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Page 4A - Monday, December 8, 2014

)pinion

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

.

e 1icipan &{{
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 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.
FROM T HE DA LY
Aggregating opportunity
New data system allows for monitoring of student activity
The New York Times recently published an article
describing the decisions of universities to employ data
analytics as a tool to monitor the activity of students
more closely. These universities, which included Ball State
University, Arizona State University and Georgia State University
intend to use an individual student's data to examine his or her
class attendance, gauge engagement in extracurricular activities
or help students stay on course toward achieving their degree.
For example, Ball State specialists call or e-mail students who
have stopped "swiping" into their typical activities. While there
is potential in this technology to create a more personalized
student experience, if the University were to implement a similar
system, they should be aware of concerns regarding its possible

The story of Frank Clark

Frank Clark spent the first half
of his life in the crime, drug
and violence-ridden Los
Angeles neigh-
borhood of Cren-
shaw. His mother
was addicted to
drugs, and his
father lived half-
way across the 4
country. A profile
in MLive from
early this fall JAMES
described Clark's BRENNAN
childhood liv-
ing situation as
"nomadic," staying with friends or
at shelters. A more accurate term
for Clark and his mother at this time
would be "homeless."
"I'd walk for hours with my
mother wondering where we were
going next, what we were going to
do next," Clark told MLive reporter
Brendan Quinn.
Frank Clark was no older than 10.
He moved to Cleveland about
a decade ago, leaving his mother
behind. At the time of the MLive
article's publication, Frank Clark had
not seen her since.
Cleveland was better than Cren-
shaw, but Clark continued to live
amongst high crime, high violence
and intense segregation.
Clark attended Ginn Academy,
an alternative, all-boys public high
school. Because Ginn Academy does
not have athletics, Clark played
football at Glenville High School.
Glenville is a national powerhouse
in football, having produced NFL
players like Ted Ginn, Jr. and Troy

Smith, a Heisman Trophy winner.
Ted Ginn's father, Ted, Sr., is Glen-
ville's head football coach and the
mind behind Ginn Academy.
According to Location, a location-
based data provider, the average per
capita income in the Glenville neigh-
borhood of Cleveland is less than
$13,368 a year, and Glenville is one of
the most dangerous placesinthe city.
In 2011, the year Clark graduated,
the student body at Ginn Academy
was 98 percent Black. Glenville High
School's enrollment was 99 percent
Black.
Clark played football from a young
age, and his abilities as a defensive
end got him a scholarship to the
University. In other words, he was
given free tuition, plus room and
board, for his ability to hit people. Do
it well enough, he was told, and he
could find himself making millions
of dollars entertaining people with
sanctioned violence.
Three years later, Nov. 15, Frank
Clark allegedlygot into an argument
with his girlfriend. According to
reports, he punched her in the face,
and she knocked over a lamp as she
fell to the ground. Clark picked her
up by her neck and slammed her
down. She laid there unconscious,
her younger siblings thinking Clark
had killed her. He easily could have.
In the years leading up to this,
while Clark was busy practicing,
training and trying to balance the?
other commitments of student life,
did he ever see a therapist?
Did he ever go into Counseling
and Psychological Services, look-
ing to talk about his childhood and

his mother?
Did anyone on the football team
ever take him aside and say, "Hey
man, you had a really rough upbring-
ing - have you ever thought about
going to see someone?"
I don't know the answers to any
of these questions. Maybe Clark did
see someone. Maybe he even had
long-term treatment from a psychia-
triaL. Maybe the Athletic Department
cared about his mental health as
much as they cared about his perfor-
mance onthe field.
This is not to advocate for sym-
pathy or pity for a man who hit a
woman, but let us remember that
the man who attacked his girlfriend
last month was once a boy. A boy
who was homeless. A boy who was
told that certain forms of violence
are not only OK but in fact his only
way to a better life. A boy who spent
half his life with no father, and the
other half with no mother.
Clark told MLive that he
dreamed of his mother coming to
senior day at Michigan Stadium,
saying that her presence would be
"the best thing ever." Clark was dis-
missed from the football team less
than three days after being charged
with domestic violence, meaninghe
was absent for the final home game
of his senior season.
Clark has not posted on his Twit-
ter since being dismissed. His bio
sectionreads:
"Simply, All I want to do is make
my momma proud."
- James Brennan can be reached
at jmbthree@umich.edu.

invasiveness into students' lives.
Data collection offers a comprehensive
way to support students. For students with
lower socioeconomic status, a focus of
some universities' efforts, this means more
individualized attention, as universities
can flag students and check in with them
throughout their college career. Keeping in
touch and emphasizing relevant resources for
academic achievement can help low-income
students stay on track. In fact, the graduation
rate of lower-income students at Arizona State
has already significantly increased in the past
three years. This system may prove helpful
to other students as well, especially larger
schools like the University where students
can feel lost and disconnected. Reminders
provided through this system could help
all students remain active and focused on
their studies.
Bigdatacanplayacriticalroleinrecognizing
aggregate student behavior through collection
in a centralized manner. Universities already
have access to dining habits and gym visits.
However, these systems are separate from
one another. The recently developed systems
allow for more comprehensive information to
be analyzed from a single pool of data. This,
in turn, offers a huge variety of benefits, not
only in drawing correlations between student
behaviors and making findings available to
students themselves, but also in using the
information to fine-tune academic and other
university-led services. For example, generally
poor attendance and grades in a certain class
could signal further investigation into the
course. Measuring the times students visit

services like gyms could prompt opening for
different hours to accommodate these trends.
The University should consider using
these new tools to assess the student body as
a whole. However, the University should be
wary of targeting students and contacting
them individually, as other institutions have
been doing. The more personalized aspects of
the new systems can quickly turn into privacy
violations, and calls could seem intrusive or
accusatory to many students. These systems
leave ample opportunity for misunderstandings
as well. For instance, ifa student stops attending
lectures because they prefer to study at home, or
if they drop out of a club whose meetings they
previously attended, it should not necessarily be
theresponsibilityofthe Universityto dictatehow
the student shapes their academic experience.
If the University decides to implement
similar strategies to those of Ball State,
they should use less invasive techniques to
identify students who are in need of support.
An alternative to direct phone calls could
be group c-mails encouraging students to
come to advising appointments, as well as
other reminders to nudge students toward
extracurricular involvement. It's also
important to recognize higher education is
a service students pay for, and if they do not
wish to be approached by staff, they should
have the choice to opt out of the program.
Lastly, the University should consider the
significant monetary investments required to
process this data. If less expensive avenues
exist to directly aid students, those should be
taken into account first.

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
Responsible reporting on sexual assault

,(41

Reversion to an old self

This past Thanksgiving I travelled to
Connecticut, where my extended
family congregated over two days of
Thanksgiving meals, two tur-
keys, innumerable amounts
of pie, stuffings and love in
the form of aliment. There's
a cathartic feeling associated
with the gathering of fam-
ily. My ego is stroked by the
recognition I receive from a
distant family members. I
revert to vulgar jokes around
my comic uncles. I take plea- ABBY
sure in the intimacy of long TASKIER
overdue conversations. There
tends to be a certain type of
affection and generosity that
might otherwise be absent if it didn't exist
within a space and time dedicated to thanks.
But although love existshere, so does the rever-
sion to old habits, an old self I feel I've avoided
in orderto create a present one.
I'm the youngest of three girls. While I believe
that both my sisters and I have formed our per-
sonalities based off of individual interests, habits
and capabilities, such attributes seem to have
been founded upon our roles within the family
sphere. It seems that each of us embody the role
indicative of our birth order. My oldest sister,
Madeline, is in medical school. Sasha, the middle
child, is the family mediator. I, the youngest, am
passionate and directionless. At least that's what
my family seemsto think.
When I go home, I scan the old journals and
scrap pieces of paper that lie preserved and
untouched within my desk drawers. I don't look
at old pieces of writing in order to encourage
new ideas. In fact, looking at the feelings that
inhabited my younger self's brain makes me
cringe-there aresomanymisspellings,clumsy
phrases and pretentious thoughts that are not
fleshed out. Mostly though, alot of the words I
wrote as a high schooler just make me sad. An
old piece of paper reads, "All unhappy people
are just more interesting." Is this really what I
thought about during whatnow seems like such

an uncomplicated time? Such words make me
crave the distance between my present and past
self that much more.
The reminder of that uncomfortable and
reliant 16-year-old appears time and again in
the company of my home. On family outings, I
never bring my wallet. As the youngest, I never
did, and for some reason, although I've gone to
college for three plus years and have lived in a
foreign country where the only English words
spoken are "beautiful lady," I can't seem to
depend on myself when in the presence of my
own family. To my parents, this marks me as
careless and childish. To my sisters, I'm still
unable to take care of myself. For some reason,
no matter how much I've grown up, I neglect
that growth in old surroundings.
Further,growingup alongside two sisters who
seemed to have constantly been in relationships,
I've been characterized as the lone black sheep,
who over the Thanksgiving dinner table has been
called out as being a lesbian by my grandmother.
It means that one of my uncles, who identifies as
the black sheep of his siblings, sent me a poem
about all of the black sheep in the world - assur-
ing me that I wasn't, and would never be alone
no matter how alone I might have felt. Did this
mean though, that whenever around my family,
I'd always be seen as different?
It feels natural to distance my current self
from the one that sits at the family dinner table
- unsure of herself, anxious and maybe a little
bit misdirected. It's a time for new pathways,
when employers will say, "tell us about your-
self," and I'll tell them about what I'm doing
presently rather than who I presently am. The
key is that, although it's uncomfortable to face
the person I used to be, I am a cumulative being.
Humans are building blocks, evolving over time
into new structures. And when I'm reminded of
the underdeveloped kid I once was, that girl
who forgot her wallet is a part of the reason
I'm now able to answer the employer's question
with confidence, self-assurance and poise.
- Abby Taskier can be reached
at ataskieriumich.edu.

R olling Stone magazine is
no friend to those targeted
by crime of any kind. The
magazine's history
of sensationalizing
serious crime
includes its
infamous August
2013 cover, where
it featured a sepia-
toned glamour
shot of Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev - the VICTORIA
alleged perpetrator NOBLE
of the Boston
Marathon terrorist
attack. Under a thinly veiled guise
of "serious and thoughtful coverage
of the most important political and
cultural issues of our day," Rolling
Stone published an intentionally
shocking cover, which sold over twice
as many copies as its average issue
at the expense of the more than 260
people injured by the attack and the
friends andfamiliesofthose killed.
So when Rolling Stone published
the story of "Jackie," a UVA student
who had been, according to the
story, gang raped and mutilated
at a fraternity party, the best
readers could hope for was that
Rolling Stone had learned from
past mistakes.
Well, as it turned out, they
apparently haven't. The magazine
published the predictably explo-
sive story without diligently fact-
checking sources. After details of
the story were called into question,
Managing Editor Will Dana issued
probably the most unprofessional
statement I have ever read, which
claimed that the publication "trust-
ed" Jackie, whom the story identi-
fied as a rape victim, and that they
had "come to the conclusion that
(their) trust in her was misplaced."
After considerable criticism, the
statement was updated, albeit with
no note of its change, another ethi-
cal violation. The revised statement
detailed some factual discrepancies
- found in part by The Washington
Post, not Rolling Stone - and added
that the "mistakes are on Rolling

Stone, not on Jackie."
For about a year, I've worked as a
senior opinion editor for The Mich-
igan Daily, and just from that expe-
rience alone, without ever having
received formal journalistic train-
ing or working for a professional
publietion, I can identify several
actions taken by Rolling Stone that
demonstrate, at best, reckless laps-
es in judgment, and more seriously,
a callous disregard for ethics. Roll-
ing Stone is a national publication
staffed by industry professionals
and graduates from top journalism
schools, so I seriously doubt what
occurred was the result of the for-
mer. Either way, Rolling Stone has
seriously harmed the public's faith
in professional journalism and sex-
ual assault survivors.
When the story was published,
it almost immediately spurred
discussion on the issue of sexual
assault on college campuses -
places where sexual violence is
endemic, rarely reported and often
improperly investigated. Given
the fact that our own University is
currently being investigated for its
handling of sexual assault cases, or
that a Centers for Disease Control
study found that nearly one in five
American women will be sexually
assaulted in their lifetimes, why
does it take dramatic stories like
the one in Rolling Stone to reignite
discussion on the issue?
Rolling Stone's story, which
graphically detailed an incident of
a gang rape, was shocking to say
the least, and reading the piece was
discomforting and powerful all at
once. It inspired the emotions nec-
essary for action.
The piece sparked conversa-
tion and protests, and forced the
issue into the minds of people who,
until that point, hadn't been pay-
ing attention. One woman even told
me that the story had convinced
her that sexual assault must really
be happening on college campus-
es. Now, issues surrounding the
story threaten to reverse not only
that progress, but also that which

occurred before its publication.
But here's the thing - Rolling
Stone's article should've never
mattered in the way we allowed it
to. Jackie's story only served as an
illustration, a particularly dramatic
example of a serious type of crime
- sexual assault - that regularly
occurs on college campuses.
Regardless of whether Jackie's
story is true, half-true or complete
fiction, sexual assaultissoprevalent
that it's nearly statistically
impossible, on a campus as large
as the University's, not to know a
survivor of it. And while the story
provided a particularly violent,
bloody example, all forms of sexual
assault are violent, serious crimes
and should be treated as such.
If robbers or murderers went
unconvicted at the rate that rap-
ists are today, we would seriously
question the ways in which our jus-
tice system was failing to protect
us. The fact that 97 out of 100 rap-
ists are never punished should be
extremely worrisome. If we can't
expect the criminal justice system
to adequately deter sexual assault,
we need to address the issue as a
campus community. At the mini-
mum, that will require continual
consideration and discussion of
the issue, even absent powerful
media anecdotes.
Sexual assault certainly affects
survivors and perpetrators, but it
affects the entire community as
well. Students have a right to feel
safe on campus. But instead, stu-
dents, especially females, are taught
to fear walking alone at night, get-
ting too drunk at parties or spend-
ing time alone with men behind
closed doors. We should carry mace
in our purses, watch our drinks and
ignore strangers on the street. We
don't need a magazine article to tell
us that living in fear is no longer
an option. As a campus communi-
ty, it's time to step up and address
sexual assault.
- Victoria Noble can be
reached at vjnoble@umich.edu,

N OTABLE QUOTABLE
We're trying to get into the American East
conference. I want to get into the Big Ten.
How about opening a spot for us?"
- New Jersey Institute of Technology basketball coach Jim Engles said after his team defeated the
Michigan men's basketball team Saturday. The team is the only Division I independent in the nation.

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