UCHDA Home > Archives & Exhibits > Loyalty Oath Controversy > Archival Documents >

Regent Moffitt, Vice President Deutsch to Governor Earl Warren, August 16, 1950

 

August 16, 1950

His EXCELLENCY, EARL WARREN
President of the Regents of the University of California
Sacramento 14, California


Dear Governor Warren:

It seems to us that the question concerning the 40 nonsigners has become a very narrow one, namely:

Does the resolution adopted by the Regents on April 21, 1950, provide for a hearing by the Senate Faculty Committee on Privilege and Tenure as an alternative to signing the special letter of acceptance?

If it does, surely every Regent would want that alternative to stand in good faith.

We suggest that an important key to the answer appears largely to have been overlooked and forgotten. It lies in the recommendations of the Alumni Committee chairmanned by Mr. Bechtel. These recommendations, dated April 19, 1950, were the basis of the Regents' resolution two days later.

With that in mind, we invite your attention to the core of the Committee's report.

On the second page, the Committee carefully defined the problems it undertook to solve. These are the exact words:

"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?"

Is it not perfectly clear from the foregoing that the Committee regarded the right of review as a major aspect of the over-all problem?

After discussing both of the quoted two-fold problems, and after stating that "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", the Alumni Committee proceeds to make, unanimously, its five-point settlement recommendation.

The recommendation as to the signing of the new contract of employment (containing the clause that the signer is not a member of the Communist Party, etc.) reads as follows:

"3. All parties be invited to sign the 'New Contract of Employment', but 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."

Now if the recommendation of the Alumni Committee was, as some claim, that signing the new contract of employment be the only means of obtaining re-employment, it is simply incredible to us that the word "invited" should have been used. It would have been so easy to use the word "required" or otherwise to make it clear, if such was the recommendation of the Alumni Committee, that "no special contract, no job".

But, of course, that was not the recommendation of the Committee, as can be seen from the fifth recommendation, which reads as follows:

"5. Non-signers * * * who fail to sign for any reason * * * 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 the faculty."

Do not these perfectly plain words make it crystal clear that the Alumni Committee held out to non-signers the honorable alternative of petition and review? And since the Regents' resolution was intended to carry out that compromise, is it not incumbent upon the Regents, as a matter of good faith, to honor the recommendations of the President of the University and of the Committee on Privilege and Tenure, unless the Regents, as to any particular individual recommended for reappointment, have some genuine basis for denying reappointment on the ground that that individual is a Communist or Communist sympathizer or otherwise unfit to teach?

We respectfully urge upon you that the question now is no more than one of good faith in honoring the provisions governing the settlement of the oath controversy.

In fact, we wonder if the question now before you may not be even narrower. A majority of the Regents at the last meeting acted to approve the recommendations of the President in regard to the 40 non-signers. Surely this action, so well justified by the facts, should not now be repudiated.

Yours for the University,
James K. Moffitt, 1886
Monroe E. Deutsch, 1902
Harley C. Stevens, 1922

cc: Dr. Robert Gordon Sproul,
President of the University of California
Berkeley, California


Source: To Bring You the Facts, pamphlet privately printed and distributed by eighteen alumni of the Berkeley campus, August 17, 1950.

Feedback
Copyright © 2002-2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 12/15/03.