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Casper spells out to-do list; elimination of majors not on it

STANFORD -- Contrary to a newspaper headline, President Gerhard Casper told the Faculty Senate last week, "I have not advocated the elimination of majors."

Referring to a front-page story in the Sept. 23 San Francisco Chronicle, Casper told the senate that they could "rest in peace on that one" because he has no control over such issues.

The Chronicle said that "Casper suggested . . . the virtually heretical notion that students should not necessarily be required to concentrate on a single subject." The president was quoted as saying the college major "is not a law of nature."

Casper did not elaborate at the senate on what he meant.

The president used the well-attended first meeting of the new year to review actions that actually were initiated and completed during his first year, and to spell out tasks set for 1993- 94. Of the latter, four have been more or less addressed, he said: the Cabinet response to the University Committee on Minority Issues panel; the refocusing of the Office for Multicultural Development; questions about culture and cultures covered in his welcoming talk to freshmen; and the redrafting of the sexual harassment policy.

Other items still to be addressed this year, Casper said, are a new conflict of interest policy; the restructuring of the Stanford Medical Center and formation of a new Stanford Health System; and, most important, launching of the Commission on Undergraduate Education.

Still unsettled, he said, are Stanford's differences with the federal government on indirect costs.

"I hope I don't have to mention that again next year," he said.

Another unsettled item is earthquake recovery, which he said he would discuss at the next senate meeting.

He expressed appreciation for wide faculty involvement in the new homecoming reunion weekend, including teaching alumni courses. He said 5,500 alumni had preregistered, compared to about 3,500 alumni who attended reunions last year.

His final goal for the year, he said to laughter, is to beat Cal on Nov. 20.

During the question period following his remarks, Ron Rebholz, chair of English, challenged the assignment of trailers donated by the university for use of workers at Webb Ranch. The housing was supposed to be assigned by the Webb Ranch Worker Tenants' Council, Rebholz said. However, the Webbs are claiming ownership and have assigned several of the trailers at their discretion, including one to a supervisor, he said.

Casper responded that he would look into the matter and report back at the next meeting.



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