During the year. . .
In a celebrated spy
trial Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of transmitting
atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, and sentenced to death.
The United States Supreme
Court in Dennis v. United States supports the effective outlawing
of the U.S. Communist Party.
The United States begins
nuclear tests in the Nevada desert. Over seven years more than
100 open-air tests will be held.
All UC employees except one research assistant and eleven teaching
assistants at Berkeley have signed the Levering Oath.
The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Northern Section of the
Academic Senate releases a report entitled The Consequences of
the Abrogation of Tenure. It argues that the University
has suffered harm because of the Regents action, particularly by
dismissing non-signing faculty to whom all forms of totalitarianism
are equally loathsome." It is noted that 55 courses are
not being taught because their faculty were lost, faculty at more
than 40 other American colleges and universities have opposed the
Regents action, and 47 distinguished individuals have refused to
accept faculty positions at UC because of the oath.
The District Court of Appeal rules in Tolman v. Underhill
that the Regents acted improperly and violated the Constitutional
requirement that the University be free of all political and sectarian
influence and that faculty are public officers under the Constitution
and cannot be subjected to any test of loyalty other than the State
Constitutional Oath. The Regents are ordered to issue letters
of appointment to the non-signers.
The attorney for the Regents files a petition for rehearing in the
morning. The Regents meet in the afternoon. A motion to
withdraw the petition for rehearing carries eleven to ten. Once
again Regent Neylan changes his no vote to yes
so he can move for reconsideration at the next meeting.
The Regents meet and by a vote of 12-10 (Neylan is not at the meeting)
refuse to reconsider their votes on August 20 not to appeal the
The California Supreme Court, on its own motion, takes Tolman
v. Underhill as a case to review. This suspends the lower
court decision, and the Regents are no longer required, for the
time being, to re-appoint the nonsigners.
The Northern Section of the Academic Senate meets and votes 350-0
to ask the Regents to reinstate the non-signers and rescind the
New appointments have shifted the power on the Board of Regents
in favor of Governor Warrens anti-oath faction.
The Regents meet. A motion is made to rescind the oath, but
reaffirm the Regents policy on not employing Communists. It
passes, 12-8, but is scheduled for reconsideration in November.
The vote to reconsider the Regents action of October 19 fails
12-5. In essence, the University returned to its conditions
of employment prior to the adoption of the special oath. However,
the States Levering Oath was still required of UC employees:
thus, the Regents implicitly accepted an oath imposed on the University
by the State Legislature.
The State Supreme Court hands down its decision in Tolman v.
Underhill. It states that university personnel cannot
properly be required to execute any other oath or declaration relating
to loyalty other than that prescribed for all state employees. The
non-signers are ordered reinstated.
The Regents meet and unanimously vote not to petition the Supreme
Court for a rehearing in Tolman v. Underhill.
California voters decide if the Levering Oath should be added to
the State Constitution. They approve of the oath, 2,700,000
Sixteen of the non-signers go to court to seek full back pay for
the period they were dismissed.
The non-signers and the University settle. The Regents grant
back pay for the period of July 1, 1950, through December 31, 1952,
minus other income received during that period, and also grant full
credit towards sabbatical leave and pension rights. The non-signers
waive any claim to payment of interest on back-salaries and other
Delegates to the annual meeting of the American Association of University
Professors vote to censure the University of California saying that
The net effect of the (Universitys action) has been
to weaken academic freedom and to deny essential rights to the faculty
members who resisted the oath.
Compiled by Steve Finacom