Michigan State News


"For an open university"

by The Editors

The lesson of Garskof is daily being expanded into the issue of an open university – both for faculty and students – thanks to the interested and involved students who have carried the protest into dorm rooms and cafeteria lines.

Added to the "rehire Garskof" demand has been one of open admission for blacks, third world, and poor white students. The demand has become fully reasonable for discussion at this time.

As now operative, admissions are unavoidably tied to socio-economic background. Though this does not mean race per se, it translates into institutional racism. There is no doubt, even with the strides this University has made within the last few years, that it remains still a closed institution.

The demand for open admissions policy, then, is fully justified. The only question to be answered, is how the policy would be carried out.

Obviously, "open" cannot be equated with "unlimited." The University could not handle the crush which would result from unlimited admissions. There are far too many people who would enroll, have their fling, and leave behind them a degraded University.

Open admissions, however, can be a workable and profitable endeavor when applied properly. Tradition, much of it irrelevant now, has given to Universities all over the country a set of rather limited criteria – "qualifications" – which students are supposed to meet in order to enter college. It is now long past time to re-evaluate these qualifications with the courage to say that many of them are discriminatory, destructive to dynamic education, and unjustified.

Along with the re-evaluation of admissions criteria, must be coupled the depth of imagination to formulate new criteria, more based on equal opportunity, on justice for all people, than the outmoded relics of the ivory tower. The social sciences and modern philosophy have provided us with a wealth of evidence both condemning the old and suggesting the new. It is far past time that those suggestions were utilized.

The dialogue is now begun with the necessary commitment and involvement of some on this campus. It should not be allowed to die in the midst of potential.

Within the coming days, asst. provost and director of the Center for Urban Affairs, Ronald Lee will receive an indepth statement on his hopes and plans. He has already espoused many vibrant ideas which gave us clues to his proposals to come.

Furthermore, the Black Student Alliance (BSA) has been deeply concerned with this issue since its founding last year. In fact, it is a major part of its raison d’etre.

In the dialogue which is growing, neither Lee nor BSA can be forgotten or co-opted. They must form a major part of the discussion and continue their vital efforts.

In addition, some faculty, some administrators and some students are involved. But some is not enough. Only a large majority will suffice.

The determined effort which can result in sincere discussion and finally concerted action will make the University a better place to learn and society a better place to live – to live not just life, but to live the idea of full life.

-- The Editors