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