Proposal on fans’ behavior dropped

Friday, January 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:02 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

The MU Faculty Council on Thursday dropped its proposed policy regarding the behavior of students at athletic events.

The board had asked Rex Campbell, a council member and professor of rural sociology, to draft the policy after the council’s chair Gordon Christensen received complaints about the Antlers, a student fan group not sponsored by the university.

Complaints about fans behavior came after comments directed toward an Indiana University player at the Dec. 19 men’s basketball game, Christensen said.

The proposal stipulated that anyone cursing, using derogatory terms or offensive language at a game could be escorted from the arena. If groups or individuals repeatedly used such expressions, they would not be allowed to receive tickets in the future.

The council dropped the proposed policy after recent improvement in the Antlers’ behavior. The changes were credited to e-mail and verbal warnings from Tad Dunn, director of game operations, said Michael Booth, “grand poobah” of the Antlers.

Jenice Prather-Kinsey, the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee representative for the council, witnessed the change at the Wednesday’s MU vs. Texas Tech men’s basketball game.

“In past times, they would boo and shout all kinds of verbiage at the team,” Prather-Kinsey said. “This time, even though we lost, no one said anything as the opposing team was coming in and out of the arena.”

Booth said he does not think the Antlers’ behavior has changed.

“I don’t think we calmed anything down,” he said. “There have been fewer Antlers at games, so that might have made a difference.”

While the recommended policy will not go into effect, members of the council agreed student behavior at athletic events should continue to be watched.

“The distinction between free speech and inflammatory speech is a very fine line,” said Thomas Phillips, a professor of biological sciences. “But in an athletic arena, we can control it because we own it.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the council approved revisions to the 2006-07 academic calendar.

Christensen said he thinks a resolution establishing guidelines for the annual review and promotion of non-regular faculty would be voted on during the next council meeting.

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