Monday, September 5, 2011
Report: Two B1G schools voted against Nebraska's AAU status
By Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten downplayed Nebraska's ouster from the Association of American Universities this spring, and the league continued to roll out the red carpet for Big Red during its transition to the league.
There wasn't much the league could do, as Nebraska was just two months away from officially entering the Big Ten.
But the importance of AAU membership didn't waver for the Big Ten's academic leaders. It's very fair to ask whether the Big Ten would have admitted Nebraska had the school lost its AAU membership before June 2010.
Now there's this: according to a Lincoln Journal Star report, two Big Ten schools apparently didn't think Nebraska belonged in the AAU.
Nebraska failed to garner the 21 votes it needed last April to remain in the Association of American Universities, a confederation of more than 60 top research institutions that collectively nets more than half of all federal research funds and awards more than half of the doctoral degrees in the nation. It was confirmed that UNL fell three votes short.
Emails and letters obtained by the Journal Star after a series of open-records requests indicate that Wisconsin and Michigan did not support UNL during its turbulent and unsuccessful AAU membership review earlier this year.
Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman wrote in an April 11 email to his vice chancellors that the school "lost two Big Ten colleagues -- Wisconsin and Michigan." The voting was secret, so Perlman couldn't confirm whether Wisconsin and Michigan opposed Nebraska, but after trying to garner votes from AAU members during a meeting in Washington, the chancellor certainly held that belief.
Carolyn "Biddy" Martin, the former Wisconsin chancellor who voted on Nebraska, since has left to become president of Amherst College. Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman remains in her role.
"It's not fair to say Wisconsin voted against Nebraska," Perlman told the Journal Star. "It's the president of Wisconsin, who is no longer the president of Wisconsin, and the president of Michigan."
Perlman said he didn't feel betrayed by the Wisconsin and Michigan administrators.
"I guess I was disappointed," he said.
The story provides many more details about Nebraska's departure from the AAU, but the Big Ten connection is notable, if nothing else. Perlman not surprisingly downplays what allegedly happened, saying he's "not concerned at all" and is "moving forward."