Marxists Internet Archive: Subjects: Marxism and Art: Literature: Children's Literature

University of Washington President Allen's Recommendations Regarding the expulsion of professors Butterworth and Phillips (1948)


. . . In my opinion, a teacher may be rendered incompetent, even within the restricted legal meaning of the term, by any action, condition, or attitude which interferes with the proper and adequate performance of his duties... .

I would point out that the teacher and the scholar have special obligations with respect to the sincerity of their convictions which involve questions of intellectual honesty and integrity. Men in academic life — teachers, scholars, and scientists — are engaged in a vocation which is concerned with the finding of truth and its dissemination, with the pursuit of truth wherever it may lead. Is it possible for an individual, however sincere, to embrace both this unhampered pursuit of truth and, at the same time, the doctrines and dogmas of a political party which admits of no criticism of its fundamental principles and programs? Put in another way, a teacher may be sincere in his belief in Communism, but can he at the same time be a sincere seeker after truth, which is the first obligation and duty of the teacher? My answer to these questions is, "He cannot." Therefore, I believe these men, by reason of their admitted membership in the Communist Party described in the above findings, to be incompetent, intellectually dishonest, and derelict in their duty to find and teach the truth. . . .

I concur in the findings and recommendations of . . . committee members Benson and Goodspeed. . . . I concur also with Professor Williams' analysis of the facts and his recommendation.

. . . I recommend that the Board hold . . . that respondents Butterworth and Phillips are disqualified from membership on the faculty of the University of Washington on the ground that they are members of the Communist Party, U.S.A. . . . and therefore are unfit for faculty membership. In these proceedings it has been adequately proved, in my opinion, that they are incompetent, that they are intellectually dishonest, and that they have neglected their duties as members of the faculty.

In conclusion I wish to emphasize what I have said elsewhere:

Freedom is essential to sound education. That academic freedom must be maintained in any university worthy of the name is beyond question. But academic freedom consists of something more than merely an absence of restraints placed upon the teacher by the institution that employs him. It demands as well an absence of restraints placed upon him by his political affiliations, by dogmas that may stand in the way of a free search for truth, or by rigid adherence to a "party line" that sacrifices dignity, honor, and integrity to the accomplishment of political ends. Men, and especially the teacher and the scholar, must be free to think and discover and believe, else there will be no new thought, no discovery, and no progress. But these freedoms are barren if their fruits are to be hidden away and denied. Men must be free, of course, but they must also be free, and willing, to stand up and profess what they believe so that all may hear. This is an important, if not the most important part of our American heritage of freedom. It is this American heritage of freedom that must be cherished and sustained by our systems and institutions of education if they are to survive.



January 17, 1949