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February 05, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-02-05

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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

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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.



Protest misused
at MSU

MONDAY'S sit-in at the administration
building of Michigan State University
was characterized by meaningless speech-
es, unclear positions and weak commit-
ments which revealed exactly how. little
the participants had thought about the
issues involved.
MSU students had been angered by the
firing of assistant professor of psychology
Bertram Garskof. A tenure review board
with rigid conceptions of "adequate"
teaching practices had recommended that
Garskof's tenured contract not be, re-
Few of tle students at the sit-in, how-
ever, saw beyond the specific incident of
Garskof's firing to the larger,'more basic
issues. Few of t h e m had any defined
The sit-in was premature.
"This is not a student power issue," one
leader of the demonstration explained.
"We're not saying we have the right to
hire and fire teachers. It's just that when
there's a teacher who tells us what so-
ciety is about, we should support him."
situation evade the points which should
have been considered.
Student power issues are involved at
MSU: the right of students to have some
voice in academic decisions, particularly.
The system of hiring and firing instruc-
tors at MSU is completely in faculty
hands. The men on the tenure review
board who condemned Garskof last No-;

vember have become too accustomed to
orthodox methods of teaching, rigid grad-
ing scales and curricula selection systems.
The substantive issue is not whether a
single professor should be retained. Rath-
er, it is whether the tenure system of
which Garskof is a casualty should be re-
tained. Unfortunately, none at the sit-in
seemed to realize this, and as a result no
directives ensued and the sit-in finally
ended without accomplishing anything.
WHAT IS NEEDED at MSU is a greater
student-voice on such matters as ac-
academic policy. Garskof and company
should focus upon an issue of this na-
ture. T h e y could begin the attack by
formally appealing his dismissal - some-
thing he has yet to do - thus challenging
the ground on which it was based, and
exposing the rigidity of outdated educa-
tional philsophies.
Once athese philsophies have been ex-
posed, once those who oppose change and
innovation are forced to* defend t h e i r
stand, the due process of educational
change may begin.
If MSU faculty decision making bodies
are too reluctant to allow students a role
in the academic matters, a serious fit-in
might accomplish something. And if that
becomes necessary, it should be done cor-
rectly -, not for attention, organizing
purposes, or a three-hour rap - but for
positive results.,

YOUR PEN stops writing and
you're thinking about 1 a s t,
. . . You don't control your
slaves by discipline or coercion
," your pen is writing, but
tests show there is a fifty per
cent chance your mind is blank.
And when you leave lecture
with three pages of scribbled notes,
probably neither you nor your
professor have learned very much.
Prof. Edward Walker, a psy-
chologist who works with the
Center for Research on Learning
and Teaching, has formulated his
own rule, Walker's Law, to 'ex-
plain this phenomenon:
"No matter how hard you try,
some lectures will stink. If you
do not try very hard, they will
all stink."
Psychologists report that 50 per
cent of an audience is engaging
in private mental meanderings
during any given academic lec-
ture. Evens atmoments of highest
interest, usually during the first
ten minutes of the lecture. 10
per cent of the audience is pro-
bably dreaming.
psychologist, Prof. Paul Cameron,
well-known for his research into
the lecture system, considers he is
a good lecturer, able to hold
about 66 per cent of his audience.
He tries to "shock the hell out
of them."
Although he sees teaching as his
primary task, he also "recognizes
his obligation to the student to
entertain." If a teacher is un-
willing to rouse his student from
the lethargy of listening, Cam-
eron continues, he will "pay for it
in attentiveness."
Cameron's research backs him
up, with figures revealing w h a t
most student lecture goers already
know. When Cameron's research-
ers shot off a gun in lecture, about
20 per cent of the students were
roused from sexual fantasies.
Another 20 per cent were "remin-
iscing." About two per cent of the
males wanted to go to the bath-
Cameron even tries to discuss
what his students are pondering-

sex-in order to rivet attention
on his lecture. He wears wild
clothes and "If I were a girl I
would wiggle my hips if neces-
"The chairman says I am the
most liked and disliked professor
in the department," Cameron
adds. "A lot of students think I'm
great and a lot of others think
this guy's a shit!" But when
"fighting against Herculean
odds," the professor says, he is
willing to risk derision.
his dramatics are worth it. Some
professors acknowledge the gen-
eral educational failure of lec-
tures and are constantly striving
to develop new ways of learning.
Confronting his "Russian intellec-
tual history" lecture last fall, Prof.
Arthur Mendel of the history de-
partment gallantly termed 't h e
lecture a "deadening process" and
urged students to "break out of
the vegetable state that has been
imposed on you for 15 years."
He energetically sought to trans-
form his huge lecture into a dis-
cussion of assigned readings,
specifically his own text.
The response was miserable.
Only a few of the hundreds who
overflowed Aud. A were willing or
able to participate in the discus-
sions. Mendel conceded after
thrice failing to inspire his stu-
dents. He continued to lecture.
Mendel's well-intentioned fail-
ure is representative of many at-
tempts to deviate from the norm
of lecturing. His return to t h e
system would come 'at no. sur-
prise to Cameron, who insists "lis-
tening is the preferred way of
INDEED, GIVEN the opportun-
ity to choose, students would pro-
bably prefer to listen and record..
Much maligned, but also much at-
tended, the lecture has survived
as an anachronism of medieval
education principally because it is
the easiest way to learn.
Besides, it is undoubtedly t h e
easiest way to teach. The Uni-
versity's Center for Research on
Learning and Teaching released a
memo to the faculty last year de-

scribing the lecture as a "secur-
ity blanket" for professors "with-
out which they would neither feel
like teachers nor be recognized by
their students as such."
Certainly, at the university, the
lecture has been accepted as a
fact of academic life. Faculty and
students accept the legitimacy of
the administrative explanation
that the university can afford to
accommodate the burgeoning stu-
dent population only by providing
mass meetings for the dissemina-
tion of information.
BUT THE LECTURE deserves a
better defense. There can be no
formula for educating all stu-
dents, and the lecture is doubt-
lessly one of the better tools for
reaching the minds of many. As a
tool, however, the lecture should
not be expected to accomplish all
the goals of an education or of
any given course.
A blend of Hollywood histronics
and Shakespearean polemics, the
"good lecture" succeeds by really
While the lecture must not seem
like drudgery, psychologists ad-
vise, it must be the belabored
product of the professor. In their
booklet "Some Thoughts About
Teaching the Beginning Course in
Psychology,"' Prof. Walker (of
Walker's Law) and Prof. Wilbert
McKeachie list the components
of the valuable lecture:
-The lecture must discern some
feedback from his audience;
-He -should present three basic
items to be retained, seven to be
recalled for 4 shorter period after
the lecture,
-He should therefore be re-
dundant since most people are
only listening' half of the time
anyway: "Tell them what you are
going to say, say it and then tell
what you have said."
All this should, of course, be
organized to meet the goals each
professor should specify for his
class. But the authors judiciously
add, "It is presumptuous for one
human being to undertake to tell
another human being how to give
a good lecture."
THE MECHANICS of present-
ing a good lecture, however, do
deserve analysis. Even Cameron's
seemingly successful "shock the,
hell out of 'em approach" may
not be. The teaching center's.
memo advised the lecture "must
go beyond mere showmanship and
classroom entertainment - most
University students will s'e e
through and reject a contrived at-
t e m p t at happiness-through-

And movies, tape recorders and
experiments to lure student inte-
rest, often prove unimpressive in
conjunction with the personality
of a bored lecture. Slides of a
professor's summer trip to Turkey
hardly make the enumeration of
Ottoman Empire coups any more
However, some professors have
learned to successfully adapt
"technology" to the needs of
knowledge. Prof. Martin Gold and
Prof. Elizabeth Douvan have de-
vised a scheme for "Psychology of
the Adolescent" which eliminate
the group lecture. Instead, they
have placed their lectures on tape
for the class of 25 to hear in the
UGLI Audio Room. Like reserve
reading, the lectures are required
and can be reviewed.
Gold explains -this is a "direct
recognition of the fact that stu-

dents are individuals; each has
his own style of learning."
PROF. PATRICIA Gurin, also
of the psychology department, has
designed her Personality Develop-
ment course to accommodate dif-
ferent learning styles. Students
may choose to do independent
reading, attend lecture or parti-
cipate in discussion.
However, at the end of most
learning experience lies the exam.
The ability to imbibe information
becomes its own reward. The lec-
ture, in, the context of the entire
academic community, succeeds or
fails to the degree that it pays off
in the end.
Unfortunately, it may be enough
for lecture to be "the process
whereby the notes of the teacher
become the notes of the student
without going through the minds
of either."

Hiding unemployment

A RECENT recommendation by the Nix-
on Administration may yet make the
welfare system even worse than it al-
ready is.
Secretary of Health, Education and
Welfare Robert Finch has proposed that
tle federal government r o u t e welfare
funds to decrease inequity of benefits
among the states.
THERE WAS no doubt the Nixon admin-
istration policies would be austere. But
a recent proposal by Secretary of Health,
Education and Welfare Robert Finch to
raise federal government welfare sub-
sidies reflects outright negligence.
The Republican Party platform clearly
states that jobs are the solution to un-
employment, not welfare checks. Nixon
endorsed this policy during his campaign.
Under the proposal an additional $1.4
billion per year will be disbursed dis-
proportionately to the states in order to
decrease the disparity in their welfare
Editor ia 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 SHAPIRO ,..., Associate Editorial Director
HOWARD KOHN ....... Associate Editorial Director
NEAL BRUSS .............. .. agazine Edito,
ALISON SYMROSKI Associate Magaine Editor
AVIVA KEMPNER ...... ......Personnel Director
ANN MUNSTER .............. Contributing Editor
DAVID DUBOFF ............Contributing Editor
ANDY SACKS ........... Photo Editor

benefits. This will tend to decrease the
flow of the unemployed into areas with
better payments.
Finch's proposal will do nothing to
solve the problem; it will only manage to
hide it.
UNDER THE present system, for exam-
ple, welfare payments are substan-
tially higher in New York City than in
neighboring Connecticut. Thus, many
Connecticut unemployed move into New
York to get more money.
With an increasing density of unem-
ployed in any one area, the situation be-
comes pressing. If, however, the dispari-
ties between states are partially elimi-
nated, the unemployed would be less like-
ly to move into certain areas and become
more spaced. The dimensions of the wel-
fare problem would then be less apparent.
Most people glance only occasionally at
social problems-and then only briefly at
the symptoms or the confrontations. If
Finch manages to take a few of the symp-
toms, lessening the probability of con-
frontations, the public might not be even
as vocally dissatisfied with unemploy-
ment as it seems to have been in the last
[T IS DIFFICULT to know whether Finch
realized the ramifications of his pro-
gram when he proposed it. Regardless,
the additional funds do nothing to solve
the problem.
The government should spend its
money providing jobs for the poor, and
not trying to eliminate structural inequi-
ties in a system that is totally mis-


Letters to the Editor

World War I, and

Another Vietnam?
To the Editor:
AFTER READING your article
(Daily, Feb. 1) about the
Biafran students seeking relief
for their countrymen, I cannot
help but wonder if they are not
asking us to make a grave mis-
take by encouraging us to solicit
the support of state and federal
legislators. In an humanitarian
cause our government cannot be
depended upon. Foreign aid and
war are the governments two
methods of acting in an "humani-
tarian" cause.
The first method, which the
Biafran students are asking us to

promote, has always been given
with strings attached. The "white
man's burden" and "Manifest
Destiny" are the philosophies with
which our government gives for-
eigh aid.
frans to seek their aid from us,
the people. The business of gov-
ernment is political, not social or
And I also urge sympathetic
Americans to ignore the govern-
ment and direct efforts to the
people. People can be human, but'
governments are only political.
Under the name of humanity our
government entered the Spanish:.

American war,
now Vietnam.


Parliamentary antics and academic reform

-Cheryl Lynne
to the Editor:
I WOULD LIKE to discuss here
briefly what I consider to be
one of the basic principles of a
free university and a free society.
For clarity's sake let us consider
a mini-university: one teacher
and ten students. The teacher
teaches, sets requirements and
signs a degree for each student
who meets such requirements. The
question of principle is: Can the
ten students overrule ("democrat-
ically") the decision of the teach-
er and force him to sign a degree?
My firm belief is that, specifical-
ly : a) the teacher has the right
not to be coerced into signing a
degree against his conscience. b)
The students have the right to be
heard, the right to choose another
teacher (i.e. university) and the
right to become their own teach-
ers (university) and sign their own
I challenge anybody disagreeing
with the above to explain why he
-Prof. Raoul Kopelman
Chemistry Dept.
Jan. 24
To .the Editor:
1N THEIR otherwise praisewor-
thy editorial (Jan. 31)' Mark
'L.evin and' Ron Landsman, dis-
cussing the LSA Curriculum Com-
mittee's pending but as yet un-


ing of the literary college faculty
Monday, I finally understood why they
have kept their meetings closed for the
past 150 years.
Faculty members, when gathered to-
gether in a parliamentary atmosphere,
have an inexplicable tendency to spout
academic slogans and to make fools of
For two hours Monday, one professor
after another proclaimed t h e innate
"goodness" of language instruction or
praised the "intellectual struggle" of
learning a foreign language.
"To abolish or weaken the require-
ment," Prof. Sheridan Baker said,
"would be an educational and a nation-

tion," Mendel explained. "Adding or
subtracting a little here and a little
there to the language requirement miss-
es the whole point."
The students cheered, but the euphor-
ia was short-lived, for Monday Prof.
Mendel was in the minority.
seemed content to espouse a sickening
philosophy of academic elitism. There
was a f 1 a t denial of the democratic

mentary manuevering in order to post-
pone any real decision on the school's
Prof. Robert Hefner's motion to re-
duce the present language requirement
to 10 credit-hours didn't even come up
for vote. Its opponents simply defeated
a proposal which would have allowed
them to vote on Hefner's motion.
And so after eight years of discus-
sion, the decision was postponed another
the matter was the underlying hostility
of. the faculty to the students and their
When M i k e Koeneke, president of
Student Government Council, asked

the meeting for insulting the faculty.
And while Tonsor is an extreme ex-
ample, the hostility was equally ap-
parent from the comments of a num-
ber of 'others.
These conservative - and in most
cases powerful - faculty see their long-
standing power relationship disinte-
grating before them. Students, once do-
cile and obsequious, are no longer will-
ing to have requirements dictated to
The faculty backlash is often almost
comic. "The educational system is so
watered down." Prof. Baker said with a
straight face, "that there is a tendencv
to turn everything into a sort of play
It reminded me of a comment a local

whether students shall join as fully
voting participants in the academic de-
cisions of the literary college.
Denied this, right, campus radicals
see no alternative but for students to
demonstrate in a united fashion their
oposition to this philosophy of academic
They claim a disruptive sit-in is the
only way. Reluctantly, I'm afraid- I have
to agree.,



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