File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 154

Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 08:47:20 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: M-I: A lone nut speaks up?

Angered at not being allowed to speak,
GEO member bawls out the BOT

By Michele Steele
Associate Campus editor

The Pine Lounge of the Illini Union looked a lot like a
movie set Wednesday afternoon -- and it wasnUt just
the cameras that contributed to the drama.

After the public comments session had ended, Dennis
Grammenos, a member of the Graduate Employees
Organization, did something not quite characteristic of
meetings of University administration: he got up and
started to yell. Because the Board of Trustees turned
down GEOUs application to speak, Grammenos felt
relating his message this way was the next best thing.
He was received shouts of support from the crowd,
many coming directly from the rally GEO cosponsored.

Trustee Tom Lamont called it an "interesting" morning.

Laura Appenzeller, Illinois Student Government
president and a speaker at the rally, said GrammenosU
outburst reflected negatively on those who did receive
permission to address the board.

"This has really brought down our credibility," she said.

In some trusteesU minds, however, opinion of the
"official" presentations had not changed.

In the six years heUs been on the board, Lamont said,
something like GrammenosU demonstration happens
every year.

"For the most part," Lamont added, "the speakers had
good, passionate arguments."

"Even though we may not have agreed with everything
they said," BOT chairperson Susan Gravenhorst said,
"they (the presentations) were very thoughtful."

While trustees continue to support public comment,
those who spoke wonder whether their opinions fall on
deaf ears -- none of the trustees responded directly to
the student presentations during the meeting.

Trustee Judith Reese explained that the trustees show
their response through their votes.

"We allow public comment only on issues that are
currently before the board usually in the form of an
agenda item. We are listening to them before we vote."

As to GrammenosU non-sanctioned messages to the
board, Reese said that "itUs part of the price we pay for
the first amendment.

"I just hope he let off some steam."

Campus editor Michelle Brutlag contributed to this


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