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July 11, 1986 - Image 11

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Michigan Daily, 1986-07-11

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PERSPECTIVES

The Michigan Daily

Friday, July 11, 1986

Page 11

New rules force students to pay for federal research
By Robert Honigman federal government is legally deman- finances of their institution. for direct research. That leaves 48% way to accomplish this.
The federal government is currently ding that the universities pay a major Most university spokesmen or $48 million of direct research not If you want to protest, you can write
adopting a proposal that students at portion of federal research-overhead probably were more concerned with covered by federal overhead reim- to the House Subcommittee on Scien-
major universities must pay a tax on costs out of other sources of revenue the financial viability of their in- bursement. So take 48% of total ce, Research and Technology, Room
federal research. In many cases this - usually state appropriations and stitutions, than with the effect of federal research and divide by the 2319, Rayburn Bldg., Washington, DC
will amount to a fee of more than tuition fees. Hearing were held before research on students. Historically, number of students enrolled and you 20515. If nobody speaks out on behalf
$1,000 per student each year. There the House subcommittee on Science federal research has never paid its get roughly the amount of money that of students, universities will continue
are no headlines or demonstrations Research and Technology on March full cost and has always been sub- is taken from the educational budget to divert monies from their
about this - just a quiet article about 20 of this year; and the rule will go in- sidized by its host universities. of each student and spent on research educational budgets to subsidize
a new rate for federal research to effect on July 1. Univesity officials take great care overhead. research budgets with the full
overhead reimbursement appearing That's not the whole story either. that neither students nor state The tragedy here is that university cooperation and support of the federal
inthe Chronicle of Higher Education, Research overhead actually runs legislators become aware of the ex- officials are not enlisting student sup- government. University officials will
March 12, 1986. Up until now the closer to 100% of direct overhead tent to which funds raised for student port in objecting to the new reimbur- raise tuitions or erode the quality of
federal government has been commit- costs when you include items that the education have been diverted to sement rate because they want. to be education at their universities to fund
ted to paying for nearly all of research federal government doesn't recognize various research projects undertaken sure that if their objections are not the new cost sharing formula rather
overhead costs on federal research as a reimbursable cost - such as for by the university. The reason for their heeded they will still be free to raise than turn down federal research. And
contracts. Although the current rate example, the seed money necessary caution is understandable. If students tuitions to pay for the new cost the federal government will succeed
of overhead support nationally is 26% to set up research programs, the ad- borrow money and work summer jobs sharing burden. The federal gover- in making students pay for federal
of the contract amount, many univer- ministrative time consumed in ap- to pay high tuition and if state nment's attitude is even more callous research.
sities obtain much higher overhead plying for research programs, the ob- legislators risk their political careers and self-serving. It wants research
reimbursement rates from the federal solescence of equipment and by raising taxes to fund state univer- done as. cheaply as possible, and a Robert Honigman is an attorney
government because of good accoun- buildings, the need to support animal sities and then they discover that hidden tax on students is the easiest in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
ting practices. The new proposal ends and biotic colonies between research $1,000 per student is being taken from
these arrangements and mandates contracts, and the voluntary time tuition and state appropriations to be
that the federal reimbursement rate spent by faculty doing research and spent on federal research, they would
for overhead on federal research will attending national and international probably feel quite strongly that the
be limited to 26 percent of the value of conferences, and so forth. money was being diverted away from
the grant or contract in the coming I spoke with Robert O'Neil, a staff the purpose for which it was raised.
year and to 20 percent thereafter. member of the subcommittee to ask You can calculate how much it costs
The real cost of research overhead how the hearings went, and he men- each student to subsidize research on
is conservatively estimated to run at tioned that a large number of univer- a particular campus by some simple We encourage our readers to use this space to discuss and
about 60% to 80% of direct contract sity officials testified that the back-of-the-envelope calculations respond to issues of their concern. Whether those topics cover
costs. So by limiting reimbursement limitation of cost reimbursement for assuming that each dollar of direct University, Ann Arbor community, state, national, or inter-
to 20% of the total contract, the overhead would severely strain the research requires one dollar of national issues in a straightforward or unconventional man
overhea support y r eivout hfor ner, we feel such a dialogue is a crucialfunction of the Daily.
federal research each year. Let's say
Stop miltary research it's $100 million. Then assume that
26% or $26 million is overhead reim-
---------------------------------bursement leaving 74% or $74 million

- I ri Ok' centers of Excellence Detense are
y Ig d likely to double defense funding at U-
The University of Michigan of- M from 7.7 million dollars in 1984-85.
ficials, with the assistance of Senator Senator Levin's role in securing the
Carl Levin, has secured three Depar- centers for the University is short
tment of Defense (DoD) contracts to sighted opportunism. The
establish Army, Air Force, and Nav- militarization of our society depletes
y "Centers of Excellence" on the U-M funds for civilian programs. While the
campus. The DoD established these University of Michigan recently com-
centers specifically to increase its pleted a 35 million dollar engineering-
control over university research. Ac- computer complex on North Campus
cording to the Air Force, these cen- which will house the new Army Cen-
ters are "designed to improve the ter of Excellence, newly appointed U-
quality of research performed at M Vice-President and Provost Duder-
universities to meet defense needs." stadt has plans to eliminate the un-
It is distressing that University of- dergraduate Nursing, Education, and
ficials have ignored the University Business degrees.
consensus against weapons research. The largest U-M Center of Ex-
During the Vietnam war, U-M was cellence, the Center - for High
dubbed "The Eyes of the Army" Frequency Microelectronics, will be
because of its active role in resear- headed by U-M Professor George
ching equipment used to locate and Haddad. Professor Haddad has per-
destroy Vietnamese. Because faculty formed research for the Phoenix
feared students would burn down the missile, as well as other military
University in protest, faculty mem- research.projects. Two years ago, a
bers stages a hunger strike that group of students staged a sit-in in his
pressured the administration to issue laboratory with the demand that his
guidelines which have since limited weapons research projects be stopped
the amount of military research on and that all weapons
campus. In 192, student and faculty research projects at the University be
representative bodies reaffirmed halted. The University chose to arrest
their stance against research the students, and unfortunately,
"destructive to human life." - neither Professor Haddad nor the
Shamelessly, University officials University heeded the call to stop
have chosen to misrepresent their ac- research intended to destroy human
tions to secure weapons research fun- beings. The University's latest ac-
ds. U-M Vice-President Linda Wilson tions to take on destructive research
wrote in an April 15 letter to the must be resisted.
Michigan Daily that she knew of
"no ... University administration Ingrid Kock is a LSA senior and a
commitment to increase the fraction member of the MSA peace and
of DoD dollars here." Yet, the new justice committee.

PON~tT WORY- ____________
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