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November 13, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-13

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4A - Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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i

Why we don't vote

BLOOD BATTLE COMMITTEE|I
Driving out discrimination

W hen I woke up last Tuesday, I was more
excited about my breakfast waffle than
I was about voting. Yeah it was Elec-
tion Day, but it was also my
quarter-birthday. And to be
honest, the only reason I was
even registered to vote was
because a friend bugged me
enough before class one day
(it took all of one single sided
sheet of paper).
Still, some mix of peer
pressure and civic duty got
me to the polls (it probably YARDAIN
also helped my polling loca- AMON
tion was two blocks from my
house). But as I opened my
big ballot behind a cardboard
sneeze guard, I realized I knew as much about
the candidates as a toddler still lacking sphincter
control: there was some Republican white guy and
some Democrat white guy and their names rhymed
with spider and shower. And what does the State
Board of Education do? Referendum 14-2? I had
said I was going to do some research and educate
myself on the politics and platforms, but then less
boring things got in the way - like homework and
exams and six packs and Degrassi.
I'm not alone in my ignorance and apathy,
though. Only 36 percent of eligible voters nation-
wide voted in the midterm Tuesday - the lowest
midterm turnout since World War II, and sev-
enth lowest since George Washington sported
wooden dentures, according to the United States
Election Project.
Young people like myself, ages 18-29, are notori-
ously the worst voters. We make up a hefty 21 per-
cent of the eligible voting population - enough to
sway entire states blue - but last Tuesday, voted
at about that same measly rate. Even in presiden-
tial election years, when voter turnout increases
across the board, less than half of young eligible
voters actually vote (Between 60 and 70 percent of
eligible Americans 30 and older vote in presiden-
tial elections).
Why don't we vote? The Census Bureau has been
asking Americans that question on the Current
Population Survey since 1996. The top two reasons
given by all registered voters are "too busy, con-
flicting work," and "Not interested, felt my vote
would not count." Among the roughly 60 million
unregistered eligible voters in the. country, about
half said they didn't register because they simply
weren't interested.
I think those two rationales come from a similar
place: We're all busy. It's just a matter of what we
choose to be busy with. If we feel our vote won't
count, or find politics petty and boring, it seems
pretty logical to be busy with other things.
But there's no excuse for apathy. It would be
one thing if our reason for not voting was that we
"didn't like the candidates," as more adults claim;

that would at least prove we made an effort to
understand the politics.
I'm scared at the thought that most young people
just don't care. It seems like some version of the trag-'
edy of the commons is at play here: the thought being
that the system will chug on whether or not we vote;
that filling out some silly bubbles about some serious
strangers wearing suit pants and makeup is not going
to effect our individual lives in any visible capacity;
that voting would cut into Degrassi.
But then I wonder why this apathy exists in the
first place? There's a reason C-SPAN is the most
boring channel on television, that the word 'refer-
endum' makes me free associate with filing taxes,
and that the language of Washtenaw County Pro-
posal 1 "TO RENEW THE INCREASE IN THE
TAX LIMITATION FOR PARKS AND RECRE-
ATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PLANNING,
ACQUIRING, DEVELOPING, OPERATING AND
MAINTAINING PARKS AND RECREATION
PLACES AND FACILITIES IN WASHTENAW
COUNTY FOR THE BENEFIT OF WASHTENAW
COUNTY CITIZENS" triggers my narcolepsy.
There's a reason more students show up to football
games than to the polls..
Perhaps the reason is also systemic. Perhaps it's
in the best interest of those already in power - for
the most part, rich white men - to keep the Ameri-
can masses ignorant and away from the polls. Case
in point: the recent Republican effort to stymie
registration and voting in certain states via new
stringent voter ID laws and inconvenient poll-
ing sites and hours. There's no better way to keep
people away from something than by making said
thing boring, complicated and elitist.
And while the debate continues to focus around
how to increase voter turnout - ideas including
making Election Day a national holiday, allowing
for internet voting and even pulling an Australia
and making voting mandatory - there's little to
no talk about how we might educate the elector-
ate. What's the point of getting more people to
vote if they haven't the slightest clue what they're
voting for?
As university students, we are the privileged,
educated youth. We're all busy, studying, advocat-
ing. Growing. We all have dreams about how we're
going to make a difference, change the world, help
people. Each of our votes does matter. Thinking
otherwise is short-slicing your own freedom.
When I checked Facebook later that Tuesday, a
friend had posted this: "tbh tho if you don't get out
and vote today then like why are you even here lot."
I agree with a caveat: The right to choose not
to vote is important. The right not to think about
voting is dumb. If you're educated and don't care
about voting, you either don't care about democra-
cy or take it for granted. Let's stop taking freedom
for granted.
- Yardain Amron can be reached
at amron@umich.edu.

The need for blood donations has never been
greater. Every day, a population roughly equiva-
lent to the student population here in Ann Arbor
requires a blood transfusion. Although 38 percent
of Americans are eligible to donate, only 10 per-
cent will give blood in their lifetime. This leaves an
enormous gap in the supply and demand of blood
donations, one that blood banks have been fighting
to solve for decades. To make matters worse, the
Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the
safety and security of our blood supply nationally,
has for nearly 40 years prohibited all men who have
had sexual contact with another man (MSM) from
donatingblood for life.
This specific clause dates back to 1977, when
patientswhohadreceivedregularbloodtransfusions
began experiencing symptoms related to the AIDS
virus. The FDA made what it believed at the time to
be the most logical choice: limit the contamination
of the blood supply by eliminating the most signifi-
cant carriers of HIV and AIDS. There is, of course,
some scientific grounding in this logic; research has
shown that a man who has had sex with a man is 200
times more likely to carry HIV as compared to a non-
MSM donor. As such, a question was added to the
pre-donation questionnaire asking if potential male
donors had previously had any sexual contact with a
man. If a volunteer answers yes, he is banned for life,
with no opportunity for recourse.
Nearly 40 years later, the FDA has yet to realize
that by banning MSM blood donations, it has dis-
criminated against millions of potentially eligible
blood donors who are not, and never have been, car-
riers of HIVor the AIDS virus. Every blood donation
is tested multiple times over for a series of potentially
serious infections, including: HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis
B and C, West Nile virus, Chagas disease and syphi-
lis. Currently, the chance of contracting HIV from a
blood donation is roughly one per two million units
of blood, although further scientific developments
have lowered that statistic even further.While previ-
ous techniques only tested for HIV antibodies, which
are only detected in the bloodstream after 12 weeks
of incubation, newly required protocols call for the
testing for HIV ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is
detected after a much shorter incubation period. As
further research continues to improve blood safety
measures worldwide, we can all agree the blood sup-
ply is as safe as it ever has been.
There certainly was a time when the current
FDA policy was a necessary and logical method of
preventing risky behavior from contaminating the
blood supply; however, that time has long since
passed. We are now faced with a set of procedures
that eliminates an entire sector of the population
- millions of potential donors - from giving blood
based solely on an outdated and discriminatory pol-
icy. Let us explore some of the numbers. If one of
the potential donorsucurrently bannedby this policy

was eligible and capable of donating, started doing
so at age 17 and continued every 56 days, by age 76,
he could have saved more than 1,000 lives by him-
self. Consideringthe likelihood that there are thou-
sands of potential donors who would otherwise be
able to donate blood if not for this policy, we are
looking at millions of lives that could potentially be
saved over the course of generations.
BloodDrivesUnitedisastudentorganizationthat
has been dedicated to organizing, staffing and pro-
moting blood drives across campus for more than
30 years. Perhaps you're familiar with our annual
Blood Battle competition, in which we compete
with our counterparts at The Ohio State University
to see who can collect the most pints of blood over
a three-and-a-half-week period. This year, in con-
junction with the annual competition, we're placing
a special emphasis on education and advocacy for a
change in this longstanding discriminatory policy.
This initiative, known as Bleeding for Equality, is
dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring others
to advocate for change on a national level
On Nov. 16, Wolverines For Life will be hosting
the annual "Be a Hero at The Big House" event,
which will be taking place in the Jack Roth Suites at
Michigan Stadium. In addition to being the largest
blood drive for Blood Battle, there are also opportu-
nities to sign up for organ, tissue and bone marrow
donations, as well as other information on wellness
in our daily lives. There will also be an opportunity
to learn more about Bleeding For Equality, and
how you can support our goals.
For those potential donors currently affected by
the FDA's MSM policy, there are several ways to
actively contribute to Blood Battle and the Bleed-
ing For Equality Initiative. In addition to the event
at the Jack Roth Suites, the Blood Battle committee
has organized an art project to take place during
the blood drives at the Michigan Union Ballroom.
Affected potential donorswill have the opportunity
to design a fabric square, which will then be used
to create a quilt, demonstrating the large number
of people affected by this policy within our campus
alone. We also highly encourage those who cannot
donate to have a friend donate blood on their behalf
by making an appointment through the Red Cross
website at redcrossblood.org and using the sponsor
code "GOBLUE."
For more information, "like" our Facebook page
to stay up to date with the latest news or visit www.
bloodbattle.org. Questions and concerns regard-
ing the Bleeding For Equality initiative should
be directed to Alex Fox, a Senior in the School of
Music, Theater and Dance, via email: alexfox@
umich.edu or the Blood Drives Executive Commit-
tee at bloodrivesunited@umich.edu.
This viewpoint was written by members of the Blood
Battle Committee.

HOKE
From Page 1A
This time, it was because of
comments made by the Univer-
sity's first-year President Mark
Schlissel about the academic
admission requirements for
football players. After Schlis-
sel clarified the comments in
an interview with the Daily on
Tuesday, Hoke responded, say-
ing Schlissel called him to apol-

ogize.
"We've always believed that
this is truly an academic univer-
sity," Hoke said. "You can only
play so long and that's what this
degree, a Michigan degree, is all
about.
"And so we take it very seri-
ously, we try to recruit the best
football players, the best stu-
dent athletes and people that fit
the blueprint here at Michigan.
It's not for everybody because it
is demanding, but that's the way

it should be."
RUNNING BY COMMIT-
TEE: Since sophomore run-
ning back Derrick Green broke
his clavicle during Michigan's
game against Rutgers, the Wol-
verines have taken a committee
approach to their running game.
Between sophomore De'Veon
Smith, redshirt sophomore
Drake Johnson and redshirt
junior Justice Hayes, Michigan
has started to find some consis-
tency in its backfield. The team

is averaging 154.1 yards on the
ground, an improvement over
last year's 12S.6.
"Whoever (running backs)
coach (Fred Jackson) feels is
'feeling themselves,' as he would
say during the game, that's the
guy he'll probably go with,"
Smith said. "I don't mind it at
all."
Against Indiana two weeks
ago, Johnson had a breakout
game tallying 122 yards and two
touchdowns. Against North-

western, Smith rushed for 121
yards and a touchdown, his best
game since the season opener
against Appalachian State.
"I was feeling myself," Smith
said. "It was my (20th) birthday
on Saturday, so it was a good day
to be feeling myself."
But it's no surprise the run-
ning game is hitting a stride as
the offensive line plays its most
consistent football of the sea-
son. After Northwestern, Smith
pointed to the offensive line for

the secret behind his success,
while Johnson did the same6
after his big game.
Hoke said Wednesday that
the unit played its best football
of the season against the Wild-
cats. It was the first time all year
that Gardner wasn't sacked and
was the first time since 2012
that Michigan had running
backs surpass 100 yards in back-
to-back games.

BAN
From Page 1A
tutional," Kaplan said. "This is a
final judgment."
However, upon signing the
law, Republican Gov. Rick Sny-

der wrote in a signing statement
that university employees or
state employees under civil ser-
vice were not included.
"In (Snyder's) signing state-
ment he said he didn't believe
that it applied to universities
because under the constitution

there is a provision protecting
your autonomy or state employ-
ees," Kaplan said.
The University's benefits pol-
icy, which was created in 2008,
allows Other Qualified Adults to
be qualified for benefits. Other
Qualified Adults include anoth-

er adult living with a University
employee.
"The way the University's
benefits are structured, benefits
are not offered to just domes-
tic partners," said University
spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. "It
is a broader definition and other

adults living in the household
can qualify for the benefits from
the University."
In 2011, the law did not
change the University policy
and the injunction on the law
in 2013 did not change anything
either. Wednesday's decision to

strike down the law still does
not bring any change for Uni-
versity staff.
"This court ruling overturn-
ing the law doesn't change any-
thing for the University staff,"
Fitzgerald said.

CSG
From Page 1A
a resolution to stand in solidar-
ity with the people of Ferguson,
Mo. against police brutality. This
resolution passed after a similar
resolution was voted down, with
assembly members concerned the
strong language of the original
resolution did not reflect CSG's
views.
CSG has dealt with decisions
on how to represent student opin-
ions several times over the past
year. The assembly postponed a
divestment resolution from Stu-
dents Allied for Freedom and
Equality last year that prompted a
sit-in at the CSG chambers, being
the only postponed resolution in
recent memory. The resolution
was ultimately brought to a full
vote and did not pass.
The issues that CSG has
addressed have been diverse in
nature, especially regarding their
relevance to the University, with
members debating what the stu-
dent government's role should be
in these matters. CSG has dem-
onstrated their willingness to
address all issues, even issues that
are more isolated from the Uni-
versity.
CSG president Bobby Dishell, a
Public Policy senior, said no mat-
ter the concerns brought to CSG,
the focus has always been on

bringing about concrete results.
"I am firm believer that CSG
operates effectively when we- act
on issues that are in consensus
with the University," Dishell said
in an interview with the Daily.
"CSG is always working to bring
about tangible results on cam-
pus."
By comparison, some student
governments at other schools
in the region take a different
approach when addressing cam-
pus concerns.
Bobby Haddix, Purdue student
government president, said the
PSG always aims to recognize the
needs of the students on campus,
no matter the concern.
"Purdue Student Government
aims to represent all students
on campus," Haddix said in an
e-mail. "If there are students pas-
sionate about some issue, it is our
responsibility to at least look into
it."
Haddix said most issues
brought to the Student Senate at
Purdue are directly relevant to
the University. However, on some
occasions, there are more isolated
issues that are brought up.
He added that some of the ini-
tiatives that are implemented are
issues external to the campus
but tend to directly impact the
university. Two years ago, the
Purdue Student Senate voted to
support a national foundation lob-
bying the government for green

card expansions.
"While this didn't necessarily
have an impact on our campus, it
did affect many of our students,"
Haddix said. "Purdue has the one
of the largest populations of inter-
national students in the United
States, so it was important to that
senate to stand up for their con-
stituents."
Jeffery Ding, vice president of
the University of Iowa student
government, offered another per-
spective, saying they are not just
focused on providing action for
students on campus, but student
life in the state of Iowa altogether.
"While most of the issues
brought to our attention are
ones that directly affect our con-
stituents, UI students, we have
addressed issues that fall outside
the scope of university life," Ding
said in an e-mail.
Ding said the UISG has
addressed issues including
installing red light cameras, used
for traffic enforcement, in Iowa
City and proposed high-speed rail
system.
Regarding issues that extend
beyond Iowa student life, Ding
said there were more suitable
areas for them to be addressed.
"I personally find that resolu-
tions on outside issues are sym-
bolic at best and there are other
more appropriate avenues for
those proclamations," he said.
Ava Jacobs, director of public

relations for the Associated Stu-
dents of Michigan State Univer-
sity, said the ASMSU's members
are diverse in their areas of cam-
pus involvement and thus bring a
variety of issues for consideration.
"These groups actively repre-
sent the interests of students to
university committees, Board of
Trustees, university administra-
tors, city of East Lansing, State
of Michigan and other pertinent
entities on all student and aca-
demic related issues," Jacobs said.
Jacobs said in recent years the
ASMSU has not addressed any
issues not somehow related to
campus life.
"We have, however, lobbied
congressmen in Washington,
D.C., along with the rest of the
Big 10, to advocate for issues and
initiatives relevant to college stu-
dents," she said.
Emily Kurtz, press office direc-
tor for the Associated Students of
Wisconsin-Madison, said their
assembly does not have a clear-cut
way of differentiating between
which issues are relevant to the
university and which are not.
"Topics we chose to discuss
depend entirely on the content
and current events occurring
within the topic," Kurtz said.
"Members sitting on Student
Council decide if an issue is some-
thing ASM should or should not
be involved with based on a vari-
ety of criteria."

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