Jones Won't Sign Faculty Oath, Resigns From Position at Texas
Howard Mumford Jones, Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, has refused to teach at the University of Texas because of the university's demand that he sign on oath disclaiming membership in the Communist Party and other subversive organizations.
Jones had been hired to teach two courses during the second semester of this academic year. Texas first contacted Jones last April but did not ask him to sign the disclaimer until September 21. He immediately sent a letter of resignation to the University stating that, "I have combatted this kind of oath all my life as a member of various state universities and of Harvard University."
The oath requires the afflant to swear that he is not and never has been a member of the Communist Party, that he has not during the preceding five-year period been a member of a subversive organization so designated by the Attorney General of the United States, and that he has not during the same five-year period been a member of any organization registered under the Federal Internal Security Act of 1950.
Jones said he understood that he was the first one to refuse to sign the disclaimer at Texas. He had previously declined to teach at the University of California in 1950 because California then demanded a similar oath.
A list of 266 organizations which are subversive under the oath's definition is attached to each copy of the Texas oath. Jones considered it "ridiculous" that certain of the organizations be included on the list. "My favorite one is the Chopin Cultural Center," he said.
This winter Jones will continue work on the second volume of his history of American culture, O Strange New World. He won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction for the first volume. Next summer at Cornell, Jones will teach the same material he was to have taught at Texas.