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Wsu Kills Monteith, Plans New Colleges

Wsu Kills Monteith, Plans New Colleges image Wsu Kills Monteith, Plans New Colleges image
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They carne to bury Monteith, not to praise it. They were Wayne State University President George Gullen and the eigbt-rnember Board of Governors. Their wake for WSU's 15-year-old innovative college took place at the Alumni House on December 12. Although the University had already prepared a press release announcing the vote agatnst Monteith, the funeral charade began with three hours of testimony on the fate of the school from faculty, students, and interested citizens. Even this concession to "free speech" was protested by WSU administrutor Milton Glick, who objected to the presence of the public and the press. Monteith professor Arnokl Robbins, President of the Coalition Against Cutbacks and Layoffs, insisted that the public has a right to know that excess unclerconiinucJ ai page 30 Monteith contlnued from page 3 gradúate funds subsidize Wayne 's gradúate and professional schools. Robbins promised that a growing nuinber of peóple would be present at future board meetings il' Monteith was phased out: "We won't surrender more reductions. We wil) tlght and we will win." BOG President George Kdwards put the Mame in the budget dispute on the state legislature, which gives the University of Michigan $37 million more than Wayne and Michigan State University $23 miltion more. He called the Assembly 's attitudes toward Wayne studente "classis! and racist," and predicted that "the Ids of Monteith i-. iusi the beginning of the cuts and layoffs that must continue unfil the state allocates Hs fair share to Wayne." Student-Facult) Counci] President Nancy Christianson pointed out. "In ten of the fouryeat institutions in Michigan, student governmenl has acceso to the budget, bui WSU refuses to let us sec it. Why.' WhaJ are they hiding?" "I cellency and economy will not be achieved by destroying Monteith." pleaded Monleith President Yates Hafner. "Monteith's innovations have bronght prestige to WSU for 15 years and tliuirish natiönally in colleges modeled on pui program." Foltowing tliis period of "tree speech," in which board members gave long statements on the financia! hardships of running a university, seven of the eight members voted to phase out Monteith over the hext three years, beginning with Fall quartcr, 1976. T4ie only dissenter was Monteith gradúate Michael I inhaus, who protested the lefusal of the Governors to use the Monteith Coordinating Committee's blueprint for saving the college. The irony of killing Monteith. ostensibly to save WSU from a $4 million budget deficit, is that upon the ashes of the embattled school two new colleges are apparently rising: a College of Labor and Urban Affairs and a College of Health Education and Dance. The latler program is undoubtedly intended to salvage WSÜ's costly and under-utilized new Matthej Building, for which severa I (Stocks of dable neighborhood were demolished. The labor college has long been favored by board niembers like Edwards, Detroit Parks and Recreation Director León Atchison (a tonner aide to Congressman lohn Cphyers), and Mildred Jeffries, tonner aide to the late Walter P. Reuther and Director otjhe United Auto Workers' Consumer Atïairs Department. Waync aiieady has the nucleus of such a college in ïts ÍS million UAWdonated Walter P. Reuilier Memorial Librar y of Labor and Urban Affairs, Although Jeffries insists that the formation of the new college has no relation to the death of Monteith, Hafner says VVSl intended to delay the announcement of the new programs until later so as not to conflict with the Monteith phase-out. "There are excellent possibilities ol aaining . seed mouey for a labor and urban affairs college," says Edwards. "Sinco we don't have any money to spend n new programs, wc are throwing around ideas maybe a degree progranj in union organizing. I have a feeling Wa could have the bes! laboi program in the en tire country." Edwards says he can envision an urban version of Black Lake, the l'AW resorl near Petoskey, wherc -workers are welcome to attend conferences and seminars. "Prestigious researchers from all cwer the world will come here to do dissertations on labor niovements," says Jeffries. Edwards estimates it will take "the gestation periód ofan about two years to get this project off the ground. By that time, barring a financia! bolt trom the blue. the last remnants of Monteith College will be getting absorbed by the College of Arts and Sciences or terminated entirely, saving Wayne something like $800,000 a year. The Governors apparently have made up their minds that the future prestige of WSU lies not in Monteith 's progressive approach to undergraduate education, but in the commercial appeal of a labor and urban affairs school.