MSU Faculty News

May 12, 1970

"The spring arrives; so does a new issue"



This issue of the Faculty News is an attempt to inform faculty on the events and rationale of those faculty members and graduate assistants who have chosen to join the student call for a strike. It focuses on the events of the past week; it is not an attempt to propagate those opinions, but simply to inform the University community of those opinions so that any response can be based on specific points.

We make this statement because it is obvious that the events and comments of those supporting a strike are more evident in this Faculty News than are the statements and stands for the University administration and others who oppose the strike method.

The Report from the President, dated May 11, presents the University’s position, and it has been distributed to all faculty, but statements of those advocating a strike or shut-down have not been systematically distributed. We attempt here to help systematize a variety of positions. Our position is that our readers should have access to as many points of view as possible in order to respond most intelligently to the issues at hand.

The Faculty News welcomes reactions and comments from persons who oppose the strike and from persons who support it. Responses, preferably written, may be directed to our office, 296-G, Hannah Administration Building.


Two years ago at MSU, disruption resulted from the finals week "bust" of a handful of students that promoted a brief takeover of the old Administration Building. Last spring, it was the occupation of the Wilson Hall cafeteria by black students protesting alleged discrimination against black dormitory employees.

So when May bowed in this year, it seemed not a question of would any "incidents" occur, but which issues would provide the most fuel. There was the materialization of MSU’s own "people’s park," called "Free," there was concern for the environment; there were several episodes centered on the issue of ROTC, the most destructive of which (May 1) resulted in extended damage across the campus.

But when word spread last Monday (May 4) of the deaths of students at Kent State University, and when this became coupled with the issue of a geographically expanded war in Southeast Asia, Michigan State was confronted with the possibility of a campus shut-down. (Some students call it a strike; others, including faculty who support some sort of suspension, prefer more accurate terms, such as boycott.)

By week’s end, there were confirmed reports of some class cancellations, instances of major absenteeism. There were several rallies, attracting as many as 6,000 and 7,000 persons. A number of statements were issued by the central administration, including one authorizing suspension of classes for a teach-in last Friday. A later statement from President Wharton outlined University policy regarding the status of students and faculty who chose to skip, cancel, defer or otherwise alter the normal procedures of class meetings.

Today’s Faculty News attempt to look at some of the events of the past few days, events which constitute an exceptional period on the campus, and which contribute to an increased concern for the actions at colleges and universities everywhere.