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February 18, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-02-18

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a1i Eirian DaU4J
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

D Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.
Ater the Board fiasco
A better route to power

THE LITERARY college faculty assembly
almost never swallows a student con-
ceived proposal, but after the fiasco that
was last week's LSA Administrative Board
meeting, the LSA S t u d e n t Assembly
might just as well stop dealing with any
group other than the faculty assembly.
The issue at stake was a proposal from
the assembly asking equal student-fac-
ulty representation on the administrative
board, parity on the hearing boards and
the establishment of an LSA Student
The proposal is a radical document be-
cause it seeks to transfer residual deci-
sion-making power to the students. In
other words, It would grant the student
government and judiciary authority to
deal with all matters not specifically dele-
gated to the governing faculty of the
college by the Regents.
BUT THE sweeping nature of the pro-
posal wasnot even an issue at the
board meeting, for the faculty was so
opposed to the idea of recognizing any
form of student power, that it never even
considered the substance of the proosal.
The faculty expressed a deep concern
with the possibility that the student
government might be unrepresentative
Until it knew what the new government
being formed by the students of the liter-
ary college was going to look like, it was
certainly not going to grant any power
to it.
If this argument ever held at all, how-
ever, its credibility was reduced when it
became apparent that the faculty mem-
bers did not even believe it themselves.
Rather, the real feeling of the faculty
board members was probably well ex-
pressed in a dialogue between H. D.
Cameron and a student at the meeting.
"You wouldn't ask me to make an
agreement with an undefined govern-
ment, would you?" said Cameron.
"But if the government is democratic,
what difference does it make?" asked the
"Oh I don't believe that's sufficient,"
replied Cameron, "you're just using the
word as if it had some magic spell." But
Cameron's real revelation came in his
next breath, when he said, "You're not
going to force me to make an agreement
with a government I don't like."
Cameron's point was obviously not that
the faculty was so profoundly concerned
that the student government should be
democratic and representative. Rather he
implied that there is a decided conflict of
Interests between students and faculty
which he did not wish to let into the open
by allowing students to express their
viewpoint and exert power.
And Cameron was not alone in this
stance. When asked by another student
if the faculty were a f r a i d students
wouldn't know what they were doing and
so must be kept from power, another fac-
ulty member replied, "On the contrary,
we're afraid the students will know ex-
actly what they are doing, and that's why
we don't want to give them authority."
;N OTHER words, some faculty members
are simply opposed to the entire con-
cept of student decision-making power.
But if that is true, then what difference
will it make when the faculty knows
what form the student government has?
If the faculty members of the board

will be opposed to making any agreement
with a government they don't like, then
the only government they will agree to is
obviously one with no power.
The faculty members on the board are
thus trying to force students to create a;
faculty-oriented student government or
else withdraw their attempts to establish
the proposed judiciary and secure student
representation on the administrative
It seems all too clear that the deep-
seated opposition to student power makes
any negotiations with the group mean-
On the question of the judiciary, for
example, faculty members have expressed
interest in having a student group estab-
lished. But the credibility of the interest
is obscured by the argument that the
student government which would form
and appoint the judiciary will not be
The kind of student government stu-
dents want is clearly their business, es-
pecially if the students concerned are
provided with the mechanisms for chang-
ing the government when they do not
find it suitable.
And the faculty has been assured by
the students framing the constitution of
the new government that any such docu-
ment will include provisions for demo-
cratic election of the governors and for
initiative, referendum and recall.
Thus, the expressed concern of the fac-
ulty is essentially groundless and the lack
of administrative board approval on this
basis is illegitimate.
FURTHERMORE, it is rather strange
that the faculty should suddenly be-
come so concerned with the nature of
the student government when for years
it never complained about the self-per-
petuating LSA steering committee which
appointed its own members from year to
Historically, the only group on campus
which has really been concerned about
representative and democratic student
government has been the students, not
the faculty. But now that the faculty is
in a position to use such a stance against
the students, it has suddenly assumed the
role of the democratic crusader.
In view of the actual student position,'
and the rather transparent motive behind
the faculty concern, the administrative
board's actual stance seems fairly clear.
The board members hope to emasculate
the proposed student government and
judicial structure until they are either in
total agreement with the faculty view or
AT LAST week's meeting, no vote was
taken, and the students decided to
meet again in two weeks to work out spe-
cific provisions in the proposal.
If the board is opposed to the entire
spirit of the proposal, however, it seems
ridiculous to work on technicalities. Given
the faculty board members' uncompro-
mising position, any agreement reached
would necessarily represent a total sell-
out of the students' interests.
What should be done instead is to take
the proposal directly to the governing
faculty of the college. Hopefully, not all
faculty members in the literary college
will be quite so reactionary as the mem-
bers of the administrative board.

The chapt
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The author is a philoso-
phy graduate student who was involved in
drafting the proposed bylaws. He here refers
to chapter seven of the bylaws which would
- essentially - open University judicial and
legislative bodies to joint student-faculty
WE'VE BEEN confused about the bylaw
conflict, Because we've been confused,
we haven't known who to treat as friends,
who to try to win over, and who to op-
pose. Because we haven't known that, we
haven't had much luck getting chapter
seven passed unbutchered.
What's at issue in the bylaw conflict
isn't regental power? Regental power is
safe within the Constitution of the State
of Michigan. The power chapter seven
deals with isn't power generally exercised
by the Regents directly. Long ago they
delegated it to certain administrators, be-
cause its exercise wasn't of concern to
them, the Regent's primary concern be-
ing financial.
What is at issue is the power of the
administration President Robben Flem-
ing (and the power of a few administra-
tors responsible to him). Fleming believes
chapter seven would considerably reduce
his power over student life. He's right.
He believes the Regent's would hold him
responsible for what went wrong on this
campus, whether he had the power to
do something about it or not. He's pro-
bably right about that too.
Fleming believes students can't be trust-
ed to keep things from going wrong.
He's probably wrong about that, but there's
no way to prove that to him except by en-
acting chapter seven and letting him see
what happens.
Fleming believes himself to be fighting
for his administrative life.
WE MAY DRAW two conclusions from
all this. The first is that dealing primarily
with Fleming is the least effective way
to get the bylaws passed. Fleming alone
has something to lose and nothing to gain
from capter seven.
The second conclusion is that students
ought to deal with the Regents directly,
bypassing Fleming- as much as possible.
We are, for once, in a good position to
do that. The issue is clear: our right to
manage our own affairs. The demands are"
carefully and fully set out in a 12-page
report and a nine-page commentary. Flem-
ing has opposed to that report his own
hastily prepared, carelessly worded, and
incredibly impolitic J u m b l e of amend-
The University community has already
voted its support. After extended and deep
deliberation, both the Faculty Senate As-
sembly and the Student Government
Council approved the proposed chapter
seven, with only minor amendments. A
number of college student governments
and deans have since added their approv-
al. Fleming today stands against most of
the University community.
WHO THEN ARE our friends? The
students and faculty. Because they've al-
ready committed themselves. Who should
we try to win over? The Regents. Because
they have power over Fleming and be-
cause they have nothing to lose by siding
with the community. And who do we op-
pose? For once, just Robben Fleming.
What should we do to get chapter sev-
en passed without substantial change?
Our president, Marty McLaughlin, h a s
proposed backing out of all negotiation,
declaring chapter seven in force, waiting
for the Regents to ignore the declaration,

and then calling a confrontation. H i s
proposal is stupid. The Regents would be
forced to support Fleming, converting pos-
sible friends into actual enemies. And we
would alienate many students and faculty
in the bargain.
I PROPOSE THAT WE do something
quite different, that we adopt astrategy
of active persuasion and persuasive action.
Active persuasion is simply going out of
one's way to change somebody's mind by
reasoning with him, giving him informa-
tion, and calling his attention to certain
facts he may have ignored. Because people
find it hard to change their mind, active
persuasion takes a lot of time, patience.
and articulateness. Actively persuading
the Regents will be especially hard, since
up until now we have allowed Fleming
a near monopoly on their attention.
SGC, or some other group, should, I
think, organize one or more teams of
persuaders (three to five students a team)
to make a series of visits to each of the
five Regents who might reasonably be ex-
pected to support chapter seven as pro-
These persuaders should carefully go
through the bylaws, sentence by sentence
if necessary, passing on to the Regents
the rationale behind each provision about
which they have doubts, the tender bal-
ancing of interests concealed within the
dry language, and a sense for what are
and are not negotiable points.
time to explain to each Regent how in
fact the students run their own affairs
now. The Regents generally operate with
a concept of student affairs at least five
years out of date. They have no idea how
much of chapter seven is already fact.
They don't want bylaws out of date the
day they're passed. Fleming is trying to
giP. them exactly that.
The persuaders shouldn't beg. T h e y
aren't suppliants. They go to the Regents

7 bylaw. is worth a kowtow

to do the Regents a favor so that the Re-
gents can do the students a favor in re-
turn. They're trying to help the Regents
avoid being Fleming's creatures, adopt by-
laws that are likely to be a model for
most large universities, and prevent 10
more years of turmoil the end of which
would probably be substantially what's now
proposed in chapter seven. The persuaders
should point all that out.
tention 'on an issue in order to persuade.
Persuasive action doesn't force people to
do something, except insofar as changed
belief forces people to change their be-
havior. Persuasive action demonstrates
what's at issue, drives the issue home by
symbolizing it in a gesture or dramatic
moment. It need involve no direct action.
civil disobedience, passive resistence, or
noncooperation, though it may. I'll pro-
pose three sorts of persuasive action. Any-
one with much imagination should be
able to add to the list.
First: Let every student address Flem-
ing as "'your most excellent, lofty, majes-
tic, virtuous, and infallible lord," especially
at public meetings and in the presence
of Regents. Any man wanting so much con-
trol over the lives of others should de-
serve that title.
SECOND, LET SGC, or some other
group, organize teams of five or six stu-
dents to humble themselves before Flem-
ing each day until chapter seven is pass-
ed. These humblers shouldn't just go
to Fleming, heads bowed, to plead for the
bylaws. They should be humbler than
that. They should address him by his
new title, fall upon their knees when he
looks their way, perhaps even kowtow
or prostrate themselves on his deep-pile
carpet, and plead sobbingly with him as
if they were slaves and he a Turkish
pasha. The might even kiss his hands
and feet, so that there's no doubt they
know their place.

These first two sorts of persuasive ac-
tion, though absolutely legal, have all the
advantages of a sit-in with none of the
disadvantages. They'll certainly get na-
tional attention. (It would make an ex-
cellent feature of Huntley-Brinkley.)
PEOPLE ARE BORED with sit-ins, police
charges, and arrests. Students fawning
over the administration president is ano-
ther matter altogether. People haven't seen
that in years. It provokes interest with-
out arousing any 'fear of prejudice; it
makes people want to know what's at
issue. And, of course, the Regents (whom
we're most interested in persuading) will
have a good laugh while having it made
clear to them what students take their pre-
sent position to be. No one would have
any reason to sympathize with Fleming.
After all, the only harm being done him
is too much respect.
Third: Let SOC, or some other group,
simultaneously draw up and circulate three
petitions ,worded similarly, urging pas-
sage of chapter seven without substantial
change. The purpose of this conventional
tactic is to demonstrate once again (and
reinforce) community solidarity on the
issue. Fleming should have no chance to
dismiss the general agitation as a work
of a few wild men without widespread
community support.
THERE SHOULD BE three petitions, so
that faculty may carry one to be signed
by faculty, teaching fellows may carry
one to be signed by teaching fellows, and
ordinary students may carry one to be
signed by ordinary students. Three peti-
tions would permit an accurate count of
signatures within each category, make it
possible to use internal channels of com-
munication and the herd instinct of fa-
culty, and make it easy to use the great-
er authority faculty and teaching-fellow
signatures have with the Regents and the
The petitions should be careful to
stress that student control of their own
affairs is good for the University. We've
been slow to say that, just as we've been
slow to point out that students are the
overwhelming majority of the University
community. (We've quietly accepted the
administration's well-you're-just-one-among
-many argument without question.)
What's good for us is likely to be good
for the University; what's good for the
University, good for us. Fleming, in con-
trast, is one fifty-thousandth of the Uni-
versity community. It's not' nearly as like-
ly that what's good'for him will be good
for the University. Chapter seven is a
good example of how great a difference
there can be between what's good for
Fleming and what's, good for the Univer-
sity. We should make that point.
The aim of that strategy is to show what's
at issue, not to use brute force to make
those deciding decide one way rather than
another. Our power is, on this issue, in
persuasion, not in force, because the In-
terest of those deciding corresponds to
our own. We may leave force to Fleming.
It's hurt him enough already. Any tactics
consistent with this strategy may be sub-
stituted for those I've suggested.
We should, however, act soon, because
time is running out for us. If chapter
seven hasn't been enacted by April, Flem-
ing will have a free hand during the
spring-summer term, and it's clear w h a t
that would mean.




Contemplating alienation and graduation

To the Editor:
AS I SAT in the UGLI t h is
morning pondering issues of alie-
nation and an individual's role in
society it occurred to me that I
had some appropriate things to
say at an occassion 11i k e com-
I'll be graduating at the end of
this semester. Four years ago I
gave a speech at high school com-
mencement. I realize now my
ideas were in need of updating. I
wanted to compete for a chance
to speak.
Certainly it seems appropriate
for a student voice to comment at
an occasion like commencement
on the education he has exper-

ienced and to express a view of
the future from a youthful pros-
down the man who is responsible
for commencement programs -
Herbert W. Hildebrandt, secretary
of the University and assistant to
the president - he informed me
that the policy of having students
speak at commencement cere-
monies had been discontinued. It
seems students were giving bor-
ing, 30-minute "oratories" and
commencement exercises w e r e
getting too long anyway.
While I had to grant these were
important reasons for cutting stu-

dents from the program, Mr. Hil-
debrandt confessed there were
secondary reasons for the policy.
"You can imagine," he said, "the
problem we might h a v e if we
sponsored a contest and only
SDS members participated.'
Mr. Hildebrandt did not leave
me without consolation. He
"guessed that maybe" this year
I could think to myself while I
sat in the audience listening to
distinguished guest speakers from
places like MIT commenting upon
the education I had received and
upon my future.
PERHAPS I OUGHT to go back
to the UGLI and ponder o n c e
more issues of alienation and the
role of an individual in society.
-Gregory R. Karch, "70
Feb. 17
To the Editor:
SMC anti-war conference in Cleve-
land was too mild and glossed over
much of the politics involved. The
conference which was supposed to
democratically plan the tactics for
a spring offensive, was clearly
manipulated by a group of people
who had control of the chair and
were doing everything to push
through their own ideology.
But a biased interesthg rop
constituted only half the prob-
lem. The other half was the com-
position of people attending. For
the most part, the masses w e r e
just that . . . masses. People were
willingly putting the rubber stamp
,n anosal made hb the steer-



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AM1' (J)AK6 UP tfl IJr

The Changing Character of the Mideast War

To the Editor:
on the recent incidents at North
Hall and at the recruitment offices
expresses three concerns that must
be answered. First, SACUA is con-
cerned that the actions of SDS
will undermine the principle of the
University as a "free market place

by confrontation. This is indeed
part of the process by which social
change occurs. Demands for
change are a challenge to the es-
tablished practices.
FINALLY, SACUA is concerned
that the costs of vandalism will
reduce the funds available for
scholarship support of the dis-
advantaged. Where were these


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AOV 6r 100 FW5


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