Administrative Pressures and Student Political Activity
 at the University of California: A Preliminary Report

By Michael Rossman



            The recent effects of student dissatisfaction with Administrative policy have been widely publicized, but the long and intricate histories of both policy and dissatisfaction have not been subject to public discussion. This essay is a preliminary abstract of a detailed analysis, with a supporting body of evidence, of pressures on student political activities at the University. These pressures have been transmitted primarily through the Administrative policies governing student affairs .

            This essay sketches certain general problems that appear again and again, in the studies which form the main body of this report. (Footnotes refer to these studies and to the other appendices. ) This essay, and a preliminary version of the supporting body of evidence, are to be submitted to the Chancellor's Committee on Student Political Activity. We hope to make a final report, with the supporting evidence, available relatively soon to the interested public. We offer this report as background for a dialogue on the issues it deals with, and hope that it will contribute to a genuine understanding of these issues.


            Individual action in a complex society is difficult, and individuals band together into groups to make effective action possible. If group action is restricted, the individual loses his only workable means of exercising the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States. (1)


(1) Student groups are hindered in their attempts to inform the campus public of their very existence. "Students for Lodge" and ''Students for Scranton", for example, could not put the names of the candidates on posters advertising meetings of the clubs; thus they could not make their nature known. (3) In addition, all political groups are forbidden to recruit new members on campus; thus they are denied their only convenient access to the largest available body of potential members. (4)

(2) Almost all groups perform their functions primarily by means of conducting meetings; yet most groups concerned with 'off-campus' issues cannot hold meetings on campus. Students wishing to attend DuBois Club meetings, for example, must travel to Oakland. (5) Such difficulties discourage public contact with groups, and make the interest of members harder to maintain.

(3) Administrative regulations severely hamper the financial functioning of organizations. Student groups have precarious finances and depend mainly upon the campus for support. However, collection of funds is now prohibited on campus.(6) Regulations now require police 'protection for the presentation of speakers judged 'controversial' by the Administration, at costs of up to $45 to the sponsoring organization; but the regulations do not permit solicitation of donations to cover such costs.(7)

(4) Even when individuals have managed to form groups which have managed to maintain their existence, the possible actions these groups can take are severely limited by the regulations. The regulations governing 'off-campus' speakers and the holding of rallies make it difficult for groups to keep their public informed about issues of immediate interest. For example, in 1962 several hundred students held an impromptu rally in Dwinelle Plaza to protest resumption  of atmospheric testing. The Dean of Students' office asked the police to disband the rally, and later decided that it had been 'premeditated' and brought a member of the rally before the Faculty Committee on Student Discipline. (8)

(5) Further, the regulations and their interpretations have not permitted student interest in social and political issues to be expressed through the student government. When this led the ASUC to create the Student Forum as a vehicle for the expression of this interest, the regulations hampered the Forum so severely that it soon  died.(9)

(6) The regulations make it difficult or impossible for groups to obtain speakers and to present them to a campus audience. For example, when the YSA wished to sponsor four concurrent seminars on Civil Rights and Industrial Political Activity, tenured faculty moderators were required for each one. They were impossible to find, and the series was not held. (10)

(7) Finally, the regulations make it difficult for organizations to take action on the issues with which they are concerned. Slate was forced to withdraw sponsorship of on-campus vigils and pickets in 1962 and 1963. Off-campus activities could not be announced at impromptu rallies. (11) Here again, the prohibition of on-campus fund collection defeats the purpose of those groups which exist mainly to collect money for their causes.


(1) In 1956 the Administration prohibited distribution of pro-voluntary ROTC literature while at the same time allowing the Military Department to distribute pro-compulsory ROTC pamphlets in all of its classes. (12)

(2) In 1962 Malcolm X. was forbidden permission to speak on campus on the grounds that he was a religious leader who 'might proselytize'. But Episcopal Bishop James Pike had spoken on campus the previous day, and in recent on-campus speeches had discussed birth control and the consequences of there being a Catholic in the White House. (13)

(3) The World University Service may solicit funds on campus for students abroad, and the ASUC ExCom was allowed to raise funds for the relief of Hungarian students. But the Administration forbade the Students for Racial Equality to use $900 they had collected to establish a scholarship for a Negro student expelled from a Southern university for his civil rights work. (14)

(4) Police 'protection' and a tenured faculty moderator are required for speakers judged 'controversial'. The DuBois Club sponsored a Communist who was not 'controversial' and an ex-student longshoreman who was. (15) The Administration determines who is 'controversial' and its decisions cannot be appealed; but it has not published criteria that define 'controversial'.

(5) The student government is ostensibly forbidden to take stands on political issues, which include State Ballot Propositions. This restriction, however, has been lifted when the Administration feels such lifting to be to its interests. Thus the Administration has encouraged the ASUC to support Proposition 3 in 1958, Proposition 1A in 1962, and Proposition 2 in 1964. In 1962 it reluctantly allowed the ASUC to also take a stand on Proposition 24 (the 'Francis Amendment'), which was frankly political; a similar situation occurred with Proposition 14 this Fall. (16)

(6) The Administration has earmarked a million dollars of ASUC funds to construct a building providing office space for student groups. Though all students have contributed their funds, 'off-campus' groups cannot use these offices. (17)

(7) Some almost-amusing paradoxes result from the Administration's policies. Thus, individuals can organize some kinds of demonstrations on campus, but cannot publicize them. Groups can publicize, but not organize, these demonstrations. But if individuals do organize them, they cannot publicize them through groups. (18)

(8) The rules governing the publicizing of student activities have not been fully written down, and their enforcement has been arbitrary and sometimes whimsical. For example, a Women For Peace poster announcing a meeting to hear speakers on the Vietnam war was censored because "it didn't look very peaceful." (19)


            The grievances we have sketched have many immediate causes. Their basic source, however, is the Administration's current conception of the nature of the University, and the policies that result from this conception. (1) In particular, these policies, and the ways in which the Administration implements them, make the Administration responsive to certain outside pressures, and unresponsive to pressures from within, i.e. from other components of the University.


            The long-range policies of the Administration make it unduly responsive to outside influences. Student political activity is discouraged on the ground that such activity exposes the University to political pressures (2), but the Administration voluntarily subjects the University to far greater pressures by actively seeking private and Government research contracts. (3) The University is and will continue to be subject to pressures. The question is which pressures will gain response from the Administration.

            In 1949 the Administration decided that a faculty anti-Communist oath would serve as "a preventive to the possible passage of legislation dangerous to the University. "(4) The resulting "Loyalty Oath controversy" had disastrous consequences for the faculty, and made it clear that the Administration would set major policy despite vigorous faculty opposition when outside pressure was applied. (5) In another case, a 1959 Subject A exam posed the question, "What are the dangers to a democracy of a national police organization, like the FBI, which operates secretly and is unresponsive to public criticism?" The FBI and other groups found the question distasteful and protested. The Administration made a public apology, burned the remaining copies of the exam, and promised that no similar questions would appear again.(7) In these cases, the special sensitivity of the Administration to outside pressures is manifest.

            A wealth of other such examples exists. More recent ones include the role of William Knowland in helping to stimulate the Administration's 'clarifications' of the Kerr Directives this Fall(8); and the Administration's refusal to contest PG&E's decision to build a nuclear reactor at Bodega Head, which resulted in the University's abandoning its plans for a marine biology station there.(9)


            Chancellor Strong's rejection of the recommendations of the Heyman Committee (10) is the most recent incident in a long history of Administrative disregard for criticism and recommendations from the Academic Senate, the ASUC Senate and ExCom, and other campus groups.

            A decade of protest through established channels saw two petitions totalling l0, 000 signatures, three ASUC ExCom resolutions, three massive student referendums, and strong recommendations from a faculty committee, all urging an end to compulsory ROTC. The Administration ignored these criticisms of its policy; compulsory ROTC was abolished only after the Department of the Army had finally joined the other military Departments in deciding that compulsory ROTC was unnecessary. (11)

            Similarly, the Administration has disregarded a student referendum, resolutions of the ASUC Senate, and requests from other campus groups for removal of the fallout shelter signs. Though the Administration has promised these bodies various statements clarifying its policy on the fallout shelters, these statements were never received. (12) Again, the Administration ignored a joint student-faculty petition to end the Communist Speaker Ban, as well as a student referendum and several  ASUC Senate resolutions to this effect. (13)

            The Administration has most consistently refused to heed criticisms of its policies in the case of the Kerr Directives. Since the Directives were issued in 1959, they have been the target of repeated criticism. The ASUC ExCom and Senate have passed many resolutions protesting the restrictions of the Directives. The Daily Californian has often editorialized against them, and has provided a forum for public criticism. More detailed criticism has been provided by pamphlets distributed on campus, and by the Student Civil Liberties Union. The Academic Freedom Committee of the Academic Senate has made detailed recommendations for revision of the Directives, and other faculty groups have asked that the Directives be submitted to the Academic Senate for discussion. (14)

            But the Administration has not heeded these criticisms and protests. There is no evidence that changes of policy have come about on the Administration's initiative or in response to the kinds of criticism and pressure described above. Instead, there is evidence that fear of outside pressure has caused the Administration to make the Directives more restrictive. (15)

            In short, the legal channels for criticism and protest of policies have been extensively employed by students and faculty. These 'legitimate' channels have a nominal existence, but there is little evidence to suggest that they actually serve their nominal function The mass of evidence suggests that these channels function mainly as a means of containing criticism and rendering it ineffective. Criticism of Administrative policies through established channels has had little or no effect on the policies.



A. The role of the faculty. The cessation of faculty resistance in the Loyalty Oath controversy of 1950 established a pattern. (1) Since then most of the real power to make policy has rested with an Administration attentive to other counsels, and faculty powers have tended to be at best advisory. We have already cited examples of the general tendency of the Administration to ignore the recommendations of the faculty. There are many others: for instance, faculty protest against the Administration's suspension of Slate in 1961 had no effect. (2) In addition, individual members of the faculty are often reluctant to become leaders of dissent through their fear of reprisals, which they feel might include loss of privileges or even of their jobs. (3)

B. The role of the student government. The ASUC, which ought to be the main vehicle for student criticism of Administrative policy, has been almost ineffective in this function. Its recommendations, like those of the faculty, have been largely ignored, and continual pressures by the Administration to restrict its activities seem to have made it disinclined to question policy. Administrative officials have at times discouraged the ASUC from criticizing their policies, and often ASUC officials have felt that such criticism was not within their authority.(4)

C. The role of the graduate students. The graduates might have been expected to provide the leadership of student criticism of Administrative policies. But they were disfranchised from the ASUC under highly questionable circumstances, and did not manage to form a viable voluntary association. (5)

D. The role of Slate. The faculty and the ASUC were ineffective in their criticisms of Administrative policies. Partly for this reason, from its birth in 1958 Slate was the most constant and vocal voice of student dissatisfaction with these policies. Slate representatives initiated most of the ASUC's protests. Slate itself sponsored discussions on the regulations, and circulated literature analyzing and criticizing them.

            In l96l Slate was suspended for supposedly violating the Administration's regulations (6), and a later change in these regulations reduced Slate to 'off-campus' status, exposing it to difficulties we have already discussed. The disfranchisement of the graduates weakened Slate's position in the ASUC, and Slate was made the object of direct attacks by the Administration. (7) The result has been to reduce drastically Slate's role in making protests of any sort.

            IN SHORT, THE POLICIES AND ACTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE REDUCED SYSTEMATICALLY THE EFFECTIVENESS OF POSSIBLE INTERNAL SOURCES OF OPPOSITION TO ITS POLICIES. This pattern has not been restricted to organizations. The Administration has at times attempted to publicly discredit individuals leading such opposition, and recently suspended leaders of student opposition to its policies. (8) In at least one case, the Administration has tampered directly with the mechanisms and bodies of dissent, by effectively dictating a resolution supporting its policies to the ASUC ExCom when public criticism of these policies was at a peak. (9)


A. How change in policies occurs. Since the Administration both directly and indirectly discourages criticism of its policies, and the customary channels for the expression of such criticism have been ineffective, groups and individuals have sometimes resorted to more direct tactics to effect desired changes. Taking note of the way the Administration responds to outside pressures, the students have found that it sometimes responds similarly to internal pressures.

            These inside pressures take two main forms, the first being the threat of legal action. In 1959 students at UCLA filed suit to force the Administration to allow leaflets to be handed out on campus. Rather than fight the suit, which would have resulted in a decision as to whether University property was state-owned or privately owned, the Administration adopted new regulations incorporating the desired change.(1) Similarly, the threat of a lawsuit in 1962 on the Riverside campus provoked the Administration to lift the ban on Communist speakers. (2)

            The second main form of internal pressure has been the organizing of dramatic public protest, in the forms of picketing and rallies. Perhaps from fear of publicity, the Administration has shown considerably more sensitivity to such protest, or to the threat of such protest, than to reasoned appeals through the established channels we have mentioned.

            For example, in 1959, when the Administration ignored faculty recommendations and massive student pressure for modification of the Kerr Directives, Slate held a rally in defiance of the regulations and sent a traveling committee to organize supporting protest on other campuses. The Administration then issued revisions embodying some of the original recommendations of the faculty. (3) In the same year Slate held an on-campus rally in support of a local ballot proposition. The Administration brought several members of the rally before the Faculty Committee on Student Conduct for disciplinary action. More than 500 students attended the committee's first session to insist that they were equally 'guilty' and to demand that they be subject to the same possible disciplinary action. The committee discontinued its hearings.(4) In Fall 1964, when the Administration had Jack Weinberg arrested for trespassing, the massive demonstration that followed was responsible for charges being dropped against him and for the formation of a committee to discuss policies that before had not been subject to genuine discussion. (5)

B. The nature of changes in policy. When the Administration does change its policies as a result of pressures such as we have described, the force of its action is often lessened in two ways. Frequently the Administration tries to placate protests by granting only the most minimal concessions. Thus, in 1961 the SCLU organized a massive protest of the political restrictions of the Kerr Directives. The Administration ignored all of their major demands, and made only a minor change: it shortened the advance notice required for 'off-campus' speakers.(6)

            At other times , the Administration makes an apparent concession, but follows it with a new restriction which lessens its value. For example, though the Communist Speaker Ban was lifted, a tenured faculty moderator was required for all speakers judged 'controversial'. Such moderators are difficult to obtain, and recently more and more speakers have been judged to be 'controversial'. (7)


            The Administration' s responses to the student protests this Fall provide striking examples of most of the problems we have sketched. The Administration had ignored years of continual criticism by students and faculty through established channels of protest. In banning the solicitation of funds and members by student groups, the Administration suddenly and unilaterally reinterpreted existing conditions without consulting the groups affected or the faculty.

            When a large demonstration put the Administration under pressures that it could not ignore, it responded to demands for complete freedom of speech and assembly (which had been made for years) by granting only minimal concessions: it dropped charges of trespass against one demonstrator and set up a committee to make an investigation. It reduced the possible effects of this committee by unilaterally determining the committee's composition. This composition was not acceptable to the other party involved in the negotiations; pressure on the committee and the threat of renewed demonstrations led to a more equitable composition of the committee. The Administration disregarded the recommendations of a faculty committee, to whose appointment it had agreed, that the suspended students be reinstated. Currently, there are persistent rumors that the Administration is seeking to have legislation enacted to make future demonstrations misdemeanors; the Administration's general legal counsel has refused to comment on these rumors. (8)


            The presence of 500 policemen on the campus the night of October 2 demonstrated that a certain failure in dialogue had occurred. This report has been prepared by an independent group in the University community, composed of people agitated by this failure who wished to help provide a background for proper dialogue about the issues it deals with.

            We began to gather material on October 17; this preliminary version was completed on November 2. The supporting body of evidence, in this preliminary presentation to the Chancellor's Committee, includes some twenty studies totalling 60, 000 words. Much more material remains to be edited. More than 100 persons have contributed to the present form of the report; we hope to be able to give them credit by name in the final version

            This report has been prepared under the general editorship of Michael Rossman. Lynne Hollander has been responsible for editorial coordination, and Marston Schultz and Tom Irwin for technical coordination.

            We accept responsibility for any errors of fact or interpretation which these pages, and those that follow, may contain.



Section I

(1,(2) As the recent suspensions demonstrate, students who attempt to change the Administration's regulations may be placed in the position of 'breaking the law'. But the students' grievance, consistently ignored, is that the Administration has broken the laws by issuing regulations which infringe Constitutiona1 liberties. (There is considerable legal opinion to this effect; see the appendix on Legal Matters. ) These regulations have been based on a single interpretation of a sentence in the University Charter (Article IX, Section 9 of the State Constitution), which states: "The University shall be entirely independent of all political or sectarian influence and kept free therefrom in the appointment of its Regents and in the administration of its affairs.'' Despite strong faculty protest (see Appendix D) that the intent of this sentence was to prevent political influences from acting upon the Administration itself, the Administration has persisted in the following interpretation: that students who advocate 'political' causes or distribute 'political' literature thereby ''involve the University as an institution", and may only hold meetings on campus or on occasion indulge in such activities at the will of the Administration. Always the definition of 'political' rests with the Administration, and there is no appeal of its decisions.

For amplification of footnotes (1)) and (2), see the appendix on Legal Matters.

(3),(4),(5) Information from these groups. For additional examples see Appendix A.

(6) By the Fall 1964 'reinterpretations' of the Kerr Directives. See the appendix on Free Speech 1964.

(7) See Appendix A for examples.

(8) Daily Californian, March 5, 1962. Also see Appendix A. See the several appendices on the ASUC and the appendix on the Student Forum.

(10), (11) For documentation and additional examples, see Appendix A.

(12) See the appendix on The ROTC Controversy.

(13), (14), (15) See Appendix B for documentation and further examples.

(16), (17) See Appendix B and the appendices on the ASUC.

(18), (19) See Appendix B for documentation and further examples.

Section II

(1) See The Uses Of The University, Clark Kerr; The Mind Of Clark Kerr, Hal Draper (published by the Independent Socialist Club); and the appendix on Clark Kerr.

(2) And may hinder the University's attempts to get funds. See e.g. the statement by Gerry Grey in the appendix on The HUAC Demonstrations, and the appendix on Free Speech 1964.

(3) E.g., the University received $227 million for special Federal research projects in 1961-62, over half its budget. (See Sanity, September 1963, p.l6)

(4) George Stewart, The Year Of The Oath, p.28. (The quote is the Administration's, not his.)

(5) See the appendix on The Loyalty Oath Controversy.

(7) See the appendix on The Subject A Controversy.

(8) See affidavits in Appendix C.

(9) The University later returned, despite misgivings; the Administration still refused to contest PG&E's decision. See the appendix on The Bodega Head Affair.

(10) For reinstatement of the suspended students. See the appendix on Free Speech 1964.

(11)  See the appendix on The ROTC Controversy.

(12) See Appendix D, and also the appendix on Women For Peace.

(13) See Appendix D.

(14), (15) See the appendices on The Kerr Directives.

Section III

(1) See the appendix on The Loyalty Oath Controversy.

(2) See the appendix on Slate.

(3) Opinions expressed by faculty members to the compilers of this report (see also the appendix on the Faculty.) They have suggested as examples of possible reprisals loss of advancement, loss of research monies, being forced to teach undesirable courses, etc. As an expression of these and graver fears, the initiators of the faculty advertisement criticizing the presence of police on campus this Fall permitted only tenured faculty members to sign the protest.

(4) See the appendices on The ASUC.

(5) See the appendix on The Graduate Students.

(6) See the appendix on Slate And Due Process, the appendix on HUAC, and the other appendix on Slate.

(7) See Appendix D and the appendix on The Graduate Students.

(8) See the appendix on Free Speech 1964.

(9) See Appendix C.

Sections IV, V

(1) See Appendix D.

(2) See Appendix D. Moreover, other changes in the Administration' s regulations appear to have been influenced by threats of lawsuits. See the appendix on Changes In The Kerr Directives.

(3) See the appendix on Changes In The Kerr Directives.

(4) See the appendix on Free Speech 1959.

(5) See the appendix on Free Speech 1964.

(6) See note [3].

(7) See Appendix B.

(8) Daily Californian, October 28, 1964. For other examples of the specific appearance this Fall of the general problems we describe, see the appendix on Free Speech 1964.


c. Nov. 1, 1964

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