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July 28, 1979 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-28

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, July 28, 1979-Page 11

Fleming reflects on term at 'U'

Campus days marked by
activism, tight budgets

Except for an occasional meeting
with college interns, Robben Fleming
doesn't see many students anymore.
But from his office in Washington, D.C.
where he now leads the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting, the former
University president said he looks upon
the eleven years when encounters with
students were daily occurrences as
the "greatest experience" of his life.
The years from 1967 to 1978 weren't
easy years for a university president.
Fleming came to Ann Arbor from the
University of Wisconsin at Madison in
the peak of student turmoil on campus.
"In those years the president spent a lot
of his waking hours on the problem of
student turmoil," Fleming said.
ONE HAD to recognize that the
problems bothering young people were
genunine social problems. "I didn't
always like the way they tried to solve
them, but many of their complaints
were justified."
"I always believed that you did not
solve problems by using troops or tear
gas," he said. Although he admitted
that police were sometimes necessary
in curbing violent students, Fleming
said he strongly believes in "finding
solutions without force."
Fleming and his administration came
under much fire during their first years.
Criticism came from around the nation
for what many called Fleming's lenient
attitudes toward student protests.
Students, too, often were frustrated
bacause the president didn't always
give way to their demands.
"OUR POSITION wasn't always very
popular," Fleming remembered. "But
we stuck to it, and by and large came
out of it without the long term
animosities and hatreds, some schools,
like Kent State, had."
In subsequent years, turmoil died
down and financial problems emerged
to keep the president's waking hours
occupied. Trying to combat the "ever-
rising" student tuition and keep faculty
salaries on a competitive level in an era
of inflation were Fleming's goals before
his resignation in 1978.
Life wasn't all grim as president, and
Fleming recalls the many accom-
plishments of his administration. He
said he is pleased the University main-
tained its high academic standing

during his presidency, and speaks with
pride of his efforts to open the Univer-
sity to minorities. Both the Flint cam-
pus and the Dearborn campuses
became four-year institutions under
Fleming, and on Central Campus
recreation facilities were expanded.
FLEMING IS especially proud the
University is a place for free exchange
of ideas. "There is, and was, and I think
always will be, freedom on campus to
hear controversial views," he said.
During the next decade the new
University president will encounter the
ever-present financial problems, said
Fleming. He or she will also have to
confront the "very uneasy relation-
ship" developing between both state
and lederal governments and the
University, the former president ad-
"Giving the governments power to
direct and control the things we do can
be very dangerous to a university," he
FLEMING LAUGHED when he said
he found it "amusing" to read descrip-
tions of "qualities" needed to be a
University president. He said univer-
sity presidents are often described as
"paragons of virtue" that few' people
ever come close to such glowing
The president-emeritus, does,
however, have a few beliefs of his own
on the qualities necessary for a good
"He (or it could be 'she, Fleming
stressed) must understand what a
great university is all about," said
Fleming: "He should come from the
academic world."
"IT'S TOO complex to be a learner's
job," he continued, adding that a
president should have experience in
"It should be someone who is suf-
ficiently flexible. He should not have
rigid views about how everything
should be done," he said.
Fleming added integrity, dignity,
sheer physical energy and a spouse who
fits well into the university community
to his list of essentials for a good
university president.
The former president said, reflecting
upon his eleven years as chief executive
of the University, "Yeah, it's a great

Daily Photo
FORMER UNIVERSITY President Robben Fleming is now the head of the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington D.C. Fleming served as
president at the University from 1967 until 1978.
Two college students
plan Iong moped trip
(Continued fromPage2GEPHART SAID he plans to keep a
crunch, he's been noticing more and diary of his trip and will eventually
more mopeds on the street and finds write a book.
car drivers are learning to accept The biggest problems he figures he
them. and Canning will encounter are flat
He said his machine runs at about 28 tires, burned out headlights and fouled
mph and is much handier than a car spark plugs,
since he can chain it on the sidewalk "In case of a major breakdown,
like a bicycle instead of having to look 'we've made arrangements with Puch to
for a parking space. help us out," Gephart said.
Receive The Daily daily!
Subscribe-Call 764-0558
Woody Allen's 1968
An early Allen film that is really a string of sight gags and one-liners a la
Marx Brothers-but it probably gets as many laughs per foot as any film
ever made. Allen, as "hardened" criminal Virgil Starwell, who could commit
an pet theft and get caught and make it stick as grand larceny in court,
wil probably not scare you straight. But it includes other valua le object
lessons: what not to use from your-cellblock to carve a gun and how to
dress for a hot date.
SHORT: SCREEN TEST Caroline and Frank MOURIS (1977)
7~OI~~ $150





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Winner of three Academy Awards, this colorful and exciting portrayal of
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England during his reign. KATHERINE HEPBURN won an Oscar for her spec,
tacular performance as the silvery-tongued Queen Eleanor of Acquitane.
These two magnificent performers enact a conflict of rare personal power
and historical scope. A real treat for Hepburn fans! (134 min)
7:30, 9:45 Aud A Angell Hall $1.50





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