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February 18, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-18

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Page 4-Sunday, February 18, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Regents bow down to 'U' administration

Last in a series
The real role of the Regents
The Board of Regents, is the official
decison-making body of the University.
Their most visible role is to hold mon-
thly meetings, which are open to the
public except when a strong legal case
for privacy can be made. Most of their
official business is conducted at these
meetings which are attended regularly
by all of the executive officers and oc-
casionally by other members of the
University community.
The agenda for these meetings is
prepared by the executive officers,
although individual Regents , oc-
casionally exercise their right to raise
an issue; the University president ser-
ves as chair (without a vote) at each
ieeting. About a week in advance,
edch Regent receives a huge file of
reports and documents that relate to
the agenda of the upcoming meeting. At
the meeting itself, various announ-
cements and reports are officially en-
tered into the record and decisions
requiring formal approval by vote of
thie Regents are discussed and voted
MOST OF THE issues requiring a
vote are presented to the Regents in the
form of a recommendation by the
executive officers with the responsible
vice-president representing the ad-
ministration's position and answering
any questions from the Regents. Other
members of the University community
may speak on an issue (by advance
arrangement with the secretary), and
there is also some time devoted to
"public comments" during which
people can address the Regents on any
subject relating to the University.
We studied the record of Regents
meetings since 1970 to determine how
often there was any open conflict bet-
ween the Board and the administration.
We found that the overwhelming
majority of recommendations by the
executive officers were approved exac-
tly as recommended, or with only very
minor modifications by a majority (of-
ten unanimous) of the Regents voting.
In fact, we found only three instances in
which the Regents actually rejected the
administration's recommendation. In
420 Mayn
SEigli -Nine
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 117
Edited and managed h

one.case, the Regents insisted on stric-
ter regulations governing the use of
funds by the Student Government
Council. In the other two, the Regents
voted to rebate to students an unan-
ticipated $3.75 million surplus of tuition
revenues and rejected an increase of 3
per cent in housing rates.
ONE INSTANCE of temporary con-
flict between the Regents and the ad-
ministration involved not an official
vote but a confidential personnel
recommendation which was leaked to
the press and subsequently received a
lot of publicity. In January, 1975, a
majority of Regents selected Dr. Jewel
Cobb, a black woman from Connecticut
College, as their first choice among
three candidates presented to them for
the deanship of LSA, although it was
apparent that some of the executive of-
ficers favored another candidate,
Professor Billy Frye of the University
,Zoology Department who had been ser-
ving as acting dean. When it turned out
that the relevant Department in the
college (ironically, zoology) would not
grant Dr. Cobb ,tenure, the Regents
agreed with the executive officers that
the position should go to Professor
The lack of open conflicts between the
Regents and the administration does
not necessarily mean that the executive
officers can operate completely in-
dependent of the Regents. The ad-
ministrators and Regents that we in-
terviewed all emphasized that the
Regents' real influence surfaces in the
informal meetings and contacts that
take place around or between the for-
mal Regents meetings. The executive
officers are then able to find out where
the Regents stand on most issues, what
actions they are likely to approve or
reject, and how far they can be pushed
in a certain direction. Indeed, the ad-
ministration tries to put its recommen-
dations in such a way that they will
receive strong Regental consent.
THERE ARE a number of inherent
limitations on the power of the Regents.
In the first place, the Regents are paid
only for their expenses by the Univer-
sity and they all have other jobs that
require their primary attention. Rarely
can any one of them spend as much as

onethird of their time on University af-
fairs, including whatever reading and
information-gathering they do as well
as their attendance at formal Univer-
sity meetings and functions. The
executive officers, on the other hand,
are full-time employees with large ad-
minsitrative staffs to rely on for infor-
mation and analysis. Thus they are
inevitably far better informed on all of
the issues that arise for decision-
Sometimes the Regents' attention is
drawn first by other groups on campus
who may disagree with an ad-
ministration stance. But here too the
executive officers have the greatest

president-has the final say and
ultimate responsibility. They meet very
frequently during the course of their
work and, perhaps most importantly,
their jobs as top-level administrators in
a University setting seem likely to
generate among them similar attitudes
about how the school should be run.
A third significant factor that works
to the advantage of the executive of-
ficers in any potential conflict situation
with the Regents is that the Board is
generally reluctant to confront and an-
tagonize the executive officers because
they depend so extensively on their
managerial and administrative
abilities. Two Regents we interviewed

"Rarely can any of the Regents spend
as much as one-third of their time on
University affairs, including whatever
reading and information-gathering they
do as well as their attendance at formal
University meetings and functions."

the administration. During the BAM
strike and the other two conflict
situations we studied in depth, the con-
cerned parties did present their case
against the administration directly to
the Regents, both publicly and
privately. Our research suggests that
such a strategy can be effective only if
the aggrieved people can demonstrate
widespread support for their position
among those members of the Univer-
sity community who are most affected
by the issue. The Board of Regents as a
whole is otherwise unlikely to exert its
power against the administration, even
though individual Regents might offer
sympathy and rather ineffective sup-
port for particular groups in opposition.
The Regents' actual power is much
less than might be inferred from their
formal position of authority over the
University. Most of the powerful cards
are held by the executive officers,
and-especially if they are skillftully
played-they are usually decisive in the
relatively infrequent cases of potential
conflict between the Regents and the
Students certainly have good reasons
to be angry about their role in the
University decision-making process.
The executive officers effectively rule
the University, with important inputs
coming from the Board of Regents and
the faculty, but not'students.
The Regents' actual power is much
less than is widely believed, for they
have neither the time nor the infor-
mation to develop positions indepen-
dent of the executive officers, and they.
are sometimes divided among them-
selves. Moreover, they are generally
reluctant to oppose the administration
lest they endanger the "good working
relationship" they cherish.
Still, the executive.officers cannot
push policies that are sharply at odds
with the Regents, especially if the
Regents feel there is public support for
their position. Confrontations are
usually avoided because the ad-
ministration sounds out Regents'
opinions as policies are being for-
The faculty has considerable power
to influence basic priority decisions

because they perform the two main
functions of the University-research
and instruction. Faculty members are
represented on various advisory com-
mittees. More importantly, Regents
and the top-level administrators cannot
afford to alienate many of them.
Students, on the other hand, have lit-
tle impact on University decision-
making. They have no formal authority
(save for the Michigan Student Assem-
bly and representation on scattered ad-
visory committees); their interests are
diverse; they have limited amounts of
information, expertise, resources, and
time; they depend on the University for
academic credit and (often) financial
support; and they come and go each
The University is supposed to be for
students, yet they are at the bottom of
the power hierarchy. We think this is
wrong. Ironically, the University seems
to force students to take extreme ac-
tion, such as a class strike, in order to
increase their power. Petitions, public
comments at Regents' meetings, and
letters to the Daily are ineffective
unless they are accompanied by
evidence of deep commitment and
widespread support.
We were angry to, find that the
Univesity forces students to pay an in-
creasing share of total costs eachyear,
while expenditures on instruction and
student services have been declining in
recent years. Students have every right
to demand that the University find ad-
ditional sources of revenue or im-
mediately increase funding for
teaching and student services.
This series of articles on decision-
making at the University of
Michigan has been adapted from a
research report titled "Conflict and
Power On The Campus: Studies In
The Political Economy of the
University of Michigan, "written by
Andy Brown, Harley Frazis, Jim
Robb, Mike Taylor, Eitan Yanich,
and Tom Weisskopf.
This article was written by Mike
Taylor and Eitan Yanich.

resources to draw upon in defense of
their own position. A regent may
initiate a proposal, but it is unlikely to
get very far unless the executive of-
ficers can be persuaded of its merit.
A second limitation on the power of
the Regents is that there are eight of
them with often differing views on
various issues. The Regents we spoke
with agreed that there were significant
philosophical differences that could
divide them. The executive officers, on
the other hand, are much more likely to
be united on most issues. They are part
of an administrative hierarchy with
clearly defined areas of responsibility;
one person among them-the

emphasized the "good working
relations" that prevail between the
Board and the executive officers and
indicated that they would hesitate to
present a view that might jeopardize
those relations, so important are they to
the smooth operation of the University.-
-WHEN GROUPS of people on the
campus find themselves in conflict with
the upper echelons of the ad-
ministration, a common strategic
choice is to bring their case to one or
more of the Regents. By contacting
privately some of the Regents, or by
speaking publicly at Regents meetings,
they try to persuade the Board to exert
their informal or formal power against

itbajan imai4j
ard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Years of Edil orial Freedom
News Phone: 764-0552
by students.at the University of Michigan



City Primary Choices

AMES KENWORTHY receives our
endorsement for Democratic can-
didate for mayor. Kenworthy, besides
addressing in his campaign what we
feel are salient issues, has already
proven himself to be a sensitive and
well-informed representative during
his four-years on City Council (1974-
Kenworthy possesses the political
savvy his opponent, John Mon-
tgomery, sadly lacks. Montgomery, an
unknown to local politics, says he feels.
the mayor should have more contact
with his or her constituents, offering
such absurd solutions to lack of funds
and inadequate snow reroval as
paying the citizens out of his own
.pocket and clearing highways himself.
Montgomery refuses to substantiate
with examples his attacks on the
current system, and he admits he
N THE THIRD WARD, voters can
cast their ballot safely for a man
indifferent to their needs, or they may
vote for one less experienced, but who
also lacks strong identification with
the party line.
We go with the newcomer, 26-year-
old Gerald Curry in the Republican
primary Monday.
Curry claims to be motivated by a
belief in his civic responsibility. Such
statements do not smack of campaign
thetoric, for he also seems
knowledgeable of ward needs. His at-
titude is especially refreshing when
contrasted to that of his opponent,
Louis Senunas.
L In his two years on Council, Senunas
has seemed to ignore the needs of his

would have to meet with present
Mayor Louis Belcher and several
citizens before deciding what course to
take as city leader. He claims to run on
the Democratic, ticket because he
thought he had a better chance of
beating Kenworthy than if he had tried
to unseat belcher in the Republican
Kenworthy is refraining from
making unrealistic blanket promises,
instead trying to convince the citizens
that they themselves have a stake in
the future of the city. One of Kenwor-
thy's major concerns is the character
of Ann Arbor, and he favors downtown
construction and renovation over.
developments dispursed throughout
the city.
Therefore, we endorse Kenworthy as
a responsible candidate for the
mayoral seat this spring.
ward constituency, while instead
following the traditional party line. He
considers his main accomplishment to
be his role in spearheading the 1978
Republican program to improve Ann
Arbor roads.
Such a commitment to party
policies, and the fact that he believes
street repair is his main accomplish-
ment, shows exactly where Senunas'
allegiance lies.
Senunas has been uninvolved with
current attempts to preserve the Kim-
berly Hills nature reserve, the most
important issue to Third Ward residents.
Voting for a man with little ex-
perience is not easy but in the Third
Ward, it should be done. We have
already seen what Senunas has done.
As a long-time resident of the so-
called "swing ward", Cappaert over
the years has become knowledgeable
about the various needs of his const-

,When the student group which
advises the Regents in the search
for a new Universitypresident
handed in to the board on Thur-
sday its summary of the future
needs of the University, Jeff
Supowit, a co-chairperson of the
committee, said he expected that
the major obstacle between
student leaders and the Regents
- the right to interview can-
didates for the University's top
spot - would fall the next day. Af-
ter five months of debate -
during which time the students
threatened to boycott the selec-
tion process - he predicted the
Regents would be more
reasonable and reverse their
The Regents went along with
Supowit the next day, so that
three faculty members, two
students, and two alumni will
now have a chance to meet face-
to-face the final eight or nine
candidates for the president's
foot the bill for travelling expen-
The Regents present said
Regent Robert Nederlanders(D-
Birmingham) would have to ap-
prove any communication bet-
ween the advisory groups and
candidates, but allowed each ad-
visory group to determine for it-
self which members will inter-
view each prospective president.
"They couldn't have-done any
less," said Michigan Student
Assembly Special Projects Coor-
dinator Joseph Pelava, "If they
had done any less than that it
would have been unacceptable."
Also on Friday, the Regents
themselves pointed out the
qualities they'd most like to see in
the new president.
a large part vague (the president
should be scholarly as well as a
good executive), though there
were a few specific goals (he or
She ug 'ht to hbe able to stav here a

If you're a Literary College
student, you get hit twice in the
pocketbook for student gover-
nment: first, $2.92, for the
IVchigan Student Assembly
(MSA); and a second time, a
mere 50 cents, for the LSA
College's Student Government
(LSA-SG). Those fees create a
pool of $75,000 for MSA each year
and something over $4,000 for
Where does it go?
in effect for the first time this
year, MSA has been able to
satisfy a broad range of groups
and interests. Two-thirds of the
budget goes to student
organizations and their projects.
The rest is eaten up by internal
LSA-SG is a bit less structured
in the area of allocations, with no
rigid criteria for its expenditures.
The Council seems pleased with a
fairly "liberal" reputation on
spending. LSA-SG President Bob
Stechuk said - revenues are
divided in a smaller way in his
group: office expenses and group
funds. Word has gotten around
-U-- T Y0 A Pr ....J.... is nncin f

time again in Ann Arbor, but it's
not the candidates who will be
getting the spotlight at the polls.
In fact, if the city's punch card
voting system wasn't premiering
tomorrow, the primary would be
a dull one at that.
City Council voted last May to
switch from lever voting
machines to punch card
balloting, even though problems
of overvoting, slow returns, and
computer tampering are cited as
drawbacks to the new procedure.
JEAN CRUMP, chairwoman of
a, city committee to examine
punch card voting, says it was a
matter of weighing the advan-
tages of the system against the
disadvantages. "City Council's
judgment was that in the long run
it would be a better system," she
But in recent weeks, city of-
ficials have conducted programs
to educate voters and clerks on
the punch card system in efforts
to avoid a foul-up tomorrow.
As for the candidates, no sur-
prises are anticipated tomorrow.
In the GOP Third Ward Council
and Democratic mayoral
primary races, the party
favorites-challenged by
mavericks-are expected to
carry the day.
THE CONTEST in the Third
Ward between incumbent Louis
Senunas and challenger Gerald

THE REGENTS are shown here during Thursday's meeting. On Fri-
day, they granted interviewing rights to students, faculty, and alumni
committees in the search process for a new University president.

(the) Headlee . tax limitation
City Democrats are offering
former Council member James
Kenworthy as their preferred
mayoral choice. But John Mon-
tgomery, a laid-off Chrysler em-
ployee, and self-proclaimed mid-
dle-of-the-road independent,
hopes to defeat the popular Ken-
worthy with his more conser-
vative issue stances. Mon-
tgomery says he is concerned
with "the foolish waste of money
in the city,"while Kenworthy is
focusing much of his campaign
on land use in the city.
The Fourth Ward, contest is
even more yawn-provoking than
the tworothers. Democrat Leroy
Cappaert is running unopposed.
Cappaert, a former Council
member, did have an opponent
until Democratic precinct cap-
tain Mel Grieshaber withdrew
from the race. So now, the city is
spending $20,000 to run a one-man
But Cappaert says the money
isn't being wasted. "The open
primary provides citizens access
to the electoral process," he con-
With no surprises expected,,
tomorrow should be a relatively
calm day at the polls. That is, if
all goes well with the punch car-
The tenure situation of Assist-
ant Political Science Prof. Joel
Samoff took a different turn as
the professor met with suppor-
ters to discuss the possibility of
bringing suit against the Univer-
sity if appeals procedures in his'
tenure case are unsuccessful.
Samoff, a South African
specialist, has gained campus-
wide attention after having twice
been denied tenure by his depar-
tment's tenured faculty. Now
he's appealing his denials to the
Literary College. Samoff said his
session with supporters does not
necessarily mean he will actually
bring suit against the University.
Acknowledging that he is

the Fourth Ward

Cappaert in

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