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January 18, 2013 - Image 4

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4 - Friday, January 18, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Friday, January18, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

(74 e firichinan l 4:3atl9

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

ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF

To realize that I was the victim of what was
apparently someone's sick e and constant
lies was - and is - painful and humilating."
- University of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o said in a statement issued to ESPN when Deadspin
reported his supposedly deceased girlfriend never existed.
Stop romanticizing sports

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.
Too much fun in the sun?
Regents' California meeting prevents public input
n Thursday and Friday, seven members of the University's
Board of Regents joined with University President Mary Sue
Coleman and other University officials in Los Angeles for a
series of meetings. These meetings, which were private, took place in
lieu of their scheduled public monthly meeting inAnn Arbor. During the
trip, they were scheduled to discuss strategies for public funding and the
prospects of massive online open courses, or MOOCs, as well as recon-
nect with California's alumni network by hosting fundraising events.
Despite the possible benefits resulting from the trip, it was unnecessary
at this time and further distanced the public from the regents.

University regents traveled to California
and met with Robert Birgeneau, recently
retired chancellor of the University of Califor-
nia, Berkeley; Stanford University President
John Hennessy; and Robert Berdahl, former
president of the Association of American Uni-
versities. They discussed the future of aca-
demia, especiallythe lack of state funding. Like
public universities in Michigan, universities
in California have suffered from a crippling
drop in state funding, with the state backing
only 37 percent of the UC system in 2012. This
meeting gives the University the opportunity
to learn how to run a premier public institu-
tion with significantly reduced public funding.
The regents also met with Dan Russell, one
of Google's top research scientists, who pro-
posed that the University invest in Google's
MOOCs. According to Russell, MOOCs have
the potential to create a competitive market
for teaching, giving the University an edge in
innovative education.
Regardless of whether regents'meetings are
held in Michigan or California, they shouldn't
be closed to the public. The regents are pub-
licly elected, and the public should have the
opportunity to voice their concerns. In a given
year, the regents hold 11 meetings, but as a
result of this meeting, there will only be 10
in 2013. Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the
University, said that the switch from a public
meetingto a private session is due to "schedul-
ing issues." More of an effort should have been

made on the regents' and University's part to
make this meeting available to everyone. The
University has a responsibility to keep their
students involved and well-informed, and
moving one of the monthly meetings across
the country creates a disconnect between the
regents and the public they serve.'
While in California, the regents will attend
two alumni events as honored guests. While
the events aren't technically fundraisers,
the regents plan on engaging with alumni in
the Golden State in order to encourage giv-
ing back to the University. In an interview -
with The Michigan Daily, University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman said the events will
give an opportunity for the 40,000 alumni
in California to meet with the leaders of the
University, furtheringtrust in the University.
While it's important for the University to net-
work and fundraise with alumni, visiting for-
mal gatherings in lieu of a public meeting is
misguided. The regents may be interested in
building confidence with California's alumni,
but their primary job is to build that trust
back in Michigan.
The trip does have laudable goals, from
learning about state funding to possibly
investing in MOOCs. However, it comes at
the wrong time and sends a message of exclu-
sion. The regents first and foremost need to be
accessible to those whom they represent: stu-
dents and the public. Private meetings in Los
Angeles certainly don't accomplish this.

used to worship the Detroit
Pistons. I'd watch every game,
read the sports section of The
Detroit Free
Press while eat-
ing my cereal
every morning,
and visit the
players' web-
sites much too
frequently. But
then on Nov. 19,
2004,I watched ADRIENNE
the infamous ROBERTS
Pistons-Pacers
brawl where
Ron Artest, a player from the Pac-
ers, went into the stands and start-
ed punching a fan.
I think it was at that moment that
I realized these players weren't nec-
essarily heroes, or at the very least
they weren't people I should see as
role models. Some have overcome
incredible circumstances to make
it to where they are today, but oth-
ers haven't. They can be complacent,
angry and rude just like anyone else.
The only difference is that they get
paid millions upon millions per year.
So when the story broke Wednes-
day that Manti Te'o, a linebacker
from University of Notre Dame, was
a pawn in an elaborate Internet hoax,
many people seemed to take the
story at face value. They were sur-
prised that he was trusting enough
to believe he had a girlfriend he had
never seen in person, but few were
skeptical, which is concerning con-
sidering how much he profited from
this "heartwarming" story. From
Te'o to Lance Armstrong, stories of
athletes lying about their past for
professional gain seem to be appear
on a weekly basis.
According to Sports Illustrated,
Te'o learned of the death of his grand-
mother and his girlfriend within the
span of six hours in September. He
went on to help his team beat Michi-
gan State, finishing the game with
12 tackles. Numerous stories with
the "triumph under extreme situa-
tions" storyline were written about
him. That's not surprising, but the

fact is that his relationship consisted
of tweets, text messages and phone
calls. It's astonishing that not one
.reporter looked into this before they
wrote the original stories about the
romance and heartbreak.
The details remain unclear at
this point. Why did Notre Dame
know about this on Dec. 26 and not
say anything? Were they really try-
ing to preserve their legacy for just
a few more weeks? How much did
Te'o really know? Could he possi-
bly be more involved with the hoax
than we'd like to think?
Regardless, someone felt like
they had to sell a heartwarming,
against-all-odds story to either
themselves or the public. Notre
Dame most likely felt the need
to protect Te'o's sob story for as
long as possible. The media pub-
lished Te'o's story in the first place
because it's the kind of story their
readers would want to see. And
Te'o felt the need to tell his story to
elicit sympathy and give himself an
emotional backstory that may have
a positive effect on his future foot-
ball career.
This kind of narrative about an
athlete can be found everywhere.
It certainly happens here. Denard
Robinson isn't just a talented foot-
ball player: He's well-liked, comes
from a close family and makes an
effort to be friendly to. students.
Everyone loves readingsq story that
proves just how good of a person he
is. We demand these personal sto-
ries from the media. When you feel
as though you connect to a player
and respect them as a human being,
the game means so much more.
But, to get stories like these, fact-
checking is often ignored and stories
of heartbreak and heroism outweigh
the not-so-flattering truth. Trying
so desperately hard to find a "hero"
comes above all else. Yet, many ath-
letes have faults that the public and
media just don't seem comfortable
discussing or, for that matter, even
hearing. Athletes are a group that
we too rarely criticize for discre-
tions outside of their profession.

Maybe it's time we re-evaluate
how we think about athletes' worth
and how we judge them as players.
An "athlete's personal heartbreak
shouldn't affect how much media
attention he gets before the draft.
What should matter is his commit-
ment, work ethic and ability. That
should be the story. There shouldn't
be a demand to know an athlete's
relationship history and family val-
ues. Most people wouldn't feel com-
fortable selling the story of how
their grandmother and girlfriend
died within six hours of each other.
Te'o did, whether it was because he
wanted the media attention to fur-
ther his career, or because he sim-
ply just felt comfortable sharing it
with the world because every other
athlete does.
I realized that
atheletes aren't
necessarily
role models.
I had to learn this the hard way.
Players that I idolized - that I
assumed had overcome great odds
personally and professionally -
acted in a way that was completely
outrageous. Athletes at Michigan,
Notre Dame, and many others
schools all do things that no one
would be proud of, but we ignore it
to create a nice, clean narrative that
gives them the press they need to
further their careers. At the end of
the day, sports are all about a game
- a game involving highly skilled
and usually extremely dedicated
athletes - but a game nonetheless.
There are a million stories of people
overcoming personal adversity to
make it where they are today, but
stories like Te'o's simply aren't one
of these.
- Adrienne Roberts can be
reached at adrirobe@umich.edu.

0

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan;Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein, Melanie
Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Derek Wolfe
KELSEY TROTTAI
Kindness in face of tragedy

JESSE KLEIN
Blowing off sex education

In the days that followed the Sandy Hook
Elementary School shooting, a quote from Mis-
ter Rogerswent viral.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary
things in the news, my mother would say to
me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find
people who are helping.' To this day, especially
in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's
words and I am always comforted by realizing
that there are still so many helpers - so many
caring people in this world," Rogers said.
The words were comforting, and, for a
moment, we were brought back to our child-
hood dens where we sat and watched "Mister
Rogers' Neighborhood." In the wake of the
Sandy Hook shooting, the world has taken
Mr. Rogers' advice to heart. But instead of
looking for the helpers, people have become
the helpers.
We are inundated with articles sparking
debates about gun control, mental illness and
school safety. Our inboxes and newsfeeds are
flooded with the latest developments following
the shooting. Policies have been discussed and
analyzed, conspiracy theories have been creat-
ed and speeches condemning the attacks have
been made. Facebook statuses varying from
prayers to outcries of anger to calls for action
are everywhere, and Twitter feeds are full of
pleas for change. These reactions are under-
standable -the Sandy Hook tragedy has struck
a universal chord with people and is bound to
trigger feelings of every kind.
It's easy to get caught up in the anger, hurt
and fear that many people feel, especially
when we live in a world where we're constant-
ly bombarded with information. The news
may seem inescapable, especially right after
the shooting. There's a universal battle cry:
"We have to do something about this." And
we do. There's a lot that needs to be done to
ensure that a shooting of this magnitude never
happens again. But to say that we have to do

something without acknowledging the good-
ness that has come as a result of the shooting
discredits the greatest thing that we've done
so far: we have put aside our differences to
show compassion to one another.
At a time when there seems to be no words
for what happened, acts of kindness speak
the loudest. In the days following the shoot-
ing, people showed overwhelming displays of
empathy both big and small. Prayers were said,
flags were flown atnhalf-mast, basketball players
observed moments of silence for the victims,
and a children's choir performed on Saturday
Night Live in place of the show's standard open-
ing. JetBlue delivered farewell letters to one of
the slain children and then offered free travel to
the loved ones of the victims. When Ann Curry
asked people to do 20 random acts of kindness
for each of the children who died, people com-
mitted 26 acts of kindness for every person
who died instead. Some surprised construction
workers with coffee, while others bought 26
toys for needy children. And these are only the
acts of kindness that have made the news.
But these acts of solidarity are not limited
to the United States. Around the world, people
have shown incredible feats of sympathy for
the victims. In Pakistan, children held up a
sign that said, "We feel your pain as you would
feel our pain." In Brazil, people placed crosses
in the sand for each of the victims, while in
Scotland, soccer players observed a moment of
silence in solidarity. In Russia, people left flow-
ers and teddy bears outside the US embassy.
If there's one thing this tragedy has shown
us, it's that our strength lies in our kindness
toward others. For every person who commits
these terrible crimes, there are at least a hun-
dred helpers. Despite the tragedy that we have
seen, these acts of kindness show that it can
still be a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Kelsey Trotta is an LSA junior.

At the 70th annual Golden
Globes, the HBO series "Girls" took
home some big awards, including
Best Actress in a TV Comedy for
Lena Dunham and Best TV Com-
edy. The show has been both criti-
cized and praised for its honest
portrayal of 20-something women
who supposedly exemplify our
generation. Most of the contro-
versy surrounds the awkward and
sometimes extremely disturbing
sex scenes. While these sex scenes
include weird fantasies, masturba-
tion and jerks who only care about
gettingthemselves off, they're lack-
ing in one area that seems absent
from almost every television show,
movie and media exposure in gen-
eral: oral sex and hand jobs. While
oral sex has made appearances
in "Game of Thrones" and in one
scene of "Girls," sexual acts beyond
vaginal intercourse are rarely seen
or insinuated.
From teen dramas like "Gos-
sip Girl" and "Glee," to reality TV
shows in the "Jersey Shore" genre
and even to highly respected mov-
ies, any mention of non-coital sexu-
al activity is inexplicably left out of
scripts. Even more puzzling is the
leap many of these TV shows make
from making out to intercourse.
The fall-out-of-frame-onto-bed
that usually indicates sex is only
preceded by hot make-out sessions
- an unrealistic jump in reality
that doesn't necessarily match up
with off-screen sexual progression.
College can be one of the most
promiscuous times for young
adults, and with advancements in
birth control, young women may
have hit their sexually liberated
peak. While this may point to an
increase in a young person's sex

life, the age when the average per-
son loses their virginity is actually
rising. According to the Centers.for
Disease Control, in 1991, 54.1 per-
cent of high school students had
lost their virginity. A decade later,
only 47.4 percent of high school stu-
dents had done the deed.
While traditional sex may appear
to be on the decline, oral sex is
growing in popularity among young
adults. 41 percent of females and
47 percent of males, ages 15 to 19
have participated in oral sex, which
increases to 80 percent for ages 20
to 24. While vaginal intercourse
decreased in the past two decades,
sexually transmitted infections
that can be transferred by oral sex
didn't. This points to the probabil-
ity that teens are foregoing vaginal
intercourse for oral sex.
Many young adults choose this
type of sexual contact because they
believe is it safer, both emotion-
ally and physically. When it comes
to casual sexual encounters, many
young people feel more comfortable
having oral sex or fondling than
having intercourse. In 2002, 22 per-
cent of females and 24 percent of
males reported having oral sex but
had not lost their virginity. In 2011,
49 percent of non-Hispanic white
females had oral sex before vaginal
sex, compared to 40 percent who
had oral sex after intercourse. 44
percent of non-Hispanic males had
oral sex before intercourse, com-
pared with 36 percent of males that
had oral sex after intercourse.
A noteworthy exception in this
trend is found in black and Hispan-
ic adults, where a majority of adults
between the ages of 15 and 24 had
intercourse before oral sex.
There wasn't even data on hand

jobs from the CDC. Though it's
discussed often in social environ-
ments, research and media expo-
sure of this part of our generation's
sex life is completely lacking.
This change in sexual progres-
sion demonstrates a changing
mentality for Millennials. While
virginity has been put on a pedestal
only to be given to someone special,
oral sex and fondling has become
a socially acceptable alternative.
However, this was not the case in
past decades. For many older gen-
erations, oral sex was considered
more intimate than vaginal sex.
It's surprising that a large part
of a young adult's sex life has been
left out media, and especially sur-
prising that it lacks mention in
research, statistics and education.
In my high school's sex ed classes,
vaginal intercourse was repeatedly
expressed to be an important deci-
sion to be made between partners.
The physical and emotional conse-
quences of oral sex and other types
of "non-traditional" sex were never
discussed and still aren't today.
The lack of communication about
these topics increases the perception
that anything that isn't intercourse
isn't important, special or possibly
damaging. I learned about the STDs
that could be transferred from vagi-
nal sex but none from oral sex. We all
heard statistics that most people who
lose their virginity before 18 regret
not waiting. But other sexual acts
were never discussed. Even though
these subjects are freely expressed
in any college dorm room, there's
still a taboo surrounding them out-
side of the gossip sphere.
Jesse Klein is a senior
editoral page editor.

0
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th e Study A-Blog, Madrid Edition: Can weekend-
DO ur trips detract from the study abroad experience?
Go to michigondoily.com/blogs/The Podium
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