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Page 4-Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C 4cfftdligan Daily
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHIAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorialboard.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
What we need to hear
his holiday weekend made for some had before Michael Brown was shot. We are
of the most bizarre television IScan forced to address the issues of discrimination
ever remember. and inequality that we are trying to convince
There was Thanksgiving ourselves don't exist - a conversation that may
and all its traditional cheer, have gone somewhere were it not for all of the
but this year, football and the rioting, vandalism and brutality.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day What would it take to get a protest to cause
Parade were sandwiched by real change, and not just contribute to the
the morning and evening madness? There's no clear leader of a movement
news where reports were like Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historical
still rolling in from Fergu- guidance during the 1960s. Hollywood, artists
son, Missouri - the town and musicians seem a world apart from current
that pulled the floorboards events, except to offer more criticism. Wealth
up from small-town America SCOTT disparity is already a problem, and it seems the
and exposed the unstable working class is at risk of losing its voice, too.
foundation of social change, a Until people find the right way to channel
rot that had set in long before their message, the next serious social issue will
the shooting of Michael Brown happened. simply repeat the same cycle. Ferguson will
Rarely do ideas questioning the status quo eventually go away (though it will probably
live to be anything more than interesting be remembered as one of the most depressing
dormroomconversation. Thevoicesofprotest reflections of humanity in recent years), but
and progressivism are often sufficiently more opportunities will come to provide the
discredited. For a country with a rich history stage for a movement.
of popular protest, demonstrations to inspire If anything good is to come out of Fergu-
new thought and change carry remarkably son, let it be that we learned from it. No one
little weight, and are always accompanied should criticize a protest that targets racism,
by harsh criticism. Situations like Ferguson but no one should defend rioting and vandal-
only reinforce the notion that social protests ism. There's no question about whether social
are nothing but mindless angry mobs when change is really needed or if racism is still an
they turn violent, and peaceful protests issue. Thousands of people taking to streets
get drowned out by media scrutiny from across the country speak to this, butthe argu-
whichever end of the political spectrum ment isn't being presented like it should be.
they're offending. Rarely does it seem like To make light of a serious issue,. most
an organized effort to bring about change protesters are like having a friend who's terrible
actually makes an impact. at telling jokes. When someone is .moved to
Popular forms of protest are outdated, protest, or tell a joke, they believe they can
and occur so often that they have become contribute. But even the best one-liners are
white noise playing underneath the beat of ruined if the timing is off or the situation
social issues. Government and the rich can isn't right.
open up discussion about change and make it There's a recipe for every good social
happen, but it's much harder to do so from the interaction. It takes the changing of a few
bottomup. variables to elevate a forgettable experience to
It's hard to imagine a movement that would one that resonates with an entire nation.
grip the attention of Americans today like past It's no different with Ferguson or any other
protests have. Vietnam, the Civil Rights Move- protest. Before we take to the streets, we should
ment -they both feel likethey had something figure out exactly what America needsato hear.
more than Ferguson, where the outbreak of
violence only created a public outcry for it all - Tyler Scott can be reached
to end and to return to the exact same life we at tylscot@umich.edu.
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
SUNDAI JOHNSONI H(I_ A
Letter to the revolutionaries

The next social injustice

ve never fully understood
football. I don't know if it was
for lack of interest or because
it just seemed
too complicated,
but I admittedly
never tried to
comprehend it.
I don't mean the
mechanics of the x
game (although
I'm a little hazy {
on those details,
too), I mean the MAURA
phenomenon LWINE
of American
football: the
reason we play it
(i.e. obsess over it) as an American
society despite its proven dangers.
It's like smoking cigarettes. We
know it's bad and it just might kill
us, but people choose to gamble and
do it anyway because it feels good.
Just for writing this position peo-
ple will label me too-girly-to-under-
stand. Perhaps that is true. But yet
again the liberal banner exulting the
dangers of football must be raised
and repeated, for otherwise I fear
the imminent decay of our society
into a caveman world of oblivion.
Let's start with the most recent,
horrifying football news. On Sun-
day afternoon Ohio State football
player Kosta Karageorge was found
dead. He reportedly shot himself in
the head after suffering numerous
concussions thanks in part to his
beloved sport, football. Right before
he was last seen, he texted his mom,
"I am sorry if I am an embarrass-
ment but these concussions have
my head all f***ed up." Karageorge
was a walk-on to the Ohio State
football team after having wrestled
for three years. CNN reported his
death with an opening line of, "The
rough sports he loved may have

helped to do Kosta Karageorge in at
age 22." This simple, matter-of-fact
statement is about as hype a reper-
cussion as his death may receive.
There will be no riots or protests for
Karageorge. There will be no Fer-
guson fury. We have accepted as an
American society that the pleasure
we derive from watching young
men hurl themselves at one another
across a field of grass is worth more
than the death of a few or the brain
injury of hundreds. In fact, we teach
our little boys that strong, able, suc-
cessful men play football. We turn
a blind eye to the casualties as we
continue to pour money and effort
into a sport that does nothing for the
good of mankind.
Michael Brown, the victim of
the Ferguson shooting, was 18. His
needless death has been protested
for months and has brought this
country damn near to its knees. It's
all you hear about when you turn on
the news. That's because of what it
stands for. Brown's death stands
for the injustice and the racism
that still plague our society. He's a
cause people can rally around. But
what about Karageorge? What does
his mom feel like? He was only four
years older than Brown. He died
needlessly, too. No one is protesting
for him. Yes, he will receive well-
deserved candlelight vigils and a
school-wide grievance, but will
anyone question the institution of
football? Will anyone research the
statistics of how many football ath-
letes are injured or die from concus-
sions? Will anyone cry for an end to
this constant violence like they did
in Ferguson? I'll just go ahead and
take a guess. No.
And here we find ourselves back
to the slippery slope that is former
Athletic Director Dave Brandon and
the University of Michigan football

program. Why, you may ask, do
we refuse to question football and
why do we refuse to make our
players safer? Money. Yes, we're a
society that will do anything for
money. Dave Brandon himself made
$850,000 in 2013 while working
at the University. That made him
the highest-paid employee of the
University. So somewhere, someone
decided that Michigan football,
with all of its concussions and
sexual abuse scandals, was more
important than the University
cancer researcher with a Ph.D. on
North Campus who spends over 12
hours a day in a lab trying to find a
cure for breast cancer. But that is
neither here nor there.
Money, then, is what drives this
train. While people run to burn
things down and -throw rocks at
policemen over the death of Michael
Brown, they leave NFL football
playingonthe TVathome,forgetting
that the.Super Bowl represents the
single largest human trafficking
incident in the United States each
year. People rush* off to protest
violence, while supporting violence
(without even knowing it). Here's
the boys-will-be-boys part I really
don't understand: we're letting
football and all of its atrocities
fly because we find it relaxing
to watch young men break each
other's legs and tackle one another
to the ground? I think I missed
something. Perhaps in another 50
years Ferguson will be a story of
the distant past. People will rejoice
in a newfound equality between
all races. Football, then, will be the
next injustice and violent theme
we protest in this country. One can
only hope.
- Maura Levine can be reached
at mtoval@umich.edu.

NICHOLAS RAJA I
A new approach to student mental health concerns

This piece was originally posted on Facebook
in reaction to the grand jury's decision that
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would
not be indicted in the death of teenager Michael
Brown. It has since been revised for publication
in The Michigan Daily.
I am usually not one to use Facebook as a
platform to share my own voice. I might repost
things I find funny or exciting, artistic and
beautiful, reassuring. Repost about issues that
are relevant and important that reflect my,
thinking and beliefs, but when it comes to my
own voice on this particular platform, I have
been silent.
But tonight, on this grave night, when my,
hands and heart tremble, there is no other time
that might merit a greater reason to speak out
than this.
We all know what happened months ago.
We all know what happened tonight. We are all
reactingin some capacity.
I'm thankful for the voices that resonate with
my own, the words Ican snap to. It reminds me
that I am not alone, that we are not alone. That
we matter.
And while I am hurt and angered by those
voices that are dead set that this man is
innocent, that this circumstance is not about
race, these arguments are irrelevant to the
matter and not only is there no room to discuss
this, there is negative room to discuss this.
Then there are those who believe they are
not reacting at all. Those who have the power
and privilege to look away. I would just like
to say that your passivity might be the biggest
reaction of them all. Neutrality is the greatest
threatto a world that might one day be just and
free to all. This silence perpetuates a system in
which accountability and responsibility are not
required and tells those who believe that this is
anything less than a tragedythat they are right.
There is no more room for passivity and
complacency. There is no'neutral'where human
rights are concerned, only responsibility.
This is not the time to police and criticize
the reactions of a people beaten and broken
down by a system in a country and society
built on their backs and their blood. And
please spare me arguments about how slavery
is irrelevant. The institution of slavery helped

create a system where Black bodies are seen
as subhuman and where unlawful Black death
is justified, rewarded and upheld. socially,
institutionally and politically. This is the mess
slavery - and the violent distorted thinking
and bloody actions that produced it - made.
We'll stop talking about it when its residual
effects are cleaned up.
Tonight I am ill with sadness and trauma. I
believed that maybe we might have made it a
little farther than we'd come before.
I am pained to admit that I was sorely
mistakenandamnowperplexedbythis massive
question of where we go from here. What do we
do now?
I may - we may - have been wrong in
thinking our justice system would move away
from its haunting history and surprise us
with hope for the future, but I believe I am
right about one thing: This time is different.
The difference not being in a system that
consistently fails us - but the difference
being in a people tired of being failed. We
have changed; we are the difference; we have
the power to be the change.
This cannot be put to bed. They wanted us
to forget but we cannot allow them to bury us,
to bury this. We must keep organizing, keep
speaking, yelling, screaming, until we are
heard. Marching, stomping, pounding, shaking
the ground until the system has no choice but
to break.
And by we I mean all. This is not a Black
issue; this is a human issue, as all violations of
human rights are. We did notenslave ourselves.
We need just as many bodies that helped get us
here to help us get free.
I live by this always and Iwill say ita dozen
times over:
"The only way to deal with an unfree world
is to become so absolutely free that your very
existence is an act of rebellion" -Albert Camus
I will be a rebellion. Iwill be a revolution.
I hope y'all will join me.
Michigan in Color is the Daily's opinion
section designated asa space for and by
students of color at the University of Michigan.
To contribute your voice or find out more about
MiC, e-mail michiganincolor@umich.edu.

The weekend of Nov. 14, 35
University students from across
campus came together at the
Colombiere Conference and Retreat
Center in Clarkston, Michigan to
receive training as group leaders
in anticipation of next semester's
kickoff of the Wolverine Support
Network, a University-wide ini-
tiative to promote student mental
health and wellness. ISwill add, as a
caveat, that ISwill be working as one
of these group leaders myself.
According to its mission state-
ment, the WSN aims to become "the
first sustainable peer to peer led
structure at the University of Mich-
igan." This network will provide
another way for students who are
struggling with issues impacting
their mental well-being to express
their concerns and generate cathar-
sis. It's important to note that WSN
will be available to all University
students, and participants need not
have been formally diagnosed with
a mental health condition. The pro-
gram's inception originated with
Public Policy senior Bobby Dishell,
current CSG president, as one of
the key components of his and LSA
junior Meagan Shokar's 2014 Make
Michigan campaign platform. Both
he and Shokar felt that the issue
of student mental health was not
being given adequate attention,
and indeed, data collected by the
University seem to support such
a conclusion.
A College Student Mental Health
Survey conducted by the Univer-
sity's Counseling and Psychological
Services in 2010 reported several
striking statistics. Of the 2,358 stu-
dents surveyed, approximately one
in four noted that mental health
issues had caused problems in their
academics. Thirteen percent admit-
ted to having inflicted non-suicidal
self-injury, and 40.3 percent had
been impacted in some way by a
traumatic event, with females,
LGB individuals (no data were
reported for students identifying
as transgender or queer), Latin@s,
African-Americans and multira-
cial individuals experiencing the
highest prevalence of traumatic
experience. Furthermore, 74 per-
cent of participants voiced general
concern about their ability to suc-
ceed academically, and 73 percent
expressed some level of dissatisfac-
tion with their weight.
Despite their high prevalence
among college students, mental
health conditions continue to be
heavily stigmatized in the United
States as a whole. In 2007, the Cen-
ters for Disease Control and Preven-
tion reported that "only 25 percent
of adults with mental health symp-
toms believed that people are car-
ing and sympathetic to persons
with mental illness," suggesting

that there exists a profound fear
of the judgment or ostracism that
may result from being diagnosed
with mental health symptoms. This
stigma is what the Wolverine Sup-
port Network hopes to erase from
the University campus.
"I see ... a place where all niches
of campus come to create a new
culture of the University," said one
WSN group leader.
Beginning in January 2015,
interested students will be placed
in groups of 12 to 15 of their peers,
along with a pair of student lead-
ers. Throughout the semester
these groups will meet weekly to
confidentially address and support
the varying needs of their mem-
bers. Students will be placed with
students they've never met, in an
attempt to allow free speech with-
out fear of judgment from their
friends. It's not therapy, and it's
not counseling. It's a safe space
for University students to gather
together with others who come
from a diversity of backgrounds, in
order to share their struggles, their
triumphs or any issue that they
would like to address. Further-
more, every other Friday, members
of all groups will participate in a
large group activity, so that people
have the opportunity to get to know
other members of the WSN in a fun
and relaxing setting. Activities may
include anything from group yoga
sessions or guided meditation to
outings to different venues around
Ann Arbor. The network has been
months in the making and remains
an ever-evolving entity. As part
of the leader retreat, student lead-
ers were encouraged to critically
examine the structure of the pro-
gram, to create together something
that would become an integral part
of University culture moving into
the future. As a participant in the
weekend, I found it to be a trans-
formative experience, and I think
many of my co-leaders would say
the same.
Another WSN group lead-
er said, "It will provide a home
away from home for people who
are struggling."
In order to build trust among
those in attendance, the first night
was dedicated to getting to know
one another and sharing thoughts
about or our connections to mental
health. I was deeply moved by the
experiences of my peers, many of
whom have been impacted in some
way by traumatic or painful expe-
riences, including suicide, abuse,
depression and anxiety, among
many others. Equally moving were
the stories of those who, despite
no apparent connection to mental
health issues in their lives, felt so
passionately about the topic and
believed so strongly in the mission

of the Wolverine Support Network.
"It'll become a great community
through which students can meet
new people and bounce ideas off
of one another in a safe, inclusive,
and action-oriented environment."
- WSN group leader
The entirety of Saturday was
spent on leader education. Experts
from CAPS, the University's Sexual
Assault Prevention and Aware-,
ness Center, Wolverine Wellness
and University Housing's Diversity
Educationprogram gave lectures on
a wide range of topics. As a group,
we learned about the prevalence of
depression and anxiety on college
campuses, and how to recognize
signs that a person might be con-
templating suicide. We received
instruction on how to best pro-
vide support to survivors of sexual
assault and how to make them
aware of the numerous resources
available to them on campus. Addi-
tionally, we were taught about the
ways in which substance abuse
can impact student life and how to
maintain a comfortable environ-
ment for individuals of every race,
color, ethnicity, national origin, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation,
disability status, age and religion.
Though our education was, of
course, not exhaustive, it pro-
vided a solid framework from
which to proceed. Furthermore,
it was emphasized that we were
not mental health profession-
als and should be prepared to
direct students to appropriate
campus resources. Leaders will
continue to receive training on a
variety of health topics throughout
the semester.
"It will aid in de-stigmatizing
mental health" - WSN group leader
Sunday was spent working as
a group to define what we really
wanted the Wolverine Support Net-
work to become. I found that every-
one had a unique vision for the
future of the initiative. The most
common themes focused on simply
creating a community, one where
everyone on campus would - feel
safe, included and valued, and one
that would continue to develop and
change just like our diverse student
body. That afternoon, 35 people
who had been strangers less than
72 hours before stepped off the bus
by the Union as friends, energized
and optimistic about the future of
mental health at the University.
If you or anyone you know
might be interested in joining a
WSN group next semester, please
feel free to sign up at http://bit.ly/
WSNMember or direct any ques-
tions to wsndirectors@umich.edu
because, as we all know too well,
life happens.
Nicholas Raja is an LSA junior.

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