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November 20, 1971 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-11-20

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~'1

£r taI n Dafl
Eighty-one years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Secret

researci

: Continuing debate
The case for Senate Assembly

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich. c

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual.opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2a, 1971

NIGHT EDITOR: ARTHUR LERNER

Subverting Senate Assembly

FACULTY GOVERNMENT at this Uni-
versity faces a unique challenge Mon-
day as supporters of classified research
seek to make a desparate end run around
Senate Assembly, the faculty representa-
tive body.
The assembly voted last month to re-
commend to the Regents a new policy on
classified research that would eliminate
most secret projects on campus. This
decision was not made lightly - it came
after months of meetings, long hours of
debate and careful consideration of the
.issues at hand.
Not willing to accept the overwhelm-
ing assembly vote to restrict classified re-
search, three reseachers at Willow R u n
Laboratories have appealed the decision
for the "consideration and review" of
the University Senate - the ceremonial
.assemblage of the University's 2,700 fa-
bulty members.
While under a Senate rule the word-
'ing of the researcher's request w o u1 d
not allow the Senate to overrule the as-
sembly's action, the vote of two-thirds of
the Senate members present could su-
spend this provision.
By this parliamentary maneuver, op-
ponents of the Senate Assembly p 1 a n
could then, by majority vote of those pre-
sent, countermand the vote of the as-
sembly.
Such an action would be a tragedy on
three counts.
FIRST, ATTENDANCE at Senate meet-
ings is by no means representative
of the entire faculty. Although theoreti-.
cally there are over 2,700 members of
the Senate, rarely do more than 200 peo-
ple show up for any of their meetings.
The Senate is, and has been, a cere-
monial body for a number of years and
faculty members regard its meetings as
somewhat of a formal occasion that does
hot require attendance.
Thus, by bringing the classified research
issue to the Senate, supporters of secret
research hope to pack the meeting with
enough of their allies to gain a two-thirds
majority.

This vote would necessarily be unrepre-
sentative because only a small portion of
the faculty members eligible to vote will
be there to express their views.
SECOND, A SUCCESSFUL appeal to the
University Senate sets a precedent
which could subvert the structure of fa-
culty government. The Senate is not de-
signed to take legislative action. Senate
Assembly is the legitimate representa-
tive body of the faculty, its members
elected by the different schools and col-
leges of the University. It was constituted
as the legislative arm of the Senate and
has tra'ditionally fulfilled this role.
Now, a few disgruntled faculty mem-
bers, unhappy with the majority opinion
of their representative body, are trying to
upset this structure.
In doing so, they are taking an action
that, if done often enough, could keep
faculty government from taking any ac-
tion at all. If whenever a few faculty
members are unhappy with the votes of
their representatives they appeal them,
the assembly would be paralyzed f r o m
acting, afraid any resolute action might
be appealed over its head.
If some faculty members are dissatis-
fied with the composition or procedures of
the assembly, they should seek to change
them directly and not take the step of
jeopardizing the power and influence of
that body by seeking to overturn its de-
cisions.
THE FINAL tragedy of a Senate vote on
classified research is that if the Sen-
ate Assembly policy is overruled it would
strongly influence final regental action
on the matter.
The assembly's research policy, while
not perfect, is an bxcellent step forward
in efforts to control classified research on
campus. However, the Regents are un-
likely to approve it unless they feel there
is genuine support for the policy on
campus.
A vote by the University Senate against
the policy would be a serious blow to
those of us who support the assembly re-
solution on research. Even though it
would come by packing the meeting, a
negative vote would be an excuse for the
Regents to reject the assembly's proposal.
O PREVENT an unrepresentative de-
cision by the wrong faculty body that
might hurt an excellent proposal, we
urge faculty members who support a pol-
icy to restrict classified research on cam-
pus to attend the Senate meeting on
Monday to express their views.
For a small expenditure of time, faculty
members could give their support to their
representative government and its wise
decision on classified research.
-ROBERT KRAFTOWITZ
Editor
-JIM BEATTIE
Executive Editor
-DAVE CHUDWIN
Managing Editor

THE NEXT-TO-LAST hurdle in consideration of the proposed
University policy to restrict classified research will be faced
next Monday afternoon as the University Senate debates the
matter.
The Regents, who will take final action on the policy, are
awaiting, and expected to be influenced by, the results of the
meeting.
Composed of the entire University faculty plus some re-
searchers and librarians, the Senate heretofore has been largely
a ceremonial body which has not generally taken action on
legislative items.
This task has been left to Senate Assembly, the faculty rep-
resentative body. On Oct. 18, the assembly, after months of de-
bate, passed a resolution urging the Regents to approve a new
policy on classified research.
THE ASSEMBLY PLAN, states that the University will not
accept classified contracts that "limit open publication of the
results of research" except where the research "is likely to con-
tribute so significantly to the advancement of knowledge as to
justify infringement of the freedom to publish openly."
In response to the assembly action, three researchers at the
University's Willow Run Laboratories-which performs most of
the University's classified research-submitted a request for
"consideration and review" of the plan.
Under the Senate's rules, such a request cannot result in
overruling the assembly's vote, but like all parliamentary rules
this one can be overturned by a two-thirds vote of the Senate,
Thus both opponents and supporters of classified research
are marshalling their forces for the Senate meeting at 4 p.m.
Monday at Rackham.

4

By LESLIE KISH
,rrHE SENATE ASSEMBLY is
now under attack from soie
corners for alleged imperfections
of its recommendations on classi-
fied research. But it is the Univer-
sity's legislative body, created
with some effort; in its delibera-
tions and action it compares fav-
orably with its predecessors and
with other deliberative bodies on
this campus, on other campuses,
and elsewhere.
To this complex issue the As-
sembly has devoted many hun-
dreds, actually thousands, of man
hours in meetings, and on tech-
nical reports and statements. We
heard and read a great diversity
of official and private views. This
has been probably its most care-
fully considered issue, and there
is more to come on the separate
issue of proprietary research.
Members would ponder, debate,
deliberate, and change opinions.
By now we seem to have heard all
the arguments, usually several
times.
Most of us began with our na-
tural prejudices in favor of con-
sistency and of clear definitions,
which could be applied simply,

fairly and objectively. There were
arguments in favor of one set of
policies for all research, whether
classified or proprietary, or the
great span of open academic re-
search. However, complete consis-
tency would require too great a
sacrifice of some of the conflict-
ing aims and values of our Uni-
versity. We had to deal with the
conflicts and complexities of the
entire issue. Also, frankly, as
members of a diverse legislative_
body, we made individual compro-
mises to obtain majority agree-
ment.
ONE CLEAR AND consistent
policy would be to ban anything in
conflict with the vital needs of
a university for free and open
teaching, discussion, and research.
Violation of this need diminishes a
university, and massive violation
would destroy it. But some re-
search, useful and relevant, de-
mands confidentiality of personal
information, medical or social,
or of other sources of data. We
concentrated on the openness of
results, rather than of the sources
of data.
To allow any research, regard-
less of how secret or harmful,
would perhaps be simple, but such
anarchy would - not be consistent
with the needs of the university as
a community and as an open com-
munity. Some restraints are al-
ways accepted implicity, and ex-
plicity in the present policies of
the Elderfield report.
We find throughout history a
shifting struggle to maintain for
universities an atmosphere, vital
for its existence, more free and
open than in the society in which
it exists. The university must be
part of society, but separated,
from it. This duality leads to con-
flicts and inconsistencies. These
should help to explain the com-
promises reached by the Assam-'
bly.
Note that the proposed policies
deal only with research done on
behalf of the University on grants
accepted by the Regents for the
University. It does not deal with

I

Prof. Leslie Kish

research done outside the campus,
whether done by University mem-
bers or others. It does not hamper
secret research done outside the
University community. Further-
moroe, even on the campus it does
not stop most research done for
the Department of Defense or oth-
er agencies. The policies cannot
stop research which may possibly
have harmful consequences event-
ually. It does ; not stop research
where sources, individual, private,
or public are confidential. It aims
only to stop classified research,
technically defined, with regard
to publication of results.
FINALLY, IT WOULD be harm-
ful to believe that concern about
secret research is a sudden and
passing fad, or that secret re-
search at universities is part of
the eternal nature of social life.
On the contrary, secret research
at' universities is a recent inno-
vation, which the universities
must reject if they are to sur-
vive. The University community
will continue, I am confident, to
be concerned with re-establishing
the open nature it needs to sur-
vive.
Leslie Kish is a professor of so-
ciology, a program director at ISR
and a member of Senate -Assembly.

-Daily-Rolfe Tessem

Preserving the rights of faculty members

By GORDON VAN WYLEN
IN MY JUDGMENT, there a r e
three dimensions which should
be considered in regard to the
resolution of the Senate Assembly
on classified research.
The first relates specifically to
the Willow Run Laboratories. The
issues involved are reasonably
complex, and I will not attempt to
analyze them. I would only state
that some excellent researc) has
been done at Willow Run, and it
has brought considerable recogni-
tion and prestige to the Univer-
sity, as well as contributing signi-
ficantly to our academic p r o -
grams. The recent announcement

Editorial Staff
ROBERT ISRAFTOWITZ
Editor
JIM BEATTIE DAVE CHUDWIN
Executive Editor Managing Editor
STEVE KOPPMAN .... ....... Editoria, Page Editor
RICK PERLOFF .. Asociate Editorial Page Editor
PAT MAHONEY .... Assistant Editorial Page Editor
LARRY LEMPENT.....Associate Managing Editor
LYNN WEINER. . . Associate Managing Editor
ANITA CRONE........................ Arts Editor
JIM IRWIN.......Associate Arts Editor
ROBERT CONROW...................Books Editor
JANET FREY ... Personnel Director
JIM JUDKI9......... ,........... Photogral-v Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Rose Sue Berstein, Lindsay Chaney,
Mark Dillen, Sara Fitzgerald, Tammry Jacobs, Alan
Lenhott, Arthur Lerner Hester Pulling, Carla
Rapoport, Robert Schreiner, W.E. Schrock, Geri
Sprung.
COPY EDITORS: Pat Bauer, Chris Parks, Gene Robin-
son.
DAY EDITORS: Linda Dreeben, John Mitchell, Han-
nah Morrison, Beth Oberfelder, Tony Schwartz,
Gloria Jane Smith, Ted Stein, Paul Travis, Marcia
Zoslaw.

I

that the Nobel Prize for Physics
has been awarded to Dr. Dennis
Gabor has again focused interna-
tional attention on the outstand-
ing work in holography which was
done at the Willow Run Labora-
tories.
However, there is currently an
effort underway to separate t h e
Willow Run Laboratories from the
University, and to establish these
laboratories as a not-for-profit
research institute in Ann A r b o r.
It is important for the Univer-
sity to make a definite decision on
this issue in the very near future.
If it is decided that they should
be separated, then this course
should be pursued vigorously by
both the Executive Officers and
the Willow Run Laboratories.
Further, I recommend that the
University make no change in its
policy on classified research for a
period of 18 months, or until the
Willow Run Laboratories are sep-
arated from the University, which-
ever event occurs first. This would
provide an opportunity for an
orderly transition of the Labora-
tories from University affiliate to
independent status.
THE SECOND dimension is
much more basic, and relates to
the responsibility and authority
which each school or college in the
University - and the individual
faculty members of these units -
has in regard to research p r o-
grams.

Our goal as a College of En-
gineering is to have academic pro-
grams of excellence that are in
the forefront of technology. Our
research is important not only be-
cause of publications based on this
research but also because of the
experience and knowledge which
faculty and students gain by doing
this research. and because of the
direct carry-over of knowledge
fromethe laboratory to the class-
room.
A very limited number of our fa-
culty are working in areas where
the forefront of technology in-
volves some classified research.
They have chosen to accept some
funding for classified research in
order to continue to work in their
areas of research. These faculty
members strive to have the maxi-
mum possible amount of k n o w-
ledge declassified and available to
their students and the public, and
have been particularly successful
in this.
In addition to teaching, t h e
College judges a faculty member
on his publications in the o p e n
literature, his ability to contin-
ually update courses on the basis
of recent developments in his field,
and his supervision of doctoral
thesis work (all of which is un-
classified). Thus, the College foc-
uses considerable attention on the
dissemination of knowledge which
results from research - including
that which may be classified-and
this work relates directly to our
academic goals.
The nature of the academic and
professional environment varies
considerably from one academic
unit to another. Each academic
unit, and each faculty member
within that unit, should have the
maximum possible freedom in set-
ting and achieving their academic
goals.
THIS BEARS directly on what
I believe is the weakest point of
the proposal of the Senate As-
sembly; namely, the focus "federal
contracts or grants that limit pub-
licatio'ns of the results." Much re-
search is done in academic units
that has some limit on publica-
tion. Sometimes this involves a
time lapse before results can be
published;, sometimes it involves
protection of the identity of the
Gordon Van Wylen is dean of
the engineering college, ihieh has
been heavily involved in classified
research in the past.

##

Dean Van Wylen

Reform coalition: Changing U' policies

individual or the company; some-
times it involves withholding of
specific information on certain
equipment. Each academic u n it
should have the maximum free-
dom in making decisions on what
limitations it will accept in order
to achieve its academic and pro-
fessional goals.
This is not to say that there
should not be any overall policies
regarding research. Rather it is
to say that a general statement
cited above is not definitive in
this regard; and, if literally in-
terpreted, could restrict v e r y
important research. If .the recom-
mendation of the Senate Assem-
bly is adopted, it would be t h e
first major step which the Uni-
versity has taken to deny a fa-
culty member the opportunity to
gain support forhresearch work on
the basis of a limit of open publi-
cation of the results. We ought to
weigh this issue very carefully.
The entire academic community
would be tremendously upset (and
rightly so) if the Legislature im-
posed the same constraints upon
us that the Assembly now propos-
es. Do we really want to establish
such a precedent? I am confident
that Nye do not.
The backers of the resolution
are without doubt truly sincere in
their opposition to the war, to the
level of expenditures for defense,
to certain national policies, and to
certain misuses of technology
which arerevidenthtoday, and I
sincerely respect them for their
concerns. But it is dificult to see
how the proposed resolution w ill
really further their goals. The po-
tential gain for achieving this goal
is, in my judgment, far overshad-
owed by the potential loss in aca-

demic freedom.
I sense that there are m a n y
faculty members in the College
of Engineering who share some
of the same reservations about the
war and defense spending as do
the backers of the resolution but
are strongly opposed to the action
of the Senate Assembly. The rea-
son is that for them the impact
of the los of freedom which is in-
volved in the proposed resolu-
tion strikes close to home, and
poses a very serious threat to the
freedom which they deem import-
ant for the vigor and strength of
the College.
THE THIRD consideration re-
lates to the question of how
thorough an investigation into the
clasif ied .research situation at the
College of Engineering was made
by the Senate Assembly before it
took action. The College did have
the opportunity to present i t s
situation to the Research Policies
Committee and they recommended
that the present policies be contin-
ued, with a tightening up of the
review procedure. However, the
Senate Assembly, in its meetings,
essentially ignored this report and
made it decision without any di-
rect input from the College most
directly affected by its action.
I believe that the fundamental
issues in a classified research pol-
icy should relate to our concern
for human life. This was the cen-
tral thrust of the policy statement
adopted in 1968 as well as the re-
cent recommendation of the Re-
search Policies Committee. The
College of Engineering is prepared
to cooperate fully in the effective
implementation of these policies.

By SAMUEL KRIMM
and BRADFORD PERKINS
IN ITS REPORT of April 1971 the Fac-
ulty Reform Coalition recommend-
ed that the University adopt the follow-'
Ing policies with respect to classified
research:
"1. It shall be the policy of the Uni-
versity not to enter into a classified re-
search contract unless classification is
required only in order to have access
to classified information or to use
classified equipment. It- is understood
that the results and conclusions of such
work shall not be classified. Every at-
tempt shall be made to insure that the
document embodying the research pro-
posal shall not be classified.
"2. Following its approval by the
Board of Regents, no new classified re-
search contracts shall be accepted
which do not conform to the above
policy. However, in order to permit
the opportutity for current classified
research projects which do not con-
form to the above requirement to ad-
just their operations accordingly, and to
avoid undue hardship to the personnel

this will be fruitful. This is already
'evident from the two proposals to modi-
fy the Elderfield Committee Policy I;
The Research Policies Committee would
extend the criterion to include "clearly
foreseeable results," a phrase which
poses extremely difficult and perhaps
unanswerable questions for committee
members reviewing applications, and in
addition would make the policy apply
to "any research," which raises not
only incredible logistics problems but
bypasses the fact that unclassified re-
search is already open and subject to
scrutiny by the University community.
The Senate Assembly's proposal would
allow classified research which "is like-
ly to contribute so significantly to the
advancement of knowledge as to jus-
tify infringement of the freedom to
publish openly." The operational mean-
ing of this phrase is unclear, to say
the least. It is therefore apparent that
achieving an individualized and work-
able selection process for highly clas-
sified research projects is not likely to
be a successful endeavor.
THE FACULTY Reform Coalition be-

shall read the entire proposal if it is a
classified document."
THESE RECOMMENDATIONS de-
rive from the concluion that the nres-

demic values which the Elderfield Com-
mittee recognized as being essential to
acceptability in a University milieu. On
the other hand, access-only classified

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