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January 14, 1962 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1962-01-14
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Political ClubsSeen Superficial

1 HE ROLE of alumni has become in-
creasingly important in the power
politics and monetary considerations of
public universities-and this University is
no exception.
Alumni pressure in administrative poli-
cy-making has become especially evident
here in the past few months with the
Alumni Association's decision to bring
alumni into a more active role in Uni-
versity actions on a "grassroots level."
The first step was for student governors
of the association to explain to their lo-
cal alumni groups the University's ad-
missions, housing and disciplinary policies,
and the various projects and committees
of the association.
There have already been results. Early
this fall, the .women's alumni organiza-
tion in Detroit took a keen interest in the
proposed changes in the Office of Student
Affairs, protesting moves to "lower the
high prestige of the Dean of Women's
office" and urging the Regents to press
for continuing the existing policies of
the dean.
In addition, there has been tentative
support from a host of alumni groups for
the Board of Governors' decision to main-
tain its present policy on women visitors
in the quadrangles. Alumni groups have
also requested alumni representation on
the Office of Student Affairs Study Com-
mittee and urged the Union to "clean
up the MUG."
In these areas of direct student con-
cern and in more distant decisions relat-
ing the curricula, the alumni are asking
--and getting-a more responsible role in
* * *
GOING HAND in hand with the re-
entry of the alumni into campus deci-
sions is its widening role in the financial
support of the University. Not only do
the alumni give more than $1 million each
year ($400 thousand of this is raised by
the Alumni Fund), but they are respon-
sible for much more income, in the form
of corporate giving.
"What is- actually occurring is substitu-
tion of the continuity of giving for en-
dowment income," Courtney C. Brown,
dean of the Columbia University graduate
business administration school, said of the
trend in almuni contributing. The import-
ance of corporate giving was pointed up
by Gordon K. Chalmers, late president of
Kenyon College of Ohio. "The very rock
on which all other giving must rest is
alumni giving. Gifts from outside 'the
family' depend largely--sometimes whol-
ly-on the degree of alumni support."
The attraction of corporate giving is
very dependent on the image of the uni-
versity. Not only do the alumni contribute
CAROLINE DOW is the student
representative on the University's De-
velopment CouncilA night editor on
The Daily, she is a junior majoring
in history.

to this image by their attitude and work,
but they can and do personally bring
industry to the university. They also con-
tribute individually. In 1959-60, alumni
personal giving amounted to almost one-s
fourth (24 per cent) of all voluntary
support reported by the 804 institutions
surveyed by the American Alumni Coun-
Alumni. giving is still growing, for this
percentage represents an 18.9 per cent in-
crease over gifts to alumni funds the year
before. This increased alumni giving is
the result of the growing recognition by
state-supported institutions of the alumni
This financial responsibility is not a
new role for alumni in America. At Har-
vard, Princeton and other established Ivy
League private universities, alumni pro-
vide more than 50 per cent of the total
support of the school and have long been
influential in policy decisions. But this
is a new role for the alumni of public in-
The 1960 report of the American Alum-
ni Council noted: "The tradition of alum-
ni support is not as firmly entrenched in
most public institutions as it is in private
colleges and universities. Tax-supported
institutions have long fought an uphill
battle against public apathy and legisla-
tive caprices, and even among themselves
have not always recognized the need for
alumni cultivation."
And it is indeed an uphill battle for
public institutions. Not only did they start
tugging at purse-strings and heart-strings
later than private institutions, but the
alumni's loyalty was usually weaker than
that at tradition-bound schools.
YALE UNIVERSITY founded the first
alumni fund in 1890, Cornell Univer-
sity followed suit in 1908, followed by
Brown University in 1914 and Harvard
University in 1925. Public institutions got
a late start, with the University of West
Virginia leading the way in 1920, L1-
lowed by California State College of
Pennsylvania in 1927 and the Universities
of California and New Hampshire in 1934.
A flurry of both public and private
funds were established in the 1940's and
this University finally organized its Alum-
ni Fund in 1953. Previous to that time
the Regents gratefully accepted gifts, but
avoided an organized solicitation. Un-
der this policy the University received
the Cook, Barbour, Rackham and Hill
endowments, among others.
These early endowments were large, in-
frequent-and often most unexpected.
William W. Cook surprised the University
with his offer to build the Law Quadrangle
and Martha Cook dormitories. He was
allowed to choose his own sites and the
buildings quickly became a reality.
Obviously, such gifts were rare. Today
as income taxes take greater and greater
chunks of personal income, foundations
and industry are becoming the major
source of large gifts and other benefits to

DURING MOST of its long existence,
the Alumni Association of this Uni-
versity made it a point of honor never to
ask alumni directly for money. But it
made tireless efforts to evoke stimulative
interest, holding conferences with de-
partments and convincing talented stu-
dents to enter the University.
The policy underwent changes in 1950,
when the University began to collect
money for the Michigan Memorial Phoe-
nix Project for peaceful uses of atomic
In the process of collecting the re-
quired $8 million, they discovered that
alumni were not adverse to giving money
to support worthy University projects, or
even simplyto their University.
On May 23, 1952, the Regents estab-
lished the Development Council, under
the direction of Alan MacCarthy, .to:
1) Assist in the public relations of the
University, especially in those aspects
which will lead to improved financial
support through gifts, grants and be-
2) Further stimulate the interest of
alumni and friends of the University in
its development and facilitate this de-
velopment by a study of the institution's
3) Coordinate the University's special
fund-raising programs.
The Development Council became a
new outlet for alumni interest. Previously
they had been relegated to minor roles of
advisory public relations and recruiting
agencies. Now, interested alumni could
aid higher education in its most crucial
need, money-money to recognize dis-
tinguished faculty service, finance re-
search, to build new buildings and to
offer scholarships to students of high
** *
directors of the Development Council,
composed entirely of alumni, directed

many fund-raising programs. The Uni-
versity's subsequent progress in develop-
ing alumni potential has been good, yet
not superior when the relative strength of
the University is considered.,
In 1957, according to the American
Alumni Council's annual survey, the Uni-
versity was nowhere near the top 10 in
any category of alumni donors. By 1960,
for all the .institutions in the United
States, it was eighth in the total number
of alumni donors. In effectiveness of so-
licitation, alumni gift amounts, percent-
age of graduate giving or total alumni
giving, the University was still generally
out of the picture.
Measured against other public insti-
tutions, the University presents a better
front. In 1957, the University was fourth
among tax-supported universities in the
total number of donors, with 12,024 con-
tributors. By 1960 it had moved into
second place. Other categories show the
same improvement.
Yet by 1960 the University had been
able to mobilize only an extremely small
proportion of their total alumni to sup-
port University projects. In short, al-
though a minority of alumni are gain-
ing more interest and influence in cam-
pus developments, the majority still be-
lieve their debt to higher education was
paid with their tuition check.
Although the spectre of involving more
people-even alumni-in policy-making is
a grim one, the spectre of the increasing
financial needs of universities is even
grimmer. Therefore, both the University
and the Alumni Association are increasing
their efforts to educate the alumni about
their responsibilities for higher education.
In the final consideration, whatever the
further evolution of the alumni role in
public institutitons, it is certain that
they have come a long way toward recog-
nizing their responsibilities. Now they are
in a position to participate actively in
both policy and finance.

DURING the next several weeks Univer-
sity students will spend most of their
time preparing for those "crucial" finals,
But what will happen after examina-
tions are over? What becomes of what one
learns in political science or in sociology
or in psychology?
Chances are, one's notes will be passed
on to a wide-eyed freshman and his books
sold back to a local bookstore-and an-
other semester will be chalked up.
Yet despite this biennial ritual, the
standard cry that students are apathetic
seems to have subsided somewhat and is
being drowned out by the voices of those
who claim that a re-birth of political
interest is sweeping the college campuses.
The "new liberals," tempered by the rise
of a "newly-found conservative segment,"
are supposedly evidence that the univer-
sity is no longer an "ivory tower" of stu-
dents who are disintereste'd, indifferent
and confused.
But while it is true that the membership
rosters of political clubs are growing, does
this increase in sheer numbers indicate a
substantial growth in general political
interest among college students? Are the
majority of students any more involved
in the political issues of today than they
were last year, or 10 years ago, or 100
years ago?
FOR AN ANSWER to these questions,
one must closely scrutinize the college
scene. Who joins a political club? How
does the number of active workers com-
pare with membership lists? Does the
university community encourage political
participation? Do political groups actually
create any dents in the usually placid
mold of the college campus?
Since the 1930's the life of the student
in America has been a comparatively
leisurely one. Faced with no immediate
crises, he has been able to creep into the
academic "shelter" which protects him
against the evils of the "big, bad world"
Most colleges have done little to tempt
students into doing anything except study
for examinations. What is studied in the
classroom is all too rarely applied to any-
thing but final examinations.
Universities have ceased to take re-
sponsibility for the whole student and
have settled down to merely educating his
intellect. And in so doing, the schools
themselves can be blamed, in part, for not
helning the student react politically.
When Adlai E. Stevenson ran for the
presidency, some observers felt that for
the first time in a number of years a
political candidate had real appeal for
college and university students. A Univer-
sity official noted that after former Presi-
dent Dwight D. Eisenhower's victories
that "the campus was like a morgue."

They Attract Few to Politics,
Deal Only with 'Paper Issues'

tical pow
much of
the Univ
To des
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Is a new interest awakening in students?

Many persons also believe that to some
degree President John F. Kennedy, a
young articulate man, has likewise crys-
talized political interest in students. .
Yet the issues which have attracted
student action and reaction have been
few. And the majority of issues remain
"paper issues."
The feeling of helplessness-that stu-
dents cannot formulate political solutions
-was partly disspelled by the sit-in move-
ment. In an attempt to combat racial
prejudice and segregation, students met
with some success. In proving false the
cry that they could only protest, a latent
political interest was stimulated.
But in spite of dribblings of interest, in
spite of sit-ins and peace demonstrations,
the largest segment of the student popu-
lation remains confused, unlikely to do
much of anything politically. They are, in
fact, most likely to be more or less willing
to do little more than accept things as
they are.
W HEN -ONE LOOKS at the politically
active on the University campus,
what kind of a student does one find?
Whether liberal or conservative, there is
a certain amount of generalizing that can
be done about the student who takes an
active interest in politics.
A common misconception may be eradi-
cated at the start. The student who
attends a Voice political party meeting or
a Young Republican convention is usually
not fighting for a clear-cut cause. His
knowledge Of issues is often no better
defined than that of his friends who do
not actively participate. His group par-
ticipation, rather than growing out of
definite principles, is more often moti-
vated by an intense desire to do some-
thing. Just what his goals are, he doesn't
really know. He may be dedicated to ac-
tion and :reaction, but his personal stands,
on specific issues are usually fuzzy.
The student who joins a political club
and actively works for its goals is gen-
erally not a newcomer to the political
world. In most cases his interest was
kindled prior to his arrival at the Univer-
sity, whether in his home and through
prior group associations.
This fact is most obviously evident when
analyzing the membership of the two par-
tisan political groups on campus, the
JUDITIH BBEIER is a night edi-
tor on The Daily who has reported
student issues for the newspaper. She
is a junior majoring in journalism.

Young Republicans and the Young Demo-
crats. The most common type of student
who works for these clubs comes from a
home where a particular partisan influ-
ence is strong, or else has had close asso-
ciation with persons who openly advo-
cated the policies of either party.
While it is more difficult to analyze a
nember of a non-partisan political group,
it is safe to asume the primary spark of
this interest was ignited before he came
to the University. His parents may have
been leaders of a particular cause, or his
former teachers may have advocated a
stand on a particular issue. Whatever the
case, the political clubs on campus usually
attract those who have had a prior inter-
est, whether manifest or latent, in the
political world.
A further characteristic of the political
joiner is that he is generally not closely
associated with another group. From a
sociological standpoint alone, it is logical
a resident of "fraternity row" is not often
a leader of a political club. Already having
a group with which he can identify, he
need not look elsewhere for group mem-

Alumni gifts launched the Phoenix Project

Sen. Hart visits
Young Democrats


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