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October 03, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-03

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OPINION
Poge4 Saturday, October 3, 1981 The Michigan Daily

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die md ngatn t Miia
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

A letter from Arthur Miller

Vol. XCII, No. 21

420 Moynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Treading the thin ice
of tenured faculty layoffs

BOTH PRIVATELY and publicly,
University administrators have
suggested that firing faculty members
who have tenure - that supposedly
sacred promise of lifetime job security
-may be a necessary part of the
University's grand "smaller but bet-
b ter"plan.
A top assistant to University Vice
President Billy Frye said the dismissal
of tenured professors is now being con-
sidered by administrators as a possible
step in downsizing and improving the
University. And Wednesday, LSA
Dean Peter Steiner, at a gathering of
faculty members, reminded them that
tenure was no magical guarantee of a
job at the University. If the University
runs short on money or if it discon-
tinues a particularrdepartment,
faculty members - tenured or not -
can be fired, henoted.
From the hints in the wind, it would
appear that administrators are trying
to brace faculty members for the
possibility of layoffs.
University administrators are fully
aware of the serious implications of
firing tenured professors. As soon as
word spreads through the academic
community - as it always does - that
a pv'ticuar university iismissing
teo ed professors, that university
fi s itself with a whole new set of dif-
ficulties in trying to recruit talented
new faculty members.
It is very hard to convince a bright
young scholar that he or she should
came to a university where tenure is an
empty promise, when there are plenty
op other institutions that make good on
titeir promises of job security.
trhe dismissal of tenured faculty
niembers is a crime not soon forgotten
inkthe academic community. It would
take a great deal of time for the
Ukiversity's reputation to heal if it
were to decide to make the ranks of
tejured professors "smaller but bet-
ter."
The University would also condemn
its less "central" 'departments and
programs to certain deterioration if it
stprted firing tenured faculty mem-
bers. Clearly, the University would not
eliminate a popular, profitable, and
"entral" department such as political
sdience or computer engineering.
More likely, the programs axed would
be the smaller, more obscure units -
such as geography and physical
therapy.
Thus, for young talented scholars in
less popular' fields, the University of
Michigan would not be a logical choice
for starting a career because the
University has already earned a
national reputation for its "smaller but
better" approach to cutting out-of-the-
way departments.
So, those peripheral departments
would be unable to compete with other
quality universities for the top-flight
scholars. Unable to bring new talented
faculty members into their ranks, the
quality of those departments would
slowly slide until Billy Frye, or some
other "smaller but better" minded
administrator,' targets them for

elimination because of their
deterioration.
In a sense, if the University begins to
discontinue more peripheral depar-

What is worrisome is that ad-
ministrators have suggested that
tenured faculty members might be
fired, not for lack of money to pay
them, but because of a conscious
decision on the part of the ad-
ministration to make the University
smaller.
Vice. President Frye's 'chief adviser
on the budget, Robert Sauve, has ex-
plained that the University's "smaller
but better" plan, and its consideration of
tenured faculty layoffs, has little to do
with short-term financial shortfalls.
Regardless of how much money the
University gets from the state and
other sources, it intends to cut
programs in order to use the money to
strengthen other programs that the
University values most. The
geography department, for example,
might be eliminated so that the
University could improve its
engineering programs, which are- in
greater demand.
The fact that money, or the lack
thereof, is not really at issue will make
the University's job all the more dif-
ficult in firing tenured professors from
non-favored departments. It will be
considerably tougher explaining to a
tenured professor that he or she is
being dismissed, not because of money,
problems, but because his or her
program and work is not of great value
to the University. That would probably
make the jobless professor all the
more bitter - and make the Univer-
sity's problem in recruiting new
professors all the more acute.
If the University considers firing
tenured faculty members, it had better
be for a very good, unavoidable
reason. There are conceivable
situations in which the University
would have no other choice but to
lay off tenured faculty members.
If state appropriations to the Univer-
sity were to.drop off dramatically for
several consecutive years so that the
University were in desperate financial
straits, the dismissal of tenured
faculty, as a last resort, might be
justified as an alternative to
skyrocketing tuition or drastic cut-
backs in programs.
But the University is not in that
situation. State funds to the University
have been declining recently, but they
have not forced the University into a
corner. In fact, both the University's
and the state's most respected
economists have predicted a tur-
naround in the state economy that in
future years will likely mean a
restoration of adequate funds to higher
education. It seems clear that if the
University begins firing tenured
faculty in the next few years it will not
be necessitated by financial losses and
therefore will not be a "last resort" at
all.
There are certainly some faculty
members at the University who do not
deserve their tenure; their dismissals
would not be a great loss to students or
fellow scholars. But the long-term con-

sequences of firing them would be too
harmful.
Any benefit gained from their
dismissal, however, cannot outweigh

The competing ideologies of Com-
munism and Fascism were at a high point
of conflict in 1936. Hitler's rise to power,
the Spanish Civil War, and other
ideological and political struggles in
Europe and elsewhere sent shockwaves
throughout the world.
At the University of Michigan In-
dustrial Conference on Education and
Research in 1936, leaders from business
and industry met to discuss the role of
,Replay*..,
By
Will McLean Greeley
education in the affairs of government
and national policy. In an opening day
speech Fred Zeder, Vice Chairman of the
Chrysler Corportaion, stated that he had
come to "admire" Adolph Hitler greatly,
who he felt was "doing a great
job ... carrying on.. . putting his
house in order."
Zeder then blasted the New Deal and
politicians in general. In response to
Zeder's speech, then student, later
playright, Arthur Miller wrote the

following satiric
tober 11, 1936.

MR. ZEDIER'S TALK
"Hitler is doing a great job, he's carrying
on, he's putting his house in order.. ." What
we need is a re-dedication to the basic values
of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,"
Mr. Zeder also stated.
Fine! Mr. Zeder, vice chairman of the
Board, Chrysler Corporation. We all thank
you, our fathers thank you. Saluta! Mr. Zeder
for saving the liberals of this locality the
trouble of convincing the people that
American Big Business is Fascist and more
treasonable to the American form of gover-
nment than threc times the number of Com-
'munists in America today.
Congratulations! Mr. Zeder and the
Chrysler Corporation for explaining so con-
cisely that is it Big Business which is behind
the "people's" demand for a bigger navy
which General Smedley Butler told me had
not ONE SINGLE PLAN FOR DEFENSIVE
WARFARE BUT ONLY FOR OFFENSE IN
FOREIGN WATERS.'
Some of us had thought that when you and
the Republicans you are backing said you
were for a "different way" of handling
relief-for "progress of industry founded on
sound principles," well we thought that
perhaps you meant what the words mean in
English. We see now-I say we understand,
Mr. Zeder, that what you really mean are the
same words translated into Italian and Ger-
man. In other words you mean labor in con-
centration camps working for whatever you
choose to pay them. You mean that labor

letter to Daily on Oc-

strikes and efforts to make a living wade un-
der decent conditions are "crimes against the
state."
But most of all, Gentlemen Manufacturers,
thank you for telling us in one breath your aim
to Fascitize American industry and in the
next that you would enjoy having we college
men help you to do it!.
We don't know how we can repay this debt
to you-this debt we owe you for telling the
Great American College Man YOURSELVES
that he is preferred because it is more
probable that with his training in "cultural
subjects" he will help his bosser trim his
uneducated fellow workers out of their just
desserts .
For not only is Mr. Zeder a Fascist but he is
also like Hitler against Communism. Not
only does Mr. Zeder find that the choice IS,
Fascism or Communism, but he must ther-
fore completely disagree with our President
(Ruthven) who says that "We are not con-
fronted with a choice between fascism and
communism, but we cannot survive, we can-
not achieve peace, without the recognition of
our responsibility for the welfare of others."
Fascism has not one iota of "responsibility
for the welfare of others.
So thanks again Herr Zeder. But we advise
if we may, that you change your opinion of the
college man. He is not a sap!
-Arthur A. Miller
S * * * *
NEXT WEEK: The "victors."
Greele v's column appears everv Saturdav.

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What riches holds Australa?

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-Amid growing
political instability in the Middle East and
Africa, leading to talk of a "resource war,"
the West is beginning to take a serious look at
Australia as an alternative supply depot for
fuels and strategic materials of all sorts.
Australia could turn out to be the answer to
Washington's prayers. The liberal gover-
nment of Malcolm Fraser is friendly to the
United States and the booming economy is
largely owned and guided by American,
Japanese and British corporations.
Butamost important, this huge but sparsely
populated (14 million) nation has an immense
wealth of coal, natural gas, bauxite and other
metals, including some of the crucial defense-
related "strategic" materials the United
States now imports from southern Africa.
AS A RESULT, Australia has become the
Yukon of the '80s. The directors and chief
executives of Exxon Corp. recently visited
here for a series of private meetings and
briefings, and they will be followed by the In-
ternational Board of Advice of the Chase
Manhattan Bank, led by David Rockefeller
and Henry Kissinger.,Along the northeast
coast of Queensland on the Pacific Ocean,
port towns are clogged with workers building
railroads, deepening ports, laying the groun-
dwork for an export boom in coal.
"It's all set to go, no doubt about it," said G.
Paul Phillips, director of the Australian
Mining Industry Council. "We haven't really
touched the surface yet."
Because of problems and costs associated
with nuclear power and the continuing high
cost and supply interruptions that come with
oil, energy planners around the world are
turning back tocoal as the fuel for electricity.
AS A RESULT, the International Eergy
Agency predicts that by the 1990s Australia
will be the world's largest coal-exporting
nation, surpassing the United States, and
shipping out a staggering 120 million tons a
year. .
"The major markets will be in Southeast
Asia, but there will be growing markets in
Europe and the United States," predicted
Phillips. Australian coal, he said, could be
"borderline competitive" at U.S. gulf ports.
In Europe, Australia is stealing business

By James Ridgeway
As the Australians race to set up the in-
frastructure for coal exports on the East
Coast, plans are being implemented in the
west to begin to tap the enormous natural gas
finds of the Rankin field along the north-
western shelf. Gas is to be brought onshore,
liquified, and shipped to Japan.
Though Australia itself has no nuclear plan-
ts, the Fraser government is determined to
make the country into a major supplier of
uranium. Doug Anthony, deputy prime
minister, recently announced that Australia
has contracts for $4 billion in uranium and has
launched a -feasibility study as the first step
toward building a uranium enrichment
facility.
THE BUREAU of Mineral Resources
projects Australia will rank as No. 3 in
uranium production by 1985, increasing
production from the current 1,500 tons a year
to 11,000 tons.
The energy boom is having a profound ef-
fect within Australia itself. Because of the
cheap power provided by coal and natural
gas, the big transnational companies that
dominate the aluminum industry are racing
pell mell to build smelters for Australian
bauxite, most of which now is exported for
smelting elsewhere.
Smelting capacity may more than
quadruple in this decade, providing enough
aluminum to supply world growth for several
years. This amounts to the biggest invest-
ment in a single industry the world has ever
seen. As the aluminum processing begins in
earnest, Australia will be in a position to
make a number of consumer goods, notably
parts for the world car.
ALL BUT OVERLOOKED in the ex-
citement of the resource boom is the nation's
potential as a supplier of strategic metals.
For such critical materials as vanadium,
tungsten and manganese Australia could

become an alternative source to such un-
stable regions as southern Africa, which the
Reagan administration has labeled the "Per-
sian Gulf of Metals.''
Australia produces 90 percent of the world's
rvtile, which is employed in the manufacture
of titanium. It is the world's fifth-ranking
producer of manganese, and exports are
growing. Tin and tungsten are produced in
substantial quantities. Tantalite, an elec-
tronics metal, it is in abundant supply due to a
huge find in western Australia. Cobalt and
vanadium also are produced.
The importance of such strategic metals to
the U.S. military goes beyond a stable source
of supply. The Pentagon is equally interested
in Australia as an increasingly important cog
in U.S. defense planning.
AN EXAMPLE suggests the trend: The
rutile, used in manufacture of titanium, a
crucial metal for defense, has been exported
in raw form for processing in Japan, the
United States and Europe. Under a proposed
deal, however, General Dynamics and United
Technologies have agreed in principle to build
a $100 million 5,000-ton-a-year titanium
sponge plant in Australia if the government
agrees to purchase their F-16 jets for the
Australian air force.
McDonnell Douglas is believed to be con-
sidering a similar offer in return for purchase
of its F-18 aircraft. Thus, Australia's internal
economic development hinges, in this exam-
ple, on a growing armaments policy which is
closely tied to American defense spending.
Australia began in the 18th century as a
penal colony of Britain. Some observers fear
the current era of resource exploitation may
result in a new form of colonization, by the
United States or Japan. But for the time
being, the government of Malcolm Fraser
seems delighted to fulfill Australia's usual
role in world commerce, a faithful and
cooperative supplier of raw materials to the
industrialized West.
Ridgeway is a columnist for the Village
Voice. He wrote this article for Pacific
News Service.

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