The New York Times
December 18, 1947, p. 35
100 at Columbia Hear Communist
Johnson in Pupin Hall Says Attacks on Party Violate Our Bill of Rights
A hundred persons turned out yesterday to hear Arnold Johnson, legislative director of the Communist party, speak at a special meeting of the Marxist Study Group at Columbia University.
The audience, composed mostly of undergraduate and graduate students on the campus, listened to the speaker in a lecture room at Pupin, applauded politely at the end of the formal address and then asked some questions.
It had become known Monday night that the representative of the Communist party, to whom permission to address a meeting of the Marxist Cultural Society at City College was denied last week, would be allowed to speak at Columbia. According to the university provost, Albert C. Jacobs, "any man who is not under sentence or under indictment can speak at Columbia."
Yesterday Mr. Johnson told the campus group that an attack against the Communists, whether done by the Un-American Committee [of Congress] or by the loyalty order of President Truman, was an attack against the Bill of Rights and the American people.
Sees Students' Rights Violated
"Columbia University has permitted me to speak and you to listen to me," Mr. Johnson declared. "It violates the rights of the students, however, when it bans Howard Fast and others who have defended the Bill of Rights against the Un-American Committee. Actually, the university should give honorary Doctor of Laws degrees to Fast and the others for their defense of the Bill of Rights.
"Naturally" Against Fast
"Let us not be satisfied that there is full protection of students' rights on the Columbia campus. The administration of Columbia is just opening the way for the Un-American Committee to move in on the university."
Meanwhile, it was learned that several campus organizations at New York University had denounced the action of Dean Thomas C. Pollock in granting Mr. Fast permission to address today a meeting of the Young Progressive Citizens of America at the N.Y.U. School of Education, 37 West Fourth Street.
Mr. Fast is free on bail pending appeal from his sentence last July to three months' imprisonment and $500 fine for contempt of Congress. Last week he was barred from speaking at Brooklyn, Hunter and City Colleges and Columbia University.
In a letter to the dean, J. Martin Weissman and Gerald Gorden, co-chairmen of the Washington Square College Chapter of the New York Young Republicans Club, termed the decision "detrimental" to the reputation of N.Y.U. Answering the message, Dean Pollock said that the chapter of the Young Republicans Club "is not officially recognized at the college."
A spokesman for the Brooklyn chapter of the Newman Club remarked: "We would naturally be against Mr. Fast because he is a Communist, and the Catholic Church is against communism."
At Queens College the Faculty-Student Activities voted in favor of allowing Miss Claudia Jones, a representative of the National Communist party, to appear as a guest speaker before the Marxist Society tomorrow.
A spokesman for the Brooklyn College Chapter of the Student League for Industrial Democracy said that the group had invited Mrs. Fray Bedra, trade union secretary of the Kings County section of the Communist party, to speak before the campus organization next Monday. College authorities, he said, had granted permission.