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April 13, 1990 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-13
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Bi'g Broi
Executive Director of
University Relations Walter
Harrison once told me that, "Jim
Duderstadt is fond of saying that
Cornell and Michigan are more
alike than any other two
Universities in the country."
Frank Rhodes, now President
of Cornell and a former Michigan
bureaucrat, does not entirely
disagree.
"I think there's some truth to
that, interestingly enough," he
told me. "We're both a private
as

t

a

CINEMA DIRECTORY

her'sBig
and a public university. We have
a dozen colleges, and four of
those receive support from the
state. And so in many ways, like
Michigan, we're a mix of both the
public and the private."
Frank is one of a handful of
privileged folks to be getting
honorary degrees from Michigan
this year - his will be a doctor of
law degree - and he'll be making
the main graduation speech (9
a.m. May 5, Hill Auditorium).
"And the other thing which has
always interested me," he said,
"is that I'm the ninth president at
Cornell, and four of those -
including me -"have come from
the University of Michigan.
That's rather remarkable."
Rhodes is also one of the men
the regents wanted before they
finally chose Duderstadt ("I made
it clear I wasn't a candidate."),
and a president our Jim has a lot
to learn from.
Born and raised in England,
Frank came to Michigan as a
Fullbright scholar in geology.
After working his way up to dean
of LS&A and finally vice
president for academic affairs, he
was instrumental in the
administration's fight against the
formation of the Graduate
Employees Organization - and
the attempt to get out of
negotiating with the union once it
was recognized - before moving
up to Cornell.
His actions there have
obviously attracted the interest
and admiration of the
administration he left behind.

Brother
Among them are his formation
four years ago of an image-
building wing of the
administration - with a massive
budget - which answers directly
to the president.
Like Duderstadt would do two
years later, Rhodes put the image
machine under centralized
control. "We have one person
now who's in charge of state
relations, local relations, federal
relations and public relations. And
that's an.
important
position."
Eu.
And
Frank
waged a
model
effort to
bring his
university's'Ph-i
code of Phili
conduct Cob
to bear on
student
protestors.
In 1985 a movement erupted at
Cornell to get the University to
divest its holdings in companies
which refused to pull out of South
Africa. Since the private board of
trustees and its administration
(including Frank) refused to
comply, students, staff and faculty
began holding sit-in
demonstrations in the
administration building.
Citing violations of the campus
code, and claiming trespassing,
Frank's (deputized) police force
arrested about 1,200 students that
spring, before the long semester
ended. Several test cases of
students were suspended and
sent to the code hearing boards,
where their suspensions were to
be rubber stamped.
But there was a problem.
Cornell's code (which had been
created years earlier) actually
protected students' rights to
peaceful protest.
"It was clear the suspensions
were not in accordance with the
code," said David Lyons,
professor of philosophy and law at
Cornell and an active member of
the divestment movement.
"They never imposed a penalty
on a single person."
Seven of those arrested were
tried for trespassing in a city
court. They were acquitted by the
jury in part because jury members
believed Cornell had violated its
own rules by arresting them in the
first place.
Meanwhile Cornell's trustees
- many of whom had a direct

0
read "A Woman Was Raped
Here" spray-painted on the
sidewalk.
Some things never change,
however. We still have most of
the same regents, and most of us
still can't name any of them. You
still spend most of your first week
here in September standing in
line. We're still fighting the code,
now in its fiftieth-odd form, and
Leo Heatley will strap guns to
those safety officers if he has to
do it with his dying breath.
I'm glad I was around to see all
this happen. It's strange how little
continuity there is among
students. Recently I was talking
to my friend Doctor Amy about
the Galens Smoker which the
med students put on every year.
Though the event is decades old,
they know who put on whatshow
in what year, and even what the
songs were. It's rare for a non-
Greek organization to have that
kind of awareness of its history.
Unfortunately, this works
against students much of the
time. The code fight, for
example, had been handled by
any number of individuals and
groups over the last decade and,
when it looked like the
administration might lose, it
simply waited for the trouble
makers to move on. Racism, too,
has been fought by people with
only a vague idea of what the
University promised when,
enabling it to claim that
something entirely different
happened.
MSA, which could be a clearing
house and coordinating group for
these kind of activities (indeed,
for all student groups), chooses to
sacrifice any long-range good by
its own political infighting and

appealing to the prejudices of the
day.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy is
that students have little sense of
history at this University. For
many, it's a place to get through
by formula and get out of, only to
be barraged the rest of your life
with copies of Michigan Today and
calls from Telefund. For many of
us, it's a vocational school for the
upper middle class.
Of course, for those of us who
didn't start out in the upper
middle class, getting through this
trade school isn't always easy. My
pals at the Michigan Review, for
instance, seem to think there's
something dishonorable about
working one's way through
school, even if that means
jumping off the four year track.
But I wouldn't trade places with
any of those bozos. Call me crazy,
but I'd rather pour beer for those
guys for $5.50 an hour than be one
of them.
But there is a time to move on.
I know too many people that have
gotten comfortable with student
life, which quickly gets them into
a rut. I know a guy who came into
town just to follow the MsA
elections last week. He'd been a
student here for about seven
years, and he wanted to see how
things were going. He was
surprised to find an old adversary
of his still in school, still mixed up
in student politics, and making no
signs of moving on.
And while this kind of situation
might help provide the kind of
continuity I was talking about, it
rarely does. What these hangers-
on mostly do is deprive younger
students of opportunities to grow
and advance. So I'm moving on.
Good luck.

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Richard Rosenberg, conductor
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12

12 WEEKEND AprIl 13,1990

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