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Richard W. Lyman, president of Stanford University, confirmed Sunday the dismissal of H. Bruce Franklin, associate professor of English at Stanford.
Lyman made the decision on the basis of a 157-page report submitted by a special board of inquiry last Wednesday, recommending Franklin's dismissal after finding him guilty on three charges of inciting student disruptions.
The charges stem from a speech made by Franklin last February at a Stanford demonstration protesting American involvement in Laos. Franklin allegedly helped incite students to occupy the campus computer center and encouraged resistence to a police dispersal order.
Student reaction to the Franklin firing has been expressed in "multi-purpose" demonstrations, beginning with a rally of 300 last Thursday to discuss possible disruptive measures.
The following night, Daniel Ellsberg '52 spoke on Franklin's behalf before an audience of 2000. An anonymous threat on Ellsberg's life delayed the speech and necessitated extra police protection.
Lyman said Sunday that the decision to fire Franklin was "firmly grounded in a broad conception of freedom of speech," and that the almost unprecedented move of dismissing a tenured professor was warranted by Franklin's consistently challenging conduct.
The majority statement of the board of inquiry held that Franklin, an outspoken Maoist, had "exceeded the permissible bounds" of free speech, and that he could not encourage violent and coercive action as he does without risking his position.
The two dissenting members recommended suspension rather than dismissal, hoping to keep Franklin as a "very uncomfortable but very necessary part of what this university intends to be."
Franklin said last night that he considered the ousting a clear example of political repression. "There's no academic freedom in this country," he said. "I don't think a Marxist-Leninist will be allowed to teach in the United States."
A group of Stanford professors hope to raise the estimated $25,000 needed to challenge the action in civil court. Franklin said that the ACLU has expressed a definite interest in representing him.
The Stanford Board of Trustees will meet later this month and is expected to ratify Franklin's ousting.
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