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October 10, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-10

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ip 1 .

Friday,"October 10, 2014 - 5A

From Page 4A
radical movement in the Cau-
casus." The conflict spread to
nearby areas like Dagestan, from
where the Boston bombers hail,
motivated by that same Russian
crackdown. Your drone program
has become a recruiting poster
for al-Qaida and other insurgent
groups. For every father we kill,
we leave behind more children
who want to avenge him. We
create our own enemies. In the
words of one of your victims,
'May Allah give me power for
one day to use a single drone on
the American people so that the
American politicians understand
how much it pains when a missile
comes from the sky and kills your
relatives in front of your eyes,
and you can't revenge them any
We can argue against your
drone program from a rational
perspective, as concerns efficacy
in war strategy. But our argu-
ment must not be one of num-
bers. It must be one of principles,
a moral argument. We stake our

contention on the simple human
truth that to take an innocent life'
is wrong. Because your ratios will
not bring back the dozen lives
that you took in a wedding pro-
cession in Yemen. What do your
assurances do for Juda? She is 40
years old and her youngest isi5R
days old, and she is now a mother
and a father. Will you bring back
her husband?
One of the first drone attacks
to be carried out killed two peo-
ple. One of them was a man who,
was mistaken for none other
than Osama bin Laden, because
of nothing other than his height.
And since then, it seems that as,
Afghanistan is a declared combat
zone, any male found there with
a weapon is a potential target
who can be engaged. A prompt
death sentence, the push of a
joystick, as far as a drone is con-.
How many innocent lives
is your drone program worth?,
How many innocent Muslim
lives? American lives? Is it worth
Momina Bibi's life? Would you not
abort the program, Mr. Obama, if
your own daughter were abroad
in that part of the world? I know

from your writings that you shun
religion. But it is nevertheless a
powerful maxim of the Hebrew
tradition, and our tradition, that
to kill a single innocent life is like
killing the whole world. And that
saving a single life is like saving
the whole world. So don't=count
My name is Omar, Mr. Obama.
It is true that I am a Muslim. It
is true that my blood is of the
steppes of Asia. But I write you
as an American who wants to
hold his head high, but who can
only look down in shame when
he walks out of history class. I
know nothing about killing. But
if you want to be rid of me, have
some dignity about it. Don't send
a drone after me. Have dignity
enough to look your victim in his
Will you riot have some dig-
nity, Mr. Obama? Will you not
look into Nabila's eyes and tell
her that her grandmother's death
was a minimized casualty, that it
was surgical and precise? She has
hazel gyes, Mr. Obama.
Omar Mahmood can be
reached at syedom@umich.eda.

Why you shouldn't protest the Penn State game

Dear Students:
This Saturday, on October 11th,
our football team will play Penn
State at home under the lights.
Families from the greater Ann
Arbor area will come to campus to
support our school, alumni from
across the country will venture
here, to their home, to show their
continued support, and we, the
students, will recognize and cele-
brate the unparalleled community
we have here at Michigan. Foot-
ball games are a time-honored tra-
dition, a tradition that stretches
back over a century, one that thou-
sands of people have enjoyed long
before us, and one that thousands
of Michigan fans will continue to
follow long after we've left.
Earlier this week, on the
MGoBlog message board, several
Michigan students made posts
about a protest that would take
place th4is Saturday. The origi-
nslpoer< believes that students
should "unite" against Dave
Brandon, and that they should
strive to "dispatch" him while
doing everything in their power
to make him feel "embarrassed"
on the sideline. The protest orga-
nizers hope to achieve these goals
by encouraging students to wait
outside the section gates before
and during kickoff, essentially
aiming to construct the image of
an empty Big House, a massive
no-show, and worst of all, a com-
munity that refuses to support
the people who've made so many
weekend games so worthwhile.
This strategy is problematic for
several reasons. First, we should
not, under any circumstance,
make it our mission to disrespect,

isolate, and otherwise harm our team, its leaders, and those who
players. They play for Michigan. help it develop - that is how we
We, as students, are Michigan. To open doors to a brighter future.
disregard the work of the athletes Members of CSG have cre-
who play for us would be detri- ated a survey to learn more about
mental not only for the players how you would want the current
themselves, but for the image of athletic situation to improve. We
the University as a whole. We do want your feedback about your
not succumb to struggle. We don't own Michigan football experi-
give up in the face of adversity. ences, which policies you prefer,
Instead, we rise above and sup- and your thoughts on ticket prices.
port the athletes that sacrifice so This will help us understand how
much to represent the University best to voice your concerns and
of Michigan. create new policies in line with
Second, it is crucial that we your interests. Please take the
not only support our players off time to respond and speak out in a
the field, but also on the field. respectful and constructive man-
In this time of division, confu- ner. Students will be able to find
sion, and uncertainty, Michigan the survey in their email inbox
must stand behind its team - not later this week.
behind the section gates. We Once again, now is the time to
should seize every opportunity support our team and our play-
to align ourselves with the team, ers. I encourage younot to partic-
with its goals, its hopes, and 'ipate in the protest on Saturday,
succegses because that is ;what as it does .not reflect the true,
makes .theesport. thrivi:n fans- nature of;Michiga. Gommunity,.
and players completely in-tune, unity, fellowship - we strive for
ready to negotiate challenges these ideals as students. We find
together. If we want to create ;a them not outside the gates, not
better program environment, outside the section stands, but
it starts by supporting the team inside the stadium, right along-
this Saturday. side the players. "The love of the
Third, we are the victors game must be genuine," Field-
and best. We are leaders, doers, ing Yost said about football, "it is
achievers, innovators, inventors, not devotion to a-fad that makes
organizers, and pioneers. We men play football; it is because
create effective change from the they enjoy their football." We, as
bleakest of challenges, we uti- Michigan's greatest football fans,
lize activism and enthusiasm to must enjoy the struggle as well.
implement new policies, and we We must #StandByBlue,
strike out in new directions when Go Blue!
the chance presents itself. But we This article was originally
don't do these things - we don't published on CSG's website.
leap to conclusions or take on new
projects - until we've completed Bobby Dishell is a Public Policy
the first step: trust. Trusting the senior and CSG President.

assault was confused with sexual
harassment and some people did
not even know what consent real-
ly meant; despite using the word
There was an excruciatingly
painful lack of understanding
and no substantial amount of
research (if any) had been done
into the root cause of the issue.
In an attempt to depoliticize and
de-emotionalize sexual assault,
which by its very nature cannot
be depoliticized and de-emo-
tionalized, none of the balloon-
headed, moronic men overly
enthusiastic about "ending rape
on campus" had assessed their
role and space in a sexual assault
awareness campaign. There was
no self-awareness, no thought
of assessing their own privilege,
and no intention of criticiz-
ing their own role in rape cul-
ture. And there was especially
no mention of ideas that helped
other communities decrease vio-
Buzzwords such as "Twit-
ter campaigns," "campus cul-
ture," etc., were thrown around
at a dizzying pace with no real
substance attached. Represen-
tatives from the Athletic Depart-
ment made sure they ate up half
the time by talking about all the
great initiatives they were tak-
ing to combat sexual assault in,
I think, a desperate attempt to
stop anyone from bringing up
former Michigan kicker Brendan
People were throwing around
ideas for petitions (you heard
right: petitions to end sexu-
al assault on campus). Bobby
jumped on this train of thought
and threw out the idea for hav-
ing a set goal of the amount of
signatures and perhaps have
a contest with Ohio State Uni-
versity to see who reaches the
goal the fastest. People appar-
ently missed the obvious irony
of using the very spirit of com-
petitive football culture that
enabled the mishandling of the
Brendan Gibbons case to com-
bat sexual assault. Even now,
the goal of the It's On Us cam-
paign at U-M is to get 10,000
signatures committing a stance
against sexual assaultL.
, That's right verybne We can
.ust throw:ont .ua ppr sprays
and start carrying around cop-
ies of this commitment/petition/
statement and stick it in the face
of our assailant next time we are
under threat of sexual assault!
The focal point of this cam-
paign is supposed to be an event
(yes, a singular event that will
thwart all rapists in town) that,
is titled ("tentatively," as Bobby
assured those of us who were
concerned) "Social Entrepre-
neurial Event with Focus on Sex-
ual Assault."
Yes. Think about that. Let that
truly sink in for a second. An
alternative title that was thrown
around: "Entrepreneurial Solu-
tions to Sexual Assault."
I have no idea what kind
of drug-induced psychedelic
dream leads someone to think
that entrepreneurship is the
answer to sexual assault. What
would that even mean? A group
discount on rape nail polish?
Free tampon daggers on the

Diag? University-sponsored
start-ups for other 'things that
women can buy in order to pro-
tect themselves from rapists
who have not yet read the peti-
At this point in the meet-,
ing, despite the sinking feeling
that all hope was lost, I raised
my hand to ask that everyone
truly reflect on their reasons
for being at the meeting and to
center the voices of survivors
and experts. I mentioned that to
truly create change, we needed
to separate our long-term goals
from the trendy aspects of the
campaign. Bobby jumped in as
soon as I finished speaking to.
say that we didn't have time for
it and we needed to move on,'
making it clear that the people
in the room do not have desire
to understand the problem and
think about what is at stake. This
petition battle with Ohio State
was so urgent that no one had
time to think twice about the
bodies and voices at the center of
this discussion.
As a survivor of rape on cam-
pus, I was thoroughly disgusted
as I left the meeting that day.

In the weeks following the
meeting, lots of heterosexual,
white, csgender men changed
their Facebook profile pictures
to include the It's On Us logo;
released videos on how sexual
assault on campus should totally
be'stopped, complete with com-
pelling background music and
random zoom-ins; and aggres-
sively shared blog posts (writ-
ten by themselves obviously).
Apparently, the karmic laws of
social media and the Internet
state that publicizing how in
support you are of a movement
is exactly the same as challeng-
ing your own privilege and status
as an oppressor in order to affect
real change. So, instead of doing
proper research, self-educating,
and assessing space and power
dynamics, these men were on
a social media self-promotion
campaign, intent on boosting
their own image, (for future
POTUS races, I'm sure).
A dinner with Mark Schlis-
sel was announced a few weeks
after the meeting and I had the
misfortune of attending that
event too.
Part 3: Dinner With Mark
The dinner took place this Sat-
urday and had "leaders on cam-
pus" to kick off the It's On Us
awareness campaign at U-M. In
keepig with the absolute shit-
show leading up to the event, the
dinner with Schlissel itself was
absolutely horrific.
Dinner consisted of President
Schlissel making a feeble attempt
to give a fuck about the issue. In
between munching on his chick-
en, he asked vague questions and
then changed the topic every few
minutes. For example, he asked
about the ties between mental ill-
ness, sexual assault, and how the
university was addressing all of
this. The room of 50 people had
10 minutes to quickly state their
opinions to him, classroom style
where those who wished to speak
raised their hand and spoke.
It was a joke. Most of the
people there talked just to hear
themselves talk and curry favor
with Schlissel; it was a sicken-
ingly masturbatory contest that I
hadapparently missed the memo
on Even at this point,:at an event
'-,,ith the presidentof the Univer-
sity about sexual assault, most
people had clearly not done any
In fact, the president himself
had not done any homework.
Schlissel, I kid you not, started
the dinner out with a question
about what the university does
'well to address sexual assault.
The room was filled with a heavy
and awkward silence as head-
lines from the mishandling of
the Gibbons case rolled through
everyone's mind. Here's the
real kicker of the night: when
the Gibbons case actually was
brought up, Schlissel stated that
he had not really looked into it.
Right. The president of our
esteemed university, which is
under federal investigation for
gross violation and has been the
fodder of national media for a
few months, said, during a dinner
about sexual assault awareness,
that he hasn't really looked into
its most infamous incident of sex-

ual assault yet. Not a diplomatic
"No comment." Just a shameless
How is this acceptable? How
is he competent to lead our uni-
versity? When will sexual assault
become something that he takes
And then,'in celebration of
our apparent efforts, we 'went
to a play about rape at a high
school that was one of worst-
,written, misogypistic, het-
eronormative atrocious plays
I've seen. There was absolute-
ly no trigger warning yet the
naked body of a rape survivor
was shown.' There was com-
plete disregard for any type of
intersectionality; it excluded
male survivors, homosexual
instances of assault, and had
no acknowledgement-of racial
dynamics. It neatly categorized
high school students into the
category of jocks (the rapists),
the cheerleaders (the stereo-
typically "catty" girls who bully
the survivor), the survivor and
her friend, and the punk emo
goth (the outcast voice of reason
during the play). The incompe-
tent playwright did not lend the

play the gravity, nuance or emo-
tion it required. Despite being
based on the Steubenville rape
case, there was absolutely no
consideration given to the priva-
cy, dignity and humanity of the
Steubenville rape survivor. This
disgusting play was proof of
how much damage is done when
people take on serious issues
without bothering to educate
themselves and do not take into
consideration the emotional and
social needs of the people who
are being impacted.
Part 4: Painful Realizations
This campaign so far is pain-
fully indicative of our leaders'
cluelessness and recklessness
regarding addressing sensitive
and dire issues. Our leaders do
not care about truly addressing
the issue at hand or centeringthe
voices of survivors and experts.
Social justice has become a trend
on this campus (and this nation)
and sexual assault awareness
is only the latest avatar of this
trend. Absolutely no one is
concerned with centering the
voices and experiences of those
affected by this issue. The ulti-
mate purpose of those seeking
to get involved is not to enact
real change, but the appearance
of change, the appearance of
effort, because this is the only
way to assuage the campus just
enough so nothing drastic hap-
pens. Dishell, Schlissel, and
most others in those events are
not concerned with learning the
mechanics of social justice as
much as they are attending glam-
orized events and appearing in
videos with their names in huge
letters that give them the credit
of caring without doing any of
the work.
For those of you who think
that this article is a piece of vit-
riol: you're right. I am a queer
brown woman and this cam-
pus has shown me no mercy;
now, I run out of mercy for it. I
previously clung onto wisps of
optimism when a leader prom-
ised some kind of change, half-
heartedly nodded when friends
assured me that the treatment
of this campus's minorities
stemmed from ignorance and not
cruelty, dismissed men's obvious
displays of sexism.> Nw, Pm out
rj d4stifications 'fetivi" idstitu-
tion's structural animosity and
its hegemony's lack of concern
for others. Professors have-
looked at me in the eye as 'they
insisted that the colonization,
enslavement and genocides that
occurred in the Indian subcon-
tinent were for the greater good;
administrators have told me as I
teared up after blatant displays
of sexism that I was at fault for
speaking up; I was raped numer-
ous times on this campus and
had absolutely nowhere to go to.
These are not isolated events;
this university is intricately
woven together and so are these
issues. And the tragic truth is
that this university does not give
a shit about anyone except its
powerful. It does not care for its
womyn, its minorities, its queer,
its anything-but-cisgender-
white-men. Our leaders' grand
speeches about the importance
of diversity and promises to take
action are all just that: hollow

sounds that vanish into thin air.
The leadership at the University
of Michigan is plagued with the
very systems that are the root
cause of the problems it faces. By
constantly giving white, hetero,
cisgender men power, it is active-
ly stifling the lived experience
of and continuing to take voice
away from everyone else.
I'm tired of having my voice
repeatedly stolen by rich, white,
heterosexual, cisgender men
like Dishell and Schlissel who
claim they care for political rea-
sons but have made it very evi-
dent that they do not. I am out
of tears, out of cookies to give
to privileged folk who some-
times behave like decent human
beings, and generally just out of
fucks to give.
Schlissel, Dishell, and other
"leaders and the best" who have
proven themselves to be incom-
petent, get your shit together. or
get out.
Sumana Palle is a Business
senior, founder of Shakti,
leader of the Women of Color
Collective, and e-board member
of What the F Magazine.

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Letters should be fewer than 300 words while viewpoipts should be 550-850 words.
Send the writer's full name and University affiliation. to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
Horrible leadership at the University

Part 1: Introduction
The It's On Us campaign is a
response to a national swell of
activism and protests in recent
months about universities' fail-
ures to address sexual assault.
The White House created this
campaign as a response and has
allowed universities to imple-
ment the campaign as they see fit
on their campus. At U-M, it has
meant that a small group of elite
white men with no clue what sex-
ual assault is, led by Central Stu-
dent Government President Bobby
Dishell have tasked themselves
with single handedly stopping
rape on campus from happen-
ing, seemingly under the illusion
that they are the hallowed chosen
ones that will lead us all out of the
Part 2: The Meeting
Despite previous disastrous
dabbling in social justice on cam-
pus where Dishell was alleged-
lyexposed as slanderous, grossly
racist, and anti-Arab, he took it
upon himself to arrange for all
the logistics for the first meet-
ing, which was to gather major
student leaders on campus in one
I had the misfortune of par-

ticipating in this first meeting.
Despite my past work on the
issue of sexual assault. I knew of
it only because a close friend had
been invited and extended an
invitation to me. And as soon as I
walked into the room, I realized
what a glitch my invitation had
been; I felt the all-too-familiar
sickening sensation of being one
of the very few people of color in
the room. In a room of about 40,
I was one of two students of color
and the only woman of color.'
It was painfully clear that only
people close to Bobby had been
invited and that there had been
absolutely no effort to include
anyone else on an issue that per-
vades all areas of campus. There
had been no outreach done to
activist and advocacy groups
that could have knowledgably
discussed how these issues were
impacting communities of color.
and queer people on campus; the
real travesty is that it obviously
had not even occurred to Dishell
to reach out.
Where was the representation
from Coalition of Queer People of
Color? The Black Student Union?
Anyone from the historically
Black, Latin@, Asian and South

Asian fraternities and sororities?
Did CSG not realize that sexual
assault happens to people who
are not white and straight? To
The revoltingamount of obliv-
iousness and aloofness was a
cruel irony. Despite all the move-
ments and campaigns that had
occurred in the past few years to
combat that constant exclusion
of minorities and all the promis-
es of inclusion that had followed,
there was 'still no inclusion.
Our fearless leader, Dishell, and
therefore Central Student Gov-
ernment, missed, once again,,
that people 'are sick and tired of
being excluded from and forgot-
ten about in policy discussions
that impact their living spaces,'
learning conditions and general
To say that the meeting was
disheartening is a gross under-
statement. Bobby's first order of
business was to get people talk-
'ing. Which meantgetthe straight,
white, cisgender men in the room
with no ostensible direct connec-
tion to the issue talking, throwing
around "solutions," and mak-
ing assumptions without proper
education about the issue. Sexual

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