Faculty reacted angrily to University President Lee Bollinger”s proposed changes to the Board of Regents bylaws that would affect the faculty”s role on the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“Why are we being asked to give up our rights?” asked Dentistry Prof. Jack Gobetti at yesterday”s Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs meeting. “I”m looking at it as faculty are losing a voice. Sounds to me like the wolves are guarding the sheep, and I am 100 percent against it.”

If the proposed changes are approved by the regents at their December meeting, the structural make-up of the Board in Control would be affected. The Board in Control”s name would be changed to the Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics, the president would be given the authority to appoint faculty members to the board and the chair of SACUA would serve as an ex officio member. The Board of Regents” authority in some areas would also be eliminated and replaced by the president.

“It takes away something of the accountability of a democratic society,” said SACUA Secretary John Lehman, a biology professor.

The changes would also eliminate SACUA”s current role as the business and financial agency of the athletic program as well as reduce SACUA”s control over athletic facilities.

“With an unscrupulous athletic director this could become a rather meaningless board,” said SACUA member John Riebesell, a professor of natural sciences at the University”s Dearborn campus.

Michigan Student Assembly president Matt Nolan said from a student prospective, he opposes the changes.

“This is taking control of athletics away from the University communities and putting it in the hands of the president,” Nolan said.

Kinesiology Prof. Marvin Boluyt said that while he was not familiar with the proposed bylaw changes, he opposes any reduction in faculty representation on the Board in Control.

“The current situation is already detrimental to the current interest of the student athletes. I would be opposed to any changes that would reduce student interests regarding their academic welfare,” Boluyt said. “Student athletes are already asked to miss class too many times and they are asked to spend too much time in practices and meetings,”

Boluyt said faculty representation on the Board in Control is essential because the faculty is the only body concerned with student athletes” rights.

“Who”s interested in the academic performance of the kids? The faculty. The balance is already tipped in the favor of athletics, this would only make it worse,” Boluyt said.

Education Prof. Percy Bates, who was appointed by Bollinger to a committee responsible for assessing how the Board in Control was functioning, said his committee advised the president to make changes that would bring the regents bylaws more inline with the current practices of the Board in Control.

“The committee certainly felt that there were some changes needed to bring the bylaws inline with what the board was doing,” Bates said, who added that he was not prepared to speak to the specifics of Bollinger”s proposed bylaw changes.

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