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August 07, 2000 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-08-07

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4 The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 7, 2000

students at the Editor in Chief JOsH WICKERHAM
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
tiless iotheinise noted, iiisigned editorials reflect the opinion of he
420 Maynard Street najorit of the ai :s editoril board. All other artcls, letters nd
A Ann A rbor, MI 48109 ncatoons do not necessaril reflect the opinion f Thei i lichigani anl

President Bollinger's appointment of
Interim Athletic Director Bill Martin, a
longtime Ann Arbor resident and successful
businessman, to the full-time director posi-
tion for the next five years comes as a wel-
comed move and a much-needed measure to
help heal this ailing department. As founder
and chairman of the Bank of Ann Arbor,
Martin has the business savvy and political
prowess to confront the many issues facing
the Athletic Department in the coming years.
Topping the list of concerns is the
Department's financial situation. Riding a
wave of mismanagement from former dirtc-
tor Tom Goss, the situation is compounded
by Nike's decision to drop their official con-
tract with the University, which could cost
the University millions in the coming sea-
sons. As a gesture of goodwill, Martin has
donated his first year salary of $250,000
back to the Department.
Bollinger's decision was based on a let-

Martin Mania
New athletic director has work cut out for him

ter of recommendation signed by the major-
ity of varsity coaches, despite three other
candidates narrowed down by a search advi-
sory committee. Having coach approval
ensures support at all levels and opens com-
munication within the department. Despite
the other recommendations from the search
advisory committee, president Bollinger's
decision is sound and will increase the
accountability of the department as well as
respect for the new leadership. The only
potential pitfall could reside in Martin's
potential feelings of indebtedness to the
coaches responsible for getting him the posi-
tion. Part of the problem with the previous

Athletic Director regime was Tom Goss'
inability to deal with problematic coaches.
This perceived lack of communication
and accountability from within the Athletic
Department is a pressing issue. Layers of
bureaucratic safety nets have often made the
department staff and coaches inaccessible
for critique and evaluation by the commum-
ty at large. Martin's press appearance last
week marked a decided turn toward a more
open and easily accountable departmental
path with an impressively orchestrated
attempt to meet issues head on.
Martin's experience on the Board of
Directors for the U.S. Olympic Committee
and as the president of the United States
Sailing Foundation, as well as his successful
tenure as interim Athletic Director have

given him the experience necessary to
ensure a successful term at the helm.
An important part of Martin's role is to
restore the legacy of Michigan's good name
in sports. In addition to improving the ov
all logistics of the department - fr*
coaching on down - Martin has set a goal
of improving the track facilities and building
a much-needed new baseball stadium. These
goals should not overshadow the financial
problems of the department or drain funds
prematurely, resulting in higher apparel and
ticket prices. With close to half of the neces-
sary funds already raised, Martin should
focus his resources on continued efforts to
get the department back in the black while
still keeping ticket prices low.
As an integral portion ofte
University's operations, the Athletic
Department has an important responsibili-
ty to the spirit of this university, as well as
the role as a significant university invest-
ment and business-like financial arm.
Martin's experience shows him to be a man
able and ready for the job.

.. _

Grand Old Pretense
Republican Convention a charade

Corporate controversy
Sweatshop movement must keep activist roots

T he parade of African Americans and
Latmos seen on the stage of last week's
Republican National Convention was a
departure from the usual GOP mold and an
attempt by the Republican Party to put for-
ward a diverse and friendly face. From Colin
Powell, to unknown state legislators, the
GOP mustered every minority officeholder
and official in their party to march across the
stage of the First Union Center and chal-
lenge the Democrats' perceived lock on
Unfortunately for the GOP, the inclusive
image presented by their carefully scripted
multiculturalism pageant was shattered
every time the cameras turned away from the
stage and onto the convention's delegates.
The sea of white faces in the audience spoke
much louder than the professions of diversi-
ty coming from the podium.
While the speaker's list of Philadelphia's
Republican gathering was replete with
Blacks and Latinos, they made up a mere 4
percent and 3 percent of the convention's
delegates, respectively. While trotting out
every minority speaker possible, including
Samoan wrestler "The Rock" - in an
apparent bid to seize the critical 10-year-old
vote - may have convinced many subur-
banites, and possibly a few minority voters,
that Republicans are starting to look more
like America, so far, it is largely a charade.
The GOP has had some recent success in
nominating and electing more minority
Republicans to local and state offices, but
their numbers still constitute a miniscule
percentage of all minority officeholders and
minority voters have yet to show much more
inclination to vote Republican than usual.
The GOP is hoping to get a larger slice of
that demographic with its presidential candi-
date, George W Bush, who was relatively
successful at attracting minority votes in
texas iortunately for them, Bush seems
tothink his shaim alone will let him take this
phenomenon national, as he has not deigned

to alter his party's positions on any issues of
significant interest to minority voters, only
to pledge to "reach out" to minorities.
By "reaching out," Bush seems to meanj
he will be the first Republican presidential
candidate in a generation to eschew the
Strom Thurmond-invented "Southern
Strategy" of political race-war. That strategy,
used to great effect by many Republicans -
including Bush's father - sought to build a
White Republican majority by scarring
Whites with Willie Hortons, "racial quotas,"
and "welfare queens." That this denigration
of Blacks may end is certainly welcome
news, but unearthing the decency to drop an
overtly racist political manipulation
designed to turn groups of Americans
against each other hardly seems like any
kind of heroic "outreach"
The reasons the Republican Party has
fared so poorly among minorities for the
past fifty years have not been abrogated, but
only glossed over. The broad opposition
among GOP members to many programs
designed to help lower-income Americans
and their vehement opposition to programs
specifically intended to help minorities, such
as affirmative action, has not changed.
Republicans should be trying to make
their party more inclusive and diverse, but
need to recognize that use of minorities as
window-dressing at their convention isn't
enough. GOP candidates should seriously
reexamine the positions taken during their
race-baiting past, such as opposition to affir-
mative action, if they ever hope to attract
more minority support. Clearly, this and
opposition to other programs hugely benefi-
cial to minorities, such as I lead Start, is what
has hurt the GOP in the past. Taking the
interests of increasingly influential minority
voters into account is not only the right thing
to do, but the politically smart thing to do. To
paraphrase Colin Powell, there are more
tmportntmotthings to criticize than a program
that helps Black kids go to college.

T hroughout the past year of anti-sweat-
shop activism. discussion and decision-
making, University students have not been
hit with pepper spray. They have not been
threatened by police force. Their demands
have been heard, considered, and in many
cases, met. Though not always visibly,
University President Lee Bollinger has been
behind much of this attitude of support for
student activism. However, Bollinger has
also followed a trend of careful considera-
tion and compromise when decisions were
to be made, and he continued that trend last
week in a decision to provisionally join the
Fair Labor Association, an organization
formed and partially governed by corporate
interests like Nike.
The University's response has been fairly
unique regarding the Workers' Rights
Consortium. While other universities have
resorted to police force before eventually
giving in to student demands, the University
has answered the student voice with cautious
understanding. Perhaps the most important
response has been the provisional approval
of the WRC. This response not only supports
fair labor, but encourages student activism.
Activism is an important part of the polit-
ical process in democracy, and such activism
on the college level helps prepare students
for future careers in ways that conventional
classrooms cannot. Under the guidance of
Bollinger and other University administra-
tors and educators, student activists learn the
difficulties of making themselves heard;
they learn to support their words with their
actions, but they also learn to compromise.
This is a welcome change from the lessons
of fear and belittlement that other universi-
ties inflict.
A more controversial response has been
one of s ort' hfr the I1LA. ManyF
Univesiety ht n discredit the FLA as a

corporate-controlled organization that shares
biased information only in the interest of
higher profits. Both Bollinger and the
Advisory Committee on Labor Standards
and Human Rights have acknowledged these
potential problems, but the resolution to
wvork with the FLA is tmore an admiss~
than a decision. While the University's inter-
ests may be better represented by the WRC,
this organization does not currently have the
resources to meet fundamental factory
inspection goals. Though they will be at the
mercy of corporate greed, the FLA does
have resources and may be persuaded to use
them to meet directives that are, in theory
similar to those of the WRC.
The University could abandon the FI .
or in an effort to compromise, it could resign
from both the FLA and the WRC. However.
the FLA, while it has negative aspects, nei-
ther affect the WRC, nor do they detract
from the positives of the FLA. Both organi-
zations have their weak points, including a
shared lack of university representation that
both Bollinger and the Advisory Committee
have noted.
The WRC is a relatively new organiza-
tion. Though it may theoretically best repg
sent the wishes of the University, it is no
alone strong enough to fulfill its directives
As the sweatshop movement gains more
national support, it may also gain a nationa
code of conduct for licensees. The WRC car
increase its effectiveness by giving more rep
resentation to the universities that support i
as well as pushing for a national code of con-
duct. The WRC does and should continue tc
have a prominent place in the Umtversi.
fair labor directives. Until the WRC has d
necessary strength and resources, however
the University can best meet its goals fo
labot egpality iretie coibind effort:
I of dhe W(RC1 ' 1 I

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