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November 21, 1971 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-11-21

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Sunday; November 21, 1971


Page Seven

Sunday, November 21, 1971 THE MICHiGAN DAILY Page Seven








Continued from page 1)
Those guidelines prohibit re-
saarch whose "specific purpose
. is to destroy human life or
or to incapacitate human be-
In practice, the policy h a s
only served to stop research on
actual weapons,, without affect-
ing projects whose results a r e
designed to further the effect-
iveness of weapons - such' as
electronic and acoustic sensing
projects, radar systems and elec-
tronic countermeasures devices.
In view of Willow Run's fin-
ancial position, Fleming has an-
nounced that two possibilities
are being "vigorously pursued."
The first alternative would
disassociate the labs from t h e
University and "put it in the
hands of a non-profit corpora-
tion under the auspices of the
State of Michigan, but without
limitation on the kinds of re-
search it could accept."

The other plan would be iden-
tical except the non-profit cor-
poration would not be under
state auspices.
The possibility of state con-
trol is being explored by both a
University committee and a
study group comprised from
Gov. William Milliken's staff.
Both groups plan to present
feasibility reports by Jan. 1,
Should that option prove, not
to be feasible, the latter p 1 a n
will be further explored.
In the past, the attempts of
the University to dissolve its ties
with Willow Run have been fu-
tile. In one instance, about 18
months ago, the University had
finalized an agreement to turn
the labs over to the Battelle
Memorial' Institute, a non-pro-
fit group. The deal fell through,
however, because of a change in
tax laws.

--.---- I




e aY Calendar


Sunday, Nov. 21,
Fifth Forum
"The World of Hans Christian Anderson" and
"Jack the Giant Killer"-2 p.m.*
"Sunday, Bloody Sunday"-5, 7 and 9 p.m.*
Alley Cinema, 330 Maynard
"Cat Ballou"-7 and 9:30 p.m.*
Cinema II, Angell Hall, Aud. A
"Don't Look Back" with Bob Dylan-7 and 9 p.m.*
Campus Theatre
"Hellstrom Chronicle"-7 and 9 p.m.*
State Theatre
"200 Motels"-1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. *
Michigan Theatre
"Play Misty for Me"-1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m.*
Other Events-
Hill Auditorium
B minor Mass by J.S. Bach-8 p.m.
University choir and orchestra, faculty soloists
Power Center
Chorica Dance-Theatre Co. of Athens-8 p.m.*
Monday, Nov. 22
Fifth Forum
"Sunday, Bloody Sunday"-7 and 9 p.m.*
Alley Cinema, 330 Maynard
Lois Bunuel's "Viridiara"-7 and 9:30 p.m.*
Other Events-
Mendelssohn Theatre
"The Magic Flute" by Mozart-8 p.m.*
*denotes events for which admission is charged

But this time, the University
administration seems determin-
ed to succeed.
One indication of their dedi-
cation is that Fleming has ap-
pointed Wilbur Pierpont, vice
president and chief financial of-
ficer: and A. Geoffrey Norman,
vice president for research. to
the committee to study placing
the labs under state control.
Clearly, Fleming is looking for
a favorable report from t h e
committee and the expertise of
these men will add considerable
weight to its recommendations.
If Fleming's plan does suc-
ceed, the most glaring result will
be that Willow Run's contracts
-which amount to 88 per cent
of the University's clasified pro-
jects - will continue despite the
subsequent approval of any new
classified research policy.
In addition the lab would be
free to accept new contracts
without any restrictions.
The University's only o t h e r
labs that do a significant
amount of classified research,
the Cooley Electronic Labora-
tories and the Radiation Lab-
oratory, would not escape as un-
scathedsas Willow Run if Sen-
ate Assembly's policy were
adopted, however.
These labs are both part of
the engineering college's de-
partment of electrical engineer-
ing, and consequently are much
more a part of the main~stream
of the Universitythan Willow
Thus, most observers feel that
these labs will probably adapt
to whatever policy the Univer-
sity decides on. rather than
seeking independent status.
Currently, the two labs have a
total of four classified contracts
worth about $336.000 which pro-
duce classified results. These
projects involve about 10 profes-
sors, according to engineering
Dean Gordon Van Wylen.
But there is good evidence that
much of this work maynbe al-
lowed to continue.
An analogous situation may be
seen at Stanford University,
where the Department of De-
fense declassified a number of
contracts when that school
adopted a restrictive research
This declassification was done
in two ways. First, some c o n-
tracts were declassified without
being altered. This, by the ad-

mission of Pentagon officials,
was largely the result of t h e i r
rather arbitrary system of class-
ifying projects that, upon close
inspection, really do not require
In adition, some projects were
declassified after sensitive por-
tions of the work were deteted
from the contract. In general,
this would be reflected in a low-
er dollar-value of the contract.
According to Earl Cilley, di-
rector of research at Stanford,
"Some government defense
agencies are hesitant about even
supporting unclassified research
at Stanford and other leading
universities because of the local
climate of opinion against such
"On the other hand." he con-
tinues, "they are beginning to
realize that they can't get along
without research in the best
universities. They would be cut-
ting themselves off from t h e
best brains in the country."
Apparently some of the work
toward declassification has al-
ready begun. Dean Van Wylen
says that the engineering college
"has had considerable success in
getting projects declassified that
we felt did not warrant clasifi-

tion labs and the engineering
college, "most of their people
are salaried on the general
"This means their continued
employment is not dependent on
getting research contracts," he
This policy can be contrasted
to the case of professors work-
ing at Willow Run who are ex-
pected to have grants which
roughly pay a percentage of
their salary equal to the per-
centage of their time involved
in research.
In general, however, jobs ap-
pear to be secure at Willow Run
as well.
Assuming that the facility will
leave the jurisdiction of the
University, contracts will not be
lost, and most of those who pre-
sently are employed there will
be able to stay on.
Currently, there are 119 pro-
fessional employes at the labs
- of which only seven have pro-
fessorial appointments at t h e'
University, most of them in the
engineering college.
Until a clear-cut policy is en-
acted, the future of these seven
professors will remain in doubt.
According to Norman, "If

engineering college's general
policy is unclear.
Another possibility is that if
University professors are allow-
ed to work at Willow Run and
retain their appointments, they
might be required to only work
on projects that conform with
the University's research code.
But if the. professors are forc-
ed to choose between remaining
at the University and continu-
ing their research at W i11 o w
Run. Brown says that "probably
about one-half of them v i e w
themselves as being primarily
researchers, the rest primarily as
teachers." and would choose ac-
Brown is quick to point out
the benefits of independent
status for Willow Run's employ-
es. Among them he lists:
* Independence from Univer-
sity pay scales. "If the faculty
doesn't get a pay raise, neither
do the researchers, even if the
labs are doing very well," he
says. "We need higher salaries
to attract top people;"
* No restrictions on the types
of projects that can be accept-
er:; and
" No need to have projects
approved by University commit-
tees - which he says, have cost
the labs some contracts because
the reviews took too long.
In addition, Brown says he
sees no reason why students
would not be able to continue
to work at the facility after it
breaks away from the Univer-
In fact, he ads, "under the
new set-up, it is possible that
we may eventually move closer
to the campus to be more acces-
sible to students.
Willow Run is presently hous-
ed in University-owned build-
ings on the edge of the old Wil-
low Run Airport, east of Ypsi-
As for the University financ-
ial picture, the adoption of the
Senate Assembly policy, coup-
led with the severance of ties
with Willow Run, should n o t
cost the University more than a
minimal amount of funds.
All federal classified contracts
operate on a system of direct
and indirect cost reimbursement.
What this means is that the
sponsor reimburses the Univer-
sity for the direct costs of per-
forming its research, such as
salaries, supplies and t r a v e l

"If Willow Run. became independent, the
prof essors would have to make a choice be-
tween the laboratories and the University or
get less than full time professorial appoint-
ments," says Vice President A. Geoffrey Nor-

William Brown

But the sponsor also pays an
amount for the indirect costs of
the research which cannot be
separately identified for each
project, such as libraries, utili-
ties, administration and ac-
The amount of indirect cost
reimbursement is negotiated
each year between the Univer-
sity and various agencies as a
percentage of salaries and wages
which are incurred in the re-
search. For most federal classi-
fied research the rate is about
50 per cent of the incurred
The indirect cost reimburse-
ment money is not profit, it is
merely money from the sponsor
to reimburse the University for
money it has already spent as a
consequence of the research pro-
Therefore, although the esti-
mated indirect cost reimburse-
ment for Willow Run projects
and classified projects at the
other labs totals about $1.5 mil-
lion annually, the loss of this
money would not represent a
financial setback to the Univer-
There is another circumstance
in which the University would
stand to lose some money, how-
Some sort of financial respon-
sibility would be incurred if fac-
ulty members whose salaries
were formerly supported either.
partially or totally by research

grants were to lose these grants
-either because their projects
were banned or because they
were unable to continue their
researchtat Willow Run and still
retain their faculty appoint-
Conceivably, upwards to 10
professors could be in that posi-
In view of recent expressions
of concern for those who might
be adversely affected by the pro-
posed research policy from Flem-
ing, Senate Assembly and var-
ious Regents, it seems likely that
the University would commit it-
self to pick up these salaries.
The costs of augmenting or
totally assuming these salaries
might be lessened by not hiring
new personnel to fill retirements
in the affected units and
through asking more time in the
classroom from those faculty
members who are no longer in-
volved in research.
The problem that arises in
units such as the engineering
college is that some of their fac-
ulty are involved in such
narrow, specialized fields that
retiring professors' work some-
times cannot be taken over by
the remaining members of the
But there are distinctly posi-
tive financial signs, as well.
If Willow Run were to be
transfered, Brown predicts that
the present buildings will be
rented by the University to the
new controlling unit for a period
of perhaps several years-until
new facilities can be built.
After that time, the University
may be able to sell the entire
Willow Run c o m p 1 e x-which
also includes an airport and
t h r e e large factories-for a
hefty profit.
According to Norman, the
Wayne County Road Commis-
sion, which operates Metropoli-
tan Airport, is interested in pur-
chasing the site for expansion
into a major airport.
University officials have not
yet put a price on the facility,
either for its sale or rental, but
a profitable return on their or-
iginal investment is assured.
Willow Run was "sold" to the
University in 1946 by the fed-
eral government for $1.

However, it is clear that some
classified work at the Cooley
and Radiation labs cannot be de-
classified. Specifically, projects
dealing with electronic counter-
measure devices that defend
missiles and aircraft from at-
tack cannot be declassified be-
cause publication of their cap-
abilities and radio operating fre-
quencies would allow enemy at-
tackers to evade them.
But should projects such as
those be terminated, faculty
members would not be without
Vice President Norman e x -
plains that because of the ties
between the Cooley and Radia-

Willow Run became independ-
ent, the professors would have
to make a choice between the
laboratories and the University
or get less than full-time profes-
sorial appointments.
"Generally we don't pay much
attention to what the professors
do in their other (non-academ-
ic) time,' he adds.
Van Wylen. however, says that
in the engineering college, pro-
fessors are not allowed to work
for an agency outside the Uni-
versity more than two days a
month unless they take a leave
of absence.
Whether Willow Run work will
be made an exception to the













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