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August 29, 1967 - Image 90

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-08-29

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

t74T'Y'f [Y'!\ t 1fM Y "NYJrw. 4r ai: r .

'U'Regents: Unfamiliar Faces, Powerful Ro

ESDAY, AUGUST 29, 1967
9les

By THOMAS R. COPI
,onstitutionally, the eight-man
ard of Regents owns and oper-
s the University. University
ids can only be spent with its;
proval; diplomas can only be
nted by its authority.
And yet the members of this
ard, whose actions are felt
rywhere at the University, from
construction of a new Dental
dg. to the conduct of Saturday
sses, are usually quite unfam-
r to the students.
Since the Regents are elected to
ice on partisan ballots, some
w themn as politicians, who per-
ps know little and care less
out the operation of the Uni-
'sity.
s this a fair view? Why not
n to the Regents themselves
d see what they think.
Regent Gertrude Heubner, elec-
i to the board in 1966, says "I'm
tainly no politican. The reason
an for the board as a Republi-
a is that my Republican friends
ggested that. I do it, and I was

nominated at the state Republican
convention. If the Democrats had
asked me to run, then I probably
would have run as a Democrat."
Why did Mrs. Heubner choose
to run at all?
"Well, I've never been the gung-
ho back-to-campus type, but as a
graduate of the University I've al-
ways been interested in what goes
3n there. Frankly, I was somewhat
naive at first. I didn't know how
much work being a Regent entails.
But believe me, it's quite a bit,"
she explains.
"I've never really added it up,
but I must spend pretty close to
two months in time out of a year
working as a Regent. But I'm
not complaining, because it's work
that I enjoy doing," says Regent
William Cudlip, a board member
since his election in 1964. %
But what is it, exactly that the
Regents do?
"We* hold conferences between
meetings," continues C u d Ii p,
"sometimes by telephone and
sometimes in person. We're also

::alled upon to meet with faculty
groups, administrative groups and
alumni groups. And we meet with
the city of Ann Arbor to work out
cooperation between the city and
the University in the area of phy-
sical plant expansion. And, we're
always doing public relations
work, too."
"But there's a limitation on the
amount'of work the Regents can
do, because we have to earn a
living, too," comments Regent Ro-
bert Briggs, who was appointed to
the board in 1964 to replace the
deceased William McInally,
Briggs emphasizes that the Re-
gents are informed and up-to-
date on what happens in Ann Ar-
bor. Wielding the 300-page agen-'
da for the next meeting, Briggs
said that each Regent is familiar
with its contents.
Then why is there so little kdis-
cussion at the monthly regent's'
meetings?
"Well, the Regents familiarize
themselves with the. material in
the agenda, and then discuss it
in private meetings. Much more,
can be accomplished there in the
informal 'let your hair down' ses-
gions held before the public meet-
ings," notes Regent Otis Smith,
who was just recently appointed to
fill the post vacated by the resign-
ation of Allan Sorenson.
"So most of the issues that come
up at the public meetings have
been hashed out and decided be-
forehand," Smith says.
An issue which was raised
higher than ever in the past year
was one of student demonstrations
on campus. The "lunch-hour sit-

in" held during the abortive 'stu-
dent power' movement last year
attracted over 1500 students, and
received nation-wide publicity.
What do the Regents think about
such protests?
"Well," says Briggs, "there have
always been people who registered
protest. The protest of today seems
to be more coordinated, more vig-
orous. I happened to be one who
believes that the right of protest
is valid. I don't object to protest,
but I think there are ways to pro-
test that are reasonable and there
are ways to protest that are un-
reasonable. But for a student to
protest within the realm of rea-
son - I have no objection to it."
Regent Paul Goebel of Grand
Rapids, who joined the board in
1961, says that "students today
are much more conscious of social
problems, and that's good. But it
seems to me that the methods the
activist use to work toward social
change are wrong - and some-
times they're self-defeating."
Goebel, who as head of the Uni-
versity's $55 million fund drive is
perhaps in closer contact with
alumni than anyone else in the
University, says that "the reaction
on the part of University, alumni
to activist demonstrations'in Ann
Arbor is bad. The activists engen-
der a great deal of resentment on
the part of the older people. And I
think a great deal of this resent-
nent stems from the methods the
activists use to achieve their ob-
jectives."
Mrs. Heubner agrees that "many
people feel that 'appearances' are
all-important. An alumnus who is

about to write a check to the Uni-
versity reads that the kids are
smoking bananas on campus and
avow, that's the end of the world.
But I think the kids would be
pretty dumb if they didn't try
bananas."
However, Mrs. Heubner also says
that she doesn't always admire
the techniques or the methods the
activists use, because sometimes
I think they'll antagonize more
people who are in a position to do
something about it," says Smith.
But he adds that "overt and hos-
tile and destructive tactics in a
protest are completely unnecessary
when there is a procedure by
which one is able effectively to
register complaints."
What about that -- register of
complaints? A persistent problem,
it seems, has been one of com-
munications -- or lack of them -
between the students and the Re-
sents.
Smith says that there are chan-
nels, although "the students who
protest the most actively wouldn't
think so. The Regents are around
quite a bit, both individually and
in meetings, and they're quite
acutely aware ofwhat the prob-
lems are. Insofar as knowing
what the gripes are - whatrthe
issues are - I think we're pretty
well informed."
"The Regents are always happy
to get any sound council or ad-
vice on anything that will make
this a better institution than it
.is," adds Goebel. "I don't know of
any sound suggestions that have
come forward to the executive of-
Cicers or the Regents that have not
been accepted. I don't care where
the suggestion comes from - I
don't care if it comes from the
corner traffic cop or the fellow
that scrubs the hallway. If it's

4

I

Students are Encouraged To Attend Monthly Regents' Meetings

i good suggestion, that will better
the University, we'll take it," Goe-
bel explains.
Briggs, who worked with a stu-
dent committee in the selection of
a new president for the Univer-
sity, feels that the group was a
"tremendous help" to him, and
that the committee-type of vehicle
would work well in other situa-
tions: "If a small group of stu-
dents would honestly sit down and
weigh the problems they want to
talk to the board about, and re-
quest that we sit down and spend

a couple of hours together, I think
we can make some real headway."
Cudlip, says that "in appro-
priate areas, the advice of stu-
dents, through whatever chan-
a very good thing. I think that
nels are deemed appropriate, is
students, through their elected
representatives, can comment and
have a place in determing certain
things about community life at
the University."
Smith adds that "of course
there's all the difference in the
world between getting a message

across and getting action on it.
As I said, the Regents are quite
conscious and concerned with stu-
dent problems. Of course the Re-
gents get the other side too: from
faculty people, parents, and alum-
ni-who figure they're just "as
much a part of the University."
"I suppose everybody would like
the idea of marching up to a
Regent and having a direct con-
frontation . . . but the Regents;
just don't have enough time .
there aren't enough hours in the
day."

4

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Goebel

Briggs

.--I

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Bentley
The information in this ar-
ticle was obtained through a
series of interviews between
The Daily and the Regents. All
the Regents but the following
three were interviewed:
* Regent Frederick Mattha-
ei, Jr., who was appointed to
the board this summer to re-
place his father, who resigned.
There was, unfortunately, not
enough time to interview Mat-
thaei before the publication of
this article.
# Regent Alvin Bentley, who
was appointed to the board to
fill the vacancy created when
Eugene Power resigned last
year, is recuperating from a
serious operation at his home in
Owosso, and was not available
for an interview.
# Regent Robert Brown of
Kalamazoo refused to be Inter-
viewed by The Daily.
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