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The Pariah Of Sixties Anti-

The Pariah Of Sixties Anti- image The Pariah Of Sixties Anti- image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
January
Year
1975
OCR Text

The University of Michigan ROTí' program is aboul to regain academie accreditation. six years altei n was taken away during the helgh! of campus protest against the Indochina War. Despite the strong moral and academie aiguments againsi the very presence of the Army. Navy and Aii Force Reserve Offieer I raining Corps programs on campus, opposition lias been nearly non-existent. I ast week a curriculum committee in the Literature, Science and the Arts College (LS&A) voted five to two in favor of academie credit. The LS&A faculty is expeeted to givc" final approval in February. The arguments justifying military presence on campus, are the same as an earlier confrorrtation in the late sixties. but this time around, opposition has been almost nonexistent. "It' one accepts thal there lias to be a military," said Professor Jens Zorn of psychology at the curriculum committee meeting. "l'd be distressed if there weren't reserve officers. Speaking from expenence in the Navy. often it is only trom reserve officers tliat dissension and corrective influence come within the Armed 1 orces. I hev slum ld bc trained at the best and most liberal institutions in the nation." "Will the ROTC recruit cliange the military, or will the military change the recruit?" asked Mark Gold, LSA student ernment president. The ide;i ol humaniing the milifary hy controlling ROTC and allowins its presence on campus is nut new. It was the major reason used by the University's faculty in keeping ROTC on Lampus during a similar controversy in the late sixties. Their reporl, later accepted by thé Board of Regents. admitted "the academie return to the University of the ROTC programs is sligiit." hut went on to point out tliat by allowing it on campus, civilians could ftlaintain greater control over the military. Not everyone agreed. "ROTC has been in existence tor over 30 years, yet there is no evidence tliat it lias the effect its liberal proponents suggest," argued editor Martin Ilirschman in a l%9 Daily editorial. "Ánd while ROTC is having no liberalizing effect on the military, it may well be having a militarizing effect on the Llnivei sity. For by sanctioning ROTC, the University as an institution will only be encouraging students to look upon orderly, mechanized. systematied. program-budgeted muider as a reasonable intellect nal pursuit." A number of students and faculty worked to elimínate ROTC trom campus entirety: Between l68and l70. mass marches, diag demonstrations. class disruptions. and even .111 occupation ofNorth Hall. ROTC headquareters, took place. Students for a Democratie Society (SI)S) activeïy pushed for an end to all lies with the military on campus, hol jusl ROTC. In B statement adopted in Maren, I9Ó9.SDS statcd: ROTC programs should be eliminated as a concrete attack on the role of the American military throughout the world. "We must fight the illusion that the University is simply complying with the military machine, with the federal government. with big industry. The University is an integral part of that military industrial complex. "In short, an attack on ROK', war research, and military recruiting on campus is a valid and power ful attack on the fuño tioning of the American military in suppression of people"s sturggles against imperialism." In a study done by a subcommittee of the faculty senate in fall, I W). it was revealed that not only did ROTC have credit in both the Engineering and LSA colleges, luit the University subsidized ROTC operation to the tune ofabout $350.000. ROTC had tree free rent at Nortlt Mali. and also was getting free clerical help. office siippliesand building maintenance. "The committee is agreed that irrespective of the current politica] climate. tlie relationship between ROTC and the University needs to be revised. drastically in the opinión of sume," The report, later adupted by the Regents called tor an end to the financia! subsidies to "the Department of Defense, which we teel inappropriate," bul stopped shori of demanding ROTC's removal trom campus. A new University-Defense Department contract negotiated in Il)70 required paymeni lor these services. At least one member ot' the committee was not satist'ied witli the final condusions. In a minority report, social work professor Lugene Litwak argued against any support of the military and its priorities. "The ROTC issue provides the University witll an ideal platform to speak out as a univeisity on the major problem ofouv time do we concéntrate our country's resources on expanded military expenditures 01 on solving the social problems of our society," he wrote. The majority report ulso teil short of inging non-accreditation ot' ROTC courses. claiming it was matter tor individual schools and colleges at the University. "The ROTC programs, being separate administratively trom all other units of the University, have been tree tïom the peer scrutiny which characterizes the administraron of various colleges and departments, and which contributes to their continuing growth and vitality. "We recommend that the several schools and colleges allow credit only for courses tauglit by instructots holding regular demic appointments." The-Duilv termed the fuculty's actions "contemptible." "The only conceivable reason for the Assemblv's wanting to maintain credit for ROTC is the SIÖ million the University receives for classified research." claimed Ron Landsman. "most of it from the Army. and perhaps some misguided desire to maintain this unhealthy status quo." The faculty's ináction regarding ilie demic standing of ROTC leads directly to the prpblem now lacing the L SA faculty. Since 1969, when credit was withdrawn foUowinga report term ing ROTCcourses "conjectinal. nun-analytical. clieaply moralistic. and often blatanlly propagandistic," the military science program has been sirengthening the academie content olits courses to Rt more traditional University standards. Academie standards hecame the sole criterion for judging accieditalion by the LSA curriculum committee kist week, witti fv)e faculty suppoi ling the move and the Iwo voting student committee membeis opposing it. "Yon ean'l avoid the moral issues." pointed out student Jane Praeger. "You can"t separate tlie questiiHl of academie meril and that ot'.politicul. moral, oí social implications. Teaching pebple hou to kill ean'l be justified in an academie institution like ihe l iiicrsity ." "Ifyou believe in academk freedom, the I niversity must allow subjects and men to eis! which are poliiicaJiy disiasteful to some," said dassical studies professui Don Camerún. "We are giving them the same riglits as oiher academie departments." Bnt the problem which remains is that ROTC' is nol like any other department. When qüestiuns uvei ROK' accreditation tlrst arose in 1968, the head it' the curriculum eommittee clahned there wjs an academie problem with all ROTC' classes nono allowèd lor intellectual inquiry. "Because every ROTC" course mixes propaganda and 'leadership1 training wilh genuine academie material." pointed out James Giden, English professor, "no single course could be singled out for credit." The Michigan Daily came closer to the major problem with military training on campus. In a 1 96& editorial, il said: "On the substantive level. it is ditTicult to avoid the blunt assertion thai training soltl iets whose ultímate aim is to kill is totally hostile to the principies of academia. "For all the academie gloss put on ROTC'. it is still a recruiting organiation for the military, and its commitmen! is still to the military, not to the "crealion and dissemination of knowledge.1 The ROTC issue provides the University with an ideal platform to speak out- as a university- on the major problem of our time- do we concéntrate our country 's resources on expanded military expenditures or on solving the social problems of our society.