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September 06, 1990 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-06

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Page 2-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 6, 1990

'U' non-academic control:

How much is too much?

Harassment policy not
cure for 'U' problems


by Daily Staff
When the University Council
was disbanded last December by the
Regents of the University, formid-
able decision-making power in
University policy was taken away
from the students.
If the administration decides to re-
instate U-Council, complying with a
request made by the student advisory
commission on anti-discrimination
and harassment, the debate over a
possible policy on anti-discrimina-
tion and harassment will once again
have equal student input.
While the possible reinstatement
of the council should be commended,
the potential support of student lead-
ers for any policy that would result
in the regulation of free speech is
A harassment policy was insti-
tuted in May 1988 in response to ra-
cial incidents that had occurred dur-
ing 1987 at the University. How-
ever, this policy was declared uncon-
stitutional by the U.S. District
Court in 1989. The decision pointed
out that the policy violated students'
first amendment rights. No matter
how different the wording, the bot-
tom line is that any policy would be
a regulation of students' right to free
The student advisory commission
on anti-discrimination and harass-
ment has come up with a proposal
for a harassment policy. Jennifer

Van Valey, commission Chair and
Michigan Student Assembly Presi-
dent has been a strong proponent of
the policy.
This deviation from the position
of the students on the previous U-
Council (these students wanted no
policy regulating students' lives) is
disturbing. The desire of student
leaders for a harassment policy opens
the door for any University regula-
tion of student life, and paves the
way for the institution of a non-aca-
demic code of conduct - something
that would give the 'U' all-encom-
passing power over students' lives.
Discriminatory and harassing be-
havior is already regulated by the
laws of this nation. A University
policy would only serve to further
encroach on students' non-academic
lives by curtailing their First
Amendment rights.
Beside the issue of limitations on
freedom of speech, there is serious
question over whether or not the pol-
icy will achieve its desired affect.
A harassment policy would only
address the symptoms of the prob-
lems of racial and sexual intolerance
on campus. The University should
address these issues through educa-
tion both in and out of the class-
room. Central to any idea of diver-
sity and tolerance is the respect for
opposing points of view.
A policy regulating speech would
only inhibit the free and frank dis-
cussion which is essential to any
learning process, particularly when
the subject is of burning importance.
The University should provide an
open educational environment, where
all parties will be able to express
their concerns and goals.
Until this is realized, the prob-
lems of racial and sexual intolerance
at the University will continue.
Only through education will we
achieve a community in which stu-
dents of different origins can respect
and understand those differences.


Would you trust these men with guns? The University doesn't either... yet. But, by a 6-1 vote last June, the University's Board of Regents
passed a bill that smoothed the path for the deputization of campus security officers, which will, among other things, allow them to carry
guns. Can heat-packing housing security officers be far behind?
Move to deputi zation of camHpus police
further threatens student's freedom

Harassment policy is
diferent than a code

by Jeff Gauthier and
Lisa Schwartzman
The recent proliferation of pro-
posals from the administration, rang-
ing from new protest policies on the
Diag to a comprehensive code of
student conduct, has done much to
confuse the discussion of a revised
Policy on Discriminatory Harass-
ment. Too often, legitimate concerns
regarding a code's arbitrary extension
of control over the students of the
University is simply conflated with
opposition to a harassment policy.
Amid such confusion, it is more
Necessary to
proteCt studentfs'
important than ever to mark off the
distinctions between an effective
University-wide Policy on Discrimi-
natory Harassment and the various
proposed codes of student conduct.
In the first place, harassment
must not be protected behavior. Ha-
rassment is verbal or physical con-
duct which interferes with an indi-
vidual's education or work on the
basis of her or his membership in a

historically oppressed group. As
such, it is essential to the mainte-
nance of a free and open educational
and work climate on the campus that
such conduct be eliminated. Clearly
this goal is importantly different
from that of codes, which aim to
regulate student behavior outside the
An effective harassment policy
would create a mechanism to protect
interests of those students whose
rights have been systematically de-
nied. The code's composition of aca-
demic sanctions on students for ac-
tions such as getting drunk at a party
or engaging in a protest, on the
other hand, would tend only to stifle
expression on campus and, as critics
have correctly observed, curtail stu-
dent rights. It is the protection of
these fragile rights that underlies
both opposition to the codes and the
call for a policy on harassment.
Secondly, the protection of rights
embodied in an effective policy could
not be adequately enforced by a code
of student conduct inasmuch as the
sources of harassment extend beyond
students. In fact, administrators and
faculty, with their power over stu-
dents, are in a position to commit
some of the most serious acts of ha-
rassment. Some of the most publi-
cized and damaging instances of ra-
cial and sexual harassment in recent
years have come from this part of
the University.
Accordingly, any policy address-
ing harassment must extend to all

by Daily Staff
On June 22, the University
Board of Regents voted 6-1 in favor
of the institution of a campus po-
lice force. This comes on the heels
of the State House passing a bill
that would allow state universities
to deputize their own police forces
that would be accountable not to
the state, but to the regents of that
However, the implications of
this run far deeper. Over the past
year, the regents and President Dud-
erstadt have stepped up their efforts
to encroach upon students' non-aca-
demic lives and rights to free ex-
pression. The possibilities of a code
of non-academic conduct, a policy
on anti-discrimination and harass-
ment and the issue of deputization
all threaten to restrict the academic
freedoms we now enjoy at the Uni-
One by one, the pieces of this
puzzle of non-academic regulation
are being put into place, until fi-
nally, we will have a university in
which the lives of students are con-
trolled entirely by the administra-
The direct relationship between
deputization and the code of non-
academic conduct is seen quite evi-
dently in the report of the Task
Force on Campus Safety and Secu-

rity, in which the conclusion re-
ferred explicitly to the code of non-
academic conduct and the necessity
of implementing one as a vehicle
for bringing criminal or inteal
charges, when necessary.
The re-surfacing of the debate
over a code of non-academic con-
duct, the possibility of a policy on
discrimination and harassment and
now the support of the regents for a
deputized campus security force all
within the last year, then, was defi-
nitely no coincidence.
Together, these policies create a
situation in which the administra-
tion will be able to stilfe any stu-
dent opposition to University poli-
cies - enforced by the deputized
security force.
We could foreseeably have a
campus security force that would
enforce the code and the harassment
policy. The University will push
for all three, as without one the
puzzle is incomplete.
Outside the issue of the connec-
tions between security deputization
and the code and harassment policy,
the deputization issue alone is a
policy with very little support.
Probably the biggest opponent
of the policy is the City of Ann
Arbor. The City Council as well as
the city administrator have spoken
out against the idea.

The main problem they have
with deputization is the amount of
money the city stands to lose from
it. Currently the University pays
the city for police officers to patrol
campus. Obviously, this money
would stop if there was a U' police
Also included in the regents' ac-
tion request for a deputized security
force is the establishment of a Uni-
versity Parking Violations Bureau.
This would mean that the city
would no longer have jurisdiction
on campus to issues parking tick-
Currently one-tenth of the city's
total revenue ($1 million) comes
from the money generated from
parking tickets and the money the
University pays for police protec-
tion. The loss of this revenue
would be devastating for the city's
Some city officials have threat-
ened to respond to this loss of rev-
enue by instituting taxes on the
University for such things as the
sale of football tickets or tuition.
What this means in the long run is
that students will end up absorbing
the cost of not only the training of
campus security, but the loss of
revenue the city stands to weather.
Also in great opposition to this
policy as well as the debate over a

code is the student body. Although
the University has masqueraded a
certain amount of student support
for these issues, student leaders
have continuously been opposed to
The students on University
Council, which was established to
provide students with an equal voice
in University policy-making, were
vehemently opposed to a code.
Their stern opposition to the pol-
icy, however, cost them their posi-
tions, as the Regents saw fit in De-
cember of 1989 to dissolve the
council, claiming it wasn't per-
forming its assigned functions.
The dissolution of this body cut
off any formidable student voice on
this issue, and thus rendered the stu-
dent body prone to the whims of
the Regents and President Duder-
And those whims have now in-
stituted the means for this campus
to have deputized security - a code
will not be far behind.
Now, more than ever, students
need to take action. For too long,
now, the student body as a whole
has sat idle, while the administra-
tion has inched slowly toward com-
plete control of our non-academic
lives. If students do not take action
quickly, before long it will be too
late for protest.


persons in the community, affording
those students who are the victims
of harassment the opportunity to
confront their oppressors, regardless
of their status within the University.
Moreover, it is essential to the effec-
tiveness of such a policy that those
students who are the victims and po-'
tential victims of such oppression
(e.g. people of color, women, les-
bians and gay men, handicapped per-
sons) have a major role in its formu-
lation and implementation.
Thirdly, in contrast to the em-
phases on punishment and contain-
ment on a restrictive code, an effec-
tive harassment policy must focus
upon education and change in basic
attitudes on the campus. Given the
pervasiveness of racism, sexism,
homophobia, and other historical
forms of oppression in our society,

many actions not consciously in-
tended as harassment may have that
effect. In such cases, it is critical
that those who may have unwit-
tingly engaged in this behavior come
to an understanding of the nature of
their action. This understanding will

policy. Clearly, it is the victims of
oppression who have the greatest in-
sight into the nature of harassment.
Of course, if it is to fulfill these
wider educational aims, a policy
must be part of a broader approach to
the problems of historically disem-

'From the point of view of those in power, any
"restriction" may appear to be an impediment
to freedom. From the point of view of those
who are members of historically
disempowered groups, to restrict acts which
have played a part in socially defining them
as less than human beings can be a genuine

powered groups, however, for whom
the allegedly "unrestricted" climate
of our society has meant living with
harassment and discrimination, these
rights and liberties remain, at best,
the object of hope. The possibilit4
of a dangerous loss of freedom has
little meaning when the present situ-
ation is so far from being free.
Students from many different po-
litical perspectives --have justifiably
rejected proposals by the administra-
tion for restrictive codes of student
conduct. To view a discriminatory
harassment policy as such a restric-
tive code, however, is nothing less
than to reject the point of view o
those whose rights and freedom
would be protected under such a pol-
From the point of view of those
in power, any "restriction" may ap-
pear to be an impediment to free-
dom. From the point of view of
those who are members of histori-
cally disempowered groups, howe
ever, to restrict acts which have
played a part in socially defining


source of liberation'
be enhanced to the extent that stu-
dents who are the members of histor-
ically-subordinated groups are in-
volved in the implementation of the

1833 Washtenaw Avenue

powered groups on campus. As crit-
ics have consistently held, this ap-
proach must include increased hiring
and retention of women and minority
faculty, increased enrollment of mi-
nority students, and the development
of a mandatory class on racism.
Without those additional initiatives,
a harassment policy would be little
more than a disingenuous attempt to

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