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January 22, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-01-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Elff3r *At an Date3
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

. Nixon's the one ...e"

C ontoversy...

with

dign ity

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in the Michigon Doily exp ress the individual opinions of starf writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 1969

NIGHT EDITOR: STEVE NISSEN

The classroom beat:
A tale of two freedoms

THE RECENT disruption of classes by
members of Students for a Demo-
cratic Society has had odd repercus-
sions.
Early last November, SDS members
broke up a number of class sessions as
part of their ';rotests of the national
election. They entered lecture halls un-
invited and rudely interrupted the pro-
ceedings. Naturally, the incidents and
the possibility of recurring incidents
concerned the faculty deeply.
Two days ago, Senate Assembly re-
sponded to the disruptions by reaf-
firming a policy that persons not en-
rolled in a class may be admitted to
the classroom only "by explicit permis-
sion of the instructor." The motion,
which was proposed to the . assembly
by its executive arm, the Senate Ad-
visory Committee on University Affairs
(SACUA), passed unanimously follow-
ing brief debate.
Indeed, the brevity left unclear how
many members of the assembly under-
stood the intent of the motion. For it
aimed as much at reporters covering
intrusions of classes as at the intrud-
ers. -
ONE OF THE disrupted classes was a
lecture in American foreign policy
taught by Prof. Henry Bretton of the
political science department. The scen-
ario of the events in Bretton's class-
room was recorded in a subjective ar-
ticle by a Daily reporter, who observed,
the incident by chance.
The issue raised by the affair is the
sanctity of the classroom versus free-
dom of the press. Prof. Bretton feels
that what transpires in the classroom;
is privileged and should not be covered
or reported. In his opinion, a reporter
who enters a class must announce his

presence. He fears that to relax that
rule would invite abuse and endanger
academic freedom.
Since the disruption, Prof. Brettpn
has vigorously pressed his view. SACUA
presented the motion passed Monday
only after considerable consultation
with him.
WHILE AGREEING fully that under
normal circumstances the class-
room is a , privileged sanctuary, we
think the assembly's resolution too
sweeping. The destruction of normal
order in a class is news of such impor-
tance that the media has not only a
right but an obligation to cover it. The'
Daily will continue to refrain from
covering classes under normal circum-
stances, but it cannot evade its respon-
sibility to report incidents of disrup-
tion.
Prof.,Bretton's suggestion that a re-
porter covering such an incident make
his presence known while events are"
in progress cannot be implemented. 'A
reporter who followed this advice
would be guilty of influencing rather
than merely observing events. In addi-
tion, he would leave himself open to
charges of collaborating with the in-
truders.
When legitimate rights conflict, de-
ciding which should prevail is always
difficult. The issue here is whether the
right of freedom of the press (which
includes access to information) should
under certain circumstances outweigh
the right of academic freedom.
By merely restating academic free-
dom as a general assumption, SACUA
and the assembly have begged the
question and done a disservice to the
University community.
-THE SENIOR EDITORS

A hearing nobody heard

The RegensGreat Leap .. .
...and' the locus of conservatism

THE REGENTS. surprised just about
everybody last week as they took what
must have seemed to them like Mao's
Great Leap Forward by allowing all stu-
dents to live outside the dormitory sys-
tem.
Some vestiges of the past still remain.
Freshmen men and all undergraduate
women under 21 will still need parental
consent to move into an apartment. In
this small way at least, in loco parentis
lives on.
Nonetheless, the action hints at a
new concern on the part of the Regents,
a new respect for the interests of the.
students.
Other indications are dribbling in.
The Regents, for example, may be mov-
ing away from the policy which bound
them during the Hatcher years of bar-
ring official University groups from go-
ing into competition with local m e r-
chants. This is evidenced by the informal
support they reportedly gave to Student
Government Council's new discount store
at their December meeting.
BUT THE EMERGENCE of this new lib-
eralism among the Regents only helps
to pointy out the real locus of conserv-
atism at the University-the faculty.'
Editorial Staff
MARK LEVIN. Editor
STEPHEN WILDSTROM URBAN LEHNER
Managing Editor, Editorial Director,
DAVID KNOKE. Executive Editor
WALLACE IMMEN t...... ........News Editor
CAROLYN MIEGEL ...... Associate Managing Editor
DANIEL OKRENT . ....................Feature Editor
PAT O'DONOHUE...................News Editor
WALTER SHAPIRO ...... Associate Editorial Director
HOWARD' KOHN . Associate Editorial Director
AVIVA KEMPNER ........ ......Personnel Director
NEAL BRUSS.......................Magazine Editor
ALISON SYMROSKI.......Associate Magazine Editor
ANN MUNSTER ................ Contributing Editor

On the day before the historic Regents
meeting, the faculty-dominated Board
of Governors of the residence halls re-
affirmed its position that freshmen
should be forced to remain in the dormi-
tory system. This decision came despite
the recommendation of Inter-House As-
sembly that freshmen be given apart-
ment privileges.
The objection of the board of gover-
nors was, not surprisingly, on academic
grounds. They argued that the "innocent
freshman" needs the orientation and the
educational environment which a year
in the residence halls can provide.
This is the argument which the Re-
gents must have scrutinized in! their
closed-meeting deliberations, an argu-
ment they wisely rejected.
Most freshmen will undoubtedly con-
tinue to live in the dormitories. Thos6
who come from out-of-stateor far from
Ann Arbor-those who really need the
orientation and the increased opportun-
ity to makefriends which the residence
halls provide -- these students will no
doubt choose to live in the- dormitories.
Studies show this will constitute about
90 per cent of the incoming class.
BUT THOSE who feel ready to come to
the University without that first year
of cubby-hole living should be allowed
to do so. They would only resent being,
forced into the dormitories and are un-
likely to garner those advantages which
it does provide.
More simply, students cannot be coer-
ced into an educationally profitable ex-
perience. On the academic side of Uni-
versity life, this is precisely the kind of
coercion the facultys continue to press
upon the students.
The most flagrant example is, of
course, the literary college language re-
quirement. The distribution require-
ment, which does provide some choice
of courses, is a close second.
This kind of coercion, like old dormi-
tory requirement can not result in a
n...n*afininlannca r onaran a

By RON LANDSMAN
IT IS IRONIC that the forum of the literary
college faculty called specifically to discuss
the study of language should suffer so badly
from a failure to communicate.
Communication is admittedly difficult' at
mass meetings. They are not suited to serious
discussion, and this forum was no exception.
But the greater difficulty was the seeming
inability of the faculty and the students to talk
to each other. Criticisms-devastating ones oc-
casionally-were made against the language re-
quirement by a few professors. But both faculty
and students who advocate the requirement
never answered the charges leveled against their
position.
They obviously weren't listening, just as the
audience didn't listen to the original speakers
or to each other: The apparently massive display
of student and faculty concern was belied by
the actual conduct of the meeting. Few dared to
debate or analyze.
For example. Prof. Richard Brandt cited
surveys of alumni from another large university
who reported that they thought they had
gained nothing from having been forced to learn
a language. Unfortunately, no speaker after
Prof. Brandt commented on his information.
They ignored him. They would not talk to him.
Likewise, when Prof. George Piranian forwarded
a novel suggestion about students conferring
their own degrees, there was no response.
THE FORUM also revealed how desperately
the audience required information. Except for
Brandt's contribution, there' was almost nothing
substantive offered. No one, including the
literary college curriculum committee, has gone
to educational experts to ask about the require-
ments; no one has gone to the best laboratory
available-alumni who have gone through the
requirements and seen how effective or ineffec-
tive they were.
And not even the right questions were raised.
Blanket assertions about the nature of educa-
tion, the means of implementation and the im-
portance of language all went unchallenged.
Part of the problem was the unwillingness
of the faculty, with a few exceptions, to really
join the discussion. Despite the large number
of faculty members present, students formed the
lines behind the microphones. And if most esti-
mates are correct, the number of faculty who
spoke against the requirement reflected the
sentiments of a smaller proportion of the faculty
than was apparent.
THERE SEEMS to be willingnes on the part
of the faculty to listen to students, to listen and
Lette~.rs to
B equals V Economicsm
B~f~d $cently signed F
To the Editoroto the Textbook
EADING OF Professor Mc- We stated that
Cracen'appointment to th Book Service w
C.E.A. put me in mind of part of pruiyt
a letter my girl friend sent me portunity to
last January, f r o m Stanford Textbook Rep
(where she was then taking an in- would order a
troductoy economics course.) I SBS.
quote that part of the letter ver- Our position
batim: we believe that
Prof. Gurley, the economics Pro- age competitio
fessor, is carrying on for the ben- feasible and a
efit of an Econ. I class, a tele- and because we
graphic conversation w ith Paul we should con
McCracken, "the University of of commercial
Michigan's own economist," about to the exclusio
a statement of McCracken's in the over, we are u
Wall Street Journal, in the time-co
Gurley to MeC.: In a Wall ficient practice
Street Journal quote attributed book order forat
to you does b equal 1/? eachoer.
,e . Prnf rlv!. 1-b each term.

then decide by themselves. But there is not; as
teaching fellow and graduate student Michael
Davis pointed out, a willingness to tell the stu-
dents why, to answer the student arguments
as to what's wrong with the requirements.
One can almost hear the faculty asking,
"Why .then all this restlessness?" when students
sit-in, and I suppose the faculty will not under-
stand why even if students try to tell them then.
It is in this regard that the rambling dis-
cusion of "democracy" becomes relevant. To a
certain degree, students are not asking for an-
archism, which seems to be the prevailing
faculty impression. But "democracy" is the only
alternative they can find to the autocratic
handling of affairs up to now.
Certainly, students do want some kind of
democracy here, and they want it, I should hope,
for educational reasons. It has been argued be-
fore-and the faculty has never answered the
charge-that there are solid educational benefits
derived from self-determination, that there
is a positive virtue in a student doing much on
his own, and having a say in the institutional
voice. -
BUT THERE WERE other, more disturbing
implications at the meeting yesterday. Prof.
Piranian's suggestion cut to the very heart of
the literary college's most profound problem.
His proposal amounted to having students
teach and give degrees if they didn't like the
ones now available from the University. This'
proposal blatantly acknowledges the intran-
sigence of the present University faculty and its
inability to accept or even consider student
proposed reforms. The Piranian plan seem to
constitute an answer to the faculty question
posed yesterday by Prof. E. Lowell Kelly's ques-
tion: If students don't like the University
structure, why don't they go elsewhere.
FURTHER, MANY FACULTY seem to .ask,
doesn't the University have a "moral commit-
ment" to maintaining high standards and re-
taining course requirements. In their one-sided
advocacy of this position, the faculty display
an insensitivity to teaching what students want
to learn. Their dedication to teaching seems
limited to accommodating only their own needs.
"What do I care about the MAs?" one his-
tory professor is/reported to have asked recently.
With the emphasis obviously on the production
of PhDs, the education of undergraduates be-
comes irrelevant.
The college is becoming less an educational
institution, and more a professional, research
one. I do not pretend to play the the prophet
of doom; perhaps the University has always
existed this way. However, the desire for a more
relevant education is increasing, and the Uni-
versity is woefully unwilling to meet the chal-
lenge.

By ROBBEN W. FLEMING
The author is the President of the University
THE WRIGHT COMMITTEE on Communications Media recently
suggested, in connection with its review of the status of The Mich-
igan Daily, that the campus needed a newspaper which represented
the views of students, faculty and administration rather than just
students.
I agree with that conclusion, though not with its proposed imple-
mentation. Since we now have an issue-the language requirement-
which is of interest to the entire academic community, I am, by agree-
ment with the editors of The Daily, using this method to express my
views on the question. I hope that it will encourage others, both stu-
dents and faculty, to do likewise.
The focus of the present dispute seems to be the requirement of
the Literature, Science and Arts College that every degree candidate
have the equivalent of two years of study of a foreign language.
THERE ARE A NUMBER of arguments against required language
courses. Effective elementary language teaching may have to take
place in the elementary or secondary schools, unwilling students are not
the best students, such a widespread requirement may impose so
heavy a teaching burden on any given department that the level of
teaching may be unsatisfactory, interested language students may
suffer from inclusion with a group of those who are not interested, etc.
Some of the counter arguments are that even if elementary and
secondary schools are more desirable locations for elementary language
training, all statistics show their total inability at this point in time to
take over that task, unwilling students may not be the best students but
there are thousands of examples of unwilling students who became
excited about subjects with which they were not familiar and who then
concentrated in those areas, if teaching is unsatisfactory the problem is
to correct the deficiencies, not to throw out the requirement, there is
a certain intellectual arrogance in assuming that only one's native
language (in this case English) is necessary in a world which daily
grows smaller, etc.
THERE ARE, OF COURSE, many other arguments that can be
made. The significant point is that the validity of the language require-
ment is not easily determined. In a rational community, one would
suppose that an appropriate debate could be carried on in which the
.merits of the issue would be explored. Whatever happens, no change
will be made with respect to students enrolled in language courses
during the current semester, therefore the problem does not have such
an earthshaking urgency that there is no time to consider it.
A major question which seems to be emerging is the one of what
role, if any, students are to play in the decision. My own view, with
which others are free to disagree, is that students do have a legitimate
role to play in such a decision.
They are the major clientele for
the courses, they do know from
direct experience how well the
courses are taught, they do ad-
vance substantive a r g um e n t s
against the requirement; there is
unquestionably widespread op-
position among students to the re-
quirement, and all of this opposi-
tion deserves to be heard.
Beyond the question of making ,
it possible for students to be heard,
I would myself vote in favor of
making it possible for them to
hear faculty debates on the sub-
ject. This position naturally as-
sumes an orderly presence and if
that presence cannot be orderly
my own support for it would cease
immediately,1?_;.x"Ns.>.
PERHAPS THE ULTIMATE QUESTION is who decides whether
the requirement shall remain. On that The Daily has quoted various
members of the Radical Caucus, who have taken an interest in this
issue, as saying that the issue is not the educational merits of the re-
quirement, but the right of students to make a11 of their own academic
decisions.
The Radical Caucus is also said to propose a disruptive sit-in to
demand the end of the language and distribution requirements.
Both of these positions are, in my view, wholly untenable A student
can make his own decisions right now as to what courses he will take-
but he cannot get a degree by pursuing this approach. Surely no one
can seriously propose that the degree requirements of the University
I would myself vote in favor of making it pos-
sible for students to hear faculty debates on the

0

A

subject.

This position naturally assumes an

the Edi~tor

yself included, re-
a letter addressed
Reporting Service.
, until the Student
as afforded the op-
participate in the
orting Service, we
all textbooks from
was taken because
we should encour-
n whenever it is
ppropriate to do so.
do not believe that
tribute information
advantage to some
n of others. More-
nwilling to engage
nsuming and inef-
of filling out text-
ms more than once

mation relating to either side of
it.
Our letter to the Textbook Re-
porting Service will be delivered as
intended. We hope that it will
have its desired effect.
--Prof. Harvey E. Brazer,
chairman of the
economics department
Jan. 17
Scapegoating
To the Editor:
SO OUR ESTEEMED State sena-
tors would like a special com-
mittee to investigate student ac-
tivism and "disorders"? This is a
typically American approach to
problems. It's another c a s e of
tossing a b o n e to their myopic
constituents, w h i 1 e appearing

orderly presence, and if that.presence cannot be
orderly, my own support for it would cease
immediately.
of Michigan are a matter solely within the interest of the students.
Within the professional areas this is relatively easy to see, but it is not
basically different in the College of Literature, Science and Arts.
No one would want to be treated by a medical doctor who got ,his
degree by taking only those courses which interested him. No client
would want a lawyer who picked only those courses which pleased him.
It is not different in the non-professional areas, and our faculties
have been continuously ready to recognize a wide variety of com-
binations of study which do warrant a degree.
I WAS NEITHER A GOOD nor an interested language student
during my college career. Had I been free to choose, I am sure that I
would have taken neither Latin nor German, as I did. Now, with a
great deal of world travelling behind me, I am glad that someone in-
sisted that I ought to have at least a passing familiarity with a lan-
guage other than English.
Perhaps others have had a quite different experience. I cite it only
to suggest that the ultimate in wisdom with respect to what he must
take in order to get a degree does not lie entirely with the student.
Finally, I note that SGC has been asked to join in and support the
disruptive sit-in. Since SGC has itself passed rules against such dis-
ruptive tactics, it would be a curious thing for it to endorse violation of
the very rules it has passed. One would suppose, on the contrary, that
it would be appropriate for SGC to consider withdrawing recognition
from a student group which refused to abide by its rules.
Bad as disruptive confrontations are, there are things that are
worse. One of them is to make academic decisions in response to force.
When Brandeis University was recently faced with a disruptive sit-in,
the Administration showed great restraint, but it did not retreat an
inch on the question of delegating the right to others to hire and fire
facul~t.

-l

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