Thirty-one remaining non-signers form the Group on Academic Freedom
to promote their cause to the public and through legal strategies,
and provide financial assistance to any faculty who are dismissed.
Professor T.J. Kent, Tolmans son-in-law, finds a lawyer, Stanley
A. Weigel of San Francisco, who is willing to provide legal support
for the non-signers.
President Sproul meets with three of the leading non-signers and
tells them the Regents will probably vote to dismiss them, because
of the fear of some Regents that if they give in to a small group
of non-signers this year, a larger number will refuse to sign the
following year, and Regental power will be undermined.
The Regents meet. Sproul reports there are only 84 remaining
non-signers of the 157 recommended for dismissal. Sproul asks
that the remaining faculty non-signers who received favorable reviews
by the Committees on Privilege and Tenure be retained. Several
faculty, both non-signers and signers, speak to the Regents. Professor
Clark Kerr notes that the non-signing faculty are among the Universitys
most independent spirits and asks if the Regents are
willing to dismiss them for their sense of independence. Regent
Neylan and other Regents speak strongly against retaining the non-signers. Sprouls
recommendation to confirm the 39 faculty non-signers in their positions
is approved by a vote of 10-9. Regent Neylan then changes his
vote from no to yes and announces he will
move to reconsider the motion at the August Board meeting.
The non-signers meet
that evening and embark on a lobbying strategy to defeat any reconsideration
of the Regents votes. Other faculty, however, begin to lobby
the non-signers to sign the oath, hoping to avoid any further controversy. Professor
Tolman says, Personally I feel that nobody would have any
respect for me if I should sign now, and I certainly would have
no respect for myself.
One non-signer says
in a letter to another faculty member: Professors come and
go; Presidents come and go; Regents come and go; but a University
of this size and eminence continues on. If times are favorable,
this University will continue to be great. If the times are
unfavorable, this University like all others in the country will
suffer, but not because a few of us sticking to our principles are
being fired, but because the world climate and the national climate
will no longer make intellectual freedom and university greatness
The Academic Senate Committee on Academic Freedom meets. The
feeling is that faculty sentiment has shifted to support of The
Regents since the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June,
and that the non-signers' position has little support on the faculty
or among members of the public.
The Group for Academic Freedom meets and hears their lawyer advise
that this is the last chance to sign. If the Board votes against
them, they will be dismissed without recourse within the University. The
majority say they will still not sign.
The Regents meet. All but two are present. Press reports
have been favoring dismissal. The Los Angeles Examiner has
editorialized, The real question is whether educators, under
the cloak of academic freedom, shall be free to poison the minds
of American youth with the fallacious doctrines of a foreign despotism. United
Nations forces are facing defeat in the early stages of the Korean
War, a situation which influences much public opinion. The
Regents debate, and some who favor dismissal say that the matter
has cone down to whether faculty should obey the governing authority
of the Regents. One ally of Regent Neylan says, No Regent
has ever accused a member of the faculty of being a Communist. The
Regents vote 12-10 to reverse their July decision, and dismiss the
faculty; non-signers are given ten days to change their minds, and
granted severance payment of one academic year to all non-signers
who choose to resign. The crucial vote in favor of dismissal
comes from the new Alumni Regent who says that leading members of
the alumni Committee which had tried to negotiate a compromise would
support his position.
A lawsuit is filed on behalf of 20 non-signers.
The non-signers also
start to raise money to assist those dismissed. In two weeks,
$9,000 is pledged among southern California supporters, and more
than $18,000 will be raised for the Southern non-signers. Ultimately
more than $70,000 for the Northern non-signers will be raised from
some seven hundred UC faculty, as well as many others. This
money is used to support non-signers through 1950, but by the fall
of 1951 only two non-signers who were part of the Northern Section
of the Academic Senate remain in financial need; the others have
secured employment or income elsewhere.
Compiled by Steve Finacom