In 1949, during the Cold War, the Board of Regents of the University of California imposed a requirement that all University employees sign an oath affirming not only loyalty to the state constitution, but a denial of membership or belief in organizations (including Communist organizations) advocating overthrow of the United States government. Many faculty, students, and employees resisted the oath for violating principles of shared governance, academic freedom, and tenure. In the summer of 1950, thirty-one "non-signer" professors--including internationally distinguished scholars, not one of whom had been charged of professional unfitness or personal disloyalty--and many other UC employees were dismissed. The controversy raised critical questions for American higher education.

 


Loyalty Oath 50th Anniversary Symposium, October 1999


Student Newspapers x Archival Documents x Images


Past & Current Oaths x Faculty Member Non-Signers x Recollections x Timelines x Bibliography/Excerpts x Online Art Exhibit: Margaret Peterson x

 

Were you a faculty member, student, or employee of the University of California during the loyalty oath controversy?

The UC History Digital Archives is collecting recollections from those who experienced or witnessed the impact of this period on University of California campuses during the period 1949-1951.

We invite you to share your recollections, and, with your permission, we will post your story online. Please contribute your story to the growing collection of documents and images gathered here that recount major events in the history of the loyalty oath controversy.

Please send all recollections to The Center for Studies in Higher Education.

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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 09/29/06.