Recommendation of California Alumni Association to Board of Regents Regarding Implementation of Anti-Communist Policy of University of California


April 19, 1950

ALUMNI COUNCIL,
CALIFORNIA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION,
University of California,
Berkeley, California.


FELLOW CALIFORNIANS:

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 World.

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 reasons:

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 form).

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 citizensbe 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 the faculty.

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 "equivalent affirmation".

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 thoroughly.

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.

 

Respectfully submitted,

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]

 

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