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February 04, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-02-04

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I4Sfi$ au Dail
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

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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



The faculty stall:
Precipitating disruption

"All I ask is that the other two judges be completey
.t 1.
c24~ ?kL~~z rZc

THE DELIBERATE stall on the part of
the literary -college faculty at their
meeting yesterday presents an insoluble
dilemma for those students truly inter-
ested in seeking both substantive and
structural change in the college decision-
making process.
The faculty yesterday paraded out a
collection of platitudinous arguments to
defend the current language and distri-
Yution requirements. Moreover, they pre-
sented their case (which has better ad-
vocates than those who stood up), with
an absurd air of moral indignation.
Throughout the language requirements
debate, the faculty has consistently mis-
interpreted the issue on two important
It debates whether language instruc-
tion is part of a liberal education, but
fails to ask if after four semesters most
students really have any degree of pro-
ficiency. Few would contend knowledge
of a foreign language is not valuable.
The argument is that the language de-
partments, primarily Romance languages,
are not succeeding in language instruction
for a variety of reasons: the difficulties
in teaching a language to unmotivated,
college-level students gand the lack, of
facilities and staff to overcome:- these
THE DEBATE has also neatly skirted
the issue of the role of students in
determining their own curricula. The
faculty must question whether a liberal
education can truly be liberal in the
Editorial Staff
Managing Editor Editorial Director
DAVID KNOKE, Executive Editor
WALLACE IMMEN ..... ... News Editor
CAROLYN MIEGEL .,.... Associate Managing Editor
DANIEL OKRENT .................Feature Editor
PAT O'DONOHUE .... ............... News Editor
WALTER S1iAPIRO ....:. Associate Editorial Director
HOWARD KOHN ........ Associate Editorial Director
NEAL BRUSS ..Magazine Editor
ALISON SYMROSKI ......Associate Magazine Editor
AVIVA KEMPNER .............Peronnel Director
ANN MUNSTER ................Contributing Editor
DAVID DUBOFF Contributing Editor
ANDY SACKS .. . ............, Photo Editor
Sports Staff

midst of professorial condescension and
autocracy. The educational value of in-
cluding students as equals in the deci-
sion-making process far exceeds the mis-
takes they might make because of in-
Moreover, the institutional isolation of
the faculty from the student body pre-
vents them from effectively evaluating
programs and curricula. The faculty has
debated the language requirement for
eight years in isolation, unaware of the
tremendous dissatisfaction amoi;g stu-
dents who, during this period, were tor-
tuously taking languages. Student input
can most easily be secured by giving stu-
dents a permanent voting voice in cur-
ricula decisions.
The University should be a community
of equals collectively making decisions
for the governance of that community.
The perspectives and reactions of the stu-
dents who must take the programs the
University offers are as important
as the professional expertise and exper-
ience of the faculty member.
STUDENT ACTIVISM is a phenomena
ultimately may mean the success or fail-
ure of our democratic institutions.
Apathy and the unquestioning allegiance
to authority, whether as a citizen or a
student, is not desirable to a country
which prides itself as a democracy. The
top-down college structure is counter-
productive to the democratic objectives
of a liberal education.
The question of what student reaction
should be to the frustrating actions of
the faculty is not an easy decision. Power
within a college is so diffuse and decen-
tralized that individual faculty members
can avoid the consequences of a particu-
lar decision and therefore are immune
from political pressure.
Which tactics will achieve the desig-
nated goal is unclear. The faculty will
not act under the pressure of a disruptive
sit-in. Since Columbia and San Francisco
State, even liberal faculty members have
reached the conclusion that "there is a
point" where police should be called on
to campus to prevent disruption.
THE ENTRANCE of police on to this
campus will most certainly bring tre-
mendous violence and a complete break-
down of the University. And it is doubt-
ful after all the rubble has been cleared
whether any change will have been
But the faculty has pushed students to
the wall through their ignorance and in-
sensitivity. And the responsibility for any
violent confrontation which is precipitat-
ed must rest with them..

A Ky question
DESPITE ALL the advance foreboding, there is something of a
honeymoon atmosphere in the nation: many of us find ourselves re-
lieved when President Nixon holds his first news conference and largely
avoid any stridency or artifice reminiscent of what was long identified
as "Nixonism." A few diehards maliciously cling to the hope that he
will fall on his face in a public place. But most Americans recognize
they cannot afford the partisan luxury of four years of disaster.
Mr. Nixon must cherish the present mood, especially since he must
be wise enough to realize how transient it is. His first encounter with
the press was a congenial bull session. But harder questions-and
decisions-must soon be faced.
THE FIRST CRITICAL TEST-unless the Mideast blows up while
the big powers dawdle-will involve the course of the Vietnam peace
talks. Nor is this unrelated to the Mideast peril; certainly a Vietnam
settlement could lead to closer U.S.-Soviet collaboration in dealing with
the threat of Mideast escalation.
But as the preliminary rhetoric is completed and the business of
negotiation begins in Paris, the nature of the hard judgment con-
fronting the new Administration will be swiftly defined. It was stated
in private conversation the other evening ,by a retired diplomat whose
perceptions and forecasts have been far more frequently vindicated
than those of Dean Rusk.
"There will have to be changes in Saigon and we can only achieve
them by actually beginning the withdrawal of American troops," he
said. "Nothing else will produce any change."
HIS REMARKS RECALLED a meeting I had some days ago with
V. Van Ai, secretary general of the Overseas Buddhist Assn., and Masoko
Yamanouchi, a young, U.S.-educated Japanese woman who served from
1966 through 1968 with the American Friends Service Committee as
a member of a relief team working with refugees in South Vietnam.
They are now on a speaking
tour sponsored by the Fellowship
of Reconciliation, pleading the
cause of the thousands of for-
gotten men and women of the con-
flict-the political prisoners held
in South Vietnamese jails because
they have dared to speak but
against the oppressive Thieu-Ky
regime and who, in many cases,
represent a "Third Force" wholly
unrepresented at Paris.
Thirty-year-old Vo Van Al is
the spokesman of' the United
Buddhist Church outside of Viet-
nam. The Buddhist association x
for which he. speaks was set up
in 1963 by Buddhist monks to
fight the Diem regime; its bottle
goes on against what it regards
as another despotic cabal that
"in no way expresses the peace aspirations of the Vietnamese people."
For Vo Van Ai the struggle began when he was imprisoned by the
French in 1949; he was 11 years old.



Letters. to the Editor

Answering Fleming on the Kuhn investigation

Editor's Note: The following
is a copy of a letter sent to
University President Robben W.
Dear President Fleming:
TWO RECENT comments re-
garding the upcoming Senate
investigation have intrigued me.
One is your statement that the
committee "would perform a use-
ful function if it genuinely tries
to learn and to understand the na-
ture and causes of the unrest."
The other is state Senator George
W. Kuhn's remark that the com-
mittee's objective "is to bring
peace and sanity back to the cam-
puses. It seems that all you have
to do to flout the law is get on a
university campus." (Detroit News,
Jan. 28, 1969). Both of these merit
further conpideration.
Let us begin with Senator
Kuhn's irmplication that the Uni-
versity is a sanctuary for people
harboring unlawful tendencies. As
you recently noted (and events
bore it out) during the Dionysus
in 69 controversy, the University
is certainly no sanctuary. There-
fore, it seems that Senator Kuhn's
perception of the University is
distorted or he is prone to exag-
And who is Senator Kuhn? He
is one of the gentlemen who com-
prises the special investigatory
committee. In light of his posi-
tion and perceptions, does it bode
well for your hopes for a reason-
ably objective inquiry designed to
produce greater understanding?
I AM PUZZLED by Senator
Kuhn's objective of restoring "san-
ity" to the campus. As the presi-

dent of the University of Michi-
gan, have you been serving as the
h e a d of an insane institution?
"Sanity" is a highly charged
word and one that is frequently
bandied about to arouse public
However, tPe term "sanity' is
open to a variety of interpreta-
tions among psychologists and is
not glibly tossed around. Perhaps
Senator Kuhn is substituting a
political for a psychological judg-
ment. Once again, does this bode
With respect to your statement,
I heartily concur that there is too
little sensitive understanding of
the unrest experienced on cam-
pus. Nonetheless, a r e the state
legislators properly qualified to
provide us with the needed In-
sights? I seriously doubt it. If we
are interested in delving into the
nature and causes of the unrest,
why not call upon some of the ac-
complished psychologists, sociolog
gists, and the like, from our In-
stitute of Social Research to study
the situation and m a k e public
their findings?
Not only would their findings
be more meaningful, but this
method would safeguard against
the possibility of any individual
being harmed by the investiga-
tion. I think that you, in your
capacity as president, should ac-
tively work for the most informa-
tive and "useful' type of investi-
IF YOU DO, I suspect that you
will find the "unrest" or malaise
to extend far beyond the campus
politicos. Perhaps you will dis-
cover that a tremendously large
number of the students have found

the traditional beliefs and conven-
tional myths to contradict their
perception of what is desirable and
proper in terms of individual ways
of life, and of attainment in terms
of status and economic achieve-
ment. Moreover, they have also
experienced a contradicting and
undermining of certain deeply
felt, although perhaps poorly ar-
ticulated, beliefs about American
FREQUENTLY, students a r e
identified with the Bohemian
outlook of earlier decades. This
identification only h o 1 d s on a
superficial level. I think one of the
m o s t important differences be-
tween the sort of cultural disaf-
fection we have today and earlier
Bohemian modes is that today
many people are reluctant to ex-
plain themselves to society, be-
cause they no longer assume that
you can in fact reform an indus-
trial society of high organization,
whose criteria of performance are
really ones of productive efficien-
cy and organization rationality.
They therefore strive to cultivate
a very private existence, of high
intensity, which offers full oppor-'
tunity for the indulgence and sat-
isfaction of dimensions of human
personality other than the ma-
PLEASE KEEP t h e above in
mind before you endorse or lend
yourself to an investigation with
as little constructive purpose as
that of the Michigan State Legis-
-Robert S. Fink '69
Jan. 29


BOTH HE AND MISS YAMANOtCHI were morosely skeptical about
a real breakthrough in Paris as llong as the status quo prevails in
Saigon. The release of the political prisoners, they contend, would
create a new climate in South Vietnam; they also maintain that a
ceasefire would be .the signal for the emergence of "the real anti-war
sentiment" in the country, which no doubt partially explains why
Thieu and Ky have opposed such a move.
"What most Americans don't realize is that the majority of our
people are not really represented by Hanoi, Saigon or the NLF" Vo
Van Ai said earnestly.
"The Buddhist forces, the progressive Catholic student movement,
the many elements of the peace movement have no voice in Paris,
"What we are asking is that the United States let the non-Com-
munist political and religious communities form a government that
could ngeotiate with the NLF. There will be no peace any other way."
MUCH OF THIS TALK MAY SEEM academic or remote in the
present setting. Clearly there will be no\ abrupt change in the cast of
characters at Paris.
But the basic thrust of Vo Van Ai's remarks (supported by the
informed-personal testimony of Miss Yamanouchi) cannot be ignored.
For the real question that will face Mr. Nixon's negotiators is how
any accord can be fashioned as long as the fragile, U.S.-based, un-
representative Thieu-Ky team remains resolved to maintain its auto-
cratic rule, to keep thousands of dissidents in prison and to reject
any concept of meaningful coalition--on the understandable ground
that they would find themselves submerged once the framework of
freedom was established.
IT HAS OFTEN BEEN ALLEGED that "coalition" is a dirty word
because it means as eventual Communist takeover. But those who
hold that view are really saying that the Thieu-Ky enterprise has no
solid foundation except American military power. That is the real
dilemma of the Paris talks.
That is also why the liberation of popular South Vietnamese im-
pulses (and prisoners)-and a diminution of the American presence-
may offer the only prospect of a settlement. But is the Nixon Ad-
ministration prepared to break such news to Messrs Thieu and Ky?
(C) New York Post


DAVID WEIR ... .................. .. Sports
DOUG ELLER .Associate Sports
BOB LEES ... . . .. Associate Sports
BILL LEVIS. ........Associate Sports
Business Staff


RANDY RISSMAN. Business Manager
AEN KRAUS...........Associate BusinessI
DAVE PFEFFER ........ Advertising
JEFF BROWN .......... Senior Circulation .A
JANE LUXON......,........... Personnel A
MAR'! PARKER .................Finance A
thor is a teaching fellow in the
Romance languages and litera-
ture department.
Daily. Guest Writer
rT'pERE IS A popular anecdote
passed around in the Depart-
ment of Romance Languages which,
through discreet inquiries, I have
found to be quite factual.
It seems a new teaching fellow
was nervously expressing to a de-
partment administrator s e r i o u s
doubts concerning her ability to per-
form' well on her first day of in-
ptruction. 4
In an effort to calm these insecuri-
ties, the administrator said to her,
"Don't worry, Miss. These unsoph-
isticated Midwesterners won't know
the difference. Babble some French
. at the little buggers and they'll be
This sort of statement is indicative
of departmental attitudes both to-
ward the undergraduates upon whom
we inflict the foreign language re-
quirement and toward the graduate
students hired to inflict it.
IN MY THREE and one-half terms
as a teaching fellow in Spanish, it


la nguag
procedure, etc., consisted of a half-
hour chat with the man who -was
then in charge of implementing the
required four course sequence in
At no time has any supervisor
visited my classes to offer suggest-
ions, and only quite recently - pri-
marily at our own initiative and in
direct response , to undergraduate
militancy - have we teaching fel-
lows been consulted seriously and in
large numbers concerning the ef-
fectiveness of texts, teaching meth-
ods, and other like procedures.
PERHAPS SOME of the contro-
versy surrounding the language re-
quirement can be confronted seri-
ously if those of us most intimately
involved with language study can
throw off professional chauvinism
long enough to admit that aside from,
snob appeal, personal convenience,
and consideration for one's neighbor
in ,the world community, there is
nothing inherently valuable in per-
fecting a foreign language.
It consists of nothing more than
a particular sort of mental and phys-
ical training; an individual is simply
conditioned to make certain re-
sponses to a certain variety of


cast pearls

Strangely enough, the study of a
foreign language and culture is for
too many a pleasant, dilletantist es-
cape from the critical self-scrutiny of
which we as a nation are desperately
in need.
I AM ASHAMED to say that last
November when petitions were being
circulated to abolish the language
requirement, many faculty members
and all too many teaching fellows in
this department smugly suggested
that all this was merely the work of
a few SD$ radicals, a tempest -in a
teapot which would soon lose momen-
tum if ye could stand our ground
firmly aAd avoid a major confronta-
tion before the end of the semester.
At a general departmental meeting
late in November, called only when
signatures on the abolishment peti-
tion were growing at an alarming
rate and there was talk of class dis-
ruptions, there was still much sen-
timent in favor of the old bureau-
cratic time-wasters like "a careful,
cool-headed re-evaluation of our
basic goals, philosophies, and aims
in the light of present realities," or,
whatever the jargon might have

efore si
INSTEAD, THE forces for con-
structive change have been splinter-
ed into two so-called ad-hoc com-
mittees (French and Spanish).
This skillful divide and conquer,
tactic seems to have been success-
ful, for while our committees con-
stantly occupy themselves with the
busy-work of dressing up and sugar-
coating the required courses, little
substantial change , in either the
philosophy or implementation of
them has taken place.
The only defense which can be
made for our attitudes is that they
are quite normal given the realities,
of the professional system in which
we are forced to function..
Teaching fellows whose means of
support depends on the perpetuation
of the language requirement cannot
be expected to view that require-
nent with very critical eyes.
A facultymember cannot be ex-
pected to be overjoyed that a dis-
cipline in which he has invested his
professional life is no longer con-
sidered terribly relevant by parts of
the academic community.
whose nrvimarv interes~t is researcrh

iously questioned by teaching fel
In the same way, a department
chairman who receives University
money according to the number of
students enrolled in the courses of
that department has an obvious
vested interest in maintained re-
quired courses which keep depart-
mental enrollment high.
There is a comment, heard with
increasing frequency in the Frieze
Building, which sums up attitudes
all too prevalent among us:
"We're going to be in trouble be-
cause of these damned radicals if
we don't do something in a hurry.
Look at what happened to the Class-
ics in most places . . . three or four
crummy rooms in some old build-
ing ..
I SUPPOSE that what I am at-
tempting to say to those who la-
ment the disintegration of the Amer-
ican university is that by defend-
ing irrationally a bankrupt, educa-
tional system, they are merely re-
tarding an inevitable historical pro-
cess which will, in the long run, be
healthy and liberating for us all.
But I look forward to the day

DURING MY two year stay in
Madrid, a majority of the foul-
mouthed tourists, embassy flunkies,
paranoid Commie-haters, and shame-
less imperialists I had the misfortune
to run into spoke Spanish surprising-
ly well and had a respectable knowl-
edge of the country's customs and
One cannot argue with the affir-
mation that there is value in expos-
ing ourselves to the culture and men-
tality of other 'national and linguistic
groups. However, there is no logical

alone equip him to examine cultures
and value through the language,
I might remind all that "cultural
understanding" is a primary goal of
the language requirement as it pres-
ently stands. However, in practice
this goal is too often met by talking
about what Charles Aznavour wears
to bed, how to make paella, or how
much to tip for room service in a
French hotel.
discarded completely in favor of more



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