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September 29, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-09-29

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Seventy-Sixth Year
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
UNDER AUTHORITY OF BOARD IN CONTROL OF STUDENT PUBLICATIONS

'I

New SDS Group: the Best Hope

Where Opinions Are Free. 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail

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.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1965 NIGHT EDITOR: BRUCE WASSERSTEIN

Unexamined Ideas Can Lead
To Intellectual Sickness

UNIVERSITY HEALTH Service officials
have blamed the current rash of up-
per respiratory infection on the sudden
increase in germs caused by the return of
34,000 students to the campus. In a
school attended by students from
throughout the United States and around
the world, exotic, unique, and diverse
strains of disease can be swapped on a
grand scale.
The ideas students bring back to school
each year can be much like the viruses
they carry. Ideas peculiar to a certain lo-
cation can be introduced, bred, and re-
produced in the interplay of student con-
versation. However ideas, unlike bacteria,
can be easily observed and controlled by
their bearers.
Ideas, in fact, must be tested by their
bearers with conscious examination be-
fore they are passed on. An individual,
especially at the University, is responsi-
ble for checking the validity of his own
thoughts and every thought passed on to
him before he, in turn, conveys it to
others. Like viruses, untested ideas can
be harmful, and whether it is called men-
tal sanitation or abbreviated to sanity,
constructive and intelligent considera-
tion of thought should be a necessary
consequent to education.
After a summer of development, the
ideas students have picked up at home,
work, and vacation hideouts across the
country spread full-blown throughout
campus. A comment from the union stew-
ard at work, the girl on the beach, or
someone's grandmother becomes part of
the collective student mind.
When such ideas enter unexamined, ir-
rational prejudices spread, and students
blinded by the glare of an unexamined
generality are fooled. When ideas enter
unexamined, some are bound to be toxic.
This process can make a student popula-
tion intellectually sick.
STUDENTS who have lived in stagnant
communities where generalities are
easily and unquestionably accepted value
the vibrancy of the University atmos-
phere. For them, this state of health
should be worth maintaining.
But University students do sometimes
let their resistance down. Here are some
examples:
-A freshman living in a residence
hall- introduces his seven-year-old broth-
er as "another Aryan" during an open
house.
Editorial Staff
ROBERT JOHNSTON, Editor
LAURENCE KIRSHBAUM JEFFREY GOODMAN
Managing Editor Editorial Director
JUDITH FIELDS ...............Personnel Director
LAUREN BAHR........Associate Managing Editor
JUDITH WARREN.....Assistant Managing Editor
ROBER~T HIPPLER.....Associate Editorial Director
GAIL BLUMBERG . ...... Magazine Editor
LLOYD GRAFF..............Acting Sports Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Susan Collins, John Meredith,
Leonard Pratt, Peter Sarasohn, Bruce Wasserstein.
Business Staff
CY WELLMAN, Business Manager
aLAN GLUECKMAN ...... ..... Advertising Manager
,,oYCE FEINBERG ............ .... Finance Manager
SUSAN CRAWFORD..Associate Business Manager
Subscription rates: $4.50 semester by carrier ($5 by
mail); $8 yearly by carrier ($9 by mail).
Scond class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Mich.
Published daily Tuesday through Sunday morning.

-Alumni of a highly regarded Detroit
high school stand outside a fraternity
house one Saturday morning, telling
freshmen recently graduated from that
high school that the school's recent de-
cline in stature was a direct result of a
sizable increase in Negro students.
-Coeds eat late breakfast in a resi-
dence hall bitterly pondering how so
many Jewish students could be in their
classes at the University.
-Students team up with parents in
refusing to live in integrated dormitory
accommodations that were, of course, as-
signed by University computers.
Such examples are unusual because
University students as a rule do not make
such crude mental errors. The University
situation is geared to rigorous thought,
and it appears that only by not examin-
ing simple but old ideas can University
students fall into loose habits.
THIS IS NO TIRADE for civil rights. It
is rather, an attempt to help main-
tain the University's intellectual health
by stimulating active examination of
mental influences.
While it is true that constructive ideas
of a previous generation must often be
retained as a metter of utter practicality
and sensibility, undergraduates need not
unquestioningly accept ideas or traditions
they are given at home. Often they do
not-though perhaps more in a mood of
rebellion than of examination.
While some fear that free speech, free
thought, and free expression of opinion
may disrupt the University community,
such freedoms can never be dangerous
when constructive awareness backs every
exertion of intellectual freedom. If the
individual is to express himself, it must
be assumed that what he expresses is the
result of personal thought, and examina-
tion. His statement, if intelligently for-
mulated, will be a positive influence on
the thoughts of others.
THE UNIVERSITY can be compared to
a great agar nutrient medium. The
residence halls, apartments, and frater-
nity houses are crowded enough with'fer-
tile minds to provide growth material
for any idea, whether very valid or very
dangerous.
If a student spreads an untried idea
from outside, he can unknowingly deal in
germ warfare. If some simple idea like
those mentioned earlier catch on, the
resulting intellectual plague can be dev-
astating. It is spread both by those who
unthinkingly .pass on such ideas, and
those who accept them without thinking.
Unexamined ideas are like undiagnosed
cases of tapeworm picked up at a res-
taurant table, or perhaps much more
likely, an undiagnosed case of the fam-
ily cold picked up from the next of kin.
The malady was not anticipated nor could
its potential destructiveness be seen.
"Your personal fixed decisions," said
Carl Sandberg, should come "out of you
-and your mouth only. Your No, your
Yes, your own."
PERSONAL THOUGHT examination
isn't tyranny-just good hygiene. And
the University cannot innoculate to help.
-NEAL BRUSS

T HE NEW GROUP being form-
ed to carry out the program
and ideology of Students for a
Democratic Society will afford, I
think, one of the best good oppor-
tunities on this campus in a long
time- for real "grass-roots" stu-
dent participation in a movement
for social change.
There seems to be a large po-
tential constituency for such a
group among University students.
That potential isn't so much
among those who have already
adopted the outward accoutre-
ments of being discontented -
long hair, "beat" clothes, an
alienated twist of the mouth, etc.
More, it rests with a large num-
ber of the "straight" people-
students who want, however little
they express or admit it, to be
able to identify themselves mean-
ingfully with a group working for
a change in the environments of
the university, community and
nation.
There are basically two rea-
sons why Voice Political Party-
until now the only chapter of SDS
on campus-could not attract and
keep this membership:
1) VOICE HAS, at almost all
times, been run by a small group
of "older, wiser" members who
have recruited new people into
their in-ranks only sparingly.
Those who are members of the
in-group give the strong impres-
sion to new "rank and file" that
there is not much the new per-
son has to offer, that all the
needed and correct thinking has
already been done by persons
"more competent." "Lesser" peo-
ple, thus, are intimidated and
lose the desire to remain.
It has not been necessary for
Voice's leadership to operate in
any blatantly undemocratic way.
They have not'had formally to
close debates or even to exclude
other members from meetings of
the executive committee or the
various other committees respon-
sible for programming.

Rather, this situation has
grown up largely because Voice's
constitution has allowed it-and
because there have been students
who would and could, not neces-
sarily with evil intentions, capi-
talize on that opportunity.
WHEN AN organization is for-
mally structured to provide for
leadership, hierarchy and a divi-
sion of the labor of decision-mak-
ing, it will inevitably become, in
actuality, elitist. This is true even
if the divisions in the structure
are not extremely pronounced (as
they are not within Voice), and it
is true despite the ideology of the
group.
Organizations, in order to main-
tain maximum participation by
their members and to avoid the
danger that their more assertive
(not necessarily their wisest)
members will be able to central-
ize and alienate less assertive
members, must begin with a
minimum degree of fixed hier-
archy and a maximum under-
standing that leadership should
be shared.
All past and present intentions
on the part of Voice that shared
leadership can still be encour-
aged notwithstanding, .Voice's
structure has not allowed and
cannot allow for full democratic
participation.
2) AT LEAST presently, the
dominant thinking in Voice about
ends and means is sorely lacking
and inconsistent with the ideology
of SDS. This is the same think-
ing which justifies, to Voice's pres-
ent in-group, its strong, person-
ality-centered and intimidating
leadership. And this thinking,
along with Voice's internal struc-
ture, has contributed to Voice's in-
ability to remain an attractive
and legitimate student group in
the eyes of both potential and ac-
tual members.
The idea which grips present
Voice leadership is a modification
of the idea that history is made

WHY NOT?
By JEFFREY GOODMAN
by strong men. One of the corol-
laries of this idea is the well-
known "conspiracy" theory-the
idea that all or most things wrong
with any situation are caused by
evil or immoral men. All one must
do, it follows, is replace the exist-
ing powers-that-be with one's own
sympathizers, and the situation
will automatically change.
What this theory ignores is
that personal actions and values,
the manner in which groups and
societies operate and the basic
causes of historical change are by
and large results of the way in
which groups and societies are or-
ganized-the divisions of power
and of the consequent roles which
people play, the necessities of ef-
ficient production and distribu-
tion of goods and services.
Values, actions, etc., are large-
ly determined by these arrange-
ments, which establish the ways
in which people interact with each
other and the purposes of this in-
teraction. Individuals will always
feel they are "free agents" and
can, of course, take advantage of
their circumstances, but even
their motivations and methods in
doing so have largely been formed
by their environment.
THE PRESENT leadership in
Voice sees the road to social
change in terms of one or both
of. two goals: a) substituting their
own "good" people for the "evil"
people now in power positions
and b) "destroying" the society,
with the expectation that a new,
better order will spring, full
grown, from the ashes.
Analysis of social problems is
rarely presented in terms of why,
in the nature of their position,
backgrounds and relationship to

other men and other institutions,
the men in power act and believe
the way they do.
In wishing to do away with the
men who run society or its uni-
versities, Voice leaders holding
the first view forget the fact that
new men in power will be dealing
with almost the same arrange-
ments as determined the actions
of their predecessors.
In wishing to destroy the whole
society or vhole universities, they
forget that new arrangements
must be constructed and new per-
sonal value systems established.
Otherwise, the same basic needs
of -all social groupings will once
again find expression in the old
structural arrangements and will
consequently re-create the wrongs
of the old system.
THE MOST noticeable mani-
festations of this syndrome among
present Voice leaders are their
continual calls for militant ac-
tion, as against the University ad-
ministration on the matter of
low-cost student housing, or the
war against Viet Nam, where they
do not understand why there is a
war and thus do not understand
how to see it is ended.
Rarely, if ever, is there careful
analysis of the basic arrange-
ments which are being opposed,
which must be changed for any
action to be effective and which
can be changed only by the pres-
sures of a large-scale, legitimate
movement whose members under-
stand and accept the bases of their
action and their goals.
Moreover, Voice's militancy
smacks of the same thinking and
the same methods of action which
obtain in the larger society and
in the University. So Voice, having
become merely a reflection of that
which it would change, can never
be effective, either in the long
or the short run.
If the process of, changing ex-
isting social arrangements is far
more basic to the goals of SDS,
it is, nevertheless, far more diffi-

cult and long range. This does
not mean, however, that one can
be at all effective by beginning
now simply to tear things apart.
Instead, now is the time for
building a movement which will
last a long time and have great
cohesion. Direct action must not
only be carefully considered but
must always be complementary to
this goal. Voice's militancy, ali-
enating more people than it at-
tracts, does not serve this plrpose.
THE NEW GROUP hopes to
make a clean break in all those
areas where Voice is failing.
Internally, with the purposeful
absence of a structured, hierarch-
ical leadership establishment and.
the intention of its founders not
to dominate program or ideology,
it hopes to encourage full par-
ticipation by all those who want
to join. The group's nucleus is
convinced this is the only way to
attract and keep students who
seek a meaningful involvement in
a group in which their stake is
not simply verbal but actual.
With respect to ideology and
program, the group hopes that the
basic outlines which its nucleus
will suggest (though not impose)
will not only be more effective
but will also be more attractive
to those who cannot sympathize
with Voice's usual irresponsibility
to its own alleged goals.
And if people can be attracted
by the general tenor of this orga-
nization, the very important busi-
ness of forming a large, commit-
ted and knowledgeable group can
perhaps be begun.
* * *
jN THE INTEREST of my own
sanity, of staying in school and
of not always having to write my
columns oft the top of my head,
I've decided to write only once in-
stead of twice a week. "Why Not?"
will appear, from now on, every
Wednesday morning.

-0

I

Background of the Flint Branch Issue

4o

EDITOR'S NOTE: Several
months ago, the University's
plans to expand its two-year
Flint branch by adding fresh-
man and sophomore classes ran
head-on into adamant opposi-
tion. The question still has not
been settled and now is threat-
ening to again cause trouble
for the University. This article
is the first in a two-part series
outlining the issues involved in
the Flint controversy and ex-
plaining their relevance to the
total picture of higher education
in Michigan.
By JOHN MEREDITH
OTHE FLINT community, the
University's Flint C o 11I e g e
branch is part of a vision; to
University administrators, it is a
promising project transformed in-
to a severe headache, and to. sev-
eral prominent educators and
state legislators, it is an example
of the University's arrogant im-
perialism and thus a convenient
political issue.
In a broader sense, however,
Flint College is the epitome of
policy-making for higher educa-
tion in Michigan: it is the educa-
tional problems of the 1960's
translated from such vague ter-
minology as "meeting the edu-
cational needs of our great state"
into 871 students, conflicting
ideals, coordination (or lack there-
of), prejudices, vested interests,
face-saving, bombastic oratory and
the day-to-day details of plan-
ning and administration.
Last spring, this small branch
college caused a shower of adverse
publicity to fall on the University;
now, after five months of relative
quiet, the Flint controversy is
once again about to come out into
the open.
CONCEIVABLY, it could, erupt
amidst a flurry of charges and

countercharges as it did in the
spring; this would have immediate
and serious reprecussions for the.
University. However, it is much
more likely that the University
and the State Board of Education
-a key figure in the dispute-
will announce that they have ami-
cably settled their differences.
Such an agreement would pro-
vide a basis for optimism, but
almost inevitably it would leave
several perplexing problems un-
solved. At worst, the agreement
itself might be attacked by various
interest groups, an 'event which
would threaten the new board as
well as the University.
At best, the settlement might
pacifyall concerned; even this,
however, would not be apt to
soothe all of the ill-feeling stirred
up last spring, to completely re-
store damage done to the Univer-
sity's public image or to prevent
some of the basic issues underly-
ing the Flint question from caus-
ing trouble in the near future.
FLINT COLLEGE-the subject
of all this furor-began operations
in 1956 as a two-year University
branch offering a liberal arts cur-
riculum for juniors and seniors. It
was the product of an active local
interest, manifested as early as
1947 and spurred on by the en-
thusiasm and financial backing of
Flint philanthropist C. S. Mott.
Consideration of possible al-
ternatives for developing a pro-
gram of higher education in Flint
proceeded throughout - the early
1950's, and the University was
invited to participate in discus-
sions concerning establishment of
a branch institution. Flint seemed
to offer interest, need and sound
financial support, and-perhaps
because of a belief that the Uni-
versity has an obligation to be a
leader in expanding Michigan's
system of higher education-Uni-

versity administrators agreed to
cooperate with Flint officials.
Finally, it was decided that a
combination of a two-year junior
college, operated by the Flint
Board of Education, and a two-
year senior University branch
could best fulfill Flint's need for
education above the secondary
level.
From its opening in 1956 to the
end of last year, Flint College
seemed to be running smoothly.
Nevertheless, during this period
the stage was being set for last
spring's explosion.
ON ONE HAND, the branch be-
gan to acquire a set of problems
and characteristics that made it
ripeafor ,controversy. On several
occasions, for example, there re-
portedly were disturbances in the
relationship between the branch
and the community college. Al-
though administratively separate,
the two schools have always
shared the same campus and co-
operated closely in many ways.
The community college was al-
legedly developing an inferiority
complex from operating in the
shadow of the more prestigious
University branch, and inter-
institutional jealousy supposedly
disrupted the calm exterior more
than once.
Furthermore, the branch's en-
rollment did not fulfill original
expectations, and usually over 70
per cent of the students it did
attract were graduates of the
community college - a factor
which many contended created an
undesirable, inbred atmosphere on
the Flint campus.
Finally, it became increasingly
apparent that even though Flint
College is a part of the University,
it has much less to offer than'its
parent in Ann Arbor.
MEANWHILE, the higher edu-
cation picture in Michigan was
changing;tanumber of external
forces later to be important to
Flint College began to gather
momentum. To a considerable ex-
tent, the present Flint dilemma is
a product of these forces, and it,
in turn, has already had an impact
on some of them.
For one thing, the children of
the post-war baby boom were
reaching adolescence. Educators,
parents and politicians alike be-
gan to sense that the next decade
would produce an influx of po-
tential students that could quickly
outdistance expansion of facilities.
Educators and state officials be-
gan to discuss and plan for meth-
ods of meeting the crisis they fore-
saw on the horizon. The student
boom itself, however, had not yet
come; without the pressure of im-
mediate crisis, the discussions pro-
duced little constructive plan-
ning.
One notable product of the new
interest was the John Dale Rus-
sell report, the results of exten-
sive research done by an ad hoc
enmmtt ofenrts ommission-

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in education not withstanding, it
went largely unheeded in terms of
policy-making.
Through such organizations as
the Michigan Council of State
College Presidents and the Michi-
gan Coordinating Council for Pub-
lic Higher Education, the individ-
ual institutions made efforts -to
coordinate their programs, to de-
velop a sense of unity and define
a direction for expansion; more
often than not, however, these at-
tempts at voluntary coordination
became bogged down in inter-
institutional bickering.
Keenly aware of the need to ex-
pand, the major institutions gen-
erally turned to unilateral action:
crash building programs on their
own campuses and the develop-
ment of branches were the results.
In practice if not in intent, the
state government encouraged this
response. The politicians may have
possessed a greater sense of
awareness of higher education
than before, but their vision was
clouded by petty partisanship and
the lamentable condition of the
state's finances.
In terms of higher education,
the tenants of the capitol were
the unreliable keepers of the purse
-men preoccupied with sheer
numbers of students and influenc-
ed more by public relations and
pressure groups than by objective
connira-tion. Frecd to muard the

-including one involving a Uni-
versity branch on the campus of
Delta College, a junior college in
the region.
The end result was a dismal
stalemate, and it was not until
this year-a full two years after
the original hassle ended-that
positive steps were taken toward
establishment of a tax-supported
college near Saginaw.
Since the beginning of 1964, the
complexion of state politics, at
least in reference to higher edu-
cation, has changed. But, when
the University began to think of
expanding Flint College and during
the two-year period when the
groundwork for expansion was
laid, University officials were
operating within the old frame-
work.
Branches had been verbally con-
demned, but nothing tangible had
been done to prevent further
branch development, nor was there
any apparent hope that alterna-
tive means of expansion would be
developed. Coordination had been
touted as a must, but haggling,
interinstitutional competition and
unilateral action were the mode
of the time. Adequate financial
support was absent, the Legisla-
ture was fickle, the need to expand
was pressing.
FLINT HAD demonstrated in-

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