John W. Egerton Papers, 1961-1965, Box 1 Folder 8

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John W. Egerton Papers, 1961-1965, Box 1 Folder 8

Material Information

John W. Egerton Papers, 1961-1965, Box 1 Folder 8
Series Title:
Florida Legislative Investigation Committee (Johns Committee)
Added title page title:
Johns Committee documents pt. 3 of 3
Egerton, John
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box 1 Folder 8


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


Scope and Content:
Includes Address to the State Legislature on April 24, 1963 by USF President John S. Allen.
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editorials, various newsletters and newspaper clippings, as well as the typescript of "The Controversy," John Egerton’s unpublished 300-page study of the Johns Committee.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 8

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 )
E02-00005 ( USF DOI )
e2.5 ( USF Handle )

USFLDC Membership

University of South Florida
John W. Egerton Papers

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Mixed Material


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, l. Hawes says enabling.statute gives committee authority to investigate subversion and homosexua l conduct, but then admits they were there (at USF) to investigate complaints Gf alleged anti-Christi.a n tea c hing filth, prof nity, vile language and vulgarity in reading m a t er1als, n one of w hich are w ithin t h e authority of the law under which the committee o perated. 2. Hawes says thei r investi. g ation of religion and pornog r a hy was at the express invitation of Presiden t Allen. Ev'en if t his were true---which it is not---it would not alter t h e legal limit ations w hich bound the committee 3. Hawes s aid a USF press release f alsely a n nounced tha t D r Jerome Davis was_ a professor of divinity a t Duke ( Yale) University. The -press release s aid Davis w a s a form e r Yaledivinity' rofes s_or w hich he was. 4. Hawes paraph r asing of Dr. D. F. Fl e:ning s views a s presented in "The Cold W a r and Its Or i g ins" is inaccurate. 5. H awes s a y s Ken H ardcast,le of T a m a w s a former student of Fleming Fleming says he never had a student b y t h t n ame 6 H awes s a y s F leming's appointm ent to USF w a s following the committee's investigation. This is somewhat correct c hronologically, but false in lts implic tion tha t the comm i tte e was respo nsible for it. 7. Hawes said pocketbooks such a s are sold on the newsstand h ave becom e the main college text a t USF. T .his i s f a l s e 8 H ares s aid usF purposely selected reading m aterials f o r t heir o bscene language. 9 Hawes' s p e e c h i s a mixture of "objective" testimony or f actua l m aterial with his own personal opinions.


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r. ADDRESS TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE April 24, 1963 By JohnS. Allen Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, ladies and Gentlemen of the legislature, at the request of the Hillsborough County delegation, and with the knowledge of the Board of Control, I am making this response to a series of charges os reported by the press to have been made before an executive session of the two houses of the Legisloture on Thursday, April 18, 1963. The statements were reported to have been made by Mark Hawes, counse I to the Legislative Committee. As Mr. Baya Harrison, Chairman of the Board of Control, said on TV Friday, April 19, the report made by Mr. Hawes is essentially the same report that was made public by the Legislative Committee last August. The Board of Control, in subsequent months, worked with the administrations of the universities and representatives of the faculties to improve and clarify internal operation procedures. As a part of the execu-tive branch of government, the Board of Control is the duly constituted body for the supervision of the state university system. A review of the press reports indicates that Mr. Hawes' indictment was such a skillful blend of truths, half-truths, and omissions, that those who are unfamiliar with the background and the facts of this investigation may wonder about the seriousness of these charges. In order that you may have this matter in sharper focus and perspective, I would like to re-examine with you some of the statements of the committee counsel. -1-


At the very outset of his presentation, Mr. Hawes said the committee came to investigate complaints that the University was soft on Communism and that it harbored homosexuals. He said further that they had received complaints from people in the area about anti-Christian teaching and about the use of teaching materials filled with filth, profanity, and vulgarity. 1) In the matter of Communists, the fact is that at the University of South Florida, the Committee found not a single member of the faculty, staff, or student body who is or ever has been a Communist or a Communist sympathizer. 2) Mr. Hawes said Dr. Jerome Davis, a person known for membership in Communist front organizations, was invited to teach at the University, and that I cancelled his appearance under pressure from legislators and members of the Committee. He said further that a University of South Florida press release stated "falsely" that Jerome Davis was a Professor of Divinity at Yale University. The fact is: Dr. Davis was not invited to ioin the faculty, but rather to give one lecture, to be repeated to a second section of the same course, at which his background and point of view would be identified when he was introduced to the students, and after which the students would be given time to question him critically. Dr. Davis is not now a Professor of Divinity at Yale, but he was correctly listed in the press release as a former member of the faculty of the Yale University Divinity School. When I learned of these plans, I looked into the background of Dr. Davis and decided that his appearance before a formal class would be inappropriate. The decision was solely my own. I sought advice from no one. It is now well established and known to the faculty that we do not expect to have people with Communist front affiliations speak to classes, and there has been no recurrence of such incidents. The record of testimony taken by the legislative Committee when it was on -2-


our campus shows that 1 to1d the Committee that I had received telephone calls concerning Davis from three legislators. All of these calls came after I personally had cancelled the appearance of Davis. This was in February, three months before we were aware of the Committee or its agents being in Tampa. 3) IW. Hawes referred to Dr. Fleming of Vanderbilt University, whose recent two-volume work on the "Cold War" has been characterized by some critics as an apology for the Communist position. He said the Committee prevented the University of South Florida from hiring Fleming. The fact is: Dr. Fleming was being considered for a half-time teaching position for one year at the University of South Florida. Before the legislative Com mittee came to campus, or raised a question about Fleming, I became aware of criticisms of his books and directed an inquiry to Congressman Francis E. Walter, Chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Under date of April 26, 1962, Congressman Walter wrote me that "the records and publications of the Committee on Un-American Activities failed to reveal any record concerning Dr. Denno Frank Fleming." And I have that letter with me. Later, I received a copy of a letter signed by Dr. Harvie Branscomb, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, saying that Fleming was no longer on the faculty at Vanderbilt. A further check by telephone with Chancellor Branscomb revealed that Vanderbilt hod been unwilling a year prior to continue his contract a fourth year beyond the normal retirement age. At this point, I decided on my own, not to offer a contract to Dr. Fleming. The legislative Committee had nothing to do with this decision La.ter, the Committee left the campus, Mr. Hawes wrote to Chairman Baya Harrison, of the Board of Control, under date of July 27, 1962, that the Committee's source of information was in error in attributing 11Communist front affiliations to Dr. Fleming of -3-


Vanderbi It University. It appears there is a Dr. D .J. Fleming," the letter states, "to whom these affiliations are rightly attributable. The clear result is that the Com mittee has no information that Dr. Fleming of Vanderbilt University has any record of Communist-front affiliations," the letter says. I have my copy of that letter here, but Mr. Hawes failed to mention it to you. 4) In the area of homosexual behavior, psychologists, sociologists, and medical people state that six to ten percent of the population are active in this category. The Investigating Committee established o case against one man out of nearly 500 persons on our payroll. This is one-fifth of one percent. We accepted his resignation the next day and duly reported the facts to the Board of Control. The Committee mode charges against two others which could not be supported. For other reasons these two have since been separated from the University. Since then, through our own counselling procedures, we hove found two students with homosexual tendencies. They are now under psychiatric core, and ore no longer in school. These results are on indication of our careful screening. 5) One of the charges mode by Mr. Howes was the carefully constructed im plication that the University faculty is anti-religious. I would not attempt to vouch for the religious beliefs of every member of our faculty, but I can assure you that we are not anti-religious. We have at least half o dozen faculty who ore ordained min isters, and many, many others who ore active in churches of the community, as teach ers, elders, stewards, committee leaders, and as parishioners. In the early planning of the University of South Florida, I persuaded the Board of Control and the State Board of Education to allow me to invite state-wide religious organizations to consider putting student religious centers on our campus. One of these centers has already been built, another is under construction, and others -4-


will get underway soon. These accomplishments and these activities of the University and its individual faculty members are living refutations of the charge that we are antireligious. I might mention also the statement of overwhelming support given the Un iversity by mony, mony churchmen, as further ilhatration of this point. Mr. Hawes claimed that the faculty attacks orthodox religious beliefs of students and that my only comment was thot "it hoppens on every campus." The Committee record of my testimony shows that I gave a lengthy reply to Committee questions, based on my 39 years of experience as a college student, teacher, and administrator. I indicated to the Committee that college is a place where ideas are examined and discussed on a rational basis. Students raise questions about relation ships between science and religion, philosophy and religion, literature and religion. The professor class where such questions are raised is neglecting his responsibility if he fails to help the students recognize the implications of facts as viewed from all sides of the question. The professor may choose not to reveal his own position, or he may make a clear statement of his own position in order to allow the student to discount or make allowance for the teacher's bias, if any exists. The student must come to his own conclusions. The professor is the one who helps the student to think logically. It is this kind of discussion that happens on every campus. Mr. Hawes refers to my article in the Fall 1962 issue of the University of South Florida Educational Review as saying that if a professor's personal view is atheistic, that is alright if he does not try to force it on the student. Nowhere in the essay do I make any reference to on atheistic view. As for myself, both my mother's family and my father's family were Quakers who came to William Penn's Colony in the 17th century. My father's ancestors followed a migration to North Carolina in 1750. My grandparents moved to Indiana -5-


about a century ago. When I think of how my ancestors worked along with their neighbors and friends to clear the wilderness and help develop three states of this nation, my love of country swells in my heart and I will take second place to no one in my religious sincerity. 6) Mr. Hawes read quotes from writings by two authors, Salinger and Kerouac, and implied that this kind of material is "typical of the trashy, vulgar, and morally offensive literature found in (our) total reading program." The facts are these: The material objected to by the Committee represents a fraction of one percent of the total reading material used in our classes. In this fraction of one percent there are undoubtedly passages which, when taken out of the total context in which they are used, can be offensive to the senses. Calm and rational study in a classroom is a far cry from a street corner conversation about a paragraph or two that otherwise seems salacious. Actually, young people are reading many books by beatnik authors that are available on the downtown news stands, and someone has to find a way to show them the shallowness and poor quality of this so-called literature. One passage which was quoted to you by Mr. Hawes was from a review of beatnik writing. The part that you heard was a passage from a beatnik novel, but he did not read the review itself, which is a scathing criticism of the shallowness and emptiness of such literature. That review first appeared in a national literary journal, and because it was useful to show students the lack of quality in beotnlk writing, it was later reprinted in a college casebook used by more than 75 colleges and universities across the nation. Among these are Duke University, Park College, Peabody College, N.C. State, University of North Carolina, St. louis University, louisiana State, University of Virginia, Stetson University, Rollins, University of Miami, Oberlin, -.o-


University of Tennessee, Washington and Lee, Marshall University, and Westminster College. The review was used at the University of South Florida in an advanced writing class, where the average age of the 31 students enrolled was 24 years. It is no longer being used at the University of South Florida. Mr. Howes would have yau believe that the faculty and I condone porno graphic literature. The fact is directly opposite from this. When this review was discussed in class, the excelfent writing of the reviewer was analyzed, and the poor writing of the "beat" author was analyzed. The two were compared, contrasted, and identified for what they are. This intensive study of writing style in a classroom can and does develop the perception of students to help them identify for themselves the differences between good and bad writing. To me it is inconceivable that there can exist a true community of scholars without a diversity of views. It is, therefore, essential that we as individuals be willing to extend to our colleagues, to our students, and to members of the community the privilege of presenting opinions and points of view which may not necessarily correspond to our own. Criticism of any viewpoint, be it that of a colleague or of a student, must be reasoned and logical, not dogmatic: and emotional. It is inevitable, therefore, that not every sentence in every book we use will be acceptable to any single standard of taste. Yet the fact remains that our selection of textbooks, despite the Committee's charges, reflects a sound balance of accumulated knowledge and opinion not unlike that of other fine universities in this state and around the country. 7) In answering charges that the Committee 1s report was biased and prejudiced against the University, Mr. Hawes said the opposite was true, and he blamed the newspapers for harming the University. -7-


The fact is that the news media of the state and nation have generally given full and accurate coverage to the investigation, and strong editorial support to the University. As a result, what would otherwise have been a secret investigation has been .conducted in the open, and the iniustices which have been committed against the University have been laid open for all to see. 8) Finally, Mr. Hawes criticized the University of South Florida Educational Review as a "declaration of defiance of the people and the Legislature." I submit that these essays are in no way a defiance of anyone, but rather a thoughtful examination of the ideas of which universities are made. If you will read these essays, I am confident you will agree that they reflect the principles upon which the Legislature created the University of South Florida. I have dealt at length with the charges presented by Mr. Hawes. However, I am more interested in having you come to know the real University of South Florida and its strengths. We had 3,500 students of high ability enrolled in this our third year. They came from 46 counties in Florida. Most of them would not be in any college if you had not provided this new state university. The stature of the University of South Florida is indicated by the reports of three accrediting groups after visitations to our campus and intensive study of faculty, program, library, students, and facilities. Their reports stated that our faculty is equal if not superior in training to that of any university in the south. Sixty-eight percent of our faculty hold doctors degrees. This is twice the average for colleges and univer sities over the nation. Our College of Business Administration meets now all the applicable stand ards of the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business. The State Education Department has officially approved our teacher preparation program. -8-


Our students ore atreody being accepted in the best graduate and profess ional schoots in the country, such as the low schools at Harvard and the University of Florida, the medical school at Tulane, and graduate schools at Johns Hopkins and Yale. In every notional test administered at the University of South Florida our students have consistently scored well above national averages. In our Cooperative Work-Study Program, NASA is the largest single employer with 42 of our students working at Cape Canaveral, the Redstone Arsenal at Huntsville, Alabama, and at the Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston, Texas. Despite handicaps of being in a new institution, our students hove risen to the challenge and have organized from the ground up activity programs of which we ore proud. All of this and more has been accomplished in just three short years. American colleges have two purposes. One is to give an education for earn ing a living. That is, preparing mathematicians, economists, scientists, accountants, teachers, and lawyers. The other purpose is education for citizenship, if you will give a broad definition to that term. I believe this education for citizenship is too important to leave to chance. If we are preparing a student to earn a living as a scientist, he should be a good scientist, but he should not be illiterate about government, international relations, human relations, economics, or fine arts. If we ore preparing a student to earn a living as on economist, he should be well trained, but not be ignorant about science, the humanities, or foreign cultures. Every student should know and understand our American institutions in order to know he is patriotic. All of us at the University of South Florida are patriotic. Emotional loyalty and patriotism are fine, but this is not enough. We must understand -9-


why. We must have such a thorough understanding of the reasons and background of our American way of life that our patriotism can be based on sound logic and in addition to any emotional pride we may have. In this setting, a college will have its students study, among other things, about Communism, in order to understand it and to combat it. The Legis.lature has already recognized the importance of this need in our public schools. We do not like Communism and we do not like cancer. But to understand and to control cancer we take the cells into a laboratory to study them and to learn all we can about them. Just as we are careful that no one contracts cancer by care less exposure to it in the laboratory, so we expect that those who really understand Communism from our careful study of it, will know how to defend themselves against it. The minister who talks about sin is not trying to sell it. He is making his parishioners aware of it in order that they may understand it and avoid it. "A college is not engaged in making ideas safe for students. It is engaged in making students safe for ideas." The teacher in the classroom can exercise his responsibility by seeing that both sides of an issue are discussed with reason and logic. The one-night stand of a visiting lecturer presents a different problem. He is before his audience for an hour ot so. He is then on his way, and may never be seen again. The University of South Florida attempts to provide the balance and the responsibility we need in several ways. Therefore, we give our speakers long enough time to develop their themes. Then we insist that they stand for questions from the audience. We wi II n.2!, have a speaker who will not be questioned, to clarify points for understanding, or to defend a position he has taken which someone in the audience wishes to challenge. This year we had as speakers, William Buckley, Editor of the conservative -10-


National Review, and Norman Cousins, Editor of the liberal Saturday Review. In that some month we had Dr. Willard Libby, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, and former member of the Atomic Energy Commission, to speak. These are competent people. They speak with authority on subjects in which they are informed. They do not agree with each other. Each stood for questions from the audience, and explained and position further. And we in the University community have our minds stretched, our horizons expanded, and a better basis for judgment because of these experiences. You have before you in this session the greatest spending request in the history of Florida, a significant port of it for the strengthening and expansion of higher education. This creates difficult and tremendously important problems which you must face. I om confident that the democratic processes through which this country has prospered will lead you to the right decisions. In closing, let me leave this thought with you. The Florida of the future is a dream of unlimited promise and potential which all of us shore and work for. More than any other thing, outstanding universities will make that dream come true. This is the key to our economic advancement, our scientific advancement, our cultural advance-ment, and to the development of sound and intelligent leadership which will be de-manded of us. But our university system cannot prosper, it cannot fulfill its responsibilities for leadership and service, in a cl imote of fear and distrust. In our system of operation, the Governor appoints the Board of Control; these men in turn, with the approval of the State Board of Education, select the men and women who will lead our universities, and vest in them the responsibility and the trust to bring excellence into the educational process. This must be done by competent and responsible people, sensitive to their professions, and dedicated to educating the youth of Florida which is our future. Only with this quality of responsible teamwork con the state reach its goals of greatness.


r. 1 ) Allen's s_peech to faculty and students Th e speech is enclosed. It does not say ae Hawes states on pag e 4 of his speech tha t the President "invited ua to look at anything about which we h a d received complaints." Incidentally, this is the only public statement the President made during the time the committee wae in Tampa. No where i s there an "express invitation of the President" to look into teaching materials and alleged anti-Christian teaching. 2 ) Jerome Davis The USF press release o n Davis and a clipping from the Tampa Tribune are enclosed Both o f them identify him in the first sentence as a former professor of the Yale University Divinity School. Dr. Allen recalls fra m his testimony that he knew Davis had been identified with left-wing organizations, a n d further that he had sued Th e Saturday Evening P ost" (and won) for calling him a c:oomunist. T h e President does not recall that Davis was selected because of his sympathetic views toward the Coumun ist Party. You 1MY want to review our tapes of the testi mony l a ter on. In regard to t h e Davis law suit a gainst the Post, there i s a retired General Hug h B. Hester, who lives, I beli e ve, in Clearwater and who wrote a book with D avis called 'On the Brink ... --published in 19 59 the Lyall Stew a r t Press. General Hester coul d tell you, 1 believe, a good bit a bout Davis' background and a bout tha t law suit. 3 ) Dr. F leming Hawes' letter concerning their confusing Dr. D. F. Fleming with Dr D J. Fleming i a enclosed I have written to V anderb i l t for o f Hawes' statement t h t Ken Hardcastle was o nce a student o f Fleming's and will get tha t to you


as soon as I receive it. We have a number of hbtorians on the campus who can and will testify that Hawes' summation of Fleming s books h grossly and distorted. Major Bundy---mentioned on pag e 9--is Major Edgar c. editor of "News and Views," published in Wheaton, Illinois. by the National Layman's Council of the Church League of America. He ia ot a member of the Wheaton Colle e faculty and the dean of that colle e once told one of our deans that Bundy was a constant embarrassment to them. If he is too conservative for Wheaton College, he must be pretty far out. Dr. Habberton--also mentioned on pa e !rom our faculty last year and lives, I believe, on St. Petersburg Beach. Several of our faculty tell me he wae distressed about the d istortion of his testimony by the Johns Cotmlittee and 1 believe he would so testify. A copy of the letter Chancellor Branscomb of Van

4) on religious views Hawes' statements on page 14 regarding reli ious view do not jibe with Dr. Allen's teetf.mony. Dr. llen did not say that men teach agail.\8 t orthodox religious tenets on every campus he's been on. you lMY want to review the -=-testimony. 5) Readit\ij. material I have compiled a list of five courset a new frMbman at the University might normally take ... -ba.ic English. human behavior, the .American. Idea, functional math and ba:sic biology. The U st of books for these courses is given and I h ave indicated which onea are in paperback, which ones are in hardbound and which one1 are in both, with a star to denote the preference as far as purchasing is concerned by the student. The coats are also included. F These courses and booka would cover the first semester of the freshman year. 6) J. D. Salinger book On page 16 Hawe& e.aye that J. D. Salinger's Nine Stories was "required reading." The facts are that this boo.k was an all-Univeraity book s elec;t tion, which means tt wa a featured piece of extra-curricular reading material for ooe aemeater, end i.t was not required reading for anyone. On pag e 18 Hawes aaya the material Gr .ebate1n distributed was to a mixed clasa of 17, 18, 19 and 20year olds. It was actually a claa. e called Advanced Writing and average a g e of the claas was twantyfour. Again, thia ie an emotional issue, but when it i s considered in the cooteat, it would be difficult to conclude that hi. s use of the material was unrea-.eonable or provocative.


8) USF Educational Review A copy of the USF Educational Review, mentioned on page 2, is enclosed. Hawes' use of that bGok is grossly distorted in a number of ways---I will illustrate only one. On page 23 of his speech Hawes says Dr. Allen' i article "puts it in writing that as long as a professor down there at that state-supported school states that his personal belief on religion ie atheist, or to that effect, that it a proper as long 8$ he doean t try to force that upon the J.tudents.' Hawes arrived at that remarkable conclusion from the J.tatement I have marked on page 27 of the book. 9) Grebstein Copies of the essay Grehstein distributed in class and of the faculty committee report on his suspension are enclosed. 10) Houae Bill No. 1116 A of the law under vhich the Johns Connittee operated 1e enclosed. 11) ease I understand that Bob Delaney baa been indicted by a grand jury in Tallahassee. The law firm handling hh ease ia Parker & Madigan (Millard Caldwell' a old law firm) and the attorney who ie handling Delaney' a ease is Bob McClure. It may be that some of the statements that Hawu made about this case also fell within the realm of his' suit with the St. Petersburg Times. 12) HOJDOaexuality at FSU Hawes aye 011 page 24 tb4t the eOUDittee had been inveatigating homosexuality at Florida State University and that some university professors and atudenta frOlD that school were participating in homosexual acta. Here again there


may be distortion and you might want to talk with someone at FSU about that. 13) Hawes' residence I have inquired about Mark Hawes living in and practicing law in St. Petersburg but most of the people 1 have asked did not find i t unusual. They pointed out that a great many people commute across the Bay nowa days. Hawes' home in the lnterbay section of Tampa is in a nice neighborhood but it is very poorly kept up. He b C atholic a nd has several children. Rumors about b:f.s extra .. curricular acti.vitiea with other women are pretty common around here, but I have no vay of knowing


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