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April 11, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-11

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OP/ED

5A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 11, 2002

'U' president should be focused on 'U' students
Search needs to be quick and yield a president dedicated to campus

Re-evaluating college athletics
Ed Martin scandal calls institution to question

ome time this summer, the Presi-
dential Search Committee expects
to finish a process that it began in
0 November by naming a new University
president to replace departed president,
Lee Bollinger. A June announcement
would end the search six months after it
began, making it half as long as the last
search and satisfying the need to complete
the process as quickly as possible without
compromising its integrity.
The status of the search remains
unclear and the list of candidates remains a
secret. As such, the committee needs to
keep some concerns in mind, since the new
president's vision will be crucial in setting
the tone of the University's future agenda.
. Bollinger was an outspoken advocate
of affirmative action in higher education
and provided a solid figurehead for the
defense of University admission policies.
* It is essential that the committee hire a
new president who continues to reflect
the University's commitment through his
or her politics and through vocal support
for the issue.
The language of the search criteria cites
a dedication to comprehensive diversity but
does not specify a commitment to affirma-
tive action. While it seems improbable that
the University would reverse its stand on

affirmative action, the search committee
must hire someone who is personally dedi-
cated to the issue.
During his tenure, Bollinger continually
dragged his feet on labor issues. He only
begrudgingly joined the Worker Rights
Consortium and oper-
ated in an underhand-
ed manner in signing a}
contract with Nike, the
company with a
deplorable record in
the area of human
rights. The new presi-
dent must maintain a
sympathetic attitude
toward campus labor
issues, including tak-
ing definite steps
toward ender the Uni-
versity's contract with
New Era.
Some people
would say Bollinger
ended his term with a reputation for plac-
ing his own politics first and students sec-
ond. Interim President B. Joseph White has
proven particularly receptive to student
concerns during his tenure and the future
president ought to continue this policy. Fre-
quent and open dialogue with students

should be a basic tenet of the new presi-
dent's creed.
Also on the horizon is the actual money
raising phase of the University's next major
fundraising campaign. In the past, the Uni-
versity has navigated fundraising cam-
paigns under
transitional leader-
ship with positive
results. However, an
established president
is necessary to stabi-
. lize the present
effort, especially
during the opening
stages. A June
announcement
would allow ade-
quate time for the
incoming president
to establish himself
or herself before the
fundraising begins.
-.. In addition, the
arrival of a new president will allow for the
appointment of several key University posi-
tions, including a new provost, vice presi-
dent for development and vice president for
medical affairs. While not as pressing as
the presidency, these positions are impor-
tant and need to be filled equally quickly.

The indictment of former Michigan
men's basketball booster, Ed Martin,
marks the continuation of a series of
alleged athletic scandals. What is touted
again and again as one of the most success-
ful and renowned collegiate athletic pro-
grams in the nation has been shaken and
irreversibly harmed. Calls for sanctions,
discontinued relations with past basketball
stars implicated in the alleged money laun-
dering scandal and even a resurgence of a
debate about whether elite athletes should
be compensated has brought the storied
Michigan athletic tradition to a new low.
Such calls, however, are premature and
given the ongoing federal investigation and
the eventual criminal trial or plea bargain, a
resolution will be reached and closure
eventually achieved.
Whatever the outcome of the criminal
proceedings against Ed Martin, little is like-
ly to be resolved in terms of the nature and
purpose of collegiate athletics. The Univer-
sity must take an active role in pragmatical-
ly returning athletics to its core function as
an extracurricular activity while addressing
the real concerns surrounding revenue
sports and their athletes. Unfortunately, the
University is unlikely to give careful con-
sideration to the direct role it plays in creat-
ing an environment that places inordinate

demands on athletes.
Lucrative marketing contracts, televi-
sion and radio-broadcasting rights, ,mer-
chandising agreements, endorsements
and tournaments raised to the level of
national sporting events are more than a
simple reality, they are the impetus for the
scandals of the sort associated with Ed
Martin. The University seems all too will-
ing to accept these negative consequences
as mere costs of the "business" that has
become college sports.
In the coming months, the University
will no longer continue its internal investi-
gation into the Ed Martin scandal. As a pre-
liminary matter, sanctions and relationships
with past stars should not be instituted until
the entire incident is, completely resolved.
,However, now that the specific episode is
beyond the University's control it should
invest its resources towards reclaiming con-
trol of the quasi-independent Athletic
Department. It is also necessary for the to
carefully study its own role in the overall
nature of collegiate athletics and the busi-
ness-oriented goals that have displaced the
central mission of collegiate athletics -
providing unique extracurricular opportuni-
ties to talented student-athletes, maintaining
a proud athletic tradition and promoting the
University spirit.

A

year

of

campus e
OpinionS.

vents

and

Daly

Code revisions on deck for next school year
* Code reviewers have poor material to work with; should start from scratch

Affirmative action still up
'U' must remain dedicated through court battles

Beginning with their matricula-
tion at the University, every
student tacitly agrees to abide
by the tenets of the Student Code of
Conduct (now renamed the Statement
of Students Rights and Responsibili-
ties). In the 2000-2001 academic year,
the Office of Student Conflict Resolu-
tion, which administers the Code,
received 671 alleged violations rang-
ing from illegal possession of alcohol
to physical assault. At the center of
the Code is an unconstitutional arbi-
tration process that tramples the right
to fair disciplinary hearings. Every
other academic year the Code can be
amended and with next year eligible
for amendments students should gear
up to aggressively challenge the
Code.

The Code forbids students from
having an advocate speak on their
behalf at their hearing. Nervous stu-
dents confronting serious punishments
such as suspension or expulsion should
not be required to defend themselves
during the procedure. This requirement
is a direct refutation of the right to
council. Hearsay evidence is permitted
in the procedures and students can face
double jeopardy. The hearings are
closed to the public and the opportuni-
ty to appeal the board's verdict is
restricted. As a public university, the
University has the responsibility to
uphold constitutional protections in its
internal justice system. The Code's
complete failure to uphold these pro-
tections should initiate student-led
efforts to obliterate the Code in the
approaching academic year.
While the Code has usually
provoked the ire and oppo-
sition of students it has
persisted. The main
reason for the doc-
ument's stub-
b o r n
endurance
is that the
Pre si -
dent
h as
the

sole authority to approve final amend-
ments to the Code. Only the Michigan
Student Assembly, the Senate Assem-
bly or the Executive Officers of the
University can offer amendments to
the Code. After these proposed amend-
ments are issued, they are reviewed by
SACUA's Students Relations Commit-
tee, which forwards them to the Presi-
dent who has final authority over any
changes. Last February, University
Vice President for Student Affairs E.
Royster Harper sent an e-mail to the
student body saying former President
Lee Bollinger had accepted 85 percent
of the proposed changes. In actuality
these changes were superficial and
insignificant.
Grammatical and spelling changes
to the Code made up a substantial por-
tion of Harper's figure. At the time,
OSCR director Keith Elkin argued the
changes were "not superfluous win-'
dow-dressing." However, Elkin now
admits that Bollinger's changes have
had a negligible effect on the resolu-
tion process. In reality the changes
have not addressed the most serious
problems with the Code.
MSA and its new executive slate of
Sara Boot and Dana Glassel should
start working on Code revisions at the
beginning of the coming academic
year. A primary goal of the Students
First administration must be perma-

t has become clear that the lawsuits
against the University concerning its
affinmative action policy are the most
direct challenges to affirmative action in
higher education since Bakke v. The
Regents of the University of California.
This year marked "round two" when the
University made its case in front of the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincin-
nati in October.
Whatever the outcome
of these two cases is in
Cincinnati, it is likely that C
there will be an appeal
and the final decision willl
be made by the United
States Supreme Court. ___
Therefore, it is nearly cer-
tain that the fate of affir-
mative action in higher
education will be decided
in the coming years.
In this historic battle,
through which the Wash-
ington-based Center of
Individual Rights seeks to
end the racially-based
selection policies of colleges and universi-
ties, the University finds itself as the lone
defender of affirmative action.
The decision of the Sixth Circuit will
most likely be handed down early this
summer, marking the beginning of the
race to the Supreme Court. From then on,
it will be our responsibility as a communi-
.. to ..,-n a nnalva a rAa c t701O' 1fh n,

d5

not have to dedicate themselves to a
certain organization, vote a specific
way or adhere to one political ideology
to participate.
The University must strive to protect
affirmative action so that administrations
across the country can maintain a diverse
environment on campus as well as allevi-
ate the vast inequality among the races
that exists in higher education.
Due to the national
importance of this case,
j) the University must see
more open and intelli-
gent dialogue so students
can understand why we
must defend this policy.
Debate should be open
and honest not simply
bickering between
extremist groups that
take up the entire issue
with nothing but dema-
gogic rhetoric and all-out
immature and unintelli-
gent name calling.
It should be made
clear to the nation that affirmative action
is important on this campus because
empirical evidence shows that affirma-
tive action is the best way to preserve
diversity in an educational system which
is inarguably unequal. When affirmative
action was outlawed at the University of
California, the rate of minority enroll-
mt arn crown Arn'imArmtllxcarne nrimari-.

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