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July 03, 2014 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2014-07-03
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I S:Thursday, July 3, 2014
8 iThe Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, July 3, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I5

PIGEONS
From Page 3

President's House sees
focus on preservation

Not your cutie

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By SHOHAM GEVA
ManagingNews Editor
One of the most striking aspects
of the President's House, currently
the oldest building on campus, is
the way it blends the past and pres-
ent.
In the hallways, original aspects
of the architecture mix with the
type of industrial fire alarms you'd
find in University buildings on
campus. When it was decided that
the the study needed new win-
dows to be more energy efficient
as part of the ongoing, $1.3 mil-
lion renovation project, architects
planned to build them inside of
the original ones, in a compromise
between preservation and utility.
In the bathrooms, the electricity
outlets are updated to comply with
code - the bathtubs, showers, and

counters themselves mostly stay
the same.
During a tour of the house,
Henry Baier, associate vice presi-
dent for facilities and operations,
said for the most part, the focus
of renovations has been on main-
taining the historic nature of the
exterior while still updating the
interior, a balance he acknowl-
edged isn't always easy. When bal-
ancing between the two, he said
safety, energy efficiency, and cost
are top factors.
Renovations are expected to be
completed by the end of this sum-
mer, though they won't be done
in time for Schlissel officially
assumes his position on July 14th.
Thus far, Baier said, the project has
been proceeding on track.

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n the dark, the flashlight in
my pocket chafes against my
thigh and I watch northern
Michigan huff
out its pudding-
night. Stars
pout stupidly in
the sky. A plane
hobbles past; I
say, "Is that a
satellite?" My
friend shakes C
his head no. CABLINA
Somebody else DUAN
calls me cute
for dreaming.
In the night, surrounded by a
smattering of sand and beetles, I feel
itchy. Exhausted. Filled with ache
and temperature and unrest.
Frequently, I'm told by others that
I'm "small" or"cute." Ironically,I feel
neither. At home, I rifle through our
cabinet and eat all the pita chips. I
forget to sweep the floors. I overbook
myself frequently; fall in love on the
hour. Most days, I'm awkward and
shy and filled with a windowless
joy. People shake their heads. People
point and call me "petite." I'm five
feet. The man carting cans of Coca
Cola at Meijer tells me not to look at
it as a diss. "Let's put it this way," he
laughs, "You're fun-sized."
At work, I'm called "cute" by a
co-worker, who chirps out, "You're
just like, the cutest person I've ever
seen!" and crushes me in a hug.
A yellow dog hair rides her shirt
collar, and I'm immediately filled
with a watery rage. I have biceps. I
clip my nails. I have hair that tussles
down a wide back. I'm twenty years
old, and I'm frequently pegged by
others as "cute."
Cuteness and smallness are
terms that are shoved into my
world often - by strangers, friends,
peers. They're not intended as
insults. After all, I'm five feet tall.
I write poems. I eat sugar. I wear
children's size Nike sneakers.
Fireflies light me up with glee.
Still, the project of naming
others can become one-
dimensional, squashing down,
rather than lifting up.
The word "cute" has its rightful
place. In the daycare center where
I work, we circulate the word
frequently. Cute kids. Cute bangs
and lost babyteeth. Cute Lego blocks
shaped into castles and crayons.
At my other job waiting tables, we
discuss cuteness in the context of
the elderly woman who slides into
the restaurant in plum-colored shoes
and matching sunglasses, dicing her
dill pickle with a fork. Cute baby on

the patio,mashinghis macaroniwith
a fat fist. Cute dog slurping from the
waterbowl. Cute, waggingtail.
For all the times I'm forecast with
the word "cute," cutenessitselfseems
foreign to me. "Cute" doesn't strut.
"Cute" doesn't drink its chocolate
milkshake with bare feet, perched
by the electric socket in July heat.
"Cute" doesn't place its hand on its
hip, talking back. There seemsto be a
strange glossiness that accompanies
cuteness. What is nonthreatening,
easily cooed at, easily pet on the head
- that's cute.
As a "petite" Asian-American
woman, I find itincrediblyimportant
to redefine my own sense of space.
I find it urgent to shout, to bust out
of the words I'm given or made to
wear. There's wonder in shaping
the world with my own two hands:
Why "cute"? Why "small"? When
frozen in these words, how can I do
my own kind of snipping? How can I
uncover? How canI groove or glow?
Instead of settling into these
names, it's important that we
roll into and out of them. The
practice of naming with language
has such a slow-churned power
- it's important that we don't
retreat. I aim to challenge myself
to twist these words inside-out.
Smallness, cuteness - I fall into
that, and so much more. For me,
what's intriguing is that these
terms have never aligned with
how I feel. So the bigger project
becomes navigating a world where
I am seen as X, but shimmy into Y.
While, at times, it's frustrating to
be pinned down into these terms,
I also find that it introduces a sense
of awe into my own work and the
ways I practice self-care. I appreciate
moments of self-hugeness much,
much more. I ask questions. I can be
cute or small, but I can also brim full
of sass, song, trouble. In cuteness, in
smallness - I do notrest. I amout-of-
breath,lIrun, I marvel.
In a writing prompt, the poet
Shira Erlichman encourages others
to, "Snatch a potent name back from
the air. (...) How do you make or
re-make it? Shake the snowglobe of
the name: what floats, what sinks?"
For me, "cute" and "small"
give me opportunities to claim
mightiness and power in
revolutionary ways. I can be cute,
but I can also be dimensional. I
can name myself - loud-mouthed,
long-haired, tall-hearted, giant in
wonder, giant in love.
- Carlina Duan can be reached
at linaduan@umich.edu.

Unpaid,
A s a society, we've
generally accepted the
institution of unpaid
student
labor. Many
students,
especially
those
from less
privileged
backgrounds,
struggle with
choosing ZAK
between paid WITUS
jobs that
benefit them
more immediately and unpaid
jobs that benefit them more in
the future. As it is, we accept
that universities don't pay most
students who assist with their
research, and that companies
don't pay most of their student-
interns. But why? There's no
good reason for students to
accept that they won't be paid
for their labor. The struggle
between choosing unpaid versus
paid work is unnecessary if
students opt instead to struggle
against the employers who
believe it's acceptable not to pay
students for their labor.
Many employers claim that
the special advantages of unpaid
student jobs for the students
justify the absence of wages.
Internships and university-
based research assistance
appear to be the most popular
kinds of unpaid student jobs.
Most students want to intern
with certain companies or assist
with university research because
these jobs are in the students'
professional fields of interest and
will therefore help them achieve
their career goals. By interning
and/or researching, students
can gain specialized academic
knowledge as well as develop
professional skills, such as
researching techniques, writing,

unfair internships
networking, etc. If nothing else, but only wages that help pay
by the end of an internship or for students' "educational
research assistantship, student expenses." The universities who
workers can add references and employ work-study students
bullet points for their resumes. as research assistants may
These are, more or less, the appear altruistic in helping to
advantages of unpaid student pay students' tuition, but really
labor for the student workers. the relationship is quite pro
Although one can't deny that bono. Universities should pay
these advantages do exist, all students who assist with
they don't constitute fair their research. Less privileged
compensation nor a justification students should receive financial
for not paying them. All workers aid, but paying work-study
deserved to be paid fairly for students for assisting with
their labor. Students, like all research is not actually financial
other workers, should be able to aid; it's fairly paying the least
receive the long-term benefits privileged students the way that
of their work experience in all student-workers should be
addition to fair wages. There's paid.
nothing special about the jobs We ought to eliminate the
held by student workers that institution of unpaid student
justifies the outright absence of labor. The feeble compensation
wages and exploitation of their that the employers claim they
labor. provide is inadequate, and we
Perhaps the biggest problem need not accept it. If students
with the institution of unpaid demand to be paid for their
student labor is that it limits labor, everyone but the profit-
socioeconomic mobility. The makers will benefit - students
special advantages of unpaid will earn more money to help
student labor are advantages fund, among other things, their
largely impossible to obtain from ridiculously high tuition costs,
the paid jobs currently available. and one barrier of socioeconomic
The wealthier students, who can mobility will diminish. One
afford to work for free, reap all important obstacle for this
the aforementioned advantages potential movement is that
of the unpaid jobs. Conversely, currently students aren't
of course, poorer students, who properly organized. Any
can't afford to work for free, reap successful boycott or strike
none of these advantages. Thus, would require a vast majority of
the institution of unpaid student students to ban together against
labor bars poorer students those exploiting them for their
from these opportunities and, labor and together demand fair
through this inequality, impedes wages. The key component is for
upon their achievement of the the working students to realize
so-called American Dream. their power: the institution only
The possible exceptions are continues to exploit us because
college work-study programs.' we consent to it. We can be paid
Students who qualify and for our work if we are willing
complete all the necessary to organize and demand it.
paperwork can participate in Students of the world, unite!
these programs and receive
wages from their university - Zak Witus can be reached
for assisting with research _ at zakwitus@umich.edu.

ALLISON FARRAND/Daily
$1.3 million in renovations are being done at the President's House this summer.

If I had a rock, I would throw it at you
right now'
-Florida judge John Murphy while arguing with a public defender over
client's right to a speedy trial. The pair then brawled "out back" away from court cameras.

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