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Page 4A Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Michigan Daily -- michigandailycom 40

Page 4A -Wednesday, September17, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom 0

o Mihigan, aly
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 of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
F R OM T HE D AILY
"es means Ves
New policy and legislation can prevent future sexual assaults
exual assaults on college campuses have become a growing
concern as 78 colleges and universities - including our own
campus - are under Title IX investigation. States are trying
to remedy the problem by implementing legislation to prevent sexual
assault and support survivors. In particular, the California state
government has shifted the language regarding consent from "no means
no" to "yes means yes," and requires certain guidelines for survivor
support and awareness. Given the surge of sexual assault cases, the state
of Michigan and the University should review their current policies
on sexual assault and implement elements of California's legislation in
order to create a safer campus environments across the state.

Diversity divide

To jog all our beach- and beer-
fried brains and brief the
freshmen and others now
joining us: The
Diversity Debate
is not resolved.
Summer
vacation may
have paused
last year's
heated emotions YARDAIN
and tempered AMRON
discussions, but
we still have
much work to do. All of us.
The quick synopsis goes like
this: In November, students of
the Black Student Union, freshly
incited by a racist "Hood Ratchet"-
themed frat party, organized a
Twitter campaign dubbed #BBUM
- Being Black at the University
of Michigan. It went viral, and
three months later, after more BSU
protests, sit-ins and meetings with
the administration, our University
was typified in a front page New
York Times article headlined,
"Colorblind Notions Aside,
Colleges Grapple With Racial
Tension."
I reported on the first BSU
protest for The Michigan Daily
(back on MLK Day), and the scene
is seared in my memory: About 15
Black students on the steps of Hill
Auditorium - faces discontent but
determined, voices exasperated
but forceful - making deep-rooted
demands of the administration
before a small crowd of mostly
every-other-color spectators
snapping cellphone pics with
flippant flash.
On one level, this bisected
protestor-spectator dynamic
makes total sense: The BSU's
primary concern (and justifiably so)
is Black Student Welfare; and while
idealists might wish otherwise, we
often care most about problems
related to our own identities.
But on a more complex level,
the spectator sofa that much
of the student body and I have
cozied onto is inexcusable: 2014
is not 1968. Today, the fight is not
against segregation, nor solely for
Black Student Welfare, but for all-

encompassing "Diversity," as our
University frames it (and as most
other colleges and universities do,
for that matter). The word is big,
vague, wondrous and sure feels
far away, but two things about
the Diversity problem are certain:
We're all implicated in the problem
and we each can do something about
it today.
First, We (the administration,
faculty and students) should cease
our paralyzing obsession with
minority enrollment numbers.
Black student enrollment has been
stuck at around 5 percent for years,
and the 2006 ban on affirmative
action, which is partly to blame for
the abysmal number, was upheld
by the U.S. Supreme Court just this
year.Reversingthebanand boosting
minority enrollment would surely
improve the landscape, but it would
be a Band-Aid on a wound as deep
as the Middle Passage.
We should stop muddling the
concepts of Affirmative Action and
Diversity. Racial Diversity is semi-
superficial, and I've yet to hear of a
statistical formula proven to create
Diversity. Real Diversity is more
personal, more interpersonal, more
challenging, than cold numbers. It
demands we change ourselves and
consciously rethink and relearn the
ways we perceive, act and interact
with each other across all color and
cultural borders.
I'm confident the large majority
of us want Real Diversity, which is
noble. I just don't see enough of us
confronting the problem.
Take my own pale ass: Most of
my friends are white - check; a
majority are probably middle-class
- check; and yeah, a lot of them
are Jewish - check. We all do it
to an extent - surround ourselves
with people like us, that look, think
and like like us - and that's more
than OK.
But is it taboo to say that I
want the opposite of our blatantly
segregated Greek Life System?
That I want my pool of friends to
be Muslim, Black, poor, White, gay,
Asian, disabled, Hindu, Hispanic,
transgender, rich and everything
in between, so that our distinct

cauldrons of ideas and experiences
can bubble, blend and congeal into
wonderful new creations? Race is
just one piece of the cake.
That's why the racial archipelago
we call our University community
deeply troubles me.
Take the Trotter Multicultural
Center, which I visited a few weeks
ago to interview new director
Jackie Simpson.
First established in 1971 fresh
off the Civil Rights Movement, the
"Trotter House" was originally
'envisioned as a safe space for Black
students. But a decade later Trotter
rebranded as a "Multicultural
Center," to both distance itself from
segregational undertones that are
no longer socially acceptable, and
attempt an all-student inclusionary
approach. But more than 30 years
later, Simpson admitted that a
"disconnect" between the Center's
new multicultural mission and
historical Black haven mission,
persists. "Some students just don't
believe Trotter is a place for them,"
Simpson said.
But there's also good news,
and we should thank the BSU for
catalyzing much of this.
First, we now have Michigan
in Color, the Daily's new space
for students of color to express
their identities.
And thanks to another BSU
demand, plans to move Trotter to
a more centrally located lot are
already in motion, and monthly
public focus groups will be
offered by the University through
November to gather students'
opinions about what a new Trotter
should be.
Simpson and I agreed that who
shows up to those focus groups will
be telling. If it's just Black students,
Trotter will likely remain a Black
haven. But if it's all colors, cultures,
identities, and "standing room
only," as Simpson and Ihope, we will
have seized a golden opportunity
to create a multicultural haven for
Diversity. The first focus group will
meet on Sep. 25. I'll be there.
- Yardain Amron can be
reached at amron@umich.edu.

PassedinthestateSenateinAugust,California
State Bill 967 will require all post-secondary
institutions that receive state-financed student
aid in California to redefine consent within
their sexual assault policies. The core message
that the state is trying to spread is that giving
consent means a person has verbally consented
to sexual activity and has the full ability to
do so - which requires that they must not be
inebriated or under the influence of a substance
that alters the decision-making process. The
bill is unique in that it ties state aid to colleges'
and universities' sexual assault policies, forcing
school administrators to update their policies
in order to continue receiving funding. Not only
does this bill safeguard students' safety, but it
goes on to require that schools have effective
systems in place to address the issues of sexual
assault that do arise. Other provisions in the
bill require colleges and universities to create
comprehensive prevention programs and
survivor-centered sexual assault policies that
ensure colleges help sexual assault survivors
seek medical care, counseling, legal assistance
or any other service requested.
Unfortunately, the Michigan state legislature
has yetto implement asimilar policyor consider
analogous legislation. Furthermore, the state
doesn't clearly define anything regarding
consent. Definingconsentisimperative, asdoing
so gives the judicial system a clear and defined
way to deal with such cases. About 60 percent
of rape cases go unreported, indicating that the

majority of offenders receive no punishment.
It's crucial that the University act proactively
by implementing policies and strengthening
resources available to survivors. One way to do
so is by hiring a sexual assault nurse examiner at
University Health Service, atrained professional
who has the proper experience and knowledge
to help survivors. Currently, the only SANEs in
Ann Arbor are at the University Hospital and St.
Joseph Mercy Hospital. The University should
offer a SANE during normal business hours to
ensure a continuation of the healing process for.
survivors. The University should also continue
its sexual health and assault education of
students past freshman year. The Relationship
Remix program required of new students
educates students on proper sexual conduct,
including defining consent, but it only reaches
students in their freshman year. Continuing
the conversation and education on campus
is important for raising awareness of and
preventing sexual assault, and can be done easily
through methods such as reminding students at
athletic events or flyering on the Diag.
Both the state of Michigan and the
Universityshould implementlegislation similar
to California's "Yes Means Yes" legislation. Not
only does this legislation change the language
of consent, but it also enforces support for
survivors and awareness through funding. In
order to make a lasting change in preventing
sexual assault, it is essential to create a culture
of awareness.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Barry Belmont, David Harris, Rachel John, Nivedita Karki,
Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Linh Vu,
Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe

4

I

MARS HARMON V
A Rick's night gone wrong
Welcome week quickly fades to a blurred common for a woman to be sexually assaulted
reel of cheesy snapshots as August transitions on the streets of a dark city, even Ann'Arbor,
to September: dresses and sandals, warm where there have been many reported and
laughter, red cups, porch hangouts and unreported sexual assaults. However, despite
extended coffee dates. For some of my friends our pleas to grab our abandoned friend, the
and me, this also meant using the warm air and guard boys persisted that we could not re-enter.
free time to dance a weeknight away at the (in) A minute or two into our confrontation with
famous Rick's American Cafe. the guard boys, another boy who had been in
On our way we picked up some friends, the club that night ran up to the door and asked
and as the night unfolded we danced and if he could run in to grabhis debitcard - he was
hugged bodies with familiar faces, jovial and immediately re-admitted. This made us fume
intoxicated, celebrating life as 21-year-old with rage. I wondered aloud,"Isapiece ofplastic
University kids. Friends came and went, kissing so much more important than a PERSON??"
our cheeks as they scampered out the door. As The boy countered: "It's a debit card."
the night came to its organic closure, I was left Frustrated by our decision to fight back,
with my two girlfriends - one of whom was off one of the guards sassily told us that we could
talking to someone near the bar. "take it up with the manager" if we wanted
Marching through the club to the dance to re-enter. His tone suggested that we would
floor with one friend's hand in mine, my friend make a fool of ourselves asking, because the
stopped to yell at a boy we had just passed. manager would never let us in.
Red and flustered, she explained to me that he After more futile attempts to reason with
grabbed her ass as we walked by. Unnerved by the boys, we approached the manager of the
aggressive male attention, we walked quickly club who was talking to some policemen on the
toward the exit so she could take a deep breath sidewalk, and because he was a fair man - or
outside. As soon as we exited the doors, we maybe because the cops were watching - he
realized that we had left our last lingering immediately required his guard boys to let us in
girlfriend in the club, intoxicated and alone, to retrieve our friend.
without trusted bodies to walk her home. That night I felt like a victim. I felt complete-
Immediately we turned back to the two ly powerless as a woman trying to protect my
boys guarding the doors and asked if we could girlfriends. These buff white boys at the door
quickly run in and grab our friend who had could have easily stopped me had I tried to fight
been left alone in the basement of Rick's. They my way through them to my friend. They were
denied our access explaining that they were no in control of her safety, of my power and of my
longer offering admission to the club, and that ability to follow my overwhelmingly strong
they were trying to get people out at this hour instincts to retrieve and protect my friend.
of the night. It seems like every day I read articles in
We were completely taken aback. Our friend the paper about the movement to create
was alone in a dark club full of aggressive men, justice for rape victims on campuses, to
and we were raised with the attitude that you launch movements to teach men not to assault
never leave a girlfriend alone. We were taught women. I get UHS alerts regularly about the
that we could leave our male friends alone if latest woman assaulted on the street at night.
they like. Women are constantly told to watch I console friends about their traumatizing
our drinks, carry mace, wear nail polish to test experiences and build rage-filled calluses for
our drinks for roofies, learn self-defense, never the continuing subjugation of women in our
walk home alone, not trust strangers and not get contemporary society. We need to learn. We
too drunk. need to fight. We need to protect our women.
We persisted and continued to argue that we She was left to fend for herself. A boy's
would just be a moment; we had to retrieve our credit card was quickly retrieved. Hey, it was
female friend who was alone in a packed club important. It was his debit card.

The lady with the dog

This is how you tell the true
story of the dead dog in
the suitcase:
"So, this
girl a friend of
mine met in
New York over
the summer -"
You begin
that way, even
though it isn't q
strictly factual. AVERY
This friend of DIUBALDO
yours never
met the girl,
though she did
once meet this girl's cousin at an
art gallery opening. But you can't
say so; your listener has played
childhood games of Telephone and
is dubious of any story with more
than two degrees of separation
between its source and its teller.
"... this girl, she knew this wealthy
couple in Midtown, and they offered
to pay her to apartment-sit for them
while they went away for a week on
business in Chicago -"
Any city will do, but Chicago
is best.
"... and to take care of their dog
while they were away. But the dog,
they said, was old, andsick, and in the
event that it die during their trip, she
had been provided with the number
of their personal veterinarian.
"So, she takes the job. About
three days in, she comes back to the
apartment to spend another night,
and the dog is dead."
No surprise.
"She calls the vet, but they're
closed, and she waits 'til morning.
She calls again, and the vet says that
of course he'll take care of the body,
but he can't pick it up himself. She
has to go to his office, in the Upper
East Side, and make the delivery
personally. But she doesn't have
a car, so her only option is to take
the subway."
Notice the implication that she

spent the night in the apartment
with the dead dog; these grim
details are what keep the story
humming in the listener's ear long
after the telling has ended.
"She takes the dog and stuffs it
into a suitcase."
Take a moment to encourage the
listener to perform his own imagi-
native detective work in determin-
ing both the size of the suitcase
and the breed of the dog. I picture
a Border Collie crammed into a
briefcase, the kind a lawyer might
carry, with the tail curled around
the inside edges to make room. But
most people seem to assume it's a
Black Lab, zipped into one of those
travel suitcases with wheels.
"She's on the subway, early in the
morning, on an empty car. After
a while, a guy in a suit gets on and
sits across from her, and they ride
in silence."
It really is best if you have him in
a suit.
"Eventually
he strikes up a
casual conver- But the tr
sation: where -
she's from, made of pc
where she'sn -i-o
going, that kind nor is1i on
of thing. Finally that thi
he asks, what's
in the suitcase? story d
They're still _
alone on this
subway car, and she doesn't want to
say a dead dog, for obvious reasons.
So, she panics, and says the first
thing out of her mouth, which is, for
some reason, 'computer parts.'
"'Computer parts?' the guy
says, as the train is pulling into the
station. 'That's right,' the girl says.
'That's interesting,' he replies, and
just as the doors open, he punches
her in the face, he grabs the bag,
he runs onto the platform, the
doors close, and the train takes
off, with her in it, standing there,

empty-handed."
And that's it. That's the end of
the story. Here you can say "and
that's the end of the story," but it
won't stop your listener from asking,
"What happened then?" and "Was
she OK?" and "Why didn't she just
take a taxi?" You could answer
these questions. But it would be a
disservice, I think, to the tale you've
told. It's best to answer, truthfully,
that you don't know, that there the
story ends, its characters obscured
by the fog of history.
The listener must wonder alone
in the moments and days to follow,
turning the events over in her head,
and then relate them aloud to others,
making her own sense of them,
becoming the storyteller herself. The
particulars change with each telling,
as they have changed: The apartment
in Midtown becomes a house in the
suburbs; the lonely morning subway
car now departs at night. But the
truth is not made of particulars,
nor is it on
particulars that
uth is not this "true" story
depends. Only a
ariculars, few images must
remain constant,
partiul.. r shrouded and
S "true" striking-sharp as
the stalagmites
epends. rising up from
the dark mouth
of a cave: a girl,
standing motionless on a train car,
her nose just beginning to trickle
with blood; a veterinarian waiting on
a client who no longer needsto arrive,
who will never arrive; a thief in a
suit with his thumbs on the latches
of a suitcase, bent-over and coiled,
expecting riches.
Special thanks to Taylor Norton, a
friend of mine who, perhaps, met this
girl in New York over the summer--
- Avery DiUbaldo can be
reached at diubaldo@umich.edu.

I"c
l
e

and had no one to walk home with. My friend
explained to the male guards that it is all too

Maris Harmon is an LSA senior.

A

p

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