Public figures should represent constituents fairly

By Chronicle Senior Staff

Come Thursday morning, a new administration will be set to take the reins of the Associated Students of the University of Utah as the newly elected student body president, vice president and senior class president.

With those titles comes the responsibility to represent the student body of the U to the best of their respective abilities.

Upon election, these students-our peers-become the face of campus. They don’t just represent themselves-they represent the community of this campus and are responsible not just for their policies, but also for the image of the university as a whole. In short, in taking on these leadership positions, they become public figures-and take on all the responsibilities that come with it.

They would be well-served, then, to take a lesson from another public figure in the Utah Valley. Larry Miller-who owns several Utah-based businesses, including the NBA’s Utah Jazz-made headlines this week for blasting Jazz players, labeling them “babies” in a story reported in The Salt Lake Tribune.

As those who follow the Jazz know, this is not the first time he has drawn attention to himself in such a way. Earlier this year, in the middle of an ugly loss in November to the New York Knicks, Miller actually entered the Jazz huddle and began berating the players, even though the game was not yet over.

That incident was shocking to several players including shooting guard Devin Brown, who remarked at the time, “He was very vocal in what he was talking about. I’ve never, ever (seen that before). I’ve seen it with the (Dallas) Cowboys, with Jerry Jones going on the field, but that’s the first time I’ve seen that.”

His exploits caused controversy at the time, and he apologized soon after. Still, the damage to his image was done-and Monday’s comments did nothing to help the situation.

Miller also drew criticism last February when he publicly questioned Carlos Boozer’s toughness. Once again, he later apologized, but the comments themselves still live in infamy, while the apology is all but forgotten.

Regardless of the validity of Miller’s statements during his public displays, the fact is that it reflects poorly on both Miller and those he represents-namely, the Utah Jazz and the state of Utah. Outside of this state, he is one of the most visible representatives we have. From an outsider’s perspective-and even from within-Miller’s actions, which include undermining his head coach Jerry Sloan’s authority, look completely unprofessional.

Miller will probably apologize for his heated comments in the next few days, as he typically does. Still, the damage is done. What Miller and all public figures-both on this campus, in the city and beyond-need to realize is that they represent not only themselves, but their entire community as well. The new student leaders at the U should use Miller as an example of exactly what not to do.