The University Record, March 27, 2000

Assembly Roundup

Senate discusses athletics, parking

By Theresa Maddix

The Senate Assembly’s March 20 meeting began with the election of members of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA). Following the election, Larry Root, School of Social Work and the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, spoke about athlete eligibility. Patrick Cunningham, director of Parking and Transportation Services, and Henry Baier, associate vice president for facilities and operations, addressed Assembly concerns about parking.

John Gobetti, School of Dentistry; Rudi Lindner, Department of History; and Jon Rush, School of Art and Design, were elected to SACUA. Continuing members are Donald Deskins, Department of Sociology; Bruce Karnopp, College of Engineering; Sherrie Kossoudji, School of Social Work; Jacqueline Lawson, Department of Humanities, U-M Dearborn; Mojtaba Navvab, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; and Peter Ward, Medical School.

Athlete eligibility

Root, chair of the Academic Performance Committee (APC), a subgroup of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics, explained the committee’s role in determining athlete eligibility. Athletes who meet Big Ten standards for eligibility but do not meet the U-M 2.0 grade point average standard can petition the APC to remain eligible. Approximately 15 of this year’s 700 student athletes have made such a petition in the past year.

APC member and associate director of athletics Nan Allen-Bell reported that of the 700 student athletes, more than 350 are recognized at an annual honors banquet for maintaining a B average of better over three semesters.

Root also reported that some student athletes find it very difficult to pursue the major of their choice because of class scheduling. Athletes have many conflicts with courses that meet after 2 p.m. Root asked if there could be a systematic approach to refining course scheduling to minimize the impact of missing classes and exams.

Assembly members asked for specific data on the number of athletes who have not been able to pursue majors because of course scheduling problems, and for concrete data on eligibility and student athlete success rates.

Merle Foss, professor of kinesiology, said that University discussions of athletics and academics too often are full of “generality, non-specificity and lack of quantitative data.” Foss suggested a Universitywide discussion of “the place of intercollegiate athletics on campus.” Such a discussion, he said, should include student athletes, faculty members, coaches and administrators.

Parking

Cunningham said that since his last meeting with the Assembly, the Elbel Field “Crunch” lot has shown a continual increase in use, now averaging 40 cars per day. Most of these are faculty members’ vehicles. Monitors are now at all lots and an additional Department of Public Safety officer is in place. Another new officer will begin work soon.

Cunningham also spoke of his desire to install an electronic monitoring system. The technologically advanced system would allow vehicle counting that also tracks the number of blue and gold passes, and University vehicles in a lot. The technology for this system is now in use for high-speed highway lanes.

“I’m very sympathetic,” Cunningham reiterated, “We need to do more,” but said, “We’re not going to be able to provide a space for every person who works at the University.”

Baier announced the Regents’ approval that afternoon of a 1.5 percent increase on the cost of blue and gold permits for next year.

Deskins expressed disappointment at the overselling of permits for this year and for the apparent lack of an attempt to prevent the same thing from happening again next year. He also asked why University vehicles are allowed to park in blue lots.

“Overselling makes sense because everybody isn’t here every day,” Baier said. The problem, he noted, has been in the amount of overselling and the fact that “when a new faculty member comes on board, they want parking.”

Cunningham said Parking and Transportation Services is now selling 1.3 permits per space. He said much of the problem with preventing overselling is answering the question “Who decides who gets it [parking], who doesn’t?”

Gobetti also expressed frustration with parking availability, saying he considered parking to be like a tax and that it is “totally inappropriate to tax when there are no solutions any time soon. I should be remunerated whenever I can’t park.”

Barbara MacAdam said it is “astonishing that given the hours spent discussing parking, the only communication regarding an increase came after the fact.”

Kossoudji suggested the University pay people not to park if it is really interested in alleviating the situation.