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April 06, 1965 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-04-06

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T hr Atdltgatt Balil
Seventy-Fifth Year

Aesthetics and the Teach ing Function

Where Opinions Are Free 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail 4

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.

Prof. Rice's Memorandum:
Arbitrary, Dangerous Criteria

IN A "MEMORANDUM on the Restora-
tion of Discipline Among Members of
the University," Warner G. Rice, chair-
man of the English department, recently
criticized University faculty and stu-
dents for what he calls a "decided pref-
erence for vulgarity" in their dress and
manners. He vaguely alleged that this
preference has created a wave of student
vandalism, thievery and destruction.
Rice expands his contentions, physical-
ly if not logically, by noting that "Inside
the buildings (i.e., the Fishbowl) . . . the
situation is even worse" as students dis-
tribute handbills or "make the days hide-
ous with the raucous music which seems
to suit their mood."
It is easy to refute Rice's comments.
It is also easy to point to over generali-
zations and illogic-one comment about
the behavior of faculty and students at
the University leads Rice to such an
absurdly grand-Victorian assertion as, "It
is, of course, obvious that we are now re-
cruiting both faculty members and stu-
dents from areas and strata of society
where good manners, the conventional
forms of polite behavior and decorum are
by no means common."
Once the "logic" behind such a state-
ment is examined, the true content of the
letter becomes clear.
RICE'S WRATH ,extends up as well as
down. "There is little evidence that
administrative officers . . . acknowledge
any obligations of this kind (to establish
conduct codes for students)," he says. One
may agree with Rice here; perhaps ad-
ministrators have been lax with the Eng-
lish department, although not precisely
in the ways Rice means.
W hat is at issue here is not a ques-
tion of dress or of public morality; one
knows many people who would match
Rice button-down-shirt for "repp" tie
yet would still disagree with his right to
make derogations against his students
and faculty such as appear in the Memo-
Rather, the issue is how literary col-
lege administrators can allow Rice to
state so blatantly the arbitrariness of his
criteria for judging faculty.
RICE'S MEMORANDUM is a fascinat-
ing statement of institutionalized in-

fluence being exerted at the whim of its
possessor. The real power of the state-
ment is not in its content but in the at-
titude which lies behind it. While neither
the attitude 'nor the Memorandum is of-
ficially binding on his department, what-
ever criteria Rice establishes in his own
mind cannot but weigh heavily on pro-
motions and other departmental preroga-
tives. It is of the utmost importance that
those criteria not be irrelevant to the
qualities which mean something in a
Thus Rice's note exemplifies a nega-
tive attitude which can be crippling to
University departments. The attitude is
a stifling agent; holding it, the depart-
ment chairman represses his faculty rath-
er than providing the intellectual -guid-
ance and inspiration he should transmit
to his teaching fellows, instructors and
When a professor-turned-administrator
has so forgotten his ties of reason and
responsibility to his constituent faculty
and students that he feels he is able to
use his position to impose his morality
upon them, it is time to question seriously
the contribution he is making to his de-
JN EFFECT, Rice has been chairman of
the English department for the last 18
years. In that time he has often been
charged with becoming the "holy terror"
of the department teaching fellows; yet
at the same time, the salaries of those
teaching fellows have remained among
the University's lowest.
Is this the kind of guidance literary
college administrators should encourage
for the young teachers who provide fresh-
men with a major source of their faculty
contact? Is this the kind of inspiration
future MA's and PhD's will fondly ;recall
from their postgraduate days at the "Har-
vard of the West?"
If it is, it shouldn't be.
Rice must by now be aware of the is-
sue taken against the Memorandum. His
superiors, too, should be aware-not only
of the widespread and justified dissatis-
faction with Rice's actions but also of
the partial blame for his abuses which
can be laid at their door.

AS I AM a visitor, new both to
the University and to the
United States, varous features
have struck me most forcibly over
a period of some 18 months. They
compel me to add some untutored
responses and recommendations.
Of necessity, I am in the dark,
much of the time only faintly
aware of the maze of politics and
policy my colleagues so astutely
thread Enlightenment sages were
fond of imagining what China-
men, Abyssinans and other noble
savages would make of 18th Cen-
tury society. They assumed that
naive vision might discover pock-
marks in the face of the old
world, marks which habit and self-
deceit had long glossed over. Now
that the New World has become an
old world in prestige, influence,
ffluence (and perhaps arrogance),
an outsider can perform some-
thing of the same service.
To a very limited extent,
though: he stands irresponsibly
out-side the circle of a financial
and political contingency so vast
that initiates are apt to find his
suggestions irritatingly unprac-
tical or footling.
EUROPEANS, though they know
better really, construct their ver-
sion of the American Dream as a
continent-wide stretch of Miami
Beach: an equal blend of in-
formality, good-natured weather,
opulence and convenience. Hence,
perhaps, my mild astonishment
with buildings, offices and f a-
cilities that seemed so shabby, in-
aesthetic and irksome.
So, America was just like any-
where else. In fact, because this
is an American century, it was
more like anywhere else than any-
where else. When I cautiously
complained, I sounded, even to
myself, querulous, frivolous. I en-
countered people who find seige
-or is X pioneering?-conditions
positively tonic. I discovered a
voluptuousness of the utilitarian,
itself an aesthetic of the puritan
ethic of sobriety; commitment and
moral strenuousness.
Not that this was ever stated.
It escaped rather as the moral
odor of the vocabulary of funds,
budgets and the exigencies of be-
ing a State institution. One thinks,
however, of Wayne State with its
delicately conceited architecture
by Yamasaki. True, Wayne has
benefited from urban renewal and
expansion in an architecturally
more sophisticated decade. Still,
where there's a will, there's a way.
Is there a will at the Univer-
sity, or does the Angell-Mason-
Haven complex (that triad of
ironical titles) represent a hidden
pride in grime, grit and slog? Is
it their message that we may not
be pretty, but we are real?
argue for an aesthetically pleas-
ing environment in which to
teach; its advantages should be
obvious. But they are obviously not
obvious enough to have command-
ed the same dogged ingenuity that
procures unlimited millions for
missile research.
There are priorities beyond even
the aesthetic, though their ten-
dency, a humane and harmonious
environment, is the same. Chief
among these are space, privacy
and quiet. Surely it should be not
merely accepted but proclaimed
that an instructor should have his
office-one main arena of his ac-
tivity as teacher and scholar-to
(The choice of the word "office"
is perhaps revealing. The analogy
is with business. Why not "room"
or even "study". Butthe pass has
already been sold; I can feel my-
self wincing with the embasrassed
At present, an unshared office
proclaims the status of its in-
mate. Yet surely, even from the
most utilitarian viewpoint, it is
an adjunct to teaching as neces-

sary to the pre-doctoral instruc-
tors as to the fullest of profes-
WHEN TWO instructors share
an office, they can distribute their
time so as not to hold conferences
simultaneously. But it is an ef-
fort, sometimes involving com-
plicated computation. It is less
easy not to be there oneself when
a colleague is performing. This
makes the time in which one can
work in an office in peace and
quiet relatively scarce.
Furthermore, what should be
discretely confidential communi-
cations between instructor and
student have to make their way
through public uproar or equally
public silence, so that discourse
easily grows coarsened or over-
emphatic. Even an unshared of-
fice is inevitably in the cross fire
of those adjacent. Serious atten-
tion to sound-proofing is needed.
Haven Hall, in full spate on a
busy morning, challenges a city
center for the density of its popu-
lation and the volume of its noise.
Noise, overcrowding and general
dreariness are part of the exper-
ience of both students and faculty.
They effect the quality of teach-
ing, not of any particular teacher,
but of the ambience in which
teaching takes place. Dreariness

can become almost a pleasure in
shared tribulation. But in a Uni-
versity the size of this one, shar-
ed tribulation easily turns into
passive endurance and despair of
The tendency of expansion is to
push towards the makeshift,
which rapidly develops into the
squalid. Facilities cease even to
keep pace with need. Emergency
measures have a habit of becom-
ing permanent so that life is lived
in an atmosphere of perpetual dis-
gruntlement. This has to be an-
ticipated and resisted. Reparation
after the fact is ever too little and
too late.
There is always the argument
that, since the outer world is not
pretty, it is not good ("good" here
being used as both a moral and
medical term) for students to be
insulated from it in an unreal
cocoon of prettiness. At its best,
this is an argument of the kind
that it is wrong to eat steak when
starving people in Algeria are eat-
ing dirt.
THE ANSWER might be a ques-
tion as to whether your individual
steaklessness will most effectively
help to feed Algerians, though it
might have subjective value as a
gesture of human solidarity. Prin-
cipally, you want a system ration-
al enough to feed both of you

British classes usually meet once
a week. I prefer the American
system of more frequent meetings.
Under the British system, the per-
sonality of the class dissipates in
the gap of seven days and has to
be artificially revived at each
meeting. Continuity becomes jag-
ged. But I do feel thrice weekly
meetings come around too fre-
quently for comfort. Material
either gets beaten too thin or
students find it difficult to stay
the pace.
I sometimes feel that courses at
the University are over-structured
and over-policed and leave too
little to the student's initiative. In
this, there is often a grateful
studenthcomplicity. Twice weekly
meetings, with the instructor
available for consultation in what
would have been the third session,
seems to me about right.
University undergraduate w h o
takes two semesters a year differs
little in length from that of a
British student. But how the work-
ing year breaks down does matter.
An almost unbroken block of 14
weeks feels a long time to me,
perhaps because I have the British
term (about 10 weeks-the quar-
ter system with the fourth quarter
left out) in my bones. Most courses
that I have taught could com-


and discussion, ideas which the
inexorable erosion of the course
grinds very thin by examination
taught at the University as op-
posed to more shielded or fanciful
institutions is that whatever hap-

pens here is nationally significant
and has reverberations far beyond
the locality and the state. One
feels oneself very near to the
pulse of one of the main arteries
of modern American society. This
may be cheering or frightening,
but it can never be less than
profoundly interesting.

Department, a graduate of Oxford Uni-
versity, will complete his two-year visit to
the University this September. He is a
specialist on Victorian literature and be-
fore coming to the University taught six
years at the University of Keele in Staf-
fordshire, England. Upon returning to Eng-
land in the fall, he will teach at the Uni-
versity of Essex.

Diversified Talents,
Intriguing .Pieces
At the Union
JAZZ SCENE 1965 wound up its prograni last Sunday night with
three groups from the Michigan area-the Ron Brooks Festival
Quintet, the Detroit Contemporary Four and the George Bohanon-
Ronnie Fields Quintet.
Brooks' group, established especially for the concert, led off with
a Denny Zeitlin tune, "Repeat," followed by "Something Special,"
"Bye-Bye Blackbird" and "Just Friends." The whole group was rather
sluggish; trombonist Sherman Mitchell's solos were cluttered and
uneventful and tenorist Floyd Morrin failed to ignite any fire with
his outdated Lester Young style.
There were good moments, however-from pianist Tim Tomke.
A medical student at the University, Tomke was clean and cooking
in each of his solo outings and worked well with bassist Brooks,
who sparkled in a humorous solo on "Blackbird," complete with
accompaniment by a giggling child in the audience.
AFTER THE WORKSHOP POETS from Wayne State University
paid verbal homage to current hip heros, the Detroit Contemporary
Four, led by cornetist Charles Moore, took the stand with an explora-
tion into the "New Thing" realm of ,jazz. The group began its
selections in traditional horn lead and rhythm accompaniment style
and then turned to exciting, spontaneous improvisation, flashing an
abundance of raw talent.
But while each member of the group performed well individually,
all four rarely meshed. Drummer Danny Spencer, who was also
present for the Brooks set, displayed great speed, clarity and drive,
but he drastically overplayed.
THE BOHANON-FIELDS QUINTET capped the concert with a
dazzling display of controlled passion. Staffed by Detroit's finest
local musicians, the group-which currently can be heard on weekends
at the Village Gate-played interesting, often amazingly-intricate
arrangements, much to the delight of the crowd.
Tenor-man Fields, who works out of a Coltrane bag, played with
great drive and finesse, turning in a splendid solo on his own intriguing
original "Paramore." Bohanon played cleanly and creatively, with
a lovely round trombone sound put to beautiful use in the ballad
"Everytime We Say Good-bye."
ALL IN ALL, the afternoon was probably the most worthwhile
dollar spent by the Ann Arbor jazz listener-or anybody else for that
matter-in quite a while. The Bohanon-Fields performance was
especially rewarding, ending the jazz weekend on a high note despite
unfortunate mishaps.

Trimester and the Factory System

ACCORDING TO ONE University aca-
demic counselor, more students than
ever before have been referred to the
mental health clinic as a result of the
pressures of the trimester system.
Students and faculty alike continue to
complain, but 'no one seems to listen and
nothing seems to be happening to reme-
dy the ills which trimester is creating.
As spring begins to brighten Ann Ar-
bor, last minute papers are turned out
with little gusto or concentration. Pro-
fessors prepare their final exams with
little imagination or creativity.
Spirit is low in the University commu-
nity and temper is high. Sleep is a lux-
ury, and an occasional protest-no matter
the cause-serves as a welcome escape
from the pressures of the soon-to-end
This is not to say that students have
not been rushed at exam time before and
that the University community has been
without pressures in the past. Rather,
when academia must conform to an ef-
ficient institutionalized system, academia
itself suffers and the purpose of the Uni-
versity as an educational system is de-
An intellectual community very rarely
gives rise to an atmosphere of relaxation.
Pressures must exist. But ideally these
pressures are internal, produced by stim-
ulated and creative minds anxious for ex-
pression. When external pressures become
too great, the mind becomes overwhelm-
ed with day-to-day trivia, and intellec-
tual expression becomes sidetracked. So
it is with the trimester.
A cting Editorial Staff

When student and professor are faced
with one examination following closely
after another, the essential reasons for
organized education are negated. The
University experience becomes an un-
precedented intellectual marathon ,and,
unfortunately, only the most "physically
fit" can survive.
The University is truly a "factory" if
the minds of its students and teachers
must be sacrificed for the sake of effi-
Jazz Returns
JAZZ, NO LONGER the exclusive prov-
ince of a small coterie of musicians
and listeners, has become a part of the
American cultural scene. Last Saturday's
performance at the Sabo Club in Ann
Arbor re-emphasized that, and so does
the fact that we can hear "new" jazz
saxophonists like John Coltrane and even
Eric Dolphy on countless radio stations
every night.
When Bob James, a pianist worthy of
acclaim in almost any American city, left
Ann Arbor and the Falcon Bar, jazz
either died or went underground for
about a year. Now it is clear we'll be
hearing good sounds again and, consid-
ering audience reaction, jazz will defi-
nitely grow in Ann Arbor.
Particularly heartening about the Sa-
bo's Saturday show was that there were
many at least decent solos, and all the
musicians had room to stretch out. In
short, it was a session, not a performance,
and there is always a greater chance that
a group will start cooking at a session
than at a formal concert.

adequately and, ideally, both of
you with steak. If you subtract
beauty from one place, you don't
add it to another. An unadorned
university does not equal an
abolished slum, though slums are
often served by slummy institu-
Since a state university serves
a representative section of all its
people, it ought all the more to
constitute itself an example of
possible civilization, producing
graduates whose threshold of aes-
thetic response and so, ultimately,
of responsibility, has been height-
ened by its more intensely cul-
tivated environment.
My optimistic logic implies that,
in the very long run, more beauti-
ful universities could contribute
to more beautiful cities and a more
habitable world.
PERHAPS one is pressing here
on the nerve of a deeply buried
American belief that beauty, opu-
lence and convenience are properly
the rewards of private endeavor.
Private endeavor is man's original
estate. Public institutions proceed
from a kind of communal original
sin that begets public need.
These institutions are necessary
but deplorable and should bear
the stigma of the fall for all to
see. Hence the New York subway's
declamatory filth in a neurotically
hygenic society. Hence the feeling
that private colleges are the proper
place for ivy-clad walls and oriel
Sometimes, as with the Law
School, a rich man may choose, as
part of his reward for being rich,
to endow a public institution with
luxuries that belong properly to
the world of private enjoyment.
That is his privilege and the uni-
versity's luck.
I WILL BE TOLD, I know that
the trend is all the other way, the
public sector increasingly displac-
ing the private. This is true, and
one's fear is of living in a public
world ugly with the stigma of not
being a private world.
The Law School supports my
view. It seems to have a special
self-identity and ethos. This, I
realize, derives from something
generic to law schools. I am cer-
tain, though, that its qualities of
opulence, spaciousness and calm
color the attitudes of those who
live and work there. They seem to
breathe in a more generous and
ample atmosphere than the rest
of the University.
Tudor Gothic does not seem to
me the inevitable balm, or the
best, for what must seem the ter-
rifying anonymous world of mass
learning, mass living, mass eating
and mass sleeping into which the
freshman is hurled on arrival. So
sturdy is the Law Quad that, I
gather, modification is laborious
and costly. Modern architecture
can devise buildings at once beau-
tiful and structurally flexible.
AS A VISITOR, I am often ask-
how students in Michigan com-
pare with those in England. Dif-
ferences in underlying assumption,
phasing and structure of courses
makes comparison very difficult.
My impression is that students
work harder, cover, in a dispersed
way, more and learn, as under-
graduates, less. Perhaps the
American system pays off at the
graduate level.

To the Editor:
IT SEEMS TO ME that, for a
newspaper representing the
University community, the irre-
sponsible and in some cases wholly
unjustified implications of your
Course Evaluation Booklet strangle
the very aorta of that community.
Beneath the masthead, The Daily
proudly waves the banner of
"Seventy-Four Years of Editorial
Freedom." In almost three-quar-
ters of a century of existence, you
should have come to accept the
responsibility that freedom must
Let it be admitted at the outset
that the reader is advised that
the results of the survey do "not
necessarily (represent) the opin-
ions of all those enrolled last term
in the courses described," and
that the "sample was not scien-
tific." Also let it be admitted that
such a survey could possibly have
some beneficial results.
On the one hand, it might serve
to enlighten students as to the
nature of a course and the quality
of instruction beyond the scope
of the University Announcements.
On the other hand, it allows the
departments and the instructors
that precious objective glimpse
which, if posited and received in
a dispassionate manner and good
spirit, could be eminently impor-
tant to the necessary academic
WHAT I FOUND so reprehen-
sible about the evaluation, how-
ever, was that the implications it
promulgated distorted the results
out of all proportion and that it
violated the possible attributes for
which it was designed.
In reference to the first point,
I cite the ranked categorization of
the English teaching fellows.
English 123 is a required course,
and the teaching assignments are
designated by the vague title of
'staff'. What possible benefits are
derived from such an explicit
evaluation when students may
select neither the course nor the
instructor? Rather, such a scale
could only have a detrimental ef-
fect on the atmosphere of the
courses yet in progress this se-

tive of anything approaching an
accurate opinion.
In some cases evaluations were
made on the slim basis of three,
four or as many as five responses.
SECOND, and to my mind in-
finitely more important, is the
fact that in some cases in which
a professor was criticized for his
lecture techniques, the evaluation
made no mention of his ability in
a recitation situation or a grad-
uate seminar. Teaching is a "coat
of mingled yarn," and to criti-
cize a man for his unexciting lec-
tures (a vague phrase at best)
without looking more deeply into
his classroom procedures is ir-
responsibly to vilify his profes-
sional credentials by implication.
If such an expanded report is
to be published, I ask that you
carry through with such a task
responsibly and with a dispassion-
ate eye for the truth. What is at
stake here is not only a faculty
Who's Who (or more precisely a
What's What) but individuals who
are going to, or have given a great
part of their lives to educate US.
Please do not attack them on such
tenuous grounds.
-Michael Kaufman, Grad.
Who's Fit?
To the Editor:
IT WAS most heartening to read
of Prof. Warner Rice's "Mem-
orandum on the Restoration of
Discipline among Members of the
University" in Friday's Daily. In
these perilous and crass modern
times, when universities overem-
phasize the intellectual but neg-
lect the moral aspects of educa-
tion, only someone with the per-
spicacious insights of Prof. Rice
is fit to lead the Great Crusade
backwards to the glorious edu-
cational values of the 19th Cen-
Surely we are all disguested by
those brash faculty members who
believe themselves capable of im-
parting ideas or of stimulating
their students' intellects while ap-
pearing before their classes in in-

I have concerning Prof. Rice's
Memorandum is that it does not
go far enough! What this Uni-
versity needs is a maitre d'hotel in
every classroom, impeccably tuxe-
doed, to bar the door against any
professor immodest or indecorous
enough to appear for a lecture
other than in full formal dress,
just as the maitres d'hotel are
needed to guard the moral tone
of the better restaurants and gam-
bling casinos. (No, Dr. Einstein,
you can't teach at Michigan unless
you take off those dirty old tennis
shoes, comb your hair and wear a
pretty little tie.)
AND IS the 19th Century really
far enough back? Didn't univer-
sities first reach the peak of moral
discipline in the gymnasia of
Golden Age Greece? (Gymnasium,
from the Greek word gumnasion,
meaning "naked exercise.") Now
there was real character shaping!
--Prof. James V. McConnell
Psychology department
LBJ and the Klan
To the Editor:
seems to me, playing quite
lightly with the civil liberties of
all Americans in his recently pro-
posed actions regarding the Klan.
The guilt of the four arrested
men has not been established. The
relationship of these men to the
Klan has not been clearly de-
scribed. And the relevance of this
relationship to the crime has been
neither described or proven. The
sudden fervor with which the
President so dramatically set out
after the Klan leads me to wonder
if he might not just as suddenly
set ot after other organizations
with which I am more in sympa-
His reactions to the murder of
Mrs. Liuzzo-the assertion of guilt
by association, the direct implica-
tion of guilt without proof, the
attempt to eradicate his own con-
ception of un-Americanism by leg-
islation-utilize the very tactics
that proved so distasteful and de-
structive when used by McCarthy

fortably drop some of their ma-
terial without losing much in den-
sity and coherence.
It is obviously a good idea to
have students in residence for long
periods. The wide range in eco-
nomic background makes it im-
practical to rely on vacation read-
ing. Would it not be a good idea
idea to insert a two weeks' read-
ing period midway through the
This would enable students to
recapitulate, explore and absorb
material already delivered and
prepare towards what is to come.
Instructors could be available for
consultation. In addition, it would
give faculty an extra month for
research, which, at least for the
lower echelons, summer schools
often encroach on in the long
vacation. Ideas get suggested in
the process of class preparation

Course IBook cI rresponsible'

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