Ninety-eight years of editorial freedom
Vol. XCVIII, No.69
Ann Arbor, Michigan - Monday, January 11, 1988
Copyright 1988', The Michigan Daily
Proposal imposes sanctions
By STEVE KNOPPER
A week after assuming office, Interim University President
Robben Fleming has drafted a policy to deter, through academic
punishments, student harassment and discrimination.
Several students said yesterday that Fleming's draft is similar
to, if not harsher than, the proposed code of non-academic conduct
that has been the subject of intense debate the past four years.
Fleming, in a confidential document made public by the
Michigan Student Assembly yesterday, outlined sanctions, such as
academic probation or suspension, against students who verbally
or physically harass others.
A BOARD of Regents' bylaw states that any change in the
rules of non-academic conduct must be approved by the University
Council, a nine-member committee of students, faculty, and
administrators. It must also be ratified by MSA and the faculty's
Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs.
But Fleming, in the draft, said he proposes "to establish a
system for handling complaints of discriminatory behavior on the
part of students" through another regental bylaw that grants the
president power to promote the "maintenance of health, diligence,
and order among the students."
Fleming said he plans to release the document publicly today,
and that it was still a draft. The code will not go into effect, he
said, until he presents it publicly for review.
He said in an interview that "assuming it's a viable idea," he
will implement the policy.
Fleming's draft, in bypassing the council process, has enraged
David Newblatt, an LSA senior and council co-chair. "As a
University Council member, I think it's an outrage that they're
totally ignoring the University Council process and bylaw
process," he said.
PROF. SHAW Livermore, former co-chair of University
Council, said he has not seen the document.
According to the document, Fleming is proposing the new rules
in response to discriminatory acts on campus, such as the racist
jokes that were aired last year on WJJX by two students.
"We will not succeed in our mission of eradicating
discrimination unless all of us are prepared to cooperate in making
it clear to our peers that such conduct is unacceptable," Fleming's
Fleming's draft defines "discriminatory conduct" using a Board
of Regents' bylaw regarding equal opportunity, and former
President Harold Shapiro's 1984 policy statement against
discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The proposed rules, which would apply "everywhere on the
entire campus," imposes different penalties for three levels of
-Written or spoken harassment would be punishable by
"probation" if a student refuses to apologize;
,Physical contact would be punishable by a one-semester
suspension after a second offense.
-Assault would be punishable by a one-year suspension.
Panels set up by the respective schools and colleges would
judge whether students are guilty.
MANY student leaders say Fleming's statement might
suppress Constitutional freedoms of speech and demonstration and
unjustly regulates non-academic behavior. But Fleming, in his
document, argued that the University is justified in having control
over students' behavior outside of classes.
"Some groups have taken the position that the University
cannot exert internal discipline over events which are not
'academic' in nature. That view is, I believe, patently'in error.
Those who believe it is not have recourse to the courts to
challenge actions which they believe contravene the law," the
MSA President Ken Weine countered, "Students should not
have to trade First Amendment rights for their degrees. Racist or
discriminatory acts should be dealt with through education rather
than prevention. Something can be done. This is just the wrong
way to do it."
LAW STUDENT Eric Schnaufer, who helped organize the
original "No Code" movement in 1984, said, "This is the vaguest,
nastiest, most obnoxious code proposed to date. Fleming's
statement on discrimination is the boldest and loudest 'fuck you'
to students in years."
But Fleming said in the draft, "Enforcement of our rules,
especially in connection with the written or spoken word, is
complicated by our Constitutional rights of free speech."
Fleming's proposed rules would be enforced by the deans of the
schools and colleges. Accused students would be allowed a hearing
according to the respective college's procedures.
Initially, it seems that Fleming's proposal has the support of
other University administrators. Rackham Graduate School Dean
John D'Arms, who said he saw an early draft of the document, said
yesterday, "I thought it was a large-spirited and honest attempt to
deal with a series of interconnected and complex problems."
D'Arms said Rackham already has "a very carefully articulated
procedure... and an appeals panel where the objectives and appeals
processes are carefully spelled out." He said Rackham is "already
equipped" to handle Fleming's proposals.
VIRGINIA Nordby, executive assistant to the president, said,
"I'm pleased that (Fleming) has got a concept for articulating away
some of the difficult problems of discrimination on campus. It's
important to get off of ground zero."
However, a number of other University officials, including
regents Paul Brown (D-Petoskey), Philip Power (D-Ann Arbor),
and Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor), said yesterday that they have not
seen Fleming's draft and would not comment. It's unknown
whether regents would oppose an interim president's effort to enact
rules without their approval.
Harris McClamroch, chair of the Senate Advisory Committee
on University Affairs, said SACUA will discuss the document at
tonight's meeting, but would not comment until then.
The current University rules for non-academic conduct are much
less restrictive than those proposed in Fleming's paper. Those
rules, accepted in 1972 during Fleming's original term as
University President, were called "useless" by former President
Harold Shapiro in 1984.
SHAPIRO, who repeatedly stated his support for a code,
reconvened the University Council the same year to try to develop
new non-academic guidelines.
The following is the text of a draft proposal by University Interim
President Robben Fleming to the Board of Regents on the subject of
procedures to deal with "Discriminatory acts on the part of students":
DISCRIMINATORY ACTS ON THE PART OF
The faculty, the staff, the students, the administration and the
Regents have for some time been engaged in a discussion of how best
to deal with discriminatory conduct as defined by Section 14.06 of the
Regental Bylaws, and by President Harold Shapiro's Presidential Policy
Statement on sexual orientation, dated March 21, 1984.
To refresh the memory of the University community, Section 14.06
reads as follows:
"The University is committed to compliance with all applicable
laws regarding nondiscrimination. Furthermore, it shall strive to build a
diverse community in which opportunity is equal for all persons
regardless of race sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry,
age, marital status, handicap, or Vietnam veteran status. It shall exert
its leadership for the achievement of this goal by all parties with which
the University transacts business, which it recognizes, or with which
students or employees of the University are involved."
President Shapiro's policy statement of March 21, 1984 reads:
"The University of Michigan believes that education and
employment decisions should be based on individuals' abilities and
qualifications and should not be based on irrelevant factors or personal
characteristics which have no connection with academic abilities or job
Among the traditional factors which are generally 'irrelevant' are
race, sex, religion and national origin. It is the policy of The University
of Michigan that and individual's sexual orientation be treated in the
same manner. Such a policy ensures that only relevant factors are
considered and that equitable and consistent standards of conduct and
performance are applied.
Any University employee having a complaint of discrimination
because of sexual orientation should notify her/his immediate
supervisor or the Staff and Union Relations Office in the appropriate
personnel service center. A student should notify the Affirmative Action
Coordinator in her/his school or college or the Coordinator in the
Office of the Vice President for Student Services. At any time, a student
or employee may call the Affirmative Action Office or the Human
Sexuality Office for counseling and advice.
It should be noted that this policy does not apply to the University's
relationship with outside organizations, including the federal
government, the military, and ROTC."
There is a difference of opinion within the University community as
to whether President Shapiro's policy statement with respect to sexual
orientation ought simply to be incorporated into Section 14.06 of the
Regental Bylaws. For two reasons, I do not, at this time, propose to
resolve that difference. The first reason is that Regental Bylaw 14.06 is
in accord with both the state and federal laws. The Regents are elected t
govern the University in the best interests of the people of the state, no
just those who happen to inhabit the campuses at any given time. The
Bylaw accords with the expressed public policy of both the state and the
nation. Though they may wish to consolidate the Presidential statemen
into Section 14.06 at some future date, it is not unreasonable for the
Regents to allow it to remain as it is for the time being.
See TEXT, Page 9
UCAR demands Steiner
apologize for remarks
By LISA POLLAK
and JIM PONIEWOZIK
University Black student activists said they
want LSA Dean Peter Steiner to apologize for
making "racist and offensive" remarks about
institutions - including Wayne State and
Howard University. Our challenge is not to
emulate them, but to make what is the essen-
tial quality of the University of Michigan
available to more minorities," he said.