Document 30: Closing Statements
University of Washington Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee, Hearings, vol. 32, pp. 3801-83.
MR. [JOHN] CAUGHLAN [Attorney for Professors Herbert Phillips and Joseph Butterworth]:
. . . Now, I don't want to get involved in clichés and simply state things that are [obvious], but the fact is that the precise logic of the administration's [case] is this. The Communist Party is bad. Mr. Phillips is a member of the Communist Party, and Mr. Butterworth is a member of the Communist Party. Therefore, Butterworth and Phillips are bad. . . .
I think that will be recognized as a [false] logical premise. It is [false] because we cannot characterize everyone in an organization by presenting the beliefs, even of a majority, of that organization. . . . [W]e cannot . . . say that because the majority of this organization believes such-and-such, Mr. Phillips is a member, therefore he believes such-and-such. That isn't sound reasoning. That isn't correct reasoning. . . .
[It] has been, I believe, a fundamental principle of law . . . that no one person may be charged on the basis of the fact that he is a member of an organization. [You can't] prove someone's guilt by bringing forward persons who say, I was once a member of that organization, I was guilty of this act, and infer from that that Mr. Phillips is guilty of that act. That is a doctrine known as . . . guilt by association. It is uniformly rejected in courts of law, and I can see no reason why it should not be rejected here, because it is bad logic, it is bad law, it is bad practice, and I believe it is very bad democracy. . . .
[We have introduced a great deal of] testimony about [Professors Phillips and Butterworth], and the point of this testimony is that they are . . . good teachers. They have in no sense abused their academic [positions], they have raised problems before their students and dealt with them objectively. . . . Should we discharge such men from the faculty who are moral, who are honest, . . . and who are thoroughly competent in their field? I respectfully suggest that . . . under the provisions of this [tenure] code, we must find that these men must remain on the faculty of the University of Washington. . . . We must give the answer which our American traditions compel us to give, namely, that men of admitted and proven ability must and should be allowed to teach, even though their political beliefs and affiliations may be considered objectionable [by] a section of the public. . . .
The tenure code [is] a protection to the University of Washington, as well as to these [accused professors]. The code states that faculty may be dismissed for only certain well-defined reasons. . . . I think it would be tragic if this Committee were to dismiss [Phillips and Butterworth] when no cause for their dismissal exists under the code. These men have conducted themselves properly, and they have not done anything which a citizen does not have a right to do in a democracy. . . .
It is highly important that this Committee stand on the well-established principle that a [professor], so long as he is competent in the usual sense of that term, so long as he is honest and moral in the usual sense of those terms, so long as he has [done] his duties as a teacher--has taught his classes, has taught them well--that he may hold any political opinion that he believes in, and he may belong to any political party he chooses, so long as he does not violate the law. . . . I believe a great disservice will be done to the University of Washington, and to the country generally, if Mr. Phillips and Butterworth are dismissed. . . .
MR. [ED] HENRY [Attorney for Professors Harold Eby and Melville Jacobs]: . . . Both Professor Jacobs and Professor Eby left the Communist Party several years ago. . . . I think Eby's [communist] activities were largely in the 1930s. I am sure we should not discharge a man for something he did back in 1939.
Now, if the doctrine of guilt by association means anything, or if membership in the Communist Party means what the administration says it does, there would be evidence somewhere that . . . their behavior has been disloyal to the United States government and to the University. And yet there has been not one iota of such testimony in this case regarding these two men [Jacobs and Eby.] Their behavior has been exemplary. It is interesting to note that [the administration] wasn't able to bring in one student who became a Marxist as a result of being a student of either of these two gentlemen. . . .
Here is the test . . . the Committee should adopt with respect to what should be done about [these] professors. [Mr. Henry then quoted a report by the American Association of University Professors, one of the best known organizations in higher education:] "If a teacher as an individual should advocate the forcible overthrow of government, or should incite others to do so, if he uses his classes as a forum for Communism, or otherwise abuses his relationship with his students for that purpose-- . . . these are the charges that should be brought against him.
"If these charges should be established by evidence [produced] at a hearing, the teacher should be dismissed because of his acts of disloyalty or because of professional unfitness, and not because he is a Communist. So long as the Communist Party of the United States is a legal political party, affiliation with that Party in and of itself should not be regarded as a justifiable reason for exclusion from the academic profession." . . .
Should the University . . . dismiss two scholars who have contributed the best part of their lives to their profession, who have in the past been members of the Communist Party [but] have determined in their own minds that they want nothing more to do with the Party? . . . That is the issue that I think will crystallize in this case.
I am sure that the Committee will consider that these persons, if you desire them have any punishment, if you feel they should learn a lesson, I don't think you have to tell them, "Don't ever engage in political activities again." You don't have to punish them.
Mr. Jacobs' recommendation for [promotion] to full professorship occurred about a year ago, and has probably been held up by these accusations against him. You don't have to punish them because I recall a couple of weeks before the Canwell hearings, I went to a group of . . . about fifteen faculty members [who had been] subpoenaed, and I will never forget the feelings of those people, the most dejected group of people I have ever seen, harassed, they couldn't sleep, they had been going through it for a long time, they will never get over that feeling.
If this Committee feels that they should be punished in any way . . ., I am satisfied that there is no punishment that could merit what they have gone through. Their reputations have been ruined, as far as the press is concerned. . . . I mean, they have had their punishment already, and I am sure that under all the facts, it would be one of the greatest injustices to bring in a decision for dismissal of these two men [Eby and Jacobs].