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March 08, 1995 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-08

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One hundred four years of editoriial1 freedom


Tonight: Partly cloudy,
low around 15.
Tomorrow: Partly sunny,
high around 350

March 8, 1995




Regents plan board's 1st structural overhaul in 70 years

By Ronnie Glassberg
Daily Staff Reporter
The University Board of Regents is plan-
ning to overhaul its structure for the first time
since the 1920s, with a proposal to add com-
mittees and change the forum for public input.
The board changed the organization of its
monthly meetings last month, with the re-
*nts focusing on key issues and presenta-
tions by the executive officers- Thursday af-
ternoon and other business Friday morning.
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann
Arbor) said the proposal, which is expected to
be submitted within the next few months,
would form two four-member committees -
one focusing on financial issues, the other on

policy issues.
This proposal may allow the board to
circumvent the Michigan Open Meetings Act
of 1976, which requires public bodies to con-
duct nearly all business at open meetings.
University General Counsel Elsa Cole said
the regents would be able to close the commit-
tee meetings.
"The Open Meetings Act only applies to a
gathering of a quorum of the regents, which is
five," Cole asserted. "It's only when you have
a quorum of the regents that the law applies."
But Herschel Fink, a media attorney who
represents the Detroit Free Press, said a public
body cannot circumvent the Open Meetings
Act by such an action. "I think the law is clear

that any device whose purpose is to avoid
OMA is going to be struck down," he said.
Fink said committees also are subject to
the Open Meetings Act. "I think if the purpose
of the committee is to further the deliberation
process, then it needs to be open," he said.
Newman said she does not think the pro-
posal is intended to close the committee meet-
ings. "The intent is not to circumvent the
OMA," she said. "These committees will make
no decisions."
The regents operated under a committee
structure until the 1920s, said history Prof.
Nicholas Steneck, who teaches a course on
the University's history. He said the board
ended this structure because the University

had become too complicated.
"The regents had, in the early days, been
involved in all aspects of running the Univer-
sity," Steneck said.
Regent Philip Power (D-Ann Arbor) said
a return to the committee structure would
allow the regents to focus on specific areas. "
think the University is now too big and too
complicated for all the regents to learn every-
thing about everything," he said.
Power said the committee structure would
enable the board to consider specific policy
questions. "The committees are not empow-
ered to do anything. They are only empow-
ered to study in some detail and make recom-
mendations," he said.

Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Ar-
bor) said the regents now have an informal
system in which some members of the board
are recognized as more knowledgeable in
certain areas.
"I think formalizing that is to our advan-
tage," McGowan said. "I think an audit com-
mittee is essential. I think the board was
treading on dangerous waters by not having
that, and I'm glad we're talking about that."
Power said a change to the committee
structure would be proposed in two to three
Besides the possibility of changing to a
committee structure, the regents also are dis-
See REGENTS, Page 2

Fab Five era closes
tomght at Cnsler

By Paul Barger
Daily Basketball Writer
Through all the successes and con-
troversies it is all about to come to an
Crisler Arena will play host to the
b Five for the last time tonight when
the Michigan men's basketball team
(10-6 Big Ten, 16-12 overall) takes on
Penn State (8-8, 16-9).
Seniors Jimmy King and Ray Jack-
son will walk out on the court for the
final time, bringing to a close an im-
pressive and exciting four-year run.
"We've had a lot of games here and
's going to mean a lot," King said.
Wur backs are against the wall so I
have double incentive to do well."
King and Jackson are the only mem-
bers of the Fab Five that stuck it out for
four years in Ann Arbor. Chris Webber
left two years ago after his sophomore
season, and both Juwan Howard and
Jalen Rose left last year after their
junior seasons.
There is a lot on the line for both
*e Wolverines and the Lions. Michi-
gan has 16 wins on the season and
most observers seem to believe that
it will take a 17th victory for the team
to get a bid to the NCAA Tourna-

The Wolverines must travel to Pur-
due for the regular season finale Sun-
day, making tonight's contest a must-
win situation.
King and Jackson have never missed
the NCAA Tournament in their careers.
In fact, Michigan is the only team in the
nation to advance to the elite eight in
each of the last three seasons.
"Who knows if we have to win to
get in?" Michigan coach Steve Fisher
said. "We may have to win two, we
may already be in."
Penn State is considered a bubble
team as well. However, the Lions des-
perately need a win at Michigan to be
given real consideration by the selec-
tion committee.
The last time the teams met, Penn
State embarrassed the Wolverines, 73-
63, at State College. In that contest,
center Jon Amaechi ravaged Michi-
gan for 26 points and 14 rebounds.
Amaechi has since gone on to become
one of the most dominating players in
the conference.
"There is too much going on to get
sentimental,"Jackson said. "If I sit back
and think about everything since I've

MSA pres.
criticized for

By Amy Klein
Daily Staff Reporter
Last night's Michigan Student
Assembly meeting was abruptly cur-
tailed when MSA President Julie
Neenan refused to hear debate on two
One resolution condemned Lead-
ership 2017, a University-sponsored
conference Neenan attended last sum-
mer. The other resolution aimed to
recall Craig Greenberg, the chair of
the Student Regent Task Force.
Greenberg is a former president of
MSA and is a member of the Michi-
gan Party, the same political party as
LSA Rep. Dante Stella said he
feels the assembly should oppose
Leadership 2017.
"(Leadership) 2017 violates the
conflict of interest policy of MSA -
that there be no financial relation-
ships with the administration," said
LSA Rep. Dante Stella. "Dictating
(this resolution) is within the rights of
the MSA body."
When the resolution on Leader-
ship 2017 was proposed, Neenan im-
mediately overruled the statement.
"I overruled that resolution be-

cause it was dictating what MSA
members could do in an official ca-
pacity," Neenan said after the meet-
ing. "That's not a responsibility de-
lineated to the assembly, just to the
According to MSA's parliamen-
tary procedure, however, if a chair's
overruling is appealed by assembly
members, the executive officer then
must take a vote to determine whether
the decision will be discussed.
As Neenan proceeded rapidly
through the agenda, LSA Rep.
Jonathan Freeman moved the next
item before Neenan acknowledged
any appeals of her 2017 overruling,
including an appeal by Freeman.
Neenan could not call a vote as parlia-
mentary procedure dictates because
the next item had been moved.
"It's abusive of the powers of the
presidency to (not call for a vote),"
Stella said. "Just because she's the
president doesn't mean she's immune
from discussion."
Immediately following the meet-
ing, five MSA members, represented
by Freeman, originated an internal
lawsuit against Neenan, accusing her
See MSA, Page 2

Jimmy King and Ray Jackson will likely play their final home game tonight.

Former lecturer allegedly forged travel advance

By Lisa Dines
ly News Editor
Former communication lecturer
Nancy Thornhill forged the signature
on a University travel advance note for
$5,000, Washtenaw County Assistant
Prosecutor Larry Burgess said.
Burgess is handling the prosecu-
tion of Thornhill, who pleaded no con-
test in Washtenaw County Circuit Court
last month to a charge of combining
University money with personal funds.
* Under the Freedom of Informa-
tion Act, The Michigan Daily ob-
tained yesterday the allegedly forged
advance and other travel reports
Thornhill filed while organizing a
conference last summer.
The advances show that Thornhill
received $26,200 from the University
while planning a conference for the
Society for Human Behavior and Evo-
*tion last summer.
An expense report, which accounted
for only $15,100 and included receipts
for slightly less than $7,000, was re-
turned unsigned to the Travel Audit
Office. The remaining $11,100 ad-
vanced to Thornhill is not documented
in the report.
Thornhill will be sentenced March
16 by Circuit Court Judge Patrick
0onlin. The University will ask for
stitution for missing funds amount-
ing $30,319 at the sentencing.

"Ihe paper trail
Here is a Jist of the travel advances Nancy Thornhill received last year
for the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference:

March 30
May 12
June 10
June 16
June 19
Sept. 12
Oct. 11


hosting expenses
general expenses
general expenses
general expenses
prepaid production costs:
T-shirt manufacturing
money to speakers*

* the allegedly forged advance

The Department of Public Safety
considers the investigation open until
after the sentencing. Sgt. Kevin
McNulty was reluctant to release spe-
cifics about the case but said the resti-
tution request includes University funds
and money owed to individual society
members who were promised refunds.
McNulty said Thomhill had prom-
ised to repay the travel advances with
the conference's registration fees. He
added that the expenses incurred dur-
ing the conference "were a significant
figure less than the advances."
Human Behavior and Evolution
Society member Napoleon Chagnon
said the society will not make any
statements until after the sentencing.
The expense report filed with the

Travel Audit Office included checks
written to individuals as well as re-
ceipts for books, paper supplies and
food for the conference.
The conference took place June 16-
19, but two advances were issued after
the conference was complete. The alleg-
edly forged advance was dated Oct. 11.
Interim communication chair John
Chamberlin said it is unusual to issue
an advance for an event that has taken
place already.
"It does seem to me to get an ad-
vance to repay people for money al-
ready put in seems a little odd," he said.
University spokeswoman Julie
Peterson said the University does issue
advances occassionally for past events
when the faculty member needs to

pay bills immediately.
"The reason people use travel ad-
vances is so they can pay bills coming
due," she said. "They still must file a
travel expense report."
Although Thornhill could contest
the restitution figure during the sen-
tencingher attorney, Thomas O'Brien
said Thornhill plans to restore the full
amount. "We will accept that amount."
He added that the University has
agreed not to file future charges against
Thornhill for the co-mingling incident.
Burgess said, "Once the court has
pronounced restitution, we better have
it all."
Chamberlin said he is relieved the
case is nearly finished.
"I am glad that the University will
get its money back," he said. "I will be
glad to see this resolved and behind us."
Thornhill, who taught Communica-
tion 312: "Communication and Con-
temporary Society" last term, was sus-
pended in December. Her salary was
$31,350 for an eight-month appointment.
Thornhill was charged under a
Michigan statute that declares it un-
lawful to co-mingle public money
with personal funds. She faces a pen-
alty of up to $1,000 fine or a two-year
prison term.
Thornhill, who has left Michigan
and now resides in California, could
not be reached for comment.

Baker remains in jail; judge
to hold bond hearing today

By Josh White
Daily Staff Reporter
LSA sophomore Jake Baker remains
in Milan Federal Prison after the 6th
Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati
allowed his detention order to stand, his
attorney said yesterday.
"The panel of judges ruled that the
previous decision should not be over-
turned," Baker's attorney Douglas
Mullkoff said last night.
Federal Judge Avern Cohn, how-
ever, decided late yesterday afternoon
to schedule another detention hearing
for 10:30 a.m. today, after the 6th Cir-
cuit Court granted him the right to do so
despite a U.S. Attorney's office emer-
gency motion to block such an action.
Cohn sent a letter to the 6th Circuit
Court Monday night in which he re-
quested jurisdiction and the right to
hear Baker's bond appeal, Mullkoff
said. Cohn, who is the assigned judge

for Baker's trial, could not be reached
for comment last night.
The U.S. Attorney's Office sent
an emergency motion to the 6th Cir-
cuit Court Monday night, asking that
Cohn's request for involvement in the
bond issue be denied, Mullkoff said.
"The question was whether there
is concurrent jurisdiction, which
would allow both the appeals and the
District Court to have a say in Mr.
Baker's detention," he said. "The rul-
ing said that the District Court may
always reconsider a previous deci-
sion if there is new evidence or facts
not previously considered."
Cohn will revisit the bond issue
today in U.S. District Court in Detroit
and will decide whether or not Baker
should remain in prison until his April
3 trial date.
The U.S. Attorney's Office could
not be reached for comment last night.

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