The California legislature is considering five "loyalty oath" bills, and a measure to make it a misdemeanor "to teach any system or plan of government except the American system upon any state school property or to inculcate preference in the mind of any pupil for any such system."
These bills have been drawn up and supported in committee hearings by State Senator Jack B. Tenney of Los Angeles and his committee on un-American activities. Both Tenney and the legislation he is fighting for are the subjects of a stiff controversy throughout the state.
Wide-spread objections have been raised to the oath legislation, which would apply to labor union members, candidates for office, elected state officials, civil service employees, and employees on public contract jobs.
About Tenney's activities and the oath bills, Peter H. Odegard, chairman of the department of Political Science at the Berkeley branch of the University of California, has wired the CRIMSON that the loyalty measures are not "offensive in themselves, but open the door to all manner of petty persecutions.
"In the enveloping atmosphere of fear and hysteria, teachers, a timid lot under any circumstances, have become more timorous still. There are no overt threats to academic freedom, but campus liberals are less outspoken, more cautious and retiring."
Another West Coast state, Washington, also has a "little Dies Committee." Representative Albert F. Canwell, the committee's chairman, was defeated in the 1948 election, but under his direction, the legislative group's investigation of the University of Washington last year touched off the string of events that resulted in the firing of three professors and the suspension of three others.
The Michigan legislature's committee on un-American activities is headed by Matthew F. Callahan. When James Zarichny, a student at Michigan State University, refused to tell the committee last spring whether or not he was a member of the Communist Party, he was convicted of contempt of the legislature, and sentenced to one day in jail. The sentence was suspended.