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September 09, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-09

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Page 4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Friday, September 9, 1983

The Michigan Daily

co-nx. K

Vol. XCIV - No. 2

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


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


Administrators 1, students 0

AS THE DOORS of the engineering
college's Humanities Department
close, it is becoming quite clear who
the winners and losers will be when
they finally slam shut: administrators
win, students lose.
The only things engineering students
will get from the college's plan to move
its humanities instruction to LSA will
be larger classes, less contact with
professors, and more chances to take
"cake" courses to fill their
Last winter the engineering college
announced that it wanted to eliminate
its Humanities Department and send
engineers to LSA for their humanities
courses. They now seem to have gotten
their way, and the fate of the depar-
tment is all but sealed.
A special committee has reviewed
the department and agreed that it
should be moved, and the department
drew little support at a public meeting
yesterday. The department's last hope
lies with the University executive of-
ficers, and they have already voiced
some support for the move.
But in their haste to rid themselves
of a department which they do not feel
belongs within their college,
engineering administrators have
ignored the impact the move would
have on the education of engineers.
Engineers would have to pursue
their requirements in direct com-
petition with English and other LSA
concentrators, and with very little
guidance to coherently structure their
humanities courses.
The results, unfortunately, would be
similar to the way LSA English or
history majors fill their natural scien-

ce requirements: identify the easy
courses, and then take them pass/fail.
Students tend to fill distribution
requirements with classes that offer
the least resistance, and sometimes
the least education. Instead of taking
the more structured curriculum the
Humanities Department offers,
engineering students would end up
with a menagerie of "blow off" cour-
Engineers would also encounter
more and more teaching assistants,
while seeing fewer and fewer
professors. The Humanities Depar-
tment has traditionally been geared
toward teaching, but in LSA engineers
will find that the pressure on
professors to publish is greater and
the desire to teach is sometimes tem-
If the department is eliminated, and
there is little standing in the way of
that, then the engineering ad-
ministration will have had their way;
from the very beginning they have left
no doubt that they would like to close
the department.
Yet it is unclear what benefits they
hope to reap from the move since
financial savings will amount to
The move can only be disadvan-
tageous for engineering students, and
the zeal with which the college is pur-
suing it can only make us wonder how
deep their committment is to a
thorough humanities education for
To the students it only looks like the
engineering college ridding itself of an
inconvenience at the cost of a valuable
portion of their education.




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University wrongs. civil rights,

Teach the children well

Y ESTERDAY WAS the first day of with the
classes for University students. strike in 19
The event won't seem like a big deal They g
after a few more class hours have few daysc
passed. Students wake up in the mor- confidenc
ning, go to class, and do homework - a tle bit of
fairly routine schedule. system.
Wednesday was supposed to be the Teacher
first routine day for Ann Arbor's public dship if th
school students. But because local allowing s
teachers and the Ann Arbor Board of negotiatio
Education couldn't agree on a new con- tinue. Bot
tract, the students are missing out on that the st
that routine. That is a big deal. first.
The board and teachers are squab- Rest ass
bling about a few percentage points in week, or n
"salary increases, insurance coverage, from bol
and a few other details. Both sides are bargaining
doing a lot of posturing and name they'll bo
calling - somewhat like U.S. and will say,
Soviet arms reduction negotiators. deserved.
And both sides, though they continue to Education
talk and present new contract plans, adjust the
have insisted their latest offer is their contract."
last. The los
Caught in the middle of this are the how publ
students. The students whom both works. Tha
teachers and administrators are sup- are learnir
posed to be benefitting. As is the case
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last Ann Arbor teacher's
980, the students are cheated.
et cheated not only out of a
of school, but a little piece of
e in their mentors, and a lit-
faith in the public school
rs would suffer no great har-
hey opted not to strike, thus
school to start on time while
ns for a fair contract con-
th sides need to remember
udents are supposed to come
sured that tomorrow, or next
next month when negotiators
th sides emerge from a
g session with a settlement
th claim victory. Teachers
"We got what we felt we
Members of the Board of
will say, "We'll be able to
budget. We gave them a fair
ers are the students. That's
ic education in Ann Arbor
at's what Ann Arbor students
ng these days.

By David Spak
A couple of weeks have passed
since the 20th Anniversary March
on Washington commemorating
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I
Have a Dream" speech. The
estimated 300,000 people who at-
tended this year's rally have
returned to their homes and -
those who have them -- their
jobs. Most whohwere in the
nation's capitol for the anniver-
sary or watched it on television
probably can't remember much
of what any of the speakers said.
Other than the vehement anti-
Reagan tone of the rally, one
theme did establish itself: vir-
tually all the progress this nation
has made toward civil rights and
equality for blacks is a result of
strong efforts on the part of
blacks and their organizations.
Not since the Civil War have any
advances in civil rights been
made without an initial and
sustained effort by blacks.
Protests, particularly the mar-
ch on Washington 20 years ago,
led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
More recently, a massive voter
registration drive in Chicago
helped Harold Washington
become that city's first black
mayor. And the nationwide voter
registration drive led by the
National Association for the Ad-
vancement of Colored People and
the Rev. Jesse Jackson's
Operation PUSH is getting
millions of minorities on the
voting rolls so they can exercise
more effectively their political
rights activity, though, has yet to
arrive at the University.aIn fact,
due to a combination of circum-
stances, the University actually
is going in the opposite direction
on civil rights.
Thirteen years ago the ad-
ministration promised to make
an effort to raise black
enrollment from more than three
percent to ten percent. This
pledge was in response to the
Black Action Movement's
student strike that shut down
most classes. But the ad-
ministration's effort never got
going. Black enrollment sits at
just above five percent today and

apparent lack of effort in
developing new sources of finan-
cial aid also are keeping blacks
away. Tuition at the University
is higher than at any other public
college in the nation. That is even
more alarming if one remembers
that Michigan is one of the most
economically depressed states in
the country.
Administrators grudgingly
admit there is a problem because
of high tuition, as Vice President
for Academic Affairs Billy Frye
said while he pushed for the most
recent 9.5 percent tuition in-
=crease. But as usual, ad-
ministrators put off solving the
Unfortunately, it has becomeg
clear that any lasting im-
provements for blacks on campus
will come only as a direct result
of a concerted push by blacks to
force change. Administrators,
though expressing concern, have
placed many other priorities
ahead of keeping the promise
they made in 1970.
Blacks at the University must
also shoulder some of the blame.
They have been just as apathetic
as the average Michigan student,
though they have more to gaintby
pushing for change. Again, the
only way that change is going to
happen is if they push for it.
The challenge for blacks at the
University is to come up with a
new strategy and a new
cohesiveness. The tragedy is that
it appears they will be fighting
the administration, first for its
attention and then for its
cooperation, rather than working
with the administration.
Blacks across the country are
beginning to practice the lessons
of civil rights progress. The time
is long overdue for such lessons to
be applied at the University.

jr"' 'r
4/2, "
Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
The March on Washington: A long way from the University.

has been dropping every year.
Also, the University's five-year
budget redirection plan has put
black professors and instructors
in comparatively more danger of
losing their jobs. Not only are
these professors in danger
because on the average they have

fewer -years of experience and
are less likely to have tenure than
white professors, but also
because they are heavily concen-
trated in the School of Education,
which is slated to be cut by 40
RISING TUITION costs and an

Spak is co-Opinion
editor of the Daily.




Unsigned editorials appearing on the left side of this page
represent a majority opinion of the Daily 's Editorial Board.
Letters and columns represent the opinions of the individual
author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the attitudes or
beliefs of the Daily.



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