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Yale Corp. Decides To Permit Highly Controversial Speakers


The Yale Corporation adopted policies Saturday that call for the suspension of expulsion of students who persistently disrupt speakers on the Yale campus.

lance M. Liebman, assistant professor of Law at Harvard and a trustee of the Yale Corporation, said yesterday, "The trustees were of the opinion that even the most unpopular views should be heard at Yale."

The corporation's action came in response to a report prepared by a committee headed by Yale historian C. Vann Woodward and formed as a result of a disruption at Yale last year.

Students disrupted attempts last April by William B. Shockley. Stanford University physicist, to express his controversial views on race and intelligence.


Liebman said that the trustees went beyond the basic recommendations of the Woodward Report, suggesting that the president or any other Yale official should not dissuade any group from inviting a speaker "except in the most unusual circumstances."

When asked about Harvard's policy with respect to outside speakers, Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the university, said last night that "recognized student groups, departments or faculty may invite to speak anyone whom they want."

Steiner said he knows of no limitations upon outside speakers and that "we would be much worse off it such a limitation did exist." However, in inviting speakers or arranging debates, groups "might think about sensitivities and feelings within the University," he added.

Persistent Disruption

The trustees also stipulated in their statement that the "normal" punishment for "persistent disruption" should be suspension or expulsion of the student of students causing the disruption.

The Yale College Council, Yale's equivalent to Harvard's Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life, had voiced objections to the mandatory suspension or expulsion for student disruptors and instead recommended "a scale [of punishment] from probation to suspension" the Yale Daily News reported last Thursday.

Liebman said that the suspension or expulsion punishment for disruptors was not a "blanket punishment," but that a disciplinary body could decide to impose a lesser punishment instead.

The disciplinary body would, however, be required to "justify this lesser punishment to the trustees." Liebman said.

The Harvard Law School Forum cancelled in October 1973 a scheduled speech by Shockley under pressure from black law students and faculty.

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