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April 17, 1982 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-17

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OPINION

'

The Michigan Daily

Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Saturday, April 17, 1982

The University's trade-off:
Research wins over education

Vol. XCII, No. 157

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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The athletic department:
Playing to lose
V ORD IS OUT. The University has academic pursuit, and the School of
admitted it compromises its Music is charged with educating
ademic standards to get winning musicians. There is no School of Foot-
rts teams. ball; football is supposed to be an ex-
young athletes are admitted who tracurricular activity.
ve an adjusted high school grade And using the ruse of affirmative ac-
nt average of 1.7 (on a 4.0 scale). tion to justify admitting these students
mbined Scholastic Aptitude Test just doesn't work. There are plenty of
res for some football and basketball deserving high school students with
yers hover around a 500 level, equivalent grades who are just as, if
en the University median is roughly not more, deserving of a chance to suc-
0 for prospective students. ceed at this university. One must
Any University applicant lacking realize that the University has fallen
iletic prowess who boasted such far short of minority recruitment goals
res would be politely asked to buzz in Ann Arbor, but making exceptions
by the admissions office. for athletes is not the answer.
Yo one has accused the University's The athletic department's real
hletic department of specific motivation for introducing affirmative
lations of NCAA rules. In the high- action into the formula has nothing to
essured race to recruit athletes, the do with social justice. It has a great
iversity, has never been charged deal to do with cold, hard cash.
th misdeeds. And the University Athletics need not corrupt academic
mally adheres to the NCAA rule standards; under the proper con-
at athletes need an original high ditions, athletic competition can em-
hool GPA of 2.0 or more to par- body the very best qualities of the
ipate in college sports. modern university-it can -nurture
But when the University camaraderie, teamwork, and
calculates the GPAs of some discipline.
hletes-throwing out the "cake" The real tragedy of the University
urses and averaging the grades from athletic department lies not in its
ly the more challenging classes- current corruption, but in the fact that
ese GPAs are often significantly this condition may be hopelessly per-
low the NCAA cutoff point of 2.0. In manent,
is sense, the University comes very There are reforms that could greatly
)se to violating the rules in spirit if improve the department: The Univer-
tin letter. sity faculty and the Michigan Student
And to what enl? Why is the Univer- Assembly can reassert their authority
y accepting students on the basis of on the Board in Control of Inter-
hletic ability-students who, by vir- collegiate Athletics; the ad-
ally any other standard, would not be ministration can deal with the athletic
mitted? bureaucracy more aggressively; the
The reason is because the University state legislature and the Regents can
hletiq department is in the business push for a reorientation of the athletic
building winning teams, and department.
cause the department, itself a $10.5 But the likelihood of even small
illion corporation, is out of control. reforms-let alone real, substantive
s Fritz Seyferth, Wolverine change-is small.
cruiting coordinator, says of his job: The athletic bureaucracy here has
t's a business, and the kids are the grown too strong; the power of the Don
source that determines the future." Canhams and the Bo Schembechlers is
From the intense recruiting, to Bo's simply too great. They can muster the
ble-pounding to win admission for support of masses of alumni, they can
s crew, to efforts to keep players in keep the press on their side through
'hool with special tutoring, the clever manipulation of perks. They can
hletic department fights hard to pretend that their detractors criticize
otect its resources-often forgetting simply because they don't like football.
e ideals of an educational institution But the real issue isn't football. The
ong the way. real issue is the University, and
Of course the athletic department whether the University will allow part
s a whole list of justifications for its of itself to remain uncommitted to
havior. They paint themselves as educational excellence.
iardians of the diversity of the The University has a responsibility
niversity community; they insist that to change the way things work in its
ey are performing a public service athletic department. It has a respon-
y bringing the "educationally disad- sibility to its students, faculty, and,
antaged" to college. They argue that ultimately, the athletes themselves to
key are doing nothing that the School keep its primary commitment to
'Music does not do in giving special education-not to the maintenance of a
Dnsideration to applicants with professional football camp.
)ecial talents. Whether the University lives up to
But their arguments are all empty, that responsibility will determine the
nd their true motivation is clear. The real winner in the field of inter-
udy of music is a legitimate collegiate competition.

By Robert Honigman
With the announcement of plans to become
a major robotics center, the University has
finally let the other shoe drop for all those who
were wondering what in the world "smaller,
but better" meant.
Reading between the lines, one may
assume that the University is ready to subor-
dinate its educational function to its research
function-trimming away those parts of the
University which are devoted primarily to
educating students so that more funds can be
spent on those parts of the University
engaged in research.
THIS 1S NOT a radical departure from
university values for most large universities
in the later half of this century have in-
creasingly shifted their resources away from
education toward research. This form of
corruption occurs when you let institutions
decide for themselves what services they
should provide. They always select those
most lucrative for their institutional elites.
But why the announcement at this par-
ticular moment when the University is caught
in a budget crisis?
Part of the answer lies in the longstanding
battle between the University's ad-
ministration and its College of Literature,
Science, and the Arts. The University, over
the last two decades, has financially exploited
its liberal arts program by draining away as
much money as possible from this function to
spend on other parts of the University. LSA
has responded by serving as a rallying point
for anti-war movements, the Black Action
Movement, the Graduate Employees
Organization strike, other embarrassing
events, and by competing for power.
TO BE SURE the present leadership of the
University administration comes from the
LSA college, but these men are technocrats,
not educators. They are veryanice people, but
their views of the human condition and what a

university does for its students are very
narrow indeed.
So the budget crisis affords the University
administration a "night of the long
knives"-a chance to purge those parts of the
University which are still concerned with the,
education of students in a liberal sense,
rather than a technical sense. This is a chance
for the administration to wield real power un-
der the impetus of a crisis.
Look at the questions asked when someone
is considered for tenure. No one asks, "How
will this person affect students? How well can
this person teach?" Rather the questions are,
"How will this person help us in the. national
rankings? How will this person bring us more
federal and state funds?" This crude
measuring of "what's in it for us"
distinguishes the modern university from an
educational institution or even a public trust.
So departments such as geography must not
ask whether their loss affects students, but
whether they contribute enough' to the
University as a prestige-seeking organization
to justify their expense.
THE UNIVERSITY wants to put across the
idea that it is a business like any other,
because ,everyone accepts the autocratic
character of a business-a character inap-
propriate to an educational community. Very
few people around the University seem to
have any idea of what an educational com-
munity is anyway.
Sadly, as the University becomes more and
more a research enterprise it will surrender
more -and more of its academic freedom and
autonomy. The University is turning into
another bureaucratic organ of the state, and
it will not be surprising if it increasingly
teaches students an "official" version of
things, or encourages students to be
apolitical-useful servants for the Univer-
sity's research customers.
The University is seizing an opportunity to
ask for more money from public and private
sources at a time when all other educational

institutions in the state are being forced to cut
back. Research is a bottomless pit which, in
the researcher's view, can never be overfun-
ded and need not show a profit. Moreover,
research processes paper and things, not
people. Robots and little laboratory rats are
more easily manipulated than students
(although to some extent the modern univer-
sity has succeeded in reducing the latter-to
the former). Small wonder that the{ Univer-
sity wants to expand its research.
THESE PROBABLY are the reasons that
the University has announced its "smaller,
but better" program at this time. It can in-
crease its administrative power at the expen-
se of its large liberal arts and, related
humanities faculty. It can develop new
legitimacy for its hierarchical and autocratic
administrative elite. And it can petition for
more funds at a time when other colleges and
universities of the state are being reduced
sharply.
sThe losers in this plan are the students
Research does not enhance teaching;. resear
ch competes with teaching for scarce resour-
ces. Nationally-renowned scholars and scien-
tists at the University demand and receive
reduced teaching loads to devote more time to
their research and career interests. Alumni
donations, miscellaneous revenues,-vacant
land, new buildings, etc., are all, directed
toward research and technical functions,
rather than teaching. A
This is unfortunately what "smaller, but
better" means, and it underlines the erosion
of the student role in the University's purpose
and function. "There's a fortune to~be made0
in robotics and engineering," some say. While
it may sound like a business promotionl
scheme playing to the cupidity and avarice of
the public, it is, unfortunately, the next great
public relations theme of the University of
Michigan as it aims for the year 2000.
Honigman, a University graduale,
currently is an attorney.

Weasel

By Robert Lence',

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LETTERS TO THE

DAILY:

Daily insensitive to minority issues

To the Daily: -
The Michigan Daily has once
again demonstrated -its insen-
sitivity to minority student issues
with its inadequate coverage of
the Minority Fightback Rally on
April 15. The falsifying work of
publications such as the Daily is
accomplished not so much by
what they say, but by what they
don't say and how they report
what they do say. For example,
the rally of the April 15th
Coalition drew 250 people,
predominantly white. The Daily
gave this a prominent play, and

devoted approximately 500 words
to it. The MFC rally drew 125
people, predominantly black and
Latin; the Daily put this story on
page five and devoted about 250,
words to it. The problem with this
is that 125 blacks and Latins
represent about 10 percent of the
minorities on this campus, while
250 whites are less than one percent
of their population. Far more im-
portant than the numbers are the
issues - the University's cut-
backs will affect minorities the
hardest, coming at a time when
the University hasn't even lived

up to its obligations when the
economy was healthy.
The Daily did not publish the:
press statement of the MFC, or
report on the seven resolutions
which the MFC presented to the
Regents through the Black
Student Union. The Regents were
given until September 15 to
prepare an answer. For these
reasons, the MFC demands that

the Daily publish the April 15
press statement and resolutions
immediately. The MFC will meet
on April 21 in the Trotter House at
6:00 p.m. All minority students,
faculty, and workers are invited.
-Joe Graves
Minority Fightback
Committee
April16

Cablevision confusion

No compromises here

_

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To the Daily:
I am disappointed that such a
well-written article as Andrew
Chapman's, "Admissions: A
game -of compromises" (Daily,
April 15) was spoiled by a lack of
fair journalism. It is my under-
standing that it is a journalist's
duty to equally and fairly
represent both sides of an issue.
Chapman lists eight cases of
students who were admitted to
this University with sub-standard
grades and SAT scores. However,
Chapman fails to recognize
academic achievements of
several student-athletes:
" Paul Heuerman (basketball

American, 1981 business school
graduate. Presently in graduate
school of business ad-
ministration. 3.4 GPA.
* Norm Betts (football
player) -academic All-
American, graduating in 1982
from LSA with a concentration in
biology. Will attend the Univer-
sity dental school in the fall. 3.8
GPA.
" Matthew Horwitch (tennis
player) - All-American, 1981
LSA graduate with a concen-
tration in economics. Member of
Phi Beta Kappa national
honorary society, Rhodes Scholar
nominee. 3.8 GPA.
In addition, 23 women athletes

To the Daily:
Your article concerning the
cable television issue in West
Quad (Daily, April 15) not only
appeared slanted toward the
University, but I was also
misquoted. West Quad residents
appreciated the well-deserved
exposure of their problem, but
the Daily's ' article does not tell
the entire story.
I was quoted as saying the
cablevision "comes out of a
student's room and board." I ex-
plicitly told your reporter that the
students were not paying for the
cablevision, but that I had been
informed by John Schaffer, West
Quad maintenance manager,
that it was a free service offered
by the University. Our complaint
is based on the fact that some
students are enjoying the benefits

"reason" ,surface of why th*
,system had not been installed at
West Quad. In the several phone
conversations I had with Schaf-
fer, he never mentioned anything
about needing to know how maty
boxes needed to be installed. If-I
had known this earlier, there
would now be cablevision in West
Quad.
In addition to the University'
inefficiency, the reasons for th
delay given by Alan Levy, our
building director, and Schafferdo
not even match up. Levy said1tat
the job was "more technically
cumbersome" at West Quad than
the other dorms, while Schaffer
said that he needed to know iow
many cablevisions were neededin
the dorm.
Someone is to blame for t

I ~ I'f

I

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