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September 16, 1978 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-16

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, September 16, 1978-Page'1

Fleming's tenure marked by fiscal
(Continued from Page 1)

(fair was organized, without- police
permission by the Ann Arbor's White
j Panther Party and the Trans Love
THE FESTIVAL began around 10
p.m. Over the next three hours the
crowd grew to more than 700. Many
were students at the University but a
considerable portion were high school
''olice detective Eugene Stadelmeier
observed the incident but did not bring
in his officers. He told the Daily that if
police were brought in, "There would
be an instant riot."
.Meanwhile, Fleming earlier that day
had told a congressional committee in
Washington that he opposed a federal
bill that would cut off federal funds to
universities for failing to file plans

Fleming was viewed as "hardline" by
students. But after standing up to
Harvey, Fleming partially regained his
"understanding" image and credibility
in student circles.
THE LAST vestige of the violent,
confrontational era was reflected by
the Black Action Movement (BAM)
strike in 1970. Once again students
staged a. sit-in at the beleaguered
Administration Building and insisted
their demands be met.
They were fighting for increased
black enrollment and funding for an
affirmative action recruitment
program. The Regents and Fleming
agreed to set a goal of 10 per cent
minority enrollment by 1974, but BAM
was not satisfied.
BAM leaders sought a commitment

Fleming was in his prime during the
anti-war years, doing what he liked best
.' .When the war and the protest wound
down and labor problems dominated on.
this campus, Fleming seemed to lose in-
terest in his job.

specifying methods they would use to
deal with campus disorders. Instead,
Fleming urged the legislation which
would make it easier for universities to
get injuctions once violence broke out.
,ON THE NIGHT of June 17, the
unauthorized block party was recon-
vened. The event drew 1,500 people this
ttme and police action was seriously
considered by the mayor.
County Sheriff Douglas Harvey, of
the bookstore strike fame, assembled
300 state, county and city police at the
northeast corner of campus and waited
for word from the mayor.
The word was given and Harvey, ar-
ed with a double barreled, sawed-off
shotgun in one hand, pistol on his belt
and a bull horn in the other hand,
moved his men across campus. The
pushed innocent bystanders into the
45 were arrested and many were in-
jured, including Harvey. The police
used clubs and tear gas to disperse the
going on, Fleming and his wife Sally
opened their S. University mansion to
the students as a refuge from the police.
Fleming then went out into the street
to confront Harvey. The sheriff wanted
no part of Fleming's peaceful ideas on
crowd control and told him - in
teportedly terse terms - to get out. But
]leming stayed in the street trying to
calm and disperse the crowd.
- The next day Fleming told a group of
about 1,000 people on the Diag that
another night of confrontation on S.
University would serve no purpose.
BUT AGAIN that night, students
amasssed on the street and 30 more
were arrested. The next night went
without incident.
Here again, as always during the first
few years of his career as University
president, Fleming was the mediator.
He worked both sides of the conflict in
an effort to keep the lid on the
University tensions.
.But to either side he often appeared to
be the opposition. To Harvey he was a
"softie liberal." In the bookstore strike,

to that figure rather than just a promise
to strive for it. Fleming responded:
"I HAVE long expressed my personal
view that racial discrimination
constitutes one of the most serious
problems in our society, and that every
individual and institution must do its
part toward solving the problem. When
the Regents established a 10 per cent
black enrollment goal for 1973-74, I
accept that as a directive, and I shall do
everything in my power to achieve it."
He also said that the Regents "are
concerned about funds to meet that
goal. They did not want to promise
something which they night not be able
to deliver."
Still unsatisfied, BAM participants
staged a class boycott, which at its
height was supported by more than 50
per cent of LSA students.
AFTER 1972, campus activism
dwindled rapidly. One reason was that
the Vietnam War was finally ending,
but this alone did not account for the
change in attitude on campus.
Fleming attributes the change to a
growing conservatism on the part of
students. He explains that the students
of the early seventies were living at
home while their brothers and sisters
were protesting at college in the sixties
and that the younger students were
greatly influenced by their parents'
adverse reaction to the behavior of
their older siblings.
Thus, Fleming argues, by the time
these students came to college - in
1972-73 - they had a different set of
values than their immediate
predecessors. Their parents'
conservatism had rubbed off on them to
the point of turning them away from
BUT WHATEVER the reason,.
student attitudes did change. There
have been no political protests of the
magnitude of those in 1968-69 in the past
six years on this campus. Student
concern for the problems of the world
has been largely replaced by pragmatic
self-interest, and this has kept the
campus relatively quiet politically.
This has permitted Fleming to shift
his emphasis from dealing with the
students to fiscal management of the
University. In the sixties, he was known
for his attempts to relate to students,
but in recent years, he has been much
less public.
Most studentson campus know him
only as a signature on letters informing
them of a tuition increase.

FLEMING HAS done little to change
his new low key image. While he has not
shut himself off from students as his
predecessor did, neither has he made a
serious attempt to openly confront
students as he once did. If his role in the
sixties was as an activist president,
then his role in the seventies has been
as a managerial president.
The key problem facing him has been
maintaining the University's academic
standards and reputation in the face of
inadequate funding support from the
state. This has forced Fleming into a
policy of austerity that has produced
two major problems: student
complaints over ever-increasing tuition
and dorm rates, and an ongoing conflict
with campus unions concerning wages.
THE UNIVERSITY'S relationship
with campus unions has not been good
under Fleming's leadership. This is
important if only because it has been
the only campus issue to span the last
four years.
During this period there have been
two strikes-by the Graduate Em-
ployees Organization in 1975, and by the
American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
in 1976-and the University has
established itself as being tough on
labor during this time. Fleming has
been/ charged with breaking one union,
that of the clerical workers, and crip-
pling both GEO and AFSCME.
The GEO strike occurred in
February, 1975, and lasted for a month.
The union obtained agency shop, a
clause which guarantees a union's fun-
ding, and thereby its existence. Other
than that, its gains were modest.
Nonetheless, the students were for the
most part satisfied. '
ONE MAJOR POINT about the strike
was that it marked the first time
Fleming had really been pitted against
the students. Throughout the sixties he
was considered to be on the students'
side, the 1970 BAM strike notwithstan-
In fact, FBI Director J. Edgar
Hoover said in 1968 that Fleming would
have to be watched because he was
"soft" on students. Later in the seven-
ties he would again clash with students
on CIA campus recruitment, and South
African divestiture, to give two exam-
BUT PERHAPS the most important
aspect of the strike was that it
foreshadowed the University's and
Fleming's future intractibility in
dealing with campus unions.
Although the University did not give
ground easily in this first strike, its
position was to become even more
stringent. Fleming's background as a
labor negotiator makes it likely that the
University's stand in dealing with
unions was a direct reflection of his own
IN AUGUST of 1976, University
clericals voted to decertify their union,
ostensibly because of inter-union
bickering and factionalism. Many
unionists, however, claim the Univer-

sity effectively broke the union because
of its hardline policies at the bargaining
table, which made union leaders look
Immediately after the decertification
vote, the University gave the clericals
an across-the-board five percent wage
hike-something the union negotiators
had been unable to garner for their
former members: This further
denegrated union leaders'in the mem-
bership's eye.
These policies continued during the
AFSCME strike the following winter.,
AFSCME workers at the University
were then the second lowest paid
AFSCME workers at any university or
college in the state, even though student
dorm fees here are among the most


Thus, in a three-year span under
Fleming, one campus union has been
decertified, another hasn't had, a
contract for two years - and may be
dissolved if the University has its way
- and the third recently suffered a
completely disheartening defeat when
it tried to strike. Fleming and the
University had established themselves
as being tough with unions. .
Since the BAM strike of 1970,
affirmative action has been a chief
Fleming nemesis. Minority student
groups annually attack his failure to
achieve the 10 per cent black
enrollment goal set in 1970.
IN FACT, with black enrollment
currently at 6.9 per cent, the 10 per cent
figure is nearly as distant as it was in
1970. In addition, observers have

By the

time the AFSCME


over, Fleming had earned something of a
reputation for being anti-union, and the
University's' handling of the GEO negotia-
tions of 1976-77 fueled those claims.

IN ADDITION; the University agrded
to set a goal of 10 per cent black
enrollment by 1975, and although this
objective has never been realized, the
University still considers that figure to
be the goal. '
TOMORROW: South Africa and the
U-M Travel
Bowling Team
Tryouts for Women
& Men
Sun., Sept. 17 & 24

that o
all bi
of qu
for m
the mn

AFSCME SOUGHT a 15 per cent pay
increase over three years, but the
University offered only five per cent
over two years. The union struck for 23
days, but Fleming and the University
held firm and broke the strike.
Fleming supported the use of non-
union labor, mostly supplied by
students, to perform the tasks of the
striking AFSCME workers. By this
point, Fleming had earned something
of a reputation for being anti-union, and
the University's handling of the GEO
negotiations of 1976-77 fueled these
GEO had a large list of demands,
including limits on class size, the
establishment of a teaching assistant
training program, , and - better
affirmative action goals for hiring
teaching assistants.
GEO ALSO sought a 10 per cent pay
hike plus free tuition. From the outset,
the University made its position clear
- a five per cent wage hike and nothing
else. The University bargainers
dismissed most GEO demands as "not
belonging in a labor contract" and said
the University simply could not afford
any more than fiye per cent.
Because the University decided to
challenge the teaching assistants'
status as employees, and therefore
GEO's status as a union, the Michigan
Employment Relations Commission
(MERC) is currently trying to settle the
differences between the two sides.
But even if the University and
Fleming fail in their attempt to dissolve
the union, they have indicated their
bargaining position will remain the

expressed concern over the paucity of
women and minorities in positions of
University leadership.
Only one executive University
official is a minority member, Vice-
President for Student Services Henry

son, who is black. The higbtes
ing woman Univers~t
nistrator is Assistant Gradugt-e
ol Dean Nellie Varner.
r the most part, Fleming "has
hered the protests. He points''ut
our "peer institutions" - Harvard,
Stanford, Princeton, etc. - are
dding against us for a limite
ualified minority student;:
nistrative applicants.
also claims that contrary. ,t
lar opinion, he has fulfilled the
ises made to BAM in 1970. Tlfe
ersity agreed to provide funding
ninority student recruitment, aid
noney was produced by 1973. .

theb 1 Ut-Obi! 3 at-IkV

Sept. 19
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