2021-03-03

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Ann Arbor, Michigan

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We looked at the 301 high schools with the most applicants to the University. Here’s what we found ALEX HARRING & THE DAILY’S DATA TEAM

Daily Staff Reporter & Web Team

This article is a part of a datadriven series in which The Michigan Daily obtained records on the top 301 schools by number of applications to the University of Michigan for the Fall 2019 freshman class through a public records request. These data are not representative of the entire freshman class, nor are the data about the schools a perfect aggregate representation of all students who attend the University. The college admissions process is a mystery to many — and the University of Michigan is no exception. At the University, the trend is clear: Just under 65,000 high school seniors applied for the Fall 2019 entering class — more than two times larger than the 24,000 applicants who applied for the entering class two decades earlier. The University has grown its class size by nearly onethird, but the growth cannot keep up with the increasing application volume. The acceptance rate has sat around 25% for the last several years, less than half of the 55% acceptance rate in 2000-2001, according to the University’s common data set from that year. The Michigan Daily obtained records on the top 301 U.S. high schools by number of applications to the University for the Fall 2019 freshman class through a public records request. The data shows that 48% of the freshman class matriculated from one of these 301 schools, though the schools represent only 15% of the total number of high schools with students applying to the University. So what does it take to get into an increasingly selective school like the University of Michigan? That’s the question on tens of thousands of minds each year when applications for the next freshman class open in August. For the Fall 2020 entering class,

75% of entering freshmen received a 32 or above on the ACT, placing them in the 97th percentile of test takers. The average freshman’s high school GPA was a 3.9. Admissions officers at schools across the nation — including at the University, which calls its admissions process “holistic” — are quick to note that universities are looking not only at the complete picture of a student, but also how they place within the context of their schools and communities. According to Whitney Bruce, a private college admissions counselor who specializes in working with applicants from Ann Arbor, decisions can also be impacted by institutional goals. These goals, often unknown to applicants, could in turn give students who help meet these goals a leg up in the admissions process. Institutional goals can play a larger role at selective institutions like the University where the freshman class could typically be filled two or three times over without decreasing the average standardized test scores or GPA, Bruce said. “Creating a class from an enrollment management perspective is more art than science,” Bruce said. Despite hurdles caused by Proposal 2, which in 2006 barred the University from considering race, gender, ethnicity or nationality in admissions, the University has still attempted to attain diversity within its incoming classes with varying degrees of success. Though still often criticized as a rich, elite university, more than 22% of new in-state undergraduates in 2019 came from families with incomes under $65,000. The percentage of underrepresented minorities, which are students who identify as Black, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Native American or Native Alaskan, make up approximately 15.3% of the 2019 class — below the state average of 21%. Additionally, the University Record published that more than 15% of new students in the 2019 class were

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the first in their families to attend college. Erica Sanders confirmed this in an email to The Daily. “The University of Michigan is a firm proponent of the educational value provided by a diverse, multicultural and inclusive campus community,” Sander wrote. “The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions speaks to the importance of identifying, admitting and enrolling a diverse group of students and our holistic review process.” The Daily analyzed the data obtained through a public records request to shed light on who applies to, is accepted by and ends up attending the University from the 60,000-person sea of applicants each year. Across the board, we found that schools with high numbers of

applications and admittees each year are whiter and richer than national and state averages. One out of every 10 students in the class comes from one of 10 high schools Despite making up less than 3% of schools on The Daily’s list, more than 11% of the 2019 freshman class came from one of 10 high schools. Almost all of these schools — the International Academy, Northville High School, Novi High School, Troy High School, Pioneer High School, Huron High School, Rochester Adams High School, Bloomfield Hills High School and Detroit Country Day — are metro Detroit area schools. Eight out of nine of these in-state schools are public schools, with the exception of private school Detroit Country Day. The International

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Students discuss impacts of AP/IB experience and From around the country or across the state, preparation for U-M undergraduates come to ‘U’

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Larger & wealthier districts offer more college prep courses, leads to academic disparities PAIGE HODDER

Daily Staff Reporter

As one of the most prestigious public universities in the United States, the University of Michigan attracts high-achieving high school students. This includes students who took Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes — walking around campus, it can be hard to find a U-M student who didn’t take at least one college-level course in high school. The Advanced Placement Program was founded in 1952 and is the most popular way students receive college credit for high school courses. The AP Program, run by the nonprofit organization The College Board, offers 38 courses and exams to more than one million students each year. The International Baccalaureate

programs were founded in 1975, only recently growing in gaining popularity in the U.S. However, schools that offer IB were overrepresented in the 301 schools with the greatest number of applications to the University in 2019. 41 of those 301 schools offered IB (13.6%), a rate 11% higher than the national average. Admissions The Daily’s data shows that schools that offer IB made up 20.8% of acceptances to the University from The Daily’s list of 301 schools, despite students from schools with IB composing only 15.3% of all applications. The yield rate of students from IB schools — the percentage of admitted students who attend the University — was 62.0%, compared to 46.8% for non-IB students.

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Academy, though public, is also a magnet school, meaning students must take a test and enter a lottery for admission. Pioneer and Huron are both part of the Ann Arbor Public School System. All nine are highly ranked within the state. The Bronx High School of Science in The Bronx, N.Y., is the only outof-state high school in the group of 10. New York’s public school system requires students interested in Bronx Science and other “specialized” high schools take a test to get in. Of the 30,000 New York City eighth graders who take the specialized high school entrance exam, less than 3% of test takers made the cut-off to earn admission to the high school. Michigan outperforms other states in applications, matriculation Not only is Michigan the state with the most applicants to the University, data shows students who live in the state are more likely to both earn admission and to matriculate than students coming from out-of-state. Ninety-four of the 301 top schools were within Michigan, meaning most, if not all, of those students pay in-state tuition. Despite being only one-third of schools on The Daily’s list of 301 schools, these 94 schools contain more than 57% of the admitted students and about 68% of the enrolled students. But even within Michigan, there are disparities between feeder vs. non-feeder schools: Of the total enrolled in-state students in the Fall 2019 freshman class, 63% come from one of these 94 schools — despite these 94 schools making up only 5% of the 1,870 high schools in Michigan. On The Daily’s list, California followed Michigan as the secondmost state with 54 schools, or 18%, on the total list. Illinois followed with 43, or 14%. New York and New Jersey each had around 9% — 27 and 26 schools, respectively — of the 301 schools. Out-of state students from these 207 schools make up 32% of the enrolled students in 2019, but 69% of

the total number of applicants. You’re most likely to be accepted if you go to a magnet school Magnet schools had the highest acceptance rates on average — more than one-third of applicants from these schools were accepted, noticeably outperforming the overall 22.9% acceptance rate for the class. Despite the fact that public magnet school students made up only 8.2% of applications from these 301 schools, applicants from public magnet schools made up 10% of total acceptances. Bruce said this statistic would make sense given the fact that students typically must test-in to magnet schools, meaning they already show high academic performance. Michigan’s International Academies, schools which offer an International Baccalaureate program that students must test into, are one example of this. If students can earn entrance into one, she said, they are likely to be competitive candidates to the University. “It’s not that attending IA gives you a straighter path to Michigan, it gives you a really strong education,” Bruce said. “You’ve pre-selected for kids who are already going to test into a band where their SAT scores are competitive with Michigan’s.” The University does not separate magnet schools from public schools when reviewing applications, Sanders confirmed to The Daily. The 301 schools on this list had higher acceptance rates on average compared to that sub-23% figure for the overall Fall 2019 class. Every type of school — public magnet (32.4%), private secular (30.1%), public charter (29.3%), private religious (26.1%), public (25.4%) and private boarding (25.2%) — was above a 25% acceptance rate. This means the majority of schools outside of The Daily’s list likely had an acceptance rate lower than the class acceptance rate of 22.9%. See APPLICANTS, Page 4

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‘HAIL,’ ‘Go Blue’ financial aid programs offer lowincome in-state individuals education opportunities

with varying experiences Scholarships help to open up options for

10% of the University’s 2019 freshman underrepresented, low-income applicants some kind of financial aid and class came from just 10 high schools RONI KANE one in four pay no tuition at all. In JULIA RUBIN & LILY GOODING

Daily Staff Reporters

The college experience widely varies, especially amid a pandemic that makes having a large social circle and in-person classes dangerous. But according to data obtained by The Michigan Daily, 1 in 10 members of the University of Michigan Fall 2019 freshman class came from just 10 high schools, meaning it’s very likely some students in every class come into college with alreadyestablished friend groups. Though students from over 2,000 different high schools enrolled at the University, our data shows that nearly half of the 2019 incoming class came

from just 15% of these schools. The term “feeder school” is often used to refer to schools with high volumes of applications to a certain university. The Daily spoke with students from feeder and nonfeeder schools to the University around the country to learn how their high school experiences influenced their social and academic transition to college. Students from feeder high schools in general expressed greater social and academic comfort, while students from high schools where very few students attend the University said they experienced culture shock and sometimes felt academically underprepared. See FEEDER SCHOOL, Page 2

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INDEX

Daily Staff Reporter

Along with the Wolverine, the colors maize and blue and the renowned block ‘M,’ the hallmark exclamations “Go Blue!” and “Hail!” are an integral part of community identity at the University of Michigan. However, several lowincome students who are financing their education with the help of the Go Blue Guarantee or the High Achieving Involved Leader (HAIL) scholarship say that for them, these phrases carry a much deeper meaning. The total campus disbursement of aid for the 2020 fiscal year was over $1 billion, which includes federal, state and institutional grants as well as scholarships, loans and WorkStudy payments. Seventy percent of in-state undergraduates receive

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particular, this last group includes students from lower socioeconomic statuses who are either selected for the HAIL scholarship or qualify for the Go Blue Guarantee, both of which fully cover a student’s tuition for up to four years. Data obtained by The Daily regarding the Fall 2019 freshman class affirms that among the list of the top 301 schools by number of applications to the University, in schools where more than 17.5% of students qualified for free lunch, the average matriculation rate for admitted students was 52%. Comparatively, only 40% of admitted students from high schools where less than 17.5% of students qualified for free lunch chose to enroll at the University.

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ANNA FUDER/Daily After a snowstorm hit Chicago last week, snow was all that could be seen looking out over Lake Michigan.

ANN ARBOR

AAPS votes to offer hybrid in-person learning beginning March 25 Decision comes after weeks of contention on going back to the classroom KRISTINA ZHENG Daily News Editor

Following weeks of contention over the lack of in-person education in Ann Arbor Public Schools, the AAPS Board of Education voted Feb. 24 to begin phasing in a hybrid plan for in-person instruction starting March 25. The district, which has been fully remote since March 2020, will continue to offer an online learning option for families who wish to remain online. Around 750 community members listened in to Feb 24’s vote. “The question has always been a matter of when we will return, not if,” AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift said. “We recognize that this time has presented significant challenges for everyone. Our children need in-school learning opportunities, our staff and parents who’ve worked so valiantly at kitchen tables, across this community, and everyone has made so many sacrifices.” On Feb. 22, six Ann Arbor City Council members and Mayor Christopher Taylor signed a public letter to the BOE urging AAPS to return to in-person and hybrid learning. Citing the negative repercussions of keeping schools closed on students’ mental health and wellbeing, the city officials asked the BOE to begin serious discussions about reopening schools as soon as possible. “The extended absence of in-school learning harms the emotional and mental state of students and stresses already stressed families,” the letter reads. “These harms are universal, but they are compounded among homes with young students and

FEEDER SCHOOL From Page 1 In an email to The Daily, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the University does not track graduation rates and other indicators of student success by high school. Business freshman Marcel Wong is one of the many students in his class that came to the University from Northville High School in Northville, Mich. In 2019, the University accepted 150 students from Northville High School, and 101 chose to attend. Wong said that coming from a high school where many students attended Michigan made it easier for him to adjust as a freshman. “Having a community of people not just in your grade, but older ones as well that are already here and can serve as a potential friend or mentor, is definitely a big plus with an in-state feeder school,” Wong said. With a median household income just over $110,000 per year, many Northville students are able to take some of the 21 Advanced Placement classes or the IB curriculum their high school offers. These classes provide students a way to earn

community members who are resource-deprived or who have special needs.” This City Council letter came after Swift announced in midJanuary that remote instruction would continue indefinitely due to confirmed cases of the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant among University of Michigan students and ongoing vaccine shortages. The district will begin Stage One on March 25 by phasing in PreK-12 students who learn in “selfcontained classroom placements,” meaning students with special needs will work in small groups with special education teachers. Stage One also includes preschool students, Young Five students, kindergarten students and small groups of students in grades 6-12. Stage Two begins on April 5 and includes first and second grade students. Stages Three and Four both begin on April 12 — Stage Three allows third, fourth and fifth grade students to return, and Stage Four begins a phased return of all students in grades 6-12. On Feb. 23, AAPS leaders announced a partnership with Michigan Medicine and Integrated Health Associates to quickly vaccinate teachers and staff in mass vaccination programs this coming weekend. Swift said this decision significantly impacted the reopening recommendation and the Feb. 24 vote. Swift said vaccinating teachers and staff and offering frequent testing to students were two key components in creating the hybrid plan. To mitigate potential spread, Swift announced that the district will also be able to offer in-school rapid testing for students, which aligns with one of the new Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for reopening schools. “This is critically important, as an extra layer of protection and of confidence for our parents, and for students and for staff,” Swift said. The district is also planning for a “robust” summer program, with further details being announced in March, Swift said. Swift said the district is planning for a full return to in-school learning in fall 2021. “I also want to declare our intent on a full return to school in the Ann Arbor Public Schools this fall, a full five days per week of instruction for students and staff,” Swift said. “Certainly, if there is any unforeseen event that would change that ability, we would be the first ones to immediately be in communication with our trustees and with our community on any change, but that is our intention.” Some Ann Arbor residents and AAPS parents said AAPS’ choice to remain all virtual since March 2020 placed a heavy toll on many children, particularly those with learning disabilities who rely on professionally-trained staff. Ann Arbor residents have also raised concerns about the disproportionate effects COVID-19 has placed on families of color, particularly Black families, which can further widen the disparities that exist for people of color. The Ann Arbor Board of Education voted to approve the hybrid plan 6-0, with Trustee Ernesto Querijero abstaining from the vote, saying that the time change of the meeting could violate board policy. After the vote, the Board of Education reconvened at 7 p.m. to hear public comments from over 200 submissions. All names and

comments were submitted prior to the vote to phase in the hybrid plan and were given 15 seconds to be read aloud to the Board. Allison Plagens wrote the school year has been very upsetting for her family, and urged the Board to provide transparency for the decision-making process to reopen. “We feel trapped by your school system,” Plagens wrote. “As a low income family we have weighed the pros and cons of staying in AAPS and if we are able to leave due to what has happened this school year. All my family wants in honesty at this point.” Yuriy Goykhman, a parent of a second grader at Eberwhite Elementary School, shared concerns about the district’s previous actions. “With so many empty promises, denial of science and compete disregard of the needs of a large portion of the community AAPS leadership and the board have lost the trust of the community,” Goykhman wrote. “AAPS families are leaving the district in droves – it is very difficult to find housing in nearby districts and all the private schools have long waitlists.” Though most of the comments urged AAPS to approve the hybrid plan, Nicole Turcotte-Ruiz, a mother of a first grader in AAPS, expressed doubt about the success of the proposed model to return to the classroom. “The proposed Hybrid Model that has teachers instructing both in-person and virtual students simultaneously seems ambitious at best and more likely downright impossible,” Turcotte-Ruiz wrote.

college credits in high school and often match collegiate academic rigor, but the $100 price tag on exams poses a barrier for some students. According to the College Board website, some “qualifying” low-income students are eligible for fee reductions, though the cost is still $53 per test. Wong said he thinks his AP-packed Northville curriculum prepared him well for college. “I think being exposed to those harder classes early and learning good study habits definitely assisted in transitioning to college classes and workload,” Wong said. In contrast, LSA sophomore Adelaide Ward went to Ludington High School in the small town of Ludington, Mich., with a total population of just over 8,000. Ludington High School offers eight AP courses. Out of her graduating class of 172, only three ended up attending the University. Ward said that she experienced a difficult transition her freshman year because her high school did not challenge her academically. “I 100% struggled academically during my first year at Michigan,” Ward said. “Public

high school curriculum was pretty easy for me, so I wasn’t used to having to actually study for tests and dedicate a lot of time to each class.” Additionally, Ward said she experienced a culture shock during her first year at the University. Coming from a small town, Ward said she had not had the same experiences as other students who came from bigger cities or other regions of the world. “My high school class of 172 maybe had 10 people of color, and my hometown is extremely conservative and heteronormative,” Ward said. “I had little interaction, until I came to Michigan, with people of different races, religions other than Christianity, beliefs different from right-leaning, and the LGBTQ+ community. I feel as if I adjusted pretty quickly, though, because I always felt out of place in my hometown.” Business senior Brianna Byard also came from a small town in Michigan, where she attended Tawas Area High School. Like Ward, Byard said her high school curriculum was not rigorous enough to effectively prepare her for college. “I had just as much of a brain

as most of my peers (in college), it just hadn’t been used in the same capacity in my high school,” Byard said. “There weren’t many academically-challenging courses in my high school besides three AP courses.” Byard also said her high school provided little support for students applying to college, since there were few standardized test preparation resources available. “We had no SAT tutors within a 2 hour radius, or any type of school-led SAT prep,” Byard said. Byard said she felt disadvantaged coming from a small high school when many of her peers at the University had attended feeder schools. There was a steeper learning curve to adjusting to college life because of this discrepancy, Byard said. “The social capital ... my peers had, that of knowing many students already at school, knowing the norms already of social life at college or knowing what makes a successful college student,” Byard said. “I had to learn from scratch to cultivate my own social capital to enable myself to be a part of the community.”

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Whitmer to ease restrictions on indoor dining, residential care

GOVERNMENT

Relaxed regulations come after six straight weeks of declining cases in the state

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 3

CAMPUS LIFE

Students question effectiveness of oneday “well-being break”

With spring break canceled, many struggle with lack of time off from class DOMINICK SOKOTOFF Daily Staff Reporter

ASHA LEWIS/Daily Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced new COVID-19 restrictions at a press conference Tuesday, to take effect Friday.

CALDER LEWIS & LIAT WEINSTEIN Daily News Editors

The state of Michigan will ease restrictions on indoor dining capacity, outdoor activities and residential care facilities beginning Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced at a news conference Tuesday. Starting Friday, restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity up to 100 people, an increase from 25% over the previous six weeks. Retail and other indoor entertainment venues will also open up to 50% capacity. Gatherings at residences can now hold 15 people from up to three different households indoors, with up to 50 people outdoors. New guidelines on nonresidential gatherings expand capacity for events like public meetings, with up to 25 people now permitted indoors and 300 allowed outdoors. Indoor stadiums can hold 375 patrons if seating capacity is under 10,000 and 750 if capacity is over 10,000. Outdoor entertainment venues can host

up to 1,000 people. However, Washtenaw County’s limits of ten people for indoor gatherings and 25 people for outdoor gatherings remain in effect, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department website. “As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives,” Whitmer said in a Tuesday press release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. According to Tuesday’s press release, COVID-19 cases in Michigan declined for six straight weeks and are now at levels similar to those in early October, before the nationwide winter spike. Cases in the state are now plateauing at a rate of around 91 cases per million, with a positivity rate of 3.7%. The press release also said more than two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the state. MDHHS also acknowledges that more contagious variants like the B.1.1.7 variant spreading

throughout the state could make the pandemic more difficult to control. “We continue to monitor the data closely, and based on current trends we are taking another step toward normalcy,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel wrote in the press release. “We urge Michiganders to continue doing what works and wearing a mask, washing their hands and avoiding crowds.” Restrictions on nursing home visitations and activities will also ease, as all residents have been offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccines and most have had a second dose. The new Residential Care Facilities Order goes into effect immediately and encourages communal dining, group activities for residents and indoor and outdoor visitation in all counties. Other restrictions such as the mask mandate and the pause on activities with close physical contact without masks continue, as well as the directive for people to work from home if they are able to. Whitmer first announced the state’s epidemic order in November as rising COVID-19 cases across the state threatened

to overwhelm hospital capacity. The order was initially scheduled to last three weeks, but was extended nearly three months as the situation worsened across the country. These restrictions began to be lifted in January, when Whitmer announced that indoor dining would be allowed to resume at limited capacity on Feb. 1 and some extracurricular activities for K-12 students would be allowed. Whitmer’s updated order reflects a larger pattern of state governors easing restrictions that were in place throughout much of the winter, when COVID19 infection rates peaked. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced last Thursday that the state would move into its next reopening phase, with limits on indoor dining to be relaxed in the coming weeks. Similarly, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia would ease restrictions beginning Monday. Managing News Editor Liat Weinstein can be reached at weinsl@umich.edu. Daily News Editor Calder Lewis can be reached at calderll@umich.edu.

Librarians, archivists and curators unionize, seek to join LEO

ACADEMICS

Vote to add group to lecturers’ union opened Thursday, will last until March 4 BROOKE VAN HORNE Daily Staff Reporter

Librarians, archivists and curators (LACs) across the University of Michigan’s three campuses announced on Twitter Feb. 22 that they are campaigning to join the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, the University’s union of non-tenure track faculty. Voting on the resolution to add LACs to the union opened Thursday and will last until March 4, according to a statement released by LEO. LEO strives to “increase the economic, professional, social and political power of non-tenure track faculty” at the University in order to better educate students, fight for equity across all three campuses and promote universal access to high-quality public education, according to their constitution. Meredith Kahn, librarian for gender and sexuality studies on the Ann Arbor campus, helped form the organizing committee for LACs and told The Daily LACs play an important role in sustaining the universities’ research operations. “Even though we work in different parts of the university, and we work with different collections, I think what unites us is that you really cannot have a world-class research university without world-class libraries, archives, museums, galleries, gardens, all of those things,” Kahn said. “You cannot have those things without the labor of librarians, archivists and curators.” Lecturers voted to unionize in 2004 to secure their rights

to bargain with the University on issues related to health care, salaries and job security, among other provisions. LACs and lecturers are both considered non-tenure track faculty, with over 10% of LACs having a parttime appointment as a lecturer during their career. In June, the University’s Board of Regents passed a resolution recognizing the formal right of employees to bargain collectively, essentially clarifying how the University should interact with unions. In the past, extensive negotiations between unions and University administrators have become tense and drawn-out, sometimes leading to a stalemate between the two groups. Kahn said the process of joining LEO began soon after this

resolution was passed. “(The resolution) signaled to us (LACs) that it was maybe a little bit safer to pursue forming a union,” Kahn said. To begin, a small group of LACs reached out to the American Federation of Teachers of Michigan to discuss unionizing in June. From there, the LACs were put in touch with LEO. They then spent the summer reaching out to LACs from across the three campuses to better understand the similarities between LACs and other non-tenured faculty, specifically lecturers. “What we want is better working conditions, better salaries, more parity between the three campuses,” Kahn said. “We want administration to address diversity, equity and inclusion

more seriously. There’s actually quite a bit that we share.” LEO President Ian Robinson, lecturer in the sociology department and in the Residential College, told The Daily there was a lot of common ground between LACs and lecturers and welcomed the diversity that LACs would bring to the union. “We have gotten used — at the get-go — to being a union that values, accommodates and takes advantage of diversity rather than seeing it as a problem,” Robinson said. “The advantages of having people with new skills that our members don’t have … is very compelling for us at the leadership level.”

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ISAAC MANGOLD/Daily Librarians, archivists and curators campaign to join the Lecturers’ Employee Organization Monday afternoon.

University of Michigan students had their first “wellbeing” break — one of two days off from class in place of the traditional week-long spring break — Feb. 24. While the day was meant to promote student mental health without allowing enough time for travel, many students told The Michigan Daily that the one day break did not offer them time to engage in wellness activities. Instead, many students said they spent the time catching up on additional homework assignments during one of their most stressful semesters yet. In December, the Board of Regents approved two oneday, mid-week “well-being breaks” during the Winter 2021 semester in hopes of allowing students to step away from class responsibilities for a day. The decision to cancel classes for the two mid-week breaks came after the University canceled Spring Break in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID19. Music, Theatre & Dance sophomore Ainsley Grace transferred to the University this year and said she hasn’t yet stepped foot on campus. In an interview with The Daily, Grace said this semester’s virtual experience has been especially isolating, making her feel as if she hasn’t had time for anything besides schoolwork. Grace said when one of her professors assigned double the typical amount of reading and suggested the class could complete it on the well-being day, it was yet another blow in what was already a uniquely challenging semester. “I don’t really think it’s enough — I think that it’s hard to not have a spring break at all,” Grace said. “I just had to do homework … I did not take a day off.” In an email to The Daily, University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the purpose of the well-being breaks is to provide an opportunity for students to step away from the online learning environment for a day. “The well-being breaks were designed so students would have opportunities to spend time away from their typical spaces and screens as well as virtual breaks to meet students’ varying needs, while aligning with public health safety requirements,” Fitzgerald wrote. Like Grace, Engineering freshman Satvik Nagpal said he has also spent the school year studying from home, where he said it is difficult to motivate himself to do schoolwork without social interaction on campus. “Usually work and fun are separated, but now it feels like it’s almost a blur because all of your work is done at home,” Nagpal said. “(Remote learning) kind of just blends in and feels like every day is the same.” Nagpal also said some of his friends had assignments due on the well-being day, and he spent the day working on an EECS 281 project and studying for a quiz for a different class the following day. “It just seems like (professors are) working around the wellness day instead of changing their plans to give us more of a day off, instead of just a study day or a catch-up day,” Nagpal said. Fitzgerald also wrote that well-being days should be an opportunity for students and instructors to take time off from normal school activities. “While these are not vacation days and the university is open, academic activity is intended to pause to enable students and instructors some time to use as they find most appropriate,”

Fitzgerald wrote. Nagpal added he feels two days off during a 13-week semester is insufficient in supporting students’ mental health and that he would like to see students receive more time off. Engineering sophomore Zachary Goldston said even though he appreciated the University’s attempt to provide safe time off for students, it was not enough time to fully relax. “I appreciate what initiative Michigan is trying to take, considering they removed holidays, long weekends and spring break from us in order to prevent the spread of COVID during the winter semester,” Goldston said. “For some people, this has been more of a catch-up day or even a workday with some teachers assigning readings, even exams or a lot of work, since kids are missing class today, which personally, I think goes against what the University was planning to do.” Goldston said he spent part of his well-being day golfing, though he acknowledged that other students he knew had more stressful days. “We wanted a day where we could, instead of focusing on Zoom University, instead of focusing on the stressors in our lives, take a second just to chill, take a deep breath and have some time for us to think instead of constantly rushing around from point to point worrying about assignments and activities,” Goldston said.

“In reality, I just want one day for us to forget that we’re in this sort of almost dystopian, nightmarish time” Public Health junior Bushra Hassan said she spent her well-being day catching up on lectures and studying for an exam the following day. In an interview with The Daily, Hassan said she feels virtual classes have created additional stressors for students. “Staring at a screen for six continuous hours is very draining,” Hassan said. “It’s like you have to be actively engaged the whole time, especially if you have your camera on, which is very exhausting.” On Feb. 22, Hassan said one of her professors assigned two additional lectures with an expectation they would be completed over the next two days, one of which coincided with the break. Hassan said she reached out to the professor to express concerns about the assignment but did not receive a response. The following day, Hassan said her professor told the class to watch the lectures at two-times speed. “I didn’t know how to respond to him, because this is a wellness day, and I asked him, what does it mean to him. He just didn’t answer me,” Hassan said. The Daily reviewed Hassan’s email to her professor and confirmed its contents, but was unable to confirm the professor’s statement in the class. Goldston said this semester has been a trying experience for students and that he hopes there are more opportunities to relax in the future. “In reality, I just want one day for us to forget that we’re in this sort of almost dystopian, nightmarish time and just kind of get to do something we want to do,” Goldston said. Daily Staff Reporter Dominick Sokotoff can be reached at sokotoff@umich.edu.


News

4 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

SCHOLARSHIPS From Page 1 The disparity between the two matriculation rates suggests that students from lower socioeconomic status districts are more likely to accept their offer of admission from the University than students from more affluent areas. Though there is no concrete answer as to why this is, The Daily talked to several current U-M students from lower-income areas across the state, and found their decisions to attend the University were all predominantly based on two things: affordability and financial aid. HAIL! open doors for disadvantaged students The HAIL scholarship program was first announced in 2015 to attempt to increase socioeconomic diversity at the University’s Ann Arbor campus. In an email to The Daily, University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote that the scholarship continues to be offered annually to high-achieving, in-state, low-income students who are selected using data provided to the University through a special memorandum by the Michigan Department of Education. More than 1,000 students have accepted the full-tuition HAIL scholarship over the past five years. A 2018 paper co-authored by Public Policy professor Susan Dynarski revealed that the scholarship originated as a social experiment in which the financial aid that low-income students would already have been entitled to was simply “re-packaged” in personalized, eye-catching maize and blue striped envelopes. The students’ financial aid offers were advertised as a whole new scholarship which was guaranteed to them upon admittance to the University. “Students in the study would have been eligible for at least free tuition and fees in the absence of this intervention,” Dynarski wrote in the research paper.

AP/IB From Page 1 Rina Hou, Kinesiology and LSA freshman, attended the International Academy IB school in Troy, Mich. Hou said she believes the program definitely helped her get into the University. “Their whole goal is to make sure that you’re a well-rounded student so that your application stands out,” Hou said. Kinesiology freshman Regan Lee took eight AP classes in high school. She said her choice to take AP courses over regular classes most likely made her appealing as a candidate. “I think colleges like to see that you want to get ahead in your studies,” Lee said. “Especially in the fields that you’re interested in. For example, I wanted to go premed, so I took AP Bio.” Erica Sanders, director of undergraduate admissions, wrote in an email to The Daily that admissions officers do take into account how many challenging courses a student took in high school when reviewing their application. However, Sanders emphasized that the University also looks at applicants’ extracurricular and co-curricular activities. “We encourage students to challenge themselves in the areas where they do their best work academically,” Sanders wrote. “While also allowing themselves the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities or other responsibilities — parttime jobs, volunteer work and assistance with responsibilities at home — that create a wellrounded student.” AP versus IB As IB gains popularity in the U.S., more students will have the opportunity to choose between the program and the typical AP curriculum. Hou said she thinks the IB program is a lot less flexible than taking AP classes. “When you’re in an IB school, you don’t have a lot of choice,” Hou said. “You just have to take all the required courses — there’s little room for your own choice. For AP, you really get to

Though the HAIL scholarship did not provide any new financial aid, both the results of the study and personal attestations from students who are currently part of the HAIL program emphasize its undeniable effect on encouraging lower-income students to matriculate. LSA sophomore Brittney Schaefer, HAIL scholarship recipient, was the first student from Charlton Heston Academy in St. Helen, Mich., to be accepted into any Big Ten school. Besides her scholarship and acceptance becoming a local symbol of the opportunities available to students from Charlton Heston, Schaefer said HAIL was personally meaningful because it financially allowed her to honor a promise she had made to her mother, who passed away when she was 13. “When I was 12, I always told (my mom) that I was going to U of M, because when you’re a kid you’ll say anything,” Schaefer said. “So my first thought when I got the scholarship and got in was, ‘I’m actually going to fulfill my promise to her.’” Schaefer said if she had not received the notice that she had gotten the HAIL scholarship prior to the early action deadline, her financial situation would have discouraged her from applying to the University altogether. Now, however, Schaefer said she could not imagine who she would be without the experiences she has gained as a Wolverine. “(Attending the University) has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone and has given me the education and the opportunities that I really wanted,” Schaefer said. “It’s just opening so many doors for me.” LSA senior Caleb Adams, who attended Bark River-Harris High School in Harris, Mich., also received the HAIL scholarship. As just one of the two students who applied to the University from his graduating class of 37, Adams echoed Schaefer’s gratitude for the scholarship, which also enabled

choose and decide what to take for college credit.” LSA junior Julia Trautmann disagreed, saying IB fostered a range of skills not included in the AP program. “It’s so interdisciplinary and requires so much time

him to financially consider the University as a post-secondary option. “I grew up a Michigan fan, but I didn’t consider going to college there before (the scholarship),” Adams said. “Now, Michigan has sent me to Amsterdam to study abroad. Last fall I had lunch with George Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. Opportunities like that I just wouldn’t have had at other universities.” Though Schaefer and Adams account for just two data points in Dynarski’s massive study, their experiences corroborate the overall trend. In the conclusion section of the published study, Dynarski wrote that

According to University President Mark Schlissel, the HAIL research project was instrumental in designing the program he would be most proud of implementing within his first five years as president: the Go Blue Guarantee. Going into effect in the Winter 2018 semester, the guarantee has since ensured free tuition to admitted in-state students whose total household income is up to $65,000 with assets of up to $50,000. Like the HAIL scholarship, the Go Blue Guarantee was not the result of additional financial aid to lower-income students, but merely an advertising campaign to more effectively communicate

The GBG offers free tuition to in-state students from families with a household income up to $65,000 students who received the HAIL scholarship packet were more than twice as likely to apply and enroll at the University as in-state students in similar socioeconomic situations who were not sent personalized financial aid information or a scholarship. “We conclude that an encouragement to apply, paired with a promise of aid, when communicated to students and influential adults, can substantially close income gaps in college choices,” Dynarski wrote. Go Blue Guarantee strives to encourage greater socioeconomic diversity like AP, Honors, IB and dualenrollment courses can assist students by introducing the rigor and pace that is similar to introductory college courses,” Sanders wrote. Lee said she felt her AP experience in high school prepared her for the rigor of college and allowed her to enter freshman year with credits to use toward her degree. “I feel pretty well prepared to be here, especially because I did receive a decent amount of credit for all of my AP exams,” Lee said. “So, that was definitely helpful to get ahead and … it allowed me to not have to go through all the prereqs.” On campus, there has also been discussion about the benefits of AP and other college credit receiving courses from high schools, particularly because the University’s class registration system allows students with a higher number of credits to register earlier, advantaging students who’ve taken AP or IB. What if neither program was available? School districts located in rural areas, areas with a lower average family income or areas with a higher percentage of racial minorities often have difficulty funding programs like AP and IB. As a result, some students said they did not have access to these advanced courses in high school at all, making them feel underprepared compared to students from larger or wealthier school districts. Recent LSA graduate Clare Mayes attended a high school in rural southwest Michigan that offered only one AP class. Mayes, whose graduating class was only 63 people, said the lack of access to advanced courses led her to struggle academically when came to the University. “I came in feeling really underprepared,” Mayes said. “I really struggled in a lot of intro courses that it seemed like a lot of my peers had already been exposed to because they had been in AP classes or anything like that.”

41 of the top 301 schools offered IB — 13.6% — 11% higher than the overall national average management and projects outside of your core classes,” Trautmann said. “I do think it helps a lot and could become more popular in the future.” Sanders wrote that all college-level high school courses — including AP and IB classes — are seen as equally rigorous on a prospective student’s application. “AP, IB and dual enrollment coursework are all evaluated as advanced curriculum selections,” Sanders wrote. “That, when selected in the areas where the student does their best work, can enhance the student’s application.” Preparation for the University of Michigan Trautmann said being an IB student prepared her for college in ways other programs could not have. “We had a lot of verbal assessments and there were a lot of written assignments too, so I thought it definitely helped with public speaking and writing skills,” Trautmann said. Sanders agreed, noting in her email that participation in college-level classes can be important preparation for succeeding in introductory-level courses at the University. “Success in college prep coursework, which includes advanced curriculum selections

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existing aid opportunities. The philosophy behind the guarantee was derived from HAIL’s success with increasing low-income student application rates by advertising specific financial aid promises when high school students begin the college application process, but the Go Blue Guarantee aims to do this on an even more massive scale. Whereas HAIL promises full-tuition to a selected few, the Go Blue Guarantee means that anyone who meets the guarantee’s residency, admission and financial need requirements automatically knows they will have their tuition covered by the University.

APPLICANTS From Page 1 Students are more likely to matriculate if they go to a lowerincome school Admittees from schools with higher percentages of students receiving free or reduced lunch, a signifier of the family income of students within the school, correlated to higher matriculation, meaning more students who were admitted to the University from lower-income schools decided to attend. Of the 239 schools on the list with data on their free/reduced lunch programs, 17.5% of their students qualify for free or reduced lunch — far below the 2017-2018 U.S. national average of 53%. For schools on the list with more than 17.5% of students on free or reduced lunch, 52% of admitted students chose to attend. At schools with less than 17.5% of students on free or reduced lunch, only 40% of admitted students chose to attend. With less students on free or reduced lunch, these schools are likely in higher income areas. This difference could point to the success of the Go Blue Guarantee, a marketing program that began advertising in 2018 what the school has promised for more than a decade: In-state students whose family income is below $65,000 and with assets below $50,000 will not pay anything toward tuition for four years. University President Mark Schlissel has said in the past that the purpose of this initiative was to increase socioeconomic diversity on the Ann Arbor campus. But the higher yield rate among lower-income schools is still surprising given the relatively high cost of attendance at the University. LSA, the University’s largest school, has an in-state tuition between $15,000 and $18,000 depending on class standing. Without aid, the University’s Ann Arbor campus has the most expensive tuition out of all public colleges in the state. Still, Bruce said that in-state families consider the University a “huge value” because it is notably less expensive than the sticker prices of many out-of-state or private

University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote in an email to The Daily that the University is attempting to replicate HAIL’s efficacy regarding informative, personalized mail with the guarantee by increasing student awareness about the program statewide. “We… mail a brochure to in-state high school juniors describing Michigan’s affordability and the Go Blue Guarantee to create greater awareness of the initiative,” Broekhuizen wrote. “There is also a robust marketing campaign to increase awareness among Michigan residents of the GBG.” LSA junior Miranda Santos said she was first made aware of the Go Blue Guarantee when she saw a U-M Facebook advertisement for it while she was a student at Pinconning High School in Pinconning, Mich. Santos said she had not seriously considered college altogether for most of her life since no one in her family had gone to a university, and the graduates she knew from her high school typically dropped out for financial reasons after a year or two. “I didn’t have money, so college was something that wasn’t even on my mind until my junior year,” Santos said. “Then finding out about (the guarantee) and that I don’t have to pay for tuition was just like, holy crap, I can actually get a degree.” Additionally, Fernando Barrera, a college advisor for Lincoln Park High School — where at least 50% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch — said the Go Blue Guarantee inherently sends a supportive message to his students. “A lot of times, students from low-income backgrounds may feel daunted by going to big universities like Michigan and think that there aren’t going to be other people that come from similar backgrounds,” Barrera said. “These types of programs create a more welcoming environment.”

But there has been activism to expand the guarantee’s “welcoming environment” to include the University’s Dearborn and Flint campuses, which have more lower-income students as well as more minority students. The One University Campaign, a coalition of students and faculty who advocate for equity across U-M’s three campuses, has protested for GBG’s expansion for more than a year. In January, the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs voted in support of 1U’s initiative. As of the end of February, however, there have been no new conversations on the topic. When asked about the possibility of expanding the Go Blue Guarantee to the other two campuses, Broekhuizen wrote to The Daily that the program was created specifically with the Ann Arbor campus in mind. “The Go Blue Guarantee was created to address a specific concern — increasing access to the Ann Arbor campus by students from more diverse socioeconomic families,” Broekhuizen wrote. “The program is designed to help those students overcome the perceived barriers that they cannot afford UM-Ann Arbor whose tuition and fees are greater than that of UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint.” For now, LSA sophomore Andrea Behrmann, who is also a recipient of the Go Blue Guaranteed,, said she just feels fortunate that her hard work in high school and college will pay off with a reputable degree and fewer student loans. “Overall (the guarantee) is just so important for reaching people who grew up in lower-income area communities,” Behrmann said. “It gives students like me the same opportunity to go to U of M as anyone else.”

institutions. For example, out-of-state tuition at the University ranges between $52,000 and $56,000 per year depending on class level — more than double the $21,000 average cost of tuition for an out-of-state, public college, according to U.S. News. White students are overrepresented at high schools with high application volume 277 schools on The Daily’s list provided demographic data. Of these schools, white students make up the majority at four out of every five schools. This shows that the current demographics of the undergraduate population — which is majority white — are unlikely to significantly shift. White students currently make up approximately 55% of the undergraduate community, whereas just under 68% of the 277 schools are majority white. This does not mean that every student who enrolls from these schools is white,

both state and national averages. The average median household income for the Michigan public schools on this list is just over $75,000, about 20% higher than the average Michigan household income of $57,000. The average median household income for out-of-state public schools on our list is just over $128,000 — almost double the national household median income of $69,000. These numbers are not surprising given that the average family income of a student at the University is $154,000. Nine times more students at the University come from families with household incomes in the top 5% nationally than the bottom 20%, according to a 2017 New York Times study. But The Daily’s data shows that the feeder schools the University looks to in filling its incoming class every year even further skew upperclass. These schools typically have more resources, such as more robust Advanced Placement offerings and access to standardized test preparation, that make attending a selective college more accessible. But just because students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds enroll at the University doesn’t mean there are disproportionate recruitment efforts for them, said Paul Robinson, interim vice provost for the Office of Enrollment Management and University registrar. Robinson wrote in an email to The Daily that the undergraduate admissions team visits 500 in-state high schools and 500 out-of-state high schools that represent a wide range of income levels in a typical year. On top of this, the team visits an additional 500 college fairs and family nights, he said. “The schools and students we interact with represent a diverse spectrum of identities, experiences and perspectives,” Robinson wrote. “In fact, the intended purposes of programs like the Go Blue Guarantee and the HAIL Scholarship are to engage and financially support students and families who may believe a U-M education is out of their reach and who often come from schools or communities that haven’t traditionally sent us students.”

Daily Staff Reporter Roni Kane can be reached at ronikane@ umich.edu.

1 in 10 members of the 2019 University of Michigan freshman class came from just 10 high schools but it does show that many of the schools the University pulls heavily from have more white students filling their classrooms than minority students. Out of these 277 schools, only one school is a majority multirace, four are majority Hispanic, 24 are majority Asian and four are majority Black. Three out of the four schools that have a majority Black population are in Michigan. Most majority Asian schools are in California, New Jersey and New York, and most majority Hispanic schools are in Illinois. Schools have noticeably higher family incomes than average Students at these 301 schools have higher family incomes than

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Michigan in Color

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 5

A seat at the table ANA MARIA SANCHEZ-CASTILLO MiC Columnist

In my sister’s university library in Corpus Christi, Texas, I sat isolated behind a stack of books, crying as I lay on the dirty carpet with my sneakers propped up on the bookshelf and my headphones in, playing Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky.” Her music has always felt like an escape, and this particular moment culminated into release. For a good hour, I cried there –– I was reaching a new point in my life in which I would soon begin college without an idea of how I would pay for it. It was the pain of all my fears synthesizing. The pressure of reality meeting the pressure of the divine feminine. That is a Solange song. That is me. My mamí taught me to be a girl on the run, like a blood rite. Though I only met her briefly in the flesh, I learned at a young age to pack my bags in a night and flee at a moment’s notice. Fleeing felt like liberation, and “Cranes in the Sky” sings to the absence of a destination that I found so iconic to my journey. In her feature on the “Exploder” podcast, the 34-yearold Houston native explains these lyrics and describes her fleeing experiences. She discusses not only hyperbolically traveling 70 states in the physical form, but also 70 states of mind — all in search of the feeling of home. She explains not being able to find a home, something we can all relate to and embrace. It is that realization when you hit a certain age of no return and suddenly home doesn’t feel like home anymore. That fleeting feeling of normalcy that you start to encounter as you become an adult, the result of leaving what you know for constant new beginnings

— the forever pursuit of the peace that comes with home. She has a way of humanizing herself in her songs, and in this one she grounds herself into artfully exploring the complexities of being in a million different places at once, searching and longing for that comforting feeling of finding peace in one particular place. In “Cranes in the Sky,” she sings the lyric, “Don’t you cry, baby,” and when I first heard this, I was overcome with a sense of rational comfort –– meant to evoke feelings of community, the uplifting spirit of family or friends, all of which can guide you out of a depression that otherwise can become seemingly eternal. She explains in the podcast that this is something she learned from her mom –– that “on the third day (of a depression) you get your ass up and you ride.” Inspired by her mother, the lyrics are an endearing way of expressing the need to hold yourself together at times and move on from your strife. The beautiful harp playing in this song unites a sense of feminine regalness and peaceful serenity. Factors that all go into shaping the song into a beautiful, comforting tune in which you can find home. The entirety of Solange’s album A Seat at the Table, which includes “Cranes in the Sky,” is masterful with songs that praise Black excellence and power through artful ballads and interludes. They provide a tranquil sense of home found in the here and now. Solange makes my running feel like my own personal love story; like a short film on the dos and don’ts of self-love. Her harmonies and high notes singing to me, my grace and giving way to the wings on which I soar. My chosen background music to the soundtrack of coming of age. Her music video for “Binz” does something very similar for me –– the

Design by Eileen Kelly

filmography feels genuine, personal; she dances playfully in her home to her lyrics. The video first caught my attention while I was in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The city had an interesting type of chaos to it. The beaches often had people covering every inch of the shore, and streets were lined with dancing adults and children alike, moving freely and effortlessly. You might even catch a soccer match happening down the narrow streets or walk by as firecrackers are popped at your feet. It was booming with culture and excitement, yet for me, it was a lot to take in. However, chaotic as it was, I still felt this sense of loneliness as I began to explore myself in this new place that grew to feel like

a home away from home. I was building a connection to my spirituality and soul, and my internship allowed me to feel like my life was full of meaning and purpose. The work I did was with youth learning and unlearning the effects of different kinds of inequality and sustainable living. However, I was one of the only Americans in my cohort, which comes with a lot of weight. I was struggling to balance the demands of nonprofit work and leisure, all while maneuvering three languages and cultures. Not to mention I was over four thousand miles from home in a land foreign yet familiar, with its tropical energy reminding me of Cuba. It was a difficult and interesting time, and Binz took me somewhere new:

“I just wanna wake up to the suns and Saint Laurent Hundred thousand dollars on the fronts and the blunts I just wanna wake up on goodbye, only I.” This song evokes a solitude that feels peaceful and easy; through it, I learned to find home in the self. In moments dancing along the beach coast or swimming at dusk or crying in the shower on long nights, I found home. But most of all this song taught me to have a happy outlook on life. It made living feel a little easier.

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South Asian Awareness Network hosts annual social justice conference EASHETA SHAH MiC Columnist

This weekend, the South Asian Awareness Network hosted their 19th annual conference “Rising Tides: Pulling Together to Push Boundaries.” While this year’s virtual setting looked different from previous round-table dialogues at the Michigan League, the social justice awareness organization delivered a rather engaging program with discussions of activism, identity and breaking boundaries. Overthecourseofthreedays,theconference shifted between speaker talks and facilitated breakout room sessions. Speakers included Hoda Katebi, Chicago-based organizer and creative; independent entrepreneur Ankita Bansal; state Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton; author and entrepreneur Suneel Gupta; entrepreneur and influencer Shivani Bafna; and Rukmini Vijayakumar, artistic director and choreographer. During talks, attendees were encouraged to engage in the chat with virtual reactions and comments that each speaker could interact with, and the virtual breakout sessions during dialogues offered an easy way for speakers and moderators to enter rooms and speak directly to attendees. The stimulating perspectives of everyone involved made the transition to Zoom fairly seamless, and is a testament to the assiduous efforts of the entire SAAN team. DAY 1: FRIDAY, Hoda Katebi — Keynote Address The conference started off with a keynote address from Chicago-based abolitionist organizer Hoda Katebi on Friday evening. Katebi spoke about approaches to abolition and the inherently political nature of fashion from her home, with her cat on standby. As Katebi explained, “fast fashion is necessary under capitalism,” and “violence (most often gender-based violence) is necessary for fast fashion.” As she took us through the steps of the global clothing production cycle and the corresponding

exploitation at each level, she quickly condemned ethical and sustainable fast fashion as “fake news.” Katebi swiftly connected the performative reformation of fashion companies to that of the military and its very performative notions of democracy, alluding to the deep interconnections of all institutions in which individual choice is never the sole determining factor. She called out the perpetuated narrative of trying to “buy the revolution” through brands that preach sustainability and instead, she encouraged what she calls “collaborative intersectional movement building” which requires taking a step back and holding the institutional structures accountable. As consumers of goods under capitalism wherein we “(are) not supposed to know what happens on … production floors,” our power, she said, lies in our ethos. Consumer power lies in what we can and cannot control, and she attests to this with one final sentiment: “I might use plastic straws, but I’m still trying to defund the military.” DAY 2: SATURDAY, Ankita Bansal — Unapologetic Pursuits: Rise of a Phoenix On Saturday, Ankita Bansal started off the first full day of programming with a talk about her journey from starring in the Netflix reality TV show “Indian Matchmaking” to expanding her global denim brand THERE! with her sister Gayatri. In her first-ever talk to a university crowd, she opened up about her failures in the entrepreneurial world and encouraged all attendees to embrace their “unapologetic pursuits,” which remained the central theme throughout her address. “I wear my failures like a badge,” Bansal beamed as she told the audience about the great impact each one of her deterences had on her career and in her personal life. In one breakout room dialogue, attendees talked about how Bansal’s sentiment of embracing the lessons of failure is often lost in the pressures of hustle culture. In picking up many of her insights on the job, Bansal preached the importance of “bring(ing)

in a personal aspect when growing a brand.” She talked about the value of community and the importance of authenticity, saying that “building a community takes a lot of heart and soul, not money.” For THERE!, this meant unique size customizations and open communication with individual clients. Alongside her business journey, Bansal is passionate about cultivating good habits and daily routines, warning against the lack of fulfillment from a 24/7 hustle. “When you start your day with (just) working, it leaves you in a space where you are not satisfied,” she said. With her closing workshop, Bansal encouraged attendees to pursue a new activity with a more self-oriented goal in mind for the next 21 days through a social media challenge collaboration with SAAN. Ranjeev Puri — Dichotomy of Activism within South Asian Generations Newly-elected state Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton spoke about his identity in relation to politics, the importance of a culturallycompetent campaign and the dangers of the monolithic South Asian political identity. As the first person of color to represent the 21st District of Michigan, Puri walked through his campaign strategies to effectively reach older generations of the South Asian community in the diverse city of Canton through engagement with ongoing cultural and religious occasions. He delved into the inherent politics of “desi dinner parties,” and he expressed the need for getting those strong opinions at the dinner table out to the ballots. Despite his status as the first SikhAmerican in Michigan State Legislature, he drew a very necessary distinction in his political identity: “I’m not a South Asian legislator, I’m a legislator who happens to be South Asian.” He contended that in resisting the monolithic South Asian political identity, the diaspora must lean into the core values of our identities and experiences to then speak out to all people. “To a lot of people,” he stated, “we are just

brown,” but Puri said his rather progressive agenda got a lot of pushback from older Desi generations who have anti-Black Lives Matter, anti-pride and anti-immigrant sentiments. Puri explained that he understood these outdated attitudes to be rooted in their own respective experiences. Through knowledge of struggle and feat, older generations of Desis taught younger ones to be good and do good in the society they are brought up in, Puri said. However, he encouraged younger generations to take charge of the political narratives in the South Asian diaspora by advocating for those same values for all people because “the (only) way we see our community succeed is when we see all communities succeed.” Suneel Gupta — Finding Happiness in Your Work As the final speaker of Saturday’s program, entrepreneur and author of his new book “Backable,” Suneel Gupta highlighted the difference between career and craft, only the former of which can be discovered on a LinkedIn profile. He discussed a three-word framework for navigating through purpose and meaning in life: definition, devotion and detachment. He spoke about valuing character over reputation, prioritizing consistency over time and falling in love with the problem over its solution. His perspective on finding your Dharma, or calling, hit home for many of the students as they continued to self-reflect on attachment to career-based identities in breakout sessions. Gupta suggested a familiar failure-embracing approach to finding happiness in your work, saying “the opposite of success is not failure, it’s boredom.” He concluded with a workshop activity asking attendees to add something they want to learn in 2021 to a shared Google Document. After responses had stopped, he asked everyone to write their emails next to at least five items in the growing “To Learn List” that they could provide guidance for. As email links popped up next to statements like “I want to learn how

to practice mindfulness” and “I want to learn how to speak another language,” attendees felt overwhelmed with how easy it had been to find guidance and seek out help. Members expressed their appreciation for the exercise and Gupta left them with one final push: “Let’s go do the things that make us feel alive.” DAY 3: SUNDAY, Shivani Bafna — Sharing Your Authentic “Why” on Social Media As the first speaker for Sunday’s program, influencer and University of Michigan alum Shivani Bafna talked about her unique journey in the entertainment industry and the role social media plays in it. Originally a pre-med student, Shivani completely switched her career path as she realized what she really wanted to do. Soon after her graduation from the University in 2018, Bafna took the leap and moved to Mumbai, India, to pursue her career within Bollywood where she entirely immersed herself into industry work, from modeling to interviewing to creating social media content. She turned to her social media platform to share her journey because as she said, “There are so many … experiences that we gloss over that are crucial to our journey.” She encouraged an awareness for all the steps that influence the journey — both the good and the bad. While she agrees that “what we share on social media is a curated highlight reel of the best wins of our lives,” she proposes more vulnerability in storytelling one’s journey online, sharing the equally influential failures along the way. In the technology-driven age of everchanging social media trends and followings, one breakout room dialogue debated the downsides to “making Instagram casual again.” Attendees also discussed the pressures that influencers like Bafna are faced with as she strives to tell her story and create a more empathetic space in the online world.

We must be grieved by these traumas and by a host of others that continue in scrolls of unspeakable horrors and stillsilenced stories that have yet to surface. And if we do claim to be grieved by our wrongdoings, it is difficult to believe that those in power, who are able to correct or prevent the very pain they inflict, are nearly grieved enough. If the darkness of our nation did, in fact, grieve us, we would never dare to allow the same patterns of history to be left unchecked, forgotten and repeated again. This is not to say that a vote in an impeachment trial, or the decision of a single Supreme Court case, or even the rewriting of a history textbook can reverse

our collective wrongs and unclench the hatred that chokes our nation — these manifestations would only be attempts at undoing injustice after the fact. This is not to discount the efforts of those who evidently have been grieved by such events — who have fought, marched and organized tirelessly to create a world in which it is love, and not a repairing of grieved hurt, that moves us forward. But as I witness the unfolding of history and the precedents that ultimately are being set by our collective nation, as I read into the past and look into the future, the question remains: Are we grieved, as a nation? Have we ever been?

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Are we grieved? YOON KIM

MiC Columnist

On an internship application I skimmed over recently, one of the essay prompts asked me this: “Explain the importance of _____ in today’s society.” Several words immediately came to mind. Love, respect, empathy. Accessibility and accountability. Grassroots organizing. Healing. Then, grief. But as I put my pen down, I realized that perhaps “grief” was not the right word. I thought about how many of us have faced more than enough grief to last a lifetime — a grief stemming not only from loss but also from silence and injustice. Many have faced grief spanning months, years and generations — some even since the birth of our nation. Some have been born into, and have left, this world carrying a grief I will never be able to understand or attest to. As I revised this sentence, I then reserved the word “grief” for a more nuanced form: “grieving.” The word as a verb, as a process, as a doing unto oneself … To be grieved. To respond to something that has caused intense distress and sorrow. To be arrested by a conviction for action, one which is born of an anguish that cannot be neglected and should not be prolonged but must only be resolved.

It grieves me to think about a lot of things. It grieves me to think about those whom I may have hurt, however pure my intentions may have been. It grieves me to think about the problematic habits of my own KoreanAmerican community that have been normalized. It grieves me to think about the moments in which I have chosen to assume the safe role of a bystander rather than be an ally. It grieves me to think about the often-painful and still-uncorrected history that I have lived through and thus, ultimately contributed to writing. But are we, the American public and especially those who lead this nation, grieved? Does it grieve us to think about our choice to incarcerate almost 120,000 Japanese Americans in the name of “military security” in 1942? Does it grieve us to think about the racial slurs hurled at these families, the blinds drawn on train rides to these camps for protection from onlookers who sought to attack them? Does it grieve us to think that the Supreme Court ruled against Fred Korematsu — who refused to abide by the government’s orders to relocate to a camp — and still has yet to officially overturn the decision? Does it grieve us to think about the racialized fear and hysteria that we have, and have had, the capacity to hold?

It may grieve us. But does it grieve us enough to refuse employing the very same tactics of anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II against Muslims and Muslim Americans today, only rewording the guise of “military threat” to that of a “national terror threat?” Did it grieve the Supreme Court who, despite their repudiation of the Korematsu ruling, still voted to uphold the analogously racist Muslim travel ban in 2018? Does it grieve us to think about what took place on Jan. 6 of this year? Does it grieve us to think about a faith in white supremacy so strong that it would drive a group of people to scale the walls and smash the windows of the Capitol? Does it grieve us to think about those present in the Capitol building, streets of Washington, D.C. and even onlookers across the country seized in a moment of intense fear and vulnerability? Does it grieve us to think about the threatened democracy of a nation once, and still, divided? It may grieve us. But does it grieve us enough to hold the one responsible for what took place this day accountable? Did it grieve Congress enough to impeach Donald Trump again? Did it grieve Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who, despite his acknowledgement and condemnation of the former president’s incitement of the insurrection, still voted to acquit Trump?

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Michigan in Color A definitive guide to the zoom breakout room

6 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

SARAH AKKABOUNE MiC Columnist

Perhaps the most dreaded facet of online learning is the Zoom Breakout Room, a wasteland of black screens and muted microphones and often silent, unrequited group work in a shared Google Document. And like Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” the Zoom Breakout Room has come to define itself as a somber event of cultural permanence. It’s s the ultimate battleground of the virtual college experience and more deeply, one of the darkest underbellies of social interaction. My experiences in breakout rooms have left me questioning my peers’ integrity, maturity and emotional depth, but more importantly, have led me to a much more refined understanding of the human condition. You see, our experiences are not always novel or paramount: all of our hearts begin to race before we enter a breakout room, our palms begin to sweat and sometimes we stutter and ramble and overshare about our love for Jhumpa Lahiri or Audie Cornish from All Things Considered or Emily Ratajkowski’s essay on buying herself back. With this in mind, I have amassed a list of proven tips and tricks, through a lengthy process of trial

and error, on conquering the Zoom Breakout Room once and for all. Use at your own discretion. 1. Turn Your Camera On. Taking the initiative to turn your camera on in a breakout room can often be nerve wracking and nauseating especially when no one else has theirs on. People tend to mirror one another and turning mine on has almost always catalyzed a chain reaction of cameras turning on. It’s important to be aware that often people keep their cameras off because of external circumstances we may not understand. For this reason turning on cameras can be a hefty matter and one that should be approached with tact and care. Never force cameras to be turned on, this is a process that is best undertaken naturally. If you turn your camera on and no one follows suit, you should probably turn it back off. According to the students in my biology discussion breakout room, each breakout room has its own delightful bags of tricks and surprises and sometimes we get handed a smelly bag rotting at the seams. 2. Ask People How They’re Doing. I start every conversation in breakout rooms I’m thrusted into by asking people how they are doing. This is a common courtesy and should always be asked. “How are you doing?” poses itself as an even more potent conversation starter

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in the midst of a pandemic. People are not often asked this question with sincerity, nor are we expected to answer honestly. It’s okay to not be doing well. It’s okay to be honest and open about failure. It opens the floor to productive dialogue and most importantly, renders the breakout room a safe virtual space for completing group work. Sometimes I don’t know the answer to the group work. Sometimes unprecedented events happen or we lose motivation or the world can become lean and mean for periods of time and we fall weeks behind in lectures or readings. That is OK. 3. Ask People About Their Music Taste. People love to be understood, validated and heard in all kinds of ways. Music and sharing music presents itself as one of the most sacred forms of friendship and communication. People love to talk about music and more importantly, the kind of music they listen to, because by default it is an extension of the soul and the mind and the heart. Sometimes this doesn’t work and I’ll receive vague answers like I-listen-to everything-but-country but sometimes I’ll get things like Phoebe Bridgers (who I discovered through a breakout room!) and Ms. Lauryn Hill and Mos Def.

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Courtesy of Sarah Akaaboune - American Gothic, Grant Wood.

Who’s in control? KARIS CLARK MiC Columnist

Earlier this month, I was walking down South Forest Avenue with a friend of mine on a Friday night when two white men drove by us on the sidewalk. They rolled down their windows and one of them proceeded to shout at me to “get off the street” followed by the N-word.Twoweekslater,Icanstillvividlyrecall the fear and discomfort I felt in the moment. The event, which happened mere blocks away from my apartment, turned what used to be a familiar street to me into a cruel reminder of the antiquated attitudes still existing everywhere in the United States, including (and especially) here, at the University of Michigan. It reminded me that, as African philosophy scholar Mabogo P. More once stated, “To live under the threat of non-being is to live in what existentialists call a condition of finitude, the constant possibility of disintegration and death and, therefore, anguish and anxiety.” This immense lack of control over the way society perceives us, as Black beings, has a tremendous impact on our lived experience. Nowadays, we often talk about racial oppression on a systemic level, typically from an economic standpoint by examining the impacts of structural inequality. But not nearly as often do we discuss the effects oppression has on the body, mind and soul of the oppressed being –– the disparaging

impact that incessantly being perceived as an other, along with the ongoing relativization to the white norm, has on the psyche of the dispossessed subject. Steve Biko, a radical South African activist, wrote extensively on what it means to be Black in an anti-Black world. Before he was assassinated by the South African apartheid regime in 1977, he worked heavily with the South African Student Organization and contributed towards establishing the Black Consciousness Movement. This was a movement combining ideologies of Black Power, philosophical notions of (Black) consciousness and radical Christianity in order to empower Black people to assert their own autonomy and self-determination, thus challenging the white power structure. Biko believed, and once stated, “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” I know firsthand what it’s like to carry the weight of a lifetime of internalized oppression. It’s an ongoing process to overcome the never-ending feelings of imposter syndrome, coupled with my increasingly negative self-esteem and body image after years and years of being socialized by our anti-Black society to hate myself. It’s true that a lifetime of racialized oppression psychologically alters the conscious experience of the oppressed individual. According to Frantz Fanon, a radical Black political philosopher, this constant subjugation to violence results in the

epidermalization of inferiority in the mind of the colonized subject. In other words, in attempting to subvert and mitigate the likelihood of discrimination, the oppressed individual will subconsciously strive to adhere to standards of whiteness, thus internalizing their oppression “in anticipation of the punitive norms.” Growing up, I felt this internalization daily without even being aware of it. Living in a world where you’re constantly otherized, conscious of your racialized identity in relation to others or, as Biko referred to in his “On Death” chapter of his popular text “I Write What I Like,” facing “a permanent struggle against an omnipresent death.” And as much as I try to shake it, by no fault of my own, this omnipresence of death is always following me, lingering, as a constant reminder of my sheer lack of control over how I am perceived in this world. But even at my lowest, I remind myself that I have the capacity to rise above it all. To do so, I often find myself drawing parallels between the Black Consciousness Movement’s notion of salvation and deliverance (by going from non-being to being) with the Biblical notions of salvation and deliverance found through Jesus Christ. As Biko discusses in his text, “The Radical Gospel of Black Consciousness,” Black consciousness entails a radical transformation of the ontological status of the individual, going from an inauthentic to authentic being. The inauthenticity of repressing one’s own self in fear of retaliation from the unjust status

quo is stripped away by the affirmation of one’s own being. In a similar vein, liberation theologists such as Latin American philosopher Ignacio Ellacuría, draw similar comparisons of deliverance in the act of seeking salvation in Jesus Christ. In his text, “The Crucified Peoples,” Ellacuría discusses how an overwhelming majority of humankind is crucified by means of natural, historical and personal oppression. He claims that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross serves as a double soteriology (salvation doctrine) by tying together the passion and death of Christ with the oppressed. This carries with it heavy implications: The notion that the Creator of the Universe –– all we’ve ever known, experienced or sensed –– came down onto Earth in order to side with those who have historically been persecuted and to affirm the existence of their beings is something that gives me solace as I navigate a society hell-bent on killing me. As Black theologian James Cone wrote in Black Theology and Black Power, “In Christ, God enters human affairs and takes sides with the oppressed. Their suffering becomes His, their despair, divine despair.” This new life that is given through Christ parallels this radical transformation from non-

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being to being. They both seek for us to live a life that is affirmative and liberative of the oppressed, by wrestling with death in order to receive life. As Luke 4:18 states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor (...) To set at liberty those who are oppressed, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” I find comfort in this. The knowledge that I am not determined by my earthly, bodily existence and the demonic nature of capitalism and white supremacy omnipresent in our world. As Fanon once stated in his seminal piece “Black Skin, White Masks,” “In the world through which I travel I am endlessly creating myself.” With this in mind, I continue traveling, paving my own path amid the persecution, and whenever I feel hopeless over my lack of control in the present, I stop and think to myself who really is in control in the end –– and that, in all its glory, liberates me.

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WHISPER “Happy March!”

“Did you know ‘swim’ upside down is still ‘swim’?

Valentine’s Day passed and no one bought you a bouquet of your favorite flowers or the Baby Yoda chocolate-covered strawberries or a valentineedition Squishmallow or even a card. If you’re anything like me, scrolling through TikTok and seeing couples go on picnics and being all lovey, then you also wonder where your version of that love is. It’s been 18 years of me, myself and I. So when I took a love language test at the beginning of quarantine in March, I thought to myself, “Why the heck are you taking this? You’ve literally never been in love before.” My result: quality time. But that’s not what mattered to me. While taking the test, I found myself answering things I never really thought about. Do I like it more when I get a hug or a note from someone I love? Do I prefer being close to someone I love or getting a compliment from them? The more I questioned and learned about the way I love, the more fascinated I became with these online tests that seemed to know me better than I knew myself. I then took the infamous Myers-Briggs test with my sister. Our results for this test: ESFP for me and INFJ for my sister. We spent the next hour and a half reading and reflecting on our results, recalling memories together that demonstrated certain aspects of our personalities according to the test. My sister and I are as close as can be, and even then, I found myself revealing to her thoughts and feelings I never let out. The test told me things that I never let myself think about, because who really

likes to acknowledge that they have weaknesses and flaws? It put into words all the thoughts I had but could never put into words myself. It’s hard to imagine that a test from 1962 could describe 2020 me with such accuracy. And I know people who don’t trust these tests because they think that it only tells you about yourself if you’re honest with your responses, and some people choose their answers based on what they want the outcome to be. Despite this, I don’t really mind because these tests set me on a road towards learning and loving myself, as cheesy or cliché as that may sound. From the start of April on, my growing interest in learning how to really love myself as a result of taking these tests led me to ideas like the Law of Attraction, manifestation and the Butterfly Effect — all that good universe stuff. I started journaling more about my thoughts, my feelings and my flaws, and soon enough my mindset was changing. I was no longer focusing on why I didn’t have a boyfriend but rather on why I was so adamant that I needed someone else to make myself happy. This change in mindset is why I believe these online tests are more than tests. In a Facebook Messenger group for my Vietnamese Student Association family, my grandbig sends us these tests to take. Together, we fill out an excel sheet with our results, helping us discover the more personal details within each other’s characters. In a boba shop, my Japan Student Association family and I take the test together to see how we each respond; they create ease and a bond.

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Arts

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 7

What television has taught me about love SARAH RAHMAN Daily Arts Writer

The funny thing about love is no matter who you are, how many relationships you’ve had or how close you are to your family, there’s always more you can learn. Love is a neverending lesson. In this spirit I write to you, as a 19-year-old girl who has watched a lot of television, to share what I’ve learned — amateur to amateur. While, in my opinion, love languages don’t fully capture the boundlessness of what intimacy with another person can mean, I do think they’re a good place to start the conversation. They’ve certainly expanded how I interpret the different ways that caring for someone can manifest, so I thought I’d go language by language, show by show, to describe how my ideas about love have grown over the years. Physical Touch — “The Handmaid’s Tale” Physical touch has always easily fit into my understanding of love, as there often aren’t words to describe the feeling of wanting to comfort someone or show them you’re there for them. Yet what I didn’t understand until I watched “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the extent to which physical touch can palpably define the way our lives feel.

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, is the story of a fundamentalist Christian society dictated by strict rules — particularly for women — and the notion that someone is always watching you, should you slip up. Handmaids are under constant surveillance and in an environment that seems to be the furthest thing from love. Bearing children is methodically done, and any sort of love or kindness is something that sneaks through the system, not caused by it. Interestingly, it was precisely the way the system stripped away the protagonist June’s ability to be close to others — and be touched outside of a sexual context — that made me realize how physical closeness fosters emotional intimacy even outside of a relationship. The lack of physical touch heightens June’s isolation, and I couldn’t help but feel touch-starved with her. Without physical connection, life seems robotic, cold and dreary. After watching the show, I felt newfound gratitude for the ability to hold people close and how it can serve as a reminder that you are not alone. Words of Affirmation — “Sense8” I’ve seen “Sense8” multiple times since I first watched it when I was 15. With every watch, I’ve noticed new lines in the show where characters

have said the right words when other characters needed them, and it made all the difference. In “Sense8,” humans known as “sensates” are psychically linked with seven other individuals spread across the world. Sensates are able to take in the senses of the other people they are connected to and communicate with them, even appearing to be in the same room as their fellow sensates. Over time, the main group of sensates in the show grows closer and closer, understanding each other’s personalities, feelings and stories at the deepest level. I think it’s because of the deep bonds the show establishes that it is able to depict words of affirmation that hit profoundly. I mean, in what other show can you get quotes like “The real violence, the violence I realized was unforgivable, is the violence that we do to ourselves, when we’re too afraid to be who we really are,” and “your life is either defined by the system or how you defy the system,” as advice? Quality Time — “Avatar: The Last Airbender” “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was a phenomenal show for a multitude of reasons, but while the show’s compelling character arcs may include many important lessons about love, I realized that I couldn’t help

but feel the love present in even the most filler of episodes in the series. I loved all the episodes of “Avatar” in which the gang simply stops at a village or town on their journey and spends time together, learning how to do what’s right. “Avatar” was a great series because of the chemistry between the characters, which comes through even in the more dramatic episodes. I learned that, when it comes to love, the smallest moments can feel the most meaningful. Acts of Service — “Gilmore Girls” When I think of characters that remind me of acts of service, Luke from “Gilmore Girls” is the first person who comes to mind. Luke wasn’t one for expressing his feelings in words, sometimes to a fault, but there’s no one I can think of who has more consistently shown up for the people in his life by offering care through his time and skills. Luke loves cooking, fixing things and making sure Rory and Lorelai are fed and safe. Yes, Luke’s a good partner to Lorelai and good father figure to Rory, but he’s also the sort of guy I’d love to have as a neighbor. Despite his grouchiness, we all know he cares. I may not be as handy as Luke, but I still channel my inner Luke when I refill the Brita pitcher for my roommates, or bake cake pops for

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my friends when they’re stressed or even just check in with them to see if there are ways I can help, rather than simply telling them I’m thinking about them. Receiving Gifts — “New Girl” Ah, gifts. The forgotten love language. To be quite honest, I still feel a little hesitation whenever I hear that someone’s primary love language is gifts, but at the same time I’ve realized it also doesn’t get enough hype. There’s no moment in television that has shown me the power of giving gifts more than Season 3, Episode 13 of “New Girl” in which Nick, a character

who can only be described as a hot mess, puts together an extremely thoughtful gift for Jess, who has always wanted a great birthday. I don’t know why, but watching someone who never has it together spend a lot of time to show how much he cares makes me feel incredibly soft. I’ll just say Jess was not the only one crying by the end of the episode. The episode taught me that amid the hustle and bustle of life, even when everything seems like a mess, just taking a little bit of time to show someone you’ve been thinking about them can remind our loved ones that we care.

‘Minari’ serves up a soul-touching slice of Americana JACOB LUSK

Daily Arts Writer

Minari has a lot of names. I’m not talking about the film, but its namesake, Oenanthe javanica. For the uninitiated, it’s an herb used in a variety of cuisines, prepared by itself or added to elevate an existing dish. In Korea it’s called minari; in Japan, it’s called seri. Here we call it Japanese parsley, or Chinese celery, or Indian pennywort, or Java water dropwort or just plain water celery sans any national distinction. As one character remarks, “It grows anywhere, like weeds … rich or poor, anyone can enjoy it and be healthy.” So, it’s got a lot of names. This weed of 10,000 names and 10,000 homes neatly sets up the enduring metaphor of “Minari.” The film is Americana in celluloid but also a prototypical immigrant tale, for isn’t America supposed to be the monarch of immigrant tales, in lip service if not in unvarnished truth? The movie’s also one of those classic fish-out-ofwater, family-seen-through-the-eyesof-a-child stories that are practically a genre of their own. “Minari” fits in as

a faithful example that will no doubt resonate with many an immigrant or displaced person. But none of that is to say “Minari” is a formulaic stock film — it’s imbued with an incredible, enchanting specificity that can only be spun off the vagaries and vicissitudes of lived experience. Shaped by writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s (“I Have Seen My Last Born”) early childhood, it follows a Korean husband-wife duo and their Korean American children as they try to navigate the turns and bends of agrarian life in rural 1980s Arkansas. The child observer is young David Yi (Alan Kim, in his debut), a sweet, chubby-faced kid with a heart condition. David is, of course, a fictionalized, de-aged Chung. David spends his days trouncing around the Arkansan backcountry with his sister Anne (Noel Cho, in her debut), a dutiful older sibling that weathers microaggressions like a champ and his grandmother Soonja — a crass crone with a jovial nature played with incredible charm by Yuh-Jung Youn (“The Bacchus Lady”). If David is the beating, slightly arrhythmic heart of the film, it’s

his parents and the assimilation anxieties they represent that provide the catalyzing force and anima of the film. Steve Yeun (“Burning”) and Han Ye-ri (“Champion”) give quiet yet full-bodied, heart-grasping performances as Jacob and Monica. They’re professional chicken sexers, an oh-so-unglamorous line of work involving adorable little chickens that you condemn to either be tossed in a furnace or raised, fattened, squeezed of alltheireggsandeventuallyMcNuggetified (depending on the parts between their legs). Monica is a city-bred woman who misses Korea with ardor, but whose only focus is bringing in the dough to support her children. Jacob, on the other hand, has big, American dream-inflected ambitions that extend beyond being an arbiter of the fate of poultry. After arriving in their new pastoral, podunk life in Arkansas, he explains to Monica that it’s the soil that brought them there: “The best dirt in America,” he excitedly claims. Jacob sees the opportunity to feed thousands of Koreans with a little taste of home. Monica sees dirt. Dirt is something of a focus in “Minari.” The film carefully considers

PISCES

ARIES Be careful with privacy issues this week, Aries. What you think is yours to share may well not be. This is particularly true if you think you are helping a friend or a colleague – be very careful not to jump the gun.

the natural beauty of the land: rolling fields, babbling brooks, winding roads hemmed in by trees and trees and trees. The idyllic scenes are contrasted by family tensions and the looming specter of financial catastrophe, both aspects accompanied bewitchingly by the film’s light, languid soundtrack. But Monica’s not wrong, either. Dirt is dirt, and people seldom imagine their future in dirt, whether or not a few pretty things grow out of it. It’s a lonely, uncertain life for immigrant Koreans in the homogenous alabaster expanse of rural Arkansas. Culture shock runs rampant and goes both ways: Just as kids make fun of Anne and David’s language and faces, the Yis are endlessly put off by the locals’ Bible-thumping and reliance on things like dowsing wands — “Koreans use their minds,” Jacob reminds his son. This mélange of identities and the category crises that ensue are the film’s quarry. What does it mean to be Korean when you’re no longer in Korea? What does it mean to be American when you’re not from America? Can Grandma smell like Korea, even if you yourself have never smelled Korea? (That last one

YOUR WEEKLY

A family impasse could finally be resolved this week as Mars shifts into your family zone. This energy enables you to take the lead and to force matters to a conclusion, but not necessarily quietly – there is anger here, and frustration too.

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is courtesy of David.) It approaches these topics with a tender and earnest touch, never failing to inspire a laugh, a tear or poignant pause with each carefully framed slice-of-life moment. “Minari” the film experienced a bit of a category crisis as well. Is it “Minari” the American movie, or “Minari” the Korean movie? At the Sundance Film Festival, it snagged both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, a rare confluence of accolades. But, at the Golden Globes, it was relegated to the Foreign Language Film category. It won the top prize among foreign language films but was disallowed from competing in

Indigo Sparke leaves questions, not answers on ‘Echo’ ROSA SOFIA KAMINSKI Daily Arts Writer

TAURUS

With Mars arriving in your money zone this week, Taurus, you may feel driven to increase your income in whatever way is currently possible. Obviously, this is a helpful and very motivating influence in some ways, but you may also start to feel very materialistic.

AQUARIUS

WHISPER “I’ve been thinking a lot about the big bang.”

GEMINI Mars’ arrival in your sign is big news this week and you’ll be feeling energized, optimistic, ambitious and capable. This translates into increased vigor in all areas of your life, but perhaps especially in your personal life.

CAPRICORN Mars arrives in your vitality zone, Capricorn, making this an incredible week to set new health and fitness goals. You’ll be motivated and full of positivity, which you can use to set up a new regime or lifestyle.

“Do you ever wonder why are we alive?”

CANCER Something is hidden from you, Cancer, and you can’t stand that. The urge to dig deep and to ferret out the truth is exceptionally strong this week, not least because Mars begins to transit your secrecy zone.

Are you ready to party, Aquarius? Mars arrives in your joy zone, urging you to do more – much more – of whatever makes you happy this week. From creative hobbies, dance, art and music to more time spent with your loved ones, it’s all about whatever makes you smile.

SAGITTARIUS Mars, the planet of passion, arrives in your zodiac sign's love zone this week – that has to be good news, right? And it is, especially for a tired or flagging relationship, where Mars can help you rediscover why you fell in love.

“Go outside and get some fresh air!”

LEO

VIRGO

The arrival of Mars in your humanitarian zone brings out the best in your zodiac sign's warm-hearted nature, Leo. You’ll feel driven to help others, whether that’s in a practical sense, or through donating money, or through raising awareness.

Ready to shine, Virgo? Mars arrives in your career zone this week, pushing you into the spotlight and demanding that you showcase your talents. It’s a brilliant week for job seeking, interviews, promotions and long overdue recognition for your hard work.

LIBRA Studying is highlighted this week, and with Mars arriving in your higher education zone, it’s a brilliant time to start a new course or start working towards a qualification.

SCORPIO Mars’ arrival in your passion zone sets the tone for the week – you can expect a lot of memorable moments in a relationship, but there is also intense jealousy here, and even anger. Check your motives very carefully and be scrupulously honorable in your actions towards your partner.

Read your weekly horoscopes from astrology.tv

the Best Drama category due to its Korean-bent language. It’s true, the film is mostly in Korean, so subtitles are a must for the non-fluent. But let’s be clear: It’s all a load of malarkey. The original question was not meant to be profound, for it was no question at all. “Minari” is as American as apple pie, not in spite but because of its Korean furnishings. But these categories, as crisisinducing as they can be, are ephemeral. Like all the great fish-outof-water family stories, it’s less about being a fish-out-of-water and more about being a family. Korea, Arkansas — dirt is dirt, and a family can grow anywhere.

Indigo Sparke has a way of gathering the stars and keeping them in her pocket, handing them out on her guitar strings as she sees fit. The Australian singer-songwriter’s debut album, Echo, surrounds you, yet never leaves you feeling claustrophobic. It is as wide open as the deserts she drew inspiration from in the making of this album. This openness is reflected in the way the album seeks the right questions, rather than the correct answers. The songs often embark on mini philosophical quests, each anchored by Sparke’s languid, melancholy tones and simple guitar backings. Her sound evokes the centering gravity of Bedouine, or perhaps Angel Olsen at her most simple and haunting. Although the album is mostly Sparke and her guitar, with the barest touches of piano, percussion and bass here and there, these all come together to make a sum that is greater than its parts. In “Colourblind,” the guitar and tambourine slowly gather their things and enter the album. There is a patience to her voice, the pace at which she moves through the piece. How do those we surround ourselves with affect the way we see the world? This becomes the first of the many self-reflective inquiries the album inspires. Sparke continues to question and explore in tracks like “Everything, Everything” and “Baby.” The lyrics in “Everything Everything” surrounding death make it a fitting closer to the album. Her whispered tones enhance the song’s mystery and magic. As she affirms that “Everything, everything is dying” and “Everything is simple,” there is no dread involved. It doesn’t even feel like a resolute stamp marked “END.” It asks of the listener what it means to

die and what it means to live. There is a peaceful transformation of something often viewed as a spectre of fear and suffering into a straightforward communal experience. “Baby” is the lead single off of the album, in which Sparke submerges you in a lake of melancholy and pulls you out by the grace of her love. Echo evokes strong visuals; in this one, Sparke is surrounded by glowing balls of light, as she sings of “energy balls all around us” in an exploration of universal energy fields. Through the music, she asks us and herself: What brings someone comfort? What pushes someone? Can it ever be the same thing? Comfort and unease coexist in a strange balancing act on this record. In tracks like “Golden Age,” it is difficult to say if the warm grain of the guitar pulls you to a more familiar, tangible reality, or if its swooping chords shoot you off into space again. Even while singing of old, longterm loves, there is always a feeling of everything changing, of new things arising; your skin gives way to goosebumps. Sparke’s struggles with her own eroticism are delicately approached. “The witch of desire” greets her in “Undone,” while in “Carnival” she asks “Will you be mine?”, struggling to connect with something so she doesn’t lose herself. With “Wolf” comes Sparke’s deepest approach to her sexuality. As her female lover beckons her, “Come upstairs, let me show you all the parts you haven’t seen / There’s a hell, there’s a heaven, there’s a universe exploding,” the impact of these experiences is hard to deny. Her grand lyrics and ghostly vocals make you pause every so often to catch up to what you are feeling.

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Arts

8 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci are stellar in ‘Supernova.’ But... through the English countryside, staying in an RV with their dog Ruby. They drive through locations important to their relationship, like a quiet lake where they spent their first night together, under the stars. Speaking of stars, the illness works like a supernova in reverse, flashing through lives that have already been lived, eating them away and leaving emptiness in its wake. Maybe it’s more of a black hole. The film is a day-to-day portrait of Tusker and Sam’s relationship, showing both what makes the men perfect for one another — nights spent stargazing and days bickering like an old married couple, as their van sails through verdant English hills — and the horror of the imminent illness, the far-off look in Tusker’s eyes as the fog of memory continues its inevitable descent. Tucci exhibits a deep sadness in every scene, sometimes understated, sometimes blazingly tragic, that shows the viewer the heartbreaking reality of losing oneself as the days go by. Firth will also leave most viewers reaching for the tissue box. Sam is mourning his lover while the man is

ANDREW WARRICK Daily Arts Writer

“Supernova” opens in total darkness. Slowly, stars emerge. One shines brightly, then disappears. Tusker, Stanley Tucci’s character (“Spotlight”), later explains that everything is made from dying stars, which turn into supernovas that spew “star stuff,” the building blocks for life, through space. With a gigantic flash, these interstellar explosions create the universe as we know it. There is a vitality to destruction. A beauty, even. That’s why “Supernova” is a beautiful film. Its subject matter, Tusker’s worsening dementia and its effects on his partner Sam (Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”) are upsetting, even gruesome at times. The relationship between Tusker and Sam, who are first shown nude and in bed together, is unflinchingly real. Their love’s complete believability makes the film heartbreaking when dementia escalates its attack. The couple has decided to take one last vacation

still alive, simultaneously bottling the terrible despair so he doesn’t make Tusker feel even worse. “Supernova” is patient, portraying the gradual tragedy that accumulates because of this dreadful disease. The film’s slow pace doesn’t make its conclusion less tragic, though, only more brutally real. What makes the film unique is that, while the couple depicted are in a gay relationship, there is no discussion of persecution or even gay identity in general. “Supernova” could be about any couple. This itself is sort of radical. Most gay-centered dramas focus on prejudice, a “coming out” story or some combination of the two. The question, though, is this: Should homosexuality be performed by heterosexual actors? Speaking from my subjective gay experience, I think the era where this is unquestionably fine has passed. Ten years ago, when most producers wouldn’t touch a massmarket gay-themed movie like “Love, Simon,” I would have said that queer representation was so necessary that, if it took heterosexual actors to get the story told, then fine.

StudioCanal

Yet, in 2021, queer representation has become mainstream. Stories as diverse as “Ammonite” to Pixar’s “Onward” are including LGBTQ+ characters and telling all sorts of stories. This flourishing in the topic hasn’t come with a proportionate rise in LGBTQ+ performers, however. The queer leading characters in “Ammonite,” for example, were played by

The music beat has a party DAILY MUSIC WRITERS Editor’s Note: This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity. Remember sitting next to a friend in the library and sharing earbuds to introduce them to a new song? Or hearing something unfamiliar at a party and immediately looking up the lyrics to save it to your phone? Since the days of easily experiencing music with others are gone (for now), the music beat decided to make up for some lost opportunities by holding a virtual listening party last week. Writers were asked to bring a love song to share with the group over Zoom and then chat about what they thought. Here’s what happened. *** Katie Beekman, Senior Arts Editor: Who wants to go first and introduce their song? Madeleine Virginia Gannon, Daily Arts Writer: My song is “I’ve Heard that Song Before.” It’s an old sort of ’20s jazz song performed by Harry James, who was a swing trumpeter, but it has vocals with it and the reason I like it is even though it’s not inherently romantic in the sense that it’s talking about heartbreak or talking about falling in love, it has this sort of deep, familiar, comforting nostalgia. You’ll hear in the song that the main lyrics are: “I’ve heard that song before,” and I thought, as music writers, that would evoke a warm feeling because we all know that sense of listening to an album or a song and thinking, “We know that, that’s familiar.” I think there is a certain sense of romance to recognizing a song and a familiar tune, and it certainly has a very romantic vibe, I think, from the old-style instrumentation in jazz. Kaitlyn Fox, Music Beat Editor: It’s refreshing to hear older music from when people would have a variety of real instruments. Nowadays, some artists can’t afford to bring in anything outside of what their band members can play. I was thinking about that when I was hearing the song, and it was nice. Gannon: Also, I swing dance, and this is the sort of song that you would swing dance to, so it also has that human companionship element. Someone who knows how to dance to this style of music will know exactly what steps to do — it evokes a very romantic memory. Drew Gadbois, Daily Arts Writer: With songs like that, the recording equipment is older and there’s this little hazy pop to it. It is kind of hypnotic and it creates this almost wistful sort of atmosphere that is really inviting. Gadbois: I can probably go next. When I was thinking about different ideas of what love is and what love could be I was thinking of this very whimsical, kind of childlike quality that’s fully joyful. So I kept coming back to this song, “Summertime Clothes” by Animal Collective. There’s almost a lost in time sort of aspect to being in love with someone or just having a moment with someone and I think this song expresses it really well.

Gadbois: I’m not going to lie, I hadn’t seen the music video up until this point and it was a lot more horrifying than I thought it would be, but I also think it shows that there’s a point at which you can love someone so much it’s crazy. You feel like you’re going insane. I think that the lyrics express that just absolute heightened state. Beekman: I really liked that. I think the lyrics that stuck out to me were, “I want to walk around with you” and then at the end it continues, “with you, with you, with you, with you.” It sounds so simple, but especially with all the other stuff going on in the song instrumentation-wise, it stands out. I think those lyrics are a really good encapsulation of being so enamored with someone you just want to take a walk with them. Gadbois: Yeah and there’s another line about just frolicking in a fountain and that’s all they’re doing, but you hear it and it sounds like someone kind of running around in water. Gannon: I really liked the song. The whole time I had the most vivid imagery of an indie coming-of-age movie set in the summertime. It’s like a first love, but you’re about to move on with your life so you don’t know what to do with it. And like Katie said, “I just want to walk around with you.” I think it’s a really well-chosen song for such a specific feeling of growing up. Fox: That’s not a genre I would have thought of when picking a love song, but it totally makes sense. I really appreciated that the lyrics are pretty simple, but the music is so intense, so it’s a weird contrast. Gadbois: There’s a physicality, I think, that ties together a lot of Animal Collective’s work. There’s a simplicity to what they’re talking about, but a lot of it gets fleshed out through what you’re hearing. It’s funny, you mention coming-of-age too because this song came out in 2009. So it did come out at that age when you start to discover music like that and it feels so fitting. Nora Lewis, Daily Arts Writer: So I chose “Do You Remember” by Jill Scott because when I think of love songs, I gravitate toward ’90s R&B. I like the narrative style of a lot of ’90s R&B and this song, in particular, is a reflection of a childhood love and how it’s grown over the years, which I think is really sweet. Beekman: Another great choice. To me, that felt like a sunny afternoon drive home on the school bus. Gadbois: It’s interesting you say it’s sunny, because I felt the exact opposite. I was thinking about a moonlit walk under street lights. I think ’90s R&B production has some of the most

mysterious and alluring sounds. It’s insane because it immediately sucks you in and you have to sway your head. It’s so good. Gannon: I feel like I lost time listening to that song because I was so hypnotized. It completely took over every one of my senses. I was suspended while I was listening to it and then when it ended it let me go. I was out of it for the whole time, in a good way. It was comforting and warm — I felt enveloped by the music. Lewis: I feel like it’s a good mixture of what Katie and Drew said. I think it’s supposed to be a reflection on a childhood love, so Scott reflects on the past, which is the sunny, childhood part, and she sings about where they are now, like they are catching up on a nighttime stroll. Gadbois: Regardless, it’s definitely a warm feeling. I think you’re totally right and I don’t think of a nighttime stroll as anything other than warm as well. Beekman: To finish the party, I chose a country song: “Just to See You Smile” by Tim McGraw. Gadbois: There’s an awesome rhythm to that that I really enjoyed. Gannon: Ithoroughly enjoyed that. There’s something about country music and the instrumentation of the fiddle and banjo and the vulnerable vocals that make it feel very “every man.” It feels more relatable than the average song just because it feels so pared down musically. It feels as if someone is just sitting there on their porch, singing about seeing you smile. I thought it was a really great romantic song, probably one of the most vulnerable and emotionally accessible of the songs we listened to. Mine was very oldfashioned and Drew’s song evoked an intense emotional nostalgia. But I feel like the Tim McGraw song is one that anyone of any musical taste could relate to. Lewis: I’m not really like a country fan generally, but I feel like the word to describe the song is jovial. It’s very upbeat and fun and it works well as a love song. Like Madeleine said, anyone can kind of relate to it, which is nice. Beekman: Does anyone have anything to say about our choices overall? Gadbois: I think they reflect the music beat entirely. Gannon: I think the songs make a lot of sense. Love is different for everyone, it’s not just one thing. There’s a lot of different ways to love and a lot of different kinds of love so I think it makes sense that none of our songs are very similar. Beekman: Well, thanks for coming to the party, y’all. I hope you had a good time.

heterosexual actresses. Maybe this just takes time. Still, gay identity isn’t a costume that can be slipped on. Even if Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret says so, it’s not a “preference.” It’s an identity, a community. It is vital to include LGBTQ+ voices behind and in front of the camera, especially when the films themselves

are about LGBTQ+ characters. While Firth and Tucci are great, there are also plenty of gay actors, like Ian McKellen (“The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey”) and B.D. Wong (“Nora From Queens”), who have lived as gay men in the 20th century, experiencing traumas like Section 28 and the AIDS crisis, and have grown old and loved and lost. This was their story to tell.

Taylor Swift’s evolution is what makes her timeless GIGI CIULLA

Daily Arts Writer

Taylor Swift released her selftitled debut album in 2006 at only 16 years old. In a way that no one could have predicted, Swift emerged as the ruler of the pop and country music charts for the next fifteen years, all the way up to her most recent release, evermore, in December 2020. In the past two years or so, especially since the release of Lover in 2019, I have been finding myself wondering how I have been able to so consistently enjoy Swift’s music, as far back as “Should’ve Said No” and as recent as “willow.” What is it about her or her music that makes her stand out so vividly from all her contemporaries? Swift knows how to keep people interested, not only in the music she’s releasing but also in her personal life. From her earliest albums, speculation about who she writes her songs about (e.g., “All Too Well” and the now-infamous Jake Gyllenhaal scarf ) has circulated around each album. The world, regardless of whether they hate or love her, knows about her and who she surrounds herself with. From new boyfriends and heartbreak to best friends and betrayals, Swift’s life has been aggressively public for as long as she’s been a part of the music industry. Many would argue that her public relationships and feuds are what keeps her so relevant. As Kanye West so famously stated, “I made that bitch famous.” But I disagree. Strongly. So many prominent musicians have maintained relevance due to their publicity stunts, but so many of those artists don’t continue to get bigger. With every album Swift releases, her fanbase and critical acclaim grow. I’ve realized that Taylor Swift is the perfect example of an artist who changes with her audience. I’m now 19, but when “Love Story” came out, eight-yearold me couldn’t have been more obsessed. And while I still listen back to tracks like “Love Story”

and “You Belong With Me,” even 11 years later those songs are filled with nostalgia. Swift not only matures with every release, but she changes her entire image. Taylor Swift was her country girl debut release, clean and fun. Fearless was a slightly matured version of that, and Speak Now was her balladfilled heartbreaker, where Swift became the music industry’s princess. Red was her subtle transition into pop music, marked by the iconic red lipstick. 1989, in my opinion, redefined pop as Swift fully pulled away from her country roots. I also believe that Reputation was the most important comeback in 21st-century music, and she fully committed to the bad-girl persona. Lover was a complete 180, in which Swift became a pastel martyr for true love (minus her usual side of heartbreak), and sister albums folklore and evermore showed the most raw, artsy and matured version that anyone had ever seen from her. While not every era of Swift has been widely loved by fans, they were at least all appreciated. Her constant changes, not only in the sound of her music but also in her public image as it relates to each era, are what has allowed her to continue f lourishing well past what would be most artists’ prime. Something about Taylor Swift has stuck with me for years. From the 8-year-old who loved her early singles to the 19-yearold me sitting here now writing this article, she has maintained a place in my mind and heart that no other artist has ever done. I find myself constantly f loored by the intricacy of her lyrics combined with the everchanging sound of her music. She has made a song for every single tough or beautiful moment in my life, whether it be my first heartbreak, growing up, moving out or being in love. When people say Taylor Swift is their mother, it’s not an exaggeration. We’ve grown up with her and she continues to nurture us through music in ways I didn’t think were possible.

‘The Great North’ is weird, lovable and very Alaskan BEN SERVETAH Daily Arts Writer

It’s no secret that FOX has been, for better or worse, one of the most influential producers of animated television. From “The Simpsons” to “American Dad!” to “Family Guy,” the studio has been carving the landscape of adult animation for generations. But as a proud member of Gen Z, none of these programs have resonated with me nearly as much as the relatively recent “Bob’s Burgers.” Its style of character-driven humor, which combines weirdness with heartfelt

sincerity, has resulted in one of the most beloved TV families of the past decade. Now, “Bob’s Burgers” writers and executive producers Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux have teamed up with Minty Lewis (“Close Enough”) to produce “The Great North,” a show with all the winning ingredients of its predecessor. “Parks and Recreation” star Nick Offerman plays Beef Tobin (yes, his name is Beef): a single father of four (along with a soon-to-be daughterin-law). Among these children is Judy (Jenny Slate, “Big Mouth”), a fantastically-cast, artistic teenager

who seeks to experience life outside of the frozen forests. Along with the same niche humor and family focus, the new series also features the same animation style as “Bob’s Burgers.” It’s simple and goofy, and it embraces the colorful landscapes and starry skies of the “Great North.” Finding beauty within simple animation is something these shows excel at. After the sporadic release dates of the last two episodes, the latest marks the start of a regular schedule. This one follows Wolf Tobin (Will Forte, “Scoob!”) as he travels across the sea to find avocados for his

fiancée Honeybee (Dulcé Sloan, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”), all because she had a few dreams about guacamole. Meanwhile, Beef and Ham (Paul Rust, “Love”) try throwing a Shrek-themed party based on Ham’s memory of Shrek being gray and a big fan of beaches. The plotlines are so strange, yet they are completely grounded by the characters’ innocence and love for each other. The best part about any good family, blood-related or otherwise, is the acceptance and even nourishment found in its weirdest quirks. In fact, one could argue that the thesis of this show, as well as its

predecessor, might be that this is the only thing that makes a good family, as the members possess few other traits that are traditionally admirable. Even Beef, the father and leader of the pack, tells his kids that their mother was mauled to death by a bear so that he doesn’t have to face the fact that she left him. The writers give sympathy to everyone. We all have issues that we need to work out, and rarely do we manage them in ways that make us look sane. It’s also worth mentioning how great it is to have a comedy about a rural Alaskan family that isn’t just a bunch of stereotypical rednecks.

There’s an increasingly problematic notion within progressive circles that people in red states are all bad, and this show serves to challenge that idea, especially in its admiration for the outdoors. “The Great North” finds maturity and humanity within the awkward and the ridiculous. There’s a heart to these characters that you don’t often find in adult comedy shows. “The Great North” is nothing we haven’t seen before from the Molyneux sisters, but that’s not a bad thing. The Tobin family is fresh, lovable and loads of fun. I can’t wait to get to know them.


Opinion

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 9

JULIA MALONEY | COLUMNIST Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan since 1890. Stanford Lipsey Student Publications Building 420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109 tothedaily@michigandaily.com

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FROM THE DAILY

Acknowledging Angell — we need a comprehensive U-M history lesson

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n the coming weeks, select students in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts will receive an email congratulating them for being named James B. Angell Scholars. The award, named for the University of Michigan’s third president, celebrates any LSA student who receives an “A” record for two consecutive terms at the University. While we wish to offer congratulations for these students’ diligent dedication to their studies, it is also critical to learn about the award’s namesake.

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hile Angell’s legacy is complex — and potentially problematic — it is unlikely that more than a small percentage of the students that walk through the doors of Angell Hall are aware of this legacy. Amid a nationwide reckoning with the memorialization of controversial historical figures, the University must also partake in increasing our efforts to thoroughly understand the leaders we choose to highlight on campus, including Angell. Angell served as University President from 1871 to 1909. During his 38 year tenure as president, the University’s enrollment more than tripled. He was adamant that education be accessible to all, not just for the elite. To this point, he emphasized the admission of firstgeneration college students; in 1880, fewer than one in four students had parents with a college degree. Angell also oversaw the first female students to join the University at the beginning of his term in 1870 and 1871 and later became a vocal supporter of co-education. Angell saw education as a public service and greatly expanded resources for faculty research to this end. Under his leadership, the number of departments on campus grew from three to seven and the number of professors went from 35 to 250. Historian James Tobin asserted that it was Angell who supported the University in becoming the leading public university in the country. These details make it clear why the University would want to honor Angell’s legacy — and they have done so through a myriad of memorialization, the Angell Scholars and Angell Hall being the most well-known. Notably, the University highlights much of this history in its descriptions of Angell online. But the full story of Angell’s work is more complex: In 1880, during his tenure as University President, he was a diplomat under Rutherford B. Hayes and renegotiated the United States’ ability to restrict immigration from China. The treaty produced,

named after Angell himself, opened the door for one of the most racist immigration bills in American history: the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first and only major federal law suspending immigration for a specific nationality. The act, signed in 1882 by President Chester A. Arthur, prohibited all Chinese laborers from immigrating to the U.S., leaving only Chinese diplomats and their servants with the right to enter the country. Additionally, all non-citizen Chinese laborers who had previously immigrated to the country were barred from becoming citizens, and Chinese citizens who left the U.S. had to obtain special permission to re-enter. While Angell himself was not directly involved in the creation or passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, his negotiation of the Angell Treaty did pave the way for it. This treaty revoked the Burlingame Treaty of 1868, which had previously granted special privileges to citizens of China and encouraged large-scale Chinese immigration. Shortly after revoking the Burlingame Treaty, the U.S. government chose to ban nearly all Chinese immigration, subsequently resulting in the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Angell’s history is thus more complicated than often first presented and we, as a university, need to reckon with it. That being said, it is imperative that this reckoning extends past a debate over whether or not his name belongs on school buildings or honors titles — such a debate is inherently temporary and denies U-M students the ability to honestly discuss and understand our history. Moreover, the removal of a name from a building does little in creating a platform through which to discuss the positive and negative aspects of a figure’s legacy. The Michigan Daily Editorial Board recommends that the University establish some variety of an official, transparent forum in which students and faculty may honestly discuss important and complicated

ILANA MERMELSTEIN | COLUMNIST

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n December 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine was first administered in the United States and people finally began to feel a sense of hope. Now that it is being provided more widely, people are beginning to wonder if a national COVID19 vaccine mandate is in store. If this were to become a reality, though, the majority of states may allow for religious exemptions from the vaccine, potentially threatening the widespread immunization necessary to put an end to this pandemic thus keeping many people at risk. In the case of a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate, religious exemptions must not be tolerated, as the vast majority have no basis in scripture, and the health of the country must be prioritized above the unjustified beliefs of a few. As evidenced by a 2013 study, most major world religions have no explicit scripture or laws implying any opposition to vaccinations, the major religions being Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. These religions along with atheism, agnosticism and a lack of religious affiliation,

issues of the University’s history, which include, but are not limited to, Angell’s legacy. This can take a number of forms: perhaps a one or two-credit mini-course that teaches about important figures and events of the University, or a section of student orientation with a similar focus. Angell’s history is a great case study given that his history, like many others, cannot be categorized binarily as good or bad. Forums like those we suggest would allow students to actually learn about these issues, engaging with history through a more holistic and criticalthinking approach. It is difficult to predict whether such a course or orientation component would be accepted by faculty and students, or if it would be considered an inconvenient obligation. Nevertheless, a forum of some sort, regardless of if it manifests in this manner, should be implemented. Understanding the University’s history is important, especially when its prominent figures are so frequently celebrated without context. Angell’s history could therefore act as a springboard for implementing heightened University resources on other historical figures and influences that shape the community we know today. Ultimately, we need to collectively address the memorialization of those who came before us and, therefore, set the tone of the virtues and values the University aims to uphold. In these continued conversations of reckoning with our University’s past, we must also acknowledge the gray area that many of these historic figures fall into — James B. Angell was able to accomplish some admirable goals, yet his past is not just the positive narrative publicized and memorialized by the University. It is the responsibility of our institution and its community members to explore the foundations of this University and create a better scaffolding for navigating our understanding of such history going forward.

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Vintage feminism will never go out of style, just look at my pants

t is well known that the University of Michigan is one of the country’s most consistently left-leaning educational institutions. It is hoisted up by a predominantly liberal student body that spews progressive thought in the residence halls and holds hot debate in the lecture halls. The strong progressive foundation that the University upholds appears to be cemented in blue — with a pinch of maize of course — but it is important to recognize not being able to vote wasn’t the only thing women on campus weren’t able to do within the past century. With all of the controversial topics that remain unresolved from this past year — sexual misconduct scandals, weak COVID-19 plans, etc. — let us reflect on the past for insight on how to prevent history from repeating itself. It was not until 1956 that women were permitted to enter the Michigan Union through the front door, a lifted restriction that was revolutionary for students at the time. With progress comes its stipulations; upon entering, female students were banned from using the Pendleton Library. Why? To “preserve some spark of the ‘for men only’ tradition,” according to a 1957 publication of The Michigan Daily. This spark has now fizzled, but the fires of the feminist movement have run their course through the University since its founding. Ann Arbor’s own Annie Smith Peck was one of the first women admitted to the University, most known for her refusal to let gender norms prevent her from scaling both the mountains of a patriarchal society and actual ones. In 1895, she dropped her skirt to scale the Matterhorn, famously photographed touting trousers as she made the climb. Upon descending 14,692 feet from the peak and back to campus, she faced major criticism over her slacks. “She provoked moral outrage with her daring and eccentric climbing outfit: a hip-length tunic, knickerbockers, stout boots and

woolen hose, topped off by a stout felt hat with a veil,” writes Charles T. Robinson for Yankee. Such outrage even culminated in a public debate centering around whether or not Peck should be arrested for her crime of pants-wearing. For some, it may be hard to believe that the streets of Ann Arbor, now home to its own category of “hipster” fashion, once restricted women to skirts and dresses and that debates held on the steps of the Union or bricks on the Diag were for a right-wing cause rather than left. However, there is a reason why female trousers were left tucked away in wardrobes and entrance to the Union was restricted, and that reason, put simply, is men. Where there is an intermingling of the sexes, the male gaze that we women either dread or relish emerges. This inescapable gaze is relevant in any time period, creating a socialized uniform. Back in the 1940s, the minds of Michigan men were not only consumed with fears of being drafted, but apparently the potential of soon viewing the outlined legs of women. Articles upon articles of The Michigan Daily during the early 1900s detail the dress code of the proper and rational Ann Arbor woman. One 1941 story details different dress combinations for every Michigan freshman, describing a skirt as a “necessity” in order to follow with the University’s lean towards conservatism and the standards of being desirable. The campus that was once considered one of the more right-leaning campuses of the east must surely be a different campus than the one we walk through today. It is not the same campus it was 60 years ago, but that is thanks to the women who changed it. It wasn’t until the 1960s, roughly 65 years after Peck’s climb, that counterculture had finally hit its peak and enacted change in dress reform. Something practical in nature, meant to provide protection and flexibility all while promoting productivity, takes form in pants. An everyday

clothing item that nowadays is stuffed in our drawers once represented equality, power and freedom. Fast forward to present society, the great legging debate continues to upset the nation and college campuses. It was just three short years ago United Airlines sparked outrage when an employee denied two young girls from boarding a flight due to their infamous tight pants. It was only one year ago when a woman named Maryann White published a letter in Notre Dame’s student newspaper asking girls to eliminate leggings from their wardrobe under the belief that leggings “make it difficult to ignore young women’s bodies.” These instances of the lack of male accountability rekindle the fire that women have fiercely sought to snuff. That mother (and other mothers) argue that there’s a generational gap that justifies their views, but this holds no avail on our campus. Growing up in a different generation is not an excuse for policing women’s clothing choices nor for the lack of male self-control. This issue is not a new concept with the advent of leggings but is in fact generational, making us only hope that Peck would be proud of a new kind of pants that has scaled yet another sexist mountain. The progressive roots that the University appears to be grounded in do not run as deep as one may think. Recognizing these shortcomings in modern history is important to achieve further progress. Entering the Union takes on a whole new meaning knowing that, at one point, I — and the now 14,432 women that call this campus home — would not have been able to open the ornate wooden doors at the main entrance. As I am writing this article, I have my feet perched on a chair in the skylit courtyard, sporting my leggings. Something as simple as this is a small victory that we are not to

Julia Maloney can be reached at jvmalo@umich.edu

ISABELLE SCHINDLER | COLUMNIST

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Fighting extremism in Michigan

hen the United States Capitol was stormed during the certifying of the election, many of us in Michigan saw immediate parallels to the recent political extremism in our own state. Following the insurrection in Washington, D.C., it is imperative that we work to address political violence by banning all weapons from the Capitol building and holding elected officials accountable for their violent rhetoric. In April of last year, a large group of armed protestors who were angry about the state’s COVID-19 lockdown entered the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich. The scene inside the Capitol showed many aggressive and agitated demonstrators harassing legislators and Capitol police while dressed in military fatigues and toting semi-automatic weapons. Some of the people at the demonstration were identified as being part of far-right militia groups. After this intimidation at the Michigan Capitol, many Democrats in Lansing pushed to change the rules that allowed for people to carry firearms into the Capitol. Unfortunately, there was no change in the gun rules because of obstruction by the Republican leadership which

refused to ban weapons from the Capitol building. Months later, the world witnessed a similar attack on a larger and more dangerous scale at our nation’s capital. That riot led to the death of five people — including a Capitol police officer — and two more officers took their own lives afterward. Following the armed protest at the Michigan State Capitol, representatives in Lansing eventually decided to take the small step of banning open carry of weapons inside the Michigan Capitol. While this is an important change, it does not go far enough. The change only applies to openly carried weapons, meaning that people with a concealed carry pistol permit can still legally carry a hidden weapon into the Michigan Capitol. The political violence that we have seen in Michigan has been furthered not only by lax gun laws but also by our very own elected officials. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Jackson, has come under fire for his comments and actions that have lent credence to violent groups and movements in Michigan. Shirkey has long been an adversary of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, consistently working to oppose her agenda. Recently, he has resorted to making many bizarre and misogynistic

comments about the governor, such as his sexist comments about her looks and his discussion about “spanking her” on the state budget. His comments and actions sometimes threaten or promote violence, including when he said he would like to fist fight the governor on the Capitol lawn and was caught on a hot mic saying that the Jan. 6 Capitol attack in Washington, D.C., was a hoax. Shirkey has not only promoted violence with his words but also with his actions. He has liaised with far-right militia leaders in Michigan and earlier this year, he met with the leaders of multiple militia groups to help them with their public perception. His actions against the governor have been even more concerning due to the credible threats of violence against Whitmer. In October 2020, the FBI announced that it had arrested multiple members of a far-right militia who were actively planning to kidnap and harm the governor. Even after learning about the plot against the governor, Sen. Shirkey still made positive comments about militias and how “they are not uniquely different from you and me.” Isabelle Schindler can be reached at ischind@umich.edu.

Religious beliefs aside, get the damn vaccine cover nearly 99% of the U.S. population, so it makes little sense that any religious exemptions to vaccines could be sustained when the health of the country is at stake. Furthermore, both the Catholic Church and world Islamic leaders have openly endorsed the administration of vaccines, noting the health of many is a higher priority than the beliefs of few. But, in a perceived disagreement between religion and scientific teachings, the distribution of support is concerning. About 55% of those with religious affiliations would agree with their religious teachings over science — only 29% would agree with science instead. The fact that so many are willing to hold their beliefs above scientific evidence is, frankly, pretty scary. If objections to vaccines on religious grounds are not generally rooted in religious scripture or promoted by leaders, where do they come from? Most are largely related to either the ethical dilemma of receiving vaccines made from human cell tissue or the belief that the body is sacred, should not absorb certain

chemicals and should be healed by G-d or natural means. As far as the first objection goes, it primarily applies to vaccines that use the HEK-293 and HeLa cell lines. The former comes from the tissue of a fetus electively aborted in 1973, and the latter comes from the cervical tissue of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the mid-twentieth century. Both cases create ethical dilemmas — vaccines using the HEK-293 cell line may be objectionable to those religiously opposed to abortion, and vaccines using the HeLa cell line are morally questionable because Henrietta Lacks’s tissue was taken and developed nonconsensually. However, these ethical concerns do not apply to the primary COVID-19 vaccines in circulation. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both developed with chemical, not biological, synthesis so they do not contain any human cell tissue. While the moral concerns regarding the HEK-293 and HeLa cell raise compelling points that

should be explored and developed, they do not pertain to the COVID-19 vaccine, which must be administered widely and urgently. As far as the objection relating to the sanctity of the human body goes, it has no grounds in scripture or religious laws, as previously stated. Suppose you’re standing in front of a crowd of 100 people, and you’re offered a mysterious liquid. You are told truthfully that the liquid is not dangerous to your health or well-being, but it doesn’t taste very good and you don’t know exactly what’s in it. If you do not drink the liquid, all 100 people will be forced to eat a cookie that could potentially kill them or cause them great harm. If you do drink the liquid, 35 of the 100 people will be forced to eat the cookie. What do you do? My assumption is that most would drink the liquid, despite it being unappetizing and unknown. Similarly, most do not know what goes into a vaccine, and some minimal negative consequences, such as chills, tiredness and joint pain, can result from receiving one. But, when drinking

that metaphorical liquid has the potential to save a significant number of people (studies have shown that one dose of the main COVID-19 vaccines may offer 50-80% protection against symptomatic COVID-19), an individual’s own perceived sacredness of their body matters little. Anyone who uses their religion to get out of a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available has no solid grounds on which to argue. The majority of religions practiced in the U.S. have no indication of opposition to vaccines. There are no constitutional obligations to allow people to opt out of a vaccine if receiving it would have a significant positive impact on national health. Ethically, it makes the most sense to be administered the vaccine. So, in the case of a national COVID-19 vaccination mandate, religious exemptions must not be sustained because, by nature, they aren’t religious at all. Ilana Mermelstein can be reached at imerm@umich.edu.


Opinion

10 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

JESS D’AGOSTINO | COLUMNIST

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The Beatles are forever

t all started in a car. I couldn’t tell you how old I was or where we were going, but I remember distinctly the first time I appreciated The Beatles the way I do now. My dad, now owner of a music publishing company based in Nashville, Tenn., has ingrained a comprehensive music education in me and my siblings — beginning with my bedtime lullaby, “My Girl” by The Temptations. In that car, on that day, I realized something that I will now gladly argue to anyone at any time: The Beatles are forever. Since that moment, I have listened to every Beatles song in existence. I’ve had the lifechanging opportunity to see Paul McCartney in concert twice and have unforgettable memories belting “Helter Skelter”, “Oh! Darling” and “Eleanor Rigby” with a 70-something-year-old Paul. My laptop, walls and Spotify Wrapped have been eternally overwhelmed by The Fab Four, and I can confidently say that nobody will ever take their place. All of this to say that I am my father’s daughter in that I have utilized my appreciation for bands like The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, etc., to encourage exploration of all genres and decades of music. Anyone who knows me knows the nature of my Spotify playlists transcends all times and variations of music; from Chance the Rapper’s “Hot Shower” to Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover” and back again. My appreciation for and love of music all is thanks to The Beatles. Therefore, it truly is all thanks to my dad. I have met few people in my life who have the audacity to make statements such as “I

don’t like The Beatles,” or “Yellow Submarine is a terrible song,” but nonetheless it’s worth addressing for those that have. For me, understanding their humble beginnings underscores the magnitude of appreciation they demand. The Beatles began as a group of four young boys from Liverpool, England. 15-year-old Paul McCartney was invited to join 16-yearold John Lennon’s band and after a series of additional member changes, the rest is history. While my short column cannot effectively do justice to this sensational story of the beginning brewings of the British Invasion, I have watched and encourage everyone to watch the plethora of documentaries made about The Beatles. In 1964 — coincidentally, the same year my dad was born — The Beatles came to the U.S. and made their first live American television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” But the band’s prolific nature became a problem for its individual members. As George Harrison further pursued his own interest in song-writing, they began to have difficult decisions to make: What songs would be recorded and, even more challenging, what songs would be performed? This led to their hard but historically well-received decision to take a step back from the stage and focus instead on experimenting in the studio. If you have ever listened to the album titled Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you know exactly what I’m talking about — and if you haven’t, what are you still doing reading this column?

ANYA SINGH | CARTOONIST CAN BE REACHED AT ANYAS@UMICH.EDU

Design by Shannon Stocking

The Beatles officially broke up in 1970, but years later are revered for the ways in which they permanently changed the game of music. Time and time again, today’s top artists will announce their primary musical inspiration as The Beatles even in the unexpected genre of rap. This article displays it perfectly by citing explicit Beatles references and times that artists such as Wayne and Mac Miller paid homage to The Beatles. I recognize that not all music is for

everyone. Some people exclusively take to one genre or artist or sound, and I respect that perspective. As someone who relies on music to provide a soundtrack to my life in more ways than one, I can understand the specificity that comes with choosing music that speaks to you. However, I will argue until the day I die that everyone has a Beatles song that will speak to them. This is simply because The Beatles do not fit in a box; they are a genre

within themselves. In this chaotic world we continue to navigate through, take a second to pause whatever it is you’re listening to and play something by The Beatles — anything at all. To end this article, I’d like to say something that I’m not sure I say enough about my unmatched love for The Beatles: thank you, Dad. Jess D’Agostino can be reached at jessdag@umich.edu.

ALEX NOBEL | COLUMNIST

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Texas blackouts are a wake-up call

ll eyes have been on Texas for the past 10 days as a “once in a lifetime” winter storm knocked out power and left millions of Texans without electricity and heat in freezing temperatures. In the days following the initial power outage Republicans, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, have taken to Fox News and other media outlets to proclaim that wind turbines, renewable energy, the Green New Deal and even U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., are to blame. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Texas’s infrastructure, although unique, represents a bigger issue in the United States — its power grid is dangerously old and out of date. Texas should be seen as a warning to the rest of the country that the climate crisis is here. Being unprepared will put millions in harm’s way. So if it wasn’t the Green New Deal or renewable energy, what actually caused the Texas power outages? That question comes with a response that is very on-brand for Texas. The contiguous 48 states have three separate power grids: Eastern Interconnection, Western Interconnection and Texas. Their power grid is called the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Power Act in 1935, which gave the federal government oversight over electricity sales — but Texas, which did not want to be subject to federal regulations, adopted its own power grid. 35 years after the Federal Power Act, ERCOT was formed and tasked with managing the grid’s reliability. In short, Texas has its own electricity grid to avoid dealing with the federal government. Those who chose to blame the Green New Deal for Texas’s power failures have already been receiving backlash for their false or misleading claims. ERCOT predicted just 7% of their anticipated winter energy capacity would come from wind power sources around the state. All energy sources have struggled during the sub-freezing temperatures in Texas,

but the majority of energy production failures came from natural gas and coal plants. Blaming renewable energy, although baseless and scientifically inaccurate, is one thing. However, blaming the Green New Deal, a policy proposal that has not been implemented in Texas or federally and has yet to even be brought to the floor in Congress, is a whole other level of mental gymnastics. Not only did Texas isolate itself from the rest of the country in terms of energy, but their officials repeatedly ignored warnings that this exact situation could happen. Ten years ago, a similar disaster struck Texas. Freezing temperatures froze natural gas wells, wind turbines and coal plants. Texas’s government and regulatory officials had the opportunity to learn from prior mistakes and winterize their energy infrastructure to prevent future statewide blackouts. However, they left the decision to prepare for cold weather up to the individual companies who passed on the upgrades, citing high cost. Texas officials, both in the public and private sector, chose to forgo infrastructure updates because of the cost, stranding millions of Texans — who had no say in the matter — without heat or water in freezing cold situations. This infrastructure problem is not isolated to Texas. The American Society of Civil Engineers puts out a comprehensive infrastructure report card every few years grading America’s infrastructure. The most recent report from 2017 gave the U.S. a D+. This grade is unacceptable, especially in the richest country in the world. Yet, this was not the first time it received that grade. In 2013, the U.S. also received a D+ and it was estimated that the U.S. would need to invest an estimated 3.6 trillion dollars by the year 2020 in order to upgrade its infrastructure. It is clear that the U.S. needs to drastically modernize its infrastructure and energy

systems. As climate change and rising temperatures weaken the jet stream, it is no longer strong enough to contain the polar vortex in the North Pole. This causes what is called a “wavy polar vortex,” meaning it is no longer restricted by latitude and parts of the extremely cold, low-pressure climate system dip down into typically warm areas like Texas. New regions will experience climatic events they have never experienced before and they need to be prepared. As we see more and more of this increasing uncertainty surrounding the climate, there are only so many things that we can do as humans and as a society. One of those things is to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure so we are better prepared next time there are freezing temperatures in places where they are not usually expected. This strategy can also be flipped as colder places should similarly prepare for warmer weather. Infrastructure includes the obvious roads, bridges and tunnels but also encompasses public transportation, energy, schools, public parks and drinking water systems, among many other things. Improving these integral parts of society both structurally and to increase efficiency would create millions of jobs while making the U.S. a safer place. As climate projections are fluid and leave room for unexpected events it is important to over prepare so that there are no situations that catch society off guard. There are no downsides to acting boldly and transforming and revitalizing our infrastructure and energy systems. The downsides come from a lack of action. What’s going on in Texas is a wake-up call to the rest of the country to listen to experts and prepare for what is coming. Government officials have been offered a golden opportunity and they must take it, or millions of lives will be destroyed.

office hours. Either way, it blurred the “optional” element, instead turning them into supplemental lectures of sorts. The frustrating part was the impact of this on students. The workload between weeks didn’t necessarily depend on the underlying material but on whether I attended office hours. I saw some peers drop the course because they couldn’t attend the extra meetings — the workload was overwhelming them. Here’s the thing; it doesn’t have to be like this. I saw many approaches to this issue that worked much better. A few courses that were offered asynchronously decided

to hold office hours during the slated lecture times, thereby ensuring that everyone would have access to them, if necessary. Another course opted to carve some time in the lecture for a makeshift discussion to deal with some applications of the theory. Many courses avoided the problem altogether by basing assignments purely on material covered in lectures instead of delegating the necessary instructions to office hours. Computer science courses, specifically, offered a queue-based office hours platform that I felt was ideal for courses with a larger staff size. The new remote format offers many unorthodox solutions; it’s time for

instructors to capitalize on them. The pandemic has definitely made life harder for students: We don’t need to be actively impeded by the course structure. It’s time for instructors that turn office hours into another lecture to stop saying that “we’re all in this together in these unprecedented circumstances.” I’d much rather infer that they care about us from the structure of the course, instead of a token acknowledgment that serves as a cover to place more work on us.

Alex Nobel can be reached at anobel@umich.edu.

SIDDHARTH PARMAR | COLUMNIST

The subversion of “optional” office hours

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s a freshman attending my second semester of classes, I came across one phrase in all of my courses: office hours. From what I gathered, it was a valuable resource for students looking to interact with professors and other teaching staff. It provided a smaller and more intimate setting for students to clear doubts and build professional relationships. Best of all, attendance was optional! Little did I know that few courses would actually be treating their office hours as a mandatory extension of the class. To be clear, I’m not referring to scenarios where a few students regularly attend office hours to cope with challenging material. That is the purpose of office hours, and I’m in no way advocating for that to end. After all, we’re here to explore new topics, not to coast along on existing knowledge. I’ve had many instances where office hours have helped me further my understanding in a class. Office hours are a beneficial resource. Then why should they ever be an issue? For starters, office hours don’t affect the credit hours of the course. We aren’t supposed to account for office hours while planning out a course schedule for a semester. Consequently, office hours often clash with other items on a person’s timetable. Even if they don’t overlap with other meetings, students — some studying remotely from different time zones, like myself — can’t attend some time slots. When you factor in other time

commitments like clubs, the available time slots shrink even further. The issue becomes worse with some smaller courses since the instructors are only available at rather specific times. Hence, office hours aren’t always accessible for some. This deprives many students of a chance to attend them, especially in courses with a small staff. In normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be an issue. However, when success in a class depends on attending them, this creates a performance divide. These are cases where the majority of students are attending office hours regularly and I can personally attest to being in such classes. While the overall material was enjoyable, it was highly draining to have to attend yet another meeting. Why does this happen? In my experience, there was a disparity between what we covered in class and our assignments. One might be inclined to interject here by saying that’s part of the challenge of college. However, when assignments are representative of the lectures, instructors wouldn’t cover any new material in office hours. Instead, they would prefer pointing you in the right direction with subtle hints. With the disparity, it seemed like instructors were content deferring instruction to office hours rather than adjusting the course to cover the requisite material for homework. Other instances included compensating for poor pacing in online lectures during

Graphic by Tejal Mahajan

Siddharth Parmar can be reached at sidpar@umich.edu.


The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

statement

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 11

Atheism and disconnection BY ALEXANDER SATOLA, STATEMENT CORRESPONDENT

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hough there is some debate about the origins of the word “religion,” I am partial to the sense derived from the Latin religare (“to bind” or “to fasten”). The image suggests that religion involves connection and commitment — connection to something outside of yourself and, through the act of connection, sincere commitment to certain practices and beliefs. Religion, of course, encompasses more than this single definition can capture. There is a multiplicity of religious experience in our world, and thousands of variations of religious life outside the dominant religions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. Religion is a near-universal facet of human experience and a matter of both intense spiritual and emotional interest for individuals. It is a subject of infinite scope, and yet each of us occupies only a single point within its vast domain. It is therefore with great humility that I approach the topic, acknowledging the singularity of my perspective within this labyrinth of presuppositions about what religion really is. Even as someone who lacks belief in a God or gods, my perspective on religion is a matter of sustained reflection, albeit from a different approach than that of believers. Atheists must navigate a predominantly religious world, a fact that produces as much variation within atheist life as it does within religious life. And though I am an atheist out of honesty to myself, the anxieties of life and frequent plunges into cynicism stemming from religious detachment have foamed within me and produced a question I must address: Would I be better off believing in God? From the moment I understood myself to be an atheist, the temptation to religion has constantly lurked beneath my awareness, occasionally elevating itself in fits of indignation. For this, the benign presence of religion was instrumental. For instance, even though I had a secular upbringing, religion was always in the background. For kindergarten, I went to a Montessori school — a type of school premised on harnessing the natural curiosity of children in the basement of an Episcopal church. Though I never met him, my great-grandfather, an Anglican priest in central England, would have been proud to see his great-grandson in the American equivalent of his denomination. For elementary school, I went to a local public school in my home city of Washington, D.C., which is basically as secular as you can get. The school officials strictly followed the First Amendment ban on school-sponsored religion; we never said the Pledge of Allegiance, which posits the U.S. as “one nation under God,” nor did we have religiouslytinged Christmas assemblies. There was no stigma attached to religion, but I did have a

ILLUSTRATION BY KATHERINE LEE

sense growing up that religion was something for the private, not the public sphere. It was during middle school that I began to have some more exposure to religion in the way of bar- and bat-mitzvahs, the coming of age ritual in Judaism. Throughout seventh grade, I went to more than a dozen of these celebrations for friends, which meant I visited the local temple at least as many times as my local Episcopal church. This was not my first time hearing Hebrew, however. For a while, both of my next-door neighbors were Jewish. On occasion, my little brother and I would be invited to one of their houses for Friday-night Shabbat dinner, where we would listen to the blessings. Throughout high school, I continued to learn about religion in my English and history courses. While we didn’t have a religious education specifically, we did read the Gospel of Mark and some extracts from the Old Testament of the Bible in tenth-grade English class. I also picked up things here and there from texts with major religious themes, especially Gothic novels and stories like those of Charles Dickens, William Faulkner and Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well as Toni Morrison’s novels, including “Beloved,” and “Song of Solomon.” Nearing the end of my senior year, however, I was still not an avowed atheist. The existence of God felt like a remote possibility, but the question itself never bothered me — at least, not like it does now. More than anything else, it was my first encounter with philosophy at the age of 17 that presented me with the life and language of atheism. Just a few weeks before my high school graduation, I read Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” for the first time. The ideas within the text leaped out and spoke to me with an urgency I had never experienced before. As I held it in my hands, the book had the simultaneous aura of a precious gem and a great burning flame that threatened to swallow me up. For me, it was an atheist revelation. The concept at the heart of “The Stranger” is the “absurdity” of human existence. The absurd does not refer to an innate irrationality of human nature; rather, it expresses the contradiction of humanity’s search for meaning in a universe where there is none to be found through the faculties of science, logic, reason and faith. Meursault, the understated protagonist of “The Stranger,” arrives at an understanding of the absurd at the end of the novel. His reaction of revolt, rather than despair, against this absurd condition presented to me the most paradoxical yet attractive aspect of Camusian thought. It follows from Camus’s skepticism that religion cannot serve as a source of meaning. According to Camus, clinging onto objective truth

and divine authority is an expression of defeat, of caving into the absurdity of existence by denying it. In his view, the Christian hope for a life in heaven is a deep error because of its diminution of existence on Earth. hile the constant reminder of the meaningless of existence can lead to disparate ideas, to me, existentialism represented a radical, life-affirming philosophy — an approach to existence that sparked my imagination and invited me to reflect on my place in an infinite universe. In my raptures, however, there was a certain part of Camus’s thought that I did not take to heart; because theistic religion has served for centuries as the principal well of meaning and purpose, it is still deeply ingrained in the social and spiritual life of millions. Overzealous atheists threaten to run the well dry for the sake of affirming a philosophical truth, causing a drought of global proportions and the spiritual suffocation of the entire religious world. I also failed to appreciate the gravity of losing faith upon my first few readings of the 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In “The Gay Science,” Nietzsche writes of a madman running into town with a lantern in broad daylight shouting, “I seek God! I seek God!” The scene is ridiculous, though the apparent humor is a veil for the seriousness of Nietzsche’s infamous announcement that “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” The “Parable of The Madman at first gave me great reassurance as a young atheist. I found the notion of the death of God ecstatic, its articulation courageous on the part of its author. I thought the death of God signified liberation from religious fundamentalism, holy wars and the caprice of religious influence in politics. In other words, I believed the death of God constitutes freedom, and freedom is the most sublime condition of humanity. However, to my detriment, I ignored the less satisfying part: “How shall we, the murderers of all murders, comfort ourselves?” *** Why would atheists need to comfort ourselves? What, after all, is the danger of breaking the ties that link us to God? In my experience, disconnection works on several broad levels. First, there is the disconnection from a higher power, a source of objective meaning that offers to resolve much inner conflict. Second, there is the disconnection from a religious community, that sentiment that one has the support of people of shared values and beliefs. Third, there is the disconnection from religious tradition, the passing down of religious teachings and practices across centuries and potentially across continents. The apparent importance of religion, its

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widespread visibility and its embedding in society can thus create feelings of alienation in those who have never been a part of religious life. I am not proposing that atheists lack the same moral faculties as those who base their ethics from scripture or oral teachings. There is, however, a fundamental relationship between faith and self-affirmation. And in moments of distress and self-doubt, the surety of religious life and the support of the religious community suddenly presents itself as an attractive alternative. The moment of crisis for an atheist, then, differs from the crisis of faith that menaces the believer. The believer remains tethered to God, community and tradition throughout this crisis, whereas the atheist, generally speaking, does not have recourse to the support of these mooring posts. Some atheists search for comfort in the company of other atheists in an institutional setting. Self-described secular congregations, such as the Sunday Assembly, offer atheists a chance to connect in a setting reminiscent of the religious temples they may have left behind. Similarly, online forums or discussion boards like r/Atheism launch unbelievers into the digital sphere, where sensitive discussions about religion can be protected with the promise of online anonymity, or the confidence that comes from the belief that things said on the Internet have fewer consequences than things said with the undulating breath of one’s own voice. However, despite atheists having strong views on religion, the prospect of promoting atheism as a universal alternative to religion in these settings has seemed awkward to me, like some form of proselytization. Anything resembling Atheist Church leaps out as a dangerous contradiction, a slippery slope to be avoided at all costs. Most believers, Christians for instance, are linked by a set of positive beliefs about God, religious observance and ethical mores. Though there are always exceptions, Christians by definition will agree that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of God, the Messiah, and that certain events — His death, descent into Hell, resurrection and Second Coming — are of either historical, literal or metaphorical truth. There is, however, no doctrine of atheism, historical or otherwise. Instead, there is an absence of doctrine — an intentional embrace of nothingness — that is central to atheist identity. In my view, attempts to formalize atheism into institutions often represent an attempt to incarnate this nothingness. Even if the intention is to provide a meeting place for people of like minds, such positive establishments of atheism run the risk of reaching the height of contradiction. Yes, there are compelling political reasons for atheists to organize themselves as a group; for instance, to combat state-sponsored establishment of religion in public schools. However, detaching oneself from God can also mean a detachment from convictions based on objective truth, including one’s own. And still, moments of solidarity between atheists are important. These moments render explicit an unavowed feeling for non-believers: that the absence of belief presents challenges of its own, yet these challenges can be met with the certainty that one has been authentic with oneself. The central realizations of atheism may be apoint of no return; even if belief returns to the soul, there might always remain the permanently awakened spirit of doubt in the mind. Finding community as an atheist is possible, too, for outside of religion there are abundant opportunities for engaging with others. To accept the abstraction of metaphysical solitude opens the world to new possibilities of connection. The relationship with God may be attractive because of the magnitude of God’s love. The everlasting forgiveness and peace one hopes to receive in the afterlife are cause for worship and celebration here on Earth. But I have been content to find these sentiments in the relationships I have with people, places and sources of solace in literature, poetry and art; music, nature, cold lakes and warm sand. Working throughout the challenges of atheist life has not been straightforward. The absence of belief, however, leaves space for other modes of connection, and I have hardly been alone on my path. If not religion itself, the binding spirit of religare has tied me to certain people and passions I feel I cannot live without. As an atheist, it is the ironic necessity of fastening these bindings that represents the price of freedom. Despite its challenges, it is a freedom I never want to give up.


statement

12 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

Book seduction, meditation and other processes T

his morning I woke up with big plans: Go for a long walk, catch up on “The Daily” podcast episodes from The New York Times, fold my sweatshirt pile, call my dad, finish a finance problem set, write an essay, draft this piece. At the crack of dawn (10 a.m.), I stepped into my Ugg slippers, stumbled down two flights of stairs in an oversized grey Tshirt and Monsters Inc. fluffy pants and landed in the kitchen. I was compelled to walk outside and check the weather immediately after being blinded by the sunlight shining through the window. To my surprise, I was greeted with a gentle warm-ish breeze, one that felt unfamiliar after a chilling Ann Arbor winter. I inhaled the welcoming air with a deep breath. And then I did it again. And again. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. I felt peaceful. The sun melted away my exhaustion. After what felt like a moment of tranquility, my long list of morning plans suddenly came flooding back into my mind. I pivoted my feet towards the door, but something kept me in place as I tried to reenter the kitchen. I fed the urge to turn back to the sun, close my eyes and begin to breathe slowly again. I couldn’t help but smile. I was resisting the urge to move, to do, to achieve. I was standing alone in a t-shirt on my Joe’s Pizza box-covered back porch, and I felt more alive than I had in weeks. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that we never truly know what to expect in life. And while this uncertainty naturally leads to feelings of stress and anxiety, it also gives us space to practice being comfortable with the unknown. This so-called “space” that I am referring to has been a contentious topic throughout the pandemic. For example, the alleged increase in “time” we now have to find new hobbies or to relax has been taken advantage of by educators and CEOS alike, over-assigning and over-expecting from their students and employees. The faux luxury of time that the pandemic has brought on has led to intense burnout and dangerously busy schedules. But it is possible to take back the time that has been stolen away from us by back-to-back Zoom meetings and the pressure to master crocheting with all the freedom we have. Instead of asking what-ifs, we can focus on what we do know — what is right in front of us. We can strive to be what my therapist calls processoriented, rather than results-oriented. I first noticed this distinction as I reflected on my reading habits. I always have a particularly difficult time starting a new book. My selection process is unnecessarily long and usually leads to option paralysis, where there are so many choices that I ultimately end up with nothing. There are simply too many books in the world and so little time. This may explain why walking into Barnes & Noble is simultaneously exciting and sickening. Same with The Salvation Army. I digress. But if I do decide to embark

BY SAMANTHA COLE, STATEMENT ASSOCIATE EDITOR on an intimate endeavor with literature, my new and carefully selected read often sits on my bedside table, lonely, waiting to be touched. Sometimes I tease the book by picking it up, but this is usually just to show a friend what I am “currently reading.” And all-too-often, I’ll emit the familiar line: “Yeah I’m really only on page four — haha. So I have nothing to report about it yet.” And I likely won’t for several months. Right now, this book is the New York Times bestseller “Where The Crawdad Sings” by Delia Owens. Its cover art happens to match my cute little purple lamp. When I am finally compelled to pick the book up, it takes a significant amount of time for me to focus on the first few pages. I often have to read them over twice. Five or six pages in, I flip forward to see when the chapter will end. 10 more pages! I can do this, I think to cheer myself on. I continue reading with the goal of finishing a chapter. I read with a results mindset. Flash forward a few weeks and I am sitting upright in my bed at 3 a.m., my book propped up against my knees. Now, I turn the pages with less haste and more hesitation. I am attached to the characters and lost in the words on the page. I read with a process mindset. I try not to read books this way, where I don’t start to enjoy them until they are about to end. Yet unfortunately, this cycle continually repeats itself. It’s a sad truth that applies to more than just books: In life, people tend to not enjoy things until they are over. The problem is that people are constantly projecting into the future and ruminating in the past. We have all become victims of the attention economy, one where so much available information and stimuli has created a huge attention deficit. Hustle porn, or the fetishization of overworking oneself, is another force driving people away from focusing on the process. And of course, our capitalistic attitudes don’t help us deter our attention away from results. Even mindfulness, the antithesis of capitalism, has been exploited for profit. In her book “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy,” Jenny Odell urges how the very essence of what makes us human has become threatened by the urge towards constant productivity. “What I’m suggesting is that we take a protective stance toward ourselves, each other, and whatever is left of what makes us human,” Odell writes. “I’m suggesting that we protect our spaces and our time for non-instrumental, noncommercial activity and thought, for maintenance, for care, for conviviality. And I’m suggesting that we fiercely protect our human animality against all technologies that actively ignore and disdain the body, the bodies of other beings, and the body of the landscape that we inhabit.” Odell preaches something that is essential, especially during a pandemic: We must do ev-

ILLUSTRATION BY MAGGIE WIEBE

erything in our power to focus on our humanity and appreciate what comes with it rather than fighting for what we cannot always control. I live for an extra hour of laughter at the dinner table. The sweet sound and serenity of Jimi Hendrix on the highway. The passion with which my sister plays the piano. Spontaneous sing-alongs. The salty taste of tears. We lose a lot when we are not in the present. efore her tragic accident in 2012, in her essay “Opposite of Loneliness,” Marina Keegan wrote, “The best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York … of course there are things we wish we’d done: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down.” A tweet I recently read said, “I feel like I’m constantly worrying about the next part of my life without realizing that I’m right in the middle of what I used to look forward to.” By obsessing over everything but the reality in front of us, we are depriving ourselves of life. Life should not (only) be a past experience or a future plan — it should be the now. Take a deep breath right now. Where are you? Who are you with? How do you feel? Why are you reading this? The practice of being processoriented rather than resultsoriented takes intentionality. Resisting forces such as the attention economy and the pressure to work hard means not only

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seeing the problem but developing the strength to fight powerful tendencies: Don’t constantly check your phone in the car, gaze out the window; Don’t fill your weeks with too many tasks, welcome what each day brings. To focus on the process means to find success in everything (F you capitalism!) — learning from failure, accepting an unproductive day, appreciating the little things (as demonstrated by Big Mouth’s Gratitoad). Over time I have discovered habits and hobbies that keep me grounded, thoughtful and intentional. I avoid going on my phone first thing in the morning (I usually do not succeed — shoutout to my Twitter addiction) and instead lie on my floor and meditate. By no means am I the meditation expert. I’m actually far from it. Instead, I have tried to habituate the practice even if only for two minutes a day, using countless guided meditation apps that never seem to catch on. Recently, however, as I lay on a yoga mat on my bedroom floor in NYC, I had a thought that shifted my meditation practice from being results to process-oriented. When I (attempt) to meditate, I often find my mind wandering away from what I am supposed to be focusing on, such as my breath. I quickly begin to make schedules, construct grocery lists and psychoanalyze my relationships. This is common for beginners, and many times it’s what disincentivizes people from continuing with mediation. People are often motivated by results, creating a sense of trouble when sticking with the practice because it lacks immediate gratification. Instead, it is gradually effective. My mind may have wandered

away from my yoga mat and to the grocery store, but instead of giving up, I focused on the moment that I returned to my breath. Why, at that particular moment, had I refocused my energy? I still do not have an answer, but I am gradually discovering what leads my mind astray and what recenters it — the smell of grapefruit, an itch on my forehead, footsteps. I have stopped caring about doing it right. I embrace the process. Mediation does not only take the form of breathwork or sitting still. I meditate on words as I read. I meditate on sounds as I listen to music. I meditate on movement as I practice yoga, focusing on each pose and nothing else. Laughter, too, is a form of meditation. The process is the weekend todo list you make on a legal pad. The process of crossing things out when they are done. The process is being hungover from one too many drinks yet still trying to muster the energy to do your laundry. The excitement of making a plan. Introspecting. Laughing. Waking up. Building a relationship. Experimenting. Walking to an interview. The interview. Decision making. The process is mindlessly gazing at somebody you love because they amaze you. Appreciating when somebody reaches for your hand. The process is writing this piece, sitting on my floor, chewing Bubblemint gum, the faint sound of “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull blasting from a car outside, the breeze from my window cooling down my sweaty fingertips as they hit the keyboard. I do not even know if this sentence will make it to the final draft, but it is certainly a part of the process.


The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

statement

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 13

A spoonful of laughter BY LILLY DICKMAN, STATEMENT COLUMNIST “Nothing to me feels as good as laugh- to squeeze the humor out of any situation. ing incredibly hard.” But why does this simple action - Steve Carrell heal my spirit and give me a dose of n my Notes App, I have a list euphoria that can’t be found anytitled “Laughing.” I created where else? According to University of Michithe page my senior year of high school as running documenta- gan professor Nansook Park, an extion of the things that make me dou- pert in positive psychology, there’s a ble over, gasp for breath and cry el- definite scientific explanation as to ephant tears of laughter. My list is a why laughing feels so good. “When we laugh, physically, it degift that keeps on giving: a reminder creases the stress hormone, cortiof all the times I’ve experienced the purest form of joy, felt that glori- sol,” Park said. “Laughing out loud ous pain in my abdominals and lost protects our hearts and relaxes our all sense of reality beyond whatever muscles by increasing blood flow. particular situation struck me funny. Also, it triggers the release of endorWhen I’m down, or even just in the phins, natural feel-good chemicals, mood for a chuckle, I open the app which reduce pain and boost our and peruse through my humorous mood.” peaks of life. The other day, while my friends sat on the couch in our apartment, I scrolled through my list and landed on one to narrate. “Oh yeah, that time in Denny’s!” I exclaimed. This was a gem of a story that I’d since forgotten. “That was one hundred percent the hardest time I’ve ever laughed,” I told my friends. I say that about most things on my list, but that time in Denny’s — the 24-hour diner chain with a unique array of breakfast, seafood and American dishes, none of which are completely mastered — is definitely a top two moment. I was there one night around 1 a.m. with a few of my friends after a high school football game. The specials menu was already at our table, sporting Denny’s most recent and fresh additions. The cover image, a platter of chocolate spheres of dough, captured our attention. We oohed and aahed. Chocolate chips melted within gourmet pastries with chocolate sauces intricately drizzled atop them. “Choco Puppies,” the menu read. Sold. “We’ll have the Choco Puppies, please,” I told the waitress while ordering. Upon their arrival, silence descended upon our table. In front of us sat two minuscule, crusted and cold chunks of what looked like literal fecal matter. A singular line of driedup chocolate sauce graced a fraction of the right chunk. We couldn’t contain ourselves after looking at the In an email interview with The Choco Puppies, the menu and then Daily, Dina Gohar, another U-M each other. Our laughter erupted throughout the restaurant. Sprawled professor in the field of positive out over the booth at Denny’s, we psychology, explained it this way: gasped for air, held our stomachs “Laughing forces air out of the lungs and causes us to take deep inward and pounded the table. Back on my apartment’s couch, my breaths, which increases the flow friends and I laughed as well. “Tell of oxygen in the body and helps acanother!” they said. Ah, laughter: the tivate the parasympathetic nervous system,” she wrote. gift that keeps on giving. Gohar also discussed substantial *** proof of laughter’s long-term health Above all else, laughter heals my spirit every time without fail. It’s benefits. “Laughter’s ability to counteract the medicine of all medicines, pick the negative effects of stress may be me up of all pick me ups, a remedy why those who laugh more may also for my soul more effective than any meditation, yoga class or prayer. It’s live longer and experience fewer there on the darkest days and ever- heart attacks as well as less sickness present on the brightest. It’s free and since they enjoy better immunity,” it’s easy and it never ever runs out. I she explained. “A 2016 15-year Norfeed my soul by laughing. Due to my wegian study found that women with love for the activity, I think I laugh strong senses of humor lived longer more than the average person. Like than others. In fact, they were 73% fresh juice from an orange, I’m keen less likely to die from heart disease

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and 83% less likely to die from infection.” So that deep belly laugh actually is powerful medicine. Both professors also emphasized how laughter promotes social bonding. “Laughter is a social emotion, and research suggests we’re about 30 times more likely to laugh in the presence of other people, especially those we are close with and like than when we’re alone,” Dr. Gohar said. Professor Park had similar ideas. “When we feel good, we are more willing to open our hearts and broaden our perspectives,” Park said. “When we laugh together it’s even better. It brings people and teams closer and strengthens the bonds between people through shared positive experience.”

ILLUSTRATION BY EILEEN KELLY

It seems that laughter is also a social tool, as it makes us feel connected to those around us. ersonally, I believe the crux of laughter’s beauty is its ability to brighten any situation, no matter how dire, depressing or upsetting. In fact, I think finding humor in the depressing, attempting to make light of the grim, is essential for making it through the lows of life. In the saddest of situations, just the stringing together of a couple of witty words can make someone laugh and smile as well as lift their spirits. For example, a solid joke from my roommate about the salmon I burnt in the air fryer makes up for the fact that we’re completely out of luck for dinner. As Dr. Gohar explained, “The ability to laugh, whether at life itself, yourself, or a good joke, is a source of life satisfaction and resilience. Substantial evidence exists for

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the effectiveness of humor as a coping mechanism. Studies involving combat veterans (Hendin & Haas, 1984), cancer patients (Carver, 1993) and surgical patients (Culver et al., 2002) have found that when humor is used to reduce the threatening nature of stressful situations, it is associated with resilience and the capacity to tolerate stress (Martin, 2003).” This information is certainly applicable to this year, which has been notoriously difficult and disheartening. Nothing is certain or reliable, due both to the current political climate and implications of the pandemic. For me, and almost all other students, the college experience I’ve longed for is completely out of the picture. With life as we currently know it, we can’t go to classes and form relationships with our peers and professors. Our basketball team is dominating, yet we must watch from our separate television screens instead of together in the stands of Crisler Arena. A majority of freshmen aren’t in the residence halls: We’re spread out throughout Ann Arbor or at home, navigating our first winter without the community and support we probably need. And as for coping, options are limited. Yoga and pilates classes are few and far between, mostly on screens like everything else. The gyms have spiratically been open due to county lockdowns, and many inperson group religious services are not happening. It’s difficult to gather or connect with others, and for many, virtual therapy or counseling can present unique challenges. It seems that the best medicine that’s reliably available right now is laughter. In fact, sitcoms like “The Office” and “Friends” have skyrocketed in popularity. I personally try to find a laugh wherever I can. I laugh as my friends and I dissect our prior nights, I laugh as we relay the bizarre events of our Zooms and breakout rooms. I laugh at our meal that was left at the very end of the driveway by the delivery man, cackle about the time I tumbled down the stairs in front of incoming guests, chuckle every time I open my refrigerator to the old soup that’s been sitting in its Tupperware since my roommates ate it in January. We laugh together as we analyze life, people and all that we’re experiencing, as well as a story from my list from time to time. Whether it’s the large laughs from infamous stories like the Choco Puppies fiasco, or the smaller laughs from comments, witty remarks and snowballing convos where each addition to the discussion adds a new level of hysteria, they all come together to make my days here more cheerful and the current circumstances bearable. While this pandemic has prevented me from continuing to do a lot of the activities I normally do, I’m certainly continuing to add to my “Laughing” list. I aim for that deep belly laugh, that medicine of all medicines and joy of all joys. Maybe one day soon I’ll secure one of those limited spots for a yoga class. But for now, I’ll tend to my spirit on my couch, with the help of my friends and a large dose of laughter.


Sports

14 — Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

SportsWednesday: Opportunity comes with all Wolverine women playing at once Despite a large number In observance of Women’s History coaches in the world, and I get postponements and Month, The Daily’s sports section is to be surrounded by them and of cancellations, this looks like launching its fourth annual series learn from them every day.” In almost every women’s a team that could make noise aimed at telling sport, the Wolverines have a in March and establish the the stories of reputation as the team no one Wolverines’ program as one to female athletes, else in the conference wants consistently watch for. coaches and “Michigan’s about winning to play. Take, for instance, the teams at the two teams that share Crisler championships, this university University has won a tremendous amount Center with men’s basketball. from the The women’s basketball of championships. And it’s perspective team is one of the only women’s a long history, with the of the female ARIA teams at Michigan largely exception, probably, of women’s sports writers GERSON without a storied history of basketball,” Barnes Arico said. on staff. success, but that could change “So that’s always a goal of ours. Kari Miller watched as her shot bounced this year. If the Wolverines can And that’s definitely a goal right on the edge of the court, make it to the finals of the Big moving forward.” Meanwhile, women’s then watched again as her Ten Tournament, get better Ohio State opponent couldn’t than a 7-seed in the NCAA gymnastics has one of the more Tournament or advance to the terrifying 1-2-3 punches in the corral it. Miller, a freshman on the Michigan women’s tennis team, pumped her fists as her teammates hounded her. She’d just won the tiebreaker at No. 1 singles, giving her team a 4-3 upset over the eighth-ranked Buckeyes. It was far from the only winning moment this weekend you may have missed. In Minneapolis, three swimmers and three relay teams won Big Ten championships as junior Maggie MacNeil was named Swimmer of the Championships for the second consecutive year. At the same time in Geneva, Ohio, the MADELINE HINKLEY/Daily women’s track and field team Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico looks to make history this year. won individual conference titles in the 400-meter dash Sweet Sixteen, they will notch country with all-arounders and the pole vault en route to the best season in program Natalie Wojcik, Sierra Brooks a second-place team finish, its history. (ESPN bracketologist and Gabby Wilson. Wojcik best since 2016. In Leesburg, Charlie Creme has Michigan — the 2019 NCAA beam Fla., softball kicked off its as a 5-seed in his latest champion — has four titles season with sweeps of Purdue update.) Already this year, this season on beam and in and Iowa. Water polo notched women’s basketball has hit a the all-around and one title three top-15 wins. Earlier this few smaller milestones: Junior each on f loor and bars. Wilson week, women’s soccer shut out forward Naz Hillmon scored has three f loor titles; Brooks Minnesota despite missing two a program-record 50 points has two titles on vault and of its top players — both playing against Ohio State and the one each on beam and the allfor the Canadian national team. Wolverines beat powerhouse around. The team, which is gunning The Wolverines’ women’s Notre Dame for the first time for its seventh-straight teams are often overlooked in in 12 years. “I think it just really speaks Big Ten championship, has a normal year. This year, with a pandemic still raging, teams to the character and the enough difficulty and depth playing out of season and the maturity and the experience that even after counting two men’s basketball team f lirting of this group,” Barnes Arico falls on f loor at its Big Five with a top ranking, it’s even told The Daily. “We didn’t have meet Saturday, it still finished easier for them to slip under an opportunity to finish last second. If the Wolverines, season and go to the NCAA currently ranked No. 5 in the the radar. But that’s not how it should Tournament, and COVID hit, country, can find a bit more be. With every women’s team at we were all sent home. And … consistency, they are fully Michigan either playing right to then have the opportunity to capable of getting over the now or beginning its season in come back to campus and try hump and making the national the next few weeks, this year to create something incredibly finals. “We definitely wanna provides an opportunity like special. And they’ve done a no other: to follow a multitude few things in this season that win Big Tens, obviously, of contending teams, day in and hadn’t been done before in our and then we want to be the program history. I think that four on the f loor (at NCAA day out. Brooks Let women’s basketball just speaks to the commitment Championships),” coach Kim Barnes Arico tell it: to the focus and, really, to the said Saturday. “We know how capable we are, we know how “Shout out to all of the women’s gratitude.” Hillmon is a contender for high of a level we can compete coaches at the University of Michigan. I think part of what National Player of the Year. at, so we just wanna really drew me to this incredible Around her, juniors Amy find our stride and keep going university was to have an Dilk and Leigha Brown lift with it. Honestly, we had one opportunity to work with the the rest of the team up. More messed up rotation on f loor best and to learn from the best. importantly, this is a team today but looking at our other And the University of Michigan with chemistry on the court three events, they’re amazing and we can do so much, so I just has some of the greatest female and off it.

think we really have big goals. We wanna win nationals, we wanna do all those amazing things.” Gymnastics and basketball aren’t the only programs in search of championships. Women’s swimming and diving is ranked No. 11 and rounding into form as NCAA Championships approach. Freshman Ziyah Holman, a sprinter on the track team, has been a contender for national titles since her first meet. Miller, just a freshman, looks fully capable of helping women’s tennis maintain its success even after graduating much of its top talent. Water polo, ranked No. 6 in the country, has four consecutive conference titles. Those aren’t the only intriguing storylines, either. Women’s lacrosse, much improved from its early days after becoming varsity in 2014, is looking to shake off a tough start. Field hockey, always a Big Ten and national contender, has to wait a bit longer to kick off after a few postponements but has a team loaded with talent. Come Mar. 13, rowing finally gets to compete again after having its 2020 season canceled before it even began. Women’s teams know more than anyone that in sports, nothing is given. Many of them had their sports postponed to the spring and waited through a long fall not knowing when they’d get to compete again. Now, they’re all playing at the same time, competing for airtime. “In this global pandemic, if it’s taught us anything, it’s that we need to appreciate the moments and really not look past the moment and try to be the best that we can, in that individual moment, because we don’t know what tomorrow is gonna bring,” Barnes Arico said. “And for us, that’s really held true, because we’ve been put on pause or games have been canceled at the last minute … so we just hope for an opportunity tomorrow.” Added gymnastics coach Bev Plocki after the Big Five meet: “We’re grateful for every day that we get, even the difficult days like today.” Women’s teams are used to being overlooked, and this year, COVID-19 has made the circumstances even less ideal. But the Wolverines’ women’s teams are still here — and they’re as good as ever. So this week, if you’re f lipping through the channels looking for something to watch, tune into one of Michigan’s women’s teams. You’ll be in for a treat.

‘M’ falls to Maryland in ranked matchup JACOB COHEN

Daily Sports Writer

With five minutes left in the first half of its bout with No. 10 Maryland, the No. 17 Michigan women’s lacrosse team found itself leading, 5-4. The game had the appearance of a back-andforth battle, as the upset-minded Wolverines forced the Terrapins into sloppy play at various points. Five minutes and four Maryland goals later, though, Michigan trailed, 8-4. Two goals from midfielder Hannah Warther and a goal each from attackers Libby May and Hannah Leubecker turned the ranked matchup on its head. The Wolverines (0-3) never recovered, losing by a final score of 12-9. “We played a great 25 minutes,” Michigan coach Hannah Nielsen said. “We came out strong and took a 4-1 lead. The problem is that we cracked in the last five minutes and dug ourselves a hole.” “Cracked” was a word Nielsen used repeatedly when describing the Wolverines’ performance after Sunday’s game. She used it to talk about how, in its first three games, they have tended to have five to seven minute lapses. According to Nielsen, these lapses have been characterized by unforced errors and critical turnovers, which have dug the sort of hole that Michigan found itself in as Sunday’s halftime whistle blew. The Wolverines’ lapses are problematic for a team’s winning chances in general, but such blunders are further exacerbated when playing a team of Maryland’s caliber. “When you play a team like Maryland, you have to be dialed in for the whole 60,” Nielsen said. Looking further into the details of Sunday’s matchup, Nielsen’s point is obvious. Aside from the run of goals at the end of the first half, the Terrapins also dealt rapid damage to Michigan with three goals in just over two minutes midway through the second half.

Midfielder Grace Griffin, attacker Victoria Hensh and Leubecker’s goals came in such quick succession that it seemed as though Michigan never even had a possession. This is indicative of the talent on Maryland’s roster, the kind of talent that can bury excellent performances by opponents by capitalizing on even the smallest series of mistakes. Michigan junior midfielder Kaitlyn Mead had one such performance, scoring a hat-trick that included the Wolverines’ last goal before the Terrapins’ second half scoring frenzy. “Kaitlyn (Mead) had an incredible game today,” Nielsen said. “She put the team on her back at points.” Mead’s performance represented the sort of bright spot that teams look for after a loss like the one Michigan suffered on Sunday. Mead herself is focusing on moving forward following the team’s third loss in three games to start the season. “This was not the beginning of the season we wanted,” Mead said. “But Maryland is a great team, and all we can do is learn from it and come back against Rutgers. We need to learn from what we did wrong and get going. Stick to what we usually do.” It is all well and good for a team to focus on moving forward after a loss against a top-10 opponent like Maryland, but if the Wolverines want to recover from what was a sloppily played game and reach the high expectations thrust on them to start the season, they need to focus on actionable change. And that’s exactly what Nielsen plans on doing. “We need to find ways in practice to put them in more pressure,” Nielsen said. “We come out strong, but when the other team turns it on, we crack. It’s five to seven minutes at the end of a 30 minute half that we tend to lapse and put ourselves in a hole. “What we need to work on is staying dialed in for a whole 30 minutes, so we’re not always having to play catchup lacrosse.”

ALEC COHEN/Daily

Michigan’s struggles in the last five minutes of the first half led to a loss.

Men’s lacrosse struggles with turnovers as it falls to Johns Hopkins DREW COX

Daily Sports Editor

After outscoring No. 4 Maryland 6-5 in the fourth quarter of its 20-9 loss last week, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team picked up right where it left off when it faced Johns Hopkins on Saturday afternoon. In the opening quarter, the Wolverines’ defense clamped down on the Blue Jays, forcing five turnovers and limiting their offensive unit to only one goal. On the offensive end, things were firing on all cylinders for Michigan. Freshman attackman Michael Boehm scored a highlight-reel goal while diving into the crease, and sophomore midfielders Michael Cosgrove and Jacob Jackson notched tallies of their own. By the quarter’s end, the Wolverines stood tall with a 3-1 lead. But in the subsequent stanzas — in large part due to a myriad of mental gaffes and self-induced turnovers — Michigan ceded control of the game to Johns Hopkins, and the Blue Jays ran away with it on the back of attackman Joey Epstein, who netted six goals. Outpacing the Wolverines (0-2), 13-4, in the next three quarters, Johns Hopkins (1-1) soared to a 14-7 victory in Michigan’s home opener, giving coach Peter Milliman his first win with the Blue Jays. “We had 21 turnovers,” Wolverines’ coach Kevin Conry said. “You want to see the game, there it is. Twenty-one turnovers. …

That’s a lot of second-chance opportunities (for an opponent). I don’t think we’re in good enough shape, defensively, to handle that.” For a brief portion of the second quarter, Michigan stayed the course. In response to a rocket inside from Johns Hopkins attackman Brendan Grimes, Boehm dodged from behind the cage and scored his second goal of the day to re-establish the Wolverines’ two-goal lead. From there, though, an opportunistic Blue Jays’ offense began to

capitalize on the numerous Michigan errors which ensued. On the extra-man opportunity following a push from Wolverine junior defenseman Andrew Darby, a wide-open Epstein fired a shot into the top right corner of the net past junior goaltender John Kiracofe, cutting Michigan’s advantage to one. Epstein’s tally was the first of four goals that Johns Hopkins would score on man-up throughout the contest.

KATE HUA/Daily

Michigan attacker Michael Boehm tallied two goals and one assist.

Four minutes later, Epstein rattled off a pair of goals within a minute to give the Blue Jays their first lead of the day, 5-4. For the Wolverines, the composure and confidence that were so evident during the first quarter performance had vanished by the midpoint of the second. Desperate to keep up with Johns Hopkins as it watched its lead slip away, Michigan began to force its passes and shots, resulting in six turnovers and three failed clears. “We’re just not playing well,” Conry said. “That’s it. We’re turning the ball over consistently. We’re not in good spots. We’re not getting the right guys the ball at the right time. We have to do a better job, and I have to do a better job putting these guys in good spots.” While a buzzer-beating, underhand laser from graduate midfielder Avery Myers breathed some life into the Wolverines’ sideline heading into halftime, it paid no dividends, as their woes would carry over into the second half as well. Michigan began the third quarter with five consecutive possessions that ended in turnovers. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays opened the floodgates, piling on six goals to jump out to a commanding 12-5 lead. Playing from behind against a storied program like Johns Hopkins, the Wolverines — particularly their underclassmen, who comprise six of the 10 starting lineup spots — were visibly flustered and struggled to get into any type of groove. Sophomore attackman Josh Zawada, who recorded an astounding five points against Maryland, failed to score

and racked up three turnovers. With one second remaining in the third quarter, frustration had seemingly boiled over when freshman midfielder Kyle Stephenson hit a Blue Jays player and was charged with an unnecessary roughness penalty. “I love their energy,” Conry said of his freshmen and sophomores. “They’re energy guys. … (But) just settling those guys down is the biggest thing.” Added Myers: “I think the biggest thing for me is just making them understand that, although this is Big Ten lacrosse, (although) this is Division I, it’s stuff they’ve done before. They gotta have confidence in their stick skills. They’re here for a reason.” While Michigan hoped to come away with a win against a Johns Hopkins program that underwent a coaching change this offseason and has fallen off a bit in recent years, it was ultimately its own worst enemy on Saturday. Missed defensive assignments, turnovers and penalties gave the Blue Jays too many opportunities to take advantage of, and it all proved to be too much for the Wolverines’ youth to overcome. But with such an inexperienced roster navigating a brutal Big Ten-only schedule this season, these growing pains are to be expected early on. “We have to have patience,” Conry said. “We still haven’t seen the best version of who we are, and I’m still excited about this team. … It’s just, right now, we’re making too many mistakes at key moments. “And that’s what’s killing us.”


Sports

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — 15

Who’s got it better than (them)? Arguably no one. Ah, March. In the world of college basketball, March can be a doubleedged sword full of both promise and disappointment. For 67 teams, it’s a time when dreams die. For one fortunate team though, it’s a time when dreams are CONNOR realized. BRENNAN The NCAA Tournament is uncompromising in both difficulty and duration, meaning that few teams are truly cut out to make it all the way. Sure, there are always bracket-busting upsets and so-called Cinderellas that go further than anyone could’ve predicted. But, in general, there’s always a class of true contenders at the top — if they don’t make the Final Four, it’s a disappointment. This year’s version of the Michigan men’s basketball team is in the upper echelon of that second category. At 18-1 overall and on the verge of clinching the Big Ten regular-season title pending a win over No. 4 Illinois on Tuesday night, the second-ranked Wolverines look infallible. Since returning from a 23-day pause, Michigan has allayed any doubts about its championship potential. Over the last two weeks,

the Wolverines have beaten Wisconsin, Rutgers, Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana — all slated to make the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi — by an average of 11.6 points. Michigan is running roughshod through what is widely considered the best conference in the country. Take any one of the aforementioned five games and you see unmatched intensity and consistency from the Wolverines. On Feb. 14, the Badgers came out and punched Michigan in the mouth with a barrage of 3-pointers while holding the Wolverines to 34% from the field. After arguably its worst half of the season, Michigan walked back to the locker room down by 12. For most teams, that’s not a great spot to be in. No one told the Wolverines that. “Our leader, our boss, (Michigan coach Juwan Howard) walked in clapping his hands,” senior wing Isaiah Livers said after the 67-59 win. “He’s smiling, talking about, ‘This is where we want to be. We’ve been in this situation before, not in a game, in a practice, a scrimmage. Find some way to put yourself in the situation again, you’ve already been there.’ And we did that exactly. Nobody was pointing fingers, nobody was upset.” Championship mettle isn’t just demonstrated in tight road victories

like the one against Wisconsin and Michigan’s five-point win over the

and their ball movement and how hard they are to guard. I think they’re

“There aren’t many fans, if any at all, so you kinda got to bring your

JULIA SCHACHINGER/Daily

The Michigan men’s basketball team has looked like one of the best teams in the country as of late.

Buckeyes eight days ago. It also manifests itself in the second half of games like Saturday’s, when the Wolverines turned a nine-point lead against the Hoosiers into 17 within the blink of an eye. “They just keep coming,” Indiana coach Archie Miller told reporters after the game. “There’s a reason I think Michigan is championshipgood, and I think a lot of people will talk about their skill level, and a lot of people will talk about their versatility

one of the most difficult teams to play against on the other end of the floor.” Michigan is relentless. Regardless of the score, the Wolverines never seem phased. The energy they bring to every sideline keeps the team engaged from tip-off to the final buzzer. It’s why no double-digit halftime lead seems out of reach and why a single-digit advantage for Michigan snowballs rather than shrinks — just ask Fran McCaffrey and Iowa.

own energy,” Michigan video analyst Jaaron Simmons told the Daily. “We go by the motto, ‘For competitors only,’ so we have our players competing on the floor, but on the bench, we’re competing as well. … When we are as a unit over on the bench, loud and banging on the bleachers and stomping on the ground, that brings energy to the group that’s on the floor, and it’s just part of that competitive spirit. We want every advantage.” The Wolverines rarely, if ever,

experience scoring droughts or prolonged defensive lapses. At the end of games, opposing coaches are left reconciling defeat with the fact that their team — as Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said on Feb. 18 — “played really hard from start to finish.” “That’s as good a team as I’ve played in my five years as a coach in this league,” he added. And so, while Michigan may have lost to Minnesota earlier this season with senior guard Eli Brooks out due to injury, that game certainly seems more a mirage than a blueprint. As we’ve seen throughout the season, all things being equal, opposing teams can’t just beat the Wolverines by playing a half, or even 35 minutes, of really good basketball. Beating Michigan is a 40-minute endeavor. Advancing through March — with the NCAA Tournament being the great equalizer that it is — is one of the toughest gauntlets to run in all of sports, college or pro. Whichever two teams are left standing on that first Monday night in April will have earned their way, standing as the two best teams in the country. The Wolverines look every bit the part. Brennan can be reached at connbrenn@umich.edu or on Twitter @connrbrennan.

How the shutdown changed Michigan hockey JOSH TAUBMAN Daily Sports Writer

Through the first 10 games of the season, the Michigan hockey team’s performance was akin to Jekyll and Hyde. After jumping out to a 4-0 start, the Wolverines dropped five of their last six games heading into the Christmas break. That inconsistent play could have been chalked up to a variety of factors. The team was integrating numerous freshmen. They were playing four games in seven days after months of being off. In their December series against Minnesota, they were missing five players at World Juniors. Whatever the lingering issues were, Michigan clearly figured out a solution after the break, racing out to a 5-1 start. But one thing it did not deal with in the first half of the season was a COVID-19 shutdown. Now three weeks removed from the 23-day, athletic department-wide shutdown, the Wolverines are still trying to figure out how to overcome this hurdle.

“There’s no doubt about it, we’re not the same team right now that we were before the break,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “We’re just not as together, and I’m concerned about our conditioning.” Following series splits against both Wisconsin and Ohio State, the Wolverines’ up-and-down play continued this past weekend against Arizona State. They throttled the Sun Devils 4-1 in the first game of the series, controlling play from the outset. But the following night — despite dominating the shot totals — they played to a 1-1 draw and never led in the contest. In the second half as a whole, Michigan’s play is still encouraging. With an 8-3-1 record since the break,the Wolverines’ wins have come by an average margin of victory of 4.3. Meanwhile, each of their losses have come by just one. When Michigan is on, it can be one of the most dominant teams in the country, but it can be difficult for a team to be firing on all cylinders, all the time. The lack of conditioning

EMMA MATI/Daily

The Michigan hockey team is still looking to recover from the three-week athletic department-wide shutdown.

from the 23-day pause can be attributed to the latest stretch of inconsistent play. “When you get tired, and you start to break down mentally, you’re not as sharp,” Pearson said. “I’ve been around this game a long time. You can tell when your team is in really good shape and has that energy.” Not having the proper conditioning is an obstacle the

Wolverines can overcome, but time is quickly running out. The Big Ten tournament is set to begin on Mar. 14. The NCAA tournament kicks off two weeks later on Mar. 27. It would be shocking for Michigan to miss that latter tournament entirely; it would be less surprising if it can’t sort through their issues by that time. One potential fix for the Wolverines: taking shorter shifts.

“Shift length … that’s one area we have to look at real close,” Pearson said. “A guy stays out for 34 seconds, recovery time is a lot less. You start lingering for a minute and a half minute, a minute 45 seconds, now you’re tired, and it takes longer to recover between shifts.” Michigan came out of winter break looking like a strong team that had solved its problems.

It wasn’t prepared to go into a second break three weeks later — especially one where it couldn’t practice. In a unique season, these challenges were not unexpected but can be detrimental to a team’s championship hopes. For Pearson though, his optimism overshadows his concerns: “We’re good. We’re good for the stretch run.”

‘M’ softball shows two sides in opening weekend

//

Online Event: Thursday, March 4, 2021 | 4:00 p.m.

Optical Frequency Combs //

STEVEN CUNDIFF

Harrison M. Randall Collegiate Professor of Physics

LSA COLLEGIATE LECTURE

An online lecture. For more information, visit events.umich.edu/event/81662 or call 734.615.6667.

CONNOR EAREGOOD Daily Sports Writer

Deadly. Lucky. Cold. All three words described the No. 17 Michigan softball team at different times in its opening weekend. Pitching carried the Wolverines to sweeps against Purdue and Iowa, but Illinois capitalized on Michigan’s inability to bring home runners to get a sweep of its own. Ultimately, inconsistent run support proved to be the Wolverines’ downfall as the weekend progressed. The pitching pulled its weight, notching 78 strikeouts on the weekend — Purdue couldn’t score a run on Michigan, as senior Meghan Beaubien and junior Alex Storako gave the Boilermakers little to swing at. Hitting started off strong too, but its success dwindled over the course of the six games as the Wolverines managed just one run in each outing against Illinois on Sunday. Those woes could be expected after almost a year-long offseason. “There’s something to be said for having a set lineup,” Michigan coach Carol Hutchins told reporters on Tuesday. “The kids start getting in a flow, and having a flow in our offensive lineup is certainly, I think, one of our biggest challenges. And we just have to let them get out on the field and play.

They’ve got to get their timing back.” Michigan seemed to have some of its timing back, but still stranded 12 runners over the first two games. The Wolverines managed to get critical offense from junior outfielder Lexie Blair and sophomore infielder Julia Jimenez. Both batters seemed to pick up right where they left off last year. Iowa fared no better than Purdue when the Hawkeyes took on Michigan. Beaubien posted her second shutout of the season in game one, and game two looked like another easy win for the red-hot Wolverines as Storako gave the Hawkeyes little room to breathe. Michigan’s bullpen struggled in the next game against Iowa, but there are more games to sharpen that aspect of its game. “It’s going to be really hard to rely on two pitchers in a six-game weekend,” Hutchins said Tuesday. “And largely in a four game weekend. … The opportunity’s there for the taking.” But the Wolverines’ couldn’t keep the energy going as the weekend progressed. Michigan looked like a completely different team on Sunday, especially at the plate. Facing Illinois, each game would see any offense squashed by solid fielding and pitching. With the first game on the line as the Wolverines trailed by one in the seventh

inning, struggles seemed to quell Michigan’s batters. Blair took first on an error and Jimenez sacrificed to put her in scoring position. However, a groundout put the Wolverines against the wall and a strikeout sealed their fate. The same story could be told in the next game. Michigan again trailed by one in the final inning, when a single and a wild pitch put graduate outfielder Thais Gonzalez on second. Blair popped one up toward third and Illinois snagged it, ending the game and sealing the sweep. The team that dominated the first half of the weekend went out with a whimper to an unranked opponent. Jimenez said that looking for the pitch each batter likes and keeping things simple can help with these issues. That simplicity helped her drive in four runs on the weekend and could help her teammates deliver muchneeded run support. Michigan showed two sides of the same coin this weekend: one that can win any way the game is played and another that can’t give its pitchers run support. When it came down to the pressure of scoring to stay alive, the Wolverines folded. Softball is back, but it’s undetermined what the Wolverines will be this year. Strengths in pitching were confirmed, but hitting created more questions than answers.


Flipped Out WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS

Wolverines’ fight to claw back falls just short in Big Five Meet SAMI RUUD For The Daily

D

espite a rough start in the Big Five meet Saturday afternoon, the Michigan women’s gymnastics team proved its resiliency with a strong comeback on Senior Day after a poor first event on floor. The Wolverines (6-1 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) placed second in Saturday’s meet with an all-around score of 195.925. “It’s senior night and we also had Abby Brenner go down (in the floor), which was super unfortunate, so (Michigan coach Bev Plocki) was like ‘Do it for them, do it for your seniors, do it for Abby Brenner,’ ” sophomore Sierra Brooks said. “That’s what kept me going, I was like. ‘I want this to be an amazing meet for our seniors,’ I love them to death, so just go out and do your best performances and don’t Allison Engkvist/Daily | Design by Jack Silberman

feel bad for yourself, just go out and do what we can do.” Using Plocki’s motivation, Michigan was able to have strong performances on the rest of their events, with season high scores of 49.525 on the vault and bars. Sophomore Sierra Brooks led the way, winning the all-around title, as well as vault and beam titles. Iowa (8-1) won the meet with a final score of 196.100, Penn State (2-8) placed third with a score of 195.850 and Rutgers (1-8) finished in fourth with a 195.225. With three falls on the floor to start the meet, Michigan’s plan to get off to a hot start with a typically strong event fell through quickly. “We feel like floor is a really really good event for us, even though that didn’t show tonight,” Plocki said. “Our goal was to come out of the gate strong and start off on a great note, and obviously our plan got blown up in the

first rotation.” Junior Abby Brenner was the first of three Wolverines to fall on the floor, with a hard landing on her first pass that caused an ankle injury and halted her routine.Wojcik followed, performing an atypical routine, falling on her second pass and receiving a low score of 9.050. Wilson also ended the rotation with a fall on her last pass. “Normally we start the meets on vault so it was definitely a little different starting on floor, we did practice it in the gym this week though,” Wojcik said. “But we had a few uncharacteristic mistakes.” The Wolverines ended the rotation on floor with a 47.500, their lowest event score of the season. Meanwhile, Rutgers led the second rotation with a team score of 48.725 on vault, with the Hawkeyes trailing close behind on the beam with a team score of 48.525, highlighted by a 9.950 from Clair Kaji.

After the disappointing start on floor for Michigan, it recuperated for the vault and surged for its seasonhigh score in the third rotation of the night.. Brooks earned an almost perfect score of 9.975, and Wojcik and Wilson recovered from the previous event with strong performances as well, scoring a 9.925 and a 9.900, respectively. “Typically when I’m relaxed in the air I can find the landing… and I was able to find the landing and I was super excited to finally hit the sweet spot,” Brooks said. Michigan delivered another outstanding rotation on bars for the fourth rotation of the meet, with another season high score of 49.525. Wilson, sophomore Nikoletta Koulos, Brooks and Wojcik all scored a 9.900 or higher, and all stuck their dismounts. Senior Annie Maxim also stepped in for Brenner after her injury,

getting the opportunity to compete on senior night. Iowa, meanwhile, ganked on the lead it had built in the second rotation as the Wolverines bit at its heels. Iowa started off shaky with a 49.000 on floor and two falls on beam that led to a 48.525, but didn’t give Michigan a chance to catch up in the end of the meet with the Hawkeyes’ strong performance on floor in their last rotation, closing out with a 49.375. The Wolverines ended their meet on beam with a score of 48.375, with Brooks earning the title for the event with a 9.950. Senior Lauren Farley also had a good performance for her senior night, earning a 9.800. The solid performance by Michigan pushed them into second place for the meet, falling only 0.175 points behind Iowa despite the falls early on in the meet, showing their resiliency as the meet progressed.


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