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September 10, 1987 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-10

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The Michigan Daily, Thursday, September 10, 1987- Page 8

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Harold Shapiro

University President discusses tenure

Editor's Note: Last April
University President Harold Shapiro
surprised the community and nation
with his announcement to leave the
University in January to become the
president of Princeton University,
his alma mater. Daily editors
Rebecca Blumenstein and Stephen
Gregory interviewed him to discuss
his past and present tenure, along
with future goals.
Daily: Has your job changed
since you announced y o u r
resignation?
Shapiro: I don't sense any
change. Other people may feel that
now things are somewhat different,
but I haven't noticed anything
different about the place or intent to
get things going and keep things
moving.
D: Because you have no role
whatsoever in the selection of our
new president, do you feel at all like
a "lame-duck" president?
S: I'm sure that there are people
who feel that way, but it hasn't
affected anything important that we
are doing. What we have been doing
is pursuing our interests in the same
way we have for the past 30 years -
I hope I can do that up until my last
day.
D: Do you have any specific
goals that you wish to accomplish
before you leave?
S: I have no new goals that I
have taken on because I am going to
leave. I am just pursuing the same
programs that I have for the last
eight to ten years, and just trying to
pursue them so when our next
president takes over, we will be as
far along as we can with these
issues.
D: Which specific issues are you
talking about?
S: Well, any variety of issues -
let's say the revitalization of our
natural sciences department, or the
revitalization of the medical center
and its facilities. And so on down
the list - we will just continue to
pursue those any effective way we
can. I haven't adopted any new
agenda items.
D: Many have speculated that
since everyone knows that you are
leaving, that you could get away
with some things that you possibly
couldn't before you announced the
end of your tenure.
S: It's possible, but that's not
had any impact on the agenda we see
now. We just went through the
reduction of our budget for 1988 the
same way that we have always gone
through the budget. Every budget
has some new initiatives, but there
is no relation between these and the
fact that I will be leaving.
D: Speaking of the budget, how
do you feel about the appropriation
that the University received from the
state, being that it was the lowest
percentage increase of all the state's
universities?
S: It was very disappointing, and
I was very disappointed. I don't
recall ever being so disappointed

with the action that the state took
this past month. I don't know what
it's related to, or what the rationale
was, but it had the appearances of
being vindictive. After all, it's the
state's University, it's not my Uni-
versity. They don't have to be
supportive and caring about it - and
this obviously was a case when they
weren't.
D: Did you speak to Senator
Lana Pollak (D-Ann Arbor) or
Representative Perry Bullard (D-Ann
Arbor) for some sort of explanation?
S: I received no information for
what the motivation was.
D: Do you feel more distanced
from the University now that you
are going to Princeton more and
beginning to conclude matters here?
S: No, I don't feel more distance
- at least not now. I spend the
overwhelming amount of my time
here, and only a couple of days a
month at Princeton. I feel very much
that my job is still here. After
staying this amount of time, I have
developed a devotion to this place
that is much like your relationship
with a parent - it doesn't change
because you have to go away for
awhile. I have found it possible to
feel loyalties with both the United
States and Canada, and I'm sure that
I will find it possible to feel
loyalties with Michigan and
Princeton.
D: Being president of Princeton
is a very prestigious position. Is this
what prompted you to take it?
S: Being president of Princeton
is a prestigious position, but so is
being the president of Michigan. I
don't consider one more prestigious
than the other, nor do I consider one
university better. I think they are
different kinds of institutions that
occupy different spots in the higher
education spectrum. The chief
attraction is having a different set of
challenges, rather than any sense that
I was moving to a better place. They
are both excellent institutions, and
some people prefer one over the
other. I, myself, was attracted by the
differences in the jobs, and by the
opportunity to help play a leadership
role not only in a great public
university but also a great private
one.
D: What kind of challenge would
you get a Princeton that you
wouldn't find here?
S: I think the easiest way to
explain that is to think along what
dimensions these schools are
different. Princeton is a much
smaller school. In that sense, the
president can play a greater role in
the evolving academic profile of
particular departments and areas, and
have closer relationship to some of
the academic issues in the schools.
In a place like Michigan where
you have big powerful departments
with chairmen, who report to deans,
who report to vice presidents and so
on, the president can have an impact
on quality because of budget
allocation decisions and promotion
decisions, because the vision of a

president might help the institution.
But you really are not working close
to the academic choices that you
may have in a department.
Because Princeton is smaller and
more focused, you can relate to that.
It's an opportunity to play a
leadership role not only in the
administrative sense, but to work
with the departments in developing
their academic profile - with also
just a little heavier emphasis upon
undergraduate education. My own
judgement is that there will be some
important innovations in under-

college and every university in the
country is going to have to face
challenges in this area. It is
everywhere and pervasive because it
is such a crisis in higher education
and for society. So as far as I'm
aware, it had negligible impact upon
my thinking.
I would have to say that the issue
itself really had no impact. If
anything has an impact, I would
have to say it was - to be
absolutely honest - Representative
Hood's hearing. It was sobering, and
may have had some impact.

unfold will depend on all kinds of
things.
D: Many minority and Michigan
Student Assembly representatives are
upset that instead of the promised
racism workshops at orientation,
leaders of the first-year student
program are only pointing out the
shanties as they pass the Diag.. Do
you think they have a right to be
upset?
S: I haven't received a report on
orientation, so I just don't know
what has been done. Whether
specific workshops ought to have
been done or should be in the future
is something we just have to work
our way through. For example, we
have been working all summer on to
find a good workshop for executive
officers, and still haven't found a
good model yet.
This is a complex place, and there
are no simple solutions to
everything. We have all kinds of
people who think there are simple
solutions, but there never is. We
just have to try various methods
over time.
D: Some people feel that to
increase minority enrollment to the
appropriate levels, the University
will have to sacrifice some of its
academic quality. What do you think
about this statement?
S: I don't agree with it first of
all. I don't think the issue is one of
sacrificing quality. I think that
certainly over time we can achieve
both a higher quality and higher
diversity at the same time. They can
be easily reinforced, and I think
that's the attitude we have. We want
to have a more diverse student body
and be better at the same time. It's
hard, but any time you're serious
about quality it's hard. There is
enormous talent in all parts of our
society - the question is how do you
tap and release it.
D: For years you have been
perceived as one of the'staunchest
supporters of a non-academic code of
conduct. Do you plan to implement
such a code before you leave?
S: It's true that I have been a
supporter of the code. It's not been
something I have pressed, but waited
very quietly for years as people have
tried to deal with it. I think it is
important, but it doesn't strike me

as any more of an emergency now as
it was two or three years ago, or
even four or five years ago when it
started.
The reason I have been a
supporter is no one has given me
any thoughtful analysis of why it is
a bad idea. There has been a lot of
screaming, but there has been no
convincing alternative argument. So,
I continue to support it at a slow
pace.
D : Now that the University
Council has pretty much disbanded,
what are the prospects for the code?
S: I think I am about to be
informed that the University Council
has officially given up, although
that has. not happened yet. If that
happens we will have to decide what
the next move is, and I don't know
that yet.
D: What do you think you will
be most remembered for?
S: I haven't the slightest idea -
probably something that nobody is
even thinking about today.
D: What will you miss most
about the University?
S: I don't know because I haven't
left yet, but anyone who has left the
University will miss the
extraordinary vitality of this place,
the overall power of the University
as it addresses so many issues in
higher education in a certain kind of
open and progressive feeling. It's a
great University and a great town -
I am going to miss it terribly. It
would have been very easy to make
this decision if that weren't so. As
anyone who has ever been to Michi-
gan knows, it's had to leave.
D: What challenges do you see
the University facing as it enters the
21st century?
S: The University is always
going to have to make choices
because the resources availablewill
always be less than the legitimate
aspirations of the faculty and student
body. The society of which we are a
part is changing rapidly, and those
changes will have a great impact
upon the University.
D: What would your best bit of
advice be to a student who is
entering this University?
S: My best bit of advice is that
See SHAPIRO, Page 13

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Doily Photo by SCOTT LITUCHY
University President Harold Shapiro said that even though he'll be
assuming the presidency of his alma mater, Princeton, in January,
he'll always love the University.

graduate education in the coming
decades, and I think this will be my
chance to participate in that
somewhat, and to relate to it and
think about it in a closer, more
intense way than I could here.
For that I have to give up the
enormous developments in
professional education that will take
place here at Michigan. So, for every
opportunity there, there is an
experience that I have had here that
will not be duplicated.
D: Many people thought that
your decision to leave the University
was triggered by the racial tensions
that occurred here last term. Would
you agree with this assessment?
S: My decision was really
unaffected by that. The issue of
diversity in the nation's campuses is
really an issue everywhere, not an
issue only at Michigan. Every

D: How would you evaluate your
performance during that period?
S: I would have to leave that to
others to evaluate because I was too
closely involved with the events.
D: Do you feel that the six-point
initiative will be able to tackle
problems in the future?
S: I think the six-point initiative
is a start. Some of those initiatives
may prove to be very valuable, some
of them may prove to be less
valuable. Others will require different
responses over time. I think this
represents something that is useful
and appropriate now - what will be
useful and appropriate as the years

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