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August 13, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-08-13

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Saturday, August 13, 1977

Rhodes: Fran tak

FROM THE MOMENT former vice-president for'
Academic Affairs .and University wunderkind Frank
Rhodes joined the faculty as a geology professor in
1968 it was apparent to everyone that he had a bright
future ahead of him. His pleasant, low-key manor
and charming British accent quickly made him one
of the best liked profs on campus, and his efficiency
and dedication to higher education made 1im an obvi-
ous candidate for an administrative post.
His ascent of the University hierarchy was re-
markably quick, as he was named LSA dean in 1971,
only three years after joining the University staff.
But that was only the beginning, as a scant three
years later, in 1974, he made another big jump by
being named vice-president for academic affairs.
IN HIS NEW POSITION, he soon became Presi-
dent Fleming's right hand man and confidante, and
many considered Rhodes a likely successor to Flem-
ing when the president finally retired. But- much as
the University wanted to keep him, Rhodes talents were
known to many other schools, and the vice-president
was offered no less than eight university presidencies.
Although he turned them all down, he was finally
lured away by Cornell University last March. He left
Michigan on August 1 to assume the Cornell presi-
dency, and is by now busy attacking his new job
with his usual zeal. But before he left he consented
to one final interview with The Daily, a partial
transcript of which appears below.
If you had to pick one thing to call your favorite
memory about Michigan, what do you think it would
The one aspect of it ,hat has been most important
to me is the Ann Arbor community, it's just a great
place. I've never lived in a community that was rich-
er in terms of the personal diversity, richer in terms
of the intellectual breadth. richer in terms of cultural
excitement, and richer in the willingness to take peo-

ple as they are, from a thousand different backgrounds
and persuasions and interests and commitments.
I don't pretend that that's a community that doesn't
have its differences, but it's still, in the end, an ex-
citing community, and that's what really matters.
When you were a geology professor, you were one
of the most popular profs on campus. Now that you've
been an administrator for six years, 'do you ever
miss teaching?
tomorrow to teaching and be very happy. The big-
gest single loss I feel with being Vice-president is
the lack of contact with students. To some extent you
can hav that as a dean. I think I had that contact
when I was LSA dean, in as far as that is possi-
ble. I used to have these weekly coffee hours and
so on, I met with student committees,
But the kind of day to day contact that I used
to have, yes I miss it. That's what a university
is all about you know.
What is it that makes an admistrative position
like the Vice-presidency worth giving up the teaching
you love so much?
I think a couple of things. Teaching and research,
incidentally, both, I miss them both. Especially be-
ing out in the field on summer days like this. I
think the one thing is that you've got to be deeply
committed to what a University is about. If you are,
then it follows that you've got to be willing to do
your share to try to perpetuate it.
ONE OF THE DANGERS that universities face is
the danger that they are going to be run by business
managers who aren't themselves professors without
a real commitment to the academic side thing. If
they are run as industrial operations and not as com-
munities of people, communities of scholars then there
will be all kinds of problems. Because the best uni-
versities are those that are communities, where facul-
ty and students are part of a civil group. And I
think you go into administration if you adopt that
view that you yourself have benefitted from the uni-
versity, and when the time comes you pick up the
responsibility to work administratively, and defend it
The second thing that makes it worthwhile is that
while you lose the student contact you gain a couple
other things. -If you are willing to learn and grow
with the job, there's a new kind of fulfillment. And
with that comes very satisfying work with a new
community of people.
One of your jobs here at Michigan has been to
present the budget to the Regents, and in recent
years that hasn't been a very enviable task, since
toition has gone up six out of the last seven years.
Considering your familiarity with the subject, what
kind of financial future do you see for Michigan,
and specifically, is there an end in sight to large
annual tuition hikes, or is the cost of higher educa-
tion simply going to continue to skyrocket out of

MY GUESS, KEN, anid it's wily a guess he-aiuse
in the end it's the Regents who inake the decision,
is that costs to students must continue tito climb at
these rates for two reasons.
One is that higher educa'ion is atwas s a people
intensive kind .of oreration - most of our budget
goes into salaries, about three-ouarters of it, and
when salaries are going i fister than other things,
we are always going to be dispriop'-'ionally expen-
NOW THAT'S A DELIPPuATE decision by the
state - actually I dont know if it was deliberate
or absent-minded - that simly puts more urden
on the student, and there's no doubt about it.
I hope, that even if we don't see this trend re-
versed completely, we can see a change in the scope.
in the level of the state's appropriations. We must
convince the state that we really do need the money
at the University of Michigan, and that means w4
must encourage support for all higher education, but
it means especially encouraging support for this high-
er education.
I just believe that the state does very well from
this university. It puts a lot of money into it, but
it gets a lot of money of it too. It gets just a tre-
mendously impressive array of student graduates com-
ing out of here - every years we graduate about
10,000 students. And the impact of those upon the
economy of the state, even though they don't all stay
here, is just tremendous.
ABOUT 5,000- OF THEM are graduate and gradu-
ate professional students, and that's an awful lot.
We bring in about $70-80 thousand a year in research
funding actually putting that back into the economy
of the state. That's more than all the other univer-
sities in the state put together. And all of that with
a state appropriation that's only about $110 million.
If the cost of attending Michigan is going to con-
tinue to rise as you predict, don't we risk pricing
ourselves out of the range of many students? Are.
we nearing a day when only very wealthy students,
or poor ones who are fortunate enough to earn one
of the limited number of scholarships will be able
to attend the University?
That's a very serious question, but I don't think
we are that badly off yet. If you compare the in-
crease in fees with the increase in disposable in-
come you'll see we're holding our own reasonably
BUT THE POINT YOU MAKE is still an im-
portanit one. What I think we've got to do is go into
a variety of programs - job programs, loan pro-
grams, financial aid programs, merit programs, not
just one single program.
This year for -the first time we've gone into a
merit scholarship program. And even though it is
fairly expensive, we've done is to try to encourage
students who can perform well here to attend Michi-
gan even though it may cost a bit more than they
could afford. We've got to help these people some
way, and merit scholarships are one method.
Ken Parsigian is a ball', Co-E1di/or-In-Chief

Voinovich's pen defaces 'red' red tape

of the Writer Voinovich's In-
stallation in His New Apart-
ment; By Vladimir Voinovich;
Farrar Straus and Giroux; 132
pp., $3.95. 0
It's a famous book already-
really it is.
But it may easily be the most
overlooked masterpiece now sell-
ing in Ann Arbor bookstores,
as the "Voinovich" is still vir-
tually unknown in this country.
So, in the way of background,
Vladimir Voinovich is one of
the best of the modern Soviet
writers, drawing his style from
a long tradition of Russian hu-.
morists--and drawing his mate-
rial from Sovie life.
PREDICTABLY, this tenden-
cy has not endeared him to the
Soviet government hierarchy, or
to the Soviet literati, who are
often members of the Soviet gov-

ernmental hierarchy themselves.
His first book, The Life and Ex-
traordinary Adventures of Pri-
vate Chonkin, drew critical
raves, but it-also got him into
some tight spots in government
Undaunted, Voinovich has pub-
lished The Ivankiad, an autobio-
graphical account of his own
attempt to extend his premises
from a one-room to a two-room
apartment in Moscow's Writers'
He is opposed in his efforts
by Sergei Sergeevich Ivanko,
author of Taiwan: Chinese Land
from Time Immemorial, and a
bureaucratic hack who did a
six-year government stint in
the U.S. He has important con-
nections, expensive possessions,
and an American toilet which he
wants to install in the apart-
ment that has been designated
for Voinovich.
WHEN ASKED, "Sergei Ser-
geevich, wouldn't you feel un-
comfortable in a luxurious four-

room apartment knowing that
your comrade, a writer, is hud-
dled with his wife and child in
one room?" Ivanko smiles
sweetly and answers: "Well, I'd
manage to get over it."
Ivanko's weapons are his con-
nections, and his ability to dis-
appear or, at the very least,
stay backstage with the effects
and thunder machines. Voino-
vich's literary weapons are his
ability to see an issue from all
sides, even ludicrous ones:
True, experts say that this
statement meant nothing ... it's
not the text that's important
but the color of the pencil. A
statement in red pencil means
an order, in blue a formal re-
ply. But let's put ourselves in
the position of the lower-rank-
ing comrade. Maybe he's color-
blind, or maybe he doesn't re-
member exactly what color a
directive is, but, just in case,
he'll obey all the colors of the
HIS ABILITY to illustrate- a

point with a ridiculous exam-
ple: When you deny something
your power is much more con-
spicuous than when you approve
it. Imagine you're a policeman
standing in the street and the
cars drive past you. They zip
along at modern speeds, the dri-
vers look, barely notice you, if
at all. But suppose you blow
your whistle, stop a driver and
shake him up a bit. Where's
ha going and what for, why
in a car at all and not by street-
car, and where'd he get the
money to buy it, and isn't he
planning to sell it at a specula-
tive price? ... in their minds
your almost famous.
And even his use of dreams:
Suddenly the wall cracks and
collapses before my eyes. It
csilapses noiselessly, just like
a silent movie ... But then the
dust settles and - what's this
I see? Into the room, through
the breach in the wall, astride
an improbably blue, diamond-
studded toilet, rides our re-

spected colleague. Triumphant-
ly, he waves some authorization,
a Party card, a Writers' Union
membership card, an official
identity card, a travel identity
card, and a letter with Stuka-
lin's signature certifying that
the bearer is an important per-
son. Clanking its caterpillar
treads, the toilet descends on
me. "I'll crush you-ou-ou-ou!"
the toilet driver intones.
Voinovich also makes excel-
lent use of the false lead: the
imagined scene, the letter he
almost wrote, explaining their
fatrication only after leading
the reader along with pages of
elaborate description.
These disgressions are not
merely just as interesting as
the main story - these fanta-
sies, for Voinovich, are essen-
tial to the story. They are an
important reason why this novel
picks up fast, before the plot
has a chance to develop, and
doesn't drop you off until the
last paragraph.

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