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December 12, 1989 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-12

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4

4

OPINION
Tuesday, December 12, 1989
j1 From Tiananmen Square to the Diag:

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Campus democaracy

The Michigan Daily
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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.

Vol. C, No. 68

Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

U..,

Minder the new protest policy guidelines, students could be arrested by campus
,security officers, put on disciplinary probation, or expelled for protests like this.
Stop the protest policy

by Corey Dolgon
In the Fall of 1985, the University
Civil Liberties Board (CLB) began
receiving complaints from student
protestors who had been physically
battered and forcefully quieted by campus
security and city police officers while
demonstrating at a visit by then Vice-
President George Bush, and at a live
broadcast of the Today Show from the
Diag.
A CLB subcommittee expressed concern
that "University management of the events
of October... may be excessively
conservative. Police action... restricting
access to buildings by protestors (but not
others), limiting the positions where
protestors may stand (but not others)...
and failing to intervene when a crowd uses
active force against demonstrators yet on
other occasions intervening with
considerable violence when protestors use
passive means of resistance, seem
designed to frustrate attempts at free
political expression, and seem designed
for little else." The board concluded that
"the University community lacks the
adequate procedures to protect the rights of
[community] members to engage in
nonviolent protest and dissent."
What was initially a call for the greater
protection of protestors became the current
"Statement on Freedom of Speech and
Artistic Expression: The Rights and
Obligations of Speakers, Performers,
Audience Members, and Protestors at the
U-M," which the Regents adopted in July,
1988. The CLB was no longer responding
to protestors' complaints of harassment,
but to Regent Baker's claim that the Latin
American Solidarity Committee (LASC)
had "assaulted" academic freedom by
protesting a Jeanne Kirkpatrick
"symposium."
Then-President Fleming was asked to
return to the Regents with a plan that
would establish procedures to assure the
"peaceful functioning of University
scholarly and other activities." Fleming
then asked the CLB to rush their
completion of the "protest guidelines" and
the CLB, despite student objections,
agreed.
Even with the CLB's "Statement," the
administration had other problems.
Although inactive, the University Council
(established by Regental Bylaw 7.02 in
1973) still existed. The Council,
comprised of three students, three faculty,
and three administrators, was founded on
the principle that a community should be
governed by rules to which its members
have assented, either directly or through
their popularly elected representatives.
But the Council had been unable to
produce any policy acceptable to all three
constituencies.
Frustrated by the students' No Code
stance, the administration developed a new
strategy when the Council had stopped
meeting, by early 1988. Using the need
for a policy on racial discrimination and
harassment, the administration drew up

just such a document, and the Regents
passed it in April, 1988. This policy had
been opposed by most anti-racist groups
on campus (mostly because of its focus on
students as sole "violators" and the
administration as sole"prosecutors aitd
judges,") and it conflicted with the student
government's No Code position. By
passing it, the administration successfully
established a precedent for bypassing the
University Council.
By the Summer of 1988, a proposal to
rescind bylaw 7.02 was the next logical
step. But President Fleming surprised
CLB members by including the
destruction of the Council along with the
"protest guidelines,"and a call for the
deputization of security members, in a
single package of recommendations to the
Regents. The CLB called an emergency
meeting to discuss their document's "new"
context.
Historically, the board had supported the
Council. In 1984, when President Shapiro
threatened 7.02, the CLB responded that
"[We] believe that it is imperative to
preserve for the University the principle of
republican democracy inscribed in Bylaw
7.02." Although student members of the
CLB suggested that, given the new
situation in 1988, the board should
withdraw supporting its own document,
the CLB instead decided to send a letter to
Fleming echoing its 1984 message: "the
Board believes it to be a basic principle of
civil liberty that those who bear the forces
of law should participate in the making of
law, either directly or through appropriate
representative bodies supporting 7.02."

compromised: they agreed to work on
implementation procedures for a policy
they fought against; they agreed to violate
the spirit of 7.02 by understanding that '
they had to produce a document or the
Council would be destroyed. And they
agreed to "consider" academic sanctions for
non-academic conduct in the hopes of
saving the Council. Extortion plays havoc
with principles.
Last April, the Regents extended the
Council's suspension to allow them six
more months, and last month the Council
began circulating a draft for procedures to
implement the "protest policy." 4
This Thursday, the Regents will
consider whether to reinstate the powers of
the University Council or to rescind
Bylaw 7.02 once and for all. One might be
disappointed with the result.
The Regents have made clear their belief
that students and faculty should not have
veto power, should not have a vote, in
policy-making decisions. In fact, Regent
Baker went so far as to say he thought the
Bylaw was "stupid," an abrogation of the
Regents' power, and that he couldn't
understand "why the [Regents] had passed
it in the first place."
Ultimately, Baker's question is an
important one, though, and a key to
understanding why the context for debating
campus democracy has changed, and why
it has died a slow, deliberate death.
When the Regents established Bylaw
7.02, they were responding to current
student protests against administrative
authoritarianism, and a decade of mass
demonstrations. Regents hoped to calm

IIS THURSDAY, while students are
y studying for exams, the Univer-
Board of Regents will hear public
ments and approve guidelines to
ke possible the implementation of
University's "Policy on Freedom of
ech and Artistic Expression."
he policy's real intent belies its title;
as never meant to protect students'
dom of speech. If the regents adopt
proposed guidelines, students'
is to political expression on campus
be severely curtailed.
riginally proposed by Regent Deane
er (R-Ann Arbor) in May 1988, the
icy is designed to inhibit and punish
dent protest. Baker's proposal was
rred by the protest at graduation that
r of Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the
orarydegree recipient.
tudents argued that as someone
o supported policies of mass murder
repression during her term as U.S.
resentative to the U.N., Kirkpatrick
uld not be honored with a degree
im the University. Led by the Latin
erican Solidarity Committee
SC), students passed out fliers de-
ing Kirkpatrick's miserable record
human rights, protested and heckled
e graduation ceremony, and at a fo-
she was to participate in the iight
ore graduation. Former Attorney
neral Meese, George Bush and CIA
ruiters have received a similar re-
4,tion from students in previous
rs.
fBaker made no attempt to hide the
tivations behind his proposal. He
faced it with the comment that "on
aduation Day, persons unknown
Wised out an unsigned, vitriolic flyer
fritical of Dr. Kirkpatrick. Further,
eembers of the LASC attempted to dis-
t the graduation ceremony.
"Over the past few years," he added,
Mere have been similar attacks on the
.iversity, its administration, its re-
ts and campus visitors, including
sident Ford, Vice President Bush,
torney General Meese, Alexander
+ig and others. Certainly attacks on
dents, administrators, and visitors are
unacceptable conduct. However, in
nme ways the direct assault on aca-
2mic freedom is more serious because
a challenges the University and its pur-
se. Mr. President, the time has come
'regain control of this campus so that
$i University might once again fune-
"in as a place of autonomy, civility
scholarly pursuit."
The First Amendment was created to
btect the speech of U.S. citizens. It
cifically exempts U.S. government
icials, since they have almost unlim-
access to media and other forms of
efpression. But the University admin-
istration is not concerned with uphold-
mng the U.S. Constitution. President
Duderstadt and the regents are simply
concerned with making sure their in-

vited guests do not experience any dis-
comfort during their stay on campus -
even if they have committed war crimes
and supported human rights violations
all over the world.
In July, the regents formally adopted
the policy on "Freedom of Speech and
Artistic Expression," which contains
guidelines on what is and what is not
protected speech and acceptable con-
duct. Among other violations of stu-
dents rights, the policy allows depu-
tized University security officers to
"take appropriate measures" when they
deem protestors to be infringing on
someone's freedom of speech.
Until now, the policy has been inef-
fectual because there has been no
method by which to enforce it. Accord-
ing to regental bylaw 7.02, U-Council,
a committee of three students, three
faculty, and three administrators, is
supposed to create and approve all
codes of non-academic conduct. How-
ever, at the same meeting during which
they adopted the protest policy, the re-
gents' threatened to disband U-Council
unless it could prove that it could work
constructively.
Student members of U-Council have
consistently refused to accept the codes
of non-academic conduct that the Uni-
versity has tried to pass through the
Council. In order to enact the anti-dis-
criminatory harassment policy now in
effect, President Duderstadt had to use
regental Bylaw 2.01, which allows the
president to violate all other bylaws.
Under the regents' threat to disband
it if it did not come through with im-
plementation guidelines to the protest
policy, the U-Council was forced to
compromise its principled stand against
undemocratic codes of non-academic
conduct. The guidelines it came up
with include sanctions ranging from a
warning to disciplinary probation to
expulsion.
Though the policy would apply to
faculty and administrators as well as to
students, it is doubtful that either of the
former groups would be prosecuted
under it. The guidelines do not ade-
quately protect students, and more im-
portantly they legitimize a policy de-
signed to restrict students' freedom of
expression.
But the regents' design to limit stu-
dent expression and input into Uni-
versity policies does not end there.
They may still carry out their threat to
disband U-Council, in -spite of its
proven ability to compromise.
Students who, care about their rights
to free speech and to have a voice in
University policies which directly af-
fect them should go to the regents'
public comments session this Thursday
at 4 p.m. in the Anderson Room of the
Union. Reject the protest policy guide-
lines and demand that U-Council con-
tinue to exist.

'The Regents have made clear their belief that
students and faculty should not have veto power,
should not have a vote, in policy-making decisions. In
fact, Regent Baker went so far as to say he thought
the Bylaw was "stupid," an abrogation of the Regents'
power, and that he couldn't understand "why the
[Regents] had passed it in the first place."'

But by submitting their "protest
guidelines" directly to Fleming and the
Regents, while still trying to maintain the
Council's "authority in rule-making," the
CLB was caught in a contradiction they
could only hope would be lost in the dusty
attics of institutional memories.
Public pressure convinced President
Fleming and the Regents not to rescind
Bylaw 7.02 immediately, but to suspend
the Council's powers until April,1989.
During the Fall of 1988, the faculty senate
and MSA worked to revitalize the Council
with new operating procedures and a new
goal: to demonstrate that the Council
could produce a finished policy. Although
MSA recommended that the Council work
on the discriminatory harassment policy,
President Duderstadt suggested tackling
implementation procedures for the "protest
guidelines." After all, it was only fitting
that after Fleming had hoodwinked the
CLB with them, perhaps they could prove
useful for Duderstadt, too. So MSA reps

dissent by including students in policy
making decisions.
But times have changed. Students seerO
less interested in politics and apathetiq
towards most campus issues. Even the
politically active Left on campus is often
fragmented and remains isolated in its own
postmodern struggles. So, what once
seemed a necessary tactic to quell activist
in 1973, now stands as an antiquated relic
awaiting museum space.
The lesson that University students are
about to learn is the same one that
students in China, Eastern Europe, South
Africa, and Central America have already
learned: democracy is not something you
are born with or given, it's something you
must continually struggle for. I urge the
students of Michigan to attend the Regent
Public Comments session at 4:00 o4
Thursday and demand the preservation of a
powerful U-Council. Join the struggle.
Corey Dolgon is a student representative
on University Council and a forme
member of the Civil Liberties Board.

MSA
by Michelle Pu
and Sumi Malh
We are writing this letter t
confusion that has surrour
elections.
This fall is the first t
elections has been held for
Student Publications (BPS) i
The Bylaws of the Rege
there shall be an election
every two years. There is n
the board in the Compiled
All-Campus Constitution of
Student Assembly. Due to
information about the BP
confusion among the Execu
Central Student Judiciary ((
Election Staff as to what par
play in the Board of Studen
election.
There were two problems
ballots. First, Steve Susswei
left off of the ballot. Secon
instructions on the ballots w
Undergraduate and graduate cc
supposed to be elected by th
constituencies, but studentsN
undergraduate and graduate ca
The BPS election was de
by the Election Court of CSJ
Our second concern is t

voting stories
tnam Daily's reporting has been incorrect or Mon
misleading. Because the BPS election the d
Zotra directly concerns the Daily, we believe for o
o clear up the that many facts have been left out of the end
nded the fall Daily articles in order to sway the opinion Inev
of readers to that of The Daily's. temj
ime that an Many efforts have been made by the wor
the Board of Election Staff to keep the Daily accurately for tl
n 18 years. apprised of the election activities. send
nts state that Unfortunately the reporters covering the payi
for the BPS election have not always chosen to use the deci
o reference to factual information we have given them in fulfi
Code or the their stories. D
the Michigan A front page article, written on Monday, even
the lack of December 5 in regards to the Election them
S there was Directors leaving town, called the Election We(
tive Officers, Directors irresponsible for leaving after all them
CSJ), and the of the questions that surrounded the of cc
t MSA was to elections. We would like to clear up this edito
t Publications issue. Sumi left on Friday night for a unin
conference, a commitment she had made lette
with the BPS prior to this term. Michelle went home on V
n s name was Friday evening for a family occasion and elec
d, the voting returned to Ann Arbor on Saturday this
ere incorrect. morning. Never once did reporters try to mis
andidates were reach us for comment. statt
eir respective A second misrepresentation was the cost H
voted for both of the election errors. The total cost of all read
ndidates. of the ballots was approximately $150. elec
clared invalid Errors made will be of no additional cost the
J. to the students. The Election Staff may care
he confusion have to juggle their budget a little, but thet

bi a s e d
day's Opinion Page. Eventually, as
day wore on, we had too many worker$
cur workload. We were getting near the
of the vote tabulating process.
itably, we were forced to let some
porary workers go. Because some
kers had not yet been working at MSA
he required four hours we chose not to
3 them home because we would be
ng for their services anyway. So we
ded to release those workers who had
illed the quota.
aily editors came by later Thursday
ping after Redina had written a letter to
to see if his accusations were true
denied the allegations and explained to
nthat Redina had heard bits and pieceS
onversations about the elections. The
ors agreed that the worker seemed to be
formed and merely angry. But the
r was printed on the Opinion Page.

oter turnout was quite low this
tion. The Daily had a role to play in
fact. Daily reporters went to poll sites
informing poll workers about the
us of ballots and the election itself. 1
opefully all of the people who have
d the Daily articles about the MSA fall
tions over the past week will not take
reporters' word as the last. Please
efully sort through the articles to find
truth and disregard the sensationalism.

,I

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