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January 30, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-30

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4A - Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A -Thusda, Jauar 30 201 Th Mihiga Daly micigadaiyco

KARA ARGUE

E-MAIL KABA AT KARGUE@UMICH.EDU

C4be 1idhiian aUt
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Moving'forward' again
Obama must follow through on issues affecting University students
n Tuesday night, President Barack Obama reviewed his
administration's achievements and presented his vision for the future
i ofthe nation in his State ofthe Union address.While Obama addressed
many pressing issues, he also covered topics of interest to University students.
Among those topics, Obama discussed his efforts to improve the educational
accessibility for all students, make higher education more affordable and a plan
to assist a bankrupt Detroit. Stating these issues is one thing, but we must hold
Obama to his word as he goes forward in his second term.

During the address, Obama made a note-
worthy reference to the White House's College
Opportunity Summit, saying, "150 universities,
businesses and nonprofits have made concrete
commitments to reduce inequality in access to
higher education - and help every hardwork-
ing kid go to college and succeed when they get
to campus.' The main aims of the conference -
fairer standardized tests, making college more
affordable and increasing opportunities for low-
income students - were warmly received by over
100 colleges and universities, whose presidents
pledged to further the summit's goals. Among
those institutions were Massachusetts Institu-
tion of Technology, Georgetown University, The
University of California, Berkeley and Colum-
bia University. The University of Michigan did
not sign in support of these efforts. The White
House's efforts to make college more accessible
are clearly commendable, and seemingly coin-
cide with the University's claims to want to fos-
ter both socioecdnomic and racial diversity. The
University should support these actions by the
White House. Furthermore, Obama should pub-
licize these actions outside the SOTU, and make
the push for accessibility a more public cause.
For years, Obama has championed higher edu-
cation as a tool of upward social and economic
mobility. Inhis recentspeech, Obamamentioned
Congress' efforts to "redesign high schools and
partner them with colleges and employers" so
that all American children will have a better
chance at attaining a college education. Momen-
tous changes have in fact been made with the
nation's highest high-school graduation rates in
over 30 years. However, statistics are not enough.
In a 2013 report from ACT, Inc. nearly one third

of students metzero of the four college-readiness
benchmarks. Only 39 percent of students met
threeormoreofthebenchmarks. Similarly, near-
ly650 percent of first-yearcollege students discov-
er they are not ready for postsecondary education
and must take remedial classes. If Obama contin-
ues to champion the American Dream of a college
education, the administration must find practical
and successful ways to help students transition
from a secondary to postsecondary education.
In his speech, the president also discussed the
auto industry, specifically referencing Detroit
manufacturing. The president introduced an
initiative for the country's training programs
to "train Americans with the skills employers
need, and match them to good jobs that need
to be filled right now." Detroit is a city sorely in
need of skilled labor. Obama's proposal is one
that could fill the open job market in Detroit and
assist the city in its path back to prosperity. Simi-
larly, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has laid outa
plan to supply an extensively trained workforce
by bringing immigrants to the city. Snyder aims
to work with the U.S. State Department to grant
visas to skilled immigrants to satisfy the needs of
Detroit employers.
While an obstructionist Republican-con-
trolled House of Representatives makes it diffi-
culttoexpectsweepingreformsinthe president's
second term, students can at least expect Obama
to accomplish some of his goals through execu-
tive orders and directing the federal agencies to
focus on alleviating the challenges facing young
Americans. His rhetoric is a welcome acknowl-
edgement of many of the issues facing the nation,
but only bipartisan proposals and action can rem-
edy them.

Loks lke
so r-s How DIO
TH ISH A PPSr J
0
Waste of the union
atching the State of the applications from convicted felons, to prison over drugs.
Union on Tuesday night, regardless of the crime. This is a winning issue.
I wanted to hear five In 2004, Obama put it quite elo- I know the president is afraid of
words and five quently: "The war on drugs has been losing popularity and alienating
words only: end an utter failure." people on both sides of the aisle, but
the war on drugs. Today the United States has over he needs to realize he's already done
Before Presi- 2 million incarcerated citizens with that. From Obamacare, to drone
dent Barack $70 billion in costs for corrections strikes, to the NSA scandal and the
Obama was even and incarceration. Huge portions of economy, Obama has made enemies
in college, he both of these statistics are thanks with both progressives and right-
spent his days to the war on drugs. Half of federal wingers. He has accomplished very
and nights in JAMES prisoners are serving time for non- little of note in the last few years,
Hawaii hang- BRENNAN violent drug offenses, with U.S. tax- and sadly, it seems the man elected
ing out with the payers being billed some $51 billion to bring hope and change has only
now-infamous a year for prisons and enforcement. reinforced our country's ideology
"Choom Gang." The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that politicians bringneither.
Choom is an old euphemism for that the totality of the war on drugs If I were Obama, I'd take a cue
smoking weed, an activity Obama has cost America over $1 trillion in from a more popular leader: Pope
and his pals participated in quite taxes. That's not including the count- Francis. Pope Francis has said and
frequently. Not surprisingly, last less billions that we have lost from done things no other Pope has, and
week the president came to the those who have been thrown in jail his simple actions and words have
same conclusion a lot of other for- and labeled felons for life, unable to inspired new debates and discus-
mer and current marijuana users get housing or jobs. sions that may change the world's
have - the substance is no more We all know the State of the Union political, social and economic tra-
dangerous than alcohol. address is a joke. It means very little jectory. It was unthinkable a few
Obama famously joked in 2006, in terms of both politics and sub- years ago to imagine a Pope saying
"I inhaled frequently. That was the stantive policy, but for some reason heisn'tinapositionto judge gaymen
point." While Obama can look back 40 to 50 million people still watch it and women or to call on the church
at his pot-smoking (and coke-snort- every year. If there were ever a time to stop talking about abortion and
ing) days with humor, millions of for the president to call for an end to contraception, let alone start talk-
young men like him are imprisoned America's longest war, it was Tues- ing about income inequality and the
every day for drugs and released day night. poor. This unthinkable situation led
years later only to be treated like Obama has articulated the same to Pope Francis becoming, poten-
second-class citizens. Though our vision at all of his other State of the tially, the most popular pope the
chief executive believes marijuana Union addresses. It has gotten us world has yet to see.
is less dangerous than a legal sub- almost nowhere, especially with Calling for an end to the war on
stance, police and prosecutors con- the current Republican Party hold- drugs could be the president's Pope
tinue to send people to jail for pot ing the House of Representatives. Francis moment, and it could very
and other nonviolent offenses every Article after article came out this well be his legacy if he chooses.
day - offenses Obama committed week discussing the insignificance Obama probably won't see the drug
plenty of times as a young man. of the State of the Union, especially war end during his time in office,
Had Obama been caught smoking recently. Had Obama called for an but the conversation has to begin
pot or doing blow when he was my end to the war on drugs, the coun- somewhere; someone needs to
age, it's likely he would have been try would have been set ablaze (no start talking.
convicted of a felony and barred for pun intended). How about the guy with the
years from voting. He would also The majority of Americans favor microphone?
have been automatically disqualified legalizing marijuana, while a huge
from jobs with arbitrary criminal majority of people in both Texas and - James Brennan can be
background screenings that toss any California are tired of sending people reached at jmbhree@mich.edu
MARY BRIDGET LEE
An optimistic vision
During Tuesday's State of the for us and saved money for students jobs to help pay for their education.
Union address, I was proud to hear across the country. Along these same lines, Congress
our president talk about the issues In Michigan, a state controlled by should immediately renew emergen-
that matter to Americans, especially Republicans at every level of govern- cy unemployment insurance. In our
those that impact us as students. ment, college becomes less afford- state, Michiganders have lost these
From the skyrocketing cost ofcollege able every day. Gov. Rick Snyder has vital benefits. Without unemploy-
to the importance of raising the min- repeatedly demonstrated a lack of ment insurance, these people may
imum wage, the vision the president concern for education, cutting more struggle to put food on the table for
laid out last night is distinctly Ameri- than $1 billion from K-12 funding in their families and lack resources like
can - infused with the optimism and 2011 and watching higher-education gas money to effectively search for
pragmatism that has always kept our funding fall by 11 percent since tak- jobs. Obstructionist Republicans are
nation moving forward. ing office. These cuts result in lower blocking these bills in Congress, and
By making the issues so important quality and more expensive educa- we should stand up to them - now is
to our generation a priority, Presi- tion. Obama reminds us that it's time not the time to play political games
dent Barack Obama has commit- to elect leaders who will make educa- while hurting our economy.
ted to leading our nation to a bright tion a priority. Throughout his presidency,

future. We know that the cost of col- Notably, the president also dis- Obama has fought to expand oppor-
lege is unacceptably high, and it isn't cussed that Congress needs to step tunity for all Americans - espe-
going to go down overnight. But this up to boost our economy and help cially young people. As a member
president has put college affordabil- the American people. By heeding the of the College Democrats, I'm fired
ity front and center, from creating a president's call and raising the mini- up to continue to stand with Obama
College Scorecard, to helping inform mum wage, Congress would affirm in this fight. It's our responsibil-
students about financial aid opportu- that it is unacceptable for a person ity to hold Congress and Washing-
nities, to keeping student loan rates to work full-time and live below the ton accountable to ensure that our
low. When Republicans in Congress poverty line. Raising the minimum futures are as bright as they can be.
were ready to abandon us by dou- wage isespeciallyimportanttoyoung
bling interest rates, Obama stood up people, many of whom rely on hourly Mary Bridget Lee is an LSA junior.
TAYLOR NORTON|
Does it make a sound?

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Barry Belmont, Alex Bear, Rima FatIlallah, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay, Kellie Halushka,
Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm, Matthew
Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

Republican response
solidifies gender norms

addressing the issu
sive speech of the y
There was non
women in the wor

TO THE DAILY: an attempt at addre:
As a moderately conservative female at the and how McMorris
University of Michigan, I am oftentimes iso- thing that could h
lated from my peers. Finding firm ground to GOP. Instead, McM
stand on as a conservative female has become picking apples on t
increasingly difficult. The phrase "Republican ing a nice gentlema
women" incites images of Michele Bachmann Congress and raisir
and Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, after the State life's unexpected ch
of the Union, the GOP did yet another disser- Unfortunately, M
vice to young women like myself. the predominant cot
Republican leaders, in an effort to skirt females smile, talk p
accusations of a "War on Women," strategized of their power deri
that these problems would all go away if they roles rather than in
chose a female speaker for the Republican will not be accepted
response. This could have been an effective McMorris stated s
plan, had the speech even remotely pertained empower people, no
to any one of the political issues that mat- however, only empo
ter to liberal and conservative women alike. to continue margina
Instead, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris comrades and me to
Rodgers ignored almost every point made on Women alone.
about women in President Barack Obama's
speech. She gave a nice little chat that resem- Katie Koziara
bled an episode of Sesame Street rather than Public Policy junior

es in the most comprehen-
ear.
mention of equal pay for
kforce. There wasn't even
ssingthe "War on Women"
defies this notion - some-
have actually helped the
Morris painted a picture of
he farm as a child, marry-
n she met while serving in
ng her family while facing
hallenges.
lcMorris' speech solidifies
nservative norm that unless
olitely and insist the source
ves from traditional female
telligence or ambition, they
I into the Republican Party.
he "came to Congress to
t politicians." Her remarks,
wer Republican leadership
alizing females, leaving my
continue fighting the War

Students must demand the victim? There needs to be far more trans-
parency into the entire process. It can't stop
answersfrom 'U' here. It is simply unacceptable that the inves-
tigation took as long as it did, considering the
TOI'HE DAILY: absolute seriousness of the charges against
To say I am disappointed with how the Uni- Gibbons. We as a collective student body must
versity handled the sexual assault accusations demand more answers from University admin-
against former kicker Brendan Gibbons would istrators. We absolutely cannot let this story
be a massive understatement. I have never been die quietly.
more ashamed of the University I have so long Sexual assault and rape are incredibly cata-
proudly called my own. strophic' and life-altering tragedies that leave
The incident in which Gibbons was accused deep, and oftentimes, permanent wounds. I,
of assault was first reported to authorities in for one, do not accept the University's slow
2009. Almost four full years later, the Universi- response and find the way the situation was
ty takes action by expelling him. The expulsion handled appalling. All signs point to the Uni-
convenientlycoincideswith the endofGibbons' versity looking to cover up potentially bad
eligibility as a college football player. publicity, and not doing everything possible to
Why did it take four years to investigate the protect its students.
accusation? Why was he allowed to continue Is this the Michigan Difference?
playing and representing the University while
such serious charges were leveled against him? Al Alsaidy
What support, if any, did the University offer to Engineering junior

Last Saturday, President Barack
Obama established the White
House Task Force on Protecting
Students from Sexual Assault, reaf-
firming his administration's com-
mitment to fight sexual violence on
college campuses.
In a Title IX procedure in Decem-
ber, the University permanently
separated a student athlete from our
institution after naming him respon-
sible for a sexual assault committed in
2009. While the reality of the assault
and the subsequent years of inaction
are deeply disturbing to our commu-
nity, we can count this as an enormous
success for our new Title IX policy.
This thorough and conclusive inves-
tigation suggests that we are finally
on the right track, that the University
administration has, like Obama, re-
committed itself to creating a safe
environment for everyone on our cam-

pus. So far, there has been no official
statement from any department of the
University administration. The ques-
tion remains: why are we ignoring
such an enormous success?
The I Will campaign was designed
to challenge the University commu-
nity to engage in difficult, yet neces-
sary, dialogue about sexual violence
and the silence surrounding this
instance is greatly disappointing to
us. When faced with an epidemic in
our own community, it is our duty as
the leaders and the best to seek it out
and eliminate it - a duty that in this
case, was ultimately fulfilled. How
can we lead by example if nobody
gets the chance to hear about it?
This is our campus. It's our busi-
ness. When sexual violence haunts
our friends and peers, their struggles
mustn't languish in obscurity. As a
community, we deserve all the facts

we need to ensure the safety and
prosperity of the people we love. This
silence must be broken.
In ignoring this enormous suc-
cess, we reject an opportunity for
silent survivors on campus to wit-
ness the justice lying within their
reach, and prevent the courage of
their peers from inspiring them to
seek the help and support that they
deserve. This is inexcusable.
Please join the I Will Team on
Friday, Jan.31 at 2:30 p.m. at Amer's
on Church Street for a conversation
about the evolving Gibbons sepa-
ration and Obama's newly formed
task force. We're done with the
silence. We'll be there.
Will you?
Taylor Norton is a School of
Music, Theatre, and Dance senior
and campaign director of I Will.

I

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