The Harvard Teachers Union struck out sharply yesterday afternoon at plans to require loyalty tests for new awarded government financed scholarships.
The Union, a local of the American Federation of Teachers, AF of L, declared that the criterion for the government scholarships, as for faculties, should be "scholarly competence and promise," and not "political beliefs or affiliations."
Members made it clear that this did not bear on access to classified material. This point was not raised in the resolution, the consensus being that in cases where a scholarship fellow was to see classified material he should be checked by the government for loyalty, but not before.
The Union's statement follows in part: "A further restriction of academic freedom now appears to be imminent through extension of the principle that a man's political beliefs and affiliations can in themselves serve as a standard to determinte his eligibility for membership in an academic community. For as a result of the attention drawn to the cases of Hans Friestadt and Isador Edelman, AEC fellows selected by the National Research Council, it has been proposed that loyalty tests be administered to determinte the acceptability of candidates for government-financed scholarships.
"The Harvard Teachers Union is opposed to any procedure which would deny students financial aid on the basis of their political beliefs and affiliations, and affirms its belief that scholarship holders should be selected on the basis of their scholarly competence and promise."
The statement continued to say that apart from its implications for academic freedom, such a policy might reduce the effectiveness of scientific research, drive away brilliant students, reduce the free flow of ideas, and finally,".... alienate scientists, discouraging them from participation in government-sponsored research, thus retarding the progress of work vital to the national safety and welfare."