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Page 4A - Monday, September 22, 2014


The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

M #ichigan Eatly
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.
Does Greek Life uphold its values?


"So, how has your Greek Life chapter been
helping out the greater community lately?"
I overheard a fraternity member asking my
sorority sister at a mixer. Just kidding, nobody
asked that. Truth be told, I didn't join a
sorority to help my GPA, play with rescue
dogs or to wash cars in the name of disease
research. I joined because I knew it would be
fu. I wold eet friends. I would have things
to do on the weekends and have parties to go to
whenever I wanted.
I'll admit, the "Michigan Greek Life
Strategic Plan" is a little dramatic. While I
agree that it "enhances the undergraduate
experience for its members," I would disagree
that Greek Life is "the best possible reflection
of the University" or that its members "truly
live the values upon which our historic
organizations were founded" (I'm pretty sure
head-butting walls until they have significant
holes in them is not one of these values). If
Greek Life members were polled on what
these actual "values" are, I'm sure many would
reply with blank stares, "What?" or "No idea."
This is not to say that fraternity and sorority
members are disinterested, dumb or clueless,
but perhaps that these individual organizations
and chapters are not doing their part to uphold
the principles on which they were founded
or instilling these values into their members.
I'm taking a closer look at a few of Michigan's
"Greek Life Strategic Goals and Objectives" to
see how closely our community is (or is not)
1. "Promote congruence and alignment
of actions with our organizations'values."
It's no wonder that "each year thousands
of young women and men seek membership
in sororities and fraternities on college
campuses throughout the United States
and Canada." These organizations are
famous for their "legendary commitments to
friendship, sisterhood, brotherhood and
loyalty," All aspects that I have undeniably
experienced - the "brotherhood" aspect still
pending. I have become incredibly close with
my sorority as a whole, and feel almost like
family with many. What I feel more distant
from, however, is the "expectation to uphold
the ritual, values, mission and aims of the
respective organization." In fact, I really have
no idea what my sorority's mission is. I just
know that Iam part of a sororitythat has many
girlsothat are outgoing, fun, kind and outspoken.
Michigan Greek Life's "shared values within
our community include service, leadership,
scholarship, friendship, respect, human dignity
and a lifelong commitment to the organiza-
tion." Service is certainly stressed throughout
my chapter and Greek Life as a whole on Michi-
gan's campus. Most sorority events can only
be attended by members who have fulfilled
the mandatory community service hours, usu-
ally six a semester. We receive weekly e-mails
from our community service chair listing
upcoming service opportunities, as well as
other ways to get involved with the larger
community as a whole. Sororities and fraterni-
ties on campus often support each other's ini-
tiatives by attending respective events in the
name of fundraising, such as a dinner held at
a sorority house or a carwash at a fraternity -
how clean the cars actually get, I don't know.
The "friendship," "sisterhood" and "lifelong
commitment" that Greek Life helps facilitate
was accurately encapsulated when a senior
memberof my sorority foresaw that,because of
her membership, she will have "way too many
It is required "that members whose actions
are not aligned with the organization's
expectations are held accountable to change
or face dismissal," and I, as well as many of my
sisters, can attest to this first hand. Whether
it is overconsumption of alcohol, acting out of
line in anyway or irresponsible behavior, the
punishment is always the same: the basement.
Once there, a council goes over the situation
you are being held for and works to find the
cause of it, as well as a punishment based on
its severity. Whether it is issuing an apology,
writing a reflection paper, or increasing
service hours, the system usually reaches its
goal, to not have repeat offenders. I, for one,
would not like to go to the basementcagain. Ever.

2. "Encourage chapters to develop
and maintain a healthy status and healthy

In terms of being a "healthy chapter," one
that is "well rounded, vibrant, active and
contributes to the community and the fraternity
and sorority experience at Michigan," mine
is in fighting shape. in my pledge class alone,
nine girls are in the Business school, and as a
chapter, we have 20 girls in the nursing school.
We have neuroscience majors, communication
majors, girls in the school of dentistry, pre-
med and pre-law students and everything in
between. We have girls on the dance team,
girls on the rowing team, girls who write for
The Michigan Daily as well members of the
Panhellenic Association. We aren't alone,
however. Sororities and fraternities across the
board have pledge classes just as diverse and
ambitious as mine. We are also active (and not
just because I come downstairs every morning
to see girls doing ab exercises after they come
back from running together, ugh). Our chapter
won Greek Week last year, a competition among
Though I only directly participated in the limbo
competition (seriously), I, as well as nearly all of
our members, were there to cheer on the dance
team and singing group as they performed for
the Greek community (somethingtells me that
Mitch McGary and Shane Morris judging the
competition had something to do with the high
attendance rate).
In terms of ensuring "that each chapter is
supported and has access to the advising and
resources it needs to be successful and grow,"
Michigan Greek Life is upholding its end of
the deal. Throughout our recruitment process,
we had the help of a national member of our
sorority who specializes in recruitment and
assistingchapters in findingthe right procedure
for them. Having her in our house made it
a much more professional, organized and
overall improved experience.
As evidence for how vocal of a sorority I
belong to, my chapter promotes "ideals of
responsibility and citizenship," with members
who "feel empowered to intervene and create
change in the best interest of individuals and
the chapter as a whole." This was exemplified
when, just last night, a member stood up
in a chapter meeting when she didn't feel
comfortable with the language being using
when referring to a certain group of people.
And guess what? The people who used that
language immediately apologized, and the
words in question weren't used again.
If you were wondering, I came in second
place in the limbo competition. Looking to
place firstcthis year.
4. "Empower our community to be the
'Leaders and Best' through clearly defined
standards and community expectations."
In terms of "establishing our community
as a safe and welcoming space for all students
where actions demonstrate respect for all,"
Greek Life has its work cut out for it. Take
the "I'm Shmacked: University of Michigan
- Welcome Week" video for example. In
her response piece "We're All Schmucked,"
former Daily columnist Melanie Kruvelis
asserts "everyone has lost faith in humanity.
They are horrified, they are embarrassed and
nobody can stop watching." Whatand who were
they watching? Mainly Michigan Greek Life.
Some may argue that Greek life looks especially
out of control when appearing in a 3:57 video
that is designed to make it look exactly that, or
that it was "just edited that way," but anybody
who'has been inAnn Arbor on a football
Saturday knows that it's the reality. Perhaps this
doesn't paint the most pleasant "image of their
community" and tailgating students probably
aren't pondering how "their actions and
methods of governance impact Greek Life and
the University of Michigan," but undoubtedly,
they do. This, and similar depictions of
Greek Life don't necessarily demonstrate a.
community that "functions at the highest
possible level of integrity and accountability,"
and can serve asa convincing argument against
Greek Life's "self-governance."
Though Greek Life is not a consistent role
model for those lookingto "conductithemselves
with integrity and in accordance with sound
values," no organization is. Take capitalism, for
I'll spare you, but you get the idea.

Catherine Bergin is an LSA sophomore.

few weeks back, as I was
contemplating how to
supplement my income
by means
other than
waiting tables,
a potentially
lucrative option
dawned on me:
plasma donation.:
I couldn't
believe I hadn't AUSTIN
considered it DAVIS
earlier. Plenty of
my friends had
already shared
anecdotes of their pilgrimages to
the Octapharma Plasma Donation
Center directly off of I-94 in
Ypsilanti, a company whose name
elicits body-harvesting scenes from
"The Matrix." Plasma donation
was plugged as a good cause that
resulted in easy cash flow without
any strings or taxes attached, and I
was sold on the idea.
It became screamingly obvious
upon entering the center on a
Saturday afternoon that I wasn't
the only person in the greater Ann
Arbor area with these considerations
about plasma donation. The line was
formidable and slow moving, stacked
full with people who had decided that
moonlighting at Octapharma would
be more profitable than an average
shift at their day job. It also became
obvious upon prolonged observation
that most of the people with whom
I was sharing my afternoon very
clearly did not share my lifestyle.
Most faces were weathered from
hardship, leathered from extended
sun exposure or cracked from days
of prolonged worry. More than a few
had yellowed fingers and eyes from
years of nicotine use; more than a
few twitched and had scars from
trying to itch away withdrawal.
Considering that the Red Cross is
about 40,000 units of blood behind
daily quotas, it became apparent
that all veins were being tapped,
regardless of what had previously
been flowing through them.
I was right in assuming that my
lifestyle was different from all other

would-be donors. Despite all other
indicators of health, one aspect of my
lifestyle earned me somethingtheirs
didn't: a lifetime ban from donating.
Apparently, having fag running
through your veins is where they
draw the line.
Admittedly, the FDA's 1983 imple-
mentation of the ban barring men
who have sex with men (MSM) from
donating blood was at the time a logi-
cal, albeit harsh step in attemptingto
control the spread of the HIV virus.
Screening practices at the time were
inefficient and inaccurate due to the
dormant nature of the virus, and
gay and bisexual men are infected
in overwhelmingly disproportion-
ate numbers in comparison to other
high-risk groups, such as intravenous
drug users. Even today, after decades
of campaigns

the HIV virus from nine to 11 days
after infection, and the chances that
HIV-infected blood is inadvertently
used in a viable transfusion is one
in 6.5 million. The Red Cross openly
it will continue to implement the
FDA's policies, they will "support the
use of rational, scientifically-based
deferral periods that are applied
fairly and consistently among donors
who engage insimilar risk activities."
If administrators of the ban imply
that the current practices against
MSM are unfair and inconsistent,
why then is this discriminatory and
scientifically debunked policy still
being implemented? The only logical
reason I can think of is fear. Not that
a healthy host will become infected,
but rather the FDA - now presented
with current


promoting con-
traception and
other safe-sex
practices in the
MSM account
for an estimat-
ed 63 percent
of all new HIV
infections in the
United States,
a number that

statistics - is
smarter than
.ee.'a u ' that. I believe it's
I believe it's a public a public fear of
fear of gays themselves gays themselves
that's influencing the the FDA's policy.
c. I can't really
FDA's polcy. blame people
for this; some
aspects of

increased by 12 percent amongst gay
and bisexual men between 2008 and
2010. If infected blood were to be
transfused into an uninfected host,
the results could be physically and
psychologically devastating. Fear
of this worst-case scenario drove
the FDA to do what they believed
was necessary to protect the major-
ity, which effectually type-casted an
already subjugated and discriminat-
ed minority as already infected.
Amidst new technological
advances in HIV and other STI
and infectious disease screenings,
however, the reasoning behind the
ban on MSM who have engaged in
sexual activity since 1977 has become
the status of its donor, is mandatorily
tested for any bloodborne pathogens.
Some current testing methods can
detect antibodies in response to

gay culture frighten me as well.
Generalizing a result of unsafe gay
promiscuity tothe whole community,
however, would be similar to me
claiming that all members of a
fraternity are date-rapists, or that all
Republicans are Christian zealots.
Stereotyping a group based on a fear
of its darkest and most disagreeable
qualities only serves to promote
ignorance and a further fission of
ideologies, consequently leading
to discriminatory practices. In the
case of MSM blood donation, until
the public eliminates the filter with
which they view gay society - and
learns to judge the gay community
as an assembly of individuals sharing
a common, overarching trait - we'll
continue to be banned.
Austin Davis can be reached
at austchan@umich.edu.

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 Words.
Send the writer's full name and University affiliation. to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
Sleep and beauty

The Detroit Free Press fea-
tured an article in May titled
"Snooze or Lose," by Patri-
cia Montemurri.
After reading
a few lines, I
quickly discov-
ered that the
article focused
primarily on the
importance of
sleep in the lives SIERRA
of women. If the
article focused BROWN
solely on sleep's
ability to reduce
health issues I would have no com-
plaints. Instead, the author used
more than a third of the article to
discuss how sleep was "better for
beauty." The article discussed stud-
ies that have shown that women
apparently need more sleep than
men do. Women, however, are not
the only ones who wake up irritable
in the morning. I rarely do. How-
ever, if we do, we are not compelled
to stay mad 24/7. Are we to assume
that men always wake up happy and
full of life? I think not. Everyone has
bad mornings.
Montemurri's article stated that
without "restful" sleep women risk
waking up mad or hostile, and even
have an increased risk ofheartattacks
and strokes. "Why We Need to Pay
More Attention to Women's Sleep"
is an article featured in The Huffing-
ton Post, which argues that women
sleep differently than men. Similar to
claims made in Montemurri's article,
the article says that womentend to be
more sleep-deprived than men, and
are at an increased risk for insomnia.
There are biological and physiologi-
cal reasons that explain why women
sleep differently: "the sex chromo-
somes and gonadal hormones pri-
marily contribute to the biological
and physiological differences, and
these are called sex differences." In
addition, environmental, social and
cultural influences on biological fac-
tors contribute to gender differences.
Montemurri's article featured
sections on sleep aids for mothers,
women with insomnia and sleep
apnea's effect on women going

through menopause. Sleep apnea is
a serious sleeping disorder in which
breathing repeatedly stops and
starts during sleep. In Montemurri's
article, Neurology Prof. Dr. Ronald
Chervin, director of the University
of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center
and the Michael S. Aldrich Sleep
Disorders Laboratory, conducted
a study showing that patients
who were treated for sleep apnea
experienced improvements in their
facial skin. After viewing photos
of these patients' after-treatment
images, women described the images
as "more attractive, youthful and
alert." Are patients only interested in
the treatment for its physical results?
I assumed the most important part of
the treatment was actually treating
sleep apnea, which is associated
with heart disease and diabetes.
Are women only concerned with
how beautiful and youthful the
treatments will make them appear?
Well, why shouldn't they be?
"Now we're starting to use the
argument -
you'll look
younger, more At some p
attractive and m
more alert to most of us
people who see told that l
you," Chervin
said. Doctors matter. Di
and society
tell women miss this
that looking
beautiful and -
youthful is important. Amy Alkon
wrote an article for Psychology
Today, "The Truth About Beauty,"
which insinuates that more attention
is given to the physical appearance of
women than men. Alkon claims that
there are certain realities that most of
us accept, and amongthose istheugly
unattractive woman. But what makes
a woman unattractive? A great deal
of evidence shows that men prefer
women with the following features:
"youth, clearskin, asymmetricalface
andbody, feminine facial features, an
hourglass figure ... full lips, smaller
chins, and large eyes." Women do
not place as much emphasis on men's
looks, and are more interested in

finding male partners with high
status and power.
At some point in life, most of us
have been told that looks don't matter.
Did society miss this memo? Alkon's
article disclosed, "The more attractive
the woman is, the wider her pool
of romantic partners and range of
opportunities in her work and day-
to-day life." This is among one of the
ugly truths she mentioned, creating
"[women's] desperation to look like
they were born yesterday." Why does
aesthetically pleasing?I amnot willing
to believe that people genuinely do not
care about men's appearance.
There is nothing wrong with
drawingattentionto women's health,
but when beautyis included the topic
loses a bit of its importance. I would
have preferred to read an articlethat
focused on informing both men and
women that more sleep is important
to their health. As a woman I am
proud to say that I am not consumed
with men's and society's unrealistic
.-. standards of


oint in life,
have been
ooks don't
id society
s memo?

beauty. I accept
the fact that my
face and body
are not perfect,
but neither is
anyone else's.
I believe that
good sleep and
a healthy body
are 10 times

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

more important
than physical beauty. I prefer to
worry about receiving an adequate
amount of sleep and maintaining
decent health rather than worrying
about ridding myself of all the
spots and blemishes that decorate
my face. Without sleep I become
useless because my body has zero
energy. As college students, sleep
is something we yearn for and
can never seem to get enough of.
Ladies, let's attain restful sleep
because we need it to be productive
and excel here at the University,
not because we are obsessed with
looking beautiful and youthful.
Sierra Brown can be reached
at snbrown@umich.edu.


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