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Charles Muscatine: Stifling Academic Freedom

Charles Muscatine was a newly appointed professor in 1949 when he encouraged his students at the University of California-Berkeley to stand up for their beliefs. In the early days of the Cold War, Berkeley and many other institutions fell in line with the government and required university employees to sign loyalty oaths. Muscatine and 30 other professors who refused were fired. It took him a year to find another university job, at an institution of lesser academic repute. In 1954, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the non-signers and rescinded the loyalty oath, but Muscatine's career was already damaged.

My Story

The Loyalty Oath. I was fired in the summer of 1950 ... (1:00)
Price of Dissent. It was a very serious situation, fraught with danger ... (1:00)
Heartbreak. Some of the non-signers were refugees from the Nazis ... (1:02)

Themes

Freedom of Speech at the University. Universities are usually known as bastions of free speech and open discussion. Charles Muscatine, Ruth Obel-Jorgensen and Konstanty Hordynski certainly believed this to be true until they found themselves the subjects of unlawful monitoring and restrictive policies.