|[asusig] Board of Regents Meeting - Good News and Bad News||Fri, 27 Sep 2002|
Well, I just got back from the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at ASU and before I dash out to try and earn a living today want to drop a quick note.
On the "Good" news front the Board voted to approve the "delegation of authority" to allow ASU to meet it's contracted obligation to sell us the House.
Therefore we are planning on either closing the sale on Oct 8th or filing suit against ASU on Oct 9th should they move us past that date since we had originally agreed to close on September 30th.
As you know our loan is approved for $364,000 dollars and we have every intention of closing on the 8th and to continue with the remodeling and renovating that we started in July. The other houses on the Row will be doing the same. In fact Chris Ward, the Pike representative, was calling his National as we broke from lunch following the Regents meeting to inform them to begin making his $1 million dollar loan available so that he could being construction immediately.
The simple statement that we were approved however does not begin to reflect the atmosphere of "our" portion of the meeting.
When the Regents finally got to that part of the agenda that addressed Alpha Drive they indicated that they had already met to discuss this topic in a closed Executive Session so the balance of the Open Meting became a bit of a "Star Chamber" proceeding with only Michael Crow (ASU President) and Mernoy Harrison (ASU VP) addressing the Regents. Chris is putting in a call today to one of the top First Amendment Attorney's in the state on the possible issue the Regents violating Open Meeting laws by holding this discussion in private.
Both reiterated to the Regents of their intention to redevelop Alpha Drive once they repurchase our properties from us. Mernoy even went so far as to tell the Regents that ASU would be back before the Regents with that request before the end of this calendar year. He also told the Regents that is was ASU's intention to move the Fraternities into an as yet undesigned facility on the south side of Campus (this would mean south of Apache). Mernoy also bald faced lied to the Regents when he was asked how long the negotiations with the six houses seeking to exercise their options had been going on. Mernoy's answer - "About a month". Silly me I wonder what all those meetings with ASU have been about for the last X number of years have been about?
The Regent conducting the meeting then took a few minutes to tell those assembled that the Regents did not agree with the characterizations that have supposedly been made in the press that their is an anti-Greek or anti-fraternity bias at the University. And that the people they had talked to didn't seem to have a problem with moving the Fraternities to the south-side of campus. We do not know who they would have talked to since the House Corporations represent the housing interest of our Headquarters and none of us have been talked to or interviewed.
After the vote to approve was concluded Mernoy walked by Chris Ward who was standing at the door, and who was standing ready to address the Regents should the opportunity or need arise, and this time Mernoy verbally leveled a threat towards the Fraternities when he told Chris "I warned you to be careful of what you wished for." This would be a follow-up to his letter of August in which he attempted to extort the Houses to walk away from their properties for pennies on the dollar if we wanted to be included in the planning for the south-side housing facility.
On the subject of anti-Greek bias I believe the following anecdote will provide a bit of illumination.
While I was seated with other members of Alpha Drive house corporations (Pike, Sigma Nu and Sig Ep) waiting for the meeting to get started Michael Crow (the new ASU President) walks over and is talking to a couple seated in the row in front of us (he has never met any of us) and I overhear him talking to them about Fraternities. He certainly let slip his personal animus towards Greek Letter societies. He said "When I left to go to school my father said to stay away from anything with Greek Letters so when my Phi Beta Kappa arrived I threw it in the trash". Now does that indicate a deep seated bias and outright hostility?
For the future of the Row and our House on the Row only time will tell but with a State deficit projected to be $1 Billion dollars next year and with the Universities already behind to the tune of over $200 million in deferred maintenance on facilities they already own I would think that there is no way that they will be able to come up with the minimum $4 million it will cost to move us and a similar dollar figure to move the other eight houses.