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February 04, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-02-04

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PINION
Page 4 Thursday, February 4, 1982 - The Michigan Daily

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of\Michigan

University faces elitist fiuture
as federal, state drops

Vol. XCII, No. 103

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Not a penny for defense

T HE PENTAGON won another
battle yesterday in its ongoing
struggle to increase itssever-expanding
defense machine.
Secretary of Defense Caspar Wein-
berger told Congress yesterday that
the Reagan administration will ask for
another $10 billion in military outlays
for the 1983 fiscal year budget. The
administration's request comes at a
time when next year's projected
budget deficit should exceed $90
billion.
The figures obviously conflict with
Reagan's supposed commitment to a
balanced budget. Reagan's earlier
political promise of a sound budget
seemingly has been surrendered to the
immense growth of our dollar-
grabbing Pentagon.
The Pentagon's budget for 1983 is
predicted to be $40 billion more than its
fiscal 1982 budget. Reagan's desire to
"act tough" in the face of Soviet
aggression in Poland is a plausible ex-
cuse for played-up military prepared-
ness, but not on a $40 billion scale. The,
glaring contradiction between
Reagan's balanced budget pretense

and the enormity of his military outlay
shows a true lack of economic and
political forethought.
The massive cuts proposed and
already enacted upon the nation's
social programs could be avoided. Cut-
ting away at the immense overgrowth-
of the Pentagon's budget and tran-
sferring those military funds-to our
financially strapped social programs
is an idea that seems to have com-
pletely escaped the Reagan ad-
ministration's potice.
Federal payments are to be tran-
sferred to' the states. The costs of
Medicaid and food stamps are to be
swapped. The people of this nation are
supposedly to have control of their
legislators once again. The new
federalism is about to jump into action.
Yet the federal defense machine ex-
pands, bloating itself on dollars that
could be spent on domestic programs.
This is a gross irresponsibility in
Reagan's overall plan for the coun-
try-an irresponsibility that may
jeopardize the social foundations of our
nation, while feeding the voracious
monster of the Pentagon.

Rash commitment

T HE UNITED States took a large
step toward military involvement
in El Salvador Tuesday with the
promise of increased military com-
mitment to that war;-torn Latin
American country.
Secretary of State Alexander Haig
made what may be an irreversible
commitment to El Salvador this week
during testimony to the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.
Haig pledged that the United States
would do "whatever is necessary" to
prevent the takeover of President Jose
Napoleon Duarte's government by lef-'
tist guerrillas. When questioned on just
what might prove necessary, Haig was
vague, but he refused to rule out the
use of:U.S. troops.
This .pledge seems to be the next
logical step in the administration's
growing support for El. Salvador's
military junta. Last week, President
Reagan certified to Congress that
Duarte's regime has made progress in
halting its notorious human rights
violations, in spite of the recent reports
that some 900 Salvadoran civilians
were killed in December by gover-

nment troops. Now, officials are hin-
ting that military aid to Duarte may
increase to $55 million.
Until Haig's statement, the ad-
ministration had hesitated to go
beyond subtle military support.
Reagan had hinted that the United
States would stand by the current El
Salvador government, but had restric-
ted military involvement to aid and
training.
With his testimony, Haig has
sacrificed even this limited caution, at
a time when caution is crucial. Events
in El Salvador are becoming more
critical; guerrillas have stepped up
their attacks, recently destroying
almost half of El Salvador's air force.
The Duarte government may, as a
result, soon be pressed into asking the
United States for direct military inter-
vention.
Haig's testimony to the
Congressional committee was rash
and premature. By pledging military
aid when so much controversy still
surrounds El Salvador, Haig has thrust
U.S. military commitment into an area
from which it may prove difficult, if
-not impossible, to escape.

University President Harold Shapiro
spoke to the Daily last week on the decline
in federal and state support for higher
education. The interview, held in his
spacious Fleming Administration building
office, was conducted by Opinion Page
Editors Andrew Chapman and Julie Hin-
ds.
Shapiro speculated on the changing
face of the University, and on how the
University's role as a public institution
will be affected by rising tuition and
reduced budgets.
Dialogue
Daily: What is the future of federal support
for the University?
Shapiro: Well, the future of federal support
for higher education in this country is curren-
tly a matter of great controversy. The Con-
stitution, as I understand it, reserves the
public education function for the states. It is,
therefore, legitimate to ask ourselves: What
is the appropriate role of the federal gover-
nment, if any, in contemporary higher
education? I myself reject the notion that it is
appropriatesocial policy to leave all public
responsibility for higher education to the
states.
I think that student financial aid programs
are an ideal vehicle for the federal gover-
nment to play a role in education, in that they
do not involve making grants to specific in-
stitutions. The grants are simply made
available to students to use at whatever in-
stitution they choose, in order to further their
educations. The student benefits, regardless
of whether the student begins his or her
studies in Michigan and remains in Michigan
or begins in Michigan and graduates in Idaho.
Daily: Would you consider it a respon-
sible move by the President to cutback on
federal student financial aid?
Shapiro: There is no question that there
have been some abuses of the federal and
state student loan programs. To give you a
personal example, I behaved in an
economically irrational way by not isisting
that my daughters take out loans to "finance
their undergraduate educations. Existing
policies would have allowed for a natural
windfall. A family could borrow the money at
a subsidized rate and invest it in a savings ac-
count at market rates. It was almost like prin-
ting money on a small scale.
The loan programs were not initially con-
ceived in that way and should not have been
used in that way. Some reforms and cutbacks
were necessary, but I think the kind of cut-
backs currently being considered far exceed
the real problems and, furthermore, if some
of the proposed cutbacks go through, they will
have enormous impact on higher education in
general.
Daily: What do you think that impact will
be?
Shapiro: I think that the impact will be
primarily on access to higher education for
middle income and lower-middle income
families. For example, I think there are a lot
of students at the University whom we want to
keep here, but who would have a difficult time
remaining, given, for example, a 50 percent
cutback in federal student financial aid. I
think that; if We are creative enough, we will
be able to maintain our enrollment; though
not necessarily with the same set of students.
Daily: Now you said that the federal burden
will be shifted to the states.. ..
Shapiro: . . . or to individuals.
Daily: State aid is now declining. What do
you predict for its future? Will it continue to
decline and how will that affect the Univer-
sity?

Shapiro: My expectation is that most states
will not substitute aid that has been lost
through federal cuts. J think the federal loss
will, by and large, be a net loss.

Daily: What will that specific burden on the
individual be?
Shapiro: It will be financial. Students and
their families are going to have to decide
whether to put $5,000 per year into an
education, so it will put the burden on
families.
Daily': How will that change this Univer-
sity? Will it change the type of person who
comes here?
Shapiro: Under the worst scenario,- with
dramatic cuts in federal financial aid of, let
us say, 50 percent, I think that you will find
the average family income of the person
coming to The University of Michigan moving
upwards and that access to the University is
affected for those families who do not have
savings. You will find a narrower socio-
economic cross-section at universities such as
Michigan than we now have. I think that will
be too bad. The students will be wealthier, but
the University will be impoverished because
the variety -of the student body will be
diminished and the experiences that the
student body brings to the University will be
more limited.
Daily: Will we become art elitist institution?
Will we only have that certain class of studen-
ts? Will that harm the University?
Shapiro: Of course it will harm the Univer-
sity if our students come from a narrower
socio-economic spectrum. If "elitist" refers
to socio-economic background, then we will
be more elitist, by definition. Only people who
can afford it will be able to some. I do not
think that this effect will be dramatic but it
will be unfortunate.

people with less state suppbrt per full-time
enrolled studentthan does Michigan. While I
would not claim we do everything as efficien-
tly as possible, I think that efficiency is not
the major issue. The issue is that the state
wants the systei to be smaller than it is.
They are telling us to educate fewer students,
to raise tuition and therefore, restrict access,
They will not say so in as many words, but
there is no other interpretation that I can
think of.
Daily: All this leads to our current policy of
retrenchment. The very premise of raising
tuition and cutting access has some moral
implications, problems of race; problems of
class, that are inherent in this kind of cut-
back. Do you think the University will face
any sort of moral dilemma?
Shapiro: The state is faced with very tough
budgetary decisions. I do not think that you
can interpret these decisions at a state level
as class or race issues because the state is
debating whether to give an extra dollar to
education to lower tuition, or to Medicaid, or
AFDC, or mental health. Money not going to
the University is going to other social
programs that also have an impact on the
race/class issue.
Daily: Do you think the University is goin
to be looking more toward corporations and
alumni for future funds?
Shapiro: We are working as hard as we can
to raise funds from any appropriate source.
But I think it totally unrealistic to think that
we can easily replace the funds that come
from federal sources.
Corporate support will come in two forms:
first, financial aid for students in areas of
particular interest to a corporation, such as
engineering or computer science; second, i
research. In most cases, corporate support
will be targeted, not general support.
Daily: Then what happens to fields such as
the humanities?
Shapiro: Well, there is no question that it is
harder to find private support in those areas.
_But. without strong programs in the.
humanities we cannot be a distinguished cen-
ter of scholarship and teaching. We will hav
to work very hard to locate the necessar
support.
Daily: Do you think the University 'will
become more specialized in areas where itk
can get support because of this?
Shapiro: I think that in a literal sense that is
true. In the year 1990, we will probably be
doing fewer things than we do now, so, by
definition, we will be more specialized. Bu
the spectrum is still going to be so broad tha
it will be hard to look at us and say we are a
specialized university. I think you are going
to look at the University in 1990 and be very
impressed with the scope and the number and
the quality of schools we do have, even though
there may be somewhat fewer than we have
now.

4

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I

Daily: But don't we have a responsibility as
a public institution?
Shapiro: We cannot fulfill those respon-
sibilities out of thin air. We cannot do it if the
federal government will not support us, if the
states will not support us. If society requires
us to do these things, but does not provide
support, I believe that the requirement is
mere political rhetoric. If our elected officials
want us to have a distinguished institution
which is open to people of all income levels,
then they must offer us the appropriate level
of supp6rt.
Daily: Given, the recent state cutbacks,
what message are our legislators sending us?
Shapiro: They are telling us that they do ndt
want us to have as large a system or as many
students as we now have. They do not want us
to do as many things as we now do, or 'to
educate as many students as we do, or to
educate them as well. What other inter-
pretation can one draw?
Daily: In Lansing they say the universities
have overgrown their boundaries and that
now is the time to retrench. Do you agree with
that?
Shapiro: There are two different questions.
First, is the question of whether we are sim-
ply too big. One can present a pretty good
argument that some adjustment, some down-
sizing is necessary. I think I would support
that. The other is: are we spending too much
money; are we spending it inefficiently? It is
not a question of less, but merely of whether
we are spending the money we have property.
There is no state in the union that educates

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