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April 13, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-04-13

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, April 13, 1983

The Michigan Daily

Race for research may bankru

By Robert Honigman
If one reviews the current literature on scien-
tific research in the university, one discovers
that there is an economic crisis unrelated to the
current recession - a crisis caused by the
slowdown and shift in federal support for
research over the past decade. Briefly, the
research equipment and laboratory facilities of
our research universities are not being
replaced or updated at an adequate rate. This
growing obsolescence is causing a great strain
on research universities, and it is expected that
there may be a shake-out in university resear-
ch, with the first ranked universities getting
stronger and the weaker research universities
falling behind.
The implications for the University of
Michigan are that if substantial sums are not
spent on renovating and improving the Univer-
sity's research equipment and facilities over
the next few years, the University could lose its
position as one of the leaders in advanced
scientific research. Without such facilities it
cannot hope to attract first-rate scientists and
through them federal research funds.
PLANT AND equipment renovation funds
have to come from somewhere and the federal
government isn't providing them. Federal
research support has never really covered all
of the overhead costs of research, and most
major research universities have covertly sup-
ported federal research with tuitions and state
funds. This practice has long been rationalized
under the familiar axiom: Research enhances
teaching.
Today, a new axiom is gaining popularity
among university scientists and ad-
ministrators: Any university can teach, but
only a few are first rate scientific research en-
terprises. The corollary of this axiom is that an
outstanding research university has an
obligation to support and preserve its research
excellence at all costs.

hierarchical authority permit it to do what it
wants. So it seems likely that the erosion of the
University as a teaching institution in order to
preserve and protect its status as a scientific
enterprise will be carried out.
The problem is that there is a third crisis in
scientific research, one that is barely visible
but which could ultimately make the
reallocation plans of Frye and Shapiro a hollow
victory.
SCIENTIFIC research has long been a child
of the university. Whatever its origins, there is
little doubt, that in the American scheme, it has
grown to maturity and achieved immense suc-
cess within the university. But when a child
reaches maturity it often leaves its home and
strikes out on its own. There is a great deal of
evidence that scientific research has reached
this stage of maturity and that the time has
perhaps come for it to prepare to leave the
university.
There is a growing realization that the
academic structure of the university is
inadequate for the research enterprise.
Tenure, for example, has now substantially
blocked the opportunities for new and younger
sciertists, and is perceived as unmericratic,
locking in older personnel into positions of
power and influence in rapidly changing and
developing fields.
Nor are the compartmentalization of
disciplines by academic departments and the
individual faculty enterpreneurship suited to
organized research conducted by
multidisciplinary teams. Moreover, large-
scale research needs hierarchical leadership
and strict allocation of resources. Academic
freedom is nice, but in research involving the
coordination of a large number of different
disciplines using scarce equipment and funds,
no one can be allowed to go off on their own.
Although the purpose of university research
is to produce new knowledge regardless of its
use, the public is not interested in subsidizing
massive research programs without goals.

pt'U
There has been in recent years a growing trend
to demand mission oriented research strictly
accountable for the use of funds and the results
achieved, and it is probable that this trend will
continue to the point where the vast bulk of
federal research will be mission or goal orien-
ted with only limited funds left over for pure or
undirected research. This kind of research
which resembles war-time and industrial
research will be large-scale, and although it
may and perhaps should be competitive in
character, it will largely turn the scientific en-
terprise into an instrument of national policy.

Thus, the present crisis in the research
university may cause institutional leaders to
play an obstructionist role, representing
tenured scientists of an older generation or
younger scientists who - lacking assurance in
their own abilities - want their science jobs
cushioned by a safety net of a secure teaching
job; these leaders may attempt to lobby for the
university as a research enterprise that
mustn't be neglected or abandoned as if scien-
ce were never going to grow up and was always
going to be a child of the university.

A

If one looks at the five year reallocation plan
of University President Harold Shapiro and
Provost Billy Frye, it becomes apparent that
this is not a plan to save money, but rather to
reallocate money, from low-priority budget
items to high-priority budget items. It is
probable that even if the state were not in a
financial crisis, this reallocation would have to
be accomplished anyway. The budget crisis
provides a convenient cloak for what are not
cost savings but rather cost reallocations
which affect the fundamental character of the
University.
The problem that Frye and Shapiro face is
tha.t they cannot openly admit that they are
going to take funds away from the educational
side of the University and commit them to the
research side of the University without
sacrificing a great deal of state support. The

state has never been fond of funding the
research mission of the University. So the tran-
sformation of the University from an
educational enterprise to a research enterprise
has to be carefully merchandised.
A THIRD AXIOM underlies and justifies this
reallocation of funds from educational pur-
poses to research: "We are doing the right
thing because the proof is that we attract the
best students, the best faculty and most money
to this campus than any other university in the
state. Therefore, the state legislature is wrong
in failing to recognize and support our research
mission."
There has never been serious debate within
the University that research is more important
than teaching - the difficulty has always been
persuading the public and students. For-
tunately, the University's autonomy and

In the end, with the educational function of
the research university bankrupted, and the
scientific research function of the university
slowly sneaking away into large scale research
institutes, universities such as the University
of Michigan, could be left with nothing.
Before we sacrifice too many of the
educational functions of the university we
ought to rethink and debate to what extent the
university should or even can be a research en-
terprise.

Honigman
lawyer.

is a University graduate and a 0

Wasserman

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

S IVID 'CVPND~ CGAJNW~I 1WFO

Vol. XCIII, No. 153

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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ENV \W\NWAU§TS
REMIWN o 0NAZIS

V1,
66-

JORDAN'S DECISION not to partic-
ipate in negotiations with Israeli
and Palestinian representatives can-
not be construed as a failure of
President Reagan's peace initiative.
The problems which caused
Reagan's plan to falter stem from the
stubborn nature of both Israel and the
Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Jordan's King Hussein said he would
not participate in the negotiations after
PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat backed
out of a deal with Hussein which could
have led to the first big breakthrough
toward peace in the Mideast since the
Camp David agreements in 1978.
Hussein and Arafat had agreed ten-
tatively that a group comprised of Jor-
danians and Palestinians not affiliated
with the PLO would negotiate with
Israel to establish a Palestinian state
along the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Such a plan almost certainly is
doomed to fail as long as the PLO
refuses to recognize Israel's right to
exist; as long as Israel continues with
its rapid settlement expansion plans
along the West Bank and in the Gaza;
and as long as the PLO's primary con-
cern is preserving itself rather than
achieving peace or gaining a
recognized home for all Palestinians.
The PLO should also recognize that

it does not represent all Palestinians -
a fact made all too apparent in the
wake of the assassination of a key PLO
moderate by a member of an anti-PLO
Palestinian group. A diversified
Palestinian input is necessary for
viable organizations.
The next move is up to the PLO or
Israel. Arafat needs to respond
politically to developments in the
Mideast. The Israeli invasion of
Lebanon last year took away a
military response. As a result, the
flaws in Arafat's ability to respond
diplomatically to the perilous situation
in the region have been exposed. It
remains to be seen whether the PLO is
first interested in itself or the
Palestinian people.
Israel, too, must change its stubborn
attitude. Prime Minister Menachem
'Begin can take such a step by stopping
construction of the controversial set-
tlements and byshowing the same type
of willingness to negotiate for peace
that he carried with him to Camp
David.
King Hussein and President Reagan
were not the ones to fail this time in the
struggle for peace in the Mideast. In-
stead, the PLO, by only fighting for it-
self, and Israel by trying to wipe out
the PLO, share the blame and respon-
sibility to make the next move.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

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A thletic academics

not ignored

To the Daily:
Thanks for the opportunity to
share my views in the Daily
regarding proposed cuts in the
School of Education Physical
Education program and the
possible impact on inter-
collegiate athletics ("Athletes
might save physical
education," April 3).
While most of the quotes
credited to me appeared to be
generally accurate, others

seemed quite out of context to
what I said and believe regarding
the matter. I am referring
specifically to statements which
implied that I felt that academic
ability was totally disregarded in
the admission of athletes. I do not
believe that is the case here at
all.
Although historically athletes
have been admitted with lesser
qualifications than other studen-
ts, both here and in other schools,

I have witnessed in recent times
more attention and action
devoted to the application of
higher admissions requirements
for athletes than enforced in the
past. Neither do I as quoted.,
place "cleats and basketballs" on

par with "teaching and resear-
ch" in terms of the influence
wielded by each at the Univer-
sity.
-David Robinson
Asst. Director of Admissions
April 5

Problems headline 'In Brief'

Change Soviet, U.S. rule

To the Daily:
Anyone who may have happen-
ed to pick up April 8's Daily, and
quickly skimmed the "In Brief"
headlines must be wondering if
the Soviet army will be invading
the U.S. to the music of Wayne
Newton on July 4. The wire ser-
vice stories on the Senate Budget
Committee's action to trim the
President's defense budget, and
on Interior Secretary Watt's
decision to reverse his "Beach
Boys" decision, were in accord
with other media reports on those
events. However, the Daily's

To the Daily:
There is a fundamental
weakness in the nuclear "freeze"
campaign that should be noted.
The U.S. ruling class simply will
not agree to a nuclear arms
freeze unless it has achieved a
decisive lead in the arms race.
Likewise with the Soviet Union.

headlines on those stories were
misleading, at best. The Budget
Committee did not "halve defen-
se budget." It halved the percent
increase over last year's budget
allocation. Watt did not "keep
July 4 concert plans," since, as
you reported yesterday, those
plans did not include the Beach
Boys. Rather, he changed his
plans, so that the Beach Boys will
be invited.
Maybe I'll just pick up the
Gargoyle.
- Michael D. Martinez
April 8

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will resort to in order to protect
their individual economic and
imperialist interests. Because
each nation considers arms
superiority vital for the protec-
tion of its own materialist in-
terests - the arms race cannot
simply be legislated away.
There is n no wv to halt the ar-

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