Recommendation of California Alumni Association to Board of Regents Regarding Implementation of Anti-Communist Policy of University of California
April 19, 1950
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:
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:
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:
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:
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
Source: Recommendation of California Alumni Association to Board of Regents Regarding Implementation of Anti-Communist Policy of University of California [Berkeley, 1950]
Copyright © 1999-2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 11/19/99.