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March 21, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-21

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4A - Friday, March 21, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Friday, March 21, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

4e Miinan Eat*1
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflectithe official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Let's talk about race
University departments should open discussion on race
The English Department held an open-mic event on March
18 that gave students an opportunity to discuss experiences
and issues they have had in the classroom regarding race.
We commend the English Department for acknowledging the effect
campus racial climate on classroom learning experience, and for
taking steps to effect change and improve race relations in the
department. Other University departments should follow its example.

A safer stadium

As easy as it is to hate on Ath-
letic Director Dave Brandon,
the man deserves praise
when he makes
the rare correct
decision - even
when it's com-
pletely obvious to
the rest of us.
On Mon- .
day, Brandon
announced that
the University ALEXANDER
would continue HERMANN
abstaining from
serving alcohol at
Michigan Stadium
during home football games, both
for safety reasons and the logistical
nightmare that would ensue.
Though Brandon and the
University likely never intended to
sell alcohol at Michigan sporting
events - especially to non-suite
and club-level patrons - the
issue came to a head when the
NHL's Winter Classic on Jan.
1 received permission from the
University's Board of Regents,
and through a special motion in
the state legislature, to serve beer
in Michigan Stadium. College
stadiums across . the country
sell alcohol to fans in "premium
seating," but few provide the same
forgeneral admissionticketholders.
At the same time, however, both
numbers are growing.
Anyone that's attended an NFL

game sober in the last decade can
tell you Brandon's decision is the
right move.
Long before NFL teams faced
declining ticket sales resulting
from the proliferation of high-def
television, fantasy football and all the
headaches associated with attending
games - not to mention the rising
cost of everything from tickets, to
concessions, to parking - drunken
assholes have kept fans interested in,
you know, just watching football at
bay for years. Now, the NFL's doing
everything it can to "enhance" the
in-stadium experience, including
planning to offer free Wi-Fi at all
32 NFL arenas.
Everyone has their own personal
anecdotes displaying repulsive NFL
fan behavior. Individually they
prove nothing, so I'll refrain from
sharing mine. You're welcome,
Cleveland Browns fan that dumped
a beer on me, an opposing 16-year-
old Lions fan in the Cleveland
Browns Stadium, demonstrating
the most appropriate use of a $7
Miller Lite.
Of course, Brandon's choice
will hardly prevent fans from
continuing the long-standing
tradition of getting hammered
before games or sneaking alcohol
in, but selling alcohol would almost
certainly increase the number of
negative "incidents" within the
stadium. Contrarians like to cite the
reported decrease in police arrests,

calls and charges following West
Virginia University's allowance of
beer sales during the 2011 football
season. But, I question the role of
simultaneous increases in security
at football games, or the newly
enacted policy preventing fans
from leaving the stadium to drink
in the parking lot before reentering
the stadium - a practice that's been
disallowed at Michigan for years.
Not to mention profits have
been smaller than you might think
at some other Big Ten schools.
Minnesota actually reported a loss
of $16,000 from alcohol sales for the
2012-2013 season.
Combine Brandon's declaration
Tuesday with last week's
announcement regarding the
new student ticket policy at home
football games - effectively a
mea culpa for the failed general
admission experiment - and
Brandon is on a roll.
Though both decisions are fairly
obvious steps forward to the rest
of us, given Brandon's penchant
for imbibing in unnecessary,
profit-motivated behavior at the
expense of fan and student welfare,
even small victories are worth
celebrating. Maybe with a few
more common sense judgments
we can declare that Brandon's
on his own pathway to reform.
- Alexander Hermann can be
reached at aherm@umich.edu.

Departmental action is a proper response
to student calls for racial equality on campus.
The #BBUM campaign in early
November and the United Coalition for
Racial Justice's "Speak Out" event in the
Shapiro Undergraduate Library in February
demonstrated a need to address these issues.
Facilitating open discussion in the classroom
is the first step.
However, there are several other actions
the University should take in order to create
safer learning spaces. One of the main issues
highlighted by the students at the open-mic
event was poor facilitation of classroom
dialogue by graduate student instructors
and professors. All GSIs and professors
of social science and humanities courses
should undergo training comparable to
that of intergroup dialogue facilitators to
ensure heightened sensitivity to diverse
perspectives. Instructors should also make
a concerted effort to give students "trigger
warnings" that alert them to upcoming class
materials that could be potentially offensive,
explicitor controversial.
Further, students should have the

opportunity to anonymously evaluate courses
and instructor performance at any time so
that issues can come to light while there is
still time to change instruction techniques.
These evaluations could alsobe usedtogauge
students' comfort level in class. All classes
should take part of one day duringthe first few
days ofthe semester, whensyllabiare normally
reviewed, to lay out the foundations for how
students should approach sensitive issues in
class. Additionally, departments should make
a concerted effort to teach material written by
people of diverse backgrounds in their classes.
Lastly, this effort to improve inclusivity
and classroom safety through the alteration
of group discussions, facilitations and
curriculum material should be expanded
to other social science and humanities
departments. While it may be more difficult
to make materials more accommodating in
areas such as math, science and technology,
all departments should make an effort
to promote honest discussion about the
improvements theirstudentsthinkinstructors
should be making to possibly influence
campus racial climate.

Barry Belmont, Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble,
Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Paul
Sherman, Allison Raeck, Linh Vu, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Collaboration for the pursuit of justice

CSG does not represent me

When you came up to me last year to solicit
my vote, you told me you were "about" social
justice. Alarms went off. You said you cared
about diversity. Alarms went off. You said
racism was wrong, "We all bleed red." Alarms
went off. Throughout the conversations I had
with many of you, the alarms kept going off.
There was this constant buzzing in my head
telling me to stop talking to you. My gut was
telling me to walk away from you as fast as I
could. I ignored it.
I was uncomfortable that you approached me
when I was trying to study.I was uncomfortable
that you invaded my space without asking me if
it was okay to talk to me. I was uncomfortable
that you started throwing around buzzwords
like "racism," "social justice" and "diversity"
before you even asked me for my name. But I
ignored it all. You were nice. I understood that
you were stressed with the elections and that
you were just trying to be heard. I understood
that you were passionate aboutcampus politics;
you wanted to make a difference. And so, I
ignored my feelings of discomfort to give you
a space to talk. I let you into my own, personal
space. I allowed you to push your agenda.
I did not silence you. I did not tell you to stop
speaking. I did not close the metaphorical door
in your face and say "no." I did not laugh at
you for being passionate. Instead, I gave you a
private platform for you to verbalize your hopes
for this campus. Then, when I saw your name
on the ballot, I voted for you. After all, you
seemed like you actually cared. You fooled me.
No, youdid not fool me. Youliedtome.
Yousatthere Tuesdaynight and provedto me
that I should have listened to the alarms. You
care about diversity? You care about racism?
You care about social justice? Then you should
have proved it when hundreds of students
gathered in the Rogel Ballroom, the largest
turnout CSG has had, and listened to what we
had to say. You should have pushed aside your
feelings of discomfort. You should have pushed
aside your cowardice. You should have let us
speak. Instead, you chose to silence us.
I'm a Muslim woman of color, and you
attacked my personhood when you told me I
could not speak.You reiterated violent rhetoric
that told me I was not worthyof addressingyou.
By choosing to silence me, you mimicked what
I have heard time and time again at the Univer-
sity: I have no place here. You stripped me of
any power and agency that I had in this public
space that I considered my home. You left me
crying out in frustration at that wall of silence
you built between us. You told me that it was
"not the United Nations" and that you did not

feel that the CSG hadthe authority to voteon an
issue that students themselves brought to you.
You voted to postpone indefinitely without
actually allowing the authors to introduce
what they were proposing. You said you spoke
to your constituents and asked them what they
felt about it, but you did not ask me. Not one
of you came up to me and asked me how I felt.
Am I not here?DoITnot matter? In fact, you did
not ask any of us. We are students here - why
do you not recognize that? Will we always be
invisible to you?
You destroyed my sense of belonging when
you threw your power in my face and told me
to shut up. You further twisted the knife in my
back when you walked out on me when I was
still trying to talk to you. Your looks of disgust
hurt me. You looked at me, at us, as if we were
animals at the zoo and not passionate students
who just wanted to speak. You kept pounding
that gavel, establishing your authority, and
furthering the fact that you were more relevant
than I was in those proceedings. You turned
your backon me whenI broke down and started
crying out of frustration. You left the room as
I was clawing at my throat trying to get my
words out. You were gone by the time I fell into
my friend's warm embrace and started asking
"Why won't they let us speak? Why don't they
ever let us speak?"
On Tuesday night, you silenced me. You
were directly involved in my oppression and
marginalization as a student of color on this
campus. And before one of you comments
"You're just mad we didn't choose to divest,"
that is not the case at all. To be honest, I
would not have cared as much if you voted
"no" on divestment. I was expecting that.
I was expecting disappointment. I was not
expecting you to postpone the conversation
indefinitely. I was not expecting you to deny
us a platform to speak. ' -
I am upset, disappointed, hurt, but more _
importantly, I am angry. I am angry at myself
for believing you when you said you would try
your hardest to represent me. I am angry at.
myself for giving you a space to speak when I
knew deep down that you would not do the
same. I am angry that I was right. I am angry
at you for lyingto me. You claimed to be my ally,
but yousat there and debated whether or not we
were even worth listeningto.
I am angry, and I am calling for reparations.
I want my cookie back.
You are not my ally.
You do not represent me.
Zahraa Hadi is an LSA senior.

My Jewish values, my belief in
social justice and my feelings about
Israel are all intertwined. I believe
that it is because of Jewish values
such as repairing the world, the
pursuit of justice and many more,
that I feel so deeply rooted in social
justice. It's the combination of these
values, my people's history and my
social justice beliefs that influences
my feelings about the state of Israel.
My feelings about Israel include
love and criticism, pride and
disappointment. I am critical of
many of the decisions the current
government has made concerning
settlement building, socioeconomic
status divides and issues concerning
refugees. But I am also so proud of
Israel's expression of LGBTQ rights,
commitment to sustainability and
secular gender equality. I believe
in, and am committed to, building
Israel into a light onto the nations,
held to a high standard of a Jewish
democracy, which includes justice
for the Palestinian people.
It is also for these reasons that I
am opposed to Boycott, Divest and
Sanctions and the resolution calling

for divestment of Israeli companies
proposed to the Central Student
Government. BDS is a one-sided tac-
tic that strives towards justice for
one people, without acknowledging
other narratives and other efforts
towards a sustainable peace process
that would ultimately lead to jus-
tice for two peoples. I am opposed
to BDS because I believe in posi-
tive change. I am opposed to BDS
because I believe in workingatoward
collaborative efforts with Palestine
and Israel. We can create positive
change on our campus with more
collaboration, dialogue and partner-
ship amongcstudents invested in this
issue. BDS inhibits this opportunity.
The recent language on campus,
including this resolution, articles
in the Daily and mock eviction
notices, has been dividing the
campus, shutting out dialogue and
the opportunity for narratives not
only tobe told, but to be understood
and exchanged. I want to hear more
stories and learn more of the lived
realities of my own fellow students
on this campus concerningthe issue
of Israel and Palestine. I believe

there should also be a respected
place for my narrative in this
circle. But when language is used
to block dialogue and the exchange
of multiple narratives, it's hard for
me to envision the campus climate I
wish to belong to.
I want multiple and diverse
narratives to come together
in peaceful and safe spaces on
campus - where all voices have a
space and are respected - and this
polarizing resolution is bringing
about just the opposite. I believe
we need to continue to strive for
acknowledgement, representation
and respect for all of our students
on this campus and justice for
all citizens of the world - and I
believe this includes a space for
shared diverse narratives. Only
through such collaborative efforts
do I believe we can achieve the
deserving peace for two peoples,
the deserving states for two peoples,
the deserving self-determination
for two peoples and a promising,
socially just future by two peoples.
Michele Freed is an LSA junior.

Believe in student government

I hear it time and time again:
"It's just student government - you
don't do anything and you can't
change state or federal policy. It's
not that big ofa deal." Often, when
I talk about the Central Student
Government with my friends, peers
and colleagues, this is the sentiment
I encounter. I can fully understand
this perspective and where it comes
-from, given the years of unpleasant,
contentious elections, paired with
the lack of visibility of CSG in
general. However, I have a slightly
different perspective - a rather
hopeful one.
I believe in student government.
I believe in its potential to better
the quality of daily student life and
to improve campus. I believe in its
ability to work constructively and
respectfully with the administra-
tion to make this institution of high-
er education uphold the ideals that
brought us here in the first place. I
believe in the capability of all stu-
dent leaders to positively challenge
ourselves and our administration
to Make Michigan the school we
all hoped it would be when we were
visiting campus, taking tours and
filling out applications. We had a
beautiful image in our heads for
what we would find when we got to

Ann Arbor and for many of us, our
first days on campus were so unlike
what we had imagined.
My vision for the Central Student
Government is to make substantial,
tangible change tomake all students
happier and more productive; to
engage the student body outside of
campaign season to actually involve
all student voices; to change the
culture on this campus to make
it more inclusive and cohesive. I
want to continue the great work
that current CSG President Michael
Proppe and Vice President Bobby
Dishell have started.
Being involved in student
government is a responsibility
- those elected should be held
accountable for listening to
student voices, maintaining strong
relationships with administration
and taking action on the issues
that students face on this campus.
As Speaker of the Assembly, I
have had the opportunity to work
very closely with some of the most
passionate and dedicated student
leaders at Michigan and I admire
the work they have done. I want
it to continue.
That's why I am involved with
Make Michigan. I'm here to
make this a better campus than

it was when my sister came here,
than when my brother attended
the University, than it has been
throughout my time in Ann Arbor.
when my little brother hopefully
attends the University in a few
years, I want him to have an even
better experience than his older
siblings did. I want this campus to
be safer, healthier, more diverse,
more innovative and more student-
focused for all future Wolverines.
At the end of the day, I'm not
expecting anyone to remember my
name or my face or what I specifi-
cally did on campus. And that's the
way it should be. I want students
to have more faith and confidence
in their government to effectively
represent their interests and Make
Michigan great. I want students to
only remember that student gov-
ernment collaboratively created
services, programs and events that
helped alleviate their daily stress-
es, improved their quality of life
and helped to Make Michigan the
school they had always dreamed it
would be. And I want to help.
Vote Make Michigan on March 26
and 27.
Meagan Shokar is an
LSA sophomore.

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