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September 02, 1970 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-02

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Wednesday, September 2, 1970


'Academics-Page Three









Military research, the subject of accu-
sations, committee investigations a n d a
mass sit-in three years ago, is alive and
well at the University,.
Although the amount of classified and
unclassified researchr for the U.S. Depart-
ment of Defense done by the University
has declined somewhat, the University re-
mains one of the largest contractors for
military research among educational in-
The Defense Department provided al-
most a quarter of the University's $62.1
million research budget inr 1968-69, the
latest period for which statistics are avail-
While not all projects funded by the
military are classified, the University ac-
cepted almost 40 new grants totalling over
$4.2 million from the Defense Department
in 1969 for classified research.
Forced by the 1967 furor to give up con-
tracts such as a $1 million counter-insur-
gency project in Thailand, University re-
searchers continue secret work in elec-
tronics infrared technology, sensing devis-
es, seismic detection, radar, and missile
radiation phenomena. In fact, the Uni-
versity has won the title of "the Eyes of
the Army."

Most of the University's military re-
search is performed by units of the In-
stitute of Science and ,Technology (IST),
an integral component of the University
under the jurisdiction of Vice President
for Research Geoffrey Norman.
The largest and most controversial unit
of IST is the University's Willow Run Lab-
oratories. Located in Ypsilanti, 17 miles
from central campus, the Willow Run site
was acquired by the University in 1946
from the federal government for one dol-
Early work at Willow Run included the
BOMARC (Boeing Michigan Aeronautical
Research Center) missile, giving the Uni-
versity the distinction of being the only
school in the country to have a missile
named after it.
Willow Run's largest research effort over
the years has been Project MICHIGAN.
Founded in 1953 to "advance the Army's
combat-surveillance and target-acquisi-
tion capabilities," Project MICHIGAN
pioneered infrared and radar reconnais-
sance techniques for the military.
The project, which received a new $600,-
000 grant a year ago, has been so success-
ful t h a t it's former director received a
medal from the federal government in 1964.
The citation accompanying the medal

noted that Robert Hess had "succeeded in
establishing and maintaining the Univer-
sity of Michigan as the leading free world
authority in surveillance technology."
Among Willow Run Laboratories' pres-
ent activities are:t
" The Ballistic Missile Radiation Anal-
ysis Center (BAMIRAC) which serves as a
national clearinghouse for "the collection,
analysis and dissemination of information
on the radiation from ballistic missiles."
This classified project, which received
two grants totalling almost $500,000 from
the Advanced Research Projects Agency
(ARPA) of the military last October, does
important technical research concerning
missile defense.
* The VELA Seismic Information Anal-'
ysis Center (VESIAC) which coordinates
and studies information on "detecting, lo-
cating and identifying underground nuc-
lear explosions."
This classified center, in its tenth year
of operation, is sponsored by ARPA and
uses information from project VELA, a
nationwide military program to monitor
nuclear blasts.
* The Infrared Information and Analy-
sis Center (IRIA) which is a clearinghouse
for information on infrared and sensing

Also a classified project, IRIA received
a $174,000 grant from the Navy in March.
Infrared sensing allows t h e' military to
pinpoint enemy soldiers at night or
through foilage,
0 A classified and annual radar sym-
posium which is in its sixteenth year. This
radar conference received a grant from the
Air Force last December.
A security clearance and a "n e e d to
know" is necessary for access to the sym-
posium, as well as to other classified IST
reports. Almost one-half of IST's research
reports in 1968, the lateset period for which
figures are available, were classified as
"confidential" or "secret."
* An annualrconference on remote sens-
ing of the environment, the sixth of which
was held last October. Unlike the radar
symposium, parts of the remote sensing
conference are open to the public.
Infrared and other types of sensing can
be used to map the environment, count
wildlife and find mineral deposits - in
addition to the military function of lo-
cating troops and supplies.
Besides these five on-going projects, re-
searchers at Willow Run are engaged in a
number of other research programs with
significant military implications.

Titles of some of the studies include,
"Countermeasures Against Advanced In-
terceptor Missiles," "Seismic Wave Propo-
gation," "Acoustic Surveillance System,"
and "Single Station Location Techniques."
While most of the University's military
research is performed by IST, other Uni-
versity units, most notably the engineering
college, also have classified Defense De-
partment contracts.
Professors in the electrical engineering
department received over a half-million
dollars in new grants for classified re-
search during 1969 while a single professor
in industrial engineering received $340,000
during the same period.
Before the 1967 controversy over mili-
tary' research the University had no ex-
plicit criteria for judging whether a specif-
ic project was appropriate for an educa-
tional institution to sponsor. Norman alone
reviewed proposals for the administration.
A committee, chaired by chemistry Prof.
Robert C. Elderfield, was appointed to in-
vestigate the University's research policies,
and in its report issued in January, 1968,
the group of 16 faculty members and re-
searchers generally approved of classified
research but urged that a new review com-
mittee be formed to approve proposed re-
search projects.

The Elderfield committee proposed that
the University not take any classified pro-
ject that prevents the disclosure of "the
existence of the contract or identity of the
sponsor ... and the purpose and scope of
the research."
The committee also urged that the Uni-
versity not approve any project "the pur-
pose of which is to destroy human life or
to incapacitate human beings."
The recommendations of the group were
adopted by the University and since Sep-
tember 23, 1968, all proposals for classified
projects have been reviewed by the Sen-
ate Assembly's classified research commit-
This faculty-student committee, which
Norman has veto power over, has approved
practically all proposals for classified re-
search submitted to it during the past two
Thus the University continues to quietly
perform research, some of it classified, for
the military establishment.
But there are some indications t h a t
there will be a renewed effort by radical
groups against classified reserach this fall.
Not everybody is happy that the Uni-
versity is the undercover research. capital
of the Midwest.

'U'teaching fellows
attempt to untiontize
In an attempt to protect themselves from "the whims of our
departments" University teaching fellows are beginning to organize
a union.
Reasons for the ,proposed union range from large classes and
poor pay to not enough say in the determining of the curriculum--
"And the list of horror stories could go on forever," Peter Archi-
bald, a sociology teaching fellow, lsays.
Presently, teaching fellows have no contracts with the Uni-
versity. "We pretty much have to do anything the departments
want us to," Archibald says.
The idea of the union was first discussed last fall, and in
December a petition drive began.
The petition called for a referendum to determine if teaching
fellows wanted to be represented by a union for collective bar-
gaining purposes.
This past March, teaching fellows presented their petition to
the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), but
lacked the required number of signatures.
According to Michigan law, a petition must include 30 per cent
of the constituency the proposed union wants to represent before
MERC will hold a hearing to consider recognition of the union.
When the teaching fellows began collecting signatures, they
were told by the administration that there were 1,417 of them at
the University. However, at the hearing in March, 1,554 teaching
fellows were listed on University payrolls.
University officials later said the disparity in numbers was
due to new teaching fellow appointments.
The University then asked MERC to determine whether the
proposed union "is in accord with the purposes of the Public Em-
ployment Relations Act considering the temporary nature of the
employment of teaching fellows."
Allison Hayford, the teaching fellows' steering committee
chairman, argued that "there is a high turn-over rate in many
unionized industries, such as the telephone company."
In May, the proposed union came up against yet another
While the petition was signed at that time by the required 30
per cent of the proposed constituency, "there was no presentation
in the petition as to why a union is appropriate," 'U' officials said.
"Of all the unions on campus that the University has recognized,
each one has demonstrated their appropriateness," the University
As this supplement goes to press, the teaching fellow union is
in a state of limbo. The University and the union are both prepar-
ing their cases, and will appear before MERC again later in the
Although not affiliated with the proposed union, teaching
fellows in the political science department organized a "mora-
torium on duties" last March to protest lack of student consulta-
tion in major department decisions.
For one week, about 85 per cent of the departments teaching
fellows cancelled their classes or held them outside the building.
The issue centered around the faculty executive committee's
decision to hire three new faculty members at the expense of the
department's teaching fellows.


scientists engage


expensive research

Research at t h e big 'U' is
big business - to the tune of
$62 million each year.
Some people f i n d this fact
terrifying and immediately
think of classified research de-
vising new and better ways to
subjugate and control oppressed
people around the globe. Oth-
ers picture University research
as breaking the chains of hu-
man ignorance and leading
mankind into the light of free-
dom through knowledge, or
some such thing.
But no matter what is thought
of research, the fact is that it
is here at the University and
will no doubt stay for a long
time to come.
Most research at the Univer-
sity is done by contract with or
grant from a sponsor. That is,
a faculty member and an or-
ganization sign a contract, the
faculty member agreeing to do
specified research and the spon-
sor paying a certainamount of
money to cover the costs.
The Federal government pro-
vides most of the research
awards at the University.
Last year Federal govern-
ment funding amounted to $45
million, or over two-thirds of
the total research funds. Other
research funds were provided by
private foundations, industry,
and s t a t e and local govern-
The University itself also
provides substantial funding for
research activities - last year,
$5.5 million.
Sponsored research at the
University started around 1920.
By 1940, the total volume was
still less than a million dollars.
A decade later, there was $2.5
million being spent on research.
By 1955, the figure had jumped
to $9.0 million, five years later
it was $22 million, and now it
is $62 million.
T h e steady increase in re-
search funding, however, seems
to be leveling off, at least tem-
porarily, since the volume has
stood at $62 million for the last
two years, and there is no like-
ly prospect of an increase in
the coming fiscal year.
Research activities at the
University are affiliated with
either an academic department

or one of several separate re-
search institutes. Thus, under
the Department of Aerospace
Engineering is the Gas Dynam-
ics Laboratory, the High Alti-
t u d eaEngineering Laboratory
and the Hypersonic Wind Tun-
nel Engineering Laboratory. All
projects within each laboratory
report to the laboratory director
who in turn reports to the
chairman of the Aerospace de-
The same situation applies to
other departments within t h e
College of Engineering as well
as to departments in other
schools. Laboratories w i t h i n
each department have several
projects, the project directors
report to the laboratory direct-
or, and the laboratory director
reports to the chairman of the
Other research projects are
affiliated \ not with a depart-
ment, but with one of several
research institutes. The largest
such institute in the University
is the Institute of Science and
Technology (IST) which does
most of the University's classi-
fied and defense-oriented re-
search. Another large unit is the
Institute for Social Research
Both IST and ISR report di-
rectly to Vice President for Re-
search A. Geoffrey Norman.
Although there are some 148
research units such as the lab-
oratories under each depart-
ment and the institutes, a sub-
stantial amount of research is
also done by individual faculty
members unaffiliated with any
of these units. T h e s e faculty
members report directly to their
department chairmen.
Coordinating all research at
the University is the Office of
Research Administration
(ORA). This office reviews all
proposals for compliance with
University requirements before
the proposals are submitted to
potential sponsors, and, in ad-
dition, has t h e administrative
apparatus to help find a spon-
sor for a faculty member who
has an idea for a project and
needs someone to.finance it.
A faculty member who would
like financial support for a pro-
ject comes to the ORA and ex-
plains his idea. ORA personnel

27 per cent, followed by physical
sciences (20 per cent), social
sciences, (14 per cent), and
humanities (one per cent).
The trend over the last several
years has been away from de-
fense-oriented research and to-
ward the life sciences and social
sciences. For example, in 1963
the -defense department sadp-
ported 14 million dollars worth
of research, while the Depart-
ment of Health, Education, and
Welfare (HEW) only provided
eight million dollars. Last year,
defense research stayed at the
same level, but HEW contracted
for $17.6 million.
Classified research during the
middle 1960's earned for the
University of Michigan the title
"The Eyes of the Army."
Although it is not officially
recognized as such, some work
done for private industry is of
a secret nature. This research
usually involves company trade
secrets which the sponsor does
not want made public. In "order
to protect professional secrets,
the sponsor usually requests a
copy of the project report be-
fore it is published elsewhere
and makes deletions or changes
to disguise any information
which would be detrimental to
him were it made public.
Research, in general, is con-
sidered by the University to be
a private matter between the
sponsor and the faculty mem-
bers or laboratories which do the
work. The University. therefore,
does not keep reports issued by
each project. Distribution of
project reports or whether any
reports are to be published at
all, is agreed upon by the re-
searcher and the sponsor.
One of the underlying justifi-

cations for research is the edu-
cational experience - it can pro-
vide for students. Research pro-
jects try to employ graduate and
even undergraduate students to
assist the principle researchers
whenever possible. Last year,
there were 2,100 graduate and
1,500 undergraduates who assist-
ed in research, and approxima-
tely 300 doctoral these resulted
from this work.
Although research in the sci-;
ences is the most prominent, the
oldest continuous project at the
University is in the area of
humanities. This project is the
Middle English Dictionary which
came to Michigan in 1931. Un-
der the editorship of English
professor Sherman Kuhn, re-
searchers are compiling a dic-
tionary of all Middle English
words-which were spoken be-
tween 1100 and 1500.
The project was actually be-
gun at Cornell in 1925. By the
time it came to the University,
all known Middle English words
had beencollected, alphabetized,
and filed. The task at Michigan
was to take each word and study
the instances in which it was
used to determine its exact
meaning. Since Middle English
words are often spelled In dif-
ferent ways and may have more
than one meaning, the task is
complicated and often tedious.
According to a rough estimate,
there are between 100,000 and
15'0,000 words in Middle Eng-
lish. The words are decoded one
at a time, and the amount of
time spent on each word varies
between five minutes and six
weeks. A staff of nine is working
on the project, and at present,
the job is about half finished.

-Daily-David Baker

then suggest sponsors w h o
might be interested in his idea,y
and sometimes provide prelim-
inary research funds f o r the
faculty member, thus enabling
him to prepare a thorough pro-
posal for potential sponsors.
The faculty member then pre-
pares a proposal and the ORA,
after reviewing it and obtaining
appropriate signatures f r o m
University officials, submits it
to the selected agency.
As of March 31 of this year,
there were 1001 proposals out-
standing - proposals that had
been submitted to various po-
tential sponsors. Director of Re-

search Administration Robert
Burroughs estimates, however,
that perhaps only half of these
proposals will be accepted by a
Also as of March 31, there
were 1500 projects that were re-
ceiving money from sponsors.
Each of these projects has an
account number with the Uni-
versity, and the money spent is
carefully recorded.
Life sciences,-which includes
medicine, dentistry, pharmacy,
and public health, received the
largest percentage of research
funds last year-about 34 per
cent. Engineering was next with


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