1923 February 13

Univ. Wisconsin Threatens Editors of “Unauthorized” Student Paper


The University of Wisconsin, it was reported on this day, ordered two students to appear before the Dean of Men, for publishing an “unauthorized” student paper, The Scorpion. The exact reasons for their appearance was not indicated, but it was clear that they were in trouble for a publication not formally approved by the university.

The two editors of The Scorpion appeared to have incurred the wrath of university officials for two reasons. The first was the “unauthorized” status of their paper. The second was the content of the very first issue. The Scorpion published a chapter from a forthcoming novel by the best-selling author Upton Sinclair which criticized the university over its “liberal’ policies. One of the two editors was David Sinclair, son of Upton Sinclair.

Three months after his son was threatened with discipline by the University of Wisconsin, Upton Sinclair made civil liberties history by being arrested in San Pedro, California (a port city, now part of Los Angeles) on May 15, 1923 while he attempted to read the Bill of Rights. The rally, on what is now known at Liberty Hill, was in support of striking maritime workers who were associated with the radical I.W.W. As he was making the arrest, the police officer declared, “We’ll have none of that constitution stuff.” Sinclair’s arrest helped stimulate the establishment of the ACLU of Southern California.

Learn more about Upton Sinclair: Anthony Arthur, Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair (2006)

Visit the ACLU of Southern California Web Site: http://www.aclu-sc.org/

Learn more about Upton Sinclair: Anthony Arthur, Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair (2006)

Watch a documentary on Upton Sinclair and his famous novel The Junglehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1aZbqjBF7A

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