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Dear Readers, The stakes for voting in this primary are high, and in this issue we look into some of the reasons why you should get out and vote on May 8th election. “Students should vote for the transit tax because Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is the largest metropolitan area that doesn’t have a light-rail transit system and we’re expected to double in size by 2030,” said Student Body President Will Leimenstoll. “In Chapel Hill, we’re such a walkable city but the rest of the region is not very accessible for students, especially ones who do not have cars.” In this issue, we explore how North Carolina might offer online voter registration and its potential impacts on voting, as well as the importance of civics education and encouraging voting in North Carolina. We also profile of the coalition mobilizing against Amendment One, a cause for equality regardless of sexuality that is more than worth the trip to the new on-campus early voting site in Rams Head Dining Hall, second floor, open from April 23-28 and April 30 May 5. Happy reading! Chelsea Phipps Editor-in-Chief

On the Cover: “Most Important Meal of the Day,” by Asia Morris

chelsea phipps editor-in-chief sarah bufkin assistant editor grace tatter, wilson parker managing editors carey hanlin creative director cari jeffries, tyler tran photo editors michael dickson, hayley fahey, molly hrudka, carey hanlin, akhil jariwala, audrey ann lavallee, ellen murray, rachel myrick, jennifer nowicki, wilson parker, libby rodenbough, luda shtessel, grace tatter, neha verma, kyle villemain, peter vogel, kelly yahner staff writers cassie mcmillan, jasmine lamb, janie sircey, paige warmus production and design anne brenneman, michael dickson, molly hrudka, cari jeffries, carey hanlin, wilson hood, molly hrudka, grace tatter, peter vogel, kelly yahner
copy editors

CONTENTS The Bully Problem Deciding the Race Question The Facts About Gasoline Prices Affordable Care Act in the Courts No Child Left Behind The NC Eugenics Program The Real Silent Sam Amendment One Activism Civic Responsibility Digital Age Voting Disability in Lebanon Student Loan Policy Inhalable Caffeine 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 14 15 16 18 19

katie coleman, gihani dissanayake, izaak earnhardt, sarah hoehn, rodrigo martinez, hannah nemer, janie sircey, renee sullender, tyler tran

rachel allen, cynthia betubiza, sarah brown, michael dickson, hayley fahey, wilson hood, sam hughes, akhil jariwala janna jung-irrgang, jennifer nowicki, wilson parker, grace phillips, sarah rutherford, ellen werner, akhil jariwala, neha verma, bloggers travis clayton social media director



ith the premier of the new documentary Bully, and the rising debate over gay marriage and homosexuality in general, the topic of bullying is slowly becoming more and more discussed in social circles. A belief pervades society today that kids need to toughen up - that they are being coddled, and are not learning how to cope in the world. According to this perspective, bullying is a natural way to make sure they do. But it isn’t. Let’s toughen kids by teaching them to handle money properly, having them play baseball instead of Xbox, or helping them learn to take responsibility for their actions. Bullying doesn’t toughen kids up; it singles out their insecurities and exploits them. It teaches kids to hate any nonnormative traits they might have. And it nurtures fear and promotes violence in schools. Let’s take it it upon ourselves to teach children to prepare for the world, and stop bulling and harrasment in their tracks. •

28 2 att ,000 ac ke stud d in ents ea seco are ch p n mo dar hysi nth y s cal ch l . oo y ls An estimated 100,000 students carry a gun to school. Twenty-eight percent of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.

30 percent of US students in grades six through 10 are involved in moderate to frequent bullying, as bullies, as victims, or as both.


77 tal perce l 14 y, ve nt o f r pe rce bally stud e ve nt s or p nts a re a rea id t hysi re bu cti hey cal llie on d ex ly. s to pe Of men the rien tho ab ced se, us see.






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SARAH BUFKIN votes almost exclusively Republican, and the race-neutral narrative has permeated our society to such an extent that the U.S. Supreme Court is revisiting the constitutionality of affirmative action programs in higher education this year. But the New Right could not have survived this long—and with this much success—if it merely painted a veneer of racial respectability onto a segregationist platform. Instead, a wide spectrum of people identify with its perspective, ranging from soccer moms to corporate America. The American Legislative Exchange Council has drawn increasing attention from the media and various liberal movements as a corporate front-group that drafts model legislative bills in line with its policies and its business interests for state lawmakers. One such bill, tellinglylabeled the “Civil Rights Act,” states, “The civil rights achievements of the 1960s were designed to ensure that all citizens are treated in a race- and gender-neutral fashion.” Its main provision? Eliminating any sort of affirmative action program. The subtle power of today’s racism permeates the day-to-day, lived experience of the average American. Although grand statements about racial equality sound good and well, the real issues that keep parents up at night are whether or not their children are receiving the best education and whether or not they will still have a job next month. Affirmative action becomes the college admission spot that will be withheld from your daughter in favor of a black student who “did not work as hard;” it becomes the job that you did not get because the office needed more diversity. Thus, race-conscious policies appear as if they are merely giving an unfair advantage to minorities over whites. To counter this narrative, the Left needs to make clear how much today’s social structures unfairly prop up white advantage. We need to give greater context to the American myth of the individual climbing the socioeconomic ladder through the strength of his or her own work ethic. Today, Pakistan is home to greater social mobility than the United States; a 2004 study calculated that 50 percent of an American’s wealth is based on his or her genetic inheritance. Yet as Timothy Noah notes in The New Republic, “Americans are less likely to believe that their chance of financial success depends on their parents’ incomes (42 percent) than are Canadians (57 percent),” even though Canadian society is up to three times more socioeconomically mobile than our own. And this lack of mobility is clearly skewed against black families: In 1984, white households had 12 times the wealth of black households. Today, “based on the latest Pew study, released in 2011, median white wealth is now close to 20 times that of black households, the highest since the survey began,” writes Isabel Wilkerson in the March 1 edition of The New Republic. Until Americans come to terms with the fact that our society is still structured to benefit whites over blacks, we will not be able to approach the race question with anything close to conviction. •


fter successfully passing through a bulk of Jim Crow laws in North Carolina in 1900, Gov. Charles Aycock fended off words of congratulation, saying, ‘Each new generation will have to decide themselves an answer to the race question, and each will decide it differently.’ And so while the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s spelled the end for the violent white supremacy of the Jim Crow South, it doesn’t mean that race faded as a normative issue from the social consciousness. Instead, the rise of the New Right also heralded the transition into a new form of white supremacy—one grounded in unconscious and structural racism and concealed behind a race-neutral discourse. Hindsight is 20:20, and today it’s easy to trace how the Civil Rights Movement and its various forms of backlash had turned “the whole structure of politics on a fulcrum of color,” writes PulitzerPrize-winning historian Taylor Branch. The coalition of interests that is the New Right began to rear its head during the 1964 election and today it has arguably reached its maturity. The Deep South 4 MAY2012




3.89 for a gallon. At that price you might think you were buying milk from the grocery store, but it’s actually the price of gasoline in the state of North Carolina, an amount which has risen $0.70 in the last four months. Conservative pundits have blamed the president for failing to keep gasoline prices stable. But what really dictates oil prices? And what roles do offshore drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline, biofuels and Obama really play? Below are several common misconceptions about the oil market. Boosting offshore drilling and drilling on federal lands would alleviate high gas prices. Ramping up drilling operations is a red herring. Seventy-two percent of the price of gasoline is based on the price of crude oil. The rest is split among taxes, refining and distribution. Crude oil is a commodity traded on the global marketplace, which means that it has a truly world price. Even if the U.S. were to suddenly exploit all of its ecosystems in order to suck black gold from the depths of the Earth, a surge in domestic oil production would have a negligible effect on global oil prices because the U.S. only produces less than nine percent of global oil production. The inflow of crude oil from the Keystone XL pipeline would make gas cheaper at the pump. The Keystone XL pipeline, which will connect Alberta’s tar sands with Gulf Coast refineries, has been touted by Republicans as the ultimate savior for gasoline prices. However, a bottleneck of crude oil transportation to Gulf refineries from the Midwest has had the opposite effect, causing a glut of surplus

crude oil that has actually depressed gas prices there. The Keystone XL pipeline aims to provide record profits to Transcanada by connecting the center of this surplus (Cushing, Oklahoma) to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast that are in high demand of this crude, which would raise Midwest gasoline prices. Transcanada itself even admitted that approval of the pipeline would actually raise American consumers’ oil expenses to Canada by $4 billion a year. Obama is to blame for high gas prices. Republicans may accuse President Obama of trying to strangle working Americans into environmental submission through elevated fuel costs, but the truth is that Obama couldn’t raise oil prices even if he wanted. As mentioned above, approval of the Keystone pipeline and opening up federal lands for drilling would hardly affect gas prices. Interestingly enough, domestic oil production per year has actually risen every year since Obama took office, after falling eight years straight under Bush. Obama’s one option is to release oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to hedge against serious oil shortages. According to Daniel Weiss at the Center for American Progress, this strategy might be able to reduce gas prices by $0.24 for several months, but the effect at best is limited and very risky. The only way to solve our oil problem is with biofuels or electric cars. While this might be true long-term, America does not need a massive fix for at least another decade as long as we take some common-sense efficiency steps to reduce demand for oil. Amory Lovins, one of the preeminent experts on developing a

clean-energy economy, points out that more efficient end-use of oil, such as raising CAFE standards to 54.5 miles per gallon, is worth our economy the equivalent of $12 per barrel, which is about 10 percent of the price oil is currently trading at. Savings from these improvements could reach $70 billion per year by 2025, and all of these could be implemented virtually immediately. What does affect gas prices? The top factors are state taxes on gasoline, rising demand from India and China and speculation about geopolitical affairs. So the next time you cringe as you look at the ratcheting dial on the gas pump, you’ll have a clearer idea why your wallet is being drained so quickly. Maybe you should be driving a Prius to the grocery store instead. • MAY2012 5



President Obama greets doctors and nurses after signing the Affordable Care Act.

“Now … the Supreme Court acts as a sort of supra-legislature, dismissing laws that conflict with its own political agenda,” Toobin writes. “This was most evident in the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, when the fiveJustice majority eviscerated the McCainFeingold campaign-finance law (not to mention several of its own precedents).” The fate of Obama’s health care law, however, has yet to be decided and the precedents that led court watchers to predict a ruling in favor of the law still exist. Michael Gerhardt, he Director of UNC’s Center for Law and Government, agrees that the case is far from decided, and pointed to the recent Supreme Court decisions Gonzales v. Raich and United States v. Comstock as examples of precedents that could persuade a swing vote to uphold the health care law. “There is definitely a potential fifth

vote from Justice Kennedy,” Gerhardt wrote in an email. “In Comstock, the Court also expressed, as it did in Raich, enormous deference to a federal law based on Congress’ exercise of its powers under the Necessary and Proper Clause and Commerce Clause. The law in this case is based on a similar combination of powers.” The three days of harsh questioning from the five conservative justices (really four—Justice Thomas, as usual , asked no questions), prompted court watchers to issue grim warnings over the fate of the health care bill, but may not be truly reflective of the Court’s current position. “We should remember that the justices understood that whatever they said in the arguments would be made public, so that most if not all of them were probably asking questions with the likely public ramifications for their images in mind,” Gerhardt said. •





s it appears increasingly likely that the Supreme Court will strike down President Obama’s health care law in June, the current conservative court is poised to become one of the most activist courts in years. Following three days of oral arguments before the Supreme Court, court watchers have backtracked on their original predictions of a strong majority supporting the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the health care law. Many are now forecasting a 5-4 majority overturning the mandate. The turn of events has led many liberal commentators and politicians, including President Obama, to warn against what they see as a potential overstep by the Court, led by conservative justice John Roberts. “I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years, what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint – that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law,” Obama said at a news conference April 2, referencing conservatives’ long-held complaints of liberal activism by the court system. For many legal analysts, the growing judicial activism of the Roberts court is shown in decisions like Citizens United. The well-known New Yorker legal writer, Jeffery Toobin, cited the case as he painted a picture of a highly political, activist Court in a recent article following the oral arguments.



en years ago, in 2002, Avril Lavigne was cool, CDs trumped iPods and most of today’s undergraduates were under five feet tall and just starting to read chapter books. The same year, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law. The act redefined the K-12 experience by focusing on testing, school choice and accountability and subjects such as technology, math and literacy. But although the tenth anniversary of the law caused many to question its impact on test scores, few have paused to asked about its effect on the very children it meant to protect — many of whom have grown up and are now in college. Academics and researchers have long bemoaned how No Child Left Behind altered the way American students were taught, saying that it overemphasized standardized tests and left little room for creative curriculums and lesson plans tailored to the specific needs of students. But no one has investigated the effects on students, said UNC Public Policy professor Douglas Lauen. Did more students who were in elementary school in 2002, when the law was implemented, go to college as was promised? Were nearly all students left behind in areas like critical thinking skills and meaningful learning skills, as former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch promised would happen in her 2007 condemnation of the law? Many critics have attacked the act for “dumbing down” schools. So, that begs the question: are today’s undergraduates dumber? What the law promised In a September 2002 government re-

port, then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige described how, with the enactment of No Child Left Behind, the nation was “embarking on a new era of how we educate our children.” The report announced the law would “change the culture of American education.” And indeed it did. According to the 2002 report, the law — which was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support —had four main principles: to increase accountability of schools and states; to increase states’ power in how they spend education funds; to give parents from disadvantaged backgrounds more choices for their children and to emphasize “teaching methods that work.” Additionally, the law promised to enhance the quality of teaching and to ensure all American students learn English. So, in theory, students who grew up under the law should have had better teachers and higher literacy skills. More should’ve gone to higher-quality schools chosen by their parents rather than lowperforming neighborhood schools. Minorities and disadvantaged groups should be better represented in universities like UNCChapel Hill. Learning how to learn But despite the overwhelming bipartisan support for the law, critics in 2002 immediately warned the public this wouldn’t happen — and have continued to do so throughout the past decade. Kristen Stephens, an assistant professor of education at Duke University, explained the pitfalls of the law in an e-mail. One of the most overwhelming criticisms of the law has been how it’s changed the way teachers teach — and therefore, how

it’s changed the way students learn. “Before NCLB, teachers engaged their students in project-based learning, which afforded students the opportunity to engage with content on a deeper level, practice critical skills and immediately apply what they were learning in a meaningful context,” she said. “Following NCLB, teachers abandoned such learning experiences and resorted to a more ‘drill or kill’ mentality.” Stephens said that in her research, she has found most teachers feel they are being forced to reject the methods they know work best and that this has adversely affected students. She said she notices a difference in the undergraduates she teaches at Duke. “I think it is more difficult to get students to think creatively and respond to open-ended questions for which there is no, one right answer,” she said. “It seems a test-driven society conditions students to expect that teachers are ‘fishing’ for a single, correct response rather than asking questions for the purpose of exploring various perspectives, thinking critically about the issues and following [or] pursuing wild hunches.” Policymakers and academics have also charged the law by lowering academic standards in order to create the illusion that more students are proficient than actually are. In a 2007 Wall Street Journal editorial, C.E. Finn, president of the Fordham Institute, said the law “dumbed education down” and caused problems for students in middle school, who were unprepared because of the low bar set by No Child Left Behind standards in elementary school. Additionally, a literature review done by MAY2012


Tenielli Trolan, a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa, and Kristin S. Fouts of the University of Western Michigan, suggested that the many cheating scandals associated with No Child Left Behind-mandated exams could affect the moral development of students. Effects of NCLB hidden at UNC For all the criticisms of No Child Left Behind, a study by Lauen showed that the legislation raised minority students’ achievement. But this has not necessarily translated into more diverse universities — at least not at UNC-Chapel Hill. The number of admitted African-American students actually dropped slightly from the fall of 2006 to the fall of 2010, when students would have been more affected by No Child Left Behind. Professor John Kasson, who has taught in the history department for more than 40 years, said he has not noticed a difference in his students who grew up with NCLB, but suggested that the effects of the law could be seen more clearly elsewhere. “We can’t measure the effect of No Child Left Behind with undergraduates here because of our admissions results,” he said. “UNC is not a good index of general education.” The impact Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind waivers promise to change K-12 education yet again. But it might be too late for those who were raised under the measure. “We need learners who can find the questions that need to be answered rather than learners who can answer questions for which there are already known answers,” Stephen said. “Only then can we produce innovators.” But, Stephens said, those are not the skills that have been taught in public schools for the past decade. Perhaps more research should be done to determine if we were the children who got left behind. •



regnant after being raped at the age of fourteen, Elaine Riddick entered an Edenton hospital in 1968 to give birth to her son. During the C-section procedure, doctors sterilized her without her knowledge. The Eugenics Board of North Carolina had concluded that Riddick was “feebleminded,” “promiscuous” and “didn’t get along well with others.” After reading a few paragraphs about her life, the group made the unanimous decision that Riddick should be sterilized. Between 1929 and 1974, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina authorized the sterilization of over 7,600 men and women, targeting the poor, uneducated and mentally unstable. Some victims were as young as ten years old. Riddick’s situation warranted much more than a few paragraphs of summary. “My problem was environmental. I couldn’t get along well with others because I was hungry. I was cold. I am not feebleminded, I was a victim of rape,” Riddick said through tears at a hearing before a state panel last summer. Social workers told Riddick’s grandmother that if she did not sign the

consent form, Riddick would be taken to an orphanage. Illiterate and unsure of what she was signing, Riddick’s grandmother eventually put her X on the form, allowing doctors to perform the procedure. “They cut me open like I was a hog,” Riddick said. When she was nineteen, married and ready to have children, Riddick finally realized she had been sterilized. She was forced to deal with the harsh reality of what the state had done to her. And unfortunately, Riddick’s story is far from rare. At the time, the state viewed sterilization as a way to limit the public cost of welfare. “They knew their reasons were wrong, but they found ways to justify their wrongs, their wickedness, their cowardliness,” Riddick’s son, Tony, said at the hearing. In 1974, the Eugenics Board was formally disbanded, and former North Carolina Governor Mike Easley issued a formal apology in 2002. He called sterilization a “regrettable issue” and told victims that “we will not forget what they have endured.” But Gov. Beverly Perdue has taken an unprecedented step further.




In 2010, Governor Perdue established mental health services to each victim of If North Carolina does compensate sterthe Justice for Sterilization Victims sterilization, the creation of travelling ilization victims, it will be the first state Foundation, and in 2011, she appointed eugenics exhibits and the continuation to do so. a five-member Eugenics Compensation of the Justice for Sterilization Victims North Carolina state Representative Task Force, consisting of a former judge, Foundation. Larry Womble (D-Forsyth) has been a a historian, a former journalist, a physi“I am putting together the compen- key driver in the push for compensacian and an attorney. sation plan for inclusion in my budget, tion. “Victims have courageously stepped and I encourage anyone who believes “We are the only state in this nation forward to tell their stories and their they are a victim to contact the Justice trying to do something to address this courage has inspired ugly chapter in history,” more people,” CharWomble said. “My problem was environmental. I couldn’t maine Fuller Cooper, North Carolina is at a get along well with others because I was executive director of position to be a leader in the Foundation, said. hungry. I was cold. I am not feebleminded, I social justice, setting an So far, the Foundation example for other states was a victim of rape.” - Elaine Riddick has received more to display not only comthan 1,300 phone inpassion, but also action. quiries. for Sterilization Victims Foundation,” And for sterilization victims, that acThe number of verified sterilization Governor Perdue said in a release. tion is long overdue. victims is rising – more than 100 people “It was really hard to arrive at a figure,” “You are not forgotten, and you will have been matched to state records Phoebe Zerwick, the former journalist not be forgotten,” Womble has assured and others are still coming forward. on the task force and a current profes- them. North Carolina was not the only state sor at Wake Forest, said. “We kept hearWillis Lynch of Warren County, who with eugenics laws, but its practices ing from victims that the amounts we spoke at last summer’s hearing, was were particularly extreme. were suggesting were insultingly low, sterilized in 1948 when he was four“North Carolina operated the most yet we needed to propose a value that teen years old. For decades, he has aggressive eugenics program in the na- would be approved by the legislature been waiting for the state to amend the tion, sterilizing the majority of its pro- and politically feasible.” pain it caused him. gram victims after World War II and the While the state legislature is respon“I’m 77 years old, ain’t got much time Holocaust,” Cooper said. sible for the determination of the final to live,” he told the hearing board. “I just In January, the Task Force recommend- type and source of compensation, the hope I can see something happen.” • ed providing a $50,000 payment and matter has received bipartisan support. MAY2012


The Real Silent Sam


he Real Silent Sam Coalition gathered on April 4 for an event at the Silent Sam Monument. Held on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, with the Trayvon Martin and Troy Davis tragedies still serving as fresh wounds, we sought to interrogate topics that are too often repressed at the University—issues of race, memory, and welcoming in our own community. The Real Silent Sam Coalition hopes to promote honest public dialogue and provoke critical thought surrounding the monuments and buildings in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Performance has been a significant element of our movement. By engaging students and community members we seek to make understanding our history a collective act. With this event, the message of “Can You Hear Us Now?” draws attention to the struggle of students and community members of color who feel that their presence is silenced by a monument to a violent racialized past, while also underscoring resistance to a culture of social amnesia that perpetuates silence rather than critical questioning, dialogue, and reconciliation.”











1) The Real Silent Sam Coalition hopes to increase the visibility of the untold histories of the University, using the voices of the coalition to shape a more complete historical narrative that emphasizes the implications of “Silent Sam” for members of the community. Share your own voice by tweeting about the campaign: #canyouhearusnow 2) Hoping to create a space for conversation, the “Can You Hear Us Now?” event took the form of a community dialogue, inviting community members to join with students in generating a forum for discussion. 3) The Real Silent Sam Coalition meets in front of the “Silent Sam” monument, which features a plaque that makes no mention of the dedication speech in which the speaker celebratory stated that he had once “horse-

whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” near the monument’s campus location. The coalition seeks to include an additional plaque on “Silent Sam” that recognizes the monument’s historical context. 4) Students and community members share views on “The Real Silent Sam” and the ways in which the University can better address its past race-based injustices. 5) A UNC graduate student returns to campus to contribute to the Real Silent Sam Coalition’s discussions. 6) Students voice concerns over “Silent Sam’s” prominent and often unquestioned place on campus. 7) Students and community members joined together to discuss “The Real Silent Sam.”



Amendment One Inspires UNC-Chapel Hill Students to Become Activists

couraging students on and off campus to vote. Recently, a multitude of bright yellow shirts advocating against Amendment One have been visible on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus. Sophomore Josh Orol, who has been working with the Campus Y Coalition Against Amendment One, ordered shirts with anti-amendment text. “Any students or adults can go and meet once a week with the coalition to plan for different initiatives,” he said. Initiatives include developing relationships with political parties and NGOs, registering voters in the pit, canvassing and phone banking. UNC students have also reached toward the arts to raise awareness. Sophomore Rachel Kaplan created a 10-minute musical flash mob that performed in the pit to raise awareness. A video of the flash mob, which can be found on YouTube, now has almost 2,000 views, and the video of the original musical Kaplan wrote now has more than 11,000 views. On April 11, the UNC Wordsmiths held a poetry slam in the pit to speak out against Amendment One, and on April 20, before Relay for Life, the Campus Y Coalition will take over the quad with demonstrators, a capella groups and other bands. “The easiest thing to do is informal


n these times of strong partisan politics, it is easy to become disillusioned with the government and political process because of the lack of action in Washington D.C. But to change this, hundreds of students across UNCChapel Hill’s campus are taking action against Amendment One and are trying to promote awareness for the upcoming vote. The amendment reads, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” “Amendment One is directed at marriage, but gay marriage is already illegal in North Carolina,” said first-year Peter Vogel, chair of the Amendment One Committee for Young Democrats and a staff writer for Campus BluePrint. “ If this amendment is defeated, things don’t get better for those people in North Carolina, they just don’t get worse.” Young Democrats are among many campus groups mobilizing against the amendment. “[Young Democrats] has a multi-tiered strategy that was initially focused on education,” Vogel said. “We transitioned from education to voter registration, and in a few weeks we’ll transition again to a ‘get out the vote’ phase.” As many as 200 new voters registered in a recent week, but Vogel says that the Young Democrats will continue en-

UNC sophomore Madison Scott shows off her t-shirt advocating against Amendment One.

campaigning,” Vogel said, “which is simply talking to your friends about it.” UNC students are also planning to voice their opposition in the most traditional, but ultimately effective way — through the vote. From April 23 to May




A crowd of UNC students gather in the pit in a rally against Amendment One.

5, students will be able to go to Rams Head and cast their vote before the official vote on May 8. “Anyone can go and vote,” Orol said. “Even if you haven’t registered, you can do it there.” This upcoming vote is pivotal for the issue of gay marriage and civil union rights on a national scale. Twenty-nine states have already passed amendments similar to Amendment One, and North Carolina will set the tone for the four states planning to vote on the issue later this year. “I feel like it’s one of the major civil rights issues in this country today,” Orol said. The amendment will affect many North Carolinians of all sexual orientations. Children of unmarried parents could lose healthcare, and unmarried parents of adopted children could have issues with custody rights. The passage of Amendment One would also apply domestic violence protections only to married couples.

“Cases involving accusations of domestic violence take much longer in this situation,” Orol said. The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families points out situations in states like Ohio, where this loophole has allowed many convictions to be overturned. Thus far, Vogel says the coalition against the amendment has drawn from all sectors of society. “It’s something our generation is unified on,” he said. “It is an issue that is not defined by party lines.” A recent poll by Elon University indicates that 60 percent of North Carolina residents oppose Amendment One, and that the action taken by students and citizens across the state is making a difference. Yet another poll released in March from Public Policy Polling found that 58 percent of likely primary voters planned on voting “yes” while 38 percent planned on voting “no.” Given that results in primaries are determined by

dedicated “likely voters” and not mere residents, the PPP figures are most likely more accurate. But perhaps the most important finding of the PPP poll was how confused likely voters are about the amendment. When informed that Amendement One would ban civil unions, support for the amendment plummets from 58 percent to just 41 percent. UNC senior Jeff Deluca, a leader of the the Coalition Against Amendment One, hopes that the Elon poll captures a “more informed ballot” but stresses that when voters know the true contents of the Amendment, they reject it. For Deluca, Orol, and the rest of the millennial generation, now is the time for action. “I’m going to stand up and scream my head off,” Orol said, “because this is what’s important right now. More important than my homework, my classes–this can make a real impact.”•




MICHAEL DICKSON couraged and made possible by the technological skills of the new generation. With social media and Internet access, students can immediately become a part of the public discourse on issues important to them. Helping them to find these issues they care about opens up their perspective to the political community around them. n light of long-running trends and reThis initial awareness and interest is cent events, no logical debater would needed to set them on the path to civic argue against the fact that Americans in engagement and political literacy. general could use a good dose of politiThis shift in teaching methods may recal knowledge and civic require an inordinate amount sponsibility. National voter of effort to pull off uniformly This shift in teaching methods may turnout is just barely more and properly, but our civrequire an inordinate amount of effort ics education warrants and than 50 percent for presito pull off uniformly and properly, dential elections. Public misdemands more than just a conceptions of government but our civics education warrants and quick fix. offices and powers dictate This method of getting studemands more than just a quick fix. campaigns and lead candidents to act independently dates to blatantly misreprein the political realm can sent political principles and structures. ing, according to the National Assess- have tremendous benefits for this genAnd a horrifying number of Americans ment of Educational Progress. eration and the future. Civic engageapparently know more American Idol Fortunately for us, the path to reform ment now means civic engagement judges than they do First Amendment has already been marked. The answer, later, and action civics is exactly what rights. beyond a simple re-prioritizing of civics we need to create a more socially and The obvious solution is a month-long within the educational system, is what politically conscious wave of youth. remedial civics course for all Americans, is being called “action civics,” or the By giving young people this type of to be administered by the long-margin- more targeted idea of “digital citizen- education, we are giving them the tools alized minority that is high school civ- ship” suggested by the Education Com- and the orientation necessary to be ics teachers. Think of it as goal-oriented mission of the States. productive members of this political sopoetic justice. These new governmental initiatives ciety and to work for substantial posiThat’s not feasible, you say? That re-evaluate the traditional civics educa- tive change in the world. Maybe that’s would be an egregious waste of tax- tion, moving the focus away from the what we need to shake up the public’s payer money, you say? You hated your basic knowledge of dates and names systemic ignorance of the processes high school civics teacher more than and emphasizing instead an active par- and principles of our political structure you hate bird poop or hospital food, ticipation and involvement in public is- and re-imagine what it means to funcyou say? sues from the beginning. tion in democratic life. • Well, you’d be right, although you can’t This full engagement is further en14


speak for everyone. We can’t put upward of 200 million voting-age citizens in classrooms for a month and make them memorize constitutional amendments or teach them which powers the president actually has, no matter how much we may want to. What we can do, however, is set up the next generation to be a little bit more prepared, engaged and aware. Our civics programs as they currently operate are obviously not working, and political literacy in high school has been declin-







ong lines have become a staple of re- can be, especially in a large general anonymously cast, and ballots aren’t cent election cycles, prompting many election with so much at stake. One secret. This means that people can coto speculate whether online voting for such concern is the ability of a desig- erce you into voting a certain way, you general elections is in the works. The nated voting website to handle such could sell your votes, or you could be concept seems simple enough: instead extreme amounts of traffic without re- punished for casting a “wrong” vote.” of waiting for hours at the end of a gional blackouts, which could seriously Another major concern is the poswork day at a designated voting sta- impact overall voting counts. sibility of security breaches, both from tion, eligible voters would be able to In February of 2009, Finland experi- faulty computer software and hackers, cast their ballots in the comfort—and mented with an online voting service who may be enticed by the opportunity convenience—of their own homes. for its general elections, and approxi- to spoil a major election. “I think online vot“People’s computers ing can only help voters are not getting more seOnline voting increases participation because it’s so easy, it’s cure,” wrote Avi Rubin, a among younger working voters, a group professor of computer scisomething you can access from anywhere in that traditionally does not vote in numbers ence at Johns Hopkins Unithe world at any time, versity, in the CNN article representative of their demographic. especially people living “Why Can’t Americans Vote abroad and the troops,” Online?” “They’re getting said Austin Gilmore, president of UNC mately two percent of all votes went more infected with viruses and under Young Democrats. missing due to internet glitches. Since the control of malware.” Rob Weber, a former IBM Infor- many states in the 2008 presidential Despite the drawbacks, Gilmore mation Technology professional and election were decided by relatively sees online voting as a potential cure to manager of the “Cyber the Vote!” blog, small amounts, including North Caroli- the voter-ID bills that have been springagrees with Gilmore. na, such glitches could be catastrophic. ing up across the South, which have “Online voting increases participa- In fact, Finland’s highest court ended up been accused of discouraging minorition among younger working voters, a tossing the results of the online voting ties from participating in elections. group that traditionally does not vote in favor of a second, paper-based elec“Online voting is the silver bullet in numbers representative of their de- tion. for the disenfranchisement of voters,” mographic. As a result… politicians and “Online voting is not transparent, Gilmore said. “At this point, though, I elected officials often ignore the needs and if you lose votes, you can’t retrieve can’t really see online voting as a realand opinions of younger voters,” Weber them,” said Joyce McCloy, author of the ity within the next few election cycles said. “North Carolina Elections—Protecting in North Carolina since it’s going to take Yet serious concerns remain over the Vote” blog. “You don’t have the pri- such a massive coordinated effort on how secure and reliable online voting vacy of the voting booths-- votes aren’t behalf of a lot of people.” • MAY2012



The Road to “Unabling” Citizens in Lebanon


iscrimination against people with disabilities — “ableism” — is a social reality that few acknowledge. In the United States, many scholars in the field of disability, including Simi Linton, the Co-Director of the University Seminar in Disability Studies at Columbia University, argue that ableism exists because being “disabled” is antithetical to what it means to be American. In a country where a person’s value rests on what she can produce, society un-ables its citizens with impairments by creating words such as “special needs” and designing space with a bias toward the “able-bodied.” In other words, being able-bodied is a premise to civic recognition here in the United States, an observation which may explain why the term ableism is not as readily used as its sisters — sexism and racism. Earlier last month, I was in Lebanon to look at ways in which ableism operates in another social, political and economic context. I sought to understand two things: how and why are people in Lebanon “unabled” by society? To answer those questions, I sat down with Dr. Moussa Charafeddine, a prominent disability activist in Lebanon and the greater Middle East. Background on Dr. Charafeddine: Charafeddine is a physician who

founded an organization called “The Friends of the Disabled.” He started his advocacy work in 1973. Initially, he merely wanted to provide his two sons, both physically and mentally impaired, with a life in which they would be recognized as people rather than objects of philanthropy. Upon return, with a degree from John Hopkins University in 1986, he founded “The Friends of the Disabled.” For the last decade his organization has run a private institution in the Beirut area, which provides people with disabilities with a wide range of services including therapeutic care to regular educational activities. Charafeddine is often called upon to advise the United Nations on its Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities, which was established in 2006. Dr. Charafeddine, what are the challenges that people with disabilities face here in Lebanon? Lack of civic infrastructure: The most serious challenges in the field of disability in Lebanon are the hectic economic conditions and the lousy social policy. There are a lot of inappropriate priorities and the governments in this region tend to deal with their interests and to leave behind the coverage of essential human rights. One example

is accessibility. There is a code of accessibility for new buildings, which means that in five to 10 years, new buildings will ensure physical mobility of people with disabilities. But there is no Braille or sign language included in the new reforms. Sectarian politics: Lebanon is a multi-sectarian country where you can find a lot of minorities and almost all parties are trying to gain their rights and demands. Among these different people are people with disabilities who have their own demands with regard to social rights, but whom are divided among the socially diverse society based on sectarian lines. Philanthropic discourse on disability: Sometimes people refer to people with disabilities as invalid people having “special needs.” They pity them and approach them as people who should be philanthropically supported as opposed to having their full rights recognized. It is a big lie when they call them people with “special needs.” All these needs people require for their lives are not special. They are vital needs: housing, medicine, schooling, friendships, equal opportunity.





Classification: People with disabilities are deprived from being able. People with disability are able-bodied persons if they receive the proper tools and services. Then they will function like others. What we hear from able-bodied people is their classification of the disabled: that some are mildly, moderately or severely or profoundly disabled. They classify them in levels of inability. For us, people who are living with disability, we claim that the problem is not these people being classified. They are normal people like you and me. What needs to be leveled is the support system — mild, moderate, severe support systems. People are incapacitated because somebody is “unabling” them. Socioeconomic differences: Ninety-five percent of children with disabilities are out of school, hospitals and centers. Only five to 10 percent are enrolled in special education. One onethousandth (0.001) percent are included in public schools, labor markets or independent living. This is despite the fact that 15 of the 18 Arab countries ratified the Convention on the Right of the Persons with Disabilities. There are no subsidies or stipends allocated by the government to households that have people with disabilities. There are no governmental schools for them. People with disabilities are enrolled in private schools, which cost a lot of money. The house that we created with the Friends of the Disabled is a palace because rich parents gave us money to build it. It cost about seven and a half million dollars to make the center. We accept almost all children free of charge. We do receive six dollars by day from the government for tuition fees, but services like psychotherapy and ergotherapy are 15 dollars by day.

Are there differences between the way disabled men and women are treated? Being a woman is a double disability; being a woman is one thing and being disabled is another. A woman in the eastern countries are the providers at home. They are faceless, voiceless and nameless. They are the service providers for theirs sons with disabilities, their fathers with disabilities, their uncles with disabilities. They are the holders of all the catastrophes. They suffer from all the disabilities because they provide the services, not the government. There are women with disabilities, but it is rarely underlined that there are women without disabilities dealing with the disabled in their families. If the person with disability is not enjoying his life at home, the mother is held responsible. On the other side, if one father ties his son’s shoes in public, people will say “Oh, what a great father,” while the woman who, day and night, feeds hims, changes diapers, brushes his teeth--nobody tells her what a good mother she is. How are the Human Rights Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities applied in Lebanon? The United Nations discovered that 80 percent of people with disability live in developing countries and 20 percent live in developed countries. In 1983, the United Nations started to make recommendations for countries around the world, and I was among seven experts to put this disability track in the U.N. Now it is the Arab decade for the rights of the disabled, which will end in 2013. In 2006, the U.N. issued the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is a socio-political tool to be adopted by the governments of the world so that people with disabilities can access their human rights. For

three days in Cairo, I studied the fate of implementation of item 12,19,23 of the U.N. Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities. Supporters as opposed to guardians: Item 12 is about the legal capacities of persons with disabilities. A person should enjoy the full range of his personal rights, such as the decisions of marrying, going to the bank, etc. This is not the case in the Arab world right now. A person with disabilities who wants to get married needs to be with a guardian. People with disability should enjoy the full range of decision-making. People might say, but how can the people with mental disabilities have the full capacity to choose their lives? This question, the how, is your problem, not theirs. We went to the moon, we made atomic bombs, why can’t these people enjoy this right? Do you consider these people not human? After 18 years of age, there should not be legal guardians for people with disabilities. Fathers, mothers and sisters do not have the right to sign or to marry on someone’s behalf. A person with profound mental disability can choose a support person. This person must understand his needs. It can be his father or mother, but it can also be someone he knows and trusts and who is able to translate his needs. Future of Disability: Item 18 of the Convention talks about the inclusive education. There is a need to put children in the same place where they would be put if they were not disabled. Inclusive education has a long way to go. It is a journey. You cannot just dump them there, you need a welcoming area with multiple stakeholders who can play a role in the process, like parents, the administration and the government. • MAY2012



How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Changing Student Debt


s the cost of attending college soars, the job market stagnates and states slash their funding for public schools, students are increasingly turning to private and federal loans to pay for their education. The market for student loans, which exceeds $1 trillion in the United States, is regulated by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While the CFPB is rapidly expanding its mandate, its actions might be too limited in scope to provide relief for indebted students at UNC-Chapel Hill and across the country. The CFPB, an independent regulatory agency housed inside the Federal Reserve, was created by the 2010 DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in order to “help consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.” To this end, Rohit Chopra, the Bureau’s Ombudsman for Student Loans, has launched the Know Before You Owe fact sheet and the Student Debt Repayment Assistant, two tools designed to educate students about the costs of borrowing. Furthermore, on Mar. 5, Chopra announced that the CFPB was “open for business” and ready to hear student complaints about the private loan industry. According to Kristin Anthony, UNC’s Assistant Director for Financial Aid, the private student loan industry lacks the same consumer protections as federal loans. And because subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans for students cap out well below the cost of atten18

dance, students increasingly must enter the private loan market. At Chapel Hill, 34.7 percent of graduating seniors took out loans in some form during the 2010-2011 academic year. The same year, average cumulative indebtedness for Carolina students reached $15,472. In the past, this expanding market for students may have been a boon for duplicitous private lenders, who the CFPB reports, “do not generally have the same borrower protections such as military deferments, discharges upon death or income-based repayment plans” as federal lenders do. But with increased oversight on the way from the CFPB, Anthony says private lenders such as Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae have been lowering interest rates to attract students and are cleaning up their act. For instance, banks are making fewer loans to “sub-prime students” who cannot afford to pay them back. While these reforms undoubtedly

improve the market for student loans, they come too late for many young Americans. For the first time, Americans owe more in student debt than in credit card debt. The CFPB fears ongoing negative amortization- a phenomenon in which interest on student debt grows faster than students can pay off their principals, meaning that student debt can grow even if students drop out of school and start paying down their debts. Faced with the prospects of mountainous debt, students across the country are looking for ways to save money. John Son, a UNC first year, says he is considering graduating in three years to save money and advises students to ”never, ever, ever take private loans.” Alyssa Leib, another Carolina first-year, warns that financial decisions made in the early years of college can follow students for the rest of their lives. “I know people in their thirties who are still paying off their student loans!” she said. •



The FDA’s possible ban on caffeine inhalents


ave you always thought that the warning to its maker detailing a list of only an amateur food-safety expert myone thing missing from your gas- safety concerns, particularly about the self, so I’ll leave that call to them. My tronomic experiences is aerosol? Have untested effects of caffeine being ab- unease, though, has less to do with you longed for calorie-free flavor deliv- sorbed through the lungs. (Breathable the flawed mechanics of AeroShot ered via inhaler, right to your hungry Foods claims their product does not and more to do with Schumer’s imstomach? Breathable Foods, Inc. is pre- enter the lungs. No word on whether mediate assumption that college stupared to give you just that. they’ll be considering a company name dents would start snorting their way to Unfortunately, consumers of the change.) drunken oblivion as soon as they got company’s most popular their hands on some. This is offering, a blast of cafnot to say that I disagree; feine called AeroShot, on the contrary, I commend Shouldn’t we feel a pinch of may be seeking not embarrassment that our elected officials Schumer for having his finspace-age cuisine, but ger so firmly on the pulse logically assume the mere availability of blackout drunkenness. of America’s youth. AeroShot comes in concentrated caffeine will necessarily lead But isn’t it a sorry a small gray-and-yellow shame that we have to get to self-harm among college students? inhaler that resembles the FDA to officially warn a bullet casing. Its webagainst products like Aerosite advises using your AeroShot when But U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D- Shot rather than picking our heads up “hitting the gym,” “taking a road trip” or NY) wrote a statement prior to the FDA out of the toilet and steering clear of “staying awake at your desk after de- warning that raised another question: alcohol + caffeine overdoses for a couvouring a bacon double cheeseburger could AeroShot become the next Four ple of weekends? Shouldn’t we feel a at lunch.” These suggestions appear Loko? Four Loko, which savvy Schumer pinch of embarrassment that our electover an image of a hot, 20 something mentioned by name, was a caffeinated ed officials logically assume the mere male (he reminded me vaguely of A.C. alcoholic beverage that rose to wild availability of concentrated caffeine will Slater) who is slickly pulling an Aero- heights of popularity at frat parties and necessarily lead to self-harm among Shot out of his faded chambray shirt football pre-games a few years ago. It, college students? So, I say let’s prove pocket as he gazes down at it with a too, inspired an FDA warning. Four Loko ‘em wrong. If you cannot resist the envery small, very smug one-sided smile. has since been reintroduced to the mar- ticement of that sleek inhaler, use it The whole thing oozes sexiness. ket as a stimulant-free product. for an exam-season energy boost. That AeroShot made headlines a couple The FDA is probably right in ques- is, if the FDA does not remove it from weeks back when the FDA issued a tioning the safety of AeroShot. But I’m shelves by then. • MAY2012


Published with support from: Campus Progress, a division of the Center for American Progress. Campus Progress works to help young people — advocates, activists, journalists, artists — make their voices heard on issues that matter. Learn more at CampusProgress.org
This publication was funded at least in part by Student Fees which were appropriated and dispersed by the Student Government at UNC Chapel Hill.

Campus BluePrint is a non-partisan student publication that aims to provide a forum for open

dialogue on progressive ideals at UNC-Chapel Hill and in the greater community. 20


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