Erwin 2, The score for this quarter is now Frank Erwin 2; University of Texas 0, as Frank would doubtlessly put it. In one week UT lost both Dr. William Arrowsmith and Dr. John Silber. Arrowsmith, who is a scrappy fighter as well as one of the finest classical scholars in the country, resigned with a blast against Erwin which should have made even Erwin blush. Frank responded cordially by smearing Arrowsmith through every medium that would put out his spurious charges without checking them. The night after Erwin’s distortions had been disseminated to the public by a complaisant press, Frank was, as usual, at the 40 Acres Club. He was overheard boasting to his buddies there, “Huh, that Arrowsmith, he thought he was gonna score on me. He got down to my 10-yard-line and thought he had it made. But then I started makin’ my moves and suddenly he found himself callin’ defensive plays.” We recall with great affection one of the stories Bill Arrowsmith used to tell about his arrival at UT in 1968. Retiring Chacellor Harry Ransom was at the airport to greet Arrowsmith, who, unaccustomed to expansive Texas manners, was dumbfounded by Ransom’s verbal avalanche. Finally Ransom, who then affected a folksy style, inquired cordially, “Do you believe in layin’ your cards on the table, Dr. Arrowsmith?” “Oh, yes, certainly, I believe in laying my cards on the table,” replied Arrowsmith, nervously braced for anything. “Well, Ah’m gonna lay my cards on the table, Dr. Arrowsmith. We got shit for a Classics Department here, but we’re rich!” Arrowsmith went on to build up an excellent classics department which is respected throughout the country. Was respected. Erwin charged that Arrowsmith was being paid $3,600 a month for teaching one course to 13 students. In the first place, $32,400 a year is not a high salary for a man of Arrowsmith’s abilities and reputation. In the second. place, Arrowsmith, like most scholars of his caliber, is given one semester of a heavy teaching load and one semester of a light teaching load with time for research and writing. Arrowsmith’s fine reputation is based in part on his writing and translations. Erwin chose to single out a semester during which Arrowsmith carried a light load and left the impression that Arrowsmith wasn’t doing anything else. He was, in fact, on assignment to the state 20 The Texas Observer U.T. department at the time as an educational adviser to five foreign countries. During the previous semester, Arrowsmith taught six courses, 160 students, most of them undergraduates. One reason the Texas press may have carried Erwin’s charges without checking them out is that Erwin made a little tour of Texas newspapers last summer after he fired John Silber as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. He is known to have visited the offices of The Houston Post, The Houston Chronicle, and The Dallas Morning News. He came, he said, to tell his side of the story off-the-record. He said it could not be printed because it would make the legislature very angry and the legislature would cut the university’s funds and that would be very bad for the U. At these meetings Erwin told top editors pretty much the same things he made public after Arrowsmith resigned. He reportedly accused Silber of setting up a good friend of his for a year in Paris, a freebie ride. Erwin referred to the year spent in Paris by Roger Shattuck, professor of Romance Languages, from mid-69 to mid-70. The truth is that Shattuck was informed in December of 1968 that the American Council of Learned Societies was giving him $8,000 to go to Paris to complete a book on the avant-garde in European politics and the arts, 1914-1939. In May, 1969, the University Research Institute notified Shattuck that he would receive $10,000 from the Institute as their share of his year in Paris and they apologized for not being able to give him half his salary, which is the usual amount granted for such leaves. In order to get the grant from the institute, Shattuck had to go through an ad hoc committee, the dean of the graduate school and the president of the university. Silber, as Dean of Arts and Sciences, had nothing to do with it. Shattuck, who has been at U.T. since 1956, obviously deserved a leave. The $10,000 Shattuck got from the university for the year in Paris was 37% of his salary. He has four children. The import of Erwin’s off-the-record charges was that Silber, Arrowsmith, et al, were responsible for mismanagement and misappropriation of university funds. We pause here to mention the $489,000 university plane with its two pilots. An Erwin special. The signs on the plane say “Hook ’em horns” as well as “Fasten your seat belt.” Another irony of Erwin’s off-the-record insinuations of evil-doing at U.T. was that his secret visits to the papers were made within .a few weeks of his July 29, 1969, press release which read in part: “During recent days there has been a systematic and vicious attack upon the administrators and Board of Regents by anonymous people who have persuaded Oertain.,.members :!;bf the press” to , be their .dupes,. 4arid Through the use of rumors and innuendos attributed to unidentified ‘informed sources,’ these character assassins have publicly attacked the president, chancellor-elect and chairman of the board of regents repeatedly, yet neither they nor the reporters have had the honesty or the integrity to identify the source of these calumnies.” Erwin made much of Arrowsmith’s salary. It doesn’t compare well to the salaries of professors of similar stature at other universities, but it’s interesting to check it against the salaries of other UT professors. Walt Rostow gets $35,000 for two semesters’ work, his two seminars. Charles Alan Wright gets $70,000, part of it from a foundation, for teaching one course. There are others in that bracket. These men are fine teachers; we are not suggesting they are overpaid. As for Erwin’s comment about Arrowsmith’s “lucrative playhouse,” there is, of course, the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Its annual budget is $550,000. It has 17 students. The LBJ’ School is ‘perhaps the best example of the trend, supported by Frank Erwin, to develop a research professorate at the University of Texas. Gordon Whaley, dean of the graduate school, has worked to achieve a research professorate highly paid professors teaching a few graduate students and devoting most of their time to their own research. It is ironic that Arrowsmith and Silber, both champions of the humanistic teaching ethic, should be accused of behaving like research professors. John Silber, a humanist of enormous integrity and decency, resigned more quietly than Arrowsmith, to accept the position of president of Boston University. The Observer has learned that Silber may be going from the frying pan to the fire, with an odd twist. Sources in Boston report that the chairman of the board of regents there is Silber’s greatest supporter but the rest of the board and some faculty aren’t too happy about his appointment. It seems some of the deans at Boston University have heard from somewhere that Silber is an empire-builder, a power man. The ‘ Observer also learned that Silber had been considered for another presidency in a major university system in the East. But an Erwin-appointed administrator, when called by a vice-chancellor of the system for a recommendation on Silber, painted Silber as an empire-builder, a power-hungry man. There are some anti-Erwin faculty members at U.T. who believe Silber was engaged in empire building. May be. Folks who fight Frank Erwin have a tendency to wind up fighting on his level. M.I.
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