The history of the Young Progressives of America chapter at Syracuse University, New York, has been stormy. The Syracuse Daily Orange, the undergraduate paper has called Y.P.A. "a political thorn in the administration's side." Y.P.A. has also had conflicts with officials of the university town.
On March 8, 1949, the Young Progressives staged a demonstration in protest of the city's decision to revoke a permission for a speech by O. John Rogge, former U. S. Assistant Attorney-General, in a high-school auditorium.
During the protest rally, which took place on a street corner, a student named Irving Feiner addressed the crowd for around ten minutes. He was then arrested on the charge of "disorderly conduct."
Feiner's trial began on May 6. The policemen who arrested him testified that Feiner had called the Syracuse mayor a "champagne-sipping bum," President Truman a "drunken bum," New York Mayor O'Dwyer a "bum," and American Legionnaires "Nazi Gestapo agents."
Witnesses for the defense testified that he did not make the alleged statements. However, Feiner was convicted and at the same time was separated from the university.
Both of these actions were protested by the American Labor Party, which charged that the judged had "made an unlawful attempt" to halt Feiner's political activities and called for his reinstatement.
On May 12, Y.P.A. organized a rally, attended by 1,000 students, to protest the university's decision. Feiner himself addressed the crowd, and remarked, "I'll be around Syracuse for a long, long time." But Syracuse's Chancellor, William P. Tolley, stated, "The university will not modify its decision."
The Daily Orange commented: "Irving Feiner, a single individual, has done immeasurable harm to a university of 15,000 persons. His presence here is not worth the damage he has done."