The University Record, December 17, 2001

Athletic and Life Sciences bylaws pass

By Laurel Thomas Gnagey

The Board of Regents approved two changes Thursday to its bylaws, despite requests from faculty and student government representatives to delay action until a later meeting.

The first action involved amendments to Sec. 11.21–11.218, rules that deal with the roles of the president and faculty in governing athletics. The second established bylaws for the new Life Sciences Institute.

Citing NCAA and Big Ten rules, President Lee Bollinger urged Regents to change the bylaws to reflect the president’s “ultimate authority over athletics.” In addition to tightening language establishing that authority, the revision also changed the name of the former Board in Control of Athletics to the Advisory Board.

“That does not mean administration will use it to seize more control over athletics,” Bollinger said. “The basic issue is where ultimate responsibility for intercollegiate athletics lies. I believe it belongs with the president.”

Bollinger stressed that issues such as athletic eligibility would remain in the hands of the advisory board, which is to be comprised mostly of faculty members, according to Big Ten rules. In fact, the bylaw change calls for three additional faculty representatives, the President noted in a background piece detailing the proposal. Bollinger also said the Board would continue to advise the athletic director on financial and policy issues regarding intercollegiate activities.

The second bylaw approved was Section 13.15 for the Life Sciences Institute. The new rules for governance of the Institute call for a director to be appointed by the Board upon recommendation from the President, and establishment of an executive committee consisting of the director, President, three ex-officio administrators, two deans and four faculty members.

Both the faculty Senate Assembly and the Michigan Student Assembly passed resolutions at their recent meetings urging the Regents to delay decisions on the bylaw revisions until there could be more University-wide comment.

In his report to the Regents, SACUA Chair Mojtaba Navvab urged the board to postpone voting on both bylaw issues “until January, February or even later if necessary.” In regard to the athletic revisions, he said, “SACUA feels that further reflection and refinement of the proposal will ultimately enhance whatever outcome results.”

Bollinger reminded Regents that the athletic bylaw issue is not new. He also noted the University followed appropriate processes for amending bylaws, which stipulate a required time for posting the changes in a public place and for consultation with interested groups.

Both proposals passed with Regent Katherine White voting against the athletic bylaw revisions.