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October 03, 2001 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-03

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6 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

EDITORIAL

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T WAS NOV 8, 1997. The Michigan football team had just beaten Penn
State and the Wolverines were on the path to the Rose Bowl and a national
championship. Thousands of cheering fans, unable to make it to State Col-
lege for the game, filled the streets of Ann Arbor, crowding South University
Avenue. As the peaceful mob came to a stop outside the President's House,
chants of"We want Lee!" rose up from the crowd.
The president, not even a year into his term, opened the doors and invited count-
less screaming students inside. The president was swarmed by adoring students.
This was Lee C. Bollinger's crowning moment as the University's 12th president.
The new leader, loved by all, became a campus celebrity. He was on top of the world.
Fast forward to February 2000 - Bollinger's darkest hour.
The veteran administrator came under fire for the controversial forced resignation
of Athletic Director Tom Goss. A group of students occupying the Michigan Union
tower were demanding that Bollinger cut ties with the senior honorary society
Michigamua while another, across the way in the LSA Building, occupied the dean's
office. Coupled with yet another men's basketball scandal, it was obvious that the
glory days of Lee C. Bollinger were over. The concurrent bursting of a pipe in his
Vermont residence appeared to be the least of Bollinger's concerns.
So as the University of Michigan's 12th president heads, off to Columbia Uni-
versity next year, what will Bollinger's legacy here be? Will he be the most cele-
brated president in the University's 184-year history, or will he go down as a
mediocre administrator?

"IF YOU WERE CALLED UPON to invent a perfect
university president, you couldn't do better than Lee
Bollinger, of the University of Michigan," the New Yorker
magazine said of the University's 12th president in a pro-
file in December 2000. "A handsome, heartlandy blond
man in his fifties - one imagines Mickey Mantle in mid-
dle age if he wore a business suit and had never taken a
drink."
After members of the University Board of Regents
forced James J. Duderstadt to resign in September 1995
after years of political squabbling, many thought of
Bollinger as someone who could unite the campus and
bring the University to renewed glory. When Bollinger,
former dean of the University of Michigan's Law School
and'provost of Dartmouth College, started his term in Feb-
ruary 1997, a new man was in control and a new era had
commenced. Bollinger embodied everything a "Michigan
man" was expected to be.
A graduate of the University of Oregon and Columbia
Law School, Bollinger clerked for U.S. Supreme Court
Chief Justice Judge Warren Burger. Bollinger later gained
the national spotlight when his testimony during Robert
Bork's confirmation hearing cost the conservative judge a
spot on the High Court.
AS AN OUTSPOKEN ADVOCATE of affirmative
action and diversity in higher education, Bollinger was
well-suited to lead the University in 1997, when the
Washington, D.C.-based Center for Individual Rights
focused its attention on the University's undergraduate
and Law School admissions policies. Previously, CIR had
targeted similar policies in Texas and Washington State.
With his experience as a former University Law
School dean, Bollinger assembled a powerful and
impressive legal team and solicited support from across
the nation. Soon, former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford,
Fortune 500 companies like GM and Intel and diversity
advocates from all walks of life got behind the Universi-
ty's admissions policies - and the University president.
The current undergraduate admissions system has
been upheld in federal district court while the Law
School's admissions system was declared unconstitutional
by Judge Bernard Friedman. Now both cases are heading
to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
If the admissions cases make-it to the U.S. Supreme
Court and the University's defense prevails, affirmative
action advocates won't be the only victors - so will
Bollinger. The manwho led the University of Michigan
through these lawsuits may 15e recognized as the most
important figure in higher education in recent history.

BOLLINGER HAS ELEVATED THE STATURE of
the University during his tenure as president. He not only
personally raised millions of dollars and increased the size
of the University's endowment to become the largest of
any public university; he also put the money to good use.
If the defense of affirmative action doesn't get
Bollinger in the University history books, the Life Sciences
Institute will. Recognizing how genetics and related fields
of study will reshape science and research, Bollinger
invested heavily in the proposed LSI, now taking shape
along Washtenaw Avenue across from Palmer Field. Top
researchers are now flocking to the University because of
the LSI.
Although it will be the researchers who will receive
praise for their scientific discoveries, everyone will have to
thank Bollinger foi laying the foundation for the LSI.
While James J. Duderstadt is known as the "construc-
tion president," Bollinger will be known for his "Master
Plan." Recognizing how the physical disjunction of the
campus leads to mental divisions, Bollinger brought
world-famous architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott
Brown to Ann Arbor to physically unify the campus.
Under the Master Plan, everything from the walking pat-
terns of first-year students, to the locations of on- and off-
campus entertainment venues, to landscaping and lighting
has been considered.
And the results are beginning to show. The LSI is fill-
ing a hole by joining the Central and Medical campuses
along with the Hill-area residence halls. The new Wal-
green Performing Arts center - with the Arthur Miller
Theater - will tie the University performing arts commu-
nity and its Ann Arbor counterparts together, forming a
town-grown arts corridor. This too will be part of
Bollinger's legacy.
BOLLINGER HAS HAD his share of blunders.
On Feb. 8, 2000, Bollinger walked into a press confer-
ence in the Michigan Union with a somber Athletic Direc-
tor Tom Goss. The University's first black athletic
director - who was slammed for fiscal and administra-
tive mismanagement - resigned. Sources in the athletic
department told the Daily that Bollinger had instigated the
resignation and documents obtained by the press through
the Freedom of Information Act show Bollinger's anger
with Goss' athletic department leadership. The Jamal
Crawford basketball scandal was the straw that broke the
camel's back; Bollinger forced Goss to leave.
Although it was necessary for Goss to depart and let
someone new take the reigns of the athletic department, the
events that led up to the resignation gave Bollinger a black
eye. Goss' coerced departure symbolized how Bollinger
backed away from the athletic department and let matters
get out of control.
The firing of men's basketball coach Steve Fisher in
1997 looms over the departing president's head as well.
Fisher, who brought the basketball team and the University
to a national title in 1989, had allowed booster Ed Martin
to get too close to his players and NCAA violations may
have been committed. Bollinger attempted to clean
house by firing Fisher, but the dark clouds of the Ed
Martin affair never left Ann Arbor.
But Bollinger did lay the foundation to
bring the athletic department back to its
former glory. The hiring of Bill Martin
as athletic director was a good move.
The department's finances are. mov-
ing out of debt and student interest
in the basketball program is
rebounding.

typical Fleming Building administrator, where student
concerns take a back seat to fundraising, research and
policy matters.
Although Bollinger has been quoted in The New York
Times in the past contending that he appreciates student
protesters, his administration's oftentimes dishonest deal-
ings with students has left a bad taste in the mouths of
many on campus.
This was most evident during the time of Goss' resig-
nation, when two student protests shoved the University
into national headlines. The first student protest, led by the
Students of Color Coalition, caused everyone's eyes to
look up - to the Michigan Union tower - where mem-
bers of the group gained access to the meeting space of the
senior honorary society Michigamua. The SCC accused
Michigamua, whose members include former U.S. presi-
dent Gerald R. Ford, former athletic director Fielding Yost,
hockey coach Red Berenson, University presidents, distin-
guished alumni and elite student leaders, of failing to rid
the group of its highl -offensive roots. The SCC found
artifacts sacred to Native Americans in the society's sev-
enth floor "wigwam." The SCC demanded the administra-
tion cut ties with the society because of its elitist and
derogatory traditions that many students of color (and par-
ticularly of Native American ancestry) saw as an affront on
the long struggles of ethnic minorities in the United States.
After 37 days, the SCC retreated from the tower and
expected the administration to take action. But their
demands fell on deaf ears. Bollinger left the matter for then
interim-Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster
Harper and several committees, where SCC's concerns got
bogged down in the University bureaucracy. Students of
color on campus were further outraged when news broke
that the administration moved Michigamua out of the
towe and into a University building at 109 E. Madison St.
Since then the administration has done little to address the
students' concerns.
The second major protest that February was when
members of Students Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality stormed and occupied the office of LSA Dean
Shirley Neuman after Bollinger refused to sign on to the
Worker Rights Consortium - an anti-sweatshop organiza-
tion comprised of students and labor experts from around
the country - meant to police abuses of workers in facto-
ries producing collegiate apparel. The three day sit-in, sim-
ilar to one a year earlier in which SOLE occupied
Bollinger's office in the Fleming Building, ended with
some action from the University. The administration, along
with Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin at
Madison, agreed to join the WRC on a provisional basis.
Unfortunately, as SOLE continued to press the admin-
istration to implement a strong set of labor standards, they
were met with many of the same stalling procedures the
administration used to quiet the SCC. While workers
throughout the developing world produced University
apparel in sweatshops - where they face long hours, slave
wages and sexual and physical abuse among other degre-
dations -the Bollinger-appointed Standing Committee on
Labor Standards and Human Rights went through two
arduous years of meetings in an attempt to draft a legally
binding set of labor standards to be placed in all of the Uni-
versity's licensing and supply contracts.
Meanwhile, as the committee debated minor technicali-
ties in a proposed labor code of conduct, the University
entered into negotiations with Nike, a company with a
deplorable record in the area of workers' rights. The ulti-
mate product of the negotiations was a seven-year exclusive
licensing and supply contract between the University and
Nike that used the very weak and excessively broad Colle-
giate Licensing Company code of conduct to enforce labor
standards. It is certainly a strange coincidence that Bollinger
signed the Nike contract only a few days before the com-
mittee released the final draft of its recommendation for the
University to adopt. The committee's suggested code of
conduct was much more specific - it would have left com-
panies that had licensing and supply contracts with the Uni-
versity with significantly less legal "wiggle room" to abuse
their workers. Bollinger did allow the committee's strong
final draft to be written into all future licensing and supply
agreements, but this should not redeem him for allowing a
tough labor standards code to languish in a Committee for
more than a year, or for writing a significantly weaker code
into a lucrative contract with Nike.
ONE OF BOLLINGER'S least noble actions took
place in February 2001, when he refused to make any
substantive changes to the Code of Student Conduct
(now renamed the Statement of Student Rights and
Responsibilities). Despite a campus-wide e-mail from
Vice President of Student Affairs E. Royster Harper
claiming that Bollinger had adopted 85 percent of the
proposed amendments to the Code made by a variety of
committees comprised of students, faculty and admin-
istrators, very few of Bollinger's adopted changes actu-
ally made the University's discipline policies any fairer

for students. On top of amounting to double jeopardy,
allowing a student to be charged under the Code even if
he or she has been acquitted by the American justice
system, the Code continues to allow students to make
false reports of Code violations, the use of hearsay evi-
dence and prevents students from having an advocate
speak on their behalf during the arbitration process.
THE UNIVERSITY'S 12TH PRESIDENT has had
an interesting ride while in Ann Arbor. Although Lee C.
Bollinger seemed to be on top of the world when he first
ssnmed the nresidencv he ha 'one from anneariniz to

NOTABLE QUOTABLES
FROM LEE C. BOLLINGER' S TENURE
AS UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT
"it is my belief that the presidency of
Michigan is his dream job."
- UNIVERSITY REGENT LAURENCE DEITCH
(D-BLOOMFIELD HILLS) ON BOLLINGER,
Nov. 6, 1997.

"I would prefer not to categorize
myself in that way. ... I suppose in
political issues, some things I would be
considered moderate, some things I
would be considered conservative. I
would rather state my position about
things. Then people can decide
whether I'm liberal."
- BOLLINGER, FEB. 3, 1997.
"I said that he would be regularly and
fully informed about all things in the
ongoing investigation involving him.....
That promise was fully kept. He should
not end up being surprised by anything
in the report."
- BOLLINGER ON THE INVESTIGATION
. OF POSSIBLE NCAA VIOLATIONS BY THE MEN'S
BASKETBALL TEAM COACHED BY STEVE FISHER,
OCT. 14, 1997.
"This is an educational institution.
We must come to terms with it
educationally. This will be a difficult
time for the University of Michigan.
It will test the character of the
institution. I do not mean that this
discussion, or debate, is unacceptable.
On the contrary, we are dealing with
something that goes deep into our
history."
- BOLLINGER RESPONDING TO THE LAWSUIT FILED
BY THE CENTER FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
CHALLENGING UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS,
OCT. 20,.1997.
"I didn't know what the crowd was
like. I was worried about that, but it all
turned out all right. It was wonderful."
- BOLLINGER ON INVITING CELEBRATING
FOOTBALL FANS INTO THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE
FOLLOWING MICHIGAN' S WIN OVER PENN STATE ON
THE ROAD TO A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP,
Nov. 10, 1997.
"This is a decision Tom and I have
arrived at that goes back over many
months and over many discussions. It
is far too complex for any kind of
simple statement. This is the right
decision for the University."
- BOLLINGER ON THE RESIGNATION OF ATHLETIC
DIRECTOR TOM GOSS DURING
A FEB. 7, 2000 PRESS CONFERENCE.
"This just happened real quick."
- TOM GOSS, FEB. 7, 2000.
"I don't believe the administration or
the University has embraced
Michigamua as a special organization.
I have said from the beginning
that I think Michigamua is a student
organization. I've been approaching
this like Michigamua is a student
organization."
- BOLLINGER ON THE STUDENTS OF COLOR
COALITION OCCUPATION OF THE SENIOR HONORARY
SOCIETY MICHIGAMUAS MEETING SPACE IN THE

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