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September 11, 1962 - Image 78

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The Michigan Daily, 1962-09-11
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Michigan Education

FIGHTING FEMALES: A History of Women's

MICHIGAN is perhaps unique among
the states when it comes to educa-
tion. History will show that no state has
fought so hard to establish and retain
a really independent system of higher
education, yet no state has been so ma-
ligned for its efforts.
The arrangment is simple, and it has
been this way for over a century. The
University is governed by the Regents, a
body of eight men and women selected
for staggered terms by the voters. The
Regents are responsible only to the voters,
and they are charged with the control
and the operation of the University.
To this extent, the University may
function as though it were a private insti-
tution. It is not shackled by the problems
of sister institutions, nor the pressures of
state agencies. It may spend its funds as
it sees fit, present whatever curricula it
deems proper, enroll or not enroll appli-
cants as it sees fit.
The result, of course, has been the
establishement of one of the greatest
state-supported universities in the history
of this nation. It has set high standards
and retained them. In the words of Life
Magazine, "Michigan takes only the best
students from within the state, and out-
of-state applicants might just aseasily
apply to any of the ivy league colleges."
It is that hard to get in.
HE UNIVERSITY in fact is indepen-
dent in every way but one-finan-
cially. It currently relies on the Legisla-
ture to provide one-third of its operating
funds (which total more than $100 mil-
lion annually), plus the greater partof
any capital outlay funds.
For many years, the State of Michigan
was run by the Republicans, and during
those years money flowed from Lansing
to Ann Arbor like a pipeline from the
mint. "We'll need this much money," the
University would say. "Take more," the
Legislature would reply. And a great Uni-
versity thrived.
But the political complexion of Michi-
gan changed - dramatically - in 1948.
A political novice, G. Mennen Williams,
capitalized on a split in the Republican
ranks and upset unpopular GOP Gov.
Kim Sigler. For 12 years, Williams re-
mained in office, and he spent his time
in a running battle with the Republican
Legislature. Williams had many spending
programs he was determined to launch,
but the lawmakers would not give him
the money. So he drew upon the $100 mil-
lion surplus he had inherited from Sigler.
The statehouse and the lawmakers
battled to draw until 1959. By now Wil-
liams had run through as much of the
surplus as he could lay his hands on, and
he demanded the permission to cash in
the $45 million Veterans' Trust Fund.
This blew off the cork. Williams traded
barbs with Speaker of the House Don R.
Pears (R-Buchanan) and the session
dragged on from January until Thanks-
MEANWHILE the state coffers were
bare; the state was unable to meet
its payrolls. Michigan was held up to the
nation as a state in bankruptcy. Williams

The Legislature Provides Funds;
Regents Oversee All Operations

blamed the Legislature, and Pears blamed
the statehouse. The $45 million Trust
Fund was sold for under $40 million, Re-
publican antipathy toward Williams
turned into hate, and the University's fi-
nancial pipeline dried up, caught in the
political hassle on Capitol Hill in Lansing.
However, the election of 1960 marked
a change. Williams did not run. His
lieutenant governor John B. Swainson
edged out Republican Paul D. Bagwell by
a narrow margin, and for the'next two
years he was bullied by the Legislature,
fanatically happy at finding a governor
they could handle.
Republicans rammed through austerity
budgets in 1961 and 1962. They pared ex-
penses wherever they dared. Speaker
Pears tangled constantly with Swainson
on inefficiency in state agencies. But the
adversaries were no longer Democrats
versus Republicans. It had become instate
versus outstate. In other words, the De-
troit area (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb,
Genesee, and Monroe counties) were pit-
ted against the rest of the tsate (78 coun-
ties). The opposition cut across party
lines and became more bitter than ever
Democrats attempted to push through
a statewide income tax. They enlisted
support from a few outstate lawmakers
who were concerned about the state's
financial situation and who believed an
income tax was the necessary solution.
The groundswell against it was terrific.
The battlefield was the Senate. Outstate
Republicans defeated it, but the Senate
would never be the same. Hatreds were
formed that would never die, and prom-
ising political careers were crushed.
BUT WHEN the smoke cleared, the situ-
ation was apparent. Outstate residents
were determined to call a halt to further
taxation. They made one point clear:
They were tired of supporting the city of
Detroit. If Detroit wanted more money,
it could just foot its own bill.
Republicans in the Legislature general-
ly agreed with the people in this matter.
Democrats, with the exception of a few
from the Upper Peninsula, opposed it.
And unfortunately some of the most vit-
riolic attacks on the Legislature during
this period came from the state's univer-
sities. It was not their administrations,
but from well-meaning but politically in-
ept professors. These educators did not
hesitate to single out certain legislators
and criticize them violently. And anxious
to preserve freedom of speech, the uni-
versities did not stop their professors in
the tirade.
However, the Legislature, harassed
from many angles, did not take too kindly
to this type of treatment. Anxious to di-

vert attention from the fact that the
money was not as plentiful as before, the
Legislature launched inquiries into such
matters as tuition rates, out-of-state stu-
dents, socialistic curricula, and Commun-
ist professors.
And needless to say, they didn't run
onto barren ground, for within the uni-
versities there were, and still are, vocif-
erous left-wingers, many out-of-state stu-
dents, and a ridiculously low tuition rate,
compared to private schools of like
NATURALLY, the lawmakers viewed
this matter with alarm. Bills were in-
troduced to curb the socialists, riders were
attached to limit out-of-state students,
deals were demanded to raise tuitions.
But still the misguided few in the uni-
versity communities continued to attack
the Legislature. Their respective adminis-
trations probably wished that murder
were legal, but for all the fury, nothing
came of it - until last June.
At last, Sen. Lynn O. Francis (R-Mid-
land), who had been investigating the
allegedly pro-Labor operation at Michi-
gan State University, the Labor-Manage-
ment Relations Center - brainchild of
MSU Trustee Don Stevens, an AFL-CIO
aide, was successful in tacking on a rider
to MSU's appropriation closing down the
The trustees protested that the consti-
tution forbid the Legislature to interfere.
All the lawmakers had to do was fork over
the money and then keep still, the trus-
tees asserted.
But the Legislature had had enough,
and the rider stuck. If MSU does not cut
the center from its operations it will face
reprisals next year, probably in the form
of a budget reduction.
THE VALIDITY of this rider has yet
to be tested in court, but there seems
to be little doubt that the lawmakers
could make good their threat. They have
the power to appropriate or not as they
see fit. And too fresh in everyone's mind
is the budget cut that Wayne State Uni-
versity received when it defied Sen. Elmer
R. Porter's (R-Blissfield) plea to reinstate
a ban on Communist speakers.
So the question arises of just how con-
stitutionally independent is the Univer-
sity? In reality, it can be brought to its
knees, at the financial mercy of the Legis-
lature. Is this the intent of the constitu-
tion - that the Legislature shall crack
the whip if it sees fit?
It would seem so.
But in all probability the framers of the
constitution had in mind a little matter
of compromise. They undoubtedly gave
the Legislature credit for havirig some re-

Dome on the state Capitol

straint and respect for the importance
of independent University.
And by the same token, they probably
gave the Regents credit for having an
open mind, attuned to the opinions of the
lawmakers, who after all are servants of
the people, just as the Regents are..'
BUT THE framers of the constitution
are not around any longer, so we can
only speculate on their thoughts. And this
doesn't solve the issue. However, it is not
a problem'that will disappear if ignored.
The University, you see, may do as it
pleases, but it finds itself doing so with-
out the benefit of state money. The Legis-
lature is quite within its rights to with-
hold funds whenever and wherever it
sees fit.
Yet the problem is more basic than
this. The University, in the final account-
ing, belongs to the people of the State of
Michigan, and they alone have the final
say over what it may or may not do. If
the people of Michigan express a wish
regarding the University, that word is
law, regardless of what all the professors
or administrators may want. This is the
one inescapable fact which the Regents
and the Legislature both must bear- in
The Legislature is duty bound to serve
its constituents and vote against addi-
tional taxation, if that is the wish of the
people, no matter how badly the state
might need it. After all, it is their state,
and if that's the way they want, that's
the way they should have it.
So it is with the University. If the
people want the MSU Labor-Management
Relations Center closed, then close it
must, no matter how badly Trustee Ste-
vens may want to keep it open.
WHEN A CONFLICT arises between the
Legislature and the Regents then,
it is in reality simply a disagreement over
what the people really want, since each
body represents the people.
The people of the State of Michigan are
forgotten however, and it is largely their
own fault. They have allowed their gov-
ernment to fall into the, hands of those
few who are interested in controlling it.
And just as they let it escape them, so
they must retrieve it. They-must make it
clear where they stand on tuition - do
they want it high or low? They must
make it clear where. they stand on out-
of-state students - do they want them
limited or not?
This conflict between Lansing and Ann
Arbor is sure to continue until the people
assert themselves. How they will do it
presents a problem, but it is clearly up
to them to do so, and they'd better get
busy - busy taking an interest in their
government again, before they have no
government left to take an interest in
any more..
Michael Harrah, Daily city edi-
tor, is a senior and has been active
in campaigning for various can-
didates for state offices.

IN THE EARLY years of the nineteenth
century the image of the average wo-
man was not one of a particularly well-
,read, well-educated or active person. In
fact there -existed a strong feeling that
the woman's place was in the home, not
in the world, not in school.
And when the University was estab-
lished it reflected this philosophy, for no
plans for female existence, at, much less
admission to, the University were seri-
ously considered.
In 1837, twenty years after the Univer-
sity's founding, the Organic Act, which
set up University organization. along
roughly the same lines as today, was ap-
proved. Under the Act, college education
for women was provided for. It was met
with open hostility from even the most
meek of administrators, instructors, and
MOST OF the Regents opposed any
plan for female attendance at the
University for fear of "ruination of the
University's character and ruin of our
women." President Henry Tappan felt
that a general breakdown of morals of
all students would result because "the
nature of women is incompatible with
college." Leaders in education whom
President Tappan consulted for an ap-
praisal of the possible effects of co-edu-
cation could portend only disaster and
a loss of reputation by the University if
men and women were allowed to attend
classes together.
Under the Influence of President Tap-
pan and under pressure from the Re-
gents, the University remained for 40
years a safe island of bachelorhood in
the state of Michigan.
But, in 1867 the state Legislature, even
then concerned over the good name of
the University, passed a resolution de-
claring that the goals of the University
would never be achieved unless women
were admitted to all its "rights and priv-
THREE YEARS later - for the pro-
posal met vigorous resistance from
President Haven - the Regents adopted
a resolution providing that the Univer-
sity "recognize the right of every resi-
dent of Michigan to the enjoyment of the
privilege afforded by the University, and
that no rules exist in any of the statutes
for the exclusion of any person from the
University who possess the requisite lit-
erary and moral qualifications."
Shortly after the Regent's proposal was
accepted, Madelon Stockwell became the
first woman to beadmitted to the Uni-
versity. And she and the 150-dd women
admitted during the following five years
proved that the fears regarding "moral
decay" and the charges that women had
little interest in academics were ground-
However, outside the admissions office
and outside the classroom there were
naturally barriers which could not be
broken down.
STUDENT activities of the 1870's and
1880's were practically non-existent.
There was little attempt at student
publications: student papers were at best
issued weekly or bi-weekly - these sel-
dom continued publication more than two
or three years. There were also sporadic
attempts to turn out humor magazines
or chronicles of public opinion and social
change, but these met with minor suc-
cess, if any.
There were also debating societies and
religious societies and literary societies
and preventative societies which led
brief and singulrly dim lives.
Inter-collegiate sporting events did
take place - the University had fine
cricket, baseball and football teams, al-
though, with the possible exception of
cricket, a considerably lesser number of
students were concerned about sports
than are today.
NOW THERE were very few of these ac-
tivities in which women could take
part. They were barred from the vast

majority. They were not kept out by ad-
ministrators, but by male students who
if they weren't able to maintain their
dominance in the classroom, decided to
remain lords of the activities (what there

Faculty wives pushed to have women admitted.

were of them) in the easiest way possible:
by denying women the right to partici-
Women were kept out of debating socie-
ties .and clubs; they were allowed neither
baseball bat nor cricket wicket; they were
afforded no freedom of the press; in fact,
they were not allowed to be in any group,
save a few religious organizations and an
occasional literary society.
The women became very bored indeed.
And you know what women do when
they become bored. They organize.
THERE HAD been a small amount of
organization among women shortly
after' they were first granted admission:
several sororities established chapters on
campus. Although the move was ridiculed
by the majority of men - they claimed
the sorority women were merely attempt-
ing to imitate men's fraternities - and
opposed by the bulk of female students
who feared it might make co-education
more difficult, the number of sororities
steadily increased.
However, at the same time the number
of women attending the University had
increased markedly and the seven soror-
ities could take .very few of the women
students as members. This meant that
there were a good many independent wo-
men, -and a certain rift was forming
which separated the affiliates and non-
sorority women.
Aware of the need both to unify cam-
pus females and to offer some activity for
their unused energy, several student lead-
ers and faculty members met to discuss
the possible formation of an association
of campus women.,
SHORTLY after the first meetings a
committee was organized to draft a
constitution for a "society which would
unite all college girls irrespective of de-
partment, class, or fraternity . . ." Early
in October, 1890, a final planning sessior+
was held and it was determined that the
organization would be named "Women's
League of the U. of M."
When the League was established, it
was intended primarily "as the organiza-
tion to meet the needs of unaffiliated wo-
men on campus for social activity." Pos-
sibly if the League had become only a.
social organization, offering women little
tea parties and a chance to write original
skits and work on committees, no prob-
lem would have developed.
But, in addition to making the League
a social activity, the framers of its con-
stitution decided that a form of women's
government, was also necessary, and
wrote themselves the power to create
that government. The League ladies also
established a minor committee "to settle
cases of discipline." It was the forerunner
of Women's Judiciary.
The problem which ensued from the
seemingly harmless - creation of the
, League and its constitution in 1890 was
that other groups - in particular As,
sembly Association and Panhellenic As-
sociation - were later established as wo-

men's governing bodies, and that each
carried with it its own form of disciplin-
ary set-up. The overlap of powers and
responsibilities between the groups re-
sulted in a huge knot of women's organ-
NATURALLY at the time the League
was established neither Panhellenic
nor Assembly existed.
There was little to unify independent
women - there were no University dor-
mitories at the time and women either
lived in sorority or rooming houses. The
latter were generally small and expensive,
and although some effort was made to
clear up the situation no action was tak-
en until shortly before the First World
However, once affiliated women began
buying their own houses (until 1900 they
rented buildings) the traditionally na-
tionalistic attitude which has since typi-
fied Panhel sprang up. Although sorority
girls joined the League, they weren't ter-
ribly satisfied with its service to their
needs and in 1903 formed the Inter-
Sorority Association, "binding for all wo-
men in fraternities."
This association was established most-
ly to set down definite rules on women's
rush, but also established certain "priv-
ileges" to which sororities were entitled.
Slowly the organization of Panhellenic
evolved, and with it laws and a judiciary
system not included in the League con-
stitution was established.
BY 1909 IT had become fairly clear that
rooming houses and sorority houses
weren't adequate for University women,
of the League, was begun to the estab-
lishment of residence halls. A drive to ob-
tain funds was started and the League
hired a financial secretary to travel across
the country and promote alumnae sup-
port for the idea of dormitories. Because
of these efforts, Helen Newberry Resi-
dence, Martha Cook, Betsy Barbour House
and several smaller dormitories were
opened by 1920.
During this time Panhellenic had been
growing in size: it was the era of sorority
living and idealization of the "Greek"
woman. And Panhellenic had become in-
creasingly important on campus. As it
did, the League lost a good deal of its
In 1932 members of the League con-
cerned that "women who are not affili-
ated with sororities have not heretofore
received fair rapresentation, or been giv-
en adequate chance to participate in ex-
tra-curricular activities" looked into the
possibilities of establishing an organiza-
tion for them corresponding somewhat
to Panhellenic.
DURING the Second World War men's
student government pretty much col-
lapsed, as did the majority of activities
populated principally by males. Women
took over publications and the non-mili-
tary war effort and attempted to set up
a broader form of student government.

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The Board of Regents take off cial action on University matters.


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