A year of pomp
gives the U' oi
BY STEVE KNOPPER
The University is like a well-oiled machine, Vice President
for Government Relations Richard Kennedy said last January.
It chugs on, no matter who the driver is.
In 1988, though, the University built up an unprecedented
list of replacement parts.
By year's end, there was a new president, provost, chief fi-
nancial officer, athletic director, Dearborn chancellor, and edu-
cation school dean. Openings sprang up for the posts of LSA
dean, engineering dean, communications director, Affirmative
Action Office director, Residential College director, and Gen-
Some of these positions were vacated because workers tend
to change jobs when they receive a new supervisor, or in this
case, president. Others opened because workers moved up to
higher positions, leaving their former posts. James Duderstadt,
for example, dropped his title of "provost" and exchanged it for
1988 was a transition year for the University. It bridged the
gap between the presidencies of Harold Shapiro, who left to
head Princeton University in 1987, and Duderstadt, who will
start his first full year in 1989.
And Kennedy was right. The machine kept running. But it
needed something to keep it on track until it could hire a new
While the University's Board of Regents searched for
Shapiro's replacement, a familiar gray-haired figure hauled his
electric typewriter to the driver's seat in the Fleming
Interim President Robben Fleming, who led the University
during some tumultuous times - from 1967 to 1978 - ush-
ered in the 1988 New Year. Many expected him to simply sit
and watch while the University kept running. But Fleming
came in with an agenda to tie up some of the loose ends left
Fleming was in a powerful position. He had already proven
himself as president in the last two decades, and his only
bosses were the regents, who were all elected while he was
and protest, 1988
ir newest leaders
president or after he had left. And he was to depart as soon as
the new president took over.
In short, Fleming had free reign. During his very first week
as interim president, he proposed a policy which student ac-
tivists had been resisting for years. The policy, which led to a
year of protests and rallies, would punish students accused of
harassment or discrimination.
Fleming and his supporters called the plan a first step to-
ward combatting incidents of campus racism. His opponents
labelled it a code of non-academic conduct and an erosion of
The Michigan Student Assembly represented the latter
view. Then-President Ken Weine and Vice President Wendy
Sharp tried to build a "united front" of students against Flem-
A new, loud student voice against the policy emerged dur-
ing the debate. Former MSA Student Rights Committee chair
Michael Phillips was the force behind many of the protests. At
forums, regents' meetings, and rallies, Phillips spoke softly,
but never backed down. Phillips was elected MSA president in
March after his main opponent dropped out because of embez-
Many of the "no coders," though, found themselves at odds
with anti-racism activists, who. grudgingly admitted that
Fleming's proposal at least partially addressed some of their
demands. Several student groups, such as the Black Law Stu-
dent Alliance and the Black Student Union, submitted detailed
critiques of the policy. As Fleming revised his proposal, the
policy's vocal opposition dwindled.
The first draft of the policy prompted a protest of about 300
student and city activists. It drew fire from the local chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union, and some city coun-
cilmembers and state legislators for chilling free speech.
But when the regents voted on Fleming's final draft in
April, only about 20 protesters showed up, including Phillips
and MSA Vice President Susan Overdorf. Despite clapping and
chanting, which forced the regents to close the meeting to the
public, and Regent Veronica Smith's insistence that the policy
was "vague" and poorly written, it passed, 5-2.
Continued from Page 5
biblical films in favor of streetwise
accents. Finally, a biblical movie
that doesn't talk down to its viewers.
The Thin Blue Line -
Ostensibly a documentary about
justice gone wrong, this film plays
around with the genre. It leaps
between standard talking-head test-
imonies and highly stylized
reenactments of events linked to the
murder of a Dallas cop and the
conviction of a possibly innocent
man. Director Erroll Morris deftly
blurs the distinction between
documentary and fiction film, thus
proving how easily "the facts" can
be manipulated - by a filmmaker or
Wings of Desire - This fairy
tale for grownups is one ci the most
beautifully realized movies of this or
any year. Director Wim Wenders
ventures into realms where
filmmakers rarely tread - into
peoples' secret thoughts, through
seemingly impenetrable barriers -
and takes us along for the
exhilarating ride. Bruno Ganz is
wonderful as an angel who longs to
10.A Player To Be Named Later -
Some of the films touted to be
some of the best of 1988 have not
yet reached Ann Arbor, primarily
Mississippi Burning. So number
ten is actually a floating position.
9.Who Framed Roger Rabbit? -
Maybe not the best storyline, but
a genuine feast for the eyes. What
is more exciting than this film is
the possible advancements to
follow. And Bob Hoskins stole
the show from the Bugs Bunny
clone, at least for me.
8.The Thin Blue Line - Film has
the potential to do important
things, and this film makes full
advantage of this opportunity.
Because of Erroll Morris'
documentary, the murder case has
been reopened and an innocent
man may be set free. And if that's
not enough reason to include it in
the top ten, then the creativity
that's been added to the normal
documentary style is.
7.The Accidental Tourist - William
Hurt again turns in an incredible
performance. And Geena Davis is
nearly as good. A great novel
becomes a great film.,
6.Eight Men Out - Director John
Sayles knew exactly what he
wanted from this film and he got
it. He is one of the few American
directors that doesn't just film a
story, but creates a film.
5.Ilairspray - I never thought it!
would happen, but John Waters
made a film with class (well...
except for a scene or two). Divine
is terrific and the film is just a
whole lot of fun.
4.Rain Man - It's been said before
and it'll be said again, so one
more time won't hurt: Dustin
Hoffman is astounding. And
Director Barry Levinson has kept a
straight-edge on the film,
preventing it from becoming
sappy, and rendering it
3.Married to the Mob - Like
Hairspray, this film is just a lot of
fun. Michelle Pfeiffer and
Matthew Modine get to ham it up
in their roles of an ex-mobsters'
ex-wife and a CIA agent. Director
Demme likes to try new genres
and styles with each of his films
and he always seems to get it
2.Salaam Bombay! - The brilliant
colors-in this film are in stark
contrast to the bleak lives the
characters lead. But this film
shines far above most of the rest
this year, even though it's not one
of the happiest movies around.
1.Wings of Desire - This story
about angels on earth may have
been heaven-sent itself. Wim
Wenders delves into the minds of
mortals through the minds of
immortals and thus brings the
film to life. And Peter Falk has
the best cameo role of the year -
10.The Manchurian Candidate (1962,
re-released) - Putting this on the
list may be cheating, but it sure
was fun to watch. Angela
Lansbury steals the screen from
Frank Sinatra - no small feat.
9.Shame - The best treatment of
the subject of rape was not The
Accused but this outstanding film
8.The Year My Voice Broke -
Touching import from Australia
centering around a young boy in
7.Die Hard - Bruce Willis is a
surprisingly strong dramatic
presence in this non-stop roller
6.The Naked Gun - Can you
remember the last time you
laughed so hard?
5.Things Change - Does anyone
question David Mamet's right to
be called America's best
4.Rain Man - Yes. Dustin is good.
Very good. So is Tom.
3.The Good Mother - The most
underrated film of the year,
starring Diane Keaton. The film is
slightly condescending but always
compeling, and keaton is a real
tour deforce here.
2.Wings of Desire - Wenders
works on creative overdrive.
Among the more notable technical
accomplishments here is the
stunning black and white
1.Who Framed Roger Rabbit? -
The plague of bad writing which
New Republic film critic Stanley
Kauffman cites as responsible for
the decline of American cinema
(read: piss-poor screenplays)
reached into the farthest corner of
1988 releases, infiltrating any
would-be top ten list - including
this one. It only seems right that
in a year where performance reigns
over well-developed stories, Who
Framed Roger Rabbit?, a landmark
in technical achievement, should
be the Best of '88. The synthesis
of live action and animation has
never been so seamless - or
entertaining. A pure joy.
My list is flawed because I
haven't seen, among other films,
Salaam Bombay!, The Thin Blue
Line, and Mississippi Burning. The
latter is said to have the inside track
for Best Picture.
What's in a year? 1988 offered a
lot to forget, not remember,
especially in the field of motion
picture entertainment. It was the year
of Cyndi Lauper's first role, Pee
Wee Herman's second, and Rambo's
third. It was a year of bad writing
and weak direction. Although out of
this forgetful slew of cinema, a few
bright lights worthy of recognition
did shine from the brain trusts in
10.The Accidental Tourist - A
cross between Ordinary People,
In his inaugural speech in October, Duderstadt
outlined plans to carry the 'U' into the 21st century
Fleming blazed a path for his successor. The new president
would have to deal with these issues, but he could continue
along Fleming's trail instead of initiating his own controver-
sial action. Thus, Duderstadt would not have to confront stu-
dent opposition as directly as Fleming did.
In July, for example, Fleming shocked a smaller student
body by proposing that Washtenaw County deputize the Uni-
versity's safety officials.
He also proposed that the University Council, a nine-
member panel comprised of students, administrators, and fac-
ulty members, be disbanded. The council previously wrote and
approved all University conduct rules, although Fleming by-
passed it when he wrote his own anti-discrimination policy.
Once again, student activists were outraged, protesting that
such actions trampled their rights. But they were unable to
sway the regents, whose votes made Fleming's proposal Uni-
Last September, Duderstadt took office and had a lot to
prove. And as he moves into 1989, he still does.
First, he must silence the critics who felt he didn't deserve
the job in the first place. Last May, when the presidential
search was nearing an end, the Ann Arbor News and the De-
troit Free Press filed suit against the regents.
The newspapers said the regents broke the state's Open
Meetings Act by meeting with candidates in larger-than-quo-
rum groups of regents. But the regents chose Duderstadt in
June, before the suit went to court.
Though the search took place in private, it was later re-
vealed that Duderstadt may have placed behind New York
Public Library Director Vartan
Gregorian on some of the re-
gents' lists. The News reported
that Regent Deane Baker (R-
Ann Arbor) disillusioned Gre-
-gorian after calling and urging z
him not to come to Michigan..
spurred several campus reac-
tions. The regents, many
alumni, and the executive offi-
cers showered him with com-
pliments. Others, like many
members of the student search
advisory committee and some
vocal faculty members, said he
ranked dead last on their lists.
praise his speedy, hard-hitting
approach and his good-natured
style of getting things done.
His opponents criticize his
background as engineering
dean, saying his selection will
hamper the humanities and tilt
the research-teaching balance
See UNIVERSITY, Pa e 13
Continued from Page 4
Best Heavy Metal Album
By Jazz Musicians: Last Exit,
Iron Path. Ultra-abrasive total im-
prov skree that makes Sonic Youth
sound like Poison.
Best Treading of Water: Di-
nosaur Jr., Bug. Sounds a little bit
too much like last year's You're
Living All Over Me (Neil Young
with an M-80 in his butt), but since
that LP was a mighty fine listen,
this one's a winner as well.
Most Ominous Trend
Among Independent Labels:
Onslaught of Big Black-inspired
clone/spin-off bands. Less than a
year after the demise of the Weekly
World News-damaged Evanston trio,
a veritable deluge of densely pro-
duced, drum machine-based noise-
makers has glutted the record
shelves, led by Steve Albini's pre-
dictably-titled Rapeman. Big Black's
use of a drum machine has liberated
every misunderstood musician/ mis-
creant too anti-social or one-dimen-
sional to find a full set of band-
mates, and thus created an entire
army of one-man bands, minus the
accordion and glockenspiel. Other
offenders include Arsenal, Flour,
Bitch Magnet, Bastro, and My Dad
Metallica, ...And Justice For All.
Closer to Wagner than speed metal.
Homeric epic length songs belong in
Great Books courses, not rock al-
Biggest Joke: U2 discovering
the blues. Prospector's outfits and
trips to Elvis' studios do not a roots
band make. Go back to standing on
top of buildings, boys.
Best Record to Wag, Wag,
Wag Your Hair To: G r e e n
River, Rehab Doll. Rocks-era Aero-
smith to the nth-degree. If you grow
it, throw it. Runners-Up: Mud-
honey, Superfuzz Bigmuff, and Halo
of Flies, Headburn.
Comeback of the Year:
There is no such thing as a musical
comeback: When you stink, you
Best Cover Version: It's hard
to overlook Einsturzende Neubau-
ten's romp through the Grateful
Dead chestnut "Morning Dew," but
feedtime's massacre of Animals',
Rolling Stones', Beacr Boys', and
Stooges' songs on their all-covers
LP Cooper S renders those oh-so-
familiar tunes so thoroughly unre-
cognizable that they win this award
Frisbee of . the Year (A
Registered Trademark of the
Whammo Co.): Wire, A Bell Is
A Cup. Even worse than last year's
The Ideal Copy, if that can be be-
lieved. Dire, plodding, facile, and
slick. If the band continues at this
pace, they'll completely erase their
late '70s accomplishments and repu-
tations by this time next year. Best
evidence that golf is all that middle-
aged musicians should play.
Biggest Yawn: The Guns N'
Roses phenomenon. I guess they're
pretty raucous for mall rock, but
compared to nearly any riffmeister
on Seattle's Sub Pop label, G n' R
are just bandanas and booze. Even if
you couldn't care less about "inde-
pendent" label rock, if you have a
predilection for the raw riff thang,
make it your business to check out
Green River, Mudhoney, Soundgar-
den, and Tad.
Stuff I liked:
Metallica, Cobo Hall (Detroit),
Guns n' Roses, State Theatre
Terence Trent D'Arby, Royal Oak
Music Theatre, April
Big Name LP's:
Metallica, ..And Justice For All
Keith Richards, Talk Is Cheap
Seduce, Too Much...Ain't
Junk Monkeys, Kick Out The
Holy Cows, Greener Sidewalks
Guns n' Roses (national)
Holy Cows (local)
Stuff I didn't like:
U2 - the band, the movie, the al-
bum, the Book, the whole thing.
Anyone named Martin
Television - rock videos, network
I'm doing my best to forget
1988, but there may be some thera-
peutic value in re-living the year in.
music. Here's what I remember:
Most Daring Dylan covers:
Guns 'N' Roses - "Knockin' on
Interim President Robben Fleming and students saunter back to the presidential residence on South
University after the Regents passed the Discriminatory Acts policy at their April meeting.