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January 09, 2013 - Image 4

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4A - Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com V&

4A Wednesday, January 9, 2013, The Michigan Daily - michigandaily. corn

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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbot, MS 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MELANIE KRUVELIS
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR

ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF

If we come out of the Newtown experience
and all we do is talk about it and not have a
result, that would be a dereliction of duty
on the part of us in pubic office."
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an interview with The New York Times on Jan. 8, 2013

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.
VKAl1---- E DAILY
Make resolutions a reality
New goals for leaders at all levels
As 2013 begins, New Years resolutions may be a necessity for
everyone from University regents to Michigan Gov. Rick
Snyder. The past year has shown that while change is inevi-
table, it can't necessarily be equated with progress. When the elect-
ed officials begin their terms, it's essential for them to re-examine
past decisions and set specific, progressive goals.

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4

Redefining disability

For the University, this means making
tuition equality areality for Michigan's undoc-
umented students. Some members of the Uni-
versity community, from students to the newly
elected Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs, are still
unaware of tuition equality, further demon-
strating the fact that the University needs to
make more of an effort to inform the commu-
nity about future changes. In December, the
Coalition for Tuition Equality staged a protest
at a Board of Regents meeting, demanding in-
state tuition for undocumented students who
grew up in the state of Michigan. The Univer-
sity should take these students seriously, and a
policy change should be made this year.
In Ann Arbor, transportation has been an
issue of contention at city council as well as at
the state level as Michigan struggles to form
a regional transit system. Councilmembers
and residents alike seem to be unsure of what
they'd like to see changed, yet the current
state of transportation in Ann Arbor is neither
efficient nor used to its fullest potential. The
current train station is outdated and not fully
utilized, but building another train station is
a costly endeavor. The regional transportation
system proposal, as it stands, will not serve
Ann Arbor's transportation needs most effec-
tively and faces opposition. Ann Arbor should
work to develop its own transportation plan
that makes travelling between counties easier,
while still addressing transportation within
the city.
If the marathon lame-duck session of the

Michigan state legislation proved anything, it
was that politicians are willing to ignore the
voices of citizens in order to pass ideological
legislation without dedicating time to proper
discussion. In less than two weeks, Michigan
became a right-to-work state, passed legisla-
tion to more heavily regulate abortion clin-
ics and passed legislation to allow concealed
weapons in schools, churches, hospitals, are-
nas and other locations, although the last bill
was vetoed by Snyder. These changes are quite
significant and the fact that they were passed
so quickly is troubling.
However, what's perhaps worse is that
politicians are suppressing the voices of their
constituents. Legislation was passed that will
now make it tougher to recall politicians. A
week before the right-to-work legislation was
passed, protestors were pepper sprayed out-
side of the Capitol Building in Lansing. In 2013,
state policymakers must allow proper time for
public engagement on issues and reexamine
the last minute - and at times shady - legisla-
tion that they recently passed. .
Instead of focusing on divisive social issues,
the state government should focus on support-
ing higher education. For the past 10 years,
Michigan has cut higher education funding,
usually resulting in tuition increases. Higher
education should not be the first on the chop-
ping block when the state needs to make bud-
get cuts. An educated workforce is crucial to
Michigan's future, and should be advocatedby
all policymakers.

Hovering outside the termi-
nal at Detroit Metro Air-
port before the sun shows
any sign of rising
was not the ideal
way I'd choose to
spend the morn-
ing after my
last final exam.
So when the
line remained
stagnant for an SARAH
extended period SKALUBA
of time and the
people behind
me became
noticeably aggravated, I silently
joined in on the group frustration.
Seconds later, we learned that the
temporary holdup was due to a
woman with hearing loss and her
family discussing a problem with
the ever-cheerful flight attendants
checking people in at Gate B.
Clearly there was a miscommu-
nication along the way - the flight
attendants were blatantly irked and
the passenger's face was flushed
with embarrassment. We boarded
within minutes of the confusion
and were quickly in our seats ready
to depart. However, the calmness
was fleeting as the flight attendants
once again pestered the female pas-
senger and her friend, this time to
change her seat. The woman with
the hearing impairment was ush-
ered from her original seat near
the emergency exit and instructed
to switch with a fellow passenger
a few rows up. What really got me
was the gossip that surrounded
the entire process: The hushed -
or maybe not-so-hushed - chat-
ter amongst passengers and flight
attendants alike.
It's gossip that I may not have

registered a few years ago, but on
this particular Wedneiday morning
it shook me. The whispers that fol-
lowed were insightful - illuminat-
ing the culture we foster here in the
United States. A culture that looks
down upon anything or anyone
that differs from the "norm." The
"norm" being a concept I don't quite
understand, considering we live in
a country bound by different reli-
gions, unique histories and diverse
backgrounds.
Nonetheless, we've grown up in
this society which prides itself on
acceptance, only to witness the com-
plete opposite all too often in our
daily lives. The word "disability"
should not make you feel uncomfort-
able. It shouldn't be a concept that
you feel can't be discussed over cof-
fee or argued in an academic setting.
We live in a world where one in five
Americans has a disability, be it vis-
ible to the naked eye or not. It maybe
physical, mental or a combination of
many factors. So why are most con-
versations surrounding disability
taboo or completely misconstrued?
It seems there are two stereotypi-
cal representations of disability in
the United States: the athlete who
has overcome grand obstacles to
achieve success against all odds and
the mentally unstable mass murder-
er who kills innocent people without
a motive. This type of thinking is
beyond flawed.
Taking Professor Melanie Yer-
geau's course, Disability Studies,
crystallized this concept for me.
We live in a community that judges
one another immediately upon first
encounter - we note the clothes
that someone wears, the color of his
or her skin, the way he or she acts
and, most importantly, how he or

she strays from the "norm." And in
doing so we've created an environ-
ment that is restrictive and stifling.
One that's detrimental to the unique
perspectives and differences each
of us brings to the table. Instead of
creating a community of acceptance
and understanding, we've built a cul-
ture thatstigmatizes any variation of
the "norm" and that barricades some
people from fully immersing them-
selves into our society.
It's not individuals
who need to
change, but
our culture.
Rather than viewing disability
as an individual problem that needs
to be treated with surgery, therapy,
medicine, etc., we need to approach
it from a societal perspective. It's not
individuals who need to change, but
our culture. That involves each and
every one of us - from the aggra-
vated airline attendants on my flight
home to students like you and me.
All across the board a change of per-
spective is warranted.
Some of us may take a bit longer
to complete assignments, use a cane
when walking to class or need audi-
tory assistance. Whatever it is, a
community that's willing to accept
individual differences and work to
accommodate each of us is a much
more productive place to live.
- Sarah Skaluba can be reached
at sskaluba@umich.edu.

4

.0

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski,
Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner, Derek Wolfe
ERIC FERGUSON| IE
A reaction beyond words

Blindly bl'ming the Greek system

a

Dec. 14 was shaping up to be just another
Friday when reports of a mass shooting sud-
denly took over the media. I was concerned
and saddened, and hoped that it was some-
how a false alarm. But when the death toll
in Newtown, Conn. became known - first 18
children, then 20 children and seven adults -
my concern turned to horror and my sadness
to grief. I asked myself the questions that
anyone with a conscience would have asked:
Why would anyone murder these children?
Could this have been prevented somehow?
How are the families of the victims and those
who survived ever going to recover from such
a terrible event?
The answer to the first question is clearly
mental illness, and there are many potential
answers to the second, but I have no answers
for that last one. I may not know the victims
personally, but my most heartfelt condolences
go out to the their families and community -
thoughIfearthatthesecondolences areworth
very little. I cannot claim to understand what
it's like to be the parent who sent their child to
school in the morning and has now laid them
in the ground. I cannot imagine what one
unidentified girl who evaded Adam Lanza's
bulletsby pretending to be dead must be going
through right now. And I cannot fathom the
reaction of that girl's mother when, though
knowing that her own daughter was safe, had
to hear her say, "Mommy, I'm OK, but all my
friends are dead."
However, Ican fathom the fact that I live in
acountry that's been plagued by 62 mass mur-
ders in the past 30 years, the deadliest among
those murders occurring at a college campus
or school. As of 2011, the homicide rate in the
United States was 6.9 tmes higher than in
other high-income countries. Moreover, over
the last few years, states have been cutting the
budgets for their mental health programs at
alarming rates, leaving some of the most vul-
nerable citizens without the aid they desper-
ately need. Amidst all of this, Congress, the
nation's federal legislative body in the most
powerful position to make real changes, has
done shamefully little. In the last 30 years a

total of four pieces of gun control legislation
have passed through Congress, while the
political power of the National Rifle Associa-
tion has fought every step.
All of this speaks to the now-incontrovert-
ible fact that this country has a hideously
under-addressed gun violence problem that
consistently manifests itself as mass murder.
This is true today, but this was also true on
Dec. 14, 2012. On July 20, 2012. On Feb. 14,
2008. On April 16, 2007. Apparently, the mass
slaughter of 20 first-graders and six of their
teachers is what it takes to catch the attention
of the American people.
There have been many letters and many
prayers offered to console the citizens of
Newtown. None of them, however powerful,
will ever be able to change what happened
that day. But these words carry the potential
for meaningful action aimed at reducing gun
violence in the United States. Efforts like the
commission President Barack Obama formed
and California Sen. Diane Feinstein's prom-
ised bill pertaining to an assault weapons ban
are extremely promising signs of progress.
The latter should contain language that closes
the gun show loophole, which allows virtually
anyone to buy a gun without going through a
background check. In addition, this bill places
a ban on clips with a capacity of more than 10
bullets, the likes of which Lanza used in his
attack. The commission, meanwhile, should
consider the state of America's mental health
care system and the stigma surrounding men-
tal illness while crafting its proposal.
Mass murder has visited this country for
the 62nd time in 30 years, but this time our
reaction as a nation needs to go beyond mere
words. Too many words have been said in the
past with too little corresponding action, and
this nation should be tired of hearing stories
like that of the unidentified little girl. The
time is ripe for addressing mass murder as a
matter of policy instead of once again dismiss-
ing it as an inexplicable act that no one can
foresee or prevent.
Eric Ferguson is an LSA sophomore.

Coverage of
ated with
become fa
in today'smedia.
Experts claim
that college
binge drink-
ing combined
with the con-
sequence-free
attitude that
Greek Life cul-
tivates causes
the majority of
these tragedies.
To many this is
old news, but now
perception.
On Dec. 17, 20
Northern Illinois, U
ter of Pi Kappa P
were charged with
following the Nov.
man David Bogenb
in question was
which required ple
to-room answerin
exchange for alco
claim that Bogenb
dead the next morn
ac arrhythmiawith
tion being a signific
factor. His blood a
five times the legal
of his death. The s
face penalties that
of their lives, incl
possible jail time. A
national fraternity
a massive lawsuitN
involved facing po
from the university
Many opponent
have already label
another example o
reckless behavior
in fraternity cultu
events are indispu
understanding fai
that this was not a f
tution, but more s
individuals to act
fraternity held an
against school po

f deaths associ- national fraternity's risk manage-
Greek Life have ment plan, as well as state and local
too prevalent laws. Their complete disregard for
any rules was a significant factor in
a young man's death and they should
be held accountable.
Though my heart goes out to the
Bogenberger family as they try to
process this tragedy, there is also
some responsibility on them. Their
child died with a BAC of approxi-
TIMOTHY mately .4 - keep in mind most peo-
BURROUGHS ple black out around .15 to .25. This
shows a clear lack of knowledge and
responsibility regarding alcohol
on the part of David, who should
it's an outdated have learned these things from his
parents. The prevalence of alcohol
12, members of and binge drinking in college has
rniversity's chap- been documented for years. This
Alpha Fraternity demands that parents convey the
h hazing crimes high risks of alcohol to their kids
2 death of fresh- and the danger it poses before they
erger. The event send their children off to college.
a hazing ritual, Organizations such as Mothers
dges to go room- Against Drunk Driving have given
:g questions in us a false sense of security. MADD
hol. Authorities believes that increasing the drink-
erger was found ing age and punishing alcohol abus-
ing from a cardi- ers more harshly protects children.
alcohol intoxica- Instead, parents must actively and
ant contributing continuously remind their children
lcohol level was of the dangers of alcohol before
limit at the time they go off to college. Any parent
tudents involved who is still naive enough to believe
will alter the rest that their child will just figure out
uding fines and alcohol on their own is endangering
.dditionally, their their loved ones. It's not fair to con-
could be facing sistently blame a lack of parenting
with all students on Greek Life, which actively does
ssible expulsion its part to protect its members.
T. Michigan's Interfraternity
s of Greek Life Council has paved the way nation-
ed this event as ally with extensive risk manage-
f the dangerous, ment plans designed to avoid these
that's ingrained types of tragedy. Ian Hickman, for-
re. While these mer vice president of social respon-
tably tragic, this sibility told me in a statement that,
ls to recognize "the Greek community at the Uni-
ailure of an insti- versity of Michigan already has
o the failure of appropriate safeguards in place,
responsibly. The such as a zero tolerance policy for
event that went hazing." He also named the Greek-
licies and their wide Hazing Task Force and Greek

Appellate Review Board to investi-
gate hazing allegations.
Individuals
need to take
responsibility for
alcohol use.
These programs are designed
to inform individuals and prevent
these types of incidents from ever
occurring in the first place. After
reviewing the Social Environment
Management Policy, it's clear that
an event like the one that occurred'
at NIU violates numerous policies
and should result in the severe dis-
ciplinary action beingtaken against
the fraternity.
Hickman goes on to explain that
issues of confirmed hazing are rare
at Michigan, but that they would
be met with the chapter's expul-
sion from Greek Life. These rules,
which students have taken years
to develop and implement, make
Greek Life as safe as it can be. By
no means does this mean that
there will never be a Greek-related
death, but because of the hard work
of our leaders, it's no longer a fail-
ure of the institution. Instead, we
need to re-evaluate how we pre-
pare individuals for college and
start talking about alcohol. Col-
lege is a dangerous time for young
adults, but the Greek system is not
endangering individuals, as many
would have you believe. It's no
longer justifiable to blindly blame
the Greek system for deaths such
as David Bogenberger. Instead, we
should harshly punish those indi-
viduals who give Greek Life a nega-
tive reputation.
- Timothy Burroughs can be
reached at timburr@umich.edu.

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