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May 06, 1962 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1962-05-06
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The University Senate.
A Voice for the Faculty



Student Custom

of Class Rivalries

LOOKING OUT across the campus from
the window of his office, a professor
sometimes takes a few minutes to consider
what the University is to him-a place
to teach, to write and do research.
As long as he has his work and its re-
wards, should he be concerned with
matters such as the Office of Student
Affairs, campus building plans, broad
educational policies, the ultimate size of
the University, and other problems which
are the daily concerns of dozens of ad-
ministrators? For too many of the faculty
the answer is "no."
"There are many members of the fac-
ulty whose greatest sense of privilege is
not to help run the University, but to
be left alone to do their work and to
let the administrators do theirs," Prof.
Charles H. Sawyer of the history of art
department, said recently.
The University Senate, especially the
Senate Advisory Committee for University
Affairs, and its many sub-committees, is
the official megaphone with which articu-
late faculty members are able to prompt
the administration. But even the voice of
this articulate segment of the faculty is
sometimes quite hoarse-a circumstance
revealing the changed structure of the
University as well as the reticent nature
of the faculty.
At one time, a university was firmly
guided by its faculty. All the teachers met
together and made policies as a group.
Often they appointed persons to carry
out their policies. If administrators were

huge and expensive areas of research and
public service.
Perhaps the University Senate be-
gan as the "town meeting" of the
University community. At least once a
year the Senate must still hold a forum,
traditionally open only to members
There are always at least two general
Senate meetings a year and attendance
is usually about 150. At times, when the
Senate has considered a particularly con-
troversial subject, such as academic free-
dom applied to specific cases, as many as
500 members have appeared.
To some of the University's teachers,
these general meetings are disappoint-
ing-tired presentations of lengthy com-
mittee reports and petulant discussion.
To others, the discussion is lively, serious
and informative and it's of small con-
sequence that only one-tenth of the
eligible members are present at many
Membership in the Senate is auto-
matic for every teacher above the rank
of instructor, the executive and central
administrative officers of the Univer-
sity and the deans of the schools and
colleges. A general meeting of the Senate,
such as the one held April 23, has a
potential attendance of at least 1800.
The same Regents' Bylaws that author-
ize the rather static general Senate also
form the basis for a practical, energetic
and relatively busy group of sub-
committees, headed by the potentially
powerful SAC. The 19 members of SAC
are elected by the Senate from among
its faculty membership. Members serve
for three years, and about one-third of
the committee is selected in the spring
of each year.
The literary college is limited to five
members on the Advisory committee, the
engineering college to three members and
the other schools and colleges to one
member each. While this plan results
in a representative body, the members
do not usually see themselves as repre-
sentatives of their own units, probably
because they're elected at large. The com-
mittee is required to hold meetings at
least once a month and to meet with top
administrators at least twice a year.
The SAC appoints all the standing and
temporary sub-committeees that are
created by the Senate. There are now
fourteen standing sub-committees, none
of which has any legal authority over
any part of the University's operation.
At the sub-committee level, the Sen-
ate has a chance to drive hard at the
real problems of the University. There
is a sub-committee on educational poli-
cies (which has five sub-committees of
its own), campus planning and develop-
ment, public relations, student relations,
research policy and University freedom
and responsibility. Each committee fre-
quently consults and advises an appro-
priate administrative executive. For in-
stance, the unusually independent and
dynamic sub-committee on student re-
lations sometimes meets with Vice-
President for Student Affairs James A.
BECAUSE the committees and the Sen-
ate have no fixed authority, the per-
sonalities and abilities of the members
and chairmen are extremely important.
Personal power is needed because there
is no official power. A sub-committee
chairman and his associates must take
care not to become research machines for
the administrators with whom they deal.
Initiative is important for the sub-
committee's chairman and members. They
should not wait -for an administrator to
ask them for a report on improving
instruction, reorganizing the Office of
Student Affairs, or anything else;
Once a study is underway, the faculty
sub-committee should seek an admin-
istrator's help whenever necessary; but
there should never be any doubt that
the faculty is in charge of the report.
Prof. Charles F. Lehmann of the edu-
cation school, an active leader and critic
of the Senate, once referred to the

... publicity harmful
".. .voluminous collections of committee
reports, labored over, mimeographed and
filed." In theory, there seems to be no
reason why an administrator would not
eagerly seize a report as it spilled out
of the machine, pour over it, and start
implementing its suggestions immediately.
But it remains for the committee chair-
man to see that his study gets more than
casual notice by the administration.
When a committee publicizes its study
it can be assured of more definite, if
not always favorable, action by the ad-
ministration. Publicity puts a spotlight
on the administrators and calls their
Some Senate leaders, though, view pre-
mature publicity of their activities as
doing more harm than good for the
University. Prof. John Reed of the law
school, chairman of the sub-committee
on university freedom and responsibility,
said that publicity of reports before the
administration has acted on them tends
to draw sharp lines between the faculty
and administration and place them be-
fore the public as antagonists. He said
that the backstage vigor of the committee
is more important for getting things
It would be unfortunate if faculty in-
itiative, control and follow-up of com-
prehensive studies in reality built a wall
between faculty and administration. But
administration is no longer the child
of the faculty it once was. More prob-
ably, the situation is reversed.
PROFESSORS Sawyer, Lehmann and
Wesley H. Maurer of the journalism
department, last year's SAC chairman,
agree that the administration takes the
opinions of SAC and its sub-committees
seriously, relying on them to represent
the faculty.
Yet, Prof. Sawyer noted that the ad-
ministration is depending on more wis-
dom and judgment from the Senate than
the Senate has been willing to give. And
so, there is not only a problem in some
cases of getting the administration to
move with the sub-committees, but also
one of motivating the Senate to take
action on sub-committee proposals.
Prof. Lehmann has noted that "it's
all too easy for administration officials to
acquire a cynical contempt for the
lethargic immobility of faculty initiative."
He was referring to the general Senate
and to the many faculty members who
take little part in Senate activities, rather
than to the committee structure.
But even the sub-committees are being
evaluated. Prof. Reed, in the current is-
sue of Senate Affairs, the Senate's of-
ficial publication, reported that his com-
mittee is examining "the extent of which
faculty members participate in policy

determination, the areas in which faculty
are used and (sometimes more signifi-
cant) those in which they are not, the
membership of the committees and boards
(how many of us are perennial or pro-
fessional committeemen!) . ..
The general Senate and SAC are under
consideration to see if a better method
of representing the entire faculty can
be found. Prof. Reed said that SAC does
a good job as a study group, but as the
University grows larger it becomes more
difficult to measure faculty opinion and
communicate it to the administration.
The administration then becomes more
THE TOWN MEETING type of Senate
does not appear to be an effective
device for deciding faculty action. But
it has supporters. Prof. Maurer said that
the present Senate structure is satis-
factory and has considerable power and
influence if thoroughly used by the fac-
ulty. He added that, although many meet-
ings have only 150 present, each partici-
pant probably represents several others
with similar views. A mail ballot can be
used to get an opinion from the total
faculty on an immediate issue, rather
than a system of direct representation
by schools and departments, he said.
At the center of any discussion of the
form faculty action should take is the
teacher himself. Prof. Maurer has noted,
not with great alarm, that the faculty,
like any electorate, has a large number
of non-participants. According to Prof.
Sawyer, younger faculty men are more
cautious about entering extra-curricular
activities than older men. "Positions are
more secure for older men, and the pres-
sure is less to get out the next book,"
he said.
Yet because the faculty is not the of-
ficial guardian of the University, its
collective leadership and advice is even
more important. The professor, although
he may have lost personal contact with
many parts of an increasingly complex
University, still has the human touch
needed in any operation designed for
- He sees policies react with people-him-
self included- and not just on paper. He
is able to watch students as individuals
and not statistics. He is in the best posi-
tion to protect and police his own pro-
An aggressive faculty and an autono-
mous administration have nothing to fear
from each, other if each recognizes the
value of the other's perspective. Although
the administrators now hold and must
probably keep the operational respon-
sibility for the University, their authority
must be balanced with active, voluntary
leadership by the faculty.

was made of wooden pickets and was
A gang of sophomores lounged around
Mason Hall waiting for a newly-enrolled
freshman to come out. Posing as a cre-
dentials committee, they first established
the fact of his enrollment. Then they
seized the freshman and tossed him over
the fence into the muddy or dusty road.
BEGINNING IN 1904, freshman-sopho-
more hostilities ended every year with
Cap Night. This event took place in June
in "Sleepy Hollow" or "the Cat Hole"-
terms students gave to the seven acres
that formed the little valley where now
Forest Avenue passes Palmer Field.
Students met in Sleepy Hollow and
built a bonfire. Then they gave speeches
and sang. Freshmen threw their gray
freshman caps into the fire, and this sym-
bolized their full assimilation into Uni-
versity student life. Now they, as sopho-
mores, would be protecting the campus
from the foolishness of a new freshman
This tradition lasted 30 years. It died
because of a growing reluctance to wear
class caps. But for many decades, not
merely caps but also canes, badges, pins
and togues served to differentiate the
classes and schools.
The first caps appeared in 1868, when
literary college students adopted as their
official headwear the Oxford cap. It was
blue, with a square top, a black tassel and
a visor bearing the initials "U of M."
Caps became such a sensation that by
1870 several faculty members and even
acting President Henry S. Frieze were
wearing them.
The togue type of headwear came into
vogue in 1910. The color of the togue
designated the class (seniors-blue, jun-
iors-white, sophomores-maroon, fresh-
men-gray) while the color of the tassel
designated the college.
Not all undergraduate customs were
school and class oriented, of course. Some-,
times student spirit became directed
against the faculty. Students often lodged

donkeys, cows, geese and roosters over-
night in classrooms, which never failed
to cause disarray in morning classes.
Sometimes the spirit became directed'
against inanimate objects, as Ann Arbor's
wooden sidewalks which they tore up and
burned or the brass locomotive bell
mounted on a wooden post between Mason
and South Halls.
Janitor Pat Kelly (nicknamed Professor
of Dust and Ashes) rang the bell regularly
at 5 a.m. to awaken the student for chapel
service. In wintertime, the students often
turned the bell over and poured water
into it. The water froze overnight, silenc-
ing the bell the next morning. Kelly would.
then have to wake up the students indi-
One winter night the students chopped
down the post and carried away the bell.
Their curiosity about how President Tap-
pan would react to this deed was satisfied
the next morning when Tappan addressed
the students at chapel services. He casu-
ally told them that they were attempting
an interesting experiment: European
students had fared well without a bell, so
why not students at the University too?
Of course, he added, roll would be checked
promptly as usual.
He said the Regents would be pleased
to learn that the students had at last felt
themselves able to do without the bell and
wanted to save the University the expense
of maintaining it.
The students greeted Tappan's remarks
with hearty applause. The faculty there-
after began calling the rolls more prompt-
ly than ever. After a month, a big, jolly
undergraduate arose in chapel to ask on
behalf of the students that the University
let them restore the bell. A few days later
it was back, and ringing regularly again.
The custom continued until chapel serv-
ices were abolished in the 1880's.

women did not seem to abate the spirit
of the undergraduate men. If anything, it
boosted it, as when, for example, sopho-
mores tried to make freshmen bow to the
Although they were occasionally ogled
at by freshmen, the women were generally
coldly ignored. It was customary for men
and women to sit on opposite sides of the
library. Sometimes, though, a daring
young man would sneak to the center of
the library to talk with one of the fairer
At any rate, the women were seldom
dated by men on campus. A teaching col-
lege that is now Eastern Michigan Univer-
sity opened in Ypsilanti in 1853, and the
men made it a practice then-as some do
now-to get dates in that neighboring
One of the few traditions to survive the
early decades of the University is that of
the University's colors of maize and blue.
Blue had always been the official color,
but the class of 1867 decided to use maize
with blue for Class Day. The next year the
class of 1868 used maize and blue for the
Senior Ball. By general consent, the two
colors were used together on official Uni-
versity occasions thereafter. The custom
became cemented when Charles Gayley's
anthem, "The Yellow and the Blue," be-
came the University alma mater.
The other traditions died, nearly all by
the time of World War II, the Junior Hop
lasting until two years ago. Today stu-
dents play tennis in the Sleepy Hollow
where they used to build, bonfires and
celebrate Cap Night.-
The Student Council formally abolished
Cap Night in 1934, and class rushes ended
a few years later. Class athletic contests,
such as the freshman-sophomore tug-of-
war across the Huron River, died at the
same time.

genuine class c
tion of clubs, s
ernments, which
ism" of the cla
action more cons
and growth of a
vented antagon
sities; and the
a more serious c
The latter ac
many of the old
the 19th centui
young man fron
pleasures in thi
For him, burnir
fellow student c
ral way to have
Today's gener
fun conscious a
They are concer
from their educ
that their secur
will greatly dep
cerned not with
able to get a go
The increase
result of the ch
student body: m
more are marri
dergraduates ar
(like the ex-sold
der the G.I. Bi
horseplay of st
thing to laugh
Moreover, the
today, like son
raids, are tame
customs of old.
participant is a
who, when he f
time from his
group rushing
around to wate
minority who fi
thrown out of w
'!Conduct unb
only a watchwo
*ministration. It
day's less tradi

IN 1870 the first woman student, Made- There are at least four reasons for the
lon Stockwell, enrolled at the Univer- death of school and class rivalries: the
sty. Following her example, many more mushrooming growth of the student body,
women enrolled. But the presence of the which made it more difficult to develop a

... heads committee
chosen by a board of regents, the presi-
dent of the university still appeared as
the leader of the faculty.
Prof. Ross L. Mooney of Ohio State
University has observed that "the faculty
could be a community and could operate
as one because its individual members
could each comprehend the totality within
their concrete personal experience.'
IT WOULD be difficult to locate the
exact point in this University's history
at which the individual teacher began to
lose his overview of the total enterprise.
But before the 1920's, the University had
only 5000 students; there were fewer
buildings, fewer schools, colleges, de-
partments and auxiliary services, and
more emphasis on a single function--
teaching, with less attention to today's
NEIL COSSMAN, a staff mem-
ber of The Daily, is a sophomore
majoring in history.
Page Ten

former chairman


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