By James F. Tracy
Likins is selling out to Nike
To the Editor:
I wish to draw your attention to a matter concerning the debate over the pending UA/Nike contract. New University of Arizona President Peter Likins flew to Oregon on Monday, February 9 to meet with Nike CEO Phil Knight. I confirmed this with Likins' secretary on February 6 and found the rendezvous between Likins and Knight to be most disheartening, principally because the action stands in stark contrast with President Likins' refusal to meet with students such as myself who have expressed their dismay over the university's possible contract with the corporate giant. When we asked the president to meet and discuss the issue, he deferred to athletic director Jim Livengood, who also refused to talk with us. Nor was Livengood forthcoming with a copy of the contract. Yet Likins and Livengood have repeatedly relied on the media "spin" statements directly from the Nike public relations office in order to deflect our dissent and assuage the public concerning any of Nike's misdeeds.
(In December, the administration also refused to send a representative to the ASUA Senate meeting where we proposed a resolution condemning the contract.)
In addition, almost 500 University of Arizona students and staff have signed a petition condemning any contract that the university may sign with Nike, yet these voices have fallen on the deaf ears of the administration. Indeed, this action by the president confirms his allegiance to Nike and their filthy lucre rather than the concerned students who have expressed their dissent. This behavior is not becoming of an individual who is paid by taxpayer dollars and has been consigned with the leadership of a public institution of higher learning.
We are still in correspondence with President Likins' office, petitioning him to discuss the issue in an open forum where all sides can be voiced outside of the narrow confines of the Nike Corporation's public statements that the UA administration parrot with such servile glee. So far, however, the process has been anything but democratic. It appears that this is exactly what President Likins prefers, perhaps on the advice of his newfound chum.
James F. Tracy