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August 01, 1972 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-08-01

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Ghe ichianDail#
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual
opinions of the author. This must be noted in all reprints.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 1, 1972 News Phone: 764-0552
Holes i the ssem
WITH THE dismissal of charges against Jon Goldman,
we are hopefully seeing the beginning of the end of
the "Crater Four" case.
The idea of anybody getting arrested for digging holes
to protest the war is kind of stupid. That the University
should single out four people for their role in organizing
the event, rather than arresting everybody who "willfully
and maliciously" dug the holes, is ridiculous.
But to drag the case out for nearly three months as
the prosecution tries to forestall the inevitable is out-
As it turned out, the prosecution cooked its own goose.
At the original July 20 trial date, everyone was ready to
get down to business when out of the legal blue came a
request for a pretrial on August 7. Judge Elden granted
the request, which allowed the prosecution several days
to file an amendment to the original charge of "willful
and malicious destruction of property."
THE AMENDMENT was about as laughable as the rest
of the case: it would have charged the "Crater Four"
with violating an ancient statute that outlaws messing up.
other people's cranberry and huckleberry groves.
Somebody in the county prosecutor's office forgot to.
look at the calendar and the "cranberry law" amendment
came in a few days late-hence it was legally unpresent-
THAT PRODUCED a lot of amazed laughter among those
who figure the State runs a tight ship. One Human
Rigshts Party member accounted the simple timing blun-
der to "brain damage." Another exclaimed, "This system
is so perverted that sometimes it screws itself."
But the laughter stops upon remembering that a lot
of people's time and taxpayer's money is being spent on
prosecuting people for digging holes. These holes may not
be the best form of protest ever invented, but neither are
they worthy of four arrests and three months of proceed-
Hopefully Judge Elden will waste no more time in
dismissing charges against the three remaining diggers.
Today's Staff .. .
News: Alan Lenhoff, Paul Travis, Ralph Vartabedian
Editorial Page: Carla Rapoport
Photo Technician: Gary Villani

THE GOVERNING board of the
University of Michigan surely
must be one of the strangest gov-
erning bodies to be found in our
society. The Regents govern a com-
munity of 39,600 fully legal adults,
employ approximately 13,000 em-
ployes, and are responsible for a
budget of $272,000,000. This quar-
ter billion-dollar budget makes the
Regents the second largest govern-
ment in Michigan - second only
to Detroit.
This budget is larger than the
entire state budgets of 13 states.
Yet in spite of the size and com-
plexity of the constituency being
governed, the Regents of the Uni-
versity of Michigan meet no more
frequently than the Michigan State
Cemetery Commission - a body
that has an annual budget of $74,-
000, five employes, and no living
ThetBoard of Regents is unique
among governing bodies in our
society because no one from its
constituency is part of it. The
Regents unlike almost any other
governing body, almost never hold
advance public hearings or pub-
licize contemplated actions.
Regents almost never serve on
drafting or study committees that
write and develop their own legis-
lation. Regents rarely have any
contact with the people being af-
fected by their decisiins. And by
age, wealth, and station in life,
they do not even remotely resem-
ble the persons they govern.

the Regents

no one.
The full-time University execu-
tives tell the students, faculty, and
University employes that they are
accountable to the Regents and
the people of Michigan. They also
tell the part-time Regents, w h o
lack the time, information, and in-
clination to run the University, to
defer to their expertise.
THE SOLUTION to the problems
inherent in the present colonial .
system of government of higher
education is the introduction of
democracy into Universities.
A Board of Regents setting pol-
icy at the top is a sound concept
- provided the Board consists of

". . ..in spite of the size and complexity of
the constituency being governed, the Regents
... meet no more frequently than the Michigan
State Cemetery Commission-a body that has
five employes, an annual budget of $74,000,
and no living constituents."

Four faculty members could be
elected on. a like basis. And, four
public members could be elected
by the State of Michigan -- per-
haps using the present system, but
with two elected every two years
for four-year terms.
University employees could also
be represented. A key element here
is that the particular formula not
be rigid, as is the case now.
THIS PROPOSAL, which re-
quires a state constitutional
amendment, may be more feas-
ible than it first appears. In the
first place, the federal govern-
ment will probably move soon to
compel democratization of t h e
nation's universities ("federal aid
brings federal control"t.
This February, for example, the
U.S. Senate voted 66-28 that "It
is the sense of Congress that...
there shiould be at least one (vot-
ingt student member on the gov-
erning board of every institution of
Higher Education in America."
I believe this year's "sense of
Congress" resolution foreshadows
future mandatory structural re-
form in the government of o u r
nation's universities. If and when
this federal pressure comes to
bear on Michigan, it will be im-
portant, of course, to amend the
state constitution to get more than
taken studen input. That is why
a flexible home rule amendment
for all state universities should be
undertaken now.
In long-gone times in England, a
Regent was summoned while the
rightful ruler was under-age. The
University community is now of
age, and it is time for the Re-
gents, as we know them, to go.
John Koza is a former
member of Student Govern-
ment Council, a PhD candi-
date in computer sciences and
a candidate for the democratic
nomniation ; for Regent this

Coming to Ann Arbor once a
month, the Regents remain se-
quested like a jury, while the full-
time executives of the University
maintain a virtual monopoly over
presenting information to them and
shaping the issues for their decis-
Making all real decisions in sec-
ret - in violation of both the
1963 state constitution and subse-
quent Attorney General's rulings
-the Regents later perfunctorily
pass hundreds of pages of resolu-
tions referred to by number only
at the so-called public meeting.
THE NET EFFECT is that this
board of outsiders cannot begin to
keep on top of things. Far from
being the representatives of the
people of Michigan and overseeing
the operations of the University,
the Regents have, in fact, lost
most actual policy-making power
to an entrenched and sprawling
bureaucracy this is accountable to

persons from the constituency be-
ing governed, who are informed
about the constituency they a r e
trying to govern, and who spend
the time necesary to do the gov-
I would think that a good Board
of Regents would meet about as of-
ten as a typical city council of a
medium-sized city, perhaps once
or tyice a week, with the council'
members spending perhaps half-
time overall in their duties in of-
fice. On a long term basis, a board
of 12 Regents consisting of per-
haps four students, four faculty
members, and four public mem-
bers might be a good mix.
The terms of office should be re-
duced from the prsent quasi-judi-
cial 8-year terms to two or four
year terms.
Specifically, one might have four
students elected by the student
body in a state-administered elec-
tion for a two-year term on a stag-
gered basis (one each semester.t

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