September 13, 2021
Welcome to the 15th week of The University Insider, and happy Thanksgiving to you all! Here’s to a day of food, time well spent with family and a win this weekend in what’s shaping up to be the most exciting Rivalry Week in years.
This week has been busy as students and professors grapple with accommodations, the Wolverines prep for The Game in a highly-anticipated top-10 matchup and Black students rally around survivors of former University of Michigan athletics doctor Robert Anderson.
Students are struggling to receive accommodations from professors as COVID-19 and other illnesses spread throughout the U-M campus. The policies for missed exams vary from course to course, meaning students can be stuck navigating a confusing array of vastly different policies. While some classes offer students the opportunity to take assessments a few days late or even virtually, others offer no alternative, instead merely dropping the missed exams. For some students, this has become a further source of stress amid their illness as the remaining exams gain more weight. The anxiety of making up the grades has led students to put recovery second, focusing more on maintaining good grades, even as professors encourage them to prioritize their health.
“I was very happy to see my professors’ reactions … they all told me to prioritize my health and stop worrying about everything else,” LSA senior Aratrika Ganguli said. “But the only thing that’s going through my head as a senior is my grade and what’s going to happen if I can’t attend this class.”
This spring, Michigan renamed a simple drill. What was once called 9-on-7 is now referred to as “Beat Ohio.” All season, the Wolverines have talked up this year’s newfound energy. The new moniker shows something else the maize and blue have sought to harness: a passion and focus on Ohio State. Even as Michigan has dispatched opponent after opponent on its way to a third 10-win season in just five years, there remains a sour taste in the mouths of the maize-and-blue faithful in the Jim Harbaugh era: the program’s winless streak against their rival to the south. This season, the Wolverines have tried to reframe their season with an eye always towards the regular season finale. If Michigan is going to win their most elusive rivalry matchup this weekend, the program will need to show a level of progress and preparation that would have been unthinkable at the start of the season. On Saturday, all that preparation will come to a head and maybe, just maybe, the Wolverines can start the long, arduous path of making college football’s most storied rivalry competitive once more.
The Michigan Daily sat down with Vice President of Student Life Martino Harmon to discuss takeaways from the in-person Fall semester. Harmon touted the effectiveness of the University’s vaccine mandate in keeping case counts low throughout the Fall. Harmon also touched on precautions fraternities and sororities have been taking, mental health for students and the flu. When asked about the sexual misconduct allegations against former University doctor Robert Anderson, Harmon could not find the words to “to express how horrible (Anderson survivors) were treated.” He said the University and Student Life are working to prevent sexual assault by supporting survivors and educating students.
The Central Student Government called for Angell Hall to be renamed in a resolution passed Tuesday. The move comes amid renewed scrutiny of former University president James B. Angell, the namesake of both Angell Hall and the James B. Angell Scholars and a prominent figure in University history. Angell negotiated an eponymous treaty which opened the door for 1882’s Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States. CSG debated whether the resolution should be enacted without going through the organization’s traditional review processes. Communications Committee Chair and Engineering junior Zaynab Elkolaly pushed for the bill’s passage, saying keeping the name in place perpetuated a racist system. The resolution eventually passed with only one nay and one abstention.
Black UMich held a rally Friday night outside University President Mark Schlissel’s home to show solidarity with survivors of former athletics doctor Robert Anderson. The survivors have been camping outside Schlissel’s South University residence for almost two months to protest the University’s handling of the Anderson case. Those gathered chanted in support of the victims and demonstrated “Black joy,” expressing Black culture through resistance. Among students’ chants were, “No justice, no peace. Let John speak,” “Black students won’t be silenced,” “Hail to the victims” and “Black students are under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Vaughn spoke at the event, chronicling his time at the University and that of Tad DeLuca, a former U-M wrestler and the first person to formally report Anderson. Vaughn said after the University hired outside counsel to investigate DeLuca’s complaint, he felt the institution would not properly respect him.
“At that point, I knew that we (survivors) would never be treated as human beings, let alone respected as former student athletes,” Vaughn said. “When I was recruited here, you celebrated me, but now I’m a villain, and that’s how they’ve been treating us ever since.”
Ann Arbor Public Schools closed Monday and Tuesday to mitigate COVID-19 and allow infected individuals time to recover. The two additional days off come right before the district’s Thanksgiving break, which was planned to start Wednesday. This is not the first time AAPS has cancelled classes this year. The district closed schools on Nov. 1 amid staffing shortages, which Superintendent Jeanice Swift says contributed to the recent closure as well. With this week’s cancellation, AAPS has used three of its six school closure days allowed under Michigan law. Swift apologized for the inconvenience the last-minute cancellations cause parents.
“We take these school closure decisions very seriously,” Swift wrote in an email. “I understand that this week-before notice will pose challenges for some of our families, and I sincerely apologize for this situation.”
In this week’s Rivalry Edition, Daily Opinion Columnist Noah Ente hails the return of live sport and its impact both on the fans who have reclaimed their gameday traditions and the teams they ardently cheer. Nowhere, Ente says, is fans’ return stronger than in the Big House. The “largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America today” stands in stark contrast to the barren stands and piped noise of the eerie 2020 season. Fans have been able to once more bond over shared outrage and euphoria, cheering and groaning along with their team’s successes and shortfalls. After a year of social isolation, Ente reflects on how being a part of something bigger than oneself is something beautiful.
As registration approaches, students who remain non-compliant with the University’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will see a hold on their account as part of the University’s effort to promote compliance with the order. This week, cases remain steady after rising the past few weeks. The University credits the indoor mask mandate and rising vaccinations with the stability in case counts; 98% of students are vaccinated along with 91% of employees. Household transmission among employees and off campus social gatherings among students are the primary drivers of spread to the campus community, according to an update the University released Friday
Quarantine and isolation housing occupancy have declined after peaking on Nov. 11. This week, occupancy is at 8%.
The Michigan Daily Print Issue Returns
The Game is right around the corner, and we’re kicking off our third annual fundraising competition against Ohio State’s paper, The Lantern. A win for The Michigan Daily is a win for student journalism. Donate here.
We are also producing a joint publication with The Lantern ahead of the historic football rivalry game. Read our coverage here.
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