A Political Crisis and Its Background, 1962-1965
The Flint College of the University of Michigan was established in 1956, following a campaign, starting in 1946, by Flint philanthropist C.S. Mott and Flint newspaper editor Michael Gorman. Harlan Hatcher, president of the University from 1954 to 1968, supported their efforts. Mott and Gorman envisioned a liberal-arts college connected to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor that was also part of the Flint College and Cultural Development. Their idea was that the city's postwar prosperity should be invested in College (located in the Mott Memorial Building, completed in 1957), one of several schools within the University of Michigan, offered programs to over 500 juniors and seniors in biological science, business administration, chemistry, education, engineering science, English, history, mathematics, philosophy, physical science, physics, and social sciences. The Charles Stewart Mott Library, completed in October, 1962 and serving both Flint Community Junior College and the Flint College, was the newest building in the College and Cultural Development.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN WANTS TO EXPAND ITS BRANCHES
The first public indication that the University of Michigan wished to expand its branches was made by Executive Vice President Marvin L. Niehuss, in a speech before high school principals and counselors in Ann Arbor on November 8, 1962, as reported here in the Flint Journal of November 9, 1962. In addition to expanding the Flint College and Dearborn Center to four-year programs, he suggested that other locations, such as Delta College near Saginaw, as well as Battle Creek and Traverse City, might be considered. The imperative behind these plans was the need to accommodate increasing numbers of students.
FLINT BOARD OF EDUCATION RESPONDS
On December 27, 1962, the Flint Board of Education approved the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry to explore the expansion of Flint College. Members were Guy J. Bates, member of Flint school board, as chairman (in photo); Roy E. Brownell (C. S. Mott's attorney]; Lawrence L. Jarvie, general superintendent of community education; Marvin L. Niehuss, UM executive vice-president; Harold Dorr, UM dean of statewide education; David M. French, dean of the Flint College; and Lewis R. Fibel, Flint Junior College dean.
MICHIGAN CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1961-1962, AND THE NEW CONSTITIUTION, 1963
A constitutional convention met over two years and drafted a new state constitution, which was approved in 1963. This constitution entrusted to the State Board of Education the power to plan and coordinate all education, including higher education, according to Article VIII of Section .3. George Romney (far left), chairman of the convention, was elected Governor in 1962 and again in 1964 and 1966. Having gained much political support for his successful leadership in the convention, Romney, as governor, felt duty-bound to carry out the new constitution.
FLINT COMMUNITY JUNIOR COLLEGE OPPOSES FOUR-YEAR PROGRAM
The faculty of Flint Community Junior College approved, on November 8, 1963, a resolution opposing the establishment of a four-year college of University of Michigan in Flint. It cited a Flint Board of Education study by Booz, Allen and Hamilton, issued in January, 1961, which found that the relationship of the faculties and leadership of the two schools were not close and that there was a spirit of "higher" and "lower" status between them. A Junior College committee issued a formal response on March 9, 1964, reiterating the earlier resolution. It felt that expansion of Flint College was unnecessary and that students would be better served by expanding the Junior College. It also criticized the University of Michigan's "self-interest" in going forth with its own plans for expansion, in an effort to increase enrollment numbers which might then result in an increase in state allocations to the institution.
BATES COMMITTEE ISSUES FINAL REPORT (FEB. 1964)
The committee chaired by Guy Bates, variously called the Joint Study Committee, the Committee of Inquiry, and the Committee to Study the Needs for Higher Education in Flint, recommended that the Flint Board of Education invite the Regents of the University of Michigan to conduct a four-year program and that the University add the first two years to its existing senior college. It also dealt with general curriculum, relations with Flint Community College, and finances. It recommended that the University establish a somewhat independent "collegiate center" to administer and finance its educational operations in a seven-county area On April 8, 1964, the Flint Board of Education endorsed the report and transmitted it to the Regents.
STATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY BRANCHES ISSUES REPORT (DECEMBER, 1964)
The Michigan Coordinating Council for Higher Education appointed, on June 12, 1964, a nonpolitical committee of residents of other states to report on and to make recommendations concerning the development of university branches in Michigan. This committee made general recommendations concerning planning for higher education, for the establishment of branches, and specific recommendations dealing with Oakland University (then affiliated with Michigan State University), with the Dearborn and Flint branches of University of Michigan, and with the Sault Ste. Marie branch of Michigan Technological University. In general, it favored autonomy over branch institutions. For Flint, its specific recommendations were to postpone the offering of a four-year program and, when offered, to establish an autonomous institution.
MOTT WANTS UNIVERSITY BRANCH
On February 18, 1965, before the Flint Board of Education, C. S. Mott gave a prepared speech, reiterating his position that the Flint College remain part of the University of Michigan. He also reassured his support for Flint Junior College. University of Michigan President Harlan Hatcher spoke in support of Mott at the same occasion.
REPORT OF CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION (MARCH 12, 1965)
This "blue-ribbon" committee, charged by Governor Romney in 1963 with developing plans for higher education, issued its report in March, 1965. Regarding the situation in Flint, it approved the establishment of a four-year campus, but recommended against a branch, advocating instead for a self-governing institution.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCES POSITION (APRIL 1965)
After examining studies and holding hearings, in April 1965 the newly appointed State Board of Education issued a position paper on the expansion of University of Michigan Flint College. It concluded that the joint community college/senior college arrangement as it then existed was undesirable and that a four-year college was needed. It commented on the drawbacks to the association with the University of Michigan, noting former President Ruthven's remark against branches in his recently published memoirs, and recommended that the legislature authorize an autonomous four-year college, that the University of Michigan maintain its commitments to currently enrolled students, including recently admitted freshmen, but that the University of Michigan would phase out its commitment in about four years.
INTENSE LOBBYING PRODUCES COMPROMISE
Following the release of the State Board of Education's position paper, C. S. Mott (on April 15) threatened to withdraw the gift he had offered in January of the money needed for the addition to the Mott Memorial Building. Flint area legislators, led by Sen. Garland Lane, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, tried to advance the position advocated by Mott and the University of Michigan. Other interests, including state Democratic Party chairman Zolton Ferency and the Detroit News, supported Governor Romney's position. This struggle, however, led to compromise. Rep. Dale Kildee offered this ultimately unsuccessful plan which would admit freshmen in 1965 but would phase out University of Michigan affiliation by 1971. The controversy ended temporarily, however, when Governor Romney signed an appropriation bill on July 8 allowing a freshman class for the 1965-1966 year only.
A FAIT ACCOMPLI: THE MOTT MEMORIAL BUILDING GETS ADDITION
The Mott Foundation gave $2.7 million to the Flint Board of Education towards construction of the addition by the end of 1965. Work was completed in October, 1967. By January 1966, the University of Michigan felt it had to begin accepting a new freshman class. Governor Romney, meanwhile, after secret meetings with Flint leaders, maintained his position. Decisions were postponed during the 1966 election year. In 1967, the Regents appointed a Citizens Advisory Committee for Flint College, chaired by Guy Bates, which was to advise the administration on planning. Finally, in August, 1968, the University's Vice President for State Relations and Planning appointed a Planning Study Committee for the Flint Campus of the University of Michigan, chaired by William Haber. The Haber Committee's report, issued in May, 1969, acted as the blueprint for the development of the current campus. Concerning governance, its chief recommendation was that it become an autonomous institution headed by a chancellor who would report to the UM President. This became a reality with the appointment in 1971 of William Moran. Finally, the 1972 purchase of land which would become the downtown campus realized what the State Board of Education had advocated in 1965: physical separation from Flint Junior College.