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November 12, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-12

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, November 12, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Giving students the voice they deserve

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By Richard Layman
and Margaret Talmers
On December 6 the LSA Governing Faculty
will vote upon a resolution that is crucial to the
future role of students in the University's
decision-making process.
The Governing Faculty will discuss the Ross
R olution, which recommends making one
stdent a member of the LSA Executive Com-
mitee. Currently, not only is it impossible for a
student to become a member of the committee,
it is impossible for a student to even attend a
c mittee meeting. As a rule, Executive
C mittee meetings are closed.
)BEFORE discussing the importance of put-
tig a student on the Executive Committee,
hvever, it is important to explain the decision-
m king process of the University. The process
is often baffling to students-possibly because
th ir participation in it is so limited.

The University prides itself on decentralized
decision-making. The central administration
makes the major budgetary decisions, while
individual schools and colleges, such as LSA,
implement these decisions as they see fit. Thus,
the main figures in policy-making are faculty
and administrators. They get to determine
whether or not to "allow" student par-
ticipation. Not surprisingly, students play a
small role in forming LSA policy.
In LSA, governance is collegial-the faculty
members "run" the college. As LSA has in-
creased in size, the faculty have vested most of
their decision-making power into a steering
committee known as the Executive Committee,
comprised of six faculty members and five
deans. Other advisory committees have been
formed as well. These committees report to
and advise the Executive Committee on par-
ticular matters (curriculum, admissions, etc.).
STUDENTS have pushed hard to gain a voice
in the college policy-making structure. They've
been somewhat successful-positions have
been gained on several of the college advisory

committees-yet their participation has been
limited to a very minor role.
Faculty argue that they can represent
students as well as or better than students can
represent themselves. But their role in the in-
stitution is radically different from that of
students. Certainly, faculty can sympathize
with student concerns-for they, too, were once
students-but they lack current information
and knowledge about students that comes only
from being a student.
The effectiveness of having faculty represent
students is further complicated by the fact that
the academic competence, merit, and
specialization of faculty is defined in terms of
professional research rather than in terms of
teaching. This increasing emphasis on
specialization and research can cause faculty
to become trapped within their own discipline.
It can inhibit a professor's ability to view the
college as a whole. Without looking at the
college in the broadest sense, the tendency to
question the entire educational structure
decreases dramatically-and a critical eye is

necessary to keep education relevant to student
needs and abilities.
ALTHOUGH students do sit on committees
that advise the studentless Executive Commit-
tee and participate on some departmental
executive committees such as political science
and economics, their role is often a small one.
At every level, faculty members initiate,
direct, and dominate the college policy-making
process. Thus, students still lack a direct role
in decisions which shape their entire college
experience. Without that student role, faculty
members, however exemplary their aims may
be, still have the option to ignore student needs
entirely.
The Regents by-laws themselves support the
inclusion of students in policy-making. Section
7.05 states that "student participation in
University decision-making is important to the
quality of student life at the University and
shall be encouraged." Other colleges on cam-
pus have students on their executive commit-
tees. LSA-the largest college on campus-is a
glaring exception.

It is more important now than ever before to
do away with this exception. The decisions un-
der consideration today at the University-the
review of academic programs for closure, the
change in the focus of the University as a lear-
ning institution-will have a great effect upon
the quality and direction of our educational ex-
perience. To arrive at the best decisions, all
members of the University must play a role in
the decision-making process-students as well
as faculty.
THE PROBLEM for students is evident. But
what is the solution? The answer lies in getting
more students involved in every level of
decision-making-including the Executive
Committee. By gaining a foothold on this com-
mittee, students can start to play the
significant role they deserve in University
decisions.
Layman is a student member of the LSA
Curriculum Committee. Talmers is
president of LSA -Student Government.

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

Vol.XCIII, No. 56

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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Black en

rolment:

Dubious commitment
E LITANY changes from year to enrollment-but at the same time it
gar. First the administration an- has put LSA's largest minority coun-
es that black enrollment has seling service under a review which
ed again, then they follow their could eliminate up to 75 percent of its
ncement with the usual plea for budget.
deas and expression of baf- Administrators claim that educating
nt at the causes behind the latest more blacks is a high priority, yet the
s list of priorities for the University's
"Five-Year Plan",doesn't even men-
week was true to form. Accor- tion the recruitment or retention of
o administration figures, for the black students.
straight year, black enrollment The difficulties involved in in-
has dropped significantly. This creasing black enrollment are sub-
t has slipped from 4.9 percent to stantial, but they will never be over-
hen classes opened two months come by a university that would rather
mly 1,650 blacks were attending. ignore the problem than make the sub-
970, the University set a goal of 10 stantial changes needed to bring that
at black enrollment, * yet since enrollment up.
black enrollment has slipped University President Harold Shapiro
ibove seven percent to below five says he is open to all new ideas, as if all
it. - the old ones had been tried. But they
le University administrators haven't been.
been patting themselves on the For example, blacks have been
or merely having an enrollment fighting for a centralization of
black students have watched the minority counseling and support ser-
goals of the 1970 Black Action vices for more than ten years.
nent strike fade into oblivion. Separated and isolated, the existing
y've watched the University con- support services are grossly ineffec-
y shirk its responsibility to the tive. In addition, a faculty committee
Blacks in the urban centers of last year submitted 30 recommen-
t, Flint, Saginaw, and Grand dations-from establishing a free
s facing near 20 percent unem- financial aid information line to
ent must also face being shut out creating minority advisory boards for
state's educational system. deans-which the University could use
not because the University didn't to increase black enrollment.
insists Vice President for The ideas are there; the problem is
bmic Affairs Billy Frye. they often fall on deaf ears. If the
riven the numbers-the Univer- University is serious in its commit-
commitment to black enrollment ment and is looking for ideas it will
)e questioned. start with these. The University can no
administration claims it is longer afford pious posturing with no
mined to boost black action

LOOK! TE EEMEROR
(({SC'
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(91982 LOS W)CLES -TOACI SYND(CAlle
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i THINK MY RUNNING IS JUST BEEINNING"
HOUSE OF
WHITE OUS EPRESeMTATVES
- - -
- . , I

When I first arrived in the
United States-it was in
Washington, D.C. in the mid-
1960s-one of my strongest im-
pressions was of having suddenly
become transparent, invisible.
While walking on the streets of
Paris, or anywhere in France,
one is exposed incessantly to
looks of curiosity, appreciation,
or criticism. The eye contact
game is especially active bet-
ween men and women: It is a way
that men reassess their
"maleness" there, and women
their "femaleness."
Sometimes it leaves one feeling
overexposed, wanting to- hide.
But it is exciting, too, this per-
manent exchange which creates
a greater awareness of the sexual
polarity of human beings.
I FOUND NONE of that in
America. On the contrary, it was
as though the sexes ignored each
other and applied the slogan, "I
mind my business, you mind
yours," to all interaction. It
meant more freedom, certainly,
but also more loneliness and
more dullness. The world seemed
harder, indifferent-and
somehow asexual.
At the cocktail parties the East
Coast is so fond of, other
phenomenon appeared. After the
usual introductions and small
talk, men drifted to one side of
the room, women to the other. I
felt in a no man's land, unable to
relate to either side.
During one of these parties, as I
talked to a young woman, a man
came over and after a few polite
questions undertook to explain in

The battle
between- the
sexes: Alive
and well
By Muriel Maufroy

ther from women.
The real problem, perhaps,
was not the roles after all, but the
fact that here in America roles of
any kind are taken so
seriously-that they become
straitjackets. In this more
liberated age, and even in ultra-
liberated California where I now
live, I hear people say that they
have found thedsolution to their
dilemmas by dropping a role,
when in reality they have just
assumed a different one. Men and
women alike are more than ever
stuck in sexual ghettoes.
In other words, nothing has ac-
tually changed; the dull cocktail
party of 20 years ago has just
become bigger.
MOREOVER, meetings bet-
ween men and women in this
country today often are ruled by
a principle which has colored
American society since its very
beginnings: competition. Each
sex attempts. to outscore the
other, even in casual encoun-
ters.
Some time ago, Francoise
Giroud, a French journalist who
served as minister in the gover-
nment of President Valery
Giscard D' Estaing, surmised af-
ter a visit to the states that men
and women here didn't like each
other.
"In France," she said, "we
fight and quarrel, but we do like
each other; there is complicity
between the two sexes."
If the problem of distrust bet-

!'o-

'I

people are simply not on the
same wavelength. Yet in
America it seemed to me that
men and women were almost
never on the same wavelength.
People met without real curiosity
or desire for potential discovery.
As a result, each individual
limited the other to a presumed
role, his or her social function.
And as roles were pretty fixed
and predictable, especially in
that period, there was little room
left for innovation or surprise.
Indeed, I soon noticed that
most Americans, male and
female, didn't want to be sur-
prised. Almost anything could
happen if the world was suddenly
proved different from one's ex-
pectations. The important thing

women. I saw them growing
angrier and angrier. They had
been cheated, and they accused
men of cheating them. "Down
with the housewife role!" they
declared. "Down with
motherhood and its symbols!"
I found most of my married
friends swept up by this wind of
"liberation." There was Grace,
who ironically despised her
husband for failing to fulfill his
role: He was not a good enough
provider. She is now the proud
owner of a very successful
restaurant, and their two,
children are in her former
husband's care. It seems to me
that they still long for each other,
however, though they do not
know how to put their marriage

ZZ

I

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