Indiana Daily Student Staff Editorial – 2002
Leadership involves more than simply holding a position and making occasional decisions. Leadership demands respect, not only from those empowered, but from those affected by their position. With leadership, honesty and integrity are implied. Without these qualities, how are we supposed to trust those who lead us?
Myles Brand admitted in a deposition last week given in a lawsuit filed against IU that he and the trustees broke this trust when they went behind the public’s back and held secret meetings regarding former basketball coach Bobby Knight. How can we trust leaders who violate the spirit of the law while making important decisions?
According to the law, an open-door meeting is a gathering of the majority of a board or commission. The open-door laws were designed to keep the public informed about what goes on during meetings unless the material is strictly confidential, which this matter clearly was not.
What is even more deceitful is during one of the private meetings (at Brand’s home), a fifth member “stayed in the kitchen” while four others met. If the majority of the trustees decide to hold a meeting, then by law, they are required to post the meeting in advance. By having a majority gathered but not meeting “together,” Brand and the trustees have set themselves up as appearing deceitful, which casts a negative light on our university. Brand admitted the trustees met in small groups to get around the state’s open door law. How much more deceitful can one get?
Unfortunately, this is not the only instance of Brand and the trustees working their way around the law. In 2000, they met in small “non-majority” groups when they decided to impose zero tolerance upon Knight. If they can impose zero tolerance upon Knight, then what makes them not susceptible to it themselves? This is twice that Brand and the trustees have violated the spirit of the law concerning this issue.
As leaders, they should be honest with everyone and not go sneaking around to avoid public outrage. By holding the meetings in secret, this shows the trustees knew the public wouldn’t like what they were discussing. We think that a similar zero tolerance policy or a harsher reprimand should be placed on Brand and the trustees. They must be punished — showing that just because they are leaders, they aren’t above moral law.