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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2005

Hicks' OSU critics

ONLY Brian Hicks, Gov. Bob Taft's former chief of staff, and his colleagues on the Ohio State University board of trustees, can decide if he should resign his seat on the board, but if he doesn't he'll have to answer to student leaders who recognize a double standard when they see one.

OSU's Student Government Senate is about to consider a resolution calling on Mr. Hicks to step down from the board seat he was appointed to last year by his former boss, Mr. Taft.

Nick Benson, an Ohio State student who serves as speaker of the student senate, is advancing the notion, arguing persuasively that the OSU student body is held to a standard of moral and ethical conduct and the same should apply to the university's trustees.

Mr. Hicks was convicted over the summer of state ethics violations and fined $1,000 for improperly reporting below-market rate vacations at the Florida Keys home of Tom Noe in 2002 and 2003.

Mr. Benson notes, and he's right, that an Ohio State student guilty of a comparable ethical lapse - plagiarizing the term paper of another, or cheating on an exam, for example - would be potential grounds for dismissal from the university.

"It sets a bad precedent when students are held to one standard, and the leaders of our university are held to different standards," Mr. Benson said.

Lest Mr. Hicks believe that the student government's concern is the work of a few liberal individuals predisposed to exploit his legal problems, he doesn't seem to have a lot of support among campus Republicans either.

In fact, Steve Miller, the creator of a web site at www.hicksmustgo.com, is a Republican, and the president of the College Republicans organization, Matt Kocsan, says it "makes sense" for Mr. Hicks to leave the trustees.

That has been our position since Mr. Hicks' conviction. We're encouraged that student leaders at Ohio State feel the same way.

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