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March 17, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-17

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Page 4-Saturday, March 17, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Student search

panel silence

irresponsible

it 'has become customary to expect
curt secrecy from three of the four
groups involved in the University's
search for a permanent successor to
Rbbben - Fleming. The Regents,
masters of the secrecy game, have
mhie a fine art of answering questions
without saying anything. The faculty
a'dvisory group, which passed a
rbsolution that only its chairman wuld
speak to the outside world, expresses
itself through the short, blunt statemen-
ts of Professor Harold Johnson. And it
is'rid&t difficult to see where the alumni
search committee stands when its
chairman, Sam Krugliak, explains:
'We are completely the servants of the
Regents and we will follow their in-
st fictions to the letter."
1ut a new wrinkle in the secrecy
i ue developed Wednesday night when
t formerly vocal student advisory
mmittee agreed at its latest meeting
tl adopt a "no comment" stance when
4estioned about the search process.
"IT'S NOT like I'm going to hang up
tie phone when you call," said commit-
t ' Co-chairperson Jeff Supowit when I
d lled. But Supowit confirmed that
because the process is moving into a
nore and more sensitive area"
gudent committee members have
4greed to discuss the details of that
process less and less.
To be sure, the search process is
l oving into the critical stages. All
-three advisory groups have reviewed
the initial list of candidates and repor-
9'.

ted back to the Regents with lists of
their own. From these lists the Regents
will narrow down the original pool of
200 names to a smaller, but as yet un-
determined number. Eventually, a
final group, which the Board hopes will
be "less than eight persons" will be in-
terviewed. All this will conceivably oc-
cur in the next few weeks, because the
Regents reportedly hope to pick a new
president this spring. A
Therefore, with the end of the process
rapidly approaching, it is especially
puzzling that the student committee
should choose this moment to close its
ranks, shut its mouth and submit to the
Regents' attempt to orchestrate the
search even more than they have up to
now.
COMMITTEE members insist they
have not submitted to anyone, but one
student on the panel revealed that the
group was asked by the Regents to
speak less about the process. They also
insist they will go public with complain-
ts they have about difficulties with the
Regents if any arise in the near future.
"If we do get to a point where it is
useful to talk, we will," Supowit said.
He added that if the group finds its ac-
cess to important information is cur-
tailed, he will consider it his "duty" to
complain publicly.
There is disagreement among com-
mittee members on whether the policy
is a permanent or temporary one. While
Supowit called the speech curtailment a

By Leonard Bernstein

"general policy" decision which could
continue indefinitely, Co-chairperson
Bridget Scholl and committee member
Carolyn Rosenberg were convinced the
ban would be short-lived. Another
committee member, Barbara Nutter,
said the group did not discuss a 'time
limit,tbut that all its decisions were sub-
ject to change with the vagaries of the
process.
"IT'S NOT because we've all of a
1

"My own reason for agreeing is that I
felt it was a legitimate part of the sear-
ch process for committee members to
maintain their 'no comment' stance in
public," Nutter said. "Talking about
the process in and of itself affects the
process."~
"They (the Regents) cannot conduct
open, flexible discussion when the con-
tent of the discussions are in the press,"
Supowit said.

"Therefore,

with the end of the

process

rapidly

approaching,

it is

especially puzzling that the student
committee should choose this moment
to close its ranks, shut its mouth and
submit to the Regents' attempt to or-

Assembly which voted to boycott the
selection process because the student
role in that process was not perceived
as meaningful. Indeed, when MSA
finally decided to join the search on
December 12, Supowit was among those
who wanted to continue the boycott.
Once formed, the committee quickly
made clear where it stood on the crucial
issue of interviewing rights. The panel
passed a resolution declaring it would
"recommend. to MSA the recall of our
committee" if "we perceive a lack of
meaningful student participation in the
selection process, specifically
inadequate access to candidates, in-
cluding interviewing...
THE STUDENT panel also issued a
hard-hitting, critical statement on the
needs of the University from the
student perspective, criticizing the
University position on many issues.
And up to now, all the group's mem-
bers, while staunchly refusing to
discuss names, have been open to
discussion about all aspects of the sear-
ch itself.
Why then the change? One
probability is that the group is
becoming increasingly sensitive about
its relationship with the Regents as the
final days of the search approach.
Committee members are careful to
guard the trust and smooth working
relationship they have established with
the Board since the rift between studen-
ts and Regents ended on December 12.

The group has been in frequent contact
with the Regents, and apparently has
won and wants to maintain the Board's
confidence., And Regents are sensitive
to what they read in the paper.
Unfortunately, the committee's at-:
tempt to serve students by maintaining
good grace with the Regents is, in
another sense, a disservice to those
students. Because of the Regents'
careful choreography, the public will
have no voice in the choice of the next
president and, barring unforeseen
leaks, will probably be unable to com-
ment on the final eight candidates. In
fact, the only link with the search
process that currently exists is the in-
formation on the proceedings that flows
from the student committee and now:
the committee members threaten to cut
that off themselves.
If, as committee members report,no
new developments have occurred since
the time the panel voted to curtail its
comments, then no damage has been
done. But if students are denied infor-
mation about the process because their:
appointed advisory group refuses to
reveal it, then the panel will have
violated its responsibility to thestuden-
ts of this University. Hopefully, as some
committee members say, the decision
to remain silent will be a temporary
one.
Daily Night Editor Leonard Bern-
stein reports on the search process
for a new University President.

chestrate

the search

even more

than

they have up to now."

sudden been co-opted," Rosenberg
said. She explained that the group had
carefully examined its choices, and
decided that for now, limited public
discussion of the process would be ad-
vantageous. But she and other commit-
tee members would discuss the reasons
for the decision only in the most general
terms.

"TRUST US," Rosenberg implored.
She explained that the process was
proceeding smoothly and that there is
"really nothing to say now."
What makes the decision all the more
surprising is that the group had built up
that trust by establishing a reputation
of championing student interests.
Supowit is part of the Michigan Student

e'k.
1,
d5..,
V.4

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

Year of student
won't influence

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 132

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Regents must respond
-N THE LAST two days, students Acting University President Allan
Yprotesting the University's invest- Smith, addressing the students who
f tints in South Africa have made their occupied the Regents Room in the Ad-
'oint. 't'hey, and the entire University ministration Building, promised that
qommunity, deserve a response. the Regents would at least discuss
3 The students who disrupted the Re- divestment when the SACFA report is
gents' meeting yesterday and Thur- completed.
sday have simply asked that the But there is no time limit on the
regents discuss the divestiture issue. committee, much less any assurance
'Fhis.request could easily be fulfilled if that the issue of actual compliance
e Regents, at their April meeting, with the Sullivan Principles will be ad-
ay one of two words: "yes" or "no." dressed.
' The demand is a reasonable one due The students demanding an answer
o the importance of the issue and the to to the divestment question have ac-
eep concern it has raised on this cam- cepted their responsibility to end apar-
pus. The Regents owe their constituen- theid. Disrupting the Regents' meeting
y, and the students, a discussion of and prohibiting them from completing
[his issue. their business is certainly a drastic
That policy should be to divest. step, but in this case, the only option.
Where is no question that apartheid is a Backed by the 3-1 student mandate
reprehensible policy, contrary to the favoring divestment registered in last
deals of human justice this University April's referendum, and 10,000
laims to foster. petition signatures, the protesters ac-
As individuals, tihe Regents cepted their responsibility to represent
egularly declare their condemnation the community. The Regents, unfor-
f apartheid; and yet when asked to tunately, have not chosen to do so.
nake a stand on divestment they have In fact, the Regents did all they could
ontinually shirked their respon- to avoid this representation by seeking
ibility. They have attempted to ap- the court order which eventually for-
ease demands for divestment through ced the students to leave the building,
series of delaying tactics. while the Board met privately. The ac-
4ALast March, the Regents approved a tion was legal but unethical. By
,solution stating that they would ask refusing to speak to the issues raised-
$he corporations in which the Univer- by students the Regents violated the
ity holds stock to affirm the Sullivan basic ideas of free exchange of infor-
'rinciples - a set of guidelines mation and ideas which should occur
designed to assure racial equality - within a University.
nd to sell their stock if the cor- Regent Sara Power went even fur-
porations refused. At that time, the ther in limiting discussion by refusing
tRegents promised to review the cor- to introduce a motion on the part of the
orations' responses within one year, absent Regent James Waters (D-
nd to take "reasonable steps" within Muskegon). On Thursday, Power had
a "reasonable period of time" against promised Waters to present a motion
orporations not complying with the calling for an action request on the
princitples of similar policies, divestiture issue be placed on yester-
The Regents claim to have met these day's Regents agenda in his behalf.
abligations last October when they Power did not introduce the motion.
received a report from Chief Financial Divestment has been a major issue
Officer James Brinkerhoff, containing on this campus for at least two and one-
the responses from the corporations half years. Students, faculty and
involved. members of the University community
Indeed, the corporations may have have protested, held rforums and
signed the Sullivan Principles; infor- meetings, and written letters to secure
gnation that was already known. But an answer from the Regents, and de-
The Regents did not discuss the report spite these efforts the Regents have
or ask the obvious question: Have the continued to avoid making a stand.
signatories actually complied with the This week's protest was inevitable.
Sullivan Principles? To be sure, Smith, the vice presiden-
The discussion can be delayed no ts and the Regents will do a great deal
The~~. discussion~r can be dlayd n a in v nlama

The massive. protests which
have thwarted the Regentswfrom
conducting University business
the last two days are the
culmination of a year-long cam-
paign by student activists op-
posed to the school's policy of in-
vesting in banks and corporations
operating in South Africa's apar-
theid regime. Throughout the last,
twelve months, members of the
Washtenaw County Coalition'
Against Apartheid (WCCAA)
and other students have held
numerous rallies and appealed
vigorously to the Regents to pull
University stocks out, of South
Africa.
But even in the wake of their
proudest moment, in which ap-
proximately 200 of them ap-
peared and kicked the Regents
out of the , Administration
Building, there doesn't seem to
be any hope that the Board will
alter its policy and vote for
divestiture. The Regnts certainly
seemed very uneasy and shaken
by the students' actions but none
of them'indicated they believed
the divestiture issue should be
addressed again in the near
future.
AND CONSIDERING the even-
ts that have transpired in the last
year, the Regents' inflexibility
should come as no surprise to
anyone.
Since the divestiture con-
troversy began brewing several
years ago, the University's
governing body has tried various
tactics to either delay an even-
tual vote on the matter or put it
aside altogether. The Board's so-
called compromise measures
have been nothing more than a
thinly-disguised effort to soften
student uproar. In view of the
events of the pasttwo days, that
policy has not paid off.
The Regents' first delaying tac-
tic was instituted at last March's
meeting when the Board passed a
weak resolution to quash the
students' protests. The
resolution, formulated by Regent
Thomas Roach (D-Detroit),
stated that the University
assumed responsibility for voting
at shareholder meetings. The
Regents also said they would
immediately send letters to cor-
porations asking them to affirm
the anti-discriminatory Sullivan
Principles and say they endorsed
political, social and economic
rights for all corporate em-
ployees in South Africa.
THAT MOVE fell far short of
the resolution proposed by the
Senate Advisory committee on
Financial Affairs which asked
the University to pull its money
out of corporations which fail to

By Michael Arkush

An unknown student holds sign during Vice
keynote speech at commencement last April.

toward progressive policies, the
University would not sell its
shares in those corporations.
During the same meeting, the
Board also agreed they would
review their policy on divestiture
within a year.
Students were not pleased by
the Regents' resolution but there
was nothing they could do except
continue their protests. A strong
nucleus of activists, which has
been the center of the divestiture
movement throughout, was able
to place a referendum concerning
divestiture on the ballot during
elections for the Michigan
Student Assembly.
THE RESOLUTION stated:
"Shall the students of the.Univer-
sity of Michigan oppose any
financial ties between the
University and the, apartheid
policies of South Africa and insist
that the Regents follow the
example of the University of
Wisconsin and Michigan State by
withdrawing investment of the
University of Michigan from cor-
porations conducting business in
South Africa?"
The advisory resolution passed
by an overwhelming margin:
3,109 in favor to 1,172 against.
At commencement in April; a
small group of protestors in-
terrupted Vice President Walter
Mondale's keynote speech with
chants like, "U-M-USA Out of
South Africa" and. "Fight Im-
perialism and National Op-
pression." But the group was
very small, perhaps about 30, and
the majority of the 15,000 booed
the nrntP~nrqand *nvnl aird d

Regents, t
sity had re
the banks
would be w
swers. The
agenda for
Soon aft
employed<
shifting the
tion of that
Flint inste
Board obvi
move woul
cry from U
posed to
Africa. Sti
able to trav
to Flint. A
students w
the Flint
against th(
the public
During t
bor, Herb
that near
porationsE
Principles,
banks and
investmen
fect on th
Africa and
cripple the
racial terro
SPECIF]
tions said
desegregal
providee
workers, a
ber of bl
positions.
__ T -

protests
Regents
constructively toend apartheid in
t South Africa," said Roach.
AS THE months passed by with
the University's investments in
South Africa still contributing to
the country's racist system, the
students waited and hoped. They
hoped that" when the Regents
reviewed the situation in March,
they Would vote fordivestiture.
Then at the February meeting
came the shocking -revealation
that the Board decided they
wouldn't have to review its
divestiture policy in March as:
was originally believed. The ex-
planation was that the review in
October was sufficient to follow
their verbal promise that they
would discuss the divestiture
policy within a year.
Therefore-end of discussion.
But the WCCAA and other ac-
tivists decided that it would not
be the end-of discussion. For the
last two days, they have urged
the Board to discuss the
divestiture issue either during
this month's meetings or to place
President Mondales the issue on the April agenda. But
the Regents have refused both
hat since the Univer- suggestions. They have even
ta ineth nie-refused to urge the
ceived responses from SenatedAdvisory Committeeon
and corporations, it Financial Affairs to have a report
ise to review those an- on the University investments
e item was put on the ready for the April meeting. Ac-
theOctoberm ting University President Allan
erwards, the Regents Smith's "concession" that he
lytacticby would ask the Board to strongly
another slytscy urge the committee to have that
publi comments sec- report ready for April is another
t month' me to in the long series of weak and in-
ad of Ann Arbor.'The sufficient compromise delaying
iously knew that such a tactics. Smith also said the Board
d evade any more out- would not review the divestiture
Jniversity students op- issue until it received the com-
investments in South mittee's report, which may not be
vudents would notrbe for several months.
vet thed journey BY SAYING that the Board
s it turned out,several would not vote on the divestiture
vho attend classes at matter until, the committee
campus spoke out finished its report, Smith
e investmentsduring basically passed the buck to the
comments session. committee even though the
he meeting in Ann Ar- Regents are capable now of
hetmeetinghinRAgnnAs-voting on the issue.
yert told the Regents But as the past shows, these
ly all of the 47 cor- compromise measures are
endorsed the Sullivan nothing new for the Regents and
that a majority of the more can be expected in the
corporations said the future. What can't be expected,
is had a beneficial ef- however, is that student
e non-whites in South hwvr s ta tdn
thaton-whitesiureSouuprisings, like the one during the
Ithat divestiture could last two days, are not likely to
e economy, provoking greatly influence Regental
or. policy.
.In fact, it's probably true that
ALLYe wornpora now that the Regents have
the ar wokin to aroused so much criticism,
te their work facilities, they'll become defensive and
equal pay for all more adamant over divestiture.
nd increase the num- Unfortupptely, the disruptions
acks in managerial may have done the students more
harm than good.
All this gloom should not stop

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