Council Airs Students' View on Free Thought
Communism, Like Any Subject, Should Be Taught Objectively
Crowning six weeks of warm debate, sporadic voting, and repeated revision, the Student Council last night issued its statement on the "students' view" of academic freedom.
Communism, as a philosophy, should be treated objectively like any other academic subject, the Council said. They further urged investigators to tread carefully last they "stifle free thought through the pressures engendered by widespread fear."
Council President Paul D. Sheats '54 last night said that the message was aimed primarily at the non-university public, who "don't know what college life is like today," at educators, and at investigators.
College education today is not a process of indoctrination but evaluation, the statement said. "Only if the individual has access to all points of view can his conclusions be his own." Ideas must be objectively and conscientiously studied before they can be properly evaluated.
Knowledge and Confidence
"Communism is no exception," the statement continued. "To evaluate communism we must have thorough knowledge of the particular issue and confidence in our method of inquiry."
The student himself will immediately recognize any attempt at indoctrination and will "protest vigorously against it." Further, the student does not need to be "shielded from any school of thought; the tradition of objective inquiry is its own best defense against any doctrine which attempts to control the mind."
The danger of current investigation is that they tend to limit free expression through fear. "Such limitation," the statement contends, "denies the student the opportunity to explore any subject and thereby undermines the basic principles of the educational process.
Mature Minds Essential
"Education must continue to produce the mature mind essential to the survival of our democratic principles. We must not destroy those principles in the process of their defense," it concluded.
At 10:15 tonight over WHRB, Council members Anthony l. Herrey '54 and Cliff L. Alexander '55 will discuss the so-called threat to academic freedom generally and the Council's stand specifically.