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November 18, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-18

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OPINION

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Page4 Thursday, November 18, 1982 The Michigan Daily

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A,
6

Growing up at today's

University

By Robert Honigman

In the decade of the 1960s a remarkable tran-
sformation in higher education occurred. Amid
riots, national and international conflict,
students grew up. Women students were
released from dormitories that were run like
Victorian boarding schools, and 18-year-olds
were given the right to vote. The young student
changed from a captive child into an adult.
With freedom, however, comes the terrible
anonymity and loneliness of the modern cam-
pus. People are free now, but to do what?
Sometimes it seems, among both students and
educators, there's a longing for the safety and
comfort of childhood-the security of someone
caring where you are, what you are doing, and
when you'll be home.
CONVENTIONAL wisdom holds that we will
never go back to those days, and I think con-
ventional wisdom is right. But we will, I'm
afraid, trade our freedom for safety, and our
adulthood for a twilight zone which is neither
childhood nor adulthood.
Students did not really grow up in the '60s.
Something else happened.
First of all, the in loco parentis doctrine en-
ded. It presupposed that universities were
trusts operated for the benefit of students-not

simply for their academic benefit, but in a
residential university such as the University of
Michigan, for their total benefit. Universities
felt a responsibility to provide students with a
place to grow up in, with decent housing, a
decent campus, decent transportation, as well
as good instruction-all those things that make
up a community including leisure time.
IN EVERY other sphere of life, when the
beneficiaries of a trust grow up, the trust estate
is distributed to them or at least placed under
their control. Nothing of the kind has occurred
with students. Here, the University is still run
by the same people. They still determine
student housing policies, health service, how
student government shall be funded, etc. In the
meantime, students have become orphans,
anonymous customers passing through the
University in an impersonal department store
philosophy of higher education.
But didn't students grow up? Ask faculty
members and administrators why they don't
share the government of the University with
students and they will invariably reply that
students : are too immature for such respon-
sibility. They can vote in public elections for
the president of the United States, but not for
the president of the University. They can vote
for the Regents, but they are incompetent to
judge whether or not University policies are
sound.

What really happened in the 1960s? Clark
Kerr provides some of the answer. In his 1963
book, The Uses of The University (published
while he was still president of the University of
California), he noted that the modern univer-
sity had become a multiversity which served
many constituents and that "the revolt that
used to be against the faculty in loco parentis
is now against the faculty in absentia."
IN OTHER words, while the in loco parentis
doctrine was still in full force, and before any
riots had occurred, the trustees of universities
had already stopped running them as a trust
and converted them into a narrow academic
business devoted to research and. graduate-
professional education.
Because they made a "profit" on un-
dergraduates, especially freshmen and
sophomores, they began to pack them into their
campuses, erecting giant hotel-like dor-
mitories. Our University began to build hotel-
like dorms in the '50s such as South Quad and
Markley. The school year was speeded up.
Grade competition was stimulated.
Inadequate, over-priced, and widely dispersed
off-campus housing effectively isolated studen-
ts from each other and the campus community.
Thus, University policies successfully
dissolved the student community, while the
tempo of academia made things happen too
quickly for students to assimilate what was

happening. By the time some of them became
aware of how little they meant to the institution
that processed them, they were graduating and
a new batch was being inducted.
Students threw off the in loco parentis doc-
trine, not because they had grown up, but
because they no longer had a parent who cared
about them. What is the sense of obeying a
parent who no longer cares about you?
THIS KIND of growing up had nothing to do
with the legal age for voting or for making bin-
ding contracts. Students had to be thrown
something as a sop, so they were thrown their
freedom. They could now indulge in all their
childhood fantasies, free sex, drugs, and
beautiful dreams. But they didn't grow up the
way self-confident adults grow up, who learn to
control and master the world around them.
Who can deny that in this century we have
prolonged adolescence into our late 20s and
early 30s? A century ago only a few people
graduated high school. Adult life began at 18.
Today it's not uncommon for someone to spend
seven or more years in school as a dependent
student after graduating high school.
Late maturation-if not artificially in-
duced-can be a good thing. Humans are the
only animals-that take decades to mature, and
becoming a human being is a long, difficult,
and complex process. People who mature later
may be wiser and kinder than people who

become adults at an early age.
SO THERE'S nothing wrong with late
maturation if it were part of the University. It's
just that the University is no longer a place in
which to grow up.
The growing-up that occurred in the 1960s
was the equivalent of a child growing up when
he or she is kicked out of the house at an early
age. People who come to adulthood in the
University today are like street children. They
are smart and self-sufficient. They are also in-
secure, completely absorbed in their own suc-
cesses and failures, and they are heartless and
heedless of others. They are the "me"
generation.
How can we make the University a place for
students to grow up? Part of the answer lies in 6
turning the trust over to students. One way
might be to have at least half of the Regents
elected only by students. Students won't really
grow up unless and until they have the power to
control the terms and conditions of their lives
in a real way, not in the sham freedom that has
been used to buy them off. I think it's time to
give students back a community and a place to
grow up.
Honigman, an attorney, is a University
graduate.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

Vol. XCIII, No. 61

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Yuri who?

JUST WHO is Yuri Vladimirovich
Andropov?,
In an effort to guide future U.S.
foreign policy, top pop Kremlinologists
are scrambling frantically to dissect
the character of Leonid Brezhnev's
successor.
And we sure do know a lot about An-
dropov. We know, for example, that
he's a former chief of the repressive,
dissidence-crushing KGB. A firm stan-
ce is best for dealing with him.
On the other hand, we know that he
has more diplomatic finesse than
Brezhnev had, and is also more
Westernized. Thus, a sophisticated
discourse on detente would probably
work wonders with him.
But, then again, a Soviet emigre
revealed that Andropov is a henpecked
husband who likes jazz. Hmmm.
Maybe nagging during negotiations
and playing loud music would do the
trick.
Only two clear things have emerged
from U.S. efforts-one, Leonid
Brezhnev is still dead; two, confusion.
The speculation in the press on An-
dropov has revealed less about him
and more about ourselves. While U.S.
policymakers stumble for the key to
Andropov's nature, they ignore the
most troubling fact-too little is known
about either the man or his country.
Andropov, in fact, is as mysterious to
Americans as any Russian would be.

Cultural ties to the Soviet Union have
worn so thin-and emphasis on
Russian studies has fallen into such a
*pitiful state-that no one really knows
much about what's going on in the
Soviet Union at any given time. The
media's coverage of Soviet leaders
is superficial at best; we think of them
as unyielding, unsmiling oppressors
with heavy accents:
How do we deal with the Soviets
then? Seemingly, with a handful of
stereotypical images and Cold War
cliches. For proof, take the president's
brand of Soviet analysis. Reagan ad-
mitted yesterday that his claim that
Soviet agents were partly behind the
American peace movement was based
on an article in Reader's Digest, one of
his favorite magazines.
Perhaps Reagan's Cold War rhetoric
is understandable. After all, it's easy
to think of a competitor as a faceless,
monstrous evil when little is known
about him or her. Fear feeds on the
unknown.
Peace and mutual coexistence,
however, feed on knowledge. Learning
more about Soviet culture and ideology
could go a long way toward renewing
hopes for detente.
The United States can learn a great
deal from its search for the real An-
dropov; namely, the enemy is not Red,
it's simple ignorance.

BEZHEVDIE AA /O ON'TX LA Ms
XDo WE .GET? - NDRcA'VI ID'/VT
F ORMER HEAD OF TEK&B00' ORN/
Ix".'

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W ill r'I1

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
A nauseating display of twist

To the Daily:
After reading Mary Van
Buren's article ("U.S. anti-Soviet
war drive", Daily, Nov. 10), I
found myself wanting to vomit.
Reading her article was like
trying to digest garbage. If this
woman had not been enrolled at

the University of Michigan and
had not penned the article, I
would have thought that the
Soviet government had written
the piece for "Pravda".
The article itself is inconsistent
with its main topic concerning
the Mideast. She begins by

i

Libraries are for studying

Yo~u COULD ALL
DR~AW SIVAWS...

/1

To the Daily:
Having agreed with the
majority of the Daily's past
editorials, I was dismayed to
read the editorial of Nov. 10
("For books, not people"). The
ideas expressed were irrespon-
sible, not to mention lacking an
understanding of the facts.
The editorial basically implied
that although ". . . too many
students have been slopping
Cokes on Milton's Paradise Lost
and leaving Baby Ruth's
smashed inside Plato's
Republic," so what? All people,
"sticky fingers and all," should
handle the books.
This is analogous to stating that
all people should be allowed en-
trance to museums, even those
carrying squirt guns, cans of
spray paints, cameras with
flashes. etc. Rules are enacted

altogether. I have personally
seen the vending machines in the
libraries for three years, and I
have seen people abuse the food
policy in the libraries for three
years. If people have not been
able to abide by the rules, what
option is left to the University?
The Daily's statement that a
library without food is as "in-
viting to the students as a
mausoleum" is simply not true.
First of all, previous to attending
the University, I had not seen a
library which allowed food, in
any context whatsoever, on the
premises. Maybe the library will
be more appealing to students
and more conducive to studying
I certainly will not regret the
passing of decaying food par-
ticles in books, stained pages,
sticky tables, the disturbing
nn:en of .v :narh -rc rt-- i.

talking about alleged Israeli-
backed massacres in Lebanon,
then jumps to equating Hitler
with Reagan and the U.S. gover-
nment with the Third Reich
before making unfounded
remarks concerning Mr. Haig's
and Mr. Brzezinski's roles in
Vietnam.
She then blasts ROTC and the
nuclear freeze in rapid suc-
cession before ending her bit of
verbal diarrhea by "informing"
the reader of the Spartacus Youth
League's masturbative exploits
against the Nazis. All, of course;
nicely spiced with such standard
Communist catch phrases as
''imperialist forces,'
"Megalomaniacal General Haig,"
and "murderous nationalism of
the bourgeoisies".
I suppose the SYL finds Soviet-
backed, PLO terrorist attacks on
Israeli citizens palatable? The
PLO strikes without warning.
murdering schoolchildren and
Olympic athletes with equal relish.
And yet when Israel says
"enough is enough" and goes af-
ter these cowardly scam, the SYL

ed logic
condemns it as being part of an
"imperialistic, U.S.-backed, anti-
Soviet war drive." Rubbish.
As a final note, I would like to
comment on the SYL. They are
known for heckling speakers
(such as Gerald Ford andPeace
Corps spokesmen). Yet at their
meetings, they, and I quote, "will
not tolerate interruptions"
during their Marxist ramblings.
They openly state that they
exist for the defense of the Soviet
Union and work toward the fall of
the United States. Their weapon
is emotional propaganda, their
ammunition is twisted lies. I once
asked them if the Soviet Union is
so great, why the need for the
Berlin Wall? Their reply, "To
keep government-subsidized
foodstuffs from entering the
West." What kind of mind-bent
logic is this?
Van Buren concludes by saying
the "SYL is committed to win-
ning students and youth to the
(Communist) party." Not this
student. I value my freedom and
inity.
-Duane Kuizema
November 10

............

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