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December 10, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-12-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Turning fees into technology

Editors note: Daily reporter Jerry
Markon and News Editor Thomas
Miller met with University Vice
Provost for Information
Technology Douglas Van
Houweling last week to talk about
the mandatory computer fee and
other computing activities around
campus. Here is the first of two
excerpts from that interview that
will appear on the Daily's Com-
puter Page.
DAILY: As you know, the MSA Com-
puter fee referendum showed studen-
ts disagreeing with the fee by a 4-1
margin. Do you see these results as
accurate, and if so, how will it effect
the implementation of the fee?
VAN HOUWELING: Well, I don't have
any quarrel with the accuracy of the
actual elections. I assume the votes
were counted correctly. And as I have
said before, given the way that par-
ticular proposition was presented on
'the ballot, I probably would have
voted against it myself, because if you
just ask a person if they're in favor of
a fee, then of course they're going to
say, "No I don't want a fee." If you
say, "would I prefer to have a fee in
order to have the following benefits,"
then you might get a more accurate
kind of a depiction of this kind of
But you know, there's a lot of things
at the University that I'm not sure
that if you put them to the students in
a, referendum, that the students would
approve of them. For instance, if the
Students understood how much of
their tuition - and I don't have the
numbers - that goes to support the
libraries every semester, then I'm not
sure they'd vote to have the library.
The fact is, we're trying to find the
least expensive way to provide our
students with access to this
technology. We think that's a very
important part of the educational
process, and I personally, regret the
part of it has to be a student fee, but
we just couldn't do it without having
some portion in the form of a student
So how will it effect things? If
anything, it just motivates me to work
harder than ever to try to build good
communication with students about
what the purpose of the fee is, what
* the benefits to the students will be,
and to make sure we provide means
for the students to communicate with
us so that we can tell when we're
doing things right in terms of how we
use the fee and when we're not doing
things the way they'd like them to be
Zone. And as I said (at the MSA
meeting last week), I hope that more
and more of the students understand
what the fee is about so that if they
were ever presented with that kind of
a question again, they'd understand
that the choice is either the fee or not
having access to this technology, and
that is where it really comes down un-
fortunately, because we just don't
have enough financial flexibility to do
ft without the fee.
D: You've said that you regret that
there wasn't more student input from
the beginning.
VH: Over the summer I was con-
° cerned that we didn't have as much
student input as we wanted before we
established this fee. In fact, there was
a proposal that, perhaps, this should
be on the regent's agenda for the July
4r Your attention is called to

the following rules passed
by the Regents at their
meeting on February 28,
1936: "Students shall pay
all accounts due the Uni-
versity not later than the
last day of classes of each
semester or summer ses-
sion. Student loans which
are not paid or renewed
are subject to this regula-
tion; however, students
loans not yet due are ex-
empt. Any unpaid ac-
counts at the close of busi-
ness on the last day of
classes will be reported to
the Cashier of the Uni-
versity and
"(a) All academic credits

were back on campus when we took
that action, and that is, in fact, the
way it worked out.
All during the summer I was con-
cerned about this, and I wish the
timing had been different. I wish I
had come to the University of
Michigan two years ago, rather than
just one year ago, and then all this
planning could have been done in a
more leisurely fashion. But the fact is
I started on December 1st, about a
year ago now, and if we were going to
have something in place for this
academic year, we pretty much had
to move in September. That was ac-
tually delaying it somewhat beyond
the level that we wanted to
delay it. We already committed some
pretty detailed plans by the time we
took it in in September. Because, of
course, in order to build space and get
machines in place, it takes time.
The alternative was to wait for
another academic year, and it just
didn't seem that we could afford
to wait for another academic year.
And other people agreed with me,
which is why we did it the way we did
D: You've said before - at the
public forums - that the University of
Michigan is really behind other
universities in terms of computing.
VH: I think it's important for me to
put that in perspective. We're behind
the very best institutions, institutions
that are in a leadership position. I
don't think we're behind most of the
major public institutions, but, you
see, the students who come here,

typically, are also the students who
would go to the very best institutions
across the country. The University of
Michigan, as you know, is kind of a
unique place. It's a university that is
in the ranks of the very best univer-
sities in the country. If we weren't
careful, we'd find ourselves in a
position that would be very hard to
recover from. It was that comparison
that I was making. We have to be not
just average for a public institution or
a little better than average. We have
to always compare ourselves to the
very best universities. We were
falling behind those universities.
The second part of the interview
will appear on January 14.

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 10, 1985 - Page 5
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Van Houweling
... defends fee
or August (1985) meetings - the ap-
proval of the fee. And I suggested,
and a number of other people agreed
with me, that we really shouldn't do it
until the September meeting so that
we at least had the chance to do one
public forum in advance of the
regent's action. And so the students

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Course IDs (1XXX)* 21 DECEMBER 1985
Thesis IDs (OXXX) 8 JANUARY 1986
Course IDs (5XXX) 8 JANUARY 1986
*Only the course instructor may extend these IDs.
They cannot be extended beyond 31 December 1985.
At your departmental office or
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