Tuesday, February 13, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 388 - Feb. 13

Feb. 13, 8:30 p.m.

Links and Commentary on the Mary Gilchrist Case and UI's Gambling Ties, below

SILO. Today's the day to vote!

The Daily Iowan, The Gazette and the Press-Citizen all contained an anti-SILO op ed column in their Friday, February 10 editions that contained the author's inadvertent misattribution of a quote to me that, in fact, I had never written or uttered. The Press-Citizen and Gazette Saturday editions kindly contained corrections and a letter to the editor from me that makes reference to comments of mine in this blog regarding the proposed 20% hike in sales tax called SILO.

If you've come here looking for my SILO comments, prior to the vote Tuesday, February 13 (today), click here for a direct link to them. (The full record -- the original columns with the inadvertent but mistaken attribution of a quote to me, the correction letter from the author, and my letters to the Press-Citizen and Gazette -- is contained in Nicholas Johnson's "Gazette Editorial". Because the Daily Iowan does not publish Saturday or Sunday I requested they ran my letter yesterday or today, February 13, when they ran it.

(That Daily Iowan letter is additional evidence of how easy it is for inadvertent errors to slip into one's writing! I sent the DI an e-mail to which I attached the letter I'd sent to the Press-Citizen -- thinking I had modified it to substitute "Daily Iowan" for "Press-Citizen" when I had, in fact, failed to do so. Thank goodness I had earlier been understanding of the anti-SILO folks' error!)

The Mary Gilchrist Trial

Mary Gilchrist got her chance to testify yesterday, and the papers were full of the story this morning, all linked below. Among the highlights was the tape of the meeting at which she was fired, played in court. That tape, and a transcript -- along with a great many more items (including the Complaint) -- are available at the IowansWantTheBestLab.org Web site, linked below (look for "Downloads").

UI Athletic Department Continues to Cuddle in the Huddle with Casinos and Lotteries

To the unseemly smell from mixing college athletic programs and gambling has been added the intervention of lawyers for the copyright owners of the "Iowa Fight Song." This has apparently captured the attention of the Iowa Lottery and the Athletic Department in a way that mere association with gambling failed to do. See Rodriguez' story, linked below, along with the "Gomer" awarded Barta by The Gazette.

There are a number of positions that people can and do take on these issues. (1) Some oppose all gambling wherever it may be and, therefore, also opposed partnerships with organized gambling by the UI and its athletic programs. (2) Others don't oppose all gambling, but do oppose the idea of the UI or its athletic programs appearing to be promoting gambling, or funding its programs with gambling revenues. (3) Some believe the NCAA rules and guidelines (rules forbid gambling by the athletes and coaches; guidelines discourage advertising casinos and state lotteries, and forbid the practice at NCAA-sponsored tournaments or other events) should govern UI practices. (4) Some believe we should push the edge of the envelope, take all the money we can from potential advertisers, including organized gambling interests -- but they find something offensive and inappropriate about this particular commercial. (5) Finally, some see nothing wrong with UI gambling ties, or this commercial.

More confession of error from me: When I last wrote about these issues what I wrote suggested that the NCAA's prohibition on acceptance of advertising promoting gambling was directly applicable, as a "rule," to the UI. Apparently, that is not true. It is, technically and literally, applicable only to NCAA-sponsored events.

However, while it is important I acknowledge that distinction, since I fall essentially within category (2), above, it does not affect my analysis, which does not turn on what the NCAA says. I just don't think it's consistent with an institution of higher education to be preaching that the path to a good life (including greater income) offers a choice: one involves the effort (and joy) of education and life-long learning, the other merely requires one to strike it rich with a lucky toss of the dice or choice of lottery number. I also think it is an inherent conflict to forbid sports gambling by intercollegiate players and coaches (which is an NCAA rule), and then contract with gambling organizations to help fund the activities of those players and coaches.

The other thing I need to acknowledge is that, while discussing these issues over the last few days, I have found virtually no one who shares my concern. As long as it makes money for the athletic program, and is not a violation of the criminal law, most folks see no reason why we shouldn't do it.

But this, then, raises yet another issue. Apparently the University does have rules forbidding its acceptance of advertising revenue for tobacco and alcohol advertising. That being the case, I find the willingness to accept gambling money even more perplexing. Why the distinction amongst the profits to be made by promoting student and other public participation in these three highly profitable, but potentially addictive, behaviors?

# # #

[Note: If you're new to this blog, and interested in the whole UI President Search story . . .

These blog entries begin with Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search I," November 18, 2006.

Wondering where the "UI Held Hostage" came from? Click here. (As of January 25 the count has run from January 21, 2006, rather than last November.)

For any given entry, links to the prior 10 will be found in the left-most column. Going directly to FromDC2Iowa.Blogspot.com will take you to the latest. Each contains links to the full text of virtually all known media stories and commentary, including mine, since the last blog entry. Together they represent what The Chronicle of Higher Education has called "one of the most comprehensive analyses of the controversy." The last time there was an entry containing the summary of prior entries' commentary (with the heading "This Blog's Focus on Regents' Presidential Search") is Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search XIII -- Last Week," December 11, 2006.

My early proposed solution to the conflict is provided in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VII: The Answer," November 26, 2006.

Searching: the fullest collection of basic documents related to the search is contained in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search - Dec. 21-25," December 21, 2006 (and updated thereafter), at the bottom of that blog entry under "References." A Blog Index of entries on all subjects since June 2006 is also available. And note that if you know (or can guess at) a word to search on, the "Blogger" bar near the top of your browser has a blank, followed by "SEARCH THIS BLOG," that enables you to search all entries in this Blog since June 2006.]

# # #

Media Stories and Commentary

Mary Gilchrist Stories, Feb. 13
Kelsey Beltramea, "Ex-lab head says Iowans' lives at risk," The Daily Iowan
Mason Kerns, "UI May Lose Lab," The Daily Iowan
Erin Jordan, "U of I Fired Lab Director for Resisting Directions," Des Moines Register
Zack Kucharski, "Gilchrist: I Acted to Keep Iowa Safe," The Gazette
Mike McWilliams, "Testimony Wraps Up," Iowa City Press-Citizen
and Mary Gilchrist's Web Site: Iowans Want the Best Lab, with links to an mpg audio (and a transcript) of the October 3, 2006, meeting at which she was fired

Eric Rodriguez, "More lottery ad fallout," The Daily Iowan, February 13, 2007

Editorial, "Gomers: What's Going Wrong," The Gazette, February 12, 2007


Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nicholas Johnson's Main Web Site www.nicholasjohnson.org
Nicholas Johnson's Iowa Rain Forest ("Earthpark") Web Site
Nicholas Johnson's Blog, FromDC2Iowa
Nicholas Johnson's Blog Index

No comments: