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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Vol. 71, Number 8 (June 1970)

The national scene,   p. 31


Page 31


The National Scene
                                Reporting on a study of campus tensions
             ... how colleges and universities can help ease them
I Campus Crisis: After a long, hard look at the
causes and effects of campus disruption, a special
committee on campus tensions has pointed to a
"deeper crisis" in higher education-one of con-
fusion and doubt "about where we go from here."
The colleges' main constituent groups and the
general public cannot agree on the "proper direc-
tion of change," the committee declared in a re-
port this spring. Nor can the academic community
expect to "solve all the problems," many with
roots in the larger society, that contribute to
campus unrest.
  One thing higher education can do, the com-
mittee stressed, is provide for better communica-
tion among students, faculty members, adminis-
trators, and trustees. "The survival of our system
of higher education and its long-term contribution
to society depend upon rationality and civility,
shared concern, and mutual respect among the
members of the academic community," it said--
adding that "all must recognize their necessary
interdependence."
  While acknowledging that improved communi-
cation was no cure-all, the committee observed
that "it usually results in sounder educational
decisions and fosters governance by consensus
rather than by force." It noted, moreover, that
all four campus groups had cited inadequate
communication as a "major cause" of tension.
  For students, the committee urged a "more
responsible role in the educational decisions af-
fecting them," along with recognition of the
''greater adult competence" of faculty members
and the administration. For faculty members,
it recommended a policy of "compensating in-
fluences" to correct an overemphasis on research
"at the expense of undergraduate teaching."
  Administrators are properly held accountable
for their actions, the committee said, but "espe-
cially at the presidential level, responsibility must
be accompanied by the necessary authority." The
effectiveness of college trustees, meanwhile, is
measured "by the extent to which they are well-
informed on educational issues, judicious in the
exercise of their powers, and protective of the
prerogatives of all members of the academic
community."
  The special committee was appointed about a
year ago by the American Council on Education,
In part to show that higher education could solve
its Own problems without punitive legislation. But
even as the panel's report was being distributed
around the country, serious student disorders
flared once more, prompted in many cases by the
U.S. policy in Southeast Asia. At about the same
time, Vice-President Agnew offered his own pro-
posals for dealing with disruptive students. "First,"
he said, "the era of appeasement must come to
an end." He advised colleges to enforce clear rules
for campus conduct, "with immediate expulsion
the penalty for serious violations."
* In Brief: Private gifts to colleges and universi-
ties increased 15 per cent last year, reaching a
record high of $1.8-billion, according to a survey
of more than 1,000 institutions. However, if one
omits a single $40-million gift to one institution,
alumni support rose only 2.6 per cent, compared
with an average annual gain of more than 9 per
cent in the previous decade . . .
   The investments of leading colleges and uni-
versities had an average yield of just over 4 per
cent in 1969, up from 3.7 per cent in 1968, an-
other survey has shown. The total principal of
70 institutions' endowment funds was found to
have dropped by some $31-million, to $7.16-
billion...
   State colleges and universities say that they
 will have to reject a greater number of applicants
 this year than ever before because of insufficient
 space and funds. Meanwhile, an "overall national
 surge in minority enrollments" has been forecast
 by an association of state universities and land-
 grant colleges. The association reports that at
 least half of the Negro undergraduates at 26 pre-
 dominantly white institutions were in the 1969-70
 freshman class...
   The concept of faculty tenure has come under
 fresh scrutiny. Several speakers at a national
 meeting charged recently that entrenched faculty
 privilege was hurting higher education. One
 suggestion: review tenure periodically to insure
 against abuses. The American Council on Educa-
 tion's committee on campus tensions asked for
 a reappraisal of tenure, which it said had come
 to serve the function of guaranteeing job security
 "in the spirit of trade union systems"...
   President Nixon has sought to allay fears that
 he plans to curtail federal funds for teacher
 fellowships and foreign language studies ... The
 average income of college teachers rose only 1.7
 per cent this past year in terms of "real purchas-
 ing power," reports the American Association of
 University Professors.
PREPARED FOR OUR READERS BY THE EDITORS OF THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
June, 1970
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