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August 27, 1969 - Image 59

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

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Wednesday, August 27, 1969


Page Five

Wednesday, August 27, 1 969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five







Legally, the Regents are om-
nipotent in the area of Uni-
versity decision - making. They
have legal control and responsi-
bility in all matters concerning
expenditure of University funds,
disciplining students and facul-
ty. hiring professors and chart-
ing the course education at the
University will take.
But in a very real sense, the
Regents have almost no power
at all. Most decisions are pre-
sented to the Regents as, more
or less. fait accompli-neatly
packaged and briefly explained

with just enough information to
stave off any initial criticism
the Regents might have had.
Each month, for example, the
Regents approve dozens of fac-
ulty appointments, status chan-
ges and leaves of absence. But
the decision to grant tenure to
assistant professors or to hire
a new economics professor is
made within the individual
school or department.
Broad questions of academic
policy usually come to the Re-
gents only after the approval of
the faculty has been granted.
And all monetary and plan-
ning decisions made are thor-
oughly considered by the ad-
ministration before being pre-
sented to the Regents. "Sure
they have power," quips one
student leader, "They have the
power to do anything President
Fleming tells them to do."
Given these political realities,
the regular monthly meetings of
the Regents tend to be rather
dull affairs. Each Regent sits
down with a carefully prepared,
book-length agenda before him
and President Fleming goes
rapidly down the list of topics
under consideration. Occasion-
ally there are a few questions.
Occasionally, when the vice
presidents can not answer those
questions, the proposal is sent
back for more research. There
is never any debate.
In recent years, the Regents
have shown increased concern
for the opinions of members of
the University community and
have, from time to time, sched-
uled special open hearings on
specific issues. And in some
cases, these may have influ-
enced the final decisions made
by the Regents.
The first of these hearings
was held almost two years ago
to discuss the question of elim-
inating curfews for freshman
women. Students brought forth
an impressive array of speak-
ers with an impressive array of
arguments, and the hearings
may well have swayed a few
undecided votes. Curfews were
abolished the next day.
But even on that question, the
the student-faculty Board of
Governors of the Residence
Halls had already abolished the
curfews. The matter came be-
fore the Regents only because
some of them wished to review
that decision.

IN THE MIDDLE: Otis Sinith,
Lawrence Lindemer and Gerald
And this winter, the Regents
took two more steps to limit
their power over the Universi-
ty community.
The first move came in Jan-
uary, when Regents completely
abolished rules which had re-
quired sophomore women and
all freshmen to live in Univer-
sity residence halls. This deci-
sion was made after intensive
study by the administration and
had the support of virtually
everyone in the University com-
And in March. the Regents
agreed to abolish the single
extant University-wide academ-
ic rule-the requirement that
all students complete one year
of physical education courses.
The elimination of the rule
came at the suggestion of Vice
President for Academic Affairs
Allan Smith and had been rec-
ommended by at least two stu-
dent-faculty committees.
Thus, the Regents have re-
moved themselves from any
significant position in academ-
ic or non-academic rule-mak-
The tight limits on the power
of the Regents is to a great ex-
tent explained by the manner
In which they receive Infor-
mation. None of them are stu-
dents or faculty members and
they have little first hand

Despite the narrow nature
of regental power, the political
composition of the Regents is
often of some interest. Two Re-
gents are chosen in state-wide
election every two years. None-
the less, the race for Regent
rarely stirs up much public de-
bate. Rather, the election usu-
ally hinges on the fate of the
leading candidates in each
party. If the state goes' Demo-
cratic, for example, two Demo-
crats win eight-year terms as
At present, there are five Re-
publicans and three Democrats
on the Regents, but this is
hardly an adequate description
of the political currents on the
Instead, like most elected
bodies, the Regents break down
into three general groups - the
conservatives, the moderates and
the liberals.
Of course, this division is on-
ly rarely important in regental
deliberations. For example, the
decision of how much money to
request from the Legislature is
hardly one on which politics is
likely to have much bearing.
But occasionally, a controver-
sial issue confronts the Regents.
Last winter, for example, several
conservative Regents were angry
with President Fleming for the
moderate stance he took con-
cerning the production of a con-
troversial play, 'Dionysus in 69,'
at the University.
Conservative Regents, like
Paul Goebel, William Cudlip and
Robert Brown expressed interest
in censuring Fleming for allow-
ing the play, which includes
scenes played in the nude, to be
Liberal Regents Gertrude
Huebner and Robert Nederland-
er staunchly defended Fleming's
The position taken by the oth-
er Regents is unclear. (This de-
bate took place in one of the
Regents' secret monthly meet-
ings.) But inthe end, the board
came out with a moderate state-
ment on the issue.
The moderates - Lawrence
Lindemer, Gerald Dunn, and
Otis Smith - often appear to
be significantly influenced in
their decisions by the possibility
of unfavorable reaction in the
State Legislature. The fear is,
of course, that the Legislature
will cut the University's appro-
priation if the Regents do some-
thing the legislators do not like.
But these fears hardly seem
justified. The Regents had been
quite concerned about repercus-
sions of eliminating women's
curfews but there was no dis-
cernible legislative response.
Similarly the Dionysus contro-
versy seems to have had no
efect on University-state rela-
In any case, these controver-
sies are few and far between.
In most cases, matters handled
by the Regents are reached by
consensus-a consensus strong-
ly influenced by the views of
the administration.


ON THE RIGHT: William Cudlip, Robert Brown, and Paul Goebel

In-state 3, out-wof-state 1

knowledge of what the Univer-
sity is like. Thus they are forced
to make decisions based on the
information presented to them.
And with the exception of the
open hearings, almost all this
information comes from the ad-
Another factor which limits
Regental power is the amount of
time they have to spend gov-
erning the University. Most of
the Regents spend only two
days a month in Ann Arbor and
all but one have other full-time
jobs. The Regents do not receive
financial remuneration for their

Administrators and faculty members have
always thought of the University as a cosmopoli-
tan, even international community. And indeed,
there are a large number of University students
whose home towns lie outside the state and out-
side the country.
Nonetheless, the percentage of out-of-state
students at the University has been declining
steadily for over 30 years-and the trend is like-
ly to continue.
Back in 1880, when the University had just
barely succeeded in getting rid of the cow-college
image, out-of-state enrollment stood at a whop-
ping 55 per cent of the total.
But faced with this and similar statistics
for the years which followed, and experiencing
a growing desire to see more local students get
a college education, the State Legislature began
to pressure the University to cut down on out-
of-state students.
The pressure, of course, came in the form
of subtle threats to slash the University's state
appropriation-and it worked. By 1965, out-of-
state enrollment was down to 27 per cent.
But still the Legislature was not satisfied.
With ever-growing pressures to gain admission
to college, legislators began taking steps of ques-
tionable legality to ensure as many in-state
students as possible a place at the University.
The first move came in the higher education
appropriations act of 1966, (Public Act 240). One
section of the act had the effect of barring the
University from increasing the percentage of
out-of-state students enrolled.
Legislation of this sort is touchy business, how-
ever. It is tied to a long-standing controversy
over the autonomy of the Regents in controlling
the affairs of the University-autonomy which

they claim is guaranteed by /the state consti-
So, in response to this new restriction, the
Regents, along with the governors of Wayne
State University and the trustees of Michigan
State University, took the Legislature to court.
The case centers around the following sen-
tence from article 8.5 of the constitution of 1963:
"Each board (the Regents, governors and trus-
tees) shall have general supervision of its in-
stitution and control and direction of all ex-
penditures from the institution's funds."
The Regents say this provision invalidates the
restriction on out-of-state students. The Legis-
lature disagrees. The case is still bottlenecked
in the courts.
Meanwhile, the Legislature has added more
coals to the fire by placing an even stiffer re-
striction on out-of-state enrollment. Under a
section of the 1968 higher education appropri-
ations act, the University can increase neither
the percentage, nor the number of cut-of-state
-Thus, if enrollment increases significantly,
the new law would force the University to de-
crease the percentage of out-of-state students.
Enrollment of these students can, however, be
maintained at 20 per cent under the law.
So, while the University awaits a legal ruling
on the autonomy issue, the percentage of out-
of-state students continues to drop. And even
if the court battle is won, the Regents may feel
compelled to continue in this direction.
Last year, the University was forced for,the
first time to turn away qualified in-state students
because of lack of space. And the Legislature is
unlikely to give kind treatment to the Univer-
sity's appropriations requests if this condition
is allowed to continue.

ON THE LEFT: Robert Neder-
lander and Gertrude Huebner.

'U' and the population explosion

Enrollment at the University
has been steadily increasing
since 1817, but the limit of ex-
pansion, at least for the Ann
Arbor campus is apparently ap-
With close to 30,000 of the
University's 38,000 students on
the Ann Arbor campus, finan-
cial pressure and a shortage of
classroom and office facilities
seem to be the reason for the
minimal growth in enrollment
during the past four years.
In fact, the largest school in
the University, the literary col-
lege, has made only small in-
creases in its freshman quota
and overall enrollment in the
last three years.
Yet while places are limited,
applications have been increas-
ing at disproportionate rates.
Although the nation-wide high
school graduating class of '69
was -only three per cent greater
than the previous year, fresh-
man applications this year in-
creased 17 per cent over 1968.
University administrators are
unable to account for the in-
crease e x c e p t by mumbling
something about "more multi-
ple applications, perhaps?"
But whatever the reason, the
number of qualified students ap-
plying has overreached the
number of places available at
the University.
1968 was the first, year the
University was faced with sur-
plus qualified in-state appli-
cants. The problem was more
or less resolved when the ex-

tra students were offered ad-
mittance to summer and winter
terms, or the Flint or Dearborn
campus. Half of the 300 ac-
cepted the provisional condi-
And this year, says Vice Pres-
ident for Academic Affairs Al-
lan Smith, 400 surplus instaters
will be offered similar options.
Curiously, out-of-state appli-
cations have held steady-about
4.000 applied for fall, 1969
spaces. As usual, one-sixth of
these have been admitted.
Associate Director of Admis-
sions James Bower says the Uni-
versity will continue in the fu-
ture to admit students on a roll-
ing basis - as the applications
come in - but some fraction of
spaces, possibly 20 to 30 per cent
will be set aside to be filled on
a competitive basis in Febru-
It is quite c 1 e a r, he adds,
there will be competitive admis-
sions in a broad sense after min-
imum qualifications have been
The possibility of raising ad-
mittance qualifications has been
suggested, but Smith says i, isr
unrealistic. Currently, the Uni-
versity h a s admissions stand-
ards as high as any publicu ni-
versity in the country for in-
state as well as out-of-state, he
Smith offers a somewhat
hopeful note concerning the
prospects of the ability of the
University to admit qualified in-
state applicants in the future.
"According to demographic

predictions," he says, "we will
get a brief respite on the popu-
lation growth in 1971 . ."
One possible solution to the
long-range problem University
officials agree, is expansion of
the University outside of t h e
Ann Arbor campus. Enrollmen's
are increasing at Flint and
Dearborn, and studies are cur-
rently being conducted on the
possibilities of those campuses
for the future.

In 1966, a University enroll-
ment projection report viewed
the obligation to grow as being
"political, social, economic and
moral." However, growth is con-
tingent on funding, and the
State Legislature is not always
willing to grant the University's
budget request in full.
And without increased state
f u n d s, enrollment expansion
must remain in t h e planning


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