Perry Miller, professor of American Literature, has refused to speak at the University of Washington because of the Seattle institution's recent ban to lectures by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Millre declared the action barring Oppenheimer "an egregious insult to a great scholar" and "a flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of intellectual integrity and liberty of spirit upon which the education system of a free society is erected."
He told the CRIMSON last night that he has revealed his refusal in a letter to Professor Thomas J. Pressly of Washington's department of History, stating that he was "profoundly distressed by the recent action of President Henry Schmitz." On February 14, Schmitz vetoed a request from the department of Physics to invite Oppenheimer for three months of lectures.
Miller was scheduled to give a public lecture on April 7 at Washington on "The Romantic Dilemma in American Nationalism." He still hopes to speak at Gonzaga University in Spokane and the Seattle Harvard Club on his western trip.
Miller spent last year at Princeton's Institute of Advanced Study, where he came to consider Oppenheimer, the Institute's director, as "certainly one of the great thinkers of our day." "It was a great experience to know Oppenheimer," he said, "but I am doing this not because of may friendship with the scientist, but because of an infringement of academic propriety. No self-respecting scholar could talk there now."
Students Petition Against Schmitz
On February 26, Victor Weisskopf, professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became the first to boycott the University for its ban on Oppenheimer.
The next day, the State Board of Regents upheld President Schmitz by refusing a petition form over 1,000 University students seeking an invitation for the physicist. The Atomic Energy Commission last spring declared Oppenheimer a "security risk" but did not question his loyalty.