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November 30, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-30

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, November 30, 1983

The Michigan Daily

4

Who serves

whom at the

University?

This is the first of two articles examining
the relationship between the student and
the University. Tomorrow's article will ex-
plore this relationship as a contract bet-
ween the parties.
Many people imagine the University to be a
sort of giant educational shopping center. The
student enters the University, shops around for
his or her major, and is free to choose a
curriculum from the many "stores" selling
educational certification.
Yet the vendor-vendee theory of education
places the student in an adversarial relation-
ship to the University's faculty and ad-
ministrators. As Everett Ladd Jr. and
Seymour Lipset have noted:
"IN THIS context, the buyer or client seeks
to get the most for his money at the lowest
possible price. He prefers that an increased
share of the payment to the institution should
be channeled into more direct benefits for him
- teaching, student activities, better housing,
and so forth. The faculty seller of services, on
the other hand, is obviously interested in
maximizing his income and working con-
ditions. Lower teaching loads and greater
research facilities are to his benefit."
Certainly, in the daily routine of academic
life it is easier to use the vendor-vendee

relationship as a model.
But it is an adversarial relationship, and it is
hard to imagine, for example, how the Univer-.
sity justifies state support in the millions of
dollars annually for a group of academic en-
trepreneurs.
IS IT A business subsidy? And what about
alumni contributions? Are they given, to sup-
port faculty and adminstrators per se, or are
they contributions affected with a trust?
My guess would be that taxpayers are
more interested in their children and the next
generation than in research - so it's difficult to
avoid the conclusion that the University is a
trustoperated for the benefit of its students.
It's true that on many occasions, academics
will stand up and say, "We exist to do research,
and to train an elite." But few are so foolhardy
as to turn away a majority of their students or
admit that the University is operated for the
benefit of its management and faculty,
although, sadly, the defense of the University
autonomy and academic freedom often have
the ring of 19th century capitalists defending
free enterprise and competition.
BUT, ON THE other hand, the trust theory
raises certain difficulties that merit public
debate and attention. You see, if the objects of
a trust are adults, then there must be some
reason why these adults should not themselves

By Robert D. Honign
(through their elected representatives
direct the trust agents who admin
trust.
There has to be some reason why a
'There has to be
reason why a groL.
regents who are not e
ts in education and wh
not directly responsil
students, neverth
control and administ
trust.'
regents who are not experts in educ
who are not directly responsible to
nevertheless control and administer ti
The answer to this riddle is histor
most of its history the University wa
parentis to students - it acted in th

n/r 3

nurt their parents. Thus, students as minors were
s at least) not trusted with charting their own academic
lister the futures.
NOWADAYS, WE dismiss the in loco paren-
group of tis doctrine as a relic of the past, but the gover-
nment of the University based on in loco
parentis lingers on.
One might argue that the University is
operated by the regents because it belongs to
some the people of the state and that the University
p of must place service to the state ahead of service
to the students.
xper- But imagine a university whose purpose is to
serve the state. It would be no different than a
to are university in a totalitarian country. There,
ble to people are highly trained in narrow specialties.
They are well-trained and cared-for, but as
ieless tools of the state, not as individuals.
THEY ARE NOT allowed to make decisions
r the or think for themselves. They are not en-
couraged to place their own well-being ahead of
that of the state.
And the state, of course, is really those
people in charge of the system. People are
ation and valued as machines in such an educational
students, system, and since what we want from a
he trust. machine is reliability, simplicity of operation
ical. For and safety, people are taught to think as little
s in loco as possible, to dress alike, think alike, act
e place of alike, laugh alike, and cry alike.

They must weep when the state weeps,
rejoice when the state rejoices and laugh when
the state laughs.
IT'S AN EDUCATIONAL system designed to
produce robots and zombies - and to the extent
that any university does produce robots and
zombies it is an instrument of the state.
I don't think mature and responsible people.
would argue that the University must serve the
state ahead of its students.
So we are left with regents who are non-
experts in education, who have little sense of
responsibility and no accountability to studen-
ts, running the University for the benefit of
students as quasi-parents.
Student opinion is politely considered and
usually ignored; student government is con-
sulted and then overruled; and great anger is
expressed when the business of the University
is interrupted by students.
Who owns the University? Who is the master
and who is the student? In a real university
people think about such things.
Honigman is a- University graduate and
an attorney in Sterling Heights.

Ete tudnsatt ogan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Sinclair

Q~4L&tw j83
TK tAKA " DW

Vol. XCIV-No. 69

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

11

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

Searching for justice

HOW COME WHENEVER
WE NEED A NJE
C EILIN, L ES
MY K ID-

HE "DUAL prosecution" of Vin-
cent Chin's two killers may be a
rare legal action. It may be an em-
barrassment to the judicial system,
though that system let the killers off on
three years probation and a $3,780 fine.:
But it is the only way that justice can
be rendered in this case.
The two men, Ronald Ebens and
Michael Nitz, beat Chin to death with a
baseball bat in June, 1982. Ebens
pleaded guilty and Nitz no contest to
manslaughter charges in a plea
bargaining exchange. The Wayne
County Prosecutor's Office agreed to
drop second degree murder counts
against them.
Now, however, the federal gover-
nment is prosecuting both men for
allegedly violating two civil rights
laws. The government is accusing the
men of alleged racial motivations for

the beatings. Federal officials say the
"dual prosecution" system is being
used at least partially to rectify the
leniency of the previous prosecution.
And although it is a sad statement,
the first prosecution does need rec-
tifying. The beating of Vincent Chin, a
Chinese-American, by the two white
men was brutal. It was done with little
provocation. There was never any
doubt the two men committed the
crime.
Yet, the punishment did not fit the
crime, and only a few thousand dollars
in fines and court costs.
The judicial system which allowed
this to happen, obviously made a
mistake.
Perhaps in this second trial of
Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, Vin-
cent Chin and his family will receive
justice.

4

4

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Resist the urge to dismiss nuke film

To the Daily:
The most significant aspect of
the film The Day After is the role
that we as viewers now assume.
In its most enlightening and hear-
tening sense, one which we must
cling to and nurture, the movie
has fostered widespread concern
and discussion on the calamity
which is nuclear war. We must
both individually and collectively
resist the urge, however strong,
to minimize or even dismiss the
film. These responses reflect the
psychological defense of denial.
Viewers need to be assured that
feelings of isolation and despair
are not unusual and equally im-
portant, in a supportive setting as
with close friends or family,
these emotions may well be ex-
pressed. Stated in its most fun-
damental terms, we must unite
as a species perhaps as never
before - simultaneously con-
fronting the ominous nature of
the nuclear arms race while
drawing upon all possible resour-
ces that offer not only solace but,
the will to change the situation.
The movie then can be seen as
an invitation to renewal - both
personally and collectively.
Recalling the words of writer
John Buchan, as John Kennedy
sometimes did in his speeches,
that democracy is "primarily an

law, our own country tries to
erect a dubious democracy at
gunpoing.
The taking of human life does
not reveal strength - but
weakness. The great enemy in
the sturggle for world peace is
not essentially any foreign power
but the tendency in each of us to

shirk our ture obligation as
citizens. Might not the lack -of
compassion one often hears ex-
pressed for others reflect a lack
of compassion towards our-
selves?
A nuclear war must never be
fought. If we agree, then let our
actions, however slight, signify

'our commitment. At risk is the
human species. We lessen the
risk when we reconstruct a
humane environment in each of
our lives - one imbued with em-
pathy and caring and hope.
-R. Jay Allain
Easthampton, Mass.
November 2Z

Daily could do better on elections

To the Daily:
We would like to comment on
the Daily's treatment of the LSA
Student Government elections.
We believe the purpose of a
newspaper is not only to publicize
daily happenings, but also to act
as a forum to educate and update
when circumstances permit. An
election is a perfect opportunity
for the latter.
One problem with the Daily's
decision to endorse a party on
Sunday, November 13 was that
there was no publication on Mon-
day, November 14. There was no
chance for rebuttal before com-
mencement of the elections. In
addition, the endorsement of an
entire slate of thirteen people

based on an interview with one
does not suffice when truly
determining who the better can-
didates are.
We realize that much time
and effort on the part of the Daily
would have had to have been
sacrificed, but only giving results
after an election is not actually
covering an election. The Daily
could have used their com-
munication powers to educate
LSA students on candidates, and
issues.
Another problem with the
Daily's election coverage oc-
curred on Thursday, November
17, when final results had not yet
been posted, yet, without thought
of the candidates concerned, in-

complete and ambigious resuls
were reported.
The power of the media, unlike
the power of elected officials, had
no checks or balances. Tis
power should not be uh-
derestimates, and we would hope
that in future student gover-
nment elections the Daily would
use it in a more constructiVe
fashion.
-Ruth Bard
Larry Bottinitk
Cheryl Goldfarb
Margie Libpf
Robin Morggo
Jimmy Rosenberg
November 21
All six signers ran for LSA
Student Government seats.
by Berke Breathed

om"0 4

BLOOM COUNTY

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