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September 10, 1981 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-10

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Vol. XCII, No. 1 Ann Arbor, Michigan, September 10, 1981 Ten Cents Ninety-eight Pages

A dministration,


'U' direc


Smaller but better'

Waiting for the season opener Doily Photo by PAUL ENGSTROM
A lone student relaxes amidst thousands of empty seats at Michigan Stadium. He will soon have plenty of company as
the Wolverines shoot for the national championship.
Regen.ts ax geography

People often speak ominously of the
"redirection" of the University, and of
administrators' efforts, through exten-
sive cutbacks in University programs
and departments, to create a "smaller
but better" University.
During the past year, the University
community was plunged into an
ongoing debate over the future of the
University and its priorities.
UNIVERSITY administrators con-
tend that in the face of shrinking finan-
cial support from the state, major
program cutbacks are unavoidable.
Such cutbacks, however, need not
necessarily erode the quality of the
University, they argue. Instead,
through a "shoring-up" plan of
targeting a few weak programs or
departments for major cuts or
wholesale elimination, the overall
academic quality of the University can,
they argue, be preserved and even
So, trying to head off an $11 million
fiscal shortfall and make the University
smaller but better, University ad-
ministrators began cutting. First, they
imposed a six percent across-the-board
cut in the salary budgets of almost
every academic department and non-
academic program in the University.
Then, they began targeting individual
programs that they considered weak
for much larger cuts.
After long and sometimes controver-
sial reviews, programs and departmen-
ts, one by one, began to feel the pain of
the University's contracting budget.

The budgets of a number of non-
academic programs - including
Michigan Media, Recreational Sports,
CRLT - sustained relatively minor in-
juries from the administrators' ax. The
Botanical Gardens suffered cuts of
almost 40 percent. The Extension Ser-
vice was hit harder with a nearly 90
percent cut, and the Department of
Geography - after a rocky, painful
review - was axed completely (see.
story, Page 1).
FINALLY, AFTER all the cuts, the
University took its payoff step toward a
balanced University budget: a hefty 18
percent hike in tuition, the largest in-
crease approved by the Regents in
many years.
University President Harold Shapiro
says he hopes to delay any more serious
cutbacks until next year. The Univer-
sity community, he said, needs a
"breather" before staggering back into
the ring for round two of program cuts.
"I think we need to give ourselves a
year to digest what we've already
done," Shapiro told the Regents at their
July meeting, adding that though more
cutbacks are inevitable, they will not be
as dramatic and swift as they were this
past year.
AS THE FINAL step toward creating
a "smaller but better" University,
Shapiro said the University will become
more selective in its admissions,
making future incoming classes
smaller but better.
But, though the program cuts and
enrollment ceilings will make the
University "smaller," other changes

will have to be made to make the
University "better."
One of these changes will involve a
new emphasis on the development of
the sciences at the University. As cuts
are made in programs and departmen-
ts that are not of adequate quality and
'not "central to the University," schools
or programs that are "central" will be
beefed up.
SHAPIRO HAS pointed to the sciences
-engineering, .chemistry, biology,
physics, etc. - as the logical area for a
new commitment of University resour-
ces., While interest in some liberal arts
departments is slacking or, at best,
remaining constant, enrollments in the
College of Engineering and in the other
sciences is soaring. With assurances of
jos and attractive starting salaries,
students are flocking to those fields. It
is in "central" academic areas like this
that the University should make more
of a commitment, Shapiro said.
This redirection toward a "smaller
but better" University sparked waves
of opposition among some faculty
members and students throughout the
past year.
Some argued that when the Univer-
sity starts cutting back or eliminating
programs, it reducesthe diversity of
the University's offerings, its students,
and its faculty members. Diversity,
they argue, is key to a quality
education. In effect, they claim that
any move to make the University
smaller cannot make it better.
OTHERS HAVE condemned the

Daily News Analysis
On a hot Friday morning last June the Board of
Regents was wrapping up its second and final day of
discussions on the proposed elimination of the Univer-
sity's geography department. The Regents had
*estioned several top University administrators, who
were urging the department be axed from the University
to stretch a shrinking budget.
The Board had also heard from students and faculty
members, who defended the program fiercely. Finally,
there was a lull in the discussion. There were no more
questions. President Harold Shapiro asked the Regents
if there would be any more discussion. A long pause.
After reading the proposal a final time, Shapiro said
quietly, "All those in favor, say 'aye.'" There was a
round of quiet "ayes.'
"A ll those opposed say 'no. ' "A long silence.
Geography department Chairman John Nystuen and
Prof. George Kish, one of the department's most

distinguished professors, quietly stood up and left the
room. It was all over.
Seven months of a rocky and sometimes agonizing
review-special faculty committees, open hearings, private
discussions, more committees-all came to an abrupt end
with the Regents' final unanimous vote. The University's
Department of Geography would cease to exist, effective
July, 1982.
The elimination of the department has far greater
significance than the mere fact that students will no longer
be able to take certain courses after next summer_ The
discontinuance set an important precedent for the Univer-
sity-facing an $11. million shortfall this academic year-in
its effort to trim or cut the budgets of almost every depar-
tment and program.
THE GEOGRAPHY department, the first academic depar-
tment to be eliminated, served as something of a test case for
the University administration to see how it could go about
creating a "smaller but better" University.
The administration had to tangle with the difficult
problems of how to handle the dismissal or relocation of
tenured and non-tenured professors and staff members from
a program that is axed; what to do with the students in the
See REGENTS, Page 14

Regents hike tuition 18 Wo

At the strong recommendation of
University administrators, the Board of
Regents voted unanimously in July to
raise student tuition by 18 percent, the
largest such increase in recent years.

. . . ...............

gBudget woes
trigger co-op
effort among

Daily News Analysis
As Michigan's public colleges and universities
grapple with declining state subsidies, most will have
to carry out severe cutbacks and discontinue some
But because these institutions are part of a state
system of higher education that is autonomous and
decentralized, there's little guarantee that cuts won't
be made in the same academic programs at each in-
stitution, thus crippling the state-wide university
DURING THE 1970s, Gov. William Milliken and
other state officials attempted unsuccessfully to
establish a much-needed central governing body for
Michigan's system of higher education to coordinate

PRESIDENTS AND academic vice presidents of
state colleges and universities do meet to discuss
program planning in their respective universities,
but, for representatives of one university to suggest
changes for another campus.
"I don't think that (discussing programming) has
been all that successful," Smith said. "It's like the
fox watching the hen coop. You have one school
challenging another. It's not the best process."
Another problem with interaction between state
educational institutions, Smith said, is that represen-
tatives of smaller colleges, such as Saginaw Valley
State College, may feel victimized by larger in-
stitutions which have greater clout with the

Tuition for full-time freshpersons and
sophomores who are Michigan residen-
ts has risen to $808; juniors and seniors
now pay $910 each term. The new rate
for out-of-state freshpersons and
sophomores is $2,434, and $2,620 for up-
per gadivision out-of-state un-
At the July Regents' meeting, atten-
ded by the eight Regents, University
President Harold Shapiro, and the Vice-
presidents, officials expressed regret
about the hike, but maintained there
was no way to balance the University
budget without raising student tuition.
A COMBINATION of shrinking state
appropriations for the University for
1981-82 and reductions in federal aid
have led to such extreme measures as
the tuition hike, across-the-board cuts
in all University departments, and
academic and non-academic program
reductions, officials said.
Armed with charts, graphs, and
budget break-downs, Vice-President
for Academic Affairs Bill Frye ex-
plained to the Regents why he had come
to the conclusion that such an increase
was necessary.
Frye said the University needs from
$20 million to $30 million to maintain its
present financial position, without any
further program cuts. An 18 percent

hike in tuition would generate slightly
more than $15 million, he said, an
amount which would just about cover
this year's fixed costs.
WITH $15 million in "inescapable
costs," $24 million is required to raise
salaries six percent and $31 million is
needed for an eight percent salary
program, Frye said. The factors that
will determine how much the salary
program is increased is the now-
uncertain appropriation from the state.
Frye emphasized that in making this
recommendation he considered the
tuition increases announced by other
universities and colleges/ both in
Michigan and out of state.
According to a study in the Lansing
State Journal, tuition and fees at
Michigan's 15 public colleges and
universities will increase by an average
of 16.6 percent this fall. Increases range
from 6.8 percent at Wayne State
University to 33.9 percent at Saginaw
Valley, Frye said. Michigan State
University anticipates an increase in
tuition and fees of about 11 percent.
is so much smaller than the Univer-
sity's because MSU officials instituted
a mid-year increase between
semesters, while the University did not.

education across the state. University officials op- PROF. MARVIN Peterson, director of the Univer-
0a o 1 fposed the plan because they feared bureaucracy and sity's Center for the Study of Higher Education, said
ty increased politics in resource allocations. . that if state universities don't make plans to deal
As these same officials face state cutbacks now, together with the current crisis, the legislature and
sta te s they are becoming increasingly responsive to the governor will have to become more involved.
sta te concept of some sort of state control body. "Ultimately the rational decision is to make a
"I think I'm hearing more receptiveness to this choice that certain institutions and departments
idea (as a result of cutbacks) but we still don't have aren't needed and then close them," he said. "If
active support," said Doug Smith, higher education nobody will close these places, then they'll starve and
consultant to Milliken. See BUDGET, Page 18
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