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February 03, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich. 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.

EDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1971

NIGHT EDITOR: LARRY LEMPERT

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College Course 327

r~HE HEATED controversy stemming
from the LSA Curriculum Committee's
. recent decision to delete several sections
of College Course 327 (Issues, Strategies
and Analysis in Political Action) ha;
blown entirely out of proportion for the
same reasons that it started in the first
:place - failure in communication by both
sides involved.
Although it may be hard for some to
believe, the problem did not arise impul-
sively last week, with the committee's de-
cision and the subsequent protest by
students and organizers. Perhaps an apt
description of the situation would instead
be an "extended fiasco."
As far back as Nov. 21 - the date the
original proposal for the course was sub-
hmitted to the Course Mart Committee -
"what should by rights have been a simple
administrative procedure was already
taking the shape of a complex affair
.bound to cause hostility.
At that time, the Course Mart Commit-
tee designated the original proposal un-
feasible because of its tenuous content, a
lack of a predominant theme to tie the
course together, and the fact that it re-
quired funding which the unfunded
Course Mart program could not provide.
In rejecting the proposal, the Course
:.Mart committee permitted the course's
organizers to submit a revised proposal
after the Dec. 3 deadline for winter term
course proposals. The revised proposal
n was presented Dec. 15 and analyzed in
depth by the Course Mart committee on
the 18th.
The Course Mart Committee has said
'that despite reservations about grading
procedure, the nature of the political ac-
tions to be taken, the qualifications of
the proposed section leaders and other
, aspects of the section organization, it felt
secure in recommending approval of the
.'course without review by the LSA cur-
riculum committee, of which it is a sub-
committee.
c Consequently, the curriculum commit-
tee approved the course "in good faith"
and it was processed and sent to the
registrar on Dec. 21.
Except for the waiving of the Dec. 3
deadline, the Course Mart Committee up
to this point followed the normal pro-
' cedure applied for all Course Mart cour-
ses. But a significant error was made by
the committee when it chose not to refer
i the proposal to the curriculum commit-
tee. Indeed, it was apparent even then
on paper the course was very poorly or-
ganized, regardless of its educational
merits.
THE CARELESS approval by the Course
Mart Committee led to further prob-
lems as the organizers of college course
327 understandably, but mistakenly con-
.; cluded that everything was all right with
the course.
When advertisements in the Daily and
leaflets publicizing College Course 327
n appeared at the start of the present term,
the Curriculum Committee became dis-
turbed at several subtle discrepancies
between the ads, the leaflets and the ap-
proved proposal. While these discrepanc-
ies were no doubt picayune when taken
by themselves, they assumed great signi-
ficance when considered in light of all
that had occurred.
The advertisements and the leaflets
were obviously changed to attract the in-
terests of as many students as possible.
Nothing is wrong with that. Even the fact
that when taken together, the changes
tended to make the course format take a
giant step to the left was little more than
sensational, if deceptive.

Significant, however, was the f a c t
that a few minor changes could so affect
a course as to make it appear different
than it was originally supposed to be.
In other words, the discrepancies be-
tween the advertisements and the ap-
proved proposal, while harmless in them-
selves, served to point out the shakiness
of the course organization. A thoroughly
sloppy procedure, or lack of it, by psy-
chology Prof. Robert Hefner, the sponsor,
and other coordinators of the course
virtually backed the Curriculum Commit-
tee against a wall in which the only re-
course was to salvage as much of the
course as possible, without violating
Course Mart and LSA rules.
The nrimarv vinlatinn cited hv the

dean, in accordance with Course Mart
rules.
While there was obviously no attempt
to deceive the literary college, and de-
spite the fact that most of the proposed
teachers were suitably qualified, Hefner
nevertheless was inexcusably remiss in
not obtaining the necessary approval,
whatever the reason.
CHARGES FROM both sides that actions
were taken by the opposition for poli-
tical reasons are unfounded. If the Curri-
culum Committee deleted the sections for
political reasons, it would have been both
ineffective and inconsistent: Ineffective
because, since the nine other actions were
approved, and the Curriculum Committee
had previously guaranteed college credit
to all the students enrolled in the course,
nothing would prevent them from switch-
ing into one of the equally "political" sec-
tions that were approved, if theirs was
deleted. Indeed, such action was endorsed
by the committee as the only possible
solution to insure that students received
a fair deal.
Alleged political repression in the class-
room was one of the primary reasons the
Course Mart program was begun in the
first place. Deletion of the sections for
political reasons would have been incon-
sistent with both past and present Course
Mart policy. Several current Course Mart
courses are at least as politically oriented
as the deleted sections of 327, but w e r e
organized and presented to the commit-
tee in cohesive manner according to es-
tablished Course Mart rules and proced-
ure.
On the other hand, charges by the cur-
riculum committee and other faculty
members that the issue is being turned
into a political one are equally dangerous.
Hefner and his associates are understand-
ably concerned that primarily technical
matters are preventing a much needed
course from reaching students who desire
to take it.
Hefner, especially, is extremely sincere
in his motivations for wanting the course
approved in its entirety, just as he was
sincere in his motivations in advertising
the course and in attempting to treat a
potentially inflammatory subject in a
rational, scholarly fashion. At certain
times he was influenced by some of those
connected with the course who wanted to
turned it into a political issue, but his
gravest mistake was simply a lack of
planning, organization and control of the
course as a whole.
The individuals seated on the Course
Mart and Curriculum committees are
equally well-intentioned. Generally moti-
vated by a concern for approving rigor-
ous courses regardless of the political na-
ture of the subject matter, most of them
have expressed regret that the course
could not be approved because of admin-
istrative errors on the part of the course
organizers.
THAT IS WHY impulsive decisions like
those made by LSA Student Govern-
ment last week to review the status of the
three student members on the Course
Mart Committee can only denigrate the
effort of these students to maintain a
strong inerest in matters of LSA cur-
riculum - an area which students often
gripe about, but are rarely willing to
work to change.
The Course Mart Committee is at fault,
however, for administrative errors of its
own. The list of Course Mart rules and
procedures must be made more accessible
to those proposing course mart courses,
so that familiarity will breed good con-
tent in the course proposals. In addi-
tion, the rules should be reviewed and
clarified, and in some instances changed

to make them less cumbersome. Perhaps
a more expeditious method for obtain-
ing teacher approval could be devised, in-
stead of relying on the often unavailable
time of the executive committee and
dean. Finally, the committees must be
stringent in sticking to deadlines and cau-
tious that no second-rate course pro-
posals are approved in the future. This
will prevent unfortunate incidents of stu-
dents signing up for courses and then
finding that they do not exist. For by
that time no reasons are adequate.
SINCE MANY Course Mart and Curri-
r1n1M enmmittea membersexanreed

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College Course 327

strikes back

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is a response
of instructors and students of College Course
327 to the decision of the LSA curriculum
committee to drop six sections of the course.
The article was prepared by Irvene Brawer,
Beryl Brown, John Cumbler, Bob Hefner,
Harlan Himel, Steve Nissen and Fred Rosen.
LAST SEMESTER the LSA Curriculum
Committee approved College Course
327 - Issues, Strategies, and Analysis in
Political Action - to be offered this term.
After the term began and the course was
underway, the committee decided to re-
consider its approval of this course. On
Tuesday, January 26, three weeks into the
term, the committee decided that only 11
of the 17 existing sections would be ap-
proved. Thus in effect, it dropped six
sections of a course which had originally
been approved as a whole.
In order to understand what is at is-
sue, it is important to review briefly the
history of College Course 327. The course
was designed and proposed last summer by
a group of grad students and faculty mem-
bers who had heard of the proposal for
Political Science 300, where students would
have the opportunity to study and become
involved in electoral politics. They were
sensitive to the fact that, as reactions to
the invasion of Cambodia showed, students
were having growing doubts about the ef-
ficacy of traditional politics for dealing
with the major political and social issues
of the day. Poli Sci 300 was not designed
to speak to those doubts. So this group
posposed a course that would enable stu-
dents to consider, evaluate, and participate
in a wide variety of tactics for effecting
political and social change.
Vice-President for Academic Affairs Al-
lan Smith agreed to provide $5,000 for the
course (the University provided $20,000
for Political Science 300). Several depart-
ments were approached with the proposal.
The psychology department was among the
few which expressed interest in it, but
ultimately they urged
"that interested people in the depart-
ment - and elsewhere - join in sup-
port for the institution of some 'gen-
eral education' courses for undergrad-
uates. ISAPA (Issues, Strategies and
Analysis in Political Action) is an
excellent example of such a course.
It should receive a college number,
rather than a department number be-
cause the range of its concerns goes
beyond the boundaries and expertise
of any given discipline."
In October. the proposal was brought
to the Course Mart Subcommittee of the
college curriculum committee for approval.
When the proposal was criticized as being
too long, containing too much informa-
tion, and not being organized according to
Course Mart guidelines, a shorter reor-
ganized proposal was submitted. In mid-
December the course was approved.
AT THE MEETING at which approval
was granted, it was suggested by a Course
Mart Committee student member that the
course be publicized to attract large num-
bers of students, since there were facilities

to handle a large number, and to fully use
the many outstanding teaching fellows
committed to the course. At the beginning
of the winter term, leaflets describing the
course and the topics to be covered by the
various sections (each section focuses on
social change in a certain area, such as
ecology, racism, sexism, etc.) were distri-
buted and ads were placed in the Daily.
This publicity was the basis of our first
conflict with the curriculum committee.
First, they charged that the course was
advertised as a course in "Political Ac-
tion". The name of the course, they re-
minded us, is "Issues, Strategies, and Ana-
lysis in Political Action". The abbreviation,
they said, was misleading. (The course
name was abbreviated to save space in
the Daily. It was described as a "new
course in political action". This is a factual
description', not a title.)
Second, the leaflets and the Daily ads
referred to the sections as "study-action"
sections: the proposal had called t h em
"work-study" sections. The proposal ap-
proved by the curriculum committee h a d
clearly stated: "The course requires that
each section be involved in an action pro-
ject".
Third, they objected to the fact that the
publicity mentioned that grades would be
determined jointly by teaching fellows and
students. In response, we quote the pro-
posal approved (and presumably read) in
December:
"Each student will be evaluated on the
basis of his work in a group or individ-
ual project and his participation in
section meetings. Reports of project
and study activities will be presented
in class and discussed as a basis for
evaluation. Beyond these procedures,
the specifics of evaluation will be
determined by each section leader in
consultation with his students".
Fourth, the committe objected to t h e
topical organization of the sections, as-
serting that all students should study all
topics. To some extent this is done in the
debate portion of the course (weekly de-
bates or talks on strategies for social
change, attended by all students). How-
ever, that is not the primary goal of the
sections. Again, we quote the proposal
the committee approved:
"Work-study sections will be the major
site of student participation, providing
the opportunity for discussion, study,
planning, and the presentation of in-
dividual and group reports. Sections
will be organized around topical areas
(selected by the teahing fellows) such
as race relations, urban problems, the
role of the military, or the nature of
the large corporation."
WHAT ALL OF this amounted to, they
said, was "pandering" to the political in-
terests of the students, and therefore they
were reconsidering their approval of the
course. We first learned of these objec-
tions on the afternoon of January 12, five

hours before the first meeting of the
course. A motion to rescind credit for the
course was made in the curriculum com-
mittee meeting on January 12, and tabled
to January 19. In spite of this, 200 stu-
dents decided to proceed.
One week later the curriculum com-
mittee met to discuss the matter. The two
course co-ordinators attended that meet-
ing and attempted - despite a hostile tone
and many personal insults - to demon-
strate that the course was indeed being
taught as originally proposed and approv-
ed by the committee.
Prof. Robert Hefner and course co-or-
dinator John Cumbler met with the Course
Mart Committee on January 22. In two-
and-a-half hours they attempted to ex-
plain the nature of the 17 sections and the
qualifications of the Tis. Extended dis-
cussions of some of the sections left only
one or two minutes to present some of the
others. (8everal faculty members were
anxious to end the meeting as it passed 6
p.m.) At no time were the course co-or-
dinators informed what was at issue or
what the criteria for evaluating the sec-
tions were.
On Tuesday, January 26, the curriculum
committee accepted the recommendation
of the Course Mart Committee that only
11 of the sections be approved, and stated
that no further discussion of the smatter
was possible;' the issue was closed. No
reasons were given for rescinding approv-
al of six sections; indeed, the six sections
that were not approved were not even
mentioned in the report.
The sections dropped are: a section on
corporations and imperialism taught by a
group of six people including a grad stu-
dent in economics, a grad student in busi-
ness administration, and a PhD candidate
in political science; a section on M e d i a
taught by a student already approved to
teach another Course Mart course plus a
non-student writer with a BA; sections on
youth liberation and repression, each
taught by an accredited and experienced
high school teacher; a section on Inde-
pendent Electoral Politics taught by an.
ex-graduate student well-known on cam-
pus for his politics, allegedly vetoed by the
Dean; and a section on racism and sexism
from the standpoint of gay liberation,
taught by an undergraduate who is a
member of GLF and who has previously
been approved to teach.
No reasons have been given for drop-
ping the sections. One student member of
the Course, Mart Committee said that his
reasons (but not necessarily the Commit-
tee's reasons) often included lack of in-
formation about the course or instructor,
but all information requested has b e e n
supplied. Furthermore, our requests for
further discussion (perhaps we can an-
swer or accommodate ourselves to their
objections -- but we don't know what they
are) have been flatly refused.
CAN ANYTHING justify this sort of
treatment?
The members of the Course Mart and
curriculum committees seem to be making

up the rules as they go along. A course
already approved in December must now
be approved again section by section. Com-
mittee members have 'proudly' stated
that they don't operate by Robert's Rules,
"we just make 'em up as we go along."
This attitude has enabled them to consider
three separate motions to rescind credit for
the course (one was defeated with one
positive vote, the other two just evaporat-
ed), and then allegedly vote partial ap-
proval for something earlier approved as a
whole.
Standards for approval are not being
uniformly applied. Most Course Mart
courses are approved on the basis of a brief
paragraph. For this course, more and more
information has been demanded, with no
clear criteria to be met or limits on the
questioning process.
The only reason mentioned has been
lack of information, when all of the informa-
tion requested has been given. This is not
a reason, it is an excuse.
What are the real reasons why these sec-
tions were dropped? Is it because the Uni-
versity cannot tolerate courses designed to
serve the interests of students rather than
narrow groups of faculty or administrators?
Is it because they cannot tolerate a course
in which students participate in decisions
concerning what shall be studied and how
and on what basis grades shall be given-
thereby challenging the traditional preroga-
tives of teachers?
Is it because some faculty feel threatened
by the existence of a Course Mart course
that attracts and accomnmodates as many
as 200 students? Is it because this course is
likely to present, among others; radical al-
ternatives to present approaches to contem-
porary problems and to challenge the ef-
ficacy of the two-party system? Is it be-
cause this is the largest and most successful
course of this type? Or is there something
else about intra-university politics involved
about which we know nothing?
This university purports to be a place with
sufficient freedom to tolerate the teach-
ing of all views-including the unpopular
and the radical. It purports to be a place
with sufficient flexibility to permit innova-
tions in teaching methodology, with enough
breadth of vision not to sacrifice the needs
and interests of students to the whims, pre-
judices, and narrow class interests of cer-
tain faculty or students, and with a suffici-
ently open mind to allow-indeed, to encour-
age-a variety of approaches to a variety of
issues.
THE ACADEMIC freedom of all in the
university community requires vigorous de-
fense whenever it is attacked. The students
and teachers of all 17 sections of College
Course 327 urge the support of everyone in
the effort to assure that the injustices visited
upon them are rectified, that their rights
are recognized, and that their needs are
served.
There is no good reason for the rip-off
of these six sections. They should be imme-
diately reinstated!

'0i

4i

S
4

.0

Letters to the Daily: More ons Tiao-yu-tai

To the Daily:
MR. JOHN GISSBERGS letter of
Jan. 30 on the Tiao-yu-tai incidents
shows a definitely mistaken sense
of priority. The principal issue that
Mr. Siak tries to emphasize in his
article on Jan. 28 is not "a careful
examination of the implications of
a continued Chinese and Japanese
rejection of the international prin-
ciples asserted in the treaty the
1968 U.N. Convention" (as Mr.
Gissberg's says) but rather the
preservation of Chinese sovereign-
ty.
Even if Mr. Siak's main point

Director of Graduate Studies, De-
partment of Political Science). We
believe, if any other country at-
tempts to take the state of Michi-
gan away from the United States,
American would be more con-
cerned about such transgression
than they would if the United States
did not sign an international treaty
comparable to the 1958 U.N. Con-
vention on the Continental Shelf.
As to Mr. Gissberg's question on
the thoroughness of our research
efforts, we suggest that he should
come to our next meeting during
which he would be informed of the
--.-n -c of ,,. - m ri.) di A ile

ism and imperialism are the issue.
Even if oil had not been discovered
on the Tiao-yu-tai islands, we
would still have been, equally in-
sistent on Chinese rights.
-Univ. of Mich. Action
Committee to protest
Japanese aggression
ag ains t Tiao-yu-tai
Islands
Feb. 2
1938 again
To the Daily:
T.TETT DI In THINK when I

glee and gusto of 1938. It is a
song that no civilized human being
has ever sung, played, requested,
or applauded, and surely not since
1945, not even in Germany: the
"Horst Wessel Lied."
For those who have forgotten or
never knew, this was the official
marching song of the "Sturm
Abteilung (S.A.)," Hitler's brown-
shirt hooligans. It. has no meaning
or nostalgia other than that. It
has nothing to do with oom-pah
traditions, Oktoberfest, Fasching,
beerhall camaraderie, old Ger-
man university towns, or restau-
rants named for them. It is purely

When I registered my fury with
the management and asked if the
"Horst Wessel Lied" was standard
fare in the band's repertoire, I was
told that it had been requested. I
suggested that there are some re-
quests that need not be honored.
Response: it doesn't reflect the
management's views; we only
played it because we were asked
to. And at my back I heard the
echo of that blood-chilling refrain
- "I was only following orders."
FOR YOUR FUN and frolic, my
fellow townspeople, you may, on
any weekend, and at your simple
romict tt th nrne ifa glasnf

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