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To the Editor of the Crimson:
We were very glad to see that one of your first editorials this year was concerned with what seems to be a major problem on many American campuses-academic freedom. We think that the readers who were interested in your editorial would also be interested in knowing of another, perhaps more serious, violation of academic freedom.
This year, at least 16 students will be unable to reenter Michigan University to complete their studies. All of them were recipients of the following short note this summer: "It is the decision of the authorities of the University of Michigan that you cannot be readmitted to the University. (signed) President Ruthven." Further interrogation brought these students, all extra-curricular leaders in good standing, the information that they were a "disturbing influence on the campus." The only specific charge made was that one girl had distributed leaflets for a trade union on campus!
There was one thing that the expelled students had in common. They were all guilty of the crime of engaging sincerely in campus peace work. It was clear to each one of them that a "disturbing influence" on campus meant disagreeing with the administration on the issue of war or peace. Craftily enough, they were not expelled, but merely refused readmittance. This meant they did not have to have a hearing.
We must be concerned not only with the isolated Michigan case, but with the possibility that it is part and parcel of a drive which threatens to spread to colleges and universities throughout the country. That is why the Michigan case must be won for democracy's side. It must be an example of the desire of American students for the retention of their fundamental right of free expression. We students of Harvard must rally to the support of our fellow Michigan students, writing to President Ruthven asking him to reopen the case and grant the students their hearing.
Here at Harvard, the ASU intends to form an academic freedom committee to campaign for the Michigan students. It also intends to distribute "Without Fear or Favor," the excellent pamphlet of the Michigan Committee for Academic Freedom, which describes the case. The ASU also plans to have Nathaniel Brooks, one of the expelled students, as a speaker at its coming mass meeting. It invites all people interested in preserving academic freedom to join in the fight for democracy on the campus. The Executive Committee, Harvard Chapter, American Student Union.
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