Sunday, October 13, 1974
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Sunday, October 13, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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A SEPARATE IDENTITY
Sally Fleming: On her life as
the University president's
Fri., Sat., Sun.
Thurs., Fri., Sat.
By SARA RIMER
casionally tucking her legs un-
A C "r m Lfk.ho
Sally Fleming slips inside the Ier er.
role of president's wife with While Ms. Fleming echoes
the same calm assurance Rob- her husband's political views,1
ben Fleming exudes as Uni- often prefacing her opinions
versity chief. Adept at blunting with "we think," she dislikes
the edge of probing questions, being pigeonholed as the presi-
she remains a mystery woman dent's wife. "People always re-
dropping few clues to illuminate cognize me as Mrs. Fleming.I
her personal life. A woman who They're not seeing me as Sal-
has occasionally sat opposite ly, but as someone else." Yet,
Ms. Fleming at social affairs while she expressed a need to
comments on her unflappable maintain a separate identity,[
cool, "I wouldn't want to face she cannot escape "having a
her across a bargaining table dual role as representative of
any more than her husband." the University." In that role
After small-talking with a she follows behind her hus-
poised Ms. Fleming at a dorm band's policies without taking
dinner one woman comments, a step astray. She declares,
"She reminds me of Pat Nix- "He's been right so many times
on." Beyond a remote physical that I wouldn't dispute him.
resemblance - Ms. Fleming is He always comes up with good
a conservative, skirt-and-sweat- alternatives." She guards
ers dresser with fine features, against asserting political views
and a tennis and golf-trimmedr that might rock the University
figure - it is a superficial com- boat her husband steers so
parison. The university presi- smoothly. "We try to be neutral
dent's wife emits a q u i e t politicaflly. Because this is al
warmth that has ' never glowed state university, we need to be 1
from Plastic Pat. efriendly withywhomever is in
She describes herself as an office."
extrovert who "truly 1 o v e s When Ms. Fleming discusses
entertaining and people." Her the student radicalism that'
serenity is evident in her-calm snarked campus life in the six-
repose, rarely broken by ges- ties, her usually calm exteriork
tures more animated than an reveals slight edges. Her style
easy smile. of talking is usually direct, but
Going over to the Fleming's she looks away now, as if trying
big white house on South Uni- to re-order her memories of
versity for an afternoon inter- difficult years. - Mr. Fleming:
view with Ms. Fleming is not once dismissed the sixties as "a
exactly like dropping in on a nutty era," but his wife under-
next door neighbor. A white-uni- scores it as a "very rough
formed maid answers the door, time." Remembering when;
adding a note of hush and old- "rocks were thrown through the
time courtesy, but Ms. Flem- windows and a bullet s h o t
ing comes downstairs with a through the basement, s h e'
quick step and warm hello that says, "There was a lot of stress
quickly dispels any formality. and strain and we had to be on
The sunlit living room w h e r e our mettle."
we talk is spacious and quietly Ms. Fleming offers a simple
elegant. Chairs are grouped for explanation for the extinction of
won't be as full . .. students are
here for different reasons now,
not to disrupt, but to be part
of a full life."
Although Ms. Fleming has a
bachelor's degree in English and
sociology from Beloit College
in Wisconsin where she and Mr.
Fleming first met, she char-
acterizes herself as "not ca-
reer-oriented at all." However,
her responsibiliteis as hostess to
the University community and
as the president's staunchest
supporter could qualify as at
least a part-time job.
"In the East particularly,"
she observes, "more and more
people are completely ignoring
the social aspects of University
life." She enjoys the flurry of
social affairs, saying, "We feel
it has been very satisfying to
entertain." She describes t h e
standard format of a Fleming
dinner: "We all sit in a huge
circle in the living room and
Bob puts out one question and
lets everyone respond. We us-
ually get some good answers."
A social circle that embraces
big name University oficials
also includes the Gerald Fords l
whom Ms. Fleming calls "good
friends." She considers Presi- I
dent Ford "a very fine, straight-
forward man," but adds, "Of
course, we don't quite under-
stand his pardon of Nixon."
Trying to soften the stilted at-
mosphere during dinner at a
woman's dorm recently, M s .
Fleming commented on sugges-
tions that the University Men's
Glee Club go co-ed. She sigh-
ed, "Women's Liberation has
gone too far." However, away
from polite dinner conversation'
she admits, "I suppose W o -
men's Lib has made me more
aware of myself as an individ-
ual rather than as a family per-
son. I'm more conscious of my
own potential and a little more
independent in my thinking."
According to Ms. Fleming,
her husband's consciousness
never needed raising. T h e y
went together for seven years
before tying the knot. She is-
proud that "when we were first
married, we did everything to-
gether. He changed diapers,
took out the garbage, and did
the dishes. Women's Lib h a d
nothing to do with it."
Mr. Fleming must have been
excused from a lot of the dirty
work since his wife emphasiz-
es, "There's nothing wrong with
both the man and the woman
having careers, but the moth-
er must stay home in the child-
ren's early years.
Sera Rimer is a Nirh/ Ei/or
at the Michig,,on Daily.
L QcORPO 5W1LL
Vre . aue e e CA Y
d -Pd. Pan . Adv.
IN STOCK NOW!
BUY AT ... j
MICHIGAN BOOK STORE
State Street End of Dioq
presents a double feature-
THE MARX BROTHERS
SL October 12 October 13
Natural Science Aud.-75c
conversation - It's a room for student fire. "Once the Vietnam
people. Ms. Fleming sits cas- War began to subside, and when
ually on the plush sofa, oc- kids began to realize the sys-
- --- tem was working, the situation
She welcomes the serenity
that marks the present campus
h .S 4 mood, but counters charges of;
rising student apathy. "Stu-,
G Z dents are not apathetic. They're
alert, alive, and they know that
without an education their lives
bcc sc ae tHOLTZ
0 Il 1I OU
WED., OCT. 16-8 P.M.
FACULTY CLUB LOUNGE
(in the Union)
"The goriest and the sexiest
'Frankenstein' ever fimed."
-Kevin Sanders, ABC-TV
"A perversely fascinating
a e a = , -PaulD. Zimmerman,
"The most outrageously
gruesome epic ever."
TUES., OCT. 1 5
7 & 9:30 p.m.-$1.25
AUD. A, ANGELL HALL
11-1 - -- . .
TRUFFAUT'S 400 BLOWS
7 & 9 p.m.---$1.25
Tickets on sale at 6 p.m.
A Film by PAUL MORRISSEY
A cARLO PONTI - BRAUNSBERG - RASSAM PRODUcTION * A BRYANSTON PICTURES RELEASE
COLOR NO Oft UWOE 17 AMiTTID
a"-------..d I~a -' ~E -m ~..ra m murm mau m
MON. -THURS. 7:00-9 :00
FRI. & SAT. 7:00-9:00-11:00
_ __ _.
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