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January 31, 2014 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-31

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4 - Friday, January 31, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - Friday, January 31, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

b 1i*id0igan 0aU
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
A shameful response
The University's failure to respond to public pressure is unacceptable
New information regarding the intricacies of the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act has revealed that the University's recent
behavior in response to Brendan Gibbons' expulsion is deeply
suspicious. In the last two days, the University has neglected any opportunity
to speak out and address the public criticisms directed toward it. Instead,
administrators have invoked a number of furtive internal policies and vaguely

"It's a combination of being sensitive to FERPA, the
law, as well as the University policies that are more
restrictive than FERPA."
- University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said to the Michigan Daily in an
explanation to not discussing disciplinary records of Brendan Gibbons.
A foundation for cooperation

interpreted laws to explain its silence.
At best, this case indicates an unbelievable
lack of communication between University
units. On Nov. 20, 2013, the University's Office
of Student Conflict Resolution signed a docu-
ment stating that the Office of Institutional
Equity determined there was a preponderance
of evidence finding former Michigan kicker
Brendan Gibbons responsible for an incident
of alleged sexual assault in November of 2009.
This meant that the University had already
decided that Gibbons was - in the eyes of the
school - responsible for a sexual misconduct
that was deemed "so severe as to create a hos-
tile, offensive or abusive environment," which
led to his eventual expulsion. Yet three days
later, on Nov. 23, Gibbons was allowed to play
in Michigan's football game against Iowa. He
kicked three extra points for the team.
Unless it is school procedure to allow a stu-
dent-athlete in violation of the Student Sexual
Misconduct Policy to participate in University-
sanctioned athletic events, there was a com-
plete and utter breakdown in communication.
University officials - in OIE, OSCR, the Ath-
letic Department or all three - knowingly
allowed a perpetrator of sexual misconduct
to represent the school in a football game that
undoubtedly generated profit for the Univer-
sity. This is unacceptable on any level.
More specifically, Michigan coach Brady
Hoke's behavior has raised eyebrows in the
public conversation. After OIE found Gibbons.
to be responsible for an act of sexual miscon-
duct, OSCR sent a letter to Gibbons informing
him of his permanent separation from the Uni-
versity. The letter was received and signed by
Gibbons on Dec. 19. By signing the document,
Gibbons waived his right to appeal the sanc-
tion. Athletic Department spokesman Dave
Ablauf confirmed that Gibbons had met with
the department around that time, adding, "That
could have been the time that Brendan Gibbons
talked to coach Hoke." It is possible that the
Athletic Department met with Gibbons without

Hoke, but it seems illogical for the head coach
of the student involved to be uninformed of
the situation. Four days later, on Dec. 23, Hoke
announced that Gibbons would not play in the
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl due to a "family mat-
ter." The University may have instructed Hoke
to act the way he did in order to adhere to its
ill-reasoned policy and weak interpretation of
FERPA, but someone is still to blame for obfus-
cating the truth.
Doubt in the University's innocence is
sinking in as the administration continues
to withhold answers. Currently, the Univer-
sity's official stance is to cite school policy and
FERPA as reasoning for its decision to decline
comment. However, in an interview with the
Daily, Frank LoMonte, executive director of
the Student Press Law Center, stated that since
Gibbons was determined by University inves-
tigators to be responsible in an allegation of
sexual assault, FERPA does not apply: "They're
just wrongthat FERPA applies to a finding that
a person committed sexual assault." If Gibbons'
violation constitutes a sexual assault rather
than sexual harassment, the University, legally,
cannot use FERPA as an excuse to keep silent.
Given the severity of the punishment,
LoMonte believes that it is "highly doubt-
ful" that Gibbons' actions can be defined as
sexual harassment. In a previous statement,
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said
the administration was refusing to com-
ment in order to comply with internal poli-
cies "that are more restrictive than FERPA."
Since FERPA does not protect the school in
cases of alleged sexual assault, Fitzgerald is
implying that the school has a policy in place
that allows the University to sit quietly while
its students, alumni and faculty demand
answers. If the University simply refuses to
answer questions, it should say so. Attempting
to broadly - and potentially inaccurately -
interpret laws or school policies as an excuse
for remaining mute is an act of cowardice.

T he scope and size of
the largest municipal
in U.S. history
creative and
bold solutions .
of a similar y
magnitude. it It
looks like that's r
what Judge
Gerald Rosen, ALEXANDER
appointed HERMANN
of Detroit's
ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, is
currently devising.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Insti-
tute of Art pledged $100 million
toward a fund set aside to protect
the museum's artwork and Detroit
retiree pensions from significant
cuts - assisting Emergency Man-
ager Kevyn Orr's thankless task
of hammering out a compromise
agreeable to the city, its many credi-
tors and ultimately, bankruptcy
judge Steven Rhodes. The money
was pooled with the $370 million
already committed by national and
local foundations, plus an antici-
pated $350 million from the state
championed by Gov. Rick Snyder -
pending a difficult road to approval
in the legislature.
When the Detroit Free Press first
announced Rosen's pursuit of this
"grand bargain" in early December,
with the explicit intention of rais-
ing $500 million from foundations,
I was extremely skeptical of the
apparent pipe dream. After grant
writing for a Detroit-based non-
profit before returning to graduate
school, I learned firsthand how
stingy foundations can be when
presented with new, uncertain
and risky ventures. Further, sim-
ply impacting Detroit's pension
systems - underfunded by $3.5
billion according to city estimates
- enough to appease Rhodes would
require substantial investments.
At the same time, the founda-
tions must avoid jeopardizing the
important work these foundations
already do in Detroit and cities
across the country.

In one sense, the foundations'
commitment to Detroit pensions
and DIA artwork represents an
unprecedented level of regional
cooperation, an elevated arrange-
ment of public-private partnerships
and an impressive expansion of tra-
ditional foundation clout unseen in
Southeast Michigan.
The foundations' acquiescence
is especially surprising when con-
sidering the vast differences in the
foundations themselves - the 10
foundations have starkly varying
geographic interests, programmatic
priorities, budgetary constraints
and ties to Detroit.
The Kresge and Ford Founda-
tions, representing a combined
$225 million pledged to Rosen's
deal, seem like the two most natu-
ral allies. Kresge, based in Troy,
has worked extensively toward
Detroit's revitalization, most vis-
ibly as a primary backer of Detroit
Future City, a near-comprehensive
strategic framework guiding com-
munity development, investment
and charitable givingcitywide. The
Ford Foundation's obvious connec-

That's why Snyder, and even the
DIA itself, should be applauded for
bolstering the foundations' efforts
through near-matchingcommit-
ments - recognizing that what's
good for Detroit is good for the state
as a whole.
In an interview with the Daily,
University Prof. Barry Rabe, direc-
tor of the Center for Local, State
and Urban Policy, said these actions
could potentially be viewed in the
context of increasing metropolitan-
ism in the region. Rabe cites the
Tri-county millage, approved in
2012 by residents of Macomb, Oak-
land and Wayne counties to directly
support the DIA during a period of
uncertain funding for the museum,
the recently created regional trans-
portation authority and current dis-
cussions to develop a regional water
authority as key examples.
At the very least, the foundations'
unprecedented move helps prevent
the collapse of the DIA millage,
which generates $22 million annu-
ally for the museum. Largely due to
Rosen's efforts, current trends dic-
tate that DIA artwork will remain

tions to Detroit,
despite being
currently locat-
ed in New York,
are more than
just symbolic,
but show contin-
ued investment
in Detroit-based
institutions and

The foundations'
unprecedented move
helps prevent the
collapse of the
DIA millage.

entirely intact,
and circling
creditors will
be kept at bay.
selling DIA art
would have
destroyed the
millage, if not
the DIA entirely.
it's clear that

more surprising contributions.have
come from the John S. and James
L. Knight Foundation - headquar-
tered in Miami but prioritizing 26
communities across the United
States - and the Mott and Kellogg
Foundations, based in Flint and
Battle Creek, respectively.
Each foundation recognized the
gravity of the challenges facing
Detroit, the need for greater region-
al cooperation and the real demand
for foundations to step outside their
normal scope of giving to help pro-
tect retiree pensions and Detroit's
most important landmark.

have a key role to play in an increas-
ingly regional Detroit.
"[Metro Detroit has] basically
gone from being anti-regional or
non-regional to having a bit of a
presence of significant regionaliza-
tion," Rabe said. "I think we've been
going through a period where foun-
dations are beginning to think more
strategically, and not just about
grant strategy more broadly, but
linking it to more localized or com-
munity themes."
- Alexander Hermann can be
reached at aherm@umich.edu

Barry Belmont, Rima Fadlallah, Nivedita Karki, Jordyn Kay,
Kellie Halushka, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman,
Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Fostering intellectual diversity

Check out The Michigan Daily's editorial board meetings. Every Monday and Thursday at
6pm, the Daily's opinion staff meets to discuss both University and national affairs and
write editorials. E-mail opinioneditors@michigandaily.com to join in the debate.

Dear President Coleman,
We are writing to you to voice our con-
cerns about the state of the intellectual cli-
mate on campus. On Jan. 16, Provost Martha
Pollack addressed an e-mail to the Univer-
sity of Michigan community which affirmed
"both the university's" and her "own strong
commitment to diversity and to creating a
welcoming and inclusive community." We
applaud this effort. We question, however,
as any student who has spent time on this
campus must do, what exactly is meant by
"diversity" and "inclusiveness." If, by these
two much-abused terms, you mean primar-
ily race, gender and religion, then we'd ask
that you qualify your future statements about
these matters to "diversity and inclusive-
ness within a narrow set of parameters." If,
however, you meant to affirm your commit-
ment to diversity as it is properly defined - a
condition of being composed of differing ele-
ments or qualities - we ask that you ques-
tion whether your administration has done
an adequate job at promoting such diversity,
and whether Provost Pollack's e-mail did not
leave out gaping holes in the diversity pro-
gram of the University.
As students at the University, we have
become keenly aware that there is a general
underrepresentation of libertarian and con-
servative views on campus. Nearly every
course we have taken has been taught from
a liberal perspective by a liberal professor.
This is troubling not because liberalism is
being promoted on campus, but because of
the general lack of opposing viewpoints stu-
dents have access to. A campus ought to be
a free marketplace of ideas where students
can reevaluate and refine the beliefs that will
shape the rest of their lives. If all schools of
thought are not more equally represented,

many students may never encounter them in a
fair setting. For a university that prides itself
on its supposed liberal values, this is unac-
ceptable. Moreover, it is dishonest.
We would ask that you force students to
take courses that fairly represent libertarian
thought, as you have done with other course
requirements, but we could not do so with-
out forfeiting our character as libertarians.
Rather, we ask simply that you make these
courses available; that, for example, the free
market school of thought be entered into the
economics curriculum tobe taught by compe-
tent and fair free market professors; that his-
tory courses taught from perspectives other
than the postmodern be made available; that
for every course on race and ethnicity, there
be a course on intellectual diversity which
includes liberal, conservative and libertarian
cultural and political ideas.
We ask, additionally, that an increased
budget be developed and extracurricular
programs created to help foster this intellec-
tual diversity outside of the classroom. This
would allow students from across disciplines
to engage in fair-minded and open discussion
with their peers about all ideologies, not just
those the University sanctions.
As a public institution, it is your obliga-
tion to represent all schools of political and
cultural thought - and to better reflect the
diversity of views in our state. Please live up
to this duty, and to the standards you claim to
have set for yourselves.
Humbly submitted,
Derek Magill and Cody Chipman
Young Americans for Liberty
P.S. Go Blue!
Derek Magill and Cody Chipman
are LSA sophomores,

A full explanation is
Dear President Coleman,
I am writing, as a Michigan alum,
to express my great disappointment
and concern regarding the Univer-
sity's handling of the 2009 sexual
assault investigation of Brendan
Gibbons. Even granting the Univer-
sity the most generous benefit of the
doubt, its treatment of this matter
was incompetent and opaque at best.
At worst, the University prioritized
its athletic program over community
safety, willfully subverted a criminal
investigation and contributed to the
Signaling support for
survivors of sexual
There has been a lot of specula-
tion and discussion surrounding
the former Michigan kicker Bren-
dan Gibbons story - the timeline,
the administration's reasoning, the
Athletic Department's knowledge.
What has struck me, though, is the
overall campus response toward
Gibbons and the woman involved.
In many cases, when an ath-
lete, especially a high-profile one,
is involved in an alleged sexual

victimization of one of its students. gibility ended - is quite clearly an
I have always been incred- inadequate response. Because the
ibly proud to call myself a Michigan athletic department and administra-
Wolverine and am grateful for the tion have proven themselves inca-
opportunities that a Michigan edu- pable of handling this matter in an
cation has offered me. Today, how- objective and competent manner, an
ever, I feel profoundly ashamed and independent investigation is neces-
betrayed. Of course, I cannot begin to sary. Absent to a transparent and
imagine how the young victim feels. impartial inquiry, the University will
The University failed her when she be unable to restore its credibility.
most needed its support. It also sent Until this administration offers
a clear message to future victims and a full explanation of its actions and
perpetrators: sexual assault allega- takes necessary steps to remedy its
tions will not be taken seriously at plainly defective sexual assault pro-
the University of Michigan, particu- cedures, I plan to withhold financial
larly when field goals are at stake. support from the University and will
Mr. Gibbons' "permanent sepa- not return to campus.
ration" from the University four
years after his alleged sexual assault Celia Rhoads
- conveniently as his athletic eli- 2009 Alum
assault, the public turns on the on this campus, but the University's
woman involved. There are laments support is less clear. Without more
about how his life has been ruined, explanation for the University's four-
how much promise he had, and year timeline, it seems reasonable to
how horrible she is. What is amaz- ask: What message does this send to
ing about our campus community women on campus? The complaint
is that the overwhelming response about the assault was made in 2009.
has been one of support for the Gibbons was never suspended or put
woman and a questioning of why on probation before he was perma-
the complaint of the alleged assault nently separated. Since the Univer-
was made in 2009, but no decision sity refuses to clarify the details, the
was made on Gibbons until now. message is unclear. But the actions
People are appalled that the per- certainly don't signal a strong com-
manent separation just happens to mitment to women's safety or to
coincide with the end of his athletic the safety and well-being of sexual
eligibility, calling into question the assault survivors.
University's priorities.
The response has underscored the Erin Kwederis
support for sexual assault survivors LSA Junior




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