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August 27, 1969 - Image 51

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-08-27

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Wednesday, August 27, 1969

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Seven

Wednesday, August 27, 1969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Seven

Student

power

awaits

recognition

in

'U

bylaws

By MARTIN HIRSCHMAN
There is much about the Uni-
versity which has undergone
substantial change since the
Student Power Movement of fall
1966 rocked the campus.
Required residence in the
dormitories has finally been
abolished, along with the whole
gamut of rules which once
characterized quad life. Female
students, for example, are no
longer locked in their dormitor-
ies at midnight each night.
Participation in a whole range
of University decision-making
functions has been opened for
the first time to student repre-
sgntatives. Students are even
beginning to make inroads in
the vise-like control the faculty
exercises over academic policy.
And on the administration
side, the Eisenhoweresque lead-
ership of Harlan Hatcher has
given way to the politics of me-
diation under the aegis of Pres-
ident Robben W. Fleming.
But despite these de facto
changes in the University, the
most significant, long-lasting by-
product of the Student Power
Movement remains unsettled -
recognition in the Regental by-
laws of the rights of students in
University decision-making.
Now, two and one-half years
since the famed one-hour sit-in
which brought 1500 students to
the old Administration Bldg- in
November 1966, students, fac-
ulty and administrators are still
haggling over key plans to re-
write provisions of the Regents
bylaws dealing with discipline
and the role of students in de-
cision-making.
Because the bylaws function

TWO KEY PARTICIPANTS in the bylaw dispute: Prof. Joseph
Payne, chairman of the faculty's Senate Advisory Committee
on University Affairs, and Marc Van Der Hout, executive vice
president of Student Government Council.

as a kind of constitution for the.
University - and because of the
controversial nature of the sug-
gested amendments - the pro-
posed bylaw revisions have been
the subject of careful scrutiny
by all segments of the Univer-
sity community.
The first stage of work on re-
vising the bylaws was carried
out by the President's Commis-
sion on the Role of Students in
Decision-Making (the Hatcher
Commission) which w a s con-
vened by President Hatcher in
the wake of the Student Power
Movement.
After over a year of study, the
commission issued a lengthy re-

port embodying a series of rec-
ommendations - both broad
and specific - for alleviating
grievances which had led to the
1966 demonstrations and calling
for a substantial restructuring
of University government. t
The major proposal of t h e
Hatcher Commission w a s the
creation of a University Council
composed of equal numbers of
students, faculty members and
administrators who would make
rules for all members of t h e
University community, subject
to ratification by Student Gov-
ernment Council and Senate As-
sembly, the faculty governing
body.

The University Council pro-
posal was new, but far f r o m
revolutionary. In part, it was
an attempt to bring SGC back
into a stable relationship with
the rest of the University.
During the Student Power
Movement, SGC had "broken
ties" with the Office of Student
Affairs - the administrative
unit which at the time had lin-
ear authority over Council de-
cisions. (The topic is rarely dis-
cussed any more, but the sev-
ered ties have never been re-
established.
The Hatcher Commission pro-
posal concerniig the judicial
matters was less well defined.
While the report noted that the
formation of a central student
judiciary is "t h e primary re-
sponsibility of students," it was
never quite clear just what au-
thority such a body would have.
In other areas, the commis-
sion took a fairly firm stand
against disciplining students for
offenses committed outside the
University, and insisted that re-
quired residence in the dormi-
tories be abolished. (The latter
suggestion has since been im-
plemented.)
But the vagueness in the ju-
diciary section of the comniis-
sion report-and the general
lack of suggestions concerning
implementation of the recom-
mendations-made writing the
changes into the Regental by-
laws a task which was at first
difficult. and later highly con-
troversial.
The biggest stumbling block
to approval of the bylaws prov-
ed at first to be the Regents
themselves. Several Regents ex-
pressed the fear that SGC would
veto all proposals passed by
University Council.
The Regents therefore com-
missioned then-Vice President
for Student Affairs Richard
Cutler to find a way of amend-
ing the Hatcher Commission
proposal so that a stalemate ov-
er a University Council r u I e
could be avoided.
And Cutler was soon ready
with a proposal under which the
Regents could ratify and Uni-
versity Council-approved rule
over the veto of either Senate
Assembly or SGC.
But before Cutler was able to
bring this proposal to the Re-
gents, t h e storm broke loose.
Student leaders charged the pro-
posal was in complete violation
of the spirit and letter of the
Hatcher Commission r e p o r t.
And faculty members who had
served on the commission sup-
ported the students' position.
Faced with a serious threat
of student action if Cutler's pro-

ening. Specific issues in the con-
troversy center around:
-A provision in the bylaw
draft which gives the faculty of
professional schools the right to
exclude a student whose person-
al life does not conform to lic-
ensing standards in the field.
SGC members have argued that
this licensing should be left to
the state and that students
should be judged only by aca-
demic standards. Professional
school faculty members have
countered that they do not want
to train convicted felons to be
lawyers or rapists to be doctors.
- A section of the bylaws
which would give students two
non-voting seats on the Regents.
Faculty representatives h a v e
complained that, if students de-
serve seats on the Regents, then
so do they.
- A section of the bylaws
which would give a student-fac-
ulty policy board control of the
operations of the Office of Stu-
dent Affairs. SGC members ar-
gue that only students should
sit on the board because the
group's decisions affect only
students.
But underlying the dispute in
a somewhat deeper dissatisfac-
tion with the bylaw draft felt
by both sides. Students seem to
believe they have already suc-
ceeded in eliminating non-aca-
demic discipline from Univer-
sity judicial processes and they
do not want to approve a docu-
ment which hands such author-
ity right back to the faculty.
In addition, students appear
to feel that they have only to
gain by forcing further post-
ponement of adoption of the by-
laws. The last major postpone-
ment followed the dispute over
the ratification of University
Council rules - a dispute which
students finally won.
And on the faculty side there
seems to be the fear -- exem-
plified by the fight over the pro-
fessional school conduct issue
- that students are trying to
use the bylaw revision as a
means of gaining new inroads
into power now held by their
professors.
With differences and distrust
running this deep, it appears
that the controversy over the
bylaws will continue for some
time.
And by next April, when the
students who were freshmen
during the 1968 Student Power
Movement are about to-gradu-
ate, it is just possible that there
will be no one left who even re-
members what the controversy
is all about.

r'
a
r

Li
A
rI
I

GUITAR STUDIO
INSTRUMENTS.
ACCESSORIES
LESSONS
Instruments

Students stage sit-in to press their demands

MADE

& REPAIRED

posal were adopted. the Regents
postponed action on the bylaws
at their next meeting, and the
locus of the controversy was re-
turned to the small group of
students and faculty with whom
Cutler had been meeting to con-
sider the question.
Summer 1968 dragged on into
fall with the bylaws still in the
hands of this ad hoc group. And
as time passed and the member-
ship of the group changed, the
ad hoc committee itself none-
theless took on virtually comma
plete responsibility for drafting
the bylaws.
One issue after another con-
sumed the time and efforts of

the members of the ad hoc com-
mittee. At one point, f o r ex-
ample, controversy c e n t e r e d
around the desire of faculty
members to maintain tight con-
trol of disciplinary procedures
within their school or college by
limiting the appellate jurisdic-
tion of Central Student Judic-
iary- Faculty members were ap-
parently wary of the possibility
that CSJ would refuse to up-
hold convictions made by lower
judiciaries.
But as soon as each question
was resolved, another cropped
up. And as time passed, the is-
sues began to seem only more
difficult to resolve. Finally, af-

ter almost a year of work, the
bylaw committee decided it
would never be able to produce
a solution acceptable to the fac-
ulty, the students and the Re-
gents.
So in May, the committee dis-
banded, sending the results of
its work - a disputed draft of
the bylaws - to Senate Assem-
bly and SGC. Members of the
ad hoc committee said they
hoped some agreement between
the two groups could be reached
in the fall.
But as this supplement goes
to press, the gap between fac-
ulty and student views of the
bylaws appears still to be wid-

209 South State
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665-8001

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