The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 30, 1991, Page 4, Image 4

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Jana Pedersen, Editor, 472-1766
Eric Pfanner, Editorial Page Editor
Diane Brayton, Managing Editor
Walter Gholson, Columnist
Paul Domeier, Copy Desk Chief
Brian Shellito, Cartoonist
Jeremy Fitzpatrick, Senior Reporter
Slap on the hand
NCAA self-punishment ironic
he National Collegiate Athletic Association, which occa
sionally punishes wayward schools, is punishing itself.
A special NCAA panel on Monday recommended
numerous changes in Committee on Infractions and enforce
ment staff procedures. The recommendations likely will be
How ironic. Many schools in recent years have penalized
themselves in an attempt to fend off harsher penalties from the
NCAA. Now the NCAA is restricting itself to fend off interfer
ence from state and federal government.
Congress is holding hearings on intercollegiate athletics, and
seven states have passed laws pushing the NCAA toward due
process in investigations. That’s why the recommendations
likely will be adopted.
The NCAA is on the run, not the best circumstance for
changes. But we’ll take them.
One of the recommendations that would speed up the
process would allow schools to agree to certain penalties
without all the hearings. This is the essence of self-imposed
penalties, such as the scholarship the Nebraska men’s basket
ball team loricuca
this year because of
extra benefits given
to former players
Tony Farmer and
Jose Ramos.
Speed isn’t as
important as justice,
j though, and the panel
! suggested changes tt)
remove the kanga
roo-court character of
past investigations.
staff interviews
allegedly have had
interviewers harangu
ing and threatening
witnesses, with the
interview “tran
scripts” having little
relation to what was
The panel pro
posed tape-recorded
David Badders/DN investigations
allegedly are conducted with the assumption that the school
under investigation is guilty.
The panel suggested hiring retired court judges as hearing
officers in major eases to give investigations the air of “inno
cent until proven guilty” fairness.
As natural as these changes seem, they are a major hindrance
on NCAA enforcement, which often relies on hearsay, secret
witnesses, sheer faith in guilt and other judicial no-nos.
The NCAA can’t be expected to operate under every rule of
courts of law because the NCAA doesn’t have all the advan
tages of courts.
The organization doesn’t have subpoena power, so needed
witnesses can refuse to testify. And if someone lies to the
NCAA, chairman Dick Shultz can call that person nasty names,
but that’s about it.
That’s where the fourth major recommendation — public
hearings — would help. Cases that can’t be won through
evidence could be won through public outcry.
If this suggestion is accepted at the 1993 NCAA convention,
future infractions committee hearings will be battles of public
perception. Hearsay, secret witnesses and sheer faith in guilt
arc admissible evidence in these battles.
If NCAA investigators can gather enough evidence to
convince the infractions committee that a school is guilty, the
public will receive the same information and probably reach
the same conclusion. Most people won’t care if due process
isn’t followed.
The NCAA would be able to reach basically the same
results, only faster and with less room for complaints.
Certainly NCAA hearings wouldn’t be perfect and just. But
the changes arc a better step than government interference.
That’s good for now.
Signed stall editorials represent
the official policy of the Fall 1991
Daily Nebraskan. Policy is set by the
Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. Its
members are: Jana Pedersen, editor;
Eric Pfanner, editorial page editor,
Diane Bray ton, managing editor;
Waller Gholson, columnist; Paul
Domeier, copy desk chief; Brian
Shellilo, cartoonist; Jeremy Fitzpa
trick, senior reporter.
The Daily Nebraskan’s publishers
are the regents, who established the
UNL Publications Board to super
vise the daily production of the pa
According to policy set by the re
gents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely
in the hands of its students.
GOT HERE. ... ?
UNL minority alienation zone
The other day I saw a rather
interesting bumper sticker. It
read, “I Don’t Give A Damn
How They Do It Up North.”
I presumed that this was a message
to all non-native Nebraskans and that
the message was specifically aimed
at those recent arrivals from any place
outside of the Midwest.
I also presumed that when trans
lated into the lingo of up North, the
message said, “I don’t think it’s bro
ken, so don’t ask me to fix it, and pay
no attention to the people who are
And according to what was being
said at recent forums on minority
issues, such a complacent and hostile
environment exists at the University
of Ncbraska-Lincoln for most non
American and non-white people.
A few weeks ago, a steady stream
of students, staff and faculty mem
bers tried to give the Chancellor’s
Commission on the Status of Minori
ties some sense of how it fell to be a
minority at a predominantly white
men tne inu board ot Regents
listened to statistical data, scholarly
research on institutional racism and
testimony from minority students about
encounters with xenophobia at UNL.
One of the people who didn’t tes
tify at the regents meeting was Vaughn
Robertson, assistant director and
counselor at UNL’s Multi-Cultural
Affairs Office. But then, he didn’t
have to attend, because for 11 years
he’s been telling the same story of
statistics, research and personal ex
periences to administrators, faculty
members, students and anyone else
who needed talking to. I was one of
the fortunate people who received his
counseling and advice.
Back in 1989, when I first came to
Lincoln from Washington, D.C., 1
was convinced that I’d landed in the
twilight zone, but thought that if I
could find some section of the city in
which I could feel at home, I wouldn’t
feel so alienated.
I walked around Lincoln most of
that morning looking for a soul food
restaurant, a black book store or any
other sign of African America. 1 learned
later that there hadn’t been anything
like that in Lincoln “for years.”
1 could almost hear Rod Serling’s
voice in the background:
“In 1989, Walter Gholson, from
Washington, D.C. finds himself in
Nebraska’s capital city. He has just
spent the morning looking for some
sign of his cultural roots. By the end
of the day he will find that he has
wandered off the highway to a place
where he must forget his cultural
security and embrace the mindset of
alienation. For he has ventured off the
When vou enter the
room. Master E and
Malik are listening to
tapes of Public En
em\ with the baa
cranked oil You greet
them, hoeing, learned
earlier to say “what
up” as opposed to
path into the Midwestern time zone.”
I knew two other African-Ameri
cans in Lincoln besides Robertson
and both were native Nebraskans.
When I tried to explain my surprise at
the absence of an obvious black pres
ence in the capital city, people said,
“Oh, if that’s what you want, you
should go to Omaha.”
Most of the black people I met
didn’t seem to think my problem was
real or that it shouldn’t bother me to
be in a city with no black community.
But it did, and I resigned myself to the
fact that I would never be able to
adequately explain to them how strange
it felt.
I felt the same way about the re
gents meeting, that it was almost
impossible for them to believe that
what they were hearing was any more
than the homesick whinings of out
siders trying to change their way of
life, that these complaints only obliged
them to say, “1 don’t give a damn how
they do it up North.”
And it is this kind of ignorance of
how it feels to be in the shoes of a
minority person and the reluctance to
accept the fact that this is an urgent
problem that really bothered me.
When Robertson teaches his Uni
versity Foundations class, one of the
things he tries to instill in his students
is a sense of how it feels to be a
stranger in a strange land.
One of those methods involves
what he calls his “guided tour of
reversed situations.” The tour is based
on what it would be like if a while
student decided to attend a predomi
nantly black university. It goes some
thing like this:
“Let’s imagine that you have de
cided to go to Howard University in
Washington, D.C. You’re on the last
leg of the trip to D.C with two white
students from Oklahoma who also
will attend Howard University.
“On the drive in from the airport,
the first thing you notice is the ab
sence of white people on the city
streets. You knew that D.C. had a i
major black population, but you ex
pected to see a few white faces some
“When you get to the university,
all of the staff members, students and
faculty members you see arc black,
and when you get to your dorm room
you meet your three roommates: Malik,
Shaka and a guy who introduced
himself as ‘Master E from NYC.’
“At this moment, you experience
an immediate sense of alienation.
“The first thing you think is, ‘I’ve
got to find those two white students
who were on the plane with me.’
“But you don’t have time to think
about your situation because you’ve
got to unpack and get ready to attend
die reception-dance for freshmen and
transfer students later. After unpack
ing, you decide to get a haircut before
the reception.
“You find your way downtown but
notice that all the barber shops have
black barbers. You know they won’t
discriminate but you don’t want to
take a chance of getting a bad hair cut,
so you say to hell with that plan.
“At the reception, almost all the
students arc African American or from
a foreign country, except for 25 white
students whom you don’t know' yet.
The music is jazz, blues and rap. Not
one Guns ‘N’ Roses record has been
played. You end up talking with mostly
white students who also seem to be
feeling like yourself.
“After the reception, you find your
way back to the dormitory after get
ting directions from two elated black
men who called you their ‘white
brother.’ When you enter the room,
Master E and Malik arc listening to
tapes of Public Enemy with the bass
cranked up. You greet them, having
learned earlier to say ‘what up’ as
opposed to ‘howdy.’
“You shower and get into bed. But
as your thoughts filler out the sounds
of Wcgot to fight the powers that be,’
you wonder whether you made the
right decision when you came to a ’
predominantly black university.
“Now that you have reached this
point in the tour, you may be able to
understand how it feels to be a minor
Choi son Is a senior news-editorial jour
nalism m^jor and a Daily Nebraskan colum