1950 March 22

University of California Faculty Votes Not to Employ Communists


By referendum, the faculty of the University of California voted by a 4-to-1 margin not to employ Communists at the university. At the time of this vote, the university was in the midst of a great controversy over an anti-communist loyalty oath for all faculty, which the Regents would soon adopt on April 21, 1950. While many faculty members protested, and 31 refused to sign it and were terminated (August 25, 1950), the faculty as a whole supported the idea of not employing members of the Communist Party as faculty.

The insidious aspect of not employing people simply because of their membership in a political party was that it had nothing to do with their professional competence or conduct. The University of California loyalty oath, and of all loyalty oaths during the Cold War, suffered from a similar problem. The oath had nothing to do with any specific criminal or unprofessional conduct on the part of individuals required to sign it.

Learn more at the California Loyalty Oath Digital Archive: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/collections/loyaltyoath/

Read: David Gardner, The California Oath Controversy (1967)

Learn more at a timeline on the California loyalty oath controversy: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/collections/loyaltyoath/timeline_test.html

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