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July 26, 1968 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1968-07-26

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ski atr:43n a' 11
Seventy-seven years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications.

Some reoriented thoughts on orientation

420 Maynard St, Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers.
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

FRIDAY, JULY 26,1968



The long hot summer and
sovereignty of imagination

SUMMER in (France can be a very
traumatic experience for some un-
fortunate students who have to take
their exams again in September. Very
traumatic indeed when all your friends
are leaving for the coast.
But this year it's a different story
because only a few unconcerned stu-
dents will be immigrating toward the
jet-set places of the Riviera where
they will be fighting their way into
some crowded night-club to glance at
the -international in-crowd, around
Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Monte-Carlo,
etc .. .
The rest of the students have found
better things to do. For the first time
in French history, universities are open
during the summer and many people
are going to school even though they
don't have to take any exams in Sep-
IN FACT they are not going to school
to learn anything in the usual man-
ner but rather to teach, to show the
people that the massive rally around
de Gaulle to stop the threat of the so-
called Communist coup, is not going
to stop or hinder their revolution.
During the May riots in Paris one
of the often repeated slogans was
"Imagination has taken command,"
and this is precisely why so many have
given up their dreams of a relaxed
vacation, to show the people that even
though the present western culture re-
gards any but the most narrowly tech-
nological imagination as a very dan-
gerous drug, almost as illegal as many
dthers, there is enough of it around
to take a close and very critical look
at what is supposed to be a free demo-
cratic society.

IN ORDER to materialize the reign of
Imagination, all the universities and
many lycees have set up seminars and
student-faclty discussion groups
through which they are drafting new,
rules that will be directed to give
*' complete autonomy to the Uni-
versity system;
* equal power to the students and
faculty in all the decisions concerning
the university;
0 all possible chances for workers to
be included in the educational pro-
These are the major changes they
want for the university, but imagina-
tion does not limit itself to the stu-
dent status. Imagination has realised
that the entire society is sick. Imagin-
ation has looked East and West, has
seen nothing but incurable cases of
sclerosis, and has decided that if a
new free university was a nice start-
ing point it would not accomplish
anything if the entire society was kept
in its present stage.
AS A RESULT, many seminars and
discussions are devoted to the form-
ulation of strong recommendations to
be offered to the government in the
Of course this is a gigantic task and
it will be subordinated to the intelli-
gence and good will of the new French
government. But if this government is
not wise enough to ratify these rec-
ommendations, what might have been
a long hot summer for those who are
working now could turn out to be a
long hot year fpr those who refuse to
recognize the sovereignty ofImagina-

0 NE OF THE best ways of tell-
ing what a school is like is
by looking at how it projects it-'
self to new members.
For two months every summer,
groups of 100 confused, innocent
prospective freshmen are shuttled
in and out of Mosher-Jordan Hall
in what is nominally termed a
three-day "Orientation Program."
Tested, ,co u n s e' 1 e d, processed,
marched around and talked to
endlessly, this indoctrination ses-
sion does, indeed, give new stu-
dents a 'pretty good idea of what
life at a big university is sup-,
posed to be like.
Looking back on my own orien-
tation experience three years ago,
it becomes increasingly clear that
it was nothing more than a cap-
sulized version of much. of what
one runs into during the first
year. You eat dorm food, sleep in
crowded rooms, spend most of
your free time "checking out the
girls," and follow. a rigid; sched-'
The very first mass meeting
in the dorm lounge gives you a
good idea of what the atmosphere
is like. The Resident Director in-
trodu es himself as the "students'
friend" and says he is here to help
you (so does your lecturer the first
day of class). He lays down the
schedule (course outline?), intro-
duces the orientation leaders (re-
citation teachers?), and outlines
residence hall policies (your lec-'
turer tells about the evils of pla-
giarism and cheating). Of course,
you are expected to be responsible
for your own good conduct; just
remember that "Big Brdther" is
HOURS OF personality and
language tests presage the drud-
gery of school work. Lines waiting
to-make an appointment to see
your counselor; lines waiting to
pre-classify for classes; lines for
meals and even for the crowded,
mixers . . . after three-days none

- could say you aren't psychologic-
ally prepared for the fall.
I saw my counselor for only ten
minutes, but it was the longest
than I have, ever seen a counselor
since. How they can expect you to
have your electives figured out
when you don't even know the re-
sults of the prophetic "cooked car-
rots" test I'll never know.
Pre-classification is a headache.
I came to the second orientation
session of the summer, and yet
every section that met when I
wanted to take it was closed. I be-
lieve they purposely close off all
the good sections in order to "pre-
pare" you for the disappointment
you may face in suc eeding years.-
Of course, the orientation pro-
gram has become "liberalized" in
the past three years. The ROTC,
orientation program for men is no
longer mandatory (but, of course,,
ROTC itself never has been).
Three years ago ,a guy in my;
group was taken to the Director's'
office and reprimanded for pass-
ing out leaflets. The rule was thatk
only "student services" (SGC,
UAC, etc.) could have information
on display. Now, in response to a
threatened confrontation by sev-,
eral radical groups on campus,
any student organization can have
a ,literature table in Mosher-Jor-
dan one day a week at specified
times, and any group can leave
literature in the lounges.
Whereas before the only way to
find out about student groups was
through the "activities" meeting,
now a "Radical Orientation Pro-
gram" with representatives from
VOICE-SDS, S t u d e n t Peace
Union-Resistance and Friends of

The l ong, l ong lines

New Politics is included on the of-
ficial schedule given out to all
students. And, as an alternative
to ROTC, men are told that they
can go to the Office of Religious
affairs, where information put out
by the Draft Counseling Center is
BUT THESE reforms are super-
ficial. Many of the benefits gained
by students during the last three
years are not available to the
orientation students. Women have
curfew, although freshman wo-
men's hours have been abolished.
Men must be out of the women's
lounge by 11:30, though there is
no such provision in regular wo-
men's residence halls. There are
no visitation privileges, though
regular houses ,can set their own
policies on visitation. In a pro-
gram run entirely by the admin-
istration in loco parentis still has
free reign.
The issue of women's hours,
visitation policies and dress reg-
ulations was fought ┬░largely on the
basis that students are mature in-
dividuals, and that even as high
schoolstudents they did not have
to conform to rigid standards of
conduct outside of the school it-
self. If this is true of freshman
students, it would seem equally
true of students only two months
away' from becoming freshman.
The student on campus is al
lowed to deiide for himself wheth-
er to go to class or finish a paper
on time. But with the exception of
ROTC, all meetings on the orien-
tation schedule are mandatory.
It is never stated what could hap-
pen if you were to miss a meet-
ing, but somehow one reels that
it would show up as a permanent
black mark on his record.
IT IS NOT surprising that most
of the students on this campus are
apathetic about the issues of stu-
dent power and educational re-
form when their first contact with
the University is arigidly struc-
tured, highly authoritarian ex-
perience. We expect the freshman
to come into his classes with a
searching, critical, open mind and
yet we start him off with: three
days of boring lectures, and tests.
Students are told that they will
have to take responsibility for
governing and disciplining them-
selves in the dorms; but the Resi-
dent Director and the, Resident
'Advisors come across as "good'
guys," and it is hard not to feel
that you can fall back on them to
make decisions for you.
You can't expect, someone to
come here and be treated like a
child, and then come back ready
to take upon himself the respon-
sibilities of an equal member of
the University community.
A retired teacher once coin-
plained to me that no matter how
often she told students to voice
disagreements with what she said
in lectures, they invariably re-
mained cowed. Once, when a stu-
dent did offer a valid objection,
no one rose to his defense. And
afterwards, she said, the student
who had spoken actually came up
and apologized for disagreeing
with her. If nothing else, orienta-
tion certainly helps in teaching
us to show "respect for autfiority"
despite all obstacles.
This fall, Student Government
Council, in conjunction , with
VOICE, is planning a weekend re-
treat to discuss the issues of stu-
dent power, the university's place
in society and, other questions
that should concern all students.
But it will be attended only by
those who have a radical orien-
tation, those who are already
turned-o enough to be interest,
ed in taking advantage of such an,
NOW THAT in loco parentis in
living units is dead, freshmen no
longer need to have to be told
in advance how to behave in

the dorms. The "cooked carrots"
test could be administered just as
well during Registration week,
and any student interested in
finding out how to use the UGLI
card catalog /should be expected
to find out for himself. These are
hardly adequate reasons for ex-
pending the money and time'that
It takes to administer a program
for the entire summer.
What can - and should - be
done is for SGC to undertake a
revitalization of the orientation
program, incorporating into it the
philosophyethat led to the forma-
tion of the VOICE- SGC retreat.
The kind of "orientation" that
freshmen need is a chance to dis-
cuss with other freshmen and up-
perclassmen what they want out
of their education-what their
goals are, and how they feel these
goals can best be achieved.
To accomplish this, the rigid
structure of the existing program
'must be broken down, and re-
placed by an informal atmosphere
in which people are encouraged
to decide among themselves what
is most important to talk about.
Policy decisions about the strue-
ture of the program *should be
made by a student committee, and
merely carried out by the admin-
} THE CURRENTLY existing
course Evaluation Booklet and the
program of student counselors are
a beginning step in helping new
students to learn the student view
of what academics is really like.




One of few moments to think

._,r....,_ "-- _ __ _ _ __

President and citizenry

RICHARD M. NIXON says he would
treat the Presidency the way Teddy
Roosevelt did, as "a bully pulpit." Hubert
H. Humphrey says one of the nation's
most pressing needs is for "an open Pres-
Mr. Nixon means, as he recently told
the Christian Science Monitor, "There
must be leadership which establishes re-
sponsibility for law and for the conduct
of the American system. I think the
President in this field can be most ef-
fective as the open leader of the country."
Mr. Humphrey's concept of the Presi-
dency is spelled out in a text recently re-
leased by his office. It involves "the full-
-est possible use of that office to inform
the American people." Also "greater ac-
cess to all the people," and "stimulating
the frankest and widest possible discus-
The budding consensus seems to be
that a President should pay particular
attention to building rapport with the
citizenry. The agreement is a healthy one,
for clearly this always-important aspect'
of the Presidency is today in special need
of reflection and repair.
DEMOCRATIC government depends on
a symbiosis between the people and
the President or other national executive.
The President is expected to provide lead-
ership, to point society's efforts in the
proper directions. Yet he cannot take the
Government too far in new directions
without the support of the people. Thus
he must at once lead and c9nsult the
It is not enough that a President re-
ceives the people's mandate in elections;
he must also maintain a day-to-day re-
lationship. Lyndon B. Johnson, who re-
ceived one of the most commanding elec-
toral mandates in history, feels obliged
to leave the Presidency because the nec-
essary relationship has broken down. He
probably could win re-election, but he
would be unable to lead the nation effec-
lilla M ichinn Ei ir_

tively afterward - and it is to his credit
that he recognizes this fact.
Part of the President's problem is that
the consensus he sought may have been
inherently unobtainable. Conflict and
dissent are in their own right an import-
ant and legitimate part of the democrat-
ic process. Even so, we doubt that Pres-
ident Johnson and his inner circle fail to
understand by now that their own con-
duct of national office contributed im-
portantly to the erosion of public confi-
dence in their Administration.
CONSIDER the extraordinary article in
Foreign Affairs by Bill D. Moyers, the
President's former press secretary. Mr.
Moyers warns of the dangers of "secret-
iveness" by public officials, and argues
that the upswelling of sentiment against
the Vietnamese war occurred because the
support of the people for this involve-
ment "simply was not sought." In words
that might apply more generally to the
whole range of Administration policy, Mr.
Moyers underlines the lesson.
"A chief executive cannot expect people
to have confidence in his judgment sim-
ply because it is his. He must indicate
what are some of the major considera-
tions he has taken into account so that
people will know that what he has de-
cided is both the right and effective pol-
icy to pursue. The people will allow a
President significantly more latitude with
respect to means than to ends, but he
must make them feel a part of his de-
cision and a partner in the policy."
NEGLECT OF this relationship, to state
the further problem, tarnishes not
only the incumbent but the office he
holds. To allow their leader some' free-
dom of action, the people ought to have
a certain implicit confidence in the very
office of the Presidency. When this trust
is lost, a President will be forced to go
too far in looking over his shoulder at the
popular will. And when the confidence is
eroded, it can be restored only by long
and especially careful cultivation.
It remains to be seen whether either




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