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September 15, 1978 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-15

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'age 8--Friday, September 15, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Fleming bucks protest years; ati

(Continued from Page 1)
the Michigan post, and even stalled on
an offer from the University of Min-
nesota to await a decision here.
His interest in the University
presidency was more of a factor than
one might expect. At the time, several
qualified persons including at least two
of the five finalists for the position, ex-
pressed little or no desire for the past.
WITH FLEMING at the helm,
several changes from the Hatcher
tenure were immediately apparent. He
made himself available to students, and
encouraged them to express their
views. In fact, he even sided with the
student protestors on several key
issues, most notably his anti-war stance
and his approval of the concept of a non-
voting student Regent. His first year
passed with little incident, and Regen-
ts, faculty and students alike seemed
pleased with Fleming's performance.
All sides felt they could communicate
with him, and his expertise in labor
negotiations made him the perfect
mediator between the University and
the students. But by fall 1968 the
'til 1 A.M.
" Billiards * Pinball
* Bowling
at the

campus was restless and dissatisfied,
and it was then that Fleming faced his
first real test. ,
ON SEPTEMBER 6, an Aid to
Dependent Children (ADC) sit-in of 900
students on the Diag resulted in the
arrest of 52, welfare mothers and a
number of students. Fleming
authorized the use of the University's
bail fund and effected the release of 22
University students from Washtenaw
County Jail.
This use of University funds to free
protesters must have shocked students
who had been used to the methods of
Fleming's conservative predecessor.
The timing of Fleming's action is
particularly significant since the
summer of 1968 had been a particularly
violent one on college campuses,, most
notably Berkeley and Columbia. Few
university presidents were even openly
sympathetic to students much less as
supportive as Fleming.
ALTHOUGH the first Vietnam teach-
in on this campus was held in 1965, the
first significant and violent protest did
not occur until the fall of 1969. When
students returned to campus in
September of that year, protests over
the Reserve Officer Training Corps
(ROTC) on campus were organized.
In light of the violent 1968 campus
disruptions across the nation, there was
a general feeling among establishment
leaders that this was a time to get tough
with protesters. Violence on college
campuses was considered the work of
"effete political snobs," by then-Vice-
President Spiro Agnew.
In the first weeks of September, a
group of anti-ROTC students
systematically disrupted ROTC classes

THURSDAY, September 21 -8 PM
Pease Auditorium, Eastern Michigan University

by walking in and engaging students
and instructors in debate about the
Vietnam War. As the protest grew in
intensity, Fleming reacted with less
and less empathy.
WITHIN FIVE days in the second
week of September Fleming had:
" Suggested faculty members who
strike against the Vietnam War may be
disciplined and denied a day's pay;
" Told Student Government Council
(the forerunner of Michigan Student
Assembly) it had better forget plans to
disrupt the forthcoming Regents'
" Made it clear that he, and not his
search committee, would make the
final choice of the new vice-president
for student affairs;
" And warned ROTC protesters they
would be prosecuted in the courts as
well as slapped with University
Fleming's style had definitely
changed from soft-spoken quiet
persuasion to hard line "Don't give an
inch." But why? The year before, while
anti-war protesters clashed with
college administrators and police, Ann
Arbor was a place of remarkable calm
- unusual considering this University
fostered some of the most radical
Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS) members.
For his first two years at the
University Fleming had built a national
reputation as a mild mediator. The
Daily reported at that time that sources
close to the president said he felt that he
had finally solidified a power base and
built a firm campus, state and national
reputation. No longer a weak, new,
cautious president under close public
scrutiny, Fleming felt he could afford to
battle campus demonstrators out in the
open - and win.
At the same time that anti-ROTC
students were organizing their protests,
another more important conflict was
coming to a head.. One of the early
demands of the SDS had been for a
University-operated bookstore.
Students wanted the 'Regents to
establish a bookstore which Would sell
books and supplies at cost - or at least
at a much lower rate than Ulrich's or
Follett's received.
ANN ARBORt bookstores had lobbied
hard against the student-sponsored
project and had for years convinced the
Regents to vote it down. But by 1969 this
University was one of the last
remaining colleges in the country not to
have at least some sort of bookstore for
students and faculty.
On September 19, 1969, more than 700"
students amassed on the Diag to show
their support for a student bookstore.
The students then marched to the
Administration Building and disrupted
the monthly Regents' meeting in
Nearly 200 students jammed the
miniscule Regents' Room and voiced
their demand for a student-managed
bookstore. The Regents had finally
approved a bookstore but it was to be
managed by the University's chief
financial officer Wilbur Pierpont.
Be in the chorus of magnificent musical
Johann Strauss'
No experience necessary-just desire.
Join us at a meeting Wed., Sept. 20,
7:30 pm at the Conference Room of the
New Fire Station, corner Huron and
For further info: 665-6074

(Interesting to note on that day:
Fleming spoke out against the Vietnam
War - that night on the same stage
with Rennie Davis, and SDS founder
and one of the "Chicago Seven" before
a crowd of 5,000 at Hill Auditorium.)
Just five days later during a
nighttime rally, about 60 students
occupied the ROTC building while more
than 2,000 protesters amassed outside
North Hall to lend more support. As the
night wore on, the supporters outside
dwindled and 200 deputies from four
counties moved in with Ann Arbor
police and arrested the demonstrators.
OVER THE next few days there were
additional anti-ROTC protests and sit-
ins and bookstore protests. But on
September 25, the wave building for
nearly a month on campus finally hit a
concrete wall. Six hundred students
occupied the LSA Building in the
By 2 a.m. the next day, a few more
than 100 remained to keep an all-night
vigil, despite a court injunction
ordering the students to leave. The
students demanded to meet with the
Regents with 24 hours to discuss the
terms of the just-approved student
bookstore management. -Nearly 1,000
students remained outside the building
in support of those inside.
Meanwhile, Washtenaw County
Sheriff Douglas Harvey had said he
amassed a force of more than 10Q
deputies to handle the disturbance. But
Fleming first tried to deal with the
Harvey took a dim view of Fleming's
moves and began withdrawing his men.
"I have had it with that type of
appeasement. If they want police
action, all they have to do is ask for it,"
said Harvey. "I'm not standing by all
night with 100 men, most of them on
overtime, while Fleming plays footsie
with some radicals."
In the most dramatic and often
criticized move of his career at the
University, Fleming loosed the leash on
Harvey and requested him to clear the
building. One-hundred-and-seven
students were arrested and at least
seven were injured by the police:
Charges of police brutality were ram,
Fleming later said it was the whole
series of protests on campus which in-
fluenced his decision.
He said the students' decision to
ignore the injuction forced him to make
"the agonizing decision" to call in the
police. He said he made very effort to
persuade police not to use excessive
force but added that he had "no-
authority over the police."
BUT FLEMING was under pressure
from all quarters-Regents, other ad-
ministrators, faculy, city and state of-,
ficials-to be firm with the demo-
strators. On the night of the "Bookstore
Strike" Fleming conferred with Ann.
Arbor Mayor Robert Harris and
Governor William Milliken before
calling in Sheriff Harvey.
The bookstore strike set the mood for
all further student relations with
Fleming and the Regents throughout
the anti-war years. Put while the
students learned something about
Fleming, the president learned much
about the destructive effect police force
could have on the University com-
The next time Fleming confronted
Sheriff Harvey, the president was on
the students' side.
TOMORROW: The South University
riots and the seventies.
In the United States, more than 50
million acres of land are irrigated,
many of them with water pumped from"

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Suda.49rinoo ilton
Disco Light Show 3 pm Till
Ten Reasons to Party on Sunday at 3 p.m.
1. If you're still going strong from Saturday evening and want to
test your endurance.
2. If you over partied on Friday and missed Saturday entirely.


If you feel like going out on Sunday and still want to see

TI-57 Programmable
If you buy a calculator from Ulrich's and within two weeks
find the same unit advertised at a lower price, ULRICH'S will
,refund the difference in price if competition has the unit in

4. If your weekend went down the drain and you want one more
5. If you dislike seeing people have a good time and insist on
irritating yourself.
6. If you had to work on Saturday evening and feel left out.
7. If you are over 18 and are worried about the drinking age
going up.
8. If your social routine is booked solid and the only opening you
have is 3 pm Sunday.

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