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October 14, 1996 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-14

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i

LOCAL/STATE

The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 14, 1996 - 7A

Facuiy say
Surprised by lawsuit, one the facu
"It's extr
professors question University
its timing Robert Lind
psychology.
y David Rossman The Boar
StaffReporter - the
acuity members said the restraining University p
rder against the search process is both dent
iscouraging and shocking. Thanksgivin
"I was kind of startled. I assumed that "Someth
verything was in order," said history ought to
rof. Sidney Fine. "I assumed that the been ac
rocedure for the selection was in plished b
ccordance with the law." this po
Claiming that the University is vio- Lindsay
ating the state's Open Meetings Act "This
. a 1993 Michigan Supreme Court should
g stating that presidential searches been raised
ust be conducted in public, faculty the papers) 1
aid The Ann Arbor News, Detroit Free President
ress and The Detroit News have Committee
arred an image of the University - everything
Previous sea
By Jeff Eldridge
Daily Staff Reporter
The last time the University Board of Regents
picked a president, it took a ruling from the
Michigan Supreme Court and more than five years.
of legal wrangling before details of the selection
came out from the shadows.
In 1987 and '88, regents met secretly in sub-quo-
rum groups to discuss a pool of 250 candidates.
bers of the board whittled the list down to five
fnalists and eventually selected James Duderstadt.
"Last time, everything was in secret," said Joan
Lowenstein, an Ann Arbor attorney who specializes
in media law. "It was hard to even know whom they
had met with."
Thomas Roach, a former regent active in the 1988
search, said the regents believed they were in accor-
dance with the law because they gathered in sub-
quorum groups, and thus were not officially meet-
in ", Michigan's Open Meetings Act mandates all
lic bodies to make decisions publicly.
"As long as we didn't have a quorum present, the
regents could conduct interviews," Roach said.
The Ann Arbor News and Detroit Free Press filed
lawsuits in 1988 to gain access to documents per-
taining to the search.
And the high court came down hard against the
regents.
In its Sept. 28, 1993 ruling in Booth Newspapers,
Inc. vs. University of Michigan Board of Regents, the
1987-88 search process was declared illegal.
In this case, the board adopted a procedure that
vblated the OMA because the only part of the deci-
sion-making process that occurred in public was the

'U,

marred by papers

lty works to maintain.
emely important for the
to get a president," said
dsay, associate professor of
d of Regents hoped to select
12th
presi- n
by
ng.
hing :
have
com-
efore
oint,"
said.
issue
have Dunn
(by
before this."
ial Search Advisory
members had been doing
they said they would, said

Senate Advisory Committee on
University Affairs member Prof.
Nicholas Steneck.
"I thought the search procedure was
going on as it was supposed to - as the
regents said they were going to,"
Steneck said.
The search process for a permanent
president was set to enter its final stages
today. The University community was
anticipating learning the names of
PSAC's nominees.
"This is a pity because it does actual-
ly slow things down a great deal." said
SACUA Chair Thomas Dunn.
The timing of the suit - just as the
advisory committee's list of candidates
was to be handed to the regents - has
surprised some members of the
University community.
"This issue of (availability of informa-
tion to the press) has been carried too far.
If you let the press see everything then

nothing would happen;' Fine said.
Dunn said the suit comes as a major
setback at this point in the process of
narrowing down the candidates.
"(The papers) claiming that informa-
tion is not sufficiently public at this
point is obviously a serious setback to
everything," Dunn said.
"I question why it has taken this long to
arrive at this conclusion and react on it."
The case was filed three days before
the next stage was set to begin.
"I don't see anything wrong with the
regents meeting with the candidates,
and announcing their choice after the
search," Lindsay said.
Until the ruling, and the University's
recovery from an unexpected wound, the
presidential search will remain frozen -
possibly having a detrimental effect on the
final choice of candidates, Lindsay noted.
"We have to act quickly to get the
best we can," he said.

STUDENTS
Continued from Page 1A
open the process more after the
Duderstadt hiring, but obviously some
people believe they didn't do enough -
we'll have to wait and see what the
judge says."
The case is scheduled to be heard
tomorrow morning.
Students said the
delay in the search 6
process would not I'dl
adversely affect the
University because a presid
of the leadership of
interim Presidentg
Homer Neal.
"I don't think it's
any great tragedy
the search is being
delayed," Ho said.
"The University seems to be running
fine under the interim president."
LSA junior Allison Zaneck said that
while the lawsuit might hurt the
University's reputation, the delay would
not be detrimental to students and fac-
ulty.
"I think it looks bad that the University
is being sued by the papers, but I think
Neal has been doing a good job with
everything that has been laid on him,"
Zaneck said. "Waiting on the search is
not going to hurt the University.'

Zaneck said that although the presi-
dential search has been complicated
and hard for most students to follow,
choosing a president cannot be done
quickly or easily.
"To go from 300-some applicants to
five seems like it would take a while;'
Zaneck said. "What they have to do
seems like a complicated process."

re to have
'ent before 1
-- Doug Last
LSA junior

Rose said
that while the
process was
now going to
take even
longer, find-
ing an effec-
tive president
was the top
priority.
"I am dis-
appointed
because stu-

dents are going to have to wait longer
for a permanent leader, but Neal can
steady the waters until then," Rose said.
"But it is more important to have a
leader respected by the students and the
community than a process that is com-
pleted quickly."
Still, some students said the process
was already taking too long.
"The whole thing seems overly com-
plicated and long'" said LSA junior
Doug Last. "I'd like to have a president
before I graduate:'

rch raised legal issues

final step - selecting the president from a list of
one," stated the majority opinion.
In the aftermath of the ruling, the University paid
$385,000 in legal fees and released thousands of
pages of documents regarding the search. The initial
search cost the University about $90,000.
Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor), who was an
active player in the 1988 search, said the new lawsuit
bears little resemblance to the former one.
"I think there are considerable differences," Baker

The secrecy of past processes perhaps came under
heaviest scrutiny when press reports revealed that
Baker had secretly called Vartan Gregorian, presi-
dent of the New York Public Library, and threatened
to subvert Gregorian's policies if he were selected
president.
Gregorian - who was strongly favored by faculty
and some regents and who later went on to accept the
presidency at Brown University - removed himself
from consideration for president after the call from

said. "As I recall, the actions
were not brought until the
search was over. In this case, it
is before the search is really for-
malized on the campus."
Roach said the newspapers'
timing in both lawsuits has been
detrimental.
"Both times ... the newspa-
pers waited until the last minute
to file the lawsuit;' Roach said.
Because of the Open
Meetings Act, the current
search has been conducted very
differently, Roach said. He said
searches used to hire former
Presidents Duderstadt, Harold
Fleming and Harlan Hatcher were

"The shenanigans
that they pulled in
the past left a little
bit of a cloud over
the presidency,"
-Joan Lowenstein
Ann Arbor attorney

Baker.
Some say the Duderstadt
presidency may have been
tainted by the actions preced-
ing his formal nomination.
"The shenanigans that they
pulled in the past left a little
bit of a cloud over the presi-
dency," Lowenstein said.
"Decisions shouldn't be
made in smoke-filled rooms.
They should be made out in
the open."
Roach said the Open
Meetings Act has been nega-
tive as a whole for the

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Shapiro, Robben
virtually identical,

and that the openness of the current search could pre-
sent some problems.
"It makes the odds more difficult to pick the very
best person" Roach said. "Are we going into a situ-
ation where the really best people in the country say,
'Sorry, Michigan'?"

University. While the presidential search has primari-
ly been affected by the law's influence, its impact has
also touched issues as distant from the search as the
University's contract with Nike, Roach said, adding
that in the past the regents would have been informed
of such goings-on through informal channels.
- Daily Staff Reporter Jodi S. Cohen contributed
to this report.

The Psychology Peer Advisors Present
FOCUS GROUPS
Fall Term 1996
APPLIED CAREERS IN PSYCHOLOGY
WITH A GRADUATE DEGREE
Mental Health Professions: Earning the Ph.D.,
Psy.D., M.S.W., or M.D. - Similarities and Differences
Tuesday, October 15, 1996, 7:00-9:00 PM, 4th Floor Terrace, East Hall
" Refreshments will be served at all events. " Faculty Members and Graduate
Students will be available to answer your questions and discuss these issues.
- RSVP to the.Peer Advising Office at 647-3711 - 1346 East Hall
http://www/personal.umich.edu/~hsy/PeerAdvising.html
ALL ARE WELCOME!!
Enter East Hall by the Psychology Church St. entrance.
The elevator is to the left. Go to the fourth floor
Te and follow'signs to the Terrace.

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