Recommendation of UC Alumni Association to
Regents on Anti-Communism Policy, April 20, 1950
April 19, 1950
CALIFORNIA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION,
University of California,
Our Alma Mater's policy on Communism and related
issues is of deep concern to all Californians, as well as to the
Board of Regents, President Sproul, our distinguished faculty, the
students on the several Campuses, the people of our State and Nation.
This matter is one of the paramount issues of the day.
Our Alumni Committee, speaking for the 36,000
members of the California Alumni Association who are representative
of the 100,000 Alumni, was requested by President Sproul and members
of the Board of Regents and faculty representatives to prepare for
the Board of Regents our recommendations as to an appropriate solution
of the matter under review.
The Committee went to work and has been in constant
session. Its first objectives were to explore opinion as to the
problems and to hear responsible suggestions as to the best method
of reaching a solution.
To that end, the Committee has conferred with
almost all members of the Board of Regents individually, has talked
to representatives of the Faculty Committee on many occasions, to
representatives of the Faculty who have refused to sign the oath,
to representatives of the Faculty who believe the "Loyalty
Oath" is indispensable, to hundreds of alumni of the University,
to heads of the Student Bodies and other student representatives
of various Campuses of the University. Conferences have been held
with the President of the University, Governor Warren, and the Chairman
of the Board of Regents, all of whom have been most helpful in giving
their views to the Committee.
In order to resolve any difficult problem, it
is necessary first to define the problem. For the sake of clarity,
we feel our findings as to the problem involved should be stated:
The problem is two-fold and, in our opinion, is
so considered by all groups and individuals we have interviewed.
The divisions of the problem are:
1. Should faculty and other employees of the
University be required to declare individually their status with
respect to membership in the Communist Party?
2. Should the President and the faculty have
the same right of review in cases of members who refuse to conform
to a firm policy which excludes members of the Communist Party
from employment in the University, and the right to recommend
to the Regents the action to be followed, as they do in all other
matters affecting tenure?
On the first point, that of a firm policy
of excluding members of the Communist Party from employment in the
University, there is general agreement that, in view of world conditions
of today and the realistic fact that we are in a "cold war"
with Russia, such a policy is necessary and essential when the future
of our youth is involved. Furthermore, it is undeniable that a member
of the Communist Party can not meet the basic responsibility of
a Faculty member with respect to impartial scholarship and free
pursuit of truth.
The Alumni of the University and the public of
the State of California have strong feelings on this point. Any
weakening of this policy by Regents, Faculty, or the President would,
in the opinion of the Committee, have disastrous effects on the
future of the University.
Therefore, in the opinion of the Committee, the
question becomes one not of whether the faculty should declare themselves
individually with respect to membership in the Communist Party,
but rather the best method of such declaration.
It is our feeling, after many days of study, that
there is a better method of implementing this policy than the continuance
of the Loyalty Oath, even as an alternate.
Our reasons are these:
The Loyalty Oath has become a symbol not only
at the University but throughout the Nation as something that Faculty
should not be required to take because taking any other than the
Constitutional Oath is an infringement on the fundamental rights
of man and, therefore, sets them in a special class. We are not
passing on the merits of the feeling, but we must recognize its
existence not only at the University but throughout the Academic
It is the conviction of our Committee that the
same purposes that the Regents and the general public, as well as
Faculty, wish to accomplish by implementation of their policy of
excluding members of the Communist Party from employment in the
University can best be accomplished by other means for the following
a. The right of the Regents to prescribe conditions
of employment is indisputable. When an individual accepts conditions
of employment, he is subject to legal penalties if he violates
such conditions. The incorporation in a contract of the policy
of excluding members of the Communist Party from employment in
the University, therefore gives a better means of dealing individually
with each employee of the University.
b. On the University Faculty there is a large
group of aliens. These men are valuable members of the Faculty.
Such individuals cannot be required to take the Oath in its present
form. They can be required to state, as a condition of employment,
that they are not members of the Communist Party.
On the second point, that of tenure, the Committee
finds almost unanimous opinion among all groups that there should
be no departure from right of review by Faculty and President, with
right to recommend to Regents. It is recognized that the Regents,
as the governing body of the University, have and cannot delegate
the final authority affecting employment.
Our Committee endeavors have been to determine
the most effective way of implementing these objectives. Our Committee
has unanimously agreed as follows:
1. The firm policy of excluding members of the
Communist Party from employment in the University, in which both
the Regents and Faculty agree, can best be accomplished by the
simple inclusion in a "New Contract of Employment" of
a statement which reads:
"Having taken the Constitutional Oath of
office required of public officials of the State of California,
I hereby formally acknowledge my acceptance of the position and
salary named and also state that I am not a member of the Communist
Party or any other organization which advocates the overthrow
of the Government by force or violence and that I have no commitments
in conflict with my responsibilities with respect to impartial
scholarship and free pursuit of truth.
"I understand that the foregoing statement
is a condition of said employment and a consideration of payment
of said salary."
2. All parties be required to sign the
Constitutional Oath in the form required of all State officials
(except for non-citizens who can not be required to sign this
3. All parties be invited to sign the
"New Contract of Employment". Those who have already
signed the so-termed "Loyalty Oath" will not be required
to sign the "New Contract of Employment" for the current
academic year; they may do so if they wish, and thereupon may
withdraw their "Loyalty Oaths" if they so desire.
4. All parties who are not citizens be
required to sign the "New Contract of Employment", with
omission of the reference to the Constitutional Oath.
5. Non-signers of the "New Contract
of Employment" and (except in the case of non-citizens) of
the Constitutional Oath, who fail to sign for any reason (other
than as provided in paragraph 3 above) may petition through the
President for a hearing by the Committee on Privilege and Tenure,
after which the Regents will consider the findings and recommendations
of the Committee and the President before making a decision. This
has been the long standing procedure on this and similar matters
and in no manner interferes with or changes the so-termed "Tenure
or Review" privileges which are so close to the hearts of
Of necessity in good administrative procedure,
it is essential that the Constitutional Oath and the "New Form
of Contract", effective for the balance of the current academic
year, be signed promptly (not later than May 15, 1950) and, in the
case of any nonsigner, that petition to the President for review
by the Committee on Privilege and Tenure be made not later than
May 15,1950, and the review, findings and recommendations be completed
within one month thereafter (by June 15, 1950).
Under this program, the present "Loyalty
Oath" will be superseded by this simple but more effective
For the academic year beginning July 1, 1950
(and each subsequent academic year) the same requirements of Constitutional
Oath and form of contract are to be observed as to all Faculty members
and employees, with full preservation in each instance of the right
of petition and review.
The final results of the above program would be
that the "common objectives" of the Regents and Faculty
alike of barring members of the Communist Party from employment
by our University would have been accomplished thoughtfully and
To implement this program we recommend that:
1. Copies of this report be forwarded to President
Sproul as our Council's fulfillment of his request for recommendations.
2. President Sproul be requested to present
these recommendations to the Board of Regents at its April 21st
meeting for prompt action.
3. The recommendations included in this report
be made known to the many Regents, Faculty members and friends
of the University of California who have assisted the Committee
in its task, and for whose advice we are grateful.
These recommendations are the thoughtful and sincere
conclusions of the Committee as to the manner in which the University
may best be served. Careful consideration has been given to the
many suggestions and views of Regents, Faculty, Students and Alumni--given
with the purpose of achieving in a forthright, broad manner the
mutual objectives of all. For the fine spirit and cooperative disposition
of those whom the Committee has consulted, it can not adequately
express its appreciation.
S. D. Bechtel, Chairman
Paul L. Davies
Milton H. Esberg, Jr.
Kathryn K. Fletcher
Don H. McLaughlin
Source: Recommendation of California Alumni
Association to Board of Regents Regarding Implementation of Anti-Communist
Policy of University of California [Berkeley, 1950]