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February 11, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-02-11

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ari 3icmigau DaiIrj
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedon:
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications


of bread and circuses


420 Maynaird St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-05521

Editorials printed n The Mchigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



SUNDAY NIGHT'S "Circus of Educa-
tion" proved to be exactly what it
promised - a totally undirected per-
formance by a troop of, clowns primarily
for their own amusement.
The "polarization" pointed out by Res-
idential College Dean James Robertson
between the faculty, who move too slow-
ly in making changes, and the students,
who press their demands too impatiently,
was woefully irrelevant to Sunday night's
Rather, the polarization was between
representatives of the faculty, who ap-
peared to have little in the way of revo-
lutionary insights to offer even had the
students been inclined to listen, and stu-
dents loudly demanding control over their
own lives but lacking any coherent aims
toward which they would direct that con-
The "debate" was largely an emotional
outpouring by radicals seeking to exploit
a widespread but basically unfocused de-
sire for academic reform for their own
psychodramatic purposes. And by n o w

their rhetoric is getting so dull that the
academic reform campaign is becoming
as uninspiring as national politics under
a Nixon administration.
SOON, EVEN DEMANDS for allevia-
tion of the more obvious and specific
crying abuses may lose their momentum.
For the proponents of academic reform
measures are bound to realize sooner or
later that they are facing a fairly in-
transigent faculty"a i d that their de-
mands, crucial as they may seem, are
fairly trival in comparison with the
broader refocusing of the curriculum that
many students are vaguely aware is
Language i and distribution require-
uents, though certainly disliked by the
student body, are a nuisance which most
people manage to tolerate. And those stu-
dents with the drive to seek changes in
the University have little faith that spe-
cific reforms such as abolition of these
requirements will suffice to answer their
Furthermore, regarding the specific

Black autonomy

A NEW BREED of black students has hit,
the American campus. This new breed,
though not necessarily advocating Pan-
ther-type militancy, has made clear their
refusal to become pasteurized Little Black
Sambos running from the scourge of the
ghetto to the promised land in the su-
S o m e institutions of higher learning
have finally come to realize that it is
simply not enough to recruit black stu-
dents into their ivory edifices. They are
learning that they must also formulate a
program of academic studies relevant to
to the new black student. The University
has joined this list of the enlightened by
setting up a committee to look into the
creationof a center for Afro-American
This committee, approved personally by
President Fleming, will now have to de-
ross the nation are ci4e how "black" the program will be.
many cases receivlg The committee .would do well to model
ktte scoe the black studies program after Merritt,
began to investigate College in Oakland, Cal., or better yet to
ch a studies couise at establish a fully-accredited autonomous
use of the ramifica- black college.
ogram the editorial
d the issue warrants MERRITT COLLEGE offers 15 b 1 a c k
amment. courses, ranging from contemporary
education of Afro-Americans to a philo-
not in .academi...

Black students ac
demanding-and in'
-fully segregated bli
Recently, a commii
President Fleming 1
the possibility for suc
the University. Beca
tions of such a pr
directors have decide
expanded editorial co

sophy course dealing with the implica-
tions of black cultural thought. B 1 a c k
courses are taught by black members of
the faculty, and white students are bar-
red from these classes.
It is imperative that the courses be
taught by black professors and that the
classes be restricted to black students.
The very nature of the course - and the
reason for its conception - implies that
it is a living experience, involving equal
participation by the teacher and students
in that experience.
These courses must escape from t h e
standard textbook-student-teacher ap-
proach where education is simply " a nar-
rative taught by honest men."
The presence of white students would
be an impediment to making: the course
a living experience. Even if they h a v e
seen a ghetto, they lack any knowledge
of, yet alone sensitivity to, black living.
A WHITE STUDENT cannot fully par-
ticipate in a philosophical course
whose foundation is black cultural
thought. A white professor cannot fully
relate and engage his students in a course
centering on the sociological problems of
the black family,
Black students could freely express.
themselves and question their teachers
only if white- students are not in t h e
class. Certainly white students are aware
the absence of blacks enables them to
discuss their prejudices more openly.
This does .not deny the essential equal-
ity of men. Rather, it recognizes the cul-
tural, political and social differences be-
tween them.
All men are engaged in a search for
identity. But the white man has a better{
key to his heritage; the black man is just,
beginning. While whites as a group knowj
their place in society and are aware ofj
their accomplishments, the black m an
enters as a shuffling lackey and exists as {
a belligerent ingrate.
THE BLACK STUDIES program could i
offer black students an opportunity
to discover their own merit and plot their
own future. Thereby they become aware
of their roles in society. And if this be
separatism, or what Roy Wilkins "termsj
"Black Jim Crowism," at least it is not a
white imposed segregation with inferior-j
ity implicitly used as its justification. But
rather separatism serving as the vehicle
to find relevance in education, which will
make the blacks aware of their accom- I
plishments, and perhaps prepare them to
take their place in their .society, as wellj
as society as a whole.

questions of changing the University and
its curriculum. there is a general dearth
of creative ideas among those who are.
screaming the loudest for a total trans-
There is still a little of the old elo-
quence left. But it was voiced Sunday
night only by that tired old young radical
Carl Oglesby. Oglesby,. once a University
student, n o w Antioch's radical-in-resi-
dence, said that student power, unless it
produces "practical and specific defini-
tions ofits objectives is a perverse and
destructive force," which can only "in-
crease student leisure" and "further the
extension of an already privileged elite."
OGLESBY CALLED FOR a "linking to-
gether of the forces of technological
knowledge to solve the problems of the
ghetto and the Third World." But the
only response which he generated was an
inarticulate expression of the desire on
the part of his audience to escape all
For the revolution most people seemed
to be striving for was typified by the
student who called for an "abolition of
the separation between work and leis-
ure. "This, when applied to academic re-
form, will undoubtedly mean the further
dilution of a liberal arts framework cur-
rently severely hamperedubyn the arbi-
trary restraints imposed upon it by an
unwieldy bureaucracy.
One looks in vain for an upsurge of
creative imagination to come from such
discussions of academic reform by stu-
dents who are not primarily interested
in improving the quality of University ed-
ucation. Unless the impetus is provided
by the hitherto silent masses who really
do have a stake in the outcome, the bu-
reaucratic obstruction of education so
condemned by the circus will only con-



Faculty for a democrath

. . 0

THE DEMAND for a separate black
curriculum or college at the University
is the understandable outgrowth of the
unique cross-pressures felt by most!
black college students here.'
Traditionally t h i s overwhelmingly
white institution has exerted subtle pres-
sures on black students to conform to
dominant white roles and values. Today V
black students also face the dilemma of
reconciling their presence here with their
growing awareness of a distinct racial
identity. ,
Consequently advocates of an exclu-
sively black curriculum are probably,
more realistic than those who cling to a
romanticized vision of integration 1964-
style. But one disagrees with the shared
assunption of both sides that the Uni-
versity must provide the arena for black
students to resolve their problems of ra-
cial identity.
What little recent thinking there has
been about the relationship between the,
university and society h s focused on the
word ,'relevance." But b defining "rele-
vance" as education and research geared
exclusively toward today's social prob-
lems, academic thinkers further under-
mine the universities' rapidly diminishing
desire and ability to carry out their own
indispensible functions.
ON AN EDUCATIONAL level "relevance"
should mean preparing students to
find meaning in the unimaginably differ-
ent ;world they will face 30 or 40 years
One does not prepare for this unchart-
able future by exclusively studying the
present or even the historical and social
roots of today's problems. For what we
avidly cling to as the present will soon
become merelyi a small facet of man's
cultural and historical heritage.
It is the study of this cultural and his-
torical heritage which still seems the best
preparation'for the future, although such
an assumption should be buttressed by
much greater self-scrutiny by our uni-
A separate black durriculum,' geared
primarly to aid the black students in
facing their current cultural and psychic
needs, should be regarded as educational-
ly invalid by the University since the rele-
vapce of such a program may last only a
few years.
vance" still means to many that the
University should regard itself as the
technical and intellectual arm of the
Government. Recently others have react-
ed against this view by contending that
the University should seek to alleviate
social problems through such proposals
as a separate black college.
However well motivated this new ap-
proach, the University should not become
subservient to any ideology or policy of
the moment regardless of whether its
source is the Government or concerned
campus liberals and. radicals. For com-
mitment to one narticular anroach to a

Since- the Second World War universi-
ties have been shockingly negligent in
providing this kind of institutional "rele-
vance." And to some extent academia's
excessive concern with studying small
problems of short-term ends has borne
fruit in the nation's teeming cities and.
the Jupgles of:Vietnam.
Lastly there is something perversely
patronizing about the whole proposal. If
one of the major purposes of such a black
college is the development of a self-re-
liant pride in a student's black identity,
it seems rather self-defeating to try to
accomplish this with the money and
within the context of a. largely white
SO WHILE sympathizing with the agony
of the black students and their white
supporters, one feels that the University
would be thwarting its long term educa-
tional and institutional functions by en-
dorsing and supporting a separate black
curriculum or college.
Academic "relevance" lies in educating
and preparing for the unpredictable fu-,
ture, rather than in providing well-mean-
ing panaceas for the present.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The article
by Prof! Carl. Cohen of the phil-
osophy department attempts to
detail the rationale behind his
opposition to total student
participation in curriculum de-
cisions. In the first part, Prof.
Cohen, who teaches in the Re-
sidential College, explains the
institutional responsibilities of
the faculty.
RECENT discussions of cur-
ricular issues at the uni-E
versity have been of two kinds,
often confused. The first kind
deal with substantive issues,
those regarding the desirabili-
ty of maintaining or modifying
certain requirements (language
requirements, distribution re-
quirements, etc.) for the A. B.
degree. The second kind deal
with procedural issues, those
regarding the ways in which
decisions on requirements and
like matters are to be reached.
Both kinds of issues are im-
portant, of course, but the lat-
ter are fundamental. In what
follows I shall deal entirely
with the second category, the
problem of determining the ap-
propriate decision-making pro-
cess on curricular matters.
What decisions. that process
ought to reach on specific mat-
ters remains moot.
I begin with. two assump-
tions that I think will be uni-
versally-or almost universally
-accepted. My first assumption
is that where the conditions of
its successful operation are met,
democracy is the best form of
community government. I be-
lieve that very strongly, and I
am prepared to defend dem-
ocracy with rational arguments
against its critics, both histor-
ical and contemporary. But,
though we may differ on what
conditions its success requires,
it is likely that most members
of this University will agree
upon the ideal. I shall assume
that, and will not defend demo-
cracy here.
My second assumption is that
all parties to the current con-
troversy over curricular mat-
ters are acting honestly and In
good faith. (I believe that to
be true. Some students appear
to think that faculty judg-
ments ars masks for private
interest; some faculty do think
that student arguments op-
posing them are duplicitous in
the same way. Perhaps there is
some justice in both com-
plaints; but the greater num-
ber, by far, among students,
faculty, and administrators,
are genuinely seeking the best
interests of the University.) I
shall assume that, and with
such persons shall direct my
attention to procedural ques-
tions of great consequence to
the long-term well-being of the

some community; it can oper-
ate only where there is a spe-
cifiable and self-conscious com-
munity of some kind. It must
be clear who has the right to
participate in deciding what
affairs. That is one reason
citizenship is so important for
a democratic policy, or initi-
ation for a fraternity, or mem-
bership for whatever com-
munity is in question.
-Democracy supposes that
all members of the community
in which it is operative are
members equally. The equal
voice of each member stems
not merely from a serious con-
cern in the outcome of the
decision, but from the equality
of status within it. All citizens
of a democratic nation are cit-
izens equally, though some may
be wiser than others; all mem-
bers of a chess club are mem-
bers equally, though some may
play far more expertly than
others. Wisdom in the polity
and skill in the chess club' may
be grounds for respect, but do
not justify greater decision-
making powers for their pos-
This far I think we can all
agree. How does all this bear
on the University? The Uni-
versity is not one community,
but many. There are the com-
munities constituted by all un-
dergraduate students, by all
graduate students, and by all
students. (There are the com-
munities constituted by- the
faculties of the several schools
and colleges, by the several de-
partments and institutes, and
by the faculty df the University
as a whole. There are the com-
munities constituted by groups
-faculty and students-having
special intellectual or aesthetic
interest in common (the Gil-
bert and Sullivan Society, for
example, or the philosophical
discussion group calling itself
the Acolytes). There are the
many residential communities
of students, in the several dor-
mitories, cooperatives, etc., and
the communities of combined
residential-intellectual concern,
like the Residential College.
There is also the greater com-
munity of the University in
large.It would be hardsto ex-
haust the list.)
PROBABLY WE will all agree
that each of these communities
ought to have the authority and
power to decide the questions

versity overlap, and that what
is chiefly the business of one
of them is also a matter of con-
cern to other larger communi-
We are all affected, more or
less seriously, by the decisions
of all or, almost all of these
'communities. Whether--s an
illustration-a colleague whom
I respect and like is or is not
given tenure in a department
other than mine is a matter of
real concern to me. But my
deep concern does not give me
a right to participate in the
decision. That decision on ten-
ure, in our healthy tradition,
is one made by academic peers,
persons qualified by long study
and experience in that -rofes-
sional sphere. It is naive, in
some circumstances dangerous
to the well-being of the larger,
community, to Insist that every
person has a right to a aeci-
sion-making voice in every af-
fair that affects his life. That
is a shallow view of democracy,
and it is false.
are deeply involved in questions
regarding the curriculum of the
literary college. Whose chief
business is it to make decisions'
in this sphere? I argue that it
is the chief- business of the
community constituted by the
faculty of the college 'in ques-
tion. I believe that curricular
decisions-say about distribu-
tion requirements, or about the
language requirements in par-
ticular-should be made demo-
cratically within the commu-
nity responsible for the out-
come of those decisions. I could
defend this claim at great
length. Briefly, I suggest two
kinds of reasons why the re-
sponsibility lies there and not
First, e nature of the Uni-
versity as an stitution places
certain kinds of obligations
upon the faculty which they,
can fulfill only if they control
the curriculum. Faculty mem-
bers aretappointed to teach, to
guide student study. and re-
search, and to do so in ways
for which they are specially
qualified. The faculty has a
f u r t h e r certifying duty.
Through regents and deans, it is
the faculty which -ultimately
must decide whether certain
students are to receive the de-
gree Bachelor of Arts, and they

as demanding, as intellectual,
as professionally serious as
those encountered in medicine
or the law? Designing the cur-
riculum, implementing it, evalu-
ating the work of those stu-
dents who pursue it, are all
parts-very important parts-
of the job of the faculty. It is
quite understandable that stu-
dents who are 'affected by such
decisions would like to share
in making them, but that desire
does not give them a right to
do so. Certainly they do not
get that right as a consequence
of any reputable democratic
theory.. This factor of institu-
tional responsibility I find com-
pelling by itself.
Second, beyond the matter of
faculty responsibility, is the
factor of faculty competence.
(This is a delicate point, and
one to which I know many good "
students are sensitive, and I
want very much not to be mis-
understood here. I believe it is
possible to characterize groups
-statistically,, a's it were--as
having (or tending to have)
certain talents or training,




*. ..not in society


FOR THE LAST 100 years we have tried
to eliminate the socialization of an ir-
rationality: racism.
But while we may have been eliminat-
ing-very slowly---manifestations of ra-
cial prejudice, we have ignored the
growth of those genteel and unconscious
enthnocentricities that ultimately strat-
ify society almost as effectively as slavery.
Segregation by this kind of "polite"
prejudice evades legalistic scrutiny. Its
manifestations are not as obvious as the
segregated restaurant. Rather, the segre-
gation is manifest in social cliques, ethnic
neighborhoods in our large cities and the
"classes" of our society. These prejudices
aren't enforced with the shotgun, but
with snobbery, cruelty and social ostra-
cism. One need look no further than the
fraternity or the country club to see the
ugly effects.
ETHNICALLY segregated studies pro-
grams now being instituted in many
colleges across /the country can do little
but foster these subtle prejudices and in-
crease stratification by increasing ethno-
centricity. In universities, such as Har-
vard, Yale, Northwestern, Illinois, the
Wisconsin State Colleges-and now here
-administrators are considering to fund
separate, equal black studies courses.
Some schools such as Merritt College or
Wayne State University have virtually
initiated fully segregated black colleges.
If we are to tackle the problem of. pre-
judice and not just the problem of race,
we must discard such requests as pre-

ous generality known as the student-not
the black man. It must be concerned with
providing an education for the aggregate,
not the ethnic group. The relevance the
black seeks and the identity that would
follow can be obtained by his own voli-
tion through his own preferential asso-
ciations-if he so desires. This has seem-
ed to be the purpose of such segregated
organizations as the black student unions.
Besides, why must blacks seek under-
standing, involvement and thus the im-
plicit propagation of a culture originat-
ing and dependent upon racial prejudice?
Why can't they-like many whites-dis-
card their heritage in the hope of syn-
thesizing a new culture?
As an educational institution the Uni-
versity has an obligation to eliminate, or
at least not condone, irrational prejudice,
which includes - but not solely -racism.
Tantamount in this obligation is. the
mandatory refusual to segregate ideas,
people or curricula-to exclude any from
the academic life. Only in this way can
the purposes of an academic community
based ostensibly on merit and ambition
be realized.


Carl Cohen.

"I respect the integrity and intellect of
our students; I am often proud of them; I
know that a number of them will one day
join the faculty of this or like institutions.
But it is false flattery to refuse to make some
discriminations that need to be made in this
connection. To say that the faculty is the
group most likely to reach wise curricular
decisions is not meant offensively, or pejora-
tively, or condescendingly. It is plain hon-
esty, the honesty I think we owe each other."
.":4":}"":4i r :"%{: ' ":":{i1{.;.1 n:L .e

WE DO NOT need the separation of peo- making decisions in a com-
ples. For separatism seems intutively mumty.Igm to each membe
of the community the right to
destructive. The suburb can be just as .an equal voice in affairs that
stifling an environment as the slum; concern the whole. We are dis-
both foster prejudices opposed to the posed by habit to think of
nature of a rational man. democracy as a way of gov-
erning political communities,
The dangers of segregation are clear. because that is where it is most
Ethnocentricity can only breed conflict important, its results most im-
, , .'.,I'. -'Co 4, 7. g ,ARi '-4n.i- T)4,, .-.A .i a ni i+ ,AhcanPn vm't


without making the ensuing
distinctions individuously.)
NO DOUBT there are some
matters on which students, as a
body, are more competent than
faculty; other matters the fac-
ulty, as a body, is markedly
more able and better prepared
to deal with than students.
,Amog the latter are curricular
(I respect the integrity and
intellect of our students; I am
often proud of them; I know
that a number of them will one
day Join the faculty of this or
like institutions. But false flat-
tery of them is good for no
ohe. It is false flattery to re-
fuse to make some discrimina-
tions that need to be made in
this connection.) To say.that
the faculty is, the group most,
likely to reach wise curricular
decisions is not meant offen-
sively, or pejoratively, or con-
descendingly. It is plain hon-
esty, the honesty I think we
owe each other.
/ Curricular decisions are very
difficult decisions to make.
They have wide ramifications,



which are chiefly its business.
And within each community nof

are to mean what they intend
to mean bv it .thv mmst decide

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