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March 29, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-03-29

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4A - Monday, April 1, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Monday, April 1, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Nh IChiglan Bailg1
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.
Petty politics
CSG should focus on serving students, not suits
From threatening e-mails to controversial campaign advertise-
ments, this year's Central Student Government elections took
a decidedly scandalous turn with students playing the one role
they should've avoided - politicians. Last week, a campaign video
posted by youMICH was removed after a number of students criti-
cized the video as racially insensitive over social media. On Wednes-
day, an e-mail sent by the forUM party chair attacking momentUM
presidential candidate Nick Swider bizarrely resulted in threats of
University Election Commission suits if momentUM made the e-mail
public. After voting ended, both executive candidates on the winning
forUM ticket, LSA juniors Chris Osborn and Hayley Sakwa, have been
disqualified because of suits that seemed soley intent on preventing
them from taking office, pending an appeal. Unfortunately, this year's
scandals are far from the exception. Following the contentious elec-
tions, CSG must refocus on serving the student body and quit wasting
time and money on petty political games.
During CSG elections, each party usually In 2012, an e-mail circulated accusing then-
tracks the actions of other parties, looking for vice presidential candidate Omar Hashwi of
violations of UEC election code in order to file homophobic and anti-Semitic behavior. After
suits that are presided over by the Central Stu- Hashwi and then-presidential candidate Man-
dent Judiciary. Any candidate receiving five ish Parikh won the election, a series of suits
demerits during the election disqualifies him- against them, similar to those faced by Osborn
self or herself. On March 30, the UEC ruled and Sakwa, delayed the results of the election.
in favor of a suit filed by youMICH, charging By establishing an independent entity for
Osborn and Sakwa with eight demerits in total. enforcing the election code, CSG would allow
The results of the UEC's findings have prompt- parties and their supporters to focus on getting
ed responses from several parties promising their message to the student body rather than
to take further action. While obeying election overseeing each other. Moreover, any result-
code is critical to ensure a fair election, the con- ing suits couldn't be construed as motivated by
tinued focus on voting politics is simply a dis- electoral loss.
traction from representing University students. According to its constitution, CSG was
Given the gravity of issues facing the Univer- founded "to promote academic freedom and
sity and the quick turnover of new CSG leader- responsibility, foster fellowship and collabora-
ship - Osborn and Sakwa were slated to take tion among the Students, and guarantee a pub-
office two weeks after securing the election - lic forum for Student expression." Some of the
it'stime the candidates stop battling each other parties' conduct during this election indicates
and instead focus on the consensus-building no concern with these goals. While CSGisoften
promised by multiple platforms. Instead of viewed as little more than a source for student
having parties take on the role of demerit organization funding, the student government
investigation, such suits should be undertaken may be the most powerful, unified voice stu-
by an independent electoral committee, moni- dents have, especially in administrative mat-
toring all parties to ensure fairness rather than ters. In the face of University leadership, CSG
political gains. must come across as a responsible, poised rep-
Scandals have become nearly standard in resentation of students, but the election and
student government elections at the University. resulting drama embarrass more than impress.
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Naha-
ta, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman,Sarah Skaluba,Michael Spaeth, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
Sweatshops are no joke
The day had dragged on forever, and fresh- to the check out, he noticed that the maker of
man John's world seemed to consist of little these new garments was none other than Adi-
beyond exams, readings and papers. However, das. He recalled something a visiting speaker
as John sprinted happily away from his Histo- from United Students Against Sweatshops had
ry 101.5 "Labor Violations and Corporations" told his class one day - he had even glanced up
class, he had a wide grin on his face. He was from Facebook to listen to this presenter. He
on his way to the bookstore in the Michigan remembered the USAS member saying that,
Union basement. for two years now, Adidas has refused to pay
John wasn't headed to the Barnes and Noble $1.8 million in legally owed severance to 2,800
to buy some books - those prices are really Indonesian factory workers. He was so sur-
nothing to smile about. Instead, he was on a prisedby this injustice that he had visitedbadi-
mission to pick up some swag. Not the walking das.com to learn more, and read about USAS's
type of swagger - John had already inherited mission to protect workers who produce Uni-
his father's unmistakable gait - but the nice, versity apparel from sweatshop-like condi-
comfortable, loose-fitting type of swag he so tions. He even signed the online USAS petition
proudly dons at all Michigan sporting events. against Adidas.
Once John and all of his Wolverine pride It was then John had a change of heart.
arrived at the bookstore, he glanced around Instead ofbuying the new maize-and-blue gear,
for some apparel to try on. He spent the next he decided to express his Wolverine pride in a
hour finding the right fit and feel. Finally, he different way. On April 1st, 2013, John became

gazed at himself in the mirror, all decked out an activist. He marched over to the Fleming
in maize and blue, and told himself, "Damn, Administration building and climbed up two
I look good." He decided to buy a sleek new flights of stairs to University President Mary
tracksuit, a chic striped scarf, yet another Sue Coleman's office. He then asked that the
obnoxiously bright yellow t-shirt, and headed administration remove items produced by Adi-
to the cashier to complete his purchases. das items from the bookstore because, as he
John hadn't yet taken the time to check out put it, "Sweatshops are no joke."
the brand of his selections - he was rather
taken with himself in the mirror. But en route Sorin Panainte is an LSA freshman.
@NCAA So much for an all Big 10
Final Four - didn't think Michigan
- ~ would be the sole survivor, did
you? #FinalFour #hatersbehating

The bone's 6 inches out of his leg and all
he's yelling is, 'Win the game, win the game'
... I've not seen that in my life.
Pretty special kid."
- University of Louisville head basketball couch Rick Pitino said after Louisville guard Kevin Ware broke
his leg during Sunday's Elite Eight game against Duke University.
Reflecting on DP day

n March 23,1,400 Uni-
versity students went to
Partnership Day.
It was an amaz-
ing experience
to say the least.
Walking into
Crisler Arena
on Saturday at
8 a.m. to see
hundreds of stu- HARSHA
dents gathered NAHATA
to give their
time was a sight
I'll never forget.
I volunteered for DP Day, and
it was a truly tremendous experi-
ence. My group's site was Historic
Ft.,Wayne. To give a bit of back-
ground on this site, Historic Ft.
Wayne is a fort that dates back to
1840. It was built as reinforcement
in the aftermath of the War of 1812
when the threat of a territorial war
with Britain, and subsequently
Canada, was still a reality. But the
potential war never came to pass,
and the ensuing peace made the
fort a place to train and induct sol-
diers, the first of which arrived at
the onset of the Civil War.
The role of Michigan in the Civil
War is a significant aspect of histo-
ry we often forget. President Abra-
ham Lincoln is believed to have
said, "Thank God for Michigan."
And many of those troops, the ones
that rose to the occasion from the
start, came out of this fort. As a
guide told us, the fort was one of
the last things Michigan troops
saw before being deployed to fight.
Discovering that something
with so much significance and so
much history is less than an hour's
drive away was eye-opening. I'd
never even heard of this site, and
I've lived in Michigan my whole
life. That was a sentiment echoed
by many of the volunteers I went

with. Our site leader, Public Policy
sophomore Raeesa Khan, reflected
on her experience, "I was shocked
by the fact I had no idea this exist-
ed 30 minutes away from my home.
I learned that Detroit has such an
incredibly rich history and culture,
and that it's a shame, especially for
people who live in the area, to not
take advantage of all the city has
to offer."
It was another testament as to
how isolated and removed we've
been from the city of Detroit and
its historical and cultural roots for
the better part of ourlives, and just
how much we have to learn from a
city that's so close.
The work we did there was a
simple clean-up effort: cutting down
and burning dead, overgrown brush.
It wasn't anything spectacular, but
it was exactly what the site needed.
And it made a tangible difference.
Seeing that difference was perhaps .
the most rewarding thing of all.
Not only that, it taught me a
huge lesson. They say that while
a part of service is giving back, a
part of it is also selfish. We vol-
unteer our time, our resources,
ourselves, because we like the feel-
ing of helping and of learning. And
that's often subconsciously howI
approached service - with the atti-
tude of wanting to do something
"substantial." Of not just wanting
to complete mindless tasks, but
wanting to learn about the com-
munity and the people. I assumed
the only way to do that was if I was
performing tasks that I could find
meaning in, tasks that seemed sig-
nificant to me.
DP Day taught me that service
isn't about what you want to do
- it's about what the community
needs. And that if you seek to learn
about a community, even in the
smallest tasks, you'll walk away
having learned more than you can

imagine. I learned that no matter
what you're doing, simply being
there - physically and emotionally
- and witnessing a place, a people
and a community will teach you
eons about circumstances different
from your own.
Weytalked a lot on the bus ride
about community service and ser-
vice learning. I always divided the
two based on the type of work I
was given. Community service to
me was something short term, a
repetitive task I was told to do, me
putting in the hours needed and
then leaving. And service learning
seemed longer, going into a com-
munity, staying there, growing
with them and learning from them.


Service isn't about !
what you want,
but what the
community needs.
I still stand by much of that dis-
tinction, but DP Day has taught me
one important thing: No task is too
small and no time too short. That
service learning can happen in a
day or even a couple hours. That
it's not about what you're doing,
but the mindset you go in with. It's
impossible to ever fully experience
what another person's day-to-day
life is, but it is possible to go into
a community with a willingness
to learn, not impose. To not come
with a preconceived solution, but
with a desire to understand and
serve in whatever way they need.
- Harsah Nahata can be
reached at hnahata@umich.edu.

An open letter to Tit Guy'

ast night I crossed a foggy
road and as the air's mois-
ture clung to the streetlights,
giving each lamp
an atmosphere
all its own, I
thought of you.
Our encounter
must have been
barely a blip in
your sensory
memory, so let EMILY
me remind you PITTINOS
of who Iam.
On the night
of the Michigan
v. Michigan State football game,
I rounded the corner onto Elm
Street to discover you sitting on
an up-ended trash bin with your
buddy smashing beer bottles on
the pavement. With the rest of Ann
Arbor sleeping off an afternoon
of face paint and victory, we were
the only ones around, and through
your own drunken haze you shout-
ed, "Show me your tits!"
I tell this like a funny story
sometimes. I'll be out for sushi
with friends and before I miracu-
lously navigate a spicy tuna roll
into my mouth without smudging
my lipstick, I'll exclaim, "and then
he was like, 'Show me your tits!"'
and people shake their heads and
smile as if to say, what a dick.
But I don't tell this story to make
men seem ignorant or perpetu-
ally rude. I have always fostered a
sure-footed love for guys, and have
realized that many men are like
lychee nuts, soft and sweet inside
their rinds.
So why do I keep telling people
about you, Tits Guy?
Maybe it's because I always get

a laugh, especially when I turn to
self-deprecation, pointing to my
unimpressive chest and adding, "I
don't know why he asked. There
wouldn't have been much to show."
Maybe I'm looking for sympathy,
creating a place for myself among
otherwomenwho have alsobeen
objectified by strangers on the street.
Most likely, I'm trying to prove
my bravery. No matter how viva-
ciously I tell the story, the truth is I
was afraid.
I was already nervous when I
turned onto Elm and surveyed the
situation - me: a five-foot two-
inch, mace-less girl in a short skirt,
and you: a big, wasted stranger
with a glass-breaking friend. When
I walked by, you were slumped
over but solidly planted on that
garbage can, and I instinctually
avoided your eyes. I came so close
you could've tripped me, and in my
pocket I held my keys between my
knuckles so you'd geta mouthful of
metal if you leapt for me.
Once you managed to mutter,
"show me your tits," I was already
past you and only steps from my
friend's front door, through which
cold PBRs and settling smoke and
men who I adore for their good
humor and sweetness were wait-
ing for me. I was nearly safe, but I
wanted to turn around. I wanted to
walk right up to you and yell some-
thing along the lines of, "You kiss
your mama with that mouth?" but
less clich.
I wanted to march my brave little
body over there to prove that women
don't have to fear unfamiliar men
on dark, empty streets and to teach
you about talking to ladies as equals
like I knew you could. "No human

should abuse their ability to make
another feel like an object," I'd say
calmly. You made me feel like a face-
less symbol for woman and sex and I
wanted to let you have it.
But fear kept my cowboy-booted
feet from moving in your direction.
I didn't want to know what would
happen if I approached you, so I
froze like a doe does at the first
sign of danger, and I'm still pissed
about it.
No matter how
I tell the story,
the truth is I
was afraid.
I imagine you years from now.
You come home to your family
after a long day of working with
your hands, and at sunset you say
goodnight to your small children
and crawl into bed with a woman
who both loves and fears you. You
fall asleep thinking about deadlines,
the blurry nights you had in college
and what you want for breakfast
in the morning. I never appear in
your mind's eye, and that's not fair
because on cold nights, when I'm
making my way down an eerily
empty street, I will think of how you
ate up all my confidence with a sin-
gle phrase and my anger will flood
back just as white-hot as it was when
I hurried away from you in the dark.
- Emily Pittinos can be reached
at pittinos@umich.edu.

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