Bernard Robinson Jr. will represent the University on the basketball court while serving probation for assaulting a female undergraduate – and the student staff from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center said they are not happy about it.

University students associated with SAPAC have drafted a petition that asks the University’s highest officials to overrule the decision to keep Robinson on the court.

Addressed to University President Mary Sue Coleman and the Board of Regents, the petition, dated May 19, was available for the University community to sign, including students, staff and alumni.

“We ask that Bernard Robinson, Jr. be stripped of his captaincy for the 2003-2004 season, lose his basketball scholarship from the University of Michigan, and be removed from the University of Michigan’s men’s basketball program,” said the petition.

The letter goes on to say that maintaining Robinson’s athletic status amounts to its “tacit consent” in violence against women.

Robinson is the basketball team’s 6’6″ forward. He averaged 32.2 minutes, 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds this past season, and was chosen as one of the team’s captains for the 2003-2004 year.

Last March, Robinson pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery for an incident that occurred in April 2002.

According to Department of Public Safety reports, Robinson was accused of fondling a female student in a stairwell of West Quad Residance Hall. The student escaped and contacted DPS, who arrested and released Robinson the next morning.

Robinson was initially charged with three counts of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of his plea agreement, the charges were dropped and replaced with two misdemeaner counts of assault and battery.

He was sentenced to a year of probation, which requires him to participate in sex-offender screening, to deliver a presentation to other Michigan athletes about criminal sexual conduct and to abstain from drugs and alochol. He was also fined $850 and ordered to have no further contact with the victim, except for a required letter of apology.

But to those who signed the petition, the penalties are hollow if Robinson is still permitted to wear a Michigan uniform.

“By allowing (Robinson) to continue to represent the University on a national level, the University administration shows a lack of commitment to ending violence against women on this campus,” the petition said.

“Allowing Robinson to continue to play for the University’s men’s basketball team also sends a message to this student body and to the nation at large that the University of Michigan is less concerned with the character of its student athletes than with their athletic abilities.”

But University basketball coach Tommy Amaker has said that the current consequences are sufficient.

“Bernard knows that the consequences for his action carry a great deal of weight and will not be taken lightly,” Amaker said in written statement released when the sanctions were announced.

“We will expect him to fulfill all his obligations as outlined by the judge,” Amaker added. “He will take a leadership role in sharing this experience with his teammates and especially with our freshmen players so they, too, understand the serious nature of this issue.”

Sports Information Director, Tom Wywrot, said nobody in the basketball program was available to comment directly about the petition.

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