Students' Pledge Readied in Texas, Passed in Okla.
Loyalty oaths on the campus have been the concern of three Southern state legislatures.
In Texas, the legislature became acquainted with a University of Texas student, Wendell Addington, who joined the Communist Party soon after his discharge from the Army in 1946. As youth director for the state of Texas, Addington frequently testified before state legislative committees in opposition to segregation practices and on behalf of antilynching bills.
On one occasion, Addington was asked by a legislator if he would defend the United States in a war with Russia. Addington replied that it would depend on who was the aggressor.
As a result of this testimony, the legislature last April prepared a resolution which would empower university presidents to investigate and expel "all or any persons found to be disloyal to this nation." The University of Texas announced it would comply with this resolution, but it was never finally approved.
Instead the House initiated a bill, at last report awaiting Senate action, which would require students to sign a pledge that they do not believe in Communism or Fascism.
Addington is still in the University.
In Florida, the House Communism Investigating Committee is getting ready to start a study of possible Communist influences at the University of Florida, Florida State University, and Florida A. and M. College. Nobody has been dismissed as yet, but the legislature plans to ask instructors for a loyalty oath and intends to question them on their political party affiliations, on their possible past connections with the Communist party, and on their views about racial segregation.
An observer in Florida told the CRIMSON, "My belief is that legislators were forced into it, and nothing serious will result. No persecution, in other words."
The observer referred to charges of Communism in Florida schools which have been brought to the legislature's attention. Such a charge was made recently by Major General Sumpter L. Lowry, commanding general of the 51st National Guard.
Lowry claimed that a textbook, "International Politics," by Frederick Shuman, is "smeared with the Communist line," and recommended that it be banned from University of Florida courses.
The Alligator, University weekly, commented on Lowry's claim:
"It (the book) is written by a communist sympathizer, says the general. Maybe so, but 181 other colleges and universities use it. At the same time, General Lowry attacked President Miller for being "asleep at the switch" in allowing it to be used. By a simple comparison, we are wondering why we haven't all cracked up, since 181 other men aren't working the switch."
In Oklahoma, the House recently passed a bill which would require students in state-supported schools to swear that they were "not affiliated directly or indirectly with the Communist party, the third Communist International, or with any foreign political agency, party, organization, or government."
Penalty for not complying with the oath was to be $500 in fines and ten days in jail.
When the bill reached a sub-committee of the Senate, however, letters and a petition signed by 1200 Oklahoma University students helped to kill the measure. The Senate group shelved it and substituted a milder pledge of loyalty to the United States government