[Letter re Murphey’s 1953-4 controversy on the
campus Colorado University
May 22, 1962
Professor Edward J. Rozek
1814 16th Street
I have thought it might be useful to you in your current controversy with the
school newspaper to have some background as to a similar controversy that I had with that paper in 1953 and 1954. I will describe that controversy in what follows here, including the surrounding circumstances that will give you the whole picture of it. Colorado University
In 1952-1953, Mark Emond was the editor of the school newspaper. I was myself a reporter on the staff of the school paper during the fall semester of 1952, to the best of my recollection. I had been a reporter during the preceding school year. I knew Mr. Edmond and his wife personally and knew both of them to be extremely “liberal” in their political opinions. You may be aware that Mr. Edmond was one of the college students who took a trip to the
Soviet Unionafter his graduation from college in, I believe, 1953.
In the Spring of 1953, I was involved in a controversy on the
campus centering around the Conference on World Affairs. At that conference, I would estimate that approximately 25 speakers were brought in to speak against Senator McCarthy and congressional investigations of Communism. No speakers were brought in to present the other viewpoint. I asked President Stearns concerning this lack of balance at an all-school convocation during the question-and-answer period and as a result of that inquiry was invited to appear on the final panel on “McCarthyism.” I was able to arrange to have still another student speak for Senator McCarthy. When the debate was held, however, Mr. Howard Higman, the chairman of the Conference, provided each speaker with equal time (10 minutes). Since the anti-McCarthy speakers were four in number, as against our two, the anti-McCarthy position was presented for 40 minutes and the pro-McCarthy position was present for only 20 minutes. It is to be noted that one of the anti-McCarthy speakers, Mr. Sidney J. Harris of the Chicago Daily News, walked out of the auditorium during my presentation. During the question-and-answer period, I was asked a question by someone in the audience, who thereupon left before I was able to answer. The crowd vigorously applauded this action, and booed my answer. Colorado University
I later arranged to present a speech in the
on the “Case for McCarthy.” Four of the five signs that I very carefully posted on proper administration bulletin boards, after having had the signs stamped with approval for posting, were torn down within a few hours after I posted them. After I gave the speech, the controversy subsided for the remainder of the school year, since the semester was about over. Hellems Building
Shortly after the beginning of the Fall semester in 1953, I found that the only required reading in Professor James Busey’s course on
Asiawas a book by the , containing chapters by Owen Lattimore and Lawrence K. Rosinger. The recommended reading list in the course also included a book by John Fairbank. I would refer you to the McCarran Committee hearings into the Instituteof Pacific Relations for extensive information into the Communist background of these three men. Thereafter, I met on two or three occasions with President Ward Darley to correct this situation. My position with President Darley was that as a very minimum other required reading should be brought into the course and that the students should be informed of the background of these three authors. This was my minimum position, although I felt that as a matter of principle Communist authors ought not to be used in a favorable light in a tax-supported institution. Instituteof Pacific Relations
After two or three months, having made no apparent progress in terms of correcting that situation, I gave the information as to the use of the Lattimore, Rosinger and Fairbank writings to [Colorado state] Senator Morton Wyatt, who made the facts public in a Colorado Springs speech in late November or early December, 1953. An immediate public debate followed. In order to support Senator Wyatt in his public effort in this regard, I issued a statement to the press concerning the use of the books. At that time, the Colorado Daily [the student newspaper] took a very strong position against my own position.
Approximately 16 students in Fleming Hall, in which I lived, including a Rhodes Scholar, prepared a letter supporting my position and took it to the office of the Colorado Daily, presenting it to the then-editor, Mr. Rodney Angove. He told them that he would not publish anything favorable to me that had my name in it. Mr. Rhoades Schroeder, myself and possibly one other student then filed a formal letter with the University Board of Publications protesting the one-sided presentation of the controversy that was being made in the Colorado Daily.
In December, 1953, the University Board of Publications held a formal hearing upon the matters contained in my letter of protest. The decision of the Board, which appeared in a written opinion, was that Mr. Angove, the editor, had not “abused his discretion” in refusing to print the letter presented by the 16 students, and in considering me “intellectually dishonest.”
In February, 1954, I spoke before the Junior Chamber of Commerce in
, presenting detailed information as to the very great lack of balance in favor of “liberal” opinion in the arts and sciences school. Mr. Thad Ashby, the then editor of the editorial page of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, wrote the story in advance of the speech and reported that I had said that there were Communists on the faculty at Colorado Springs . When this appeared in the Rocky Mountain News as a part of the Associated Press report, I immediately wrote to Mr. Ashby concerning it and he responded with a letter of apology which fully explained that I had made no such remarks. I sent this letter of apology to Mr. Jack Foster, the editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and asked that he run a correction in the News. He wrote me back indicating that he did not wish to do so, but that I could “write a letter to the editor” if I wished to do so. Boulder
The controversy further continued in the Spring of 1954 when the next Conference on World Affairs was held on the campus. At that time, 17 speakers were brought onto the campus during the one-week period to speak against Senator McCarthy. There were no speakers brought onto the campus to speak in his favor.
I finished by pre-law course at the University in June, 1954, and have not attended the University since that time.
I hope that this background will be informative to you. As a result of this experience, and of my further observations over the years, I am firmly convinced that the school newspaper will never have anything but a “liberal” editor so long as the present system of selection of editors continues. The school newspaper problem is a part of a much broader problem that exists at the University that consists in a few extremely “liberal” professors having a virtually complete control over the means of articulate political expression on the campus. While I was at the University, they particularly dominated the political science department, economics department, sociology department, speech department, philosophy department, student newspaper, and Conference on World Affairs.
If you should be in need of any further information concerning the above, please do not hesitate to call upon me.
Very truly yours,
Dwight D. Murphey