The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
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The History of Student Affairs/Student Services 1954-1984


Student Affairs/Student Services, 1950s-1980s, is a history of five vice-presidencies. This is a history identifying a movement toward a concept and structure of the university community more responsive to the needs and character of post World War II students and the sophistication and pluralism of the twentieth century. The history of Student Affairs is a movement not unlike that which grew out of the post World War I pressures which led to the appointment of the first Dean of Students and the general development of a framework of Student Affairs. It is a movement toward an intelligible and orderly University campus community responsive to some kind of direction as to housing, discipline, vehicular use, social/recreational programming, supervision, counsel and the like.


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.

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Realignment of Student Affairs

Richard Cutler, professor of Psychology at the University, assumed the Vice Presidency of Student Affairs on December 1, 1964. Popular with both faculty and students, Professor Cutler served as a member, and subsequently as chairman of the Student Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate. Reporting to Vice President Cutler in 1964 were many of the same offices that reported to Jim Lewis. In the 1965-66 academic year, the Bureau of School Services was assigned to the Dean of State Wide Education. Shortly after assuming the Vice Presidency, Cutler created the Office of Student-Community Relations to administer off-campus housing, student vehicle registration, and student-community concerns. The offices of the Dean of Women and Dean of Men were eliminated.

In January of 1965, President Harlan Hatcher appointed a commission to consider various issues relating to the housing of students. Representatives of the community as well as members of the faculty, staff, and the student body took an active part in the discussions, deliberations and decisions of The President's Commission on Off-Campus Housing. The two primary recommendations of the commission were a call for the development of a University Philosophy for student housing and the creation of a single division of housing. The newly created Housing Division was assigned responsibility for student services in housing as well as housing business affairs, including food service, housekeeping, maintenance and fiscal affairs for both resident halls and family housing.

Under subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1966, Vice President Cutler, on bahalf of the University, released to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee the names of the 65 student members of the campus chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Only after the names were released, did Cutler inform the students of the action of the University. Page  6During the summer of 1966, Cutler was under fire by students for attempting to promulgate University rules to ban sit-in demonstrations on campus. In December of that year, student government, as a protest, severed all formal relations with Student Affairs.

In November of 1967, Vice President Cutler was roundly criticized by activist students for attempting to discipline three members of SDS who demonstrated against a Navy Admiral appearing on campus. At the same time, he was actively pursuing the elimination of closing hours for underclass women living in the residence halls.

In March of the following year, Cutler was responsible for elimination of the University regulation prohibiting regarding possession and use on campus of motor vehicles by undergraduate students. In April of 1968, minority students under the banner of the Black Action Movement (BAM) took possession of the Literature, Science and Arts Building, demanding an increase in minority enrollment as well as additional support services for minority students. Negotiations with the leaders of BAM were conducted by newly inaugurated University President, Robben Fleming.

By May of 1968, Cutler was embroiled in a controversy regarding implementation of portions of a report on the Role of the Students in Decision Making. As the controversy heated up, Cutler tendered his resignation as Vice President of Student Affairs, accepting a position in the President's office as a Special Assistant to the President.

Major realignment of responsibilities in the Office of Student Affairs occurred during the Cutler Vice Presidency. In addition to adjusting to the transfer of responsibility for the Admissions Office and the Office of Registration and Records, Cutler played an active role in the development of the Student-Community Relations Office, the creation of the Housing Division, and the realignment of the student organizations functions. His attempt to Page  7professionalize the Student Affairs Office ran afoul of the student activism that dominated the campus. As the chief student affairs officer, he was the lightning rod that absorbed the conflict taking place on the campus.

The Holding Period

Aux (Barbara Newell) assumed the responsibility of Vice President in July of 1968. Dr. Newell, Assistant to President Robben Fleming at Michigan, and earlier when Fleming served as Chancellor of the Madison Campus of the University of Wisconsin, was appointed Acting Vice President of Student Services. The name change for the division reflected the evolutionary change in the institutional attitude toward students.

All of the various offices in Student Affairs became part of student Services and were inherited by Newell as part of her responsibilities. The appointment of Acting Vice President Newell, did not diminish or affect either the nature or tone of prevailing student activism on campus. During her tenure in office, which lasted until June, 1970, the campus was consumed with controversy regarding the creation of a student bookstore, rents in family housing, day care facilities, new forms of coeducational housing, and the role of students in the decision making process.

The importance of student participation in the decision making process was identified in The Special Study Committee for the Office of Student Affairs in 1962, in the report of the President's Commission on Off-Campus Housing of November, 1965, and subsequently in the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs report on Student Participation in University Affairs in 1966. This latter committee, chaired by Law School Professor Robert Knauss, provided the most detailed and wide sweeping recommendations related to active student involvement in the decision making process at the University.

The recommendations in the report related to student participation bore a striking resemblance to the prevailing faculty model of governance. Student Page  8Affairs/Student Service Offices, based on these recommendations, were to develop a committee of student and faculty members which would advise the appropriate department head similar to the collegial relationship that existed between the executive committee found in academic departments and the chairman of the department. This faculty model, which had evolved over decades, had the advantage of the long term stability among the faculty, unlike the students whose tenure on campus was limited to the duration of their academic program. The governance concept being advocated reflected a Scandinavian influence of student-institution relations in non-academic matters which in the abstract was attractive as a means of dispelling the conflict and hostility racking not only this campus, but most other universities. The model failed to account for historical, philosophical, economic and legal aspects of higher education in this country. The students, however, desired to move beyond an advisory relationship to actually making administrative and policy decisions without review by any higher authority.

This confusion forced many decisions to be resolved by the President and Regents. Issues related to the appropriateness of a division head disagreeing with a unit committee were adjudicated by the President. Similar involvement by the President and Regents occurred in reference to the development of a University Bookstore, day care facilities and coed corridors in the Residence Halls. University funding was denied to the bookstore and day care projects, which could only become a reality if students were willing to submit to a fee increase for these services. The bookstore became a fact with the day care proposal failing to receive wide based student support. Coed corridors became possible based on faculty support of the concept.

The one mechanism where students accepted an advisory role was in the development of a housing rate committee. The first student rate committee for the Residence Halls met in the Fall of 1967. The Family Housing rate study Page  9committee followed a year later. Students serving on the rate study committees were made clearly aware of their role in the process, and with minor alterations, the structure remained operational over the years, continuing until the present. Newell resigned from the position as Acting Vice President of Student Services in 1970, electing to leave the campus for another position. Following a search that involved students and faculty, Law School Professor Robert Knauss was named Vice President for Student Services.

Acting Vice President Newell's tenure can best be characterized as maintenance of the status quo. Limited by the tentative nature of her appointment, little else would reasonably be expected. No major modifications of philosophy or organizational structure were postulated with the exception of initial interest in the creation of an Ombudsperson position to reconcile student grievances. This was one Scandinavian governmental concept that was compatible within the University.

Reorganization In Student Services

Robert Knauss served as a member of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA), chairing that body in 1968. He had served earlier as the chairman of the SACUA Committee that wrote the report on Student Participation in University Affairs. The selection of Knauss as Vice President for Student Affairs was a popular choice with faculty and students, due in part to his liberal political faculty orientation.

As had occurred earlier with Admissions and the Registrar's Office, the Office of Financial Aid was assigned to the Academic Affairs Vice President. During his tenure, the William Monroe Trotter House, a student center for minority students, was established and made operational in a former fraternity house. Legal Aid Service for students became a reality; 76-GUIDE, a telephone information service for students was established; a committee, and Page  10subsequently an office, to deal with the problems of handicapped students was created; specific problems of homosexual programming and counseling were acknowledged with the establishment of the Gay Advocate position.

The Inter-Cooperative Council (ICC) received a low cost loan from the Housing and Urban Development Office of the Federal Government to construct a new student housing facility on North Campus. Recognizing the Financial differential in monthly rents of Family Housing and Private housing, Family Housing assignments were made on the basis of income priority to assure that married students with the greatest financial need would be afforded the opportunity to take advantage of this subsidy. The Board of Governors of Residence Halls was absorbed as part of the creation of a Policy Committee for Housing. The functions of the Student-Community Relations Office were absorbed by the Housing Division creating a single unified housing structure as recommended in 1965 by The President's Commission on Off-Campus Housing.

Knauss enjoyed an initial success with the students as Vice President, by implementing the Office of Student Services' Policy Committee directives as Student Services' policy mandates. However, this ran afoul of assurances provided the President and Regents who were assured that he (Knauss), was totally responsible for all Office of Student Services decisions. Knauss had indicated publicly on a number of occasions that he would resign the Vice-Presidency at the point in time he was in disagreement with the Office of Student Services Policy Committee. In the Spring of 1972, Knauss accepted the Deanship of the Vanderbilt Law School.

During his two-year tenure as Vice President, the Office of Student Affairs/Student Services was substantially reorganized. By the time of his resignation, the eleven offices inherited by Lewis in 1954 had been reduced to six offices; with four functions, namely Admissions, Registrar, School Services, and Financial Aid having been reassigned to Academic Affairs.

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Maturation and Stability

Henry Johnson was appointed as the fifth Vice President for Student Affairs/Student Services in June of 1972. The selection was fraught with turmoil as the activist students sought to exercise influence with the selection of an individual who would be totally responsive to them. This principle was rejected by President Fleming, who sought an individual mindful of student needs and interests who would function as a member of the executive staff. Given the times and the prevailing well-enunciated philosophical and practical differences by the activist students and the corporate officials of the University, this disagreement did not bode well for the new appointee.

Without fanfare, Johnson began his tenure by emphasizing staff accountability to agreed upon objectives through the Management By Objective technique. In workman-like fashion he sought to solidify the authority of the various department heads in Student Services. The One obvious means of achieving this, was to convert the student-faculty Policy Committee created by his predecessor into policy recommending bodies, rather than policy determiners. In setting the example for this conversion in philosophy and practice, he successfully dealt with the issue as it related to the Office of Student Services. Subsequent adjustments in the operating units soon followed. One outgrowth of this change was the ultimate dissolution of the newly reconstituted Policy Committee/Unit Committees.

In the President's Annual Archival Report for the 1973-74 academic year, Johnson was identified as the chief administrative officer in Student Services. It went on to indicate that he was responsible for advising the President, Regents, Faculty, and other agencies on matters concerning Student Services. As part of this responsibility, he responded to the needs of students, but was not dictated by those needs.

Page  12One of the biggest undertakings he assumed during the early years of his Vice Presidency was the reorganization of the Student Government Council. President Robben Fleming had called the Regents attention to the growing concern over the viability of the current central student government. President Fleming felt the problem had reached crisis proportions in the April 1973 student election when only 900 valid votes were cast for Student Government Council candidates. Another concern stemmed from the fact that the Regents continued to fund such a government through imposition of a mandatory student fee. Therefore, in October of 1973 the Regents directed the Vice President for Student Services to impanel a broad spectrum of student leaders and faculty consultants to prepare a plan for the reorganization of the central student government.

The Commission to Study Student Governance submitted their final report to the Regents in December of 1974. The result of nearly a year of cooperation between students, staff, and faculty were reviewed. During 1975 the Michigan Student Assembly, with representation from each of the fourteen schools and colleges, replaced the previously existing Student Government.

The report of the Student Governance Commission was before the Regents for some time (from December 1974 to November 1975). Several of its recommendations were supported by the students and rejected by the faculty. The efforts of the Executive Officers to find a middle ground was rejected by the students. Most of the controversy concerned the section of the report which pertained to student participation in decision making and student governance system.

In June of 1975 Johnson established a Task Force to examine the issues related to student counseling. By the time of the 1975-76 annual report to the President, he identified five major thrusts of responsibility for Student Services. These were: Page  13

  • 1. Facilitate educational development of students;
  • 2. maintain an optimal physical and educational environment within which development can occur;
  • 3. maintain a balance between the needs of students and the needs of the University community;
  • 4. integrate Student Service programs into the University Community; and
  • 5. critically evaluate the existing Student Service functions.
During this period University economic constraints led to the adoption of a Health Service student fee beginning in the Fall of 1976. Preliminary campus discussions began on modifications for the Michigan Union.

By January of 1979 the Regents formally agreed to substantial changes in the Michigan Union including transference of administrative responsibility to the Vice President for Student Service along with conversion of all but twelve of the hotel rooms to student housing. Also the Regents agreed to the financing of major physical rehabilitation and rejuvenation of this sixty year old structure. One of the first non-physical improvements was the creation of the Campus Information Center which would provide comprehensive, accurate, and timely information and referrals to students.

Johnson's Vice Presidency, conceived in a tumultuous setting, over the course of time settled into a stable, well-ordered, systematically arranged organic service to students. It also became a valued part of the University. Initial conflicts were diffused with the changes in student values which were becoming more conservative, self-oriented and directed towards personal objectives. While Johnson may have benefited administratively by this change in student values, he earlier had identified the direction in which the Office of Student Services was to move.

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From 1954 to 1984 - five Vice Presidencies - order out of the initial inchoate assemblage of functions. The road was not always even, and in fact at times quite bumpy, but the institutional commitment to meeting the needs of students never faltered. For a period of years methodology was severely tested as various digressions were explored and generally found wanting. With but slight functional adjustments, this span of thirty years represents a continuity of purpose.

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The Biological Station

The Biological Station was established in 1909 simultaneously with the Engineering camp, Camp Davis, along the southern shore of Douglas Lake in Cheboygan County, Michigan. When the civil engineers moved Camp Davis to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1929 the biologists relocated their station on the former Camp Davis site.

Dr. George R. LaRue, Director, 1917-39, was largely responsible for a faculty of great reputation and the establishment of a modern physical plant. Dr. Alfred H. Stockard, who had been Secretary to the Director since 1931, assumed the position. The faculty in 1940 was distinguished and nearly all had an international reputation. He served as director until his death in 1966. Frederick K. Sparrow, Professor of Botany at the University became Acting Director for 1967-68 and Director from 1969 through 1971. While Dr. Sparrow was on leave in 1968, Alexander H. Smith, Professor of Botany, served as Deputy Acting Director. Dr. David M. Gates, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, became Professor of Botany in Ann Arbor and Director of the Station in September 1971. The increasing complexity of the Station's operation and many deferred activities suggested that a full-time Administrative Manager position be established the year around. Mark W. Paddock assumed this position. During summer sessions there was additional administrative assistance and a social director, a position previously designated Dean of Women. Clem Bur retired in 1972 after being associated with the Station for over fifty years and as caretaker since 1940.

World War II interrupted golden years of Station growth and achievement. Some of the professors were involved in the war effort teaching elsewhere or exploring jungles for new sources of quinine or rubber. Student enrollment Page  2fell to the lowest in decades, but following the war enrollments jumped to all-time highs.

During the years 1940 through 1975 the Station acquired 5,691 additional acres, bringing the total ownership to 9,615 acres. In 1975 the Chase S. Osborn tract of 3,000 acres on Sugar Island near Sault Ste. Marie was transferred from the Graduate School to the Station.

A couple of toilet-shower buildings were built in the late 1940s, the library in 1949, and Cort Laboratory about 1952. The Superintendent's house was built in 1967. The university administration realized in the 1960s that if the station was to have a year-round research program it would need winterized facilities. The old boathouse was torn down and with funds from the National Science Foundation the Alfred H. Stockard Lakeside Laboratory was built in 1966. A dormitory to provide winterized housing was also completed in 1966. Faculty cabin 48 was built in 1971. A large bequest, $97,000, left to the Station by Professor and Mrs. Charles W. Creaser, became available in 1971 and made it possible among other things to build a resident scientist cabin near the Lakeside Laboratory and winterize cabins 25, 27, 29, and D-1 during 1972-73. Student housing was overcrowded. Two winterized quadruplexes were built on the hill top during 1974-75. A new Director's cottage, fully winterized was completed in June 1974. The dining hall built in 1930 was outmoded and replaced by a new building in time for the 1976 summer session at a cost of $347,000 from private funds. Faculty cabin 46 was renovated in 1975 and all others scheduled for renovation soon thereafter.

Student enrollment varied considerably over the years from 107 in 1940 to lows of 51 in 1943, 75 in 1954, and 86 in 1972 to highs of 137 in 1949, 133 in 1961, and 136 in 1975. Some of the enrollment trends are tied to availability of grant-in-aid support to students. The National Science Foundation provided modest but steady support for students at the Station from $6,000 for 26 Page  3students in 1955 to $10,350 for 29 students in 1971. NSF discontinued all support and this had catastrophic consequences in 1972. During 1973, 1974, and 1975 we had mixed sources of funding for students including the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and the Rockefeller and Scaife Foundations for a total of $26,650 to $34,600.

Courses and Faculty

All courses taught at the Station, the faculty and the years offered are given in Table I. Some courses have had high stability over time and some have been quite variable. It is important to have the same person teach a given course over a period of several years and thereby become thoroughly familiar with the region. There is also stimulus to be gained by having different people teach courses in alternate years.


The Wilson Society held its national meeting at Douglas Lake in 1952 and again in 1974. A symposium on biophysical ecology was held at the Station in August 1973 and resulted in a book (D.M. Gates and R. B. Schmerl, eds., Perspectives of Biophysical Ecology, Springer-Verlag). The National Science Board, the policy board for the National Science Foundation, and the NSF administration met at the Station in 1974. In August 1975 an Ecology-Meteorology Workshop sponsored by DOE was held and the Executive Committee of the American Institute of Biological Sciences met at the Station.


During the years 1940-75 a total of more than 917 papers were published from research done at the Station. Almost all research at the Station was done only in warmer months until 1972 when a new, year-round research program was begun. A series of large grants from the National Science foundation Page  4program "Research Applied to National Needs" enabled the development of a resident research staff at the Station including a full-time resident limnologist Dr. John E. Gannon and a support staff of four to six. NSF, under their facilities support program established a resident technician-biologist responsible for equipment and supplies on a year-round basis.

This new research program concentrated upon northern Michigan environmental programs, in particular, the study of water quality/land use relationships. Scientists from the School of Natural Resources and the Institute of Social Research participated with the Station on this effort. There was extensive interaction with northern Michigan lake associations and resource management agencies. Great Lakes research by the resident staff was carried out through financial support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The National Park Service funded several biological surveys in the new Sleeping Bear and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshores.