New York Times

Really They Must Explain It

Amid all of these present uncertainties of what promises to become the celebrated case of Dr. Nearing, one certainly appears. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania will be obliged, sooner or later, to tell an interested public just why it was that they dropped this assistant professor from the Faculty roll.

They may have planned to keep silent out of kindness to Dr. Nearing, but as he displays no signs of fearing a full exposure of his character, conduct, and views — as he manifest, on the contrary, an eager desire to be put on trial in the courts of academic and public opinions— it is evident that the Trustees must grant his desire or else expose themselves to conviction in those same courts of having loved silence for their own sakes, not his. The longer they evade the issue, the bigger it will get and the harder to meet.

That there are for teachers as for everybody else limitation of speech that must either be observed or enforced is unquestionable, but whoever does the enforcing must be prepared to justify it if asked to do so. In this case the requests are many, and they are becoming steadfastly larger. Somebody should have warned the Trustees betimes that they would have to deal with a highly articulate class if they denied the right of a university professor to speak his mind in the domain of his own specialty.


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