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April 04, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-04

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Page 4-Wednesday, April 4, 1979-The Michigan Daily

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

The "Michigan syndrome:"

the 'U' stifles student

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 147

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Faculty needs quorum

THIS YEAR'S monthly meetings of'
T LSA faculty members have not
exactly produced an overflowing at-
tendance; in fact, the faculty has
failed several times to get a quorum in
order to vote on issues affecting the
faculty and students. Therefore, to
combat the apparent display of
p'rofessors' apathy, members of the
faculty voted Monday to abolish the
quorum requirement and to establish a
new policy allowing decisions to be
taken by whomever shows up at the
monthly sessions.
But by eliminating the quorum
requirement, in which 100 of the 800-
iember LSA faculty were obligated to
attend before votes could be taken on
University matters, they have at-
tacked the wrong problem. They have
tiid to circumvent the problem of
agithy instead of finding a solution to
getting more teachers to attend the
nmeetings.
By allowing those who attend the
sessions to decide policies which will
affect many faculty members and a
gbod portion of the student body, Mon-
day's vote has placed a lot of power in
tie hands of a few.
:For instance, a future vote on
whether ROTC courses should be given
credit in the Literary College could be
taken by a handful of faculty members
even though the issue will affect many
students.
3 There are 800 faculty members in the
Iiterary College. It would be totally
irresponsible to allow a select few who
show up at the meetings to make
policies which would affect the rest of
the professors.

The problem is that not enough
professors have been attending the
monthly meetings. Supporters of the
resolution abolishing quorum maintain
that the low attendance results from
the lack of decision-making power en-
trusted in the hands of the faculty. In-
stead, they say, the important
decisions are monopolized by the LSA
Executive Committee and Vice-
President for Academic Affairs Harold
Shapiro.
While this may be true, the faculty
assemblyhas had significant input on
some crucial policies during the last
few years. A few years ago, they
decided to maintain the foreign
language requirement and last year
the faculty group voted to restructure
the school's honors system-two im-
portant votes affecting many Univer-
sity students.
The faculty should try to encourage
greater participation at meetings to
insure that a responsible cross-section
of professors representing contrary
views are able to vote on faculty
policies.
Although it would be very fair to
have a majority of faculty members
present at the monthly sessions, that
goal is unrealistic.
. But the previous quorum of 100
faculty members should be reinstated.
That number, while still only one-
eighth of the entire LSA faculty body,
practically assured that faculty
representatives from every depar-
tment were able to attend the meetings
and voice their views. Without that
quorum, however, the fairness of
future faculty decisions has taken a big
step backward.

There is a disease plaguing this
University: students are being
denied an effective voice in
policy-making decisions. It is a
disease which has sparked
varying degrees of protest by
students across campus, but the
administration will not prescribe
an antidote. And while Joel
Samoff's tenure denial and the
Regents' blatant refusal to divest
from South Africa have captured
the attention of most students, it
is not surprising that many other
less publicized faculty and ad-
ministrative decisions have also
successfully muted students'
voices as part of a major Univer-
sity trend: the "Michigan syn-
drome" - with all the symptoms
of a bureaucratic disease.
When experiential courses like
Project Outreach and Project
Community came up for review
this year by the Literary College
(LSA) Curriculum Committee,
few people thought of the action
as more than a simple approval-
of the existing experiential struc-
tures. But it was much more than
that. These types of courses came
dangerously close to losing
credit, and more importantly,
will now have to revise some of
the attributes which give them
their creative and innovative im-
petus.
IT WAS THE opinion of many
faculty members on the commit-
tee that experiential courses did
not satisfy the need for a "direct"
relationship to an "academic
discipline." Yet by virtue of its
definition, experiential learning
is learning through experience -
not through readings, classroom
lectures, or assigned homework.
Project Outreach thrives on
community involvement in
various social programs, not on
"systematic learning" related to
an academic discipline. These
courses are not merely outlets for
students to take easy courses at
the University; they are unique,
creative methods made available
to students to supplement the
formal, classroom education they
receive elsewhere.

So even though these courses
did not suffer removal or
lowering of the credits allowed,
they have been spiritually and
ideologically wounded. And
some faculty members predict
many more careful reviews of
experiential courses will soon
take place within various depar-
tments. The Michigan syndrome
- take one.
Studentecourse evaluations of
professors must also be counted
among the casualties suffered by
students. For years, various
groups including the Michigan
Student Assembly (MSA) and the
Student Counseling Office (SCO)
have tried in vain to convince all
departments in the University to
allow student evaluations of
teachers, and to make those
results available to the general
student body.
AND WHAT DO they have to
show for their efforts? Files
which overflow for certain
acquiescent departments, yet
remain empty for countless
others.
Many professors and ad-
ministrators say such
evaluations should not be
required because they may un-
duly influence tenure decisions,
hurt the "cooperative at-
mosphere" within the depar-
tments, and infringe upon the
civil rights of professors to be
able to decide if they should be
administered and to keep such in-
formation confidential. Yet, the
Civil Liberties Board could find
no civil liberty infringements,
and somehow, their recommen-
ded guidelines were interpreted
by some administrators as
leaving the ultimate choice up to
individual professors or depar-
tments.
But the Political Science depar-
tment administers excellent
evaluations of all its faculty
members, the results of which
are open to perusal by any in-
terested students. What do the
other departments have to fear?

As one administrator put it, "Af-
ter all, the professors evaluate
the students through grades, why
shouldn't the students be able to
evaluate the professors?" The
"Michigan syndrome" - 'take
two.
Then there's the strange
elusive case of Robert Higgins.
Higgins, who sued the University
(on -three unsuccessful oc-
casions) because the German
department would not give him
an "A" in a fourth term language
course, admittedly was arguing
his case on tenuous grounds. (He
did, after all, get a "D" in the
course.) But his relatively un-
publicized suit has raised some
serious questions about the
bureaucratic roadblocks which
often stifle student dissatisfac-
tion. What can a student do to
seriously question a grade he/she
receives? Of course, there is a
maze of organized appeals
procedures which are available
to those students who can spend
the tremendous amount of time,
effort, and frustration necessary
to even have his/her gripes aired.
And if these procedures fail, the
student invariably will not sue,
for time and money spent in this
pursuiit will most certainly be
wasted in a defeat because of the
incredibly successful structure of
the University's legal counsel.
THERE IS currently little hope
for a student to change any grade
he feels is unjust at this Univer-
sity, simply because students
have little voice in any of the ap-
peals procedures. The Michigan
syndrome - take three.
And finally, the ROTC question
has once again surfaced at the
University. ROTC officials say
LSA should give credit for ROTC
classes because these courses are
academically sound. But this
point, in the minds of most
students, is not the issue. The
mere presence of the military on
campus teaching courses which
detail war strategies is a slap in
the face of the goals of the

By John Sinkevics

"
a input
University. ROTC courses are
designed to prepare a student for
a profession - that of an officer
in the military. Yet, the basic
purpose of LSA is to give a
student a liberal arts education -
not to train him/her for a
profession. The only schools on
campus which currently allow
credit for ROTC courses are
those which are more directly
concerned with professional
training Architecture and
Design, Education, Nursing,
Business Administration, and
Engineering. Id'eological
arguments aside, why should
LSA make special provisions for
ROTC credit when the impetus of
this program is geared toward a
career in the military?
Yet, it can be argued that if
students are willing to allow
ROTC credit in LSA, perhaps it
should be given a chance. But
students will not be given the op-
portunity to make that decision -
it rests completely in the hands of
the faculty. Although the faculty
rejected a similar proposal in
1975, the ROTC credit plan is
likely to garner a great deal of,
support in the fall because of in-
creased ROTC efforts to win over
LSA faculty members. Students
can only voice their criticisms or
approval - they cannot be a part
of the decision-making process.
The Michigan Syndrome - take
four.
Certainly, there are many ad-
ministrators and professors who
lend a supportive ear to student
causes and who sincerely believe
a student has the right to make
policy decisions at the Univer-
sity. Perhaps it is the infernal
bureaucracy which has muddled
things to such a disturbing
degree,but as part of that
bureaucracy, teachers and of-
ficials must grant an equal voice
for the students.
Or the Michigan syndrome will
become the Michigan dogma.
Night Editor John Sinkevics
covers Academics for the
Daily.

Belcher should tackle key
city issues now

VW. FP Mgkr~p~wM7

U-

T HE DAY after any election is
traditionally the time for the
media and the newly-elected officials
to make amends, forget the differences
of the campaigns, and embark on the
so-called "honeymoon" relationship.
We wish to, take no exception to this
jounalistic rule of thumb, and extend
our congratulations to Mayor Louis
Blcher on his re-election victory.
Belchar was not our choice for
mayor of Ann Arbor. He has not, in his
short tenure, demonstrated a com-
prehensive plan for solving the long-
range problems of the city. Kenwor-
thy, however, has more adequately
addressed the city's housing crisis and
other problems in terms of the needs of
students and tenants.
But with the election results tallied,
it is clear that Mayor Belcher will head
this city for the next'two years, and he
wjll most likely have a city council
iajority of his own party for that
lWngth of time. Therefore, it would be
adlvisable for the mayor to begin to put
together the city that right now seems
split between University students on
thie one hand, -and the Ann Arbor
homeowners on the other.
;With only four opposition coun-
ciltembers, confined to the student
dorminated wards of the city, it
becomes incumbent upon Mayor
lelcher and the Renublican party to be
en to the divergence of views that
r akes up a city as cosmopolitan as
And Arbor. By his re-election, and the
Setirn of the GOP to council
doinination, the Mayor must not
issume he now has a mandate to
ignore the student and liberal sectors
af the city.
yA'lthough the election is over and the
inctmbent handily won, that does not
miean the issues that James Kenwor-

by rising propety value and land
speculation. These problems have not
been adequately addressed in the past
by the administration of either party.
The mayor should not come to office
with the attitude that he exhibited
during the campaign - that the
students do not vote, so he need not
look out for their interests. The fact
remains that there are students living
in Ann Arbor - some 40,000 of them -
for at least eight months out of every
year. And whether they decide to vote
or not, they are, as city residents, en-
titled to the same basic services as
lifetime residents - including
adequate housing.
Now, with the Republicans firmly in
control of city hall, it becomes more
important than ever that the mayor
respect minority viewpoints so that
we do not see a repeat of the unfor-
tunate incidents of last year where the
Democrats were forced to go to court
to pry open the doors to Republican
caucus meetings. With such a com-
manding majority on city council, it
becomes more important than ever
that Belcher and his party actively
solicit citizen input into the decision-
making process. It could mean the dif-
ference between a united council able
to pass its programs in accordance
with public desires, and a single-party
imposing unbending will upon the
citizenry.
We hope all sectors can make amen-
ds with the mayor now, and begin
working for a better Ann Arbor. And
we hope Mr. Belcher, in his first full
term, recognizes and rises to his
responsibilities.
U~be ~Itti~jan~at

RXIce.
C

~4tOfiL-
Fasc(i6-

WHAT K(INDO

Letters

Daily choices too predictable

To the Daily:
As a concerned student and an
independent voter, I have wat-
ched several Ann Arbor elections
with great interest in my three
years here. At one time, I read
the Daily's endorsements with
genuine attention, thinking that
they would highlight election
concerns and support the can-
didate that best addressed these
concerns, regardless of party af-
filiation.
After three years however, I
have concluded with real regret
that this has not been the case.
Having read endorsements of
literally scores of candidates for
all levels of public office, I cannot
recall even a single instance
when any Republican has been
endorsed for any office on any
occasion. As an independent
voter, I have long felt that party
affiliations are often highly ar-

I wish to emphasize that I have
voted for members of both par-
ties when I've genuinely felt
they've earned my support. Yet,
when I can predict the Daily's
endorsements without even
opening the paper, I think
something is seriously wrong.
-Robert P. Fields
Conflict of interest
To the Daily:
At their meeting in March 1979,
the Regents voted to reconvene
the Senate Advisory Committee
on Financial Affairs to re-
examine the University's position
on its investments in cor-
porations and banks doing
business in South Africa. The
University Community should
note, however, that the Chairper-
,.1ofC AC EA PDticia nn

becasue Manufacturers National
Bank of Detroit refused to
disclose whether or not South
Africa owed them any money and
whether or not they would make
any future loans.
The corporation is Warner-
Lambert. In 1977, Warner-Lam-
bert employed 489 people in their
South African subsidiary, of
which only 19 per cent were
African. While Warner-Lambert
states in its response to the
University: "We are also par-.
ticipating in a Task Force with
Dr. Sullivan and his staff
designed to develop methods of
implementing his principles in
South Africa. One aspect of
promoting these principlesin-
volved regular public reporting
on our progress toward im-
plementation of them.. .", War-
ner-Lambert did not provide the
Investor Responsibility Research
Center wizth enougch informa~tin

disclose information about their
activities in that country. We
submit that her presence on these
boards and on SACFA constitutes
a conflict of interest. We call on
Ms. Longe to resign immediately
either from SACFA or from the
boards of Warner-Lambert and
Manufacturers National Bank of
Detroit.
-Washtenaw County Coalition
Against Apartheid
April 1, 1979
f
Unfair coverage
To the Daily;
Whatever happened to impar-
tial treatment, and a fair and
equal press? As independent
candidates running for President
and Vice-President of MSA, we
feel the Michigan Daily blatantly
slighted our campaign. When
they published the list of
Presidential/Vice -Presidential

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