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January 21, 2014 - Image 4

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4A - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

4C fit tgan 4a1*19
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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.
Emergency re - evaluation
The 'U' needs to have a definitive policy in place for emergencies
The University reopened for the winter term on Jan. 8 and
remained open that week in the middle of extremely frigid
temperatures brought on by the "Polar Vortex" storm. Though
there is an emergency closure policy in place in the University's Standard
Practice Guide, the current policy isn't specific enough and doesn't include
a comprehensive action plan. According to Provost Martha Pollack, the
University didn't have the "appropriate mechanisms" to close campus
during the week of the storm. The existing policy needs to be reevaluated
in order to ensure the University is prepared for emergencies with the
safety of students and employees in mind.


Let's talk about race

The current University Standard Practice
Guide is vague regarding closure protocol.
According to the policy, in circumstances
which include severe weather, "some or all
services may be discontinued or reduced."
Likewise, a closure "may include the cessation
of non-essential services." However, the
University hasn't definitively distinguished
between essential and non-essential staff.
The well-being of students should seriously
be evaluated when reconsidering the policy.
According to the Ann Arbor Public Schools'
unsafe weather guidelines, K-12 schools are
mandated to close when the "temperature
and/or wind chill are below -200F." Similarly,
a wind chill advisory by the National Weather
Service goes in effect when wind chills are 15
degrees below zero or lower.
Other Michigan institutions have already
implemented extreme weather policies which
address issues that the University's existing
policy does not. Both Eastern Michigan
University and Michigan State University have
policies that provide various communication
channels to alert both employees and students
about campus closings. Michigan State's policy
even specifies that all departments are forced
to have emergency plans in place that include
identifying essential employees.

Closure and evacuation policies are espe-
cially important for the University around
term breaks since a majority of the current
student body are long distance travelers -
about 57 percent of students are out-of-state
residents and 9 percent are international
students. Since the reopening of the Uni-
versity coincided with severe weather this
year, many students had difficulty returning
to Ann Arbor. The many unexpected travel
delays also created issues with the academic
policy. The first classes of the semester are
often used to measure student attendance
and track waitlisted students. In an e-mail
sent to all students on Jan. 7, Dean of Stu-
dents Laura Blake Jones wrote that students
shouldn't be dropped if they were unable to
attend their first class meetings. However,
according to student accounts, some smaller
classes such as discussion sections and Eng-
lish classes were hesitant to follow the sug-
gested rule modifications. The modified
class drop policy should be made universal
throughout the University and be strictly
enforced in all departments. By includingspe-
cific definitions of severe weather and closure
policies, the University would ensure the
safety of students and employees alike during
emergency situations.

Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Rima
Fadlallah, Eric Ferguson, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay, Jesse Klein, Kellie
Halushka, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble, Michael
Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Deprived of diversity

MiC check 1, 2. 1, 2. Can you hear
us? Because we're here.
we are Michigan in Color, the
Daily's first opinion section desig-
nated as a space for and by students
of color at the University of Michi-
gan. welcome! MiC is a place for
people of color tovoice their opinions
and share experiences that are over-
shadowed by dominant narratives
- orthe history, stories and perspec-
tives that privilege conformity and
make it into the mainstream, mar-
ginalizing all other narratives in the
process. we hope MiC will elevate
conversations on race, identity, liber-
ation and social justice while engag-
ing specifically with communities of
color on campus.
Race is a topic that can elicit
several different emotions; from
shame, pride, anger, confusion,
love, discomfort, or all of the above
- this space is here to explore it
all. We want to unearth "taboos."
We want the topics that feel a
bit too coarse to talk about in a
crowded coffee shop to roll right
off your tongue in this safe space.
We want to challenge the historical
whiteness of The Michigan Daily
by creating this long-needed space
that will hopefully lead to a more
inclusive newsroom and a better
informed campus.
To kick off this exciting new
project, we will start at the roots of
MiC: What exactly does "person of
color" mean?
Person/people of color - or PoC
- is a blanket term typically used to
refer to all non-white individuals.
The termis far fromperfect. Justlook
at the definition: It doesn't say what
we are, but rather points to what we
are not. As with any umbrella term,
using the label PoC runs the risk of
collapsing many diverse and complex
identities and experiences into one
am most at home when Ilam
traveling between places.
In the eighteen years it took
me to come to
this realization,
I spent hun-
dreds of hours
on airplanes,
coming and
going between
the cities and
countries I grew JULIA
up in. As "third
culture kids," ZARINA
my friends and I
moved as easily
between time zones and continents
as we did between languages, cur-
rencies and cultures.
Growing up, we collected infor-
mation the way some people collect
postage stamps. We could both curse
and say "I love you" with conviction
in a dozen languages and eat our
mealsojust as comfortably on the floor
with our hands as with chopsticks at
a table. Like staring at a square-inch
sepia print of some distant monarch
and wondering about the place the
letter came from, I liked having just
enoughinformation aboutsomething
to be intrigued by the larger concept
it represented. My motivation to
be better was always the pursuit of
somethingjust out of reach - if I had
all of something, there was nothing
left of it to want - and so I drifted
happily from place to place and from
person to person. I was content with

the balance my friends and I existed
in. We belonged nowhere and every-
where at the same time.
For many of us, going "home" was
the hardest part. It meant trying to
make sense of a culture you were
inherently supposed to understand
and love, even when that culture
sometimes made little effort to return
the sentiment. I had endless ques-
tions, some big, some small. What
was that song on the radio? Would
wearing my favorite salwar kameez
be unwelcome appropriation of a cul-
ture no stranger would immediately
associate me with? Being"American"
seemed to require full commitment

falsely homogenous and broad group.
Many different identities exist under
the PoC umbrella, and we will never
suggest that all PoCs have the same
experiences, beliefs or priorities,
just like we will never deny that
differences and hierarchies exist
within the phrase itself. How can any
phrase encompass the experiences of
agroup of people so diverse?
It can't, so in introducing this
space, we must first recognize the
limitations of the phrase "people
of color." Instead of relying on this
very general and oversimplified
phrase to identify us, we appreciate
the power of personal narrative
in making our individual voices
and specific experiences heard,
debunking myths and unpacking
stereotypes in the process.
"Unfortunately, so many times,
people of color hear the term 'people
of color' from other white people that
(PoCs) think white people created
it instead of understanding that we
self-named ourselves," Loretta oss,
a reproductive rights activist said in
a talk about feminism. "This is term
that has a lot of power for us."
The dominant narrative often
excludes and silences the diverse
experiences of PoCs, both on and
off campus. Through MiC, we hope
to open one avenue through which
PoCs on campus can make their voic-
es heard. All posts published on MiC
are written and edited by PoCs, mak-
ing this a space that is truly ours. On
a campus that is 72.6 percent white,
having a space just for students of
color isn't just important; it's essen-
tial for our survival and thrival on
campus; this space is radical.
MiC isn't a diversity project,
because diversity is just about num-
bers, and our vision is much bigger
than any set of statistics. First and
foremost, we hope MiC will create
Flying hom
to an identity that was clearly laid out
in movies, in speech, in beliefs. Oth-
erwise, your American-ness came
with some qualifiers.
Sometimes I catch myself making
up easier truths. I tell people I grew
up in Texas, which, in the Midwest,
is just unusual enough to invite nei-
ther suspicion nor familiarity. Adapt-
ing to anew identity comes naturally,
something everyone who comes to
school here has done to some extent.
For me and many others, it can be
tempting to lose the more compli-
cated pieces of our identity in favor
of such a well-accepted new one. We
can't proudly make our own hands
into maps of Michigan - maps of our
home - when we are questioned and
say "Here. This is where I'm from.
This is me." The walls in my room are
filled with dozens of pictures - cam-
els at the market, my sister and I in
matching galabeyas, old friends, old
lovers - not because I want to relive
the past, but because I don't want to
forget it. My home isn't as much a
place as it is moments in time that are
impossible to return to.
Airports are the first home of
any third culture kid and are per-
fect environments for the kind of
self-reflection that is difficult to do
in a place like a university, where
you are supposed to be unwaver-
ingly true to an identity. I find myself
focused on tiny details about people
in a place where fleeting impressions
are the only impressions. There are

people who roll their sleek suitcases
through terminals with a stride that
carefully implies they are very busy
and their suits are very expensive. I
wonder if they think of themselves
the way that the woman working the
end of the night shift who sold them
coffee thinks of them. Is the way I
walk desperate to convey that every
adjective I embody was hard-won?
When people look at me, does a single
phrase jump to mind?
I've always loved airports
because they were our whole lives
condensed, sped up and laid out
before us for examination like film
on an editor's table. A rush of lan-

a space where we, as people of color,
are free to unapologetically express
and be ourselves as we discuss our
ideas, goals, dreams and experienc-
es while fostering this collaborative
and creative space. Not everything
in this space will tackle heavy
issues (we are people, after all), but
we expect that many of our posts
will be powerful and provocative,
discussing marginalized and trivi-
alized topics like anti-Blackness,
internalized racism and University
policies on "diversity and inclu-
sion" that so desperately need to
be part of the larger conversation
on campus.
We also want this to be a safe
space for both our writers and read-
ers, and personal attacks will not
be tolerated. This is a platform for
speaking out about the lived experi-
ences of students on campus, both
good and bad, in whatever cre-
ative form writers see fit. We aren't
hostile assailants but pursuers of
whispered memories as a source of
change instead of shame.
As the founding editors of
Michigan in Color, this project means
a lot to us. We're excited; we're ready.
If you're interested in joining our
team as a regular contributor, e-mail
us atmichiganincolor@umich.edu to
who doesn't want the commitmentcof
contributing regularly, this space is
yours to claim whenever you feel so
inclined - just e-mail us your posts!
Otherwise, we hope you become a
part of this community by engaging
with our posts and continuing the
conversationsbeyondthis space. Pick
up the MiC and share your voice.
Rima Fadallah is an LSA senior,
Jerusaliem Gebreziabher is an
LSA senior and Kayla Upadhyaya
is a Public Policy senior.
guages, destinations, stories never
heard in full, and small corners of
the world you come to know impos-
sibly well for an hour or two. Every
person passing by is unknown: in
your life for a brief, shared experi-
ence and then gone again.
On the plane, the comfortable
myopia fades away. As we gather
speed and the dots of city lights
blur into lines through the window,
there's an ambiguous sense of loss
and a familiar melancholy - a nostal-
gia for a time that hasn't passed yet.
I am never conscious of where I am
goingor where I am leaving but I am
infinitely aware of hurtling towards
some great and obscure unknown,
as though if the engines were to sud-
denly cut out the plane could just as
easily fall to earth as it could void the
laws of gravity and fall up in to the
sky, an accidental spaceship destined
for some nameless galaxy. I once
heard someone say that they imag-
ined dying tobe a little like that and
I think it mustbe true. It's a little like
being born, I guess, too. Or a little
like falling in love. Or any number of
our most important occurrences.
When you overthink your sense
of time, the other five fade out. With
this comes the inevitable epiphany
that I will never have a moment of
certainty that isn't already in the
past. From the ground it seems fatal-
istic and terrifying, but in the air it's
an entirely different matter. Without
deciding, I have an innate resolve to

do allthe things a person with no fear
of the unknown should do. I will run
to the person I love and tell them; I
will admit to any insecurity. Instead
of the usual prayers to my gods - the
gods of shootingstars and shiny pen-
nies - to help direct the outcome of
things I personally cannot, I think of
all the times I've been there before.
Every culture, every country, every
new friend, new class and new plan I
couldn't predict the ending to.
In the uncertainty I am resolutely,
perfectly athome.
- Julia Zarina can be reached
at jumilton@umich.edu.

Last November's BBUM hashtag that took
over social media for a few days temporar-
ily made room for a dialogue about the lack of
diversity at the University of Michigan. Occur-
ring simultaneously with similar movements
at other large universities, much attention
became focused on the general and widespread
lack of diversity in higher education. It seemed
that, for a moment, we, as a university but also
as a nation, were poised to call into question
our education and what it was doing to foster a
more racially aware and equitable world.
Unfortunately, as most internet-fueled
movements do, the BBUM hashtag lost its
luster. The discussion about the severe lack
of diversity at the University fell back into the
depths of academia and modern civil rights
discourse, both of which are regrettably not
sexy enough for "news" - CNN, MSNBC, let
alone FOX News. Though I felt very personally
connected to the movement, my own vigor
faded too - admittedly, it was finals time, and
so my anxieties and attention were elsewhere.
This is a new semester, though, and I do
not yet have a paper assigned. I have also been
presented with an opportunity to reconsider
and criticize what my university is doing to
fight institutional, subtle and the many other
iterations of racism. I am in my third class
within the Department of Afroamerican
and African Studies. In DAAS, I have found
the most talented, critical and personable
professors of any that I've encountered at the
University. I have also found that discussions
are livelier than in any other department and
that students feel very legitimately connected
to the material. Some things that I have
not found: people majoring in business or
economics, people majoring in engineering,
people majoring in math or people majoring
in science.
I cannot speak to the actual frequency with
which business or engineering students take
DAAS classes - or any other courses that deal
very intimately with the United States' blatant

and undeniable history of racial inequality. I
can, though, speak from my own experience
and also from these departments' degree
requirements. Undergraduate engineering
students need only complete three credits in
humanities. In LSA, to get a Bachelor of Arts
or Science degree, students must take but
one "Race & Ethnicity" course. And speaking
from experience with many students, these
small opportunities - to enhance one's
understanding of how race inflects politics,
economics and social life - are often spent in
search of easy A's to counteract the wanton
grading in science and math departments.
If we aren't taught in college - though
earlier would be better-- that racism is not gone
or, for that matter, that unfettered capitalism
is producing more and more discrepancy and
stratification in wealth, then these injustices
are doomed to continue.
In light of the #BBUM movement and my
own experiences, I am prepared to ask, what
is the University really doing to fight racism,
poverty and inequality? What is any university
or business school doing? If these things are
not central to every college student's education,
then what are the real prospects of achieving
a better world? Or perhaps I'm mistaken in
assuming that is the goal.
I know, too, that the opposite argumentcould
be brought against me. After all, I can admit
that I have never taken a college-level math
or accounting course, and most LSA students
probably do not. Granted, our abilities to cal-
culate an integral or balance checkbooks may
very well suffer. But thousands of future doc-
tors, executives, economists and programmers
- indeed high-paid and powerful people -
graduate every year without knowing anything
about the War on Drugs and that hundreds of
thousands of minorities are in prison for petty
drug offenses, their families and communities
devastated as a result. Who suffers then?
Samuel Myers is an LSA junior.

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