sitemap PROVOST'S SNY-PHI REPORT (May 1970)
Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer



This Webpage offers a complete transcription of the 1970 Provost's Commission report on coed living and other residence issues in Snyder-Phillips.

The material was obtained from Stewart Lachman, who preserved a copy of the report. Thanks, Stewart!

The Report has been transcribed and formatted to reflect its original appearance and layout as closely as is reasonably possible.

If anyone has additional 'hard-core' data on JMC, its operations, its performance, or its outcomes, please Contact the Editor.

Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer










May 15, 1970








The undersigned subscribe to the attached report as a consensus of the Commission.


Al Ballard
Office of the President

Dan Peters

John Dietrich
Office of the Provost

Gordon Rohman
Justin Morrill College

John McConnell

Lyle Thorburn
Residence Halls

Eldon Nonamaker
Student Affairs

Beverly Todd

Dan Ogden

Joe Urban








    By the week of April 10-16, 1970, a number of long-standing issues of deep student concern, primarily focused on the residential environment in Snyder and Phillips halls, had become polarized to such an extent that an overt crisis was imminent.

On April 12 the students of Snyder and Phillips residence halls created a single governmental entity which challenged certain present University regulations by substantial majorities.

On April 17 representatives of the new Snyder-Phillips government, using open University channels, met with President Wharton for a first discussion of the issues.




Composition and Charge


    At President Wharton's request, Provost Cantlon appointed a commission of ten people to study problems in the residence halls of Snyder-Phillips. The commission was composed of five students; John McConnell, Dan Ogden, Dan Peters, Beverly Todd, and Joe Urban, and representatives of five administrative facets of the University; Al Ballard, Office of the President, John Dietrich, Office of the Provost, Eldon Nonamaker, Student Affairs, Gordon Rohman, Justin Morrill College, Lyle Thorburn, Residence Halls. Dietrich chaired the commission. The commission was asked to report on May 15, 1970.







    Provost Cantlon in appointing the commission made the following statement. It reads in part:

Recent and projected student activities at Snyder-Phillips Hall have raised a number of questions that cut across major administrative lines of the University... It is, therefore, in keeping with University policy to explore whether localized changes in the administration of this residential unit might enhance the educational values of residence hall living.

The specific charge to the commission was as follows:

Examine current administrative practices and policies for their effects on the educational values of Snyder-Phillips Hall as a living-learning unit. By May 15, 1970 present to the Office of the Provost your assessment of and any recommendations for maximizing the educational value to all students of residence in this particular hall.

Commission Relationships

The composition of the commission -- five students and five administrators -- appears to posit an adversary negotiation process. It is extremely significant that during its more than 400 man hours of deliberation, the commission did not become immersed in adversary patterns. Rather, it became a group of cooperative human beings with many different points of view who dedicated themselves to the question of how living conditions, living patterns and the relationships between living and learning in the academic situation might be improved. Every recommendation represents a consensus of the entire commission. No votes were taken; no parliamentary procedure used. Divergent points of view, of which there were many, were reconciled in every instance.







    Commission Responsibility
The Commission feels itself to be deeply responsible to two major publics -- the students of Snyder-Phillips on the one hand and the Administration and the Board of Trustees on the other. It is the sincere wish of the commission that its recommendations be recognized in the context of the intent to improve the living and learning qualities of Snyder-Phillips and Justin Morrill College. It is the commission's belief that its recommendations can and will make that portion of the Michigan State University residential system represented by Snyder-Phillips a significantly more attractive and meaningful place in which students may live and learn.
Principal Issue

In broad terms the principal issue from which almost all of the problems stemmed is the degree of self determination affecting the residential and learning environment which is to be permitted students required to live in University dormitories. As a result the commission dealt with four principal concerns: one, the degree of self determination as it relates to living-learning patterns and living conditions; two, organizational structures and procedures which would affect the living-learning patterns; three, the interrelationships between residential life and academic life; four, mechanisms for the solution of impasse situations providing opportunity for appeal. The areas considered in depth included the relationships of the residents to the ongoing processes in student affairs, residence hall management and the academic affairs of Justin Morrill College whose students make up a major portion (64%) of this residence hall.







Experimental Mode

All of the recommendations of the commission, many of which may appear to be radical in comparison with the present system, have been cast in an experimental mode. The concept of experimentation carries two meanings. First, it explicitly states that changes in the system are to be subjected to continuing self and external evaluation involving a final decision to continue or draw back. In other words, it guarantees the right to fail as well as succeed. Second, the program is experimental in the sense that it in some measure sets apart a comparatively homogeneous community from the larger residential academic system with the hope that it may prove to provide useful insights for the larger system.

Time Scale

The brevity of the time period has precluded the development of extensive rationales for the recommendations. As a result, the premises are stated with those brief definitions and explanations deemed imperative. The commission singly or in concert will be pleased to discuss its recommendations with any interested individual or group.










(Editorial Note: The primary thrust of all of the recommendations relating to the conduct of student affairs is to provide a greater measure of self determination at the unit level. The commission firmly believes that more satisfactory and meaningful relationships can be developed when decision making is at the lowest possible level. On the other hand, the commission wishes to maintain those constraints which will assure that the unit is a coordinate part of Michigan State University.)

1. Snyder-Phillips shall be designated as a unified residence hall unit.

At present the Board of Trustees designates Snyder as a man's hall and Phillips as a woman's hall. It is proposed that these two halls be declared a unified residence hall unit for two reasons. First, such designation will permit a coordinated governmental structure for the hall as a physical entity involving the concerns of all of the men and women residents of both halls. Second, the change in designation by sex will make possible experimentation with alternate living patterns.

2. Snyder-Phillips residents shall compose the constituency to determine the governmental structure of the living-learning unit and its association with university-wide student government.

It is the intent that the entire residential population of both Snyder and Phillips shall be the persons who will create a new government, establish procedures, and determine policies for internal governance and external relations. The governmental unit will determine the degree of association with university-wide student government by mutual agreement.

3. Snyder-Phillips residents living in the unit at the time of the approval of these guidelines shall determine by referendum the initial structure of government.

The residents of the hall will determine by referendum the initial structure of hall government. The word "initial" explicitly suggests that the form of government may change. This insures that future residents are encouraged to re-examine the legitimacy, appropriateness and effectiveness of their government.







4. Snyder-Phillips government shall develop such living unit regulations as are necessary for the general welfare of its residents. Snyder-Phillips government shall determine how such regulations are to be enforced.

The unit is charged with the responsibility for the governance of the hall. As a result, the residents must develop effective internal controls. While recognizing the primacy of the community, the government must also provide for the welfare of individual residents. It is the responsibility of the unit to reach and maintain this balance.

5. Snyder-Phillips government may request services from the Office of Student Affairs to meet their needs. The Office of Student Affairs shall determine which of the requested services are feasible and may offer alternate services.

The commission has been informed that the Office of Student Affairs is planning to place primary emphasis on the provision of administrative, educational and support services. It is within this context that the hall government may request any services including personnel that it needs. It is assumed that the Office of Student Affairs will accept a continuing responsibility to meet the needs of the unit, subject to financial constraints and within the limits of what it deems an appropriate service. The guideline implies mutual responsibility.

6. Snyder-Phillips government shall be free to determine alternate living patterns. (For proposed model, see Appendix A.)

Appendix A sets forth in detail the rationale and a proposed principle for alternate living patterns. The commission believes it is the responsibility of the unit to make alternate living arrangements available to meet the diverse needs of its residents. Opportunities, on a voluntary basis, to provide alternate living relationships similar to those available in society at large should be possible as an experiment in Snyder-Phillips.

7. Snyder-Phillips government shall recognize the authority of civil law and the Bylaws and Ordinances of the Board of Trustees.

This statement indicates that the newly defined residence unit will live within and abide by the laws of the larger University and civil communities of which it is a part. These Ordinances and Bylaws will be as binding on the residents of Snyder-Phillips as they would be on any other resident of the University or civil communities.







8. The Snyder-Phillips government shall associate itself with the University judicial system in order that any impasse may be resolved.

It is recognized that any new arrangement or relationship between this experimental unit and the University may result in certain impasse situations. As a safeguard to the government of Snyder-Phillips and the University, a mandatory association with the University judicial system is included.

9. The preceding guidelines shall be entered into as an experiment subject to continuing evaluation with a final decision after two years.

It is understood that the concepts outlined are changes in the present structure. For this reason, they are considered to be experimental. Continuing evaluation is essential to determine the degree of success or failure. Appropriate internal and external agencies are to be coordinated to develop criteria for continuing evaluation. At the end of two years a decision point will be reached at which time it will be decided whether to continue, modify, or terminate this experiment.

10. The preceding guidelines shall be approved immediately and implemented as soon as possible.

Recognizing a distinction between "approval" and "implementation" it is realized that both may not be possible or desirable at the same time. Believing that the need for change is immediate, we request that the guidelines be approved immediately. Recognizing technical problems, we realize that immediate implementation may not be feasible. In other words, we recognize the need for phasing in some of the recommendations, but are asking that these problems do not delay approval of the spirit and initiation of the guidelines as a whole.

11. The Snyder-Phillips government should develop procedures for cooperation and communication with all pertinent University agencies.

This article of good faith indicates mutual concern for the success of the experiment by developing procedures for cooperation and communication.

12. The Snyder-Phillips government should develop procedures for the protection of all kinds of minorities.

The term "minority" is defined in a general sense as well as an ethnic sense.








(Editorial Note: The thrust of these recommendations is to place cooperative decision making at the lowest possible managerial level within the framework of the major financial constraints placed on the building by its indenture. The commission assumes cooperative and responsible action by all parties involved and has attempted to provide the protection necessary for a balanced system.)

1. Snyder-Phillips shall be designated as a single unit for management purposes.

For the past year and a half, Snyder-Phillips and Mason-Abbot residential halls have shared a common manager and food service manager. This was an experiment to determine whether the manager for two residence units could maintain the same degree of effectiveness as under the previous system of two managers. Recognizing that Snyder-Phillips, as an experimental residential unit, coupled with Justin Morrill College, an experimental academic unit, creates significant differences in student populations and management problems, the commission proposes that Snyder-Phillips be returned to its original state of having its own manager.

2. Snyder-Phillips government shall select a commission to advise the manager of the residence halls concerning the selection or removal of the manager of Snyder-Phillips and shall approve or disapprove proposed candidates and proposed terminations. The Snyder-Phillips government shall review the manager each year.

The proposed plan for the involvement of students and management in the selection of the Snyder-Phillips manager derives from the "advise and consent" model. It places the professional responsibility for recruiting candidates in the hands of management. This recognizes that management must identify professionally qualified candidates and protect the candidates' rights as a part of the University's organization of administrative and professional employees. Simultaneously, it recognizes that students should have a voice in determining which of equally qualified managers they wish to have run their residence hall. The proposal further urges a balanced and cooperative relationship in reviewing the effectiveness of the manager.







3. The manager of Snyder-Phillips shall regularly consult with and be responsive to the ongoing needs of students. The Snyder-Phillips student government shall develop a system of cooperative decision making. The manager's decision shall stand in the cases of disputes with student government, subject to appeal to an appellate board.

It is the intent that this guideline will guarantee that the manager and student government will work out an explicit and defined form for working together so that each fully understands and is involved in the total management of the hall. Second, it guarantees the manager scope to exercise his professional capabilities and provides him with the necessary freedom to develop a pattern of professional management free from the continual threat of veto and within an open system of consultation and communication.

4. An appellate board, whose decisions shall be final, will be composed of three representatives from the Department of Residence Halls, three students from the University's standing Committee on Business Affairs, and chaired by the area manager as chairman ex officio without vote. (For suggested procedures, see below.)

In those rare instances in which an impasse ensues, protection is provided for both the manager and the student government by the provision of an appellate procedure.

5. The manager of Snyder-Phillips shall have the maximum feasible freedom within University legal and financial constraints to make decisions at the unit level.

The intent of this recommendation is to encourage the widest possible individual managerial authority and responsibility which would give the manager greater professional opportunities within the constraints of the system.

6. The preceding guidelines shall be entered into as an experiment subject to continuing evaluation with a final decision after two years.

The rationale and suggested procedures in matters of management are directly comparable to those established for student affairs. (See item 9, page 7.)







Recommendations on Food Service and Occupancy

1. Food preparation should be the responsibility of assigned personnel with continuing student-management review of menus, quality, quantity and other relevant factors.

2. The present system of preselection of rooms should be maintained.

3. It would be the joint responsibility of residents and management to assure that each room is in acceptable condition at the beginning and end of each period of occupancy -- this responsibility to be assured through the room deposits.

4. Residents and management would develop schedules, systems, and procedures for maintenance. Management would enter rooms without the permission of the occupant only in cases of emergency.

5. Students would be able to occupy their rooms during winter and spring breaks upon paying the additional costs.

Recommendations on Appellate Board Procedures

1. The board serves the purpose of adjudicating impasses in the managerial area of the unit.

2. Internal rules of order will be established by the board and communicated to management and the residents.

3. Complaints shall be forwarded to the chairmen of the board and hearings shall take place no later than ten days after the filing.

4. All decisions of the Appellate Board will be final and binding on both parties.








(Editorial Note: Snyder-Phillips has always included residents who were not members of Justin Morrill College. Since its second year, Justin Morrill College has always included students who were not residents of Snyder-Phillips. Approximately 64% of Snyder-Phillips residents are students in Justin Morrill College. Therefore, the College and the residence hall have always been and will continue to be two communities with significant overlap.

The commission believes that any significant detailing of specific relationship between the Justin Morrill College and Snyder-Phillips communities is too complex a problem to resolve within the time span provided. Similarly, the commission believes that too few of the involved constituencies are represented on this particular commission.

With the emergence of a more nearly self determining social community in Snyder-Phillips, it is now necessary to reexamine the kinds of relationships that Justin Morrill College, an academic community, should have with it. Therefore, we recommend that decisions on this larger and more complex issue be left to the faculty and students of Justin Morrill College and to the University of which the College is a part.

Despite the foregoing, the commission does recommend some general guidelines which essentially reaffirm the relationship of the College to the University.)

1. Justin Morrill College should be reaffirmed as an experimental academic unit to investigate innovative approaches to teaching / learning and specifically the interrelationships between the college and the residential community.

At its creation in 1965, Justin Morrill College was encouraged to experiment with curriculum and other programs as an ongoing dimension of its total design. Many academic experiments have been conducted. In addition to the academic experiments, the College is also concerned with developing new forms of interrelationship between the academic and the living communities located together in Snyder-Phillips. The changes proposed and the degree of student self determination for Snyder-Phillips make it both necessary and desirable for the College to restudy the concept of "living and learning" and to concern itself with the ways in which residence hall units may cooperate with the teaching - learning mission of the University.







2. Justin Morrill College should make use of the full research and development resources of the University in the design and testing of its experiments in living and learning and should encourage and facilitate appropriate University participation in and use of Justin Morrill College experimentation.

There is a great deal of research being conducted on the teaching - learning process at Michigan State University and elsewhere across the country. Much of this research does not get tested in actual classrooms and college programs. The commission believes that the University should make a more concentrated and focused effort to apply some of these ideas to discover their appropriateness for higher education. Justin Morrill College offers an environment in which to try out the best insights into the learning - teaching process.

3. Justin Morrill College should continue to have maximum feasible freedom within University constraints to make decisions at a unit level.

In order for Justin Morrill College to become a truly experimental center, it needs a degree of "laboratory freedom" from accepted forms in order to invent alternate patterns. The commission encourages the development of this "laboratory freedom" on the local level before asking approval at higher levels in the University system. In addition, the College should set up procedures to make certain that all programs are in fact tested and their results made available to appropriate University bodies for study and possible adoption elsewhere.

4. Justin Morrill College (defined as faculty and students) should develop procedures for the inclusion of students and faculty at the College decision making level.

At present the dean has sole authority to approve Advisory Council recommended programs. In actuality the process of approval is a matter of consensus. Recognizing this fact the commission recommends that the consensus process be institutionalized in the College.








(Editorial Note: The commission recommends the acceptance of the following student proposal as a model for experimentation in alternate living patterns. The commission is not sufficiently expert to judge the specific projected ratios of one type of precinct to another and leaves this decision to the appropriate authorities. The commission believes that the proposal provides adequate safeguards for minorities not wishing to participate and new freshmen.)



(Winter Term - 1970)



Since Winter Term of 1969, the topic of coed living in Snyder-Phillips has been under serious discussion. The subject was at that time considered as a solution to overcrowding in Phillips as well as desirable for students. Several objections to the proposal as presented were raised by various groups. Major structural changes would be necessary in the residence halls; non-JMC residents felt pressured by what appeared to be a JMC administrative decision; other students opposed the vast number of security precautions included in the proposal; others, both faculty and students, opposed the concept of coed living. Before a consensus could be reached, time ran out and implementation became impossible, so the proposal was laid aside.

The topic was returned to discussion early Winter Term 1970, and a joint committee of Snyder-Phillips residents was established. Meeting with Dean Rohman, the head advisors of both residence halls, the area manager,





Appendix A - 2

and both house councils were followed by an all-dorm meeting considering the general possibilities. Individual floor discussions were held and a survey of residents was made (see appendix). From the results of this survey and further consultation with people from RHPO, the Dean of Students Office and JMC, a finalized proposal was drawn up. A referendum showed overwhelming support in both dorms (see appendix), and preparation to take the policy through the necessary channels was made.


Beginning with Fall Term, 1970, it is proposed that Snyder and Phillips residence halls institute the following form of coed living: alternating precincts of men and women in a ratio of 5 to 6 with two coed precincts in each hall. Coed precincts will have alternating rooms of men and women and sign-up will be limited to upper classmen, with vacancies filled by students who indicate a desire to live in a coed precinct. In both halls the coed precincts will be adjacent with one bathroom designated for MEN and the other for WOMEN.

A system consistent with security precautions and allowing residents maximum freedom will be initiated consistent with University regulations.

This living arrangement will be formally evaluated at the end of one academic year, and retained or adjusted on the basis of that evaluation.

While JMC strongly encourages all members residing on campus to live in Snyder-Phillips, no students will be absolutely required to do so. Incoming freshmen will be informed of the implementation of this policy by the end of Spring Term this year, and will be assigned to the single-sexed precincts.





Appendix A - 3

At present a difficult social situation exists in Snyder-Phillips residence halls. Segregation of the sexes has produced an atmosphere misrepresentative of the world outside the university environment. Investigation of reform has led us to propose an alternative consistent with student demands, university goals and the philosophy of Justin Morrill College (JMC). The proposal is to make Snyder-Phillips a coeducational living / learning unit. The structure proposed satisfies university desires to explore the whole province of knowledge and learning, to provide the best possible living / learning atmosphere in its residence halls, to realize JMC goals, to maintain the best possible reconciliation of the principles of necessary order and maximum freedom, to prepare the student for society at large by providing opportunity for cross-cultural education in a residential community.
The advantages of this coed living proposal are many. First, socialization possibilities for the student will be significantly increased. Communication between men and women will be facilitated academically and socially. A greater sense of community with the halls will be established, among JMC students as well as between JMC and non-JMC residents. Coed staffing and coed government will provide opportunity for increased interaction between sexes, formal and otherwise. Working together for common concerns will encourage understanding, responsibility, and a broader perspective among all involved.
Second the university and the student will benefit economically. Coed living is more attractive than the status quo and will help keep the dorm



Appendix A - 4

filled to capacity. The presence of a night receptionist on both sides will reduce losses due to destruction and theft, a savings which may compensate for the expense of an additional receptionist. Increased receipts with reduced expenditures constitute a significant financial advantage. Furthermore, provision of greater diversity in residence hall living is a major concern at MSU. But before initiating extensive policy or physical changes, the university must experiment to test the merits of the proposal.
Campus-wide interest in coed living necessitates such experimentation, and JMC provides the ideal atmosphere for this innovation.
Objections to the concept of coeducational living also exist, but none are insurmountable. It is not the intent of this proposal to encourage cohabitation or premarital intercourse. Interaction between men and women on a daily basis will foster more responsible behavior and a greater awareness of the burden of increased freedom. Recent trends at this university -- liberalization of women's hours, the open house policy, and the McKee Report -- indicate that our proposal for coed living is the logical extension of demonstrated trust in student responsibility.
Those who do not desire to live in a coed residence hall will not be forced to do so. As shown by the questionnaire and referendum this number is small. Incoming freshmen will be informed of the living arrangement. Because of the residential nature of JMC, they are encouraged to live in Snyder-Phillips but will not be so required. Freshmen will not be assigned to coed precincts; adjustment to dorm life will not differ significantly from the present.

Much thought, discussion and opinion gathering has gone into the coed living proposal; it has been structured to meet university, college and student needs.



Appendix A - 5



Participant breakdown:










Junior and Senior












Junior and Senior


"Are you in favor of some form of coed living in Phillips-Snyder?"










Please rank the following layouts in order of preference (1, 2, 3):


Alternating floors



Alternating precincts



If possible, some coed precincts


"Would you sign up for a room in a coed precinct if it were possible?"






















Appendix A - 6

"Would you object to the coed proposal if:


a) Closing (lock-up with guests permitted) were necessary in both dorms?



















b) Closing were eliminated in both dorms?"



















"Are you in favor of some form of coed living in Phillips-Snyder?"




"I am adamantly opposed"









"I am opposed"









To persons planning on leaving the dorm by next fall:


"Would you stay in Phillips-Snyder if a coed proposal were enacted?"





















Appendix A - 7



With 78% of the residents voting on the proposal, tallies were as follows:


















"I am in favor of going coed as outlined in the Coed Proposal at a time to be decided later by Snyder-Phillips dorms."




Number Voting



Voted Yes



Voted No






Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer Spacer