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February 26, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-02-26

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

ier £iriigarn Daihj
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

under the rug
Academic freedom vs. a greedy 'U'

by %eve


420 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.




The old Nixon
cheers old Notre Dame

LAST WEEK the Regents delivered a be-
lated reprimand to the University Ac-
tivities Center for sponsoring last month's
performance of the controversial nude play
Dionysus in 69.
Considering the consistent mishandling
of the Dionysus affair by nearly every Uni-
versity administrator, the addition of ill-
informed criticism from the Regents was
hardly surprising.
In fact, several powerful board members
originally demanded a much stronger state-
ment, possibly including censure of Presi-
dent Fleming for allowing the play to be
performed. It was only the arguments of
Regent Gertrude Heubner and later Robert
Nederlander that prevented a near-disas-
Eventually citing "substantial public
criticism of the University," the Regents

THE OLD NIXON is alive and well and
writing letters on White House sta-
Just as the President left for his Euro-
pean listening tour, the Old Nixon
emerged as the White House made public
a letter commending the Rev. Theodore
Hesburgh, president of Notre Dame Uni-
versity, on his hardline stand against
campus protests.
In an epic assertion of academic in-
fallibility, Hesburgh announced last
weekend a policy of instant expulsion for
any student or teacher who disrupts nor-
mal campus operations.
Since Notre Dame has had less than a
turbulent history of student protest, it
seems rather strange that Hesburgh con-
siders on-the-spot discipline to be worth
the total abandonment of academic due
N EQUALLY inexplicable question is
what prompted Nixon to break his
official vow of silence on controversial
questions and publicly "applaud" Hes-
burgh's "forthright stand."
Perhaps such a letter was only natural
as. one of the few constant elements in
Nixon's career has been his total inabil-
ity to fathom the meaning of academic
Few recall that in 1965 while campaign-
ing for Wayne Dumont, the Republican
gubernatorial candidate, Nixon demand-
ed that Eugene Genovese, a prominent
Civil War historian, be fired from the
Rutgers faculty for announcing his sup-
port of the National Liberation Front.
And it was a campus organization, the
Dubois Club, which prompted one of the
few instances of genuine Nixon humor.
Alarmed at the similarity between the
name of this left-wing student group and
the Boys Club on whose board of direc-
tors he served, Nixon denounced the
clearly accidental aural confusion of the
two groups as "an almost classic case of
Communist deception and duplicity."
REFLECTING HIS naive faith that he
can appeal to youth, Nixon begins his
Editorial Staff
City Editor Managing Editor
STEVE ANZALONE .... ....Editorial PAge Editor
JIM HECK ............... Editorial Page Editor
JENNY STILLER . ...... .Editorial Page Editor
PHILIP BLOCK. . . . Associate Managing Editor
MARCIA ABRAMSON . Associate Managing Editor
LESLIEs WAYNE............ ..... .... Arts Editor
JOHN GRAY ...................... Literary Editor
PHOTO EDITOR ........ ..........Andy Sacks
NIGHIT EDITORS: Nadine Cohodas, Stuart Gannes,
IG Martin Hirschman, Bill Lavely, Jim Neubacher,
David Spurr, Chris Steele, Daniel Zwerdling.
COPY EDITORS: Jim Beattie, Robert Kraftowitz,
Nancy Lisagor, Harold Rosenthal, Judy Sarasohn,
Charles Silkowitz, Sharon Weiner.
Business Staff
GEORGE BRISTOL, Business Manager
STEVE ELMAN .. Administrative Advertising Manager
SUELERR e.............Senior Sales Manager
aLUCY PAPP .............. Senior Sales Manager
NANCY ASIN ......... Senior Circulation Manager
BRUCE HA'YDON................. Finance Manager
DARIA KROGULSKI .Associate Finance Manager
BARBARA SCHULZ .......... Personnel Manager
Sports Staff
JOEL BLOCK, iports Editor
ANDY BARBAS, Executive Sports Editor
BILL CUSUMANO ....... Associate Sports Editor
JIM FORRESTER ........ Associate Sports Editor
JROBIN WRIGHT .......... Associate Sports Editor
JOE MARKER ................ Contributing Editor

letter by very gently suggesting approval
of many of the issues raised by "protest-
ing students."
But then he tries to split to moderates
from their more radical counterparts by
positing that only a "small, irresponsible
minority" of students have employed tac-
tics which "reflect an impatience with
democratic processes" and "an intoler-
ance of legitimately constituted author-
Had Nixon ainy genuine sympathy
for the student goals of academic reform
and institutional change he would re-
cognize that the tactics he condemns
have removed archaic and educationally
debilitating restrictions at countless col-
leges and universities.
Furthermore in ,he absence of any
faculty-student "democratic processes,"
demonstrations are just about the only
tactics students can employ to make their
influence felt. Analagously, unions had to
resort to strikes in order to obtain bar-
gaining rights with their employers.
DISPLAYING A peculiar mentality
which sees peaceful sit-ins as "vio-
lent," but our actions in Vietnam as
"justified," Nixon ominously charged that
"violence and vandalism have marked
many of these protests."
There would be little physical violence
on college campuses if administrators
would react to demonstrations with pa-
tience instead of resorting to the wanton
use of the police. And the bulk of the
physical damage to which Nixon refers
has been caused by the police in arrest-
ing the generally non-combatent stu-
Later in the letter Nixon informed
Hesburgh that he has directed his able
Vice President to discuss with the na-
tion's Governors "what action, consistent
with the traditional independence of
American universities, might be taken at
the state and Federal levels to cope with
the growing lawlessness and violence on
our campuses."
Despite traditional Republican fears
of "big Government" Nixon somehow be-
lieves that demonstrations which incon-
venience perhaps a few secretaries or
force an administrator to spend a day
working at home instead of at his of-
fice require direct Presidential interven-
IT IS ALMOST superfluous to say that
the needed remedy is not new laws
or legislative investigations, but tolerance
and patience on the part of the outside
world as the nation's campuses grope
toward developing a viable form of in-
ternal democracy.
Nixon must recognize that a dialogue
with youth cnnot come about through
police power and coercion. For s u c h
inflammatory actions as Monday's letter
can only squander Nixon's rather small
supply of good will.
Associate Editorial Director
1968 - 1969

The responsibility of the University to
protect freedom of expression in the aca-
mate judgment," "but I do not propose to
criticize them for fulfilling their obligation
under the law."
There is a difference of opinion on how
legally damaging Fleming's statement is.
At least one legal expert believes it will
hamper any attempts by the defense to
show that the University represents a sep-
arate and more tolerant community within
the city of Ann Arbor.
Supreme Court decisions on obscenity
apparently provide for such differences in
community standards. And defense on those
grounds was an important part of the Cin-
ema Guild "Flaming Creatures" case.
But the real irresponsibility of Fleming's
remarks were not their legal implications,
but rather their effect on the principle of
freedom of expression in t h e academic
School wrote in a statement prepared for
the University's Civil Liberties ;Board that
"the arrests place in jeopardy the standing
of our University community as one com-
mitted to the free expression of ideas."
"We cannot tolerate the possibility that
artists may be punished, or forced to bear
the expense of a legal defense, because of
demic community was abandoned in favor
of simple greed. The effects of that sell-
out are far from over.
On the night before the performance.
President Fleming made a carefully-word-
ed yet extremely damaging statement. "The
University," he said,- "is not a sanctuary."
"The law applies on campus as well as
in the community," he explained. Flem-
ing's comments provided a tacit invitation
to the police and prosecutor to go ahead
with their dirty-work.
"IT IS UNFAIR of us to criticize the lo-
cal p-rosecutor and police because of a law
enforcement problem they did not seek,"
Fleming continued.
"I may or may not agree with their ulti-
their willingness to give expression to their
ideas in our community."
Carrington went on to urge President
Fleming and the Regents to join in initia-
ting a fund for the legal defense of the
performance group.
But the Regents instead chose to criti-

cize the administration for even permitting
the play to be performed.
Last night the Civil Liberties Board ap-
proved a considerably watered-down ver-
sion of Carrington's original proposal.
THE UNIVERSITY'S initial mistake in
the Dionysus controversy was allowing an
over-zealous county prosecutor and police
chief to think the administration would
passively tolerate disruption of a serious
artistic performance on campus.
During the week preceding the perform-
ance, city officials and University repre-
sentatives met repeatedly to discuss t h e
controversy. There was ample time to ex-
plain to the city that the University (which
contributes nearly 20 per cent of the city's
income for basic services) would be se-
verely displeased if the Dionysus cast were
If there were money involved, the reac-
tion would have been different. Recently,
a University spokesman rather viciously
threatened Ann Arbor city council with a
loss of revenue from the University if they
approved a city income tax.,

Whether such intimidation would have
prevented police interference with Diony-
sus, we will never know. It was never tried.
FOLLOWING THE performance, Flem-
ing made a second and even more damag-
ing statement. When asked about legal de-
fense and civil liberties issues raised by the
arrests, Fleming remarked, "I can't see how
they have a case since t h e y performed
clothed on Saturday."
Fleming's specious reasoning w a s un-
doubtedly damaging. There is considerable
reason to believe that theatre of the type
represented by "Dionysus" is sufficiently
influenced by the mood of a particular per-
formance to artistically justify the per-
formance of the play in the nude in one
situation and clothed in another.
But I'm sure the county prosecutor was
delighted to dear Fleming's prejudicial re-
mark .Maybe he'd e v e n like to put our
president on the stand to testify.
Fleming, by the way, didn't even see the

decided there was "minimal value attached
to the performance as measure against the
loss of good will which the University suf-
meant was that the potential loss of state
money because the play offended a num-'
ber of puritanical state legislators far out-
weighed the value of the performance no
matter how artistically significant it was.
It seems this principle governed many of
the University's actions in systematically
mishandling the Dionysus controversy.

Letters.:Reply to Mr.


- *
V -
"But you said you wanted to meet
with me/privately . . X

To the Editor:
AS I READ Tuesday's article by
Tom Talley about the rent
strike, my feelings ranged from
unhappiness to rage.
I was unhappy to see The Daily
print anything by Mr. Talley, be-
cause I knew what his arguments
would be, having already spoken
with him about the rent strike. I
felt his views were misleading, and
I was afraid that an article by him
would have a deleterious effect on
the rent strike, for which I am an
I met Mr. Talley in my capacity
as a rent strike organizer. He in-
vited the organizer I was working
with and myself to talk with him
about the rent strike. He objected
strongly to the rent strike, but
this did not surprise us, since Mr.
Talley is the live-in manager at
848 Tappan, an Apartments. Lim-
ited building.
However, we decided to meet
with him, in order to exchange
ideas informally, "off-the-record"
(at Mr. Talley's suggestion).
NOW, MR. TALLEY has broken
the understanding that the discus-
sion be off-the-record. Further-
more, he has gravely misrepre-
sented what I said. I did not say to
him, nor have I ever said to any-
one, that the goal of the rent
strike was destruction of Ann Ar-
bor landlords. What I did say was
that I, personally, hoped a result

(not a goal) of the rent strike
would be that at least those build-
ings which lose money would be
turned over to SGC or the Univer-
sity for management. I emphasized
the personal-nature of this hope,
Many other aspects of Mr. Tal-
ley's article infuriated me, but I
am sure that the Tenants Union
will frame a suitable rejoinder to
his many false and misleading
statements. However, I had to
write this letter to defend myself
against Mr. Talley's personal
breach of confidence.
-Alan Kaufman, '68
Feb. 25
regret they were uninform-
ed concerning Mr. Talley's rela-
tionship with Apartments Limited.
In discussing with the senior edi-
tors whether to publish the article,
Mr. Talley had assured us he was
"no longer working at the office
of a rental agency." As a resident-
manager, Mr. Talley is under con-
tract to Apartments Limited.)
Language requirement
To the Editor:
I WOULD LIKE to add yet ano-
ther modest "salvo" to the con-
troversy over language require-
ments, distribution requirements,
etc. Although we (the faculty)
have a whole host of beliefs about

how to achieve the ends of an
undergraduate ;education (as de-
fined in the LS&A catalogue), in
fact we have only the most rudi-
mentary understanding of the
educational process ipvolved.
Our knowledge about the rela-
tionship between educational in-
put (courses, students, professors,
etc.) and educational output (the
"well-rounded man," the "think-;
er," etc.) is so modest that the
universal imposition of specific
subject matter courses is c om
pletely unjustifiable. The imposi-
tion of a detailed configuration of
course requirements.implies much
pore knowledge about the edu-
cational process than we now
,Our ignorance in this area
should lead us to favor only the
broadest general requirements for
universal application and reject
such 'specific requirements as 4th
semester language proficiency.
Finally I would point out that
since there is a finite amount of
time one spends as an undergrad-
uate, the imposition of any parti-
cular course requirement means
the exclusion of some other. Pro-
ponents of language? is highly de-
sirable (which it certainly it), but
that it is more desirable than the
courses thereby excluded.
,-Prof. larold T. Shapiro
Economics Dept.
Feb. 4


Liberal education: The difference between words and rea


(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following
discussion of the role of the language
requirement in the context of a liberal
education was written by Prof. H. M.
English of the English department.)
O YOUR THING and life will
swing" would not be a bad mot-'
to for our times.r
Unfortunately, this recognition of
the need for personal realization is
sometimes taken in a way opposed to
the aims of a liberal education, which
in at least one of its traditional
senses calls upon people to ,prepare
themselves to do things that are not
their own.
The education that liberates has
always been the education that en-
ables its possessor to cope with the
unfamiliar, to find the means of
doing the thing he does not already
know how to do. And doing means
just that: not merely being aware of
things beyond one's personal compe-
tence, or even having a smattering of
. ... ... . . . . ... . . . . . _ . . .._

him at all in designing a party plat-
form. But what will? ,
Pretty clearly, I think, we must
begin with the ability to read and
write and the ability to manipulate
numbers. Before inquiring whether
others need to be added to the list-
notably, knowledge of a foreign' lan
guage-let us examine these two in
more detail.
In a sense, the child in elementary
school has learned both. He "knows
how" to read and write, and to'"per-
form certain operatiots with columns
of figures. There was a time when
such a grasp of these skills could pass
for a liberal education. The rudi-
ments sufficed, for the great major-
ity of people, to fit them coping with
the unfamiliar in so far at it would-
bear importantly on their lives.
Having completed the sixth grade
they had acquired the degree of
adaptability they might be expected
to need.

tempt to cope with the unfamiliar by
converting all of it into the familiar
is hopeless. We cannot afford to
spread ourselves so thin.
,THE ALTERNATIVE, of course, is
to intensify the cultivation of those
general abilities that increase our
power to cope with the unfamiliar.
Faced with a problem, we will be far
better off if we can form some no-
tion of how to deal with it, even
though we have never heard of it
before, than we will be if we have
heard of it but have no ,.action of
how to deal with it.
And as the unfamiliar grows, our
power to deal with it must grow in
like measure. It is. the ratio between
"coping skill" and the amount to cope
with that counts. We cannot rest con-
tent with the fact that more people
than ever are going to college.
The man of 1900 who had finished
the sixth grade may have had a more
satisfactory liberal education than
+I, n l~ir - ~ n. . n. - - qn,.. m .

We need to be able to write not
only news letters or interoffice
memoranda, but prose that traces and
sets in clear and economical order
our deepest understandings. And we
need to be able to conceptualize not
only our own financial problems but
price-wage relationshpis, not only the
area of a field but the acceleration of
an acceleration.
question we postponed a moment
ago: are there other subjects of study
that, like reading and writing and
mathematics, greatly extend one's
general power to cope with the un-
familiar? More particularly, is the
study of a foreign language such a
subject? Is a foreign language a
more basic part of a liberal education
than, say psychology or physics or
English literature? I think it is, but
not so much for the reasons often
IT IS TRUE that being able to
. .. 1 r.. a mA +I-nfa *nrir, 'mcnnm

be enriched, the systems that order
English sounds, inflections, and syn-
tax rendered less mysterious.
THIS ARGUMENT IS to the point
but needs to be taken further. It is
not immediately clear that an en-
riched vocabulary and a better
knowledge of grammar improve our
ability to cope with the unfamiliar.
The real question is not yet fully
answered: can knowledge of a foreign
language confer the kind of general
and ubiquitous benefits that we gain
from proficency in reading and writ-
ing and mathematics?i
It does because of our human and
all but ineradicable tendency to con-
fuse words with things. "Words force
and overrule the understanding," said
Bacon. They are one of those idols of
the mind that engross our attention
when we think it is fixed on what
they represent.
That a concept has a name is no
guarantee that it corresponds closely,
nr nt nll 4+n- arnvt-hinar in rp,lit. nn

and not especially relevant to the
present question. To come closer to
home, take "coercion." The word
plainly implies an encroachment on
the rightful freedom of the individ-
ual being coerced.
If a language requirement is "coer-
cive," then it is ilso facto not right.
But how many listeners to the
rhetoric of recent weeks have stopped
to ask if "coerce" and "require" are
really exact synonyms? Yet the ques-
tion of whether a requirement en-
croaches on the rightful freedom of
the individual is precisely the point
at issue, and hence to substitute
"coerce"; for "require" is to beg the
question and to generate heat with-
out light.
That knowledge of a foreign lan-
guage sharpens awareness of such
distinctions, it seems to me, there
can be little doubt.
The student who becomes most
fluent in a foreign language, of
course, benefits most. But even the
nne whose e rvnpvipnpa s onsAisted

WITI EACH NEW effort he t gains
in general power, a power not limited
by subject or circumstance, a power
that serves him wherever he tries to
cope with problems through words.
I have not, of course, provided an
answer to the question of whether
the present language requirement
does in fact bring about the benefits
that I have said language study can
confer. Here I plead lack of solid in-
formation. I am inclined to believe
that the sheer quantity of discontent
argues failure in some measure, but
so far I have seen little that I can
regard as hard evidence on either
Moreover, I have'not answered the
question of whether students should
have a larger role in determining cur-
riculum. My point has been that the
need for a better liberal education
grows more pressing with each ex-
tension of the range of human ex-
perience, and that foreign language
study can make a fundamental and

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