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July 12, 1955 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1955-07-12

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Sixty-Fifth Year

Te of Reacru:n clty Rights, Duties

(Continued from Page 1)


a good that lies, almost certainly,
beyond present knowledge and un-

iThnks For Y our Cooperatiou"

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily are written by members of The Daily staff
and represent the views of the writers only. This must be noted in all reprints.

Review of Senate
Committee Reports

Last year at this time the University was
going through an agonizing period of ten-
sion and mistrust. Representative Kit Clardy
had called before his ignominious investigating
subcommittee three University faculty members.
and all three of them defied his undemocratic
probings by standing on their Constitutional
rights. A chain reaction was on its way.
Following Clardy's investigation, which prov-
ed nothing, the University began its own in-
vestigation - after all three men had been
suspended from their teaching and research
positions. Two of the men were then fired by
the Regents upon recommendation of President
Hatcher, despite a recommendation made by a
specially chosen faculty committee that one
of them be retained. The third was retained
by the faculty.
The dismissal action incensed many. At a
fall Faculty Senate meeting a resolution cen-
suring the dismissals was passed. Many faculty
members threatened to resign in protest of the
dismissals but soon reaction against the dis-
missals seemed to diedown. No one resigned,
no activity against those responsible for dis-
missals was instigated.
Many men said they could no longer express
disagreement with the administration at Senate
meetings; they declared they did not dare to
get up to make the motions they wanted to
concerning the dismissals. They feared their
jobs would be in jeopardy if they were cour-
ageous and fought to publicly defend academic
Something sensible did come out of the whole
agonizing mess, however, even though it came
too late. Five faculty committees were chosen
to study in detail the problems that had arisen
:- in the dismissal cases, and to make policy
'recommendations to the Senate that could
dictate procedure should another similar situa-
tion arise.
They were I) Committee on the Role of the
Faculty in Tenure Matters; 2) Committee
on Severance Pay; 3) Committee on Senate
Rules: 4) Committee on Appointment Pro-
cedures and Personnel Records, and 5) Com-
mittee on the Responsibility of the Faculty to
the Society.
The problem of the role of the faculty-in
tenure matters arose when, following last year's
suspensions, several Senate Advisory Committee
chosen groups recommended Prof. Mark Nicker-
son be reinstated on the faculty, and the ad-
ministration refused to honor the recommen-
dation. The committee studying this problem
suggested that in cases where there is a charge
that "conduct is regarded as potentially dis-
qualifying a person for continued membership
In the academic community or inimical to the
welfare of the university or society," a special
Subcommittee on Tenure should decide what
action be taken, with a review board hearing
the recommendations made by the Subcom-
mittee. Departmental action would not be taken
in cases of this kind.
The value of this new policy is easily seen.
The hearing procedures are determined now, in
advance of any specific need for them, thus
avoiding a hurried choice of committee members
and a haphazard decision on who should study
what and who should be responsible for what.
Furthermore, it gives to the faculty the re-
sponsibility they need in deciding matters con-
cerning them, rather than allowing the ad-
ministration to decide every issue that arises
at this University.
The problem of severance pay became a serious
one when Davis was fired and did not find
a new occupation soon after: The Regents de-
cided when they voted to fire him not to pay
him, but this was not made definite until
several months later.
The committee to study the problem of
severance pay was appointed. This group
recommended that severance pay be given only
when reasonable notice of dismissal is not
The recommendation was passed, with the
stipulation that severance pay is never war-
ranted when felonious conduct has been fol-
lowed. The new policy is admirable - again
we deplore the fact that it comes so late.
Senate rules were studied by a special com-
mittee because of some poorly organized meet-
ings held when faculty members became excited
over the whole dismissal situation last year.
Under new policy, no motions may be intro-
duced at a meeting unless they have been sub-

mitted in writing to the Senate Secretary and
included on the agenda. It is hoped more
careful thought will go behind motions and
resolutions, and that the new requirement will

not reduce even futher the boldness of faculty
members who have something to say but dare
not say it. An Appointment Procedure Com-
mittee study was made as the result of a
question that arose during the Davis-Nickerson
episode: should a faculty member disclose,
even when he is not rasked about it, past
political party affiliation, or should a pros-
pective faculty member be dropped if his politi-
cal affiliation is considered "subversive" by the
hiring institution. At present state law requires
signing a loyalty oath.
The committee making this study found no
serious deficiencies in current appointment
practices. The only change they recommended
was that the "Senate Advisory Committee be
authorized to appoint a committee to investi-
gate procedures to check on the credit rating
of possible new faculty members."
On the surface, investigation of credit rating
seems Po go out of bounds of what should be
learned by the University when hiring a new
faculty member. However, according to some
informed faculty members, the credit investi-
gator, who, they report, is already in action, is
actually a member of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, and he has asked prospective-
faculty members what their political affiliations
are, were, and how they voted! If this is true,
it is not only disgusting, but a policy that fac-
ulty members should be ashamed of passing,
Perhaps they are however, unaware that the
credit rating investigator is just another name
for an FBI agent, and maybe some persons of
more authority have made this contemptible
move. The whole move indicates a trend toward
political conformity; Clardy didn't really lose
his battle after all, for this kind of action is
what he wanted!
The study of Responsibilities of the Faculty
to Society was made because the charge was
often hurled at faculty members that the people
of the state of Michigan demand political con-
formity and cooperation with investigators of
subversion. Therefore, the argument usually
runs, because this is a state supported insti-
tution, these demands must be met.
The committee studying Responsibilties of
Faculty to Society intelligently handle this and
other arguments in their remarkably fine re-
port, which appears in Daily columns. today.
This writer agrees with every statement they
have made.
Unfortunately for this institution, the re-
port was not accepted by Senate members, and
consequently will not become Senate policy.
Opposition to the democratic nature of the re-
port undoubtedly came from the segment of
the faculty that repeatedly and irrationally
charges "we have in our midst a hotbed of
Communists." This reactionary group believes
in McCarthy tactics of investigation and does
not respect a man's right to private political
and economic beliefs. In their 100 per cent
Americanism, they are being anti-democratic,
and they have succeeded in defeating an ex-
cellent statement of principles the faculty
should be proud to accept.
The only way the faculty can return to true
academic freedom is to re-study this com-
mittee's statement, and call for another vote.
The report was rejected by a mere 36 votes,
which cannot be taken as an indication of
feeling by the majority. Perhaps the more than
400 non-voters will realize now the need to
cast their vote to keep democracy ahead of
To Visit U.S.
WASHINGTON - As Ike goes to Geneva for
weighty confabs at the summit, a tour
which might reap a bigger friendship crop in
the long run will be taking place in Des Moines
and points west. Ike arrives in Geneva July 16.
A delegation of Russian farm officials arrives in
New York July 16. Inspired by the Des Moines
Register-Tribune, theirs will be the first real
visit of grass-roots Russians since Russian
military men and their families lived in the
U. S. during the war.. . The State department
is playing this one smart. It's giving the
Russian farmers no dicks or security men as
guards and chaperones. The Russians will go

anywhere anytime, see any farm, college or
experiment station...Their entertainment will
be given by farm folks along the way, with
the Des Moines Register-Tribune giving them
the first big send-off when they arrive there
July 17 . . . After Des Moines and other Iowa
points, they'll visit Nebraska, South Dakota,
Minnesota, California, Chicago, and finally get
back to Washington, D. C. The itinerary is
entirely flexible and may change overnight.
Kefauver and Adlai - Some Democratic
Senators privately view the Dixon-Yates probe
with mixed feelings. They recognize it as the
best piece of inside work by, the big bankers
they have pinned on the Ike Administration,
but they also don't like to see Estes Kefauver
run with the ball The link coon-skin -caner

General Legal and Moral
Responsibilities and Rights
Before we come to the special
duties and privileges growing out
of his profession, however, we
must notice that the teacher has
some which are independent of
his position. Being a citizen, he
has certain legal and constitution-
al rights upon which he may stand,
and certain legal obligations to
fulfill. Being a man he has also
various moral rights and obliga-
tions. A list of these legal and mor-
al rights and obligations can
hardly be attempted here. Central
among a teacher's rights for our
purposes are, of course, those
granted by the Bill of Rights.
Among his responsibilities are the
following: rendering public serv-
ice and promoting the general wel-
fare, obeying the law, honoring the
Constitution and the ways provid-
ed for its amendment, and pro-
tecting our democratic institutions
and freedoms. In short, one must
be a good man, and a loyal, if
sometimes critical, citizen.
Certain points about the exer-
cise of these general rights and
duties must be underlined here. A
perfect observance of all of one's
legal and moral obligations is not
andtcannot be asked of its staff
by the university or by society.
One does not show himself un-
worthy of a university position by
violating a traffic law. But a cer-
tain not easily defined level of
citizenship may be and is required
of a staff member, and a violation
of some laws or a neglect of some
duties may rightly be followed by
dismissal. Again, a high and not
easily defined level of morality in
conduct is rightly demanded, and
conduct involving moral turpitude
cannot be tolerated.
Member's Rights
A staff member's rights as a ci-
tizen cannot be taken away by the
university; he has them as long as
he abides by the law. It is true
that an individual may sometimes
be asked to restrict himself in the
exercise of certain of his rights
as a condition of employment.
Parochial school and business en-
terprises on occasion practice such
limitation. Content with limited
responsibilities of their employees,
they circumscribe, by mutual
agreement, their rights to freedom
of thought or of speech. Even cer-
tain categories of governmental
employees may be asked to sur-
render some of their rights, al-
though the principle of civil serv-
ice sets limits to this. But a state
university, if it is to remain true
to its purpose, cannot require its
teaching staff to surrender any of
their rights as men or as citizens,
for it is not the organ of any reli-
gious or industrial group, nor ev-
en of a government, but of society.
In all of these matters the uni-
versity must consider only what is
relevant to its proper concerns,
and must assume innocence until
guilt is proved.
Academic Responsibilities of
Individual Faculty Members
Besides these responsibilities
and rights which he has as a man
and a citizen, a faculty member
has certain special ones which are
due to his holding a university po-
sition. Academic responsibilities
differ in their sources or bases.
Some are based on a special act
of assignment by the university,
some follow directly from the cen-
tral function of a university fa-
culty as described earlier, and some
are simply consequences of the
principles of morality as they ap-
ply in one's academic relations.
With the first, e.g. the duties of a
departmental chairman or of a

committee member, we need not
concern ourselves here.
The second are more crucial.
Various corollaries follow from the
fact that the primary task of a
faculty member is to pursue truth
and to cultivate intelligence in the
fields with which he deals. He
must show high fidelity to fact and
to logic. He must have intellectual
integrity and independence. He
must be intellectually responsible
but undogmatic, giving careful
consideration to conflicting views,
even on controversial questions,
and trying always to follow truth
and reason. As a teacher he must
be scholarly in attitude, and ger-
mane in his discussion, not intro-
ducing controversial material un-
related to his subject, and usig
only scholarly methods of influ-
encing the opinions of his stu-
The other duties to be mention-
ed are moral obligations which one
assumes in becoming a member of
the university community, for ex-
ample, to maintain the reputation
and the standards of the univr-

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said that the professor owes his
colleagues and society complete
candor about, his activities and
convictions, if he is called upon
to speak.
As in all acts of association,
the professor arepts coi vei-
tions which become morally
binding. Above all, he owes his
collcagues in the university com-
plete candor and perfect integ-
rity, precludin; any kind of
clandestine or conspiratorial ac-
tivities. lIe owes equal candor'
to the public. If he is called up-
on to answer for his conictions
it is his duty as a citizen to seak
out. It is even more d fntely
his dity as a professr. Re~l
to do so, on watever leal
ground, cannot fail to reflect
upon a profession that claims
for itself the fulest freedom
available in our society. in this
respect, invocation of the Fifth
Amendment places upon a pro-
fessor a heavy burden of proof
of his fitness to hold a teach-
ing position and .-lays upon his
university an oblig;ation to re-
examine his qualifications' for
membership in its society. 1This
is from a statement by the As-
sociation of American Uni er-
Candor is not def ied in this
passage, but it is clearly taken to
mean both being honest or un-
evasive in answering questions and
being frank or unreserved in ans-
wering them, Now certaily one
should be honest or unevasive in
replying to questions, for in this
sense candor is a virtue and per-
fect candor an ideal. But it is also
claimed that complete frankness
without any reservation, is always
a professor's strict obligation, both
as a, citizen and as a teacher. Such
"complete candor" is said to be his
strict obligation, both as a citizen
anal as a' teacher. This can hardly
be correct, however, for as a citi-
zen he has a constitutional right
to be silent in certain cases. Nor
can it be argued, as it seems to be,
that because he claims the fullest
right to speak, therefore he must
speak. Whether one talks of legal
or of moral rights, his having a
right to speak only implies that
he must be allowed t speak, not
that he must speak. To say that
it implies the latter is to say that
freedom to speak precludes free-
dom not to speak, which is ab-
surd. By the same reasoning, free-
dom to worship would entail an
obligation to worship.
Complete Self-Revelation
Others have, then, . a right to
honesty on a professor's part in
reply to questions about his ac-
tions and convictions. But have
they a right to expect comp4lete
self-revelation on his part? To say
so is to say that, even in a free
society, no one, or at least no pro-
fessor, . has a right to any priv-
acy in his conviction or conduct.
It is to imply that all silence Ts a
sign of "clandestine or conspira-

What the proponents of "com-
plete candor", must mean is that
if a duly appointed body asks a
professor questions which are per-
tinent to his fitness to continue in
his profession, then he must ans-
wer them. But even this is doubt-
ful as a hard and fast rule. It is,
no doubt, true that he ought to
answer such questions if other
things are equal. But other things
are not always equal, or may hon-
estly not seem so to him, and then
the important question concerns
the groud of his refusal to answer.
For it is incumbent upon him to
explain why he feels that he can-
not answer, and the question is
whether his refusing to answer on
e a gonds is by itself presump-
tiv evidence of unfitness 'for his
Individual's Motive
Whether it is such evidence ,or
not depends on the nature of the
individual's ground or motive for
not answering. If he sincerely be-
lieves, on careful reflection, that
the investigative agency is invad-
ing his legal and moral rights and
has no authority to ask its ques-
tions or that the questions asked
are irrelevant to his fitness for an
academic position, does his refus-
ing to answer on these grounds,
whether he pleads a Constitutional
amendment or not, establish a pre-
sumption that he is unfit to be a
professor? To say so is to say that
a man who is wholly conscientious,
and unquestionably competent
both as a teacher and as a schol-
ar, may yet be unfit for a univer-
sity position, even if he is clearly
reliable as a citizen. But in what
way would such a man reflect on
his profession even in keeping si-
lent? Is it because he has not been
candid? But has he not been? He
did iot answer the questions ask-
ed, but he did give a candid and
sincere explanation of his reasons
for not answering them.
Of course, if there is evidence of
the man's unfitness as a teacher
independent of the fact that he
kept silent, this may establish a
strong presumption against him,
but then it is this and not his
keepingsilent that does so. It is
only in this case, where indepen-
dent evidence of unfitness or mis-
conduct is before the investigating
committee, that any burden of
speaking can be said to rest upon
an individual. Even in such a case,
whatever burden rests upon him,
it is not that of persuading the
investigating body concerning the
truth or falsity of the independent
evidence. The near-impossibility
of proving a negative makes it im-
perative that the burden of prov-
ing the existence of grounds for
disciplinary action be placed upon
the accuser, unaided by inference
rom he silence of the accused.,
Academic Rights of Individual
Faculty Members
We come now to the rights
which a faculty member has be-

chief responsibility is to promote
knowledge and understanding and
to pass on to others the methods
for their successful attainment,
and he must therefore be granted
the conditions essential for their
promotion and for using and
teaching these methods. These
conditions are embodied in what
is called academic freedom, which
may be defined as the freedom of
the teacher and scholar.
If the teacher and scholar is to
fulfill his task to society he must
be left intellectually free, not only
by the law but by the university;
his position, salary, and advance-
ment must be left unjeopardized
by the content and direction of his
reflection and teaching, as long as
he is not guilty of incompetence,
moral turpitude, or demonstrable
disloyalty. He must be free to cri-
ticize popular opinions and es-
pouse unpopular ones if reason so
requires. He must be protected
when he makes mistakes in his
pursuit of the truth, even on moot
and vital questions.
Moreover, his freedom of thought
and expression must extend be-
yond the classroom to his extra-
curricular activities. He cannot
perform his real task if he is free
in the classroom or laboratory but
not outside it. This means that he
should be permitted to exercise
his rights as a citizen without risk-
ing his job, income, or advance-
ment, as long as he satisfies the
requirements of competence and
professional ethics and citizenship,
In this sense, academic freedom
involves a reassertion for the fa-
culty member as such of the rights
of men and citizens.
Right to Academic Freedom
It follows that a professor may
on. occasion have not only the
right, but the duty, to take a po-
sition or to speak out even when
doing so is embarrassing to his
university. If his stand is taken in
the interests of reason and truth,
it must be honored, not penalized.
In general, if the teacher has a
right to academic freedom, then
society has a duty to respect his
freedom and to provide for it, and
the administrative officers of the
university have a duty to defend
and protect his freedom against
encroachment from any source
whatever, even from society. Oth-
erwise his right is meaningless
and his responsibility is a travesty.
Society for its own good in the
long view, and the university in
order to fulfill its function with
any gieatness, must be prepared to
put up with any inconveniences,
embarrassments, or shocks that
are incidental to the pursuit of
knowledge and wisdom by its staff.
Given these rights and respon-
sibilities and citizenship in a dem-
ocratic society, the faculty mem-
ber has both a right and a duty to
be vigilant in the cause of free-
dom and truth, to participate in
fli rfm irifin ofortirfinn

confidence, cooperation or respect,
he also has a right to expect these
from them, and they have an obli-
gation to return them. Among
other things, he has a right to
expect, if occasion arises, that
they will assume him to be inno-
cent until he has been proved be-
yond a reasonable doubt to be
Responsibilities of the Faculty
As a Body
Besides the responsibilities of
individual faculty members, there
are responsibilities of a faculty as
a whole or as an organized body-
for example, the faculty of the Lit-
erary College, or the University
Senate. These responsibilities, as
determined by the Regents' By-
laws, by tradition, or otherwise,
are of various sorts. But here we
need mention only a- few whici
follow from what has been said.
In external affairs, the faculty
as a group of teachers has a duty
to share in the difficult educa-
tional task of keeping before the
public a clear conception of the
proper role in society of the uni-
versity as a whole, its faculty, and
its individual faculty members.
Internally, the faculty as a
body should share in the deter-
mination of university policy,
take part in defining the rights
and duties ,of faculty members,
and participate in any investi-
gation and disciplining of these
members. Such sharing is both
a right and a duty, and a facul-
ty which does not insist upon
discharging this particular duty
may be regarded as very ser-
iously remiss. For the faculty
has an obligation to help main-
tain the conditions in whih
free research and teaching can
live and thrive, and to fight
when they are threatened. If
institutional policy and proce-
dure were entirely independent
of any possible faculty influ-
ence, the faculty could have no
responsibility for them. It is
manifest, however, that a vigor-
ous faculty can, if it wil, cre-
ate a climate of opinion which-
no administration or governing
body could well ignore or would
wish to ignore. Thus, a faculty is
untrue both to itself and to so-
ciety if it does not make itself
felt and heard on matters vital
to the health and effectiveness
of the university.
In the light of the preceding,
something may now be said about
two other discussions of the same
subject, one by the American As-
sociation of Universities, and the
other by the American Association
of University Professors. There is
a great deal of agreement between
these two statements, but they dif-
fer somewhat in content and spir-
it. One emphasizes faculty duties,
the other faculty rights; one is
more administratively and legal-
istically toned, the other more fa-
culty oriented. These emphases are
understandable, but the above dis-
cussion has sought to avoid both
of them. It is, however, in general
agreement with the AAUP state-
ment, though going farther at cer-
tain points. As for the AAU state-
ment-there is much in it to ap-
plaud, for example its insistence
that faculty members should be
bold and free and should not be
subjected to any special loyalty
tests, but its approach and its con-
clusions are in certain respects ob-
jectionable. (1) As has already
been pointed out, it calls in too
unqualified a way for complete
candor from the faculty member,
and is too ready to attribute the
burden of proof to him if his con-
duct comes to public attention. (2)
In both ways it tends to betray

the principle that individuals
should be regarded as innocent
until proved guilty to which it it-
self subscribes in another place.
(3) At certain points it mnerges
legal and moral considerations in
such a manner as to neglect the
motive or intention of the indi-
vidual, as well as to condemn in
advance any kind of conscientious
objection, even though freedom of
conscience has long been sacred
in our history. (4) As a result it
casts a shadow of authority and
intimidation, quite unnecessarily,
in precisely the region where such
a shadow should least be allowed
to fall,
AAU Document
In general the questionable fea-
tures of the "AAU document result'
perhaps from the fact that it waW
drafted with particular possible
events in mind and naturally
sought to anticipate them by lay-
ing down certain very specific
rules of conduct, virtually without
qualification. This was a mistake,
and makes the AAU document un-
satisfactory as a lasting statement
of the responsibilities and rights
of universities and their faculties.
Such a more permanent formula-
tion is what the present committee
has tried to write, in the firm be-




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