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4B - Thursday, October 23, 2014 the b- side

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4B - Thursday, October 23, 2014 the b-side The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

9

NICHOLAS WILLIAMS/Daily
The Feminist Forum at East Quad led a discussion on sexual assault of Native American women this week.
Passion drives RC
F m
Frum sos

East Quad groups
have the potential to
make a difference
By ADAM THEISEN
Daily Music Editor
When they were living togeth-
er sophomore year, Residential
College students Talya Nakash,
Emily Preuss, Alia Raheem and
MariannaYamamoto would sit in
their living room and talk about
women of color in the media -
race, gender and the portrayals
that they saw. Now as seniors,
they're doing the same thing
every week, but dozens of people
showup with them to take part in
the conversation.
"We thought this would be so
cool if we could expand this and
put it in a more structured envi-
ronment so that everyone in the
RC and people who were interest-
ed could have the benefit of gain-
ingaspace likethis," Nakash said.
As co-leaders and co-found-
ers of Feminist Forum, the four
head up a discussion every Mon-
day night in East Quad, covering
a wide variety of intersectional
social topics.
Several of these types of
groups meet weekly underthe RC
Forumumbrella, whether they're
discussing social issues like Fem-
inist and LGBT*QA Forums, or
they're more focused on artis-
tic expression like Poetry and
Creative Writing Forums. RC
Forums can be anything, so long
as they're substantive and have
passionate members.
The forum system was origi-
nally proposed during the final
years of old East Quad by an
RC senior who had gone to Ann
Arbor's alternative Commu-
nity High School, where their
version of "homerooms" were
"forums" that brought together
9th through 12th grade students.
"The main impetus for the
RC was 'let's find a way to bring
upper-level students and lower-
level students inthe RC into clos-
er contact,"' said Jennifer Myers,
associate director for Curricu-
lum and Director of Academic

Services. "Because when the
upper-level student moved out,
it was hard for them to maintain
those ties."
. A 1974 study of Community
High School by the University's
School of Social Work describes
the alternative learning facility
as having "maximum individu-
ality within maximum commu-
nity," but that motto could be
applied just as accurately to
the RC, a part of the University
where faculty insist on being
called by their first names and,
back in the '70s, didn't even give
out grades.
"The history of the RC has
been one that supports a lot of
student autonomy," Myers said.
"I had always pictured myself
in an environment closer to a
small liberal arts college, but I
also really wanted the resources
of a large university," said RC
junior and co-leader of Food
Forum Amanda Nelson, which
is now in its second year. "I can
walk through the halls and know
most of the people and know that
they share certain interests."
In their first year, the variety
of forums also included faculty
members. Since then, they've
been entirely student-run affairs,
with little-to-no interference
from the college itself.
"It became quickly clear that
wasn't the way to go," Myers said.
"Because when you have a faculty
person in the room, it's easy to
revert back to the faculty person
leading discussion and driving
things, and we didn't want it to be
that. So the faculty stepped out,
and we left it to the students, and
it's been that way ever since."
While there are no profes-
sors present, students can still
earn class credit for participat-
ing in a forum. Once an RC club
has existed for a semester, it can
be approved to become a fully-
fledged forum, at which point
its regular members may elect
to receive credit for attending.
This leads to an environment in
which the forums can feel like a
much more casual classroom, or
an educational discussion among
peers.
"It's academic, but not peda-

gogical," Nelson said.
At this week's Feminist Forum
meeting,Nakash,Preuss,Raheem
and Yamamoto led a discussion
on sexual assault of Native Amer-
ican women in a circle of over 30
students. While Nakash takes the
lead by introducing the topic and
providing facts, the leaders make
a conscious effort to let the unas-
suming members speak first if
they have input on the subject. In
that way, the forums really paral-
lel RC classes, in which profes-
sors often moderate discussion,
but usually step back and let the
students carry iton their own.
Myers says that enrollment
seems to have gone up since East
Quad has been renovated, but
there are still challenges facing
the RC in this new building. This
year's RC senior class has expe-
rienced old East Quad, a year in
West Quad and now two years
in the new, renovated East Quad,
which some say has hurt the com-
munity aspect of the college.
"It was weird, because our
RC classes weren't even in West
Quad," said RC senior Danielle
Leonard, who was co-leader of
LGBT*QA forum during her
sophomore year. "The forum
meetings were in South Quad
sometimes. But I feel like we've
restored it a lot. I feel like last
year was kind of 'getting the RC
back into East Quad' and figur-
ing all that out, and this year it's
finally like a community again.
The new East Quad hasn't
been without criticism though,
with many saying that the
updated building is like a hotel,
compared to the run-down old
building that they say was full
of character. The demise of
the autonomous, student-run
Halfway Inn, a basement per-
formance space/caf6 for RC stu-
dents, seemed symbolic of these
changes. Last year, the "Take
Back The RC" group protested
the changes by painting murals
on empty East Quad walls (a
tribute to the days of Old EQ),
leading to a revamped RC art
policy.
"Some of the alums have come
back, and this is almost like you
left your house, and somebody

redid your whole house. You
approach the house, and from
the outside it pretty much looks
the same, but you walk in and it
is completely different. It has to
be stunning," Myers said. "On
the other hand, though, the new
students coming in, this is what
you know as what the RC is, and
students have not been dissatis-
fied."
The question is, then, how
will the RC put its stamp on New
East Quad? Myers talks about
how as programs change, she
wants to open up more EQ space
specifically for RC students, but
for the moment, the forums are
now one of the few ways to see
the community aspect of the
RC on full display. You can walk
into East Quad at lunchtime and
hear French, German, Russian,
Spanish and even Latin being
spoken by large groups as part
of the RC's intensive language
program, or you can wander the
dorm and perhaps try to pick out
the more eccentrically dressed
people, but the forums where
often what brings students
together the most.
With the constant turnover of
leaders and members, it can be
difficult to keep a forum running
strong.
"It's hard to keep a new forum
going, because when it's new,
everyone wants to join it, but
then everyone kind of flocks to
the new forums," Leonard said.
"It takes dedicated leaders (to
keep a forum running), people
willing to assume responsibil-
ity," Myers said. "Sometimes
when you don't have that person
ready to step up, it can really fall
by the wayside."
This makes it imperative that
older forum leaders train and
groom younger members to take
over when they graduate.
And while on a week-to-week
basis the socially conscious
forums may just be reaching
out to people who already agree
with them and won't necessar-
ily change anyone's mind, they
do provide a safe, open space
and can raise consciousness in
people who care about pressing
social issues.
"Obviously people who have
(anti-LGBT*QA beliefs) aren't
going to be the ones joining our
forum ... so we definitely try to
make it a safe space," Leonard
said. "I think more than anything
it can act, just like a very safe,
enclosed space where everyone
can just be open about anything.
As much as a zone can be judg-
ment-free it's definitely a judg-
ment-free zone."
Forums also have the potential
to make a larger difference on
campus, though, as lastyear Fem-
inist Forum hosted a talk by Jim
DeRogatis in a large-scale event
that was practically unprecedent-
ed for an RC forum. The leaders
are looking to do a similar, even
larger event this year.
However, despite a possibility
for expansion and more events,
the forum leaders still also want
to focus on sharing their passions
with other members.
"I learned that if you don't feel
like you have a space on campus,
to just go and create your own,"
Raheem said. "If you think that

there's something out there
that you care about, most likely
there's going to be someone else
who cares about it as well and is
just as passionate and you should
get out there and shout it out."

By YARDAIN AMRON
. Daily Arts Writer
Hi, my name is Skyler and
I'm a music pirate addict.
I'm kinda nervous to be
here to be honest. I heard
about this group from my
old friend Ronnie who's also
a recovering addict - actu-
ally come to think of it, just
yesterday Ronnie called me
all giggidy with some great
news while I was mid-shift
at the hospital (I'm 'a year
into my residency). He said
he had just bought, with
money, like real dollars, his
first song in over 10 years.
Big deal, I know, and I was
super excited for Ronnie and
while I probably shouldn't
have picked up the phone
while inserting my first-
ever IV drip, I was so super
happy for Ronnie like I said,
and couldn't help myself
- and a blood transfusion
later, Ms. Henderson was
conscious again, so no big-
gie. Claps for Ronnie!
Anyway, I think I'm sup-
posed to tell my own story
about how I got here so
here goes. It all started
back in junior high school,
when exchanging iTunes
libraries was as ordinary as
dying of dysentery in Ore-
gon Trail". All you did was
hand over your iPod to that
friend-with-great-music-
taste for the night and the
next day you had a thou-
sand new songs - no cost to
you, no cost to your friend.
So amazing! Soon enough,
I had stockpiled a library
5,000 songs strong, of which
maybe 200 were original-
ly mine, of which all were
from my father's embarrass-
ing CD collection, of which
contained the soundtrack
to Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat, of
which I know every fucking
word ...
But there was also all
the music I wanted but
could never actually ask
my friends for because that
would be like, straight social
suicide. Like omg, if Ronnie
knew I owned all six Kelly
Clarkson albums, or that I
not only own but have mem-
orized the tracklists for Now
1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12 - just
kill me. So I did the sen-
sible thing and downloaded
LimeWire, which I'm sure
you all know about because
anyone who's an addict
knows about LimeWire, a
service that fostered illegal
downloading.
Life on LimeWire was
mojitos on the beach, but
like forever. I could down-
load virtually any song I
desired - Sheryl Crow's
whole discography, the
"Pokemon" theme song, you
name it! - and all for free.
It quickly progressed from

a weekly thing to the point
where I was downloading
almost constantly, I'm talk-
ing a few times a day. And
when LimeWire didn't have
what I wanted, I tried Nap-
ster, Ka-zaa, Gnutella, what-
ever might get me the song
I was craving. I will say I
bought an external hard
drive for my 20,000-song
library, so I didn't complete-
ly steal everything if you
think about it philosophical-
ly or whatever. Also, I once
went into a record store and
bought a poster of the Dark
Side of the Moon album cover
because it's my favorite (I
have Pink Floyd's whole dis-
cography), so that counts too
I think.
Those were the days,
before all the bullshit gov-
ernment regulation that
made stealing music less
convenient. Then Big Broth-
er cracked down on Nap-
ster, LimeWire, Ka-zaa, all
the peer-to-peer file shar-
ing services, and ruined my
fun. So I, being the innova-
tive person I am, discovered
BitTorrent, pirate-bay.org
and other sites like it, which
made it possible to steal
movies and soft-ware too!
But then Jammie Thom-
as-Rasset happened - you
know, the woman who
got sued by the Record-
ing Industry Association
of America (RIAA) for
$220,000 ($54,000 for each
of the 24 songs she down-
loaded illegally). When Ron-
nie told me about the suit,
and the 18,000 others filed
by the .RIAA against simi-
lar individuals, I pissed my
pants, changed into a fresh
pair, did some back-of-the-
napkin math that concluded
my own suit would add up to
$1 billion and change, and
then pissed my pants again
(Do you know how much
debt med students have
already?!?)
I'm fucking
scared, guys.
That was a few days ago,
and I'm fucking, scared
guys. I got my Locs on and
keep the oven on now in case
the FBI shows up so I can
destroy my hard-drive. I've
been trying to lay low, get
this addiction under control,
but dependence is real. Like
last night, I downloaded
every song by Beethoven and
Mozart just because I can. I
know it's wrong, but it's just
so easy. I'm not a bad per-
son guys, I just want to be a
gynecologist.
This is a work of fiction.
Yardain can be reached at
amron@umich.edu.

MUSIC NOTEBOOK
Music Pirates
Anonymous

0i

SINGLE REVIEW

Friday, October 24, 2014
9 AM to 5:30 PM
1225 South Hall
University of Michigan Law School
lawumich.edu/FinReform I #UMFinReg

Gwen Stefani's highly antici-
pated comeback -you know,
the one that we've been asking
for since
2006's The B
Sweet Escape,
since No Baby
Doubt's much- Don't Lie
welcomed
(yet ulti- Gwen Stefani
mately under- Interscope
whelming)
2012 comeback and since she
announced thatshe'd be a coach
on this fall's cycle of "The Voice"
- is finally happening. It's a
thing, you guys. On Saturday she
released the firstsingle fromher
upcoming third studio album
and it's anything but disappoint-
ing.
Upon first listen, "BabyDon't
Lie" isn't a total home run; it's not
a songthat you impulsively buy
on iTunes after listening to it for
30 seconds and it doesn't scream
"firstsingle" right away. Like, on
a scale of one to Taylor Swift's
"Shake It Off" breaking the Inter-
net, "BabyDon't Lie"... didn't.

But that was to be expected -
Stefani hasn't released newsolo
material in eight years so, much
like Fergie's recently released
"L.A.Love (La La)," there wasn't
ever going to be much universal
fanfare around this release. It's
simply been too longsince she's
connected to us through her
music. Though she never lost
her pop culture relevance, Gwen
Stefani's extended absence from
music gave her something to
prove.
After a few more listens,
"Baby Don't Lie" becomes more
of the single we were hoping to
hear from Stefani - one that
gets stuck in your head, one that
doesn't sound like everything
that's already out there, one that
is inherently Gwen. Its reggae-
tinged beat pulsates more and
more and itslyrics have some
actual meaning. Asking for more
from Gwen would've been asking
too much; "Baby Don't Lie" isn't a
disappointmentand, considering
she wrote the song with Benny
Blanco and Ryan "Halo" Tedder,

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
12:30 PM
Richard Cordray
Director of the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau

that shouldn't come as a surprise
to anyone.
Gwen Stefani's resurgence
has been a reassuringly feeltgood
one - not that there was ever
any doubtthatshe was stillthe
impossibly awesome and one-of-
a-kind person she was when she
was a teenager in No Doubt, but
her presence on "The Voice" this
season let us witness it first-hand.
As the only female coach, Gwen
Stefani isn't just "one of the boys,"
she runs the whole show and
doesn't take any shit fromher

INTERSCOPE
comrades. Together with fellow-
newcomer Pharrell Williams,
Gwen has given Adam Levine a
run for his moneyin swaying the
best contestants to join her team
and it'sbeen a joyto watch.
"Baby Don't Lie" may not
end up being a chart-topper for
Gwen Stefanibut it sure as hell
is a solid comeback single that
retains everything it means to
be a Gwen Stefani song. Now I'm
just waiting for her to perform it
on "The Voice."
-GIBSON JOHNS

4

t~

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