News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

House Approves Bill Requiring All Colleges to Dismiss 'Red' Teachers

181 to 46 Vote Passes Commonwealth Bill With 2 Changes; Sanderson Hits Measure

By Philip M. Cronin

A bill which requires college presidents to dismiss any faculty member who "advocates the overthrow of the government by force or violence" was yesterday approved, 181 to 46, by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Following a long and noisy debate, the House decided to modify the original bill, drawn up by Representative Paul A. McCarthy. It struck out the words "Communist and Communist sympathizers," and agreed to hold college presidents responsible for the dismissal of any professor seeking to "overthrow the government."

McCarthy Agrees to Change

Representative Patrick F. Plunkett, who presented the bill in McCarthy's absence, agreed to change the bill partly, but demanded some legislation, declaring: "The Communists are smart enough to concentrate their efforts against the youth in our colleges."

Representative Kendell Sanderson, a trustee of Wesleyan, led the effort to tone down the bill. At first, he attempted to get the House to put off the vote until next year. But he was instantly shouted down. Then he demanded to know of the opposition: "What is a Communist sympathizer? Who can define the words in this bill?"

Sanderson Asks Clarification

Sanderson explained he was violently opposed to Communism, but protested that the original bill was not "clear enough." Another representative, Allison R. Dorman, said he "agreed with the objective of the bill." But he disagreed "violently with the provision of the bill which revokes the charter of a college that was found to be employing Communists."

"The charter of an institution should not be revoked because of the action of one individual," said Dorman, a former school teacher.

Effect on Harvard

Sanderson questioned Plunkett on the effect that the bill would have on Harvard, which is controlled by the Legislature according to an early state law. Plunkett said "it would be perfectly justified to take away Harvard's charter if the president was found violating the law."

Later, however, the House voted to amend the bill, knocking out the provision for revocation of charters and placing instead all responsibility on the college president. If presidents fail to carry out the law, they are subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

State House officials believe that the chances are "very good" that the bill will pass in the Senate.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags