Academic Freedom Imperiled: The McCarthy Era at the by J. Dee Kille

By J. Dee Kille

The "Red scare" of the Nineteen Fifties created a countrywide drawback that challenged techniques of loyalty and freedom of speech in each nook of yank society. The hindrance was once particularly not easy in American universities, the place traditions of educational freedom chanced on themselves at odds with political concerns stemming from the chilly warfare. The collage of Nevada in Reno was once no exception. The collage earlier than and through global battle II was once a small (fewer than 2,000 scholars) college delivering easy courses to a principally Nevada-based pupil physique within the nation’s least-populated country. The campus used to be quiet, safe, conventional, and customarily conservative. The postwar years introduced booming enrollments and new college contributors, many from outdoors Nevada, imbued with a feeling of the significance of study and of shared educational governance. quickly, the collage stumbled on itself embroiled in an excessive controversy that threatened its educational integrity or even raised issues approximately its destiny as a manageable establishment. The 1952 appointment of Minard W. Stout as president caused the predicament. Mandated through a conservative Board of Regents to "clean up" the collage, Stout delivered to his new activity a willing feel of undertaking and a strident dedication to an authoritarian, top-down chain of command. His next battles with school and scholars over their function in college governance and over the very nature of upper schooling quickly degenerated into indignant accusations of school Communist sympathies and sour confrontations over educational loose speech, educational freedom, and loyalty. The typhoon introduced the collage nationwide notoriety and made the management of upper schooling an immense factor inside of Nevada, finally related to the country legislature and the courts with the intention to get to the bottom of the clash. J. Dee Kille’s full of life and insightful account of the drawback "on the hill" rests on a variety of archival assets, interviews and oral histories, college documents, and released assets. of significant curiosity to readers attracted to Nineteen Fifties Nevada, the booklet additionally serves as a strong case research of the devastating effect of McCarthyism, suspicion, and repression on an American college in this turbulent period within the nation’s heritage.

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Additional resources for Academic Freedom Imperiled: The McCarthy Era at the University of Nevada (Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in Nevada History) (Wilber S. Shepperson Series in Nevada History)

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Sheila Slaughter, a professor of higher education at the University of Arizona at Tucson, succinctly describes the situation at un in her study of what she calls ‘‘dirty little cases’’ of infringement on academic freedom. In dirty little cases, administrators have usually treated faculty members like employees rather than professionals. ’’ 39 As a result of the efforts of the Friends of the University, the first petitions and letters began arriving during the last week in April and the first week in May.

Hearing, we were just asking to be fired, . . ’’ The editorial strongly supported the March 1953 anti-Communist statement issued by the Association of American Universities (aau). The aau, the organization that represents the administrations of many of the nation’s leading graduate schools, went on record as favoring the dismissal of all teachers who were members of the Communist Party. In the aau’s opinion, [A] scholar must have integrity and independence. This renders impossible adherence to such a regime as that of Russia and its satellites.

The ‘‘Red’’ issue crept subtly into various pub- 24 Academic Freedom Imperiled lic conversations at opportune times and occasionally into regents’ meetings, but it made a very dismal splash during the second day of the Richardson hearings. The fact that the Red specter was a continual presence overhanging governance debates followed the same pattern at un that was then occurring at all institutes of higher learning where the alleged Red menace threatened. But in most instances, as with the Richardson case, Communism was merely the vehicle for resolving confrontations of another color.

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