"There's another method of taking the Teachers' Oath Bill to the people!" stormed Thomas Dorgan, former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, last night, as he learned that his brain "nightmare", the Teachers' Oath Bill, had been virtually repealed in the House, 111 to 102, in a preliminary rollcall.
Dorgan, annoyed at the lack of consideration received by his bill, was brief in his comment on chances for the Senate also repealing it. "I don't know anything about them," he said, referring to the Senate. Interviewed in his home, Dorgan was more voluble about the controversial issue he sponsored.
"I can't see what they're arguing about!" said the former representative. "The Massachusetts law isn't as harsh as other states' laws." He was amazed at the statement that the oath law places a stigma on the teaching profession. "No, no!" he cried, "the oath law doesn't accuse the teachers, it honors them!"
Dorgan pointed out that, although Samuel Eliot Morison '08, professor of History, said that the bill didn't actually interfere with academic freedom, other Harvard professors had protested such an interference. "But they never define academic freedom," he complained. "There's a difference between academic freedom and academic license."
Oaths $5 Apiece
"We're not all what you call absolutely free," he said. "The oath bill interferes with abuse of freedom, not freedom itself. It's an honor to be asked to defend the Constitution. Why, notaries are charged five dollars for their oaths. If I charged the teachers that, they'd be after me with machine guns!" Dorgan relaxed against the sofa and laughed heartily.
The former firebrand of the House criticized the etiquette of James A. McLaughlin, Professor of Law, at the hearing on the oath bill at the State House. Dorgan charged that Professor McLaughlin pretended he didn't see the committee on the bill, and then turned around and asked. "Is this the committee?" This query was cited by Dorgan as a bad example to Harvard students.
"Yes", Dorgan remarked, "Conant's a great fellow, but the Constitution doesn't say "We the Teachers" does it? I think that this bill may affect their superiority complexes!"