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April 19, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-19

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8A - Tuesday, April 19, 2011
From Page1A
approval, including two letters to
Law School Dean Evan Caminker
- one from a group of third-year
Law students and another from
a group of first and second-year
students. Students have also sent
a letter to Portman requesting he
withdraw as speaker, St. Vincent
. Fitzgerald said Caminker is
taking the students' concerns seri-
ously and has met with a number
of them to better understand their
complaints. However, Fitzgerald
said Caminker is moving ahead
with plans to have Portman deliv-
er the Law School graduation
Caminker e-mailed members
of the Law School community on
April 14 concerning the issue and
acknowledged the controversy
the Senior Day speaker choice has
"All the communication sur-
From Page 1A
and Statistics Prof. Ed Rothman
and Senate Assembly member
Benjamin Allen, an assistant
professor of cell and develop-
mental biology, speak at the
regents meeting.
Hanlon informed SACUA
members via e-mail yesterday
afternoon that he will suggest
setting the limit at 10 years
despite the committee's votes
against the proposed change.
Last month, the University
Senate voted to express their
hesitation to change the bylaw.
Rothman and SACUA Vice Chair
Gina Poe, an associate profes-
sor in the Medical School, met
with University President Mary
Sue Coleman in late February
to express their concerns about
Hanlon's proposal.

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

rounding this issue has been
thoughtful, and I respect our stu-
dents' conviction and outreach,"
he wrote. "I truly regret that this
issue has caused members of our
community distress in anticipa-
tion of what should be a celebra-
tory day."
However, Caminker defended
the Law School's decision to invite
Portman to speak at the school's
graduation ceremony.
"The Law School has a tradition
of inviting commencement speak-
ers with a range of backgrounds
and accomplishments, includ-
ing leaders in government, public
service and private enterprise,"
he wrote. "We seek speakers who
have achieved success and accom-
plishment in their professional
careers, rather than speakers
whose views are representative of
all or a majority of the students at
the Law School."
In his e-mail, Caminker also
reaffirmed the school's support of
the LGBT community and wrote
that preventing Portman from
Rothman said proposals are
usually passed by the Board of
Regents after receiving a rec-
ommendation from the provost.
However, he added that SACUA's
job is to express the opinion of
the faculty, which members have
roused through previous discus-
sions and votes.
SACUA member Kate Barald,
a professor in the Medical
School and College of Engineer-
ing, said the committee expects
the regents to pass Hanlon's rec-
ommended change to the bylaw.
"We've resigned ourselves,"
Barald said.
During yesterday's meet-
ing, Barald was elected the
new SACUA chair by a 5-3 vote.
Barald ran against SACUA mem-
ber Kim Kearfott, a professor in

speaking at the ceremony would
oppose the University's goal of
facilitating a discourse on campus
that includes a variety of opinions.
"We are deeply invested in
the principle of diversity where
a wide spectrum of perspectives
is included," Caminker wrote.
"The Law School remains stead-
fast in its commitment to create
a supportive environment for our
LGBT community, and also to cre-
ate an educational environment in
which diverse viewpoints can be
represented. Anything less would
undermine the Law School's core
St. Vincent said that at the cer-
emony, students against Portman
may hold signs, wear buttons or
stage a walk out. The Univer-
sity's choice could also have last-
ing implications, as St. Vincent
said some students may pledge to
withhold future donations to the
Law School.
"It shows our families that this
is something that's really impor-
tant to many of us," St. Vincent
the Medical School and College
of Engineering, who was later
elected to the vice chair posi-
The candidates were self-
nominated, and three members
were ineligible. Poe and Mojtaba
Navvab, an associate professor
of architecture, are nearing the
end of their three-year term on
SACUA, while Rothman, as the
current chair, couldn't run for
another position.
SACUA member Rachel Gold-
man, a professor in the College of
Engineering, nominated herself
for vice chair, but lost to Kear-
fott in a 7-1 vote. Kearfott said
she is eager to support Barald.
"My commitment is to help
and stand behind (Barald) as
much as possible," Kearfott said.
Barald said there is a need to
increase respect for University
faculty and she plans to address
this issue as SACUA chair.

said. "It's not an area we're willing
to compromise."
Though St. Vincent said stu-
dents don't have another specific
speaker in mind, they hope to
convince the school to rescind the
invitation to Portman.
Third-year Law student Kaitlin
Jackson is also working to reverse
Portman's selection, but said she
doesn'tthink students' efforts will
be successful.
"I don't think there's any
chance the school will change the
speaker, and whether or not Port-
man will withdraw, it's hard to
say," Jackson said.
For Jackson, the issue with
Portman being the commence-
ment speaker is the University's
implied support of the senator's
views. She said by presenting
Portman as a "model" successful
graduate, the University appears
to support all aspects of his career.
. "A lot of times in life you have
to sit and listen to people you
disagree with, and I think that's
something we understand, but it's
"I think that the process that
we've begun of trying to be pro-
active need impetus and needs
to be continued," Barald said.
"I think it's critical to work on
issues in which we can make a
Rothman, whose term expires
on April 30, said the vice chair
position is a welcome support
system when the chair attends
various administrative meet-
ings. He also said he offered
Barald insight into the position.
"You walk around with a big
stick at various convocations,"
Rothman said.
Half the chair's salary is for
his or her professorial work,
while the other half is provided
by the Office of the Provost. Poe
said the vice chair receives a lit-
tle more than a regular SACUA
member's salary, adding that
the position often helps prepare
future SACUA chairs.

a pretty different thing on a day
that's supposed to be a celebration
for you and your family," Jackson
She added that the "organic
movement" against Portman
being the graduation speaker"
was initiated by individuals, not
student groups, and involves a
diverse group of students.
St. Vincent said students'
efforts will have worth even if
Portman speaks at the graduation
ceremony because their protests
demonstrate the value students
place on LGBT rights.
Portman was selected as the
Law School graduation speaker
in part because of his diverse
range of professional experience,
accordingto anApril 11 University
press release.
"With his broad base of expe-
rience, Senator Portman is sure
to provide an inspirational com-
mencement address for graduates
who are curious about where their
new Michigan Law degrees can
take them," Caminker wrote in
SACUA invited University Civil
Liberties Board Chair Donna Hay-
ward to discuss her reaction to the
charge they submitted to the CLB
about advice concerning recent
Freedom of Information Act a
request filed with the University
Hayward said the CLB will draft
a response in support of clearly
defining what will be off-limits
for the recent records requests
submitted to the University by
the Mackinac Center for Public
Policy - a center that defines itself
as non-profit and non-partisan
- under Michigan's Freedom of
Information Act. The requests ask
for e-mails concerning the recent
labor union dispute in Wisconsin.
Rothman called the requests
an "attack on public education."
He said the Mackinac Center is

the press release.
Prior to becoming a U.S., sena-
tor in January, Caminker was a
U.S. Representative, the U.S. trade
representative and the director of
the White House Office of Man-
agement and Budgetunder former
President George W. Bush.
Valerie Jarrett, senior White
House advisor and Law School
alum, delivered the keynote
address at the Law School Speaker
Day last spring.
Earlier this semester, students
conveyed their disappointment
with the University's selection
of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder
to deliver the keynote speech at
Spring Commencement on April
30. Students protested on the Diag
and outside University President
Mary Sue Coleman's office last
month, started and signed a peti-
tion and spoke to the University's
Board of Regents aboutthe choice
during its meeting on March 17.
- Daily News Editor Devon
Thorsby contributed to this report.
a group of "fascists" and that the
group is a threat to academic free-
"This is something we have to
vigorously oppose," Rothman said.
Hayward said public and pri-
vate property must be defined in
the realm of the University setting
before rights can be set and pro-
"Academic freedom isawonder-
ful idea that we all agree on, but we
have nothing to stand on there,"
Hayward said.
Rothman stressed the need to
raise consciousness among Uni-
versity faculty members about
what is public and private at the
"I don't think our faculty are
fully aware of this distinction,"
Rothman said.
Shesaidthe CLBwill respondto
SACUA with a report on the issues
brought up in yesterday's meeting
by today.

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