Civil Liberties / Primary Document 3 /

Primary Document Three

Tantrums on the Campus

New York Post

May 24, 1950

There are moments these days when it is difficult to tell the adults from the children in Our Town. In rapid succession three top-ranking figures in the city’s educational system have behaved like scared, screaming citizens, creating a total picture of unacademic panic.

DR. HARRY D. GIDEONSE, president of Brooklyn College, has slapped suspensions on six students who run the undergraduate newspaper. They were convicted of publishing and “unauthorized” edition. The row all began with the resignation of the paper’s faculty adviser who cautiously disapproved publication of a news article reporting that Gideonse had vetoed the faculty’s choice for head of the History Department. Apparently no other faculty member was ready to step into the retired adviser’s quaking boots and, under the college’s curious by-laws, the paper could not be published without benefit of a faculty censor. There upon the students published a paper on their own, financed out of funds which they raised independently; the editor and his aides were promptly suspended for “conduct unbecoming a student.” We think Gideonse is guilty of conducting unbecoming an educator who has often boasted of his own liberalism. The censorship requirement for a college publication seems absurd enough; the reprisals invoked against the students for allegedly “evading” the censorship are as humorless as they are high handed.