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September 07, 1989 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07

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Page 4 -The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989


Should anti-racist education
debate: be taught in the 'U' classroo




by Marion Davis
Daily Staff Writer
In the spring of 1987 the University of Michigan was enveloped in a
climate of racial tension. Word of racial discrimination spread like wild fire,
as reports of student protests seared their way into the local, state, and na-
tional news media.
A struggle began. Members of the United Coalition Against Racism de-
manded the administration implement a university-wide mandatory course on
racism. The course was to focus on race, ethnicity and racism. It was to
provide students with a forum where such topics could be critically analyzed.
UCAR, at large faculty members, Concerned Faculty, and Faculty
Against Institutional Racism (FAIR) joined their efforts in the fall of 1987
to begin formulating such a course.
Two years later, University Course 299, the finished product, had been
approved as an elective by the LSA Curriculum Committee. A battle had
been won but the war was still ahead. The ad-hoc committee now set its
sights on developing a proposal which mandated a graduation requirement on
the study of anti-racism education. If then approved by faculty, the require-
ment would have applied to the 1990-1991 incoming LSA first-year stu-
dents and all those entering the college thereafter.
On February 3, 1989 Philosophy Prof. Peter Railton, a member of the
drafting committee, and Mark Molesky, an RC history major, debated the

ethics of mandatory anti-racism education on a WDET radio talk show.W
Railton said it could only improve the racial tensions at the University.
Molesky said it would be an unnecessary, expensive "rap session" for stu-
dents to talk about their political and social gripes.
The struggle was on and people everywhere were talking. Vice-Provost
for Minority Affairs Charles Moody told the USA Today that students need
to understand racism if they are going to be "truly educated" when they leave
'Racism and racial misunderstandings have
pervaded this campus and poisoned
educational opportunities and interactions
among students as no other social ills seem
to have done'
-Pro-requirement letter from faculty
members to the Daily


Michael Wilson, first-year medical student and UCAR member,
gesticulates as he speaks at a discussion group set up to air concerns
over the proposed graduation requirement.

Just how much control would LSA students have over their academic ca-
reers? The LSA faculty would decide by vote on April 3.
As the vote drew closer the struggle escalated. More faculty exercised aca-
demic freedom, painting pictures of their work environment not ordinarily
"Racism and racial misunderstandings have pervaded this campus and poi-
soned educational opportunities and interactions among students as no other
social ills seem to have done," read a pro-requirement letter submitted to the
Daily by faculty members March 6. According to Railton, mandatory anti-
racism education was a most effective tool against such an environment be-
cause, "those who might benefit most - those who have the least exposure
to these issues prior to their time here - are those least drawn to this type
of course (education)."


'Enforcing participation in college courses
for the purpose of effecting particular social
improvement is inimical to the spirit and to
the ultimate social utility of liberal higher

-Letter from faculty opposed to the
But opponents of the requirement thought otherwise. "Enforcing partici-
pation in college courses for the purpose of effecting particular social im-
provement is inimical to the spirit and to the ultimate social utility of lib-
eral higher education," eleven faculty said in a letter.
On March 7, the struggle for the proposal was split by an internal divi-
sion. Members of the drafting committee changed several guidelines of the
requirement. UCAR withdrew its support and rallied against the amended re-
quirement. The coalition said it went against the "spirit" of the original pro-
On April 3, LSA faculty members voted down a student graduation re-
quirement on race, ethnicity, and racism by ht narrow margin of 1.40-120.
The LSA Curriculum Committee was charged to study the issue further and
report back to the faculty.
In the spring of 1987 a demand was made. In the fall of 1987 a struggle
began. In the winter of 1989 a proposal was defeated. In the fall of 1989...E

Philosophy professor Peter Railton speaks in favor of a graduation requirement at an LSA faculty meeting.

Report predicts a professor shortage

Was Mazrui a portent
of the future?


by Kelly Thayer
Daily Staff Writer
New students, are you already
concerned about your major? Perhaps
you should consider a career in edu-
According to the report Campus
Trends, 1989, there is a shortage of
college professors which is expected
to increase in the coming decade.
The report, published by the
American Council on Education,
states that approximately 50 percent
of US colleges are having difficulty
hiring top applicants for faculty
Stiff competition from the pri-
vate sector and a dwindling number
of doctorate graduates in key fields
are the primary reasons for the pro-
fessor pinch, according to the report.
Specifically, the shortage is
worst in the fields of computers,
business, mathematics, and the
physical sciences. And the lack of,
professors exists more at public than
at private colleges.
The effects of the crunch are var-
ied. Larger classes result with less
qualified people teaching them.

Salaries of faculty increase, as does
student tuition to compensate these
salaries. And campuses continue to
be looted of their faculty as competi-
tion among colleges becomes fierce.
Here at the University the short-
age is evident in some critical areas.
According to the chair of the
mathematics department, Protessor
Donald Lewis, "There is a shortage
of professors now and a potentially
great shortage in the future. Anyone
we go after, ten other schools go
Lewis explained that "the output
of mathematicians in the US is
With mathematics at their peak
in the early 70s, 1300 to 1400 PhD
students in mathematics were gradu-
ated each year. In the US now less
than 400 students receive their PhD
in the field annually.
Lewis said that the University
has not felt the shortage as dramati-
cally as other schools may have due
to the University's stature. But he
emphasized that the US as a whole
will suffer in the future.
"I think it's going to be a major

'There is a shortage of professors now
and a potentially great shortage in the
future. Anyone we go after, ten other
schools go after'
- Mathematics Department Chair,
Prof. Donald Lewis

catastrophe for American education
because all science is based on math-
ematics," concluded Lewis.
Gary Krenz, special assistant to
the chair of physics, acknowledges a
small shortage of professors in some
of the sub-fields of the physics de-
partment and sees a trend developing.
"Shortages will get a lot worse
throughout the decade. As fewer
physicists come out of the pipeline,
a lot more raiding of other universi-
ties will go on."
Colleges face competition from
the pnvate sector as well.
"Universities are competing
against industry for top physicists.
Therefore, to some degree we have
been compelled to raise our starting

salaries," Krenz said.
Krenz feels the lack of professors
is due to a weakness in the educa-
tional system. "It starts in grade
school. Fewer students are adequately
prepared and their interest isn't
peaked by the declining pool of
teachers," Krenz said.
Edwin Miller, associate dean for
PhD studies and research in the
Business School, has seen the de-
mand for business professors become
"Our peer institutions are com-
peting vigorously with us for elite
faculty members," Miller said.
And private business has added to
this competition. The result is bid-
ding wars. "Private sector salaries are

Noted U' political science prof. Ali Mazrui was lured away by a
job offer from the State University of New York.


difficult to compete with. The
salaries we offer have become much
higher," Miller added.
A case of campus raiding of pro-
fessors took place this summer when
University political science professor
Ali Mazrui was lured away by a
$500,000 job offer from the State
University of New York- Bingham-

ton. SUNY doubled its original offer
for fear of not attaining Mazrui.
If you thought that only major
sports stars become the object of
high-stakes bidding wars, think
again. If you chose the right major,
you may find yourself being offered
a signing bonus at a major univer-
sity. 0






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