New York Times
DISMISSAL ILLEGAL, CATTELL DECLARES
Ousted Professor Also Says Columbia Violated Academic Tradition of 600
DENIES ANY ACT OF SEDITION
Has Taken Part in No Agitation Against Government, Conduct of War, or
Professor J. McKeen Cattell, who with Professor H. W. L. Dana was dismissed from the Faculty of Columbia University on Monday because of pacifist activities, yesterday broke the silence he had maintained, and in a formal statement said his dismissal was unfair and illegal. His statement follows:
It is contrary to academic traditions maintained for six hundred years, to dismiss a university professor on account of his opinions expressed in a proper way to experts in the subject. It is illegal to dismiss a professor in the middle of the academic year on false charges, without payment for the year and without pension, which he had earned by twenty-six years of service.
I am opposed to war and to this war, but I have undertaken no agitation against the Government nor against its conduct of the war. I have written nothing against the draft law or against sending armies to Europe, although I regard both measures as subversive of the national welfare.
In August of 1914, when President Wilson was telling us to be neutral in thought as well as in deed and Mr. Roosevelt was "pussyfooting," I wrote in a journal that I edit:
"The official German justification of the mad and wanton European war is that it is a defense of the Teutonic culture and people against the semi-Asiatic and barbaric Slav hordes. The verdict of history will probably be that it was a war of calculation for caste and national aggrandizement, and a war of miscalculation. The German Emperor and his bureaucratic military entourage probably held that the time was ripe from an extension of German influence in the Balkans and towards Asia Minor with an increase of its African possessions at the expense of France. But it is by no means clear why, if the serpent was prepared to use it fangs, it did not show its alleged wisdom. * * * We may look for a second Napoleon the little rather than a second Napoleon the great."
In June, 1917, I began a letter to the New York Evening Post with the words:
"An Emperor, driven by the militaristic and capitalistic classes of his people and ‘by God demented’ must accept responsibility for the great crime."
The letter that I wrote on Aug. 23 to members of the Congress, on account of which I have been dismissed from the chair of psychology at Columbia University, asked support for a measure then before the Senate and the House to prohibit sending conscripts "to fight in Europe against their will." There is no law requiring or permitting the President to sent "conscientious objectors" to fight in Europe. To do this would be contrary to the intent of the constitution and to the uniform policy of the nation. It would provide a less efficient army and might cause disorder and possible revolution at home. Surely this should not be done without careful consideration by the Congress after efforts to learn the will of the people. I have done nothing except exercise the constitutional right and fulfil the duty of a citizen to petition the Government to enact legislation which I believe to be in the interest of the nation. For this I am dismissed from the Division of Philosophy, Psychology and Anthropology of Columbia University, which I have made the strongest of any university in the world. Professors of every university are terrorized, so that they dare not exert their influence for peace and goodwill.
The peoples of all the European nations long for peace, but are kept at war by the kleptocratic classes. In spite of the institutions and the instincts which we have inherited from a barbarous past. I believe that our people have no heart for this war into which they have been driven. But even if the nation should become a mob, mad for war, it is non the less the business of each of us to do what he can for righteousness as he sees it. If that is forbid by force, then indeed, we need a new national anthem, such as Shelley once wrote for England:
God prosper, speed and save,
God raise from England’s grave
Her murdered Queen!
Pave with swift victory
The Steps of Liberty,
Whom Britons own to be
J. McKeen Cattell.
Newspaper offices were called on the telephone yesterday and told that there would be a meeting of students in the School of Journalism at Columbia yesterday afternoon at 5 o’clock to protest against the ousting of the two pacifist professors. The meeting was not held.