Vol LXXX, No. I
Ann Arbor, Michigan-Wednesday, August 27, 1969
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D-iii} Jay Cassi
Dean William Hays: LSA's victim of the times
By MARTIN HIRSCIMAN
summer Supplement Editor
1 ONG DORMANT as an object of stud
activism, the issue of academic reform c
tured the time and imagination of hundreds
students for the first time last year.
And fittingly, the target of the most wi
spread attack by student reformers and radi
was the long-despised two-year language
quirement in the literary college, as well as
college's distribution requirements.
Although realization of the ultimate goal
abolishing the requirements was blocked by
literary college faculty, substantial changes w
initiated in the grading of language courses
in the whole degree and requirement struct
of the college.
By far the most significant change wast
introduction of an alternative degree for liter
college students who do not wish to study a f
eign language or fulfill the distribution requi
ments of the bachelor of arts degree.
Under the new bachelor in general stu
iBGS) degree option, a student need only p
60 hours of advanced (300-level or above) cour
and another 60 hours of unspecified courses
graduate. Like students in the bachelor of t
program, BGS candidates may take a maxim
of 40 hours in one department. But only 20 ho
can be credited to the required 60 hours ofv
per level courses, and there is no formal c
centration under the BGS.
,LTHOUGH the deree was at first believed
be undesirable and "inferior." surveys
graduate schools have uncovered little conce
for the title of the undergraduate degree ear
by a prospective masters candidate.
Rather, heads of graduate admissions co
mittees around the country have consistently
serted their interest only in courses taken, gra
achieved and faculty recommendations receiv
In addition to christening the new degree,
faculty responded to the tremendous unpopul
ity of required foreign language courses by
lowing students the option of taking these clas
on a pass-fail grading basis.
These two reforms culminated a six-mo
long series of dialogues and confrontations wh
began slowly, and eventually involved virtu
every member of the literary college commun
IEWS EXPRESSED on the requirements
sue during this debate covered all shades
The educational philosophy asserted by Ra
cal Caucus-one of the prime movers in the
quirements fight -was typical of the predo
mint political philosophy of the caucus. As o
member explained the position: "Students h
a right to control their own lives. Foreign la
guage and any distribution requirements are
direct violation of our rights to conducto
academic lives as we choose."
On the other end of the philosophical sp
trum were those professors- -mostly in the h
manities---who were tied to the requirement
tradition and self-interest.
They were joined by faculty members who
gued that foreign language education was nec
sary to help eliminate the image of the mo
lingual "Ugly American -world traveler a
Some, including many studetns, opposed C
language requirement but accepted retention
These participants in the debate cited poor
st uction and low levels of retention as sig-
nificant deficiencies of the elementary language
program at the University. Nonetheless, they
ent supported the concept that students can be re-
of quired to attain some breadth of knowledge dur-
ing their undergraduate years.
cals tJHE REQUIREMENTS controversy began with
re- little -notice last October as Student Govern-
the ment Council began circulating petitions.
Almost immediately, SGC and Radical Caucus
of found they had hit upon a seemingly limitless
the flow of support for abolishing the requirements.
ere After only two weeks, some 3000 signatuyes had /
and been collected.
ure On Nov. 21, about 150 students marched in
freezing weather from a sparsely attended rally
the on the Diag to the office of literary college Dean
ary William Hays. There Hays was presented with
or- the petitions which then included over 3500
The petitions were forwarded to the curricu-
dies lum committee and then to the college faculty.
ass But the faculty sent the petitions-and the ques-
ses tion of the requirements----back to the curricu-
to lum committee for further study.
uMil FT1ER THE Christmas break, students re-
turned to the battle with renewed vigor.
About 25 students, mostly members of Radical
Caucus, showed up at the regular January fac-
ulty meeting and the meeting ended before it
began when they refused to leave. At the time.
faculty meetings were closed to the public.
ofn Although the requirements question still for-
ed nally lay in the curriculum committee, the fac-
ulty held a mass open forum on the issue. Over
1000 attended, but about all the forum demon
rn- srated was the growing interest in the contro-
as- versy. The debate was pedestrian and unenlight-
A special faculty meeting was scheduled for
the the end of January, but language was not on the
ar- agenda. As the meeting approached, however
al- Dean Hays issued a surprise statement support- :
es ing the opening of faculty mnetings as well as
nth But while the faculty met. members of Radi-
ich eal Caucus and other students staged a five-hour
lly non-disruptive sit-in in the dean's office. And
ity- when there was no faculty action on require-
inents-the only reform vas the opening of the
is- meeting--the sit-in was extended to a weekend-
of long vigil.
At the regular February faculty meeting a few
di- days later, the question of language was post-
re- poned and again students began to consider
ni- possible disruptive action. But at a mass meeti g
ne the following day, there was too little support
ave for this tactic.
n- LULL IN the activity followed-but only a
in brief one as the curriculum committee issued
our its long-awaited recommendation on the lan-
guage requirement on Feb. 24.
ec- The majority report of the committee asked
- that three options-study in mathematics, lin-
by guistics or Middle English-be allowed as a sub-
stitute for the current language requirement
ar Meanwhile. a more liberal minority report asked
es that the requirement be terminated with a two-
no vear high school foreign language entrance re-
td quirement to be placed in its stead. One year
of college-level language would also have sat-
the isfied this proposed requirement.
Requirements sit-in: Confronting the air
-n)a ly . C' a si67i
Dean Wilbur Cohen: A second wind for the ed school
Meanwhile, student interest in the question
appeared to be at low tide. But with the seem-
See STUDENTS, Page ?
By MARCIA ABRAMSON
Ai eManaging " ditor
TWO YEARS AGO students realized
hat they had the right to control
tileir own non-academic lives, and they
demanded and won that right.
And last year. perhaps bolstered by
is success, many students decided
hey also deserved a voice--in some
'ases, an equal voice---in academic de-
ci-sioi-making as well. But the battle
tor academic recogntit iun has ntiG beet
so eaily won, aid much imore debate
attd couttotation are -ure to followx
St udet its argue that1 ihei have the
right to lparticipate in any decision
which has a tajot effect n Their aca -
demic lives-decisions like fiing an as-
sistant professor or changing currien-
lum or concettration requirements. The
contend that the students who have tak-
but equally crucial movement was gath-
ering momentum in many of the col-
lege's departments. as well as in the
education and social work schools.
Many faculty members jealously
guarded their final decision-making
power against the new challenge from
students., Departmental committees can
technically be overruled by the dean of
the college or by the administration.
but this almost never happens. Vice
President for Academic Affairs Allan F.
Smith has the power to review tenure
dccisions. but since he took the job in
1965 he has used his power only once. -
I2ACULTY MEMBERS who oppose the
studet t challenge counter that stu-
dents are not experienced or mature
enough to be allowed decision-making
status in academic affairs. They may
agei i ime t t iudet, topin ion is relevant.
many of the smaller schools and col-
leges-- have felt no impetus for chang-
ing existing structures because they al-
ready have satisfactory formal or infor-
mal working arrangements.
In the economics department, for ex-
ample, professors actually asked under-
graduate students to organize into some
kind of participatory group. One meet-
mg was held. but no cohesive group
The graduates. however, established a
:ommittee structure which parallels the
faculty committees. Students consider
the same issues, and even participate in
faculty recruiting. The department as-
sured students that they would be heard
:)n all matters. including promotiotis
In schools and departments where
problems did exist, however, they were
)ften virtually impossible to resolve.
are sacred. Students also won voting
menbership on the department's other,
THERE ARE NOW 11 faculty mem-
bers, two undergrads and two grad-
uate students voting on the journalism
ommittee. But the department's stu-
dents are the only students who have
such voting power, despite similar move-
ments in several other departments.
Philosophy students have also been
awarded voting rights on all faculty de-
cisions except tenure, although depart-
ment chairman Richard Brandt says
toting rights may be extended to ten-
ure decisions if the student participation
But the philosophy department break-
through came at the end of last year,
and no one knows how long it might
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