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November 17, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-17

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Page 4A - Monday, November 17, 2014

Opi i iH

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

mri 1*i4hi an &Uaj
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Ma ard 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.
STUDENT ATHLETE ADVISORY COMMITTEE'VIEWPOINT
Student-athletes want to be heard

The battle over blood

To Whom It May Concern:
We are Michigan student-athletes. Among
the recent controversy regarding Michigan
Athletics, our voices have been left out. It'stime
for us to be heard.
We believe that recent coverage of
Michigan Athletics has been largely one-sided.
Understand that media coverage and decisions
made about Michigan Athletics intimately
affect our lives. We have been insulted and
discredited not only as student-athletes, but as
people. Outofrespecttoouruniversity,wehave
stayed silent for weeks; now, we feel the need to
speak up.
We appreciate the discourse among
stakeholders in Michigan Athletics: alumni,
students, administrators and the community
we serve. We have no problem with people
expressing opinions of the administration
that, in large part, governs our experience as
student-athletes. What we do have a problem
with is those outside of our 900-plus-strong
communityattempting to speak for us.
The balance that student-athletes maintain
between academics and athletics is under
intense scrutiny. One example of many
appeared last week in University President
Mark Schlissel's comments regarding student-
athlete academic eligibility and performance.
"We admit students who aren't as qualified,
and it's probably the kids that we admit that
can't honestly, even with lots of help, do the
amount of work and the quality of work it takes
to make progression from year to year."
Let us be clear: this is just one example of a
misunderstanding that has left us feeling disap-
pointed and frustrated. We have acknowledged
President Schlissel's apology, but maintain that
his comments are not only hurtful, but indica-
tive of a larger problem on campus.
Public perception of student-athletes is too
easily swayed by the media and deafening
public opinion.Our objectiveintlhe nearfuture
is to takeback thegutonomy of our image. We

are here for an education; there is nothing
less that is expected of us simply because we
are student-athletes, and we hold ourselves
to the same standard as every other student
on campus.
The discourse of prior weeks, asshortsighted
as it is, comes from a history much deeper than
the events of this fall. A history where it is OK to
dismiss student-athletes as dumb, unmotivated
and one-dimensional simply because of the
time they spend outside of school. Stereotyping
diminishes not only its perpetrators and its
victims, but the entire campus community that
should value diversity and compassion over
judgment and spite.
We consider it the ultimate honor to wear
the block 'M' , and this is a unifying value
throughout campus. The block 'M' unites us
all - students and musicians and engineers
and actors and activists and researchers and
student-athletes. It's a privilege to share this
tradition, one that we believe is the best in the
world. We appreciate all contributions to make
Michigan the Leaders and Best and hope our
contributions are valued as well.
In President Schlissel's inaugural address,
he implored us to agree on three central tenets,
the third of which stated that "as members
of this community, we will always seek out,
encourage, and value all voices." In these times
of turbulence, we turn to you, no matter how
you wear the block 'M' . We are asking for
our unique voice to be received with curiosity
instead of judgment; and we promise that to
yours, we will do the same.
Cooper Chariton is an LSA junior and SAAC
President, Kevin Bain is a Ross senior and
SAAC Vice President, Becca Garfinkel is an
LSA senior and SAAC Vice President of NCAA
Reform, Gina McNamara is an LSA junior
and SAAC Community Engagement Chair,
and Leslie Smith is an LSA senior and SAAC
Marketing and Communications Chair.

After reading a previous
column of mine in which I
questioned the legitimacy
of the FDA's
continued ban
on men who have
sex with men
(MSM) from
donating blood,
the University's
Blood Drives
United, a student-
run organization AUSTIN
sponsored by the DAVIS
Alpha Phi Omega
co-ed national
service fraternity, contacted me
about it. The group's members
urged me to meet with them so
that they could receive some
feedback from a queer student on
the different projects they've begun
in an attempt to bring student
awareness to the policy.
The FDA's 1983 implementation of
the ban barring MSM from donating
blood was, at the time, a step made in
response to a real and palpable fear:
due to technological constraints
that limited the extent to which
HIV antibodies could be detected
in donated blood, healthy patients
of blood transfusions stood a
chance of inadvertently contracting
HIV from infected blood without
physicians ever knowing. Banning
the population with the highest
occurrence of HIV seemed - and
admittedly was - an acceptable and
logical action in an attempt to halt
further dissemination of the virus.
Thirty years later, however, a ban
that was made to protect the public
could be one that potentially kills
it. The Red Cross reports that it
continues to be about 40,000 units
of blood behind daily quotas, a hefty
number that could be significantly
diminished if MSM were allowed
to donate along with the rest of the
population. Because of this, simply
not having access to blood seems
much more potentially harmful
than the one in 6.5 million chance
that a healthy donor could receive
infected blood; current medical
technology can detect the HIV
antibodies as early as nine days
after infection, and blood from
every donor is readily screened
before being deemed viable for use.
Before meeting with LSA
senior Samantha Rea and others

on BDU's executive board, I held
negative views on the initiatives
the organization had put in place
in order to educate others about
the ban. BDU had begun a series
of awareness meetings, had
conceptualized and implemented
the creation of a visual arts project
to display the number of potential
lives that could be saved from MSM
blood, and had even attempted to
pass a White House petition to
effectively ;nd the ban. This, in my
mind,wasn'tenough;althoughthese
projects were all well-intended
gestures made in support of the
gay and bisexual male community,
they failed to cause any sort of far-
reaching splash that would initiate
political action. If they're taking on
this issue, I'd thought, they should
be critically examining the ban by
attempting to forge some catalyst
for change, instead of merely
implementing peacekeeping efforts
meant to pacify the critical gay and
bisexual male student body.
My accusations of inaction,
however, were made unjustly; as
it turns out, they have been work-
ing tirelessly to try to find ways to
combat the ban

bureaucratic constraints as reasons
for remaining detached from any
political action in which BDU hopes
to become involved.
According to the University's
Edward Ginsberg Center for Com-
munity Service and Learning,
because of reforms to Michigan's
campaign finance laws, the Univer-
sity as a public entity is subject to
remain within certain boundaries
when becoming affiliated with politi-
cal causes; aside from conductingand
compiling research, providing fac-
tual material or holding educational
conferences about aparticular politi-
cal issue, the University is bound by
law to withhold funds in support or
dissent of a particular candidate or
political proposal.
This means that it would be ille-
gal for the University to affiliate
itself with any sort of action call-
ing for political change, including
a student petition. However, this
does not mean that the University
could not expand its role in the
issue by initiating more educational
programs and research opportuni-
ties surrounding the ban - if not to
heighten public contempt, then to
at least combat

6

against MSM. ignorance. At
The projects an institution
already in place The focus of my anger as liberal as the
are a result of University of
countless nego- over the political Michigan that
tiations regard- inaction surrounding supposedly
ing what they works toward
are and are not the ban became the improving
allowed to do University itself. minority rights
while remaining and participa-
in good stand- tion within the
ing with their realm of higher
political backers and University education, this. shouldn't be some-
donors. Because of this, the focus of thing that needs to be demanded.
my anger over the political inaction Gay and bisexual men, too, should
on campus surrounding the ban expect respect from our university.
became the University itself. BDU is an organization led by
Since choosing to actively socially conscious individualswork-
fight ignorance surrounding the ing hard with their given resources
MSM ban, BDU and their affiliate to attempt to implement significant
organization Beyond Blood - an change for a minority population
arm of BDU whose work deals on this campus. The University of
exclusively with the MSM ban - Michigan, however, is an institution
have attempted to contact about that is effectively stifling any poten-
25 different organizations - both tial for change BDU could have on
privately and University-affiliated the MSM policy by remaining inac-
- to aid in their cause of fighting tive and unsupportive. Bureaucratic
MSM discrimination. Though many legalities are no excuse for inaction.
private organizations have given
support to BDU, others, namely - Austin Davis can be reached
University affiliates, have claimed at austchan@umich.edu.

0

Getting sick
S taying home sick is mindful of the and it is individual efforts that are quantified,
common good, but syllabi don't account measured and used to determine our future.
for days off. Collegiate society is based entirely upon
Living as a student on competition and individual performance.
a college campus is like From day one of freshman year, good grades,
volunteering to live in internships and respectable careers are all
a quarantine zone post- being vied for by millions of students obsessed
outbreak. Getting sick at with trying to outshine each other.
some point throughout the To stay relevant in the dogged competition
year is basically a guarantee. takes perseverance, blind luck and harnessing
As of Nov. 8, the Centers of any controllable variables. Getting sick is up
for Disease Control and Pre- to luck. Gettingsick and then still goingto class
vention is already reporting is the only thinga student can do that wouldn't
"sporadic" influenza activ- TYLER only make the situation worse.
ity in the state of Michigan. SCOTT Discouraging the spread of illness is a
"Winter" and "flu season" are laudable social position, but it doesn't stand
interchangeable, but if it isn't up to logic. It's true that there would be less
the flu that turns lecture halls suffering for everyone if nobody with a triple-
into a cacophony of sniffles, coughs and sneez- digit temperature ever tried to limp through a
es, then it's going to be something else. full day of classes, but if you never expected to
Students will fall to influenza and seasonal meet suffering in college, prepare for surprise.
bugs, and an ideal world would have each stu- College is a breeding ground for suffering.
dent stay home nestled safely in their beds - far In the end, you either get that degree or you
away fromthe uninfected. don't. Students trying to integrate a perpetually
The mass e-mail sentout runny nose into their
by the Newnan Advising normal routine have it as
Center urges students to bad as anybody, and are
report illnesses, notify Going to class sick is still just trying to do what
instructors when missing they came here to do.
class is necessary, and to much more of an act Nature and all her
"Get Better, Stay Better" harshness shows no mercy
in order to keep campus a Of survival than of on us, making it worse
healthier place. 1sel 1 swhen we don't show
However, studying at se shess. empathy toward each
the University doesn't other. The only way to
leave room for unplanned try and make it seem like
absences. The misery of we aren't the playthings
legitimate illness is only made worse by the of chance is to combat adversity with mutual
compounded anxiety of missing class and being understanding and community.
too sick to work. Going to class sick is much more an act of
Ultimately, suffering through one day of survival than of selfishness. Comfort is the cost
lecturedoeslessharmthanmissingonebecause of progress and it has tobe paid.
there is no incentive to preserve the collective
health of the student body. Meanwhile, the - Tyler Scott can be reached
burden falls on individuals who are already sick, at tylscott@umich.edu.
N OTA BL E Q U OTA BLE
I can safely say that the scope of the 20-year UNC
fraud scandal easily takes the prize for the largest
and most nefarious scandal in the history of
NCAA enforcement.'
- Drake Group President Gerald Gurney said in reference to the independent report that
discovered that the University of North Carolina had been offering fake"paper classes" to
its student-athletes.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Edvinas Berzanskis, Devin Eggert, David Harris,
Rachel John, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Michael Paul, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke,
Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Mary Kate Winn,
Jenny Wang, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
BENJAMIN KELLER I
A return to governing

Gridlock. That is probably the
first word that comes to many vot-
ers' minds when they think of the
current U.S. Congress. With a
Republican-controlled House, and
Democrats in control of both the
Senate and the White House, it has
been extremely difficult to pass any
type of legislation. In fact, accord-
ing to a Washington Post article,
this current Congress is on track
to pass the fewest laws ever. Why
is this? Some might say it is House
Republican obstruction of Presi-
dent Barack Obama's agenda. Oth-
ers may say it is Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell's decep-
tive use of parliamentary procedure
to stymie legislation. However,
neither of these is very true at all.
Rather, it has been Harry Reid and
President Obama's fault for the
gridlock in Washington because of
their constant aversion to come to
the bargaining table and the refusal
by Mr. Reid to bring House bills
to the Senate floor. However, as a
result of the midterm election and
a massive GOP victory, Congres-
sional leadership in Washington is
about to change and the hope for
real governing will finally return to
our nation's capital.
Under Harry Reid's leadership
there has been a dwindling number
of bills brought to the Senate floor,
and virtually no chance at all for
debate or amendments. The Senate
is widely considered to be one of
the greatest deliberative bodies in
the entire world. As the bastion of
honorable debate, it is saddening
that Mr. Reid has been so reluctant
to allow bills to be deliberated.
He has done this for a variety of
reasons, which range from a refusal
to consider Republican policies to
protecting Democratic senators
from having to vote on tough

legislation that may anger their
voting populations. Unfortunately
for him, that strategy backfired.
Our country is now furious over
Congress's unwillingness to govern
and many see Mr. Reid as a symbol
of the gridlock. Furthermore those
Senators that the majority leader
was trying to protect weren't
able to make the tough votes they
needed to distance themselves from
an unpopular President. As a result,
manyofthosevulnerable Democrats
lost the midterm election because
their Republican opponents were
successfully able to tie them as
rubber stamps to the President's
failed policies.
While the GOP-led House has
passed a litany of legislation, includ-
ing many bills with bipartisan sup-
port, those bills have been hampered
in the Senate. The President and
Mr. Reid have also been extremely
reluctant to come to the table with
Republicans in an effort not to show
Democratic weakness. In response
to complaints over Washington's
inability to work together, the
President has resorted to attacking
Republicans for "extremism" and
not supporting his agenda.
With a Republican majority in
the Senate about to be sworn in,
coupled with the majority in the
House that is about to be at its
highest level in decades, the Presi-
dent will be all alone in our gov-
ernment's leadership. Obviously,
Republicans will not be able to nec-
essarily pass legislation without the
President's approval, but it will be
tough for Mr. Obama to veto bipar-
tisan legislation that has already
passed the House - a repeal of the
Medical Device Tax, lowering of
the Corporate Tax rate, reforms to
the Affordable Care Act, stronger
sanctions against Iran, approval of

the Keystone XL Pipeline and many
more acts that have been killed by
the current Senate.
With a functional Congress, we
will see numerous bills reaching
the President's desk for the
first time since the Democrats
controlled Congress in the first half
of Obama's first term. Moreover,
when Mr. McConnell takes control
of the Senate in January, there will
be actual deliberation taking part
in the chamber. Unlike Mr. Reid,
McConnell has pledged a longer
work day and week for senators,
open debate on all bills, chances
for amendments to be heard and an
overall shift in procedure from the
constant stalling that characterized
the Senate under Democratic
leadership to the free flowing of
bills through our government's
Upper House.
I want to state that I do not affili-
ate with a party. Rather, I affiliate
with a particular ideology that airs
more toward libertarianism. My
opinions in this article aren't based
on a belief in Republican Party
leadership, but a belief that our gov-
ernment should, first and foremost,
conduct its constitutionally dele-
gated powers - that means actually
enacting legislation. Just like most
people in this nation, I am fed up
with our elected representatives'
refusal to perform the jobs we sent
them to Washington for. So wheth-
er you are a Republican, Democrat,
Independent or don't affiliate with
a party like myself, all Americans
should be happy in an imminent
return to governmental normalcy,
and an end to that most hated word
that has so often characterized our
government: gridlock.
Benjamin Keller is
an LSA freshman.

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