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May 08, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1971-05-08

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420 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor, Mich.
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.
Saturday, May 8, 1971 News Phone: 764-0552
Bird Hills dilemma
ITY COUNCIL has moved to permit the development
of 240 luxury condominiums on 60 acres of natural
land adjacent to Bird Hills Park.
For four months, a large number of Ann Arbor
residents have attempted to prevent the rezoning which
will make the construction possible. Many view the action
as a mockery of the principle of citizen participation in
government so often emphasized by Mayor Harris and
Council members.
Local environmentalists and other concerned citizens
have argued that the 60-acre parcel is an integral part of
the ecology of adjacent Bird Hills Park, widely considered
the city's most beautiful natural area. Their protest was
an effort to avert "irreparable damage" to Bird Hills
they felt the development would cause.
When council on March 15 challenged area residents
to raise $90,000 in three weeks toward purchase of the
land for a park, it was felt, that to raise such a huge
sum in so short a period of time would be an impossible
task. Yet, phenomenally, within that three weeks, a fund-
rasing group found enough spirit in the community to
raise over 1,600 pledges amounting to more than $90,000.
Council had indicated it would seriously consider
matching that sum and using federal funds to supply the
remaining half of the estimated $360,000 purchase price to
buy the land and add it to Bird Hills Park.
Overruling the pleas of many individuals, young and
old, and the sincere, demonstrated support of those
pledges, council decided to rezone.
COUNCIL'S DECISION included a "compromise" - an
informal agreement with the condominium develop-
ers not to build on five of the sixty acres in exchange for
the city's reducing by $60,000 payments the developers
would be required to make for road improvements.
This comoromise by council was supposed to reduce
the danger of ecological damage to Bird Hills Park. The
five acres includes a valley and stream flowing into the
park. Environmentalists had charged that erosion from
the development would produce sedimentation in the
stream ultimately damaging the park.
Council's primary motive for this compromise appear-
ed to be to weaken the case for a lawsuit threatened by
residents, rather than to avoid damaging the park.
Mayor Harris appeared to be primarily concerned
with meeting his committment to build at least 2,200
housing units per year in Ann Arbor. In allowing residents
only three weeks to raise the $90,000, he set before them
what was considered a practically impossible goal. In
addition, residents trying to save the park reported he
very often deal with them with a "brush-off" attitude.
Though saving those five acres will certainly con-
tribute to preservation of the land, it remains highly
questionable how much damage the remainder of the
construction would cause. Council decided to rezone with-
out ever investigating the claims of ecological damage
Some experts have pointed out that the soil on the
60 acres is very fragile and that removing the trees and
terraces which prevent erosion as well as building on any
part of the land would inevitably cause runoff disturb-
ing Bird Hills.
The large number of vneople moving into the area
(many more than if it were a park) would eventually
cause the wildlife to move out. Bird Hills now supports
an abundance of interesting birds that is not found else-
where in the Ann Arbor area.
Many have argued that the city's funds ought not be
spent on the 60 acres since others areas of the city are in
more urce ntned of parks.
Bird Hills, however, is in urgent need of being saved
from permanent ecological damage. The imminent dang-
er to this unique land ought to give it a higher priority
than other lands which do not face that danger and
could be purchased later.

The quiet
TBHE church social, The Lions' club picnic, the PTA
carnival are all familiar sights to anyone who has
lived in a small town in the Midwest. Handclapping
and singing to religious songs fills the air. Booths are
set up dispensing homemade baked goods, balloons
and other items, with proceeds going to the fund for
a new altar cloth, a memorial placque, or new uni-
forms for the high school band.
The older people stand around, while the youngsters
race in and out through the crowd, getting a pleasure
out of it as hard for the adults to understand the older
peoples leisurely conversations over the weather or
Mrs. Jones' new dress or how Cassius Clay could
never have lasted two rounds with Joe Louis, is to the
Those from small towns, steeped in the . tradition
of the ox roast, the church picnic, or the PTA carnival
would have been strongly tempted not to believe

for peace" "balloons for peace",and one displaying
cookies and baked goods were, aside from references
to peace, indistinguishable from concessions at the
cub scout carnivals of my childhood.
If you closed your eyes, even for a moment you
were transported; the good, warm, kitchen smell of
fresh cookies mingling with the exciting carnival odor
of peanuts, the sounds of the hawkers urging people
to "get your this or don't miss your that", and the
sound of tired parents calling to their children and
untired children blissfully ignoring them, filled your
After all, this wasn't really a peace demonstration.
Look a little closer, scratch off the surface paint and
you see the basic structure is very old and familiar.
This was the peace demonstration for middle-aged
men and women and small children. It was an event
permeated with an incredible naivete unequaled by
anything since the early peace demonstrations of my
THERE WAS something that bothered you about it
all. Something naively pretentious in a sign for baked
goods reading "eat away at the war", something
rather pitiful about an eight year old boy carrying
around a United Nations flag (the flag itself, sym-
bolically enough, was faded almost beyond recogni-
tion) and something reminiscent of the indignation of
a man waking out of a long sleep to find his house has
burned down, in a sign which, after over 15 years of
American involvement in Vietnam, read "Before God
and the world, our hands are bloody". To a veteran of
several years of anti-war protests it was all somehow
too simplistic, too belated, and too much like a coun-
try carnival.
Adding insult to injury it was perhaps just the sort
of thing President Nixon might have enjoyed. Therein
lies the point, however, for this was a prot'st against
Nixon. For a protest to have come in this scenario
with this cast of characters would have cut the Prsi-
dent to the quick had he been there. Middle America
may be rising from a long sleep and if the slogan of
the silent majority is to become "out of the hvnng
count and into the streets" it imay be the fitr t seed
chance in years for an end to American involvetent
in South East Asia.
-An older, foreign-looking woman in the crowd was
overheard to say "I lived as a German with my con-
science, I don't want to have to go through that again
because I didn't speak out". This largely seemed to
reflect the mood of the crowd. They didn't want to be
judged responsible by history for this war and i's
NO ONE COULD deny that most of the nearly three
hundred who gathered at city hall Wednesday night
were, in the main, middle-aged adults, protesting in
a format that any small town American would have
recognized and felt comfortable in. If the small town
picnic is to be the Trojan horse from which Nixon is
to be defeated then so be it, for Wednesday night's
rally while being from an older day, may portend a
new dawn.



that Wednesday night's peace rally at City Hall was
anything but one more in a long string of small town
get-togethers that date back past the turn of the cen-
THE SIGNS could as well have read "Lions Cub
Auxiliary" as "Women United for Peace". Even the
music didn't destroy the mood. Such songs as "We
Shall Not Be Moved" had a certain universal "come
to meeting" feeling to them strongly familiar to vet-
erans of small town Methodists sing-longs. The words
were different, but the handelapping, the intensely
sincere quality of the music was the same. The booths
also were a familiar sight. Such booths as "peanuts

New LSA Dean interviewed

ED~ITOR'S NOTiE: Th'e tiillowiag i
exceriipitefromthate secand 'sit at an
ineriew wathS LSA ODean-de'sigater
Franti ithodes, tie tirstpart oiich~i
as apubished Wedanesday.
DAILY: What role do you en-
vision students having in the gov-
ernance of the literary college?
RHODES: I think you've got to
have a representative body that's
small enough to debate the fuse
-points. I think the committee we
know have set up (The Faculty-
Student Policy Committee) is a
powerful instrument for change. I
hope it'll be inventive, I hope it'll
be innovative - and in bold
terms, and I certainly don't think
it's powerless.
I don't think you've got to give
the impression that you're drag-
ging the faculty screaming into
the twentieth century. I don't
really see this as a conflict be-
tween who has power. There are
many of us who feel very much
the way many of the students do
about the need for educational re-
I think we've moved into a new
kind of era where students still
have a voice - a major voice. Our'
best hope now is to give these new
structures a chance to work. Then,
if we don't like t h e m, let's be
flexible and produce new ones that
are more responsive.'
I do think there is a 'long-term
continuing question of implemmen-
tation which is really a difficult
one - in which a student who's
only on a committee for one year
is going to find it difficult to play
much of a part - and on' ques-
tions of things like tenure, or pro-
motions, which involve very dif-

ficult judgments about scholarly
standing, are probably best left to
a committee of fellow faculty
who've gotten all the input they
can get from the students.
DAILY: How do things look fi-
nancially for LSA considering the
University's current budget c-isa:?
RHODES: Yes, the budget's a
very serious problem. I'm as much
aware of it, I think,.as most peo-
ple. I'm coming in at a terribly
bad time - it couldn't be worse.
But I'm really impressed by the
kinds of committments that the
President (Robben Fleming) and
Vice President (Allan Smith) have
made. I'm especially impressed by
their willingness to be so helpful
in a period of very tight budgetary
DAILY: Would you support
changing distribution r e qu i r e-
RHODES: What I really want
to do is look critically at all the
insights we can get into the re-
quirements we do have and then
to experiment boldly with is e w
ones .
If a student could do this on an
individual basis, making his own
program out of it - if we could
say to him, it aeems to us it sould
be worthwhile on your w a y
through life, at least you should
have some familiarity with 1: e
way these chaps think - if that's
what we mean by distribution re-
quirements, I think we have a lot
of student support.
Liberal education is supposed to
make men free. What we've got to
do is do it in such a way that
really sets people free. My worry

now is that much of what we offer
really makes 'hen slaves.
The great advantage of 'xpei-
mentation in a place as b i g as
Michigan is that you can txperi-
ment and still preserve our flex-
ibility to change if it's not a suc-
Here we can experiment, and if
these pilot programs work, if stu-
dents find them meaningful, and
the faculty find they're able to
teach in this situation, then we
can say, fine, let's bring that "ut
and expand it.
DAILY: What would you think
of raising t he standard faculty
course load?
RHODES: One of the things I
want to do is work very closely
with the faculty in examining the
whole question of use of faculty
time, but I'm in no sense the boss
of the faculty. I'm looking, and I
won't disguise this for a commit-
ment that everybody has got to be
involved in undergraduate teach-
ing, in some shape or form.
I think what you've got to do is
instead of counting contact hours,
is see what a pgrticular course
really involves. If you're teaching
a graduate course with two stu-
dents in it, and you're teaching
six hours a week, you don't have
too much work. You're teachi.,
your specialty, you don't have to
do a tremendous amount of read-
ing. If you're teaching a course
with 300 people, as some of us do,
and you've got 20 teaching fellows
to train and supervise, and you
say to students you can reach me
any time any day, it's a different



THERE APPEARS that money is actual
purchase the crucial 60 acres adjacen
Park. The recently nassed park bond issue
$600,000 for the park's development. Part
could easily go to purchase the 60-acre1
Siiinri' Fli/orial S/aff
Co-Edita Cos-]
ROBERT CONROw .. .. .... ..... .... ... . ,........ .
JIM JUDKIS. . .. ... .... ...
NIGHT EDITORS: Rose Sue Berstein, Mark Diller. Jooa
Schsreiner.GOral Sprung
ASSISTANT NIGHT EITOHS: Juanita Anderson, Anite
Alan Lenhoff, Chris Parks

ly available to.
t to Bird Hills
even included
of this money
Books Editor
Photography Editor
than Miller, Robert
a Crone, Jim Irwin,

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