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April 09, 1964 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1964-04-09

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PAGE EIGHT

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 1964

1,

PAGE EIGHT THE MICHIGAN DAILY THURSDAY. APRIL 9.1964

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Sorenson's Views on Affiliates, Bias

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Reprinted here
are excerpts from Regent Allen
Sorenson's Tuesday night speech to
fraternity and sorority leaders.)
On Leadership .. .
I do not draw a line between
leadership on the campus and
leadership in the rest of our so-
ciety. There is a common cliche
fr equently used by commencement
speakers about "going out into the
world." I disagree with the im-
plication that you are not involv-
ed in our world problems at this
point in your lives.
We have seen many times how
our campus leadership, our student
society has had a marked and last-
ing effect on our course of action
and our goals as a nation. Con-
sider the part students have play-
ed in civil rights activities of the
past few years. And don't under-
rate the weight of the opinion of
student groups on the major poli-
tical parties.
Make no mistake about it. You
a're leaders in our society' now. It
is as such, as leaders, that you
are being addressed tonight.
Kinds of L'eaders
There is what I shall call pas-
,sive leadership as well as active
leadership. If you as a chapter
president serve to maintain the
policies as you found them, if you
accurately reflect the philosophy
of your brothers as their spokes-
man, if your function as president
is, in effect, to represent the aver-
age of the house, then I would say
you are a passive leader.
This kind of laissez-faire lead-
ership is fine if you find condi-'
tions around you in all respects
superior or perfect. There is then
nothing to be done except to
maintain a position, to man the
defenses against any change.
Of course, I am exaggerating.
Whether speaking of a single house
or of our entire society, we are
confronted by serious problems
crying out for our best leader-
ship to find solutions. As I have
already mentioned, the great so-
cial and political problems of our
time extend into your house.
Member Selection
What attitude prevails in your
house regarding selection of mem-
bers? Is it an attitude which is
constructive and contributes to so-
lution of a problem in our society
-or at least promotes an intimate
understanding of a problem-or is
It an attitude which isolates and
insulates the group from realities?
I think few students fully ap-
preciate the value, the unique na-
ture of the once-in-a-lifetime op-
portunity afforded them on this
campus. For the great majority of
students, there will not again in
their lifetimes be a similar oppor-
tunity to know intimately, and to
live with others of the same age
but different social, economic, ra-
cial, and national background.
Since leaving this campus, I
have not again found such an op-
portunity, nor has anyone else to
my knowledge. The fact is that
there is not again such an oppor-
tunity for an individual ...
On Discussion...
It appeared to be in a fra-
ternity I visited recently that they
did have spirited discussions, but
on a different scale of matters:

ALLAN SORENSON

the house finances, some food
problems, how to circumvent a
University policy 'which might in-
trude on their right to be homo-
geneous.
Issues of major social concern
cannot profitably be discussed in
the absence of proponents of thi
various viewpoints,, proponents
who are intimately associated
through background and experi-
ence with that viewpoint, although,
hopefully, not irreversibly dedicat-
ed to that viewpoint.
The human quality we possess
of seeking to make our individual
spheres of association homogene-
ous and closed to deviant con-
cept is probably our greatest ob-
stacle to solution of social, poli-
tical, and economic problems, be-
cause of the absence of under-
standing proliferated by this qual-
ity.
Educational Aims
If an educational institution, we
seek to create understanding, to
encourage its development and
growth. In the area of which I
am speaking, understanding a
problem' comes through associa-
tion with those familiar with its
diverse aspects. The opportunities
are richly displayed for, the tak-
ing in this community of scholars.
The degree to which one avails
himself of these opportunities is
an individual choice, but subject
to wise influence by active leaders.
One of the problems you and I
face as leaders in this academic
community is how to make all
students-minorities as well as
majorities, foreign citizens as well
as citizens of this country, those
of disadvantaged background as
well as those highly advantaged-
aware of the great value and the
once-in-a-lifetime nature of this
opportunity.
Majority Initiative
If one side or the other is more
responsible for initiative in pro-
moting completely free association,
it is the majority side. However,'
the responsibilities are heavy on
each side. Our foreign students,
whom we are most honored, hap-
py, and fortunate to have among
us, are probably as guilty of con-
fining their associations (under-
standably so in a community of
strange customs) as we are guilty
of offering insufficient opportunity
and hospitality for close associ-
ates.

In this particular example, I'm
not thinking only of the occas-
ional exchange dinner between na-i
tional groups. I'm thinking of in-
house living on a brother-to-broth-
er, day-to-day basis of mutual un-
derstanding and respect for dif-,
ferences. This is the real core of
the opportunity we have here and
now for influence throughout the
world for the future, an interna-
tional influence for peace and co-
operative solution of mutual prob-
lems based on the same under-
standing and respect for differ-
ences which we would generate
here and now.
Comfortable Niche
I am sure, unfortunately, that
there are people who enter this.
community from a background
of social and economic homogenei-
ty, who carefully construct for
themselves among us an insulated
niche as nearly as possible in imi-
tation of their parentay commu-
nity; who live here for four years,
dutifully taking courses, perhaps
with good grades; who then re-
turn to the society of origin, per-
haps in a different location, with
no major opinion changed, or
questionel seriously, or perhaps
even recognized as existing ...
On Bias .. .
I must now tell you of a change
in position I have experienced.
Again, for background I must re-
fer to my experience as a student
on this campus. At that time, an
effort was being made to eliminate
from the bylaws of fraternities and
sororities those membership or rit-
ual practices which ddiscriminated
against an individual because of
his race, religion, or national ori-
gin. This seemed to me then an
entirely proper effort, one to be
encouraged as being in complete
harmony with our precepts as a
nation.
Some 15 or 20 years later, when
I began this great privilege of serv-
ing on the Regents, I was quite
shocked and disappointed to find
this same very important matter
was still not completely resolved.
We had evolved to a point where
only a few discriminatory cluases
remained. We had witnessed the
bold action by student government
units seeking to enforce the policy.
We had, in some cases, seen these
bold actions thwarted or reversed
-indicating, in my opinion, an
uncertainty of our goal or our
means to the goal. This uncer-
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AUSTIN
DIAMOND
CORPORATION

tainty may also have been part of3
the reason for the long period oft
incomplete success to which I havet
referred.1
New Views1
My first impulse. was to chargeS
onward. But in the discussion of
how best to finish the job, I
found my own opinion changing.
Perhaps this is not so much a
change as a clarification and new
understanding which came with{
my first really close-range person-
al contact with the issue.-
My position now is this:f
First, by every reasonable stand-t
ard I can use, fraternities and ,r-
orities are private, social clubs, na-
tional in scope and mem;)ership,t
with localized chapter existence. Int
addition to the very visible evi-
dence supporting this view, there1
is the support of a recent con-a
gressional directive to the Civil
Rights Commission specifically'
mentioning college fraternities and
sororities along with other social
clubs as not subject to investiga-
tion by the commission. With this,
first point established, there is
little alternative remaining. The
overwhelming weight of legal prec-
edent and constitutional guaran-
tee is that selection of members or
ritualistic procedures in private
clubs is the concern of the mem-
bers, and of them only.
Status Quo
We are in this untenable posi-
tion at present:
1) We have fraternities as an
officially recognized part of the
University, in any segment of
which, as a publicly supported in-
stitution, there very clearly can
be no form or trace of discrimi-
nation on the basis of race, reli-
gion, or national origin.
2) The Right of Free Associa-
tion, indeed the right to discrimi-
nate, must be guaranteed to these
groups as private clubs.
As you can see, there are only
two alternatives. Either the frater-
nities must drastically change
their nature, their traditions, their

national affiliations so as to be in
truth student organiiations rather
than private social clubs (this is
highly unlikely to occur) or these
private clubs must be made pri-
vate in fact, that is separated
clearly and precisely from the Uni-
versity and from all our state
supported institutions.
Not Impossible
I can see no insurmountable
obstacle which such 'a separation
would pose to continued flourish-
ing of fraternity life. I am told by
fraternity representatives that
they see no serious obstacle. We
are closely watching the sororities
at Long Beach State College in
their new status of separation from
the college. So far, there appears
to be little effect on the sorori-
ties. For the' past year, I have
urged my colleagues on the Board
of Regents to take this action. I
am convinced we will do so in the
near future.
I call upon our sister institu-
tions in this state to take the same
action to end this double violation
of civil liberties in which we viol-
ate the right of free association
in our effort to impress into a new

mold the inherently discriminatory
private clubs whose presence in
a state institution violates the
right of equal opportunity .. .
The University's policy, like that
of the University of California and
many others, has been to assure
the existence of the right of free
choice of new members-without
restrictions due to race, religion.
etc., imposed by a national struc-
ture which is external from the
standpoint of the institution.
Unsatisfactory
This, in my opinion, is not a
satisfactory end-point. For if such
a right is established, that is;
if all the clauses are eliminated
which are offensive in a state
institution from a civil liberties
standpoint, the discrimination in
fact is by no means eliminated, nor
would it be eliminated consider-
ing the subjective, arbitrary, and
discriminatory nature of the mem-
bership selection process. However,
in the course of achieving this
fallacious goal, the right to so
discriminate, guaranteed by the
constitution to such private clubs,
will have been violated-and to no
avail.

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sdw. ann, r;xti. sass.

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DAILY OFFICIAL BULLETIN
(Continued from Page 2) ings, give staff service to group lead-
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Charlotte Shabino, personnel assistant, cent grad with bkgd. in Chemistry &
APRIL l3- properties of materials as Materials
RIL Veterans Hospital, Ann Arbor- Engineer/Scientist. Organic field; work
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Miss Elizabeth Batey, librarian. International Atomic Energy Agency
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