April 6th , 2005
|Volume 22, Issue 24|
By Tom Cronin - Public Affairs Reporter
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former middleweight contender whose boxing career was ended in 1966 by a triple-murder conviction that was overturned 19 years later, will speak at UIS next week.
Carter's presentation, titled “The Fight for Justice,” will begin at 7:15 p.m. on April 13, and it will be held in the Studio Theater in the lower level of the Public Affairs Center. The program will be presented by the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project and co-sponsored by UIS' Innocence Project Club, the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies, the Inter-Club Council Board, the Speaker's Award Committee and the Student Activities Committee.
As a young boxer, Carter's fast and furious style made him a favorite with audiences and earned him the nickname “Hurricane.” He was a contender for the middleweight championship in 1966 when three white patrons of a New Jersey bar were shot to death and he was mistakenly identified as one of the killers. He and an acquaintance were tried and found guilty by an all-white jury. Carter narrowly escaped the electric chair and was given three life sentences.
In 1974, he published “The Sixteenth Round,” an account of the events that led to his incarceration and a portrait of his life in prison. The book made him a celebrity and inspired Bob Dylan to write the ballad “Hurricane,” which helped bring further attention to Carter's case. On Nov. 7, 1985, Federal District Judge H. Lee Sarokin freed Carter after determining that his conviction was based on an appeal to racial prejudice rather than fact-based evidence.
Since his release, Carter has become a legal crusader and civil rights advocate. Founder of the Canadian group Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted, he also sits on the board of directors of the Southern Center for Human Rights, based in Atlanta , Ga.
Additionally, Carter has testified before Congress on the need for preserving federal review of state court convictions, was invited to the White House to meet with former President Bill Clinton on issues related to the death penalty in America, has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, and has spoken alongside Nelson Mandela at the first World Reconciliation Day in Australia. In 2003, Carter was awarded an honorary doctorate in law from Griffith University in recognition of his work with innocence projects around the world.
In anticipation of Carter's appearance, the film “The Hurricane” was screened three times on Thursday in Brookens Auditorium. The film, based primarily on the book “Lazarus and the Hurricane,” was directed by Norman Jewison and starred Denzel Washington as Carter. In 2000, Washington was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award and won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor. Also that year, Jewison received a Best Director Golden Globe nomination, and the film itself was nominated for a Best Motion Picture Golden Globe Award.
A reception with Carter will precede his public presentation on April 13. Tickets to the reception are $50 per person, and advance registration is required. To make reservations, contact Jeri Fredrick in the Institute for Legal and Policy Studies at 206-7985 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jason Stuebe - Sports Editor
In what some might argue should have been done some time ago, it was reported in The State Journal-Register last Thursday that women's basketball head coach Wanda Nettles was finished at UIS.
Nettles received a written notice roughly two weeks ago in a meeting with UIS Athletics officials that her contract would not be renewed for the 2005-2006 academic year.
The letter came from acting Assistant Athletic Director Paul MacDonna, who stated that the decision was a collective one decided upon by himself, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Steve Chrans and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Christopher Miller.
While no specific reasoning has been given for the release of Coach Nettles, those involved in the decision maintain that it was a combination of reasons.
“It was a personnel issue that I can't discuss other than to say there were several factors,” said MacDonna.
When asked if Nettles less than stellar .336 winning average over four years was taken into consideration, MacDonna stated record was a part of “personnel.”
“I can't say that there was any one particular issue that stood out resulting in the decision,” continued MacDonna.
By and large the decision and eventual notification was seemingly amicable on both sides according to MacDonna.
Asked if MacDonna would speculate if Nettles expected such action he replied, “you'd have to ask her that.”
Nettles could not be reached for comment before press time.
Nettles, who just wrapped up her worst season with a 7-22 showing overall, was not the only one to receive the axe; it was also noted that assistant coaches Fred Nettles and Clarence Moore would not be returning either.
While a change of personnel may do the struggling program some good, several questions remain concerning not only the recruitment of incoming players to help rebuild the program but also maintain the existing eligible roster.
MacDonna was unaware if Nettles had recruited anyone for next year's schedule but insisted that the process would either start or continue once a new coach was found.
In the meantime however, he stated that if and when calls do come into the office regarding potential players who are interested, he would handle them.
What really thickens the plot of hiring a new coach is the absence of a permanent Athletic Director.
Nevertheless, the search is on for the next women's basketball coach, a search MacDonna hopes will be short-lived with the new coach in place “as soon as possible, if not sooner.”
With a program on the outs and in limbo, many are left to wonder what the future holds. MacDonna was resolute in his assertion that the program would be bright though conceded that it was going to be a rough first year.
“It's always going to be tough when you have to rebuild or build a program to be competitive, but we have proven through all our teams that we can be competitive.”
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