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June 20, 2011 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-06-20

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Monday, June 20, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
* *9emi-hif 40

Coming out

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109




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.
Tuition travesty
Students shouldn't bear the entire burden of funding cuts
n a trend that is becoming regrettably unsurprising, tuition
will be even higher in the 2011-2012 academic year. As of
Thursday, the University has raised its price for 14 consec-
utive years when the University's Board of Regents approved an
increase of 6.7 percent for in-state students and 4.9 percent for
out-of-state students. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's funding
cuts have placed an incredible burden on educational institu-
tions around the state, but the University took the easy way out
by passing the cuts almost entirely on to students with tuition
increases. These measures will only price out lower income
families and place a more weight on those struggling to pay an

National Coming Out Day is held
every year on October 11, to pro-
mote "honesty and openness about'
being lesbian,
gay, or bisexual,"
according to the
Queer Resources
Directory. For
National Com-
ing Out of the ANNA
Shadows Week
was held March CLEMENTS
14-21. There is
even a proposed
National Pagan Coming Out Day, on
May 1. Yet despite the growing num-
ber of cognitive disorders, there is no
nationally recognized day for indi-
viduals battling them to reveal their
situation, made all the more difficult
by their ailment's invisibility. From
sexuality to disability status, to polit-
ical stance to dietary habits (have
you ever tried coming out as vegan in
a frat, or as a carnivore in a co-op?),
it seems that everyone has a closet to
exit. But for those types of "coming
out" that do not have a recognized
week, it is sometimes difficult to fig-
ure out how and when is appropriate.
Imagine that you are on a date
with someone. You make small talk,
laugh and joke around and then she
twitches. "It's just a nerve contrac-
tion caused by my cognitive disor-
der," she explains casually, and then
proceeds to elucidate the other, more
severe symptoms. How on earth are
you supposed to react?
Or alternatively, let's say that you
go out with a friend whom you've just
met. Passing by Necto on gay night,
your companion remarks that it's the
best night for dancing and suggests
that the two of you swing by later.
Your conservative religious back-
ground makes going out dancing a
little bit ethically risque. Is it possible
to casually bring up your beliefs and
the limitations they impose, without
putting a damper on the whole eve-
Supposedly, the U.S. is a place
where diversity is valued in many
realms. It is important to remember
our different characteristics, espe-
cially when passing judgment over
someone who has just come out as
atheist or as a member of the Tea
Party. And even if there isn't outright
or negative judgment, it is probable
for some awkwardness to linger.
The difficulty in coming out is
doubtfully a personal issue, neither
for those who are in the closet, nor
for those on the other side. It must,
then, be cultural. And how can one

affect cultural norms? Creating safe
spaces - physical, like the Spectrum
Center on campus, or calendrical,
such as coming out days - is one
way of providing an arena for people
to open up about the marginalized
facets of their identities. However,
making distinctly separate spaces
for certain groups segregates them,
so there must be ways to incorpo-
rate people's differences to make the
transition out of the closet a smooth
We have a race and ethnicity
requirement in LSA, mandating that
students take a course that "address
issues arising from racial or ethnic
intolerance." This is one wayto facili-
tate discussions on differences. That
doesn't seem to be enough, though.
Many students go through college
without ever learning how to talk
about the sensitive subjects of which
people's identities are composed.
The consequences of this can be
disastrous, both interpersonally and
If someone can't talk about their
disability or health problem, then no
onewillknowhowto reacttothemis-
haps that it may cause. If no one feels
comfortable talking about opposing


I find that
closets induce

already high tuition.
The University's funding
dilemma clearly starts with Sny-
der's budget. As emphasized ad
nauseam, education should be
the last public sector to be cut.
Regardless of his claims to the
contrary, Snyder seems eager
to slash the state expenditure
on education and, invariably, its
quality. The "brain drain" that
the state has experienced over
the past decade and other educa-
tion-related problems will likely
become more severe if education
is continuously neglected by the
Nonetheless, the difficult
situation created by the Michi-
gan Legislature does little to
excuse the poor response taken
by the University. Facing a cut
of $47.5 million in state funds,
the University has passed along
$46.4 million, or 97 percent, of
this load on to students. Surely
there are other ways the Univer-

sity could make up this deficit
besides raising tuition. Meth-
ods in previous years included
operational downsizing and the
elimination of certain programs,
such as the Center for Ethics in
Public Life. With such drastic
cuts, students may have to take
on a portion of the state cuts, but
they shouldn't be forced to han-
dle the entire burden.
Every year college students
around the nation are priced out
of education. To the University's
credit, the increase in tuition
has been coupled with a large
increase in financial aid. Families
making $80,000 per year or less
willnot be impacted bythetuition
hikes. Regardless, the increased
strain on families above this cut-
off is substantial. The University
may strive to maintain its qual-
ity by charging increased tuition
rates instead of making tough
expenditure cuts, but socio-eco-

nomic diversity also leads to the
greatness of the University. The
increase in financial aid is not
enough to help every family who
needs extra money, and there are
going to be families caught in the
middle who are unable to afford
the new price tag.
Where will we be in 15 years if
this yearly tuition increase con-
tinues? The trend is unsustain-
able and alarming. The state's
budget created a tough situa-
tion for Michigan's schools, but
instead of working towards a
creative solution, the University
simply passed the problem along
to an economically ailing popula-
tion. The University may realize
it has a duty to provide a quality
education, but it also must make
that education affordable to the
less wealthy students who also
desire it. The University would
do well to remember that the for-
mer is aided by the latter.

political or social views in a friendly
way, then politics will continue to
separate from everyday life. These
issues will build a residence within a
vague conceptual framework, rather
than be interwoven with the issues
we confront daily. In short, what is
necessary is not a National Political
Party or a Sexual Orientation or a
Disability Status Coming Out Day (or
week, or month), but more openness
in general.
I mentioned earlier that coming
out is not a personal problem, but
rather a cultural one. The solution
though, has to be both systemic and
personal. If more individuals force
these issues into the open, then the
system will have to accommodate 4
them. If we stay silent about our dif-
ferences, then they will stayinvisible.
You choose. Personally, I find that
closets induce claustrophobia.
Anna Clements can be reached
at asiobhanpumich.edu.

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