|Thursday, January 27, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 82
Mitchell on football
Ed De La Garza
Bad press. Bad, bad press
We expect certain things from UH.
We expect to have to arrive on campus two hours before our first class so that we can find a parking space. We expect long lines at the University Bookstore. We expect that the most-needed book won't be in stock until mid-semester. We expect hassles at E. Cullen -- otherwise known as "hell."
Apparently, we can now expect back-peddling and cover-ups from University administrators who seem to be more concerned with bad press than with any possible miscarriage of justice regarding the dismissal (or re-evaluation) of UH Police Chief George Hess.
UH President Arthur K. Smith has taken to attacking the Houston Chronicle -- specifically an editorial, "UH's Shame: Football still rules over principle and integrity," published Jan. 28.
Supposedly, the editorial was yet another lie in the media's "fictitious web of conspiracy." If the editorial is wrong, it's for placing too much emphasis on the idea that Mike DeRouselle's crime was covered up, or handled in-house because he was a football player. That isn't the point.
The point of this controversy is that the University would not allow a law enforcement officer to carry out his job.
In a memo released by Smith on Jan. 24, the president states the policy is meant to protect University assets, not to make sure "every individual is prosecuted for every violation."
Oh, well, not making sure "every individual is prosecuted for every violation" is different than intentionally keeping an officer from following the law.
Instead of complaining about the negative light cast on the University because of an editorial, administrators should think about the negative light cast on UH because of Hess' dismissal (or again, re-evaluation).
Smith's memo reads more like a long excuse rather than an explanation. Neither he nor Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk knew forging a requisition form was the same as forging a state document. UH General Counsel Dennis Duffy never told them the offense could be a felony. So long as the University was paid back, no harm done ... right?
Excuses are for people who did something wrong. If you have nothing to hide, you tell the truth. Administration tried to keep something hidden, and now it's making excuses -- and attempting to make the University the victim of the media.
Oh ... that's right. We can always expect excuses.