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February 26, 2014 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-26

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4A - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A -Wedesda, Fbruay 2, 204 Te Mchign Dily mihigadaiyco

Gi Mtihigan flatily
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Anonymous altruism

nce in a while peer pressure
produces good things, but
it also makes me question



where our
come from.
Last week a
friend of mine
nominated me
for "Feed the
Deed," a social
media initiative
led by nonprofit
Kindness Counts


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.
Changing Greek party culture
The University should better educate students on alcohol dangers
n Wednesday, Feb. 19, the Interfraternity Council amended its Social
Environment Management Policy to ban hard liquor at Tier IIIA
and IIIB parties. These registered open parties typically include
the members of the fraternity and are limited to 200 guests, and often have
crowds that are harder to control than lower-tier parties. The new policy
may help foster a cultural shift toward a safer party scene, and it is indicative
of an IFC and larger student body with a vested interest in student safety
and conscientious alcohol use. However, the University should do more
to better protect its students and foster a more responsible party culture.

is unfathomable given the polar
vortexes and all - and occasionally
gets to stay in a hotel thanks to the
generosity of the owner. A struggle
for survival, indeed.
The experience, though only a
couple of minutes, was humbling and
gave me the smallest glimpse into
what homeless life is like. In a world
where my biggest worry is about how
I may have done on the exam I just
took, here is a woman who needs to
beg for the help of others to survive.
Truly eye-opening.
While many people have also
decided to help the homeless in
their communities - notably in Ann
Arbor - through Feed the Deed,
other deeds that have been done such
as passing out motivational notes
to other students, making midterm
survival kits and donating to various
organizations. There is no doubt
that Feed the Deed has brought the
emphasis on good deeds back into
the spotlight - as sad as that is to say.
So from that perspective, I have no
complaints, and it will be an aspect I
address later on.

themselves doing good things,
which is why I chose not to do that.
The wordswere enough for me. But,
it was also part of the activity, so
I digress.
There is something to be said
about the intricate relationship
between goodness and anonymity.
For example, helping the elderly lady
across the street when no one else is
watching, and she never learns your
name. To me, that is goodness. Feed
the Deed has become something you
do to prove you are capable of helping
others, which is also a good thing
in its own right and by no means
is this saying that those who do it
are bad people whatsoever. It's just
important how we classify it.
I had a conversation with a friend
of mine questioning this point of
classification, because the other
day he gave money to a homeless
man without a Feed the Deed
nomination looming. We discussed
whether motivations even matter
because whether it was through
Feed the Deed or not, the homeless
man was still

If enforced, this amendment has potential to
curb dangerous drinking on campus. According
to the National Institutes of Health, 1,825 college
students die annually due to alcohol-related
incidents. An estimated 599,000 more students
are injured while under the influence and
690,000 are assaultedby a student who has been
drinking. The risk of being involved in a sexual
assault also increases when alcohol is involved.
According to a study published in the Journal
of the American Medical Association, nearly
half of binge drinkers reported experiencing
more than five drinking-related problems in one
year. A study published in2002 in the Journal of
Studies on Alcohol reported 31 percent of college
students met the criteria for alcohol abuse.While
drinking is an undeniable part of college culture,
banning hard liquor from large parties may help
preventinjury or death. This is a proactive step in
the promotion of campus safety, and in the long-
term may even help change campus culture by
deglamorizing dangerous drinking.
The new ban should be expanded to include
an LSA junior, said in an interview with the
Daily that he has "absolutely no plans to expand
it to Tier II or Tier IICs." Tier It parties have a
limit of 100 guests and Tier IICs are limited to
200 but are hosted by more than one fraternity.
Parties with 100 guests may still get easily out of
control, and monitoring a large group for signs
and symptoms of alcohol overdose is not easy,
despite the presence of trained sober monitors.
Additionally, by not extending the ban to larger
parties hosted by more than one fraternity,
the IFC is openly ignoring many of Greek life's
larger events. Not extending the ban to parties

with more than one host is self-serving, and the
safety of partygoers should not be ignoredsimply
because the liability and risk are more dispersed.
While this policy takes a step in the right
direction, the University needs to hold
fraternities accountable to following the law
and enforcing their existing policies and rules.
Licensedbars are highly regulated to ensure that
alcohol is not served to minors. While fraternity
parties do not sell alcohol, they do host a large
number of people. More needs to be done to
promote legal compliance.
Promoting student safety and changing
the college culture of drinking is not the sole
responsibility of the IFC. The University
needs to be more proactive in educating its
students on alcohol safety. Currently, the only
mandatory alcohol educational process for
non-Greek members is an online program
called AlcoholEdu that students complete
their freshman year. While this may be a
good first step, further education is needed to
ensure that students feel safe and confident in
their abilities to make responsible decisions.
Proper, comprehensive alcohol education isthe
best way to change the culture of dangerous
binge drinking at college parties. One way
this education could be formatted is in a
facilitated, dialogue-based seminar, similar to
Relationship Remix, which students attend
freshman year. Education should be continued
for all four years as students' habits change.
Rather thancreatingpolicies thatstop alcohol
consumption completely, it is more important
to change the culture of campus by having safer
parties. The University has the potential to build
its reputation by stepping in andtaking action.

people to go
out and do something nice for their
community, post about it on their
social networks and then nominate
their friends to do so too, usually
within24 to 48 hours.
The initiative ofFeed the Deed has
a very interesting origin. A drinking
game called Neknominate became
popular atthe end oflast year. Similar
to Feed the Deed, it involved people
recording themselves chugging
copious amounts of alcohol, posting
the video on their social networks
and then nominating their friends to
do the same. At the end of January, a
SouthAfricannamed BrentLindeque
was neknominated. Instead of
attempting the drinking challenge,
however, he bought a sandwich and
delivered it to a homeless man on
the side of the road. The video was
then seen by Canadians Josh Stern
and Russell Citron, who teamed
up to spread the initiative through
Kindness Counts, the nonprofit that
Citron runs.
For my own Feed the Deed, I
had an encounter on State Street
with a homeless lady who asked
me for some money to buy food. I
have always simply walked past
homeless people on the street, but
this time - with the nomination in
mind - I decided to help. Instead of
handing over cash though, I said I
would buy her some food. She asked
for a Jimmy John's BLT, which I
then bought and brought back to
her. I was met with a thank you and
"God bless." I responded by asking
her about how she is able to get
by every day. She told me how she
has been sleeping outside - which

after completing
my deed, I
couldn't help
question why it
was this time
that I decided to
help a homeless
person. I didn't
love the idea
of falling for a
social media
scheme, yet
at the same time
justification not t
Clearly, peer pres
But in a way, I w
with myself that Ic
more often witho
and social media,
my action. Why di
people" to tell me I
thing? Ultimately, c
it a good deed if the
get noticed for doil
probably would nev
I didn't feel the obl
seen as "the guy wh
It's also kind o
seeing people ta

given a meal and
the lady made
Ultimately, can we it across the
street. It's hard
really call it a good to disagree with
deed if the whole goal this fact, but I
couldn't help but
is to get noticed for feel my friend
did "more good"
doing it? by acting on his
own accord,
rather than on
an initiative.
there was no In the end, Feed the Deed could
o do anything. be the starting point of many more
sure succeeded. good deeds. Not a one-time deal.
as disappointed It was a refreshing reminder, in
don't help others the midst of midterm season, of
ut the pressure the thrill that comes from helping
status to glorify someone. It also made me realize I
id I need "other should do this more often. I know
should do a good there are plenty of ways to get
an we really call active and lend a helping hand, so I
e whole goal is to intend to make that happen.
ng it? After all, I The difference is that next time
er have done it if I won't be waiting for my friends to
ligation to not be like it.
so didn't do it."
& uncomfortable - Derek Wolfe can be reached
ke pictures of at dewolfe@umich.edu.

Barry Belmont, Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Kellie Halushka,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Leaving the savior mentality behind

Not your Victors

s the countdown to Spring
Break gets smaller and
smaller, I cannot wait to

At last Thursday's University's Board of
Regent's meeting, University President Mary
Sue Coleman proclaimed that "great struggles
occur at great universities," while members
of the #BBUM movement sat in the front row
with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing
the University's silencing of Black students.
Coleman's remarks were a Janus-faced affair
of culpability and triumph, complicity and
victimhood. On the one hand, the University
of Michigan has "struggled in the wake of
Proposal 2." On the other, "universities look to
us to develop new solutions." At the University,
"commitment has never waned," yet we "haven't
always gotten it right through the decades."
Cappingthis rhetorical diversity dance, a choral
group sang"Hail totthe Victors" to a roompacked
full of protesters addressing the University's
low minority enrollment, poor racial climate
and growing class inequality. Without irony,
Coleman delivered a disjointed speech which
both lauded the University's leadership and all
but admitted its utter inadequacy. Her farcical
remarks were capped with a bizarre and jarring
chorus of triumph.
The logic put forth by Coleman was as
incoherent as the rhetoric was empty. So what
allows the University to enumerate its myriad
shortcomings while simultaneously trumpeting
the triumphant narrative of the Victors? The
answer takes two forms. First, the University
co-opts student movements. The University
strategically repackages the legacy of student
activism as a part of its triumphant narrative
about the University as a nationwide leader in
diversity. Second, the University nonsensically
trumpets that very narrative despite increasing
evidence to undermine it.
The history of student activism on campus
is an important one, but can be claimed only
by the students who forged these paths.
The institution can only claim to have
been the impetus of these protests, not its
torchbearers. In 1968 when students took
over an administration building after Martin
Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, they helped
establish what is now the Department of
Afroamerican and African Studies. The 1970
strike initiated by the Black Action Movement
led to the University's first aiming for a goal of
10 percent Black enrollment. The 1987 sit-in by
the United Coalition Against Racism forced a
reluctant University to issue Nelson Mandela
an honorary degree, close for MLK Day and
eventually draft the Michigan Mandate - a

comprehensive and flexible plan to increase
diversity among students and faculty. In all of
these cases, students led and the University
followed. The point at which the University can
claim to be an inclusive and diverse institution
is a fleeting one in a long history of isolation and
unmet promises. We must create a movement
that cannot be absorbed, appropriated and
repackaged under the banner of the Victors.
There is a legacy to be claimed here, but we
must make sure that the students, and not the
administration, rightfully claim it.
The co-optation of student movements is
especially damaging when it bolsters the false
idea that the University has historically been a
safe and inclusive place for students, staff and
faculty of color. That notion is shoddy history.
Coleman can tell us that the University leads in
diversity and support for students color. Provost
Martha Pollack can tell us that the problem is
only a few years old. But too often the popular
Prop 2 narrative elides the true history. A 2008
report called Opportunity Adrift, released by
a nonprofit advocacy group, found that the
University of Michigan ranked in the bottom
quartile in minority student access and success.
It listed the University along with Indiana
University as one of two institutions to receive
"the lowest overall marks for performance
and progress." Furthermore, it was one of only
six nationwide whose ranking had dropped
from 2005 to 2008. Schools do not look to the
University as a model in diversity and this is not
a new problem. Students have long come to this
conclusion. It is time this administration does so
as well.
The University would like to think that it can
simply rebrand itself through new hires, new
positions, and new initiatives. But at this point,
the current administration has lost what little
credibility it had. If Coleman will not deliver
anything more than empty rhetoric, President-
elect Mark Schlissel must take a stand. Until
proven otherwise, his silence stands as a
tacit endorsement for this administration's
inaction. As Barbara Ransby, former United
Coalition Against Racism activist, told a crowd
of over 1,000 at the Speak Out in the Shapiro
Undergraduate Library last Tuesday, students
must continue to be "the conscience of this
institution." Now it is time for the institution to
demonstrate that it has one.
This article was written by members of
United Coalition for Racial Justice.

simply go home
and hibernate
for several days
straight, eat non-
dining hall food
and continue
my rampage of
Netflix's watch
instantly library.
However, I'm
also aware of the
fact that a large


majority of my
friends and peers are preparing for
a different experience - a week-long
service trip.
Service trips have become
somewhat of a trend at the University,
whether one participates through
Alternative SpringBreak, Foundation
for International Medical Relief
of Children, the Ginsberg Center,
or your own student organization.
Some of these trips are domestic, as
close as Detroit, others international,
going to various countries in South
America. I have heard incredible
testimonials of those who choose to
attend a service-based spring break
of some sort, claiming it as a sort of
"life-changing" experience, but I am
always left wondering, how much
can you really affect a community in
one week? What's the point?
Granted, this may just be some
of my cynicism shining through. I
don't want to say that these trips are
all completely worthless; in fact, I
almost did an ASB this year myself
I also know that many of these
organizations, particularly ASB,
are becoming aware of the "savior"
mentality and talking to students so
they do not feel that they are saving
a community. But, I still worry
that not all individual participants
understand one's role as an outsider
entering a community, especially
when it is only for a week.
First of all, it's very unlikely that

a person can understand the day- peoples - need be extended less and
to-day struggles a community faces. less in supplication, so that more and
Sure, you'll see it for a week, but more they become human hands
the largest part of privilege is being which work and, working, transform
able to step in and out of feeling the world."
powerless, while others live it every Freire continually discusses the
day of their lives. Realizing this importance in recognizing one's
imbalance in power and experience privilege and accepting that one
is the first step to being respectful is part of the oppressing group,
during a service trip. even if you are not necessarily
Next is realizing that, ideally, it participating in the oppression.
will be alearningexperience forboth Recognizing the ability of the
communities, but especially yourself. oppressed is equally important; as
The community you are entering Freire says, forcing the oppressed to
may gain something from you, but continue to extend their "trembling
the largest gain will be that they are hands" continues the cycle of"I can
willing to let you enter their home help you and you should accept my
and space. Accepting this offer with help." Trusting the oppressed to
humility is key, because in no way advocate for themselves is critical,
does this community need to allow because it shows that the oppressors
you in. understand the full humanity and
The most important part is believe the oppressed have just as
engaging in a two-way dialogue much power.
with the community at hand, rather At this point, I am reminded of
than simply wanting to "help." the wonderful words of Indigenous
Helping implies that you are above Australian activist Lilla Watson:
someone else and have something "If you have come here to help me,
for him or her to gain or benefit you are wasting your time. If you
from. In reality, have come here
the community because your
will probably liberation is
not change The largest part of bound up with
much from is being able mine, then let us
your work ina privilege work together."
week, but your to step in and out of As you rebuild
perspective houses, work in
will be forever feeling powerless, medical clinics,
changed by even volunteer with
a small insight while others live it. nonprofits,
into a certain make meals
injustice or in homeless
inequality. shelters, or play
One of my favorite philosophers, with orphaned children, remember
Dr. Paulo Freire, writes in his this: however important you feel,
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, "True the role that the community you're
generosity consists precisely in visiting will be more significant. Our
fighting to destroy the causes which liberation depends on them and their
nourish false charity. False charity power to fight against the oppression
constrains the fearful and subdued, and helping hands that have been
the 'rejects of life,' to extend their imposed upon them.
trembling hands. True generosity
lies in striving so that these hands - Harleen Kaur can be reached
- whether of individuals or entire at harleen@umich.edu.

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