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Editorial, March 8, 1935, Page 2

An Ancient Practice

            In defending the freedom of the press when New York was yet a province of Great Britain, Alexander Hamilton declared:

      "Men who injure and impress the people under their administrations provoke them to cry out and complain and then make that very complaint the foundation for new oppression and persecutions."

            Hamilton's argument may well be applied to the passage of the Nunan Loyalty Oath Bill by the State Senate Monday.

            One by one during the past few years the rights and privileges of the students in this country have been curtailed. At City College, the University of California, the University of Ohio, and at the Louisiana State University severe disciplinary measures have been taken against students who sought to oppose war, military training,' and fascism, or to defend their civil liberties.

            Those students and teachers who dared to raise their voices in protest were promptly branded red and scornfully alluded to as the radical five percent. The authorities, undaunted, continued to appropriate war funds, to suspend conscientious objectors to military training from the colleges, and to infringe upon the free expression of student opinion.

            Opposition to student activity finally became so strong that the great mass of collegians was aroused from its lethargy. Conservatives, independents, liberals and radicals joined the chorus of protest.

            The authorities sat up and took notice. They decided to put a stop to this growing student movement for freedom of expression. Under the pretense of protecting America from communism, Hearst and his cohorts initiated a campaign of propaganda against academic freedom in the schools and colleges.

            At this point Representatives Nunan and Devaney stepped forth with a suggestion less subtle but more effective than the Hearstian red-scare method. They proposed to quell the student protests forcibly. Accordingly, they drew up the Nunan Loyalty Oath Bill with its underlying purpose of excluding radicals from the colleges and frightening the remaining students into submission with the threat of expulsion. In accepting the Nunan Bill the Senate reverted to an ancient practice of oppressing and then proceding to use the protests thus aroused as the basis for further oppression.

            It now remains for the Assembly to defeat this malicious measure. Has it the courage?


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May 20, 2004