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September 05, 1991 - Image 34

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 5, 1991

Regents'
Campus deputization
sparks controversy

year

full

of

protests

p

The people who run the University

by Henry Goldblatt
Daily Staff Reporter
While there are tens of thou-
sands of people who come together
to, carry out the daily activities of
the University, there are eight peo-
ple who convene on* the University
once a month who have supreme
reign over University policy.
The University Board of Re-
gents, who govern policy on the
Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn
campuses, are elected officials who
hail from throughout Michigan,
from locations as close as Ann Ar-
tbor to as distant as Petoskey.
Regents meetings are held on the
third Thursday afternoon and Friday
morning of each month. Meetings
usually start at 1 p.m. and last until
4 p.m. The Thursday meetings are
followed by a public comments ses-
sion, which gives students a chance
to address their concerns about the
University to the regents.
In a given meeting, the regents
will decide on issues ranging from
faculty promotions and tenure to
the construction of new campus
buildings.
However, the regents' jurisdic-
tion goes beyond these issues which
,may seem insignificant to students.
The regents will set University tu-
ition and housing rates, and allocate
funding to the University's student
government, the Michigan Student
'Assembly. Last summer they voted
to deputize a campus security force
- a decision which spurred student
protests when students returned to
the University in the fall.
This year, students targeted the
regents meetings as an outlet for
protest.
'In November, when students ral-
lied to protest the deputization of
campus security, the regents'
Monthly meeting was moved from
is usual location in the Fleming
Administration Building to Crisler
Arena to reduce a "threat to safety"
according to a resolution read by
Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor).
Despite student outcries against

deputization, the regents said they
are satisfied with the job the campus
security is doing.
Although, Shirley McFee (R-
Battle Creek) was not a member of
the board when the regents origi-
nally voted to deputize the campus
police force, she said she feels the
force has fulfilled its goals.
"The force is working alright at
the present time," McFee said.
"There was a need for security on
campus. I have not seen evidence that
the deputies that have been hired
have breached the realm of propriety
to do what they were hired to do."
As the country went to war in
January, ralliers picketed both the
January and February meetings to
protest the Persian Gulf war.
In January, two protesters repre-
senting an anti-war group demand-
ing the University take a stance on
the war, were removed from the
meeting by campus security. The
public comments session following
this meeting was cancelled.
At February's meeting, an ad hoc
coalition of campus and local polit-
ical groups including, the AIDS
Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-
UP), People of Color Against the
War and Racism, Students Against
U.S. Intervention in the Gulf, took
the seats normally reserved for the
regents and University administra-
tors at the public comments ses-
sions and proclaimed themselves the
University's "new regents".
The "new regents" held a public
comments session to air their
grievances in lieu of the one nor-
mally held by the regents and Uni-
versity officers.
While the regents said various
protests grabbed their attention,
they said they felt protests were the
wrong way to express concern about
an issue.
In reference to the regental im-
posters, Regent Neal Nielsen (R-
Brighton) said "I think they don't
have the proper social graces to war-
rant discussion... This is not the ap-

101

Deane Baker Paul Brown
(R-Ann Arbor) (D-Petoskey)
Building contractor involved in real Lawyer
estate development Term expires 1994
Term expires 1996

*0;

Shirley McFee
(R-Battle Creek)/
Mayor of Battle Creek
Term expires 1998

Neal Nielsen
(R-Brighton)
Lawyer
Term expires 1992

Philip Power Veronica Smith
(D-Ann Arbor) (R-Grosse lie)
Chair of Suburban President of Regency
Communications Development
Term expires 1998 Term expires 1992

Nellie Varner
(D-Detroit)
Self employed in real estate/Taco
Bell franchise owner
Term expires 1996

James Waters
(D-Muskegon)
Law firm personnel director
Term expires 1994

propriate manner of delivery."
Other regents echoed Nielsen's
sentiments regarding this year's
protests.
"(The protests) get the regents'
attention, but in terms of being ef-
fective, supporting a position, and
attaching credibility to an issue,
protests are at the bottom of the

list of possible means," McFee said.
Baker who has been the target of
many of protests - including an
ACT-UP sponsored march on his
house last summer agreed with
McFee, but said he recognized the
ralliers' right to protest.
"The protests are not effective. I
believe in free speech and if that's
what they want to do, they can do
it... They have a right to (protest),
and I have a right to respond," Baker

said.
However, Vernoica Latta Smith
(R-Grosse Ile) said she felt the
protests were effective.
"The protests do get my atten-
tion. They express the idealism the
students feel. From that standpoint
they are understandable, It is a way
of letting their feelings be known,"
Smith said. "Maybe they went too
far at times, but to me it's not a
problem. They felt strongly about

U U

I 1

an issue and this was the only way
to bring it to the attention of tht
media and the regents."
However, the regents said be-
cause they are elected officials, they
are open to discourse with students.
"All of us are pretty open and
willing to talk and to meet with
anyone," said Regent Nellie Varner
(D-Detroit). "A regent is a public
servant and must be available to all
constituents including student9
When people call me I talk to
them...
Despite a year marked by
protests the regents said they enjoy
the job.
"The University is a marvelous
institution, it is a great honor to be
associated with it," Baker said. "The
opportunity to be in an environment
to interchange views with you*
people is particularly redeeming.'

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