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January 19, 1968 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-01-19

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Committee Submits Classified Research R




EDITORS NOTE: Following is the.
report of the Senate Assembly
Committee on Research Poliies: on
Classified research at the University.
It is reprinted here in full with
.the exception of the introduction
and one citation in the conclusion.
~The Committee was chaired by Prof.
Robert C. Elderfield of the Chem-
istry department.
Recommendations for Action
A. The Committee on Research
Policies recommends that the
Senate Assembly approve the fol-
lowing four statements of Uni-
versity Policy on Classified Re-
search and transmit them to the
Board of Regents:
Poney It
The University will not enter
any contract supporting re-
search the specific purpose of
which is to destroy human life
or to incapacitate human beings.
Policy H
The University will not enter
into any contract which would
restrain its freedom to disclose
(1) the existence of the con-
tract, or (2) the identity of
the sponsor, and if a sub-con-
tract is involved, the identity
of the prime sponsor.
Policy III
The University will not enter into
any .contract which would re-
strain its freedom to disclose
the purposeand scope of the
proposed research (1) to per-
mit informed discussion con-
cerning the appropriateness of
such research within the Uni-
versity and (2) to apprise col-
leagues in immediate and re-
lated disciplines of the nature
and importance of the potent-
ial contribution to the dis-
ciplines involved.
Policy IV
The University will not enter
into any contract which re-
quires that the approval of any
outside person or agency be ob-
tained prior to publication or
dissemination of the results of
any, research unless there is a
reasonable expectation (1) that
the research will make a signif-
icant contribution to the ad-
vancement of knowledge or
(2) that it will contribute
significantly to enhancing the
research capability of the in-
vestigator or his research unit.
Even in these circumstances
the University will not enter
into any such contract if it
seems probable that the pub-
lication or dissemination of the
major findings and conclusions
of this and integrally related
projects would be unreasonably
B. The Committee on Re-
search Policies recommends that
the Senate Assembly approve the
following implementing mechan-
ism for systematic review of clas-
sified research proposals.
(1) A review committee of nine
members, broadly representative
of the entire faculty, shall be ap-
pointed by the Senate Assembly
to review all proposals for con-
tracts involving national security
classification, including exten-
sions, supplements, or modifica-
tions thereof. Because situations
may arise in which information
necessary to judge the appropria-
teness of a particular research
proposal will be obtainable only
by. those who have a security
clearance, it is clearly desirable
that several members of the re-
view committee hold or seek
security clearance. However, mem-
bership on the review committee

shall not be restricted to per-
sons with security clearance.
(2) The review committee shall
advise the Vice-President for Re-
search whether in its judgment
the proposal is acceptable in light
of the principles recommended
above and others which may be
defined from time to time. If
there is disagreement between the
review committee and the Vice-
President for Research concerning
the acceptability of a proposal,
the review committee shall re-
port to the Senate Assembly the
reasons for its recommendations
and the Vice-President for Re-
search shall report to the Senate
Assembly the reasons for his de-
(3) The Committee shall re-
port to the Senate Assembly an-
nually a summary of its actions,
a statement of the policy prob-
lems, if any, which it has en-
countered, and recommendations
for changes in policy or pro-
C. The Committee on Research
Policies recommends that the
Senate Assembly act to create an
inter-university committee:
The Senate Assembly shall as-
sume responsibility for bringing
together representatives of other
universities with a view to for-
mation of an inter-university
committeewhich would work to-
ward the reduction of federal re-
strictions on publication and dis-
semination of the results of uni-
versity research.
There are other considerations
in making a judgment con-
cerning the appropriteness of a
proposal for classified research,
but for which the articulation of
standards is as yet premature.
Among the most important of
these is the risk that research
which aligns or appears to align
the name of the University with
a particular political faction or
segment of society in a foreign
country may compromise the
ability of other memers of the
University to carry on research
in that or other countries. This
risk would seem to be substanti-
ally increased whenever the in-
vestigator is subject to any re-
straints other than those impos-
ed by the demands of scholarship.
At least one university, in re-
sponse to these considerations,
has adopted a policy of declining
any contract or grant "that in-
volves the collection of social or
behavorial data i a, foreign
country and requires the security
clearance of any person involved
in the project." Although of ob-
vious value in tending to place all
University personnel engaged in
research in a foreign country be-
yond suspicion, we are unper-
suaded that so sweeping a policy
is desirable. The variety of re-
search within the University
which would be adversely affect-
ed by such a policy, much if not
all of which poses none of the
risks which would justify the
policy, suggests that a more dis-
criminating analysis is required.
A case-by-case examination of
such research proposals by a re-
view committee will afford an
opportunity for such an analysis
and perhaps, provide experience
adequate to permit the articula-
tion of guiding principles.
Reasons Underlying the
General Positions Adopted
by the Committee
In Part I of this report the
overall position and recommen-

dations of the Committee have
been presented. The Committee
now summarizes its reasons for
the policy statements and im-
plementing procedures which it
has proposed for adoption by the
Senate Assembly.
re: Policy Statement I
One of the University's pri-
mary goals is the preservation
and enrichment of human life
rather than its destruction. While
the Committee is aware that al-
most any scientific discovery can
be used for either constructive
or destructive ends, policy state-
ment I makes explicit what is
already University policy. Furth-
ermore, the statement makes it
clear that any activity specifi-
cally directed toward means for
the destruction of human life or
the impairment of human welfare
is not consonant with the values
of a university.
re: Policy Statement II
Secrecy per se has no positive
academic value. While the prin-
ciple of freedom of inquiry should
be permitted maximum latitude,
there must nevertheless be within
a university community a mini-
mum code of conduct and ethics
which establishes certain bounds
of inquiry. It is, therefore, dan-
gerous for any group within the
University to move in ways com-
pletely unknown to its commun-
ity of scholars and thus not sub-
ject to their moral evaluation.
Hence anonymity of sponsorship
for classified research is totally
re: Policy Statement III
The underlying reasons for
this proposed policy have already
been presented under II, i.e., that
the University is a community
which develops a shared con-
science as a result of informed
discussion. Policy statement III
emphasizes the need to make
public sufficient information re-
garding the intent and sphere of
the proposed research in order
that its appropriateness may be
perceived by the entire Univer-
Disclosure of the purpose and
scope of the proposed research
not only informs the University
community at large, but also ac-
quaints individuals who have re-
lated professional interests with
the existence of an activity which
may be mutually beneficial.
Channels of communication are
thus opened between related and
diverse disciplines.
re: Policy Statement IV
The basis for policy statement
IV lies in two conclusions which
the Committee reached as a re-
sult of its deliberations: (1) There
is not adequate justification for
categorically banning classified
research; (2) Given that certain
conditions are met, classified re-
search contributes to the same
academic values as open research.
The major reasons for these two
conclusions are presented below.
1. Inadequate Justification for
Banning All Classified Research
a) Freedom of Inquiry. The
peremptory elimination of clas-
sified research at The University
of Michigan would result in a
broad categorical restraint on the
freedom of some staff members
to choose the area of inquiry in
which they wish to work. The
evidence is more than adequate
to show that in certain fields
participation in classified re-
search is vital to the professional
development of the scholar. Even

strong opponents of classified re-
search acknowledge this and con-I
cede that it is probably the mainf
justification for such research.i
These opponents would be will-
ing, however, to accept the con-;
sequences of banning classified
research, viz., to force the in-i
vestigator to change fields or to
change institutions. No member;
of the Committee considers thisi
to be a tenable position for thet
In taking this stand, it shoulda
be noted that the policy followed
by an institution at which classi-
fied research is already being
done need not coincide with the
policy which would be chosen by
an institution in which tradition-
ally there was no such research.1
A different balance of principles
is involved in each case. The
Committee feels that to accept,
in the absence of significant con-
siderations to the contrary, at
broad restraint by category rath-
er than merit is to take a dan-
gerous step in the direction of
control of individual choice and
initiative. This is not to say thats
classified research is inherently
desirable, or that efforts should
not be made to minimize it over
a period of time, but simply thatt
arbitrary cessation would be in-
consistent with the principle of4
freedom of inquiry, a principle
whichthe academic community
b) Other Institutions. It has
been argued that some prestigious
institutions have managed to
eliminate classified research from
their campuses without deleterious
effects. The more the Committee'
has investigated such cases the'
more apparent it has become that
ways have been found to circum-
vent such prohibitions (for exam-
ple, by faculty members with
security clearance creating "pri-
vate" corporations to receive fed-
eral funds for the conduct of
their classified research). The
Committee finds it preferable to,
acknowledge and permit some
classified research at the Uni-
versity under conditions which
make it known to the community
of scholars.
The Committee considered the
proposal advanced by some col-
leagues that all classified re-
search at The University of
Michigan be conducted in a sep-
arate, isolated facility having an
independent corporate entity such
as the Lincoln Laboratory or thet
S t a n f o r d Research Institute.
While such a solution would per-
mit the University to proclaim
that it had abolished all classified
research, the Committee felt that
such an arrangement would, in
fact, constitute little more than
a public relations gesture. And,
because the resulting islation
would tend to negate most if
not all of the potential educa-
tional benefits of classified re-
search, for both staff and stu-
dents, the Committee does not
recommend the creation of such
an independent facility.
c) University Community Val-
ues. It has been contended that
by conducting classified research,
the University community is
placed in jeopardy because those
who participate in such research
"owe allegiance to another (the'
defense) community," a loyaltyj
which is incompatible with that
to a university community. In
particular, such allegiance may
involve activities which some
members of the University com-
munity would find morally of-

fensive if they knew what was his own choice because of his na-
being done, but cannot know tionality.
about because of the externally
imposed secrecy requirements. c) Instructional P r o g r a m s.
The Committee has not been in- . Classified research generates new1
sensitive to this issue. One of knowledge, some of which is dis-'
the major reasons for recom- seminated intially in restricted
mending a review committee was meetings. An example is the an-
to incorporate a representative nual Radar Symposium, which
sense of the faculty community attracts about 500 participants,
in arriving at decisions concerning and at which peer group evalua-
the appropriateness of classified tion and criticism is as standard
research projects in this academ-, as at any unrestrictedsmeeting.
is enironent.As the results of the research be-
ic environment, come declassified, the material
However, the Committee feels is immediately available for in-
that the concepts of a "university corporation into regular instruct-
community" and of its "moral ional programs. The presence of
needs" must be treated with care. experts in a particular field en-
While these may be useful con- hances the quality and timeliness
structs, they have different im- of the courses offered, and in
plications for different people. this way contributes significantly
One of the main values which to the eduionalplederhip of

ed as advisory only, with the Vice- a defensible University stance vis-
President for Research retaining a-vis classified research,
authcrity to act in his best judg- The Committee discussed at
ment. However, should he make a some length the question of
decision regarding any proposal whether there ought to be student
representation on the proposed re-
not in accord with the judgment view committee. Marked differ-
of the review committee this fact ences of opinion on this matter
will be reported to the Senate As- were expressed by members of
sembly. the Committee. Since this issue


is but a part of the larger question

In recommending that any pro- of the appropriate role of students
Oosal by a University staff mem-! in decision making within the
ber to conduct classified research University, a matter on which a
be reviewed by a committee of ;pecial commission is soon to re-
his colleagues, the Committee on port, the Committee decided to
Research Policies wishes to em- defer any further consideration of
phasize that, this review must be the question of student representa-
limited to the question of the ap- tion at least until after the spec-
propriateness of the proposed ial commission has submitted its
activity in the University and not full report.
involve any judgment concerning


distinguishes a university from the institutIon. the technical aspects of the re- re: Inter-University Committee
Ithe institution. tetcnclapcso h e
other communities is its respect search. Presumably, the latter con- On the basis of our study of
for and devotion to the principle In summary, the above con- siderations will have been judged issues associated with the con-
of individual diversity - aca- conclude that selected classified by the investigator, and by his duct of classified research it ap-
demic, political, and moral. To tresearch projects are acceptable supervisor or by a technically pears that none of the individuals
restrict arbitrarily the scholarly ss qualified review group. with extensive experience in clas-
activities of its faculty members! for valid academic reason. sified research prefers to engage
on the basis of some concept of re: The Review Committee Much discussion and debate in classified as contrasted with
what a university "ought to be" In concluding that the wisest preceded the recommendation that >pen research. Classified projects
is to do violence to one of the policy for the University is to membership on the proposed re- are accepted primarily because
main principles which a univer- avoid either of the two possible view committee not be limited to this is the only way, at the mom-
sity should uphold. The Coimit- extremes, (a) to accept all clas- persons holding a national secur- ent, to secure financial support
tee, therefore, cannot justify an sified research or (b) to eliminate ity clearance. This provision re- for certain significant research
Olympian role for the moral all classified research, this Com- flects the firm conviction of the projects. In short, one must sub-
argument to ban all classified re- mittee is in effect saying "Some Committee on Research Policies mit to the nuisances and restrict-
search. classified research projects are that the qualifications for mem- ions involved in order to secure
2. Academic Values in Classi- appropriate in the University set- bership on any Senate Assembly support for certain types of re-
fled Research ~sI- ting and others are not." Proposedi committee should be decided by search.
ile csficatpolicy statements I and II 'were the Senate Assembly itself, not .
oalo b formulated to exclude certain types determined by any external group, t s ifiation imoe on
considered as a desirableg at of projects which the Committee e.g., a clearance-granting agency. certain projects is justified in the
itself, it is relevant in arriving at views as clearly unacceptable un- On the other hand, the experience ierts oents secustie n-
an overall policy to note that re- der University auspices. If these of our sub-committee responsible rests of national security. Un-
search carried out with some re- two policies are adopted, projects for the report on the Thailand fortunately, however, it appears
strictions can be consonant with tw icien r m a opte m projects emprsznstheTiart that classification is sometimes
accepttd academic values. The tlwhich do not conform to them are projects emphasizes the import- imposed for no defensible reason
Comitte hs rceied uchin-not likely to be proposed by Uni- ance of some members of the re - adetr rjcsaecasfe
Committee has received much in- I versity staff members and if they view committee having full access and entire projects are classified
formation on this point, of which even though only a small part of
the following are some examples, are, they will likely be summarily to the classified portions of any them involves sensitive infor-
rejected. research proposal under review. It mation.
a) Research Advances. Re- By contrast, proposed policy is our belief that among any group
search started under classified statements III and IV deal with of nine representative nominees Although considerable classified
conditions has generated many re- judgmental matters about which for the proposed review committee, research has been and is currently
search programs which are totally' there are likely to be honest dif- one or more of them will already being conducted at The Univer-
unclassified. Furthermore, when ferences of opinion among mem- hold a national security clearance sity of Michigan, both the project
classification has been removed bers of the University commun- and several others will wish to directors and research administra-
from the results of the research' ity: e.g., "How much informa- obtain such clearance in order to tors here are well known in
not only does the basic science' tion must be publicly revealed make the judgments required of government circles for their strong
and technology appear in the about the purpose and scope of them. However, if any member and continuing efforts to reduce
open literature, but the develop- a proposed project to permit in- appointed to the committee elects, the amount and degree of- clas-
ments are uniquely available at formed discussion concerning its for any reason, not to seek secur- sification imposed on federally
the University for early use in appropriateness under University ity clearance, he should be under sponsored university research and
non-classified applications. The auspices?" "To what extent will no pressure to do so. for their persistent efforts to se-
use of various remote sensing it contribute to the educational There is, in our opinion, one cure early declassification of re-
techniques utilizing radar, infra- objectives of the University?" essential qualification for service sarch findings. This Committe
red, and multiband scanning is "How essential is the project to on the proposed review committee: ffots would be much more ef-
a good example of such a de- the investigator (and his col- agreement with the general propo- ft e m or e-
velopment. Thus, such projects leagues) in keeping up with the nt the enfective if several major univer-
contribute to fundamental ex- leading edge of knowledge in their each proposal should be judged osities were joined together dn a
tensions of knowledege. discipline?" "To what extent is individually. Anyone committed to nerteduci e lassifiction of
b) Student Support. Financial the proposed project concerned the extreme position that "any university research to the absolute
support for the education of manyc with service to the sponsor -ra- classified research is appropriate" minimum consistent with national
graduate students is provided by ther than research?" Obviously or the other extreme that "no security.
classified research projects. How- the answer to these and many classified research is appropriate" ---.----- ----
ever, in no case has a hes Ho- other questions involve value should, in the judgment of the
ee in nomcaehasng thesisc- judgments. The eventual decision Committee on Research Policies,!
cepted in meeting the require- of "appropriate or not appropriate lietsrv onheeiw
ments for a degree, been of a f'arprterntaprrie decline to serve on the review,
ment fora dereebeenof aunder University auspices" willde77 , ui
classified nature. Nor is it true,!uner Univere ascs"pl committee since he would not con- w
as has been contended, that for- ineitably require a complex tribute to making the kinds of
eign students are prohibited fromweighing of these value judg- considered judgments, case by CONTAC 10's
engaging in work the financial case, envisaged as necessary for reg. $1 .49
support for which comes from a Rather than relying on any one-- _ --
classified project although they individual for this important Now 99C


may be excluded from the clas-
sified portions of it. In fact, the
records of two representative cen-
ters engaged in classified research
show that a significant portion
of Ph.D. degrees earned by for-
eign students during the past few
years was based on theses aris-
ing from classified research pro-
jects. The Committee was told
that in the College of Engineer-
ing no instance was known in
which a foreign student has been
barred from academic work of

judgment regarding the appropr-
iateness of a proposed project it
is, recommended that each pro-
posal to conduct classified research
at the University be reviewed by'
a committee of nine Senate mem-
bers, broadly representative of the
University community and that
this committee report its judg.
ment to the Vice-President for
It is the Committee's recom-
mendation that the reports of
this review committee be regard-

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