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The New York Times
December 14, 1947, Sec. 4, p. 2E

Academic Freedom?


Article 1, Section 8, of the New York State Constitution (adopted in 1777, fourteen years before the Bill of Rights) says: "Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects." There have been limitations placed on how free speech may be enjoyed - for example, one cannot with impunity make speeches inciting to riot.
Last week there was controversy in New York over the action of four New York institutions of higher learning in barring two men from their campuses. These were the men and the institutions that barred them:
Howard Fast, novelist ("Citizen Tom Paine"), a member of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, which recently was branded "subversive" by Attorney General Tom C. Clark, was prohibited from speaking at Columbia University, City College of New York, Brooklyn College, and Hunter College. New York University announced Mr. Fast could speak there.
Arnold Johnson, legislative leader of the Communist party, was barred from delivering a speech at C.C.N.Y. because Attorney General Clark has labeled the CP "subversive."
With regard to the barring of Mr. Fast, spokesmen for all four institutions gave similar explanations. They said the action was taken solely because Mr. Fast was under sentence of three months in jail, imposed by a Federal court, for contempt of Congress as a result of his refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He is at liberty pending appeal.
With regard to Mr. Johnson, a C.C.N.Y. spokesman said: "As a public educational institution, the City College of New York is obligated to discourage the use of any of its facilities by those groups or individuals who by their acts or existence are recognized as contrary to the best interests of the college, the city, the state and the nation."
Students voiced protests, which were echoed in other circles. There were charges that the actions were a breach of academic freedom. One C.C.N.Y. alumnus quoted Thomas Jefferson: "For God's sake, let us freely hear both sides."
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