Pusey Advises Kennedy To Fight Loyalty Oath
President Pusey has sent a strongly-worded letter to Senator John F. Kennedy '40, requesting that his committee, a sub-group of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, recommend to Congress the elimination of the affidavit and oath requirements in the National Defense Education Act of 1958.
Pusey's letter may be read before the Senate as part of an organized protest against the controversial section 1001, sub-section (f) of the Act, which Pusey termed "rude and unworthy of the Congress." It requires that the applicant file an affidavit certifying that "he does not believe in, and is not a member of and does not support any organization that believes in or teaches the overthrow of the United States Government" by unconstitutional methods.
It also provides that the applicant swear to "support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all its enemies."
In his letter, Pusey terms the section "a direct personal affront" to the faculties and student bodies of American colleges. "The Congress has singled out," according to Pusey, "our college people alone as a special group and then said to them by implication, 'We are not sure you are fine loyal Americans. As a matter of fact, we rather think you are not.'"
"Such an implication," he continued, "is utterly unfair to those same young people on whom the future of the country so largely depends, and who in the event of war, would... have to carry more than a full share of the responsibility for our national safety."
Pusey added that there have been numerous demands that the University not accept funds under the Act, but explained that Harvard has not done so because it "applauds the high motives which prompted Congress to pass the National Defense Education Act."
"Harvard has accepted its relatively small apportionment of loan fund money and has been pleased to have it," Pusey pointed out. However, he emphasized the compliance of students has been obtained "at the expense of their own self-respect," and stated strongly that Kenendy's committee should recommend the "elimination of this odious section of the law."