Private club furor follows grand marshall to MSU
By DANIEL STURM
This years Homecoming offers a golden opportunity to celebrate
what it means to be a Spartan, said Joanne McPherson, MSU first
lady and Homecoming Committee co-chairperson in a press release last
So what does it mean to be a Spartan? Admittedly, having written a story
on the Sparty statues roots in fascist art, I was always under
the impression that the Spartan ideal symbolizes an uncomfortable mix
of sports, business and stereotypified masculinity.
A few days ago, a City Pulse reader brought to my attention (as I dont
read the sports section myself) that the grand marshall of MSUs
Homecoming this year, MSU alumnus Lloyd Ward, is one of 300 members
of Augusta National Golf Club, which bans female members. When the parade
starts at 6 p.m. Friday (Oct. 18) at Burcham Drive in East Lansing,
this City Pulse reader wrote that shed be up for a protest!
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Olympic Committee
Ward is the grand marshall for MSUs Homecoming events.
picked Ward because he is of such high regard here, Sharon
Radtke, an assistant director of MSUs Special Programs at the
Lloyd Ward, a 1970 graduate, is the CEO of the United States Olympic
Committee. He earned the Jack Breslin Lifetime Achievement Award and
the Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State, where he received
his bachelors degree in engineering, and where he was captain
of the basketball team in 1970.
The Augusta club was back in the news this summer when the National
Council of Womens Organizations sent a letter asking the organization
to reconsider its policy of excluding women. Augusta National Chairman
William W. Johnson responded that [the club] is a distinctively
private club and cannot talk about its membership and practices with
those outside the organization. Any further communication between us
would not be productive.
The womens councils next step was to send letters to the
Masters Golf Tournaments key sponsors, which include General Motors,
IBM and Coca-Cola, requesting they suspend their financial support of
the Masters Tournament on the grounds that it legitimizes discrimination
engaged by Augusta National.
As a consequence, several Club members announced theyd be willing
to support change.
Last week, Ward said he would work aggressively with other club members
to back the admission of women. Ward, one of a handful of Augusta Nationals
African-American members, said in a letter to Martha Burk, chairwoman
of the National Council of Womens Organizations, that he was committed
to breaking down barriers which exclude women from membership at Augusta
in the weeks and months ahead. Burk told The New York Times that
this latest support would indicate that the problems at Augusta
will be solved sooner than later.
Radtke, who is in charge of coordinating the Homecoming event, said
that when they decided to invite Ward, wed heard a little
bit about the debate. And after all, wasnt Ward a good guy,
since he was working to get women in, and not to exclude them?
Radtke said that people who decided to protest or question the alumni
associations decision would be referred to a USA Today article
so that they know that hes actually championing to get women
into this club. She said they hadnt planned to raise awareness
against discrimination during Homecoming week. After all, people are
just coming to have fun. We dont want to get into anything heavy.
Well, there is one heavy event planned on the Homecoming
venue MSU wants to top the current Guinness world record for
the largest Rice Krispie treat, by making a 3,000-pound solid square
of the marshmallow snack. For a small donation portions of the giant
Rice Krispie will be available for consumption on the north side of
Spartan Stadium this coming Saturday, and from golf carts cruising tailgate
parties before, during and after the football game.
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