It’s On Us

With the first semester of my freshman year coming to a close, I have learned a lot about myself and what holds true in life. I can confidently say the me that stepped foot on campus in August is different from the modern day me that is traveling back home. College is a once in a life time experience that, we as students are privileged to have. No parents, freedom with our life, and interacting interacting with other intelligent, interesting people what more could one ask for? However with this new stage in our lives, there comes a greater responsibility and accountability for one another. At Michigan, we are a family that supports one another. We all love Michigan and want one another to succeed to give Michigan the reputation it deserves. Therefore we all must try to make each of our experiences the best possible by acting in the standard that Michigan students are held to.

Recently an article in the RollingStone magazine was published about a horrific scene of a freshman girl being sexually assaulted by multiple fraternity boys. In the article it describes how the girl, who went by the name of Jackie, was pressured to keep quite about her assault due to peer pressure to keep the university’s reputation clean. Greek life is a big social aspect at the University of Virginia and this girl felt as if she would be doing a disservice to the school for speaking out about the horrors that took place in a Greek life setting. The article goes into how Virginia has a high regard when it comes to honor, “UVA’s emphasis on honor is so pronounced that since 1998, 183 people have been expelled for honor-code violations such as cheating on exams.” However not one student in the history of the school has been expelled for sexual assault. (http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119#ixzz3KItXu0Ch) Due to this article, Virginia is now one of 86 school under federal investigation due to possible allocations of sexual assault. However Virginia’s case is much more serious with their case being labeled under, “compliance review,” which is “a proactive probe launched by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights itself, triggered by concerns about deep-rooted issues.” The President of the university, Teresa A. Sullivan, has now suspended all Greek life activities for the remained of the semester. However this far from the first time that the University of Virginia has been in the lime light for negative news. A couple years ago there was an incident involving male and female lacrosse player. The two were dating, and one night due to uncontrollable jealousy and alcohol the boyfriend ended up beating Yeardley Love to death.

Throughout our Political Science class we have discussed the importance of social contracts. Whether these contracts are physical or made up through a series of guidelines, they hold importance to both parties that are made to follow it. They hold people accountable to act and behave in a certain manner. Now some relationships it is unnatural to have a written contract in order to attain a stable relationship. But those are relationships that have no place for contracts, but rather have guidelines develop in a more natural series of experiences.

Recently I took the pledge to the, “It’s On Us,” campaign which promotes awareness and communal promise to protect against sexual assault. After discussing social contracts and viewing this article from RollingStone, I realized I had created a social contract through signing up for this campaign. I now realize that through this I have a obligation to uphold for those who I promised my word to. If i fail to uphold the guidelines that this campaign has set than I will be letting down the party on the other end of this contract. The “It’s On Us,” movement has begun to catch national attention with the support of partners such as bing, the Big 10, and other high end organizations the word has been spread. This has become a nationally available contract for any person to become apart. It is for a good cause that can help put an end to terrible events like those that have taken place at the University of Virginia. To sign up and take the pledge visit http://itsonus.org/, every name on the list helps stop sexual assault. Help make Michigan a place where one doesn’t have to worry about assault. For Michigan should be a safe place and home for whoever wears the block M on their chest.

What We Think

Growing up in a traditional house hold i was under the impression that the men do the work physically and the women in the house stay at home. This traditional mindset that I grew up with is all I ever knew. This traditional mindset was broken when my friend Clay came home from the Military. Clay was deployed in Iraq which presently and in the past few years has a very dangerous place. When he returned home naturally i asked about things that happened over there and he told me about a girl named Maria.

Maria was a nurse that may have been the toughest and most stead fast person in the face advercity according to my friend clay. One day a man came in who had been shot and it did not look good for him. Everyone froze but Maria took control of the situation. She lifted this 220 pound man by herself on to the operating table and got him ready for surgery. This was an amazing thing to hear, because growing up in a traditional household thinking that women were not as “bold” as the men, i realized i was completely wrong and that the stereotypes about women were completely wrong.

This moment where I realized that styerotypes were wrong about women made me think about so many different things but specificlly sports.  In sports there are so many gender norms like “only guys play football.” But there are so many instances of women playing football and doing well, for instance Sam Gordon. Sam is the star of her little league football team and has made national news for how well she plays. Sam has been the leading rusher and had the most touchdowns in here league the last two years. This proves that this girl is a legit football player who didn’t just have one lucky season. This is an amazing thing and has really showed me that this is yet another example of women breaking stereotypes. op3j-103304(Sam Gordon)

All these examples of women breaking the stereotypes that women aren’t as proficient as men have been broken to me. Weather it be in the military, in sports, or just in everyday life i am excited to have this new outlook. I will never hold on to the traditional belief that women must do one thing because thats how it has always been. I am forever mentally changed away from stereotypes surrounding women.

More Than A Women

A couple of years ago while I played on a U.S. academy soccer team which was a bunch of guys who wanted to pursue a career in soccer after high school, so it is easy to say that the atmosphere of it all was pretty competitive. Every practice, we always had this one girl who trained with us. Her name was Summer and she was committed to play soccer at the University of North Carolina. I remember the first practice she came too, everyone was thinking why is this girl playing with us, she’s going to be slower than us or weaker than us. Once we began playing, she was literally just as good or even better than most of us. We were all so surprised. But in retrospect, I ask the question to why is it that we just think that because she was a girl she wouldn’t be as good as us?

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Sports Through Collective Action

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Collective action is commonly defined as, “Any action taken together by a group of people whose goal is to enhance their status and achieve a common objective.”

College sports are often more popular then professional sports in America, and have gained tremendous respect due to the student-athletes participating on them. Student athletes play for their team. In an excerpt from Bo Schembechler’s famous “The Team” speech, he said, “You can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a Team again. You’ll play for a contract. You’ll play for this. You’ll play for that. You’ll play for everything except the team, and think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team.” Bo is very right. College athletes play for their school and their team—not money, not a contract, not fame.

Last winter, Student athletes at Northwestern University have taken a bold stance, asking to be represented by a labor union. Northwestern football players, who are pushing to be thought of as “employees” rather than “student-athletes.” This push started with Northwestern quarterback, Kain Colter. He and many of his teammates believe that college athletes deserve and equal voice when it comes to their protections, whether it be physically, academically, or financially. Colter made it very clear that this movement is not due to any particular mistreatment at Northwestern, “We love Northwestern. The school is just playing by the rules of their governing body, the NCAA. We’re interested in trying to help all players — at USC, Stanford, Oklahoma State, everywhere. It’s about protecting them and future generations to come.”

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Walter Hobbes had a rather simple solution to collective action problems. Hobbes believed that you should seek peace, and follow it. In Hobbes’ excerpt about the fool, he said to break the covenant, because there really is no reason not to break the covenant if it’s in your best interest. However, it sometimes does make sense to do those things that are in a covenant. With the current NCAA agreements and rules, student-athletes are often not protected as much as they should be—especially football players, physically. “It’s become clear that relying on the NCAA policymakers won’t work, that they are never going to protect college athletes, and you can see that with their actions over the past decade. Look at their position on concussions.” Ramogi Huma, NCPA president, clearly sees the points being made by the Northwestern football players.

Depending on your view, the NCAA could be seen as the fool, but so could the student-athletes fighting for change. Whatever your view may be, Hobbes believes that both parties of the argument should seek and follow peace. Kain Colter and his teammates are still fighting for athlete representation to improve the conditions that they play under in the NCAA.