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August 27, 1969 - Image 57

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-08-27

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Wednesday, August 27, 1969


Page Three

Wednesday, August 27, 1969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Three

The importance of the vice
presidents to the functioning of
the University was most effec-
tively emphasized by the dra-
matic personnel change which
took place when Robben Flem-
ing assumed the presidency in
January 1968. '
At the Regents' meeting that
month, a quick bylaw change
put two key members of the ad-
ministration over the retirement
age-and a third, controversial,
vice president tendered his res-
ignation at the same time.
Thus the way was clear for
the first major move of the new
president - the introduction of
his own men, and one a woman,
into key vice presidential posts.
Each vice president has his
own, unique title which is
roughly descriptive of his or her
major area of concern. The role
of the vice president for state
relations and planning, for ex-
ample, appears fairly well de-
lineated by his title alone.
But to a significant extent,
the differentiation of titles-
and the apparent differentiation
of jobs-constitutes a mask for
the real importance of the vice
Every week, the executive of-
ficers - President Fleming and
the six vice presidents-hold a
near-day-long meeting. No one
outside those seven people is
exactly sure what transpires-.
the meetings are always closed
to the press and the public-but
the general outline is clear: they
are making all key decisions for
the functioning of the Univer-
Despite the growth over the
last year of student interest in
academic policy in individual
schools and departments, the
most important University de-
cisions continue to involve fi-
nancial matters. And it is here
that the executive officers are
The magnitude of the decis-
ions made by the executive of-
ficers, in terms both of dollars
and importance to the future of


Wilbur Pierpont

Barbara Newell

the University. Thus, at least in
the latter years of the Hatcher
administration, the brunt of this
responsibility fell on his vice
president and chief financial
In summer 1966, for example,
it was Pierpont-not Hatcher-
who decided to comply with a
House Un-American Activities
Committee subpoena asking for
membership lists of radical or-
ganizations on campus. Quick
compliance with this subpoena
-without so much as the noti-
fication of students involved-
set the tone for the Student
Power Movement which rocked
the campus later that fall.
With the accession of Robben
Fleming, however, the vacuum
at the top has been filled by an
administrator deeply concerned
with the internal stability of the
University - with a concom-
mitant decrease in Pierpont's
Nonetheless, that influence
remains considerable. With 27
years of University experience--
18 of them as a vice president-
and a position which gives him
considerable control over the
University's external financial
dealings, the 55-year-old ad-
ministrator carries with him an
almost monopolistic wealth of
Last spring, for example, Pier-
pont was the only vice president
whose knowledge of University
f i n a n c e s was comprehensive
enough to allow him to say
whether the University received
a certain small and obscure type
of loan from the federal gov-
ernment. With this depth and
range of knowledge, Pierpont is
undoubtedly a respected voice in
executive committee decisions.
And the broad spectrum of
Pierpont's abilities is even re-
flected in the complex nature of
his official duties, which include
investment of University endow-
ment funds, contracting with
private firms for construction
and other services, coordination
of the University's legal cases
and even control of campus se-

education at the University, is
impossible to describe in an in-
telligible English sentence. Over
the past year, for example, the
executive officers have decided
-Raise out-of-state tuition
$240 and in-state tuition $60 for
-Borrow money totaling up
to $3 million dollars (by rebond-
ing several paid-off residence
halls) to finance extensive re-
modeling of East Quadrangle
for use by the Residential Col-
-Make the library science
department of theliterary col-
lege a separate school with its
own budget, dean and admini-
strative officers;
-Continue the rapid expan-
sion of the University's Flint
campus and give this item top
priority in the University's bud-
get request to the State Legis-
lature; and
-Allocate funds for the in-
stallation of new offices for in-
coming-Dean Wilbur Cohen of
the education school and give
him priority in University fi-

nancing, both as part of the
deal which convinced the former
secretary of health, education
and welfare to accept his new
With such awesome powers in
both the legislation and execu-
tion of policy, a knowledge of
the politics, educational philos-
ophies, special interests and
skills of the vice presidents be-
comes a prerequisite to under-
standing the dynamics of Uni-
versity decision-making.
president and chief financial
officer, is the senior member of
the executive officers, and is
still considered by some to be
the most powerful vice presi-
Under the administration of
Fleming's predecessor, Harlan
Hatcher, Pierpont was thought
to be in considerable, if not
complete control of the internal
affairs of the University. Hatch-
er was known for his long trips
in search of alumni funds and
his general lack of interest in
the day-to-day functioning of

curity and relations with the
local police.
Like him or not, ARTHUR
MAX ROSS, vice president for
state relations and planning, is
the university administrator of
the future. And with the wide
powers and responsibilities of
his University post, Ross appears
to be rapidly moving toward the
top of the executive officers'
pecking order.
A computer expert with ex-
tensive government experience
and a seemingly clear vision of
the direction University educa-
tion should take, Ross has al-
ready begun to make waves with
his vigorous efforts to force
University divisions to face the
challenge of education in the
coming decade.
The first jolt came with the
report of a special blue ribbon
study committee on the educa-
tion school-a report commis-
sioned by Ross last fall. The
document lashed out at the
school, saying it was lacking in
direction and efficiency and was
not prepared to assume a lead-
ing role among education schools
in the coming years.
And as the recommendations
of the committee were released,
the administration had already
named the vigorous Cohen to
put the school back in the van-
guard of education. There is no
way of knowing how much in-
fluence Ross had in the selection
of the former HEW secretary.
Next came a report on the
University's Flint campus-also
commissioned by Ross-which
recommended that the school be
greatly expanded and renamed
"The University of Michigan at
The meaning of this latter re-
port for the University is not
altogether clear. But Ross' fam-
iliarity with and apparent af-
finity for the swarming multi-
campus systems used by the
State University of New York
and the University of California
seem to be portents of big plans
for the University.
Meanwhile, Ross is leading a
drive to elevate the University's
administrative capabilities to
the point where it could, if nec-
essary, effectively run a con-
siderably larger system. The
primary thrust in this area is
the development of a system of
programmed budgeting. (See
story, Page 2.) ,
Evaluation of Ross' handling
of the other half of his job
awaits (as this supplement goes
to press) the result of his first
full year of negotiations with
the Legislature over the Univer-

sity's 1969-70 general fund ap-
But with a casual smile and
the ability to give anyone he
meets the feeling of mutual re-
spect and personal warmth, Ross
is likely to do as well as can be
expected of a vice president try-
ing to get money from the Legis-
lature in a time of tight fiscal
vice president for academic af-
fairs, is a quiet man with a big
job to perform. And it seems



duced to trying to handle a
continuing flow of special prob-
lems and requests resulting from
the budget squeeze.
And with this reduction in
flexibility, there has been a cor-
responding reduction in the
power of the post which Smith
Allan Smith is a consensus
man with little or no ideology of
his own. Last spring for exam-
ple, he brought before the Re-
gents a proposal to end the Uni-
versity-wide physical education
requirement. But the proposal

But there remains the feeling
that Norman enjoyed the con-
troversy over classified research
more than he does his everyday
work. The 63-year-old British-
born biochemist was all smiles
then as he fielded questions
from hostile students and con-
tinually explained that the Uni-
versity had an'obligation to sup-
port U.S. military research.
*. * *
Perhaps the biggest surprise-
of the Fleming administration
president for University rela-
tions. Nobody can figure out
why the president has not fired
A fund-raiser and public re-
lations man, 52-year-old Radock
is in charge of selling the Uni-
versity to the public and alumni.
No one seems to know whether
he is doing a good job, but he is
obviously the administrator of
the past-say back in the days
of Sen. Joe McCarthy.
Last summer, for example,
when Black Panther Minister of
Information Eldridge Cleaver
was scheduled to speak at Hill
Aud., Radock panicked over the
possibility of a public relations
He was seen scurrying around
furiously looking for a regental
bylaw under which he could
prevent Cleaver from speaking.
But the weatherman was one
step ahead of him as rain can-
celled Cleaver's flight from Cal-
Perhaps Fleming feels Radock
is the only type of person who
can c o n v i n c e conservative
alumni that the University is,
in fact, not a hotbed of Dissent
and other forms of Communism.
* *
Acting Vice President for.
Student Affairs B A RB AR A
NEWELL probably won't even
be acting by the time fall rolls
around. A student-faculty com-
mittee is now seeking her re-
Moving up from special as-
sistant to the president a year
ago to fill a vacancy left by the
resignation of controversial Vice
President Richard Cutler (who
is now a special assistant to the
president) the 39-year-old aide
proved herself a liberal, but also
a close friend of Robben Flem-
Every time an important de-
cision came up, Mrs. Newell
would reportedly run off to the
president for advice. And it is
probably because she chose this
way of acting, more than any
other reason, that she has been
virtually eliminated from con-
sideration for the permanent

A. Geoffrey Norma
that no one is in his office
longer hours than the fo.rmer
dean of the Law School.
In personal terms, the job is
a difficult one. Smith must ne-
gotiate the annual budgets with
the deans and directors and the
multitude of University divi-
And since 1965 when he took
over the post from Roger Heyns,
now chancellor of the Berkeley
campus of the University of
California, he has had very little
money to offer those with whom
he must negotiate.
Smith, of course, has no easy
solutions to the financial woes
of the University. Rather, he
appears to lean toward dividing
what little additional funds he
has among the schools, colleges
and other divisions in what he
considers a relatively equitable
Given sizeable appropriations
increases, running the Office of
Academic Affairs might be a
stimulating experience. But with
so little money to play with,
the office has largely been re-

Michael Radock

would have applied only to in-
coming freshman and a physi-
cal fitness test would still have
been required.
And the 57-year-old vice pres-
ident for academic affairs seem-
ed surprised when the Regents
-who have been hastening out
of the rule-making business-
responded favorably to a sug-
gestion that the requirement be
dropped immediately, and with-
out substitution of a mandatory
* * *
The biggest excitement Vice
President for Research AR-
has had in the last few years
was a month of confrontations
with anti - classified research
demonstrators in fall 1967.
But the controverĀ§y soon died
down and Norman returned to
his office-back to the hum-
drum life of procuring funds for
University researchers.
In his usual work, Norman
appears to be fairly successful.
Federal funding of University
research is among the highest
in the nation.

Robben Flemings silent battle

(Continued f rom r age 1)

-Removal of the requirement that
fresman men, freshman women and
sophomore women live in dormitories;
-Abolition of all restrictions on student
use of motor vehicles;
-Elimination of the physical education
requirement for undergraduates;
--Opening of nearly all Regents meetings
to the public and press.
But at the same time Fleming has re-
jected efforts for more substantial reforms
in areas such as classified research and
high-level budgetary decision-making. He
supported the right of the literary college
faculty to maintain the language require-
ments and side-stepped University involve-
ment in or sanction of the rent-strike
called by the Ann Arbor Tenants Union.
Last April, Fleming joined his profession-
al colleagues at other colleges and signed
a joint statement analyzing student unrest.
Although intended as a ' defense of Uni-
versity autonomy, the statement was wide-
ly interpreted as an indictment of student
participation in current campus forment.
Even more disturbing was the fact that
the statement, drafted by 20 college presi-
dents, was written at a secret conference
ir Chicago.

group of destroyers" who manipulate "or-
derly students . . . to destructive ends."
In fact, violence on college campuses has,
in an overwhelming majority of cases, re-
sulted from the intransigence of admin-
istrators faced with legitimate student
grievances, and the readiness of these ad-
ministrators to call in the police.
The declaration was not a total conces-
sion to the conservative view of campus dis-
orders. But it was an indication of Flem-
ing's unfortunate willingness to side with
"law and order," at least to achieve ex-
tremely limited political goals.
Thus Fleming's willingness to buck strong
misconceptions about campus unrest among
government officials and the public ap-
pears to be highly limited-
At an April meeting of the faculty's
student relations committee, Fleming re-
peatedly asserted a distressing policy on
calling police to campus.
Questioned on what sorts of student pro-
tests he believed require police interven-
tion, Fleming made it clear that he will
not permit prolonged occupation of cam-
pus buildings even in a non-violent, al-
though disruptive, protest.
Fleming, simply, isn't willing to risk a
substantial loss of state funds and alumni
gifts just to keep a few students from get-
ting their heads busted.
In other areas, Fleming is learning to
exercise his authority in subtle but ef-

fective ways. Despite substantial faculty
and student interest, for example, the pres-
ident has neatly side-stepped proposals
for a student representative on the Re-
"If you did that," he explains, "you would
have to give representation to the alumni,
faculty and even (sic) the non-academic
The president has invoked rather intense
loyalties from his "cabinet," the vice presi-
dents, and these bonds have come in han-
dy. Fleming can have a vice president an-
nounce an unpopular decision while the
president remains out of the spotlight of
This ploy has been especially effective
in the area of student affairs. Acting Vice
President for Student Affairs Barbara
Newell has been a close associate of Flem-
ing's since his Wisconsin days and her
decisions are often, in reality, his decisions.
With tactics like that, Fleming has
avoided criticism whle he is out making
friends in the University community, slowly
entrenching himself in power. But this
sort of manipulation is only an uncertain
portent for the future.
One middle-level administrator thinks
he knows what the president is up to:
"You better watch out for Fleming. He's
building up support among the faculty and
staff. I think he's going to crack down on
you guys in the fall."


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