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March 18, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-18

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OPINION

Page 4
1!hen does top

Friday, March 18, 1983

The Michigan Daily

faculty

cost

too much?

By Jonathan Ellis
At a recent Campus Meet the Press ap-
pearance, Regent Gerald Dunn referred to
keeping quality faculty at the University at
"the first consideration." This sentiment is
echoed so often by President Shapiro, Provost
Frye and other University leaders that it
begins to seem unquestionable.
Who are these "quality faculty" to be kept?
Regent Dunn argued that they were good
teachers as well as acclaimed researchers, but
what measures are used when quality is
judged?
Research and' scholarship are measurable
in publications and contributions to academic
fields, and when departments and individuals
are rated, no one doubts that these are the
criteria for number one or number twenty.
WHEN PROVOST FRYE laments that top
faculty may be lured elsewhere by higher
salaries, he is not referring to the standouts
from student course evaluations. Certainly
good teaching is valued, but it is research and
scholarship that bring prestige to a university
or a department, and which require dollars to
maintain.
Is prestige then the motivation for making
quality faculty the first consideration? Is this
why some schools in the University are being
bled so that others may flourish?
There are other plausible answers. Any
university, including our own, might rightly
-value genuine contributions to the social good
which are made by top faculty. The work of

/
/ 1
.. .--

requires. They will be able to do their research,
society will benefit, and Michigan students can
have these pioneers as teachers.
This rosy picture was dimmed when Dunn
described a "danger point. By constantly
raising tuition we are almost guilty of creating
an elitist institution," he said.
There is some debate about the precise
relationship between faculty salaries and sup-
port costs on the one hand, and tuition rates on
the other. Do the outside grants which these top
people bring actually lower the share of
University expenses which must be met by
state appropriations and student tuition?
Here the argument becomes circular.
"Share" of what? The "what" is the high cost
of quality faculty. No one has yet suggested
that we must keep top faculty so that tuition
can be brought within the range of all economic
groups, or so that the legislature can divert
funds from the University to other pressing
social needs.
IN THE END, the question becomes, should
Michigan have a university which an in-
creasingly smaller segment of its population
can afford to attend and which requires large
portions from a strained state budget?
If the answer is yes, it cannot be because the
contributions of these quality faculty members
will otherwise be lost. The contributions would
be made elsewhere. Michigan, its people and
industries, have access to scholarship and
research whether or not it bears the University
seal.
Ultimately the argument must be that the
citizens of our state will be better educated by a
"quality faculty." But which citizens?

IF WE LET this quality faculty go to higher
salaries and more facilities at other univeti
sities, could we hold down tuition and lesson
our demands from a shrinking state budget?
Might another kind of quality faculty be main-
tained and attracted, who did not need high
salaries and costly support? Might not many df
them be great teachers?
These are weighty questions, because ani
swered in the affirmative, they would
represent a "redirection" far more profound4
than our review committees now contemplate
We could have a very different kind of great
university in Ann Arbor.
Our view would be this:,
Those states which can afford the cost of "tap
faculty, and still not shortchange other socl
needs, should support "first class" unive-
sities.
Those public universities with ample sta
funding and private support which can ho
down tuition costs and still give faculty perks
should do so.
Those states and those universities without
such resources should look for a different kind
of educational quality. Which is Michigan? ?.
If we are not to continue as "first class" iz"
the ratings, what would be the consequences
Regent Dunn need no longer anguish ovej
whether he was catering to an elite he hash
spent his life avoiding to favor.
Moreover, Michigan students and faculty
might come together again to search for truth,
with less resources, but with a good conscience;
That might be quality worth keeping.
Ellis is director of Canterbury Loft.

vii. /n L4

professors at the cutting edge of their fields
regularly brings tangible benefits to us all.
WITH NOTABLE exceptions such as
military research, there is little debate over
whether the efforts of such faculty should be
supported. One can still ask, however, should
the University be a place for this particular
kind of quality?
Such quality faculty require money in two
ways, and only the first can be attacked as
mere greed. This top faculty demands not only

high salaries but access to what are often the
very costly implements of their trade.
If another university can give such faculty
members better assistance and facilities, why
do we want to keep these top people here? If
their potential contribution to society is so
great, would it not be enhanced if some other
university could better fund it?
REGENT DUNN'S answer was that the
University still has the resources to provide
quality faculty with the support which it

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

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420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. XCIII, No. 131

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

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T HE PUBLIC INTEREST Research
Group in Michigan has brought its
refusable/refundable case before the
Regents for yet another hearing. As it
did two years ago, PIRGIM wants the
Regents to add a $2 charge on each
student's tuition bill which the student
can refuse to pay. Again the group is.
claiming to represent all University
students, again it is wrong, and again
the Regents should reject their bid for
a new funding system.
PIRGIM claims that in order for it to
continue to be a viable organization, a
more "secure" funding system is
necessary. Under the current system,
"a conscientious minority is respon-
sible for funding a resource serving the
majority," runs the lament of a recent
PIRGIM letter to the Daily.
We recognize that PIRGIM is a fine
organization. It has worked for such
beneficial projects' as the Bottle Bill,
the Freedom of Information Act, and
better state funding for the University.
But the arrogance of PIRGIM's claim
to represent all students is galling.
In spite of its claim to be non-
partisan, PIRGIM invariably takes
stances on political issues such as
nuclear power and draft registration.
Its educational programs, such as its
recent sponsorship of a forum on the
proposed state income tax hike, also
often emphasize only one side of the
issue.
Obviously, - not all students oppose

nuclear power and many expect more
than just pro-tax hike education from a
group that is supposed to support all
students. And they expect, for an
automatic assessment of $2 on their
tuition bill, an umbrella organization
that does more than just claim to
represent them all.
PIRGIM members have gathered
more than 5,000, signatures in support
of the refusable/refundable plan. But
another group that wants PIRGIM off
the Student Verification Form
altogether has garnered nearly 7,000.
What both of these self-styled "man-
dates" demonstrate is that neither side
has the support they claim - thus they
cancel each other out.
Because of the valuable con-
tributions it has made to the student
community, PIRGIM should not be
struck from the SVF. What the Regen-
ts are left with then, is a question of
who should bear the burden of funding
PIRGIM. Should PIRGIM have to
solicit funds or should it be the studen-
ts' obligation to refuse the fee if they so
desire?
Clearly, PIRGIM should shoulder
the burden of its own funding system.
If PIRGIM wants a more secure fun-
ding system then it should look into
improving its public relations among
students, but it should not be using the
University to compel students to sup-
port it.

MAD~ IAL \/OU'LL AND UP DIN@IS
t'M( C NMOON U PLOWSMNT

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Th 's

of m ilitary research

k

6

"THEYRE RUNNING SO SHORT OF BULLETS
THEY'VE EVEN $AP TO CUT POWN ON
SHOOTING THEIR CIVILIANS"

To the Daily:
The volume of military resear-
ch at the University has
repeatedly been declared ex-
cessive. What are the facts? In
1981-82 the percentage of resear-
ch supported by the Department
of Defense amounted to 4 percent
of the total research volume.
Only a fraction of this is related
to military research, and an even
smaller fraction with classified
military research. All of the lat-
ter work is subject to the
established policies on classified
research.
It is open to debate whether
such a volume of military resear-
ch should be considered ex-
cessive. Other respected in-
stitutions of higher learning ex-
plicitly permit unclassified
military research. These include
some of the most prestigeous
universities in the U.S. such as
Stanford University, the Califor-
nia Institute of Technology and
the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology.
Stringent new guidelines to
cover all research at the Univer-
sity of Michigan with a cen-

sity community. All these are
legitimate questions and
opinions. It is my hope that these
problems can be discussed at the
Senate Assembly in a rational,
factual and intelligent way,
without prejudice, and in an at-
mosphere of calm; sine -ira et
studio.
Another historical comment
seems appropriate. Only during
three years in the history of the
University of Michigan since
World War II, from 1978 to 1981,
has the percentage of DOD sup-
port been lower, slightly lower,

than today. Ten years ago DOD
supported about 11 percent, twen-
ty years ago it supported about 39
percent, and in 1960-61 (the
earliest year for which I have
statistics) it supported about 56
percent of the total research
volume. I am quite certain that
the percentage exceeded 50 per-
cent for the entire decade from
1950 to 1960, even more so if sup-
port from the Atomic Energy
Commission (which grew out of
the Manhattan project) is in-
cluded.
I am unaware of any lasting

damage which the Universi
may have sustained from this
DOD support. On the contrary,4t
is my impression that tlw
University has greatly benefittgl
from the influx of federal resear-
ch dollars in building up basic
research programs. No matttr
what the percentage of DOD sup-
port is, the University has never
been and never will become @n
adjunct of the Pentagon as hb,
been claimed in all seriousness
-Joachim Janecke
Professor of Physics
March,8
st option
the University to precisely
moniter the activities of com-
panies. Using this inside infor-
mation, the problem can be coim-
batted more effectively.
This is not an advocation for all
investments that involve South
Africa. Each investment must be
considered individually, and
evaluated as to whether it can be
used as a weapon against apat-

Divestment is not the be

To The Daily:
A major issue presently
provoking heated debate on cam-
pus concerns the ethics of the
University's holdings in South
Africa. This controversy has
triggered a wave of emotionalism
here in Ann Arbor. Students with
little or no consideration of the
issue have denounced this

ignored. Unless I am ignorant of
the existence of a para-military
force presently being trained by
the University, it appears that
the pro-divestment constituents
have chosen to ignore the
problem. Divestment effectively
amounts to the University tur-
ning its back on the issue,
following the precept, "out of
sight, out of mind."

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