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February 08, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-08

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OPINION

Page 4

Sunday, February 8, 1981

.1

0be Mitigan BaitQl
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

'U': Think before

Vol. XC, No. 111

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Enough of the Hash Bash

T MAY HAVE started out as a pro-
test against Michigan's stringent
marijuana laws, but the Apr. 1 Hash
Bash has turned into little more than a
free-for-all for high school students
and a headache for most members of
the University community.
Certainly, when the Hash Bash
began in 1972, its motives were well
justified. Ann Arbor's pot laws were
ridiculously prohibitive. The bash
helped persuade Ann Arbor officials to
make possession of small amounts of
p pot punishable by only a $5 fine.
But since that time, the annual event
has evolved into a three-ring circus for
vandalism, violence and disturbances
to University students -- who helped
s- start the whole thing. It no longer even
promises a relaxing break from
classes, but rather a massive obstacle
r when trying to get from the Chemistry
A building to the Graduate Library.
What is most annoying is that the
s: University must spend more than
$11,000 in overtime payments to extra
police officers who must patrol the
xDiag.
But, since the University is public
property and open to all people, the
bashers cannot be removed by the
police. While no member of the public
should be excluded from the Univer-
sity, it's unfortunate that so many

The University administration is
proceeding with all intent and purpose to
discontinue the Department of Geography.
Ubelievable, isn't it? The University is sup-
posed to pride itself in its academic excellen-
ce. Yet it has found it expedient to cut costs in
the area most important to the central pur-
pose of the institution, namely teaching,
research, and the pursuit of knowledge.
Now that some of the initial shock has
tapered off over last week's announcement,
we ask ourselves why an academic depar-
tment should be targeted and why geography
in particular. No one will deny that costs at
this university have escalated tremendously
in recent years (and what hasn't?). Our
current annual target budget is now ap-
proaching half a billion dollars - more than
the GNP of several countries in the world.
Thus financial cuts are definitely needed in
view of current economic conditions.
BUT WHY HAVE we allowed the ad-
ministration to augment original respon-
sibility by determining academic policy
without significant input from faculty and
students? When did our priorities shift away
from academic pursuits? Has the University
transformed itself into a corporate entity?
Assuming that academic endeavors are the
key components of any university system,
how can the administration even conceive of
terminating an academic department? Cer-
tainly this should be an essential area of con-
tinuing support, with utmost attention
devoted to protecting even the smallest
departments. After all, there was a time when
the University used to relish the attraction
provided by a diverse number of small depar-
tments on campus.
THE ADMINISTRATION'S action of
discontinuance proceedings implies that
geography is not cost-efficient, has weakened
in quality, and has become redundant in ter-
ms of its teaching subjects which might be
better assimilated into other disciplines.
We strongly protest such allegations and
wonder if the administration really under-
stands what modern geographers are
academically involved in at Michigan. No,

By James A kerman
and John Oppenheim
we are not a discipline of map and place-
name experts. Geography forms a unique and
beneficial role in the fields of social and
natural science. Its research encompasses a
broad spectrum of knowledge and techniques
centered around a central theme of interac-
tions between man and his environment.
Geography has a long academic tradition
both world-wide and here at Michigan since
the early 1920's. If the University ad-
ministration wants a smaller, more efficient
academic environment, terminating depar-
tments will certainly accomplish that goal.
But, what will be gained?
Should we measure the academic excellen-
ce of a university solely on the basis of its
cost-efficiency? The administration has in-
dicated that several other high-ranking
universities do not have geography depar-
tments. They fail to consider, however, that
geography rates extremely high in a much
larger number of equally high-ranking in-
stitutes.
THE UNIVERSITY hopes that by discon-
tinuing the geography department something
around $150,000 to $200,000 will be saved. This
figure seems ridiculously miniscule in the
light of other costs already expended
throughout the University community.
For example, why are there five support
personnel for every faculty member at the
university? Why did the Union need heated
pipes under the front steps? Why are the
grounds watered during the summer even
when it rains? Why did President Harold
Shapiro need such an elaborate inauguration
at Michigan? The examples are indeed
numerous and it doesn't take a systems
analyst to point out such discrepancies.
Yet, for a token savings in expenses, the
administration has imposed immeasurable
stress on faculty, staff, students, and harmed
the reputation of, the University. Do they
realize what it's like to be told, with no prior
warning, that your department is no longer

The Michigan Daily
you cut
needed? The effect on faculty and staff is ob-
vious, but what aboutthe students?
THERE ARE CURRENTLY 37 graduate
students in residence at the department,
many of whom are placed in limbo as a result
of this action. Does the administration ac-
count for the $65,000 to $70,000 in income they
will lose from tuition these students pay?
As graduate students, we feel an enormous
amount of frustration. The department of
geography will likely stand up to a review
quite well, but there is a widespread feeling of
pessimism among the students. In retrospect,
the decision to initiate discontinuance
proceedings seems pre-planned and biased in
favor of the administration's position.
Even if the review committee recommends
continuance, there is already irrepairable
damage to the department.
AS A CASE in point, prospective graduat
students in the process of applying to th
geography department cannot even expect to
hear about acceptances until the end of April
which almost eliminates them from financial
aid opportunities. This means in effect, that
next year's class will be considerably smaller,
if existent at all.
Academic units are the nucleus of this
university and should not be the first victims
of budget cuts. The administration's action
against the geography department is ill
advised.
Additional blows to the academic com-
munity such as severe budget reductions to
the Botanical Gardens (one of the finest
facilities of its kind in the United States) and
to the museums on campus can only hurt the
University in the long run. The University
community must take action against ad-
ministratively imposed mandates. We need to
educate ourselves and define priorities ac-
cording to the best interests of everyone at the
university.

people must succumb to this annual
debacle.
Instead, University members must
suffer the hindrance of these remnants
of the past.
It would be nice to wake on Apr. 1
and find no massive crowds on the
Diag. (And it might occur - Hash Bash
attendance has declined from more
than 4,000 in 1978 to around 1,200 last
year.) But in the meantime, ignoring
the throngs of glassy-eyed adolescents
might be the best solution.
Whatever the case, University and
city officials think the Hash Bash
should stop. We agree it's time for this
yearly fiasco to come to an end.

James
are grad
geograph

i

Weasel

A
INTH]
fren
Stockma
frighteni
proved
proposal
to the p
comes, v
during ti
The F
slashes it
governm
Medicai
%food 'star
renewal
program
face dra
complete
Stockn
philosoph
I4r/
is

nightmare forthe poor
E MIDST of a budget-cutting necessary because government has
Zzy, Budget Director David over-extended and has spent far too
n has presented the most much of the taxpayers' hard-earned
ng proposal to date. If ap- money. Yet the Reagan administration
by Reagan next week, the at the same time plans to dramatically
would be a devastating blow increase military spending.
nor and elderly on fixed in- For the poor and elderly, whose
vho already suffer the most greater concern is more often finding
mes of economic crisis. money to pay the heating bill than
statistical comparisons between Soviet
proposal includes 'drastic and American cruise missiles, this
n almost every major area of plan is a nightmare.
ent - except the military. Reagan must reject Stockman's
d, Social Security, welfare, proposal. The disadvantaged in Amer-
mps, housing,, job training, ican society must not be expected to
and economic development bear the burden of Reagan's insistence
s in the inner cities would all on lesser government spending. The
matic cuts. Some would be size and scope of government can be
ly eliminated. reduced in an equitable and humane
nan, following the Reagan manner - if that is the intention of the
iy, claims that these cuts are Reagan administration.

YEAHIE &OT
- rn- oR oL^55
-._ TOORROW

MAAN/ YQURrz
4WASTIN& YOUR, IE
THEL EGONoMl( u I
A : S AMI~t-BS !
WER~E , JUN N f G QOUTOF
OUR. NATURAL EOURCES!

DO .YO F-

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

'Smaller but better'

forgets

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THE MILW~AUKEEJORA
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To the Daily:
As an undergraduate at the
University I have become in-
creasingly alarmed as of late at
the Administration's policy of
"selective discontinuance" and
its defense of the notion of
"smaller but better." A receit
incident in a class of mine has
only served to heighten my con-
cern that this policy is yet
another example of specious ad-
ministrative reasoning.
This morning I took a mid-term
for Greek Mythology, Classical
Civilization 462. The professor,
Sharon Herbert, was not present
and the responsibility of exam-
distribution and proctoring was
left to her teaching assistants.
Obviously unprepared for the lec-
ture class of more than 200
students, the T.A.s announced,
five minutes into the exam
period, that they would now
proceed to distribute the exam.
What followed was a thoroughly
chaotic allotment process only
successful in getting two of the
ten pages of the exam out to most
of the class.

Next the T.A.s said that due to
the problems they were having,
students should come up to the
front of the class to pick up the
exam's remaining eight pages.
Disruptive jockeying began as
students lined up, fifteen at a
time, to receive the additional
pages.
The time now remaining for the
test was insufficient, the T.A.s
ability to administer was im-
paired by the size of the class,
and eventually, student hostility
towards the proctors developed.
With student-faculty ratios
already way out of hand in many
departments how do the ad-
ministrative advocates of
"smaller but better" and "selec-
tive discontinuance" expect to
enhance the quality of education
at the University through further
cuts in departmental budgets?
The recommendations of the
departmental review committees
indicate an inherent misunder-
standing of the function of
numerous departmental budget
items.

President Harold Shapiro, the
University vice presidents, and
the LSA executive committee -
who are responsible for the
proposed elimination of the,
Geography department, the Ex-
tension Service, intramural spor-
ts' hours, and across-the-board
departmental budget cuts - lack
a grasp of undergraduate and
graduate needs and expectations.
Perhaps it is asking, a lot of
University administrators to
keep abreast of student sen-
timent on issues like the quality
of undergraduate education. The
administration's own guidelines
for "selective discontinuance"
call- for student representation on
budget-investigative commit-
tees.
Nevertheless, the Ad-
ministration has on numerous
occasions denied student
requests for participation in the
decision-making process. Before
quality undergraduate and
graduate education. here at
Michigan becomes little more
than a memory the ad-
ministration should abide by
LSA-SG d
To the Daily:
.The LSA-Student Government
appears to have become a dating
service. Its most recent appoin-
tment of Jim Cole to fill a vacan-

Akerman and John Oppenheim
fuate students in the University's
hy department.
by Robert Lence
= KNO0W, BUT I WANT
To MAKE 5u. --TT
AT LEAT &ET A
FIRST CLMAS CABIN .
Sstudents
their guidelines and request the
participation of students on
budget cutcommittees.
Dean Knott must know better
than to ask for six hundred angry
students on his doorstep
everytime he announces an
academic budget cut. It looks like
that is where things are heading
unless thinking changes in the
three big buildings around
Regents' Plaza.
Students know what their needs
are better than seemingly distant
administrators. We watch the
quality of education at our
university cringe with every
declaration from the ad
ministration's hatchet men (and
they are still all white men).
We have a right to participate in
the future of our university.
Student input can only serve to
enhance the quality of education
at the University and ensure that
any necessary budget decisions
are made that much more
equitably. Surely this is the
desire of administrators, faculty,
and students.
-Joel Epstein
February 6
ating game
Meanwhile, other more qualified
applicants were rejected.
As a concerned student, I can
only hope that in the future im-
portant appointments, such as
this, are made on merit andnot

Make use of ride board

To the Daily:
If I am allowed to be verbose,
I'll start with how tired I am this
morning. My room is hot and dry.
I've got a taste in my mouth like
something I would never even
consider eating. The library

in.
But for those without cars it's
no easy task. Buses and trains
are expensive and hitchhiking,
while interesting, is unreliable.
So what about the "ride board?"
What about it?

-
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---
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