New York Times

PROFESSORS DEFINE ACADEMIC FREEDOM
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American Association Favors Dismissal of Disloyal College Teachers.
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PRESENT FOUR GROUNDS
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Includes Those Whose Acts Might Hamper Our Prosecution of the War.

There is published in the current issue of the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors a report of the Subcommittee on Academic Freedom in Wartime, which was presented at a recent meeting of the association. The committee reported that, in its opinion, college teachers could legitimately be dismissed during the war for refusal to obey laws relating to the war; for propaganda designed to persuade others to disobey the law; for propaganda designed against activities auxiliary to the military and naval operations, such as war loans and regulations of the Food Administration; and in the case of teachers of enemy nationality or parentage, for acts tending to hamper our prosecution of the war or outspoken expression of opposition to the Government. The conclusions of the committee, which consisted of Professor A. O. Lovejoy of Johns Hopkins, Edward Capps of Princeton, and Allyn A. Young of Cornell, were approved by the General Committee on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure

"There are two sides to the duty of a citizen in time of war," says the report. "One side— the more urgent, and also the more obvious — consists in loyally rendering the services and making the sacrifices which the national emergency requires. But it is an essential and insistent, though secondary, aim of public policy at such a time to take care that the adjustments necessitated by the crisis and the abnormal conditions which are inseparable from war no avoidable injury is done to the permanent interests of society, and especially to those interests for the sake of which the war itself is being fought."

Based on Four Grounds

The committee believes that there are four grounds on which the dismissal of a member of a Faculty because of his attitude or conduct in relation to the war may be legitimate. First, those who are convicted of disobedience to any statute or lawful executive order relating to the war may legitimately suffer deprivation of academic office, and teachers under indictment for such offenses, but not yet convicted, may properly be suspended from their duties until their cause is legally determined.

"Difficulty arises in the application of this rule to conscientious objectors, no members of the religious bodies whose doctrines forbid participation in war and who are exempted from combatant service but equally conscientious and disinterested. The members of the subcommittee charged with the drafting of this report are, indeed, strongly of the opinion that the attitude of citizens who resist the law of military service is both ethically indefensible and, if it is widely prevalent, gravely dangerous to the public safety in time of war, and in such a time the public safety is the supreme law. Men who have enjoyed and who continue to enjoy the protection of the laws and the privileges of citizenship in a free State, yet refuse to do their part in defending the State when it is in danger and when other citizens are dying in defense of it and of them — such men, whatever their motives, are in a very practical sense enemies of the State.

"Members of faculties should be required by their institutions to refrain from propaganda designed or unmistakably tending to cause others to resist or evade the compulsory service law or the regulations of military authorities, and those who refuse to conform to this requirement may be and should be dismissed even before any action has been taken by the law officers of the State.

"No community having any intelligent sense of what its own safety requires can for a moment permit any of its members, in a time so critical, to engage in deliberate efforts to undermine it power. Before war is declared it is any citizenís right to oppose such a declaration; but it is not his right between the declaration of war and the conclusion o f peace to obstruct or impede execution of any measure lawfully determined upon as requisite for the safety of the country.

Case of Teutonic Teachers Here.

"It is probably that there are to be found in our educational institutions a few men of German or Austro-Hungarian birth or parentage who have been so blinded to the moral aspects of the present conflict by their affect for the land of their origin that they desire the victory, or at least the partial success of the Central Empires. The situation requires that these men abstain from any act tending to promote the military advantage of the enemy or hamper the efforts of the United States; that they take care not to give reasonable grounds for the belief that they are conspiring with disloyal persons; that they refrain from public discussion of the war and in their private intercourse with neighbors, colleagues or students avoid all hostile or offensive expressions concerning the United States or it Government. Teachers of enemy alien nationality should be put on their parole to observe these restrictions, and if they or others of pro-German sympathies fail to observe them they should be promptly removed from their posts. So long, on the other hand, as the restrictions are scrupulously observed, it is not necessary that persons known or believed to have such sympathies should be dismissed, and as a rule their dismissal would be neither generous nor expedient.

"When charges are brought against a member of a college or university Faculty upon any ground, the proceedings should, as a matter of course, be strictly judicial in character, and should be in accord with the principle of Faculty responsibility. In other words, the person should be entitled to have the charges against him stated in writing in specific terms, and to have a fair trial on those charges before either the Judicial Committee of the Faculty, or a joint committee composed of an equal number of professors and Trustees, which should render definite findings, stating, in case of a decision adverse to the accused, the precise acts on which the decision is based.

"In concluding, the committee would address itself especially to that large majority of the members of our profession who see in the unmistakable defeat of the Central Empires, so long as they are under their present leadership, the only means of discrediting and destroying the sinister forces which have involved humanity in the present unspeakable catastrophe, and the only assurance of a just and lasting peace. For us, at least — for men of our calling who share this conviction — the weapon to be relied on in combating error or apathy concerning the moral issues of the war is the patient and persistent and straightforward appeal to the intelligence and the conscience of our fellow-citizens. Here is a distinctly educational task, resting especially though not exclusively upon us, in which our loyalty and our desire to serve the country in its emergency may find fitting expression — the task of helping to interpret to our countrymen the larger significance of the war, of bringing to them a broader vision of the vocation of the Republic, of arousing among them an enlightened and generous, as well as ardent, patriotism which, because enlightened and generous, is also a sane internationalism. It is a task which, because it contains far less of sacrifice, contains also less honor than the task of those who serve the nation in the field; but it is not less needful, and there not less worthy of the devotion of those upon whom it peculiarly devolves, and to who other modes of service are not open.

 

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