The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.


The Lewis Vice-Presidency, began on July 1, 1954, and on the surface, appeared to be a disjointed assemblage of offices and functions, some aptly defined in the Regents Bylaws and functional, some ill-defined so as to breed discontent, controversy, and conflict; some, like the vice-presidency for student affairs itself, not defined at all, and virtually abandoned to that state for nearly ten years. And yet the Lewis Vice-Presidency was absolutely necessary to spare the President and his immediate associates the necessity of dealing with vital student affairs. However, undefined, the vice-presidency for student affairs was a necessity.

Although the 1950s seemed somewhat removed from the immediate exigencies consequent upon World War II, the strains of sudden growth and fitful Page  2adaptations to it were still manifest and would persevere for many a student generation. More profound than ill-adapted adjustments to the strains of growth and complexity was the persistent campus dichotomy represented humorously as The University of Michigan for men and a Seminary, most perjoratively, for women. Men were ensconced in convenient central facilities; with rare exception, women were consigned to The Hill. Ecological separation, enhanced control and with women in control, men were kept in some sort of tow; withal, the result was the appearance of social order. Even more profoundly, the explicit liberation of men during the 1800s from the Puritan doctrines of depravity toward inherent worth continued to elude womankind. Men enjoyed freedom and needed to be protected only during their freshman year and even then minimally; women were restricted and more protected throughout their undergraduate lives. In the classroom men and women were equal; in fact it was generally agreed that women matured earlier than men. Outside of the classroom, men were relatively free to engage in freedom and error; women needed security and regulation. In the face of such incompatibles, coordination was imperative and the first vice-president was charged with bringing the parts together, an awesome task and without regental bylaw support.

Into this frame of incompatibles, the new vice-presidency was handed a span of some eleven units ranging from admissions to the ambiguous state of student affairs. Some of these eleven units were defined and routinized; some, especially those immediately concerned with housing, discipline, regulation, and supervision, were tied to the mixed traditions roughly described above. Associated responsibilities, such as Publications, Michigan Union and League Board memberships, were included. The restlessness occasioned by the strains of size, increasing complexity, and inadequate facilities took their toll on student and staff. Of particular note was the Page  3Dean of Women's effort to maintain traditional regulation and control of women.

The Dean of Women's Office, created in 1896 to identify and promote adequate housing for women students, developed a parietal concern for women justified by the prevailing In Loco Parentis doctrine which was especially poignant in the conservative Mid-West. Ostensibly, this office reported to the Vice President for Student Affairs for administrative matters and was governed by the faculty controlled Board of Governors of Residence Halls in educational policy matters related to housing. In point of fact, the Dean of Women tended to take concerns directly to the President and the Regents as she had done for decades, only tangentially recognizing the authority of the Vice President and, in essence, rejecting the Board of Governor's policy making authority in housing concerns. As late as 1956-57, the Dean of Women's Annual report took pride in the parental care and touch given to women students and their families.

Students of the Spokian generation began to resent the authority which the University (Dean of Women) exercised over their personal lives. The storm brewed for a period of years. As is frequently the case, some one person came along who spearheaded a movement to bring about change. The person who focalized this resentment was Tom Hayden, a well-known campus political activist and editor of the Michigan Daily. Armed with a number of documented complaints, Hayden presented his information for adjudication to Professor Charles Lehman, the chairman of the Student Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate.

In the Spring of 1961, a Senate Sub-committee on Student Relations examined a number of problems related to the Dean of Women's Office. A preliminary report prompted Vice President Lewis to appoint a more comprehensive faculty committee, later expanded to include students, to review Page  4the philosophy and structure of student affairs. In February of 1962, The Special Study Committee for the Office of Student Affairs, chaired by Professor John Reed of the Law School, issued an inclusive report calling for a complete restructuring of the office along functional lines, eliminating the dichotomy of men's affairs and women's affairs. The concept of In Loco Parentis with its over-possessive, excessively paternalistic, and sometimes arbitrary concern with the social lives of students, was rejected. President Harlan Hatcher and the Regents endorsed implementation of the philosophy outlined in this report. Vice President Lewis moved his office from the Administration Building to the Student Activities Building which housed most of the Student Affairs offices, in order to more adequately supervise these functions.

One of the outgrowths of the preliminary report was the assignment in May of 1962 of the Admissions Office and the Office of Registration and Records to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. By July of 1963 a single director of Residence Halls was appointed to administer both men and women's housing. The introduction of the Pilot Program, a joint Literature, Science and the Arts College and Housing Office living-learning program made its appearance. The planning to make an all men's hall (South Quadrangle) and an all women's hall (Markley) coeducational was also initiated, becoming a reality in the Fall of 1963. In August of 1964, James Lewis resigned from the position of vice-president returning to teaching responsibilities.

The very incoherent assemblage of functions inherited by James Lewis in the eleven offices that reported to him, and the failure to document appropriate Regent's By-Laws related to these offices, all led to the consignment of his tenure as Vice President as transitional in nature in terms of the history of Student Affairs.