New York Times


Professor, Dismissed on Charge of Encouraging Disloyalty, Discontinues Damage Actions.




Annual Retiring Pension, Based on 26 Years’ Service Is Granted by Trustees.

The various suits for sums aggregating $150,000 that were begun against Columbia University, individual Trustees and the Alumni News by Professor James McKeen Cattell, following his dismissal from the Faculty on a charge of encouraging disloyalty during the war, have been discontinued, according to an announcement last night by President Nicholas Murray Butler. Dr. Butler further discloses that the annual retiring allowance, based on Professor Cattell’s twenty-six years’ service as a member of the Faculty of Columbia, had been granted to the dismissed educator by vote of the Trustees.

From other sources it was learned that the pension allowance granted to Dr. Cattell, who was Professor of Psychology in 1917 when he and Assistant Professor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana of the Department of English and Comparative Literature were ousted from the Faculty on similar charges, would amount to about $45,000. The statement of Dr. Butler follows:

"The Trustees of Columbia University have voted to pay to Mr. Cattell the precise amount of the annual retiring allowance, as fixed by the rules of the Carnegie Foundation, that his twenty-six years of service as professor in Columbia justify. When this retiring allowance was offered to Mr. Cattell after twenty-five years of service, he declined it.

"He has since asked for it, and it has been granted. Mr. Cattell has discontinued his various actions against the university, The Alumni News and individual Trustees."

When Professor Cattell was questioned at his office at the Grand Central Terminal, he said that any statement on the subject would have to come from Columbia University. Likewise, his counsel, Alfred Hayes, declined to make any comment on the allowance of the pension and the withdrawal of the suits.

Suit against President Butler and members of a Committee of Trustees who reported against him was filed by Professor Cattell on Sept. 23, 1918, nearly a year after he was dismissed from the faculty. The defendants besides Dr. Butler were George L. Ingraham, former Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court, John B. Pine, Francis S. Bangs, and Stephen Baker.

Professor Cattell incurred the displeasure of the Columbia authorities in the Spring of 1917, when he wrote a letter to the Faculty Club, referring to President Butler as "our many talented and much-climbing President." Action was about to be taken against him when he apologized.

In August of that year Professor Cattell sent letters to members of Congress on the stationery of his university department, which the Trustees decided was a dissemination of doctrines tending to encourage a spirit of disloyalty to the government. Professor Cattell insisted that he merely wrote as a private person in support of legislation designed to relieve drafted men from fighting abroad against their will.

His case was referred for final action to the Committee of Trustees, named in his action, and his dismissal followed.

Professor Cattell filed additional suits against The Alumni News for alleged damaging statements concerning his dismissal.

Professor Cattell is the father of Owen Cattell, a student of Columbia, who was arrested in the Spring of 1917 for circulating propaganda against the draft and was sentenced to a day in prison and $500 fine.

Since his dismissal from the Faculty of Columbia University, Professor Cattell has been directing the publication of several periodicals, including Science, the monthly official journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been editor of that publication for more than twenty years. He is also editor of School and Science, a weekly publication, and the American Naturalist, another periodical.


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