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January 18, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-01-18

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Seventy-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom

The Most Powerful A dministrator

Where Opinions Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail

NEwS PHONE: 764-0552

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Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



The Regents' Open Hearing

TODAY'S OPEN hearing before the
Regents is both an administrative
mistake and a heartening sign: a mis-
take, in that the Residence Halls
Board of Governors' decision giving
students authority over their behavior
was legitimate and should have been
put into effect immediately; a hopeful
sign, in that the University's usually
aloof highest authority is involving it-
self in grass-roots students opinion.
In this afternoon's confrontation,
the Regents will undoubtedly sample
various shades of student thought. Yet,
as has been argued so often, a two-hour
exposure to a handful of student
leaders is no substitute for the long
and evolving interaction that produced
the Board's widely-hailed decision. The
shif t to a student-determined visita-
tion policy is a long overdue reform
which will eliminate much former
hypocrisy and permit a normal,
healthy atmosphere in the dormitories.
Although the administration's hasty
suspension of the visitation policy de-

cision erased the possibility of having
a "trial period" during which the Re-
gents could have observed the deci-
sion's effects, we are convinced that
its implementation will cause no dis-
ruption or hardship to dorm residents.
Rather, as a series of restrained
"teach-ins" at dorms during the past
three nights has shown, the students
are strongly in favor of the liberalized
regulations. Many dormitory residents
feel that the freedom already given
fraternity, sorority, and apartment
dwellers should-at last-be theirs.
WE HOPE THAT the Regents will
recognize the wisdom of the
Board of Governors' decision and per-
mit it to stand. The reform of visita-
tion policy and women's hours are
important steps in the improvement
of undergraduate life. With the an-
achronism of "in loco parentis" gone,
students will be better able to enjoy
the University experience.

T[lE NICE THING about being Wilbur K. Pierpont is
that you can get your way even when you're dead
As the most powerful man in the University (a fact
unchanged by the arrival of President Robben Fleming)
Pierpont seldom loses or gets caught on anything.
With 17 years of practice as the University's top fiscal
officer, control of key administrative functions, a vast
knowledge of the University, and clear lines of support
from the corners that count, he is a hard man to beat.
Indeed, President Fleming is getting a first-rate in-
troduction to Pierpont's talents at the Regents meeting
today and tomorrow. For Pierpont has clearly lined up
a no-contest victory over Fleming on the question of
Public Act 379.
lenge of the law which requires the school to bargain
collectively with unions. Pierpont (who apparently still
has his doubts about the Wagner Act) wants to appeal
the decision to the State Court of Appeals.
The Regents have discussed the matter informally.
Opposition to appeal of the PA 379 decision has come
from two knowledgable corners. First, Fleming, who is a
nationally reknown labor mediator, thinks the University
will lose the court appeal. And Regent Otis Smith (D-
Detroit), who sat on the Supreme Court for five years,
is reportedly also convinced that the appeal is fruitless.
In the face of such competent advice, Pierpont's argu-
ment has now shifted to the positive values of fighting a
losing court battle.
For the Regents have already decided to file another
court suit on PA 124 and related acts on the grounds that
the new restrictions imposed on capital construction and
other University activities infringe on campus autonomy.
Since PA 379 is also being fought on "autonomy"
grounds, Pierpont is arguing that to abandon that appeal
would only make the court think the University was really
serious about autonomy only on PA 124.
However, it appears that the suit could have the op-
posite impact. Since the PA 379 appeal is almost certain
to lose, it might well drag the PA 124 appeal down with
it-since both cases are being fought on the same basis.
At best the University is getting into an expensive,
fruitless legal struggle over PA 379. At worst the suit will
hurt the PA 124 fight.
pont apparently has sufficient support lined up. By work-
ing informally with several Regents he escapes having to
bear the full burden of his stand. For example, Regent
William Cudlip (R-Grosse Pointe) has been arguing much
of Pierpont's case for him.
And since he controls the University's legal staff he
can even bring in "independent" outside legal counsel for
advice. In this case, William Saxton of the Detroit law
firm of Butzel, Eaman, Long, Gust and Kennedy came
in to help argue for Pierpont's stand.
Pierpont has a particularly interesting way of using
lawyers to suit his fancy. For some time prior to the con-
troversy over the business activities of Regent Eugene
Power in October, 1965, Pierpont's own legal staff had
been advising him that Power's activities were dubious at
west. Pierpont ignored the advice.
But when the story on Power broke, he turned to the
Butzel firm for an "independent" outside opinion on
Power. Lawyer Tom Long, a board member of the Detroit
Public Library and fan of Power's concluded in his De-
cember 1965 opinion that Power was not in conflict of
interest. This view was contradicted by Attorney General
Frank Kelley, who conducted his own investigation and
concluded in March, 1966, that Power was in conflict
of interest. Power resigned immediately.
ON PERSONAL MATTERS Pierpont has fared better.
For example, in September, 1967, more than a dozen

University officers and trustees resigned bank director-
ships in response to a ruling by Attorney General Kelley
that university officers can't sit on bank boards that do
business with their schools. But Pierpont was not among
them. He had wisely resigned his directorship of Na-
tional Bank and Trust of Ann Arbor in 1966.
Some idea of Pierpont's talent is reflected by the fact
that he has really only been caught in dubious dealings
once-and that story was unravelled almost three years
after the fact..
Under Pierpont's direction the University aided John
C. Stegeman, an Ann Arbor realtor, and Donald H. Par-
sons, a Detroit lawyer, in saving $31,700 on the purchase
of University property at 325 Maynard St.
The University sold the land through competitive bid-
ding. The winning bid was submitted by Stegeman at
$161,500. But after the bids were opened, Stegemandde-
cided to withdraw his bid (and forfeit a bid bond of
At this point, Pierpont should have cancelled the
bidding and asked all parties to submit new bids. This
would have given everyone a fair shot at the land.

At the November Regents meeting, Pierpont claimed
that Union Activities Center President Don Tucker had
backed the rate of $1,500 or 10 per cent of gross (which-
ever is higher) for rental of the new 15,000 seat arena
by student organizations. (Tucker opposed the new rate
Pierpont also claimed that Maurice Rinkel, auditor
of student organizations, had checked to see that student
groups could afford the rates. (Rinkel's study had
barely begun at that point.)
Then, in a classic maneuver, he admitted that the
rates for the events building were higher than at Hill
auditorium (about 55 per cent per seat higher) but then
said that was irrelevant because Hill's rates ($265 plus
labor) are "far too low" and should be revised upward.
The Regents immediately passed the rates for a "trial
period" of a year and a half.
ONE OF THE KEY REASONS why Pierpont can get
away with such chicanery is that he has crucial support.
For example, a key figure on the board of Regents, Rob-
ert Briggs (R-Jackson), was his predecessor as vice-
president. Similarly, Regents Cudlip, Robert Brown (R-
Jackson), and Paul Goebel (R-Grand Rapids) are im-
pressed by his businesslike approach to everything.
He fits in perfectly with the conservative majority of
the board because he thinks just like them. He's very
big on free enterprise (he takes pride in the fact that
he helped convince private builders to put up expensive
apartments here while preventing the University from
doing any substantial construction of apartments for
unmarried students).
A member of the boards of the Ann Arbor Chamber
of Commerce, Buhr Machine Tool Company and R & B
Tool Co., he is the very model of a chief financial officer.
Since President Hatcher trusted Pierpont implicitly,
there were seldom any confrontations in the business
office. But occasionally someone of Pierpont's size takes
him on.
When Roger Heyns became vice-president for aca-
demic affairs in 1962 he tried to get Pierpont to shift
overhead funds from research projects into instruction-
al accounts. University policy is to take the overhead
fee (normally 45 per cent for government funds) and
put into a special fund Which Pierpont can spend on
anything he wants.
Research costs are then budgeted through the regu-
lar general fund. If Heyns had had his way, the indi-
vidual colleges would have naturally controlled how
their overhead funds were spent.
Heyns lost, of course.
to cheer about, there is one curious plus in hisucareer.
More so than any other administrator, he understands
the necessity of not arresting students for campus dem-
When a sit-in blocked up his own office in the fall
of 1966, some administrators wanted to break it up
with police. Pierpont wisely resisted the idea.
With full charge over University plant operations
Pierpont could easily have brought in the cops. But he
is smart enough to realize that the police only create
more problems than they solve.
Pierpont apparently knows where not to use his
powers. Perhaps this is why, despite his penchant for
the devious, he is the only University vice-president who
need not worry in the least about his tenure.
Indeed, Pierpont-who became vice-president before
Hatcher became president-is quite likely to remain in
his job after Fleming leaves. At 54, Pierpont has 11
more years before retirement (as stipulated in the re-
vised by-laws the Regents are expected to pass Friday)
Lest there be any doubts about his longevity, simply
consider one fact; he's the only administrator that feels
secure enough to save up all his Dailies and wait to
read them at the end of the week.


A West Qua Uice Bldg.

NEXT FALL, two houses in West Quad-
rangle may become academic offices,
a change that would mean excess costs,
alteration of usable dormitory space, and
inconvenience for students.
West Quad Director William R. Mac-
Kay and two associates estimate renting
Lloyd and Chicago Houses of West Quad
as faculty and administration offices
would cost $6.36 per square foot per year.
The open market rate of $6.00 shows that
needlessly high rent would be paid for
the dormitory space.
Obviously, conversion from dormitory
rooms to offices would require extensive
renovation. Remodeling and equipment
costs would be eliminated if the Uni-
versity rented space on the open market.
Residence hall conversion would not
even be cheaper over a long period of
time because of the high rental costs.
According to MacKay's own estimates,
the University would actually waste
money each year it rented space in West
If the Plant Extension Committee de-
cides to rent dormitory space from West
Quad, MacKay intends to request that
past contributions for improvement of
the houses rented be paid back. If the
University agreed to fulfill such a re-
quest, it would add another initial ex-
penditure that could not be regained
over years of rental.
A PLAN INVOLVING higher rents and
unrecoverable capital outlays should
be rejected by the Plant Extension Com-

Loss of utility may eventually make the
quad primarily suitable for offices, but
at present, living there remains comfor-
table, especially when its ready access
to the central campus is considered.
Considering that Fletcher Hall (18
years older than West Quad) is still being
used, the Office' of University Housing
certainly can not believe that West Quad
has lost its utility.
Additionally under the renovation pro-
posal, students who would have lived in
Lloyd or Chicago would be forced to live
in a less convenient location-Vera Baits,
Bursley Hall, or Oxford Housing.
Why should students whose lives re-
volve about the central campus be iso-
lated on North Campus when the more
mobile faculty and administrators could
more easily be removed from their pres-
ent occupational center?
IF UNIVERSITY housing must be con-
verted into offices, those buildings the
students do not choose to live in should
be selected. West Quad is presently filled
b- yond planned capacity and it should
be retained exclusively for housing.
Creation of office space in West Quad
would incur exorbitant costs, reduce
suitable residence hall space, and un-
necessarily inconvenience students. The
Plant Extension Committee should com-
plete its investigation with the obvious
conclusion that the conversion plan is
fiscally unsound and inconsiderate of

Wilbur K. Pierpont
Instead, he let the land fall to the second highest
bidder: Stepar Corp.. which had offered $121,750. Stepar
was a 50-50 partnership between Parsons and Stegeman.
Although Stegeman had to forfeit his bid bond, he still
saved $31,700 by getting the land for the lower bid.
When The Daily asked Pierpont about the situation,
he said "I don't know what Stepar is. I don't know any-
thing about the relationship between Parsons, Stegeman
and Stepar. It's no difference to me. We sold the property
Clearly though, Pierpont was a little anxious about the
whole affair. While his investment office stalled on
answers to Daily questions about the matter for an entire
week, he managed to consumate the land contract on the
property and turn the land over to its new owners. Just
before the story was printed, Pierpont and Hatcher signed
the final documents completing the transaction.
USUALLY THOUGH Pierpont doesn't have to rush
to get his way. Even when the facts don't back up what
he is saying, there is no trouble. Consider how he glided
through questions surrounding the excessive new fee
schedule for the University Events Building.



The Free Press:* Four Strikes and Out?


'Student Power' in City Council

THE ANN ARBOR City Council reigns
over a arge sphere of the student's
life It passes Fair Housing ordinances to
assure students from minority groups a
degree of freedom in seeking Ann Arbor
housing; it oversees enforcement of the
city's Building Code as well as the con-
tent of that code; the Council also de-
cides which streets shall be one-way,
which streets shall be closed, where park-
ing on city streets will be permitted, and
how much it will cost, as well as decid-
ing zoning regulations and where and
how municipal recreational facilities will
be provided.
Students, as Ann Arbor residents, are
affected daily by the Council's actions.
Their dollars reach the city's coffers in-
directly through rental costs (real estate
tax) and directly through the sales tax.
Students who are eligible should regis-
ter and vote in the City Council elect-
ions, placing in office those men whose
actions will be beneficial to the student
community as well as the rest of Ann
UNFORTUNATELY, the process of regis-
tration always been an easy one. The
city clerk has been very careful to insure
tl n n o mAwhn . a tn vnte in

Michigan law states that a person is elig-
ible to register to vote if he is 21 years
of age by the next election, has resided
in Michigan for six months and in Ann
Arbor for at least 30 days before election
day, the Michigan statutes also read that
"No elector shall be deemed to have gain-
ed or lost a residence while a student
at any institution of learning." Under
this statute the city clerk has the dis-
criminatory power to make a student
registrant present proof of residency
other than just an Ann Arbor address.
Some of this proof may include evidence
that a student remain in Ann Arbor
during vacations and does not return to
his parents' home in case of illness or
injury. Other positive factors include
being married, self-supporting (includ-
ing scholarships) or being able to esta-
blish freedom from parental control.
STUDENT PRESSURE and increased
student requests to receive the Ann
Arbor franchise have removed the re-
quirement that a student plan to live in
Ann Arbor upon graduation before he
can register; further pressure may re-
move some of the remaining arbitrary
All students over 21-years of age are

AT 321 W. Lafayette in down-
town Detroit, an austere,
typed letter sits plastered on the
front door. Followed by three
paragraphs of explanation, it
starts out quite simply: "Due to
actions taken by certain unions,
the Free Press has stopped publi-
cation, effective Nov. 17."
For the fourth time since 1955
(more often than any other ma-
jor American city), Detroit has
seen its daily newspapers go out
on a prolonged strike. Plagued by
the same craft union problems
(particularly automation) .that
killed a clutch of New York pa-
pers after that city's last strike,
the Detroit papers also must con-
tend with the powerful Teamsters
in that union's home city.
This time, the prospects are
dim. And particularly so for De-
troit's morning Free Press, the
state's second largest newspaper.
represented in a newspaper office
is the type that suffers least from
Ia strike. The only union members
actually on strike, the Teamsters.
are able to find employment for
their striking members on the
circulation staffs of Detroit's in-
terim strike papers. The 14 craft
unions, dominated by the Inter-
national Typographical Union
and the powerful Pressmen, have
contracts at all of their locals
that require the employer to hire
any currently jobless journeymen
or masters. Thus, the strike has
minimal "pocketbook" effect on
the strikers.
But, upstairs in the editorial
offices, things are different - at
least for the Free Press. The
Teamsters are actually on strike
only against the top-circulating
Tlntrn -i rch a tn Pm-nntpnt-

tion: one particular advas age has
been SpectaColor printing of oc-
casional front page pictures, an
eye-catcher if not an especially
creative journalistic technique.
F, ee Press circulation has climbed
at a rate almost ten times as fast
as the News within the past three
So there is actually no reason
why the News would want to keep
the Free Press around; the only
problem is how to go about cutting
the competions' throat. Specifically
if the News would have come out
with a directly-competing morn-
ing edition before the strike, the
Free Press might have been able
to call foul, citing anti-monopoly
laws against the News, who would
no doubt be able to undersell and
overcirculate the Free Press in
morning competition. But if the
Free Press dies a slow death by
"union-caused" strangulation, the
News' hands remain clean.
Of course there is no evidence,
concrete or otherwise, that could
implicate the News of conspiracy.
Indeed, the Daily Express circu-
lates its papers by use of route-
charts bought from Teamsters who
normally deliver for the News, but
the News is pursuing that action
with a $175,000 damage suit
against the Express and the Team-
sters involved. The only arrows
that could be shot at the News
consist of bitter verbalisms, the
truth of which could not possibly
be substantiated.
ONE EMPLOYE of an out-of-
town newspaper who works for
that organ's Detroit bureau has
brought forth an even more scur-
rilous question, but the fact that
it can be asked in itself reflects
somewhat on the News' "holding
all the cards" position: Perhaps
the damage suit is a mere sham,

the American Newspaper Guild,
has certain aces-in-the-hole:
* It can dip into its well-
stocked treasury (the News has
the second highest amount of ad-
vertising lineage of the nation's
afternoon newspapers) to pay
editorial employes during the
strike; the Free Press loses a
good portion of its laid-off staff
to other newspapers each strike.,
* The advertisers that run to
suburban and neighborhood pa-
pers (big. advertisers have re-
frained from making use of either
of the strike papers) and later
decide to go back to only one of
the dailies necessarily opt fox the
higher-circulating News.
SThs The ntroiters who will

to break even (via a vigorous
circulation campaign and the
daily inclusion of an "Action
Line" on page one). The inestim-
able daily loss being incurredbe-
cause of the strike is no doubt
crippling. And worse, it will still
have to settle with the 14 craft
unions even after any agreement
has been made with the Team-
So the talk on Lafayette Street
in Detroit, where the News' head-
quarters are only two blocks away
from those of the Free Press, has
been wary and depressing when
addressed to the Free Press situ-
ation. Even the optimists do not
predict a bright future for what
ha hecone the livelier of De-

eering during newspaper strikes
published last month in "The Re-
porter"), a host of Free Press
people are currently bringing
home interim pay checks from'
interim publishers. Their views of
post-strike prospects are not on y
bleak, but bitter.
"I really wonder how seriously
(News publisher Peter) Clark is
negotiating with the Teamsters,"
a Free Press staffer now editing
on the Daily Press' copy desk says.
"It seems to me that the News is
taking advantage of the publishers'
agreement so they can force out
the Free Press and come back with
a morning paper of their own."

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