President Lee C. Bollinger has accepted a panels recommendation that student organizations on campus should be assigned space according to a consistent process that is uniform across the campus and viewpoint neutral, and that assignment should be periodically reviewed and reassessed. He has asked Royster Harper, interim vice president for student affairs, to take the lead in implementing the panels recommendations over the coming academic year.
Consistent with the principles of fairness and access expressed in the panels recommendations, Bollinger said in a letter to students in the affected organization, I have decided that it is not appropriate to continue any special tenancy in the [Michigan Union] tower space for Michigamua, Phoenix and Vulcan. But I also believe it would run afoul of these same principles if those groups, who have relied on their special tenancy for many years, were not allowed a stable transition.
Therefore, we have made arrangements for those three groups to have transitional office and meeting space in another location for a period of two years. If they choose to apply for office and meeting space after this transitional period, they will do so as part of the general process of student space allocation.
Bollinger said the tower space is in need of renovation to conform to safety standards and regulations regarding access for the disabled. A decision about what to do with the space will be made after considering the cost of these renovations and other issues.
The panel was convened to resolve issues raised by a protest in March over the longstanding residency in the tower of the Michigan Union by three student groups: Michigamua, Phoenix and Vulcan. Panel members were Patricia Gurin, professor of psychology and of womens studies and former LS&A interim dean; Earl Lewis, dean of the Graduate School and professor of history; and Christina Whitman, professor of law and of womens studies.
The complete panel report can be found on the Web at www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/BG/spacerep.html.