John W. Egerton Papers, 1961-1965, Box 1 Folder 5

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John W. Egerton Papers, 1961-1965, Box 1 Folder 5

Material Information

John W. Egerton Papers, 1961-1965, Box 1 Folder 5
Series Title:
Florida Legislative Investigation Committee (Johns Committee)
Added title page title:
Chronology of USF Johns Committee Investigation
Egerton, John
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box 1 Folder 5


Subjects / Keywords:
Academic freedom -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
History -- Tampa (Fla.) -- 20th century ( lcsh )


General Note:
This collection consists of materials relating to the 1962-1964 Johns Committee investigation of the University of South Florida. The collection includes correspondence, press statements, statements to the Florida legislature, editorials, various newsletters and newspaper clippings, as well as the typescript of "The Controversy," John Egerton’s unpublished 300-page study of the Johns Committee.
Original Version:
Box 1 Folder 5

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This item may be protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. The user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law.
Resource Identifier:
028802325 ( ALEPH )
50648262 ( OCLC )
E02-00002 ( USF DOI )
e2.2 ( USF Handle )

USFLDC Membership

University of South Florida
John W. Egerton Papers

Postcard Information

Mixed Material


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Full Text


5/18 USF probe started by Johns group. 5/20 Wenner/Mrs. Stockton Smith involved in USF investigation. 5/21 President Allen calls special meeting of faculty and students. 5/26 Julian Lane advised group of Tampa citizens to take complaints to Dr. Allen. 5/28 Sumter Lowry denies any connection with investigation. 5/29 USF Student petition backing President Allen--signed by 1,016 of 2 500 students


6/1 Coamittee winds up full week on campus by questioning several atudents--investigacors moved to campus May 23. During first ten days,. twelve to fifteen faculty members were questioned. 6/4 Johns group through on campus but wttl continue to question towns people off campus. (Spent ten days on campus). 6/7 After questioning Dr. Allen for six hours,, conmittee said"Not much wrong"--but" some things" need correction.


AUGUST .!2 8/15 John Caldwell suspended as result of committee investigationconmittee bas not yet made a report. 8/24 Johas report issued-53-page document on: 1) CODIDUniam 2) Reading material 3) Religion 4) Homosexuality 8/26 Dean Cooper' & statement regarding Johns report. 8/28 Dr. Allen's statement on report. 8/29 Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce presents backing USF. 8/29 $67,150 from deficiency funds given to Johns Committee to continue operation for next ten months---cOll'lllittee has already spent $67 ,940. 73 in past year. 8/31 Governor Bryant has guarded criticism of Johns report.


9/2 Dr. Allen and Dean French address faculty orientation. 9/13 Rep. Karl (Volusia County) criticizea .Johns report. 9/15 Board of Control saya it ie agency responaible for investigating com plaints at universities and not legitlative coamittee--Board gives usr clean bill (BUT gives connittee partial credit for preventing the hiring of D. F. Fleming & Jerome Davis). 9/17 John Caldwell reinstated by Dr. Allen on faculty coamittee's recoamendatl.on. 9/20 Johns blasts Caldwell's reinstatement. 9/21 Caldwell resigns (letter to Dr. Allen).


OCTOBER 1962 10/13 Allen endorsed by Tampa Bay Psychological Association. 10/16 Kiwani Club of Tampa supports Dr. Allen. 10/17 Tampa Baptist Association c01Xlllends Johns group. 10 120 University of Florida Homecoming skits blast Johns committee. 10/22 Board of Control hsues direct! on communism, homosexuality---4-part directive: I -Selection of faculty and students II ... Obscenity in books and teaching materials III Procedures relating to lV Challenge of basic religious beliefs. 10/23 Sheldon N. Grebstein suspended for distribution of essay to advanced writing class. 10/24 Little notice given in Grebstein's suspension--resume of how suspen sion came about. 10/25 University of Florida AAUP asks for investigation of Control Boa r d policies.


NOVEMBER 1962 11/2 Dean Martin addresses University of Florida AAUP---number of USF faculty will leave because of investigation and euspenaion. 11/3 Dr. Michael Kasha, director of FSU's Institute of Molecular Biophysics, deplores atmoephere of mistrust in Homecoming address to FSU Alumni. 11/3 FSU faculty charge Johns. group with interference. 11/4 Florida Presbyterian AAUP joins USF and University of Florida in pro teating suspension. 11/S Jacksonville University AAUP criticize Board of Control policies. 11/5 USF Student Government Resolution. 11/7 Tampa Jaycees back USP faculty. 11/8 Jacksonvill e University faculty and administration protest USF suspension. 11/9 University of Florida Senate hits Board policy on teaching materials. 11/9 Board of Control and University representatives are to have talk on academic freedom-propoeed by Board chairman. 11/11 Twelve of fourteen Florida chapters of AAUP meet at Florida Presbyterian in St. Petersburg. 11/15 USP Senate hits policy of Board. 11/15 Recomnendations of 9-man faculty committee turned over to Dr. Allen (on Grebstein suspension). 11/15 Control Board and University representatives meet in Gainesville 11/15 to discuss academic issues. 11/16 Allen studies report of faculty CODlllittee on Grebstein. 11/18 Grebstein reinstated with censure (text of Allen's report on reinstatement). 11/18 Residents of Temple Terrace and Hillsborough County send wire to Board expressing concern over threat to Florida universities. 11/18 Stetson University Senate deplores Grebsteln suspension. 11/21 Sen. Bernard Parrish (Titusville) makes unwarranted attack on Senate floor. 11/22 Allen mildly rebuked by USP AAUP for censure Qf 8rebstein.


IECBHBER 1962 12/4 Mrs. Stockton Smith addresses Plant Ciey Conservative Club. 12/7 135 support USP by telegrame. 12/8 New policy on academic freedom adopted by Board of Control also, 12/19 USP officials ask fast building action. (see building clipping file) 12/20 Contractor (Paul H. Smith Sr.) says buildings at USP are in no danger Series of 10 article plus editorial by Mabel N. Chesley, associate editor. Daytona Beach Journal---beg. 12/10/62.


JANUARY 1963 1/15 Proposal by Board of Control staff on newa regulation for Florida universities. 1/18 Censorship proposal scrapped by Board. 1/19 J. Broward Culpepper, executive director of Control Board, granted broad policy powers. 1/25 Sheldon N. Grebstein resigns.


MARCH .!ill Series of three articles in Miami Newe on Johna COll!Ddttee investigator trapping TallahaHee newepaper man---3/26. 3/27, 3/28


APRIL 1963 (Emmett Peter---editor Leesburg Conmercial... aeries of six editorials, 3/30/5) 4/3 AAUW urges probe of Johns conmittee. 4/5 Johns plans to explain unit's work. 4/14 Legislators. newsmen to hear Johns report. 4/19 Johns Comnittee report to Joint Senate & House session. 4/19 USP to reply to cOIIIDittee report. 4/19 C001Dittee's report rapped by Hillsborough delegation. 4/23 Dr. Allen to address joint session of House & Senate 4/24. 4/23 Johns introduces two bills in Senate: 1) $155.000 appropriation for continuation of Johns C0111nittee 2) Directive of policy on hiring of instructional personnel. 4/25 Dr. Allen addresses joint session of House & Senate 4/24.


MAY 1963 5/7 Bill to continue Johns Coumittee wins support of House coumittee. 5/8 Plant City Conservative Club backs Charley Johns. 5/10 Senate votes to retain Johns group and approves $155,000 appropriation. 5/22 Senate Conmittee defeats bill requiring Florida's universU:ies to label cODJDUnist-leaning authors and lecturers. 5/30 House ok.ays continuation of Johns conmittee and $155,000 appropriation.


May 7-15 May 16 May 17 May 18 May 21 May 23 Week of April 9 April 14 April 28 CHRONOLOGY OF UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA INVESTIGATION Rumors of imminent investigation, and of secret questioning of students in downtown motel. Confirniation of presence of investigatars at motel. Decision of President to contact investigators, invite them to campus. Wenner contact with St. Pete Times. Recorded Wenner interview with Times received. Presence of investigators made public. First stories of investigation in press. Investigators visit President, promise to use campus room for investigation. President address to staff and students. Investigators move to campus, begin questioning faculty. Citizens committee met on invitation of Mrs. Smith, voted to take complaints to Johns Committee, Mayor Lane a pparently made contact for the group. Wenner met with Hawes, began his part in investigation. Sometime between April 14 and 28, Wenner and citizens committee joined forces, with additional support from Coalition of Patriotic Societies, John Birch Society. All-day meeting at Wenner's home attended by 45-50 students, Wenner, Wickstrom of the Zephyrhills News, Mrs. Smith, Hawes and Strickland of the Johns


March March 30 April 18 June 21 June 26 Fleming visits campus, discusses-possible appointment Zephyrhills attack on Fleming "ap pointment" news release anPouncing Fleming appointment Allen begins processing Fleming appointment papers, which must be approved by Board of Control and Cabinet because rate of pay would exceed $10,000 per year. Vanderbilt chancellor knocks Fleming


.Aug. 22 At C of C higher education committee meeting, Stockton Smith greeted Dennard and me warmly, spoke in favor of bond issue .for universities, gave outward appearance he was anxious to repair old fences. Dennard said he had been at a party with the Smiths earlier, found them very eager to show a more reasonable attitude toward the University. Chandler said feeling at B of C was that Committee was anxious to get heat off it by being more responsible, s .aid he thought they would steer away from higher e .dm ation for awhile. Looking fer a good investigator, pro:Pablyan ex-FBI man. But Chandler said he knew most of committee manbers .still felt universities were breeding grounds for subversion and homosexuality, sooner or later they would be back.


Sept. 1, 1963 As the fourth year begins, an assessment: We re over the hump as far as ex.ternal threats are concerned. Strength continues to grow, arid the future is assured. But potentially more dangerous to the University than the Johns Committee is the relaxation of drive to be more than just good, to be unique and outstanding. There grows within us a maze of regulations, channels, policies and red tape, for employees at every level, for students from admission to graduation. The all-University approach, with all its idealism and weaknesses, is gone; but in its place are a rash of cliques, empires, feudal societies, building up separate and apart from one another, with no feeling of unity, little baronies, wheels hidden in the catacombs behind a corps of administrative assistants. The enthusiasm, the drive to be exceptional is gone---we're safe now, we're "grown," so to speak, and to prove it we're just like any other state university---a damning assessment, if there ever was one. It's not that nothing has been accomplished---more has been done here in the past five years than on any other campus in the nation---but the pity is that so much that could have been accomplished has faiied, and the golden opportunity is gone.


Oct. 9, 1963 St. Pete Times attorney Billy McLeod and another attorney came over to talk to Allen, the four of us spent three hours discussing Johns Committee investigation. Mark Hawes' case against the still to be decided. He has formally accused the paper of libel; Times, through McLeod, must answer by Nov. 1, in so doing will contend KllllJ Hawes has no case. If judge agrees, whole thing will be dropped; if he thinks a question of libel still exists, he will set date for a jury trial.


11/11/63 Night before Hawes was to address Legislature, Hillsborough delegation had strategy meeting. Afterward, Knopke thought of advantage s of having tape recording of the speech, and mentioned it to some friends, including Ovid Lewis, a tree-lance radio newsman and general political hanger-on. Lewis may have been planning to tape speech anyway---Knopke doesn't remember---but at any rate he did tape the sppech, as he had done on several other occasions during the session. He was set up in the well right below the speaker's J II rostrum, and Strickland was also there. Afterward, Lewis furtively avoided Knopke and walked away with the tape under his coat. The next morning Knopke paid him $18 for the tape, and doesn't know if he bought the only copy or if Lewis had dubbed it off. /JOJ__&, '-<-<) 10'-<:.L l},_a.J: Allen received Fleming report from AAUP in letter dated Nov. 8, 1963 and signed by Bertram H. Davis, deputy general in the Washington office. The letter asked for comments and correction of errors of fact by 26, and said the report would be published in a forthcoming issue of AAUP Bulletin after all concerned had had ample opportunity to review and comment upon it. It emphasized the report was confidential until published in the bulletin. t<>-.U., ..z fl/ r/ 6 l l J,..c.. J.. d.. ti ck..


faculty comment, Sept. 1, 1964: "The Grand Design, the all University approach and all the rest, are on the way out. But you 1 ve got to say this::., it 1 s taken am almost five years for us to become conventional. At least we didn't start that way, and maybe we've retained some of the uniqueness we talked about then, even if it's only a little bit." "YeaJ, let's face it. Those ideas were great for a small liberal arts college. That day is past for us, and we have to take on some of the blight as well as the advantages of bigness." Allen, in his welcome speech to new faculty, spoke of growth, size, and quality in every undertaking, USF with UCLA and saying (or implying) that we were a protptype of that institution. The urban setting dictates our role: "We mist be a social force in the community." Accreditation. Gave special emphasis to two of the univ.ersity' s original goals: importance of good teaching above all else, and the general education program, which he called "the best in the United States."


Philosophy, goals and objectives of the University of South Florida were spelled out on pages 29-33 of the first catalog, Accent on Learning. The emphasis was decidedly upon general, or liberal, education, above all else. The College of Basic Studies was to be the center of this educational endeavor, and other colleges in the university were also to reflect the unity and relatedness of education. Dr. Allen and Dean French were the architects of this plan. They wanted a basic general education program that was more than just a group of introductory courses on fundamentals, but rather a skillful blending and interrelating of all areas of knowledge. Deans were sought who agreed with this philosophy, and they in turn hired faculty with backgrounds and abilities which lent themselves to this approach. But Ph.D.s are, by nature, specialists. It was necessary to "re-train" them to the general education approach. As the University grew and other activities began to develop, emphasis on general began to wane. Upper division programs started, majors were established, and interest grew in such things as graduate training, specialized courses, research and the like. Specialization began to take over. \.with) New f ,aculty who followed were not not.11 even the University's general education philosophy. They came in search of opportunities for specialization, and rebelled when these were slow to materialize. So there developed a split in the faculty, between the specialists and the generals sts. The general is ts wanted all students to build their advanced studies on a broad and sound


base of knowledge. that emphasi:zed the unity of all knowledge. The specialists, on the ohher hand, downgrades this approach as wasteful, and wanted their students to take a few fundamental introductory courses and then begin intense specialization. As of 1964-65, the specialists were beginning to win, and the University's opportunity for true distinction as an outstanding center for undergraduate general education began to disappear. It was well on its way to becoming just another state university.


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