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March 26, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-03-26

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4 - Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

cp Midhiian Bal
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.
Communicating safety
Federal law didn't serve students best in stopping crime
naApril 2011, the U.S. Department of Education mandated that
Juniversities investigate all cases of on-campus sexual miscon-
duct involving students. At the University of Michigan, the
Office of Institutional Equity handles these allegations, with "high-
ly trained investigators" interviewing those involved and any pos-
sible witnesses. Between September 2012 and February 2013, there
were three cases of sexual assault involving the same alleged perpe-
trator at Zaragon Place, an off-campus apartment building on East
University Street. However, the OIE only reported the first inci-
dent in September and failed to report the second incident - which
occurred later that month - only doing so after the third attack five
months later in February. Although federal laws don't force the OIE
to report off-campus investigations to the University of Michigan
Police Department, here the minimum obligations weren't suffi-
cient in identifying a pattern that may have prevented a third inci-
dent of sexual assault. The University should implement a consistent
reporting process to protect its students on and off-campus.

Equality overdue

This really shouldn't be an
issue anymore.
Freedom isn't a privilege.
It's a right, and
it doesn't make
any difference
how many ref-
erendums deny
the LGBTQ com-
munity their
entitlement to ANDREW
marriage - it
doesn't make ECKHOUS
those laws legal.
I'm tired of
the bullshit arguments about how
"redefining" marriage will somehow
render it less valuable. Even with
millennia of marriage history and
tradition, somehow marriage's death
will come at the hands of two men or
two women and their decision to put
some shiny rocks on each other's fin-
gers and sign a few legal documents.
Faulty logic lurks behind every
piece of pseudo-science and pseu-
do-psychology that the anti-equal-
ity folks offer up. No one can prove
either way whether growing up
with a mother and a father holds
more or less value than growing up
with a homosexual set of parents
because the abstract concepts of
good and bad lie outside of science
- thanks Biology 109! As an Ameri-
can - nay, a human - you have the
right to believe any crazy thought
you want. You can believe that one
loving set of parents is worth more
than another, but just because you
put your science pants on and say
something like there are "unique
advantages to a parenting struc-
ture consisting of both a mother
and a father, political interests
notwithstanding," doesn't validate
your arguments.
You look ugly when you lie, and
it would be refreshing for you free-
wheeling bigots just to admit it: You
don't think anyone in the LGBTQ
community deserves the same

"equality" that fills your red, white
and blue arteries. Sure, we're all
created equal, but aren't some of us
more equal than others?
And stop it with the "(I'm) for
equal rights for all Americans, but
no one has the right to redefine
marriage" garbage. Maybe you fell
asleep during civics class or were
busy praying in school, but there
exists a separation between church
and state. Religious arguments have
no place in legal debates, and since
marriage rights inhabit the legal
arena in this context, please don't
use your religious text as exhibit A.
Picket as many gay marriages as you
want, and feel free to tell the newly-
weds they have an eternity of exper-
imental short films waiting for them
in hell, but kindly get the fuck out of
the way of the court's decision.
When the Supreme Court makes
a long-awaited decision on two cases
on same-sex marriage this week,
anything less than a full endorse-
ment of marriage equality for all will
signify that our "precious" rights are
more valuable than the actual people
that use them.
Leave it up to the states, you say?
If we had left slavery up to the states,
would that dark chapter have ever
been completely abolished? If we
had left women's suffrage up to the
states, would my mother, sister or
grandmother have the right to vote
today? I don't know, but the odds
seem bleak to me.
Gay marriage represents more
than two people getting hitched and
having a 50-percent chance of get-
ting unhitched. Gay marriage rep-
resents the ideals that we claim to
stand for. Life, liberty and the pur-
suit of happiness - unless you're gay
-that's gross.
In his famous obituary for Rich-
ard Nixon, Hunter S. Thompson
wrote "some people will say that
words like scum and rotten are
wrong for Objective Journalism
- which is true, but they miss the

point. It was the built-in blind spots
of the Objective rules and dogma
that allowed Nixon to slither into
the White House." Today's situation
is no different. Unless we stop look-
ing at gay marriage objectively, big-
oted laws and hateful statutes will
continue slithering into law books
nationwide. Framing gay marriage
as a blitzkrieg assault on state's
rights conveniently circumvents
the larger issue of equality, and, by
extension, asserts that the voting
public can use its democratic rights
to decide that gays - or any other
group of people - don't deserve the
same liberties that it does. "Never
mind that the anti-gay marriage
rhetoric directly mirrors the anti-
interracial marriage rhetoric," anti-
equality troglodytes will say, "this
time it's different! Marriage really is
under threat!"
Framing gay
marriage as a
state right masks
the bigger issue.
In the 1960s, the American
government knew that without
direct intervention, the scourge
of legal discrimination would not
end. Everything changed with the
advent of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, even if it wasn't overnight,
and our country will never go back
to the way it used to be. If we want
to continue down that path to the
idealized vision of "equality" that
every politician espouses, we have
no choice but to legalize same-sex
marriage. And if you disagree with
me, you're wrong.
- Andrew Eckhous can be
reached at aeckhous@umich.edu.

In September 2012, the OIE was informed
of an incident involving the sexual assault of a
student living in a Zaragon apartment. Though
the survivor didn't want to file a police report,
the OIE informed University Police of the inci-
dent. During their investigation of this first
allegation, an investigator in the OIE learned
of a second incident involvingthe same alleged
graduate student later that month. While the
second survivor also declined to file a formal
police report, this time the OIE declined to
report the allegation to University Police, leav-
ing the incident unreported on campus. Five
months later, a third assault was reported in
the same apartment building with the same
perpetrator. After the survivor of the third
case filed a report with the Ann Arbor Police
Department, OIE investigators discovered
that all three allegations of sexual misconduct
implicated the same suspect. As a result of the
OIE's inconsistent crime reporting, both Zara-
gon residents and students alike were unaware
of the possible threat. With the development of
the third case, the under-reporting of the sec-
ond allegation can be seen as a missed opportu-

nity in preventing additionalcrime.
Under current law, the University is required
to disclose crimes that occur in campus facili-
ties, as well as other specified areas like Greek
Life housing. The Clery Act, passed in 1990,
pulls federal funding from universities that fail
to report campus crimes. In 2011, the Depart-
ment of Education expanded colleges' roles
in crime reporting, threatening to withhold
funding from schools that don't investigate
sexual assaults that occur on campus. While
the OIE's failure to report the second incident
doesn'ttechnicallyviolate federal law since the
incident took place off campus, the University
shouldn't prioritize the safety of students living
on campus over those off. The University has a
responsibility to protect all students - regard-
less of where they live - even if current law
doesn't explicitly require it.
In the absence of federal law, the OIE needs
to set clear standards when investigating off-
campus crime. Consistency and communica-
tion between the OIE and University police are
critical in promoting a safe campus and pre-
venting crime on and off campus.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson,
Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata,
Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth,
Daniel Wang, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
Show m#0e the money

A lesson from Jeb

This weekend's Wall Street Journal con-
tained the gems of a commentary given at the
Conservative Political Action Conference on
Friday by Jeb Bush. Yeah, that Jeb Bush - W.'s
brother and former governor of Florida - who
left much of his legacy in the form of the large-
ly disputed "recount" in 2000. Appropriately
enough, his speech on Friday touched on the
contemporary role of capitalism. It redefines
the American dream in a 21st century con-
text - a context of Obamacare and welfare. It
addressed the need to accept failure as a com-
ponent of social mobility - talk about irony. But
I digress.
Putting aside prior biases, we realize that
Bush makes some remarkable observations.
His perception of the political prerogative to
preserve the American dream is extremely rel-
evant: the idea is "restoring the right to rise."
The government's responsibility is not to prop
up individuals, but to set them loose. And the
mobility of the individual is sparked by the
movement of this country.
The ability to rise as a country relies on tim-
ing. Favorable circumstances cause positive
shocks to the economy, boosting GDP. It's basic
Keynesian economics - for those who aren't
well versed in the joys of Economics 102: A
country benefits most from things it can't con-
trol. Well, the time for the United States to rise
is now. Unemployment is at 7.4 percent - the
lowestit'sbeen since the recession -while con-
sumer sentiment is the highest it has been. The
housing market is back. Natural gas is booming.
The Dow set a new - unadjusted - record last
week. These are all extremely positive signs
that we should be getting back on track as a
nation and as individuals.
So, in the wake of all of this momentum,
what is the government's responsibility? Bush
argues that the principle of the American
dream is founded in the free market, on a sense
of social Darwinism and on a form of capital-
ism where winners are actually beating some-
one. This sense of achievement is an important
motivator. And the "position" gives the indi-
vidual feedback on where he stands, relative to
where he wants to be. The argument is against
the kind of capitalism that parallels little league
haseball - where win or lose, we're going to get
donut holes.
Bush makes a valuable argument for a sys-

tem that permits failure. It's not a top-i-percent
argument that he's making - "too big to fail"
applies up there too. Rather, he holds both par-
ties accountable. Bush's argument says that the
government should be your guardian angel,
not your tooth fairy. It's not about getting gifts
when you're sleeping, but about having your
back when you're climbing.
Bush also sparks a discussion about promot-
ingexcellencethrough risk-taking.Theconcept
of social mobility is at the crux of the American
spirit. I think the distinction of the American
spirit from the American dream is an important
one. There's an active sentiment involved. The
spirit isthe expression of our dreams - dreams
don'tbecome real until we make them so. Thus,
as the movement of our great nation catalyzes
our rise, we are obliged to move with it. Dream-
ing probably won't do the trick. America's about
"living the dream," not just loving it.
Again, what's our government's relation
to all of this? How can the massive body of
legislature move the bodies of the masses?
I submit the role of government is rooted in
empowerment through inspiration. That's
not to say that the White House shouldn't
provide public goods for the public good. I
agree that the "government should fill pot-
holes." But I think it's more important that
the administration gives the individuals the
tools to "fill the holes in the human heart."
That means improving education so kids are
cultivated to rise. That means fixing the econ-
omy so businesses are encouraged to strive.
That means opening the doors so immigrants
are embraced and able to thrive.
Political endorsements aside, Bush creates
a compelling case for the individual in Ameri-
can society. While the American dream can be
propped up en mass on billboards and stim-
uli, the American spirit is found in its people.
Before babies learn how to walk,.they tumble.
They fall. They fail. We could, as caring par-
ents, pick them up every time and put them on
our feet. Or, we could wait patiently until that
magical day when they learn to support them-
selves on their own two feet. Consider the last
five years an American tumble. But also think
of it as a rebirth. Let's learn how to walk again,
and let's fail along the way.
Eli Cahan is a Business sophomore.

t doesn't seem too long ago
that former President George
W. Bush and former Vice
President Al
Gore were bat-
tling for Florida
and the United
States presi-
dency. At the
time, citizens all
over the country
were amazed
by the amount PAUL
of money that SHERMAN
had been raised
- more than
$300 million. I
don't think most people realized
how much campaign finance could
change over the span of 10 years.
During the 2012 presidential
election, President Barack Obama
and Mitt Romney raised record
amounts of money for their cam-
paign war chests: $1.072 billion and
$992.5 million dollars, respectively.
These numbers don't include the
amount of money that so-called
super political action committees
spent to campaign for and against
each candidate. Today, this spend-
ing is out of control and must be
reined in.
After the Citizens United U.S.
Supreme Court case, election
finance changed tremendously. The
Justices in a 5-4 decision decided
that political spending is a form of
protected speech under the First
Amendment, and the government
may not prevent corporations or
unions from spending money to
support or oppose individual can-
didates. This has allowed super
PACs and qualified non-profit
corporations to fund campaigns.
Meanwhile, according to Harvard
Law Prof. Lawrence Lessig, as of
2012, ".26 percent of Americans
give more than $200 in a congres-
sional campaign; .05 percent give
the maximum amount to any con-
gressional candidate; and .01 per-
cent - the 1 percent of the 1 percent
- give more than $10,000 in an
election cycle."
One major problem with current

campaign finance reform isthatcan-
didates have become more focused
on fundraisingthan legislating. Now
more so than ever, instead of trying
to gain the support of the American
people, political candidates have to
focus on appealing to the donors
who will provide the largest con-
tributions. As a result, Americans
have a government that is, accord-
ing to Lessig, "not dependent upon
the People alone, but that is also
dependent upon the Funders." This
dependency on donors also pre-
vents strong third-party candidates
from having their voices heard on a
national stage.
Additionally, candidates don't
have to disclose their donors or
their expenses. Peter Schweiz-
er, president of the Government
Accountability Institute, said in
an article in USA Today that can-
didates don't have to disclose the
names of their 'bundlers,' or those
who collect donations from mul-
tiple donors. Currently, lobby-
ing groups and organizations can
obtain money without having to
worry about revealing their donors,
which makes it easier for these
groups to gain government con-
tracts, loans and jobs.
Despite these glaring problems,
Congress has been slow to pass any
significant legislation. Last sum-
mer, Washington tried to pass the
DISCLOSE Act, which would have
"required groups making more
than $10,000 in campaign-related
expenditures to disclose contribu-
tors who had donated more than
$10,000." However, Congress failed
to pass the bill, after a Republican
filibuster. While this bill would
have been an important step in the
right direction, it wouldn't com-
pletely solve the problem at hand,
since groups wouldn't be forced
to disclose all of their donors.
After the DISCLOSE Act, there
has not been a significant push
to pass legislation related to this
important issue.
Even though Congress has been
slow, there are potential solutions
that could level the playing field

for candidates. Overturning Citi-
zens United would be an obvious
solution but is unlikely given the
current composition of the Court.
Beyond that, if Congress can come
to an agreement, full disclosure
should be employed along with
harsher restrictions on the amount
super PACs can spend. Candidates
would have to be more careful
about their fundraising sources. At
the same time, they would be able
to focus on the important issues
and appeal to their constituents
more. Furthermore, since candi-
dates are running for public office,
Americans have the right to know
their donors.
We should know
the source of
campaign funds.
Another alternative would
require that ordinary Americans
insist their members of Congress
pass legislation that requires dis-
closure and spending limits. This
would help set up a possible chal-
lenge to Citizens United once the
composition of the U.S. Supreme
Court changes. Adding public pres-
sure to the equation may force
Congress to get this done. Clearly,
there's interest in getting legislation
passed, but there needs tobe a push
and the public could be just that.
Campaign finance has been one
of many issues that Congress has
continued to put on the back burn-
er. The longer we putoff reform, the
more it will hurt our government.
In the near future, I hope we can
get back to allowing candidates to
focus on the important issues of the
day as opposed to fundraising all
over the country for several years.
- Paul Sherman can be reached
at pausherm@umich.edu

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