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February 28, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-28

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4A -Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I e firic4t*gan +

Keep the'U' honest

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.
Own up to reality
University policies must accept severity of sexual assault
n Feb. 25, University of North Carolina sophomore Landen
Gambill received an e-mail from the school's graduate stu-
dent attorney general. The e-mail said the school was charg-
ing her with an honor code violation for "disruptive or intimidating
behavior." Gambill is part of a group of 68 UNC students filing a com-
plaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights
alleging that the school failed to protect their rights as survivors of
sexual assault. This week, she received the e-mail after she talked
publicly on campus about her own experience with rape. While the
university maintains that the violation wasn't in retaliation to the
complaint, the application of the honor code in this case sends the
wrong message. Universities must own up to the realities of sexual
assault on college campuses, and discouraging students from speak-
ing out will only serve to silence rape survivors.

n the constant tug-of-war for
state funding, the University
has historically been on the
losing end. In
2011, Michigan
Gov. Snyder and
the state legisla-
ture savagely cut
state appropria-
tions to higher
education by 15
percent. See- KEVIN
ing the error of MERSOL-
their ways - or BARG
more likely, an
electoral oppor-
tunity - they
raised fundinby 3 percent in 2012.
And, once again, the oh-so-generous
governor cut public universities
some slack and proposed a 2-percent
increase this year.
With state appropriations on the
rise, everything must be peachy
keen, right? Wrong.
University President Mary Sue
Colemanwas righttounderscorethis
point on Tuesday. Speaking before
the House Appropriations on Higher
Education Subcommittee, she urged
legislators to invest in Michigan's
publichighereducation as ameans to
fuel the state economy. She said this
last year, and years before that. Yet,
more often than not, these words fall
on deaf ears.
Ultimately, a 2-percent increase
this year won't remotely offset the
35-percent cut in appropriations
over the past decade. Coleman
and other higher education lead-
ers around the state recognize that
the state legislature has abandoned
public universities; the governor
has forsaken his alma mater. And
the students, saddled with tens of
thousands of dollars in debt, feel
this reality bearing down upon
them every day.
Now that the University knows it's
effectively on its own, it must reflect
on how to increase revenues in the
absence of state funding. To their
credit, Coleman and her adminis-
tration have been mulling this over
for some time. And from what I can
tell, they're focusing on two sources
of revenue: out-of-state students and
corporations. Both have pitfalls.
Last May, Coleman asserted that

the University, among others in the
state, is "underperforming in terms
of our out-of-state student popula-
tion." By what measure is the Uni-
versity underperforming?
This semester, Winter 2013, 51.7
percent of the student body is in-
state - about 21,200 students. And
about 19,800 students - 48.3 percent
- constitute the non-resident part
of the student body. Already almost
half of students on campus are from
outside of Michigan.
In addition, more out-of-state stu-
dents enroll per year as compared to
in-state students than ever before.
By my measure, it seems like the
University has this "performance"
issue covered.
But President Coleman sees it a dif-
ferent way. In a recent article in The
Michigan Daily, Coleman stressed
that greater numbers of out-of-state
students "come paying full freight ...
(and) add tremendously to the econo-
my of the state of Michigan."
In other words, the University
best performs when more of its stu-
dents pay higher tuition rates. True,
this does generate greater revenue
- but at what cost? Among other
costs, the expressed mission of the
University: "to serve the people of
Coleman, identifying this short-
coming wisely, has sought to address
it by arguing that out-of-state stu-
dents will stay and invest in Michi-
gan post-graduation. While this may
be the case elsewhere, what proof is
there to support this in Michigan,
a state grappling with grave unem-
ployment? Until she presents solid
evidence, I'm calling this what it
is - a ploy to generate revenue that
exploits out-of-state students and
fails to meet the University's com-
mitment to the state.
The University is working to
address the employment issue
through partnering with corpora-
tions, which serve as another poten-
tial source of revenue.
On Monday, Coleman spoke to
Senate Advisory Committee on
University Affairs about partnering
with Business Leaders for Michigan.
BLM serves as a roundtable of prom-
inent leaders frombusiness and pub-
lic universities in Michigan. In part,

it works to partner industry and uni-
versities in research initiatives and
fundraising efforts.
Raising revenue
doesn't have to
our values.

At the SACUA meeting, Phil
Hanlon, University provost and
executive vice president for aca-
demic affairs, identified corporate
partnerships, such as those through
the BLM, as key in "boosting the
University's financial base" and by
extension, bolstering the Michigan
economy. The thrust of the effort
promotes education in the fields of
science, technology, engineering,
math and entrepreneurism. Almost
as a footnote, Coleman assured
faculty members that the efforts
would incorporate broader fields,
like liberal arts.
This approach stands to increase
opportunities for students and offset
cuts to state appropriations. How-
ever, I'm concerned that efforts such
as this, and Coleman's other initia-
tives around entrepreneurism, fail
to engage students from all corners
of campus in a meaningful way. Plus,
the added influence of corporate
interest must be heavily monitored
to make sure we're not compromis-
ing the University's goals for a boost
in revenue.
The University understands its
situation. Its game of tug-of-war
with the state nears futile. Instead,
Coleman and her administration
have proactively sought out alter-
native revenue sources. Now they
need to address some serious issues
with these alternatives. Although
there's no perfect solution to the rev-
enue problem, the University should
continue to strive towards a better
solution - one that aligns with the
University's mission.
- Kevin Mersol-Barg can be
reached at kmersolboumich.edu.


According to the U.S. Department of Jus-
tice, fewer than 5 percent of rapes involving
college women are reported to law enforce-
ment. The complaint filed to the OCR alleges
that even when incidents were reported to
campus authorities, the school fell flat assist-
ing students afterward. Andrea Pino, a UNC
junior who joined in the complaint, said the
Academic Advising Office at UNC told her she
was "being lazy" when she was having trouble
going to classes after a sexual assault incident.
While UNC does have a program intended to
help survivors, it's critical that the univer-
sity ask appropriate questions when talking to
students about rape. Furthermore, the com-
plaint makes it clear that the university should
widen its understanding of rape. Dismissing
an assault because it happened between a cou-
ple, as alleged in the complaint, displays both
an incredibly narrow grasp on the realities of
sexual assault.
Unfortunately, stories like Gambill's are
becoming increasingly common. In October,
Angie Epifano, a former student at Amherst
College, claimed the school was unsympathet-
ic after her own struggle with sexual assault.
Epifano argued the college's officials treated
her as a problem, rather than a survivor, which
compelled her to leave the school.

In response to Epifano's article, Amherst's
president Carolyn Martin hosted a campus-
wide talk about sexual assault. While this
dialogue is a start, Amherst still hasn't rec-
tified its sexual assault policy. According to
an article from Jezebel, students who com-
mit sexual assault usually receive a two- to
four-semester suspension as their punish-
ment, while students caught stealing a laptop
receive five semesters of suspension. While
discussion is a critical first step, the conversa-
tion must lead to changes in how universities
handle sexual assault.
Members of the University community must
look internally and question how our own col-
lege handles sexual assault and survivor sup-
port. Through the Sexual Assault Prevention
and Awareness Center and Counseling and
Psychological Services, students can receive
support after assaults. But, in order to get stu-
dents to take advantage of these resources, we
must ensure that survivors feel safe talking
about attacks. "I Will," a recently launched
student-led campaign, encourages the campus
to discuss sexual assault.
It's absolutely crucial that this conversation
continues does not end with the academic year.
Through regular discussion and reexamina-
tion of policies, that reality can change.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
Humanizing the inhumane

Meet the real Detroit

Sometimes, if a half-truth is repeated
enough, we start to think of it as fact. Look
at any recent national news story about the
city of Detroit and you'll learn plenty about
its problems.
It's the same narratives over and over:
The old leadership was corrupt and the new
leadership is ineffective. The population has
gone down while crime has gone up. The city
is bleeding money and state takeover of the
municipal government seems imminent. The
buildings are burned out and uninhabitable.
I am on the planning team for the Detroit
Partnership. For us, most of the media cov-
erage of Detroit has only focused on what's
missing. Of course, understanding the city's
problems is important. But it's not the whole
story. I think it's about time we focus on what
Detroit does have - inspiring people willing
to work for change.
People like Riet Schumack, an activist and
community leader who moved from a com-
fortable Rosedale Park neighborhood to the
more disadvantaged Brightmoor neighbor-
hood. Since moving, she's worked to empow-
er the community through urban agriculture,
public art and blight reduction.
People like Chazz Miller, an artist who
works with the organization Artist Village,
using the creative arts not only to beautify
the city on the outside, but also to strengthen
its people on the inside. He runs art work-
shops for the thousands of Detroit students
who have lost art programs in their schools
due to budget cuts.
People like Yusef Shakur, a former gang
leader incarcerated for nine years who turned
his life around empowering disadvantaged
youth. As an author and community activist,
he takes his story of redemption to others.
These are only a few Detroiters among the
many that work tirelessly for the day they can
see their city back on its feet.
Detroit is a city with a history of both tri-
umph and struggle and an increasing divide
with its suburbs. Built by the auto industry,
Detroit is now fueled by an entrepreneurial

spirit. Detroit is a city that's motto translates
to "We hope for better things. It will arise
from the ashes."
This motto originally referred to the fire
of 1805 and the city's subsequent reconstruc-
tion. But today, the ashes we see come from a
very different place. Today we see a beautiful
city marred by the forces of racism and dein-
dustrialization. We hope for better things.
One day cannot fix a city. But ifa fire can
destroy a city in one day, maybe Detroit Part-
nership Day can spark a fire to bring it back.
Detroit needs people who burn with hope for
the future and passion for the present. People
who will be advocates when the usual jokes
get batted around. People who'll choose to
live in the city even when they're considered
crazy for doing so.
I hope you'll challenge yourself to look
beyond an occasionally rough exterior to see
what so many have cherished about this city.
Detroit has become more than just a place to
live, it has become a community. Every year,
we hear stories of community members see-
ing the work on Detroit Partnership Day and
asking what they can do to help. Interactions
like these make our work worth doing.
On March 23, be one of 1,400 Michigan stu-
dents working alongside proud Detroiters for
the betterment of the city. Work on projects
ranging from urban gardening with Neigh-
bors Building Brightmoor and the Michigan
Urban Farming Initiative to painting murals
in Artist Village.
Know that, whether you're holding a paint-
brush, a trowel or a sledgehammer, the real
change is being made in the interactions you
have with the community. Bridging the gap
between Ann Arbor and Detroit through
these connections is what service learning
and social justice are all about. Be a part of
that. See the city and gain new perspective.
Meet Detroit. Detroit Partnership Dayisjust a
beginning. Sign up to volunteer - on your own
or as a part ofa student group - at thedp.org.
Patrick Sier is an LSA sophomore.

Last week, StandWithUS and
I-LEAD brought two Israel Defense
Forces soldiers to campus with the
goal of humanizingthe IDF because
they felt that the "media presented
a skewed portrait of them." How
did the soldiers attempt to do this?
By dehumanizing the Palestinian
narrative - its culture, politics and
people. The discourse used during
the event didn't simply cater to a
specific audience; it was grossly
offensive and inaccurate.
From the beginning of their pre-
sentation, the soldiers, Lital and Ari,
repeatedly used the term "terror-
ist" to refer to the Palestinian civil-
ian population as a whole. I kept a
tally of how many times the soldiers
referred to Palestinians as terrorists.
Five minutes into the event, my count
reached 21.
Lital, a female IDF soldier,
attempted to gain sympathy points
with the crowd by discussing the
fear she feels partying in Tel Aviv.
According to Lital, clubbing in Tel
Aviv is risky business because Pales-
tinians could strike at any time with
their homemade rockets.
While Lital is entitled to her feel-
ings, the facts on the ground tell a
much different story. It's not Lital or
her friends that must fear Palestin-
ians; it's the 1.7 million people in the
Gaza Strip that must fear Israel. Not
one rocket that has ever landed in Tel
Aviv has caused a civilian death. And
the recent escalation of violence in
November was the first time a rocket
from Gazaevenremotely approached
the urban hotspot. Because the audi-
ence was looking only to praise the
IDF for ridding Israel from "terror-
ists," of course they were unable to
recognize the plight of the Palestin-
ian civilian. While Lital chooses her
wardrobe for a night out, Palestinian
children drown in sewage ponds due
to faulty or non-existent sewage net-
works that cannot be maintained due
to the Israeli blockade. When was the
last time an Israeli died from drown-
ing in sewage? While the soldiers
asked the audience to feel sympathy

for their plight, Israeli air strikes
wiped out three generations of a Pal-
estinian family.
The soldiers' claims about Hamas
were also totally false and baseless,
further reflecting both their igno-
rance and prejudice. They cited
Hamas, deemed a terrorist organi-
zation by the U.S. government, as
justification for continued occupa-
tion and obstacles to peace, specifi-
cally referencing the recent conflict
in November.
What they didn't acknowledge
was Israel's role in the strategic
assassination of Ahmad Jabari,
a chief negotiating partner for a
finalized truce with Israel. A video
of sheer propaganda was shown
regarding Hamas and its leaders in
Gaza. Produced by the Middle East
Media Research Institute, an orga-
nization founded by a former Israeli
intelligence officer, it has often been
criticized for its faulty translations
and is known for its cherry-picking
of extreme viewpoints to represent
the general nature of Arab media.
Additionally, why was there no men-
tion of the open-air prison in which
the population of Gaza lives? To por-
tray Hamas against Israel as a con-
flict fought on a level playing field
is far from accurate. Unfortunately,
the students sitting in that room
will never see the implications of the
blockade on the Gaza strip: the pov-
erty, hunger, dire living conditions
and failing infrastructure. The only
social services the people of Gaza
will ever know come from Hamas,
the democratically elected govern-
ing party.
When I asked about the implica-
member state in the United N'ations
- taking Israel to the International
Criminal Court to prosecute crimes
committed against Palestinians, Lit-
al's exact words were, "I don't want
to comment on that." Ari followed
suit, as they both assured there was
no validity in such a claim against
the most "moral" army in the world,
disregarding their own words earlier

in the evening as they relayed stories
of Palestinian terrorists. Early on in
her presentation, Lital told a story
of a Palestinian "terrorist" who was
nine months pregnant, in an ambu-
lance and in dire need of a hospital
as she was trying to cross a check-
point. Explosives were discovered
in the ambulance. Lital used this to
characterize the general nature of
Palestinians and ended the story.
After raising the question regarding
the ICC and hearing the responses
of Lital and Ari, I asked about the
fate of that woman in the ambu-
lance - did she make it to the hos-
pital? No, she didn't make it to the
hospital because Lital and her fellow
IDF soldiers at the checkpoint were
forced to shoot out the tires, and the
ambulance subsequently exploded.
She didn't comment further, and the
event ended.
If the purpose of the event was to
humanize the IDF, that feat wasn't
accomplished. Rather, an entire pop-
ulation was dehumanized in order to
justify crimes against an unarmed,
civilian, indigenous population.
Praised for their support of a two-
state solution, Ari and Lital are blind
to the implications this will have for
institutionalizing racial segregation
and the persistence of conflict in
the region. While young girls in Tel
Aviv fear spending their leisure time
at clubs, young Palestinian children
cannot walk to school without being
chased by IDF soldiers. Palestinians
are denied water rights; their houses
are demolished - they cannot even
move within their own lands.
Events like these held on our
campus make us all, as University
students, complacent in Israel's eth-
nic cleansing of the Palestinians.
They rationalize the status quo,
which endangers any hope of a
peaceful future for the Israeli and
Palestinian people. I made all of
the comments during and after the
event last week, but, per usual, the
voice of a Palestinian was silenced.
Samia Ayyash is an LSA junior.


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