The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 9, 1982-Page 5
Students forgotten in budget
The University of Michigan is one of the"
great institutions of higher education in the
world. Every educational survey perenially
rates the University among the top in the
world. This lofty position has resulted from an
unparalleled combination of diversity and ex-
cellence. The University has built upon a
tradition of outstanding scholarly pursuit in
many different areas. As a result of this, a*
degree from the University is a significant;
achievement because it marks a well-rounded.
quality education unmatched by any other in-
stitution. This, however, appears to be rapidly
As a result of Michigan's depressed
economy, funding from the state, which con-
tributes over half of the University's operating
budget, has declined sharply. This decrease in:
funding has obviously required some budget
trimming at the University. The ad-
ministration, headed by President Harold
Shapiro and Vice President for Academic Af-
fairs Billy Frye, however, has begun to use the
necessity of budget cutting to totally reshape
the University,,seemingly away from its stan-
dards of diversity and toward a narrower, sup-
posedly more marketable education.
i As the University changes in this manner,
every student regardless of her or his major or
field will be directly affected. The quality of
education will be altered as will the meaning of
4 degree from this University.
OVER THE past two years, this shift in
University priorities has become dramatic. In
1981, the Geography Department was targeted
for elimination by the University ad-
ministration. The department was dismantled
despite the fact that it was one of the best of its
kind in the country, that it had a relatively
small budget, and that it included a wide
yariety of disciplines.
This action was followed in 1982 by the
proposed reduction or elimination of the
Schools of Art, Natural Resources, and
Education. As in the case of geography, these
schools are all quality programs but generated
little or no revenue to the University. Because
these programs concentrate on teaching and
quality education as opposed to revenue
producing research, they were deemed a
liability by the administration.
While these programs are being slashed in
the name of budgetary restraint, other more
profitable programs are being bolstered. The
College of Engineering and School of Business
Administration as well as programs in the hard
sciences are given augmented funding. While
this is partially a result of increased student
enrollment, it is also an undeniable result of the
vast research dollars such fields attract.
THE INESCAPABLE conclusion to be drawn
from these actions is that the University is
being run not as an institution of higher lear-
ning but as a corporation. Apparently the most
important measure of a program is its ability
to make money rather than its ability to
provide a quality education to students.
The implications of this policy are ominous.
It means that no matter how good a program
may be, or how important it is to students and
faculty, it is still expendable if it is not cost ef-
fective. Students will thus be deprived of the
diverse quality education which was once the
hallmark of the University. As a result of this
much narrower and less rounded education,
University graduates in all fields will become
Because the way in which the University is
changing so directly affects every student, the
Michigan Student Assembly will continue to be
very active in pursuing the educational in-
terests of students. The Michigan Student
Assembly is the all campus student gover-
nment with 38 members representing every
school and college on campus. As such it is the
Assembly's responsibility to represent the in-
terests of every student in University affairs.
TOO OFTEN in this process of rapid change,
students have been forgotten or ignored. The
educational needs of students have taken a
back seat to the fiscal policies of the ad-
ministration. To avoid further erosion of the.
quality of education at the University, MSA,will
be active in a variety of ways to influence
decisions affecting the future direction of thi
MSA will use two avenues to represe
students in this most important time. The fi
is through working within the University str
ture to assure that the student voice is heart
all decisions. MSA appoints students to a ra
ber of student-faculty committees whicIet
policy for the University. The most impoint
example of this is student representation the
Budget Priorities Committee, which ster-
mines which units are to be discontinu and
which units receive increased filing.
Through such representation stude are t
assured that they are heard by the Ut'ersity
administration, even if they are nolways
When students are not listenedo, it is
necessary to pursue a second enue of
representation. This course involvelirect ac-
tion and mass participation. The bgest asset
that students have in influencinpniversity
decisions is our number. If an Sue evokes
mass student support, the admirtration will1
often bow to pressure to change tir policies.
THE MOST successful mass lion in many 4
years took place last April wheifore than 400
people packed the Regents' n-ting to voice l
Michigan Student Assembly
sibility of MSA to represent students, it is the
equal responsibility of every student to let MSA
know her or his feelings and concerns and to of-
fer advice and help at all times.
Any action MSA takes is only as strong as the
student support behind it. An apathetic student,
body will be reflected in the decisions which
exclude or ignore student concerns and rights..
A concerned and active student body, however,
can work through MSA to assure that in this
time of dramatic changes students and
education are not forgotten but are instead the.;
most important priorities of all decisions. This
cannot happen, however, without the help and
support of every student on campus.
their concerns about the shifting priorities of
the University. Both Regents and ad-
ministrators were forced to answer to student
concerns, and this display has resulted in more
accountability on the part of the ad-
Similar activities are scheduled for the fall,
including a teach-in to discuss the issue of a
changing University. Only in this way can
students be sure of influencing University
Although both these avenues are somewhat
effective in representing student views, they
will only become totally effective with the sup-
port of the student body. While it is the respon-
will be research,
A note from the mayor
. Y ' .
Welcome to Ann Arbor!
To those of you who are new students here this year
as well as to those who are returning from summer
vacation, I want to wish success in your studies-may
you accomplish all of your goals. As University of
Michigan students, you certainly have a good chance
of doing so.
I hope that you will find the time, in the coming
year, to get to know your city as well as the Univer-
sity. You will find Ann Arbor to be an amenable
community. We have attractive shopping districts of-
fering a wide variety of goods frequently available
only in' much larger cities; cultural opportunities
ranging from community theatre to a chamber or-"
chestra to artists' cooperatives; many beautiful
parks; an outstanding recreation program, and much
more. Above all, Ann Arbor's people are warm and
friendly, eager to welcome new residents.
The city government is at your service, and I hope
that you will not hesitate to call if any problems with
city services should arise.
May your stay here by happy and productive.
Most of the pressing issues on cam-
pus are related in some way to
budgetary problems resulting from,
decreasing state support for higher
education. This is unfortunate. It gets
us talking about FTEs (Full-Time
* Equivalents), inflation, and "bottom
lines," when we should be talking about
the primary objectives of the Univer-
sity-the search for new knowledge and
the transmission of that knowledge.
,But we must face reality. The support
for the University by the State of
Michigan has not even kept pace with
inflation over the past decade. One-
response to shrinking resources has
TECHNOLOGY transfer is another
issue that has come on the scene. To
what extent is the transfer of expertise
from the laboratory to the production
line a responsibility of the University?
Does it serve in a feed-back loop to
enhance and stimulate research
programs or does it impose unaccep-
table restrictions on academic
freedom? The Michigan Research Cor-
poration (MRC) will be debated on
campus this fall and the faculty will be
asked if it supports enhanced efforts to
market ideas or sees a MRC as a hin-
derance to research and teaching.
An important question of values was
Prof. Ronald Bishop
raised in the University community last
year and will continue to be debated
next year. I refer to the question of
what responsibility the University has
to monitor the direction of research
programs. Can a project be judged on
the basis of its stated aims or goals
without regard for its possible con-
sequences? Is the search for new
knowledge a valid goal in itself? Should
there be monitoring of research with
respect to possible or projected con-
sequences? Should the academic
freedom and judgment of the in-
vestigator prevail? How much do we
allow outside influences, such as the
availability of money for specific pro-
jects, to direct-our research effort?
These questions were raised in the
Senate Assembly last spring with
respect tosdefense-related research.
The debate will be continued in the fall.
I do not expect a clear resolution of
these questions which all factions of the
University will accept. I do think it is
important that we discuss these mat-
ters so that all persons involved are
sensitive to the issues and then may
been the "smaller but better" doctrine,
which proposes selected program
reduction or discontinuance.
THE DOCTRINE was debated exten-
sively in faculty circles two years ago,
was endorsed by the Senate Assembly,
and led directly to Vice President for
Academic Affairs Billy Frye's Five-
Year Plan. Even such well thought out
planning, however, is vulnerable to
aute budgetary crises such as those we
have experienced during the last year.
Now that we have had a chance to see
some of the effects of smaller but bet-
t'er, complicated by the acute
-budgetary crises, some are asking if
this is the way to go. "Shared poverty"
With across-the-board cuts (relative or
absolute) has been suggested as an
alternative. (It should be noted that in-
Olation has 'already given us a form of
shared poverty over the past several
years.) I do not personally advocate
this strategy; but, if the number of its
supports does grow, it should get more
The dangers of a "shared poverty"
philosophy must be fully recognized.
The quality of the University depends