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Expanded Timeline: Events of the Loyalty Oath Controversy and Historical Background

 

Introduction

1940-1948

1949
January-February
March-April
May-June
July-August
September-October
November-December

1950
January-February
March-April
May-June
July-August
September-October
November-December

1951-1956

 

September-October 1950


September 1
The District Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, issues an order to show cause, staying the dismissal and requiring the Regents to legally explain their action. 

September 18
The Berkeley chapter of the American Association of University Professors meets and adopts a resolution asking the national office to investigate the University of California “with respect to faculty tenure and status." An inquiry is started, but no formal action will be taken by the AAUP until April 7, 1956, long after the UC controversy is resolved in the courts. 

September 21
Governor Warren calls for the Legislature to adopt a special loyalty oath for every public employee in California. Despite his earlier opposition to the UC loyalty oath, Warren is now engaged in a re-election campaign and in open controversy with his fellow Republican, Lieutenant Governor Goodwin Knight, who has supported the University’s oath as a member of the Board of Regents.

September 26
The Legislature adopts a state loyalty oath, which is signed by Governor Warren on October 3, called the Levering Oath after Assemblyman Harold Levering, its principal author. It requires every public employee and civil defense worker in California to swear that he or she does not advocate or is not “a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or the State of California by force or violence.” and “I will not advocate or become a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means.”

The State Senate also votes to commend the Board of Regents for dismissing the non-signers of the University’s oath.

By petition of several faculty members, the Northern Section of the Academic Senate meets the same day in Berkeley to consider a proposed motion to “censure” the Regents. About 700 faculty attend. After considerable debate and several motions, the Senate adopts a resolution offered by UC Vice President and Provost Emeritus Monroe Deutsch thanking those members of the Regents who had voted not to dismiss non-signers and condemning the Board majority for its action that has “violated the principle of tenure, an absolutely essential condition in a free university.” The Senate also votes to ask its Committee on Privilege and Tenure who reconsider its unfavorable recommendation to the Regents on the five non-signers who had refused to say they were non-communists or anti-communists. The motion passes, but is scheduled for reconsideration. However, many faculty are angry at their colleagues for violations of Senate procedure or for trying to prolong the controversy. There is deep animosity between many members of the faculty, particularly between some at Berkeley and some at other northern campuses.

October 9
The Northern Section of the Academic Senate meets again and requests that its Committee on Privilege and Tenure further review the cases of the five faculty so they might “be fully cleared of all imputation of disloyalty and honorably restored to the enjoyment of their respective positions.” 

The Committee does conduct a review and asks President Sproul to reinstate the five faculty. 

October 13
The State Controller, charged with determining if UC employees are subject to the Levering Oath, announces that they are and they must sign "or go without pay.” This is seen by many Regents as a threat to the constitutional autonomy of the University. The Board of Regents adopts a resolution which requests, but does not require, UC employees to sign the Levering Oath. 

October 27
The Regents hold a special session on the Levering Oath, and hear that only 32 percent of UC employees have signed in the three days since the oath was mailed to them. The Board asks its attorney for advice.

 

Compiled by Steve Finacom

 

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Last updated 12/15/03.