4A - Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandailyxorm
4A - Wednesday, November 20, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
PETE WANGWONGWIROJ I
Victors for whom?
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the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
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EDITOR IN CHIEF
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All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
FROM THE DAILY
Local ordinance dangerous to both drivers and pedestrians
n Nov. 19, Ann Arbor City Council voted 8-3 in favor of repeal-
ing the city's contentious crosswalk ordinance. Under the ordi-
nance, drivers had to stop whenever a pedestrian was at or
approaching a crosswalk - regardless of what traffic signs and lights
were signaling. While the ordinance attempted to improve pedestrian
safety in a town that increasingly pushes drivers to "share the road," the
law has put both walkers and drivers in danger. Though the city council's
decision to overturn this dangerous law is in the best interest of all Ann
Arbor's travelers, it must be followed with substantial improvements to
the city's crosswalks.
A banner for the Victors for Michigan campaign hanging outside Hill Auditorium Nov. 13. The fundraising campa
$4 billion for the University, with $1 billion directed towards student support.
In July 2010, the city's crosswalk ordinance
went into effect, stating, "When traffic-control
signals are not in place or are not in operation,
the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the
right-of-way to every pedestrian approach-
ing or within a crosswalk." Prior to the ordi-
nance, the city followed state law, which calls
on drivers to yield to pedestrians walking
through crosswalk on the driver's side of the
road. While the distinction between the local
and state laws seem slight, supporters of the
ordinance argued that the law, supported by
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hiefjte, would give the
city's pedestrians the upper-hand.
But in the three years following the ordi-
nance's passage, there hasn't been a sig-
nificant reduction of pedestrian-vehicle
accidents - in 2012, 60 accidents occurred
in the city, compared to the 36 accidents in
2006. While it's not clear if those numbers
reflect a more dangerous environment for
drivers and pedestrians or simply a rise in
commuters, they do suggest that Ann Arbor
hasn't become safe, despite the promises of
the ordinances' proponents.
The language of the ordinance may, in fact,
lend itself to more distracted drivers. Under
the ordinances, drivers have to watch for
pedestrians in a wider area as well as check
their rear-view mirrors to make sure they
would not be rear-ended should they stop
abruptly for a pedestrian crossing the street.
Perhaps most importantly, the lack of public-
ity surrounding the ordinance diminished its
potential benefits. Just one year after the law's
passage, Erica Briggs, a city planning commis-
sioner and board member for the Washtenaw
Bicycling and Walking Coalition, argued most
people are unaware that they're supposed to
stop at crosswalks. The lack of information
surrounding the ordinance is an especially
dangerous element when out-of-towners are
considered. Without clear, uniform signage
around all the city's crosswalks, tourists com-
ing into Ann Arbor are likely to not know
about their responsibilities as a driver.
If the city council passes ordinances to
improve safety, the dissemination of infor-
mation is crucial to go along with the passing
of these ordinances. City council should also
consider improving the existing crosswalks
before implementing further pedestrian regu-
lations. Many of Ann Arbor's crosswalks are
poorly lit, if at all, and have limited signage to
alert drivers to pedestrian crossings. Increas-
ing lighting, signs and roadway stripes will
improve pedestrian safety and alert drivers to
the presence of pedestrians.
In December, the city council will bring
the ordinance to a vote once again, due to a
law that mandates two rounds of voting to
overturn a city ordinance. The council should
continue to stand against the ordinance while
bringing in new safety features for the city.
On Nov. 18, a group of faith lead-
ers on campus issued a statement
contending that a T-shirt of a Vic-
tors for Michigan attendee which
read "Victors for Moral Antigayism"
is not a sentiment shared by all faith
communities. "The Victors event was
about showcasing 'the Leaders and
the Best' that this campus offers,"
the authors wrote. "The presence of
an anti-gay message had no place at
the event or on this campus."
The incident got me thinking
about the identity of the Victors for
Michigan campaign. Who can call
themselves victors? Who - and what
- are we fundraising for?
I went back to watch the campaign
promotional videos in my attempt to
answer these questions. The videos
are what you'd expect from fundrais-
ing campaign marketing materials -
inspiring and convincing. The videos
highlight the accomplishments and
opportunities that the University
offers: cutting-edge research, proj-
ects in developing countries, a vast
selection of study abroad programs
and, last but not least, phenomenal
students. I felt proud.
However, after my initial sense
of pride subsided, I felt angry. The
videos only told half the story of the
University - one that I don't com-
pletely relate to.
What was left unspoken infuri-
ated me. The University experience
is not all positive. The videos weren't
talking about those who struggle
with mental health on a daily basis,
members of the LGBTQ community
who still feel unsafe on campus, stu-
dents who have to work 40 hours
a week just to make ends meet or
sexual assault survivors whose jus-
tice the University has not fought
for. The videos do not discuss how
we often have to make the choice
between coursework and our well-
being, and that our society pressures
us to choose the former over the lat-
ter. The videos do not explain why
a student with a disability recently
informed me that he felt like the Uni-
versity does not adequately address
his needs and only goes as far as offi-
cial policies require of it.
In sum, the campaign's videos
made me feel like I don't count.
It's truly a privilege to be here at
the University where I've come to
embrace our legacy and our public
mission. But the University is not
adequately representing all its stu-
dents and it can do better.
Let me be clear: I am not adver-
sarial to the University or the Victors
for Michigan campaign. What I am
against is false advertising, elitism
and injustice. I'm against the Univer-
sity broadcasting that it has a public
mission without the public mission
being embedded in the campaign.
Yes, capital campaigns are meant to
raise money. But beyond the $4 bil-
lion target, capital campaigns should
be an opportunity for disruptive
innovation, for change and for all
of us to feel like we're together and
working towards a brighter future.
The campaign needs to tackle those
egregious cracks in our system more
than the cracks in our buildings.
What about a different kind of
video? One that says:
"Yes, we struggle with social jus-
tice. Yes, we struggle with LGBTQ
inclusion. Yes, we are aware of stu-
dents who struggle with mental
health and disability issues. We do
care about these people and we really
need your contribution to create new
programs that address these issues.
"Look, these may not sound great,
but all higher-education institutions
face the same challenges we do. We
want to truly embody the slogan
'Victors for Michigan' and make sure
that we represent all our students, so
we're highlightingthese issues today.
"We need your help more than
ever to change the system."
Now, this video would be one hell
of a fundraising tool. The big question
remains: Is the University willing to
take a risk and spread this message?
In the spirit of our public mission, I
sure hope the answer isyes.
Pete Wangwongwiroj isan
Engineering graduate student.
KATIE PARENT |
Teaching is a profession, not a stepping stone
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan,
Eric Ferguson, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Maura Levine, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble,
Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
On Nov. 13, on the top floor of C.S. Mott
Children's Hospital, I spent the evening exam-
ining the dozens of heartwarming, telling pho-
tographs that filled the room for the Save A
Child's Heart Photo Exhibition. So often, Israel
is associated with conflict, but the exhibition
highlights one of the most successful humani-
tarian efforts in Israel beyond the conflict.
The photographs, taken by diverse and
acclaimed photographers, tell the story of the
work done by Save a Child's Heart, an Israeli-
based international humanitarian project that
aims to improve pediatric cardiac care for
children in developing countries. Each picture
told a story, aiming to capture the emotions,
the patients and the doctors associated with
SACH's wide-reaching efforts. Each picture
was tastefully well done, and I felt the impact
that SACH has had on children in need of car-
The photographs depicted the emotions felt
by the SACH patients. In some pictures, chil-
dren looked somber and afraid. In others, the
children looked relieved and happy. It was pow-
erful to see glimpses of the humanitarian work
At the same time, the photo exhibition sad-
dened me. It's unsettling to know that so many
children in underprivileged areas suffer and
that so many don't have a resource like SACH
available. Despite all of their success, SACH
will never be able to cure everyailment, but the
lives they change daily putthings into perspec-
tive: Not only are we incredibly lucky to have
these resources availabletous,butwe also have
an opportunity to help. Luckily, those in Israel
and even some here in Ann Arbor have found a
way to help with SACH.
One of those people hereinAnn Arbor is the
world-renowned surgeon, Edward Bove, chair
of Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital,
who was also at the exhibition. Bove worked
with Save a Child's Heart as he trained Leor
Sasoon from 1998 to 2000 at Mott. Sasoon is
now chief of the entire cardiothoracic depart-
ment for SACH.
Bove spoke about how touching it is to
know that his teachings have helped positively
impact lives all around the world. It reminded
me that if you give a mana fish, he will eat for a
day, but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for
a lifetime. I guessthe same can be said for heart
surgery: Give a child a heart surgery; their life
will be saved. Teach a man to perform life-sav-
ing surgeries, and perhaps they will save thou-
sands of lives.
Ashley Israel, a local attorney and prominent
SACH supporter in Michigan, spoke while I
was at the exhibition and he stressed the pro-
found impact that the organization has made
and continues to make on the doctors and vol-
unteers who spend time at the Wolfson Medi-
cal Center and the SACH home in Holon, Israel.
The greatest success of the photo exhibition,
other than its ability to tangibly display the
work of SACH, is its ability to empower those in
the room to improve themselves and the world
we live in.
The exhibition, which continues at the Uni-
versity of Michigan Hillel, came to Ann Arbor
thanks to the American Movement for Israel,
a multi-opinioned, pro-Israel student group
on campus. I'm thankful that AMI and SACH
were able to bringthis exhibition toAnnArbor,
and I encourage others to check out the photos
David Weinfeld is an LSA sophomore.
The time has come where we are
being asked by everyone around us,
"So, what's next?" Many of us have
just spent the past 17 years - 81 per-
cent of a21-year-old's life - inschool.
Many ofus have plans to attend grad-
uate or post-graduate school, but the
thought of immediately committing
another two to 10 years to studying
is, at the moment, unfathomable.
Enter the gap year. Many people
see the year or two between school-
ing as an opportunity to travel or to
do research that will bolster their
resumes. Others, not knowing what
to do, figure that despite their expe-
riences (or lack thereof), they could
always "just teach." After all, how
hard could it be, right?
Teaching is one of the most mis-
understood professions in our soci-
ety. Movies such as "Bad Teacher"
and "School of Rock" feed us pro-
paganda that portrays teachers as
nothing more than babysitting free-
loaders. People who decide they'll
just teach or fall back on teaching
when they're at a crossroads in
their lives further perpetuate this
This representation could not
be further from the truth. The
best actualization I can provide of
a teacher's job is this: Imagine you
had to give a 20-minute presenta-
tion for a course. You spend hours
outside of class combing through
research, going to office hours and
gathering materials for your pre-
sentation. Now imagine the prepa-
ration that would be required if you
had to give hour-long presentations
five times a day, five days a week to
an audience with varying cognitive
abilities, attention spans and blad-
der control. Welcome to the tip of
the teaching iceberg.
Numerous programs exist that
will throw an intelligent, eager,
wet-behind-the-ears, recent college
graduate into an inner-city class-
room with a mere two months' train-
ing. To people who have dedicated
their entire undergraduate careers
to the study of education, this is
nothing short of a slap in the face.
Nearly every teacher in the nation
is required to devote a given amount
of credit hours in educational stud-
ies and at least one full semester of
student teaching, with many schools
requiring an entire year. Despite this
excessive preparation, almost all
teachers look back at their first year
on the job remembering a perpetual
raincloud of assessments, 15-hour
workdays and the reality that a bell
dictates when they are allowed to
urinate. If someone who has spent
the last five years preparing for his
or her job feels overwhelmed, how,
then, can someone with zero teach-
ing experience and two months of
"training" expect to succeed?
It's no coincidence that nearly
40 percent of teachers who enter
programs such as Teach For Amer-
ica and Teaching Fellows leave the
classroom after a mere two years.
The corps members enter the class-
room, realize they're not equipped
to teach, and only get it right after
numerous attempts and failures.
In some cases, the exhaustion that
accompanies this unpreparedness
can damage the mental health of
a fellow. That's the catch of these
programs: They recruit highly
intelligent, successful students and
set them up for massive and utter
failure that they are not used to.
While I'm a huge advocate for the
personal growth that results from
failure, I simply cannot condone it
when it affects the education and
wellbeing of children.
So, to my fellow peers who are
wondering what to do after gradu-
ation, I cannot iterate enough that
teaching is not a stepping-stone to
the next phase of your life. Teaching
is a career that nobody should enter
unless they are deeply passionate
and have extensive preparation and
experience. If you plan on leaving
education after a brief stint in the
classroom, do your sanity and soci-
ety a favor by using your gap year to
fall back on a profession that doesn't
affect our nation's future.
Katie Parent is an
Education and LSA senior.
Being Black at the University of Michigan has
many shades and many levels to what some-
one might want to speak on it. It can go from
someone being the only Black person in their
class to someone with no problems at all."
- LSA senior Eric Gaver said in an interview with The Michigan Daily about the #BBUM campaign on
Twitter. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness surrounding issues of diversity on campus.
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