February 23, 1934, Page 1
Mark Eisner Cautions Students and Teachers
Against "Unseemly Demonstrations and Acts"
The Hon. Mark Eisner, chairman of the
Board of Higher Education, warned against participation in "unseemly
demonstrations" by teachers and students of the three city colleges, in
an address delivered at a meeting on academic freedom held last week at
Stuyvesant High School, under the auspices of the American Civil
The Board chairman
reminded his audience that there is a growing feeling against free
higher education among a large proportion of responsible citizens. He
stated that the citizens believe that the city colleges should not be
maintained at pubic expense. He advised that "action which would bring
them into disrepute must be avoided."
In discussing the attitude
of the Higher Education Board, its chairman said: "We are indifferent
to a teacher's political beliefs–he may be a communist–so long as he
does not discuss them in the classroom, except n cases where they are
germain to the subject under consideration by the class, and so long as
his expression of them outside of the college does not bring his
institution into disrepute."
The Board's attitude on
academic freedom as it affects students was stated by Mr. Eisner, as
"Obviously, there can be
no objection to discussion by students on the various questions of the
day, but the moment they cease to be merely discussion groups and
become action groups, we must draw the line. We are not unsympathetic
towards students, but we are not free of an obligation to listen to
public opinion in this city. Those of us who have benefited most from
these institutions want to we them continue. While I dislike to
compromise with a principle, the existence of these colleges is so
greatly to be desired that I would be willing to compromise some
principles to maintain them."
He scored demonstrations
as a means of student action on general principle because they appeal
only to the emotions.
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May 20, 2004