoric and should we spend any of our valuable
some successes, poverty hasn't gone time helping poor people? After all,
away. In 2011, 49.7 million - or 16.1 they're just lazy "takers," right?
percent - of Americans lived below First of all, high poverty hurts the
the poverty line - the highest pov- economy we'll be entering after we
erty rate since the 1960s. In Michi- graduate. "When children grow up
gan, 17.5 percent of residents of all in poverty, they're somewhat more
ages and 24.6 percent of children likely than non-poor children to
lived below the poverty level. For have low earnings as adults, which
some perspective, compare these in turn reflects lower workforce
numbers to the national unemploy- productivity," according to research
ment rate of 7.9 percent. from the Center of American Prog-
Several factors drive the high ress. If fewer children grow up in
poverty rates. According to the 2013 poverty, more children can get a
Kids Count in Michigan Data Book valuable education and develop the
"low wages, unemployment and cuts high-level analytical and abstract
in social programs" contribute to reasoningskills thatwill make them
increased child poverty in michigan. more likely to prosper in the new
The problems are similar on a nation- knowledge-based economy. When
al level. According to Georgetown we have more people doing jobs that
University Law Prof. Peter Edelman, computers can't do, innovation can
low-wage jobs, single-parent house- grow and our economy will grow
holds, reductions in welfare, and with it.
race and gender issues have impeded Secondly, many of Michigan's
progress on reducing poverty. impoverished children could be
President Barack Obama has future students of our University if
taken some steps towards helping we improve their basic living condi-
Americans living in poverty. Last tions. Poverty forces many children
year, Obama's campaign pointed to attend lower-quality schools or
out that the American Recovery and worsens their academic perfor-
Reinvestment Act kept millions of mance due to stress at home. If liv-
people out of poverty, giving "a sig- ing conditions improve for poor
nificant tax cut to low-income fami- children in Michigan, it's entirely
lies with children, and support(ing) possible that more of them would be
crucial unemployment insurance admitted to the University on aca-
for those who were hit hardest." demic merit, making a positive con-
tribution to the community.
On a broader level, we have a
moral obligation to help other
human beings who are in need.
A PBS Frontline documentary in
November provided a heartbreaking
account of several families that are
trying as hard as they possibly can
to have a decent life and give their
children a chance to succeed - yet
no matter how hard they try, pover-
ty continues to be a huge challenge
to overcome. When people try so
hard and still can't get ahead, they
deserve our help.
When people try
so hard and still
can't get ahead, they
deserve our help.
There are several ways we can
help. We can volunteer. We can
review the facts and the poli-
cies being proposed to solve the
problem and hold our lawmakers
accountable. At the very least, we
can "just start talking about it," as
advocates for the poor have called
for Obama to do. Particularly after
the 2012 election, politicians are
paying attention to our generation's
opinions and advocacy efforts. As
Millenials, we should raise aware-
ness of this issue everywhere we
can and show that we're united in
Michigan's poor residents are
part of our larger Michigan fam-
ily. Poor Americans are part of our
larger American family. And Mich-
igan's poor children might be part
of our University family someday.
Family members look out for each
other - we should never forget that.
- Michael Spaeth can be
reached at email@example.com.
The University's nondiscrimination policy
clearly states that Michigan "is committed to a
policy of equal opportunity for all persons and
does not discriminate onthe basis of... religion."
Preventing non-Christians from occupying
leadership positions is therefore discrimination
according to the University's policy, regardless
of the nature of the student organization laid
out in the AIVCF statement of purpose. Remov-
ing the group's campus affiliation reaffirms the
University's commitment to nondiscrimina-
tion. AIVCF was also informed in December
that there was a problem with their constitu-
tion and that they would need to revise it, and
so far the group has failed to do so.
However, there are two other InterVarsity
groups currently recognized by the Univer-
sity whose constitutions include a statement
of faith requirement for student leaders, sim-
ilar to AIVCF's constitution. This indicates
that the Center for Campus Involvement, the
arm of the University that deals with student
organization applications, needs to ensure
that it consistently applies its policies across
all student organizations. It should pay par-
ticular attention to member and leadership
selection processes, while remembering
that student group disaffiliation should only
occur after full consideration of the group in
the context of how the University has treated
similar issues in the past.
The University's enforcement of its policies
cannot be construed as an "attack on religion"
as several news articles have asserted. It's true
that the organization won't have access to
some student-group funding and can't reserve
space for meetings until it registers a consti-
tution that complies with University policies.
But this is well within the University's normal
procedures, as it requires student organiza-
tions to re-register every year. Accordingto the
University's press release, leaders of AIVCF
and University officials are meeting this week
regarding the group's re-registration process,
indicating the University's commitment to reli-
gious diversity and free speech.
at the University- like Christians on Campus
and the Muslim Student Association reflect the
vibrancy of Michigan's religious community.
The Asian InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
can easily remain among them through submit-
ting a constitution that complies with the Uni-
versity's nondiscrimination policy.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain,
Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Megan McDonald, Jasmine McNenny,
Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner, Derek Wolfe
"Whenever I hear arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it
tried on him personally."
i u M Lincoln Logs: The war on inequality didn't end in the 1960s. It
still needs to be fought, even if it feels like an archaic battle.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium
LUCHEN (LOU) WANG
The Caesarean section is by far the grand-
est way for a person to enter the world. If it
weren't for C-sections, many babies wouldn't
have been born. Shakespeare's "Macbeth"
would have been a very different kind of trag-
edy if Macduff hadn't been ripped from his
mother's womb. In fact, some of us can attri-
bute our existence to this procedure. Our mod-
ern acceptance of the C-section is remarkable
because of historical aversion to it.
In the past, only brave souls performed
C-sections in order to save an infant from a
dying mother. C-sections posed a dangerously
high risk of infections and hemorrhage. In the
1970s, C-sections accounted for only about five
percent of deliveries in the United States, even
after the invention of antibiotics, anesthesia
and suturing that prevent hemorrhage. Obste-
tricians instead delivered with forceps. Only
ten years later, the landscape for deliveries
began to change dramatically.
According to the National Institutes - of
Health, by 1988 nearly one in every four babies
was delivered by C-section. By 2010, obstetri-
cians delivered 32.8 percent of babies by C-sec-
tion, and virtually none by forceps. Many critics
suspect these numbers are exaggerated.
Like all surgeries, C-sections come with
complications. They increase the chance of
infection, hemorrhage, re-hospitalization and
the likelihood that the uterus will rupture in
Even the expenses are higher. According
to the CDC, hospital charges for a Caesarean
delivery are almost double those for a vaginal
delivery. Critics attribute this trend to physi-
cians' growing fear of malpractice lawsuits.
We can also contend that we've reached a
point in medicine where, for many mothers,
the risks of surgical delivery are equal to, or
less than, those of vaginal delivery. According
to the authors of "Elective Primary Caesar-
ean Delivery," a study published in the New
England Journal of Medicine, "accumulating
data have suggested increasing potential ben-
efits and decreased risks associated with its
The likelihood of a Caesarean is also
increased due to maternal age, bigger babies
and obesity. In addition, 90 percent of wome'n
who have C-sections end up repeating the pro-
cedure for subsequent births because of high
risks associated withvaginal birth at that point.
This trend is on the rise in the developed and
There's a key message in our shift towards
Caesareans best illustrated by the decline
of the forceps. At one point, obstetricians
employed forceps in 40 percent of deliveries in
the United States. Forceps were actually asso-
ciated with equal or better outcomes for the
baby and mother compared to C-sections -
but only in the hands of talented obstetricians.
Learning how to use forceps required a kind
of intuition that didn'talways come naturally to
trainees. As-thrilling as it might be to perform a
skill accessible only to a select group, leaders in
obstetrics needed to improve the skills of every
obstetrician in the country, and thus improve
the health of every baby and mother. obstetri-
cians, as well as patients, need reliability and
consistency. The C-section has become the
answer to this dilemma.
Once uncommon, the Caesarean section has
- in just 10 to 20 years - become a staple in
obstetrics. In the near future, C-sections may
be even safer for both the mother and child.
Would more mothers prefer C-sections without
trying vaginal delivery?
The authors of the New England Journal of
Medicine article seem to suggest that this will
become increasingly acceptable. "Although the
evidence doesn't support the routine recom-
mendation of elective Caesarean delivery, we
believe that it does support a physician's deci-
sion to accede to an informed -patient's request
for such a delivery. "Will our society ultimately
choose to forgo our natural ability to give birth
for what may in the future be an equally safe or
safer process? And what will be the effects of
In "Macbeth", Macduff - a man untimely
ripped from his mother's womb by a C-sec-
tion - kills Macbeth at the end of the play,
fulfilling the witches' prophecy that no one
born of woman could kill Macbeth. If Mac-
beth took place in a world where Caesareans
were common, Macduff would have still ful-
filled the prophecy and slain Macbeth, but
the prophecy would be a lot more mundane.
And for good or for bad, there would be a little
Luchen (Lou) Wang is an LSA senior.
As a student in the School
of Education, part of my
class requirement involves
middle and high
quently, I've been
thrown back to
the days of using
numbers to spell
out words on
Texas Instru- KATIE
ments calcula- STEEN
tors, lunch lines
and, of course,
Dress codes are a bit different for
me as a teacher than they were as a
student. I'm expected to look "pro-
fessional" to stress the fact that I'm
a mature, responsible, soon-to-be
teacher and to differentiate myself
from the students, some of whom are
only a few years younger than I.
A couple days before practicum
began, I panicked - realizing I had
zero articles of professional cloth-
ing - and took a trip to Briarwood.
I spent over $200 on pencil skirts,
button-up shirts and a pair of heels,
only to drive back to the store later
and return some of it ina self-loath-
ing, shopping-spree hangover.
I did keep most of my new ward-
robe, and as I walk into the school
each day donning my uniform next
to a fellow male student teacher, I
notice several things. I really, really
like being tall(ish). My steps are a
lot shorter than his due to constric-
tions of my heel-skirt combo. I walk
up stairs substantially slower than
he can. I get more compliments
from housemates on the days I'm
dressed "like a .teacher" than the
days I'm not. And pencil skirts real-
ly "accentuate the female shape,'"
i.e. my ass.
This flattery is particularly con-
fusing since now I'm back in the
same environment of dress codes
that tries to cover up the female
body as much as possible to reduce
"distraction" in the school environ-
ment. I'm dressing like a "young
female professional," which so far
has translated into "sexy but cov-
ered up and not too sensible."
This isn't the first time I real-
ized that how women dress, or are
expected to dress, often doesn't
make any sense. Like many other
people, I've grown up in the gray
area of dress codes, abiding some-
what by the rules that either aren't a
big deal if they're broken or serious
crimes, depending on who catches
you. Shorts and skirts had to be
below your fingertips, but more
importantly, if guys tried to look up
your skirt when you walked up the
stairs, your skirt was too short. It
was your fault, not theirs.
Shirts couldn't be too tight, and
necklines couldn't be too low. It
was a rule that really varied based
on cup size. There was also the
spaghetti-strap rule. That is, spa-
ghetti straps weren't allowed, but
lasagna-straps were fine. Of course,
the point was not to let your bra
straps show because bra straps are
a massive, obscene secret that no
one knows about.
The school dress codes were
never about looking nice or neat or
representative of the school cul-
ture. They were about covering up
our bodies and making us feel like
shit if we disobeyed them. Come
May and June, you'd begin to notice
the reappearance of girls who had
to change into their gym shorts in
the middle of the day after being
hunted down, chased throughout.
the school by hall monitors wield-
ing flaming sticks, while screaming,
"witch." Or worse, "slut.'
Guys,however, simply had to cover
up their crack and not wear shirts
advertising alcohol. Easy enough.
Anyway, as I continue with life
in the real world and continue to
clothe myself in the contradictory
bizarreness of feminine profession-
al apparel, I've become more aware
of how sensible, if not streamlined,
men's clothes are and how strange-
ly sexy women are expected to be.
It's as though everything you were
taught about how to dress grow-
ing up has been slowly, confusingly
reversed. Why is it that women are
expected to wear the outfit that
slows us, makes us walk a little
more carefully, requires crossed
legs and often costs substantially
more than men's attire?
Of course, bra
straps, are an
I'm not saying that women who
wear heels and cute skirts are anti-
feminist dummies. That would
only. be promoting the same kind
of mindset that says "bra straps are
sinful," "women cannot make their
own decisions as to how they should
dress" and " she asked for it." It's
pretty confusing and strange, and
it's something that could potentially
affect hiring decisions, respect from
students and, in many instances, sal-
ary. It's something to be aware of.
It's a tricky line to walk between
professional and risque, sensible and
cute - especially when you're wear-
- Katie Steen can be reached