New York Times
COLUMBIA OUSTS TWO PROFESSORS, FOES OF WAR PLANS
Cattell and Dana Accused of Spreading Doctrines ‘Tending to
FACULTY ASKED FOR ACTION
Prof. Cattell Urged Congressmen to Vote Against Sending Drafted Men
ADMITTED WRITING LETTERS
Prof. Dana, Though Warned by President Butler, Continued Activity in
Two members of the Columbia University Faculty – Professor James McKeen Cattell of the Department of Psychology and Assistant Professor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana of the Department of English and Comparative Literature – were ousted from the university at a meeting of the Trustees yesterday afternoon upon charges that they had disseminated doctrines tending to encourage a spirit of disloyalty to the Government of the United States. Professor Dana declined last night to make any comment. Professor Cattell, at his home at Garrison, last night said that he was not surprised at the trustees action, but he had no statement to make at present.
The specific instances upon which the allegation against Professor Cattell was based were contained in letters written by him last August to members of Congress urging them to vote against sending drafted soldiers to Europe. A sentence in each letter stated that the president of the United States and the Congress now in session had not been elected to "send conscripts to Europe."
Charges against Professor Dana contained statements regarding his activities in connection with the People’s Council, to which he belonged. It was pointed out that he had been warned by President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia against joining an organization of that character, which was engaged in weakening the action of the American Government in his prosecution of the war against Germany.
The following statement was issued by the university:
Declare Professorships Vacant.
At the meeting of the Trustees of Columbia University held yesterday, the professorships held by James McKeen Cattell of the Department of Psychology and Henry W. L. Dana of the Department of English and Comparative Literature were declared vacant by unanimous action of the board. It was the judgement of the members of the university Faculties, in which the Trustees concurred, that both Professor Cattell and Professor Dana had done grave injury to the university by their public agitation against the conduct of the war. The members of the Committee on instruction of the Faculty of Applied Science, representing the entire teaching staff of the Schools of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry, united in a written request to the president that they and their work be protected from the ill results of the activities of Professors Cattell and Dana. The Committee of Nine, representatives of the University Council, which has been co-operating with a special committee of the Trustees in an inquiry into the state of teaching in the university, reported that the academic usefulness of both Professor Cattell and Professor Dana was ended, and recommended that Professor Cattell be retired from active service and that Professor Dana be requested to resign.
Frank D. Fackenthal, Secretary of the university, said last night:
If Professor Cattell had been retired it would have meant that he would still receive a pension and so be in a manner connected with the university. That is not the case, however. The two men were expelled."
Mr. Fackenthal explained that while the university council had recommended that Professor Cattell be retired and Professor Dana be requested to resign the university Trustees had by resolution dropped both professors.
Proceeding Began in March
Proceedings which led in the action taken by the Trustees yesterday were begun on March 5 last, when a special committee consisting of ex-Justice George L. Ingraham, John B. Pines, Francis S. Bangs, and Stephen Baker, was appointed to "inquire and ascertain whether doctrines which are subversive of or tending to the violation or disregard of, the Constitution or laws of the United States or of the State of New York, or which tend to encourage a spirit of disloyalty to the the Government of the United States, or the principles upon which it is founded, are taught or disseminated by officers of the university; and, generally, to inquire into the state of teaching in the university."
At the meeting of the Trustees, the following resolutions were introduced and referred to this committee for consideration:
Resolved, That J. McKeen Cattell, Professor of Psychology, be suspended from the service of the University from and after this date during the remainder of the academic year.’
Resolved, That the services of J. McKeen Cattell as an officer of instruction in the university be discontinued from and after June 30, 1917, unless his resignation is received prior to that date.
These resolution were the direct result of a letter addressed by Professor Cattell last Spring to the Faculty Club, in which he referred to President Butler as "our many talented and much-climbing President," and suggested that the latter’s home be given over for a Faculty Club. On receiving his apology the committeee recommended that the resolution be held for further consideration.
The incident came on Commencement Day last June, when the President delivered an address in the course of which he said:
"So long as national policies were in debate, we gave complete freedom, as is our wont and as becomes a university, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of publication to all members of the university who in lawful and decent ways might wish to inform and to guide public policy. Wrongheadedness and folly we might deplore but we are bound to tolerate. So soon, however, as the nation spoke by the Congress and by the President, declaring that it would volunteer one man for the protection and defense of civil liberty and self-government, conditions sharply changed.
"What had been tolerated before became intolerable now. What had been wrongheadedness was now sedition. What had been folly was now treason. In your presence, I speak by authority for the whole university – for my colleagues of the Trustees and for my colleagues of the Faculties — when I say, with all possible emphasis, that there is and will be no place in Columbia University, either on the rolls of its Faculties or on the rolls of its students, for any person who opposes or who counsels opposition to the effective enforcement of the laws of the United States or who acts, speaks or writes treason.
"The separation of any such person from Columbia University will be speedy as the discovery of his offense. This is the university’s last and only word of warning to any among us, if such there be, who are not with whole heart and mind and strength committed to fight with us to make the world safe for democracy."
Dr. Butler’s Warning Was Final
In their report which resulted in the action against the two Professors, the Special Committee remarked on these words as follows:
"This warning was the final warning of the university to all connected with it in any capacity, from the highest to the lowest, and expressed the unalterable determination of the Trustees that all those connected with Columbia University, either on the rolls of its Faculties or on the roles of its students, must loyally support all laws of the United States, and that any such person who should oppose or counsel opposition to the effective enforcement of the laws of the United States or should speak or write or commit any act of sedition or treason, would be promptly separated from the university."
Last August Professor Cattell sent the first letter to Congress which brought down upon him the accusation that he was disloyal. This letter, written on the letterhead of Columbia University, Division of Philosophy, Psychology and Anthropology, read:
Sir: I trust that you will support a measure against sending conscripts to fight in Europe against their will. The intent of the Constitution and our consistent national policy should not be reversed without the consent of the people. The President and the present Congress were not elected "to send conscripts to Europe."
Please read the enclosed statement, Respectfully, (signed) J. McK. Cattell
The letters were received with indignation by several of the Congressmen addressed, and tow of them wrote to President Butler. One said in his letter:
"I do not think that you will approve of this action of this man Cattell in sowing seeds of sedition and treason with the apparent sanction of the institution of which you are the honored head."
The other asked:
"Do you and your Trustees approve of putting the prestige of you great university back of such views as are expressed in this letter, as is done by the using of university letterhead?"
The Special Committee’s conclusion in the matter of Professor Cattell was as follows:
"Your committee reports that this action of Professor Cattell against the warnings that the President of the university, with the assent of the trustees, gave all those connected with the university, and, further, by the use of the letterhead of Columbia University, involved the university as affirming this statement made this letter to Representatives in Congress in opposition to the enforcement of the laws of the United States."
Professor Dana joined the People’s Council shortly after its organization and was one of its most prominent members. On Sept. 6 last, he mad a trip to Washington as a representative of the council to call upon President Wilson. The President declined to see him.
The Special Committee announced its conclusions in the case of Professor Dana as follows:
"As a prominent member of that association (People’s Council) Assistant Professor H.W.L. Dana has been exceedingly active. He has participated in their proceedings and has given to them the benefit of his name, his reputation, and his connection with the university. These activities of Professor Dana are in express disregard of the warning given by President Butler and a violation of his duty to the university."
The committee yesterday then offered the following resolutions, which were adopted by the trustees:
Resolved, That the continuance of the connection of James McKeen Cattell, Ph.D., LL.D., with the university is prejudicial to the welfare of the university, and that the best interests of the university require that his connection with the university shall cease and determine; and further
Resolved, That the appointment of the said James McKeen Cattell as Professor of Psychology in this university be and the same hereby terminated, and that his connection with the university cease and determine forthwith, and the said professorship is hereby declared vacant; and further
Resolved, That the clerk be instructed to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolution to the said James McKeen Cattell.
The committee also recommended the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the continuance of the connection of Henry W. L. Dana, PhD, with the university is prejudicial to the welfare of the university, and that the best interests of the university require that his connection with the university shall cease and determine; and, further
Resolved, That the appointment of the said Henry W. L. Dana as Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature in this university be and the same hereby is terminated, and that his connection with the university cease and determine forthwith, and the said assistant professorship is hereby declared vacant; and, further
Resolved, That the clerk be instructed to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolution to the said Henry W. L. Dana.
President Butler, in a letter dated Sept. 28, urged the dismissal of Professor Cattell and that steps be taken to terminate Professor Dana’s services for "public conduct prejudicial to the influence and good name of the university." He explained the circumstances attending his unusual recommendation by describing the activities of the two professors which continued in direct disregard of the warning he had given them at commencement. President Butler then quoted the following letter sent to him on Sept. 19 last by the entire membership of the Committee on Instruction of the Faculty:
"Thousands of Columbia men were greatly pleased and in a sense relieved when they heard or read the statement in your speech delivered last commencement, that the separation of any person from Columbia would be as speedy as the discovery of his offense in opposing or counseling opposition to the Government, or who is not with whole heart and mind committed to fight with us to make the world safe for democracy."
"We, the members of the Committee on Instruction of the Schools of Mines, Engineering and Chemistry, representing the Faculty of the schools, are very much distressed at the discredit which has been brought to the fair name of Columbia and to those engaged in its service, through the actions of Professor J. M. Cattell and Dr. H. W. L. Dana. The newspaper reports of the activities of these men have occasioned us much embarrassment and lessened the power of our work and our influence in this national crisis.
"In our opinion, Columbia has been placed before the country in a false position by these men, and loyal members of its staff have been humiliated. For years to come the opinion in the public mind which these men have created will cause us to suffer. We are also anxious that our students shall be surrounded by those influences which, while encouraging vigorous independent thought at the same time develop unquestioned loyalty to our country.
"We pray, therefore, for immediate relief and the safeguarding of our name as members of the Faculty of Columbia University."
President Butler, in his letter, said:
"Inasmuch as examples of the original letter written by Professor Cattell have been sent to and examined by me, and inasmuch as he has, on being directly asked the question, admitted writing these letters, his act in so doing comes directly within the scope of my public warning of June 6 last. I therefore recommend that Professor Cattell be peremptorily dismissed from the service of Columbia University.
"The facts in the case of Assistant Professor Dana are that, despite my public statement on June 6, and despite subsequent personal warnings given him by tow of his colleagues on the teaching staff, he has throughout the Summer been in close public association with individuals and organizations that, under the guise of promoting peace, are in one form or another striving to weaken the national effort and to nullify the national will. These individuals and organizations have included some of the most irresponsible, irrational and unpatriotic elements of the population.
"Professor Dana has been until very recently a member of the so-called People’s Council, he had participated in their journeyings to and fro about the country, and he had given them the benefit of his name, his reputation and his university connection, in so doing he has inflicted the gravest damage both upon his own repute and upon the good name and influence of Columbia University.
"Professor Dana, in discussing these matters with the President, feels that he had been actuated in his conduct only by the highest and most patriotic motives, and ex presses the greatest surprise that he has become the subject of criticism either within or without the university. It has been pointed out to him, however, both by the President and by a number of his colleagues on the teaching staff, that the effect of his past conduct has been to make it quite impossible that he should now be able to exercise any worthy or patriotic influence upon the minds and characters of college students.
Distinguishes Between Cases.
"There are many reasons which make it desirable to distinguish, in the course of action to be taken, the case of Professor Dana from that of Professor Cattell. For a number of years it has been the strongly held opinion of the trustees that the interests of the university required the dismissal of Professor Cattell from its service. He has only been retained upon the rolls in deference to the wishes of some of his colleagues, who are now among those asking that his period of university service be terminated.
"Professor Dana, on the other hand, has heretofore given evidence of promise of usefulness as a college and university teacher, and there has never been reason to suppose that his conduct would be in any way prejudicial to the best interests of the university. I have taken occasion to discuss professor Dana’s case, in his presence, with the members of the Committee of Nine of the University Council, appointed to cooperate with the committee of the Trustees in an inquiry into the state of teaching in the university.
"After consideration of all the facts concerning Professor Dana’s public conduct in the matter referred to, and after hearing Professor Dana’s explanations, the Committee of Nine has, without dissent, concluded that Professor Dana’s usefulness as an academic officer in Columbia University is over; that in the interest both of the university and of Professor Dana the least possible publicity should be attached to his going; that Professor Dana should forthwith put into the hands of the President his unconditional resignation and that Professor Dana should be granted leave of absence without salary during the current academic year.
"I submit these conclusion as a method of dealing with the case of Professor Dana that will terminate his university service without involving his immediate dismissal.
Professor Cattell was graduated by Lafayette College in 1889 at the age of 20. The next year he spent at the University of Gottingen, Germany, attending lectures of the celebrated psychologist Lotze. Later he went to the University of Leipzic studying under Wilhelm Wundt. He has also studied at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and at Cambridge, England. He was appointed to Columbia in 1890, becoming Professor of Psychology in 1891.
In 1911, the expulsion of Professor Joel Elias Spingarn stirred Columbia in general and Professor Cattell in particular.
On that occasion he introduced a resolution at a meeting of the Faculty of Philosophy urging that a committee of five be empowered to investigate the manner of appointment and dismissal of the teaching force at Columbia. The resolution aimed at President Butler was lost.
Next, in 1913, after Professor Cattell’s espousal of the cause of Dr. Jacques Loeb, who was refused admission to the Century Association, caused a furor in the university. I was rumored then that Professor Cattell was about to retire, but intercession by President Butler saved him.
Since the declaration of war against Germany Professor Cattell has been especially obnoxious to the Columbia Faculty because of his unhesitating denunciation of a war policy by our Government. His son, Owen Cattell, was sentenced last July to serve one day in the Tombs prison and pay a fine of $500 for conspiring "to induce men of draft age not to register under the Conscription act." Young Cattell at this time list his citizenship.
Professor Dana graduated from Harvard University in 1903, received the degree of Master of Arts in 1904, and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1910. He was appointed Instructor in English at Columbia in 1912, and recently was made assistant professor. He is the grandson of Henry W. Longfellow.