University of Michigan Prevents Speeches of Alleged Subversives
Abuse of academic freedom threatened another American college this week when the University of Michigan temporarily banned two allegedly subversive lecture from appearing on campus. The Michigan Lecture Committee withheld permission to undergraduate organizations to sponsor the speakers "until sufficient evidence is produced" to guarantee the "purity" of their speeches. "Sufficient evidence" was not defined.
The ban prevents Abner Greene, executive secretary of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign-Born, and Arthur McPhaul, executive secretary of the Michigan Chapter of the Civil Rights Congress, from appearing under the auspices of two University organizations, the Campus Civil Liberties, Committee, and the Young Progressives.
This is the first time since the Lecture Committee was formed 15 years ago that speakers who have not been proven subversive have been banned. However, Gerhard Eisler and two other avowed Communists were denied permission to speak. As far as anyone at Michigan has been able to determine, Greene and McPhaul are not Communists.
A Regents by-law requires that campus speeches be "in the spirit and expression worthy of the University." Both men deny that they are attempting to over-throw the government.
The Michigan Young Progressives countered the action by explaining McPhaul's speech. He intended to speak on Negro rights and enumerate charges of genocide against Negro Americans. The group stated "That the lecture Committee seeks to stifle discussion on this topic indicates they are afraid students might gain ideas on how to rid our country of the blot of white supremacy." They stated that the YP does not seek subversion of American rights, but on the contrary wishes to safeguard those rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
According to the lecture committee, McPhaul refused to answer questions or produce records as requested by a Congressional committee inquiring late Communist activities in Michigan. Greece spent six months in jail for refusing to disclose where he received money to ball out convicted Communist leaders.